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Christopher Mims

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Seven ways to look at US Energy Secretary Steve Chu’s resignation and legacy

February 1, 2013 US Energy Secretary Steven Chu confirmed that he will leave his position a few weeks into President Barack Obama’s second term. Chu is something of a nerd hero: A Nobel-prize-winning physicist for his work on how lasers affect cooling atoms, he was a professor at Stanford University and then the...

Access to broadband internet is the new access to ports, rail, and electricity

January 23, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow In the 21st century, a small business in Kansas City, Missouri, has at least one very important thing in common with a small business in Seoul, Korea: Both have access to ultra high-speed Internet—Kansas City via Google Fiber and Seoul on account of its government championing the rollout of fiber...

How to Negotiate for Anything

January 2, 2013 Negotiation is a universal art, but many of us are surprisingly bad at it, especially those raised in cultures in which bargaining is not the norm. (I once participated in a panel on how to run a successful freelance business; at least half the audience confessed to almost never negotiating...

U.S. government hacked into French presidential office, spied on senior officials, says a French news report

November 21, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Using the sophisticated Flame malware first developed to spy on and sabotage Iran's nuclear program, U.S. spymasters were able to gain almost unlimited access to the computers of senior French officials in the last days of former president Nicholas Sarkozy's reign, alleges a story in French magazine l'Express. The impact...

Nine ways to make your cell phone last the whole storm even if the power goes out

October 29, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Hurricane Sandy has been dumping rain on the US east coast for at least twelve hours, but high winds and days of rain are yet to come, so utilities are warning that tens of millions of people could be without power for days. Fortunately, cell phone access is often available...

The world's largest payment platform can reach 2 billion people

October 3, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow When Jana co-founder Nathan Eagle needed to connect to a cell carrier in the developing world, he'd come to meetings with a duffel bag full of cash and say that he wanted to buy airtime. For carriers who were taking on more customers than ever, but struggling with declining revenue...

The real problem with Apple’s maps isn’t the maps; it’s Apple’s whole strategy

October 3, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Apple’s MapGate problem—in which millions of frustrated customers discovered that the maps app on Apple’s iPhone 5 can hardly identify major landmarks, much less give directions—isn’t just a glitch. It’s a symptom of the fact that the company made a substantially different bet on the future from Google, whose maps...

What will happen if the feds get warrantless access to phone location data

September 6, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow On Tuesday prosecutors for the Obama administration argued that records of location data gathered by cell-phone companies should be available to law enforcement even when no search warrant has previously been issued by a judge. In other words, If Uncle Sam wins on this argument, every law-enforcement agency in the...

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