Report: Texans Suffering from Inequitable Broadband Access

Texas’ first-ever comprehensive, community-driven broadband internet analysis, which was released today, paints a dismal picture for those marginalized citizens who have to go without healthcare, economic opportunity, education and online communication due to broken infrastructure. Their testimony and stories are moving.

Hats off to my Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts colleagues for their work on this powerful report. I was excited to work on this, and being able to contribute was one of the most rewarding times of my career. Check it out, and press your lawmakers and communities to do more. 

The End of the iPod

After more than 20 years, one of the most iconic devices of all time is no more:

Over the years, Apple introduced multiple iterations of the iPod, including iPod mini, multiple versions of the iPod nano, the iPod shuffle, and the iPod touch ... Apple said that it is discontinuing the iPod because the iPod's capabilities have been built into the entire Apple product lineup, from the Mac to the iPhone to the Apple Watch.

My favorite iPod was the fourth generation model, released in 2004.

Apple’s Newsroom posts a farewell:

Music has always been part of our core at Apple, and bringing it to hundreds of millions of users in the way iPod did impacted more than just the music industry — it also redefined how music is discovered, listened to, and shared,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “Today, the spirit of iPod lives on. We’ve integrated an incredible music experience across all of our products, from the iPhone to the Apple Watch to HomePod mini, and across Mac, iPad, and Apple TV. And Apple Music delivers industry-leading sound quality with support for spatial audio — there’s no better way to enjoy, discover, and experience music.

For those who missed it, it’s hard to describe how exciting this product line was for pre-iPhone era Apple fans. It truly changed the music buying and listening experience.

5G Rollout is a Disaster for Airlines in the U.S. But Why Not in Europe?

CNN:

Why is there a potential problem in the United States, but not Europe? It comes down to technical details. 

Mobile phone companies in the United States are rolling out 5G service in a spectrum of radio waves with frequencies between 3.7 and 3.98 GHz. The companies paid the US government $81 billion in 2021 for the right to use those frequencies, known as the C-Band. But in Europe, 5G services use the slower 3.4 to 3.8 GHz range of spectrum. The aviation industry is worried that US 5G service is too close to the spectrum used by radar altimeters, which is between 4.2 and 4.4 GHz. Europe does not face the same risk, according to the industry, because there is a much larger buffer between the spectrum used by radar altimeters and 5G. 

There are other differences in how 5G is being rolled out, according to the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Other countries are using lower power levels, restricting the placement of 5G antennas near airfields and requiring them to be tilted downward to limit potential interference with aircraft. In France — cited by telecom carriers such as AT&T and Verizon as an example of 5G and aviation working seamlessly together — the height of a 5G antenna and the power of its signal determine how close it is allowed to a runway and the flight path of an aircraft, according to a technical note from France’s National Frequency Agency (ANFR). Antennas around 17 major French airports are also required to be tilted away from flight paths to minimize the risk of interference, the agency’s director of spectrum planning and international affairs, Eric Fournier, told CNN. 

Too Many People Still Use Windows XP

Windows XP, which turned 21 last month and has been unsupported since 2014, still runs on an alarmingly high number of PCs worldwide, including many in government.

via BleepingComputer:

So, why are some systems still using the outdated XP version?

The first category of systems that are still using Windows XP is those belonging to public sectors, known for their crawling upgrade speeds and hesitancy to use new technologies.

For many public entities, the bureaucracy of approving new system license purchases, upgrading hardware, and training the entire public sector is too complicated and costly.

The compatibility of custom-made 32-bit software tools is another crucial reason for still seeing XP in many places like industrial environments, hospitals, etc.

In many cases, there are no newer versions of these critical tools, or companies need to pay a lot of money to have them ported to new systems.

Then there’s the category of people who are using hardware that is too old and weak to run a newer Windows version properly, and they see no good reason to replace something that is still (technically) working.

Many users, including some in government, value ease and tradition over security … often to the detriment of public stakeholders.