Like many AT&T users, we have a love-hate relationship with the carrier. The problem is, looking at the other options, I really wouldn’t wanna go anywhere else. Despite what they'd have you believe, all networks have their flaws, data usage terms, dropped calls, and pricing structures that can result in paying an arm and a leg for service that doesn’t always provide the best coverage. We’ve all been there. For those on AT&T’s network there’s a glimmer of hope for improvement in network coverage.
AT&T is partnering with Intucell in producing a "self-healing" technology that its calling a Self Optimizing Network (SON). SON will efficiently maximize each cell towers usage. If a tower is overloaded with users, a signal is sent out to neighboring towers that can lighten the load, all without human intervention. The towers will be able to adjust in real time to help with high traffic usage. What does this mean for the user? SON has been in tested in areas of California along with Georgia, and users have seen a 10% increase in reception and 10% decrease in dropped calls. The technology should be rolled out nationwide sometime during 2012. Check the video below for more details!
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Coverage of the iPhone tracking "feature" has ranged from concern to outrage. "I don't know about you, but the fact that this feature exists on an iPhone is a deal-killer," wrote PCMag Columnist John Dvorak, shortly after news broke. Editor Dan Costa drew a softer line, writing, "Apple may not be actively tracking you, but it did turn your phone into a tracking device without telling you."
I'm not about to give Apple a pass on disclosure or execution. Who combs through an Apple privacy statement when the latest iOS software awaits? And, to "collect" and "share" user data is one thing; to retain it in an unprotected file is quite another.
However, I think it's important that, with a few days' hindsight, we move beyond the bombast, pin down the facts, and see what's actually there. To do this, I've taken a close look at what's at risk and, in empirical spirit, borrowed fellow PCMag software analyst Jeff Wilson's iPhone 3GS to see what I could learn of the man and the travels using Pete Warden's iPhoneTracker app.
A pair of mobile forensic researchers who independently identified a location tracking system on the iPhone 4 several months before it was publicized earlier this week say that law enforcement agencies are currently using data from a hidden iOS file called "consolidated.db" in criminal investigations.
Evidence from the location tracking database stored on iPhones "has been used in actual criminal investigations and yes, it's led to convictions," said Alex Levinson, a Rochester Institute of Technology researcher and technical lead for iOS forensics consultant Katana Forensics.
But Levinson and Christopher Vance, a Marshall University digital forensics specialist, also contend that Apple probably included the technology in its iOS operating system to deliver location-based services like iAds rather than to create dossiers on the whereabouts of iPhone users.
A great deal of buzz has surrounded a Wednesday O'Reilly Radar blog post by researchers Pete Warden and Alasdair Allan that highlighted a hidden file on iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad which includes latitude-longitude coordinates and a timestamp to track where such devices have been geographically and when.
But Warden and Allan apparently weren't the first to discover the file.
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