Skip to content

Monthly Archives: December 2015

Commonwealth countries adopt action plan towards achieving consensus ahead of WRC15

Commonwealth countries adopt action plan towards achieving consensus ahead of WRC-15 – CTO: Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation

Commonwealth countries taking part in the group of nations’ preparatory meeting last week in London ahead of the forthcoming 2015 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-15) have adopted an action plan towards achieving consensus at the international conference next month.

WRC-15, which will allocate new spectrum for radio communications, including for international mobile telecommunication (IMT) services will take place from 2 to 27 November 2015 in Geneva, Switzerland under the auspices of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

All regional groups–whose positions guide the WRC process–include Commonwealth countries among their members. The London meeting which took place on 7 – 9 October 2015 was an opportunity for members of these regional groups to better appreciate the views and positions of other regions and help achieve greater consensus.

Chaired by Anil Kaushal, Member of the Board of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of India, the meeting elected a Bureau to coordinate the views of Commonwealth countries during the Conference next month. The Bureau includes Dr Edmund Katiti (Uganda) as the WRC Commonwealth Coordinator; representatives from Canada, India, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, UK and the Caribbean as Vice-Coordinators; and Edmund Fianko (Ghana) as the WRC Commonwealth Rapporteur. Agenda Item Coordinators were also appointed.

Sharing his satisfaction at the end of the three-day meeting, the CTO’s Secretary-General Shola Taylor said he was satisfied that “this meeting has helped to better understand the various positions by different regions, and has also highlighted areas where clarity was still required, and we are grateful to the ITU for its contributions throughout our discussions”.

Key outcomes of the London meeting include:

  • Strong support for identification of additional spectrum for IMT in most parts of the L band;
  • Resolve to protect digital terrestrial television in the UHF band;
  • Future studies on potential use of part of the S band for IMT;
  • Mechanisms to achieve consensus on the lower part of the C band taking into account the growing demand for mobile broadband and the needs of countries like in the Pacific which depend heavily on satellites;
  • Support for future studies for IMT above 6 GHz to accommodate 5G, excluding Ku and Ka satellite bands;
  • A mechanism for further engagement with various regions on the possible use of FSS for unmanned aircraft, taking into account aviation safety concerns;
  • Support for global harmonisation on Earth Stations on Mobile Platforms; and
  • Recognition of the importance and urgent treatment of global flight tracking taking into account studies in the Director’s report.

“For Commonwealth countries, this meeting gave a clearer sense of the likely outcomes of WRC-15, so we encourage our members to be proactive and contribute to deliberations in Geneva as efficient as possible,” Mr Taylor added.

Mario Maniewicz, Deputy to the Director of the Radiocommunication Bureau at the ITU gave the participants an overview of preparations for WRC-15, and also provided clarifications on WRC proceedings and rules that will guide the Conference.

Festus Daudu, Chair-Designate of WRC-15 who also took part in the London meeting said discussions were “very productive as they enabled countries represented to better understand all regional positions, and I would like to congratulate the CTO for taking this initiative.”

Private-sector operators such as Inmarsat, Avanti Communications Group, and Google, as well as mobile industry association GSMA also took part in the meeting to express interest in specific spectrum bands in pursuit of advancing global connectivity. The case for safeguarding spectrum resources allocated to broadcasting was made by the BBC who gave a tour of its extensive London production facilities to the participants at the meeting.

Representing the Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago, Kirk Sookram, Executive Officer for Technical Service and Development also shared his satisfaction at the end of the event: “The meeting has given Caribbean participants a great opportunity to understand within a single forum the views of all other regions that have some of their members in the Commonwealth,” he said.

The initiative of the London pre-WRC-15 meeting by the CTO is part of a wider programme of activities to implement a specific mandate of Commonwealth ICT ministers at their meeting held in London in March 2014 to coordinate all ICT matters in the Commonwealth.

Earlier this week, less than a month after assuming office, Mr Taylor had met with Houlin Zhao, Secretary-General of the ITU in Geneva to discuss wider collaboration between the two organisations.

Wrestling Legend Rowdy Roddy Piper Dies At 61

The world of professional wrestling is in mourning following the death of the legendary Rowdy Roddy Piper last month. Piper suffered a cardiac arrest whilst at his home in Hollywood, California. He was just 61 years old.

For many kids (including myself) that first became fans in the mid-late 1980’s, Roddy Piper was the definitive wrestling heel (industry jargon for a bad guy). Whether hosting his notorious Piper’s Pit segment, or facing off against Hulk Hogan & Mr. T (with partner Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorf) at the inaugural WrestleMania event, Piper was one of the industry’s biggest starts during one of its most popular and lucrative periods.

He was also instrumental in making the WWF (now WWE) brand the biggest in professional wrestling. In addition to headlining the very first WrestleMania event (a pioneering Pay-Per View extravaganza that could easily have ruined the company had it proved to be a failure), Piper also featured in one of WrestleMania II’s three main event matchups, thus securing his position as one of wrestling’s most bankable stars.

His undercard matches at WrestleManias III, VI and (the stone cold classic against Bret The Hitman Hart at) VIII are absolute highlights of a classic era of pro wrestling. He even acted as a guest referee for the main event of Bret Hart vs. Yokozuna at WrestleMania X. Younger fans, however, will undoubtedly remember Piper teaming with fellow veterans Ricky Steamboat and Jimmy Superfly Snuka to face Chris Jericho at WrestleMania XXV.

In an era defined by outlandish babyface characters with bodybuilder physiques and sometimes questionable in-ring abilities, Roddy Piper stood out as a genuine wrestler’s wrestler, an authentic tough guy – and the necessarily evil counterpoint to the simplistic, superheroic good guys being featured at the time by the WWF.

Born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada in 1954, Roderick Toombs was always an unruly personality. Expelled from school at a young age and subsequently falling out with his father, (a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police) Toombs hit the road, staying in various youth hostels and earning a buck wherever he could. Eventually, the tempestuous youth wound up in a wrestling ring, making his in-ring debut at the tender age of just 15-years-old.

The kid was tough (he had a Black Belt in Judo), displayed a natural affinity for the ring and he had a roguish charisma all of his own. In addition, he really could play the bagpipes. After early stints jobbing in Verne Gagne’s AWA, NWA Houston and Fritz Von Erich’s Big Time Wrestling promotion in Dallas, Texas, Piper debuted for Mike and Gene LeBell’s NWA Hollywood promotion and soon became the outfit’s top heel. A slew of regional Championships followed.

Whilst working for promoter Roy Shire in the NWA’s San Francisco territory, Piper developed his character and ring work. In Los Angeles, he feuded with Chavo Guerrero Sr, Hector Guerrero and ultimately locked up against their father, Mexican wrestling legend Gory Guerrero (father of future WWE Champ Eddie). In The Pacific Northwest, he unseated former NWA World’s Heavyweight Champion Jack Brisco for Mid Atlantic’s version of the World Heavyweight Championship, a title he would go on to hold twice more.

In the mid 1980’s, Piper entered Vince McMahon’s insurgent WWF. He was billed as being from Glasgow, Scotland and was well known for being the only wrestler to wear a kilt to the ring. Fans ate it up. Feuding with such stars as Hulk Hogan, Adrian Adonis, Andre The Giant, Jimmy Superfly Snuka, Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase, Jerry The King Lawler and Bret Hitman Hart, to name but a few, Piper always brought out the best in his opponents and it was with the WWF that he became a household name, as well as one of the industry’s biggest ever stars.

In the mid-1990’s, Piper wrestled for WCW (World Championship Wrestling), where he debuted as one of the company’s headline stars. He feuded, once again, with Hulk Hogan and also battled old rivals such as Ric Flair, Bret Hart and ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage. Whilst working for WCW, he was even chosen to headline ‘Starrcade’, the company’s flagship Pay-Per-View event.

In his later career, Piper made sporadic reappearances for the WWE, briefly worked for TNA, enjoyed a reasonably successful acting career and also hosted his own podcast. He battled Hodgkin’s Lymphoma after being diagnosed with the illness in 2006, but had completely beaten it into remission as of last year. Despite the setbacks caused by his ill health, Piper wrestled his last match in 2011.

Although he never held a recognised World Heavyweight Championship, Piper will be remembered as one of the greatest WWF Intercontinental Champions of all time, a reign that was attested to during his appearance at this year’s WrestleMania XXXI, where he congratulated then-IC Champion Daniel Bryan on his victory. He also held other notable belts, such as the United States Championship, the WWF/E Tag Team Championship (with Ric Flair) and the NWA World Light Heavyweight Championship.

Piper was a member of the WWE Hall of Fame and the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame, as well as the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame. He was also a member of the Cauliflower Alley Club.

On the August 3rd edition of RAW, the entire WWE roster, each member clad in Roddy’s signature Hot Rod t-shirts opened the show with a very moving ten bell salute in tribute to the fallen legend.

WWE boss Vince McMahon said, “Roddy Piper was one of the most entertaining, controversial and bombastic performers ever in WWE, beloved by millions of fans around the world. I extend my deepest condolences to his family.”

UFC Bantamweight Champion Rowdy Ronda Rousey dedicated her 34-second victory over Bethe Correia to Piper’s memory, “I just want to say that we lost a really close friend, Rowdy Roddy Piper, who gave me permission to use his name as a fighter (…) And so I hope him and my dad had a good time watching this today.”

Former WWE and WCW Champion (and Piper’s frequent in-ring rival) Bret Hart wrote, “I can’t find the words to describe the sorrow in my heart upon learning the news of my dear friend, Roddy Piper, passing away. He was my closest friend in the business, a man that schooled me and guided me throughout my career. In fact, if it wasn’t for Roddy Piper reaching out to help me, I’m sure I would’ve been a mere footnote in wrestling. He was always there for me. He was family to me.” Hart also recalled that, following his stroke in 2002; Piper was the only wrestler who visited him in hospital.

Hulk Hogan, another of Piper’s famous adversaries, said of Piper that, “He was my best friend. He is a legend. God’s gain is our loss. May his family in this time of need, find peace”

Other friends, colleagues and admirers of Piper’s included former WWF Champ The Iron Sheik, who said “Roddy Piper. I love you forever. God bless you Bubba” and multi-time World Champion Chris Jericho Tweeted, “Sorry to hear of the passing of my friend and Wrestlemania rival #RoddyPiper. One of the greatest who ever lived, but more importantly a legit sweet family man with a good heart”. Former WWE Divas Champion Paige called Piper a “legend” and Tweeted a picture of a broken heart, an image which reflected the feelings of many a wrestler and wrestling fan.

Roddy’s son, Colt, said that his father was his “best friend” and a “great man” saying that he would miss him forever and “always try to be the man he raised me to be”.

Rowdy Roddy Piper lived a life littered with accomplishments. Not many of us will ever be declared as legendary by our peers and fewer still will be able to stack 30+ Championship reigns anywhere on our resume, but those weren’t the man’s proudest achievements. Piper had been married to his wife, Kitty, since 1982 and is survived by her and the four children they lovingly raised together. My thoughts are with them, as well as everyone else who knew, worked with, or simply enjoyed to watch the late, great man work his magic in front of a capacity crowd. R.I.P Roddy.

President Obama Signs Up For Supercomputer

US President Barack Obama has signed an executive order that calls for the creation of the world’s fastest computer by 2025.

The order calls for the new supercomputer to be 20 times quicker than the current world’s fastest, which is in China. The Chinese supercomputer, known as Tianhe-2 is capable of performing quadrillions of calculations per second, and is almost twice as fast as its closest rival, which was developed in America.

In addition to being able to make one quintillion (that is a billion billion, in case you wondered) calculations per second, this new supercomputer would be capable of running intricately complex simulations as an aid to scientific research.

Some practical applications could include improved methods of cancer diagnosis (based on X-Ray analysis), increased accuracy of weather forecasts and the eventual elimination of the costly wind tunnel testing used by NASA (due to the computer’s ability to accurately design more streamlined aircraft).

Experts have also suggested that the computer could be used to tailor personal medications to the physiologies of individual medical patients, something that would greatly improve the effectiveness of any prescription drug. It has even been put forward that this new computer could be used to create very accurate climate models, with a view towards analysing current trends and anticipating the resultant changes in climate.

Critics of the decision have suggested that, in addition to being very ambitious, the electricity required by this project will cost at least £60Million a year.

The outgoing President, who has served two terms in office since first being elected in 2009, has always been a strong supporter of technological innovation within the US. In his 2006 book The Audacity of Hope, the then-Senator from Illinois discussed a trip to Google’s headquarters in Silicon Valley, California, in which his fascination with computers and information technology was made abundantly clear.

“Larry (Page – Co-Founder of Google) asked the young Indian American engineer who was working nearby to explain what we were looking at. ‘These lights represent all the searches that are going on right now,’ the engineer said. ‘Each color is a different language. If you move the toggle this way’ – he caused the screen to alter – ‘you can see the traffic patterns of the entire Internet system’. The image was mesmerizing, more organic than mechanical, as if I were glimpsing the early stages of some accelerating evolutionary process, in which all the boundaries between men – nationality, race, religion, wealth – were rendered invisible and irrelevant, so that the physicist in Cambridge, the bond trader in Tokyo, the student in a remote Indian village and the manager of a Mexico City department store were drawn into a single, constant, thrumming conversation, time and space giving way to a world spun entirely of light”

 But don’t get too excited, because even if all goes according to plan, this incredible feat of technology will still take at least a decade to design and build.

Bone conduction headphones let me ditch the boombox, but still cycle safe

Long bike rides are an easy way to burn calories without terrorizing your knees, but it helps to have some tunes to keep things fun. My rides usually take me through bustling urban streets and isolated stretches of waterfront, so pumping out a soundtrack using a Bluetooth speaker is usually a viable option — mostly, anyway. Unfortunately, the wind-dampened output is never ideal and a high audio volume can burn through battery life, and bringing a backup device adds weight. Luckily, the ideal solution recently crossed my desk: AfterShokz’s Bluez 2S bone-conduction headphones.

If you’re not familiar, this style of device delivers audio as sound vibrations to your inner ear through the bone, bypassing the eardrum entirely. I’d never regularly worn headphones while riding, mostly so I could remain aware of traffic and the world around me. (It’s also illegal to wear them while riding in New York City, at least in both ears.) I found the Bluez 2S struck the perfect balance between weight and audio output, while keeping situational awareness levels high. The experience is quite different from your traditional headphones, though, so they won’t be for everyone.

The AfterShokz Bluez 2S is a recent update to the Bluez 2 model, adding the new “PremiumPitch+” technology, which aims to boost the bottom end and prevent sound leakage, alongside slight changes to the external design. There are now perforated openings where the speakers rest on your cheek — before it was a solid surface. Even with this seemingly more exposed design, the Bluez 2S still meets IP55 standards for dust and sweat protection, which I successfully confirmed over an exceedingly hot and humid summer in NYC. The open speaker surface and revamped internals do indeed make a difference in audio quality and volume. It may not be profound, but it’s a noticeable improvement over its predecessor.

The arrival of the 2S dovetails with the announcement of the company’s sporty Trekz Titanium, which hit Indiegogo last month and quickly shot past its fundraising goal. Although we haven’t tested those yet, it’s easy to see the benefit from the Trekz’ flexible design. With the rigid U-shaped plastic band of the Bluez 2S that goes around the back of your head, you can imagine the potential for breaking while bouncing around in a bag. That said, I’ve had them packed in both full bags and jostling around in sparse ones, and nothing has happened to them in several months of use. Also, the headband does get in the way of sunglasses to a certain degree. Since the speakers work best when resting snugly against the cheek, I’ve had the arms of the glasses positioned above the band (outside just feels weird), which tends to tilt the glasses down and crowd my face a bit. It’s not a dealbreaker, but it’s certainly not a great pairing.

So how do they sound? First, you need to understand that this is an entirely different experience than regular headphones, with its own set of trade-offs. Music will sound a bit different with this type of technology. The overall sound may be a bit duller compared to your standard cans, but you’ll also get a pleasantly spacious head-feel when listening, which is hard to convey. Speech comes across clearly, but the low-end will be lacking in comparison. I frequently have the volume near maximum when I’m hustling on bustling city streets and feeling the music. In quieter environments, however, there’s more headroom in volume flexibility. The claim is that PremiumPitch+ helps increase bass, while dampening vibration and reducing sound leakage. The Bluez 2S may not be the loudest pair I’ve listened too — Damson’s Headbones still hold that title — but they provide plenty of kick without going overboard on the vibration.

It helps to be a glutton for aural stimulation with bone-conduction headphones. Unlike the isolating experience you get with in- or on-ear models, you get both music and ambient sound leaking in — which is part of the benefit for me. As long as you’re not rocking full volume, you can easily have conversations and hear cars approaching from behind, making it a flexible and safer option if music is a must while riding a bike. For the same reason, they’re great when you’re walking around the neighborhood, but the sound of a New York subway will certainly overpower your tunes.

On the hardware side, you get Bluetooth connectivity, a volume control rocker that doubles as a battery check and EQ changer, power and a multipurpose button on the left earpiece. Since I’m right-handed, the left-side button is perfect for me. It can pause/play music, skip tracks, redial the last phone number and take calls with its onboard mic. The battery life is rated at six hours of continuous play and 10 days of standby. Indeed, it’s great to find the headset charged after neglecting it for a week. It takes about two hours to charge up, but I’ve rarely drained the headset fully, so it seems to top off rather quickly for me. Bluetooth range is the standard 33 feet, letting you pair with a computer and wander around the kitchen or nearby room without stuttering. It stays paired with your last device though, so be sure to check it’s not still tied to the computer if you leave the house and don’t hear your tunes. Also, once paired, if the current track isn’t playing still, try skipping forward or back one.

As a comparison, I tested the Damson Headbones, a Kickstarted bone-conduction model from the UK. First, both models get points for awkward naming conventions. The Headbones do have a lot more features including a line-out for earbuds or as a passthrough for non-Bluetooth speakers. They have a bit more playtime at eight hours, APT-X and NFC support, and fold down into a rigid carrying case. As I mentioned, the audio volume is also significantly louder than the Bluez 2S.

This comes at a price, though: The Headbones are more than twice the weight, with a bulky portion that sits at the back of your neck to house the extra flourishes and battery power. Since I ride with a backpack, the hefty rear section bumped up against it making them difficult to wear. While it pumps out a beefier sound, I found the ear (actually cheek) pieces to be a bit too snug and at higher volumes the vibration was uncomfortable. They’re definitely a quality set of bone-conduction headphones, but didn’t mesh well with my needs and preferences.

The bottom line here is that while you’re not going to have the same audio experience as a standard set of headphones, the benefits of the Bluez 2S outweigh the negatives, at least for me in how I use them. I get a comfortable, lightweight wireless headset that provides tunes at a respectable volume, while still being able to maintain awareness about what’s going on around me — an ideal scenario for bike riding. The AfterShokz Bluez 2S is available for pre-order now for $100, while the Trekz Titanium version should arrive in January 2016 for $130.

Bone conduction technology has been around for many years in the walkie talkie accesory market, it has made a several appearances over the years in the leisure headset/earpiece industry, it is perfect for using whilst driving or cycling, like this article shows,  not having to talk into a mic is a massive plus for using this technology.

THE USE OF WALKIE TALKIES RADIOS WITHIN THE HOTEL INDUSTRY

In the hospitality business, improving customer service, increasing staff productivity as well as enhancing efficiency is always believed to be a winning strategy. One of the surest ways of streamling operations in the hospitality business is by ensuring your team is well equipped with better ways of communication. 2 way radios are cost-effective, easy-to-use as well as a proven solution that can be very effective in optimizing efforts in food service, customer service, housekeeping, engineering, maintenance, valet, security and transportation as well.

The level of success that you can achieve in your hotel basically relies on the fundamental brickwork that you lay down for your hospitality business. These fundamentals include exceptional customer service, attention to detail, and rapid responses to your customers’ needs. Whether your hotel staff members are responding to the guest requests or the concierge team is communicating with one another other, Two way radios are proven to offer the best functionality. With clear audio systems and quality handsets , these 2 way radios are capable of helping staff members improves their efficiency and productivity.

Quick, discreet and efficient communication strategies should be the main priorities for any businesses within the leisure and hospitality sectors. Small hotels, guest houses, health clubs and small leisure operations are well-suited to analogue 2 way radios. In such businesses, 2 way radios are needed to pass any form of information between many staff members, get updates of conditions in different areas of the business or even monitor activities within the premises. In addition to supplying analogue Two way radios to various businesses, 2wayradionline.co.uk also supply waterproof radios for different swimming pool areas or specially toughened Two way radio models for outdoor activity centres.

Large hotels and leisure complexes like the golf courses and gyms usually require digital Two way radio systems, which are capable of working over greater distances. The need to install complex digital systems to enhance radio coverage only arises if the distances are very large or there is a lot of concrete (for instance high-rise hotels). In a bid to keep 2 way radios unobtrusive especially at corporate events and in public, the use of earpieces can make radio communications covert and help keep sensitive information out of public knowledge. Added benefits can include incorporating building management intelligence into the radio system; for instance a message can be sent to the control centre automatically when any given lift breaks down or the fire alarm is triggered.

Accommodating a lot of guest can leave you with a lot of things to do and coordinate. All this can be made quite easy on your part and that of your hotel staff members through the integration of hotel-based Two way radios into your workflow. Having 2 way radios in your hotel can smooth your path to guest satisfaction. In addition, it allows you to build a great customer loyalty base as it allows your staff members to present a professional image which is backed by a rapid response to any guest requests.

Digital and Analogue Two way radios are already in use at some of the most exclusive and largest hotels, resorts and casinos all over the world. The digital and analogue 2 way radios and systems used in these resorts, hotels and casinos to keeps the guests feeling safer and also significantly enhance customer satisfaction and operational efficiency. For instance, the management of your hotel can make sure that the housekeeping department is capable of prioritizing the type of rooms that are meant to be prepared first which in turn helps housekeeping departments to contact stores and laundry for additional guests’ amenity kits, linen and so on. The same also applies to the safety and security within the hotel building and its grounds, so in the event of security breaches or in emergency situations where safe and fast movement of a large number of people will have to be managed. With 2 way radio stations installed in your hotel buildings, you will be able to enhance the security of all your guests as well as staff in case of any emergency situation that arises