The Charter Communications CSR who spoke with Dustin has some pretty astounding news about what’s on the horizon for all of us. It looks like starting May 1st, cable companies will have total, FCC-sanctioned control over streaming video and will take down all competing services. [More]
Knowzy.com, the website that’s been tracking which Jack in the Box stores were offering free Wi-Fi, reports that the restaurant chain has pulled the plug. The Wi-Fi offer came with the installation of HDTVs that displayed ads in the dining area, but those are gone too: “In mid-2009, the TVs and the Wi-Fi began disappearing. By the time McDonald’s made their free Wi-Fi announcement in December, Jack had completely dismantled his Wi-Fi network.” [More]
For some reason, Citibank won’t let customers using Linux computers log in to their online accounts. Adam argues that in 2009 this doesn’t make sense, especially when no other major corporate website blocks him like this.
Later this month, Borders and Verizon will roll out free Wifi access in “virtually all” Borders stores, with no password or access fee required. Borders’ CEO Ron Marshall says their goal is to extend “the open atmosphere of exploration that is at the core of every great bookstore experience,” and then he said something about building a community, yakkity yak. You know how press releases are. Whatever, Marshall, we’re just happy you’re offering free Wifi access!
Anyone who reads the fine print when signing up for Internet access knows that the speeds advertised are “best case” scenarios, or more cynically that they’re total fabrications meant to lure in customers. Now the FCC, as part of its larger study of how to expand broadband access, has reported that “actual broadband speeds lag advertised speeds by as much as 50% to 80%.”
If you have a WinMo smartphone, you’re in luck. (Wow, I never thought I’d be typing that.) Starting September 14th, AT&T will open up its approximately 20,000 Wi-Fi hotspots to Windows Mobile customers with “qualifying plans.” According to AT&T, that should mean most WinMo customers as “most [already] have a qualifying data plan.”
The person who blogs at MichiganTelephone just tried to help his friend sign up for DSL from AT&T last week. Their experience was so full of fail that now his friend doesn’t even want to bother trying anymore. Yes, a customer came to AT&T ready to sign up, and AT&T drove him away. Michigan telephone wonders, “Does AT&T have a death wish, or are they really just that incompetent?”
Verizon is sad that so many of you are jumping ship, so they’re hauling out the bargain naked DSL offer again. (“Naked” means no home phone line is required to take advantage of it.) The deal is $20/mo with a 1 year commitment, and they’re throwing in a free router—although DSLReports says a Verizon rep told them the router freebie will go away at some point. Also, it’s available online only.
The new ebook offering from Barnes & Noble may not be that compelling–it’s all the DRM badness of Amazon, but not always the lower prices–and yet something awesome has come out of it. Starting immediately, all customers can access free Wi-Fi in any B&N store.
The wireless Internet connection at Ari’s new apartment isn’t very useful. Neither is his landlord, or the support tech who’s supposed to troubleshoot this kind of stuff.
Sirus-XM charges for access to its Sirius Music Player, but for the past few days, some customers can’t get it to work. One of them in this forum says it only connects after Howard Stern is over, and speculates that some cost-cutting measures have reduced available bandwidth, leading to locked-out customers. In another thread customers are complaining that popular third-party streaming radio services have been sent cease-and-desist letters from Sirius, further limiting access to streaming Sirius programming online. Naturally, Sirius-XM hasn’t responded to customer queries about the issue.
Why pay $79 per year to read the Wall Street Journal when you can read it for free? Murdoch’s crown jewel attracts readers by lowering the pay wall for visitors from Google News, Drudge, or Digg. Salon posted step-by-step instructions to help readers exploit this selective generosity.
If you live in California or Arizona, your nearby recently-remodeled Jack in the Box restaurant might be offering free wi-fi, says Knowzy.com. “If you see a big screen TV, look for a 5 digit code in the bottom left corner. It’s your ticket to free Internet with your burger and fries.” So far the service isn’t being officially promoted and appears to be in a testing phase, but Knowzy’s editors were able to use the service at several Jack in the Boxes they visited.
Ars Technica reported yesterday about a memo from Time Warner Cable (that first showed up on a DSL Reports forum and has since been verified by Retuers) that indicated TWC might soon launch a trial program of bandwidth caps and tiered pricing, aka “Consumption Based Billing.”
The Senate has approved an extension of the ban on state Internet access taxes for 7 more years. This follows a similar vote in the House a couple of weeks ago. The two chambers now have to work out any conflicts and send the bill to Bush, who has indicated he will approve it. [Reuters]