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Telecommunications

Cellphones play an obvious role in dating, meet-ups, and generally keeping in touch ... but they also have an increasing role to play in our breaking apart. Data snaffled from smartphones is flourishing as divorce evidence, and on the other side of the ledger, apps exist to help in the process of hanging up marital connections - there are apps to initiate, manage and survive a divorce as well as apps for assessing the costs and scheduling time with kids afterwards. Read More
While cop shows have shown us that it’s easy for service providers to track a person’s location via their mobile phone, researchers at the University of Minnesota have revealed it’s also an easy task for hackers. Using a cheap phone and open source software, the researchers were able to track the location of mobile phone users without their knowledge on the GSM network, which is estimated to serve 80 percent of the global mobile market. Read More
Vehicles such as cars, ships and aircraft need to stay in stable contact with earth-orbiting satellites, in order for on-board functions like GPS, internet access and satellite television reception to work properly. As the vehicles move, their orientation to those satellites changes, so electronically-redirectable phased-array antennas are typically required. According to scientists at Germany's Technische Universität Darmstadt, however, these are "either very expensive or only sluggishly redirectable." That's why doctoral candidate Onur Hamza Karabey is working on a low-cost, fast-performing alternative - a liquid crystal antenna. Read More
Facebook has filed an S-1 document with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission announcing its intention to sell shares to the public. The eagerly anticipated move by the world’s dominant social networking site sees Facebook’s books open to potential investors – and the just plain curious - for the first time. Although the IPO will mean the internet giant will answer to shareholders and a board, the stock structure will see Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg controlling 57 percent of voting shares. Read More
A number of high profile websites are going dark today to protest the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and PROTECT IP Act (PIPA). The bills are designed to protect intellectual property holders by toughening measures against copyright infringers. Opponents say that aspects of the bill pose grave threats to free speech and internet entrepreneurship, with some high profile webmasters claiming that the bill, if passed, would threaten the very existence of their sites despite not hosting copyright-infringing material directly. Wikipedia, Reddit and Boing Boing are among the sites effectively shutting down today. Read More
China’s independent Beidou satellite navigation system has been operating since 2000. Consisting of just three satellites (and one backup), that first generation system offered only limited coverage to customers in China and neighboring regions. Now, to end any reliance on the US-maintained Global Positioning System (GPS), the second generation of the Beidou system has begun operations. The system currently consists of 10 satellites and covers the Asia–Pacific region, with the number of satellites gradually increasing to a total of 35 that will cover the entire globe by 2020. Read More
An international team is claiming a data transfer record that puts any home broadband connection to shame. At last month’s SuperComputing 2011 (SC11) conference in Seattle, researchers reached transfer rates of 98 gigabits per second (Gbps) between the University of Victoria Computing Centre located in Victoria, British Columbia, and the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle. Coupled with a simultaneous data rate of 88 Gbps in the opposite direction the team reached a two-way data rate of 186 Gbps to break their own previous peak-rate record of 119 Gbps set in 2009. Read More
With around two trillion text messages sent in America alone every year, SMS text messaging is the most widely used data application in the world and the number two use of mobile phones - the first being to check the time. It's also a cash cow for telecommunications companies with the average charge worldwide of around US$0.10 per message for data that essentially costs the telco nothing to transmit because it is sent on the control channel - a small part of radio bandwidth that is used to send information between the tower and phone about call setups. Apple's iOS 5 update - if you can get it installed - sees the addition of a new iMessage app that could have telcos nervous as it allows text messages to be sent for next to nothing. Read More
A recent study shows that ISPs – which long maintained that data was their biggest expense – are grossly overcharging for data. The price increases to our mobile or land-based internet appear to be based on greed, not need. Read More
Australians are getting their first taste of LTE (long-term evolution) mobile network speed. Telecommunications provider Telstra launched its USB 4G mobile broadband modem today with the promise of coverage in capital city CBDs and 30 regional and metropolitan centers with download speeds ranging from 2Mbps to 40Mbps and upload speeds of 1Mbps to 10Mbps. Read More
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