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The Telecom Digest for November 7, 2011
Volume 30 : Issue 284 : "text" Format
Messages in this Issue:
Feds' Use of Fake Cell Tower: Did it Constitute a Search? (Thad Floryan)
T-Mobile surprises subscribers after testing 'Presidential Alert' system early (Monty Solomon)
Re: Air Raid sirens (John David Galt)
U.S. Cellular rejected Apple and the iPhone 4S (Monty Solomon)
"Siri, how much data do you gobble up in a month?" Ars investigates (Monty Solomon)
Apple iOS 5 Review (Monty Solomon)
Verizon API To Give Apps 'Turbo' Bandwidth Boost for pay (Thad Floryan)

====== 30 years of TELECOM Digest -- Founded August 21, 1981 ======

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Date: Sat, 05 Nov 2011 23:46:27 -0700 From: Thad Floryan <thad@thadlabs.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Feds' Use of Fake Cell Tower: Did it Constitute a Search? Message-ID: <4EB62D43.6070005@thadlabs.com> Feds' Use of Fake Cell Tower: Did it Constitute a Search? http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/11/feds-fake-cell-phone-tower/ By Kim Zetter November 3, 2011 Federal authorities used a fake Verizon cellphone tower to zero in on a suspect's wireless card, and say they were perfectly within their rights to do so, even without a warrant. But the feds don't seem to want that legal logic challenged in court by the alleged identity thief they nabbed using the spoofing device, known generically as a stingray. So the government is telling a court for the first time that spoofing a legitimate wireless tower in order to conduct surveillance could be considered a search under the Fourth Amendment in this particular case, and that its use was legal, thanks to a court order and warrant that investigators used to get similar location data from Verizon's own towers. The government is likely using the argument to avoid a court showdown that might reveal how stingrays work and open debate into the tool's legality. Stingrays spoof a legitimate cellphone tower in order to trick nearby cellphones and other wireless communication devices into connecting to the tower, as they would to a real cellphone tower. When devices connect, stingrays can see and record their unique ID numbers and traffic data, as well as information that points to a device's location. To prevent detection by suspects, the stingray sends the data to a real tower so that traffic continues to flow. By gathering the wireless device's signal strength from various locations, authorities can pinpoint where the device is being used with much more precision than they can get through data obtained from the mobile network provider's fixed tower location. { article continues at the above URL } Note I posted an article about the StingRay to comp.dcom.telecom on 23-SEP-2011 which references this Wall Street Journal article: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111904194604576583112723197574.html which has a picture of the StingRay and a graphic showing how it works. The above WSJ URL is still valid as of today, 5-NOV-2011. I always check "older" URLs now because some newspaper sites expire URLs after a few days and have no archives (e.g., San Jose (CA) Mercury-News).
Date: Sat, 5 Nov 2011 21:53:21 -0400 From: Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: T-Mobile surprises subscribers after testing 'Presidential Alert' system early Message-ID: <p06240801cadb8b746167@[]> T-Mobile surprises subscribers after testing 'Presidential Alert' system early NOVEMBER 5, 2011 BY MIKE FLACY ... Occurring on early Friday, a handful of T-Mobile customers were treated to a test of the Personal Localized Alert Network (PLAN) that occurred before any scheduled public test. Originally reported by Lance Ulanoff over at Mashable, the test involved a startling noise that played on his HTC Radar 4G that was similar to the alert siren heard when the Emergency Broadcast System is tested on a television, likely taking T-Mobile customers by surprise. Upon checking the screen of the HTC Radar 4G, Ulanoff discovered the words "Presidential Alert" as well as "Test" sent in the format of a text message. T-Mobile issued a statement on late Friday that apologized for the mistake and mentioned that the test was supposed to be distributed to a small group of beta testers. ... http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/t-mobile-surprises-subscribers-after-testing-presidential-alert-system-early/
Date: Sat, 05 Nov 2011 18:56:31 -0700 From: John David Galt <jdg@diogenes.sacramento.ca.us> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Re: Air Raid sirens Message-ID: <j94pgf$fle$1@blue-new.rahul.net> >> Every Wednesday at noon for decades the city would sound the sirens >> briefly as a test. > In Louisville and near Owensboro, Kentucky, the sirens are tested on > Tuesdays at noon; seems like once a month, though perhaps it's weekly > and I just don't notice it often. (The sirens are sounded to warn of > imminent tornadoes, which happen here sometimes). Sacramento, too. I don't know why they bother, since if there is ever a real air raid we won't have anywhere to go to shelter from it. ***** Moderator's Note ***** Actually, in California, the sirens warn you about atta^h^h^h^hvisits by politicians. Bill Horne Moderator
Date: Sat, 5 Nov 2011 21:53:21 -0400 From: Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: U.S. Cellular rejected Apple and the iPhone 4S Message-ID: <p06240802cadb8c1386bc@[]> U.S. Cellular rejected Apple and the iPhone 4S NOVEMBER 4, 2011 BY MIKE FLACY ... Reported in a third quarter earnings call this week, U.S. Cellular CEO Mary Dillon told investors that the company turned down Apple when approached in regards to offering models of the iPhone to U.S. Cellular customers. While Dillon indicated that the U.S. Cellular network was definitely capable of handling the expanded traffic from sales of a new iPhone, Apple's offer was rejected due to terms that were "unacceptable from a risk and profitability standpoint." This indicates that Apple may have wanted a large order placed as well as an upfront payment from the cellular company. Apple may have also stipulated a set of conditions around distribution and in-store placement of the iPhones that was unacceptable to U.S. Cellular. ... http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/u-s-cellular-rejected-apple-and-the-iphone-4s/
Date: Sat, 5 Nov 2011 21:53:21 -0400 From: Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: "Siri, how much data do you gobble up in a month?" Ars investigates Message-ID: <p06240803cadb8fb15f9e@[]> "Siri, how much data do you gobble up in a month?" Ars investigates By Jacqui Cheng Apple's new iPhone 4S has been in users' grubby little hands for a bit over two weeks now. One of the main features of the 4S is the virtual "personal assistant" Siri, a technology that Apple acquired in 2010 and integrated into iOS 5 for integration with the iPhone 4S. When we put Siri through its paces during our iPhone 4S review, we came away with a mixture of bemusement and optimism. The service is still in beta and has its rough patches, but it's pretty decent at performing Web searches and other basic phone tasks, such as setting up appointments, making reminders, and text dictation. But one huge caveat to Siri is that it requires an active Internet connection in order to function. Apple sends Siri voice data up to its own data centers for processing and the sends the results back down to your phone, even if you're only trying to perform a task that shouldn't require any network connectivity. This can sometimes be frustrating when you're in a low-signal area with no WiFi available, but heavy data users were quick to point out that there are even bigger potential downsides to using Siri: it could force you over your monthly data quota with your cell carrier if you're not careful. And in today's heavily data-capped world, such a concern is becoming more and more valid. Because of this, we decided to find out how much data a typical Siri user might expect to use in an average month. We carefully watched our data usage while performing 11 different queries through Siri, split between local phone tasks and tasks that required lookups from the Internet. We also performed four dictation tasks. Your milage, of course, will vary depending on the kinds of things you might use Siri for and how often you might do those things. With that said, here's what we found. ... http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2011/11/how-data-heavy-is-siri-on-an-iphone-4s-ars-investigates.ars ***** Moderator's Note ***** Am I the only one that sees the possibility of abuse? All voice inquiries handled by a central server? if (customer_asked_for_restaurants_nearby) then if (customer_annual_income_exceeds_100000) then send answer ("Chauteau Boef") else if (customer_is_white) then send answer ("Bob's Big Boy") else send answer ("McDonald's") endif endif endif end of privacy, end of equality, end of an era. Bill Horne Moderator
Date: Sat, 5 Nov 2011 21:53:21 -0400 From: Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Apple iOS 5 Review Message-ID: <p06240808cadb93ae4eed@[]> Apple iOS 5 Review by Vivek Gowri, Andrew Cunningham, Saumitra Bhagwat & Brian Klug 10/18/2011 3:05:00 AM The original iPhone was designed to address a significant user experience problem with smartphones of the day. The iPhone itself was just the delivery vehicle, what later became known as Apple's iOS was what made it all happen. At its launch in 2007 many lamented the significant loss of typical smartphone features with the very first iPhone. You couldn't multitask, there was no copy/paste support, you couldn't tether, you couldn't send pictures or video via MMS and there were no apps. Apple of 2007 was very much a Mac company that was gaining strength, looking to dabble in the smartphone world. Despite its shortcomings, the original iPhone/iOS combination did enough things right to build a user base. With a solid foundation Apple did what all good companies do: iterate like crazy. We got annual iPhone and iOS updates, each year offering evolutionary but important improvements. A company that executes consistently may not be competitive on day 1, but after a couple years of progressive iteration it may be a different beast entirely. That's where Apple finds itself today. No longer the timid newcomer in the smartphone market, Apple has turned iOS into a major player in the industry. Given its success in convincing iPod users to embrace Macs, it was inevitable that Apple would leverage a similar strategy in growing its iOS and Mac businesses. The latest release of iOS, version 5.0, announced in June of this year is as much about updating the phone/tablet platform as it is about beginning the next phase in Apple's expansion. iOS 5 isn't about liberating Apple from the PC, it's a step towards unifying the experience across Apple's product line. As it's still just an iOS revision, Apple needed another tool to bring about this level of change, which is why iOS 5 is accompanied by the public release of Apple's iCloud service. A primary goal of iOS 5 and iCloud is to enable users to access their content across any Apple device without manual syncing. You should only have to worry about carrying the right device with you and not think about whether it'll have access to your contacts, email, files or if people can still reach you if it's all you're carrying. That's the theory at least. ... http://www.anandtech.com/show/4956/apple-ios-5-review ***** Moderator's Note ***** I'm announcing the NEW! IMPROVED! iBill iService. The iBill iService will make you iSexier, iSmarter, and iPrettier. Only iStupid, iSluggish, iOld people will turn down the NEW! IMPROVED! iBill iService. You have been iWarned! iBill, whose iCrystal iBall is as iCloudy as iEver. Bill Horne Moderator
Date: Sat, 05 Nov 2011 23:55:11 -0700 From: Thad Floryan <thad@thadlabs.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Verizon API To Give Apps 'Turbo' Bandwidth Boost for pay Message-ID: <4EB62F4F.2000708@thadlabs.com> Verizon API To Give Apps 'Turbo' Bandwidth Boost by Mark Hachman November 1, 2011 http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2395728,00.asp Verizon will publish an API that could allow consumers to "turbocharge" the network bandwidth their smartphone apps use for a small fee, executives said Tuesday. Verizon anticipates that a customer running an app on a smartphone will have the option to dynamically snatch more bandwidth for that app, if network congestion slows it down, said Hugh Fletcher, associate director for technology in Verizon's Product Development and Technology team. The app, however, must be running what Verizon referred to as the network optimization API it is currently developing, and hopes to publish by the third quarter of 2012. Users could have the option to pay for the extra bandwidth via a separate microtransaction API Verizon is developing and hopes to have in place by the end of 2012, Fletcher said. At an open-house event at Verizon's Application Innovation Center in San Francisco, Verizon executives showcased several partner efforts, plus their own in-house technology development. Probably the most noteworthy was the network optimization technology, which took a high-quality video stream and simulated it running over a congested network. When a Verizon engineer pushed a "turbo button," the video's choppy frame rate and apparent quality improved. { article continues at the above URL } Hmmm, this puts a slant on "Net Neutrality". ***** Moderator's Note ***** If the bandwidth increase comes from the same pipe that others are still using, this "service" effectively denies bandwidth to others when it delivers it to the purchaser. I predict an automagic e-auction conducted every few milliseconds, which will separate the wealthy from the not when both want access to information, especially time-sensitive information that affects the stock, option, commodities, and other markets, when time is of the essence. Oh, and I love the mealy-mouthed salesman-speak. It's not even a payment, it's a "transaction"! It's a "micro" transaction, too small to even think about! Open your micro-wallet, micro-suckers! Let Verizon take all your micro-money! Bill Horne Moderator
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