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Thousands call on Congress to overturn net neutrality rules

Opponents of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s new net neutrality rules aren’t giving up, with a conservative advocacy group saying it has collected more than 540,000 signatures on a petition asking Congress to overturn the agency’s action.

American Commitment, a group with connections to Republican billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, delivered those petitions to Congress this week. Each petition went to the three members of Congress, one representative and two senators, representing the person signing the letter, American Commitment said.

“The landslide 2014 elections made crystal clear that the American people reject larger, more intrusive government,” the Web form leading to the letters says in part. “But President [Barack] Obama reacted by moving even further left, ignoring the fact the Federal Communications Commission is supposed to be an independent agency, and openly demanding the FCC take the most radical action imaginable: reducing the Internet to a ‘public utility,’ imposing sweeping new taxes and destroying private investment, competition, and innovation while putting bureaucrats firmly in control.”

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Amazon tries a physical button for making purchases

Amazon might be on to the killer app for restocking toilet paper from the privacy of your home.

Amazon Prime members can now request an invite to get their hands on “Dash Button,” a small oval-shaped device to be placed strategically around the home like drawers, cupboards ... or the bathroom wall. Push its button, and the device will instantly purchase an item of the user’s choosing. Currently there’s more than a dozen buttons for buying Tide laundry detergent, Bounty paper towels and Gillette shaving products. Users can set up the device to send them any applicable item they want; a link on Amazon’s site refers users to more than 250 Dash button products including moisturizers, dog food, and paper towels.

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World Backup Day: Best practices to backup your data
Jesus Vigo reviews options and best practices associated with backing up data on your Apple devices in observance of World Backup Day 2015.
Pro tip: Remote Desktop on Mac: What you need to know
If you need to access Windows applications through your Mac, a remote desktop connection is the way to go. Here's how to set up and use the connection.
Arista decouples switch, software pricing

Arista Networks this week decoupled the pricing of its software and switch hardware as a consumption option for cloud providers.

Arista is offering its EOS operating system as a separate subscription-based license from its switch hardware. The hardware is priced under a separate bundle but its purchase requires an EOS subscription.

Essentially what Arista has done is priced its hardware and software separately and offered EOS as a subscription-based license vs. a perpetual license. It’s a new consumption model for Arista kit that the vendor says is more aligned with the way cloud providers purchase and operate the products.

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The Upload: Your tech news briefing for Tuesday, March 31

Silk Road investigators charged with stealing bitcoin

Virtual evidence is no less tempting to a corrupt agent than cash or drugs found in a raid: Two former US federal agents face charges related to stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of bitcoin in the course of investigating the Silk Road marketplace. A former DEA special agent, who worked undercover to cultivate a relationship with recently convicted Ross Ulbricht, allegedly used online personas to engage in complex bitcoin transactions to steal both from the government and the targets of the investigation. And a former Secret Service agent who served as a computer forensics expert allegedly took more than $800,000 in digital currency that he gained control of during the Silk Road investigation—and put it in his account at now-defunct bitcoin exchange Mt Gox.

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Macro-based malware strikes again: How to keep your networks safe
Bad guys have regained interest in macro-based malware, reports Microsoft and Trend Micro. Learn why vigilance is key to combatting it.
Monitoring more than just wearables
Internet of Everything else
iot monitor intro

When most people talk about the Internet of Things, they’re talking about Nest, wearables, and other devices. But there are all sorts of “things” that can be monitored and tracked with network monitoring software. Paessler created the list.

Jackpot Values
iot monitor 1

Krijco Casinos & Leisure monitors the jackpot values in our casinos. "This gives us insight on how the value is built up and its hit frequency. We also use the live values to show them on our internal narrowcasting system,” says Gerard Feijth, Manager ICT.

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IDG Contributor Network: Cellular development kit for IoT now at Kickstarter

Looking for an Internet of Things (IoT) project to play around with? Chicago-originating Konekt's Dash is a mobile network development kit for building IoT devices for cellular networks, rather than what is says is restrictive Wi-Fi.

The company is looking for funding right now at Kickstarter.

The platform

A global SIM card with a data plan plus a hardware kit is included in the package. The PCB-mounted hardware consists of a micro-controller, cellular modem, and battery management tools. It functions somewhat like an Arduino.

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Bitcoin in China still chugging along, a year after clampdown

A year after China began tightening regulations around Bitcoin, the virtual currency is still thriving in the country, albeit on the fringes, according to its largest exchange.

Bitcoin prices may have declined, but Chinese buyers are still trading the currency in high volumes with the help of BTC China, an exchange that witnessed the boom days back in 2013, only to see the bust following the Chinese government’s announcement, in December of that year, that banks would be banned from trading in bitcoin.

This eventually led to a clampdown that scared customers away from the currency, and threw a wrench in the business of local exchanges, including BTC China.

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