Washington Stories November 10, 2014

Planned earthquake alert app aiming to provide 30 seconds’ warning in California, Oregon and Washington

A joint venture between Early Warning Labs and the U.S. Government is working on app they claim will provide 30 seconds warning of an earthquake in California, Oregon and Washington, reports TechCrunch.

While 30 seconds doesn’t seem like much, founder of EWL, Josh Bashioum says that is enough time to take shelter and save lives. About 13,000 earthquakes in the 4.0 range caused 347 deaths in the U.S. in 2011. However, an earthquake of magnitude 7.0 could have majorly devastating effects. For Bashioum, the best way to get the word out would be via an early warning on a smartphone.

The company hopes to make money by selling a $100-ish physical warning device it describes as ‘Nest for earthquake warnings,’ but the app will be free.

The company’s website provides little detail on how it aims to achieve the 30-second warning. Earthquake alert systems are based on detecting earthquakes in progress outside cities in the hope that they will provide a little warning before they reach urban areas, but typically provide only a few seconds’ notice. EWL says that it aims to use a network of seismic sensors to “rapidly detect the initiation of an earthquake […] and issue a warning before significant ground shaking starts.”

Government advice if an earthquake hits while indoors is to get under a sturdy desk or table if possible, otherwise to stand against an interior wall away from windows and exterior walls. If outside, move away from buildings, streetlights and any other structure that may fall.

You can ask to be notified when the app is available by entering your name and email address into an online form and checking the app button.

Washington Stories May 22, 2014

Following announcements earlier this month from both AT&T and Verizon, T-Mobile announced today it’s introducing Voice over LTE support starting with the Seattle market:

So I’m thrilled to congratulate my team on the launch of Voice over LTE (VoLTE) in the Seattle area for our existing LG G Flex and Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Light customers. Our friends at MetroPCS were the first to launch VoLTE in the U.S. back in 2012, and we’ve been working hard on a LTE Advanced version of VoLTE, which we plan to roll out to more T-Mobile customers throughout the coming year.

T-Mobile’s CTO Neville Ray noted that the new technology, which brings voice calls onto the same LTE radio layer previously reserved for data, will allow “faster call setup times (almost twice as fast as a non-VoLTE call setup) and the ability to enjoy lightening fast LTE data speeds while on a call.” It will also support the HD Voice or wide-band audio feature that Apple already supports. Ray explained how the technology works: expand full story

Washington Stories May 16, 2013

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Yesterday Politico reported that Tim Cook will appear before Congress next week to testify in a hearing regarding how the company is handling its overseas finances and domestic taxes, and today Politico has published a brand new interview with the Apple CEO.

Tim Cook and Apple tend to avoid any public discussion aside from comments during quarterly earnings calls, but it seems the company is on a PR offense leading up to next week’s public hearings.

“We don’t have a large presence in Washington, as you probably know, but we care deeply about public policy and believe creative policy can be a huge catalyst for a better society and a stronger economy.”

Cook went on to defend Apple against any accusations that may come its way next week.

“I can tell you unequivocally Apple does not funnel its domestic profits overseas. We don’t do that. We pay taxes on all the products we sell in the U.S., and we pay every dollar that we owe. And so I’d like to be really clear on that.”

The Apple CEO also noted the company’s $100 million project to produce a Mac line in the United States this year, which the company says will add jobs to the economy. expand full story

Washington Stories September 10, 2012

‘That’s what the blogs are saying’

Funny exchange we missed over the weekend from the Apple vs. HTC courtroom:

When Pender asked whether Apple would be announcing its newest iPhone next week, Apple lawyer Michael McKeon of Fish & Richardson in Washington said he wasn’t told of the company’s plans. “It will be thinner and the screen bigger?” the judge asked. McKeon would only say, “That’s what the blogs are saying.”

Indeed.

Washington Stories May 30, 2012

The argument over which carrier has the fastest network speed in any given location in the United States is still up for debate. Putting network speed comparisons aside, which are often not an accurate representation of speeds, you will receive in your specific area, a new app from startup SwayMarkets aims to provide a more realistic comparison.

The app, CarrierCompare, allows users to test the network speed of their current carrier against the two other major iPhone providers. CNNMoney went hands-on when the app released last month and just posted the user data it obtained that compares major iPhone carriers in multiple locations.

Analyzing user-generated data from Boston, New York, Washington, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, these were the results:

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Washington Stories May 3, 2012

As part of its events for World Intellectual Property Day 2012, the Smithsonian Institution will exhibit over 300 patents and trademarks credited to Steve Jobs and Apple at the Ripley Center Museum starting May 11. Among the items to be on display: a 1985 Apple Macintosh computer, mouse, and keyboard; a NeXT computer; a 2010 Apple iPod; and 312 documents. The Smithsonian and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will display the exhibit until July 18.

The World Intellectual Property Organization released a brochure on its website announcing the Jobs exhibit:

Jobs held 317 utility and design patents in the United States. On display are the patent certificates that list him among the inventors involved in the conceptualization of many iconic Apple products, including computer cases, iOS-based devices, packaging, keyboards, mice and power adaptors, and even the glass staircases found in many Apple stores. In addition to his U.S. patents, Jobs is named on some 28 international applications filed under WIPO’s Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) system.

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