By BeauHD from Slashdot's what-goes-up-must-come-down department
A new industry-funded research study, titled "Broadband competition helps to lower prices and faster download speeds for U.S. residential consumers," analyzed DSL, cable, and fiber broadband plans from the 100 largest designated market areas in the U.S. and found that when a city has gigabit internet speeds, the price of plans with slower speeds drop. Therefore, customers who don't purchase gigabit internet plans will still benefit from their availability. Ars Technica highlights the key findings of the study in their report: -The presence of gigabit service in a market is associated with a $27 decrease in the average monthly price of broadband plans with speeds of 100Mbps or greater but less than 1Gbps. That's a 25 percent price reduction.
-Markets with gigabit Internet also see smaller price decreases for plans as slow as 25Mbps. The presence of gigabit Internet has no significant effect on prices of plans with speeds below 25Mbps. This isn't that surprising since the slowest plans are already the cheapest and aren't suitable substitutes for gigabit speeds.
-Gigabit prices decline when at least two providers offer gigabit service. "If a DMA moves from having one to two providers of gigabit Internet, we estimate that the standard monthly price for gigabit Internet will decline by approximately $57 to $62, which is equal to a reduction in price of between 34 and 37 percent," the study said. Going from one to three gigabit competitors would reduce prices by an estimated $98.11 to $106.50 per month.
-Competition at any speed reduces prices. "An increase of one competitor is associated with approximately a $1.50 decline in the monthly standard broadband price for Internet plans with speeds ranging from 50Mbps to less than 1Gbps," the study said. For plans with download speeds of less than 25Mbps, the decrease in average monthly price is $0.42 for each competitor.
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By msmash from Slashdot's other-side department
The internet of things, also known as connected things, have been in the news lately for all the wrong reasons, but that doesn't mean they are utterly rubbish. Smart bottles that dispense the correct dose of medication at the correct time, for instance, coupled with digital assistants, and chairs that know how long you've sat in them are among the devices set to change the face of care for those living with dementia. From a report on The Guardian: While phone calls and text messages help to keep people in touch, says Idris Jahn, head of health and data at IoTUK, a program within the government-backed Digital Catapult, problems can still arise, from missed appointments to difficulties in taking medication correctly. But he adds, connected sensors and devices that collect and process data in real time could help solve the problem. "For [people living with dementia] the sensors would be more in the environment itself, so embedded into the plug sockets, into the lights -- so it is effectively invisible. You carry on living your life but in the background things will monitor you and provide feedback to people who need to know," he said. "That might be your carer, it might be your family, it might be your clinician." The approach, he added, has the potential to change the way care is given. "It is having that cohesive mechanism to put everyone into the loop, which I think hasn't existed in the past and it is something that people need."Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's not-really-twins department
Not all iPhone 7s are created equal, it turns out. The latest flagship smartphones from Apple that run on Verizon's network are technically capable of downloading data faster than those from AT&T. Yet in testing, the two phones perform about the same, according to researchers at Twin Prime Inc. and Cellular Insights. From a Bloomberg report: Neither firm is clear on the reason, but Twin Prime says it may be because Apple isn't using all the potential of a crucial component in the Verizon version. "The data indicates that the iPhone 7 is not taking advantage of all of Verizon's network capabilities," said Gabriel Tavridis, head of product at Twin Prime. "I doubt that Apple is throttling each bit on the Verizon iPhone, but it could have chosen to not enable certain features of the network chip." "Every iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus meets or exceeds all of Apple's wireless performance standards, quality metrics, and reliability testing," Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller said. "In all of our rigorous lab tests based on wireless industry standards, in thousands of hours of real-world field testing, and in extensive carrier partner testing, the data shows there is no discernible difference in the wireless performance of any of the models." It would be an unusual step for a major phone company to restrain its devices. Normally, companies battle to make the fastest, most reliable handsets. Apple may be doing this because it wants to ensure a uniform iPhone experience, according to analysts.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's important-discussions department
A new report by Danwood, which surveyed 1,000 office workers, almost half said that they print something every day and 84 percent said printing things on paper at work was an "important aspect of work." In the past, we have seen a trend growing at many workplaces where things are moving increasingly digital, implying strongly that our reliance on paper must be reducing as a result. From a report: Danwood even cites a recent IDC research which says 49 percent of business expect their print volumes to increase over the next two years. Eight in ten (80 percent) of respondents say they need paper documents to get their job done. "Despite a move to digitization, organizations remain reliant on print", says Danwood CEO Wes Mulligan. "Businesses are mindful of unnecessary waste when it comes to physical documents, but print and digital will continue to coexist in today's organizations. The easiest way to strike a balance is to look at ways that you can better integrate paper and digital processes to have a real impact on efficiency, productivity and cost reduction."What do you guys think? Will we ever hit a stage where paper will have a minimal footprint, if at all, at workplaces?Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's global-expansion department
For years, Amazon's Prime Video on-demand streaming service has been available in limited regions, such as the United States and United Kingdom (along with a handful of other markets), but that's changing now. Amazon is expanding the Prime Video service to more than 200 new markets. The announcement comes via The Grand Tour motor show, which premieres in select places Friday. Earlier this week, show's hosts -- Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May -- posted on Amazon website that their new show will be streamed in over 200 nations (pretty much everywhere where BBC's Top Gear is broadcasted and streamed). Speaking of which, fans of the Grand Tour will be able to watch the show worldwide starting next month, and once Prime Video is available in their region, they will be able watch new episodes at the same time as others. The move comes months after Netflix expanded to 130 new regions in January this year. Netflix is available in roughly 200 territories as well.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's job-cuts department
Volkswagen has announced plans to cut 30,000 jobs worldwide with about 23,000 of the losses borne in Germany. From a report on BBC:VW, still dealing with the aftermath of the emissions-cheating scandal, aims to rejuvenate its core brand, and develop new electric and self-driving cars. VW says it will create 9,000 jobs as part of investments in new products. The cuts should bring annual savings of $3.92bn by 2020. VW and unions have been hammering out a plan to revive its fortunes since June. Volkswagen chief executive, Matthias Mueller, said it was "the biggest modernisation programme in the history of the group's core brand." "The VW brand needs a real shake-up and that is exactly what the future pact has turned out to be," he added. The car giant -- which employs 610,000 people in 31 countries -- wants to increase the brand's profit margin from 2% to 4% and to do this it will need to improve productivity at its German plants by 25%.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's replacing-things department
Bogdan Popa, writing for Softpedia:The latest Windows 10 insider build brings a change that puts the Windows PowerShell in the spotlight, as it replaces the super-popular Command Prompt in some essential parts of the operating system. Command Prompt has been around for as long as we can remember, but starting with Windows 10 build 14971, Microsoft is trying to make PowerShell the main command shell in the operating system. As a result, PowerShell officially replaces the Command Prompt in the Win + X menu, so when you right-click the Start menu, you'll only be allowed to launch the more powerful app. Additionally, in File Explorer's File menu and in the context menu that appears when pressing Shift + right-click in any folder, the old Command Prompt will no longer be available. Typing cmd in the run dialog will launch PowerShell as well, so Microsoft has made a significant step towards phasing out the traditional Command Prompt.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's just-pay-shipping-and-handling department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: After Tesla shareholders approved the acquisition of SolarCity, the new company is now an unequivocal sun-to-vehicle energy firm. And Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk didn't take long to make his first big announcement as head of this new enterprise. Minutes after shareholders approved the deal -- about 85 percent of them voted yes -- Musk told the crowd that he had just returned from a meeting with his new solar engineering team. Tesla's new solar roof product, he proclaimed, will actually cost less to manufacture and install than a traditional roof -- even before savings from the power bill. "Electricity," Musk said, "is just a bonus." If Musk's claims prove true, this could be a real turning point in the evolution of solar power. The rooftop shingles he unveiled just a few weeks ago are something to behold: They're made of textured glass and are virtually indistinguishable from high-end roofing products. They also transform light into power for your home and your electric car. "So the basic proposition will be: Would you like a roof that looks better than a normal roof, lasts twice as long, costs less and -- by the way -- generates electricity?" Musk said. "Why would you get anything else?" Much of the cost savings Musk is anticipating comes from shipping the materials. Traditional roofing materials are brittle, heavy, and bulky. Shipping costs are high, as is the quantity lost to breakage. The new tempered-glass roof tiles, engineered in Tesla's new automotive and solar glass division, weigh as little as a fifth of current products and are considerably easier to ship, Musk said.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's you-get-what-you-pay-for department
A report from Blannco Technology Group has revealed that iOS devices failed more often than Android devices in the third quarter. Specifically, 62% of Apple iPhone and Apple iPad units suffered failures, compared to the 47% failure rate tallied by Android devices. Phone Arena reports: Apps crashed on 65% of iOS powered devices compared to just 25% of Android models. The breakdown for the iOS devices shows the Apple iPhone 6 with a leading 13% failure rate, followed by the Apple iPhone 6s (9%), Apple iPhone 5s (9%) and the Apple iPad Air 2 (2%). In the report, some of the blame for the high iOS failure rate is placed on the iOS 10 update. Among Android devices, the LeEco Le 2 had a 13% failure rate to lead the way. Two Xiaomi devices were next, both with a 9% rate. Those models were the Redmi 3S and the Redmi Note 3. Rounding out the top five are the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (5%) and the Lenovo Vibe K5 Note (4%). Android flavored models faced problems with the battery (seen on 7% of devices) and issues with the screen (6%). Samsung branded phones and tablets had the most Android failures among manufacturers at 11%. That was followed by the 4% registered by Xiaomi built products. Crashed apps by far was the leading problem for iOS users in North America during the quarter. Worldwide, the rising temperature of an iDevice was the biggest issue. Android users in North America had to deal with crashed apps (21%) more than other problems. Worldwide, those using an Android phone or tablet were most likely to face an issue with the USB port. Last quarter, iOS devices had a 58% failure rate, which marked the first time that Apple's devices had a lower performance rate compared to Android.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's mission-success department
The European Space Agency (ESA) has launched four additional Galileo satellites in to orbit on Thursday -- the first time the ESA has sent up so many satellites at once. The satellites will be used to thrust the EU into the global market for satellite navigation services, which it estimates will be worth 250 billion euros ($267 billion) by 2022, according to Fortune. The program has encountered some turbulence since the EU gave the go ahead with Galileo 16 years ago. In 2014, two Galileo satellites were launched into a wrong, lower orbit. As for today's launch, Slashdot reader nojayuk shares an excerpt from the ESA website: An Ariane 5 rocket has launched four additional Galileo satellites, accelerating deployment of the new satellite navigation system. The Ariane 5, operated by Arianespace, lifted off from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana at 13:06 GMT (14:06 CET, 10:06 local time) carrying Galileo satellites 15-18. The first pair was released 3 hours 35 minutes and 44 seconds after liftoff, while the second separated 20 minutes later. The Galileos are at their target altitude, after a flawless release from the new dispenser designed to handle four satellites. This was the first flight of a heavy-lift ES-variant of the Ariane V since the ATV resupply missions to the ISS. Previously Galileo satellites have been launched in pairs by Soyuz-Fregat craft from French Guiana. Two additional Ariane 5 launches each carrying four Galileo satellites are scheduled in 2017 and 2018. The full system of 24 satellites plus spares is expected to be in place by 2020.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's end-of-an-era department
French president Francois Hollande announced at an annual UN climate change conference on Wednesday that France will shut down all its coal-fired power plants by 2023. He also "vowed to beat by two years the UK's commitment to stop using fossil fuels to generate power by 2025," reports The Independent: Mr Hollande, a keynote speaker at the event in Marrakech, Morocco, also praised his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama for his work on climate change, and then appeared to snub president-elect Donald Trump. "The role played by Barack Obama was crucial in achieving the Paris agreement," Mr Hollande said, before adding, in what has been perceived as a dig at Mr Trump, that becoming a signatory to the treaty is "irreversible." "We need carbon neutrality by 2050," the French President continued, promising that coal will no longer form part of France's energy mix in six to seven years' time. France is already a world leader in low-carbon energy. The country has invested heavily in nuclear power over the past few decades and now derives more than 75 percent of its electricity from nuclear fission. It produces so much nuclear energy, in fact, that it exports much of it to nearby nations, making around $2.66 billion each year.Read Replies (0)