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Aug
12

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The UK’s construction industry has slipped back into recession for the first time in four years, according to official figures that show the sector was struggling even before the vote to leave the EU.

Experts say the drop in business and consumer confidence since the referendum will further dent construction activity in the months ahead. The Office for National Statistics said output dipped Continue Reading…

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Aug
01

Quite simply, the “G” stands for Generation, as in the next generation of wireless technologies. Each generation is supposedly faster, more secure and more reliable. The reliability factor is the hardest obstacle to overcome. 1G was not used to identify wireless technology until 2G, or the second generation, was released. That was a major jump in the technology when the wireless networks went from analog to digital. It’s all uphill from there. 3G came along and offered faster data transfer speeds, at least 200 kilobits per second, for multi-media use and was a long time standard for wireless transmissions regardless of what you heard on all those commercials.

It is still a challenge to get a true 4G connection, which promises upwards of a 1Gps, Gigabit per second, transfer rate if you are standing still and in the perfect spot. 4G LTE comes very close to closing this gap. True 4G on a wide spread basis may not be available until the next generation arrives. 5G?

What are the Standards of the G’s

Each of the Generations has standards that must be met to officially use the G terminology. Those standards are set by, you know, those people that set standards. The standards themselves are quite confusing but the advertisers sure know how to manipulate them. I will try to simplify the terms a bit.

1G – A term never widely used until 2G was available. This was the first generation of cell phone technology. Simple phone calls were all it was able to do.

2G – The second generation of cell phone transmission. A few more features were added to the menu such as simple text messaging.

3G – This generation set the standards for most of the wireless technology we have come to know and love. Web browsing, email, video downloading, picture sharing and other Smartphone technology were introduced in the third generation. 3G should be capable of handling around 2 Megabits per second.

4G – The speed and standards of this technology of wireless needs to be at least 100 Megabits per second and up to 1 Gigabit per second to pass as 4G. It also needs to share the network resources to support more simultaneous connections on the cell. As it develops, 4G could surpass the speed of the average wireless broadband home Internet connection. Few devices were capable of the full throttle when the technology was first released. Coverage of true 4G was limited to large metropolitan areas. Outside of the covered areas, 4G phones regressed to the 3G standards. When 4G first became available, it was simply a little faster than 3G. 4G is not the same as 4G LTE which is very close to meeting the criteria of the standards.

The major wireless networks were not actually lying to anyone when 4G first rolled out, they simply stretched the truth a bit. A 4G phone had to comply with the standards but finding the network resources to fulfill the true standard was difficult. You were buying 4G capable devices before the networks were capable of delivering true 4G to the device. Your brain knows that 4G is faster than 3G so you pay the price for the extra speed. Marketing 101. The same will probably be true when 5G hits the markets.

4G LTE– Long Term Evolution – LTE sounds better. This buzzword is a version of 4G that is fast becoming the latest advertised technology and is getting very close to the speeds needed as the standards are set. When you start hearing about LTE Advanced, then we will be talking about true fourth generation wireless technologies because they are the only two formats realized by the International Telecommunications Union as True 4G at this time. But forget about that because 5G is coming soon to a phone near you. Then there is XLTE which is a bandwidth charger with a minimum of double the bandwidth of 4G LTE and is available anywhere the AWS spectrum is initiated.

Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint have all advanced to the LTE technology with each carrier adding their own combination of wireless technologies to enhance the spectrum.

5G – There are rumors of 5G being tested although the specifications of 5G have not been formally clarified. We can expect that new technology to be rolled out around 2020 but in this fast-paced world it will probably be much sooner than that. Seems like a long ways away but time flies and so will 5G at speeds of 1-10Gbps.

Where does it go from here and why does this page exist? Not sure where this path will lead but the reason I wrote this page was to try to understand the lingo a bit better. I think I cleared it up for myself so I thought I would pass it along. Hope it helps!

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Aug
01

Brussels, 1 August 2016. Tomorrow, telecom regulators from all over the EU will gather in Brussels for a uniquely challenging task: analysing over half a million responses to their consultation on net neutrality.

Meanwhile, telecom companies are maintaining their attacks on the open internet – this time by pushing to delete paragraphs regarding free speech from net neutrality rules. This move comes after several associations of journalists expressed their concern that net neutrality violations are a threat to online expression and media pluralism. They argue that strong net neutrality rules (including a clear ban on zero-rating) are needed to ensure everybody has an equal opportunity to be heard online.

BEREC, the Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications, is on a tight schedule. They must publish new rules on net neutrality by 30 August, which leaves them precious little time to process the hundreds of thousands of responses.

This race against the clock has started as BEREC has to carefully take into account more then 500,000 comments from the the public calling for clear net neutrality

, said Thomas Lohninger, net neutrality activist at SaveTheInternet.eu.

The unprecedented number of responses demonstrate the public’s interest for the delivery of unequivocal guidelines protecting net neutrality. Now, the whole world is watching: it may be the most important decision BEREC ever makes

, said Estelle Massé, Senior Policy Analyst at Access Now, member of SaveTheInternet.eu.

BEREC has had to endure increasingly bizarre and aggressive attacks on its role, its expertise and its analysis from big telecoms operators seeking new internet monopolies,

said Joe McNamee, Executive Director of European Digital Rights (EDRi).

The regulators should not be deflected from their hugely important task,

he added.

Background

Net neutrality is the principle that internet traffic must be treated equally. It protects internet users and online services from interference and discrimination by the telecom operators who own internet infrastructure. At stake are basic, fundamental principles: will the Internet remain a vibrant level playing field for business, culture and political speech? Or will regulators let powerful telecom companies put most websites in a “slow lane”, while wealthy corporations pay for special treatment?

In addition to overwhelming public support, the net neutrality movement has also attracted support from a broad range of experts and professionals. 120 entrepreneurs and investors signed an open letter in favour of strong, innovation-friendly net neutrality rules. The scientific community has also joined the fray, with a statement from 126 academic researchers.

One especially prominent proponent is Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, who wrote a joint statement with legal experts Barbara van Schewick (Stanford) and Lawrence Lessig (Harvard) stating that net neutrality is ‘essential to preserve the open Internet as a driver for economic growth and social progress’ and urged regulators to ‘not cave in to telecommunications carriers’ manipulative tactics’.

The telecommunications industry is the main adversary to this broad coalition. This summer, they launched a full-frontal attack on net neutrality in their ‘5G manifesto’, which calls on the EU to water down its net neutrality rules in exchange for investment in new 5G network technologies. More recently, the consultation response from telecom industry associations ETNO and GSMA, published on 19 July, provoked outrage by demanding an almost complete repeal of net neutrality rules including the deletion of all references to the freedom of expression and media pluralism.

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Aug
01

As you read these words, a new law is being hustled through Israel’s Knesset that would abolish all requirements for the teaching of a “core curriculum” in ultra-Orthodox Israeli schools, even those that are partly funded by the government itself.

If the bill becomes law, many young Israelis educated in right-wing Orthodox yeshivot will learn nothing about math, science or history — even though these subjects are (rightly) deemed essential by the same Israeli public that will be underwriting the children’s education. And this breathtaking deprivation of educational basics is being carried out, we’re told, in deference to the rabbinic leaders of the communities involved, who prefer that such “secular” subjects not be taught to their young.

An Orthodox Jew myself, I regard this initiative as a serious attack on the basic rights of children. But to explain what I mean, I have to focus for a moment on the way many of my coreligionists defend such measures.

Yitzchak Adlerstein and Michael J. Broyde recently provided a good example right here in the Forward. They argued that ultra-Orthodox rabbis’ decision to “den[y] the most basic educational tools available to other Americans” to their community’s children should be seen as a “religious freedom problem.” That is, since “compelling secular education will destroy [the ultra-Orthodox community’s] basic religious values,” its rabbis’ right to religious freedom allows those rabbis to prohibit such education — even if that ensures the functional illiteracy of the students.

Adlerstein and Broyde didn’t invent that way of framing the issue; their argument is concerned mostly with how to ensure better secular education for Orthodox children (a goal they clearly favor) without treading on U.S. Supreme Court precedent that includes decision-making power about children’s education among the religious rights of their elders.

Maybe it’s my extensive involvement with issues of child abuse that leaves me so deeply dissatisfied with that whole approach.

There’s an elephant in the room, and the sooner we recognize it the better off our children will be. Why, in all this talk of “rights” and “freedom” in connection with the education of the young, is there so rarely any mention of the rights of the people with the most to lose? Why does “religious freedom” in the arguments we hear about this question invariably mean the freedom of adults — specifically, of rabbis — to impose on children the sort of educational system they prefer, not the sort those children deserve? Why is no one charged with protecting the rights of those young people who, lacking outside help, will have absolutely no say in the sort of education they are allowed to have?

Once you see the issue from this perspective, it’s very hard to accept at face value a discourse about “rights” that enshrines the rights of the powerful (in this case, rabbis and other Orthodox leaders) over those of vulnerable children.

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Jul
31

Next you’ll be telling us Chris Evans is going to present Top Gear

finland-nokia-phone
Nokia will start making phones again – hopefully a bit more modern than this one

NOKIA HAS CONFIRMED that it will return to the mobile phone market, probably fuelled by Microsoft’s announcement that it will cut nearly 8,000 jobs from its smartphone division.

Nokia has said that it will commence such work only when a binding agreement with Microsoft ends, and when a new relationship is made. However, the company noted that “it’s complicated”.

Robert Morlino, a spokesman for Nokia Technologies, said in a blog post: “It’s not surprising that today the question comes up all the time: will Nokia return to mobile devices? The answer is: it’s complicated.

“If and when we find a world-class partner who can take on those responsibilities, we would work closely with them to guide the design and technology differentiation, as we did with the Nokia N1 Android tablet.

“That’s the only way the bar would be met for a mobile device we’d be proud to have the Nokia brand, and that people will love to buy.”

Nokia is unlikely to release any new mobile phones any time soon, however, and Morlino points to a late 2016 return.

“We will look for the right partner who can take on the heavy lifting and work closely with us to deliver a great product. As we agreed with Microsoft, the soonest that could happen is Q4 2016, so it’s safe to say Nokia won’t be back (at least in phone form) before then,” he said.

This follows previous comments from Nokia chief Rajeev Suri, who hinted at the firm’s intentions to make a comeback in the market. Suri expanded on previous hints that the days of Nokia Mobile aren’t overduring an interview with German publication Manager Magazin.

“Microsoft makes mobile phones. We would simply design them and then make the brand name available to license,” he said, expressing a desire to seek out suitable partners.

These comments came as former Nokia Mobile boss Stephen Elop, who went to Microsoft to head up the phone division, was dethroned last week.

Microsoft OS boss Terry Myerson will now take direct control of all the things in a new division called the Windows and Devices Group.

The purchase of a hardware business hasn’t gone well for Microsoft. Last week the firm announced the culling of a 7,800 roles from its Nokia division, in addition to the 18,000 Microsoft cuts already made last year.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said: “We are moving from a strategy to grow a standalone phone business to a strategy to grow and create a vibrant Windows ecosystem including our first-party device family.

“In the near term, we’ll run a more effective and focused phone portfolio while retaining capability for long-term reinvention in mobility.”

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Jul
31

Android powers hundreds of millions of mobile devices in more than 190 countries around the world. It’s the largest installed base of any mobile platform and growing fast—every day another million users power up their Android devices for the first time and start looking for apps, games, and other digital content.

Android gives you a world-class platform for creating apps and games for Android users everywhere, as well as an open marketplace for distributing to them instantly.

Android growth in device activations

Global partnerships and large installed base

Building on the contributions of the open-source Linux community and more than 300 hardware, software, and carrier partners, Android has rapidly become the fastest-growing mobile OS.

Every day more than 1 million new Android devices are activated worldwide.

Android’s openness has made it a favorite for consumers and developers alike, driving strong growth in app consumption. Android users download more than 1.5 billion apps and games from Google Play each month.

With its partners, Android is continuously pushing the boundaries of hardware and software forward to bring new capabilities to users and developers. For developers, Android innovation lets you build powerful, differentiated applications that use the latest mobile technologies.

Powerful development framework

Easily optimize a single binary for phones, tablets, and other devices.

Android gives you everything you need to build best-in-class app experiences. It gives you a single application model that lets you deploy your apps broadly to hundreds of millions of users across a wide range of devices—from phones to tablets and beyond.

Android also gives you tools for creating apps that look great and take advantage of the hardware capabilities available on each device. It automatically adapts your UI to look its best on each device, while giving you as much control as you want over your UI on different device types.

For example, you can create a single app binary that’s optimized for both phone and tablet form factors. You declare your UI in lightweight sets of XML resources, one set for parts of the UI that are common to all form factors and other sets for optimzations specific to phones or tablets. At runtime, Android applies the correct resource sets based on its screen size, density, locale, and so on.

To help you develop efficiently, the Android Developer Tools offer a full Java IDE with advanced features for developing, debugging, and packaging Android apps. Using the IDE, you can develop on any available Android device or create virtual devices that emulate any hardware configuration.

1.5 billion downloads a month and growing. Get your apps in front of millions of users at Google’s scale.

Open marketplace for distributing your apps

Google Play is the premier marketplace for selling and distributing Android apps. When you publish an app on Google Play, you reach the huge installed base of Android.

As an open marketplace, Google Play puts you in control of how you sell your products. You can publish whenever you want, as often as you want, and to the customers you want. You can distribute broadly to all markets and devices or focus on specific segments, devices, or ranges of hardware capabilities.

You can monetize in the way that works best for your business—priced or free, with in-app products or subscriptions—for highest engagement and revenues. You also have complete control of the pricing for your apps and in-app products and can set or change prices in any supported currency at any time.

Beyond growing your customer base, Google Play helps you build visibility and engagement across your apps and brand. As your apps rise in popularity, Google Play gives them higher placement in weekly “top” charts and rankings, and for the best apps promotional slots in curated collections.

Preinstalled on hundreds of millions of Android devices around the world, Google Play can be a growth engine for your business.

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Feb
15

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