27 November 2015 ~ 0 Comments

UK Company Designs Facebook Drone


Facebook and Google are competing at high-altitude to connect the world’s most remote locations to the Internet. The State of Broadband, produced by the UN Broadband Commission, reveals that 57 per cent of the world’s people remain offline and unable to take advantage of the enormous economic and social benefits the internet can offer. The major internet companies are working hard to increase the online population. Facebook is planning to take to the skies with a network of laser-beaming drones while Google is making use of giant balloons which will be circumventing the globe to provide internet links. Google is being very secretive about its own drone project.

The Somerset based Ascenta consultancy, owned by 51-year old engineer Andrew Cox, was recently bought by Facebook for £12m so that they could beam broadband connections from the sky, using satellites, lasers and unmanned high-altitude aircraft designed by Cox. The carbon-fibre framed drone, called Aquila, has a wingspan of a Boeing 737, will operate as high as 90,000 feet in the air, and can stay airborne for 90 days at a time. Facebook’s Connectivity Lab has designed a laser which will be used by Aquila to deliver data at more than 10 Gb/s.

“In our effort to connect the whole world with Internet.org, we’ve been working on ways to beam internet to people from the sky,” Zuckerberg wrote on his blog. He went on to say, “Facebook’s Connectivity Lab is [building] drones, satellites … and lasers to deliver the internet to everyone.”

Facebook’s ultimate goal with Connectivity Lab is to create a laser communications system that can be used to connect multiple airborne drones with each other and with the ground, making it possible to create a stratospheric network that can extend to even the remotest regions of the world.

Facebook currently has 1.3 billion users and is connected to a significant proportion of the estimated 3 billion people who use the Internet. Increasing the internet footprint by another 4 billion people could lead to a massive increase in its potential user base.

Are you a regular Facebook user? Have you ever been stuck somewhere remote with a desperate need to get online? And How do you feel about broadband being lasered down to you from drones?

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27 October 2015 ~ 0 Comments

Facebook admits iPhone battery drain


Name the number one gripe most iPhone users have and there is a good chance that a large percentage of them will complain about battery life. Trying to squeeze your phone battery to last from breakfast until you get back from the pub at midnight is virtually impossible for most users. And that is the case even without heavy YouTube viewing or passing time on the bus or train with your favourite game. Apple has assured buyers of the new iPhone 6S that battery use will be much better than before. But many users are not confident that this is indeed the case.

Now Facebook has announced that maybe, just maybe, their iOS app could be a silent battery strangler!

It took user complaints to prompt the social media giant to acknowledge there could be a problem with Facebook on iPhones. One such user is entrepreneur Matt Gilligan who found that Facebook was causing a 15% battery drain on his iPhone 6S Plus over a seven day period. As he stated in his blog: “Despite having background app refresh disabled, because the app isn’t ‘sleeping’ properly when I hit the home button, it continues to drain. That extraneous background usage, despite not providing any value to me at all, is keeping the app alive 2x longer than my actual usage.”

It has been reported in other publications that users are finding heavy battery drain by Facebook in spite of having background refresh disabled. One user reported that Facebook was draining 39% of his battery and running for eight hours in the background with the app disabled.

One of the problems could be the auto-play of videos which is enabled by default on both wifi and mobile data. This could be a contributing factor to the heavy battery drain, as well as causing excessive data usage.

Facebook confirmed that they are aware of the problem and that they hope to be able to put out a fix “soon”. However they are not revealing what line of investigation they are following. There is a lot of speculation over what could be causing the battery drain, from suggestions that it might be a case of audio hijacking and/or using VoIP to keep the app awake against the user’s wishes.

What we do know is that Facebook is dealing with the issue and it is likely that an unannounced patch will be part of the next upgrade – hopefully thereafter your phone will wait until you get home from the pub before passing out!

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21 December 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Facebook takes another victim

facebook mobile pier

While we’re hoping for a white Christmas here at Mobile Network Comparison, over in the antipodes a woman enjoying a trip to Melbourne was glad that the weather’s currently rather balmy.

Senior Constable Julie-Anne Newman from the local Victoria police department reported last week that a tourist fell off St Kilda pier as she was too engrossed in browsing Facebook on her smartphone to notice the end of the promenade.

Just before midnight local time, the woman fell into the water and, unable to swim, frantically splashed about. Her efforts didn’t do her much good as she failed to climb back out again and soon found herself about twenty metres out into Port Phillip Bay.

Bystanders and onlookers were not forthcoming in their attempts to help her. It took police in the vicinity to help locate the woman and orchestrate the rescue by specialist police boats.

On this blog we’ve already covered the reasons why it can be a bad idea to walk and text at the same time. But maybe we should be explicit is saying that it’s a good idea to keep your eyes off your phone and on where you’re going if you’re on a pier in the middle of the sea without any safety barriers. Especially if you can’t swim!

Thankfully, although the woman was taken to hospital for treatment, we came to no harm. Nor did her mobile phone as she desperately held onto it the whole time she was trying to avoid drowning.

Personally, we don’t think she even wanted to join Facebook in the first place. We have a suspicion that it was pier pressure!

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