We’ve already logged a few sightings of Verizon’s powerful new LTE network in New York and other cities, but in the last few months Verizon has been rapidly working behind the scenes on upgrading its LTE infrastructure across the country. Today on the third anniversary of its initial 4G network launch, Verizon Wireless revealed to Gigaom that it has now set the new network beast loose in dozens of major markets across the country.
In the commercial corridors of major cities like New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Boston, Seattle and Washington, D.C.. Verizon has tripled its LTE capacity by tapping new airwaves, while in downtown San Francisco and Los Angeles it’s boosted capacity by 150 percent. The end result is that in cities where it’s completed the upgrade, customers will not only have access to much faster peak speeds – as high as 80 Mbps – than its first LTE network could support but Verizon also will be able to support many more connections at faster speeds.
Verizon isn’t publicizing this network launch all that much, though it did make a brief mention of the new upgrades in its 3rd anniversary blog post this morning. But Verizon Wireless Chief Network Officer Nicola Palmer shared all of the details in an interview with me today.
Verizon is tapping the Advanced Wireless Services airwaves it acquired from the cable operators back in 2012, and these are no paltry frequencies. In every major city east of the Mississippi and in several western markets, Palmer said, Verizon has fielded LTE systems utilizing a full 40 MHz of spectrum, twice as big as the 20 MHz network it’s spent the last three years rolling out nationwide. In some cities it couldn’t piece together a 40 MHz block, but it has been able to get close: In San Francisco and Los Angeles, for instance, the new networks are hosted on 30 MHz of AWS spectrum.
Those setups could support theoretical speeds for 100 Mbps to 150 Mbps, though real-world speeds will be much slower, especially as more subscribers move onto the network. More importantly though, the upgrade gives Verizon much needed capacity.Chasing mobile data demand
As Verizon has loaded its original LTE network with smartphones, its average speeds have started to suffer. Verizon lost it’s speed crown to AT&T earlier this year, and last month Verizon CFO Fran Shammo admitted that Verizon’s 4G network has begun to suffer from congestion problems in major cities.
Already two-thirds of all Verizon’s mobile data traffic has migrated onto its old LTE network, Palmer said. “This is the data network,” she said. “It’s carrying a lot of data, and it’s carrying it well.” But Palmer expects that data load to grow by a factor of six or seven times in the next few years, meaning Verizon had to find new airwaves on which to put that rapidly increasing number of LTE connections.
These new network upgrades should solve any capacity problems for the next few years. At the very least, they will restore Verizon’s LTE service to its former glory, but most likely customers in bigger cities with AWS-compatible phones will see dramatic speed increases in the near-term. Palmer said Verizon has already completed the upgrade on thousands of cell sites, and by year end it will have 5,000 AWS sites online with an additional 5,000 sites in various stages of completion.
Not every device will connect to the network just yet, though Verizon began seeding the market with new AWS-capable phones back in the second quarter. Devices that can take advantage of this NEW NETWORK today — the iPhone(a aapl) 5s and 5c, the Samsung Galaxy S4, the Motorola Droid Maxx, Mini and Ultra, and several LTE modems — all have the necessary radios and software. Verizon will also be sending out over-the-air software updates to enable the AWS radios in the Galaxy Note 3 and other Android devices shortly.
About 15 percent of Verizon’s smartphone base can tap the new networks, but by the end of the year that number should be 20 percent, Palmer said. From this point forward nearly every new smartphone Verizon picks up will have AWS capabilities, she added.Mobile carriers play catch-up
The other carriers are also working on various upgrades. T-Mobile recently doubled its LTE capacity in major cities putting it on par with Verizon and AT&T’s nationwide networks, and it has plans to deploy its own 40 MHz 4G configurations, giving it one of the most networks in the country. Sprint made a big splash with its Spark service launch earlier this month, but the initial launch still uses only 20 MHz of spectrum. Sprint can easily add capacity to Spark in the future, though, from its treasure trove of 2.5 GHz airwaves.
AT&T is a bit of unique situation. It doesn’t have the contiguous airwaves in most markets to launch a 40 MHz monster, but it is scouring its old 2G and 3G networks for spectrum to use for LTE. We’re already seeing new LTE networks in the PCS airwaves in NYC, but AT&T is working in other bands as well. So maybe AT&T won’t be able to field together the speed-demon that Verizon just deployed, but it will add a lot of capacity to its network, which will boost the overall quality for all its users.
Verizon has the upper hand for now — at least in the major cities — but it’s surprisingly not making a big deal out of its new super-charged LTE service . For instance, it has no plans on boosting its advertised network speeds beyond the 5-12 Mbps its been marketing for years. Palmer pointed out that networks are finicky creatures with speeds varying wildly depending on what city you’re located in, how close you are to a tower and how many other connections occupy the same cell.
“You could see 80 Mbps today and 20 Mbps tomorrow and then 10 Mbps the next day,” she said. Verizon wants to keep its networks powerful enough that they can maintain its advertised 5-12 Mbps baseline, she said, but if it manages to dramatically exceed consumer expectations on these new networks, so much the better.
Related research and analysis from Gigaom Research:
Warren Publishing was an American magazine company founded by James Warren, who published his first magazines in 1957 and continued in the business for decades. Magazines published by Warren include After Hours, Creepy, Eerie, Famous Monsters of Filmland, Help!, and Vampirella. Initially based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the company relocated by 1965 to New York City, New York.
Begun by James Warren, Warren Publishing's initial publications were the horror-fantasy-science fiction movie magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland and Monster World, both edited by Forrest J Ackerman. Warren soon published Spacemen magazine and in 1960 Help! magazine, with the first employee of the magazine being Gloria Steinem. After first introducing what he called "Monster Comics" in Monster World, Warren expanded in 1964 with horror-comics stories in the sister magazines Creepy and Eerie — black-and-white publications in a standard magazine format, rather that comic-book size, and selling for 35 cents as opposed to the standard comic-book price of 12 cents. Such a format, Warren explained, averted the restrictions of the Comics Code Authority, the comic-book industry's self-censorship body:
The Comics Code saved the industry from turmoil, but at the same time, it had a cleansing kind of effect on comics, making them 'clean, proper and family-oriented'. [...] We would overcome this by saying to the Code Authority, the industry, the printers, and the distributors: 'We are not a comic book; we are a magazine. Creepy is magazine-sized and will be sold on magazine racks, not comic book racks'. Creepy's manifesto was brief and direct: First, it was to be a magazine format, 8½" × 11", going to an older audience not subject to the Code Authority."
By publishing graphic stories in a magazine format to which the Code did not apply, Warren paved the way for such later graphic-story magazines as the American version of Heavy Metal; Marvel Comics' Epic Illustrated; Psycho and other "horror-mood" series from Skywald Publications; and Warren's own line of magazines.
We know everything from Snapchat clones to the latest infographic are falling under the umbrella term of design these days — heck, the President of RISD plans to join Silicon Valley heavyweight Kleiner Perkins in 2014. But the reality is that user-centric experience design (the kind we highlighted at Roadmap last month) can have a massive impact in specific and underserved environments like the developing world.
At the Ted Women 2013 conference on Thursday, four women shared their stories on how they’ve designed, engineered and created products that are having a significant effect on a population. Krista Donaldson, the CEO of D-Rev, a nonprofit development company, called her company “user obsessed,” showing off iterations of the company’s ReMotion knee, an $80 knee prosthetic that provides balance and mobility for customers that make under $4 per day. Many of its customers were previously using a wooden stick for support and balance.
Donaldson said that the customer of their prosthetic knees need extra mobility for sitting cross legged, and for kneeling down in prayer. Even though the company is a non-profit, Donaldson says that if the product is going to reach scale, it needs to be market driven: “it it’s valued by the customer then it is used by the customer and that creates impact.” D-Rev has fit 5,000 amputees with its ReMotion knee, and there are 3 million amputees per year in the developing world that need prosthetics.
Jane Chen, the co-founder and CEO of Embrace, which makes a low-cost baby warmer, said she’s haunted by the words of one of her potential customers, who lost three babies because of a lack of access to a baby incubator. The woman told Chen after looking at the product that she thought she could have saved her babies if she had been given one earlier in her life. Chen says it not only haunts her but inspires her to keep going.
The Embrace warmer looks like a baby sleeping bag but it’s embedded with a wax-like substance that holds heat steadily for a long period of time. The user just needs to find some power to start the heating process. Embrace has been testing it will hospitals and mothers across rural areas of India and other countries.
Jessica Matthews, the co-founder and CEO of Uncharted Play, said their energy-harvesting Pulse jump rope (which I wrote about this morning) is an example of a “domino innovation” — an innovation that begets another, and inspires creativity and inspiration. Matthews and her co-founder designed the Pulse jump rope and the Soccket energy-harvesting soccer ball as a way to use play as a way to disarm the issue of the lack of electricity in developing countries.
Space might be the ultimate developing country. Rocket scientist and space suit designer Dava Newman is designing a series of space suits that could one day be worn by astronauts on Mars. One of the designs is an internal space suit developed for the traditional bulky space suit that many astronauts have worn, and which have caused many shoulder problems. The internal suit could track the users movements and shield and pad over use in needed regions of the suit.
Another one of Newman’s suits uses active materials, called shape memory alloys, made of nickel titanium. Those materials help provide the suit with the needed atmosphere but enable it to be mobile and streamlined. A third suit has gravity-loaded counter measures — or an exercise suit — because astronauts can lose 40 percent of their muscle strength on a several year long space mission. Newman said that exercise suit is also being explored for use for kids with cerebral palsy to help develop their muscles.
Design might be a catch-all term these days to describe thoughtful, empathetic creation. But design-centric product development is no doubt helping these four women create tools that are delivering innovation and having a big impact.
Related research and analysis from Gigaom Research:
comScore: Apple takes 40.6% share as top US smartphone maker, Samsung hits 25.4%; Android stops losing share (Emil Protalinski/The Next Web)
Emil Protalinski / The Next Web:
Snapchat Is Raising $54.5 Million On A Valuation Of Up To $2 Billion, This Regulatory Filing Says (Julie Bort/Business Insider)
Julie Bort / Business Insider:
Initially Mr. Broadnax was arrested on misdemeanor charges of menacing, drug possession and resisting arrest. But the Manhattan district attorney’s office persuaded a grand jury to charge Mr. Broadnax with assault, a felony carrying a maximum sentence of 25 years. Specifically, the nine-count indictment unsealed on Wednesday said Mr. Broadnax “recklessly engaged in conduct which created a grave risk of death.”
“The defendant is the one that created the situation that injured innocent bystanders,” said an assistant district attorney, Shannon Lucey.
Unarmed Man Is Charged With Wounding Bystanders Shot by Police Near Times Square [James C. Mckinley Jr./NYT]
(via Making Light)
Two days ago, a truck carrying a container of radioactive cobalt-60 (enough to make a dirty bomb) was stolen by carjackers off a highway near Tijuana. Today, authorities found the truck. The thieves probably aren't terrorists, just some guys who wanted a truck with a crane attached to it. But, at some point, they opened the container of cobalt-60 and will now almost certainly die from radiation exposure.
Sruthi Ramakrishnan / Reuters:
Robyn Miller is one of the most interesting people I know. I first learned of Robyn in 1993 when I was an editor at Wired and I received an early review copy of a spooky and beautiful puzzle adventure game called Myst, which Robyn and his brother Rand created (Robyn also created all the ethereal music for Myst and its follow-up title, Riven). Myst subsequently became the best-selling adventure game of all time. (Read Jon Carroll's 2004 Wired article, "Guerrillas in the Myst," about Rand and Robyn, and check out Rand's successful Kickstarter for Rand's new adventure game Obduction.)
I've stayed in touch with Robyn over the last 20 years. He's written a few pieces for Boing Boing and MAKE magazine, including a terrific memoir titled "The Secret History of Myst." Now, Robyn is getting ready to release his latest project, a feature movie called The Immortal Augustus Gladstone, and Boing Boing is collaborating with Robyn and his team to present this terrific film. Keep your eye out for announcements of special screenings, giveaways, and other fun events. I interviewed Robyn about the movie, and in the course of the interview, made a shocking discovery.
The Immortal Augustus Gladstone website launched today, and you can view trailers, listen to soundtrack samples, and pre-order the downloadable DRM-free movie for just $4.40 until February 14th.
Netflix may call itself a next-generation TV network, but it’s fundamentally changing how we watch television, and in turn define ourselves as a nation, argues Tim Wu in a piece for the New Republic. Wu retells some of Netflix’s earlier original content efforts, and argues that the company’s recent shows aren’t about mass culture but about intense niche fandom. Definitely worth a read.
Story posted at: newrepublic.com
To leave a comment or share, visit: Fandom rules: Netflix’s war on mass culture
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The BBC reports that Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first black president, died today at 95. Mandela, who spent 27 years in jail before leading the country out of apartheid, served from 1994-1999 after winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.
The Nelson Mandela Foundation released a statement, which follows.
It is with the deepest regret that we have learned of the passing of our founder, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela – Madiba. The Presidency of the Republic of South Africa will shortly make further official announcements.
We want to express our sadness at this time. No words can adequately describe this enormous loss to our nation and to the world.
We give thanks for his life, his leadership, his devotion to humanity and humanitarian causes. We salute our friend, colleague and comrade and thank him for his sacrifices for our freedom. The three charitable organisations that he created dedicate ourselves to continue promoting his extraordinary legacy.
Here is an excerpt from president Zuma's official statement. Our beloved Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the founding President of our democratic nation has departed.
He passed on peacefully in the company of his family around 20h50 on the 5th of December 2013.
He is now resting. He is now at peace.
Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father.
Although we knew that this day would come, nothing can diminish our sense of a profound and enduring loss.
His tireless struggle for freedom earned him the respect of the world.
His humility, his compassion, and his humanity earned him their love. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Mandela family. To them we owe a debt of gratitude.
When a cockroach scuttles away from you and your insect-killing weapon of choice, its nervous system no longer responds fast enough for it to reliably sense its surroundings. Instead, the cockroach relies on its antennae to communicate how near it is to crashing into an obstacle.
Researchers believe they can emulate cockroaches’ antennae to give robots better awareness of their surroundings too. Like cockroaches, robots traveling at high speeds can have trouble noticing and responding to obstacles fast enough to avoid them. Researchers at the University of California-Berkeley found that cockroaches have evolved the best shape of antennae to do so. They published their work in the Journal of Experimental Biology this week (subscription required).
The Berkeley team found that when the insects run along a wall, they drag their antennae on it. When their antennae bend, it indicates the wall is rougher and they should keep a larger distance from it. If they hit an obstacle, the antennae bend even further.
Cockroach antennae are covered in tiny hairs that the researchers suspected influenced in how they bend. To test their role, the researchers decided to take the gruesome step of removing the hairs from the cockroaches’ antennae.
“The first thing I tried to do was use tiny forceps to pluck the hairs out, but that turned out to be impossible because these hairs are very robust and they’re embedded within the exoskeleton,” researcher Jean-Michel Mongeau said in a release. ”After going through several rounds of trial and error, or mostly error, I decided to try a laser system that burns these little hairs at the tip.”
The hairless antennae did not bend, causing the cockroaches to be more likely to run into a wall.
The researchers then tested robot antennae studded with similar artificial hairs. If they changed their orientation even slightly, the antennae failed to bend. They hope the knowledge can be incorporated into the design of future high-speed robots. Maybe Boston Dynamic’s WildCat could learn a thing or two from cockroaches.
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Ryan Seacrest invests $1 million in Typo iPhone keyboard case, will debut CES 2014 (Kara Swisher/AllThingsD)
Kara Swisher / AllThingsD:
Liz Gannes / AllThingsD:
The Daily Mirror asks, "Is this the ghost of White Lady of Rufford?"
Alberta College of Art and Design student Mary, AKA Thoughts Up North, created these fantastical characters based on the planets of our solar system: "The colors are all based off the planets’ true colors, and the designs are a mix of the names’ mythos and Holst’s “The Planets” suite. They get progressively less human the further they are from the Sun, which I thought was fun." Pictured above are Mercury, Venus and Earth; Mars is gonna be everyone's favorite. Pluto fans will be delighted at its inclusion--maybe. [via Metafilter]
Businessweek is reporting that “secretive” data-analysis company Palantir is raising another $100-million-plus round of funding (which would put it above $700 million total) at a $9 billion valuation. This comes just several weeks after the company raised $196 million in capital at what Businessweek claims was a $6 billion valuation. That’s a lot of money, but Palantir’s business — and real estate investments — require it.
I say “secretive,” because although there is an aura of mystery around the company, its customer base — most notably a goodly number of intelligence, law enforcement and banking institutions — is probably among its biggest secrets. CEO Alex Karp was the subject of an in-depth profile in Forbes earlier this year, and has been interviewed on television by Charlie Rose. The company is an omnipresent figure in Palo Alto, too, buying up building after building downtown, some staffed with their own roving security guards.
Palantir-hoodied employees, as someone noted in my last trip to the city, can dominate popular local establishments such as Philz Coffee, and the housing subsidies they receive are helping drive up rent prices. I envisioned a West Side Story sort of environment between Palantir and Facebook before the latter left town, with each company’s employees each decked out in their corporate logos. There were no switchblades involved, but I have heard of awkward staredowns in crosswalks.
The company isn’t too shy about showing off how its technology works, either — and that’s where all the money comes into play. I saw a talk by Palantir engineer Ari Gesher in August where he showed off how the product works and how it’s built. This isn’t analytics like running a Python script over some web logs; it’s analytics involving a complex data architecture that includes numerous connected Oracle, Hadoop and NoSQL data stores. It’s a high-touch, complicated process that the Forbes article says costs about $1 million per installation (I’m guessing that doesn’t include support). Palantir isn’t yet profitable, but Forbes estimates it will do about $450 million in revenue in 2013.
The slide below, from a talk Gesher gave in July, illustrates how a typical Palantir installation looks. He’ll also be speaking at our Structure Data conference in March, so attendees can hear a lot more about the company’s technology and vision there.
However, a high price tag is worth it if the Palantir platform works, and by all accounts it does. In a startup world where so much effort is placed on automating pattern detection and building network graphs, Palantir’s software is markedly different. It’s not about machine learning as much as it’s about taking lots of data from lots of places and making analyzable by the people who know the problem spaces best. It has famously been used to thwart terrorism plots and solve crimes, and is also used for everything from fraud detection in financial services to disaster relief.
So, yes, it appears Palantir is awash in capital and investors are valuing it at 20 times its revenue. It might serve as an inspiration to the hordes of other startups trying to capitalize on industry’s desire for all things big data, but often focusing on horizontally applicable areas like BI or general-purpose machine learning. Find a valuable application that companies will gladly pay for, build something that works — well — and customers’ and investors’ money might start pouring in.
Related research and analysis from Gigaom Research:
I finally had some time to put together a mix for all of you who've been asking over the years of my beatles/mccartney stuff for tour. It's about 2hrs long. I hope you enjoy. I've had the best time in the history of the world making the tracks and putting it together.
It starts off at 88bpm and speeds up until it loops around at 176 (88bpm) completing the cycle.
It's the first time I've shared this stuff in bulk, I hope you all enjoy it.
Here is four years of my Beatles/macca mixes.
I am the opening act for Paul McCartney (paulmccartney.com). This a collection of some of my favorite remixes I've made over the 4 years touring with paul. I want to thank Brian Liesegang and Cory Nitta for help tweaking and ironing out a bunch of these mixes and most importantly Paul McCartney and his amazing crew for giving me the opportunity to be able to play with him on tour. It is the best job, with the nicest boss in the world.
here is a tracklisting though most of the songs are my own personal and ashtar command mixes (brian liesegang, cory nitta)
1. venus and mars -langley school project
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