We are sorry to see you leave - Beta is different and we value the time you took to try it out. Before you decide to go, please take a look at some value-adds for Beta and learn more about it. Thank you for reading Slashdot, and for making the site better!
Kyle Jacoby (2973265) writes "In 2010, after Google Fiber's success in Kansas City, Google looked for another city to test its infrastructure. Seattle jumped at the opportunity to woo the internet giant, hoping to fuel the growing needs of its increasingly tech-centric city, but lost the bid to Austin in the end. Impatient, Seattle partnered with Gigabit Squared to deliver gigabit service using some of the city's own unused fiber. Originally slated to begin service in Fall of 2013, the project was delayed until "first quarter 2014," but there still appears to be no signs of life. Recent probing by GeekWire suggests that the project has stalled again and, in fact, may never have been moving to begin with. "When you dug into [it]... there wasn’t any money there, and there wasn’t any clear path to the money other than this general notion that if you got enough people moving in the same direction, money would show up." The Gigabit Squared toll-free phone number was even removed from their site after being disabled, and the project's prime proponent, Mayor McGinn, admits that he's "very concerned it’s not going to work." Without this project, and without motivation from the new mayor-elect, there may be no competition for the Comcast monopoly, whose current minimum price for internet-only is $49.95/mo ($64.95/mo for speeds over 6 mbps). This sharply contrasts Gigabit Seattle's announced plans for $10/mo for 5 mbps, $45 for 100 mbps, and $80 for true gigabit." top
Amazon increases its free shipping minimum order from $25 to $35
Kyle Jacoby (2973265) writes "Perhaps you've already felt the cruel sting at checkout from Amazon already...
Just ahead of the holiday shopping season, online retailer giant Amazon.com has increased the minimum dollar value of orders which qualify for free shipping by 40%, from $25 to $35. In the first half of this year, Amazon said about 30% of its sales increase in North America came partly from free shipping offers. Will these customers be willing to up their orders by 40% to save a few dollars on shipping, or will Amazon simply be losing out on customers looking for free shipping on their smaller orders? Or has Amazon hooked enough loyal customers that are willing to opt for the $79/yr prime account to get their free shipping? Perhaps Amazon's years of free Prime trials and reduced memberships for students will finally pay off." top
Google Wants to Help You Tiptoe Around the NSA & The Great Firewall of China
Kyle Jacoby (2973265) writes "The NSA was right when it postulated that the mere knowledge of the existence of their program could weaken its ability to function. Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), which serve to mask the source and destination of data by routing it through a 3rd party server, have been a popular method for maintaining internet anonymity for the paranoid and prudent. However, the all-but-silent fall of secure email server Lavabit, and VPN provider CryptoSeal, have shown us just how pervasive the government's eye on our communications is. These companies chose to fold rather than to divulge customer data entrusted to them, which begs the million-dollar question: how many have chosen to remain open and silently hand over the keys to your data?
Google has decided to put the private back in VPN by supporting uProxy, a project developed at the University of Washington with help from Brave New Software. Still using a VPN schema, their aim is to keep the VPN amongst friends (literally). Of course, you'll need a friend who is willing to let you route your net through their tubes. Their simple integration into Firefox and Chrome will lower the barrier creating a decentralized VPN architecture would make sweeping pen register orders more difficult, and would also make blocking VPNs a rather difficult task for countries like China, who block citizens' access to numerous websites.
On a related note, when will the public finally demand that communications which pass through a third party, encrypted, still retain an reasonable expectation of privacy (rendering them pen register order-resistant)?" top
Can Techy Rideshare Startup, Lyft, Survive the SoCal Heat?
Kyle Jacoby (2973265) writes "The app-powered on-demand ride-sharing startup, Lyft, has brought its trademark pink mustaches to San Diego. After a successful venture in San Francisco about a year ago, Lyft has since expanded to offer their services to other congested cities, like Boston, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Chicago. Despite the utility of the service, Lyft and related services Sidecar and Uber, have recently come under fire from the city of Los Angeles, whose department of transportation issued cease-and-desist letters to the startup. It seems that the service has the taxi community in an uproar, who believe that Lyft ride-share drivers should be required to obtain the permits similar to those required of taxi drivers."