Obama says FCC should reclassify internet as a utility
President Obama has come out in support of reclassifying internet service as a utility, a move that would allow the Federal Communications Commission to enforce more robust regulations and protect net neutrality. “To put these protections in place, I’m asking the FCC to reclassifying internet service under Title II of a law known as the Telecommunications Act,” Obama says in a statement this morning. “In plain English, I’m asking [the FCC] to recognize that for most Americans, the internet has become an essential part of everyday communication and everyday life.”
There’s been a growing battle around protecting net neutrality — the principle that all internet traffic, no matter what it is or where it comes from, should be treated equally — ever since the FCC’s original protections were struck down in court earlier this year. Those protections were able to be struck down because the commission didn’t make the rules in a way that it actually had authority over, so it’s been trying to create new rules that it will definitely be able to enforce. It hasn’t chosen to use Title II so far, but net neutrality advocates, now including President Obama, have been pushing for its use.
Regulating internet service under Title II would mean reclassifying it as a utility, like water. This means that internet providers would just be pumping internet back and forth through pipes and not actually making any decisions about where the internet goes. For the most part, that’s a controversial idea in the eyes of service providers alone. It means that they’re losing some control over what they sell, and that they can’t favor certain services to benefit their own business. Instead, providers would be stuck allowing consumers to use the internet as they want to, using whatever services they like without any penalty. If that sounds pretty great, it’s because that’s basically how the internet has worked up until now.
Chromecast adds Showtime Anytime, Starz and new party games
A few key TV apps are adding support for the Chromecast TV dongle, including Showtime Anytime and Starz, as well as casual games like Wheel of Fortune and Just Dance Now.
Today Google announced a key update that allows a major app to work with the $35 streaming dongle: Showtime Anytime. The video streaming app is Showtime’s version of HBO Go, delivering to movies and original series like “Homeland” and “The Affair.” (Editor’s note: Showtime is owned by CBS. CNET is published by CBS Interactive, a unit of CBS.)
A similar app, Starz Play, also added Chromecast support today. Like HBO Go, both require an active subscription to Showtime and/or Starz and authentication via your cable or satellite provider. Now you have another reason to “borrow” your parents’ Comcast password.
Showtime Anytime has been available on Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV for a while, but Starz Play is not available on any of those three platforms yet (nor can it be accessed via AirPlay, according to the PDF FAQ).
Google’s announcement also touted a few new “party” games adding support for Chromecast. They include Wheel of Fortune, Just Dance Now, Emoji Party, Big Web Quiz, Simon Swipe, Connect Four Quads and Hasbro’s Monopoly Dash. All are said to facilitate family fun on the TV screen. It’s worth noting that Chromecast already has more than 50 game titles on its official support page, which now features category tabs (yay!).
All Chromecast-compatible apps work via Google’s Cast technology, which allows content from your phone or tablet app to appear on the big screen. The process works well, but since it requires a phone it’s less convenient than using a “native” app on a traditional streaming box. Google’s new Nexus Player and Android TV operating system also support Cast technology, and select apps can be Cast to other devices.
Apple releases web tool to deregister phone numbers from iMessage
Apple has quietly released a new tool to make switching between iOS and other smartphones a bit easier. The new web tool lets you instantly deregister your phone number from Apple’s iMessage system. The site, first spotted by a poster on Reddit, should solve the problem of disappearing text messages.
Many former iPhone users have reported for years that they were not receiving text messages from their friends. The issue stemmed from Apple continuing to route texts through iMessage even after users had moved on to other devices. Since iMessage is proprietary to Apple’s platforms, users who switched away from iOS but didn’t disable iMessage first would no longer be able to see messages sent from friends with Apple devices. Most users who experienced the problem only had one solution: they had to entirely deregister the old device from their Apple accounts.
But with the recently-released web tool, all you need to do is enter the phone number you wish to uncouple from Apple’s iMessage system. Apple will then send you a confirmation code over SMS — type it into the browser window and you’ll be home free.
Geek This Week:
Aaron: Serial!! RGB game on iPad. Getting into DS9 now that I finished TNG. Dyson heaters!
Movies: Promethius & Nightcrawler.
Games:Sunset Overdrive, COD Advanced Warfare, Evil Within & Halo: Master Chief Collection
Feedback and items of Note:
Hi guys, still listening. Now running on a brand new treadmill, so more motivation to run no matter the weather, and obviously listening to podcasts while I run. Been doing a lot of woodworking, and coding for hone automation. So lots of new stuff there. You guys keep saying you wanna see my toys, you’re close let’s work something out, and you can do a podcast from my area. Anyways, so I had to keep this under wraps, but now, the “nda” is over. We were deciding what to dress our daughter for Halloween. Her name is Ariel, and little mermaid is too obvious. And guess what we’re watching at time. Who are you gonna call!? Right, so my wife says, why don’t we make her into slimer. After searching online it became obvious I’d have to make the costume. I know my way around a sewing machine. So I did. They had a parade for kids this morning, our little slimer looked adorable! I think we’re going to enter her in some kids competition my wife found. So it will go public I guess.
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