Focus on- $100 Solar Powered Laptop

Editors Note – Finding News that mix laptops and tablets all together isn’t tricky, but when there’s a feature that links the two devices by something that may make them both enhanced, we become attracted. Solar power has always been linked to with laptops, without any really victory. This primerily is lead by the One laptop per child campaign, but will it work in a nation that gets 1492.7 hours of sunshine. Continue reading

Bluetooth headset buying guide

Editors note – Most of us have checked out a bluetooth headset and thought that looks nice, nevertheless it seems like all the rest of the headphones available! Cnet have compiled a list of bluetooth headphones that will be worth viewing, we like 90 percent of them and one we don’t agree with. We won’t prejudice your opinion by letting you know which one, you will have to guess.

 

A bad Bluetooth device will ruin even the most engaging gab session. That’s why it’s important to select the right headset, and this guide is here to help. If you need a great hands-free headset right now, definitely check out the Plantronics Voyager Legend. Not only is it lighter and smaller than most devices equipped with a big boom mic, the Legend delivers superb audio quality and has a design comfortable enough to wear with glasses. Another great option is the Jawbone Erawhich has ultra-advanced features such as a built-in accelerometer, powerful noise-canceling, and HD audio. On the other end of the size spectrum is the tiny Plantronics M55. Despite its small stature, the M55 offers voice prompts and vocal commands, plus a deep sleep function to conserve battery life. For more headset choices be sure to check out CNET’s list of our favorite Bluetooth headsets. Continue reading

Best eBook readers for Christmas 2012

Editors Note – With christmas heavily upon us and you are already fed with all the cakes, mince pies and sherry, we give you the best eBook readers, to get away from it all.

 

The book has been Christmas stocking staple throughout all our lives, predating the electronic gadgets and toys that now dominate most of our seasonal wish lists. Continue reading

Lighting The Touchpaper… The Kindle Fire Spreads Like…Um, A Popular eBook Reader?

By now you will have noticed that there are a great many Kindle Fire reviews online. You will probably also have noticed that the vast majority of these Kindle Fire reviews are positive, although there are, (as always), one or two negative points raised. You’ll have walked past the billboards, accidentally clicked on the adverts, or else seen Amazon’s new baby featured on the telly. Perhaps you’re even thinking of buying one and want to know a little bit more? Well, in any case, I hope this piece will help. Continue reading

Mac mini review (2012)

Editors Note – Smaller, lighter media player computers always get our attention, and the new mac mini is an invention that will satisfy the MAC faithful and entice the window lot. With an i7 inside and 4gb of RAM you can really get the company’s jack-of-all-trades computer for your living room.

October 23rd was mostly the iPad mini’s coming out party; an event with one major headliner. But that newborn product didn’t enterApple’s ecosystem alone. Amidst the flurry of announcements, there was one other wee hardware relative on hand ready to join in on the launch festivities: a refreshed 2012 Mac mini. Addressing criticisms oflast year’s model, Apple added USB 3.0 ports, upgraded to third-generation Ivy Bridge Core processors and boosted the standard RAM allotment to 4GB (you can configure it with up to 16 gigs). Perhaps most interestingly, it’s now offering a hybrid storage option, the so-called FusionDrive, which combines flash memory with a SATA HDD. Continue reading

A Mouse’s Tale- What Wireless is Best?

Lets face it; nobody really likes a mouse for the wires, do they? If they did, the best wireless mouse would surely be lauded as the best…y’know, mouse.

 

If you’re using a desktop PC to read this, then the chances are that the mouse is attached, via a long tangle of grey cable, into the PC itself that is somewhere under your desk. How you cringe when something falls down there or you need to gain access to that speaker wire that just keeps coming loose. Continue reading

The Desert Of The Real

What is Augmented Reality? When Morpheus uttered the immortal line “welcome to the desert of the real” in 1999’s smash hit movie ‘The Matrix’, few viewers realized that he was, in fact, quoting French philosopher Jean Baudrillard. Baudrillard’s book ‘Simulacra & Simulation’ was a big influence on the film’s overall themes. Fewer still realized that, just over a decade later, reality itself was about to become a major commodity.

Of course, Baudrillard was referring to the concept of ‘hyperreality’ (a postmodern philosophical concept that pertains to a simulated or implied reality as opposed to an objective, or conclusive, state of existence). However, with the advent of such futuristic technology as Google Glasses, as well as the myriad apps currently being downloaded to smart phones across the world, it really does seem as if reality itself is about to receive an overhaul. If not a desert, the ‘real’ of 2012 actually seems closer to becoming an amusement park.

So, What is Augmented Reality? Far from the pre-millennial nightmare vision of Human beings as organic battery slaves (as espoused in the aforementioned Matrix franchise), the forthcoming decade would appear to be one of Human beings enriching their lives via a series of benign, highly useful technological innovations. Apps that can produce a price list and a menu for a local restaurant (via the simple act of pointing your phone or device in the eatery’s direction), or map out the night sky in real time, are not science fiction, but everyday reality for users of smart phones and tablet PCs.

Augmented Reality, as such technology is known (heretofore abbreviated as ‘AR’), is nothing new, at least in a rudimentary form. During the Gulf war, jet fighters sliced through the sound barrier before using interactive ‘AR’ screens in their dogfights with enemy planes. On television, major networks have shown sports analysis to their home audience as a series of swift, modernist arrows permeating the action in real time. In certain circles, there are even AR programs being used to train a new generation of surgeons, firefighters and even learner drivers.

But it is the area of consumer technology where most breakthroughs occur. Had it not been for the ubiquity of the home computer and its professional office counterpart, its possible that computers would still be taking the forms of the room full of blinking lights, technical readouts and heavy outer casing that once typified information technology. With AR products like maddeningly addictive games, genuinely useful apps and throwaway, disposable distractions, we can be assured of greater interest in AR over the next couple of decades. After that, who knows where it could all lead?

The advent of laptops and, more latterly, tablet PCs (both adaptations of computer scientist Alan Kay’s near-mythic 1968 ‘Dynabook’ concept), have made computers truly portable for the first time and, in so doing, have grafted a lasting impression on the landscape of our culture. Whether this impression is an unsightly visual scar or a divine beauty spot is entirely in the eye of the beholder. However, approving or not, that eye is likely to be seeing things in a very different ten years from now.

Kickstarter project hopes to launch officially licensed iPhone 5 dock

Editors Note – the first wave of ipone 5 docks were always going to be interesting, but i thought that one of the big brands would be first to market, but it is a start-up company coming up with the goods.

 

Apple’s introduction of its proprietary Lightning port, which debuted in the iPhone 5 last month, prompted some of the company’s customers to grumble, especially following news that it would build its own Lightning-compatible dock. Continue reading

Airwave Radio: what is it, what does it do and Who is it for?

Editors Note – All of the emergency services, Police, Ambulance, Fire and Highway patrols are all now on the digital airwave network, supported by the motorola MTH and MTP radios and the sepura SRP and SRH radios.

Airwave is a digital trunked radio service for police and other emergency services in England, Scotland and Wales provided by Airwave Solutions Limited under contract to the NPIA. It has replaced outdated individually run force analogue radio systems with a national digital radio service. It is now fully established and network performance is exceeding contractual levels.

Police authorities and forces are now in the process of exploiting the benefits that Airwave can bring through different ways of working and as a channel for mobile data applications.

Who’s using it?

All police forces in England, Scotland and Wales, the British Transport Police, the Serious and Organised Crime Agency and other police agencies. The fire and ambulance services will also be using Airwave nationally once roll out is complete by December 2009.

Benefits

  • An emergency button on the terminal that an officer can press if in danger
  • Improved radio coverage
  • Improved speech clarity
  • Improved security and encryption of communications
  • Enhanced operational flexibility
  • Scope for mobile data applications
  • National roaming
  • Improved capability for radio interoperability between police forces and other emergency services

 

Airwave Speak

The purpose of AirwaveSpeak is to provide better communications between police radio users. It is a national standard of radio communications which offers consistent and concise communications and ensures that there is no confusion during voice transmissions.

It was developed following feedback from forces who were concerned over the standards in radio discipline for voice over-the-air police communications. A team of linguistic professionals working as Prolingua, were employed to develop the standard alongside a group of police officers and staff – including representatives from the Police Federation and Unison. It is based around the principles of Accuracy, Brevity, Clarity and Discipline.

A number of police forces in England, Scotland and Wales, British Transport Police and other police agencies have commenced roll-out of AirwaveSpeak. The aim is to have all forces completed and using AirwaveSpeak by 2009.

Background

The contract was signed in February 2000 and the roll out of the infrastructure was completed in May 2005. All police forces have migrated from their old systems and user numbers are over 180,000.

Why did the police need a new radio system?

Police radio systems were obsolete and incompatible. New digital technology allows for more complete coverage of the country, clearer signals and extra features such as encryption and data as well as voice communication

Why choose TETRA technology?

Before Airwave was commissioned, independent experts reviewed all available technologies. Only TETRA was found to meet the requirements of the police service.

What advantages does TETRA provide?

  • Offers very good quality as it uses digital technology.
  • It enables more of the country to be covered: far fewer “holes” in coverage which can endanger police officers;
  • Is secure thanks to its sophisticated encryption techniques.
  • Criminals can no longer eavesdrop on police communications;
  • Can provide high capacity. TETRA can cope with major incidents, when many users want to use their radios at the same time, without overloading the network;
  • Can transmit voice and data communications at the same time. Police officers can use their radios to connect with facilities such as the Police National Computer

 

Is there a 100% guarantee that Airwave is safe?

It is impossible to prove a negative, so experts can never give a categorical assurance that there is no risk. However, despite the extensive studies that have been commissioned into TETRA technology, there is no evidence that it is unsafe. 

 

How much will Airwave cost?

We estimate that the Airwave service contract will cost £2.3 billion at 1999 prices over the 22 years of the project. Additionally, police forces had to buy radio terminals, and needed to modernise their control rooms. Funding was provided partly by the Home Office through central government grants, partly by local police authorities. 

 

When will all forces be using the new systems?

The system was rolled out force by force. It is now available to all forces. Once a force reached its Ready For Service (RFS) date, and Airwave was available to it, the force typically needed a further six to twelve months to become fully operational. All forces in England and Wales are now fully operational. 

 

What is the risk from electromagnetic radiation?

The international scientific community agrees that the only established risk from radio frequency radiation is related to heating of the body. Radio signals could cause risks to health if their intensity was significant enough to cause substantial heating. 

 

What organisations monitor the effects of radiation?

There are organisations around the world that set limits of exposure across the entire electromagnetic spectrum, based on the way in which different forms of electromagnetic radiation interact with the body. These organisations include the National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) in the UK and the International Committee on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) world-wide.

 

How are safe levels of heating calculated?

The SAR (Specific Absorption Rate) measures the absorption of radio frequencies in the body. The SAR is determined by the conductivity of the tissues of the body. It varies with the kind of tissue, but is generally greater for fluid and loose tissues than for bone. A generally agreed formula links the SAR to temperature rise in different kinds of body tissue. 

 

What are the guidelines?

The medical evidence suggests that there is no risk to the health of a reasonably fit person until the temperature of the whole body is elevated by more than one degree centigrade. In fact, our bodies routinely vary in temperature by up to about a degree during the course of the day with no adverse consequences. A body temperature rise of over a degree may cause difficulty if it is sustained for some time. Heat reactions in affected persons may include sweating, tiredness and changes in sleep patterns.

The SAR limits are set at one-tenth of the SAR value that would cause a one degree centigrade rise to the whole body. Because of the complicated relationship between SAR and temperature rise, this does not mean a threshold of 1 tenth of a degree. The SAR limit is set very conservatively in order to ensure the one degree threshold cannot be exceeded. 

 

Who sets the limits?

Guidelines are set by ICNIRP and the NRPB, based on scientific evidence. 

 

How are SARs obtained?

Specific absorption rates cannot be measured directly in a living body, but there are two methods to estimate them. One method uses a physical model of the human body with the right kind of electrical properties. One can use this model to make SAR measurements with a suitable probe. The other method uses complex computer programmes based on knowledge on all of the individual components of the body and their electrical properties to calculate the SARs. Both methods agree very well.

 

Is TETRA technology safe?

TETRA technology has been the subject of detailed investigation by independent experts. Their advice is that it is unlikely that TETRA technology poses a threat to health. 

 

Why is TETRA pulsed?

TETRA uses a particular system of coding which records speech and then compresses it, decreasing the duration of the signal by a factor of four. Speech is recorded continuously, then broken up into chunks, each of which is then compressed down to one-fourth of the time scale, speeded up, and then transmitted as a pulse of information. This means that you can transmit four conversations simultaneously on the same wavelength and in the same area.

Do TETRA base stations pulse?

There have been claims that base station signals are pulsed, but the evidence does not support this. Independent checks confirm that the radiation from Airwave base stations is a continuous signal. The signals from TETRA radios (hand-held or mobile terminals) are pulsed.

Need I worry about emissions from base stations?

The evidence does not support public concerns about mobile phone and TETRA base station emissions. In fact, in areas accessible to the public, exposure levels from base stations are much lower than exposure levels from actually using a mobile phone. 

 

What checks have been done on existing masts?

The Radio Communications Agency (now part of Ofcom) checked emission levels from Airwave base stations. The results confirmed that Airwave base stations comply with health and safety guidelines: the measured power levels were only a small fraction of the guidelines in areas accessible to the public. Independent checks also confirm that Airwave base stations transmit continuous waves.

 

Why might some people report suffering ill-health?

Mobile phones and TETRA terminals do get warm, not because of radio frequencies but because of the current flowing from the battery. Some of the energy of the current dissipates into warmth that is then radiated as infrared radiation or conducted directly by contact to the head. There is no more risk involved in that than in standing in the sun or washing one’s hands in hot water.

Symptoms like nausea, tingling, headaches and sleep disturbances can sometimes appear as part of what is called a psychosomatic condition. These symptoms are very real to people who suffer them, but instead of being produced by the actual risk, they are internally generated by stress due to the perception of that risk by the sufferer. They can be reported for example by people who become concerned about something in their environment, about their food, or the possibility of exposure to chemicals. Studies on mobile phones have consistently found that a small proportion of users reports this type of symptoms. 

 

Why should a very few users feel hypersensitive to the perceived risk of radio frequency radiation?

Further studies on this topic have been sponsored by the Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research programme.

Is the mention of 16Hz modulation in the Stewart Report significant?

Some experiments conducted in the 1970’s and 80’s suggested that modulated radiation could have an effect on calcium exchanges in tissues of the body, particularly for amplitude modulation around 16 Hz. Further research has found that TETRA has no effect on intercellular calcium exchange. 

 

Why are these topics being investigated and not others?

The Home Office research programme follows the recommendation of the independent AGNIR experts. No other topics specifically related to TETRA were identified.

There has been a lot of research carried out over the last fifty years into radio waves and health generally, covering a wide range of digital and analogue signals, frequencies and modulations – including those used by TETRA. This research has been reviewed by many independent scientific experts, standards-setting bodies like the NRPB and health authorities like the World Health Organisation (WHO). All of them have come to the conclusion that there is no established evidence of any adverse health effects from exposure to radio waves within the guidelines which apply to TETRA and other mobile communications systems. 

 

Why wasn’t Airwave tested before it was commissioned?

The TETRA standard was established in the 1990’s. There were no concerns about its health and safety until the publication of the Stewart report in 2000; by which time some TETRA systems were already in operation and Airwave had been commissioned.

Who is carrying out the research?

A number of independent bodies have been contracted to carry out the research. Independent oversight is provided by academics distinguished in the field. 

Governance arrangements

Airwave is managed through a Programme Board that is made up of representatives from the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (ACPOS), the Association of Police Authorities (APA) and NPIA.

Original Source – http://www.npia.police.uk/en/10506.htm

As part of the closure programme for the NPIA, Airwave Radio transferred to the Home Office on 1 October 2012. For further information, please contact the Airwave team on 020 7035 3512 or email ian.smith4@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

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