Why millions of Dish Network’s customers have been cut off from HBO – The Washington Post

By Brian FungNovember 9, 2018 at 10:51 a.m. ESTAdd to listThe business dispute that yanked HBO off the air for millions of Americans on Nov. 1 is entering its second week — with no signs of a respite.As many as 2.5 million customers have lost access to hit HBO shows such as “Game of Thrones” and “Westworld” through Dish Network, America’s second-largest satellite TV provider.The blackout affects an additional 10.2 million Dish subscribers who aren’t signed up for HBO but who could be potential customers of the premium entertainment channel.It’s the first time HBO has ever “gone dark,” in the parlance of TV execs. Viewers are being caught in the middle, with potential consequences on both sides: An extended outage could lead to significant customer losses.

Source: Why millions of Dish Network’s customers have been cut off from HBO – The Washington Post

Dish Network’s Charlie Ergen Is the Most Hated Man in Hollywood | Hollywood Reporter

“In 1980, a few months before Charlie Ergen co-founded the company that would become Dish Network, he and a gambling buddy strode into a Lake Tahoe casino with the intention of winning a fortune by counting cards. Ergen, then 27, had bought a book called Playing Blackjack as a Business and studied the cheat sheets. Unfortunately for him, a security guard caught his pal lip-syncing numbers as the cards were dealt. The two were kicked out and subsequently banned from the casino.

More than three decades later, Ergen, now 60, again stands accused of cheating the house — but this time the house is here, nestled in the confines of executive suites from Burbank to Beverly Boulevard. And now, Ergen’s Englewood, Co.-based Dish Network, the nation’s third-largest satellite/cable TV provider, a public company that’s grown from a $60,000 startup to an empire with 14 million subscribers and $14 billion in annual revenue, is the entertainment industry’s Enemy No. 1. With increasing frequency, Ergen has engaged in ugly, high-stakes games of chicken with Hollywood. In his brutal battle over ballooning carriage fees with AMC, he dropped The Walking Dead and Mad Men network from the Dish system for months. He also has spent years fighting with broadcasters over the practice of distantly retransmitting TV signals without a license and even was caught violating a promise to stop that he made under oath — all while Dish was named “America’s worst company to work for” by a watchdog website. But all that was just preamble to the Hopper.”

” . . . . During the mid-2000s, when Ergen was fighting TiVo over who owned rights to DVR technology, not only did TiVo convince a court that Dish had violated a patent, but the judge in the case found it “distasteful” that Ergen’s company would “engage in an ad campaign that touted its DVRs as ‘better than TiVo’ while continuing to infringe TiVo’s patent.” In 2009, Dish officially was sanctioned by the court. (The parties later settled.)

Perhaps most notoriously, there were the irate judges who officiated Dish’s recent battle with Cablevision/AMC after Dish terminated a 15-year deal to carry the Voom networks, a suite of 21 little-watched HD channels such as Kung Fu HD and Film Fest HD. In the early days of the case, Dish was penalized for “bad faith” or “gross negligence” in the destruction of internal company emails. A visibly angry New York Supreme Court Judge Richard Lowe later threatened to launch an investigation unless Dish documents were turned over. The suit became so ugly that at one point, Dish executive Carolyn Crawford hit the father of the opposing side’s lawyer on her way out of the courtroom. She later apologized in open court.

In a sexual harassment case in Maryland in 2005, a judge wrote that “EchoStar [was] guilty of gross spoliation of evidence.” In a 2012 trademark dispute, a judge said of Dish lawyers that he had never encountered “such divisiveness or contentiousness” in his 17 years on the bench.

“Most corporations have an institutional bias against litigation and see it as necessary evil,” says one network insider. “But for Charlie, that’s how he likes to run his company. You’ll never see him suing in his home state, though. Their name is mud in Colorado. Judges are on to them.” . . .

Source: Dish Network’s Charlie Ergen Is the Most Hated Man in Hollywood | Hollywood Reporter

Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications as a Service, Worldwide – Gartner Reprint

Published 12 November 2020 – ID G00448214 – 46 min read


UCaaS providers develop, operate and maintain their own multitenant cloud-based UC services, which often prove less costly for customers overall than premises-based solutions. This Magic Quadrant will help digital workplace application leaders make the most suitable choice for their organization.

Strategic Planning Assumptions

By 2022, 74% of organizations will move at least 5% of their normally full-time, on-site workers, who had switched to working from home temporarily, into permanent remote-working positions.
By 2023, more than 50% of large organizations will connect to cloud providers using direct cloud connectivity from their WANs, up from 10% in 2019.
By 2024, 74% of the new unified communications licenses purchased by organizations will be cloud-based, up from 48% in 2019.

Source: Gartner Reprint

New York Attorney General Looks Into Zoom’s Privacy Practices – The New York Times

 

“Zoom, the videoconferencing app whose traffic has surged during the coronavirus pandemic, is under scrutiny by the office of New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, for its data privacy and security practices.

On Monday, the office sent Zoom a letter asking what, if any, new security measures the company has put in place to handle increased traffic on its network and to detect hackers, according to a copy reviewed by The New York Times.

While the letter referred to Zoom as “an essential and valuable communications platform,” it outlined several concerns, noting that the company had been slow to address security flaws such as vulnerabilities “that could enable malicious third parties to, among other things, gain surreptitious access to consumer webcams.”

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Over the last few weeks, internet trolls have exploited a Zoom screen-sharing feature to hijack meetings and do things like interrupt educational sessions or post white supremacist messages to a webinar on anti-Semitism — a phenomenon called “Zoombombing.

es to a webinar on anti-Semitism — a phenomenon called “Zoombombing.”

Your Phone’s Accessibility Options Are More Useful Than You Think – By Eric Ravenscraft – The New York Times

By 

“Buried deep in your phone’s arcane settings are a collection of features under the mundane banner “Accessibility.” These features seem as if they’re just for people who have special needs — like being colorblind or having poor eyesight — but many of the tools you can find there are useful to everyone.

There are slight differences in how some of these features are handled on iPhones versus Android phones (and even further differences from one Android phone to another), but the features we’ve rounded up below are generally available on most devices. They may be in a different place depending on your device, but if you explore your phone, you’re likely to find versions of these features somewhere in there.

One of the most universally useful accessibility features is changing the font size on your phone. As phones get bigger, they have more and more space for text. To the point that you could potentially fit whole pages of a book on your screen. Some phones default to having really small text so you can read as much as possible without scrolling, but this can also make text harder to read.

On iOS devices like Apple’s iPhone and iPad, you can find this setting under Accessibility, then Display & Text Size. From here, you have a lot of options, but the most relevant is labeled “Larger Text.” Despite its name, you can use this to make text smaller as well. At the top of the screen, you’ll also see a toggle labeled “Larger Accessibility Sizes” that give you even more text size increments. Adjust the text until it’s comfortable for you to read and go about your day.”

This Is the Moment Rachel Maddow Has Been Waiting For – by Amanda Hess – The New York Times

“Maddow has hosted “The Rachel Maddow Show” on MSNBC at 9 p.m. five nights a week for 11 years. But over the past three, her figure has ascended, in the liberal imagination, from beloved cable-news host to a kind of oracle for the age of Trump. If her show started out as a smart, quirky, kind-of-meandering news program focusing on Republican misdeeds in the Obama years, it has become, since the 2016 election, the gathering place for a congregation of liberals hungering for an antidote to President Trump’s nihilism and disregard for civic norms.

CreditChristopher Lee for The New York Times

Maddow does not administer beat-downs or deliver epic rants. She is not a master of the sound bite. Instead, she carries her viewers along on a wave of verbiage, delivering baroque soliloquies about the Russian state, Trump-administration corruption and American political history. Her show’s mantra is “increasing the amount of useful information in the world,” though the people who watch it do not exactly turn to it out of a need for more information. They already read the papers and scroll through Twitter all day. What Maddow provides is the exciting rush of chasing a set of facts until a sane vision of the world finally comes into focus.”

David Lindsay:

My good friend Vin Gulisano had me over for dinner about a few years before he died, and what he really wanted to share with me was his passion for Rachel Maddow. We watched an episode, and I was ambivalent. She was sharp and articulate, but she gave her opinions loosely, as part of the news she reported, in a way that I thought was unprofessional.

The story above by Amanda Hess describes someone who has perfected a strong story telling style. I taped her show last night, and was deeply impressed. She has truly studied, relentlessly, Trump’s relations with Russia, and it gave depth and gravity to her understanding of the problems Trump now is having with the Ukraine. Her quote, from her recently published book, was shockingly news worthy and to the point. She was the first opinion journalist to say clearly, Donald will be impreached by the house, since he has already admitted to doing what he is accused of doing, asking a foreign government to meddle in our next election to help Trump.

One of my favorite commentors at the NYT.com, Christine McMorrow, had this comment about Maddow:

ChristineMcM
Massachusetts

“By the time she cut to her first commercial break, she had zoomed out so far that Trump’s July 25 phone call with the president of Ukraine appeared to be just one little pushpin on a map of vast global corruption.” That’s what she does, and that’s why some of us love her to death.

Yes, her monologues can be tedious (Get to the point, Rachel!) but always in the end, well worth it. She manages to pack 100 pounds of news into a 5-pound news slot, weaving and integrating building blocks of understanding. It’s truly amazing how she writes her openings, and yet, at a dime, changes them in seconds to meet the latest late-breaking.

I’ve never seen any media person like her, and consider her a rare treasure in a sea of repetitive pundits. She may urge us to watch what Trump does, not says, but in her case, I want to watch what she says, each and every night.

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Why Are There So Many Robocalls? Here’s What You Can Do About Them – By Katherine Bindley – WSJ

Why Are There So Many Robocalls? Here’s What You Can Do About Them
Robocalls won’t vanish soon, but carriers are working on a spam filter and other fixes
Why Are There So Many Robocalls? Here’s What You Can Do About Them
0 COMMENTS
By Katherine Bindley
Updated July 4, 2018 1:30 p.m. ET
Remember when phone calls meant people wanted to talk to you about something other than lowering your interest rates? These days, the phone rings so often with recorded robocall messages—You qualify! You owe! You’ve won!—answering feels like a hazard.

I hit my own robocall breaking point a month ago. I was grabbing a quick shower before catching a flight. My phone rang. Fearing I’d miss a call from my boss, who had been trying to reach me, I jumped out. But no, it was a recording instead.

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I resisted the urge to throw my phone across the bathroom and went looking for answers. Why can’t anyone stop this madness? When will it end?

First, the bad news: Almost every person I talked to about robocalls used the phrase, “There’s no silver bullet.”

But developments in the works should get the robocall problem more under control. And there are steps to take on your own that actually do reduce calls.

Where did this evil come from?
Back when phone calls were transmitted over copper wires, businesses paid a lot of money for phone systems that allowed 1,000 employees to make calls without needing 1,000 phone lines. These systems inserted caller ID so, for instance, customers all saw the same business number, regardless of which employee made the call.

With the internet, businesses don’t need expensive hardware. Anyone can start a mini call center with software that auto-dials numbers and spoofs caller ID. They also need a provider to “originate” the call, that is, connect the internet call to the phone network.

Some robocalls are legitimate—your pharmacy, your bank—but not the ones that change numbers constantly to appear local and avoid detection. Robocallers even spoof numbers held by ordinary phone customers like you and me (so don’t call them back to yell at them.)

How They Fool Us
Robocallers seized the tech that helps legitimate businesses manage their phones. Here’s how they’ve perverted the phone call.

Personal calls

Jim calls Frank from his cellphone.

Phone service provider inserts caller ID.

Franks’s cellphone displays Jim’s name and number.

Frank answers his phone.

Traditional

business calls

Jenny’s office has a phone exchange system that lets many employees dial out over a smaller number of lines. The exchange system inserts caller ID.

Frank’s cellphone displays the main number of Jenny’s employer.

The call gets sent out through the company’s service provider.

Jenny calls Frank from her work phone.

Frank answers his phone.

Robocalls

He downloads software for free that can insert caller ID.

With an auto-dialer, he can call many numbers from a huge database.

The robocaller places calls over the internet.

The caller could be anywhere…

Fooled, Frank answers his phone.

…and still make the call appear to originate locally.

Illustration: Kurt Wilberding/The Wall Street Journal

Sources: Federal Trade Commission, Atis
A real fix is coming?
With caller ID basically broken, developers have proposed a call-certifying protocol (known as STIR) and guidelines for implementing it (known as SHAKEN). The names behind these acronyms are long and confusing.

With it, an originating phone carrier could check that a caller has the right to use a number and create a digital fingerprint for the call. The carrier on the receiving end could verify that nothing was messed with in transit.

“They’re actually not saying that the call comes from the phone number. What they’re saying is this user is entitled to use this phone number,” says Jim McEachern, a principal technologist with the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions, a technical working group that helped develop guidelines for this call-certification protocol.

If a bad guy tries to spoof the caller ID, the call would go through, but it wouldn’t be verified. Eventually, users would see a check mark or other indicator for verified calls.

Verizon’s Caller Name ID service can send spam numbers to voice mail.
Verizon’s Caller Name ID service can send spam numbers to voice mail. PHOTO: VERIZON
Mr. McEachern likens the current state of robocalls to the days before email spam filters. “I think something similar will happen with this,” he says. “Suddenly people will say, ‘Remember how bad that used to be?’”

Mr. McEachern estimates that could take two to five years. Verizon plans to start rolling the system out later this year and other carriers are expected to follow.

“We are optimistic it will have an impact but again, this alone is not going to solve the problem,” says Matthew Berry, chief of staff at the Federal Communications Commission, which comes up with rules for the industry, fines people and companies for violations and develops public policy initiatives.

The ‘Do Not Originate’ list
Before then, other weaker measures are appearing. Last November, the FCC adopted rules that let phone companies block calls from area codes that don’t exist, numbers that aren’t assigned to anyone and entries on a “Do Not Originate” list, which consists of numbers that aren’t used for outbound calls.

T-Mobile provides scam ID and automatic scam-call blocking free.
T-Mobile provides scam ID and automatic scam-call blocking free. PHOTO: T-MOBILE
Mr. Berry says the rules have been effective in stopping IRS scam calls. Scammers had been spoofing an IRS hotline number that is now on the Do Not Originate list.

But IRS scam calls can come from a variety of numbers. Aaron Foss, founder of the call-blocking app Nomorobo, says his app identified 75 different numbers peddling IRS scams in just one day.

What you can do now
When you get a robocall, hang up. Don’t say anything, don’t press buttons and don’t call back. Once scammers know a number works, they can sell it and your call volume could increase.

Nomorobo identifies likely scam calls and can send them straight to voice mail
Nomorobo identifies likely scam calls and can send them straight to voice mail PHOTO: NOMOROBO
It can feel like there’s no point in blocking numbers in your phone—I blocked one peddling chronic pain management and got the same recording from another within 48 hours. But do it anyway, because there are plenty of repeat offenders out there. Here’s how to do it on iOS and Android.

Also, add yourself to the Federal Trade Commission’s Do Not Call Registry. Just know that you will still get unwanted calls, because scammers don’t obey rules. Also, keep filing robocall complaints. It helps the FTC spot evildoers.

Carrier protection
Service providers have upped their robocall-protection offerings recently so check in with your carrier. They include features to identify possible scam calls—and even gauge the likelihood it is a scam—as well as block them or send them to voice mail.

Hiya is a free call-blocking app.
Hiya is a free call-blocking app. PHOTO: HIYA
T-Mobile provides scam ID and automatic scam-call blocking free.

AT&T call-protection services are also free, and include blocking suspected fraud. It also offers a $4-a-month service that lets you block specific categories of calls, and includes reverse phone-number lookup.

Verizon’s recently improved $3-a-month Caller Name ID service for wireless can now send spam numbers to voice mail.

Sprint’s newly updated Premium Caller ID, also $3 a month, lets iOS users automatically reject calls based on the likelihood they are scams. Android users will get this feature later this summer.

Call-blocking apps
You can also try apps made by outside developers.

Nomorobo, $2 a month, identifies likely scam calls and can send them straight to voice mail. Unlike some other services, you don’t have to share your contact list for it to work.

Its algorithm uses multiple data sources, including complaints from the FTC and the FCC and real-time data it gets from its landline customers. The company also owns about 250,000 phone numbers, and monitors their incoming calls for scammers.

Hiya is a free call-blocking app that works by analyzing data from complaints made to the FTC and the FCC, and information it collects from its Android users. Hiya is the technology behind the call-identifying feature that powers AT&T’s Call Protect service.

Whether iOS or Android, you do need to share your contact list with Hiya, but the service doesn’t upload or store it. It also says it won’t sell any data from your phone to third parties.

After this article was published online, Hiya clarified its privacy policy and some of the language on its website to reflect that people can use a limited version of its app, including the core features, without granting access to contacts. Granting that access is only necessary to access all of the app’s features, it said.

Source: Why Are There So Many Robocalls? Here’s What You Can Do About Them – WSJ

Opinion | Let’s Destroy Robocalls – By Gail Collins – The New York Times

By Gail Collins
Opinion Columnist
March 1, 2019, 842
Congress may have found an issue that all Americans can rally around.

Stopping robocalls.

“All right — a little depressing that it can’t be world peace or affordable health care. But let’s take what we can get. If our elected officials could join hands and lead us into a world where phones are no longer an instrument of torture, maybe it’d give them enough confidence to march forward and, um, fund some bridge repair.

Everybody has always hated telemarketers, particularly the ones trying to sell some shady product. And now the miracles of technology let them follow you around all day. When I’m home, I feel as if I spend half my time blocking robocalls on our landline. Yet somehow a different number always pops up, with great news about opportunities to reinsure my nonexistent car at low prices or acquire a cost-free knee brace.

The knee brace thing is a scam to get money out of Medicare, but in order to figure that out you’d have to engage in conversation. People, do not ever talk on the phone with a stranger wielding free knee braces. This can be a life rule.

Things are at least as bad on mobile phones, which were the lucky recipients of 48 billion robocalls in the United States alone last year.”

Yet Another Reason for Your Kids to Unplug? Health Risks from Cellphone Radiation | Children’s Health Initiative | EWG

WEDNESDAY, JULY 11, 2018
By Olga Naidenko Ph.D., Senior Science Advisor for Children’s Environmental Health

“Most Americans, including children, use electronic devices like cellphones, tablets and smartwatches, for hours every day – and many have developed symptoms that look like addictive behavior. In 2017, children ages 8 and younger spent, on average, 48 minutes on mobile devices daily, and 42 percent of children 8 and younger have their own tablet devices, according to Common Sense Media.

But frequent use of electronic devices may pose health risks beyond addiction.

So far, the issue of children’s exposure to radiofrequency radiation from wireless devices has been missing from the debate about children’s screen time. Research from the National Toxicology Program reveals troubling evidence that cellphone radiation could cause brain and heart cancer.

Scientists exposed laboratory animals to radiofrequency radiation at levels similar to and higher than those emitted by cellphones. The exposed animals showed a greater likelihood of developing malignant glioma, a type of brain cancer, as well as heart tumors, compared to unexposed animals. Although this study tested radiation effects on animals, it offers valuable insight into the potential risk to people, including future exposure to 5G wireless networks.

Digital devices and the spectrum of invisible radiofrequency waves they transmit are changing rapidly. Even though scientific studies of cellphone radiation’s health impacts have not kept pace with the rapid technology developments, available research suggests that long-term exposure to wireless radiation could result in long-lasting health harm.

When EWG asked our audience how concerned it was about cellphone radiation, over 21,000 people answered, 95 percent of whom were either extremely or very concerned about young kids using cellphones and other wireless devices.

Since 2009, EWG has been doing research on possible health risks of cellphone and wireless radiation, especially for children’s health. In 2011 the World Health Organization classified cellphone radiation as a possible carcinogen.

In December 2017, the state of California officially issued guidelines advising cellphone users to keep phones away from their bodies. When the groundbreaking guidelines were made public, California Department of Public Health Director Karen Smith said:

Simple steps, such as not keeping your phone in your pocket and moving it away from your bed at night, can help reduce exposure for both children and adults … Children’s brains develop through the teenage years and may be more affected by cell phone use. Parents should consider reducing the time their children use cell phones and encourage them to turn the devices off at night.”

Source: Yet Another Reason for Your Kids to Unplug? Health Risks from Cellphone Radiation | Children’s Health Initiative | EWG