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There is no charge for subscription and there are no membership restrictions. Readers are a very select group of wireless industry professionals, and include the senior managers of many of the world’s major Paging and Wireless Messaging companies. There is an even mix of operations managers, marketing people, and engineers — so I try to include items of interest to all three groups. It’s all about staying up-to-date with business trends and technology.
I regularly get readers’ comments, so this newsletter has become a community forum for the Paging, and Wireless Messaging communities. You are welcome to contribute your ideas and opinions. Unless otherwise requested, all correspondence addressed to me is subject to publication in the newsletter and on my web site. I am very careful to protect the anonymity of those who request it.
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BlackBerry's Core Apps Come To Android as a Subscription Service
by David Meyer AUGUST 4, 2016, 4:43 AM EDT
The company hopes to make money from subscription fees and ads.
BlackBerry’s embrace of Android continues: Not only has the Canadian smartphone pioneer released its second Android phone, but now it’s also making its core suite of productivity services available for users of other smartphones running Google’s operating system.
The company hasn’t completely turned its back on its own operating system, BlackBerry 10, but it’s now stopped making its traditional keyboard-equipped handsets and isn’t planning to release any new BlackBerry 10 phones this year. So Android it is then.
In line with that strategy, most phones running the “Marshmallow” variant of Android will be able to run the BlackBerry Hub+, which is already available on the firm’s pricey Priv and cheaper new DTEK50 smartphones, as well its remaining BlackBerry 10 phones.
Get Data Sheet , Fortune’s technology newsletter.
Hub+ is a suite of applications that provides unified access to various email and social media accounts, as well as a calendar, a password manager and contacts, task, device search and note-taking features.
BlackBerry is hoping that people like the free, cut-down 30-day trial of Hub+ enough to start paying $0.99 a month for the full suite. If people don’t want to shell out that amount, they can view “occasional ads” instead.
“BlackBerry Hub+ is the first pure software offering from the new Mobility Solutions Group. But it’s a natural move for us. Not only is it the latest example of BlackBerry’s fast-emerging software business (already at a run rate exceeding $500 million a year), but it fulfills our promise to make the fruits of decades of R&D and software development as widely available to users of other devices and other platforms as possible,” BlackBerry wrote in a blog post.
For now, the rollout is not that widely available. BlackBerry’s post noted that the Hub+ applications would only run on Android 6.0 Marshmallow devices “which meet certain performance criteria,” and even then Marshmallow only accounts for 15% of the Android phones out there.
For more on Android, watch our video.
(Happily for U.S. Senate staffers who will need to give up their old-school BlackBerry handsets, the Samsung S6 smartphones on their new list of approved devices run Marshmallow, so they won’t need to give up their core BlackBerry services if they don’t want to.)
That said, the post noted that BlackBerry still wants to make Hub+ available to users of the preceding “Lollipop” version of Android. That would account for another 35% or so of the Android phones currently in use.
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ARRL Expresses Support for All Activities that Strengthen Emergency Communications Infrastructure
At its July 2016 meeting, the ARRL Board of Directors approved revisions concerning the management and governance of its National Traffic System™ ( NTS ) program. In response, some NTS™ participants have proposed to form a new organization with the stated purpose of engaging in current NTS activity, independent of ARRL. This action, in part, was a reaction to ARRL’s announcement regarding the creation of an enhanced emergency communications plan, scheduled for implementation later this year. The ARRL plan will address the role of programs such as NTS, which can provide important capabilities to ARRL partner agencies, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the American Red Cross, and The Salvation Army.
In a statement issued August 3 by ARRL, the League said it believes that the existing ARRL NTS™ program will rise to meet these new, demanding requirements; NTS resources are already well-established networks and have a long history of reliable operation.
“We encourage all NTS participants to be involved in current National Traffic System activities by continuing their existing assignments and duties,” the statement said. “However, if NTS™ members wish to explore alternative programs like the one recently proposed, we do not wish to discourage that exploration.”
The statement went on to say that it is ARRL’s mission to support all activities that advance the art, science, and enjoyment of Amateur Radio. The League “encourages any activity that strengthens the national emergency communications infrastructure, provides network redundancy, and refines and maintains the critical skills of radio amateurs who daily serve their communities with communication training activities and responses to local and regional emergencies,” the statement concluded.
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Critical Alert Delivers Secure, HIPAA-Compliant Text Messaging and Paging App for Smartphones & Desktops
JACKSONVILLE, FL—(Marketwired — August 04, 2016) — Critical Alert Systems , a leading provider of nurse call and messaging solutions for hospitals and health systems, today announced the availability of its Windows desktop client for the Critical Alert Secure Texting (CAST) application. CAST™ enables two-way, encrypted, HIPAA-compliant communications between iOS & Android smartphones and tablets as well as computers running Microsoft Windows 7, 8, and 10. CAST can operate as a stand-alone system or in conjunction with existing operator consoles, messaging software, or paging systems. It can be downloaded via Apple's App Store , Google's Play Store and at this Critical Alert Web site .
“Healthcare organizations of all sizes are recognizing the benefits of secure communications using smartphones, tablets & their desktop computers to improve patient care and communications inside and outside their facilities,” said Dan Shaw, Senior Vice President of Critical Alert Systems. “CAST provides a flexible, economical and easy-to-deploy secure communications solution for both text messages and important paging needs.”
CAST allows clinicians and caregivers to instantly share critical patient data to in-the-field personnel when they are removed from traditional clinical applications and locations. While web enabled devices have revolutionized the ease by which we communicate in a healthcare setting, they have also increased the challenges and risks to maintaining the security of Protected Health Information (PHI) and with meeting complex regulatory requirements. From an IT perspective, CAST enables secure, compliant messaging without placing additional burden or resource requirements on the IT staff and communications infrastructure.
CAST can securely send and receive images, video and voice memo attachments and pager messages can be directed to a user's smartphone or tablet. Current Critical Alert paging subscribers can retain their current pager telephone numbers as well.
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Critical Alert is a trademark of Critical Alert Systems . All other product or service names are the property of their respective owners.
|Source:||Critical Alert Systems|
Disaster-Proven Paging for Public Safety
Paging system designs in the United States typically use a voice radio-style infrastructure. These systems are primarily designed for outdoor mobile coverage with modest indoor coverage. Before Narrowbanding, coverage wasn’t good, but what they have now is not acceptable! The high power, high tower approach also makes the system vulnerable. If one base station fails, a large area loses their paging service immediately!
Almost every technology went from analog to digital except fire paging. So it’s time to think about digital paging! The Disaster-Proven Paging Solution (DiCal) from Swissphone offers improved coverage, higher reliability and flexibility beyond anything that traditional analog or digital paging systems can provide.
Swissphone is the No. 1 supplier for digital paging solutions worldwide. The Swiss company has built paging networks for public safety organizations all over the world. Swissphone has more than 1 million pagers in the field running for years and years due to their renowned high quality.
DiCal is the digital paging system developed and manufactured by Swissphone. It is designed to meet the specific needs of public safety organizations. Fire and EMS rely on these types of networks to improve incident response time. DiCal systems are designed and engineered to provide maximum indoor paging coverage across an entire county. In a disaster situation, when one or several connections in a simulcast solution are disrupted or interrupted, the radio network automatically switches to fall back operating mode. Full functionality is preserved at all times. This new system is the next level of what we know as “Simulcast Paging” here in the U.S.
Swissphone offers high-quality pagers, very robust and waterproof. Swissphone offers the best sensitivity in the industry, and battery autonomy of up to three months. First responder may choose between a smart s.QUAD pager, which is able to connect with a smartphone and the Hurricane DUO pager, the only digital pager who offers text-to-voice functionality.
Bluetooth technology makes it possible to connect the s.QUAD with a compatible smartphone, and ultimately with various s.ONE software solutions from Swissphone. Thanks to Bluetooth pairing, the s.QUAD combines the reliability of an independent paging system with the benefits of commercial cellular network. Dispatched team members can respond back to the call, directly from the pager. The alert message is sent to the pager via paging and cellular at the same time. This hybrid solution makes the alert faster and more secure. Paging ensures alerting even if the commercial network fails or is overloaded.
Swissphone sets new standards in paging:
Swissphone provides a proven solution at an affordable cost. Do you want to learn more?
Bsquare Announces Appointment of Wireless and Technology Executive Mary Jesse to Board of Directors
BELLEVUE, Wash., Aug. 1, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Bsquare Corporation (NASDAQ: BSQR) today announced that wireless and technology executive, Mary Jesse, has been appointed as a member of the company's board of directors to fill a current vacancy. Jesse will serve as class I director, and as such, her term of office will expire at the company's 2019 Annual Meeting of Shareholders. Jesse brings more than 30 years of executive experience in the technology sector including serving as Board Chair, Director, Chief Executive Officer, Chief Technology Officer, Chief Strategy Officer, Vice-President, and founder.
Bsquare CEO Jerry Chase stated, "Bsquare is thrilled to have Mary join the board of directors. She brings a demonstrated and successful track record of building and nurturing technology companies. We believe she will help to further strengthen our strategic vision and approach to the IoT market with our DataV IoT software offering. Mary will be a great addition to the board and be a strong contributor to the company's culture of teamwork and innovation."
Biography for Mary Jesse
Mary Jesse is a technology executive, strategist, inventor and pioneer in the wireless, virtual reality and product development arenas. From 2015 to present, she has served as Chief Strategy Officer for VRstudios, a global virtual reality company based in Bellevue, Washington. Jesse oversees VRstudios' product and content development, as well as pivotal industry partner and developer relationships and initiatives.
Her past roles include founder and CEO of Ivycorp, co-founder and CTO of RadioFrame Networks, VP of Strategic Technology for McCaw Cellular Communications, Inc., and VP of Technology Development for AT&T Wireless.
Jesse volunteers her time to support STEM education, promote documentary films and mentor girls and women in business. Jesse frequently speaks and writes on technology, business and entrepreneurship.
She served on the board of the Northwest Entrepreneur Network and Washington State University's Executive Advisory Committee and currently serves on the Advisory Board of the University of Washington, Bothell school of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
A licensed professional engineer, Jesse holds a BS in electrical engineering from the University of Utah and an MS in electrical engineering from Santa Clara University, in addition to having authored more than a dozen patents.
For more than two decades, Bsquare has helped its customers extract business value from a broad array of physical assets by making them intelligent, connecting them, and using the data they generate to optimize business processes. Bsquare DataV software solutions can be deployed by a wide variety of enterprises to create business-focused Internet of Things (IoT) systems that more effectively monitor device data, automate processes, predict events and produce better business outcomes. Bsquare goes a step further by coupling its purpose-built DataV software with comprehensive analytic and engineering services that help organizations of all types make IoT a business reality. For more information, visit www.bsquare.com .
BSQUARE, the BSQUARE Logo and DataV are trademarks of BSQUARE Corporation in the U.S. and other countries. Other names and brands herein may be trademarks of others.
First Successful Transatlantic Telegraph Cable Celebrates 150th Anniversary
It enabled nearly instantaneous communication between Europe and North America
By ROBERT COLBURN 11 July 2016
The SS Great Eastern was the largest vessel in the world when it laid the first transatlantic cable in 1866. The iron ship was 211 meters long and and carried more than 1,000 kilometers of cable.
On 13 July 1866, the SS Great Eastern —the largest ship afloat at the time—left Valentia Island, Ireland, paying out a continuous (and expensive) telegraph cable over her stern. The ship was 211 meters long and weighed 18,915 tons—nearly twice the size of the world’s second largest ship, the SS Great Britain. Two weeks later, the Great Eastern docked in Trinity Bay off Newfoundland, Canada, having carried the cable almost 4,000 kilometers across the Atlantic Ocean. Once activated, the cable allowed people in Europe and North America to communicate with each other nearly instantaneously.
Before that, communication between Europe and North America, including news bulletins, often took weeks. Westbound ships passing the coast of Newfoundland would throw their dispatches overboard in floating, watertight containers for fishermen to scoop out of the sea. News outlets paid the fishermen to bring the dispatches ashore to telegraph stations, and telegraph operators relayed the contents over wires to Ottawa, Boston, New York, and onward. The process was the origin of the journalism term scoop.
Political news, commodity and bond prices, and other time-sensitive information had taken weeks to travel between London and New York City. The transatlantic cable reduced the time to mere seconds.
The Great Eastern was constructed in 1854 at a shipyard in Millwall, an area of London, on the River Thames.
YEARS IN THE MAKING
The success was temporary, however. The cable’s core consisted of seven copper wires covered with three coats of gutta-percha (a natural thermoplastic latex produced by the sap of a tree found in Asia) and wound with tarred hemp. Protecting the core was a sheath of 18 iron wire strands arranged in a close spiral.
But that proved insufficient for protecting the conductor, and the cable degraded. By the time the celebratory banquet was held on 1 September, it was almost impossible to receive signals, and by 18 September, the cable was useless.
Political and economic instability leading up to and during the American Civil War delayed the next attempt to lay a cable across the Atlantic. But in 1865, Field was ready to try again. During an attempt that year, the cable broke partway across.
By the time the Great Eastern set sail to lay what proved to be the final cable, in 1866, engineers had learned much from the previous failures.
Improvements were made to the cable’s insulation so it wouldn’t snap. And because the Great Eastern was larger than ships previously used, it could carry the entire cable, improving the chances for success. Nevertheless, laying a cable across the North Atlantic in waters as deep as 4 kilometers remained a formidable task.
This watercolor painting by artist Robert Dudley shows the interior of the Great Eastern with a group of men gathered to watch a message being transmitted by the 1866 transatlantic cable.
THIRD TIME’S THE CHARM
The cable’s designers took no chances that the cable would degrade like its predecessor. The cross-section of the copper conductor cores in both the 1865 and 1866 cables were three times larger than the 1858 cable. The new core consisted of seven twisted strands of pure copper, coated with Chatterton’s compound, an insulated waterproof adhesive. It was then covered with four layers of gutta-percha. That core was covered with hemp saturated with a preservative solution, and over the hemp were 18 spirally wound single strands of high-tensile steel wire, each covered with fine strands of manila yarn steeped in the preservative.
The ship landed and laid the last of the cable at Heart’s Content, Newfoundland, on 27 July 1866. The Great Eastern then steamed back out into the Atlantic, and the engineers onboard grappled for the broken 1865 cable, brought both pieces to the surface, and spliced them. There were now two working transatlantic cables—which doubled capacity and provided a backup.
DEMOCRATIZING THE TELEGRAPH
In 1867, the Anglo-American Telegraph Co. reduced the rate to $46.80 for a 10-word message, and usage and revenue increased. Anglo-American’s transmission rate was approximately 8 words per minute, which increased to about 17 words as the staff became more skilled.
Newspapers were important customers: The New York Tribune spent $5,000 on a single dispatch by Horace Greeley in 1870 about the Franco-Prussian War. To save money on transatlantic news stories, the otherwise fiercely competitive newspapers formed United Press International, an agency whose news, photo, audio, and video services would provide content to thousands of news outlets around the world for most of the 20th century.
Thanks to the cable, near-instantaneous communication across the Atlantic had been achieved, with communication over land-based telegraph lines reaching as far west as San Francisco and as far east as Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).
The cable has been honored with two IEEE Milestones. Administered by the IEEE History Center and supported by the IEEE Foundation , the IEEE Milestone program recognizes outstanding technical developments around the world. In 1985 the History Center recognized the landing of the transatlantic cable with a Milestone plaque placed in Heart’s Content. In 2000, three Milestone plaques were placed at the sites of cable stations in three Irish locations, which were all connected by the cable: Valentia Island, Ballinskelligs, and Waterville.
|Source:||The Institute||(The IEEE news source)|
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Feds shut down tech support scammers, freeze assets
Scammers duped consumers out of millions using pop-up messages generated in search results on PCs and Macs
By Gregg Keizer
Federal authorities have shut down several alleged tech support scammers working out of Florida, Iowa, Nevada and Canada, freezing their assets and seizing control of their businesses.
The action was one of the largest in the U.S. against scammers, who bilk consumers out of an estimated $1.5 billion annually with bogus tales of infected Windows PCs and Apple Macs, high-pressure sales tactics, and grossly overpriced services and software.
After the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed complaints against six companies and six individuals in late June, courts shuttered alleged scammers doing business under names like Big Dog Solutions, Help Desk National, Help Desk Global, PC Help Desk, Inbound Call Specialist, BlackOptek CE, 9138242 Canada and Digital Growth Properties. Five of the six operated as a single enterprise, muddying the waters with multiple names.
The firms' websites were closed, their assets were frozen, and court-appointed receivers were put in charge of the companies. The FTC announced the shutdowns on July 8.
Unlike scammers who dun consumers with cold calls, claiming that they're Microsoft, Symantec or other well-known vendors, and that they've somehow detected "problems" on the computer, in this case the accused relied on pop-ups that appeared in users' browsers. The pop-ups were generated by websites that consumers had been lured to, often with ads displayed in search results.
The tactic has become common among scammers as a replacement or adjunct to cold calling.
The messages claimed that the consumer's personal computer was compromised and told them to call a toll-free number. "The pop-ups are designed to appear as if they originated from a computer's operating system and often mislead consumers into believing that they are receiving a message from Microsoft or Apple," the FTC's complaint stated.
Once the consumer dialed the number, the scam ran through its usual paces: "Technicians" claimed that the system was at risk, infected with malware, adware, spyware any-kind-of-ware, and said that they could clean it remotely.
“Once in control of consumers' computers, Defendants run a series of purported diagnostic tests, which, in reality, are nothing more than a high-pressured sales pitch designed to scare consumers into believing that their computers are corrupted, hacked, otherwise compromised, or generally performing badly,” the complaint read.
Both Windows PCs and Macs running OS X were targeted by the self-proclaimed support techs, who "proved" that the machine was infected by pointing out system information which was actually innocuous.
Fees ranged from $200 to $300 to "clean" the PC or Mac, often accompanied by pitches to pay between $10 and $20 monthly to subscribe to ongoing "technical support" or purchase security software at inflated prices of up to $500.
Undercover agents for the FTC reported a wealth of lies and preposterous claims, ranging from assertions that the technician was "part of Microsoft" to pretending to be fending off hackers at that very moment. "I'm still fighting these guys. Give me a second. I'm going to stick in some coding to try to block them off. We have multi-million-dollar software we use," one alleged technician told an FTC agent.
"Consumers who balk at purchasing Defendants' repair services or security software are deceived, scared, shamed, and even berated into doing so," the complaint continued.
The results have been lucrative, the FTC alleged. For example, Big Dog Solutions received $5.5 million in proceeds from the Canadian arm of the scam during the stretch from Jan. 28, 2015, to May 31, 2016. During the same period, BlackOptek CE received $2.7 million.
This story, “Feds shut down tech support scammers, freeze assets” was originally published by Computerworld .
Selected portions of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, and/or the BloostonLaw Private Users Update — newsletters from the Law Offices of Blooston, Mordkofsky, Dickens, Duffy & Prendergast, LLP — are reproduced in this section with the firm’s permission.
The BloostonLaw Telecom Update newsletter will be on our traditional August recess, in light of the usual slowdown in the news cycle at this time of year. We will resume publication on September 7. Meanwhile, we will keep clients apprised of significant developments via memos and special supplements.
|This newsletter is not intended to provide legal advice. Those interested in more information should contact the firm. For additional information, please contact Hal Mordkofsky at 202-828-5520 or firstname.lastname@example.org .|
Shiny happy people: Irish tech firm Voxpro to create 500 jobs in US
Cork company will open music-themed office in Athens, Georgia, home of REM and B-52s
Wed, Aug 3, 2016, 15:19
Business process outsourcing firm Voxpro is to create more than 500 jobs as it opens a new centre of excellence on the US east coast.
The new positions will be located at the company’s Athens, Georgia centre, which will see investment of $4 million, bringing total employment to about 2,200.
The expansion is specifically linked to a new partnership with a “major global brand” company, the details of which will be announced in the next six to eight weeks.
It is the latest move for the Irish company which has offices in San Francisco and Sacramento and which hopes to expand next into Latin America and Asia Pacific.
Chief executive Dan Kiely said the company planned to make the Athens office — which will be based in a former print works – the “coolest place to work by a mile”.
Located at 1 Press Place, the new facility is in the heart of Athens, the home of REM and The B-52s, and Mr Kiely says it will be designed around a music theme, offering workers space in which to play and record music in their downtime.
Proximity to Atlanta
“The west coast is expensive to set up in and getting more expensive all the time. So places like Atlanta are getting attractive,” said Mr. Kiely. Athens is also a major university town and the company hopes to attract graduates.
“We have first mover advantage there,” said Mr Kiely, adding that the company’s appeal to workers was key to its success.
“It’s about our culture which I believe is very unique. It’s important that people feel valued, feel they belong. And a career path is very important.”
Voxpro was set up more than two decades ago by Mr. Kiely and his wife Linda Kiely and originally employing just six people.
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It operates in 32 countries around the world, working with both big name firms and smaller companies.
The company announced a major expansion in Ireland last November, adding 400 jobs at its Cork office. It also has a centre of excellence in Folsom, California.
Although planning to expand to other parts of the world, the company cites North America is a “critical part” of its global expansion.
“We are excited to be a leading Irish company bringing jobs to the US,” said Mr. Kiely.
|Source:||The Irish Times|
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