Web

White House, federal agencies and US industries team for ‘US Ignite’ program

white house federal agencies and us industries team for ignite program usigniteThe future of broadband Internet in America is about to catch fire. Announcing a new initiative entitled “US Ignite,” President Obama today signed an executive order to lower broadband costs and increase the speed of broadband network installation through federal property while also taking the lead in a new partnership that aims to “create a new wave of service that take advantage of state-of-the-art, programmable broadband networks running up to 100 times faster than today’s Internet.”

The partnership, also called US Ignite, describes itself as “an initiative to promote US leadership in developing applications and services for ultra-fast broadband and software-defined networks” by “foster[ing] the creation of novel applications and digital experiences that will transform healthcare, education and job skills training, public safety, energy, and advanced manufacturing.” So far, so election year promises, right…? But, according to Ignite Executive Director Sue Spradley, it’s more than just empty sloganeering and suitably vague futurism.

“Today, in Cleveland, Ohio there are families receiving medical care to which they wouldn’t otherwise have access through advanced telemedicine built on a new and flexible ultra-fast network. In Chattanooga, Tenn., a dozen new startups are building new applications for everything from improved transportation to disaster response to a smart energy-grid by taking advantage of the city’s gigabit-to-the-home fiber optic network,” Spradley is quoted as saying in the press release announcing the partnership. “The future of technology as many think about it, is possible today. And through US Ignite, we’ll be helping to deploy advanced applications for Americans everywhere.”

Ignite already has almost 100 partners, ranging from 60 national research universities to 25 cities across America, as well as big name companies like Comcast, Cisco and HP. Also onboard is Mozilla, which has launched its own Mozilla Ignite site, a collaboration with the National Science Foundation that’ll issue up to $500,000 in grant money to third party developers looking to devise and develop innovative apps in one of five areas (Advanced manufacturing, clean energy and transportation, eduction and workforce technologies, healthcare, and public safety).

Of course, this development would be moot if people didn’t have the Internet access to take advantage of it, which is where today’s executive order comes in. The order will make broadband construction up to 90 percent cheaper along Federal roadways and property, as well as push those agencies managing said properties – the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Interior, Transportation, and Veterans Affairs as well as the US Postal Service – to offer broadband carriers a single approach across the board to leasing assets to facilitate broadband deployment. “By connecting every corner of our country to the digital age, we can help our businesses become more competitive, our students become more informed and our citizens become more engaged,” President Obama is quoted as saying in a White House statement.

Will a faster, better Internet make America a faster, better country…? Or will we all just find that it’s even easier to lose hours in front of Netflix?

Gaming

Retailer may have leaked The Last of Us Part 2 release date

A Slovakian retailer published a listing for The Last of Us Part 2, including a potential 2019 release date and box art. This leak comes shortly after an announcement that filming for the lead actors is complete.
Computing

Online passwords: Research confirms millions of people are using 123456

According to recent analysis of data caught up in cyber attacks, millions of people are continuing to use super-simple passwords, with 123456 topping the list of easy-to-crack codes.
Cars

Carbuying can be tiring: Here are the best used car websites to make it easier

Shopping for a used car isn't easy, especially when the salesman is looking to make a quick sale. Thankfully, there are plenty of sites aimed at the prospective buyer, whether you're looking for a sedan or a newfangled hybrid.
Gaming

Play The Sims 4 the way it was meant to be played using a keyboard and mouse

The Sims 4 recently added keyboard and mouse support on Xbox One and PS4, giving players the chance to experience the game as it was designed. Here is how to use keyboard and mouse in The Sims 4.
Social Media

How to protect yourself from GoFundMe scams before donating

Can you spot a GoFundMe scam? While the fundraising platform says scams make up less than a tenth of one percent of campaigns, some do try to take advantages of others' charity -- like a case last year that made national news.
Computing

House votes to restore net neutrality rules, but effort faces long odds

The U.S. House of Representatives has approved the Save the Internet Act, a measure intended to restore net neutrality rules that were repealed in 2017 by the Federal Communications Commission.
Mobile

The FCC and White House want to bring high-speed internet to rural areas

The FCC and the White House unveiled new initiatives to bring high-speed internet to rural areas, including $20.4 billion in incentives to companies to build infrastructure. The FCC also announced ways to speed up the rollout of 5G.
Web

Search all of Craigslist at once with these great tools on web and mobile

Not finding what you need in your local area? Craigslist can be great for finding goods and services from further afield too. All you need do is learn these tips for how to search all of Craigslist at once.
Computing

Internet Explorer zero-day exploit makes files vulnerable to hacks on Windows PCs

Evidence of an Internet Explorer zero-day exploit capable of letting hackers steal files from Windows PCs was published online by a security researcher who also claims Microsoft knew of the vulnerability and opted not to patch it.
Business

Buying airline tickets too early is no longer a costly mistake, study suggests

When you book can play a big role in the cost of airline tickets -- so when is the best time to book flights? Earlier than you'd think, a new study suggests. Data from CheapAir.com suggests the window of time to buy at the best prices is…
Computing

Report says 20% of all 2018 web traffic came from bad bots

Distil Networks published its annual Bad Bot Report this week and announced that 20% of all web traffic in 2018 came from bad bots. The report had other similarly surprising findings regarding the state of bots as well.
Computing

Google Chrome will get a Reader Mode for distraction-free desktop browsing

If Google's testing of Reader Mode on the Chrome Canary desktop browser is successful, soon all Chrome users will gain access to this feature. Reader Mode strips away irrelevant content on a webpage for distraction-free browsing.
Computing

Worried about your online privacy? We tested the best VPN services

Browsing the web can be less secure than most users would hope. If that concerns you, a virtual private network — aka a VPN — is a decent solution. Check out a few of the best VPN services on the market.
Computing

Want to make calls across the internet for less? Try these great VOIP services

Voice over IP services are getting more and more popular, but there are still a few that stand above the pack. In this guide, we'll give you a few options for the best VOIP services for home and business users.