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This is how politicians should deal with bad cable companies

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The relationship between a town’s government and its cable company is often uneasy. Cable companies often hold regional monopolies — only 20% of Americans have a choice of high-speed broadband provider — so it’s easy for the telcos to extract concessions from local government in return for begrudgingly upgrading the local network.

But local governments do wield some power, so it’s not an entirely one-way relationship. Nowhere demonstrates this better than the town of Andalusia, Alabama, where Mayor Earl Johnson is squaring up for a fight with Mediacom.

Mediacom has a franchise agreement to offer cable and Internet service within the city, thanks to its 2016 takeover of the local cable company, Andalusia TV Cable. But Johnson says that since Mediacom took over, service has been tanking.

“For the entire time that I have been mayor, I have not received as many complaints about anything as I have received about the cable and broadband service from Mediacom,” Johnson told the city council last week, according to the local paper. “Whatever it is that they’re doing here, they need to make some changes…they operate here because we let them. As a city government we can’t tell them or make them do anything. But we can locate someone who is an expert on broadband and Internet who can tell us what we can do.”

Johnson touched on something that governments are starting to work out: Although telecoms providers are private companies, they make extensive use of public rights of way in order to offer their service. Government has a duty to ensure that those rights of way are being utilized as efficiently as possible, and if they’re not, to offer an alternative to their citizens.

“I don’t know of anything else to do but to start asking questions and find out,” Johnson said. “We need enough broadband to provide our people with what their needs are and we don’t have it right now. People are paying for services that they are not getting them.

He also mentioned the new big fear of telecoms, that the city’s utilities department could easily handle running a municipal broadband system. Local municipal broadband is an increasingly popular option that has been shown to work, but obviously poses an existential threat to the established cable companies. Studies have shown that prices fall and service improves when a competitor comes into town, so maybe Johnson should keep asking questions, and Mediacom’s service might suddenly get better.

Fashion and music obsessed wanderlust. Resale clothing appreciator who fancies herself a well-crafted cocktail. Occasional photographer. Amateur sneaker head.

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Watch a drone crash into Apple’s new spaceship campus in Cupertino

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We’ve been watching footage of the brand new Apple Park in Cupertino, California filmed by drones for months, but over this past weekend, the inevitable finally occurred. A drone crashed into the complex. Matthew Roberts, who has been filming the progress of the Apple Park for years, was contacted by someone who lost control of their drone as it was hovering over the Apple Park this weekend in an attempt to find out where it had crashed.

After some time searching with his own DJI Phantom 4 Pro, Roberts eventually found the drone wedged between two solar panels on the roof of the facility. The original pilot got in touch with Apple to tell the company what happened, but there’s no word yet on whether or not he will get his drone back.

The good news is that, regardless of the drone’s future, the footage of the crash landing will live on. Roberts uploaded the footage on his channel, along with the video of him finding the crashed drone on the roof:

The pilot explained to Roberts that there were no signs of premature failure. The drone just suddenly plummeted to the ground, with the roof of the Apple Park breaking its fall. This is the first incident of its kind (or at least the first one we’ve heard of), so it might prompt Apple to crack down on allowing enthusiasts to fly over its campus in the future. While there doesn’t appear to have been any damage, the drone could have just as easily hit an employee.

That might hurt even more than walking face-first into a glass door.

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Samsung blasts its previous world record with massive new enterprise-grade 30TB SSDs

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Samsung has today unveiled a new line of SSDs for enterprise systems that doubles its previous world’s largest capacity. The new storage offers a huge 30.72TB per drive.

Samsung released its 15TB SAS SSDs for servers and other enterprise solutions back in 2016. Today, the company announced the news of its latest high capacity drives in a press release.

The new SSDs, PM1643 offer some amazing specs aside from doubling storage in these drives from 15TB to 30TB, which is a feat of its own. They also provide almost double the performance of its predecessor.

In addition to the doubled capacity, performance levels have risen significantly and are nearly twice that of Samsung’s previous generation high-capacity SAS SSD. Based on a 12Gb/s SAS interface, the new PM1643 drive features random read and write speeds of up to 400,000 IOPS and 50,000 IOPS, and sequential read and write speeds of up to 2,100MB/s and 1,700 MB/s, respectively.

Samsung’s VP of memory sales and marketing, Jaesoo Han also said the company will  be putting lots of focus on moving 10TB and larger SSDs forward quickly.

Samsung will continue to move aggressively in meeting the shifting demand toward SSDs over 10TB and at the same time, accelerating adoption of our trail-blazing storage solutions in a new age of enterprise systems.

While SSDs of this capacity won’t be available for consumer use, it is good to see such rapid growth. SSD prices have been dropping quickly over the past few years, with Samsung’s internal 2.5-inch EVO SSDs now available under $100, and 1TB versions for under $300. The companies T5 external SSDs (reviewed) can be found starting around $100 as well.

Check out Samsung’s full press release here for all the details on how it managed to create its 30TB SSDs.

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Bitcoin is back over $11,000

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It took Bitcoin more than two weeks to recover the ground it lost in early February when the most popular cryptocurrency in the world plunged below $6,000 for the first time since November. Bitcoin is nowhere near its record highs from mid-December when it hit almost $20,000, but the digital coin is finally trading above $11,000 again. Then again, there’s no predicting the crypto market. And because Bitcoin is on the rise, all other digital coins are slightly up or holding steady in trading on Monday. So what happened?

The crypto world is still riding a wave of positive news, which includes the White House’s official comments on the matter. Trump’s government isn’t ready to regulate Bitcoin yet, but it’s keeping an eye on it.

“I think we’re still absolutely studying and understanding what the good ideas and bad ideas in that space are,” special assistant to the president and White House cybersecurity coordinator Rob Joyce said at the Munich Security Conference in Germany last week. “So, I don’t think it’s close.”

That doesn’t mean regulation fears will subside anytime soon. As CNBC reports, Joyce also said that the government is worried about cryptocurrencies being used in illegal ways.

“We are worried. There are benefits to the bitcoin concept — digital cash, digital currencies,” Joyce said. “But at the same time, if you look at the way bitcoin works after there is a criminal act that takes place, you can’t rewind the clock and take back that currency.”

One country that’s very crypto-friendly, Switzerland, just came out with guidelines for initial coin offerings (ICO), which became a popular method of raising money last year with the help of cryptocurrency. Using ICOs, companies don’t have to adhere to the guidelines that surround VC and angel capital when they raise money. The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) published ICO guidelines late last week to regulate ICOs.

“The application of blockchain technology has innovative potential within and far beyond the financial markets,” FINMA CEO Mark Branson said. “However, blockchain-based projects conducted analogously to regulated activities cannot simply circumvent the tried and tested regulatory framework. Our balanced approach to handling ICO projects and inquiries allows legitimate innovators to navigate the regulatory landscape and so launch their projects in a way consistent with our laws protecting investors and the integrity of the financial system.”

One of the main banks in the Netherlands also announced late last week that it’ll use blockchain technology to replace escrow accounts. “With this new service, every individual client of the non-bank organization gets a bank account with the ABN AMRO Clearing Bank (AACB) via the blockchain,” the press release reads. “That way, fund flows between the organization and its clients are included in payment processes under regular supervision, guaranteeing the required transparency. This blockchain method drastically reduces administrative costs for the organization by eliminating escrow account management costs.”

Not all banks are happy with the Bitcoin surge. The Polish Central Bank (NFB) was just caught redhanded and admitted it paid a YouTuber to attack digital coins online. The bank also invested in Google and Facebook campaigns for the same purpose, according to NewsBTC .

Finally, there’s news about Tether, which just created 86 million EURT and 60.1 million USDT both based on the Ethereum, Finance Magnets reports. Tether faced intense criticism lately, for lack of transparency regarding its business model and the way it’s issuing tokens. Tether coins are supposed to be backed up by fiat currency. Therefore every USDT token should be valued at $1. The currency allows users to seamless trade coins online, by converting money to USDT or EURT rather than fiat coins.

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