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Wireless News Aggregation

Friday — November 14, 2014 — Issue No. 632

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Reference Papers Consulting Glossary of Terms Send an e-mail to Brad Dye

Dear Friends of Wireless Messaging,

Spring has sprung,
Fall has fell,
Winter is not yet here,
and it’s colder than . . . usual.

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Check out the article about smartphone earthquake warnings. The author must have been down to visit our friend Santiago Cantú Segura in Mexico City—or at least borrowed his idea.

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A donation received this week from a reader on the west coast will buy a new computer monitor for editing the newsletter. Just waiting for the best Black Friday price.

If you have any funds left in your current-year advertising budget, this would be a good time to put them to use.

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I am still looking for a copy of the ReFLEX50 specification issued May/June 1994 (i.e., before middle of June 1994). Releases after June 1994 aren't what I need — I already have one of them.

If you have a copy that you are willing to share, I would very grateful. ( click here )

I am willing to pay a cash reward.

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One of my “pet peeves” is to find out some important historical fact, taught to me as a child in school, was not true at all. So in the THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK section, I have included an interesting article that I found, “Christopher Columbus: 3 things you think he did that he didn’t.”

  • He didn’t prove that the Earth is round.
  • Columbus didn’t “discover” America — he never set foot in North America.
  • Columbus was a brutal viceroy and governor of the Caribbean islands on which he did land (he and his men murdered thousands of natives).

Oh yes, I added a 4th one:

  • His name wasn't Christopher Columbus. His momma and papa didn't speak English, and we shouldn't translate names, if at all possible.

He was born in the Republic of Genoa (today part of Italy) I imagine they spoke Genoese, and called him “Christoffa.”

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Now on to more news and views.


The Weather in
Wayne County‚ Illinois

Find more about Weather in Fairfield, IL
Click for weather forecast

Wireless Messaging News
  • Emergency Radio Communications
  • Wireless Messaging
  • Critical Messaging
  • Telemetry
  • Paging
  • Wi-Fi
wireless logo medium

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About Us

A new issue of the Wireless Messaging Newsletter is posted on the web each week. A notification goes out by e-mail to subscribers on most Fridays around noon central US time. The notification message has a link to the actual newsletter on the web. That way it doesn't fill up your incoming e-mail account.

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.

I spend the whole week searching the Internet for news that I think may be of interest to you — so you won't have to. This newsletter is an aggregator — a service that aggregates news from other news sources. You can help our community by sharing any interesting news that you find.

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Editorial Policy

Editorial Opinion pieces present only the opinions of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of any of advertisers or supporters. This newsletter is independent of any trade association.

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Back To Paging


Still The Most Reliable Protocol For Wireless Messaging!

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If you would like to subscribe to the newsletter just fill in the blanks in the form above, and then click on the “Subscribe” bar.

free There is no charge for subscription and there are no membership restrictions. It's all about staying up-to-date with business trends and technology.

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Valid CSS!

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Can You Help The Newsletter?

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You can help support the Wireless Messaging News by clicking on the PayPal Donate button above. It is not necessary to be a member of PayPal to use this service.

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Reader Support

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Newspapers generally cost 75¢ $1.50 a copy and they hardly ever mention paging or wireless messaging, unless in a negative way. If you receive some benefit from this publication maybe you would like to help support it financially?

A donation of $50.00 would certainly help cover a one-year period. If you are wiling and able, please click on the PayPal Donate button above.

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Newsletter Advertising


If you are reading this, your potential customers are reading it as well.

Please click here to find out how.

Advertiser Index

American Messaging
Critical Alert Systems
Critical Response Systems
Easy Solutions
Hark Technologies
Infostream Pty Limited
Ira Wiesenfeld & Associates
Leavitt Communications
Preferred Wireless
Prism Paging
Product Support Services — (PSSI)
Paging & Wireless Network Planners LLC — (Ron Mercer)
STI Engineering
WaveWare Technologies

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American Messaging

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American Messaging

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WaveWare Technologies

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2630 National Dr., Garland, TX 75041

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New Products

SPS-5v9E Paging System

  • 1 Serial Port Connection
  • 2 Ethernet Connections
  • Browser and Serial Port Configuration
  • TAP, COMP2, Scope, WaveWare SNPP, COMP2, & PET Protocols
  • 2W, 5W Option

DMG Protocol Converter

  • Linux Based Embedded System
  • Up to 4 Serial Port Connections
  • Ethernet Connections
  • Browser Configuration
  • Protocol Conversion
  • Additional Protocols Available Soon

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WaveWare Technologies

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Easy Solutions

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easy solutions

Easy Solutions provides cost effective computer and wireless solutions at affordable prices. We can help in most any situation with your communications systems. We have many years of experience and a vast network of resources to support the industry, your system and an ever changing completive landscape.

  • We treat our customers like family. We don't just fix problems . . . We recommend and implement better cost effective solutions.
  • We are not just another vendor . . . We are a part of your team. All the advantages of high priced full time employment without the cost.
  • We are not in the Technical Services business . . . We are in the Customer Satisfaction business.

Experts in Paging Infrastructure

  • Glenayre, Motorola, Unipage, etc.
  • Excellent Service Contracts
  • Full Service—Beyond Factory Support
  • Contracts for Glenayre and other Systems starting at $100
  • Making systems More Reliable and MORE PROFITABLE for over 30 years.

Please see our web site for exciting solutions designed specifically for the Wireless Industry. We also maintain a diagnostic lab and provide important repair and replacement parts services for Motorola and Glenayre equipment. Call or e-mail us for more information.

Easy Solutions
3220 San Simeon Way
Plano, Texas 75023

Vaughan Bowden
Telephone: 972-898-1119

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Easy Solutions

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Digitimes: Apple ordered enough chips for 30-40 million watches

by Philip Elmer-DeWitt @philiped
NOVEMBER 13, 2014, 7:47 AM EST

Analysts put 2015 sales at anywhere from 10 million to 60 million.

Taipei-based DigiTimes, which covers Apple’s Asian supply chain like covers celebrity gossip, reported Thursday that Cupertino has put in orders for enough system chips to make 30 million to 40 million Apple Watches.

Analysts surveyed by Fortune the day after Tim Cook unveiled the device offered 2015 sales estimates ranging from 10 million to 60 million. Average: 22.6 million.

The Apple Watch is officially scheduled for release in “early 2015″ starting at $349.



State-of-the-art paging network infrastructure, fully supported at an affordable price – and it integrates with your other gear, include most makes of transmitters

Whether you are replacing or upgrading your existing network or building out new infrastructure, Infostream has the new equipment and systems that you need.

  • Optimised for mission critical and public safety networks
  • Highly integrated base station controller
    • GPS
    • 3G modem
    • HTML User Interface
    • Ethernet switch, IP and router
    • Optional integrated radio modems
    • Dual channel capable
    • Integrated off-air (self monitoring) receiver
  • Ultra high reliability configuration (99.999%)
  • Message encryption plug-in
  • Fully featured central site VOIP, CAD, HTML, TAP, TNPP, SMPP access
  • NMS integration including Nagios, SNMP and syslog
  • Comprehensive diagnostics including adjacent site monitoring
  • Deployed internationally in mission critical applications
  • 21 years of industry experience in design, build and integration

Infostream is a world leading supplier of paging and messaging infrastructure, specialized paging receivers and consultancy services. The company was founded in 1993 and has engineered and supplied equipment for some of the largest public safety networks and private paging customers around the world.

Medical • Fire • Police • Security • Mining • Petrochemicals • Financial Markets • Telemetry • Custom Applications

infostreamInfostream Pty Limited
Suite 10, 7 Narabang Way, Belrose, NSW 2085, AUSTRALIA
Sales Email: | Phone: +61 2 9986 3588 | Afterhours: +61 417 555 525

Ivy Corp



Please click the Learn More button.



Teletouch Paging, LP

critical alert

Is now hiring for a Field Service Technician in the Memphis, Tennessee area

Please contact Melinda Caragan at
904-203-1149 or send resumes to


Critical Response Systems

More than Paging.
First Responder Solutions.

Our patented technology notifies clinical personnel immediately, while tracking who receives and responds to each alarm. Users confirm or defer each event with a single button press, and analytic dashboards display response statistics in real time, as well as historically broken down by time, unit, room, and individual.

Our systems not only notify your personnel quickly and reliably, but also provide actionable feedback to fine-tune your procedures, reduce unnecessary alarms, and improve patient outcomes.


Roost's smart battery will school your old smoke alarm

by Devindra Hardawar
November 12, 2014

If you're intrigued by Nest's Protect, but think spending $99 for a fancy smoke alarm is kind of crazy, Roost's WiFi connected 9-volt battery is worth keeping an eye on. It plugs into any old smoke alarm to make it "smart," as is the custom of our time. You'll get mobile alerts when the battery is low, or if your alarm goes off while you're away from home. Say goodbye to those annoying middle-of-the-night low battery chirps.

After a day on Kickstarter, the project has already received more than $30,000 from backers. It likely won't be too long until it reaches its goal of $50,000. You can snag a single Roost with a $35 pledge — hopefully the final models will cost around the same. While it looks like any other 9-volt battery, under the hood is a micro-controller and low-power Wi-Fi chip. Thanks to lithium cells and intelligent power management, Roost should be able to get around 5 years of life, compared to around two years for standard 9-volt batteries.

Naturally, a companion app lets you view the status of multiple Roost-powered alarms and easily get in touch with emergency contacts. Roost says the battery will also work in carbon monoxide and water leak alarms. Additionally, it's taking suggestions for other devices it should support. I'll admit, Roost seems surprisingly compelling — and that's coming from someone who honestly feels a bit jaded by the onslaught of crowdfunding campaigns these days. But I won't get too excited until the company proves it can actually offer the Roost at an acceptable price and with the reliability we've come to expect from existing batteries.



Specialists in sales and service of equipment from these leading manufacturers, as well as other two-way radio and paging products:

UNICATIONbendix king

motorola blue Motorola SOLUTIONS

COMmotorola red Motorola MOBILITY spacer
Philip C. Leavitt
Leavitt Communications
7508 N. Red Ledge Drive
Paradise Valley, AZ 85253
Web Site:
Mobile phone:847-494-0000
Skype ID:pcleavitt

STI Engineering

sti header

250W VHF Paging Transmitter

STI Engineering's RFI-148 250 high performance paging transmitter features true DDS frequency generation that enables precise control and flexibility for a wide range of data transmission applications.

The transmitter is particularly suitable for large simulcast POCSAG and FLEX paging networks and can be used as drop-in replacement of older and obsolete transmitters. The unit has a proven track record in large scale critical messaging systems.

sti tx
  • High power output
    (selectable from 20 W - 250 W)
  • SNMP Diagnostics and alarms
  • Full VHF Band coverage
    (138-174 MHz)
  • DSP precision modulation
  • Integrated isolator
  • Sniffer port for in-rack receiver
  • Remote firmware upgrade capability
  • Software selectable frequency offset
  • Adjustable absolute delay correction
  • Front panel diagnostics
  • Hardware alarm outputs
  • High frequency stability
  • External reference option
  • FCC and ACMA approved
  • CE compliant version in development
22 Boulder Road Malaga 6090 Western Australia
Telephone:  +61 8 9209 0900
Facsimile:  +61 8 9248 2833

Skype Now Lets You Make Calls Right From Your Browser

Alex Fitzpatrick @alexjamesfitz 10:11 AM ET

The Skype Technologies SA logo is seen above the trade stand at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, on Wednesday, Feb.16, 2011.
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

You won't need to download the Skype app to make calls

You no longer need to download an app to make voice or video calls over Skype, the Microsoft-owned chat company announced Friday, as it unveiled a browser-based solution called “Skype for Web.”

Skype for Web lets users make voice and video calls directly in the browser of their choice by visiting It requires users to install a plugin, but not the full Skype software. Skype for Web is currently in beta and will roll out to more users over the next few months.

“Skype for Web makes it quicker and easier than ever before to connect with friends, family and colleagues around the world, for free — directly from,” the company said in a blog post. “It’s perfect if you prefer using the web rather than an app: perhaps you’re sitting at a computer that doesn’t already have Skype downloaded. Or maybe you’re on the go and using an internet café or hotel computer whilst on vacation where you can’t download Skype at all.”

Microsoft rival Google has offered free in-browser voice and video chats for several years through Google Talk and Google Hangouts. Skype’s move towards a browser-based solution reflects larger recent efforts by Microsoft to develop cross-platform software that works on multiple devices.


Product Support Services, Inc.

Repair and Refurbishment Services

pssi logo


Product Support Services, Inc.

511 South Royal Lane
Coppell, Texas 75019
(972) 462-3970 Ext. 261 left arrow left arrow

PSSI is the industry leader in reverse logistics, our services include depot repair, product returns management, RMA and RTV management, product audit, test, refurbishment, re-kitting and value recovery.

Leavitt Communications

its stil here

It's still here — the tried and true Motorola Alphamate 250. Now owned, supported, and available from Leavitt Communications. Call us for new or reconditioned units, parts, manuals, and repairs.

We also offer refurbished Alphamate 250's, Alphamate IIs, the original Alphamate and new and refurbished pagers, pager repairs, pager parts and accessories. We are FULL SERVICE in Paging!

E-mail Phil Leavitt ( ) for pricing and delivery information or for a list of other available paging and two-way related equipment.

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Phil Leavitt

leavitt logo

7508 N. Red Ledge Drive
Paradise Valley, AZ 85253

How smartphone warnings could save lives in an earthquake

Allison Barrie
By Allison Barrie
Published November 13, 2014

A sign is seen on a parking structure that collapsed during the 6.0 earthquake in Napa, California August 25, 2014. (REUTERS/Robert Galbraith)


An earthquake hits and unleashes devastation — but what if you had a 30 second warning?

While it may not seem like much, it could be enough time to take cover — just 30 seconds could mean the difference between surviving and not surviving. It doesn’t take a large earthquake to threaten lives — or to cause billions in damage.

In recent months, there has been a lot of earthquake news. On Wednesday a 4.8 magnitude earthquake and a series of weaker quakes hit Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. On Monday a powerful 7.4-magnitude earthquake erupted off of El Salvador.

As the Midwest quake shows, you don’t need to be near the infamous San Andreas Fault to experience an earthquake. A whopping 45 states/territories are considered at high to moderate risk for damaging earthquakes.

But there are a number of initiatives that aim to give Americans those critical seconds of advanced warning.

One of the most promising, ShakeAlert, performed well during the recent 6.0-magnitude Napa Valley quake. It gave residents a 10-second advance warning.

An app called QuakeAlert builds on ShakeAlert’s work and aims to give Americans 30 seconds of early warning that a quake is on its way.

Early Warning Labs has partnered with the U.S. government, universities and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) provider ESRI to make the next-gen app a widespread reality.

The company is also developing a physical detection and warning device for the home.

Wisely, QuakeAlert leverages smartphones to get the word out. With an early warning sent directly to phones, teachers, for example, could get their students to undertake safety measures like duck, cover, and hold.

How does it work?

In general, when early warning systems aim detect an earthquake they quickly estimate its projected intensity and issue a warning before the ground shaking kicks into high gear.

Typically, a seismic sensor network detects the ‘P-wave’ energy. P-wave, or primary wave, is the initial energy radiating from an earthquake. The earthquake location, magnitude and direction are then quickly evaluated as well is the estimated extent of ground shaking in specific areas.

The overall objective is to provide a warning before the secondary, or ‘S-wave’ hits. The S-wave is the strongest shaking that unleashes most of the damage.

Current systems issue warnings to key stakeholders, like local and state emergency response officials and those responsible for critical infrastructure. With an early warning, officials can then attempt a mass notification.

Early warnings are important because they can help mitigate damage and prevent casualties.

With sufficient warning, it becomes possible to deploy measures like stopping cars before they enter tunnels or cross bridges. The authorities can also halt trains and prevent planes from landing. It also means that defensive measures for potentially high-risk national infrastructure, like gas lines and nuclear reactors, can be initiated.

The QuakeAlert app focuses on providing a warning directly to anyone in the threat zone.

What is it?

The QuakeAlert team has been building on ShakeAlert’s progress.

ShakeAlert is the result of a partnership between the state of California, the U.S. Geological Survey and CalTech. ShakeAlert leverages a network of approximately 400 ground motion sensors and represents an advance from more conventional detection systems that relied on physical hardware to provide warnings.

QuakeAlert relies on a cloud-based system and sends warnings through the app to the user’s smartphone, rather than the ShakeAlert-style hardware.

The app uses typical smartphone functions like GPS and Wi-Fi to identify location data, as well as accelerometers and gyroscopes for working out movement. The magnetometer on phones can be leveraged to help work out direction.

Smartphones near the epicenter of the quake detect the threat and relay the data to a server. The server then passes along the data to all the phones with the app giving them advanced warning of the incoming tremors.

In a high-risk zone like California, this approach means that more than 16 million smartphones can be harnessed to provide residents with direct warning.

Anyone with the app will be able to receive data from their system.

The company says it will be the first time anyone can be warned that an earthquake is coming by a message on their phone – from a few seconds to minutes before it strikes.

In addition to sending warnings to individual smartphones, QuakeAlert can quickly get the word out in high-density populated spots like stadiums and concert venues. Linked to the speaker system, the app can immediately warn game or concert goers.

Similarly, in a hospital it could be used to instantly warn everyone. It could also be linked to the building’s essential systems, prompting a switch to emergency power.

Testing of the app will continue with users. If it proves successful, it could become freely available to users as soon as next year.

Ballet dancer turned defense specialist Allison Barrie has traveled around the world covering the military, terrorism, weapons advancements and life on the front line. You can reach her at or follow her on Twitter @Allison_Barrie.

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Hark Technologies

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hark logo

Wireless Communication Solutions

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USB Paging Encoder

paging encoder

  • Single channel up to eight zones
  • Connects to Linux computer via USB
  • Programmable timeouts and batch sizes
  • Supports 2-tone, 5/6-tone, POCSAG 512/1200/2400, GOLAY
  • Supports Tone Only, Voice, Numeric, and Alphanumeric
  • PURC or direct connect
  • Pictured version mounts in 5.25" drive bay
  • Other mounting options available
  • Available as a daughter board for our embedded Internet Paging Terminal (IPT)

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Paging Data Receiver (PDR)


  • Frequency agile—only one receiver to stock
  • USB or RS-232 interface
  • Two contact closures
  • End-user programmable w/o requiring special hardware
  • 16 capcodes
  • Eight contact closure version also available
  • Product customization available

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Other products

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Please see our web site for other products including Internet Messaging Gateways, Unified Messaging Servers, test equipment, and Paging Terminals.

Hark Technologies
717 Old Trolley Rd Ste 6 #163
Summerville, SC 29485
Tel: 843-821-6888
Fax: 843-821-6894
E-mail: left arrow CLICK
Web: left arrow CLICK

hark David George and Bill Noyes
of Hark Technologies.

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Hark Technologies

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Preferred Wireless

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preferred logo

Terminals & Controllers:
1ASC1500 Complete, w/Spares  
3Glenayre GL C2100 Link Repeaters
3CNET Platinum Controllers 
2GL3100 RF Director 
1GL3000 ES — 2 Chassis
40SkyData 8466 B Receivers
1GL3000L Complete w/Spares
1Unipage—Many Unipage Cards & Chassis
16Zetron M66 Transmitter Controllers  
Link Transmitters:
1QT-5701, 35W, UHF, Link Transmitter
4Glenayre QT4201 25W Midband Link TX
1Glenayre QT6994, 150W, 900 MHz Link TX
3Motorola 10W, 900 MHz Link TX (C35JZB6106)
2Eagle 900 MHz Link Transmitters, 60 & 80W
2Motorola Q2630A, 30W, UHF Link TX
VHF Paging Transmitters
1Glenayre QT7505
1Glenayre QT8505
1Nucleus VHF, 125W, Advanced Control
UHF Paging Transmitters:
20Glenayre UHF GLT5340, 125W, DSP Exciter
900 MHz Paging Transmitters:
2Glenayre GLT8200, 25W (NEW)
15Glenayre GLT-8500 250W
3Glenayre GLT 8600, 500W

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Too Much To List • Call or E-Mail

Rick McMichael
Preferred Wireless, Inc.
10658 St. Charles Rock Rd.
St. Louis, MO 63074
888-429-4171 or 314-429-3000 left arrow

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Preferred Wireless

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critical alert CA Partner’s Program

Providing better communications solutions to hospitals across the country — together!

For CAS, strong partnerships remain key to providing our software-based communications solutions to our customers. These solutions include:

ca dr and nurse
nurse call systemscritical messaging solutionsmobile health applications

We provide the communication, training and resources required to become a CA partner. In turn, our partners provide customers with the highest levels of local service & support. CA Partners may come from any number of business sectors, including:

  • Service Providers
  • System Integrators
  • Value Added Resellers and Distributors
  • Expert Contractors
If you would like to hear more about our CA Partners program, we’d love to hear from you.

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.

BloostonLaw Telecom UpdateVol. 17, No. 45November 12, 2014


All entities that were required to file FCC Form 477 to report the provision of "broadband connections to end user locations" for Year 2013 are required to respond to the FCC's special access data collection, due December 15, 2014.

The sections of the data collection that an entity must complete are determined by whether the entity meets the definition of Provider and/or Purchaser of special access services or provides Best Efforts Business Broadband Internet Access Services as defined in the data collection. Even if an entity does not meet either definition, it must still complete a certification to that effect.


President Obama Urges FCC to Adopt Strict Rules on Net Neutrality; FCC Chair Asks for More Time

On Monday, November 10, President Obama released an official statement supporting the adoption of strict Net Neutrality rules and urging the FCC to adopt full Title II regulation of the Internet.

As quoted directly from the statement, the President supports:

  • No blocking. “If a consumer requests access to a website or service, and the content is legal, your ISP should not be permitted to block it. That way, every player — not just those commercially affiliated with an ISP — gets a fair shot at your business.
  • No throttling. Nor should ISPs be able to intentionally slow down some content or speed up others — through a process often called “throttling” — based on the type of service or your ISP’s preferences.
  • Increased transparency. The connection between consumers and ISPs — the so-called “last mile” — is not the only place some sites might get special treatment. So, I am also asking the FCC to make full use of the transparency authorities the court recently upheld, and if necessary to apply net neutrality rules to points of interconnection between the ISP and the rest of the Internet.
  • No paid prioritization. Simply put: No service should be stuck in a “slow lane” because it does not pay a fee. That kind of gate-keeping would undermine the level playing field essential to the Internet’s growth. So, as I have before, I am asking for an explicit ban on paid prioritization and any other restriction that has a similar effect.”

President Obama also firmly supports the reclassification of broadband service as a Title II service under the Communications Act, though he also supported forbearance from rate regulation “and other provisions less relevant to broadband services.” He continued, “[t]his is a basic acknowledgment of the services ISPs provide to American homes and businesses, and the straightforward obligations necessary to ensure the network works for everyone — not just one or two companies.”

In an official response to the President’s statement, Chairman Wheeler agreed with Obama’s opposition to so-called “Internet fast lanes.” The Chairman also indicated that the FCC would incorporate the President’s statement into the record of the Open Internet proceeding, and will comment on it as the proceeding moves forward. Chairman Wheeler’s statement also emphasized that the FCC would need more time to examine the issues surrounding the Open Internet, though how much time was not specified. While the Internet Association, whose members include providers like Netflix, Twitter, and Google, applauded Obama’s statement, industry giants AT&T, Comcast, and Time Warner Cable have railed against it.

FCC Seeks Comment on TracFone Petition for Declaratory Ruling on 911 Taxes

On November 7, the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau released a Public Notice seeking comment on a Petition for Declaratory Ruling filed by TracFone Wireless, Inc. (“TracFone”) on October 23, 2014. Comments are due on December 8, and reply comments are due on December 23.
In its petition, TracFone asks the FCC to issue a declaratory ruling, on an emergency basis, “confirming that state laws and regulations that impose 911 taxes and fees on low-income Lifeline customers who receive no-charge (i.e., free) wireless Lifeline service (1) unlawfully reduce the value of the federal Lifeline benefits by imposing a state tax on those benefits … and (2) impeded the ability of Eligible Telecommunications Carriers (“ETCs”) offering no charge Lifeline service to fairly compete in the Lifeline service market.” TracFone also asks the Commission to issue a declaratory ruling “preempting enforcement of such laws and regulations pursuant to the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution and Section 253 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended.”

The petition is apparently prompted by attempts by Alabama and Indiana to impose state 911 taxes and fees of $1.75 and $.50 per month, respectively, on “no-charge” Lifeline service in those states.

FCC Takes Steps to Modernize Cellular Service Rules; Seeks Comment on Further Reforms

In a Report and Order and Further NPRM that was released on Monday (FCC 14-181), the FCC has taken significant steps to bring the Cellular Service into greater harmony with other mobile services that are licensed on a geographic area basis, including PCS, 700 MHz and AWS. The Commission is also seeking comment on further reforms that would, among other things, require frequency coordinators to perform review of new-system and CGSA-expansion applications. Initial comments on the item will be due 30 days after publication of the item in the Federal Register, with reply comments due 60 days after Federal Register publication.

Since the FCC first adopted rules in the 1980s governing the Cellular Radiotelephone Service, mobile services and mobile devices have evolved from analog-based voice communications using suitcase-style devices, to high speed mobile broadband using pocket sized computers. However, the Part 22 Cellular licensing rules — based on site-based licensing of individual base station transmitters — have hardly kept pace. As an example, prior to the February 2012 NPRM that led to the latest changes, the rules required filing of large-scale paper CGSA maps rather than electronic map files with certain types of applications.

The conversion of Cellular to geographic-area licensing will immediately relieve administrative burdens for licensees by reducing the complexity and need for filings with the Commission, in addition to taking the following major steps:

  • Defining geographically licensed areas based on CGSA boundaries, within which licensees will have new flexibility to make system changes;
  • Adopt a new rule (Section 22.983) to establish a 40 dBμV/m field strength limit but permitting neighboring licensees to negotiate a different limit (lower or higher), and specify the circumstances in which the rule applies (which is the approach taken for PCS and other auction licenses);
  • Preserving the ability to expand service coverage into remaining Unserved Areas in all markets – a hallmark of the current rules — in a manner that greatly reduces licensees’ filing burdens and increases their flexibility by establishing a CGSA-expansion minimum of 50 contiguous square miles for primary, protected service, and permitting service on a secondary basis indefinitely in smaller Unserved Area parcels without Commission filings;
  • Revising the rules to permit but no longer regulate negotiated service area boundary extensions into neighboring CGSAs and eliminate associated filings for them, but retain the need for agreements and associated filings for extensions into and from the Gulf of Mexico Exclusive Zone;
  • eliminating the requirement to notify the Commission of changes or additions to cell sites where the service area boundary remains confined within the CGSA; and
  • revising Section 22.953 to eliminate the routine need to submit 16 exhibits and other technical information with new-system and CGSA-expansion applications.

Significantly, the Report and Order adopts an industry consensus proposal that moves away from the Commission’s 2012 proposal to issue geographic overlay licenses by competitive bidding, which was disfavored especially by rural and independent service providers.

In the Further Notice portion of this week’s Order, the FCC seeks comment on additional issues relating to Cellular Service reform, including technical changes that could foster the deployment of wider-band technologies, such as LTE. In this regard, the Commission seeks comment on a proposed new rule defining “permanent discontinuance” for Cellular licensees as 180 consecutive days during which the licensee does not operate or, in the case of a Cellular commercial mobile radio service (“CMRS”) provider, does not provide service to at least one subscriber that is not affiliated with, controlled by, or related to the providing carrier. This stands in contrast to current rules that define permanent discontinuance as failure to provide service to subscribers for 90 continuous days. The new service discontinuance rule would apply to licensee’s entire geographic license area (i.e., the CGSA) rather than individual cell sites. The FCC indicates that adoption of the rule would provide greater flexibility in implementing system-wide technology upgrades.

Other issues addressed in the Further Notice include a proposal to rely on frequency coordinators to perform the first-line review of Cellular applications, including exhibits and attachments such as the electronic map files, for CGSA expansions and new Cellular systems, and to advise the Bureau on whether these applications are compliant with the rules. If adopted, this is expected to hasten application processing by reducing the need for application returns to correct minor errors. The Commission is proposing to authorize multiple coordinators, and to allow market forces to determine Cellular frequency coordinators’ fees. The Commission has also proposed to include a power spectral density (“PSD”) model that would benefit licensees using wideband technologies such as LTE, as well as revisions to the rule governing effective radiated power (“ERP”) for Cellular stations.

Clients with questions or who may wish to participate in comments on the Further Notice items should contact Hal Mordkofsky, John Prendergast or Cary Mitchell.

Law & Regulation

NARUC Seeks Extension of Time to Appeal to Supreme Court on Tenth Circuit Decision

On November 7, 2014, the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (“NARUC”) filed an application with the U.S. Supreme Court asking for a 60 day extension of the deadline to file a petition for writ of certiorari to review the judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit on the infamous USF/ICC Transformation Order. If granted, the petition for writ of certiorari would not be due until January 23, 2015.

As readers will recall, the Tenth Circuit issued an order upholding the FCC’s decision on all counts on May 23, 2014. After, petitioners Transcom Enhanced Services, Inc. and Allband Communications Cooperative filed petitions for rehearing en banc, which would have had the case re-heard by the entirety of the Tenth Circuit’s judicial panel. Both petitions for rehearing were denied, starting the timer on filing petitions for writ of certiorari – the process for asking the Supreme Court to review a decision by a Court of Appeals. Under the Supreme Court’s rules of procedure, the petition for writ of certiorari of this case is due November 25.

Cited among the reasons for its request for an extension are NARUC’s limited staff and vigorous November schedule, which includes its annual business meeting and convention in San Francisco, an active referral from the FCC’s State Joint Board on Universal Service (to which NARUC counsel is staff), and the FCC’s federal State Joint Conference on Advanced Services (for which NARUC counsel is also staff).

The application also notes that there are potentially up to three other parties are planning to file separate petitions for writ of certiorari, and NARUC would like additional time to coordinate with these unnamed entities.

Comment Sought on USTelecom Petition for Forbearance from Certain Wireline ILEC Regulations

On November 5, the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau issued a Public Notice seeking comment on USTelecom’s Petition for Forbearance from, in its own words, “various outdated regulatory requirements applicable to incumbent local exchange carriers.” Comments or oppositions are due on December 5, and replies to comments or oppositions are due December 22.

The Petition for Forbearance was originally filed on October 6, 2014. There, USTelecom asked the FCC for forbearance from the following categories of statutory provisions and regulations:

Category 1: Remaining section 271 and 272 obligations, equal access rules, and the nondiscrimination and imputation requirements set out in the Section 272 Sunset Order (47 U.S.C. §§ 271, 272, 251(g)).

Category 2: Structural separation requirements for independent incumbent LECs, including any conditions imposed by prior Commission Orders granting partial forbearance from 47 C.F.R. § 64.1903.

Category 3: Requirement to provide 64 kbps voice channel where copper loop has been retired (47 C.F.R. § 51.219(a)(3)(iii)(C)).

Category 4: All remaining 47 U.S.C. § 214(e) obligations where a price cap carrier does not receive High Cost Universal Service Support, including 47 C.F.R. §54.201(d). And, the Commission’s determination that an Eligible Telecommunications Carrier is required to provide the “supported” services throughout its service area regardless of whether such services are actually “supported” with high-cost funding throughout that area (47 U.S.C. § 214(e); 47 C.F.R. § 54.201(d)).

Category 5: Remaining Computer Inquiry rules, obligations imposed by the Commission’s Computer II Orders, and obligations, including Comparable Efficient Interconnection (CEI) and Open Network Architecture (ONA), and other requirements set forth in the Commission’s Computer III orders (47 C.F.R. § 64.702).

Category 6: Requirement to provide access to newly deployed entrance conduit at regulated rates (47 U.S.C. §§ 224, 251(b)(4)).

Category 7: Rules prohibiting price cap incumbent LECs’ use of contract tariffs for business data services in all regions. And, if necessary, the requirement that packet-switched or optical transmission services be subject to price cap regulation in order to be eligible for pricing flexibility (47 C.F.R. §§ 61.3(o), 61.55(a), 69.709(b), 69.711(b), 69.727(a), 69.705).

The Bureau also issued a Protective Order to limit access to proprietary or confidential information that may be filed in this proceeding.

PSHSB Issues Advisory, Seeks Comment on Unauthorized EAS Alerts

On October 24, at 8:21 a.m. EDT, an unauthorized Emergency Alert System (EAS) message was transmitted in several states. According to the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, some EAS systems may be queued to issue the unauthorized EAS alert at a later time. The Bureau advises all EAS participants to immediately check with their equipment manufacturers to determine if they have this alert in the queue.

In light of the unauthorized transmission, the Bureau is also seeking comment on how unauthorized EAS alerts, including this EAN incident, affect EAS Participants, public safety and other government and local agencies, as well as the public, and on ways EAS Participants and EAS equipment can improve message authentication going forward. Comments are due December 5, and reply comments are due December 19.

In particular, PSHSB is interested in receiving comment on the following questions:

  • To what extent have EAS Participants been directly affected by unauthorized EAS alerts, including unauthorized EANs? To what extent have National Primary and Local Primary EAS Participants been affected by unauthorized alerts? To what extent have Participating National EAS Participants been affected, and in which specific service areas? To the extent EAS Participants have received unauthorized EAS alerts, how has EAS equipment responded?
  • Is there a difference in whether or how an unauthorized EAN or other EAS alert is received and transmitted among different types of EAS Participants (i.e., broadcast versus cable versus other types of EAS Participants)? How does EAS equipment handle the absence of an End of Message (EOM) code?
  • How do EAS Participants determine the authenticity, or lack thereof, of an alert message? How is EAS equipment programmed to manage message authentication?
  • There have been several stories in the press and on listserv discussions about the use of “strict time” filters on EAS equipment. Indeed, FEMA staff recently recommended that EAS equipment be programmed with these filters as a short-term fix. To what extent, if any, have EAS Participants implemented this recommendation?
  • More generally, what actions can be taken, either technically or operationally, to enhance EAS alert authentication? What control mechanisms do EAS Participants and their industry associations have in place to assess network integrity, accepted risk, and effectiveness of mitigation measures?
  • What impact do public safety agencies and other state and local government agencies experience when there is an unauthorized EAS alert? Is the impact different if it is an EAN alert? For example, have government agencies received calls from consumers about unauthorized EAS alerts? Have Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) received 911 calls as a result of unauthorized EAS alerts? If so, what was the nature of these calls?
  • What actions, if any, have state and local governments, including public safety agencies, taken to mitigate public confusion when there have been unauthorized alerts? Were any of these actions part of a joint effort with EAS Participants and/or Federal government agencies? If so, were those efforts effective? What actions do such agencies plan to take in the event of an unauthorized alert in the future?
  • What additional actions, if any, can be taken in the future to avoid or mitigate the effects of an unauthorized alert? What actions should government agencies and EAS Participants take to better educate the public about the EAS?
  • What effect, if any, do unauthorized alerts have on members of the public, including those with disabilities and those who do not speak English as a primary language?

EAS participants interested in participating in this proceeding should feel free to contact the firm for more information.


AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon Support Using Section 706 to Prohibit Paid Prioritization

Despite the increasing number of “paid peering agreements” Netflix is entering into with ISPs, a number of industry giants came out in support of the FCC’s proposed use of Section 706 for authority to regulate broadband, particularly with regard to the prohibition on paid prioritization.

According to ex parte filings, on October 31 Comcast met with Wireline Competition Bureau and Office of General Counsel to urge the FCC to “follow the guidance of the D.C. Circuit in Verizon v. FCC by relying on Section 706 as legal authority” in authoring new Open Internet rules. According to Comcast, who allegedly has “no plans to enter into commercial arrangements to prioritize any edge provider content,” the Commission has ample authority under 706 to adopt a “strong presumption” against paid prioritization arrangements, and further noted that Title II reclassification or a hybrid approach would not result in greater protection for consumers.

On November 3, during conversations with Chairman Wheeler, AT&T’s Chairman and CEO, Randall Stephenson, reportedly reiterated AT&T’s position that “the Commission has the authority to protect and promote the open Internet under section 706 of the Communications Act by prohibiting paid prioritization which harms consumers or competition.” To regulate broadband services and interconnection under Title II, the executive continued, would not only go against FCC precedent, but also “negatively impact broadband infrastructure investment.”

On November 4, Verizon posted an entry on its Policy Blog discussing the potential for ongoing litigation of whatever the FCC ultimately adopts in the way of Net Neutrality. According to Randal Milch, executive Vice president and general counsel of Verizon, it all depends on the statutory basis the FCC chooses as the foundation for its rules:

If, as the FCC proposed back in May and as the D.C. Circuit suggested in its decision nearly a year ago, the new rules are based on Section 706 of the Communications Act, then the possibility that a rule prohibiting paid prioritization will be overturned is essentially eliminated, and the chances that there will even be appeals of the rules are reduced considerably.

Verizon’s author suggested that if the FCC chooses to go the Title II route, it will face litigation from the ISPs, but it may also face litigation from those supporting Title II regulation in the event the FCC forbears from too many of Title II’s requirements.

Calendar At-a-Glance

Oct. 1 – FCC Form 477 due (Local Competition and Broadband Reporting).*

Nov. 13 – Auction 97 begins.
Nov. 14 – Comments are due on USDA Notice on Changes to Guaranteed Loan Program Regulations.
Nov. 14 – Comments are due on Part 32 Accounting Rules NPRM.

Dec. 1 – Deadline to Increase Residential Rate Floor to $16.
Dec. 5 – Comments are due on US Telecom Petition for Forbearance from Certain Wireline ILEC Regs.
Dec. 5 – Comments are due on Unauthorized EAS Alert Public Notice.
Dec. 8 – Comments are due on TracFone Petition for Declaratory Ruling on 911 Taxes.
Dec. 15 – Deadline for Special Access Data Collection.
Dec. 15 – Reply comments are due on Part 32 Accounting Rules NPRM.
Dec. 17 – Comments are due on Part 22 Technical Changes.
Dec. 19 – Reply comments are due on Unauthorized EAS Alert Public Notice.
Dec. 22 – Reply comments are due on US Telecom Petition for Forbearance from Certain Wireline ILEC Regs.
Dec. 23 – Reply comments are due on TracFone Petition for Declaratory Ruling on 911 Taxes.

Jan. 19 – Reply comments on Part 22 Technical Changes are due.


* This deadline has been suspended indefinitely. A new deadline has not been set at this time.

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 .

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Secret US spy program targeted Americans' cellphones

Published November 14, 2014
The Wall Street Journal

The Justice Department is scooping up data from thousands of cellphones through fake communications towers deployed on airplanes, a high-tech hunt for criminal suspects that is snagging large number of innocent Americans, according to people familiar with the operations.

The U.S. Marshals Service program, which became fully functional around 2007, operates Cessna aircraft from at least five metropolitan-area airports, with a flying range covering most of the U.S. population, according to people familiar with the program.

Planes are equipped with devices—some known as “dirtboxes” to law-enforcement officials because of the initials of the Boeing Co. unit that produces them—which mimic cell towers of large telecommunications firms and trick cellphones into reporting their unique registration information.

The technology in the two-foot-square device enables investigators to scoop data from tens of thousands of cellphones in a single flight, collecting their identifying information and general location, these people said.

People with knowledge of the program wouldn’t discuss the frequency or duration of such flights, but said they take place on a regular basis.

A Justice Department official would neither confirm nor deny the existence of such a program. The official said discussion of such matters would allow criminal suspects or foreign powers to determine U.S. surveillance capabilities. Justice Department agencies comply with federal law, including by seeking court approval, the official said.

The program is the latest example of the extent to which the U.S. is training its surveillance lens inside the U.S. It is similar in approach to the National Security Agency’s program to collect millions of Americans phone records, in that it scoops up large volumes of data in order to find a single person or a handful of people. The U.S. government justified the phone-records collection by arguing it is a minimally invasive way of searching for terrorists.


Prism Paging


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US appeals court questions Motorola’s price-fixing lawsuit against Asian suppliers

Submitted by Jonathan Clifford on Fri, 11/14/2014 - 12:50

Mobile handset manufacturer Motorola Mobility's price-fixing lawsuit against several Asian suppliers is being questioned by a US appeals court; a move which hints at a possible blow to the overseas reach of US antitrust law.

At a hearing in Chicago on Thursday, a three-judge panel of the 7th U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals appeared skeptical of Motorola's efforts to sue a number of Asian suppliers for price-fixing.

The main point which was questioned by the judges with regard t the lawsuit filed by Motorola was whether the price-fixing accusations leveled by Motorola against Asian suppliers had enough connection to the US, for the case to be heard in US courts.

The lawsuit dates back to 2009, when Motorola Mobility — which is now a unit of China's Lenovo Group — had sued some Asian suppliers in Chicago federal court. Motorola had asserted in the lawsuit that a few of its subsidiaries had overpaid for liquid crystal display (LCD) screens because of an apparent price-fixing conspiracy in Asia. The lawsuit also said that some LCD screens had entered the US market.

With regard to Motorola's attempts to sue Asian suppliers in the US, Judge Richard Posner — one of the panel members — questioned the consistency of Motorola's legal positions, and said: “For tax purposes, you treat the foreign subsidiaries as separate, but for antitrust purposes, you treat them as part of Motorola.”

Source:Uncover California


From:"Ormsbee, Jacque" <>
Subject: Just a comment, From the Paging Information Web Site
Date:November 7, 2014
To:Brad Dye


I was a little surprised at your editor's comment for the story "Anyone Remember Pagers…"
While I agree it probably was written by someone young who doesn't fully understand the role pagers still play in today's technology soup, I was a little put off by your snarky comment demeaning those who are not “of a certain age.”

Of course, I haven't had the pleasure of meeting the author of this article in person, but I imagine that he is very young, and probably still riding a bicycle or a skateboard. I wonder how long it took him to type this article? Maybe using the “hunt and peck” system? He has probably never seen a typewriter or actually taken a class in touch typing. Never-the-less, he did a good job, that is . . . trying to be “hip” “cool” and “with it.” I can only hope that when the author does a narcissistic search for his own name on Google, that he will find this newsletter and learn something about paging from one of those old people “of a certain age.”

I know a huge number of very fine young people who are 80-100 wpm typists (even if they never typed on a typewriter). Your whole tone of this comment changes my opinion of you from someone trying to educate people on an industry that still has relevance and importance (the reason that I have read your newsletter) to someone who is just fighting new technologies and the young people embracing it.

And the photo of NYC — that is purely STUNNING. Thanks for sharing it.


Jacquelyn Ormsbee, 55 years old — have typed on a typewriter and used a pager.

Best Connections Answering Service
625 E Main St, Montrose CO 81401
Ofc: 970-240-9200
Fax: 970-252-8542
Cell: 970-275-5082

Dear Jacque,

Well now I am surprised too. My comments were meant to be funny and not snarky. Sorry you took offense. I took typing in high school (class of 1960) and then was a high-speed Morse Code operator in the Navy (Radioman Second Class) and I didn’t realize ANY young people, who have never seen a typewriter, could type 80-100 wpm. I guess the best I ever did was somewhere around 60 to 70 wpm in order to copy Morse Code at 30 wpm. I am "all thumbs” but I thought that was really fast.

Maybe I have become a grumpy old man without realizing it?

Shall I remove you from the newsletter notification list?

Best Regards,

Brad Dye

You don't need to remove me from the list. Because of our mountainous terrain and remote areas, some organizations in our area still use pagers and I like to keep informed on the industry.

I just thought your comment was a reverse generalization, similar to the author you were commenting about.

My daughter is 20, they started teaching her “keyboarding” when she was in 3rd grade. She probably out-types me 20-30 wpm. Most of my younger staff are amazing typists. and I once had an overnight operator that was a World of Warcraft player and she typed 108 wpm. It was unbelievable.

From:Jason Brown <>
Subject: PAGING
Date:November 10, 2014
To:Brad Dye

Hi Brad,

I have enjoyed going to your website for about the last ten years. I discovered many advantages that pagers have over cell phones. Here in Abilene, Texas where I live there are two radio communications companies that sell pagers and paging equipment service. They are Texas Communications and Mobile Phone Of Texas. Both of them are members of the Critical Messaging Association. They have been selling Apollo pagers since Motorola got out of the pager business. I got my first pager in 1986 when a hotel I worked at issued me a Motorola BPR 2000 numeric display pager from Texas Communications. A couple years ago I got to thinking that I miss pagers and I wish I can have one again. I don't like cell phones because I think they are too much trouble and they can cause cancer. I thought pagers got killed off by cell phones because the classification for paging services was deleted from the Abilene yellow pages and I never see anyone wearing a pager out in public. I was surprised to learn that Texas Communications and Mobile Phone Of Texas are still in the paging business. A lot of companies in Abilene use their paging services for on-site paging and their paging frequencies are quite busy. All of the nationwide paging companies discontinued their service in Abilene. I miss the Motorola wrist watch pager I bought from Texas Communications for $200 in 1990. People did not want to buy the Motorola wrist watch pager so it was discontinued. I wish I can buy one now. Here is an advertisement for the Motorola wrist watch pager:

I was a Skytel subscriber ten years ago. I loved Skytel and I miss them. I think they were the greatest paging company that ever existed. They had some great innovative services that the other nationwide paging companies did not offer. Skytel's customer service department was outstanding. Texas Communications hosted the paging equipment for Skytel, Arch Wireless, and Metrocall when they all provided service in Abilene. I live in a high rise 1920's hotel that was renovated into retirement apartments. Paging Network Of America and USA Mobility used to have their paging equipment on the top of the building. At my last job I designed and built the computerized radio broadcasting system at a new radio station in Abilene. After that was done my job was to maintain and repair the system.

Bye for now.

Hey Jason,

It was really nice to hear from you and to hear that you enjoy the newsletter.

I work hard putting it together each week and until I received your message the only other one was bitterly complaining about my comments about the “Do you remember Pagers?” article. I meant my comments to be funny but I guess I have become a grumpy old man without meaning to.

By the way, I remember the Motorola wristwatch pager very well. My first day on the job as the new paging international market manager, in the pager factory, was the same day that the wristwatch was formally released. I still have mine. In place of a serial number, it has my name inscribed on the back.

Thanks again for your message.

Best Regards,

Brad Dye

Hi Brad. Thank you for the e-mail reply you sent me.

I would like to donate some money to help support your newsletter but I lost my job and I don't have any support money coming in.

After I sent you an e-mail a few days ago I found your article about the problems with the Motorola wrist watch pager in one of your newsletters from last July. My watch failed shortly after I bought it. I took the watch back to the paging company and they had to send the watch to a repair center. The watch had scratch resistant mineral glass on the display. When the watch was returned to me it had a major scratch on the display. I think someone in the repair center deliberately scratched the display as an act of vandalism using a very hard object, like maybe a gem stone on a ring. I guess I should have had the watch sent back to the repair center but I thought, this is not worth the trouble, and I tossed the watch into a box full of junk.

I have an Apollo numeric display pager. It is a really good pager. Apollo pagers are made in Taiwan and they are distributed in this country by a company in Los Angeles. What is remarkable about Apollo pagers is that the frequency, capcode, and baud rate can be programmed into the pager just by pushing the buttons on the pager. The frequency is synthesized. It is not necessary to put the pager into a programming cradle connected to a computer.

I saw the pictures of the demolition of the Motorola pager factory in Boynton Beach in one of your newsletters from 2004. That was a beautiful facility. I think it is sad that the factory had to be closed and demolished. I wish I could have taken a tour of the factory before it closed.

Thanks again Jason. Don’t worry about a donation. Your comments are worth more to me.


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Christopher Columbus: 3 things you think he did that he didn’t

By Valerie Strauss October 14, 2013
The Washington Post

Christopher Columbus (The Ocean Blues. THE WASHINGTON POST LIBRARY)

So you think that Christopher Columbus discovered America in the Niña, the Pinta and the Santa Maria and also, while he was at it, proved the Earth wasn’t flat?

Wrong, wrong and wrong. Given that the European explorer has a U.S. federal holiday to his name — and is honored by holidays in other countries as well — let’s look at the disturbing truth about the fearless but brutal Columbus.

* He didn’t prove that the Earth is round.

Kids in school have long been taught that when Columbus set sail in 1492 to find a new route to the East Indies, it was feared he would fall off the edge of the Earth because people then thought the planet was flat. Nope. As early as the sixth century B.C., Pythagoras — later followed by Aristotle and Euclid — wrote about Earth as a sphere, and historians say there is no doubt that the educated in Columbus’s day knew quite well that the Earth was round. Columbus in fact owned a copy of Ptolemy’s Geography, written at the height of the Roman Empire, 1,300 years before Chris Columbus set sail. Several books published in Europe between 1200 and 1500 discussed the Earth’s shape, including “The Sphere,” written in the early 1200s, which was required reading in European universities in the 1300s and beyond. The big question for Columbus, it turns out, was not the shape of the Earth but the size of the ocean he was planning to cross.

* The famous names of the ships he took on his famous 1492 trip across the Atlantic Ocean, the Niña, Pinta and Santa Maria, probably weren’t really named Niña, Pinta and Santa Maria. The Santa Maria was also known at the time as La Gallega, meaning The Galician.” The Niña is now believed to be a nickname for a ship originally called the Santa Clara, and the Pinta was probably also a nickname, though the ship’s real name isn’t clear.

* Columbus didn’t “discover” America — he never set foot in North America.

During four separate trips that started with the one in 1492, Columbus landed on various Caribbean islands that are now the Bahamas as well as the island later called Hispaniola. He also explored the Central and South American coasts. But he didn’t reach North America, which, of course, was already inhabited by Native Americans, and he never thought he had found a new continent. You may also remember that it is believed that Norse explorer Leif Erikson reached Canada perhaps 500 years before Columbus was born, and there are some who believe that Phoenician sailors crossed the Atlantic much earlier than that.

And here’s something he did do that you may not know:

* Columbus was a brutal viceroy and governor of the Caribbean islands on which he did land.

He committed atrocities against native peoples on the islands and decimated their populations while he also terrorized Spanish colonists, according to the biography “Columbus” by Laurence Bergreen.

Why do we celebrate Columbus Day?

The first Columbus Day celebration recorded in the United States was in New York on October 12th, 1792, held to honor Italian-American heritage. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1937 proclaimed October 12th to be Columbus Day, a national holiday. In 1971, the holiday date was changed to the second Monday in October.

For various reasons, many places have changed the name of the holiday. Berkeley, California, replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day in 1992 to honor the original inhabitants of the islands where Columbus landed. In 1989, South Dakota started calling the holiday Native American Day. Alabama celebrates a combination of Columbus Day and American Indian Heritage Day, and Hawaii calls it Discovery Day. Other countries also celebrate Columbus with different holidays; for example, in the Bahamas, it is called Discovery Day, and as Día de la Hispanidad and Fiesta Nacional in Spain.

His name wasn't “Christopher Columbus” either.

Since he was born in the Republic of Genoa (today part of Italy) I imagine his momma called him “Christoffa.” Today we know we are not supposed to translate people's names into other languages if at all possible.

Italian: Cristoforo Colombo
Catalan: Cristòfor Colom
Spanish: Cristóbal Colón
Portuguese: Cristóvão Colombo
Latin: Christophorus Columbus
Genoese: Christoffa Corombo
French: Christophe Colomb


Source:The Washington Post


The European Space Agency's Philae lander sent back its first image Nov. 13 after safely landing on the surface of a comet, marking the high point of a $1.3 billion, 10-year mission. One of the lander's three feet can be seen at lower left in the picture above. The Philae lander, launched from the Rosetta probe, is a mini laboratory that will gather data on the comet.

Source:NBC News

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