Newsletter Editorials

LightSquared: The Ball is in the FCC’s Court

August 18, 2011By

The FCC's public comment period regarding the LightSquared/GPS interference issue has ended and the reply comment period is over as well. To date, more than 3,300 comments were entered that the FCC must sift through and arrive at some sort of conclusion. Following are my last comments filed with the FCC as well as my best guess at where this is heading. read more

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Microsoft Missteps Add to Privacy Jitters

August 17, 2011By

Microsoft is contributing to the latest location privacy jitters. Missteps by Microsoft, Apple, and Google have the potential to dampen uptake of location solutions. Microsoft published the estimated locations of millions of laptops, cell phones, and other devices with Wi-Fi connections. The location database was assembled by Microsoft’s access to Windows phones and by vehicles that drive streets and record Wi-Fi signals accessible from public roads. The data were published on Microsoft’s Live.com website. read more

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Last Week’s Solar Storm and the Final LightSquared Push

August 10, 2011By

You may not have noticed it, but last Friday we experienced the first serious geomagnetic storm in this solar cycle (Solar Cycle 24), which began in 2009. Not all types of solar activity (sun spots, solar flares, solar burst, and solar radiation) affect GPS receiver operations. Geomagnetic storms are the ones that can cause problems for GPS receivers if those storms are powerful enough. read more

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Product Review: The Trimble Ranger 3

August 10, 2011By

The Ranger 3 impressed me from the very first moment I saw the unit. First of all, it is designated correctly by Trimble, and the military and first responder users who wrote me, as a rugged handheld GPS-enabled computer, and it certainly fulfills all the requirements for that designation. If you are looking for a GPS device the size of an Apple iPhone, this is not the device for you. The Trimble Ranger 3 is for the user, and many of you are warfighters and first responders who need a portable and rugged but powerful handheld computer with tightly integrated GPS capabilities that can connect and communicate, wired and wirelessly, with other users and servers. The Ranger 3 can accomplish all that and much more. read more

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Google Buys The Dealmap, Is Social Shopping Market LBS Driver?

August 9, 2011By

Once again, it looks as if Google is taking a giant leap into location-based services with its recent acquisition of The Dealmap. Is this deal a signal that LBS market viability may be tied to the social shopping market? The market is potentially huge, with two big players and a third, Google, quickly developing. But is this the market that will propel LBS to the next level? One analyst says yes…and no. read more

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LightSquared: Comments I Submitted to the FCC

July 28, 2011By

Okay, folks, this is where the rubber meets the road. The FCC LightSquared public comment period ends this Saturday. If you use GPS, it would be very wise to submit your comments today. Don't expect the FCC to make a rational decision. LightSquared has an amazing amount of political influence, and you can see that in the support they receive from state legislators, mayors, chiefs of police, etc. In this article, I'll show you how to submit your comments to the FCC in just five minutes. I'll also show comments I'm submitting to the FCC. read more

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GPS and GNSS Cannot Count on Good Sense in Government

July 27, 2011By

You’ve got to put some in yourself, to get some out. Don't expect the FCC to make a rational decision in the Lightsquared versus GPS case. As clear as the conclusions may seem to an engineering mind examining the Technical Working Group’s report on the subject, the Federal Communications Commission does not maintain engineering minds at its top level. That’s the level that makes the decisions, and it is driven by money and politics in equal measure. The only things that will get the FCC's attention are legislators and strong opposition from citizens. Comments in the FCC docket so far come largely from the surveying and agriculture communities. The rest of the GNSS industry has not shown up. Individuals count, too, not just companies. Here’s how to make your voice heard, and why. Time’s a-wastin’. read more

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