Opinions

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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Out in Front: A Pawn in Their Game

August 1, 2011By

Maybe we got played. But we put up a good fight. We really had no option to do anything but fight. So we did, and we’re still fighting the LightSquared attack on the GPS signal. It’s not over yet, not by a long shot. Suspicions now creep in that the attack may have been a feint, that the company never really intended to do what it threatened: broadcast a very powerful signal from ground towers, on a frequency immediately adjacent to the GPS signal. LightSquared had its eye on another prize instead. read more

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Letters to the Editor

August 1, 2011By

August's letters to the editor. read more

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Expert Advice: Who Won?

August 1, 2011By

Thousands of man hours and millions of dollars later, we finally have the 975-page GPS Technical Working Group (TWG) report, confirming what five minutes of back-of-the-envelope calculation predicted. Hooray for our side, good job GPS Industry Council; we’ve won the war and the foe is vanquished, never to brighten our skies again. Well, maybe. LightSquared is now bypassing the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and submitting technical papers directly to the United Nation’s International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Working Party that handles mobile satellite services (MSS) and radio determination satellite service (RDSS spectrum) and orbits (ITU-R WP 4C). read more

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