Monthly Archives: April 2011

10 Concerns Regarding LightSquared’s Upcoming Internet Service

Using cutting edge technology, LightSquared is poised to release its new ultra-fast high speed wireless broadband network in 2011. Billions of dollars have already been invested and the first satellite was launched in November of 2010. This exciting 4G (fourth generation) LTE (long term evolution) network is not without problems, however, and has many people concerned from investors to U.S. Senators.

  1. GPS interference – The main concern is that the airwave frequency they plan to use is very close to the one used by current GPS navigation systems. Many fear that the stronger signal from the LightSquared system will overpower the sensitive satellite receivers in existing equipment and cause any number of problems. Senators Pat Roberts and Ben Nelson have written an open letter to their fellow lawmakers expressing their concerns to the FCC.
  2. Military operations – The pentagon has gotten involved with current investigations of potential problems. They use GPS navigation systems to guide planes, ships, armored vehicles, weapons and troops so any disruption could be catastrophic to their operations.
  3. Airplanes – Forty percent of private and commercial airlines rely on GPS navigation to stay on course and their backup systems rely on less accurate ground based radio signals. There are also concerns that LightSquared’s network could undermine the FAA’s program to upgrade their air traffic control systems.
  4. Public safety – Officials are nervous about disruption to their GPS tracking devices for law enforcement, firefighters, and ambulances. Any interference in their 911 emergency response system could be life threatening.
  5. Vehicle navigation – Companies who provide vehicle navigation systems and the people who use them are also concerned about the effects of potential interference with their products. Many people rely on the GPS based navigation provided by Onstar and others to find their way around.
  6. FCC – The Federal Communications Commission has jurisdiction over the regulations regarding the proposed LightSquared services and has given permission to use its airwaves for a broader conventional wireless data network. However, the FCC has required further study to determine the true extent of any potential interference and will not allow the network to be implemented until the government is satisfied that all problems have been addressed.
  7. Funding – The solution to resolve potential problems is to provide current GPS devices with upgraded filters to screen out the high powered frequency of the LightSquared system. However, the cost for this solution could be anywhere from millions to billions of dollars and investors are nervous about who should have to pay for it.
  8. Cell phones – Even though some consultants insist that current cell phones should have adequate filters for the LightSquared signal, manufacturers are not convinced. Their consultants believe that the current cell phone equipment will also need to be upgraded to prevent problems.
  9. NTIA – The National Telecommunications and Information Administration is upset over the FCC relaxing the rules over spectrum usage for LightSquared. They’re concerned about how the wholesale customers will interpret the rules regarding what services will be provided to the end users, the consumers.
  10. Competitors – Large wireless network rivals like AT&T and Verizon are worried about the added competition from LightSquared if their planned release ever comes to fruition. They’ve enjoyed top dog status up until now and risk losing ground to their lesser known rival. Of course, more competition is always better for consumers.

As LightSquared is ready to revolutionize the broadband industry, their excitement is tempered by the concerns of many. They want to unleash the boundless opportunity of wireless broadband connectivity nationwide while others say not so fast. Until the FCC, NTIA, Congress, and the Pentagon have completed their investigations and are satisfied with the results, the wholesale 4G, LTE network won’t be turned on.

10 Facts about Satellite Internet and Fair Access Policies

Every internet service provider is required to have a fair access policy. The details of these policies also need to be made available to their customers and to anyone considering their service. Essentially, their fair access policies must be made public. The following will provide some information about these policies and why they are so important when dealing with a satellite internet provider.

  1. Why are FAP’s needed? The reason that fair access policies were required to be established for all internet service providers, is because each ISP has a limited amount of bandwidth that it provides to its entire customer base. The policies provide assurance that all the provider’s customers have the same availability of access.
  2. Compare to DSL and Cable. Fair access policies are seldom a concern for DSL or cable internet customers, like they are for satellite internet customers. That is because DSL and cable have an almost unlimited amount of bandwidth available, where each satellite has a certain limited amount.
  3. Benefits to the consumer. The benefit of the fair access policy to the consumer is a protection of the majority from the minority. A very small percentage of users make are involved in these high download activities for extended periods of time. The amount of activity happening on the system at any given time can affect the download speeds of everyone else in the system. The fair access policy prevents the high end users from hogging the bandwidth on a continuous basis.
  4. Penalties. If an individual account has exceeded their limit of usage, the penalty is not monetary, it is instead a reduction in your access speed from high speed to something closer to a dialup speed. If you love your high bandwidth activities, losing them for a period of time will generally make you a little more selective about how you use that privilege.
  5. High usage activities. The types of activities that generally require the most bandwidth are video and audio downloads, online gaming, and large file sharing, such as high resolution photos. Again, it is the user who does this in a high volume, such as ten videos a day or 50 songs a day, etc that might need to be concerned about exceeding their limit.
  6. Off-peak hours. Some satellite internet providers include a provision in their fair access policy for what is considered ‘free download hours’. These are time periods where your downloads can be done at full-speed without counting towards your limit. They are usually a period of hours sometime between midnight and early morning when overall internet usage is at its lowest levels.
  7. Types of thresholds. Not all satellite ISP’s have the same types of thresholds. Some providers may have a rolling 24 hour threshold, which means during any 24 hour period a high usage customer has the potential of being penalized for exceeding their limit. Other providers give a 30 day threshold, allowing a customer more flexibility in scheduling their high usage periods.
  8. Monitoring thresholds. Providers will generally provide customers access to their usage data online under their account information, so they can monitor how close they are to their threshold limits for the current threshold period. However, there are independent software packages that will provide this service to a consumer as well.
  9. Recovery. Once a user has exceeded their threshold cap, they generally will have their bandwidth speed reduced for a period of time, which is usually referred to as a recovery period. Different rules apply to this recovery period for each provider that will determine how long that period will last.
  10. Solutions to exceeded limits. If you have found yourself exceeding your limits more than once, there are a few options available for you. If your provider has free download periods, try to take advantage of those hours as much as possible. If you’re stilling finding yourself reaching your limits, it may be time to upgrade to a plan with higher thresholds.

If you are considering a satellite internet provider, you may want to take a look at the different plans available to make sure you choose one that will fit with the type of internet activities you expect to participate in.

5 Satellite Internet Providers and a Summary of Their Offerings

There are five top satellite internet providers. Each of them have their own strengths and weaknesses. We’ve attempted to provide you with a brief overview of their programs while highlighting some of the differences between them.

  1. HughesNetThis company provides the fastest satellite internet plans available, from 1Mbps to 5Mbps. Their plans can also be purchased easily through Walmart. Their fair access policy is one of the more restrictive, however, since it is a rolling 24 hour plan with fairly low limits and knocks a user down to 56k of speed during their recovery period. HughesNet does provide a 3 hour free download period daily from 3 to 6am, to help offset their limitations. Equipment can be purchased or leased, depending on your preference.
  2. WildblueIf you are receiving your satellite internet service through the Dish Network or DirectTV, then Wildblue is your actual internet provider. TV Satellite services are actually resellers for the Wildblue satellite internet service. They provide three different internet plans with download speeds ranging from 512 kbps to 1.5 mbps. Their fair access policy is a rolling 30 day plan, rather than the 24 plan the Hughesnet uses and has a 128k recovery speed. Wildblue also does not provide any free download periods. They provide 5 to 10 email accounts, depending on which plan you choose, and they do provide free installation of their equipment which is provided on a leased basis only.
  3. Skyway InternetThis satellite ISP provides the lowest rates of the five providers and provides plans from 256 kbps to 1.5 mbps. Part of the reason that Skyway can offer the lower rates is that it provides one-way satellite connection, instead of the two-way connection provided by the other companies. This means that you use a dialup connection to connect to your ISP, which then provides the download via satellite. Skyway provides the rolling 30 day fair access policy, similar to Wildblue, except that it has a much lower cap on usage. Skyway also is meant to be installed by the user, saving them installation fees.
  4. Starband InternetThere are three service plans offered with Starband, ranging from 512 kbps to 1.5 mbps. In Starband’s Reasonable Use Policy, it let’s consumers know that it does not support the use of VOIP services such as Vonage and Skype and has a thorough listing of its expectations for ‘reasonable use’. This policy leads into their fair access policy which is a rolling 7 day plan which has fairly low limits, however, it does have free download hours from midnight to 6 a.m. each day.
  5. SkycastersThis provider advertises itself as a satellite internet provider for businesses only and its plans reflect this with their speeds and limits. They match or exceed HughesNet’s download speeds, ranging from 1Mbps to 6 Mbps but provide high limits on their rolling 30 day fair access policies. Their policies also provide the option of an ‘unlimited’ threshold, which would eliminate any speed decreasing with overages and provide a surcharge for the overages instead. This provider boasts its versatility in meeting the needs of business without the normal limitations found in a satellite internet provider.

10 Reasons People Switch Internet Providers

As dependent as people are on the internet, it’s important to have a reliable and affordable internet provider. The most common reason that people switch internet providers is due to price, while other options include availability of service and reputation. For a complete list of reasons people switch providers or why you should, consider the following.

Lower Prices

As the number one reason for switching internet providers, it makes sense. Monthly charges on a costly internet plan can affect your budget, so why not opt for the cheapest internet company? Since switching internet providers doesn’t harm the files or information stored on your computer, you don’t run the risk of harming files or any other data on your PC.

Speed of Service

If you are looking for a faster internet connection, try contacting your current internet provider. Every provider will offer a DSL plan that should provide a fast internet connection compared to what you currently have. Many DSL plans don’t cost much more than broadband, and for many consumers, it has become the most popular choice. If another internet provider has a better DSL connection than yours, you may want to consider switching companies.

Carrier Friends/Family Members Use

Nothing improves an internet provider’s sales like word of mouth, which is why many people switch internet providers. Even if you take the time to research their ISP, the chances of  switching by association is greater if someone you know has had success with a particular company.

Promotional Offer

In order to increase clientele and fan base, many internet providers come out with promotional deals for first time users, or to keep them as a customer. When moving to a new area or increasing the amount of internet lines you need, promotional deals with a new internet provider can be a great way to save money on your plan.

Fast Connection

Many people’s current internet provider just doesn’t provide a fast enough connection for their needs. Although each ISP will connect you to the same internet and websites, some provide a faster service than other ISP’s have the capabilities to.  As dependent as individuals and businesses are on the internet, a speedy service is a top priority for any ISP to possess.

Available Provider in Area

There are many internet providers that are only available in certain areas of the state or country. Many people that move to a new area switch internet providers simply because they have no choice. Since having the internet is a basic need for most of us, it’s crucial to find one that is able to meet our personal and business needs.

Reputation

Just as important as reputation is for any company, an internet provider can improve a businesses’ success if they have an excellent reputation as a reliable ISP.  By researching accessibility, customer satisfaction and speed of service, you will be able to switch to a provider that not only meets your specifications, but whose reputation speaks for itself.

Compare and Contrast

Even if you are satisfied with your current internet provider, by taking the time to research other available plans in your area, you may find that for the same value, other ISP’s offer a lower price. Internet provider’s fight for customer loyalty, and by simply calling another ISP and negotiating, you can often talk yourself into a great deal that’s hard to pass up.

Hidden Fees

Many people are happy with the speed of service of their current internet provider, but frustrated with the many hidden fees of their contract. Any internet service provider has the capability to include added fees in their contract, but it’s up to the customer to read the fine print. Early termination fees, limited usage and a minimum contract time of one to three years are common complaints by consumers.

Customer Service

Customer service is crucial for any customer that needs a live person when things go wrong. Excellent customer service makes people feel comfortable and valuable. The level of customer service helps not only the customer feel taken care of when their internet connection is down but helps the internet provider keep their business for years. Killing two birds with one stone, customer service can make the difference between sticking with your current ISP and switching to another one.

Cost is the number one factor for customers, whether they are satisfied with their current internet service provider or not. Slow speed of service, poor customer service and hidden fees result in many customers’s switching providers so it’s crucial for any individual or business to have an internet provider it can rely on and trust.

10 Reasons People Save Emails Forever

There are plenty of people out there with email accounts that have nothing but today’s new arrivals, right? If there are, then they are super organized and can’t stand a ‘messy’ computer, so they quickly read their emails each day, reply to those needing action and then delete, delete, delete. Immediately, before they shut down the computer for the day, they empty the email trash bin (so it doesn’t take up unnecessary space on their computer, of course).

For every one of those with clean tidy inboxes, there are probably a hundred or more who have emails that they will never, ever delete. Why would that be? What reasons are behind this accumulation of electronic data?

  1. Compulsive Hoarder. If a person is a compulsive hoarder, and their house is stacked with things they have not been able to throw or give away, the disorder will likely carry over to their computer as well. Their email box will continue to fill until it reaches its capacity. When it does reach capacity, they will probably just start a new email account, so as to avoid having to deal with the full one.
  2. Laziness. Some people do not intentionally keep their old emails, they just have never gotten in the habit of deleting them and taking those extra seconds to click delete, and then OK, just doesn’t seem worth the effort.
  3. Business agreements. Some emails are saved perpetually for business purposes. It is becoming a common practice for businesses to communicate with clients via email. Since those emails document conversations and agreements made with their clients, wise businessmen save those emails as part of a client’s digital folder.
  4. Blackmail. A less scrupulous person may save certain emails because of incriminating information that is contained within them. ‘You deleted that, right?’ ‘Of, course. (Not!)
  5. You can delete them? There are some people using email who just barely know how to open and reply to their email. If they do know that there is a delete option, they’re probably afraid to use it for fear of deleting more than they intended
  6. Guilt complex. ‘But what would Sally say, if she knew I deleted that cute email she sent me?’ There are those who are overly sensitive to other’s feelings and just can’t bring themselves to delete emails sent to them by friends and family, anymore than they can throw away the birthday cards and letters they’ve received over the years.
  7. Future reference. We receive so much information via email these days that it sometimes it makes more sense to keep information stored in email folders, than to print it out and put it in a file. That way the information is just a click away, when you need it and isn’t taking up filing space in your desk.
  8. Overwhelming inflow. Some people have just become overwhelmed with the amount of emails flooding into their inbox. Some of it may be spam, others may be from their friends who are overly zealous with their forward command. Since the project of cleaning up their email box seems so overwhelming, they will follow the path of the hoarder and just let it continue to build up.
  9. Sentimental value. Some emails do have true sentimental value to people, and they save them for that reason. It might be the first time ‘they’ sent an ‘I love you’ via email. It might be a daughter’s engagement announcement or news about that first grandbaby. Digital mail has replaced the hard copy in many instances.
  10. Potential litigation. Individuals that have emails from another person with which they anticipate or are going through a court battle with, wisely save all email communications with that person. They may become pieces of evidence, at some point.

There can be some very good reasons for saving certain emails forever, but there is no good reason for saving ALL of your emails. For some of us, it is time to unclutter our inbox and our sent box.

7 Places Online to View Classic Art

One great way to take a break from the business of life is to check out websites which offer images of classic art paintings, pieces, and more. Viewing them along with your imagination can transport you to another place or even another time by invoking your creativity and memories.

1) Studio of the South
This site has an extensive collection of works from the most famous artists in history. This site is searchable by the artists name. The famous artists featured on this site include: Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso and Leonardo Da Vinci.

2) Protitude
This site has a gallery of paintings by well known artists such as Van Gogh, Rembrandt and Monet. This site is searchable by the name of the artist. There is also a brief biography of each featured artist.

3) Olga’s Gallery
Olga’s Gallery has more than 10,000 works of art available to view. The list of the top 20 artist includes Leonardo da Vinci, Claude Monet, and Vincent Van Gogh. The works of art can be searched for by Artists name or country. There is also a movement index available to search.

4) World Classic Gallery
World Classic Gallery features hand painted replicas of classic art masterpieces. The gallery includes thousands of reproductions from more than 700 artists. Among the most famous artists are John William Waterhouse, Edgar Degas and Thomas Moran.

5) Art Renewal Center
The art Renewal Center is one of the largest online museums on the internet. This site features images of the works of the greatest painters in history. Among the most popular artists are Michelangelo, John William Godward and Claude Oscar Monet.

6) The Van Gogh Gallery
This site features works of the famous artist Vincent Van Gogh. This site also features a catalog that gives information about the current location, medium and origin of Van Gogh’s works. This site also has a list of other famous artists along with a brief biography of each artist.

7) The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)
This site features more than just modern art, it has all kinds of classics for you to view online and also to learn more about. MOMA.org is simply a great resource for you to bookmark whether you are an art enthusiast or not. You can see some amazing art and learn some history at the same time!

10 Reasons to Have a Backup Internet Service Provider

Temporarily losing your internet connection can be frustrating, and certainly an inconvenience. But in some situations it can be more than an inconvenience. If being online and maintaining that connection is critical for you, you may want to do want others have done and have a second ISP as a backup provider.

  1. Online worker. If you earn your living working online, you can’t afford to be without internet access for very long. You also can’t afford to suddenly lose your connection in the middle of an online project that hasn’t been saved. A backup ISP could be a valuable asset for you to have.
  2. Online college classes. Individuals who are taking college classes online often have certain time frames where they must be online for classes. They also have deadlines for assignments that need to be submitted online.
  3. Online banking. There can be times when you need to make last minute banking transactions and an internet outage at the wrong time could cause you to miss a costly deadline.
  4. Last minute tax filings. Both businesses and individuals use the internet for filing tax returns. Many times those tax filings are delayed to the last minute possible. An internet outage could cost you tax penalties for late filing.
  5. Website hosting. If you are hosting websites on a server, a loss of internet service would mean that your websites would not be available on the internet. Your internet service is critical.
  6. Online chatting. If you’re in the middle of a chat or you’ve told someone to meet you in a chat room at a certain time, an internet outage could cause a misunderstanding.
  7. VOIP phones. Many people have switched to VOIP phones that operate over the internet, for their home phones. If your internet goes down, you have also lost your phone service. If your VOIP is your business phone, this could be a serious issue.
  8. Online gaming. Gaming over the internet is very popular and the gamers take their activities very seriously. To have your internet go down at a crucial point in a game could be devastating. Online poker players would take an internet outage in the middle of a game very seriously.
  9. Online auctions. When you’re bidding on online auction sites, like E-bay, the last few minutes of bidding on an item can be the most intense. Having your internet go down during that end of a bid could cost you the item you were attempting to purchase.
  10. Online trading. Timing is very important when buying and selling stocks. An internet outage at the wrong time could cost an online trader some very significant amounts of money.

There are a number of ways to provide yourself with a backup internet provider to keep any of these situations from happening. You can have a wireless card or usb as your backup connection to your cable or DSL connection. Or, for a true emergency option to a cable connection, you can have an inexpensive dialup connection to fall back on.