Tag Archives | WiFi

Facebook to start testing internet beaming drones in 2015

facebook-is-redefining-checkin-numbers-for-pages-483addba84

via Gizmag:

There was an understandable amount of skepticism when Amazon announced its grand plans for delivery drones last year. But if the last twelve months are any indication, Jeff Bezos and his fellow tech heavyweights are actually kinda serious about the potential of unmanned aerial vehicles. Speaking at the Social Good Summit in New York on Monday, engineering director at Facebook Connectivity Lab, Yael Maguire, has further detailed the company’s vision of internet-carrying drones, with plans to begin testing in 2015.

Mark Zuckerberg unveiled Facebook’s Connectivity Lab and its partnership with the Internet.org project in March this year. The initiative ultimately seeks to use solar-powered UAVs to beam internet down to the two thirds of the global population who aren’t yet connected. But to achieve this, Facebook’s Connectivity Lab and other Internet.org partners must first develop solar-powered aircraft with the ability to fly at high altitudes for long periods of time.

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WiFi Kills House Plants

Dead plant in potsIf WiFi can kill your plants, what is it doing to you? The Daily Dot has the story:

Are you slowly killing your houseplants? Probably! But there might be a reason (other than neglect) why they’re all yellow and wilty: your Wi-Fi router.

An experiment by a handful of high school students in Denmark has sparked some serious international interest in the scientific community.

Five ninth-grade girls at Hjallerup School in North Jutland, Denmark, noticed they had trouble concentrating after sleeping with their mobile phones at their bedsides. They tried to figure out why. The school obviously doesn’t have the equipment to test human brain waves, so the girls decided to do a more rudimentary experiment.

They placed six trays of garden cress seeds next to Wi-Fi routers that emitted roughly the same microwave radiation as a mobile phone. Then they placed six more trays of seeds in a separate room without routers.

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When Your “Smart Home” Gets Hacked

smart home

Via Forbes, Kashmir Hill reveals that the “demonic house” horror archetype may soon be coming true:

“I can see all of the devices in your home and I think I can control them,” I said to Thomas Hatley, a stranger in Oregon who I had rudely awoken with an early morning phone call.

He and his wife were still in bed. Expressing surprise, he asked me to try to turn the master bedroom lights on and off. Sitting in my living room in San Francisco, I flipped the light switch with a click, and resisted the Poltergeist-like temptation to turn the television on as well.

Googling a very simple phrase led me to a list of “smart homes” that had done something rather stupid. The homes all have an automation system from Insteon that allows remote control of their lights, hot tubs, fans, televisions, water pumps, garage doors, cameras, and other devices, so that their owners can turn these things on and off with a smartphone app or via the Web.

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Study Suggests “WiFi Sickness” Is Imaginary

wifi sickness

A sizable number of people are convinced that cellphones and wireless internet make them physically ill, and dozens have gone so far as to give up their lives and move to the isolated, signal-free Radio Quiet Zone in the mountains of West Virginia to alleviate the symptoms. Via Inkfish, a recent experiment at King’s College London points to the disease being psychological:

Subjects at put on headband-mounted antennas. They were told that the researchers were testing a “new kind of WiFi,” and that once the signal started they should carefully monitor any symptoms in their bodies. Then the researchers left the room. For 15 minutes, the subjects watched a WiFi symbol flash on a laptop screen.

In reality, there was no WiFi switched on during the experiment. Yet 82 of the 147 subjects—more than half—reported symptoms. Two even asked for the experiment to be stopped early because the effects were too severe to stand.

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Police Hunt Down WiFi Moochers

Just in case you think you can hide your identity by using someone else’s WiFi to access the Internet, take note of this report in the Wall Street Journal:

Internet-service subscribers can’t hide from police behind their IP addresses, the numbers assigned to devices connecting online.

Now a federal court in Pittsburgh has ruled that people who piggyback on their neighbors’ Wi-Fi networks forfeit privacy too.

The ruling, issued this month, was the first to address the Fourth Amendment rights of such people and the latest to shed light on technologies used by police to locate criminal suspects.

The amendment protects against unreasonable searches by the government, requiring that police get search warrants when suspects have reasonable expectations of privacy. The case also raises questions about people who connect to the Internet through public wireless-access points.

In a 2011 poll conducted by Wakefield Research and the trade association Wi-Fi Alliance, 32% of respondents said they had tried to get on a wireless network that wasn’t theirs.

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If You Have a Smart Phone, Anyone Can Now Track Your Every Move

NavisonChristopher Mims spills the beans for Technology Review:
Location services company Navizon has a new system, called Navizon I.T.S., that could allow tracking of visitors in malls, museums, offices, factories, secured areas and just about any other indoor space. It could be used to examine patterns of foot traffic in retail spaces, assure that a museum is empty of visitors at closing time, or even to pinpoint the location of any individual registered with the system. But let's set all that aside for a minute while we freak out about the privacy implications. Most of us leave Wi-Fi on by default, in part because our phones chastise us when we don't. (Triangulation by Wi-Fi hotspots is important for making location services more accurate.) But you probably didn't realize that, using proprietary new "nodes" from Navizon, any device with an active Wi-Fi radio can be seen by a system like Navizon's. To demonstrate the technology, here's Navizon CEO and founder Cyril Houri hunting for one of his colleagues at a trade show using a kind of first person shooter-esque radar.
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