This Thanksgiving, New York City will host the 84th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. This well-known holiday event began in 1924—originally called the Macy’s Christmas Parade—and first featured animals from the Central Park Zoo. It wasn’t until 1927 that the now-popular helium balloons were incorporated into the pageantry. As with any big event, the parade has had its share of ups and downs over the years. From torrential downpours on parade day to numerous balloon run-ins with lampposts, take a look back at some historical mishaps that may have disrupted the spectacle, but could never ruin the spirit of the day.
A balloon based on the early fictional New York City historian Diedrich Knickerbocker completely deflated due to its “nose” springing a leak. Photo: courtesy of William J. Crawford via Flickr.com.
The entire parade was cancelled due to World War II, and the balloons were reduced to 650 pounds of rubber to be used in upcoming battles. Photo: courtesy of iStockphoto.
A balloon based on our favorite sailor Popeye collected so much rainwater that it tipped forward and dumped gallons of water into the crowd. Photo: Getty Images.
Poor Donald Duck takes it this year; as his balloon was floating through the streets of New York City, his left wing got caught on a nearby tree branch. Photo: courtesy of Dave Blount via Flickr.com.
A Sonic the Hedgehog blimp was punctured along the parade route, causing a lamppost to injure an off-duty police officer.
An inflated Barney broke away from his friends and ended up tearing his side on a street post, causing it to deflate immediately. Photo: Getty Images.
The Cat and the Hat balloon hit a lamppost due to high winds. Four people were hit, including a woman who later sued Macy’s and New York City for $395 million. Photo: Getty Images.
Fortunately there weren’t any injuries from the head-on collision between an inflated SpongeBob SquarePants and a lamppost. Photo: Retna.Auto, Draft
FEMA, FCC Announce Nationwide Test Of The Emergency Alert System
Release Date: June 9, 2011
Release Number: HQ-11-099
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will conduct the first nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS). The nationwide test will occur on Wednesday, November 9 at 2 p.m. eastern standard time and may last up to three and a half minutes.
The EAS is a national alert and warning system established to enable the President of the United States to address the American public during emergencies. NOAA’s National Weather Service, governors and state and local emergency authorities also use parts of the system to issue more localized emergency alerts.
Similar to local EAS tests that are already conducted frequently, the nationwide test will involve broadcast radio and television stations, cable television, satellite radio and television services and wireline video service providers across all states and the territories of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and American Samoa.
On November 9, the public will hear a message indicating that “This is a test.” The audio message will be the same for both radio and television. Under the FCC’s rules, radio and television broadcasters, cable operators, satellite digital audio radio service providers, direct broadcast satellite service providers and wireline video service providers are required to receive and transmit presidential EAS messages to the public. A national test will help the federal partners and EAS participants determine the reliability of the system and its effectiveness in notifying the public of emergencies and potential dangers nationally and regionally.
“A national test of our Emergency Alert System, with the vital communications support and involvement of participants, is a step towards ensuring that the alert and warning community is prepared to deliver critical information that can help save lives and protect property,” said Damon Penn, FEMA’s Assistant Administrator of National Continuity Programs. “Because there has never been an activation of the Emergency Alert System on a national level, FEMA views this test as an excellent opportunity to assess the readiness and effectiveness of the current system. It is important to remember that this is not a pass or fail test, but a chance to establish a baseline for making incremental improvements to the Emergency Alert System with ongoing and future testing. It is also important to remember that the Emergency Alert System is one of many tools in our communications toolbox, and we will continue to work on additional channels that can be a lifeline of information for people during an emergency.”
“The upcoming national test is critical to ensuring that the EAS works as designed,” said Jamie Barnett, Chief of the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau. “As recent disasters here at home and in Japan have reminded us, a reliable and effective emergency alert and warning system is key to ensuring the public’s safety during times of emergency. We look forward to working with FEMA in preparation for this important test.”
Over the past two years and as part of ongoing national preparedness planning efforts, FEMA, the FCC and other federal partners, state, local, tribal and territorial governments, Emergency Alert System participants and other stakeholders have been working toward making this test a reality.
As the federal, state, tribal, territorial and local governments prepare for and test their capabilities, this event serves as a reminder that everyone should establish an emergency preparedness kit and emergency plan for themselves, their families, communities, and businesses. Anyone can visit www.Ready.gov for more information about how to prepare for and stay informed about what to do in the event of an actual emergency.
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.
Last Modified: Thursday, 09-Jun-2011 13:27:32
Source: http://www.fema.govTags: Auto, Draft
Oct 18 by Connor Livingston | View Comments
Everyone has heard of hackers, viruses, and spam. What fewer people have heard of or understand are botnets despite statistics that show they’re trending to be the choice of current cybercriminals.
By using “Command-and-Control” servers, hackers are able to remotely take over computers to execute their nefarious activities. Connecting through C&C servers allows a “bot herder” is able to send out spam emails, spread viruses, distribute malicious software, and steal identities.
Nearly 90% of all email spam is sent through botnets – and that’s not their biggest threat.
• The calling party hears ringing but the called party hears nothing
• The called party hears ringing, but only hears dead air when the called party answers
• Unusually long call set-up times, sometimes as long as 50 seconds
• One-way or poor quality, garbled voice on completed calls
• Inability to receive faxes
• Missing or altered Caller ID
Do these scenarios sound familiar? These, and hundreds of similar situations, have plagued rural America in recent months. Consumers using a variety of telephone services have had trouble reaching family members, business contacts, and even public safety officials in rural areas across the country. This is a result of call termination issues that are not caused by us (HTC / CCTC / OCTC / MTC).
How does this happen in a time when technology enables more connectivity than ever, on arguably the most reliable network in the world? The fact is most of these troubled calls never reach the public switched telephone network on the terminating end.
Research performed by industry peer companies, indicates these problems usually stem from the use of least cost routing (LCR). Long distance carriers, wireless carriers, and VoIP providers are under increasing market pressure to lower their cost of service. To reduce their terminating access expense, many of them send calls destined for rural exchanges to LCR providers. These providers offer a competitive rate but in many cases they are not properly routing the call to the terminating tandem, and are doing it the cheap way. As a result, some calls have poor call quality, and many calls are not connecting at all. Possible reasons include routing loops, congested or low quality IP routes, and improper call setup. In a routing loop, a call may be handled by several carriers or providers who hand the call back to a carrier or provider who previously carried it. In a sense, it becomes the proverbial “hot potato” that nobody wants to hold onto long enough for the call to terminate. It’s also possible for a routing loop to occur among IP routers within one provider’s network.
Other suspected reasons include LCR or nomadic VoIP providers who simply have no interest in completing calls to high cost areas. Common carriers are prohibited from such unjust and unreasonable discrimination but it remains to be seen if and how common carriage rules apply to some IP providers.
We will keep you informed as we continue to work with state and federal regulators to address and correct this problem caused by LCR providers.
Source: NECA Access
For more information on this issue we are including a recent news story that Upper Minchigans Source – TV6 recently produced relating to the issue. Our own, Craig Immonen, Ontonagon County Telephone Company General Manager was interviewed and appears in the news video.Tags: Auto, Draft
The typewriter through the eyes of an 8yr old: “A computer that prints while you type and you don’t have to plug in.”
That eight year old has a good point. While you or I may think of a typewriter as an outmoded piece of technology, a relic of the past, this child picked out its benefits. You can use it anywhere and it includes a real-time printing feature! Sure, in a world where we’re constantly connected to each other and can share a thought with the world in a second, the benefits of a typewriter may seem slim, but there’s a real benefit to thinking of the world the way others don’t.
We recently reported on how ‘digital native’ children’s views of technology can be a valuable tool in working out new directions for technology to take. Children born surrounded by Internet-connected devices see the world the rest of us will never be able to. As Neela Sakaria, Senior Vice President of research firm Latitude said in that piece, ”Digital natives allow us to see unrestrained possibilities for Web-based developments.”
The tweet above is also a reminder not to get hung up on always having the latest technology just because it’s new, and spotting the benefits of what you’ve got. That first generation iPhone may seem a little out of date, but you can still do more with it today than anyone could do with it when it was released.
Just look at our very own Boris’ review of a new technology called ‘paper‘ which, he suggested, could replace e-readers. While this was, of course, a joke, it made an important point. While new developments might make the products of the past seem outdated, they still have uses and will live on in some form.
“Paper is clearly a fad – nice to have and something to impress your friends with. Sure, it will sell to a selected group of early adopters who will talk enthusiastically about the smell of paper and the hefty feel.”
Technology doesn’t have to die – it can find new uses.Auto, Draft
FCC to tackle rural phone problems
By Gautham Nagesh - 10/17/11 05:35 AM ET
The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) new Rural Call Completion Task Force will hold its first workshop to address the growing problem of delays and failures for rural phone customers on Tuesday.
The commission said last month that rural carriers reported a 2,000 percent increase in complaints between April 2010 and March regarding incoming calls that are delayed, never completed, of poor quality or lacking in caller ID information.
The commission said the problem appears to be focused in rural areas where long-distance carriers must pay charges to local phone companies to complete calls. The FCC also will vote on comprehensive reform of the intercarrier compensation system that sets those rates, along with Universal Service Fund reform at its next open meeting on Oct. 27.
The workshop is essentially divided into two panel discussions. The first will look at the possible causes of the disruptions and the resulting effects on customers. The second will discuss possible solutions such as greater information sharing among carriers, or regulatory measures. Verizon, AT&T Services, Sprint and the National Telecommunications and Cable Association will all take part in the workshop.
The workshop is only part of a busy week for FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, who on Monday will join CTIA-The Wireless Association and Consumers Union to unveil new consumer guidelines for wireless customers at the Brookings Institution.
No details are available on the announcement, but the FCC has previously targeted wireless firms for cramming, the practice of including mystery fees in consumers’ monthly phone bills.
Brookings will also host a forum in the afternoon on wireless broadband and economic growth where experts will discuss how to leverage broadband access to spur economic growth.
Panelists include Information Technology Industry Council President Dean Garfield, Economic Policy Institute research and policy director John Irons and Georgetown University Professor of economics, business and public policy John Mayo.
On Tuesday, the Media Institute is holding its black-tie gala at the Fairmont Hotel, where the heavy hitters of the telecom policy world will mix discussions of spectrum and USF reform with cocktails and hor d’oeuvres.
Scheduled speakers include Republican FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson.
Also on Tuesday, Verisign, the company that manages .com and .net Web registrations, will hold a lunch event at the Newseum to discuss improving the Internet’s global infrastructure.
Several new pieces of research will be released at the event, the company says.
The event will feature a keynote discussion by author Chris Anderson and panel discussions featuring Steve Crocker, the newly appointed chairman of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and former Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.), who served as chairman of the Energy and Commerce’s Communications and Technology subcommittee.
Source: The Hill