Monthly Archives: June 2017

Georgia Brought up to Speed with AT&T Fixed Wireless

AT&T wants to give the gift of economic growth, community engagement, and accessible education to the most underserved areas of Georgia. The gift of the internet, that is.

Through the FCC Connect American Fund, AT&T (along with eight other carriers) accepted $1.5 billion as part of an initiative to bring broadband to 23 million Americans in areas without broadband service.

What is fixed wireless?

Fixed wireless is wireless connection between two fixed spots. This means that there is the carrier tower (fixed spot 1) and a building like a home or a business (fixed spot 2). The wireless connection is transmitted over terrestrial microwaves between the two fixed spots instead of through wires or cables. These “airwaves” enable communication between the two areas.

Fixed wireless is considered more reliable, lower latency, without data caps (technology, not carrier) and overall a lower cost.

Years ago, this type of technology was only talked about. Satellite was the greatest thing ever. Now, however, we are starting to see carriers utilize the very latest in technology in order to bring a faster, reliable, and cheaper way to transmit communication.  This is especially big considering most rural areas of America went without solid internet because installing cable simply was not a priority for many big carriers. With fixed wireless, everyone can have access.

Why is it only in Georgia?

This is an initial rollout. AT&T wanted to begin testing the technology for fixed wireless back in 2015 for some residents in rural areas of Alabama, Georgia, Kansas and Virginia. In these tests, AT&T saw speeds of 15 Mbps. Since all was looking good, they are now moving ahead with a full Georgia rollout. AT&T’s fixed wireless will  be available to 1.1. American homes by 2020.

What ‘s the deal?

If you’re an AT&T customer or are thinking about becoming one, look for what what is simply called (for now) Fixed Wireless Internet.

5 Commonly Confused Emojis

I knew emojis had hit the mainstream when my 74-year-old father started sending them in his text messages to me. 

Yes, it’s an unavoidable fact: emojis have become part of daily life for us, the smartphone-using public.

I’m sure I’m not alone in the amount of time I’ve spent trying to decipher emojis, especially ones coming from romantic partners. Those text exchanges go something like this:

HER: “Hey, I’m going to the Art after Dark tonight.”

ME: “Sounds good, gonna grab some dinner.”

HER: “O.k. <neutral face emoji>”

ME (to myself): Does the neutral face mean she’s disappointed that I’m not going with her? Or is it sarcasm? Or what? Or what??

Of course, part of the utility of emojis is that they are imprecise signifiers; if she wanted me to know in no uncertain terms that she was disappointed in me for not accompanying her, she could have just written it.

In this article I’ll discuss some of the most commonly confused emojis, and attempt to shed light both on their intended meanings the ways they’re typically used. That way, you’ll be better prepared to decode emoji-riddled text messages from your romantic partner/sibling/friend/parent.

Emojipedia.com was my go-to source for this article, and I mention it frequently.

Neutral Face
confused face emoji

Emojipedia describes this emoji as “a face featuring a straight-and-closed mouth, not giving away any particular emotion.”

I’d quibble with this description a bit. In my experience, this neutral face is in fact loaded with emotion. When I receive one of these, it usually means (as I find out later) that the sender is bummed, tired, disappointed or nonplussed. As such, it’s kind of the perfect emoji for someone who wants to hint at their feelings but not make them known outright. I wonder if the creators of this emoji had any idea it would be used like this.

Disappointed But Relieved Face
disappointed but relieved face emoji

Emojipedia really schooled me on this one. I always assumed this emoji signified feeling a bit sad about something. It turns out that the single drop of liquid coming down the side of the face is not a tear, but a bead of sweat.

Emojipedia rightly points out that this emoji is frequently confused with Crying Face emoji, since at small sizes it’s difficult to discern between the two. I’d venture to say that not a single person I have interacted with over text has deployed this face to indicate disappointed relief, which hints at the widespread confusion over it’s meaning.

Face with Tears of Joy

face with tears of joy emoji

According to Emojipedia, this emoji is “often mistaken for being tears of sadness.” I used to think that’s what it meant–specifically uncontrollable crying, of the bawling, scream-crying variety. I’ve since learned that it signifies laughing until you cry.

This has become one of the most overused emojis of the last year or so, as a scroll through Instagram makes clear. Just as I refuse to believe that people are laughing out loud when they send me a “LOL,” I similarly fail to believe they’re doubled over with laughter when they send one of these. But maybe I just lack imagination.

Hushed Face
hushed face emoji

Emojipedia rightly points out that this face “looks more surprised than hushed,” and indeed it’s widely used to that end. With its high eyebrows and wordless, open mouth, I can certainly see what the designers were going for when they made it, but it still says surprise to me, and millions of other. As such, I think it’s ripe for a redefinition. Who do I have to call to help make this happen?

Flag emojis
flag emoji

Flag emojis—as Mike Pence learned recently—are often misused. In February, the Vice President tweeted out his administration’s support for Jewish people and the nation of Israel. The only problem? He punctuated his tweet with an emoji of the Nicaraguan flag.

One of my friends recently committed the same error when he sent me a Mexican flag emoji instead of the intended Italian one. If you plan on texting or tweeting a country’s flag, make sure you have the right one. It can be embarrassing when you don’t.

If you’re looking for a device or cell phone plan to send all of these emojis, be sure to check out WhistleOut’s industry-leading comparison tool, as well as the all new coverage check feature!

John Oliver wants you to save net neutrality

Concerned about net neutrality in the aftermath of the FCC’s proposed broadband re-classification? HBO’s John Oliver is right there with you – and he’s asking us all to take action.

With broadband soon to be reclassified as a Title I information service, Oliver has once again used his Last Week Tonight platform to break down net neutrality for viewers. The comedian first touched upon the subject during the program’s debut season, in an acclaimed segment that galvanized audience support for the cause.

Way back in 2014, Oliver urged fans of internet freedom to flood the FCC’s commenting system with demands that the Commission preserve net neutrality by voting in favor of more effective regulation. The call-to-troll worked: more than 45,000 commenters hit up the FCC, completely crashing the website’s feedback system.

In February 2015, the FCC re-classed broadband as a Title II telecommunications service, enforcing net neutrality protections and making the World Wide Web a happier place for all. The new classification worked to prevent internet service providers from favoring partnered sites or services by creating ‘fast lanes’, i.e. slowing traffic to competing websites.

However, as with many Obama-era consumer protections, the ‘internet conduct standard’ preserving net neutrality is in danger. Enter John Oliver and Last Week Tonight, which has set up an easy way for viewers to fight against the changes via the FCC’s comment portal:

By visiting GoFCCYourself.com, internet freedom fighters can jump straight to the feedback section for the FCC’s proposed new ruling. Follow the link, click on ‘+ New Filing / + Express’, and tell the FCC exactly what you think of Chairman Ajit Pai’s decision to flout net neutrality in the name of pandering to corporations.

Since Oliver’s Sunday night segment, commenters have already overloaded the FCC with responses, crashing the site in a repeat of the 2014 call to action. However, FCC.gov appears to be back up and running, so if you’re ready to fight for a free and open internet, now is the time to make your voice heard.

To paraphrase Oliver: if you’ve got time to meme, time to creep on a total stranger’s Instagram, or time to read this very article, then you definitely have the two minutes required to let the FCC know how you feel about the potential for ISPs to use their power to manipulate your internet access. Fly, my pretties, fly!

Android O is about the essentials

Google first announced Android O about two months ago, and now it’s finally spilled the beans about what’s new. We still don’t know what sweet treat it will be named after (though our money is on Oreo), but Android O is all about improving the essentials: battery life, speed, and security are key areas of focus.

In terms of battery, Android O will automatically limit what apps are able to do in the background. For example, the new operating system will limit how frequently an app running in the background of your phone can retrieve your physical location, which is one of the more battery demanding tasks a phone can perform.

Google’s also made extensive changes to Android O’s core, which should result in phones booting twice as fast, and apps running faster out of the box.

With regards to security, Android O is ostensibly getting Google-made antivirus. Dubbed Google Play Protect, the feature will scan apps for threats and either prevent you from installing them in the first place, or remove them from your device. Play Protect will monitor apps from the Play Store (which are also scanned before they’re listed), as well as apps you’re trying to install from third party sources. Play Protect will also be rolled out to older Android devices.