Earth is Being Photographed from Orbit…But the Views Differ

A group of Silicon Valley start-ups is attempting to create a comprehensive picture of the earth from space…In real time.

…And when we say picture…We mean video.

…And when we say video, we mean close enough to track a single car across a single highway, anywhere in the world.

The scientific appeal, from the perspective of a multitude of disciplines, is obvious. The business appeal is gigantic and the potential military application is bigger than both combined.

However, not everybody is convinced that this is a good idea…

131 ‘cubesats’ – satellite cameras (that are each about the size of a shoebox) are being primed for launch over the next 12 months. These cubesats will snap a daily photograph of the earth from space, building a Google Earth-style composite image of our home planet, the main difference being that, unlike Google Earth, this picture will update itself approximately every 24 hours.

One of the companies behind this initiative is Planet Labs, a 40-employee start-up based in San Francisco. Chief Executive and co-founder Will Marshall told BBC News that,

“We’re basically leveraging billions of Dollars that has been spent in consumer electronics to advance space exploration and the capabilities of satellites to help people on the planet,”

Certainly, the Humanitarian application is potentially groundbreaking. Such technology could possibly be used to locate missing planes (exemplified by the recent tragedy of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370), survivors of shipwrecks (like the four missing sailors currently lost at sea) and other disasters as well.

Mr. Marshall believes that his miniature satellites are in a unique position to do a lot of good.

“Instead of seeing a hole in the Amazon a few months after trees have been taken down there, we can see it as it’s happening” he says.

The first batch of 28 cubesats (known as ‘doves’ by Planet Labs), were launched in February of this year and are currently passing over earth at a speed of around five miles a second. Amazingly, they can produce images detailed enough to pick out individual trees.

However, photographs of individuals will be deliberately obfuscated, a decision taken after privacy groups protested against being captured on camera unwillingly. 

It all sounds innocent enough, until one considers that the company is funded by venture capital and is fully expecting to turn a profit from this endeavor. Hypothetically, this means that, although certain data may be handed to Humanitarian, scientific or environmental organizations, it will also be available to the highest bidder.

In addition, Planet Labs may be looking to send only its ‘doves’ into our stratosphere, but critics are concerned that such moves are already paving the way for the hawks to join them.

Start-ups like Skybox and Canadian Urthecast are far more interested in creating satellites that relay high-definition video to their corporate creators and are capable of targeting a single car on a narrow road, or even a small group of people.

In fact, Skybox launched 24 of these fridge-sized devices last December and the prototypes are already relaying 90 second black and white clips of the earth below them. The firm is currently in the process of being acquired by Google.

For their part, Urthecast are already talking about using HD-video as a sort of CCTV for homeowners.

Frankly, this has a lot of people worried. The old saying that, ‘just because you can, doesn’t mean you should’, does, for many, apply here.

Thomas Immel, who worked for twenty years at the Space Science Laboratory at UC Berkely, compares this new initiative to the opening of ‘Pandora’s Box’ from Greek mythology. He maintains, “Some applications may be harmful or controversial”.

For all the potential good projects like this can achieve, the possible cost to personal freedom is, in many people’s humble opinion, simply too high.

SOURCE

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-27408318

What Is A Bicycle Headset?

The headset of a bicycle is, in simplest terms, the part of the bike that allows the steering column and front wheel to rotate and turn. It is, therefore, fairly important to the general running of a bike (as we’re sure you’ll agree!)

A bicycle headset generally consists of two cups that are pressed to the top and bottom of the headtube, there are bearings inside the cups that provide low friction contact between the cup and the steerer. This setup allows the rider to be able to steer and operate the bike with maximum efficiency.

Today’s bikes use lots of different headset styles, so we’ll take you through a few of the most common ones (because we’re nice like that).

  1. Threaded Headsets – These headsets are the most simple and ‘classic’ of all headsets. They were once nearly ubiquitous, but times have moved on since then. According to ParkTool.com, “The “threaded” in the name refers to the external threading at the top of the fork steering column. Bearing cups are pressed into the bike head tube. The bearings, which may be loose ball bearings, retainer ball bearings, or cartridge bearings, sit above and below the pressed races. The top most bearing-race has internal threading, and is held in place by a threaded locknut. The stem has no effect on the headset adjustment”.
  2. Threadless Headsets – Threadless headsets are actually quite similar to their threaded cousins, with one major difference (and you’ll probably see this one coming), there is no threading. According to ParkTool, “The top race uses an internal centering sleeve on the column to maintain alignment to the bearing cup. Pressure is applied to the top race from the stem. Threadless Headsets must use a compatible stem that matches the steering column diameter. The stem binds to the outside of the column, and holds the top race in adjustment. The threadless standards are 1-inch and 1-1/8 inch diameter steering column.”
  3. Low Profile Headsets – Alternately known as ‘Integrated Headsets’, ‘Internal Headsets’ and ‘Zero Stack Headsets’ (amongst others), these headsets use pressure frame cups to secure the bearings. “The cups have a flange, or lip, and sit adjacent to the outer edge of the top and bottom of the headtube. The headtube is a relatively large outside diameter, approximately 50mm, and cups allow the bearings to sit flush or even inside the headtube. The headset bearings sit “internally” to the top and bottom of the headtube. Some models use a cup that holds a cartridge bearing. The cartridge bearing is a slip fit into the cups. The cups act as a bearing holder and do not take bearing movement or wear directly. Other types have the cartridge bearing and cup/holder as a unit. These are simply replaced as a unit when it is worn out. Still another version of this type uses a cup and cone system with caged ball bearings, similar to the conventional threadless headsets”.

Of course, its up to you to decide which of these styles best suites you and your bike.

SOURCES

http://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-help/headset-standards

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Headset_(bicycle_part

Emergency services prepare for TT influx

Whilst many of my visitors are keen on some of our own articles, here is one i discovered while surfing around ezinearticles it is far better written than I might ever hope to reach. Maybe one day I will get to this rank, you never know.

 

Months of planning and preparation are almost complete as the Island’s emergency services gear-up for a huge influx of visitors and their busiest two weeks of the year.

The Department of Home Affairs says its overriding aim in policing the festival and reacting to emergencies is to ensure a safe and successful TT.

During the fortnight, every police officer and firefighter in the Isle of Man is likely to be called on.

The arrival of tens of thousands of visitors at one time presents many challenges, in particular on the roads which will see a huge increase in traffic.

The roads policing unit is promising ‘strict enforcement’ of its 2014 TT safety campaign, under the slogan ‘For All Our Sakes, Slow Down’.

The Island’s TETRA radio system which is used to coordinate response to accidents, will handle many thousands of calls during the two week practice and race period.

Home affairs minister Juan Watterson says the integrated communications operation – handled under one roof and used by police officers, fire crews, marshals, ambulance staff and race controllers – reduces response time and will ultimately help save lives.

The Best Way To Wear a Security Earpiece

Radio earpieces look really cool. They are generally used for surveillance but some enthusiasts also wear them just for fun. Secret agents and spies in the movies have made these accessories really cool to wear.

Putting on a radio earpiece is not a tough job. To put on an earpiece, first of all you need to take that earpiece and microphone clip in your hand. The microphone is to be put where you are most comfortable with it. It can be put on your hands, specifically on your wrist. You must have seen Spies or Secret Service agents in movies lifting their wrists talk. This is where they are speaking into the mouthpiece on their wrists.

If you’re not comfortable with the mouthpiece on the wrist, you can also put it on the tie or on the shirt, on your chest. Once you have clipped on the mouthpiece, it is time to put on the radio. Take the wire dangling from the mouthpiece and put it inside your shirt. Take this wire out from the top of the shirt. This way the dangling wires will be completely hidden. Take the earpiece and put it on your ears. Make sure, that it fits tightly and would not fall off when you start to walk. You can put it on either ear. If you are wearing the mouthpiece on the wrist, you will find it comfortable to put the earpiece on the same side ear.

Once you are comfortable with the mouthpiece and the earpiece, it is the turn of the end which goes into the radio. Take this dangling wire connecting that end with earpiece and mouthpiece and put it inside your shirt. Take out the wire from the bottom of the shirt. Put it in the radio and clip the radio in its place on your pants. Once you have that these wires inside your shirt completely, you need to tuck in your shirt inside your pants so that none of the wires are visible.

Once everything is fixed, switch on the said radio and test the settings. If everything is working as it should be then you have put on the radio earpiece correctly.

Wait, you are not done yet!

Once you have tucked in your shirt inside your pants and put on your jacket, you need to test the comfort level of this piece by walking around a few paces up and down. If you’re comfortable with the earpiece and the mouthpiece and are able to talk on radio, then you are set for the job. If any of the wires are the earpiece or the mouthpiece is making you uncomfortable, you need to reset your wires.

The real advantage of a concealed earpiece is that others wouldn’t notice when you are talking on a concealed earpiece. If you’re uncomfortable wearing these or with the wires, you lose the advantage of a hidden radio earpiece. Therefore it is very important to check the complete settings by walking around.

Congratulations, you have successfully put on a radio earpiece. Now, enjoy talking like a secret service agent

Who Uses Spy Earpieces?

British comedian Jack Dee probably said it best, “Men like to use drills because secretly, we think they’re guns”. Tools just bring out our inner 007.

He’s right. Men like gadgets for the same reason. We can’t deny it, there’s just something unassailably cool about a tool that you can use, but that no one else knows about.

Whether you’re prancing around your house pointing a Black & Decker at imaginary henchmen, or fondly imagining that your fountain pen doubles as some sort of deadly offensive weapon, its OK to admit that you like the idea of gadgets.

spy earpiece

If you’re reading this and nodding, then you are almost certainly a man (or else, a bit of a Tomboy, which is fine too). In which case, you probably found this article whilst searching for a ‘spy earpiece’ online. Ergo, the sort of person who buys a this is, well, someone just like you.

If, however, you clicked this page because you want to know what sort of person uses such a device (or indeed, what, if any, its practical applications are), then you’ve come to the right place, ma’am.

Its not all James Bond wannabes, you know.

Business professionals cunningly utilize spy earpieces to receive information in real time as they negotiate huge deals and contracts. They also employ such gadgets when giving lengthy and complex presentations to superiors or potential customers. This goes double (or even triple) for public speakers.

Security personnel will also use spy earpieces, as surprising as that may be to read. Often, the security professional is used as a deterrent; large, imposing men and women are geared up with walkie-talkies and sharp suits or black uniforms in order to encourage would-be troublemakers to think twice. However, it is also common for security guards to operate in plain clothes, keeping an eye on potential situations discreetly and quietly. For this, they use a spy earpiece. For the same reasons, even undercover police have been known to employ spy earpieces.

Then, of course there are students (yes, we had to get to it eventually). These are a great way to help in your exams AND feel like James Bond at the same time. Of course, we’d never condone the use of our products in such a way, but nevertheless, it does happen. Amazingly, the time spent preparing a reliable body of information and then having an accomplice drip feed the correct answers to you via the earpiece would probably be better spent actually learning the material in the first place. However, students can also use spy earpieces in presentations in much the same way that businesspeople do.

Recently, we’ve come across articles online which suggest that even the unemployed are getting in on the act, using spy earpieces in job interviews in order to come across as qualified and knowledgeable.

So, the earpiece appeals to more than just the gadget-crazed would-be 007. Spy earpieces are used by a broad cross-section of the community, not just by men with a little too much time on their hands!

Inventors That Changed the World: Al Gross

Much like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character in the movie ‘Twins’, the walkie-talkie can claim to have many fathers. However, one of the most prominent names in the debate (and maybe the one with the single strongest claim to having invented the walkie-talkie) is Canadian/American inventor Al Gross.

The son of Romanian immigrants, Al Gross was born in Toronto, Canada in 1918, but his parents moved to Cleveland, Ohio, USA when he was quite young. Whilst on a steamboat trip across Lake Erie, the 9-year-old Gross encountered radio technology for the first time and, in so doing, ignited a passion within him that would change the world.

How passionate was he? By age 12, Gross had turned his parents’ basement into a radio centre. The bright young man would visit junkyards and salvage any material he thought he could use. Four years later –aged 16- Gross was awarded an amateur radio license, which was still in effect at the time of his death in 2000.

At the age of 18, Gross enrolled in the Case School of Applied Sciences. At the time, radio frequencies above 100MHz were relatively unexplored territory. Gross wanted to see exactly what could be done with them. He wanted to create a mobile, lightweight, handheld transceiver, using those uncharted frequencies. In 1938, he did just that, patenting the two-way radio, or ‘walkie-talkie’. He was just 20 years old.

War arrived on American shores in 1941 with the attack on Pearl Harbour. America scrambled to mobilize its armed forces and take advantage of any/all new technology that could aid the struggle against the Axis powers. The US Office of Strategic Services (OSS) – a forerunner to the CIA – tapped Gross to create an air-to-ground communications’ system. The system Gross designed employed Hertzian radio waves and was almost impossible for the enemy to monitor, even when allied planes were in enemy airspace. Gross’ system proved incredibly successful (so much so, that it was not declassified until 1976).

After the war, the inventor turned entrepreneur and founded the Citizens Radio Corporation, which took advantage of the first frequencies designated for personal use. His company was the first to receive FCC approval for use with the new ‘citizens’ band’. He licensed radios to other companies and supplied units to the Coast Guard, amongst others.

Then, in 1949 came another amazing discovery. Gross invented and patented the telephone pager. He invented the system with doctors in mind, but the medical community was (amazingly) slow to respond to this new technology. Only New York’s Jewish Hospital saw the potential of the pager as a life-saving device, when they implemented it in 1950.

Throughout the 1950’s, Gross, ever the pioneer, fought hard to garner interest for his newest idea – a mobile telephone. It took him eight years to get mobile telephony, as a concept, off the ground. Talk about being ahead of the curve!

Unfortunately, many of Gross’ best ideas were so far ahead of said curve, that his patents ran out before he could garner the profit his genius deserved. Had he earned the money eventually generated by CB radio, pagers and cellular phones, he would have died an extremely rich man. However, it was not to be.

Gross invented a lot throughout the years, but nothing brought him the amount of money that he potentially could have made from his earlier inventions. However, Gross was able to make a comfortable living, spending the 1960’s working for large corporations as a specialist in communications systems. 

In the 1990’s, he was employed as a Senior Staff Engineer for Orbital Sciences Corporation in Arizona, where he worked on satellite communications, military equipment and aerospace technology.

As an older man, Gross got the most joy from visiting local schools and giving presentations. He took extra pleasure in inspiring the next generation of scientists, engineers and thinkers.

In April of the year 2000, Al Gross (who had garnered numerous awards throughout his career, far too many to write about here) was honoured to receive the Lemelson-MIT Lifetime Achievement Award. He passed away eight months later in December 2000.

Gross never actually retired and was still working at the age of 82, a restless paragon of forward thinking, innovation and tireless imagination.

SOURCE

http://web.mit.edu/invent/iow/gross.html

What Is an Ultrasonic Transducer?

You’ve probably stumbled upon this looking for information about headset’s, hopefully this will help you answer some of those questions, if not please click on one of the relevant links within the article

An ultrasonic transducer is an electrical component that converts ultrasonic sound waves beyond the range of human hearing into alternating current (AC) or direct current (DC) electrical signals that are then transmitted or recorded. Usually such devices are built upon crystals that demonstrate a piezoelectric effect, which conduct electrical current in response to mechanical stress or vibrations. The crystals have directly proportional output to the strength of the input sound wave or stress, and this makes them useful measuring devices as an ultrasonic transducer.

ultrasonic transducerApplications for ultrasonic transducer-based electronics included use in early television remote controls as signal devices, and, as of 2011, in anemometers used by weather stations to monitor wind course and speed. They are used in industrial applications to monitor the level of fluid in a tank, and in modern-day automobiles as of 2011 for echo location sensors to indicate objects in close proximity to the path of a vehicle that is backing up or pulling into a garage. Since an ultrasonic transducer can also play the role of an ultrasonic transmitterthrough input electrical power, they offer the capability of a primitive type of sonar in many cases. Sound waves can be reflected off of a surface and the distance to that surface measured by the time and frequency of the wave that bounces back.

Electrical devices that convert one form of energy to another, like ultrasonic sensors, often have widespread applications in electronics and industry. Many diverse uses for the ultrasonic transducer now exist, including in environmental controls for buildings, such as in humidifiers where they vaporize the surface of the water, and in burglar alarms to detect objects moving within an otherwise clear path. Ultrasonography also relies on the principle of an ultrasonic transducer in medicine, where sound waves of 1 to 30 megahertz are employed to remotely generate imagery for the state of muscles, internal organs, and blood vessels in the human body, as well as the state of a fetus during pregnancy.

Since the era of the 1940s, the ultrasonic transducer has been incorporated into testing equipment to detect flaws in a range of sonar-related applications. They can be used to find fine cracks, voids, or porous sections in concrete and building foundations, damaged or fractured metal welds, and flaws in other materials such as plastic, ceramic, and composites. The devices are versatile because the sound waves that they emit will be affected by any medium, whether liquid, solid, or gas. With a detector used to measure gas status, however, an intermediate gel is usually placed between the gas and the ultrasonic transducer, as sound waves are otherwise poorly conducted and recorded in a gas medium.

The field of flaw detection for ultrasonic technology is broken down into five different types of transducer designs: contact, angle beam, delay line, immersion, and dual element transducers. Contact transducers have to have close contact proximity to what they are measuring, such as a stud finder in the building trade used to detect wooden beams behind walls. An immersion transducer is waterproof and placed in a fluid flow. Both angle beam and delay line forms of an ultrasonic transducer are used to measure welds and in conditions of high temperatures. The dual element transducer is simultaneously a transmitter and receiver for continuous monitoring of rough or potentially flawed surfaces.

Jawbone ERA Bluetooth Headset

You’ve probably stumbled upon this looking for information about earpiece’s, hopefully this will help you answer some of those questions, if not please click on one of the relevant links within the article

Jawbone may now be best known for its UP wireless activity trackers and its Jambox speakers, but before anything else the San Francisco company was a force in the world of Bluetooth headsets. The new ERA is Jawbone’s (mostly) triumphant return to the ears of busy businessmen worldwide.

 

What Is It?

The Jawbone ERA is a small, powerful Bluetooth headset. It’s only 47mm long, 22mm wide and 13mm deep, and weighs only 6g. It has an internal rechargeable lithium-ion battery good for 4 hours of talk time or music playback, and a high quality noise cancelling microphone that promises clear and accurate voice calls even in loud environments.

For such a small device, the ERA is well-built. There’s no creaking plastic or microphonics when you’re wearing the wireless headset, and even at maximum volume on a bassy music track there’s no undue vibration or distortion from the ERA’s earpiece.

There are five main elements involved in the care and usage of the ERA. The first is the headset’s single visible switch — it’s on the inner face of the ERA, toggling from power off to hpower on — when you can see the blue half of the switch, the Bluetooth headset is turned on. Forwards from the power switch is a small, rubberised, cylindrical mole — this is a skin sensor that knows when you’re wearing the ERA and when you’re speaking, aiding the earpiece’s active noise cancellation.

Hidden away on the back of the Jawbone ERA is the headset’s sole multi-purpose button. The process for using said button is a little arcane — there’s a guide in the box, of course, but remembering just how many short or long presses to tap on the back of the ERA can sometimes be a little difficult.

To adjust the ERA’s audio output volume, for example, you press and hold the multi-purpose button as the headset cycles through various volume levels from minimum to maximum to minimum and so on; to answer or end a call is a single press, to skip audio tracks is a double press — it’s easy enough with practice, but slightly complex to initially learn.

At the end of the protuberance of the Jawbone ERA — the best word to describe the piece of the headset that juts forwards from its resting place in your ear — is its internal microphone. The microphone is hooked up to the rest of the ERA’s electronics package, and does an incredibly good job of clearly transmitting your voice to anyone you’re talking to.

The segment of the ERA that you’ll have the most interaction with, though, is its earpiece. It’s the misshapen lump protruding from the otherwise sleek body of the ERA, with a wide-band audio driver surrounded by a removable silicon eartip. Jawbone includes four different silicon eartip sizes in the ERA’s retail packaging — suitable for a small right ear, medium right ear, medium left, and large right. In practice we found both the small and medium right eartips to offer the best fit

The ERA is not a cheap headset. If you buy it without the charging case, you’re up for a full $149, while adding the charging case tacks another $30 onto the price tag. I genuinely think the charging case is a mandatory accessory — it does a great job of providing extra power to a headset that definitely needs it — but as an overall package the ERA is very expensive.

What Is It Good At?

Just using the Jawbone ERA is an enjoyable exercise straight out of the box. There’s that ever-present secret agent feel to pressing a button on your secret in-ear headset, and after you’ve learned the ropes, taking calls, playing and selecting music tracks is simple.

The active noise cancellation of Jawbone’s microphone — the company calls the entire package NoiseAssassin, now at version 3.0 in the new ERA — is excellent. For making voice calls, or talking to Siri or Google Now, it’s definitely the most capable Bluetooth microphone I’ve used, and is possibly the best headset microphone I’ve used full stop. Especially in noisy environments, the novel noise cancelling built into the body of the ERA works very well.

For the first few days of trialing the headset, everyone I talked to with the ERA noticed the difference in the clarity and quality of voice calls. When you’re talking, the ERA clearly transmits audio, and when you’re not, it doesn’t — simple as that. With the help of the skin sensor, the ERA’s noise cancellation removes one of the most annoying impediments to workday phone conversations in existence. If you and a friend both had Jawbone ERAs and smartphones hooked up to a mobile carrier that supported HD Voice, you’d be able to chat away in the middle of a hurricane.

Beyond transmitting voice and audio, the Jawbone ERA is equally good at playing it back. I haven’t heard previous Jawbone Bluetooth headsets to compare the ERA too, but Jawbone says its earphone driver is much improved, and I’m inclined to believe them — this is a tiny Bluetooth headset, but at maximum power it’s actually capable of outputting a decent amount of audio oopmh. Compare it to a good pair of earbuds or in-ear monitors (I sabotaged the ERA by trying it out against Logitech’s excellent UE 900 IEMs), and it isn’t great, but it beats out Apple’s iPhone earbuds any day.

There isn’t a great deal of bass extension from the Jawbone ERA’s earphone speaker driver, but both treble and mid-range detail is excellent — significantly better than I was expecting. Maximum volume isn’t exactly ear-splittingly loud, but it is good enough to hear the ERA in an otherwise noisy environment. Jawbone’s various audio cues — a sort of aural guide to the ERA’s various features as you select them — are presented in a pleasantly soothing female voice, although you can customise them usng Jawbone’s companion mobile app, which also adds some useful features to the ERA’s repertoire.

Jawbone’s ERA works well as part of the entire family of Jawbone products. The accompanying Jawbone app for both Android and iOS devices (tablets and smartphones alike, although you’re likely only using the ERA with a phone) will be updated in the near future to link various products together, although Jawbone isn’t sharing specifics just yet. You should be able to get updates on your UP24′s daily activity or sleep progress in your ERA headset, for example. It’s a minor software trigger, but one that adds value to the entire Jawbone ecosystem.

If you’ve bought the charging case for the ERA, you’re in for a treat — it’s both a convenient and sturdy place to store the headset when you’re not using it, and a portable recharging station. The ERA headset sits in the case with its rear microUSB port holding it securely, while the dock has its own microUSB port for recharging. There’s a small indicator on the side of the charging case that tells you how much charge it has remaining, and the flip-up connector makes getting the ERA out easy when you need it. It’s the smartest way to store the ERA, and it has a thin leather strap for attaching it to a keyring.

I kept the ERA on my keyring for a fortnight, and the charging case didn’t get more than a couple of scratches — it’s just as sturdy as the ERA itself. It holds a total of 10 hours worth of charge for the headset, it charges quickly, and it’s convenient storage. I did have one instance where the ERA’s silicone earpiece fell off while the headset was stored away in its case, but for the most part the eartips stay on securely.

What Is It Not Good At?

It’s not possible to talk aout Bluetooth headsets without talking about the cringe factor inherent in using one. Don’t get me wrong — the Jawbone ERA is a very cool Bluetooth headset, but at the end of the day, it isstill a Bluetooth headset. If you want one, this is the one to get, but you better really want to wear it.

What that means is that it’s a slightly dorky dongle hanging out of your left or right ear, and even as unobtrusive as it is it is noticeable, and if you wear it out in public you’ll get the odd sideways glance or cautious glare. I made the mistake of wearing the ERA between my morning train and the Gizmodo office, and ordered a coffee at a cafe on the way — only afterwards did I realise how much of an idiot I probably looked like to the barista.

Of course, there is absolutely a time and place where the ERA truly belongs. It’s invaluable on long car trips, where the one-touch button means you can answer a call and have a discussion almost entirely hands-free, without distracting yourself from the road. If you’re hard at work and don’t want too much of a distraction, it’s possible to talk on the phone without disrupting your flow.

Without its charging case, the Jawbone ERA will run out of power within 4 hours at moderate listening volume, if you’re listening to music or constantly making and receiving voice calls. This is not enough for an entire workday of listening to music on the ERA, for example, and if you have a particularly busy string of phone meetings you might quickly run the ERA to the end of its battery life.

It’s possible to eke a day’s power out of the ERA with light usage, but as a general rule, it won’t last a full eight hour stretch — and it’s this that makes the extra cost of the battery charging case worthwhile. You’ll have to shell out a few more dollars, though, and this factors into our overall view of the ERA as a particularly expensive Bluetooth headset.

Should You Buy It?

Jawbone’s ERA is, as Bluetooth headsets go, very fashionable. You can buy the ERA in any one of four colours, and all four will be available in Australia. As it stands, the ERA is being sold exclusively in Apple Stores around the country, so if you want one to complement your Android phone you’ll have to step into the heart of darkness for at least a few minutes.

The ERA is a great headset, there’s no denying that. It sounds great, has the added features offered by Jawbone’s bespoke app, and it’s both attractive and versatile. All this brilliance does come at a price, though. The high asking price does restrict the appeal of the Jawbone ERA significantly; it’s likely to only appear on the ears of well-heeled businessmen and ultra-fashionable advertising and marketing and PR types.

If you want the best Bluetooth headset at any price, our money goes towards the Jawbone ERA. Before you buy it, though, I’d suggest you give careful consideration to its utility and how often you’ll be using it — an alternative might be more appropriate. Anyone deciding that the $179 ERA is right for them won’t be disappointed with how it performs. It’s on sale around Australia from the end of this month.

Riedel to Provide Radio Communications Network and Equipment for Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games

This was originally posted here and we thought we’d share it here, Riedel are one of the worlds biggest radio companies and have run the communications for the london olympics, euros 2012 and many other big events, so thsi story comes as no surprise.

Riedel Communications, provider of pioneering real-time video, audio, data, and communications networks, will supply all radio communications equipment and services for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, running from July 23 to Aug. 3 in Glasgow, Scotland. 

“The ability to communicate effectively at Games venues and throughout Glasgow and other parts of Scotland is an essential element to delivering a successful Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games,” said Brian Nourse, chief information officer, Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. “We have benefited from Riedel’s extensive experience of being involved in many previous major sporting events to ensure a robust communications solution is delivered for our event,” 

 Riedel Communications has designed a radio communications solution for use across Glasgow and at the 14 venues hosting 17 different sporting competitions. The company is providing all radio handsets and radio communication accessories — including more than 6,000 radios — used in the lead-up to and during the Games, along with a terrestrial trunked radio (TETRA) digital network and a Motorola MOTOTRBO digital radio repeater system. Both the TETRA and MOTOTRBO systems are dedicated, fully monitored, and serviced solutions. 
TETRA combines the advantages of analog trunked radio with those of digital mobile radio to provide optimal frequency usage, high transmission quality for speech and data, maximum security against eavesdropping, as well as flexible networking and connection management. Beyond that, the digital trunked radio system supports full duplex communication, GPS-positioning, and connection to the public telephone network. The system offers the option of operating different virtual channels, and it can leverage IP connectivity to support wide-area operation.
With this communications infrastructure, Riedel will ensure outdoor street-level coverage at all official venues, throughout the city of Glasgow, and along the official cycling road race and marathon routes, as well as indoor coverage at Glasgow 2014 competition venues. Riedel is also supplying the radio communications solution for the Scottish leg of the Queen’s Baton Relay, ensuring radio communications run smoothly as the baton makes its way through Scotland to Glasgow for the Games.
“We are delighted to be the Official Radio Communications Partner of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games,” said Christian Bockskopf, head of marketing for Riedel Communications. “We’ve worked closely with the organizers to develop a radio communications solution that satisfies both the technical and operational requirements of all the key players during this world-class event.”

 

What Is Covert Surveillance?

With very little information on the internet about earpiece’s, it is very rare when we get a chance to re post, with permission, an article from this industry.

Covert surveillance occurs when someone or something is being observed without knowledge. People who are under surveillance are most often under suspicion. Locations and buildings are primarily observed because of suspicious activity or to obtain information about a suspect.

covert surveillance Covert surveillance is generally performed by government agencies, private investigators or business owners. Intelligence organizations such as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the United States and the United Kingdom’s Secret Intelligence Service, also called MI6, participate in surveillance to obtain information for national security interests such as counter terrorism. Law enforcement agencies such as the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) also perform surveillance. They concentrate on observing suspected criminals.

Private investigators perform covert surveillance for a variety of reasons. Husbands and wives hire private investigators to prove or disprove suspected infidelity. Businesses hire private investigators to observe employees who are suspected of fraudulent activities or former employees that may be breaking confidentiality agreements. Insurance companies are notorious for using private investigators to put claimants under surveillance to ensure they are not submitting a fraudulent claim.

Many business owners participate in covert surveillance of their employees and customers. Observing employees while they are working gives business owners valuable information, such as employee production and employee theft. Covertly observing customers can aid in marketing and research efforts and most importantly account for loss due to theft in retail businesses. Retail businesses can also use information obtained through covert surveillance to prosecute shoplifters.

A surveillance operation may be carried out in a number of ways. Agency employees and private investigators may choose to observe a subject without the aid of sophisticated technology, using things such as binoculars and cameras. However, in an age of modern technological conveniences, it is safer, cheaper and more convenient to use surveillance equipment.

Closed circuit television systems (CCTV) are one of the most popular ways to carry out covert surveillance. Cameras come in all sizes and can be placed inconspicuously almost anywhere. In order to obtain audio, wire taps can be placed on phones or audio surveillance equipment may be hidden in a suspect’s office, home or vehicle. Other ways to perform covert surveillance include aerial surveillance and the use of global positioning systems (GPS). A GPS placed on a person or moving vehicle can be tracked to monitor movement to specific locations. Similarly, aerial surveillance carried out by national governments can track objects on the ground.

 

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