09. July 2016 · Comments Off on Can Listening To Headsets Cause Ear Infections · Categories: Uncategorized

Technology is improving each and every day, but these advancements have left many of us tightly trapped in the luxuries and comforts, imposing many side effects on our overall health. One such modern advancement in technology that’s affecting our health is the use of headphones. Today, many people use headphones without knowing the kind of negative health issues the devices can cause.

Well, although headphones are an ergonomic, convenient and quite useful hands free accessories, there are various health risks that are associated with their use. Experts believe that prolonged use of headphones can cause great damage to the ears. In addition, headphones cause ear infections, which contributes to hearing loss. Well, some of the risks that are associated with headphones have more to do with their use and maintenance, than with the headphones mechanics.

Ear infections are much more likely to occur amongst the headphone users who wear the devices for extended periods of time, and also amongst those who don’t take good care of their headphones. For example, headphone ear cushions need to be replaced every 2-3 months, and should be treated regularly with the right cleaning agent so as to avoid accumulation of germs and bacteria. Prolonged headphone use also causes aural hygiene issues, hearing loss along with ear canal infections. Recent scientific studies have revealed that wearing headphones for extended periods of time usually increase the humidity and the temperatures inside the ear canals, thereby increasing one’s susceptibility to ear infections. This shows that headphones cause ear infections.

Sharing of headphones is another way headphones cause ear infections. It is quite common for people to share their headphones with others. Sharing headphones with others is not a good idea since the bacteria from other people’s ears will travel to your very own ears and this will cause ear infections. Therefore, the next time you think of sharing your headphones, think again. Do not share your headphones with anyone, not even your friends or family.

Listening to music together is another way headphones cause ear infections. As romantic as it may seem, there are dire repercussions to sharing headphones . In the process of enjoying music together, you will end up transferring somebody else’s bacteria to your ears; this can lead to ear infections. Make sure you sanitize your headphones by thoroughly cleaning them with a clean tissue paper before plugging them in.

Apart from the germs and bacteria you get from borrowing or/and sharing headphones, you can also get germs and bacteria from not changing your very own headphone sponges. It’s recommended you change the rubber or sponge cover of your headphones every 2-3 months mainly because they tend to get covered with germs and bacteria over time.

Some other ways you can avoid ear infections caused by headphones is by always keeping your headphones clean, regularly replacing the old headphones and ear pads, avoiding sharing headphones or using the public headphones, and not sharing earbuds. Also, if your headphones have a sponge or a rubber cover, make sure you change them every 2 months. Finally, remember to give your ears some rest once every 15 minutes, and do not play the music way too loud, for this might contribute to hearing loss.

18. June 2016 · Comments Off on Scientists Astounded as Four Legged Fossil Snake Turns up In Museum · Categories: Uncategorized

A unique species of early cretaceous snake – unique in that it apparently had four functioning limbs – has been discovered in the Bürgermeister Müller Museum in Solnhofen, Germany this month.

The discovery was made by Dr. David Martill of the University of Portsmouth, who was showing a group of students through the museum’s collection when he noticed the specimen’s remarkable attributes.

The snake, which measured about 15 centimetres from nose to tail, is thought to have been a carnivore (a fact borne out by the bones of smaller animals preserved in its stomach) and probably hunted via constriction, like many of today’s snakes. Experts believe that it may even have used its limbs to aid in the process.

Built for burrowing (an activity which likely would not have included its limbs in any significant way), this new discovery lends credence to the scientists who argue for snake evolution occurring on land, as opposed to in the sea.

Fossil snakes with stunted hind limbs are known to palaeontologists – and even today’s boas and pythons have a small pair of spurs where their hind limbs are thought to have once been. However, no snake, extinct or extant, has ever been discovered with four limbs.

Appropriately enough, Dr. Martill named the creature Tetrapodophis, meaning ‘four-legged snake’.

However, some experts are not convinced. In our vibrant, ecologically diverse world, there are a great many species of legless lizards that are not true snakes. European slow worms, for example, are snake-like in aspect, but they are lizards, not snakes. Another example would be the Mexican Bipedidae family, which are serpentine in appearance, but which retain a pair of fully functioning forelimbs.

“Is it even a snake? I honestly don’t think so,” said the University of Alberta’s Dr. Michael Caldwell, an expert in snake evolution, to National Geographic.com’s Ed Yong. According to Caldwell and a growing number of other critics, Tetrapodophis lacks certain distinctive features in the spine and the skull that would label it a snake. The fact that this is the only known specimen in the world and that the skull is only partially preserved will probably see the debate continue until such time as a complete specimen is unearthed.

But Dr. Martill is insistent that his discovery is a snake. Speaking to National Geographic, he pointed out the specimen’s backwards-pointing teeth, single row of belly scales, the connections between the vertebrae and the shortness of the animal’s tail after the hip – all of which suggest snake to the educated observer. Of course, many legless lizards also feature these traits, but none has all of them. This means that even if the animal has been mis-identified, it is still totally unique to science.

Even more mysterious are the origins of the fossil itself, which contains the rather distinctive characteristics indicative of the Crato formation in Brazil. Discounting for a second that this is quite possibly the earliest fossil snake known to have emerged from South America, question marks have been raised regarding how the specimen could have made it to Germany when the trade of such artefacts is illegal under Brazilian law.

Since 1942, it has been illegal for any unlicensed person to dig for fossils in Brazil without first gaining permission from the Brazilian National Department of Mineral Production (DNPM). Last year, a number of people were prosecuted (where they faced a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison) for the illegal export of Brazilian fossils to museums in Germany and Great Britain. Odds are that Brazilian authorities, as well as the scientific community in general, will be looking into the origins of such an important find with great interest.

12. June 2016 · Comments Off on Who Actually Conceived The Headset · Categories: Uncategorized

Have you ever stopped to think where headsets really came from? Well, they first headset was used in the 20th century; however, the technology has significantly improved over the decades. Shockingly it did not occur to anyone that headsets could be used to listening music on devices. Read more about the invention of radio headset in this article.

Everyone Uses Headsets

Headsets are an important accessory and it is very clear that they have indeed managed to save an argument over the years. Headsets enable you to listen to audio/music without having to get in the way of anyone else. In this time and age, we use all types of headsets from tiny earplugs with a wireless Bluetooth technology for listening to music in the streets, to big leather-padded cans to listen to music at home. Gaming headsets are increasingly becoming popular as many of them today come outfitted with a microphone, hence allowing the users to speak with other relatives, gamers and friends.

Headsets can give the user a great sound quality, there isn’t any sort of interruption between the ear and the sound, external sound is blocked out and there is absolutely nowhere for it to dissipate, more so if you invest in a pair of high quality headsets which are plentifully available nowadays. As a matter of fact, if you take a walk back to the early 20th century right before amplifiers had been invented; sensitive headsets were the only means that was could be used to listen to music/audio.

What Year Was The First Radio Headset Invented?

Accurately speaking, the very first headset dates back to the telephone early adoption and by 1920 radio headsets were being commercially manufactured. These were mainly used by professionals and not by the public. There exists an argument over who was first person behind the idea to dwindle down loudspeakers and move on to attach them on our heads but the earliest living example dates back to around 1911. This was far from the headsets we use presently with no padding for comfort and a very low sound quality. They were used by telephone exchanges and radio operators.

Who Invented The Radio Headset?

Headsets were the only way to listen to audio files before the development of amplifiers. Headsets were invented in 1910 by Nathaniel Baldwin, an American born to a Canadian father and an American mother. Baldwin developed the first, truly successful set in 1910 by hand in his kitchen and later sold them to US Navy.

Baldwin’s headsets made use of moving iron drivers that came with either balanced or single ended armatures. The requirement for high-sensitivity meant damping could not be used, and hence they had a crude sound quality. These early models did not have padding, and oftentimes ended up producing excessive clamping force on the heads of persons wearing them.

In 1944, John C. Koss a jazz musician and an audiophile from Milwaukee, US, designed the first stereo headset. Previously, headsets were used only by radio and telephone operators, as well as persons in related industries. The 3.5-mm phone connector and radio headset, which is commonly used in portable applications today, has been in use since the Sony EFM117J radio that was released in 1965.

04. June 2016 · Comments Off on A Guide to Using a Two Way Radio · Categories: Uncategorized

Guide to using a two way radio

17. May 2016 · Comments Off on The way to communicate over a two-way Radio · Categories: Uncategorized

It is a wise idea to consider learning 2wayradionline.co.uk . By so doing, one is able to improve their experience in using a radio in communication. Over the years, a number of rules have been put in place to ensure that radio communications proceed more efficiently. These rules can be generalized as the etiquette for using two-way radios. Here are a few radio etiquette that should be considered when using a two-way radio:

Radio Etiquette Rules

It is important to bear in mind that English is the internationally recognized radio language. Users should ensure that they speak English when communicating with a two-way radio. However, there are exceptional cases where a user might be licensed to use other languages in radio communications.

It is not good etiquette to speak and listen to the person on the receiving end without allowing them time to finish what they are saying. This means that it is important to take turns when communicating with a radio. This is unlike the normal phone communication.

It is not good to interrupt someone. Rather, it is important to listen without interrupting other people. However, the only exception where one is allowed to interrupt is when they have some emergency information they would like to convey.

It is advisable not to respond to calls that one is not sure about. In such situations, it is wise to wait for call signs that confirm whose call it is before making any response.

It is wise not to ever transmit military, confidential, sensitive or financial information via a radio call. This is because radio communications can be tapped and be heard by the wrong recipients. Unless one is sure that their conversation is properly secured with high level encryption software, sensitive information should never be transmitted via a radio.

One should always perform checks on their radio to confirm that they are working properly. One should ensure that their radio battery is fully charged and its power is on. The volumes should at all time high. This will allow one to follow the conversation without strain. Additionally, one should ensure that they are within a range that can receive radio signals.

It is prudent to remember and memorize call locations and signs of radio stations and persons that one regularly communicates with. This is because name calling is discouraged in radio communications. People use call signs that are unique to everybody.

One should at all time think before speaking. This implies that one should not just say anything that comes in their mind but should carefully decide what to say. Communications should always be kept clear and precise. Additionally, one should not use complex sentences. Similarly, one should consider dividing long messages into shorter, separate messages for easy understanding. Abbreviations should at all times be avoided unless the receiving end understands the message.

Conclusion

When using a radio in communication, one should ensure that the voice is clear. It is wise to speak slowly and avoid shouting for clarity purposes. Radio messages should be kept simple, precise, and to the point. This allows brevity and simplicity in the entire conversation. As stated earlier, it is advisable to avoid radio transmission of confidential information for security purposes.

21. April 2016 · Comments Off on Extreme conditions no match for latest motorola solutions radio · Categories: Uncategorized

We all know that Motorola produce the best two way radios and claim to be best in class, that can be backed up, by just using their products. This article (original can be found here) focuses on radios for the fire service, but as we all know they are well adapted for the police, ambulance and search and rescue teams.

Motorola Solutions (NYSE: MSI) continues its legacy of designing best-in-class digital radio solutions for firefighters and other professionals who face extreme conditions with the introduction of the APX 8000XE two-way radio and APX XE500 RSM. The newest entries into Motorola Solutions’ award-winning APX portfolio of Project 25  (P25) digital radios have been developed using the company’s well-established practice of hands-on research with firefighters and other first responders who need the most reliable mission-critical communications to do their jobs efficiently, effectively and safely every day.

The APX 8000XE features all-band functionality and is a rugged P25 two-way radio that can be used in either analog or digital mode across 700/800MHz, VHF and UHF bands. Time is of the essence for firefighters and they can be ready in moments by programming the radio remotely via Wi-Fi and radio management software to operate securely on different radio networks, allowing them to quickly help neighboring counties during large-scale emergencies.

Motorola Solutions works closely with firefighters and other radio users to find out exactly what they need and the APX 8000XE is the latest example of that thinking. It features the trusted ergonomics of the APX XE radio series, designed for easy operation in harsh conditions. The right-sized radio has a large top display, exaggerated controls for gloved hands and a dedicated push-to-talk button. It also provides best-in-class audio with a 1-watt speaker, three built-in microphones and automatic noise suppression for clarity in the loudest of environments.

“The APX 8000XE is an all-band rugged and submersible portable radio made for firefighters,” said Lieutenant David Hudik, Elgin, Illinois Fire Department. “With Wi-Fi access, we can reprogram the APX 8000XE on the fly when we are providing mutual aid assistance out-of-state.”

Most firefighters use a remote speaker microphone with their radios and the APX XE500 RSM is designed specifically for demanding environments, whether combating a fire or providing medical services at the scene of an accident.

– With five strategically placed microphones and automatic noise suppression, the APX XE500  provides clear communications when worn on either shoulder, center chest, or over the shoulder

– It can be submersed in 2 meters of water for up to 4 hours

– It withstands heat conditions of up to 500°F (260°C) for up to 5 minutes

– A channel knob automatically controls the channels of the user’s portable APX radio

“With the APX XE500 RSM, I can completely control my APX radio without having to hunt under my bunker coat for it,” said Lieutenant David Hudik, Elgin Fire Department. “With improved water porting, you can carry the APX XE500 upright or upside down for fast water drainage while maintaining clear voice communications.”

“Customer input is essential to our design and the Elgin Fire Department was right at our side as we tested the capabilities of the APX 8000XE and APX XE500 RSM,” said Claudia Rodriguez, vice president, Devices Product Management, Motorola Solutions. “The latest XE radio means firefighters will be able to talk with other first responders at the scene and across municipalities and regions. The new rugged RSM means they can communicate clearly in the loudest fireground environments, including blaring horns and wailing sirens.”

19. April 2016 · Comments Off on Sepura Releases New SC20 Portable Radios · Categories: Uncategorized

Sepura are masters of the tetra market, they have produced radios for many years for the emergency services. police and airport security, a forward runner for the digital systems we now see all around the UK. The SC20 is the new generation of Sepura radios ready for the modern day work force. We found this article on this website and thought that our readers would find it useful.

First orders of Sepura’s new flagship hand-portable radios, the SC20 series, will be shipped in February.

Shaped by user feedback, SC20 series hand-portable radios are resilient, intelligent and durable, providing intuitive operation and outstanding performance, even in the toughest conditions.

Broadband-ready, the SC2020 (380MHz-430MHz) and the SC2040 (403MHz-470MHz) combine the mission-critical security and advanced performance of TETRA with an optional second high-speed data bearer capability.

A new, powerful Class 3 TETRA engine is paired with a new receiver that surpasses the ETSI specification, a unique combination, extending operational range and stretching coverage into areas where it was not possible before.

The radios’ powerful 2W audio capability, enhanced by unique water-porting technology, allows for uncompromised audio clarity, even in continuous heavy rain. Uniquely, the SC20 series boasts IP66, 67 and 68 environmental protection rating, meaning that it is completely dustproof, submersible to a depth of two metres for one hour and impervious to jets of water. Its design also enables it to be easily cleaned by simply rinsing dust and dirt off under the tap.

Additionally, the radios’ high-resolution screen, the largest on the market today, is specifically designed to provide a richer user experience. The larger screen enables the display of more comprehensive data, suitable for future applications via high-speed data; it is also viewable in all light conditions, including direct sunlight.

“The SC20 has been designed to deliver the highest levels of robustness, endurance, audio clarity and power. It is designed to place and receive calls where it simply was not possible before,” commented Mark Barnby, Sepura’s head of product management – devices.

“This is the first product on our brand new technology platform. It is designed to meet the needs of mission-critical users today, whilst allowing high-speed data to be added in the future.”

Steve Barber, VP group strategy for Sepura, commented: “The SC20 confirms our vision for the future and demonstrates our ability to adapt to the fast-moving markets in which we operate.

“We continue to provide our global customer base with products that address their ever-evolving communication needs and the operational challenges they face every day. The SC20 provides undisputable proof that Sepura is going further in critical communications.”

15. April 2016 · Comments Off on The Best Styles of Bluetooth Earpieces · Categories: Uncategorized

Bluetooth technology has been designed for many different purposes and situations. Consequently, when people want to buy a bluetooth ear piece for a specific situation, there are some things that they will need to consider. Specifically, based on their specific situation and circumstances, they will need to review the best style of bluetooth earpiece that is available on the market today. Since there are different styles that have been made for for one or more reasons, it’s important for each individual to do their research to see which style can accommodate their needs. It is also important to note that the kind the person purchases must be comfortable so that they can wear them for an extended period of time and they fit the devices that they will be used for. Listed below are three of the bluetooth styles that’s currently offered by manufactures all over the United States and abroad.

Bluetooth ear pieces for Mobile Phones

Most people take their mobile phones wherever they go. To work, school, church, parties and all kinds of other events that they may attend. Because these phones have become commonplace in many environments, people have a need to handle them and talk to others when their hands are free. This is also a great reason for individuals who work in certain settings to make sure that they are buying the right style that will best fit their needs.

One specific style that some people may choose is the ear cradle style of headphone. In fact, this kind of bluetooth earpiece is idea for people who want to spend their time working out and performing all kinds of other extracurricular activities. People are also encouraged to buy this kind of style because they may be driving when they receive a telephone call from a family member. Or, they may be working at the job typing a memo or walking around taking care of wide hosts of other kinds of activities that are not conducive to holding a mobile phone by hand to the ear. Whatever the situation, this style of bluetooth earpiece technology is great for many different situations and purposes.

Bluetooth ear pieces and Headsets for Music Lovers

In addition to the cradle style for mobile phones, people should also review other styles as well. One specific style that is also functional in many different settings is the DJ over the head headphones. This style has been designed for the serious music lovers, especially those who can appreciate making distinctions in sounds and beats that come from specific musical instruments like the bass, violin, trumpet and other popular instruments. For those who like and prefer this kind, they will also find that this is one of the best styles for keeping out outside noises that normally interfere with a person’s overall entertainment experience. Also, because they are wireless, they are great for people who like to stay mobile during the day instead of remaining in a sedentary position.

Bluetooth Ear Pieces for IPODs

In some situations, people may want to use bluetooth technology with their IPODs. Therefore, they should consider buying an additional popular style bluetooth earpiece technology. This style is known to be very popular, specifically because it is similar to an actual earbud. An ear bud is also another excellent choice for people who want to remain both active and hassle free. Though this is a great choice for people who like to remain mobile in a wide variety of different situations, one of its main draw backs is that they tend to fall out of the individuals ear. Which means, they can also be lost since it lacks additional support to keep them stabilized inside the ear.

15. March 2016 · Comments Off on Some Thoughts On… The Sony TV & HiFi Over-Ear Wireless Headphones · Categories: Uncategorized

I don’t care who knows it; I still think wireless headphones are cool. Like bowties, or fezzes in that respect. Oh sure, there are drawbacks, sacrifices that must be made, but its still a total novelty to take a conference call whilst standing up and wandering around.

I don’t know about you, but I think better on my feet. That’s why I’m crap at job interviews, because I appear far more nervous than I actually am, due to all the squirming I do. In reality, if I could just stand up and pace around the room at will, well, you’d probably be reading this article as-written by someone with far greater knowledge and experience.

And get this, the Sony Over-Ear headphones have a 100m listening range. That means that it should be entirely possible for you to get up and make yourself a cup of tea whilst still listening to…Whatever it was you were listening to that was so riveting that it made you crave caffeine in the first place. Feasibly, you could even venture outside to yell at the local kids, or pick up the paper.

Also, with these headphones, you’ll get 28 hours out of a AAA battery, now you really can’t say fairer than that, can you? Especially if you charge it up when you’re not using it.

They are big though. Like, really big. Instead of being built for regular, Human-size heads, they appear to have been sculpted with Red Dwarf’s resident mechanoid Kryten in mind (two BBC Sci-Fi references in one article? Bonza!), the sheer size is ridiculous. They are adjustable, of course, but you might still have every cause to wish these headphones were smaller.

Another negative is the sound quality. I don’t want to say that it is bad (of course, there’s a ‘but’ coming…), but there is a low hiss that seems to permeate everything that you hear, as well as a loud cut-off noise if the signal is broken in any way. From a design perspective, this second feature makes a lot of sense, you don’t want to be outside, waffling away to your mate and not notice that the signal has dropped out (as happens so often with mobiles), but still, there simply has to be a better way, doesn’t there? The noise is loud, intrusive and actually rather scary at times.

However, apart from those minor, nagging problems, these headphones are actually quite nice. They sound OK, the wireless function works beautifully and the price is alright as well. Nice one, Sony.

10. March 2016 · Comments Off on Faulty communications along U.S.-Mexico border are America’s blind spot · Categories: Uncategorized

We all know that mission critical communications are vital 24 hours a day and as this article shows that even a tiny lapse in communications can lead to chaos. Even the U.S government can’t keep their radio communications up-to-date on one of the most watched borders in the world, as we can see from the article below.

Put yourself in the shoes of a U.S. Border Patrol Agent. You are patrolling the U.S.-Mexico border, driving through desolate terrain, and in the distance, you spot movement. You head toward a deep ravine and step out of your vehicle when a shot rings out and you hear the zip of a bullet speeding past your head. With training and instinct, you dive for cover and draw your weapon, reaching for your handheld radio.

And the radio doesn’t work.

There’s no one to call, because you are in one of the many areas of the southern U.S. border that has no radio coverage. Out there in the ravine is a drug cartel “rip crew,” heavily armed and firing on your position, bullets punching into your vehicle until smoke is rising from the hood. If they come closer, you are outnumbered. If they flee, your vehicle is disabled, and they will disappear into the vast emptiness along the southern border, where they will likely fire on one of your fellow agents, should they encounter them.

That is the state of communications along many of the areas on the U.S.-Mexico border. When the U.S. Border Patrol needs it the most, they cannot communicate with anyone. With rising threats and political propositions, U.S. border security has again risen to the top of the public consciousness. There are calls for more border patrol officers and stronger fencing, for aerial and ground based vehicles and other technology. But the lifeblood of the border security apparatus is communication, and in some areas, communication is not possible.

“If there is one thing in securing America’s borders that hasn’t changed since September 11, 2001, it’s the inability to resolve the communications lapses and gaps along the border,” said Ron Colburn, the former National Deputy Chief of the U.S. Border Patrol. “Here we are almost 15 years into this, and we still have not addressed this problem.”

One reason 343 New York City firefighters died when the World Trade Center buildings collapsed was that their radios could not communicate with the emergency responders outside the buildings, who were warning the structures were about to come down. The recommendations of the 9/11 Commission cited the need to create interoperable tools that allow first responders and law enforcement to communicate in the most unforgiving of environments.

And there are few environments less forgiving than the nearly 2000-miles of the U.S.-Mexico border.

Recognizing this, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) launched a massive project to improve the communications capacity of officers along the U.S. border. It failed. In March last year, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that $945 million in taxpayer funding used to build radio towers and upgrade radio equipment has yielded little benefit and in some cases does not work as well as what Border Patrol agents were using before. The effort cost too much and was taking too long.

Colburn said that the state of communications today means U.S. Border Patrol cannot call for support in some areas. They cannot feed information from the field into the intelligence food chain, and they cannot receive images from manned or unmanned vehicles to know whether they are walking into an ambush or encountering a group of friendly forces.

Likewise, Border Patrol agents cannot communicate easily with other law enforcement agencies (like a local Sheriff’s office), nor can those law enforcement agencies run on-site biometric checks (e.g., fingerprints) of individuals they suspect may have recently crossed into the United States illegally.

“I see it in the eyes and hear it in the voices of the men and women of the Border Patrol,” said Colburn. “They understand the mission and they want to accomplish it, but they feel like they have been abandoned.”

Answering the Unanswered Question

Most Americans own a smartphone, which is a powerful piece of technology. Experts say it’s hard to understand how, in this age of technological innovation and advancement, the United States is not arming its frontline officers with the very basic capacity to talk to one another.

Part of the challenge is that we have not brought new solutions to this long-standing problem.

To advance the effort, the Border Commerce and Security Council (of which I am Chairman and CEO) helped bring multiple stakeholders to the table in December last year in Cochise County, Arizona, to see if an innovative application of several integrated technologies could solve these communications challenges. It was a Proof of Concept test that included the U.S. Border Patrol, the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office and a group of businesses with tools that can address a range of communications and intelligence challenges. What was tested is called the Field Information Support Tool (FIST).

FIST started in 2006 as basic research at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS). NPS Information Sciences Research Associate James Ehlert said in 2010 that the goal was to create “an easy-to-use, inexpensive hand-held solution to achieving communications interoperability and a common physical and human terrain operating picture for both on-the-ground field collectors and tactical decision makers.”

The research question was, how can we use modern technology to allow officers in the field to talk to one another and to their superiors while also collecting and then acting on real-time intelligence?

“The intelligence aspect is that the local and federal law enforcement officers need to look at things from a risk-management perspective,” said Brian Conroy, Business Strategy and Strategic Development Manager at NOVA Corporation, which works with Kestrel Technology Group, the company that has produced the FIST system. “They need to find the high-risk areas [along the border], and if you have a tool that collects data and runs algorithms against it, you can conduct risk assessment and trend analyses. Human intelligence contributes to a holistic common operating picture.”

This is what the FIST system achieves, and it’s what was seen during the proof of concept test. In general terms, FIST uses off-the-shelf communications tools (like an Android device) to gather intelligence from officers on the front lines. With these tools, officers feed information into a larger database compiled from a variety of sources (including other officers) that informs strategic and tactical decision making. This is then passed back to the people working along the border.

The need for this kind of tool is obvious, but it has only been recently that the right technologies and software were put together in a way that makes it possible.

Moving to the Market

Over the last year, there has been a push to transition FIST into the marketplace. Research transition is tough, as DHS has found in many cases over the years. Unlike other agencies and components, such as the military branches, the homeland security and law enforcement marketplace is heavily fragmented and with limited resources. It makes it difficult to take good, workable ideas from prototype to production. As big of a challenge as creating an innovative piece of technology is finding a way to produce it in line with operational and funding realities. A local Sheriff’s office, for example, does not have an endless amount of funding and time to bring in expensive technologies and then train deputies to use them. For that matter, neither does the U.S. Border Patrol.

What’s needed is a simpler, cheaper solution, and based on the proof of concept testing, FIST appears to be that solution.

“It’s ideal for smaller law enforcement agencies because it can unify operations and reporting and scale capability, creating a force multiplier,” said Ivan Cardenas, technical director of the Kestrel Technology Group, which is helping to bring FIST to market. “It is a sophisticated system, but it is easier to use than the complexity suggests.”

There are a few moving parts here. There are applications that allow off-the-shelf technologies to record and report intelligence, such as the location of a breach in the border fence or evidence of people moving through the rugged terrain. There are existing law enforcement and Border Patrol network capabilities (or cloud-based tools) that store that information. The secret sauce, however, is the complex digital architecture that allows real-time control and fusion of multiple information sources in a way that supports the mission. This is the one thing that has been missing from the border communications and intelligence efforts, and it’s why DHS has struggled to address the challenges to this point. The innovation is in the complexity, and FIST makes it simple.

Of course, that complex innovation is for naught if the agents in the field cannot transmit and receive intelligence. Enter SiRRAN Communications, another stakeholder at the proof of concept test in Arizona.

“We often forget that without network access, we’re blind,” said SiRRAN’s Director of Sales Mark Briggs. “Our technology brings that cell network to anywhere that it is needed.”

Briggs describes this technology as a portable, battery powered cell network—a network in a box. It creates a local, closed network that any agent within range can access to communicate and record intelligence. The unit provides local communication in areas where there is no coverage, and if there is no way to access the communications grid, it captures intelligence and transmits it to the larger repository as soon as it finds a signal.

The lesson here is not just that FIST is a workable system to satisfy the mission needs of America’s border security and law enforcement professionals. It’s also that the answer to the communications challenges along the border will not come in the form of $1 billion worth of cell towers built under DHS management. If it were, we would have solved this problem by now. The fact that we have not reveals that the ultimate solution is necessarily complex and multifaceted while also being easy to use and in-line with realistic operating budgets.

Perhaps the most important lesson, however, is that there are real tools that our Border Patrol and law enforcement officers could be using. Right now there are thousands of men and women on the border, and until we give them the tools they need to do their job, it will make border security and the safety of our frontline heroes difficult to sustain.

29. February 2016 · Comments Off on Who Made the initial Two Way Radio · Categories: Uncategorized

The first two way radio made its way into the Western market in 1923. Despite its late appearance, the device was primarily conceptualized in 1907 as part of a military communication program. There has been some controversy regarding who first made the two way radio. However, most people seem to attribute this invention to Frederick William Downie, Senior Constable of the Victorian Police in Australia. In this article, we take a look at the path that this radio has traversed through the ages- from 1907 to the 21st century.

Origin of the 2 Way Radio

In the 1900s of Australia, the 2 way radio was installed in police cars and used as means of communication for the purposes of surveillance, checking locations and keeping team mates posted on updates. This was a breakthrough invention for the police as it caused an instant increase in the overall efficiency of working. From instant reports to integrated surveillance systems, the two way radio was pivotal in improving the effectiveness of the Australian police force. Suddenly, people discovered the ease with which the law of the land could be enforced and security could be maintained. This was the one method by means whereof many lives were saved and the state became one of the safest places in the world. Needless to say, the overwhelming response that the two way radio received propelled it to fame and it then became one of the most popular methods of law enforcement in the world.

The popularity of the 2 way radio rose steadily over the years. From police cars, the device’s many uses branched out and it became a part of navy ships and even military operations. Since many mariners and platoon commanders faced problems of communication, the convenience of the two-way radio was highly appealing to all. Transmissions of messages became convenient and there was a certain smoothness that the radio communication afforded to the operations.

The Creation of the Modern Day 2- Way Radio

The global status that the 2 way radio enjoyed is also one of the biggest reasons for its adaptation into various communicative derivatives including the modern day walkie talkie and even the modern cellular phone. Before it achieved this global, improved status; however; the two way radio was one of the most rudimentary objects that could be used in police surveillance. The first radio was so heavy and cumbersome that it used to take up the entire backseat of the police car. While it might have had many benefits, the sheer size and volume of the object made it difficult to catch and apprehend criminals at the earliest. With technological improvements and the right incentive, the two way radio has improved leaps and bounds. What once used to occupy almost half the car space can now be fitted into a pocket with ease, while fulfilling the same purpose as its predecessor.

Uses and Benefits of the Modern Radio

From the 1900s to the 21st century, the two way radio has made immense progress. What earlier was used exclusively by the police had now become an instrument in the civilian space. From law enforcers to children, almost everyone could purchase walkie talkies and use it. This was the first time that the world saw the walkie talkie as an instrument of recreation. These days, walkie talkies are used as much by kids for their games as they are used by professionals in emergency situations. From medical EMTs to firefighters, walkie talkies have become a regular in the city’s working scenario.

One of the biggest uses of walkie talkies these days are in firefighting operations. Coordinating external help and amassing the required support for the rescue operation are common functions that are carried out over the two way radio system that was once pioneered by Downie. Over and above its use in emergency situation, the two way radio is also used for the basic purposes of communication and organization in construction sites, among municipal workers and in many facets of working companies.

Concluding Thoughts

When one considers the many benefits that the 2 way radio has brought to the world population, one cannot help but pay homage to the genius of Frederick Downie. While the remarkable transformation through the ages is something that we must all bear in mind, it is undeniable that the blueprint was an instance of pure creative and imaginative genius. There are multiple uses of the walkie talkie in the modern world today. From communication in emergency situations to its importance for recreation, the modern two way radio is arguably one of the most important facets of communicative technology. All in all, the genesis and development of the two way radio is undoubtedly one of the most outstanding creations of the previous century.

27. February 2016 · Comments Off on Can you hear radio broadcasts through your teeth? · Categories: Uncategorized

Do you mean me specifically? If so, then the answer is ‘no’ I’m afraid. I must also say that given the state of pop music these days, I’m actually very glad of it!

So…Awkward question time: are you hearing radio broadcasts through your teeth mate?

Lol. Just kidding.

Whilst it sounds like utter nonsense, there have actually been quite a few reported cases of people ‘picking up’ radio broadcasts through their fillings/dental caps over the years.

Our oft-quoted friend Cecil Adams, of The Straight Dope.com, actually answered this question back in 1992. In his answer, Adams highlighted two particularly interesting case studies. I’ll reprint them here, along with a link to the site in question.

Case #1. George, of suburban Chicago, lost a front tooth at the age of 12. A year or so later, in about 1961, he was fitted with a cap that was attached to the tooth stump with what George recalls as a brass wire. Thereafter he began hearing music in his head, generally popular tunes of the day, usually while he was outdoors. The music was soft but distinct. He never heard an announcer’s voice or commercials and was unable to identify what radio station, if any, he was hearing. After a year or two of this a new dentist put in a cap without a wire and the tunes stopped.

Case #2. Lois, also of suburban Chicago, says it happened just once, in 1947, while she was riding a train from her home in Cleveland to college in Rhode Island at about age 18. The experience lasted maybe 10 minutes. She couldn’t tell what station she was listening to but recalls hearing commercials and an announcer’s voice. She has silver tooth fillings but doesn’t recall if she’d had one put in just before the event.

Actress Lucille Ball even claimed to have helped the allies by intercepting radio signals in this, frankly rather bizarre, way. This story is widely re-told and was even used as part of the plot of the musical ‘Something For The Boys’.

Adams goes on to mention a piece on Snopes.com about the incident, which appears to feature the testimony of the actress herself, who says,

“One night I came into the valley over Coldwater Canyon, and I heard music. I reached down to turn the radio off, and it wasn’t on. The music kept getting louder and louder and then I realized it was coming from my mouth. My mouth was humming and thumping with the drumbeat and I thought I was losing my mind”

According to the Snopes account, after she related this strange story to Buster Keaton, he told her that it had happened to a friend of his.

If you’re interested, here’s Lucille’s account of ‘catching’ the Japanese spies, which allegedly transpired about a week later.

“All of a sudden, my mouth started jumping. It wasn’t music this time, it was Morse code. It started softly and then DE-DE-DE-DE DE-DE-DE-DE! As soon as it started fading, I stopped the car and then started backing up until it was coming in at full strength. DE-DE-DE-DE DE-DE-DE-DE! I tell you, I got the hell out of there real quick. The next day, I told the MGM security office about it, and they called the FBI or something and sure enough, they found an underground Japanese radio station. It was somebody’s gardener, but sure enough, they were spies”

As entertaining as Lucille’s story is, Snopes could find no record of the event, which surely would have been heavily featured in the local, if not the national, news. A cover-up to prevent mass panic? Personally, I don’t think so, as Snopes goes on to mention a Japanese submarine being spotted off the coast of Santa Barbara on February 23rd 1942, which was obviously an extensively covered event.

A discussion on Skeptics Stack Exchange.com uncovers another major flaw in this story (and all others like it). The users suggest (rightly) that any radio signal must first be demodulated in order to make any sense at all. As far as I know, dental fillings have no demodulation circuits.

So, is it possible or not?

Probably not. A demodulation circuit is not and has never been a part of a dental filling’s mix-up.

There is some compelling ‘evidence’ out there, as well as a couple of cases that have been looked into somewhat scientifically and featured in various respected journals, but then again, according to certain statistics, 3.7 million Americans have been abducted by aliens. That alarming statistic, in and of itself, ought to be enough to make you skeptical of anything.

30. January 2016 · Comments Off on ETRI presents a blueprint of the 5G Future · Categories: Uncategorized

We will see a huge change in the way we access the the internet in the future when 5G is here, at speeds that only big businesses and high level internet companies see at the moment, we will have this to hand on our smart phones and tablets. When 5G is hundreds of times faster than any of the UK’s broadbands, households will be looking to the mobile phone companies to supply their home broadband.

A 5G future is no longer a distant one, but an upcoming reality. High quality videos of more than 10Mbps can be served simultaneously to 100 users even in a train running at up to 500km/h. People can experience data rates that are 100 times faster than currently available technologies.

The Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) of Korea will hold a “5G technology demonstration” on the 18th December, 2015. It will demonstrate future SNS (social network service) and several 5G core technologies such as “millimeter wave”, “Mobile Hot-spot Network”, “in-band full duplex” and so on.

5G is the next generation wireless technology that would provide even faster data rates, even lower delays, and even more devices connected than 4G. Accordingly, distinct and differentiated applications are expected in 5G.

ETRI’s “future SNS” is a kind of trial service model to apply 5G technologies that provides dynamic user-centric connection to neighboring people, things and spaces. It is characterized by instant content-sharing between users, communication with neighboring things, and Giga-bps(Gbps)-grade video applications in vehicles.

5G core technologies demonstrated by ETRI include the following:

— MHN (Mobile Hot-spot Network) is a mobile backhaul technology that provides high-speed Internet access of Gbps in vehicles at speeds of up to 500 km/h (e.g. KTX in Korea). Almost 100 passengers can watch videos of high quality simultaneously.

— ZING is a near-field communication technology that enables mass data to be transmitted with 3.5 Gbps data rate between neighboring devices within the radius of 10cm.

— Single-RF-Chain compact MIMO technology enables a single antenna to simulate the effect of multiple antenna. It can reduce antenna volume and cancel inter-antenna interference in a multi-antenna system.

— Millimeter wave (mmWave) beam switching technology provides fast switching of radio beams to mobile users, and therefore allows seamless Gbps-grade service in mobile environments.

— Mobile Edge Platform (MEP) is a mobile edge cloud server on vehicles that enables passengers to enjoy customized Gbps-grade content and connects them with neighbors, things and spaces. It provides user-centric services.

— In-band Full Duplex technology can transmit and receive signals simultaneously over the same frequency band. It can increase spectral efficiency by up to two times.

— Small cell SW technology is designed for AP(Access Point)-sized small cell base stations that can reduce communication dead zones and improve data rates per user in a hot-spot area.

“With this demonstration event, we are officially introducing our R&D results on 5G. We will continue to lead the development of 5G technologies. Also, we are trying to develop commercialization technologies needed by businesses, and to construct a 5G ecosystem.” said Dr. Hyun Kyu Chung, vice president of ETRI Communication & Internet Lab.

In January, 2016, ETRI will demonstrate Giga internet service and future SNS in a Seoul subway train installed with MHN and ZING kiosks. ETRI will also introduce hand-over technology on a millimeter wave mobile communication system and 5G radio access technology that satisfies 1 millisecond radio latency.

About ETRI

Established in 1976, ETRI is a non-profit Korean government-funded research organization that has been at the forefront of technological excellence for about 40 years. In the 1980s, ETRI developed TDX (Time Division Exchange) and 4M DRAM. In the 1990s, ETRI commercialized CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) for the first time in the world. In the 2000s, ETRI developed Terrestrial DMB, WiBro, and LTE-A, which became the foundation of mobile communications.

Recently, as a global ICT leader, ETRI has been advancing communication and convergence by developing Ship Area Network technology, Genie Talk (world class portable automatic interpretation; Korean-English/Japanese/Chinese), and automated valet parking technology. As of 2015, ETRI has about 2,000 employees where about 1,800 of them are researchers.

17. January 2016 · Comments Off on Workplace adjustments for employees with a hearing impairment · Categories: Uncategorized

For employees with a hearing impairment, the presence of sound in the workplace can be a daily challenge and a source of frustration. Robin Christopherson looks at how employers can manage potential problems.

Wherever you work, and whatever your role, there is a strong chance that you are routinely bombarded by noise from a variety of different sources. Telephones ringing, printers whirring, music playing on the shop floor or the constant hum of colleagues talking in a open-plan office, the world of work is full of sound.

According to the Health and Safety Executive, around 17,000 employees in the UK experience deafness, ringing in the ears or other ear conditions caused by excessive noise at work.

Action on Hearing Loss estimates that at least 800,000 people in the UK are severely or profoundly deaf, but this is a small proportion of the 10 million people with some form of hearing loss, of which it estimates that 3.7 million are of working age. There are no exact figures on the numbers of people who use British Sign Language (BSL) to communicate, but the estimate is around 50,000.

An employee’s hearing can be impaired in many ways; there is a whole spectrum of

hearing ability and there are lots of different causes of hearing loss, as well as a variety of possible implications in the workplace.

Types of hearing impairment include:

  • age-related;
  • temporary or permanent;
  • progressive; and
  • environmental factors.

Impacts of a hearing impairment

As hearing is not something we can “see”, it can be difficult to determine whether or not a colleague’s hearing is impaired. This can make it difficult for line managers to know who to help, and when.

In meetings, presentations, networking events or interviews, a hearing impairment could have an impact on an employee’s ability to do their job, if they are not properly supported or if the working environment is not inclusive of their needs.

There can also often be an emotional response to hearing loss, which impacts on the social and wellbeing of the employee. If you are unable to hear what colleagues are saying clearly, you might miss out on vital information needed for your role, or you might miss the latest bit of office banter, which makes you feel isolated and excluded, having a negative impact on morale.

Reasonable adjustments

Employees with a hearing impairment are protected under the Equality Act 2010 and employers are required to remove the barriers that deaf and other disabled people experience in the workplace. There are a number of different ways to ensure that an organisation is accommodating the needs of deaf or hearing-impaired employees.

Benefits of technology

We are all using technology in the workplace, without really thinking about it, as part of our day-to-day communications. How much of the information you share with colleagues or clients is via the phone, email, your intranet, website, a PowerPoint presentation or a short video? The answer is, of course, nearly all of it.

Technology can work as an enabler as well as a disabler. A message from your organisation’s CEO via video on your corporate intranet can be a really powerful way to communicate with your workforce, but if that video does not have subtitles or captions, you are excluding a proportion of your staff, not limited to those with a hearing impairment but also people whose first language is not English.

A variety of technologies can be used in the workplace to support employees with a hearing impairment. There are some specialist programs available that are specifically designed to support people with hearing loss, but many of the mainstream programs and equipment that your organisation already uses could also be adapted at little to no cost. They include:

  • text messaging, and email;
  • amplified sound alerts built into PCs;
  • a flashing screen on a mobile device when a sound alert is triggered;
  • bluetooth to connect to hearing aids;
  • captions for videos;
  • BSL on-demand services;
  • video calling for signing or lip-reading;
  • palentypists and stenographers; and
  • voice recognition speech-to-text software.

Sometimes the most effective adjustments are made by simply utilising existing resources in a different way. For example, if important company announcements are often given over a tannoy or PA system, which would be difficult or impossible for someone with a hearing impairment to hear, you could also issue the same message via email or text message.

There are also times when specialist adjustments, such as using a palentypist or BSL interpreter, need to be arranged. It is important that the individual employee gets the adjustment that they require, when they require it – because no two people with a hearing impairment are the same.

This article highlights the many advancements that have been made in the field of hearing protection at work, and ten years after the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 came into force we should have completely eradicated high levels of noise or the need to control it into the workplace, the original of this article can be found here.

08. January 2016 · Comments Off on What Does The Term Two Way Radio Actually Mean? · Categories: Uncategorized

Basically, the name two-way radio means that the radio in question can both transmit and receive signals. The two-way part of the name refers to the sending and receiving of said messages.

Some radios, such as the AM or FM radio you might listen to in your car, can only receive incoming signals, whilst other radios can only transmit signals. A two-way radio, however, can both intercept incoming messages and relay outgoing messages, because of this; two-way radios are a type of transceiver.

At its most basic, a two-way radio is a device that receives radio waves through the air and transmits a return signal.

How it does this is actually rather ingenious. Let’s say a user receives a message on her radio. The antenna on the top of the radio houses a group of electrons, these electrons will respond to messages received on specific channels (different groups of electrons respond to different channels). The electrons will then translate the radio waves into electrical impulses, which are then fed to a small processor. The processor, in turn, converts the electrical impulses into a signal, which the radio’s speakers can then play aloud.

The process is reversed if our hypothetical user is replying to her message, in this instance, the vibrations that constitute her voice will rattle a small membrane inside the microphone. These vibrations are fed into the processor, which converts them into an electrical signal. The electrical signal is pushed out to the electrons in the antenna and the signal is broadcast to our other user.

So you see, the process is clearly working on a two-way basis, hence the name. Two radios, when set to the same channel, should never have any problem connecting with one another (even if they are manufactured by different brands). The communication is pretty much instant, which is a big reason why radios play such an integral part in many areas of our lives, such as travel, security, commerce, public safety and trade.

It is important to note, however, that a radio set to receive VHF (Very High Frequency) signals will be unable to communicate with a radio set to UHF (Ultra High Frequency) mode. There is virtually nothing at all that can be done about this.

Of course, the other name used for handheld transceivers in walkie-talkie, but we reckon that one’s pretty self-explanatory…