News Byte

Baltimore Train Derailment Knocks Some Verizon Landline Customers Offline

Verizon Communications said on Tuesday that a Baltimore-area train derailment is impacting long-distance and data services for some of its landline customers. The company said it is waiting for a go-ahead from local authorities to inspect and repair damaged facilities at the site of the accident.


Egypt's Web, Mobile Communications Severed

The Egyptian government’s crackdown on protestors intensified Friday with access to most forms of mass communication, including the Internet, mobile and SMS down, even as United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned that “freedom of expression should be fully respected.”

Skype Is Working, No Explanation Yet for What Happened

After two days of struggling with an embarrassing pre-holiday system failure, Skype appears to be running again today. The company is offering free service to customers, but hasn’t yet explained what happened.

Free Gmail Calling Is the New Landline

Because of free Gmail voice calling, I don’t need a landline to back up my crappy AT&T cell service. And Google announced today that free Gmail calls from the U.S. to anywhere in the States and Canada would be extended through all of 2011.


Facebook at Odds with Google, Verizon on Net Neutrality

Facebook Wednesday took issue with Google and Verizon’s proposal to exempt cellular networks from rules that would ensure equal treatment of Internet traffic, saying the social-networking giant supports equal treatment on “both landline and wireless networks.”

Comcast COO Steve Burke Live at D8: We’re Not Breaking Up the Cable Bundle Anytime Soon

Depending on your perspective, Comcast is the most dominant force in media, or the one most likely to be disrupted by Internet-fueled upstarts. COO Steve Burke, not surprisingly, argues that his company isn’t going anywhere. Also not disappearing anytime soon: “Bundled” cable TV packages. You might think you only want to pay for a couple channels, Burke says, but that’s not what cable programmers want to sell. Meanwhile, what’s his plan to turn around NBC? Reverse course: “You can’t cut your way to success in broadcast TV.”

Why Ma Bell Got the Ill Communication

Nearly one in four U.S. households has abandoned traditional landline telephones in favor of their wireless brethren. That’s the word from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which says in a new study that 25 percent of the households it polled for its Wireless Substitution survey are wireless-only, while just 15 percent are landline-only.

magicJack: Cheap, Way Overhyped, But Really Works

Walt reviews magicJack, an Internet-based device for making phone calls from a computer.


Superphone Vs. Smartphone

Here is the latest comic from our Joy of Tech friends at Geek Culture, Nitrozac and Snaggy. Joy of Tech appears three times a week in the Voices section of this site. (Click on the image to see a bigger version.)

Google Tries Redialing “Click to Call” Again

Here’s an interesting side note to GPhone (a.k.a. “Nexus One”) day–Google is still experimenting with its “click-to-call” program for advertisers on “high-end mobile devices.” Coincidence?

Cut, Cut, Cutting, Cut

AT&T Announces Q4 Morale Reduction