May 11

As seen in the LA Times: Senate Democrats Move to Revive Net Neutrality Rules — the Wrong Way

 la-times-logo-300x300Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) speaks during a news conference on a petition to force a vote on net neutrality on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Also pictured are Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA). (Zach Gibson / Getty Images)

Senate Democrats opened up a new front Wednesday in the fight to preserve the internet from interference by the broadband providers that control its on-ramps. But as good as it was to see them push back against the wrongheaded approach taken by the new Republican majority on the Federal Communications Commission, the maneuver is likely to be more of a distraction than a solution.

At issue is how to preserve net neutrality. Broadband providers that serve home internet users face little real competition, and they are uniquely positioned to distort competition online by, for example, favoring particular websites and services for a fee.

After several earlier net-neutrality efforts ran into legal trouble, the FCC’s Democratic majority in 2015 classified broadband access service as a utility and imposed a set of strict neutrality rules. Last year, however, the commission’s new Republican majority voted not just to rescind those rules, but effectively to drop all efforts by the FCC to preserve net neutrality.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) speaks during a news conference on a petition to force a vote on net neutrality on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Also pictured are Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA). (Zach Gibson / Getty Images)

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) speaks during a news conference on a petition to force a vote on net neutrality on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Also pictured are Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA). (Zach Gibson / Getty Images)

On Wednesday, Senate Democrats moved to force a vote on a resolution to restore the 2015 rules, and they have 50 Senators lined up in support. Yet the resolution faces next-to-insurmountable odds in the House, where top Republicans have praised the FCC’s deregulatory approach, and with like-minded President Trump. The most meaningful fights will take place in the courts and in state legislatures, where net neutrality supporters are seeking to restore the 2015 rules or impose similar ones at the state level.

Even opponents of the strict 2015 rules recognize that the continual legal and regulatory gyrations are a problem. Rather than jousting over a resolution of disapproval, Congress needs to put this issue to bed once and for all by crafting a bipartisan deal giving the commission limited but clear authority to regulate broadband providers and preserve net neutrality.

The Times Editorial Board

May 10

Uber, FedEx, Alphabet and Others will Participate in a New Government Drone Testing Program

Drone Shot

Ten states and a “who’s who of technology and aviation companies” (notably absent: Amazon) are involved in the Integration Pilot Program — the “most far-reaching” test initiative to date. The pilot will gather data on a myriad of drone uses, from transporting medical equipment to controlling mosquitoes. The burgeoning industry around drones in U.S. air space could become an $82 billion marketand create 100,000 jobs in the next ten years.   #DronesTesting

 

Apr 17

U.S. Latinos Win if U.S. Wins Race to 5G

C6D76B95-8DB8-43F0-B886-5911569C5A0DThe core mission of TechLatino is to ensure that the U.S. Latino community has a seat at the table for present and future generations to come. Latinos use wireless as our primary means of communication compared to other technologies and ethnic communities.
It is for this reason that we have championed reforms aimed at hastening the improvement of the wireless networks that our community relies on. This is also why it makes sense that the very first Latina U.S. Senator, Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), has become a champion of the wireless innovation that benefits the U.S. Latino community she hails from.
Our quickly growing population is tied to the expansion of wireless technologies. And the wireless industry is an important industry for all communities, particularly Latinos, as wireless contributes $475 billion annually to America’s economy and supports 4.7 million jobs.
The United States led the world in 4G wireless. U.S. leadership in 4G brought with it economic and job growth for its people—in fact, building 4G networks boosted wireless-related jobs by 84 percent! Given our outsized use of mobile services, this 4G win was a win for Latinos as well.
5G, the next generation of wireless, is the new frontier. 5G is slated to offer higher speeds, reduce latency, and expand real-world applications for our community’s favored technology. Latinos are the fastest-growing population in the United States, and wireless enhancements offer expanded job opportunities and access to broadband internet right from our mobile devices. 5G will mean even more opportunities for our community.
But here’s the rub. A new report finds China and South Korea are slightly ahead of the U.S. in terms of 5G readiness. Countries like China and South Korea angling to win the 5G race would siphon off opportunities and expanded access that would otherwise come here to the United States. 5G is projected to create 3 million new jobs in America. So for growing communities like Latinos, loss of leadership in next-generation 5G would drain us of opportunities waiting in the wings.
The United States is our home and we are invested in its success. U.S. Latinos are active participants in our country and our population growth means that our needs will only increase. There are significant downsides when countries are unable to maintain leadership as wireless generations evolve. For example, Europe lost tens of thousands of jobs when they fell behind in 3G. Two wireless generations later, Europe is not even among the first tier of regions ready to lead on 5G.
These potential consequences for us means that we fully support efforts to enhance networks across the country. The simple math here is that a growing population reliant on wireless, like Latinos, means that more devices will need to be supported on the networks. As the networks become more and more strained, we are looking to those who can address our needs.
Policymakers and regulators must carry on with efforts to free up airwaves and make it easier to deploy the wireless infrastructure that power wireless networks. Industry must continue to conduct testing trials to hasten the development of next-generation wireless.
TechLatino’s mission is to empower Latino communities. A U.S. loss in the 5G race would result in a world of missed opportunities for a vulnerable but resilient community like ours. Under no circumstances do Latinos want to be held back. Accordingly, we support all efforts to ensure wireless network improvement efforts help make 5G a reality.

 

About TechLatino: The Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association (LISTA).  www.techlatino.org 
Through its network of 15 affiliated community-based councils, association and partnerships with non-profit organizations, LISTA advocates on behalf of the millions of Latinos in 50 states and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, South America and Spain.
To achieve its mission, to educate, motivate and empower, LISTA conducts workshops and seminars, national business series, research, policy analysis, and technology awareness programs in order to provide a Latino perspective in many key areas in technology — development of the 21st century workforce, coding, health information technology, STEAM education, employment/economic status, business development cell and broadband.
In addition, it provides workshops and training to technology professionals and students in health it, big data and other technology opportunities for individuals small businesses and families. Helping Close the digital divide and giving opportunity to all.

Mar 14

@techLatino Agrees with FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr and U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto Next Generation Wireless Deployment to Modernize Federal Process.

jamAs previously described by TechLatino, wireless deployment is of particular value to Latino communities, who are outsized users of mobile services when compared to other groups. As the wireless industry continues efforts to enhance networks across the country, a series of reforms have been underway to modernize federal processes to make that easier. Commissioner Brendan Carr of the Federal Communications Commission has released an order to streamline federal processes governing deployment of small cell antennas and macro towers, while respecting the authority of state and local governments. The Carr Order, in addition to legislation proposed by America’s first Latina Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, provides necessary updates required to deliver next-generation wireless service to communities nationwide.

Commissioner Carr has traveled across many regions of the country and consulted the views of minority communities to show how the Order will enhance deployment by updating federal historic preservation and environmental protection procedures. Specifically, the 1966 National Historic Preservation Act (“NHPA”) and the 1970 National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) contain fee structures now unsuitable for the digital age, applying cost structures and procedural timelines associated with large towers in ways that negatively affect the costs and ability to the deploy small cell antennas. Increasing the costs to roll out the small cells needed over the next three to four years to enhance networks will harm communities that rely on wireless connectivity.

Pew Research data shows that mobile devices are important to Latinos across all income levels, who are less likely to own a computer or have home internet access. Latino smartphone owners are twice as likely to rely on their mobile devices to access the internet for their everyday needs. Access to mobile broadband brings with it many benefits, including employment, educational, and capital access opportunities. At the same time, next-generation wireless is slated to create 3 million new jobs.

The Latino community cannot afford to miss opportunities that this streamlining initiative will offer. Missed opportunities are exactly what will occur if our government leaders fail to pass these changes. The massive amount of funds that would be saved by these NEPA/NHPA streamlining reforms could instead be used to enhance the service that our community depends on. The Carr Order will help ensure that Latino communities across the country are not held back. TechLatino’s mission is to empower Latino communities everywhere, and therefore we support these efforts to ensure wireless network improvements become a reality.

About TechLatino: The National Association of Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology.

Through its network of 15 affiliated community-based councils, association and partnerships with non-profit organizations, LISTA advocates on behalf of the millions of Latinos in 50 states and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, South America and Spain.

To achieve its mission, to educate, motivate and empower, LISTA conducts workshops and seminars, national business series, research, policy analysis, and technology awareness programs in order to provide a Latino perspective in many key areas in technology — development of the 21st century workforce, coding, health information technology, STEAM education, employment/economic status, business development cell and broadband.

In addition, it provides workshops and training to technology professionals and students in health it, big data and other technology opportunities for individuals small businesses and families. Helping Close the digital divide and giving opportunity to all.

Dec 13

@techlatino Guest Blogger: Rosa Mendoza on Net Neutrality Misconceptions

RM-picCriticism of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) new proposal to reform its net neutrality rules has significantly intensified recently and gotten extremely politicized to the point of ignoring salient points in favor of the upcoming proposal. Last week, some protesters even put signs on FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s lawn and claimed his children would realize one day that he “murdered Democracy in cold blood.”

Beyond the lack of decency in targeting families, this misguided anger from some unfortunately obscures the issues at the foundation of the debate and undermines any possible merits their viewpoint might have. In addition, the uncompromising stance that many are taking ignores significant data points that indicate at least a correlation, if not direct causation, between the 2015 order to classify broadband service providers as utilities under Title II and a decline in infrastructure investment that poses a large problem within the Internet ecosystem, especially for many in the Latino community. Those who insist that the FCC continue with its costly decision to regulate the Internet as a utility under Title II of a 1934 telephone law must face an unpleasant fact: There is strong evidence that the FCC’s 2015 action has significantly slowed progress on closing the digital divide since one of the main ways to do so is to deploy additional broadband infrastructure to underserved areas.

Even today, after $1.6 trillion invested in broadband deployment during the past two decades, the digital divide remains a serious problem. It hinders access to healthcare, education, workplace training and the ability to be full participants in a society that finds itself more and more integrated into the online world. The FCC’s Title II decision has created confusion, uncertainty and significant new legal costs on broadband service providers. Some of these costs are inevitably passed on to consumers. But Title II’s legal uncertainties are also curbing broadband investment, which is vital to closing the digital divide.  Since the FCC’s action, broadband investment has been on a two-year decline, dropping nearly 6%. According to the FCC, this is the first time a decline has happened outside of a recession.

The lack of investment in deployment hits especially hard in rural areas and there is significant evidence that problems stemming from the FCC’s 2015 Title II action are, in fact, hitting rural areas the hardest, which are most in need of expanded broadband access and have a higher proportion of Latinos. Within weeks of the FCC’s action, the Commission began receiving documented cases from across the country of small Internet providers pulling back from upgrades because of new legal costs from the Commission’s new rules. Last April, nearly two dozen small Internet providers explained in an open letter to the FCC how Title II regulations have “slowed, if not halted, the development and deployment of innovative new offerings which would benefit our customers.” These providers are from places like Chaparral, NM (80+% Latino) and Warner Robins, Georgia (45% Latino & African-American). Less investment in deployment of infrastructure hits those in rural areas the hardest and maintains or widens the digital divide every day there is no action.

Recognizing the costs and problems of the FCC’s Title II Internet regulation is crucial because it shows the pressing need to reform these rules.  Doing nothing is not an option. Failure to reach a better solution for all stakeholders means millions of Americans who lack modern broadband will have less chance for more reliable and accessible Internet service. The Hispanic Technology and Telecommunications Partnership (HTTP) is on record and vehemently maintains that a free and open Internet is the best environment for all Internet users, but regulating broadband service providers using an outdated regulatory framework is certainly not the answer. Hence, there is always a middle ground to consider.

Investment in infrastructure deployment aside, it is important to also examine the merits of the FCC’s proposed plan with regard to consumer protections. The FCC’s plan continues protections but does so through the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which has been on the front lines in legal fights against telemarketerstext spammers and other bad actors online . Under the new system, net users still have online protections and these protections will come not only from the FTC but also from existing federal and state laws. These laws and their protections will not change, even with reform of the net neutrality/Title II process. With this in mind, HTTP strongly urges the FTC and state and local authorities to continue to create and enact proactive, comprehensive consumer protections.

This month, the FCC is likely to approve its proposal for reversing the order that classified broadband service providers as utilities under Title II of the Telecommunications Act. This will ideally help boost infrastructure investment levels that current rules have likely hindered and promote a more reliable and accessible Internet for all. HTTP has and will continue to advocate for an open Internet and one that is accessible to all Americans, especially Latinos who continue to be on the wrong side of the digital divide, to be able to thrive in the online world. 

Read More on telecom issues by Rosa Mendoza, Executive Director, HTTP 

http://httponline.org/2017/12/net-neutrality-misconceptions/

Dec 08

Google/YouTube is cutting access to Amazon Fire TV on Jan. 1

wersm-netflix-youtube-cover-657x360Google, which owns YouTube, and Amazon are going to war over streaming services and plenty more. YouTube is also disappearing again from Amazon’s Echo Show video device.

If you’ve got an Amazon Fire TV, say goodbye to using it to watch YouTube.

The Google-owned video service is cutting access to the Amazon device on Jan. 1, a Google spokeswoman said Tuesday. YouTube is also cutting access Tuesday for a second time to Amazon’s Echo Show video device.

The moves signal that the ongoing battle between the world’s biggest search engine and the world’s largest online retailer may get bigger and messier in 2018.

“We’ve been trying to reach agreement with Amazon to give consumers access to each other’s products and services,” the spokeswoman said in a statement. “But Amazon doesn’t carry Google products like Chromecast and Google Home, doesn’t make Prime Video available for Google Cast users, and last month stopped selling some of Nest’s latest products.

“Given this lack of reciprocity,” she added. “We are no longer supporting YouTube on Echo Show and FireTV. We hope we can reach an agreement to resolve these issues soon.”

Amazon representatives didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Google and Amazon have been in an intensifying competition on multiple fronts, with Amazon pushing deeper into Google’s turf of online advertising and Google moving into Amazon’s territory of e-commerce and smart speakers. This competition over the years has spilled out into public view and often resulted in fewer options for customers. Still, it’s unclear whether Google’s latest move should be seen as a negotiating move by the search giant or a sign of more fighting between the two companies.

In one of the most recent spats between the two companies, YouTube vanished from Amazon’s Echo Show device in September. The Show, unveiled in May, is essentially an Amazon Echo smart speaker with a built-in touchscreen display. YouTube returned to the Show last month – just in time for Black Friday — by directing users to YouTube’s website, but Google is cutting access again.

At the time, Google said Amazon’s implementation of YouTube on the Echo Show violated its terms of service.

Two years, ago, Amazon banned Google’s Chromecast and Apple TV from its website, helping Amazon direct its customers toward its own Fire TV and away from competing devices. Amazon at the time said the move was to ensure its customers were buying the best devices for watching its Prime Video service and help “avoid customer confusion.”

Apple said earlier this year that Prime Video is coming to Apple TV. Prime Video isn’t available on a Google Chromecast or Android TV devices, but is on mobile Android devices.

Google and Amazon have been in a high-stakes battle to get their devices into your home. Amazon released the Echo, a voice-controlled speaker and smart home hub, in 2014. Google followed suit last year with its rival Google Home. Apple plans to join the market with its $350 HomePod. Still, Amazon is the dominant leader in the smart speaker world, with Echo devices owning 73 percent of the market. Google is far behind with 27 percent, according to a report by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.

In September, Amazon unveiled a new line of Echo devices, including an updated Echo, the Echo Plus and the Echo Spot. The next month, Google unveiled a new slew of hardware products to get its Assistant, a digital helper akin to Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri, to more users. The new devices include an updated version of the Google Home smart speaker and a Google Home Mini device.

Despite the direct competition between the Google Home and Amazon Echo, the two companies continue to work together for some connected home devices. For instance, Google’s parent company Alphabet continues to allow people to control their Nest thermostats and cameras using an Echo. The Nest thermostat is available on Amazon, but last month other Nest product disappeared from the site, including the Nest Thermostat E, a cheaper version of the device, and the Nest Secure alarm system.

Right now, Google Home can’t be bought on Amazon either. Neither can its Chromecast video streaming device. Google has been in negotiations with Amazon to try to get both company’s products on each of their platforms, a person familiar with Google’s thinking told CNET. For example, that could mean having Prime Video, Amazon’s streaming video service, on Google’s Cast streaming products.

“It should be about users of Google and Amazon, not Google and Amazon,” said the person familiar.

Nov 21

GOVERNMENT MOVE TO BLOCK AT&T MERGER BODES ILL FOR TECH. WIRED.COM’s – SUSAN CRAWFORD

AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson vowed to fight the government suit and complete the acquisition of Time Warner

AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson vowed to fight the government suit and complete the acquisition of Time Warner

THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT filed a lawsuit Monday to block AT&T’s planned $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner, in a move that could signal tougher scrutiny for tech companies.

The lawsuit breaks with the recent DOJ tradition of approving mergers between companies that don’t directly compete, such as AT&T and Time Warner. The government followed that traditional thinking in allowing Comcast to acquire NBCUniversal in 2011.

AT&T is the nation’s largest provider of traditional pay television service thanks to its acquisition of DirecTV. Time Warner, meanwhile, owns popular content outlets like CNN, HBO, TBS, and Warner Brothers. According to its complaint, the DOJ worries that if AT&T were allowed to buy Time Warner, the combined company could raise fees for Time Warner content to pay-TV competitors such as Comcast and Charter. That could drive up costs for consumers, or prod them into switching to AT&T’s own pay-TV services to access the programming they want.

It’s not unusual for the DOJ to determine that consumers might be harmed by a so-called vertical merger, between companies that don’t compete against each other. What’s unusual is how the DOJ decided to deal with it. In the Comcast/NBCUniversal merger, for example, Comcast agreed to continue licensing NBCUniversal content to other digital video providers and to not block or throttle content for its internet subscribers. Berin Szóka, president of the pro-market advocacy group TechFreedom, said in a statement that the the DOJ’s new lawsuit marked the first time since 1978 that a vertical merger has ended up in court.

Daniel Birk, a partner at the law firm Eimer Stahl, says merger conditions, known as “behavior remedies” tend to be favored by left-leaning government officials who are more comfortable regulating industries. But the DOJ’s new head of antitrust Makan Delrahim told the New York Times he doesn’t like these sorts of agreements and would prefer to see companies sell or spin off divisions that pose competition concerns before a merger is approved.

One catch is that last year, before he was nominated to the DOJ, Delrahim told the Business News Network that he saw no problem with the AT&T/Time Warner merger. That will inevitably lead to questions about whether the DOJ is moving to block the merger because of President Trump’s well known dislike of CNN’s coverage of him.

AT&T vows to fight the suit and complete the acquisition. “Today’s DOJ lawsuit is a radical and inexplicable departure from decades of antitrust precedent,” AT&T general counsel David R. McAtee said in a statement. “Vertical mergers like this one are routinely approved because they benefit consumers without removing any competitor from the market. We see no legitimate reason for our merger to be treated differently.”

During a press conference Monday evening, McAtee said any evidence that shows the government pursued the case for reasons other than applying the law would hurt the DOJ’s case.

Even if the DOJ wins this case, it won’t necessarily be able to apply the same legal theories to tech companies. But the fact that the Justice Department is willing to break with recent precedent suggests a tougher line on antitrust enforcement and doesn’t bode well for Silicon Valley.

Tech companies are under increasing pressure from across the political spectrum. A growing number of expertsquestions whether the enormous amounts of data that the largest tech companies have amassed is justification for government action.

Some writers have suggested that the government take a tougher line on deals where tech giants acquire promising startups; such deals have generally received little scrutiny. Last month, technology analyst and blogger Ben Thompson argued that the government had failed the public by approving Facebook’s acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp and should block future acquisitions, even small ones, unless the company agrees to more stringent conditions.

“I am optimistic that [Delrahim] will pursue strong enforcement,” says Anant Raut, a former Justice Department lawyer who now works for the advocacy group Public Knowledge. “There’s the assumption that an administration that leans to the right might not be as aggressive on vertical mergers. If they do choose to challenge this one it’s an indication that enforcement will be as strong or stronger than it has been the last few years.”

Nov 15

A New Phone Comes Out. Yours Slows Down. A Conspiracy?

Phone-Slows-Down-Featured-994x400It happens every year: Apple releases new iPhones, and then hordes of people groan about their older iPhones slowing to a crawl.

Just look at the recent data. Between September and early November — when Apple made the iPhone 8 available, followed by the iPhone XGoogle searches for the keywordsiPhone slowjumped about 50 percent.

The phenomenon of perceived slowdowns is so widespread that many believe tech companies intentionally cripple smartphones and computers to ensure that people buy new ones every few years. Conspiracy theorists call it planned obsolescence.

 

That’s a myth. While slowdowns happen, they take place for a far less nefarious reason. That reason is a software upgrade.

“There’s no incentive for operating system companies to create planned obsolescence,” said Greg Raiz, a former program manager for Microsoft who worked on Windows XP. “It’s software, and software has various degrees of production bugs and unintended things that happen.”

Here’s what happens: When tech giants like Apple, Microsoft and Google introduce new hardware, they often release upgrades for their operating systems. For example, a few days before the iPhone 8 shipped in September, Apple released iOS 11 as a free software update for iPhones, including the four-year-old iPhone 5S.

The technical process of upgrading from an old operating system to a new one — migrating your files, apps and settings along the way — is extremely complicated. So when you install a brand-new operating system on an older device, problems may occur that make everything from opening the camera to browsing the web feel sluggish.

“It’s like changing the plumbing of the house without changing anything else,” said Scott Berkun, an author and a former manager for Microsoft who oversaw engineers that worked on Windows operating systems and web browsers.

The good news is that because tech companies are not intentionally neutering your devices, there are remedies for when you think your three-year-old iPhone or your seven-year-old Windows computer has become slow or short-lived. Here’s a guide to speeding up your troubled gadgets, based on interviews with information technology professionals and operating system experts.

Start Fresh

Tech companies make it simple to upgrade to a new operating system by pressing an “update” button, which seamlessly migrates all your apps and data over. While that’s convenient, it isn’t the best way to ensure that things will continue running smoothly.

A better practice is backing up all your data and purging everything from the device before installing the new operating system. This “clean install” works more reliably because the engineers developing operating systems were able to test this condition more easily, Mr. Raiz said.

Let’s say, for example, you have an iPhone 6 with 100 apps installed, four email accounts and 2,000 photos. It is more likely that a quality-assurance engineer tested installing a new operating system on a blank iPhone 6, rather than an iPhone 6 with the same setup as yours.

So if you want to minimize the chances of something going awry, resist the easy update path and opt for a clean install. For smartphones, I recommend backing up your data to your computer. For computers, you could back up your data to an online service or a portable drive. After the operating system installation is complete, you can then safely restore your data and apps to the device from the backup.

Remove the ‘Cruft’

Sometimes you can do some light maintenance to speed up your device. Over the long term, an operating system accumulates system files, settings, logs and other data; I.T. experts call this “cruft.” This can bog down your device.

For computers, there are some apps for cleaning up your system. Mac users can download a free app called Onyx, and Windows users can run a cleanup utility included in the system. For iPhones and Android devices, you can open the settings app and select reset settings. (Just make sure you back up first in case there are important settings you may lose.)

Be Mindful of Your Storage

Here’s something many people don’t realize: Just because your iPhone or Samsung phone has 64 gigabytes of storage doesn’t mean you should fill it all the way up. The device will generally run faster if more of its storage is available.

That’s partly because your device needs space to move data around and download software updates. But it’s also related to how the storage technology works inside smartphones and modern laptops.

Smartphones and newer laptops rely on flash storage, which stores data in the cells of semiconductor chips. When data is stored on a flash drive, it is scattered across the drive. So when you are pulling data to open an app or a document, you are retrieving it from multiple parts of the drive. If lots of space is occupied, the data gets crowded and the device may feel sluggish.

“If you fill these things up, it doesn’t get to operate as well,” said Brian Denslow, a technician for TechCollective, an information technology consulting company in San Francisco. Mr. Denslow said a good rule of thumb is to buy more storage than you think you will use. If you think you are going to use 64 gigabytes on an iPad, for example, buy the 256-gigabyte model.

I also recommend freeing up a huge amount of space by managing your photo library in the cloud. You can upload all your albums to a service like Google Photos and periodically purge all the images from the device itself. I did this recently on my iPhone 7 that was nearly full and seemed to be slowing down; purging the photos freed up about 50 gigabytes of data, and the iPhone feels as good as new.

Invest in Your Infrastructure

Your device may seem slower for reasons unrelated to the device. Mr. Denslow, the technician, said many apps relied on an internet connection, so a shoddy Wi-Fi router might be the real bottleneck.

To get a nice boost, invest in a modern Wi-Fi system. I recommend products like Google WiFi and Eero, which are so-called mesh networking systems that help you seamlessly set up multiple Wi-Fi stations to get a strong signal throughout the home. They are pricey, but upgrading your infrastructure will do more than buying a new phone.

“Instead of spending $1,000 on a phone every year, spend $500 on networking,” Mr. Denslow said. “It’s not sexy, but it provides more benefits over a long period of time.”

Consider Upgrading

At the end of the day, there are many reasons your device may feel slow. New operating systems carry more powerful features that were designed to work better on new devices. In addition, developers of third-party apps typically prioritize making software for newer handsets, and sometimes they even discontinue support for old gadgets. If there are important tasks that your older device cannot do proficiently, consider an upgrade.

Mr. Raiz, the former Microsoft program manager, said he had recently encountered problems after updating his iPhone 6S to iOS 11. Some functions, like the ability to search for an app, no longer worked. Resetting the device’s settings fixed the problem, but he said he would most likely buy a new iPhone soon anyway to keep up with the latest technologies.

“There’s only so much you can do if your device is multiple release cycles behind,” he said.

Nov 14

With the Advent of 5G, Latinos stand to win as the Next Generation of U.S Workforce.

Cell-Phones-People-e1305301639164From healthcare to transportation, public safety to energy management, wireless connectivity is changing the way our communities live, modernizing how our businesses thrive, and creating new opportunities for us as consumers. 5G is the next generation of wireless connectivity that will support smart communities. “Smart” includes enhanced capacity to enable more efficient transportation services, consistently up-to-date information on public services, and dynamic healthcare practices allowing more people able to keep track of their medical data and doctors to remotely monitor time-efficient and more immersive patient care.

Senators John Thune (R-South Dakota) and Brian Schatz (D–Hawaii) have circulated a discussion draft intended to accelerate U.S. efforts to deploy 5G and get enhanced wireless service in the hands of consumers. 5G, the next generation of advanced wireless service, will power the connectivity that our world is approaching.  

5G will also change how consumers and local businesses operate within their communities. Specifically, Latinos in the United States are one such community experiencing a dramatic increase in mobile device usage. It was reported in 2016 that 80% of Latino adults access the internet via a mobile device such as a cellphone or tablet. This year, a Pew Research study revealed that smartphones play an especially prominent role in providing online access to Latinos, even those living in lower-income households. As overall U.S. businesses continue to integrate mobile platforms, such cost-saving solutions that will become mainstream with 5G technologies will also directly benefit Latino consumers and businesses who connect with mobile.

Additionally, Latinos currently make up for less than 10 percent of the U.S. science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) workforce. While industries continue to rely on technology to improve their core functions, more organizations will be looking for staff who demonstrate next-generation technological skills. According to a report by Accenture, next-generation 5G wireless technology will create 3 million new jobs. So this means, for example, that small- to medium-sized cities with populations between 30,000-100,000 residents could experience roughly 300 to 1,000 new jobs.

“Because Latinos represent a significant percentage of the future U.S. workforce, this creates clear opportunities for Latinos interested in pursuing STEM careers” says, Jose A. Marquez-Leon CEO of TechLatino: Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association. “Job opportunities will increase across the board as the demand for 5G connectivity expands.”

Expertise will also be needed to build out these faster, more complex networks. 5G networks will rely on a robust workforce, with crews that can install and regularly maintain this infrastructure. The economic and consumer benefits that will come from the arrival of enhanced wireless networks will directly affect the Latino community.

The Thune-Schatz discussion draft would help speed up the process for 5G deployment so that communities can start to feel the direct benefits of smart technologies—both as consumers and as STEM professionals. Simply put, the bill encourages best practices for state and local authorities as well as industry stakeholders to work together to ensure that installation of 5G small cells and infrastructure can be conducted in a reasonable and timely manner. This makes it easier to activate and upgrade service in the communities where it is needed. In addition to these consumer opportunities, 5G innovation will also improve job prospects for minority communities. We applaud efforts by policymakers like Senators Thune and Schatz because we realize that our communities within the United States benefit when our country continues to remain a leader in wireless advancement. 

Sep 30

Why Are Some Tech Companies Silent on the Fate of Dreamers?

1President Donald Trump’s decision to end the program that blocked deportation of Dreamers – the young undocumented immigrants brought into the United States by their parents – drew an instant rebuke and fierce opposition from a broad swath of American business leaders who represent a diverse range of companies. Tech and communications companies have been particularly active. Many companies like Facebook, Microsoft, Verizon and AT&T all expressed their support, but Sprint and T-Mobile have been curiously silent. Why aren’t these two major wireless carriers standing with our Dreamers, many of whom are their customers — or even their employees?

Recipients of former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program are commonly called “Dreamers,” but they’re not just dreamers, they’re doers. The roughly 780,000 young people who signed up for DACA are overwhelmingly either in school or the workforce. Almost three-quarters of the top 25 Fortune 500 companies in America have DACA recipients on their payrolls.

The ambitious young men and women in DACA are undoubtedly contributing to our economy and living the American dream, with 5 percent staring their own business, 16 percent buying a home, and 65 percent purchasing a vehicle. If they were to be deported, annual U.S. gross domestic product would take a $460 billion hit and Social Security and Medicare tax revenues would decrease by $24.6 billion.

All those statistics were referenced in an open letter to Trump and congressional leaders that was signed by AT&T and an incredibly long list of major U.S. businesses. Verizon, like many other tech companies, released an individual statement in support of DACA.

But nothing from Sprint and T-Mobile. Why are they not willing to speak out on such an important issue? Bolivian-born Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure is an immigrant himself. He didn’t learn English until the ninth grade and got his start in the wireless business delivering phones to clients from the trunk of his car. As the leader of the one of America’s top wireless providers, he is an inspiration to Latinos.

Then there’s T-Mobile CEO John Legere. To say the “un-carrier’s” un-CEO-like style is unique is an understatement. He’s unfiltered, loves attention, and has no problem getting into public feuds, including one with Trump after complaining about noise outside a Trump hotel window while living the life of luxury. But when it comes to DACA, Legere and his boisterous tweets have been nowhere to be found. Maybe his T-Mobile phone couldn’t find a signal.

It’s no secret that the tech industry in general, in spite of the flashy graphics and rhetoric you can find on most companies’ websites (including T-Mobile and Sprint), still lacks the diversity that characterizes the American workforce. Google’s problems with diversity made news again not long ago, and employment and leadership roles for African-Americans and Hispanics at Silicon Valley’s tech giants also lag far behind opportunities for whites and Asians.

But the lack of response to Trump’s DACA cancellation from T-Mobile and Sprint is likely all about preparing for a long-rumored merger at the expense of standing up for the value of Dreamers. It might indicate a willingness on the part of their leaders to put diversity to the side in favor of rebuilding shaky relationships with a President and an Administration who would ultimately decide the fate of the very lucrative merger should the two telecom giants move forward.

On- and off-again rumors about a potential merger have been swirling for a while. In essence, T-Mobile and Sprint leaders could be keeping a low profile on DACA because they don’t want to risk stirring up trouble with this president before their plans are a fait accompli. Not exactly examples in morale courage. Remember this in mind the next time you’re shopping for a new mobile phone plan.

This is probably the same reason some speculate a T-Mobile spokesperson said “We’re not talking about this issue right now,” in response to a question about Trump’s travel ban, another immigration policy many tech companies opposed.

Whether T-Mobile and Sprint decide to get on board or not, renewing protections for Dreamers should still be one of our nation’s top priorities. Of all the issues under the umbrella of immigration reform, none have more widespread, bipartisan support than allowing Dreamers to stay in the country they have always called home. DACA was a temporary fix; it is time for Congress to step up and create a permanent legislative solution for this hardworking, law-abiding group of young Americans.

This is not merely a policy debate for our group, our friends and our allies. Indeed, many Dreamers are members of our organization — and potentially the next generation of tech entrepreneurs. We wonder why Companies like T-Mobile and Sprint have done nothing to speak up against the move by the Trump administration to end DACA.

For the sake of our nation, @TechLatino urges leaders in Washington to stand up for the Dreamers.

 Jose A. Marquez is the national president, CEO, and founder of  @techlatinoThe National Association of  Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology, a National nonprofit organization that advocates on state and federal issues related to the role of Latinos in the technology sector.

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