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Sprint Nextel’s proposed buyout of network partner Clearwire may be inevitable, and it could help Sprint keep its signature unlimited mobile data plans alive.
The fourth-largest U.S. mobile operator is in talks with Clearwire, which supplies its 4G WiMax service, to acquire the rest of the company, according to a regulatory filing Thursday. The proposed deal is expected to depend on Softbank’s pending US$20 billion takeover of Sprint, which will bring $8 billion of new investment into the carrier and make it part of a much larger company.
Sprint already holds a majority stake in Clearwire and it is the major customer of Clearwire’s wholesale WiMax service. The main asset it would gain from the deal is a set of huge wireless spectrum holdings in many cities, comparable to the frequencies held by either of the dominant U.S. carriers in those areas.
Finally owning Clearwire will give Sprint a coherent set of bands for its LTE network and the largest spectrum holdings of any U.S. carrier, said Chetan Sharma of Chetan Sharma Consulting. He and other analysts don’t expect the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to block this consolidation of spectrum.Preserving Sprint’s data plans
For consumers, the Softbank and Clearwire deals could mean Sprint’s unlimited monthly data plans will be offered for a long time. It’s expensive for a carrier to offer unlimited data because of the demands it can create on a network, but Sprint would be in a better position to keep those going after these deals, he said.
“Given the additional spectrum, as well as the cash infusion, I think they’re likely to keep the unlimited model for a longer duration,” Sharma said.
A buyout might bring a sigh of relief to Sprint and Softbank.
Sprint formed Clearwire in 2008 as a joint venture with an existing company by that name, which sold fixed wireless service. Google, Intel and several big cable operators invested heavily in the company. But Clearwire has never become profitable, and the network technology it uses was leapfrogged by LTE. Both Sprint and Clearwire are now moving into LTE, though they are still partners in providing 4G with the older system.
Though Sprint owns more than half of Clearwire and supplies most of its customers, it doesn’t have a majority on the company’s board. It took lengthy negotiations just to hammer out the deal under which the partners currently share their networks. That complicated relationship has to come to an end, analysts said. Jack Gold of J. Gold Associates compared it to a couple that’s been dating for years.
“Either break up or get married,” Gold said.
Even assuming that Sprint’s $2.1 billion offer for the remainder of Clearwire includes taking on its debt, which is at least $4 billion, it would probably be a bargain price, said Recon Analytics analyst Roger Entner.
“If this is the final price, then it’s certainly not a home run for Clearwire investors,” Entner said. Indeed, some shareholders have already protested a Sprint buyout.
However, talks are still going on and Sprint may offer more before the deal is done.
“I think it’s mostly a trial balloon,” Entner said. “The price can certainly always go up.”Protecting its interests
Sprint runs the risk of having another carrier buy Clearwire out from under it, Gartner analyst Philip Redman said. “This is all about more spectrum for LTE and positioning for the future,” he said.
However, the nature of Clearwire’s spectrum, which is around 2.5GHz, limits the company’s ability to attract other bidders, Sharma said. Clearwire has disclosed several times that it has sought to sell off some of the spectrum.
“I really doubt there will be any serious bidders,” Sharma said. The high frequencies don’t penetrate walls as well as other bands, such as the 700MHz spectrum used by Verizon Wireless and AT&T, and they are not contiguous because they were pieced together, he said. As a result, Sharma doesn’t think the price for the company will go up by much.
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I’m always on the lookout for a good deal when it comes time to buy new gear, and I hate paying full retail for anything. When it comes time to replace my Mac, iPhone, iPad or other Apple accessory, I hunt around, hitting the retailers who I know offer deep discounts, and I use bargain hunting apps and services too. There’s one place I always check out, and often find the best deals on Apple gear, however: Apple’s web site itself. More specifically, the Certified Refurbished section of Apple’s web site. That’s often where you’ll find the best deals.
Over the past decade and a half I’ve bought a few Macs and other devices using Apple’s Certified Refurbished page, and I’ve never encountered a problem with my purchase. I’ve referred a lot of friends, family and clients there as well, and everyone who’s bought that way has been pleased. It’s always worked out.About refurbished Apple Products
One thing to understand right off the bat: “Refurbished” means that the product was returned to Apple for some reason. So the products you’re buying this way have been touched by another customer. That’s enough to put off a certain segment of buyers who either find that prospect unpleasant or unsettling. But for the rest of us it’s a good way to save up to hundreds of dollars on our purchases.
Apple goes through a multi-step quality control process to make sure the refurbished products meet its standards. They’re thoroughly inspected, physically cleaned, and if you’re buying an iOS device this way, you can be guaranteed you’re getting a new battery and outer shell as well. Refurbished Apple products come with all original accessories, but they don’t ship in the original livery. Apple delivers the equipment in plain boxes that eschew the typical Apple packaging, so there’s no mistaking your refurbished product as brand new. Unless you’re buying these for someone who will appreciate your thriftiness, refurbed Apple items aren’t the best choice to impress someone on your gift lift.
But if you’re buying for yourself, once you’ve got the box open, you’d be very hard-pressed to tell the difference. Apple does a really good job prepping these things for resale. I’ve never once found a refurbished Apple product that had even so much as a fingerprint blemish on it. And while I’ve heard horror stories of other vendors simply sticking a used item in a box and selling at as new, complete with someone else’s data still on it, I’ve never heard or seen that problem with Apple’s Certified Refurbished products. They’re wiped and returned to factory fresh condition.How to buy refurbished products from Apple
Apple replenishes its stock of Certified Refurbished products constantly. Just be aware that it’s catch as catch can. You won’t find all the latest models or the widest selection this way. And you can’t configure these devices to order with customized storage or RAM configurations or other options, as you can when you’re buying new from the web site.
Point your web browser to Apple’s Certified Refurbished products home page then apply the filters you want to use to find the products you’re looking for. If Apple doesn’t have any stock of those particular devices available, the selection will be grayed out. Each product description will tell you the cost savings compared to full retail price, so you can decide whether the savings are worthwhile for you.
You’ll also find Certified Refurbished products in the Apple Store app for iPhone and iPad.How to find refurbished products on the Apple Store app
1) Tap the Apple Store app.
2) Tap Shop.
3) Tap the product category you want.
4) Scroll down and tap Certified Refurbished.
The savings vary from device to device, but Apple routinely chops up to 15%. Given what new Apple products go for, the savings add up fast.
Every refurbished product Apple sells comes with the same 14-day money back guarantee as its new products, with free return shipping. So if you get something and don’t like it, or it doesn’t come to you as you expected it, you can return it and walk away from the transaction without any penalty.
What’s more, all refurbished products sold by Apple include the same 90 days of free tech support and the full standard 12-month warranty as a new item. Crucially, they’re also all eligible for AppleCare+, as well.
I strongly encourage my friends and clients to get AppleCare+ especially on mobile products like phones and laptops. I admit I’m tough on my gear, but I almost always end up using mine before the expiration date. When that happens, AppleCare+ more than pays for itself, because the out-of-warranty costs of parts and a technician’s time is always more than the cost of AppleCare+.Be wary of other vendor’s Apple refurbs
Apple isn’t the only one selling refurbished or “refreshed” Apple products – you can routinely find them online at Amazon and through other vendors. And some of the deals look, at least superficially, like spectacular bargains, especially compared to Apple’s prices.
Just remember that buying Apple Certified Refurbished is a bit different than buying refurbished elsewhere. The devices you’re going to find on Apple’s web site have been put through Apple’s own process for refurbishment. What’s more, they the only ones that are covered by Apple’s return policy and full Apple warranty coverage and AppleCare+ eligibility. So while you might save money, if you run into any issues, you may find yourself in a much more difficult situation than you would if you had bought from Apple directly.Wrapping up
Buying Apple refurbished is a convenient, safe, and effective way to save yourself some money on essential Apple gear, at least compared to buying full retail. Buying refurbished isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but for folks on a strict budget, or people looking for the best deal, sometimes Apple refurbished gives you just what you need at a price that’s much easier to take.
When flights travel between two cities, they don’t always follow the same precise route. Instead of cruising on an identical, consistent path between, say, New York and Seattle, each trip must instead follow a flight plan that takes it over specific waypoints. And while you might think that the plane’s captain calls the shots, that responsibility falls to people who work at the airline on the ground. They’re called dispatchers.
“The dispatcher has joint legal responsibility for every flight that an airline operates, with the captain,” explains Pasha Saleh, a pilot with Alaska Airlines who also directs the company’s innovation and flight operations strategy. That dispatcher comes up with the plan, they submit it to the FAA, and then eventually a cleared plan is sent to the pilot so they know where to go.
The problem is that the human dispatchers have plenty of complex variables to consider. They’ll be thinking about dynamic factors like the weather, wind, or off-limits military airspace. “To get all this information, they have to go through these antiquated repositories—they have to go to an FAA website in some cases [and] decode alphanumeric strings of text,” Saleh says. “The Weather Channel is always on in the background; CNN is always on.”
The dispatcher inhales all that information and then spits out a flight plan. They can create a custom route, which takes some time, or they can just choose an off-the-shelf option—say, route three. That’s a quicker process. “They’re kind of cutting with an axe,” Saleh says. After all, fashioning a custom route with a scalpel just takes too long.
Crunching oodles of data rapidly is where artificial intelligence can excel, and now a new system at Alaska Airlines from a company called Airspace Intelligence is coming up with faster routes. The human dispatchers are still in the loop, and can choose whether or not to use the AI-generated route on a case-by-case basis. They still submit it to the FAA for approval.
“They’re all bespoke routes now,” Saleh says. “They’re routes that, in many cases, never existed before, and it would take a human 30, 40 minutes to come up with it.”
[Related: This company is retrofitting airplanes to fly on missions with no pilots]
Alaska says that AI routes are about 5.3 minutes faster, on average, than ones crafted by humans. ETA estimates are improving, too. The company formally started using the system this March, but first tried it out over six months in 2023. The company says that it saved nearly half a million gallons of fuel during that trial period thanks to the system, preventing 4,600 tons of carbon from entering the atmosphere.
During that trial, the software, called Flyways AI, found a way to optimize a flight’s route 64 percent of the time. Human dispatchers decided to use the resulting route around 30 percent of the time, a rate that remains about the same now that the system has entered routine service. In short, it’s a bit like Waze telling you the best way to drive from A to B, which you may or may not trust enough to follow.
The Waze metaphor works well, because the aviation software is also trying to avoid slowdowns —a flight that may otherwise be on time, but is held up at the last minute by the fact that the arrival airport is busy. Both the human and the AI consider factors like wind and weather, “but what’s added by the AI is the intent of every other airplane in the national airspace system,” Saleh says. That data is “technically available to a human dispatcher, but completely unfeasible to incorporate.”
[Related: How the burning heart of a jet engine functions without melting]
The system can also look way ahead. “The AI is thinking, this is what’s going to happen six hours into that flight, so let’s start the flight off headed in a different direction to avoid something down the road,” Saleh adds.
Crucially, this new software doesn’t replace the legacy system that Alaska uses to actually submit its flight plans to the FAA. That traditional flight planning engine still exists. The AI just suggests a new route in some cases, and if the dispatcher likes it, they send it through for review. That’s good, because ripping out that foundational software would be a big deal. “To replace our flight planning engine would be like open-heart surgery on the airline,” he notes.
In that respect, it really is like the Waze app running on your phone. The software on your smartphone doesn’t interface with your car’s code, of course. The systems are separate, and the human driver is still the one making the decisions. In this case, the dispatcher has an AI helper to route an aircraft more efficiently some of the time, and hopefully passengers get where they’re going faster. Saving 5.3 minutes per flight might not sound like much, but it could add up to helping airlines run much more smoothly—not to mention the saved emissions.
TurboTax Won’t Let Me E-file Tax Return: 6 Ways to Fix It Try to update the software when TurboTax e-file isn’t working
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TurboTax is a U.S. tax return application and web app widely utilized in the United States, providing excellent accessibility to its users.
However, some clients have said on the TurboTax support forum the same thing. TurboTax is not letting me file return forms – is what they claim – with the software or web app.
If TurboTax e-filing isn’t working for you either, check out these proven solutions to resolve it fast.Does TurboTax allow you to file electronically?
Rest assured that TurboTax allows you to file your tax return electronically in a few simple steps. The process might sound time-consuming, but this is faster and safer than mailing your tax return since it’s transmitted electronically to the IRS computer systems.
We strongly recommend discovering how the TurboTax app takes care of tax returns and giving it a try.
Why can’t I e-file my taxes on TurboTax?
Several causes are related to this issue:
Browser-related problems – Since common characteristics of the browsers compatible with filing software are privacy and speed, make sure to choose one of the best browsers for Turbotax.
Cache and cookies – You may need to clear your cache and cookies, so make sure your return is saved in the account, sign out, then clear the cache and delete the cookies on your PC. Using a cookie cleaner tool will help you to free up space, then you may sign back into your account and try entering your information again.
An outage – If the TurboTax server is not found, there could be an outage. Check if the server has outage problems for everyone or just for you.
You should also pay attention to how you’ve filled the form, background software, or outdated TurboTax app (especially with so many users saying: TurboTax won’t let me e-file because of update). Let us guide you step by step and get rid of the issue in no time.What can I do if TurboTax’s e-filing isn’t working? 1. Try a different browser
If you’re trying to e-file a return form with the TurboTax web app, try utilizing a different browser. Opera is a highly-rated browser that’s compatible with TurboTax. In addition, it is a Chromium-based browser with two extension libraries and one of the most original designs.
Other useful Opera features:
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Free Visit website2. Check your tax form
You should double-check how you’ve filled out your return form. A few non-IT issues can stop users from e-filing their return forms. You can’t e-file a TurboTax return form if it:
It doesn’t include any taxable income
Includes non-final forms
Includes override (you’ll need to undo them)
Includes a W-2 in which box 16 has a value greater than box 1 or you leave box 1 blank
It contains schedules and IRS forms that aren’t among those accepted on the IRS Forms and Schedules list
The form is for amended or prior-year returns3. Check if TurboTax is down
It might just be the case that TurboTax is down when you’re trying to e-file a return form. To check if there’s a general outage, open Downdetector for TurboTax.
That page tells you if there’s any notable TurboTax outage. If there is, wait a day or two; and then try e-filing your form again.
TurboTax will then check for and install available updates. You can also manually update the Windows software via this TurboTax Help page.5. Close all background software 6. Clear your browser’s cache and cookies Google Chrome Firefox Edge
This resolution is specifically for users trying to e-file returns with the TurboTax web app. Also, note that cookies must be enabled in browsers so that the CAPTCHA appears.
Those resolutions for fixing TurboTax e-filing are undoubtedly worth a shot. However, if you still need other potential fixes, you can contact TurboTax’s support at its Contact Us page.
And since we know how challenging it is for business owners to do all the accounting work, we encourage you to check out the best tax filing software for small businesses.
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DJI is probably the first name that comes to most people’s minds when they think of drones. After all, the Chinese drone maker has solidified its position as one of the best drone makers in the world, and has something on offer for amateurs and professionals alike. There’s the DJI Spark, the DJI Phantom 4, DJI Mavic Pro, and the DJI Inspire among others that DJI makes.
After establishing itself as the go to drone company in most of the world, DJI now wants its customers to know the kind of data it collects from their drones, and the kind of data it never collects from their drones. In other words, it wants to pre-emptively clarify the air around data privacy — a topic that is highly charged these days in the world of technology.
In a post on its official newsroom, DJI mentioned that there is some data that is automatically transmitted from the drone, controller and app to the company’s servers. This includes:
App Performance Data: this data is anonymous, and DJI can’t individually trace it back to a user. Also, users can disable transmission of this data from within the DJI GO app settings.
User Experience Data: refers to data like the flying times, flight distance, average number of pictures taken and more. Again, the user has the option to disable transmission of this data via the DJI GO app’s flight control settings.
Location Check Data: includes data such as the GPS data, IP addresses and more. The data is used by DJI to ensure that drone owners comply with local laws, and to accurately update no-fly-restrictions and no-fly-zones in the user’s app.
There’s another class of data, one that is not collected by DJI automatically, but users can choose to share it with DJI if they so desire. This class of data includes:
Photography/Videography Data: includes photos and videos shot with the drone and stored inside the SD Card. Every time the user wants to share this data with DJI, they have to manually enable it from the DJI GO app.
Telemetry Data: refers to information like the speed, altitude, distance and location of the flight. It also includes the movement of the controller sticks — something that can help with diagnosing issues, if the need be. To sync this data with DJI’s servers, users have to manually tap on the sync option.
Obstacle Avoidance Data: refers to data captured by the obstacle avoidance cameras on the DJI drone. This data includes low res video, without any audio. In order to transmit this data to DJI, the user has to manually select the option in the DJI GO app. The app doesn’t allow automatic transmission of Obstacle Avoidance Data.
With these clearly defined data types, DJI is definitely showing others how to actually keep users informed about the data they’re sharing with multinational companies. DJI is also taking steps to ensure the safe usage of their drones by educating users about their local laws, and working with authorities to ensure that DJI drones aren’t misused by people.
I, for one, am glad DJI decided to properly categorise the kind of data it collects automatically, and the kind of data that can be sent manually to DJI’s servers if needed. The company is clearly trying to ensure that its customers keep on having faith in its drones, and the fact that their privacy isn’t being violated by yet another company hell-bent on turning a profit. Good job, DJI.
Linux vendor Red Hat wasn’t an early adopter of the open source OpenStack cloud project. That has changed this year, as Red Hat has fully embraced OpenStack and is now rapidly moving forward on building a commercially supported implementation.
In an interview with InternetNews, Red Hat CTO Brian Stevens detailed his company’s plans for OpenStack. Red Hat is now in customers trials and is rapidly accelerating its engagement within the OpenStack community.
When OpenStack got started back in July of 2010, Red Hat was not really all that interested. Stevens explained that Red Hat was concerned about open governance, a concern that is now being addressed. In April of this year, Red Hat officially joined the growing effort to build the OpenStack Foundation, which will provide an open and transparent governance model for OpenStack. Red Hat has also committed at least $1.5 million over three years to the new foundation.
“We took the risk to put a development team on it (OpenStack) last summer,” Stevens said.
At that point, in Stevens’ view, Rackspace was saying all the right things about wanting to create a more open effort around OpenStack. Rackspace is one of co-founders of the OpenStack effort, along with NASA. Red Hat’s contributions now place it among the leading contributors to OpenStack in terms of code. Stevens now represents Red Hat in OpenStack board-level discussions and is working with the Rackspace team to help figure out the trademark issues around OpenStack becoming more open.
OpenStack code is already available in Red Hat’s community Fedora Linux distribution. The code is also now available to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.3 customers as a set of packages on the EPEL (Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux) repository.
“We already have customers today, taking Red Hat packaged OpenStack on top of RHEL 6.3 and going through all the PoC (proof of concept) stuff,” Stevens said. “We’re engaging with them on that, though there is no money changing hands or official support on it today.”
One of the things that Red Hat is figuring out is how to provide enterprise support for OpenStack. Red Hat Enterprise Linux provides 10 years of support, which is not a model that will work for OpenStack. Currently OpenStack iterates releases every six month which makes a 10-year support model impossible.
Stevens noted that if Red Hat were to say they would support the most recent OpenStack Essex release for 10 years, it wouldn’t work since customers will likely want the newer versions. Red Hat’s model of code back-porting is how enterprise Linux can be supported for 10 years and it’s likely that a similar concept will land in OpenStack.
“We’re trying to design what that support lifetime will look like,” Stevens said. “In the interim, we’re just working with customers, on the code.”The Commercial Model
Red Hat’s model for OpenStack is likely to take the form of a discrete software subscription. It’s a ‘Swiss army knife’ model where each core Red Hat component in the software stack, including Red Hat Enterprise Linux, storage and OpenStack, can be combined with each other or sold on its own.
“We also want to offer pre-integrated solution stacks,’ Stevens said.
When it comes to commercial OpenStack implementations, for the most part to date, Rackspace has been leveraging Ubuntu Linux as the primary Linux vendor in OpenStack reference implementations. That’s a situation that might be challenged with Red Hat’s offerings.
“We’ve developed over the past months, an amazing relationship with Rackspace,” Stevens. “We’re working together in customer environments but there is not an official relationship.”
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at chúng tôi the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.
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