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Comments

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Can Google Connect the Unconnected 2/3 To the Internet?

lpress Re:Split up Google (99 comments)

What content does Google produce?

YouTube

about a month ago
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I Want a Kindle Killer

lpress Re:Dead wrong (321 comments)

Don't you think a good UI could keep those features out of sight for the reader who does not want them? The current typed note taking is "out of the way."

about 1 month ago
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I Want a Kindle Killer

lpress Re:It's a reader, not a writer (321 comments)

If everyone were as passive a reader as you are, the Kindle would not provide for marginal notes. Some of us are more active readers and would prefer better integrated note taking.

about 1 month ago
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How I Cut My Time Warner Cable Bill By 33%

lpress Re:the phone is pure profit (206 comments)

90 000% profit

A few years ago, I did a similar back-of-the envelope calculation and concluded that if Apple charged as much per bit to download songs as telcos charged for text messages, a song would cost more than $5,000.

about 5 months ago
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How I Cut My Time Warner Cable Bill By 33%

lpress Re:I cut my cable bill by 100% (206 comments)

Based on the email address and the info on the blog, it puts you right in dense Los Angeles suburbia.

The email address is my school. I live in West Los Angeles, but in a house built in 1946 that is and pretty far from my C. O. That being said, they may be lying about the distance and old wires -- it may be that they have under-provisioned the C. O.or backhaul. I don't trust them any more than I trust TWC. It would be nice if there were some viable competition. Maybe Google Fiber some day -- LA is shopping around for a municipal network partner -- but even Google may become "Comcastic" at some point.

FttH

I agree 100%. You might even own the line coming to your house -- the way you own your water, gas pipes and sewer pipes.

about 5 months ago
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How I Cut My Time Warner Cable Bill By 33%

lpress Re:I cut my cable bill by 100% (206 comments)

Nope, you still get cable TV. At least the several places I've had TWC Internet in NY, I also got free(ish) basic cable. It's only ten or twelve channels, but it includes the major networks and the local news.

Right -- same in Los Angeles -- a bunch of local channels -- many foreign language. I even got a $5 gift card from TWC because they mistakenly (?) blocked the Super Bowl (which I watched anyhow using a rabbit ear antenna).

about 5 months ago
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How I Cut My Time Warner Cable Bill By 33%

lpress Re:I cut my cable bill by 100% (206 comments)

Why didn't this guy cut his telephone service too?

I could not do that while in the store -- had to talk it over with my wife and may still do it. However, I wish I had tried it just to see if the rep could have found yet another promotion!

about 5 months ago
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How I Cut My Time Warner Cable Bill By 33%

lpress Re:Common Knowledge (206 comments)

Can someone explain the Slashdot scoring algorithm to me? This egotistical boob is saying the same thing several others said and they got scores of "0." Why does this egotistical boob get a higher score than his/her predecessors?

about 5 months ago
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How I Cut My Time Warner Cable Bill By 33%

lpress Re:Speaking of monopolies... Comcast (206 comments)

Good advice -- I am not sure what would have happened if I had just been on the phone. I will experiment next year -- they've got my interest now.

about 5 months ago
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How I Cut My Time Warner Cable Bill By 33%

lpress Re:It's all rigged. (206 comments)

Thanks for the inside story! Do the retention agents take your alternatives into account? If the girl had checked with Verizon and AT&T she would have seen that she had me.

about 5 months ago
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How I Cut My Time Warner Cable Bill By 33%

lpress Re:I cut my cable bill by 100% (206 comments)

On the phone -- I could not drop it on the spot without talking to my wife ... plus lazy inertia. But, I do have telephone alternatives, which is more than I can say for Internet connectivity.

Verizon DSL is another weird story. I was their customer many years ago, getting around 5 Mbps down on a plan that promised up to 7. One day, they throttled it down to 1.5. When I complained, they told me that at my location with my geriatric wiring, I could only get 1.5. They were not willing to un-throttle it in spite of the fact that I had been getting 5 Mbps the day before. That is the day I became a TWC customer.

I just rechecked my Verizon DSL availability. They say I can get "high speed Internet enhanced" -- 1.1-3.0 Mbps down and 384 Kbps up.

In general, many people are like me -- busy and lazy -- and it takes something big like Verizon throttling my DSL or hearing that I was paying $40 for phone service to get them to get our attention.

about 5 months ago
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How I Cut My Time Warner Cable Bill By 33%

lpress Re:the phone is pure profit (206 comments)

The only thing I can think of that is more pure profitable than telephone service is telephone company text messages.

about 5 months ago
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How I Cut My Time Warner Cable Bill By 33%

lpress Re:I cut my cable bill by 100% (206 comments)

Read the post -- I'd dropped Cable TV long ago -- this was Internet and telephone only.

about 5 months ago
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New Unix Implementation Turns 30

lpress Earlier free software (290 comments)

Not to take away from GNU, but it was not the first freely exchanged open source software. In the batch processing days, every IBM branch office had a file cabinet full of shared software and organizations like SHARE did what the name suggests. Share was formed in 1955 and is still going.

about 10 months ago
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Doug Engelbart Passes Away

lpress Re:The Machine Stops (and starts again in a new wa (124 comments)

Well, I am even older -- started on unit record equipment and really understood it. Later, I wire-wrapped a single board computer in order to learn about TTL. But I did that without understanding the physics. I could use relays and TTL chips, but did not understand them. Same with programming -- started with low-level assembly language then moved to higher levels of abstraction -- first IOCS routines then Fortran. Today we program at still higher levels of abstraction.

But, I never could have built a relay from scratch let alone a TTL chip. Even us old guys were far from self-sufficient and capable of restarting "the machine" if it failed. How long did it take people to get from mud to pottery, rocks to steel and concrete, raw meat to cooked,sheep hair to shirts? We are all extremely narrow specialists.

Also -- you've picked a tougher sounding life goal than Doug Engelbart did.

1 year,18 days
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Doug Engelbart Passes Away

lpress Re:William C. Norris and PLATO and others; Cuba (124 comments)

Well, you have given me some links to follow!

I visited Cuba a couple of times during the "special period," and saw poverty, closed factories, etc. The main adaptions I noted were -- regular power blackouts and tons of brand new Chinese bicycles.

If you are a fan of dystopian sci fi, check out EM Forster's "The machine stops."

Dramatization video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvrGUnIFuRs
Text: http://www.ele.uri.edu/faculty/vetter/Other-stuff/The-Machine-Stops.pdf

I recall fooling with a Plato terminal back in the 60/70s when I was at the System Development Corporation. They had a program for time-shared interactive education in the research directorate, but I was not working on it -- had a nice orange plasma display while we were working with vector CRT displays and TTYs.

1 year,18 days
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Doug Engelbart Passes Away

lpress Re:Also remember J.C.R. Licklider who funded Doug (124 comments)

Well put! It seemed that every paper written in those days cited Licklider's man-machine symbiosis. He had a vision and the skill to get funds to support that vision (including my dissertation). I met him once and we also had a mutual friend and I can also add that, in spite of a regal sounding name, he was, like Doug Engelbart, friendly and modest.

These folks knew each other -- Engelbart claimed Bush's "As We May Think" as a major inspiration and Bush, Weiner and Licklider were colleagues at MIT. They were also familiar with other time sharing and interactive computing projects at the time and members of that community -- especially Engelbart and Licklider. As you said -- they are links in a chain, but strong links.

They had something else in common -- a sense that their careers were to be in service of humanity, not merely for self agrandisement.

For an overview of the connection between Bush-Licklider-Engelbart, including links to As We May Think and Man-Machine Symbiosis paper, see this teaching module: http://cis275topics.blogspot.com/2010/10/web-history-and-internet-culture.html.

1 year,20 days
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Doug Engelbart Passes Away

lpress Re:Actually, (124 comments)

This is no time to be a literal, pedantic dork. If you speak English, you know what I meant.

1 year,21 days
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Doug Engelbart Passes Away

lpress Re:uhhh.... (124 comments)

Synchronous collaboration: used computers to support collaboration at the same time -- computer-based meeting room -- see photo on my post. Asynchronous collaboration: Created shared database or documents created and edited by multiple people.

1 year,21 days
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Doug Engelbart Passes Away

lpress Re:Doug at ISDE5 2007 (124 comments)

I think it may be that people like Doug are so smart they realize that they are not the smartest person on the planet. I am reminded of another visionary hero of that era, who funded a lot of Doug's work, J.C.R. Licklider. Lick was also super nice and humble. Another association -- Herbert Simon, AI pioneer and Nobel Laureate -- he once told me that he stored almost everything he knew in his friend's heads.

1 year,21 days

Submissions

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High school students are using online instruction sites on their own.

lpress lpress writes  |  4 days ago

lpress (707742) writes "UCLA conducts an annual survey of first-time, full-time college freshman and this year they included questions about the use of online education sites like Coursera and The Khan Academy. It turns out that over 40 percent of the incoming freshmen were frequently or occasionally assigned to use an online instructional website during the past year and nearly 70 percent had used online sites on their own. Students enrolling in historically black colleges were much more likely than others to have used online teaching material. They also compile a "habits of mind" index, and conclude that "Students who chose to independently use online instructional websites are also more likely to exhibit behaviors and traits associated with academic success and lifelong learning." The survey covers many other characteristics of incoming freshmen — you can download the full report here"
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My next desktop will be an LG Chromebox -- will yours?

lpress lpress writes  |  about two weeks ago

lpress (707742) writes "My primary computer is a laptop, but I've already abandoned my tablet for a chromebook (as has my ten-year old grandson) and my next desktop will be the recently announced LG Chromebase or someting similar (like a Chromebox with a nice keyboard and display). I've got three desktops at home — used for game playing, an occaisonal personal document or spreadsheet, email, surfing the Web and making Skype calls and Google Hangouts. For those applications, a Chromebase will be as fast as my desktops, boot way faster, be more reliable, and, most important, be locked down. (My grandchildren regularly download some cool-sounding program that turns out to be crapware or worse). Not convinced? What if Microsoft were to release a decent browser-based Office suite? Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg each predicted that the time would come when browser-based applications would significantly displace installed prorams, but they disagreed on the timing. For LG and me the time is near."
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Why did Eric Schmidt (and Jared Cohen) go to Cuba?

lpress lpress writes  |  about three weeks ago

lpress (707742) writes "Eric Schmidt traveled recently to Cuba, where he visited members of the Internet community, the University of Information Sciences and unspecified government officials. The object of the trip was to "promote a free and open Internet," a laudable goal, but might there have been a more substantive reason for visiting Cuba? Might the trip have been to feel out the possibility of a Google "moonshot" — providing Internet access to Cubans. Google is experimenting with extra-terrestrial connectivity and Cuba, which has very poor domestic backbone infrastructure, could afford to extend Internet connectivity via satellite. To pursue this "moonshot" Google would need the permission of both the US and Cuban governments — tougher obstacles than the technology. Maybe that is why Google's Director of Ideas, Jared Stone, came along. Before joining Google, he was a member of the Secretary of State's Policy Planning Staff and an advisor to both Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton."
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Could Google provide Internet access in Cuba?

lpress lpress writes  |  about three weeks ago

lpress (707742) writes "Eric Schmidt and other Google executives travelled to Cuba where they met with members of the Internet community and the government. Cuba has very little domestic backbone infrastructure, but they could afford to extend Internet connectivity via satellite. Google has a geosynchronous satellite project that could serve Cuba. Might Google be thinking about providing connectivity in Cuba? Doing so would require the approval of both governments. I believe that would be harder to sell in the US than Cuba, but Schmidt did say a number of the people he spoke with said "the eventual model of Cuba would be more like China or Vietnam than of Venezuela or Mexico." If those were government people, there may be some hope. (Raul Castro fought the Cuban Internet when Cuba first connected in 1996, but he and Cuba are changing)."
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Universities are failing at entry-level training - will industry take over?

lpress lpress writes  |  about a month ago

lpress (707742) writes "When I graduated from college, employers provided entry-level training. (IBM sent me for 8 weeks of training before starting to work). When companies began cutting back, that training role shifted to universities. That worked fairly well while tuition was low, but today many students go into debt and end up with dead-end jobs. We've seen a wave of innovation in online educational technology and pedagogy and companies like AT&T, IBM and Starbucks are investing in online education for entry-level and ongoing vocational training. Will industry take over vocational training again? If so, what will the consequences be?"
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Can Google connect the unconnected 2/3 to the Internet?

lpress lpress writes  |  about a month ago

lpress (707742) writes "Google, along with Facebook, is a founding partner of Internet.org, which seeks "affordable internet access for the two thirds of the world not yet connected." Google is trying to pull it off — they have projects or companies working on Internet connectivity using high-altitude platforms and low and medium-earth orbit satellites. These extra-terrestrial approaches to connectivity have been tried before, without success, but Google is revisiting them using modern launch technology (public and private), antennas, solar power, radios and other electronics, as well as tuning of TCP/IP protocols to account for increased latency. For example, they just acquired Skybox Imaging, which has a low-earth orbit satellite for high resolution video imaging. In the short run, Skybox is about data, video and images, but the long range goal may be connectivity in developing nations and rural areas — substituting routers for telescopes. Skybox plans to operate a constellation of low-earth orbit satellites and that sounds a lot like Teledesic's attempt at providing connectivity in the mid 1990s, using the technology of 2014."
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Comcast CEO Brian Roberts opens his mouth and inserts his foot

lpress lpress writes  |  about 2 months ago

lpress (707742) writes "At a recent conference, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts rationalized charging Netflix to deliver content by comparing Comcast to the Post Office, saying that Netflix pays to mail DVDs to its customers but now expects to be able to deliver the same content over the internet for free. He forgot to mention that the Post Office does not charge recipients for those DVDs. The underlying issue in this debate is who will invest in the Internet infrastructure that we badly need? Comcast has a disincentive to invest because, if things bog down, people will blame content providers like Netflix and the ISP will be able to charge the content provider for adequate service. If ISPs have insufficient incentive to invest in infrastructure, who will? Google? Telephone companies? Government (at all levels)? Premises owners?"
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I want a Kindle Killer from Apple, Google or Microsoft

lpress lpress writes  |  about 2 months ago

lpress (707742) writes "Amazon's Kindle is a good e-reader and they've sold around 40 million units, but it is far from perfect. It could be significantly improved with speech recognition for commands and text entry, a well-designed database for marginal notes and annotations, and integration with laptop and desktop computers. Google, Apple and Microsoft all have device design and manufacturing experience as well as stores that sell books and other written material. A Kindle-killing e-reader would be low-hanging fruit for Apple, Google or Microsoft — think of the competition if they each built one!"
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BASIC and Computer Literacy Courses are 50 Years Old

lpress lpress writes  |  about 3 months ago

lpress (707742) writes "May 1 will mark the birth of the BASIC programming language. BASIC was developed by professors John Kemeney and Thomas Kurtz to support their pioneering computer literacy course at Dartmouth College. Developing BASIC was a key step toward achieving their broader goal — introducing all students, regardless of their major, to the skills and concepts they needed for success as students and after graduation as professionals and citizens. IT literacy courses are common today — the skills and many (not all) of the concepts have changed, but the goal remains the same. You can read more about BASIC and their computer literacy project here."
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My son pays $22/month for symmetric, 100 Mbps Internet service in South Korea

lpress lpress writes  |  about 3 months ago

lpress (707742) writes "My son lives about 50 miles outside of Seoul and has a choice of three major Internet service providers and several smaller ones. He pays $22 per month for symmetric, 100 Mbps Internet connectivity (with a two year contract). The Korean ISP market is highly competitive — the major company prices are within a few dollars of each other and repairs and other service is excellent. How is it that Korea has achieved intense ISP competition? There is no simple answer, but the government has pursued a multifaceted policy encouraging investment and demand creation and providing common infrastructure, which is used by compteting ISPs (as in Singapore, Sweden or Latvia)."
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Office for the iPad -- yawn -- It's the browser, stupid.

lpress lpress writes  |  about 4 months ago

lpress (707742) writes "Microsoft finally released Office for the iPad four years after it came out. Folks can debate whether they waited too long, but, regardless, tablets and phones were the previous battleground for Microsoft and they pretty well lost in spite of holding Office back. The next battleground will be the browser and the chromebook. Don’t take my word for it — in a 1998 memo to Microsoft executives, Bill Gates wrote “Allowing Office documents to be rendered very well by other peoples browsers is one of the most destructive things we could do to the company...This is a case where Office has to avoid doing something to destroy Windows.” Who has the advantage — Microsoft or Google? MS has a lead in productivity apps and the enterprise, Google has Chrome and the lead on the Internet and both may use Mainframe 2 if that works out. Maybe it will be a tie — that would be best for customers and society."
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The Net routes around censorship in Turkey

lpress lpress writes  |  about 4 months ago

lpress (707742) writes "Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has been embarrassed by social media showing corruption, vowed yesterday to "eradicate Twitter." He followed through by cutting off access, but users soon found work-arounds like posting by email and using VPNs. The hashtag #TwitterOlmadanYaayamam (I can't live without Twitter) quickly rose to the top of Twitter's worldwide trending topics."
Link to Original Source
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How I cut my Time Warner Cable bill by 33%

lpress lpress writes  |  about 5 months ago

lpress (707742) writes "I was at a Time Warner Cable (TWC) store returning a router, when I asked what my new monthly bill would be. The answer — $110 — surprised me, so I asked a few questions and ended up with the same service for $76.37. Check out my conversation with their representative to see what was said, then do the same yourself."
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A strategy for attaining Cuban Internet connectivity

lpress lpress writes  |  about 5 months ago

lpress (707742) writes "In the mid 1990s, there was debate within the Cuban government about the Internet. A combination of pressure from the US trade embargo, the financial crisis brought on by the collapse of the Soviet Union and fear of free expression led to a decision to limit Internet access. This has left Cuba with sparse, antiquated domestic infrastructure today.

Could the government improve the situation if they decided to do so? They don't have sufficient funds to build out modern infrastructure and foreign investment through privatization of telecommunication would be difficult to obtain. Furthermore, that strategy has not benefited the people in other developing nations.

A decentralized strategy using a large number of satellite links could quickly bootstrap the Cuban Internet. Decentralized funding and control of infrastructure has been an effective transitional strategy in other cases, for example, with the NSFNET in the US or the Grameen Phone ladies in Bangladesh.

This proposal would face political roadblocks in both the US and Cuba; however, change is being considered in the US and the Castro government has been experimenting with small business and they have begun allowing communication agents to sell telephone and Internet time.

It might just work — as saying goes "Be realistic. Demand the impossible.""
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Sebastian Thrun pivots Udacity toward vocational education

lpress lpress writes  |  about 8 months ago

lpress (707742) writes "Udacity CEO and MOOC super star Sebastian Thrun has decided to scale back his original ambition of providing a free college education for everyone and focus on (lifelong) vocational education. A pilot test of Udacity material in for-credit courses at San Jose State University was discouraging, so Udacity is developing an AT&T-sponsored masters degree at Georgia Tech and training material for developers. If employers like this emphasis, it might be a bigger threat to the academic status quo than offering traditional college courses."
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Department of Education road show on College Value

lpress lpress writes  |  about 8 months ago

lpress (707742) writes "Department of Education officials, led by Under Secretary of Education Martha Kanter, were on our campus last week, soliciting input on The President’s College Value and Affordability plan. The discussion focused primarily on the design of a system for rating colleges and to a lesser extent on innovation and improvement. While the feedback was constructive, many attendees pointed out difficulties and limitations of any college rating system.

One solution is to open the process by having the Department of Education gather and post data and provide a platform and tools for all interested parties to analyze, visualize and discuss it. Similarly, open innovation should be encouraged, for example, by providing a hosted version of the open source education platform MOOC.ORG."
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The new whiteboard -- a Chromecast display in every office?

lpress lpress writes  |  about 10 months ago

lpress (707742) writes "Augmented meeting rooms, in which participants have connected computers at their fingertips, were invented by Doug Engelbart in the 1960s. During the 1980s, researchers at Xerox PARC, the University of Arizona and elsewhere developed LAN-based decision support rooms in which meeting participants had networked computers and shared a large screen to brainstorm ideas, rearrange document outlines, edit documents, vote, conduct polls, etc.

These systems were very expensive — for wood paneled board rooms only — and interest in them has waned. But, what about implementing those decision support/collaboration applications using a low cost display or TV set with a Chromecast dongle? For $35 it might become the decision support room for (small groups of) the rest of us."
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Google and edX combine their strengths to form mooc.org

lpress lpress writes  |  about 10 months ago

lpress (707742) writes "Google and MIT have both built open source MOOC platforms and offered innovative MOOCs. They have just announced the establishment of mooc.org, a non-profit organization that will provide a platform to develop, host and research online courses. The devil is, no doubt, in the details, but this combination of MIT's educational expertise and reputation, Google's vast infrastructure and the lofty goals of both organizations might turn out to be revolutionary."
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Google Chromecast shipping delay is now 2-3 months

lpress lpress writes  |  about a year ago

lpress (707742) writes "I just received word that the expected shipping date for my Google Chromecast had slipped and the Amazon Web site is advertising a shipping delay of 2-3 months. What's up with that? Are they having production or legal problems? Might it be a trademark conflict with Chromecast.com, a Web development company that seems to emphasize their intellectual property rights."

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