We’ve been inundated with a flood of tips from Big Applers this morning, and we just confirmed ourselves — a large sect of AT&T users in New York City aren’t receiving calls. Even the ones who aren’t just holding it wrong. It seems as if outgoing calls operate just fine, but folks trying to dial in are greeted with eternal ringing. As in, it doesn’t even go to voicemail. We’re assuming the engineers at Ma Bell are all over this as we speak, but be sure to let us know how wrecked your Big City life is due to this in comments below.
Update: Right on cue, AT&T pinged us to say everything should be back to normal. The formal quote is below: “Wireless voice service has been restored and is back to normal now after a software issue occurred during routine maintenance which caused some customers on Long Island and in parts of Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan to experience voice service disruptions this morning. We apologize for any inconvenience to our customers.”
[Thanks to everyone who sent this in]
AT&T users in New York City suffering partial phone outage (update: restored) originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 04 Aug 2011 11:42:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
, cell tower
, phone outage
The latest update to Skype’s Android application has just been rolled out and a big part of its goodie delivery is two-way video calling. Only a quartet of phones are supported right now: Google’s own Nexus S, HTC’s Desire S, and the Xperia Neo and Pro from Sony Ericsson, all handsets that shipped with Android 2.3 installed. We suspect the rest of the Android world won’t be far behind — Thunderbolt users will surely be wondering why they’re not included in this first batch — but for now it’s just that fearsome foursome. Also included in Skype v18.104.22.168 is a UI overhaul and support for SMS messaging, neither of which suffers from any handset restrictions. Hit up the Android Market on your phone (the web Market still lists version 1) to get at the latest software.
[Thanks to everyone who sent this in]
Update: We’ve just spent a little quality time with Skype 2.0 and its newfangled video calling. Notably, we couldn’t get a video call to work between the Xperia Neo and a desktop version of Skype — it was only possible to get video when calling between the Neo and the similarly compatible HTC Desire S. Once we did establish a connection, though, frame rates were smooth and buttery and the UI is simple and unintrusive yet offers quite a few functions. You can mute the call, choose between the front- or rear-facing camera, reposition the small window that shows your video feed anywhere on the screen, or — with a double tap upon that window — switch focus so that your own video output dominates the screen and your buddy’s feed is relocated to the smaller preview. It’s a great looking implementation of video calling, though we did only test it over WiFi, 3G performance may be materially worse.
Update 2: Skype’s press release and demo video can now be found after the break.
Continue reading Skype 2.0 brings two-way video calling to Nexus S, Desire S, Xperia Neo and Xperia Pro
Skype 2.0 brings two-way video calling to Nexus S, Desire S, Xperia Neo and Xperia Pro originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 30 Jun 2011 05:21:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
, video chat
Researchers at the University of Georgia analyzed six years’ worth of Usenet posts, and you know what they discovered? Life ain’t fair. The most popular two percent of posters who started discussion threads hogged 50 percent of all replies, while everyone else struggled for attention. What made some thread-starters more attractive than others? Thankfully it wasn’t rampant flaming. The distinguishing trait was actually how factual they were: only 12 percent of posts by popular posters contained personal opinions or comments. However, posting a bit of news isn’t all it takes to win followers. In a related experiment, 200 volunteers were unleashed onto “simulated” discussion forums and their behavior revealed an even more important factor. The slightly flummoxed researchers called it a “preferential attachment”, which pulled readers towards posters who already had an excess of followers. In other words, life still ain’t fair. For a delightfully factual breakdown of the full results, check out the PR after the break.
Continue reading Shocker! The Internet is not egalitarian, popular forum posters have it easy
Shocker! The Internet is not egalitarian, popular forum posters have it easy originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 13 Jun 2011 11:11:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Whether a repressive government, a buggy DNS server or a little old lady is behind your internet outage, it can’t be much fun, but the US government sympathizes with your plight if you’re dealing with reason number one. The New York Times reports that the US State Department will have spent upwards of $70 million on “shadow networks” which would allow protesters to communicate even if powers that be pull the traditional plug — so far, it’s spent at least $50 million on a independent cell phone network for Afghanistan, and given a $2 million grant to members of the New America Foundation creating the “internet in a suitcase” pictured above. It’s a batch of mesh networking equipment designed to be spirited into a country to set up a private network. Last we’d heard, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had pledged $25 million for just this sort of internet freedom, and the New America Foundation had applied for some of those bucks — see our more coverage links below — but it sounds like the money is flowing fast, and in multiple directions now.
US funds shadow networks, builds ‘internet in a suitcase’ for repressed protesters originally appeared on Engadget on Sun, 12 Jun 2011 12:18:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
, new america
On today’s session of “things to ponder before lunch,” we have a strange new text string added to the iTunes preview of some iOS apps, which identifies an “ix.Mac.MarketingName” as one of the compatible devices with software designed for iOS. We’re seeing it listed alongside a whole bunch of apps, but importantly not all of them, which hints that it might not be just a stray piece of code or a bug in the system. The location-aware and voice-centric MyVoice Communication Aid and Microsoft’s Bing for iPad apps do not include that funky MarketingName code, suggesting that it’s there as a placeholder for a new supported device of some sort — could apps finally be coming to the Apple TV? For now, we’d rather not stack speculation on top of uncertainty, so we’ll just jot this down as another interesting development in the walled garden of Cupertino and wait patiently to see what (if anything) comes from it.
[Thanks, Daniel, Chris and Nick]
What is ‘ix.Mac.MarketingName’ and why is it listed as a supported device for iOS apps? originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 14 Apr 2011 07:19:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
, app store
No matter how hard Skype and others try to convince us otherwise, we still do most of our web communications via text or, if entirely unavoidable, by voice. Maybe we’re ludittes or maybe video calling has yet to prove its value. Hoping to reverse such archaic views, researchers at the MIT Media Lab have harnessed a Kinect’s powers of depth and human perception to provide some newfangled videoconferencing functionality. First up, you can blur out everything on screen but the speaker to keep focus where it needs to be. Then, if you want to get fancier, you can freeze a frame of yourself in the still-moving video feed for when you need to do something off-camera, and to finish things off, you can even drop some 3D-aware augmented reality on your viewers. It’s all a little unrefined at the moment, but the ideas are there and well worth seeing. Jump past the break to do just that.
Continue reading Kinect used to make teleconferencing actually kind of cool (video)
Kinect used to make teleconferencing actually kind of cool (video) originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 04 Apr 2011 03:26:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
, mit media lab
It’s a common problem, not having as much cash as you want to, and Skype‘s solving it with a common web solution: advertising. It may come as a surprise to hear that the eminently popular voice and chat service doesn’t peddle stuff to its users already, but it’s now formalizing a plan to introduce a carefully controlled measure of paid-for display ads on the Home tab of its Windows desktop client. You heard that right, there’s no mention of Mac or mobile services here, and it’s further limited to the nations of Germany, the UK, and USA. Anonymous data may be collected as part of the new scheme to target ads to specific audiences (you can, however, opt out), while Skype promises that user experience remains paramount to its future goals, though clearly that looming Initial Public Offering isn’t too far from its thoughts right now either.
Skype to start serving ads in US, Germany and UK ahead of upcoming IPO originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 07 Mar 2011 12:59:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Uh oh, Verizon’s got itself into a bit of hot water with the old FCC. An outage during a snowstorm last month has reportedly resulted in a whopping 10,000 calls to 911 not being connected by the big red carrier. That would be bad enough in itself, but the less-than-pleased Communications Commission also notes that the emergency services that missed out on these calls were not alerted to the connectivity failure — in fact, Maryland’s Montgomery County officers were the ones to inform Verizon of the fault it was having, which was then promptly repaired within 15 minutes. The FCC is now curtly asking the network to check its entire footprint for similar vulnerabilities — as the January events were apparently “not unique” — and to propose remedial actions and monitoring systems to prevent it happening again.
Verizon dropped 10,000 emergency calls during January snowstorm in Maryland, FCC finds it ‘alarming’ originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 22 Feb 2011 07:02:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Good news for the people of Egypt: internet connectivity has been almost universally restored. Bad news for the people of Egypt: they’ll need at least a few weeks to catch up on all the Twitter mentions they’ve accumulated while being away.
Egypt comes back online, has a ton of unread feeds to catch up on originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 02 Feb 2011 08:24:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
, internet access
Oh, woe is us. Users of Gmail‘s web client are reporting a most unwelcome new visitor to their communication service: display ads. The right-most column that Google reserves for ads has heretofore been populated only by easy-to-ignore text links, but as of the past few of days, image-based advertising has also been sneaking out to unsuspecting emailers. The guys over at Search Engine Land have done a bit of digging and received the following statement from Google:
“We’re always trying out new ad formats and placements in Gmail, and we recently started experimenting with image ads on messages with heavy image content.”
This little trial does seem to be taking place on a very limited basis, which is why there’s been no outrage since it began last Friday. Let’s just hope that the Google Display Network that’s responsible for these pictomercials thinks better of it and leaves our Gmails alone. We’d hate to have to leave the beautiful web for some impersonal mail-serving app.
Google testing display ads in Gmail, our patience originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 28 Jan 2011 02:44:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
, google display network