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For 9 Hours, Cubans Got Internet in an Unusual Place: Everywhere

If you walk through Havana, you’ll usually see groups of people huddled around certain plazas, parks and side streets with their cellphones held up to their faces. These people are online.In order to post a picture to Facebook, send an email or read the news, Cubans must buy an internet access card for about a dollar from Etecsa, the state-run telecommunications company, and then find a public hot spot — but that all seems set to change.On Tuesday, the Cuban government tested wireless internet directly on mobile phones nationwide for nine hours. The internet was free for the duration of the test, but Etecsa plans to sell…

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Tech Tip: The Mobile Virtual Network Operator Will Connect You Now

AdvertisementTECH TIPWhat’s a M.V.N.O.? It’s typically a smaller wireless carrier that offers inexpensive service plans but gets its network signals from a bigger company.Aug. 15, 2018Q. How does the service and coverage compare for the smaller wireless carriers like Consumer Cellular, TracFone and others that never get mentioned because it’s always the same big networks like AT&T and Verizon getting reviewed?A. While AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon do indeed grab most of the attention, many of the smaller wireless carriers actually get their network service from one of the Big Four and resell it, often in the form of low-cost or prepaid plans. (U.S. Cellular is the…

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Tech Tip: The Security of Cellular Connections

AdvertisementTECH TIPThat free Wi-Fi network may not be so free if it is unsecured and someone hijacks your data. Your phone’s cellular data connection offers more protection.Aug. 10, 2018Q. How secure is my LTE internet connection when I’m connected to my mobile provider, compared with Wi-Fi?A. On a typical 4G LTE network connection, your data is encrypted and your identity is authenticated and protected. Wi-Fi networks, on the other hand, can vary widely when it comes to security. It’s possible to connect to an open public network where anyone who knows where to look can intercept your information, or you can be on a password-protected wireless network…

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Campaigns Enter Texting Era With a Plea: Will U Vote 4 Me ὤF ?

Peer-to-peer texting broke onto the national scene in 2016 when Senator Bernie Sanders used it to organize volunteers during the Democratic primary, and Democrats in particular seem to be racing ahead with their plans to use the technology.Volunteers for Stacey Abrams, a Democrat running for governor of Georgia this year, have sent more than 1.2 million text messages. Senator Doug Jones, the Democrat who prevailed in last year’s special election in Alabama, set up “texting banks” that sent 1.4 million texts to voters during that race. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whose long-shot primary campaign defeated Representative Joseph Crowley, a 10-term incumbent in New York, used the texting app Relay…

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Could You Make It Through Dinner Without Checking Your Phone?

When Marc and Kara Lyons take their family out for a nice dinner, they typically hand their two sons cellphones to play games and watch YouTube videos. Sometimes, the parents grab the devices back to check their own email and text messages.But on a recent night at Hearth, an Italian-inspired restaurant in the East Village, the boys, 5 and 7, colored on blank white paper with crayons. Their parents discussed the highlights of their trip to New York from their home in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to celebrate Mr. Lyons’s 40th birthday.The reason for the tech-free dinner? The cellphones were stashed in a small decorative box on their…

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Tech Tip: How to Unlock Your Phone for Overseas Travel

AdvertisementTECH TIPIf you want to use a local data plan when traveling to another country, you might be able to get your carrier to free your phone for use on another network.July 9, 2018Q. What does it mean for a mobile phone to be “locked” in regards to international travel? Does that mean it will not work overseas? A. In this situation, a “locked” phone works only on the network of the wireless carrier that activated the device and not on the network of a competing domestic company. Locked phones can “roam” onto international networks, but without the proper service plan from your carrier, the charges for…

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Largest Cellphone Carriers to Limit Sales of Location Data

The nation’s top cellphone carriers — Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint — all said Tuesday that they would sharply limit arrangements that give marketers and other businesses access to cellphone customers’ location data, after disclosures that the information was used to track people without their consent.Verizon announced its change in a letter to Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, who has been investigating location privacy issues. He had asked Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile to audit their relationships with companies that buy and sell access to consumer location data, known as location aggregators.“As a result of this review, we are initiating a process to terminate our existing…

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Verizon’s Deal-Making C.E.O. Retires; Top Tech Executive to Take Over

Mr. McAdam also helped steer Verizon into the business of digital content in a bid to become more than a provider of phone and internet services. He spent billions of dollars buying companies like AOL and Yahoo.The telecommunications industry has experienced rapid change in recent years, as consumers flock to wireless devices and view more content online. The shift has persuaded service providers to pursue deals to become ever bigger, and in some cases more diverse in their offerings.Companies like Sprint and T-Mobile, which are themselves in the midst of a planned merger, contend that building a 5G network requires tens of billions of dollars in investments…

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For Chinese Pedestrians Glued to Their Phones, a Middle Path Emerges

“We are not actually advocating for pedestrians to look at their phones,” said Cao Hanjia, the mall’s spokeswoman. “But we can’t regulate people’s activities and tell them, ‘You’re not allowed to look at your cellphone while walking.’”Instead, messages painted along the lane cheekily cajole walkers to look up and pay attention.“Please don’t look down for the rest of your life,” one message reads. “Path for the special use of the heads-down tribe,” another says snarkily.Though the mall’s owners have taken a tongue-in-cheek attitude toward distracted walking, the dangers are serious.The World Health Organization estimates that around 68,000 pedestrians are killed every year in China. That is more…

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Tech We’re Using: An Investigative Arsenal: Power Chargers, Document Analysis Tools and More

I have traditionally used Adobe Acrobat Pro DC, as it has good optical character recognition tools, which index the words on each page, allowing you to do word searches. More recently, I have been trying out a service called Logikcull, created for law firms to do document discovery work but useful when trying to analyze and annotate piles of documents that I get via Freedom of Information Act requests, which in some cases can run to 18,000 pages. Document Cloud is also a tremendous tool.I have a simple but low-tech trick for keeping track of documents. As I extract individual emails, other documents or audio files, I…

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