For all the good Facebook has done in the wake of Hurricane Maria, CEO Mark Zuckerberg sending his cartoon avatar to the ravaged streets of Puerto Rico on Monday afternoon stands out as a tone-deaf misstep. He capitalized on a natural disaster to promote his company's new tech, and the whole thing just felt ... awkward. Zuck sent his curly-haired, smiling avatar on a virtual journey to the suffering territory with Rachel Rubin Franklin, the leader of Facebook's social reality team, courtesy of a 360-degree video created by NPR. Zuckerberg and Franklin's cartoon avatars floated along observing floods and destruction as Zuckerberg waxed poetic about the "magical" quality of virtual reality. They even shared an awkward high five in front of flooded homes while laughing about how they were using the Facebook Spaces tech from different locales. Twitter and some viewers commenting on the Live video on Facebook were quick to ask an important question...WTF? Why is … [Read more...] about Mark Zuckerberg took his VR avatar to Puerto Rico, and it was just so awkward
Government of puerto rico
The U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit last month to block AT&T's $39 proposed bid for T-Mobile USA, and now Puerto Rico is signing on as well. Puerto Rico's secretary of justice Guillermo A. Somoza Colomba explained in a statement (translated below): Through this action, the Department of Justice (DOJ) of Puerto Rico seeks to ensure safeguarding the benefit of a competitive market to Puerto Rican consumers. As the transaction is proposed, it would result in a substantial lessening of competition in the relevant geographic market for mobile telecommunications services, both in Puerto Rico, and the rest of the nation. Sprint chimed in again in support of its new ally. Vonya B. McCann, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs at Sprint, said in a statement: Today Guillermo Somoza-Colombani, the Attorney General of Puerto Rico, announced that Puerto Rico has joined with the U.S. Department of Justice, seven other state Attorneys General, C-Spire Wireless and Sprint … [Read more...] about Puerto Rico joining sides with DOJ against T-Mobile, AT&T merger
Medtronic, which supplies about half of the world’s pacemakers, recently announced that the company is investing $5 million for a second facility in Puerto Rico. Baxter, another medical products giant, employs 4,000 people in its plants across the island. Why are many of the world’s biggest medical device companies investing millions on this island—a U.S. jurisdiction with a foreign-like tax structure? According to Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company (PRIDCO), a government economic development branch, more than $5 billion in shipments of medical devices leave Puerto Rico each year. The government recently enacted Law 73, which provides up to a 50 percent tax credit of qualified research and development expenses for developing new technologies. After last month’s AdvaMed 2010: The Medtech Conference in Washington, I talked with Victor Merced, the PRIDCO’s business development officer for Life Sciences, to learn why the medical device industry … [Read more...] about Why do medical companies want to do business in Puerto Rico?
The United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has granted an experimental licence to Google's Project Loon to provide an emergency cellular service throughout hurricane-devastated Puerto Rico. The licence [PDF] allows Project Loon to deploy its network of balloons using spectrum in the 900MHz band, having obtained consent from the existing carriers in the US territory. "More than two weeks after Hurricane Maria struck, millions of Puerto Ricans are still without access to much-needed communications services," FCC Chairman Pai said over the weekend. "That's why we need to take innovative approaches to help restore connectivity on the island. Project Loon is one such approach. It could help provide the people of Puerto Rico with access to cellular service to connect with loved ones and access life-saving information. "I'm glad the FCC was able to grant this experimental license with dispatch and I urge wireless carriers to cooperate with Project Loon to maximise this … [Read more...] about Google Project Loon to deliver cell coverage to Puerto Rico
After receiving FCC approval to use its balloons to restore cellular and LTE service to the people of Puerto Rico, Alphabet wasted no time in deploying Project Loon. Last month, the company announced that it had successfully partnered with AT&T to restore service to part of the island.“Working with AT&T, Project Loon is now supporting basic communication and internet activities like sending text messages and accessing information online for some people with LTE enabled phones,” Project Loon leader Alastair Westgarth wrote. “This is the first time we have used our new machine learning powered algorithms to keep balloons clustered over Puerto Rico, so we’re still learning how best to do this. As we get more familiar with the constantly shifting winds in this region, we hope to keep the balloons over areas where connectivity is needed for as long as possible.”Now, Project Loon has reached new milestone. PCMag has reported that … [Read more...] about Project Loon has restored internet access to 100,000 people in Puerto Rico
In the wake of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico is still without power. The island’s infrastructure was due for an upgrade even before the recent natural disaster, and now it seems that one of the biggest names in the technology industry might be taking on the mission to make that happen.SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk has already sent hundreds of its Powerwall batteries to Puerto Rico as a stopgap. On Thursday, October 5, he took to Twitter to state that his company has the means to provide the necessary support to rebuild its power grid.“The Tesla team has done this for many smaller islands around the world, but there is no scalability limit, so it can be done for Puerto Rico too,” tweeted Musk. He went on to stress that the company would need the blessing of the Puerto Rican government, the Public Utility Commission, any commercial stakeholders, and the island’s residents.Puerto Rico’s governor Ricardo Rossello responded to Musk … [Read more...] about Puerto Rico’s governor wants Elon Musk to renew the island’s electrical grid
Early on September 20, Category 4 Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, taking roofs off houses and doors off their hinges. The storm brought down radar, weather stations, and cell phone towers. It left the island without power. Almost two weeks later, the majority of the residents still don’t have power. In fact, less than 7 percent of customers of Electric Power Authority (AEE), the U.S. territory’s main utility provider, have electricity. That’s up from 5 percent on September 29, according to the Washington Post.The Puerto Rican government set up a website, status.pr, that lets residents check how many gas stations are open and the number of hospitals that are up and running. So at least, the 40 percent of those with internet or cell service can check it, provided they also have access to some electricity. 88 percent of cell sites weren’t yet working as of Monday, according to the Federal Communication Commission.The site went live on September 29, and it … [Read more...] about Puerto Rico website is keeping track of the island’s re-emerging infrastructure
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Monday usedvirtual reality tech to "teleport" to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico and soon was dubbed a "heartless billionaire" by critics who felt he had exploited the dire situation in the U.S. territory.That likely isn't what Zuckerberg intended when he provided the Facebook Spaces video demonstration, showing how an Oculus Rift VR headset can be used to get a close-up view of some of the devastation Hurricane Maria caused last month.The demo shows how Oculus-equipped Facebook Spaces users can tour parts of the island and communicate with one another via their respective avatars.Zuckerberg made his virtual visit to Puerto Rico with RachelFranklin, head of the company's social VR unit. During their demonstration, they highlighted such features as Safety Check, which is intended as a way for Facebook users to alert friends and relatives that they're safe following a natural disaster or other traumatic event.Facebook has been using its … [Read more...] about Zuckerberg Pays Virtual Visit to Hurricane-Ravaged Puerto Rico
Walmart and Puerto Rico are entering a feud over what the company is calling "onerous and unconstitutional" tax increases. Get the Free Tracker App to find a Nintendo Switch in Stock It was such a dramatic tax increase the Walmart is estimating that they will have to pay nearly 92% of its net income within Puerto Rico in taxes - over three times what Walmart would pay elsewhere. This is due, in part, to the fact that Puerto Rico is extremely short on cash (they are over $70 billion in debt) and has accused Walmart of causing even more problems because it isn't paying its fair share of taxes.Part of the plan to dig their way out of that debt is to double the taxes on big companies like Walmart that get their supplies from off the island. According to CNN Money, the tax only applies to companies that make over $2.75 billion a year."No government should be permitted to drive a company -- the largest private employer -- out of business through a special tax applicable at its highest … [Read more...] about Walmart Vs. Puerto Rico?
In an interview with Alberto Bacó-Bagué, Secretary of the Department of Economic Development and Commerce in the Government of Puerto Rico, we discussed why officials turned to LinkedIn as their primary platform to build a hub for entrepreneurs and to foster innovation across the country—all in an effort to address their larger economic challenges. Get the Free Tracker App to find a Nintendo Switch in Stock Rahim Kanani: What are the most critical economic and social challenges facing Puerto Rico today?Alberto Bacó-Bagué: It’s no secret that Puerto Rico is facing some serious economic and social challenges. Though we boast a highly educated, skilled, and bilingual population, our labor force participation has been decreasing. The island’s highly skilled Puerto Rican graduates in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) disciplines are in high demand by top U.S. recruiters. Because of this, educated Puerto Ricans are leaving our … [Read more...] about Puerto Rico Harnesses LinkedIn To Drive Economic Progress