OnLive's cloud-based gaming service launched in June with Wi-Fi support conspicuously missing from its armory. While OnLive's lack of Wi-Fi support was never really a pressing concern for the vast majority of the world's population, it did matter to both the service's early adopters and detractors, with some admittedly ardent fans even stooping to such abject lows as building Ethernet loopback adapters to pass off their Wi-Fi connection as a wired one.
The lawsuits sure have been flying Google's way as of late. Most recently, location tracking service Skyhook has gotten into the fray. Skyhook is claiming that Google's location mapping business is competing unfairly with that of Skyhook, and that Google is infringing Skyhook's patents.
The first suit relates to the search giant's supposed anti-competitive behavior. According to legal documents, Google used their market position to encourage handset makers to stop using Skyhook services. This caused contracts to be cancelled and cost Skyhook millions. The second suit claims that Google's attempts to map Wi-Fi access points is using Skyhook technology.
Google has not been served any papers as of yet, so they have not issued a statement. But we can imagine they'll probably call it baseless, then start the legal machine and send it after Skyhook.
"Broadcom would like to announce the initial release of a fully-open Linux driver for its latest generation of 11n chipsets," Broadcom announced late last week. "The driver, while still a work in progress, is released as full source and uses the native mac80211 stack."
Broadcom went on to say that the drivers support multiple current chips (BCM4313, BCM43224, BCM43225) while also providing a framework for supporting additional chips in the future, like the mac80211-aware embedded parts.
Don't fret if your newborn just popped out of the womb sporting horns and a tail, that just means your router is firing on all cylinders. Or, as a British scientist and former naval microwave specialist warns, it would serve as proof that Wi-Fi leads to birth defects.
"When I realized these same frequencies and powers (as weapons during the Cold War) were being used as Wi-Fi in schools, I decided to come out of retirement and travel around the world free of charge and explain exactly what the problem is going to be in the future," Barrie Trower told Postmedia News in an Interview.
"Children are not small adults, they are underdeveloped adults, so there are different symptoms. What you are doing in schools is transmitting at low levels."
Even though Wi-Fi is generally considered safe, Trower contends that no scientific studies exist that deem prolonged exposure won't cause any harm.
"If you damage the DNA, there could be a genetic disorder from the child that is born from that lady when they grow up," Trower warns.
While Trower might be freaking out over Wi-Fi, Health Canada says everything is gravy.
"Based on scientific evidence, Health Canada has determined that exposure to low-level radio-frequency energy, such as that from Wi-Fi systems, is not dangerous to the public," the agency said in a statement.
Just weeks after threatening (and then backing down from) a lawsuit against Wicked Lasers for selling a laser device that supposedly resembles a lightsaber from the Star Wars franchise, George Lucas has turned his sights to Jedi Mind, Inc., which sells a wireless headset capable of detecting brainwaves and can be used to play games and run apps via thought control (think of OCZ's Neural Impulse Actuator).
Lucas and company sent a cease and desist letter to Jedi Mind way back in May, 2009, at which time the company's chief, Brent Fouch, said he would phase his company out of Jedi Mind trademarks. That was enough to appease LucasFilm, only Fouch allegedly hasn't followed through with his promise.
A second cease and desist letter landed at Jedi Mind's offices last September, but failing that, LucasFilm is now seeking $5 million in damages in injunctive relief and recovery of damages.
It should be noted that LucasFilm owns the trademarks for Jedi Knight, Jedi Power Battles, and Jedi Training Academy, but not on Jedi Mind. The company also claims legal rights to "all characteristics associated with the Jedi knights not memorialized in a registered trademark."
So what's the verdict on this one, should LucasFilm be compensated, or told to go pound sand?
A new analysis from firm JiWire shows that for the first time, free Wi-Fi hotspots are more plentiful than paid-access hotspots. In total, 55.1% of the hotspots surveyed were free to use. That's a 12.6% gain from last year. It's getting to the point that consumers are more likely to feel affronted when asked to pay for wireless access.
This trend is also taking place worldwide. Seven of the top ten countries for public Wi-Fi added capacity last year. The JiWire data indicates that one in four hotspots around the world is free. With numbers like this, paid models could be in danger. Starbucks recently dropped its semi-paid Wi-Fi system, and Barnes and Noble followed suit shortly thereafter. Do you find you're encountering fewer paid Wi-Fi networks?
Networking outfit Buffalo Technology this week announced a handful of new wireless products the company says take aim at budget shoppers looking for cost-friendly, easy-to-install solutions.
"Buffalo has always been committed to delivering high quality, high performance wireless solutions that consumers have come to rely on," said Ralph Spagnola, vice president of sales at Buffalo Technology. "With the latest additions to our wireless product portfolio, Buffalo is offering the best blend of robust value-model, entry-level, and high-performance wireless solutions on the market."
Buffalo's trio of products include a fairly standard wireless-N router (WCR-GN) with four Ethernet ports, a dual-port access point (WLAE-AG300N) that can be configured to operate in three different modes (Ethernet converter, access point, or repeater), and a USB 2.0 802.11n adapter (WLI-UC-GNM).
The WLAE-AG300N ($75), WCR-GN ($40), and WLI-UC-GNM ($40) will all ship later this month.
Shopping in Sam's Club is about to get high-tech, starting with Wi-Fi service being added to all of the chain's U.S. locations by November of this year.
"Our members are early adopters of technology and electronics, and we're excited to deliver an improved experience in our clubs," said Brian Cornell, president and CEO, Sam's Club. "This investment in connectivity allows us to showcase the high quality brands we offer in a new engaging way, provide an enhanced level of service, and bring to life our promise to our members of Savings Made Simple."
One way in which Sam's Clubs will utilize Wi-Fi service is by demoing IPTVs (Internet TVs) and other Internet connected devices. Customers could, for example, load up their Facebook page or favorite video streaming site on an in-store TV to see how it would appear at home.
In addition to in-store Wi-Fi, Sam's Club is also pushing out a smartphone app for the iPhone, BlackBerry, and Android platforms, which will include features such as access to eValues, product information, and extra discounts loaded onto Plus Membership cards.
Google opened a can of worms when it fessed up to possessing payload data from open Wi-Fi networks in over 30 countries. Although it immediately approached regulators around the world with a proposal to quickly dispose of the data gathered by Street View cars, not all regulators were willing to allow the internet giant's request. Some of them have even launched criminal probes into the matter.
“We intend to find out what kinds of data they have collected and how much. We will try to retrieve all the original data illegally collected and stored through domestic Wi-Fi networks from the Google headquarters,” the Cyber Terror Response Center of the Korean National Police Agency said in a statement confirming the raid.
Google has found itself mired in ever-increasing controversy ever since it fessed up to collecting payload data in over 30 countries. While data privacy watchdogs around the world are becoming more unstinting in their strictures on Google, Britain's data protection authority is not too concerned about the actual impact of the entire Wi-Fi snooping episode.
Britain's Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) found no “meaningful personal details” while vetting data samples it collected from Google. Unlike its counterparts elsewhere, the ICO was never too keen on probing the matter and had even asked Google to delete the data at the onset of the crisis in May.
"On the basis of the samples we saw we are satisfied so far that it is unlikely that Google will have captured significant amounts of personal data," the UK's leading data protection authority said in a statement. "There is also no evidence as yet that the data captured by Google has caused or could cause any individual detriment."