In Stockholm late last year, I met Daniel Khilgren Kallander, a 22-year-old who is very excited about his future career in virtual-reality design. To give me a sense of the possibilities, he strapped plastic goggles over my eyes and sent me on a roller-coaster ride, plunging me into a fully immersive virtual experience that involved some terrifying drops. Take it from me: Your brain is easily convinced that you really are wherever the screen suggests you are.
The big four U.S. cable companies, which control more than 60 percent of the U.S. market, may soon become just three. Charter Communications Inc., now the fourth largest, has since last June been trying to buy Time Warner Cable Inc., the second largest. And it now looks as if the shareholders of TWC, which has been floundering recently, may force the company’s board to sell.
The Internet’s watershed political moment in the U.S. arrived this week. You can Google it. The role of Google itself, however, in the so-called Web blackout is more interesting than a quick Google search would indicate.
When cybersecurity problems arise, the best response is to adopt a patch as soon as it’s available. You don’t want to wait for an entirely new operating system to be created, and you really don’t want to use such a system until it has been debugged.
The smooth flow of online communication and commerce between Europe and the U.S. is at risk of interruption, thanks in part to naked opportunism on the part of European telecommunications giants. If the governments involved fail to keep online barriers between the continents low, the Internet’s potential to be an engine of global economic growth will be constrained.
More than 5 billion additional people will connect to the Internet in the next 20 years, and most of the newcomers will not speak English. This next generation will use the Internet in ways we cannot imagine, and its innovations will change the world.
Thanks to the Supreme Court’s decision last year to allow corporations and unions to make unlimited campaign contributions, Americans in the coming year may be blitzed by $1 billion of essentially anonymous television ads.
Can U.S. citizens count on using the Internet and cell-phone networks to communicate in high-stress situations? The Federal Communications Commission is about to examine that question. Public interest and the law both require that channels stay open.
When Brazil’s government buys anything from fighter jets to a fancy villa, details are available online within 24 hours. Such disclosures are a powerful way to combat corruption, and are a model for official openness that could inspire other nations.
On Feb. 3, President Barack Obama and the entire West Wing lost access to e-mail for more than seven hours. A tree-trimmer had accidentally cut the lines running out of the White House data center. White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer sent a bulletin via Twitter -- the only way he could get the news out, he said -- letting the world know that “Verizon is working to solve the problem.”