Ars Technica has the news on Washington state's newest registration tool:
In 2008, the Pacific Northwest state became just the second in the union to offer online registration. This week, a new Facebook app created by Microsoft (a Washington company, naturally) will provide a new interface to let voters access the MyVote system.
Today, Washington and 12 other states, including Utah, California, counties in Nevada, Connecticut, Indiana, and others offer online voter registration.
"Facebook has millions of users, and a lot of users in Washington state—half of all Facebook members log on every day," said Shane Hamlin, the state’s co-director of elections, in a phone call with Ars on Tuesday afternoon.
It's no surprise that Facebook was consulted for this system -- the sheer reach of the platform holds clear benefits for Washington election officials. However, as with all online social networks, the need to accurately identify users who register will be paramount.
Online voter registration via Facebook may only be the first step. Perhaps soon we can expect full voting capabilities through our social media networks -- making the voting process even easier (at the potential cost of iron-clad security).
Back with episode four, and this time I dissect the news from last week's E3 conferences. Did the Big Three provide enough new information to excite their audiences? I also cover some breaking news regarding Verizon and their new data-centric phone plans. Is this where the mobile phone industry is headed? Listen below!
The AP sheds light on Verizon's decision to migrate toward shared phone plans:
Verizon Wireless, the nation's largest cellphone company, is dropping nearly all of its phone plans in favor of pricing schemes that encourage consumers to connect their non-phone devices, like tablets and PCs, to Verizon's network.
Verizon's new "Share Everything" plans, announced Tuesday, include unlimited phone calls and texting, and will start at $90 per month for one smartphone and 1 gigabyte of data. If used only with a smartphone, "Share Everything" prices are lower than for current plans with unlimited calling and texting, but higher than plans with limited calling and texting.
Color me less than enthused. When most consumers think of shareable data plans, they imagine adding unlimited devices to a set data limit. Yet Verizon is attempting to skirt around the issue by offering unlimited voice and text (who really needs that anymore?), while still capping data across all devices. Plus, one smartphone with 1GB starts at $90, and additional smartphones add another $40 to the bill.
Since Verizon will only leave one "dumbphone" plan alive after the transition, this move will prove very costly to customers who have used the company's cheaper phone plans.
Which is exactly what Verizon wants. The best value for the consumer rarely provides the greatest profit.