Inside the Libyan Uprising

On February 15th, protests erupted in the Libyan city of Benghazi and news organizations were faced with covering a country where the information blackout was near total, reports On The Media.


With virtually no foreign reporters on the ground until week’s end, the world relied on the testimony of Libyan eyewitnesses reporting by cellphone, by Twitter and by all available means, often at grave personal risk.

One member of that diaspora is OTM producer Sarah Abdurrahman. She spent the week, not as a disinterested journalist, but rather, as a part of the movement. She describes how she, along with friends and family, have been trying to bring about change in Libya from laptops in Washington DC.

Her role was to telephone people inside of Libya, to record the conversations and to post all of those findings on a Twitter feed called Feb17voices, named after the date of the “Day of Rage” in Libya.

Social Media Is Making Life Hard for Dictators.

The entertainment industry is feeling the heat. Beyoncé, Mariah Carey, Usher and 50 Cent are facing industry calls to give back the money they made performing at lavish parties thrown by family members of Libyan dictator Muammar el-Qaddafi.

Technology is a double edged sword. The same technology that prevents viruses and attacks, allows mass monitoring of internet traffic.

Consider a submarine cable landing site, using Glimmerglass solutions, for example, which provide rapid and remote switching and monitoring in real time. With Photonic Multicasting, one input can be optically split into multiple perfect copies. Boeing’s Narus box can perform mass surveillance with deep packet inspection.

FierceTelecom interviewed GlimmerGlass CEO Robert Lundy:

FierceTelecom: How will lawful intercept grow or change in 2011?

Lundy: I think the change that we would see is that there will be a recognition of the activity in the Middle East and North Africa. What will be recognized and very interesting in the next year will be what’s going on in Southeast Asia and in the Middle East/North Africa.

FierceTelecom: For the Middle East, particularly as you said, not just intelligence agencies but what telecoms are doing…

Lundy: In many cases, those parts of the world, telecommunications carriers will be doing the procurement and the deployment. They’re really a trend that will occur within the major telecommunications suppliers. I’m not sure they’re going to really want to talk about it.

FierceTelecom: I suppose they won’t want to talk about it until it’s up and deployed.

Lundy: Even then they don’t want to talk about it. (Laughs)

The new Europe India Gateway (EIG), is a $700 million high-capacity fiber-optic cable from Indian telecom service provider Bharti Airtel, which is the first, direct, high-bandwidth optical fiber system from the UK to India. It lands in Tripoli. The I-ME-WE (India-Middle East-Western Europe) submarine cable is a 12,091 km fiber plant owned by a consortium of nine telecom carriers from eight countries including Orange, Etisalat and Telecom Egypt.

Renesys monitors internet connectivity in the middle East and Libya.

Mobile satellite services operator Thuraya on Feb. 25 said it has “conclusive evidence” that Libya, one of its shareholders, is the source of “unlawful and intentional jamming” in Libya over the past week.

Thuraya, a UAE-based satphone company, has dealt with Libya-based jamming in the past. Its technical teams said that, as of Feb. 25, “voice services were restored over much of the country.”

Inmarsat’s laptop-size terminals called BGAN is used in Libya, and are the mainstay of broadcast networks, since they can unlink several hundred kbps. Inmarsat’s handset, the IsatPhone Pro offers satellite telephony at 2.4kbps, voicemail, text and email messaging as well as GPS location data. Iridium satphones connect at 9Kbps and can work for SMS texting as well as voice.

Text can also be sent using Globalstar and Orbcomm satellites. Globalstar’s R290 handset is a dual mode phone with a built-in modem for data and fax communication at 9.6 kbps in GSM mode and 7.2 kbps in satellite mode, while Magellan’s now discontinued portable GSC 100 lets you txt anywhere on earth using Orbcomm’s messaging satellites.

TÉLÉCOMS SANS FRONTIÈRES has been deployed on the border between Tunisia and Libya since February 24th, at the Ras Jedir border post and in the transit camp of Choucha. On Saturday, over ten thousand people crossed that main border point.

DEMO Spring 2011

Some 53 companies were chosen by VentureBeat to launch at the DEMO Spring 2011 event taking place this week in Palm Desert, Calif. Ubergizmo has live coverage.

Most of the 50-odd companies demonstrating new products, services or technologies get six minutes on stage to pitch their product before an audience that includes would-be investors and journalists. They pay $18,500 for the privilege, reports USA Today.

CIO gathered 20 Awesome Tech Products at DEMO:

  • Next Island, a virtual world “with a real cash economy and time travel.”
  • ApSynth, allows Web apps to be “embedded and spread to other Web sites, blogs and social networks.
  • Bizness Apps aims to make creating apps for these smartphone platforms simple and affordable.
  • Defensio for Facebook, Security software for Facebook protects users from viruses, profanity and spam
  • HeyStaks a social search service that allows you to collaborate anonymously with friends and people of like minded interest as you search, to get better, more relevant results recommended by people.
  • ecoATM recycle used electronics through a vending machine.
  • GageIn Bringing social networking tools to businesses
  • GutCheck Do-it-yourself market research platform
  • Kuggaa Cloud-based service gives subscribers the ability to share, access and create content across a variety of devices
  • MobileNation Bringing mobile app development tools to a wider population
  • BrainCubed A headset that measures brainwave impulses, letting users play games on a PC or Mac
  • OneGoodLove.com Designed to serve “relationship-minded gay and lesbian” users
  • PhotoRocket Share photos to Facebook, Twitter and other sites with a single click.
  • Pixable Photofeed Free app for browsing Facebook photos on an iPad
  • AboutOne.com Cloud-based service provides a single location to manage household information and one’s “memories.”
  • Primadesk A single sign-on and simple way to share and move content, including photos, documents and e-mails
  • TrendSpottr A real-time search and curation service for Facebook and Twitter.
  • Viafoura Improving upon existing commenting and forum systems
  • Workface Cloud-based customer engagement platform connects salespeople to new customers
  • KloudDock Expands the capabilities of Apple laptops with a desktop docking station

Portland’s Demolicious happens this Wednesday at Backspace. Here’s who made the cut from the Silicon Florist.

  • AthletePath aggregates cyclists race data to showcase accomplishments, improvements, performance trending. It helps an athlete to know all of their stats, and to seek-out and keep track of fellow racers as well. — David Embree
  • ePDX is a community-edited directory of Portland’s awesome tech community. It covers people, companies, groups, projects/products, community resources, and the relationships between them. It’s also an open-source project that will eventually become generic enough to be used anywhere a community directory is needed. — Reid Beels
  • Inviite is an event promotion platform, to simplify gathering of people. Think evite + ticketmaster + facebook events + meetup + community calendar. — Eric Redmond
  • Opal helps organizations change and amplify cultures in order to better tackle the problems businesses face but cannot solve using traditional methods. — George Huff
  • RTtosee is a content promotion platform for Twitter. It allows creation of a custom short url through which content can be viewed, but only if a user has retweeted the original tweet containing the url. Simple as that: retweet a link, see the content. — Shaun Tinney

The NY Times says social media and the spoken word are being brought together with several new applications. The London-based companies Audioboo and Said.fm allow users to share short audio clips, known as “boos,” and navigate online audio files, respectively. An audio-sharing start-up, SoundCloud, announced in January that it had received a new round of funding.

The latest effort is Broadcastr, a Brooklyn-based start-up. The basic idea is to collect audio clips from various sources and pin them to physical locations, so people can be fed stories, audio tour guides and historical clips that are relevant to their physical locations. Playlists can also be formed based on subject matter or source. The start-up’s founders see the project as a tool for citizen journalism and oral history as well as entertainment.

The project’s success hinges on people not just listening, but also talking. About 5,000 users have been using the site during a private beta period, stocking the pond with personal stories, spontaneous songs and other musings.

PC Magazine reviews the 50 Best iPad Apps

White Space: Now With TD-LTE?

The FCC today initiated its Notice of Inquiry (NOI) period, requesting comment on dynamic spectrum access technologies and techniques. The Notice of Inquiry period builds on the FCC’s ruling in September (pdf), when the commission unanimously voted to finalize rules enabling the use of TV white spaces for wireless broadband connectivity.

Cisco’s (somewhat self-servingly) projected that broadband demands will grow exponentially. That philosophy is embraced by the FCC, which would like to generate revenue for The Treasury, besides providing needed spectrum.

But selling (our) spectrum to large corporations is not the only option.

Both Microsoft and Google are vocal supporters of the movement to free up white space spectrum. White spaces, unused television frequencies, can be used for both internet access and telephony says Wireless Innovation Alliance supports White Space use with their members having experience in Software Defined Radio (SDR), Cognitive Radio (CR) and Dynamic Spectrum Access (DSA) technologies.

The Wireless Innovation Forum says that TD-LTE may be used in White Spaces, using “dynamic spectrum access”. The TD-LTE in White Space Task Group, chaired by Zhang Xiaojing of Huawei, has formed to develop a report for operators, network infrastructure and mobile service providers, baseband device manufacturers and wireless terminal manufacturers who would like to exploit the TD-LTE system in “white space” spectrum worldwide.

White Spaces utilize 6 MHz-wide channels, while WiFi uses 20 MHz channels. Speed will likely be slower than WiFi, perhaps in the 1 Mbps range, but multiple channels may be ganged together when spectrum is available.

Software Defined Radio and Cognitive Radio are enablers for Dynamic Spectrum Access, says ABI Research. Spectrum Sensing Cognitive Radio has been developed for the TV bands, but it may be broadly useful.

Microsoft submitted comments highlighting reallocation of spectrum for licensed use, but also innovative technologies – such as dynamic spectrum access – that can make higher and better use of limited spectrum.

Microsoft submitted comments and sponsored a white paper (pdf) by Professor Dirk Grunwald of the University of Colorado, Boulder, as a part of their efforts to address the growing challenges of limited spectrum. Microsoft’s ongoing “WhiteFi” trial project on their Redmond, Wash. campus was one of the first white spaces-based networks to use an experimental license from the FCC and covers the nearly 600-acre campus.

The FCC’s National Broadband Plan highlighted the importance of finding more radio spectrum. But it’s not clear how much spectrum will be left after the FCC auctions off 120 Mhz of broadcast television spectrum (the equivalent of 20, 6 MHz television channels). It doesn’t appear to leave much left for unlicensed “white space” use.

Digital television DOES use spectrum more efficiently. Unlike analog broadcasting, digital tv stations can use adjacent channels – packing as many as 10 stations between channel 20-30, for example. That means there’s now a lot of wasted spectrum below 700 MHz – and it propagates well. The Wireless Innovation Forum thinks their Dynamic Spectrum Access approach can work for both internet access and wireless telephony (using TD-LTE).

The FCC conditionally designated nine entities as TV band (“white space”) device database administrators (pdf). These databases tell TV band devices what channels they can transmit on without causing interference to TV broadcast stations, wireless microphones and other authorized broadcast auxiliary services.

White spaces aren’t likely to unset the balance of power anytime soon.

Mobile devices will be limited to 100 mW and fixed transceivers to 1 Watt (4 watts EIRP). Each Base Station is equipped with GPS and its location is sent back to centralized servers.

Frequencies in the 300-500MHz range are likely to penetrate walls and concrete much better than 1900/2100 Mhz cellular or WiFi signals. They may also be used for Smart Meters and in-home communications.

Whether the FCC ruling will launch a new era in broadband remains to be seen.

TV white spaces availability can be found for any location in the US by using the free search tool at Spectrum Bridge’s ShowMyWhiteSpace.com website, or by downloading the company’s free iPhone application.

In white space tests by Spectrum Bridge, Airspan’s WiMax gear was frequency shifted to work in UHF TV channels and controlled by Spectrum Bridge’s database technology (white space primers).

The FCC wants to encourage local TV stations to give up portions of their spectrum licenses and even pay them off with a portion of the auction proceeds, if they merge as a subchannel on a competing station. Broadcast group owners don’t pay a dime for their spectrum. But it’s all not murder shows. Today there are more than forty 24-hour local news channels across the United States.

In January 2007, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., reintroduced the Wireless Innovation Act, which would require the FCC to permit license-free use of the unassigned broadcast spectrum between 54 MHz and 698 MHz.

Related DailyWireless stories include; FCC Chooses White Space Administrators, FCC Okays White Spaces , Hospital Tests White Spaces, FCC to Decide on White Spaces, White Spaces Tested in Wilmington NC , First White Space Trial for “Smart Grid”, White Spaces Trialed in North Carolina, White Spaces Heating Up, FCC Moves Forward with White Space Databases, White Spaces Trialed in North Carolina, Study: White Spaces Worth $100B, Microsoft’s WhiteFi: Wi-Fi Using Whitespaces, NAB to FCC: White Spaces Illegal, Free White Space Mapping, White Spaces: It’s The Law, TV White Spaces: New Era for Wi-Fi?, NAB: Blowblack on Whitespace, White Spaces: Green Light from FCC Report, White Space Field Testing, Welcome to the White Space, Microsoft Disputes FCC Unlicensed Finding, FCC: License-free 700MHz Devices Failed Test, Broadcasters: Portable Devices Kill DTV, Mud Fight in White Space, Pushing for “White Space”, Google Launches White Space Offensive, Motorola on Whites Spaces: We’re Good, White Space Field Testing, Google Pitches White Spaces, White Spaces: Now It’s GE, CTIA: Unlicensed White Spaces Bad.

GoToMyPC: iPad App

Citrix has launched an iPad version of GoToMyPC, a remote desktop application that lets you login to your computer and control it on the go.

Up until recently you needed a PC to login to a remote PC using the service. But the iPad app lets you do it anywhere you can get an internet connection on an iPad.

Mobilputing says GoToMyPC is hardly the first app of its type for the iPad. LogMein, TeamViewer, Parallels, Splashtop, and others offer similar apps. But the GoToMyPC app has tight security features including 128-bit AES encryption, user authentication, and dual passwords, oriented for business.

Cebit: More Tablets

Last week telecom technorati met at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. This week it’s CeBITCeBIT, Europe’s leading high-tech trade fair in Hannover Germany. Tablets were a dominate theme.

Europe’s version of the Consumer Electronics Show will have more than 4,200 technology firms from 70 countries at the event in northern Germany. Over five days it is expected to attract more than a third of a million people.

Engadget has extensive coverage as do Liliputing, ArmDevices, NetbookNews.com and Android Community.

Among the announcements:

  • ASUS demonstrated four tablet devices announced earlier this year: the Eee Slate EP121 (12″ slate with Core i5, 32GB or 64GB of SSD storage) Eee Pad Transformer (10″ tablet with Android HoneyComb and Tegra 2 with an optional docking station), Eee Pad Slider (10.1” Tegra 2 tablet with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard), and Eee Pad MeMO (7” tablet with HoneyComb and Qualcomm’s dual-core Snapdragon). The models will be available with three screen sizes, and a choice of either Windows 7 Home Premium or Google Android.
  • Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS) is showing off several new tablets featuring 7 and 10 inch models with Intel Atom Oak Trail processors as well as tablets with ARM-based chips from Marvell. The larger Oak Trail devices have 10.1 inch capacitive touchscreen displays with resolutions of 1366 x 768 or 1024 x 600 pixels. These tablets have Intel Atom Z670 Lincroft chips and are designed to run Windows 7 Home Premium. The Oak Trail tablets with 7 inch displays feature 1024 x 600 pixel screens, but the rest of the specs look pretty similar. The 10.1 inch tablet has a Marvell 88AP510 system-n-a-chip. Aside from the different chip, this model is designed to run Google Android 2.2.
  • Fujitsu is showing off a Windows 7 tablet. The 10.3-inch device includes a smartcard reader slot, WiFi and Bluetooth capability, a fingerprint reader, and the ability to alternate between touch- and stylus-based inputs. The Fujitsu Stylistic Q550 is expected to cost $699, in approximately the same range as other tablets currently on the market.
  • MSI WindPad 110W, an AMD Brazos-powered 10.1-inch tablet with Windows 7.
  • MiTAC introduced four new tablets include the Valar 7 and Valar 10 that run Android 2.3 and have screen sizes that correlate with the product names. The tablets are said to support 1080p HD video playback and have HDMI outputs and GPS. A 7 inch Ulmo is a ruggedirzed Android tablet with a waterproof casing and the final tablet is the Zeus which features a 7 inch display and dual GPS receivers.

Cloud computing is reportedly a big theme. Much of the event will focus on cloud computing and related technologies. “Cloud computing is going to change IT and its business model enormously,” BITKOM president August-Wilhelm Scheer told the AFP. “We expect cloud computing sales in Germany to quadruple by 2015.”

The event officially kicks off Monday evening by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Prime Minister of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with the pair expected to take a traditional tour of the conference area and exhibitions on Tuesday morning.