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Turntables rejoice: Renewed mojo for vinyl records

That turntable collecting dust in your basement may be due for a second life. In a rare example of an analog resurgence, sales of vinyl records are rising so fast that manufacturers can't keep up with the demand. The 7 million flat, round, black, glistening LPs purchased through early December, 2014 represent a 50 percent rise from a year earlier, as indie rock fans in particular embrace the needle. But the resurgence, alas, may be limited. "The  record-making business is stirring to life—but it’s still on its last legs," writes the Wall Street Journal's Neil Shah. 

The care and vining of television in the new era

While the traditional television crowd wasn't looking, an entirely new content explosion was rising up on YouTube. Here, New Yorker contributor Tad Friend pens a gotta-read piece here about Big Media's attempt to catch up with and/or co-opt the new original online video movement -- and why the next big thing in TV might last only six seconds. One irresistable line: "The digital realm is no country for old men; younger, fleeter forms and stars are emerging faster and faster, and you almost can’t trust anyone over thirteen to understand them."

A cable industry merger that’s (mostly) about scale

That's probably not the way Comcast would prefer to characterize its proposed combination with Time Warner Cable, but when the Economist speaks, we like to listen. Here's the magazine's take on "the season finale" of the U.S. cable industry, with an interesting closing quote from think-tanker Blair Levin: Comcast, he says, is “not the best at innovating, but I could argue that they are the best at scaling others’ innovations." 

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Monday, December, 15 2014

Beam me up, beam me down

By: Stewart Schley Monday, December, 15 2014

Increasingly, the Internet is a thing of air and invisibility. The International Telecommunications Union estimates mobile broadband connections are growing at a double-digit pace globally, compared to slowing growth of 4.4 percent for fixed networks. Already, there are nearly 2.4 billion mobile broadband subscriptions in the world, ITU believes.


Even among developed nations, where fixed broadband tends to be more prevalent, wireless Internet reigns supreme. Among nations in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, there were 330 million fixed broadband connections in place at the end of last year, versus 900 million mobile broadband units, according to OECD.


There’s some irony here, given that fixed networks are what we parochially think of in the U.S. when we hear the word “broadband.” In fact, the 85 million or so U.S. residences that are hard-wired to last-mile access networks from the likes of Comcast are a sort of international aberration. For most of the world, high-speed Internet signals rain down invisibly from somewhere overhead. (Where would we be without you, Bruce Leichtman?)


Cellular networks are of course the mainstay, but there are rising (pun intended) players on the scene that could further widen the gap between fixed or wired Internet access networks and those that dispatch signals through the atmosphere.


There is fascinating stuff going on involving exploration of drone aircraft and orbiting balloons as vessels for beaming Internet signals, but the biggest promise and the best real-world implementation examples come from orbiting satellites. 


Solid start for U.S. satellites

Even in the…

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