Algorithms Support the Proposition That I Will Never Order Anything but the Chili Burger

  Everything is relative. Even video.

I was raised with a quiet yet ever-present (if even unspoken) philosophy that it was better to be outside biking or playing ball than indoors watching TV. And, if the rain kept one inside, then a book or a musical instrument or a “hands-on” activity would in most instances be far more rewarding than another re-run of the Brady Bunch or Gilligan’s Island.

And, yet, society may have reached a point at which we long for the social benefits of watching television.

Danger...Danger Will Robinson!

New Edge  As most of us head happily toward our increasingly Internet of Things (IoT) future, we tend to think only of the seemingly unlimited opportunities new technology will offer us. Few, if any, of us think of the potential pitfalls along the way.

That’s where Barr Group comes in. As part of their mission to help engineers improve the overall reliability and security of all embedded systems applications, Barr seeks out and highlights the design flaws and vulnerabilities in the design of systems that the majority of us are, for the most part, blissfully unaware. 

Barr has done just that in their soon to be released “2017 Embedded Systems Safety & Security Survey.” The annual survey, first conducted in 2015, looks specifically at the safety and security practices of embedded systems designers. This year, more than 2,000 engineers from around the world participated.

“Embedded systems devices serve as a doorway to the Internet,” said Michael Barr, Barr Group chief technology officer. “There are a number of simple-to-perform, well-known software development best practices, such as version control, code reviews, static analysis, and coding standards, that have been proven to result in safer and more secure embedded systems for all devices—including IoT applications. These techniques are essential to minimizing the risk of tampering or malfunction of any embedded system.”

If You Provide It...They Will Stay

New Edge  More than three-quarters of consumers would prefer their ISP to provide their Wi-Fi equipment as opposed to buying it themselves, a new survey from AirTies reveals.

In addition, 43% of survey respondents said they have areas in their home or apartment where Internet service does not work, and 54% have contacted their ISP to complain about their service.

“When most consumers think about their own home Internet experience, they don’t view Wi-Fi as something separate. This is why they are quick to call or blame their ISPs for performance issues,” said AirTies CEO Philippe Alcaras. “Improving this experience shouldn’t be the responsibility of consumers or third-party retailers, but rather their ISPs. In fact, the vast majority of consumers would prefer that, and would consider paying extra for a premium Wi-Fi experience that works in every corner of their home.”

The potential benefits to the provider are not inconsequential: 74% of respondents said that they would consider upgrading to a faster tier of broadband service if they could be assured of better speed and coverage throughout their house. Seventy-seven percent said that they would be willing to pay more for better Wi-Fi, with the average amount of incremental payment being $5 to $10 per month.

Elmer’s Glue Sales Doubled in December, and Social Media Has Something to do With It

  The last day of the R-TIME meeting proved challenging for many travelers, especially those headed east where winter storm predictions were prompting airlines to cancel flights early and often. While waiting for my outbound flight, I enjoyed a wide-ranging conversation with an NTCA member that covered everything from geocoding to USF contributions to differences in the ability to maintain a conversation and eye-contact among those who game near-constantly, and those who do not. Articles in this morning’s newspaper shed some light on his observations.

Your 1980s Calculator Watch Did Not Presage Current Tech Design

 

If the spirit moves you and your memory reaches back far enough, think about the day you saw your first Compucron, Seiko, Pulsar, or Casio calculator watch. Then think about how convenient (or inconvenient) the user interface was (see Ooject's run-down of the top 15 calculator watches).


High-tech of the early 1980s

A recurring theme at CES last month was the drive to integrate technology with life in meaningful ways. At the same time, developers are working to make those integrations as unapparent as possible. The success of many products that are intended to infuse everyday activities with “smart” will hinge, in part, on the accessibility and familiarity of their user interfaces. Three articles from a week’s stack the Wall Street Journal indicate that users will pay for more, but the “more” will sell better if it providers a simpler user interface.

The Password is...Passwords

New Edge  In the “it comes as no surprise” department: a recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center finds that a majority of Americans have personally experienced some type of hacking of their personal data, many feel that they have less and less control over their personal information online, and there is a continued erosion of confidence in the ability of large institutions to protect consumers’ privacy.

In the “that doesn’t make sense” department: despite these beliefs, a large number of Americans fail to follow digital security best practices that would make their personal information more secure online.

Approximately half of those surveyed—49%--said they would not trust the federal government to protect their data, only slightly fewer than those who do not trust social media sites (51%.)  Twenty-six percent do not trust cellphone manufacturers, 30% their credit card companies, 30% their cellphone service providers, 30% their email providers, and 36% companies/retailers they do business with.

This is not surprising, given that 64% of respondents have been personally impacted by a major data breach. Forty-one percent have encountered fraudulent charges on their credit cards, 35% percent have received notices that some type of sensitive information has been compromised, 16% have had and email account hijacked, 15% have received notice their Social Security number has been compromised, 14% say someone has tried to take out lines of credit in their name, 13% has had a social media account hijacked, and 6% have had someone impersonate them in order to file fraudulent tax returns.

What’s Behind Great Leadership

Often times in our leadership roles, we get bogged down by industry essentials, regulatory changes or technology struggles. It becomes imperative to our roles and to the success of our companies that we connect with our industry and professional peers to help us navigate through issues on a greater level.

Behind great leadership we have to go above and beyond the telco issues out there. We have to discuss and nurture best business practices and strategies that are important and extremely relevant for our companies. We have to be open to hearing from expert speakers, outside perspectives and learning from each other as industry peers through discussions on strategic ideas, product roll outs, management tools and practices, and leadership challenges.

This is Why Your Burger Receipt Sported a Robot

photo of a receipt

Image from Stackoverflowin's
Twitter feed

New Edge logo Mid-way through my senior year of high school, the administration attempted to crack down on the proliferation of unauthorized keys circulating throughout campus and supplemented the knob lock on the principal’s office door with a deadbolt. Undeterred, or more specifically determined to demonstrate that such actions would be fruitless, two students (who shall remain unnamed because although the statute of limitations for trespassing in that state is three years (MD Code §5-101), I’m still a nervous guy) conspired to conquer the lock. In a plan that would have made Maxwell Smart take notice, one pupil distracted the principal’s secretary while the other slipped into the adjoining bookroom and unlocked the window. Later that night, the boys gained access to the library, which was the next room on the corridor, slipped out the window, and shimmed across a second-story ledge to pry open the bookroom window, through which they entered to gain access to the adjoining office. They then unlocked the principal’s office door from the inside and quickly deposited 254 inflated balloons (prepared earlier) throughout the office before leaving.

RTIME 2017 Daily Recap - Day 4

RTIME 2017 has come to a close. These last 4 days has brought together an industry of innovation, synergy and passion for the rural broadband services.  We’ve learned and collaborated on topics such as telemedicine, growth and cultural change—and let’s not forget to mention the solid Expo. Today, we closed the conference with:

  • Updates on the Foundation for Rural Service (FRS).
  • Panel discussions on how to use analytics to drive revenue.
  • An economic forecast.
  • A humorous political outlook with the keynote speaker.
  • And honored those committed to the rural communities within our industry.

FRS Update

FRS Board President, Stephen Milner and FRS Executive Director, Jessica Golden shared heart felt stories of how FRS grants assists rural communities and FRS scholarships promote education within the communities.  Missed the update?  You can view the live recording on the FRS Facebook page. 

Panel Discussion: “Making Money with Telco Analytics.”

NTCA CEO Shirley Bloomfield was joined with Brock Johansen, CEO of Emery Telcom, Carl Russo CEO of Calix and Nancy White CEO/GM of NCTC for a powerhouse panel discussion on how to use analytics to drive revenue for your telco. Read more about the discussion on Shirley's blog post, "Data Analytics Matter."

RTIME 2017 Daily Recap - Day 3

Day 3 was filled with energy and the buzz of thoughtful discussion and exchanging of ideas through a number of roundtable discussions after absorbing two and half days of complelling programming. Today, we:

  • Discovered how Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG 9-1-1) plays a critical role in public safety communications.
  • Heard from a panel of experts and their policy viewpoints for 2017.
  • Learned how telemedicine can change the way medical care reaches rural communities.
  • Received tips on how leadership can help foster innovation in your community and attract more investment.
  • Engaged in ideas on how to seize the opportunity to grow telco services with the quick market adoption of smart homes.
  • Closed out another successful expo at RTIME.

Broadband and NG 9-1-1: A Lifesaving Public Safety Partnership

Dorothy Spears-Dean, Ph.D., Virginia Information Technologies Agency, presented the new initiatives NG 9-1-1 is pushing out and how broadband service providers can play a critical role in helping with build and maintain an infrastructure that can help save lives. The program is working toward a plan of moving from analog to an IP network. To provide the same level of access and services for 9-1-1 would require a strong broadband partnership.