Senate Bill Calls For Search Engines to Divulge Algorithms

For search engines such as Alphabet’s Google, their algorithms are the secret sauce that they claim gives the best results. Not all consumers agree with that, arguing that these algorithms filter their searches in a way that is tantamount to censorship. Now, a bipartisan group of legislators proposed the Filter Bubble Transparency Act, a law that would require search engines and platforms to provide an optional unfiltered search and force them to disclose the algorithms they use to rank searches. Continue reading Senate Bill Calls For Search Engines to Divulge Algorithms

AMD’s New Frontier Will Be World’s Fastest Supercomputer

This week, AMD announced a partnership with Cray to build a supercomputer called Frontier, which the two companies predict will become the world’s fastest supercomputer, capable of “exascale” performance when it is released in 2021. All told, they expect Frontier to be capable of 1.5 exaflops, performing somewhere around 50 times faster than the top supercomputers out today, and faster than the currently available top 160 supercomputers combined. Frontier will be built at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.

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In Surprise Move, Amazon Opts to Scrap HQ2 Plans in NYC

Amazon has decided to cancel plans to develop a new campus in New York’s Long Island City, taking with it the promise of 25,000 new jobs and $2.5 billion in investment. In recent weeks, a debate has heated up between government officials who supported the e-commerce leader’s plans and New York politicians, activists and labor union leaders who have criticized a lack of transparency regarding deal specifics and questioned the necessity to provide Amazon with tax incentives worth billions. Despite the debate, the news still came as a surprise to many, especially real estate developers and renters who were rushing to the Long Island City neighborhood. Continue reading In Surprise Move, Amazon Opts to Scrap HQ2 Plans in NYC

Amazon Confirms Selection of New York and Virginia for HQ2

Seattle-based Amazon finally announced that it has selected two locations for its next major corporate outposts. Referring to the planned sites as headquarters, the company will eventually bring 25,000 employees to both Long Island City in Queens, New York and the Crystal City area in Arlington, Virginia, outside of Washington DC. Amazon also revealed plans to build a third facility in Nashville, Tennessee — an operations facility that will house 5,000 employees. The new headquarters are expected to cost $5 billion in construction and investments. Continue reading Amazon Confirms Selection of New York and Virginia for HQ2

Municipalities Increasingly Targeted for Ransomware Attacks

Cyber criminals recently hacked the municipal computers of Rockport, Maine, demanding $1,200 in Bitcoin to unlock them. That’s just one example of a surge of ransomware aimed at municipal computer systems, both large and small, including the city of Atlanta and a St. Louis library system. According to Ponemon Institute, an information systems research firm, these kinds of public sector hacks are increasing faster than those on private ones. City officials are often unprepared to deal with the consequences. Continue reading Municipalities Increasingly Targeted for Ransomware Attacks

Amazon’s Free Shipping Casts Shadow Over Smaller Retailers

As Amazon rapidly expands its free shipping, retailers are struggling to compete, looking to a range of fulfillment companies to help offer faster, less expensive delivery options. Amazon Prime provides two-day shipping on millions of items found on its site. Shipping companies such as FedEx, threatened by Amazon’s reach, have targeted smaller businesses, from startups to midsized national chains, that can’t compete with Amazon, Walmart and other big retailers spending billlions of dollars to speed-up delivery. Continue reading Amazon’s Free Shipping Casts Shadow Over Smaller Retailers

‘Dig Once’ Broadband Legislation Generates Bipartisan Support

“Dig Once” legislation — whereby construction workers would install plastic pipes any time they build or upgrade roads and sidewalks — is gaining momentum. The idea is that, although the plastic pipes that can house fiber cables may be empty when installed, they make it easier and cheaper to add at a later date. Good news is that the proposal has bipartisan support, having been proposed since 2009 by California Democrat congresswoman Anna Eshoo and now supported by Tennessee Republican representative Marsha Blackburn. Continue reading ‘Dig Once’ Broadband Legislation Generates Bipartisan Support

Alphabet Stops Expansion of Google Fiber in Favor of Wireless

Alphabet is tightening up staffing at Google Fiber, sending hundreds of employees who work at the Google division Access to other parts of the company. Google Fiber, first announced in 2010, is installed in several U.S. cities, but Access revealed in October that it was pulling back on plans to expand to new locations. This isn’t the end of Google Fiber, says a spokesperson, but Alphabet is rethinking its plan moving forward. Although Fiber could be a part of the company’s future, Access has a new focus on wireless technologies. Continue reading Alphabet Stops Expansion of Google Fiber in Favor of Wireless

Appeals Court Sides with States vs. City Broadband Networks

In recent years, some cities have created broadband networks to provide Internet in communities — especially rural ones — where commercial services aren’t willing to set up shop. Those so-called “municipal broadband networks” just got slapped down by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, which upheld laws in North Carolina and Tennessee halting their growth. For now, the ruling only impacts networks in those two states, but other cities that have created municipal networks have taken note. Continue reading Appeals Court Sides with States vs. City Broadband Networks

Court Rules Against FCC Effort to Allow Municipal Broadband

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, a federal appellate court, ruled that the Federal Communications Commission overstepped its authority in its effort to eliminate state laws preventing municipal broadband networks. The FCC wanted cities to be able to build their own broadband networks. Last year, Wilson, North Carolina and Chattanooga, Tennessee petitioned the FCC for permission to be able to build out their own networks, to increase competition in their municipalities despite state laws that prevent that. Continue reading Court Rules Against FCC Effort to Allow Municipal Broadband

New York Governor Signs Bill Legalizing Daily Fantasy Sports

New York passed a bill in June legalizing daily fantasy sports, enabling popular services such as DraftKings and FanDuel to operate in the state. Yesterday, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law. “Daily fantasy sports have proven to be popular in New York, but until now have operated with no supervision and no protections for players,” explained Cuomo. “This legislation strikes the right balance that allows this activity to continue with oversight from state regulators, new consumer protections, and more funding for education.” Continue reading New York Governor Signs Bill Legalizing Daily Fantasy Sports

Silicon Valley Still Dominates Tech Startup Culture and Power

In the Industrial Revolution, ideas were more portable than machines, helping to spread change globally. Not so with today’s high-tech startups. Although U.S. cities as far-flung as Denver, Austin, Chattanooga and Washington, DC boast startup centers, Silicon Valley is far and away the biggest for new technology companies, offering experienced talent and more capital. Even as other cities evolve, Silicon Valley grows faster, leaving startups elsewhere at a competitive disadvantage. Continue reading Silicon Valley Still Dominates Tech Startup Culture and Power

Fantasy Sports May Return to New York if Governor Signs Bill

The New York legislature passed a bill over the weekend that would legalize and regulate fantasy sports in the state. Last fall, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said daily fantasy sports are a violation of state gambling laws; courts then ruled to shut down DraftKings and FanDuel. The new decision could impact the industry’s ongoing efforts “to pass bills in statehouses that would validate its contention the practice isn’t gambling and shouldn’t be subject to state gambling bans or other restrictions,” reports The Wall Street Journal. “The industry has won passage of bills in Indiana, Virginia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Missouri and Colorado, but it has lost battles in several other states.” Continue reading Fantasy Sports May Return to New York if Governor Signs Bill

AMC, Regal Debut Mobile Apps to Pre-Order Popcorn, Drinks

Movie theaters make their primary living at the concession stands, so it’s no surprise that the next trend at the local multiplex is aimed at making it easier to buy popcorn. AMC Theatres (about 350 theaters) and Regal Entertainment (570 theaters), the largest multiplex chains in North America, just debuted a way for customers to preorder and prepay for food and drinks via a smartphone app. The goal is to reduce what the chains call the “popcorn pinch point,” and reduce or eliminate the line at the concession stand. Continue reading AMC, Regal Debut Mobile Apps to Pre-Order Popcorn, Drinks

Comcast Planning New Gigabit Pro, Competitor to Google Fiber

Comcast is aiming to deliver fiber Internet connectivity that is twice as fast as Google’s offering. However, providing speeds up to 2 gigabits per second is estimated to run more than four times the $70 monthly cost of Google Fiber in Kansas City, according to a page on the Xfinity website. The page notes that service would be made available within one-third of a mile of the company’s existing fiber network, with plans to expand to a list of cities. Comcast earlier announced that the new service would be available in Atlanta by May, but it has been delayed.

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