Future trends

Wiretapping Alexa

According to an article in
Wired magazine, it is becoming commonplace for law enforcement to "wiretap" your smart speaker by asking Amazon or Google for transcripts and timestamps of recorded activity. Police have to file a search warrant or subpoena to do so, but users of such devices may not be aware that what the tech companies are recording and storing could be used by law enforcement.

Knowledge Democracy:

OneWeb bankruptcy questions LEO Internet viability

OneWeb just filed for bankruptcy. The company planned to put hundreds of Internet satellites into low earth orbit (LEO) to provide high speed Internet service. OneWeb promised Internet speeds of several hundred Megabits, but only managed to get seventy satellites into orbit out of a planned six hundred by the end of 2020. All 500 employees are expected to be laid off within weeks.

Technology News:

Can the network handle work from home?

The news is filling up with stories about office workers trying to work from home. The most interesting thing I have seen is a report from the Utopia network out in the Salt Lake City area, which said that they have had a 20% increase in requests for fiber service in the last week.

No one is going to call for a new network connection in the middle of a crisis like this one unless their current network connection is not meeting their needs.

Technology News:

Broadband Information:

Death of TV: Part LXXXII: Google says "no" to TV

Google announced earlier this month that it will no longer offer a package of traditional TV. Instead, it is going to let customers sign up for FuboTV, which carries lots of sports-related programming.

Technology News:

Knowledge Democracy:

Remote control cars may be a really bad idea

Hard to believe this story: a rental car provided by an app-based car sharing service called GIG Car Share stopped working when the car was driven into a rural part of northern California.

Technology News:

Community news and projects:

Phone zombies require sidewalk traffic lights

Smartphone zombies are such a hazard to themselves and others that in Warsaw, Poland the city is installing "sidewalk traffic lights," which project large red or green swatches of light onto the pavement at street crossings. The smartphone zombies have their heads down and don't look up before crossing the street.

We may not have reached maximum stupidity, but we seem to be getting closer, as it appears we have people more interested in their smartphone than actually staying alive.

Technology News:

Community news and projects:

Danville: A True Success Story

The Roanoke Times has an excellent article about Danville, Virginia and its success in transforming the community from a traditional Southern mill town to an Information Economy powerhouse.

Technology News:

Community news and projects:

Broadband Information:

RIP, Gene Crick

A giant of the community broadband movement passed away a few weeks ago of a heart attack at his home in Texas.

Gene was a dear friend and I am now very glad that I was able to have dinner with him this past April at the Broadband Communities conference in Austin.

Technology News:

Knowledge Democracy:

5G has limitations

This Ars Technica article is unintentionally funny if you have been following the 5G hype. Verizon is installing 5G systems in thirteen NFL football stadiums, but the distance limitations of 5G means in these Verizon installations, you won't have 5G service in some parts of the stadium.

Technology News:

Finally, a home assistant that protects privacy

Someone has finally identified the market opportunity to sell a home assistant that protects your privacy. Devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home are sending everything that happens in your home to the Amazon or Google mothership: what music you listen to, what you are talking about, what programs you watch, what you buy....everything. Apple's HomePod also sends everything to Apple for processing, but Apple has a much stronger commitment to protecting customer privacy than Amazon and Google (the latter two don't really promise any privacy protection).

Technology News:

Knowledge Democracy:

SportClips and the loss of privacy

SportClips has decided that it does not really want to cut your hair unless you give them your full name, your email address, your phone number, and your birthdate.

For a haircut.

Some months ago, they instituted an online scheduling system so that you can schedule your haircut. And of course, there's an app for that.

Technology News:

Knowledge Democracy:

Fragility of the iGen

The "iGen" is defined as those people born after 1995, which means they are the first generation to have grown up with the Internet widely available. By their teens, iGen kids had access to smartphones, and the results have been sobering.

Depression among young people has increased 60% in five years, and self harm has increased sharply among young women.

Technology News:

Alexa, please open the door

More than twenty years ago, as the Internet became more common, some prognosticators began talking about the "smart house," where lots of household devices would be interconnected and make our lives one of ease.

At that time, I wrote a somewhat tongue in cheek article for a professional newsletter about a "smart house" gone wild, somewhat in the fashion of the Hall 9000 problem in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Technology News:

Amazon and remote work driving Millenials to the Rust Belt

This is one of the most interesting articles I have read in a long time.

Millenials are moving to smaller "Rust Belt" towns and small cities to escape the high cost of living in the larger metro areas. Heavy student debt loads, combined with skyrocketing rents and home costs, are part of the appeal to live in a place where housing is affordable.

Neighborhoods are business districts

Here is confirmation of what I have been saying for twenty years: Neighborhoods have become business districts.

This article cites a study showing that more workers telecommute than take public transportation (e.g. buses, subways) to work.

This is why fiber to the home is so important: it is an economic development imperative. Home-based workers and home-based businesses need affordably priced, business class Internet services.

Technology News:

The death of privacy

I have been writing about the dire threats to privacy for many years, and the recent disclosures about the extent of Facebook privacy abuses is, perhaps, finally raising more awareness that Facebook is not actually "free" in the sense that Facebook users don't pay a price. Facebook users pay with their personal information, not only when they register for an account, but every time they post anything.

Technology News:

Knowledge Democracy:

The emerging Space Economy

It's been a long time since I wrote anything about the Space Economy. I was, perhaps, overly optimistic about the timing, but lately all the signs are that the private sector now has sufficiently mature payload to space technology to completely change the nature of space research and business.

Death of TV: Part LXXVIII: More churn in the TV space

YouTube (part of Google) has launched a streaming TV service, making the whole video on demand space an even more confusing array of services and options, which include Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Roku, offerings directly from some of the alphabet networks, and many others. But competition is a wonderful thing.

Knowledge Democracy:

The tragic state of the telecom industry

This article has a lot of inside baseball and makes for dense reading, but the bottom line is that telecom industry has learned nothing in the past twenty years.

Technology News:

The Xerox nightmare

Design Nine has a tiny service contract for an old Xerox printer. I had a billing question about a late fee that was assessed for the first time in more than twelve years. I wasted more than forty minutes on the phone with various Xerox reps, none of whom were helpful. Of the forty minutes on the phone, I spent about twenty-five minutes on hold, and I had to call three different numbers and had to talk to four different people.

Technology News:

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Future trends