Let's face it: It doesn't matter how high quality the video is. Chatting over Skype or FaceTime doesn't do a lot of good if the call is between the hearing and the deaf and only the latter know sign language.
Now, following a successful release in California in April, the SmartVP videophone by Purple Communications is available free of charge to the deaf and hard-of-hearing nationwide, and it manages to solve the signing conundrum.… Read more
Apple apparently still has its eye on NFC, at least as described in a freshly won patent.
Awarded Tuesday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, an Apple patent called "System and method for simplified data transfer" describes a way of automatically transferring data from one device to another.
Both devices would be configured to copy data from one to the other. The first device may be set up to save and transfer data associated with specific apps. Powering up the second device would automatically tell the first device to transfer the data. The devices outlined in … Read more
The U.S. government is easing sanctions that for more than two decades have prohibited companies from selling electronic devices such as computers, cell phones, and wireless routers to Iran.
The move, announced Thursday by the Treasury Department, allows U.S. residents to export electronic equipment to individuals but not to the Iranian government or "to any individual or entity on the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list." The SDN list is a compilation of individuals and groups with whom U.S. residents are prohibited from doing business, such as Al-Qaeda.
"The people of Iran should be able … Read more
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder supports privacy changes that would require the government to seek a warrant based on probable cause to obtain cloud-stored e-mail, and other documents and files stored in the cloud.
"But the more general notion of having a warrant to obtain the content of communications from a service provider is something that we support," Holder added, noting that citizen privacy and the government's ability to access such data is "one of the most important conversations" to be had in this day and age.
He stated that there were "very … Read more
Last month, Sen. Mark Udall and a handful of other privacy-focused politicians persuaded the IRS to promise to cease warrantless searches of Americans' private correspondence.
Now Udall, a Colorado Democrat, is taking aim at the Justice Department, which has claimed the right to conduct warrantless searches of Americans' e-mail, Facebook chats, and other private communications.
"I am extremely concerned that the Justice Department and FBI are justifying warrantless searches of Americans' electronic communications based on a loophole in an outdated law that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit ruled was unconstitutional," Udall said in … Read more
Gadget lovers rejoice. Commissioners on the Federal Communications Commission have high hopes for making Wi-Fi onboard airplanes more ubiquitous, cheaper, and faster.
On Thursday, the FCC voted to look into a proposal that would free up additional wireless spectrum for in-flight broadband use, a move that will likely increase availability and speed of in-flight Wi-Fi. And ultimately it could help lower prices for the service.
Currently, only about 4MHz of wireless spectrum is being used for the so-called ground-to-air service that enables some airlines to offer in-flight broadband. The way it works is that signals are transmitted from towers on … Read more
President Barack Obama has nominated former lobbyist and venture capitalist Tom Wheeler to serve as the next head of the Federal Communications Commission.
The White House made the announcement Wednesday. Wheeler's appointment as chairman of the agency was widely anticipated. His name had been on the shortlist of potential candidates for months, and several news agencies reported on the impending appointment.
Wheeler would replace current FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, who has headed up the agency since 2009. Current FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn will serve as the interim chairwoman until the Senate confirms Wheeler's appointment.
Wheeler has the support … Read more
As of today, owners of the BlackBerry Q10 device will get to use Skype's free video and voice calling via the official Skype app.
Available now on BlackBerry World, the Skype app automatically adds your Skype contacts to your BlackBerry phone book when you sign in. Other features include the ability to send text messages and make calls to landlines and mobile phones for a fee.
According to Skype, though, the app available today is still only a "preview version." For users, this means that all of the features are there, but the user experience will likely … Read more
The head of the Internal Revenue Service said today the agency would abandon its controversial policy that claimed the right to read taxpayers' e-mail without first obtaining a search warrant.
Steven Miller, the IRS' acting commissioner, said at a U.S. Senate hearing that the no-warrant-required policy would be ditched within 30 days for e-mail, but he did not make the same commitment for other private electronic communications.