The Digital Divide Isn’t Microsoft’s First Priority

But in urban areas all around the world where Microsoft wants to do business, the white spaces will be very useful for “smart city” devices and applications—remember, that’s Microsoft’s big idea. And if the US is already widely using those white spaces, the rest of the world will follow along—both in terms of policy and in terms of providing additional marketplaces for the white spaces ecosystem of manufacturers to sell into.

Source: The Digital Divide Isn’t Microsoft’s First Priority | WIRED

Move Over, Bitcoin. Ether Is the Digital Currency of the Moment.

In a recent survey of 1,100 virtual currency users, 94 percent were positive about the state of Ethereum, while only 49 percent were positive about Bitcoin, the industry publication CoinDesk said this month.

Source: Move Over, Bitcoin. Ether Is the Digital Currency of the Moment. – The New York Times

Investors buying Ether are placing a bet that people will want to use the Ethereum network’s computing capabilities and will need the currency to do so. But that is far from a sure thing. And real-world use of the network is still scant.

Electric vehicle battery cost dropped 80% in 6 years down to $227/kWh

Tesla is among the automakers staying ahead of the trend. While McKinsey projects that battery pack prices will be below $190/kWh by the end of the decade, Tesla claims to be below $190/kWh since early 2016.

That’s how the automaker manages to achieve close to 30% gross margin on its flagship electric sedan, the Model S.

Source: Electric vehicle battery cost dropped 80% in 6 years down to $227/kWh – Tesla claims to be below $190/kWh | Electrek

Here Comes the War for Commercial Drone Dominance

Into this universe comes Airbus SE, the European aerospace conglomerate. Airbus is starting a new data company, called Airbus Aerial, to provide an array of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) services, a field the company estimates could increase to more than $120 billion annually as the use of these fleets expands, said Dirk Hoke, CEO of Airbus’s defence and space group. Hoke introduced the new company Wednesday at Xponential.

Source: Here Comes the War for Commercial Drone Dominance – Bloomberg

How One Little Cable Company Exposed Telecom’s Achilles’ Heel

See the problem? If people begin noticing that there’s no competition, that Americans are paying too much for too little, and that the entire country is suffering as a result, that’s a big problem for Big Cable.

Source: How One Little Cable Company Exposed Telecom’s Achilles’ Heel

What really matters is whether, someday, we’ll take on as a country the issue of the dismal state of high-speed internet access in America. If the Title II reclassification holds, it’s more likely that we will take that step sooner. And the carriers know that.

Washington Post Licenses Publishing Technology to Tronc

AWS has allowed developers of all sizes to access cloud computing services, and the Post wants to do the same for publishers with its Arc division. The entire Arc platform is hosted by AWS, and publishers pay based on the amount of traffic flowing to their properties once they’re up and running.

Source: Washington Post Licenses Publishing Technology to Tronc – WSJ

According to Mr. Prakash, most digital publishing systems are built by technology companies with little experience in how newsrooms and media businesses operate, which gives Arc an advantage.

This site is “taking the edge off rant mode” by making readers pass a quiz before commenting

The team at NRKbeta attributes the civil tenor of its comments to a feature it introduced last month. On some stories, potential commenters are now required to answer three basic multiple-choice questions about the article before they’re allowed to post a comment.

Source: This site is “taking the edge off rant mode” by making readers pass a quiz before commenting

The goal is to ensure that the commenters have actually read the story before they discuss it.

J.C. Penney’s troubles are reflected in satellite images of its parking lots

Orbital Insight, a venture capital-funded satellite intelligence startup based in Palo Alto, tracks 250,000 parking lots for 96 retail chains across the U.S.

Source: J.C. Penney’s troubles are reflected in satellite images of its parking lots | The Outline

Orbital Insight’s parking lot figures track pretty closely with J.C. Penney’s stock price.

PC market shows signs of recovery

IDC expects PC vendors to ship a total of 258.2 million units this year, a figure which would be 6.4 percent lower than last year. The previous estimate was a 7.2 percent fall, which IDC announced in August. Growth will still be negative in 2017, but shipments are expected to decrease by just 2.6 percent compared to this year.

Source: PC market shows signs of recovery