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Wishing a safe and happy weekend for all readers of The Wireless Messaging News.
BLACKBERRY LTD TRADERS ALERT
NOVEMBER 11, 2016
On Thursday, Shares of BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) gained 0.28% to $7.17. The share price is trading in a range of $6.99 – 7.22. The stock exchanged hands with 4.42 million shares contrast to its average daily volume of 3.62 million shares.
BlackBerry Ltd. has officially stopped making its own phones, but the company has one last treat for die-hard fans: a new phone sporting its trademark physical keyboard.
Chief Executive Officer John Chen had hinted at the phone in September, but hadn’t confirmed it until Thursday, when he spoke to Emily Chang in an interview on Bloomberg TV.
“We have one keyboard phone I promised people,” Chen said. “It’s coming.”
Under Chen, BlackBerry has gradually shifted from smartphones to software and said in September it would completely stop producing, stocking and distributing its own phones. Instead, it will license the BlackBerry brand to outside companies to put on phones they build themselves. The physical keyboard is BlackBerry’s best-known smartphone feature, with many former users still lamenting its absence as they clumsily tap out e-mails on their iPhones and sign off with words like “pardon the typos.” (Source: Bloomberg)
BlackBerry Ltd (BBRY) has shown a low EPS growth of -15.60% in the last 5 years and has earnings growth of N\A yoy. Analysts have a mean recommendation of 3.10 on this stock (A rating of less than 2 means buy, “hold” within the 3 range, “sell” within the 4 range, and “strong sell” within the 5 range). The stock appeared -24.21% below its 52-week highs and is up 1.13% for the last five trades. [ source ]
Windows 10 Build 14965 shows a virtual touchpad that could replace the mouse
This could make life easier for Windows tablet users connecting to external monitors.
By Ian Paul
Microsoft’s latest Windows Insider build 14965 is showing a "virtual touchpad" feature that could replace the mouse—or in any case, make life easier for Windows tablet users. It puts a touchpad on your tablet screen, so you can use that instead of a mouse whenever you connect your device to a larger display.
Features that pop up in builds don't always make it to final versions, of course, but this feature is intriguing. From the sounds of it, first-time setup is fairly easy. When a tablet, such as the Surface Pro 4 , is connected to an external display, open the Action Center and tap on the Project Quick Action tile. This will extend the Windows desktop to the external display. Next, long-press the taskbar on your tablet. When it appears select Show touchpad button.
Now the touchpad icon will show up in the notification area on the far right of the taskbar. This is the same area were the Action Center icon is, as well as the Pen Workspace icon. Now all you do is tap the virtual touchpad icon and it appears on your tablet screen, ready to go.
Microsoft also lets you adjust the sensitivity of the virtual touchpad, just as you would with a real one. When the touchpad is open, go to Start > Settings > Devices > Touchpad to make adjustments.
The touchpad was the big change for this build, but you'll also see a few other, minor improvements. The Sticky Notes Windows Store app has some new features for international users that U.S. users already have. However, Microsoft did say it’s improved text input for keyboard users .
Microsoft delighted power users when it added an address bar to the registry editor with Insider Preview build 14942 in early October. Now Microsoft is building on that addition by adding the CTRL + L keyboard shortcut to highlight the editor’s address bar. You could already do this by using the shortcut Alt + D , but CTRL + L is just as (if not more) popular among users.
The impact on you at home: It’ll be a while yet until we see any of these features in the mainstream build of Windows 10, as the Creators Update isn’t due out until early next year. For those jumping into preview builds to get all the great new features now, build 14965 has an annoying little bug that shows just how problematic these preview versions of Windows can be. If you double-click on an Excel file in File Explorer in build 14965, it fails to open. The workaround is to open files from within Microsoft Excel.
Now on to more news and views.
Wayne County, Illinois
A new issue of the Wireless Messaging Newsletter is posted on the web each week. A notification goes out by e-mail to subscribers on most Fridays around noon central US time. The notification message has a link to the actual newsletter on the web. That way it doesn’t fill up your incoming e-mail account.
There is no charge for subscription and there are no membership restrictions. Readers are a very select group of wireless industry professionals, and include the senior managers of many of the world’s major Paging and Wireless Messaging companies. There is an even mix of operations managers, marketing people, and engineers — so I try to include items of interest to all three groups. It’s all about staying up-to-date with business trends and technology.
I regularly get readers’ comments, so this newsletter has become a community forum for the Paging, and Wireless Messaging communities. You are welcome to contribute your ideas and opinions. Unless otherwise requested, all correspondence addressed to me is subject to publication in the newsletter and on my web site. I am very careful to protect the anonymity of those who request it.
I spend the whole week searching the Internet for news that I think may be of interest to you — so you won’t have to. This newsletter is an aggregator — a service that aggregates news from other news sources. You can help our community by sharing any interesting news that you find.
Editorial Opinion pieces present only the opinions of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of any of advertisers or supporters. This newsletter is independent of any trade association.
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“Is Paging Going Away?” by Jim Nelson
Volunteers needed for translations into other languages.
BlackBerry Gets High Marks For Its DTEK60
By Donna Fuscaldo
BlackBerry Ltd. ( BBRY ) may have exited the handset market—outsourcing development of devices over making them—but that doesn’t mean it’s giving up on the smartphone market altogether. Nor does it mean it can’t be competitive in a market it once led, which is becoming evident with its recently launched DTEK60.
The smartphone, which BlackBerry announced a couple months ago, is getting high marks from ZDNet, which called it the “best enterprise flagship priced at just $499.” In its review, penned by ZDNet’s Matthew Miller, the writer said he is “so impressed” with the hardware and software found in the device that he plans to keep it as his primary Android smartphone. “If you look at the specs above, it matches what we see today from other Android flagships in nearly every way. Water resistance would be great and make the DTEK60 even more compelling for the enterprise, but at $499 it is still an excellent choice,” Miller wrote. “It looks and feels awesome in the hand and I'm having a tough time believing this is a BlackBerry device that only costs $500.”
The positive review wasn’t lost on BlackBerry, which quickly tweeted about it, highlighting the high marks it’s getting. It’s a stark difference to the reaction when BlackBerry rolled out the Priv earlier this year. The device was originally priced at $699—too high, said most—which hurt sales, and was part of the impetus for BlackBerry to exit the handset market.
Lots of Security Features
With the DTEK60 and its predecessor, the DTEK50, BlackBerry has crammed a lot of security inside. One of the features it hopes will help it stand out is the fact that it monitors the operating system and app and lets users know when their privacy is at risk and provides suggestions on how to improve privacy. It also notifies users when someone is taking pictures or videos without their knowledge or is turning on the microphone, texting or accessing contacts or the smartphone owner’s location. (See also: BlackBerry Rolls Out New Android Phone .)
OMNI Messaging Server
MARS (Mobile Alert Response System)
STG (SIP to TAP Gateway)
The Motorola Nucleus II Paging Base Station is a great paging transmitter. The Nucleus I, however, had some problems.
One of the best features of this product was its modular construction. Most of the Nucleus' component parts were in plug-in modules that were field replaceable making maintenance much easier.
One issue was (and still is) that two of the modules had to always be kept together. They are called the “matched pair.”
Motorola used some tricks to keep people in the field from trying to match unmatched pairs, and force them to send SCM and Exciter modules back to the factory for calibrating them with precision laboratory equipment.
The serial numbers have to match in the Nucleus programing software or you can't transmit. Specifically the 4-level alignment ID parameter contained in the SCM has to match the Exciter ID parameter.
Even if someone could modify the programing software to “fudge” these parameters, that would not let them use unmatched modules effectively without recalibrating them to exact factory specifications.
So now that there is no longer a Motorola factory laboratory to send them to, what do we do?
I hope someone can help us resolve this serious problem for users of the Nucleus paging transmitter.
Please let me know if you can help. [ click here ]
Evidence suggests Apple is working on the biggest mobile game-changer since the original iPhone
By Zach Epstein on Nov 8, 2016 at 10:08 AM
Apple hasn’t yet managed to keep up with iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus demand, suggesting that the company’s new iPhones are a hit. In fact, iPhone sales in the September quarter came in slightly higher than Wall Street was expecting, even though supply of both new models was severely constrained. But even though Apple’s iPhone 7 and 7 Plus have been so far, demand for next year’s new iPhones is expected to dwarf this year’s models thanks to a massive iPhone redesign that Apple fans have been waiting for.
As exciting as next year’s new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus sound, however, new evidence suggests that Apple is working to bring an exciting new feature to its iPhone lineup that could be the biggest smartphone game-changer the world has seen since the first iPhone was released nearly a decade ago in 2007.
According to a number of solid early reports, next year’s iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are going to feature huge improvements in a number of key areas. First, they’ll sport the first big iPhone redesign since 2014, when Apple released the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Since then, Apple has used roughly the same design on 2015’s iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, as well as on the new iPhone 7 series.
In 2017, the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus will supposedly feature a fresh new design with a glass front and back that are connected by metal around the edges. The display, which is believed to be an OLED screen for the first time ever on an iPhone, will reportedly take up much more of the iPhone’s face thanks to the removal of the home button on the front of the phone. A next-generation Touch ID fingerprint scanner will then be embedded beneath the display, and 3D Touch gestures will take care of the rest of the home button’s functionality.
Apple’s upcoming new iPhones are expected to feature plenty of other enhancements as well, such as better cameras and a new A11 Fusion processor that is even faster than the A10 Fusion chip in Apple’s iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. But mounting evidence suggests that the company is working on the biggest game-changer that the smartphone industry has seen since the very first iPhone was unveiled nearly 10 years ago at the Macworld convention in January 2007.
When someone asks you about your biggest pain point, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Survey after survey suggest that battery life is at the top of most lists. Even the iPhone 7 Plus, which is among the best smartphones in the world when it comes to battery performance , needs to be charged at least once each day. Many phones won’t even carry you through a full day of usage without needing to be recharged.
Fast-charging tech is great and current wireless charging solutions are nifty as well, but what if you never had to even think about charging your smartphone again?
Earlier this year, we turned your attention to some early evidence that suggested Apple was working with a company called Energous to build next-generation wireless charging into future iPhones. When I write “wireless charging,” I’m not referring to the technology that’s already on the market in a number of Android phones and other devices. This is something completely different, as I mentioned almost two years ag o when I first previewed the tech.
Using technology developed by Energous, a smartphone or just about any other gadget can be charged wirelessly from across the room. A small chip on the phone’s main board connects wirelessly to a base station and can charge a device’s battery from distances of 15 feet. In other words, a view strategically placed base stations in your home and office could ensure that your iPhone is charging constantly while it’s in use or sitting in your pocket, on your desk or anywhere else.
Ahead of Energous’ third-quarter earnings report on Monday, new evidence surfaced that seems to further suggest the company may be working with Apple to build this exciting new technology into iPhones in the near future. I don’t need to go back through all of the earlier indications that tie the two companies together, but in a nutshell: Energous has repeatedly stated on earnings calls that it is working with a “tier 1” smartphone manufacturer, and all signs in the past have pointed to Apple.
Now, the company announced that it is has taken a $10 million strategic investment from Dialog Semiconductor, a company that builds power management solutions for consumer electronics. As noted by technology analyst and Disruptive Tech Research founder Louis Basenese, Dialog Semi’s top customer is Apple. Energous also took an investment earlier this year from Pegatron, another major Apple partner.
The other possible partner that has been tossed around as the mysterious “tier 1” smartphone maker Energous keeps referring to is Samsung, but that’s looking less likely as time moves on.
“According to Bloomberg data, 68.56% of Dialog’s sales come from Apple (AAPL),” Basenese wrote in a note to investors on Monday. “The next biggest contributor is Panasonic at 1.23%. Samsung checks-in at a scant 1.03%. So this is another [Energous] partner that is a major AAPL supplier. You’ll recall, Pegatron, which WATT announced as a partner in March 2016, derives 52.98% of sales from AAPL and 0% from Samsung. The evidence in support of APPL as the Tier 1 continues to outweigh evidence pointing to Samsung.”
Again, this is all just speculation until Energous or Apple confirm something. Also, the biggest question surrounding this potential partnership remains unchanged: Why wouldn’t Apple simply acquired Energous for peanuts (the company’s market cap was about $280 million as of Monday’s close, and that was after a big spike from these new rumors) and lock in exclusivity?
Only time will tell if these rumors pan out, but don’t expect anything to materialize from this supposed partnership in 2017 with the iPhone 8. If and when Apple does add long-distance wireless charging to its iPhone lineup, however, it will be the biggest disruption the industry will have seen in more than a decade.
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PayPal adds Siri support for speaking shoppers
Hey Siri, Pay my Bill, Bill, Bill
ONLINE SPENDING OPTION PayPal has added support for Siri, the Apple thing that people talk to and tell to do things. This means that you can tell your iOS device to spend your money without lifting too many fingers, let alone go into a shop, and actually look at and consider your purchase as a physical thing.
PayPal thinks that this is wonderful, particularly when you consider that the holiday season is upon us when people lose all sense of the value of money and humanity.
"Sending and receiving money from friends and family has long been one of the most popular activities on PayPal. In fact, last year we did $41bn in peer-to-peer [P2P] volume across PayPal, Venmo and Xoom," PayPal said in a blog post .
"And with the holidays around the corner, PayPal predicts more than 17 million P2P transactions in the month of December alone.
"With so many P2P transactions happening during such a busy season, we're excited to give our users an early holiday present: starting November 10, Siri will be integrated with PayPal.
"For iPhone and iPad users running iOS 10, making a payment has never been easier. Simply say ‘Hey Siri, send Bill $50 using PayPal'. Voila! One less thing to check off the to-do list this holiday season."
We do not know who Bill is, but the post is written by Meron Colbeci, PayPal's senior director for core consumer products. So if you know a Meron Colbeci, and are called Bill, we reckon you might as well start spending that $50 now.
PayPal is making this available in 30 countries, and if you want it you should get the latest app from your chosen application store.
It works (deep breath) in the UK, the US, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Israel (Hebrew), Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates.
"We hope you're as excited as we are about making sending and receiving money even easier," added Colbeci.
We aren't, but then we rarely are. µ
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Repair and Refurbishment Services
Product Support Services, Inc.
PSSI is the industry leader in reverse logistics, our services include depot repair, product returns management, RMA and RTV management, product audit, test, refurbishment, re-kitting and value recovery.
|RF Demand Solutions|
Naval Academy Students Planning CubeSat with HF Uplink
Students at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, are planning an Amateur Radio CubeSat — dubbed HFSAT — that would carry an HF transponder as a primary payload as well as 2-meter APRS as a secondary mission when power is available. The 1.5 U CubeSat will have a linear uplink at 21.4 MHz and a downlink at 29.42 MHz.
" HFSAT is a small 1.5 U CubeSat that will demonstrate the viability of HF satellite communications as a back-up communication system using existing ubiquitous HF radios that are often a part of every amateur station," said USNA Instructor Bob Bruninga, WB4APR, who developed APRS. Bruninga said HFSAT would be similar to the 1990s-era RS-12/13 Russian Amateur Radio satellite.
" HFSAT will continue the long tradition of small amateur satellites designed by students and hams at the US Naval Academy," Bruninga told ARRL. The uplink will be at 21.4 MHz and downlink at 29.42 MHz, similar to [earlier] Mode K HF satellites. No launch has yet been identified." Bruninga said HFSAT would be gravity gradient-stabilized by its full-sized, 10-meter, thin-wire, half-wave dipole.
Other unique features of HFSAT include its APRS telemetry command-and-control capability. "For VHF the students have modified a popular Byonics.com MTT4B all-in-one APRS Tiny-Track4 module for telemetry, command, and control to fit on a single 3.4-inch square card inside the CubeSat, that they will use for this and for future CubeSats," Bruninga said. The students are working with Bill Ress, N6GHZ, on the HF transponder card, which will provide a bandwidth of 30 kHz, employing an inverting transponder to minimize Doppler. Todd Bruner, WB1HAI, will be the HFSAT control operator.
Bruninga said the HF transponder is a follow-on from the USNA's existing PSAT 10-meter PSK31 transponder, still operational. HFSAT's telemetry downlink will be captured via stations in the worldwide ground-station network. The packet link is a secondary mission compared to the HF transponder on this spacecraft.
Once HFSAT is in space, Bruninga recommended using a vertical HF antenna, because it would match well with the antenna patterns and geometry of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites. "When low on the horizon, both the satellite and the user antennas are in their main lobes, providing maximum gain at the distant horizons," Bruninga said. "At the higher elevations, the satellite is 6 dB to 10 dB closer, significantly making up for the reduced antenna pattern geometry."
He said hams would be able to use "simple, manual" pass-prediction tools, much as they used the old Oscar Locator in the early years of Amateur Radio satellites.
Disaster-Proven Paging for Public Safety
Paging system designs in the United States typically use a voice radio-style infrastructure. These systems are primarily designed for outdoor mobile coverage with modest indoor coverage. Before Narrowbanding, coverage wasn’t good, but what they have now is not acceptable! The high power, high tower approach also makes the system vulnerable. If one base station fails, a large area loses their paging service immediately!
Almost every technology went from analog to digital except fire paging. So it’s time to think about digital paging! The Disaster-Proven Paging Solution (DiCal) from Swissphone offers improved coverage, higher reliability and flexibility beyond anything that traditional analog or digital paging systems can provide.
Swissphone is the No. 1 supplier for digital paging solutions worldwide. The Swiss company has built paging networks for public safety organizations all over the world. Swissphone has more than 1 million pagers in the field running for years and years due to their renowned high quality.
DiCal is the digital paging system developed and manufactured by Swissphone. It is designed to meet the specific needs of public safety organizations. Fire and EMS rely on these types of networks to improve incident response time. DiCal systems are designed and engineered to provide maximum indoor paging coverage across an entire county. In a disaster situation, when one or several connections in a simulcast solution are disrupted or interrupted, the radio network automatically switches to fall back operating mode. Full functionality is preserved at all times. This new system is the next level of what we know as “Simulcast Paging” here in the U.S.
Swissphone offers high-quality pagers, very robust and waterproof. Swissphone offers the best sensitivity in the industry, and battery autonomy of up to three months. First responder may choose between a smart s.QUAD pager, which is able to connect with a smartphone and the Hurricane DUO pager, the only digital pager who offers text-to-voice functionality.
Bluetooth technology makes it possible to connect the s.QUAD with a compatible smartphone, and ultimately with various s.ONE software solutions from Swissphone. Thanks to Bluetooth pairing, the s.QUAD combines the reliability of an independent paging system with the benefits of commercial cellular network. Dispatched team members can respond back to the call, directly from the pager. The alert message is sent to the pager via paging and cellular at the same time. This hybrid solution makes the alert faster and more secure. Paging ensures alerting even if the commercial network fails or is overloaded.
Swissphone sets new standards in paging:
Swissphone provides a proven solution at an affordable cost. Do you want to learn more?
Google doesn't want proprietary fast charging in Android phones
It might even require strict support of USB-C chargers in later versions.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
Google isn't a fan of non-standard approaches to fast-charging Android phones over USB-C, and it's bent on having manufacturers fall in line. Its newest Android Compatibility Definition document (for Android Nougat) now says it's "strongly recommended" that device makers don't support proprietary charging technology that modifies voltages beyond standard levels, or otherwise creates "interoperability issues" with standard USB charging. In other words, tech like Qualcomm's Quick Charge 3.0 is likely considered naughty. On top of that, the company warns that later versions of Android might even require full interoperability with standard chargers.
This doesn't mean that you won't see fast charging. Remember, both of Google's Pixel phones can top up quickly. However, it's evident that Google would like to fulfill USB-C's promise of cables and chargers that always work together . It doesn't like the idea that you might have to carry a specific charger for your phone to work as expected, or that a flaky cable might fry your charger, phone or both. The company might never force vendors to drop their preferred fast charging standards, but it certainly won't look kindly on them.
Tower Crew Finally Comes to Cat’s Rescue After Carriers and Others Say “No”
Steve Fleming told Inside Towers that he and his crew at Technical Rescue Systems recently donated their services to rescue a cat from a LaSalle, CO water tower when all other responsible parties said “no” . . . or “yes” for a price.
Fleming, a 37-year veteran firefighter, a technical rescue training company owner and instructor for 30 years and a certified tower climber/training company owner for over 17 years told Inside Towers he was amazed at the media attention the operation received on November 2. The cat was “ironically,” said Steve, stuck on the water tower “cat walk” for over four days. The water tower was also in use as a cell tower for some major carriers.
The city of Lasalle, Colorado made hundreds of calls, to nearby fire departments to electrical utility services to the cellular company that has the lease for the cell antennas on the tower… all but three said “no” . . . Fleming told Inside Towers. Only two said they might come and look but at a price between $2,800 to $4,800. Then at 8:30 a.m. November 2, they called Fleming and his Technical Rescue Systems crew. “We said ‘sure’, we can do that and at no charge,” Fleming said.
“Within two hours we had our insurance broker send the liability forms, we gathered our climbing and rescue equipment, pet crate and our fleet of drones we use for tower and structure inspection services . . . got directions to Lasalle and were on our way,” he said.
The drones, Yuneec Q500 4K’s, were used to see where the cat was and where it went once a crew member got to it. “The drone footage worked great for the real time vantage point, after action review and news footage,” Fleming said.
Once the cat was rescued, Fleming called it a nice story and cited a news reporter who said it was a story with “no crime, no blood, NO POLITICS and it was a complete warm and fuzzy kitty rescue . . . a success. . .”
And to show good deeds sometimes do get rewarded, Fleming said the city of Lasalle has asked them to do a tower inspection of their other water tower in town for rust and paint coverage issues.
Wireless Communication Solutions
USB Paging Encoder
Paging Data Receiver (PDR)
Please see our web site for other products including Internet Messaging Gateways, Unified Messaging Servers, test equipment, and Paging Terminals.
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Beware, iPhone Users: Fake Retail Apps Are Surging Before Holidays
By VINDU GOEL
SAN FRANCISCO — Hundreds of fake retail and product apps have popped up in Apple ’s App Store in recent weeks — just in time to deceive holiday shoppers.
The counterfeiters have masqueraded as retail chains like Dollar Tree and Foot Locker, big department stores like Dillard’s and Nordstrom, online product bazaars like Zappos.com and Polyvore, and luxury-goods makers like Jimmy Choo, Christian Dior and Salvatore Ferragamo.
“We’re seeing a barrage of fake apps,” said Chris Mason, chief executive of Branding Brand, a Pittsburgh company that helps retailers build and maintain apps. He said his company constantly tracks new shopping apps, and this was the first time it had seen so many counterfeit iPhone apps emerge in a short period of time.
Some of them appeared to be relatively harmless — essentially junk apps that served up annoying pop-up ads, he said.
But there are serious risks to using a fake app. Entering credit card information opens a customer to potential financial fraud. Some fake apps contain malware that can steal personal information or even lock the phone until the user pays a ransom. And some fakes encourage users to log in using their Facebook credentials, potentially exposing sensitive personal information.
The rogue apps, most of which came from developers in China, slipped through Apple’s process for reviewing every app before it is published.
That scrutiny, which Apple markets as an advantage over Google’s less restrictive Android smartphone platform, is supposed to stop any software that is deceitful, that improperly uses another company’s intellectual property or that poses harm to consumers.
In practice, however, Apple focuses more on blocking malicious software and does not routinely examine the thousands of apps submitted to the iTunes store every day to see if they are legitimately associated with the brand names listed on them.
With apps becoming more popular as a way to shop, it is up to brands and developers themselves to watch for fakes and report them, much as they scan for fake websites, said Ben Reubenstein, chief executive of Possible Mobile, a Denver company that makes apps for JetBlue Airways, the PGA Tour and the Pokémon Company, among others.
“It’s important that brands monitor how their name is being used,” he said.
Apple removed hundreds of fake apps on Thursday night after The New York Times inquired about the specific app vendors that created many of them. Other apps were removed after a New York Post article last week drew attention to some of the counterfeits.
“We strive to offer customers the best experience possible, and we take their security very seriously,” said an Apple spokesman, Tom Neumayr. “We’ve set up ways for customers and developers to flag fraudulent or suspicious apps, which we promptly investigate to ensure the App Store is safe and secure. We’ve removed these offending apps and will continue to be vigilant about looking for apps that might put our users at risk.”
In September, Apple also embarked on a campaign to review all two million apps in the App Store and remove “apps that no longer function as intended, don’t follow current review guidelines or are outdated.” The company says that a significant number of apps have been removed and that the review is continuing.
Despite Apple’s efforts, new fake apps appear every day. In some cases, developers change the content of an app after it has been approved by Apple’s monitors. In other instances, the counterfeiters change their names and credentials, and resubmit similar apps after one round of fakes is discovered.
“It’s a game of Whac-a-Mole,” Mr. Mason of Branding Brand said.
On Friday, for example, an entity calling itself Overstock Inc. — an apparent attempt to confuse shoppers looking for the online retailer Overstock.com — was peddling Ugg boots and apparel through a fake app that was nearly identical to one banished by Apple on Thursday.
The same Chinese app developer, Cloaker Apps , created both fake Ugg apps on behalf of Chinese clients.
Jack Lin, who identified himself as the head of Cloaker, said in a phone interview in China that his company provides the back-end technology for thousands of apps but does not investigate its clients.
“We hope that our clients are all official sellers,” he said. “If they are using these brands, we need some kind of authorization, then we will provide services.”
Mr. Lin said Cloaker charged about 20,000 renminbi — about $3,000 — for an app written in English.
But like so many of the apps his company produces, Cloaker is not what it purports to be. Its website is filled with dubious claims, such as the location of its headquarters, which it says is at an address smack in the middle of Facebook’s campus in Menlo Park, Calif.
In the interview, Mr. Lin at first said he had offices only in China and Japan. When asked about the California office, he then claimed to have “tens of employees” at the Facebook address.
China is by far the biggest source of fake apps, according to security experts.
Many of the fake retail apps have red flags signaling that they are not real, such as nonsensical menus written in butchered English, no reviews and no history of previous versions. In one fake New Balance app, for example, the tab for phone support did not list a phone number and said, “Our angents are available over the hone Monday-Firday.”
Data from Apptopia show that some of the fake apps have been downloaded thousands of times, although it is unclear how many people have actually used them. Reviews posted on some of the apps indicated that at least some people tried them and became frustrated. “Would give zero stars if possible,” wrote one reviewer of the fake Dollar Tree app. “Constantly gets stuck in menus and closes what you were doing and makes you start over.”
Mr. Mason says consumers want to shop online and they search for apps from their favorite stores and brands.
“The retailers who are most exposed are the ones with no app at all,” he said. Dollar Tree and Dillard’s, for example, have no official iPhone apps, which made it easier to lure their customers to the fake apps.
But the counterfeiters have also mimicked companies that do have an official presence in the App Store, hoping to capitalize on consumer confusion about which ones are real.
The shoe retailer Foot Locker Inc., for example, has three iPhone apps. But that did not stop an entity calling itself Footlocke Sports Co. Ltd. from offering 16 shoe and clothing apps in the App Store — including one purporting to be from a Foot Locker rival, Famous Footwear.
Similarly, the supermarket chain Kroger Company has 20 iPhone apps, reflecting the various retail chains in its empire. An entity calling itself The Kroger Inc. had 19 apps, purporting to sell things as diverse as an $80 pair of Asics sneakers and a $688 bottle of Dior perfume.
Some of the fake apps have even used Apple’s new paid search ads to propel them to the top of the results screen when customers search for specific brands in the App Store.
Jon Clay, director of global threat communications for Trend Micro, an internet security firm, said Apple’s tight control over the iPhone had historically kept malicious apps out of its App Store. Fake apps appeared more often on Google’s Android platform or on third-party app stores, he said.
But that is beginning to change. Shortly after the Pokémon Go game was released in the United States in July, for example, a spate of fake iPhone apps related to the game appeared, especially in countries where the game was not yet available.
“The criminals are going to take advantage of whatever is hot,” Mr. Clay said.
Emily Feng contributed reporting from Beijing.
A version of this article appears in print on November 7, 2016, on page B1 of the New York edition with the headline: A Surge of Deceptive Apps for iPhones Arrives in Time for Holiday Shopping.
|Source:||The New York Times|
Selected portions of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, and/or the BloostonLaw Private Users Update — newsletters from the Law Offices of Blooston, Mordkofsky, Dickens, Duffy & Prendergast, LLP — are reproduced in this section with the firm’s permission.
FCC Announces A-CAM Oversubscribed; Seeks Ex Partes on Mitigation Measures
On November 2, after our edition of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update went into publication, the FCC announced that 216 rate-of-return companies have submitted letters electing 274 separate offers of Alternative Connect America Cost Model (A-CAM) support in 43 states. A full list of accepting carriers can be found here . Importantly, the Bureau has totaled the amount of model-based support for electing carriers and determined that model-based support and transition payments would exceed the overall 10-year budget set by the Commission by more than $160 million annually.
Since the Rate of Return Reform Order only allows the FCC to allocate up to an additional $50 million, the agency is also considering taking measures to prioritize among electing carriers. This could include, for example, selecting among electing carriers based on their level of deployment (either their percentage of locations lacking 10/1 Mbps or the absolute number of such locations) or the average cost per location. Parties are encouraged to submit ex partes into the record no later than Monday, November 14, 2016, on what measure or combination of measures should be considered to address the high level of interest in A-CAM model-based support.
FCC Reconsiders Statement in Rate-of-Return Reform Order
On November 4, the FCC released an Order on Reconsideration, on its own volition, to reconsider a statement made in the Broadband-only Loop Service TRP Order regarding the imputation of Access Recovery Charge (ARC) revenues. Specifically, the FCC now finds that an amount equal to the ARC a LEC could apply to a voice/broadband line should be imputed to a retail broadband Internet access offering regardless of whether the carrier offers a Broadband-only Loop Service. According to the FCC, imputing an amount equal to the ARC on retail broadband Internet access offerings “best reflects the policies underlying adoption of the imputation requirement in the Rate-of-Return Reform Order and avoids creating an incentive to offer broadband Internet access in a particular manner.”
In the Rate-of-Return Reform Order, the FCC found that supporting Broadband-only Loop Service may lead to a migration away from voice/broadband offerings due to the increased affordability of Broadband-only Loop Service. Because ARCs are only assessed on offerings that include voice service, the FCC further found that such a migration would reduce the amount of recovery received from end users through ARC revenues but not the overall recovery amount a carrier was entitled to receive. As a result, recovery amounts not available through ARC charges would be covered by CAF ICC regardless of whether the rate-of-return LEC was recovering some or all of its costs through other rates or means of support. Therefore, the FCC required rate-of-return carriers to impute an amount equal to the ARC charge they assess on voice/broadband lines to their supported consumer broadband-only lines.
In the Broadband-only Loop Service TRP Order, the Bureau established procedures for the filing of access charge tariffs and Tariff Review Plans (TRPs) for rate-of-return LECs electing to offer Broadband-only Loop Service. The Broadband-only Loop Service TRP Order included a clarification that “an imputation is not applied to a retail broadband Internet access offering.” The Order on Reconsideration concludes that an amount equal to the ARC assessed on voice/broadband lines must be imputed on rate-of-return LEC retail broadband Internet access offerings, when the rate-of-return LEC is providing tariffed or detariffed Consumer Broadband-only Loops to affiliated entities, or to third parties.
According to the FCC, “Imputing an amount equal to the ARC assessed on voice/broadband lines regardless of how the service is sold will more closely maintain the balance between ARC recovery and CAF ICC recovery. This approach also prevents ARC imputations from skewing decisions a rate-of-return LEC may make as to whether to offer retail broadband Internet access service through an affiliate or through its own operations.”
FCC Releases Broadband Privacy Order; Effective Date Timeline Established
Late November 2, the FCC released its Broadband Privacy Order, adopted at the October 27 Open Meeting. As we explained in the previous edition of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, the rules apply to broadband service providers and other telecommunications carriers, including LECs and wireless carriers. They modify existing FCC rules concerning the treatment of customer proprietary network information (CPNI) under section 222 of the Communications Act and establish a framework of customer consent to use and share customers’ personal information that is “calibrated to the sensitivity of the information.” As a result of the order and rules, among other things, BIAS providers’ and other telecommunications carriers’ duty to protect customer proprietary information under Section 222 will begin when a person applies for service and continue after a subscriber terminates his or her service. CPNI protections will apply to all activity on a subscription and will be attributed to the subscriber, recognizing that multiple people often use the BIAS or voice services purchased by a single subscriber. For example, the FCC states "residential fixed broadband and voice services often have a single named account holder, but all household members and their guests may use the Internet connection and voice service purchased by that subscriber. Likewise, enterprise customers may have many users on the same account. And, for mobile services, multiple users using separate devices may share one account." However, to minimize burdens on both providers and customers, the FCC finds it is reasonable to define “customer” to include users of the subscription (such as household members and their guests), but treat the subscriber as the person with authority to make privacy choices for all of the users of the service.
In addition, all information that a BIAS provider causes to be collected or stored on a customer’s device, including customer premises equipment (CPE) and mobile stations, will meet the statutory definition of CPNI. According to the FCC, the fact that CPNI is on a device and has not yet been transmitted to the carrier’s own servers does not remove the data from the definition of CPNI, if the collection has been done at the carrier’s direction. BIAS providers also have the ability, by virtue of the customer-carrier relationship, to create and append CPNI to a customer’s Internet traffic. The FCC states that if a carrier inserts a unique identifier header (UIDH), that UIDH is CPNI because it is information in the application layer header that relates to the technical configuration, type, destination, and amount of use of a telecommunications service.
The rules do not apply to the privacy practices of web sites and other “edge services” over which the Federal Trade Commission has authority. The scope of the rules does not include other services of a broadband provider, such as the operation of a social media website, or issues such as government surveillance, encryption or law enforcement.
In addition, the rules include:
As expected, the Order establishes the following timeline of effective dates:
Small carriers have an additional twelve months to implement the notice and customer approval rules. For purposes of this extension, small BIAS providers are providers with 100,000 or fewer broadband connections and small voice providers with 100,000 or fewer subscriber lines as reported on their most recent Form 477, aggregated over all the providers’ affiliates.
The Order also notes that new consent is not necessary from all customers. Rather, for BIAS, any consumer consent that was obtained prior to the effective date of our rules and that is consistent with our new requirements is “grandfathered” in. For example, if a BIAS provider obtained a customer’s opt-in consent to use that individual’s location data to provide coupons for nearby restaurants and provided adequate notice regarding his or her privacy rights, then the customer’s consent would be treated as valid. However, if the customer consent was not obtained in the manner contemplated by our new rule, a new opportunity for choice is required.
FCC Proposes Updates to Strengthen Wireless Emergency Alerts as Public Safety Tool
The FCC is seeking comment on a variety of proposed revisions to Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) rules to improve WEA, leveraging advancements in technology to improve WEA’s multimedia, multilingual and geo-targeting capabilities, as well as lessons learned from alert originators’ experience since WEA was initially deployed. Comments on the item (FCC 16-127) are due on or before December 8, 2016 and reply comments are due on or before January 9, 2017.
As currently configured, WEAs allow local, state and federal authorities to send geo-targeted emergency warnings of no more than 90 characters through participating mobile carriers to consumers with WEA-enabled mobile devices. The FCC adopted the WEA Report and Order and Further Notice at the end of September amid pressure from lawmakers and public safety officials in the wake of recent bombings in New York and New Jersey.
The new rules propose to expand the maximum number of characters permitted in WEA messages from 90 to 360 on 4G LTE and next generation networks; to require support for embedded phone numbers and URLs in all WEA messages; to require the delivery of messages in more focused geographic areas; to require providers to support Spanish-language alerts; and to make it easier for state and local authorities to test the system, train personnel and raise public awareness of the system.
The proposed rules also create a new, fourth class of alerts — dubbed Public Safety Messages — designed to convey “essential, recommended actions that can save loves or property.” The WEA system currently allows three message types: alerts issued by the president, alerts related to imminent threats to life or safety and Amber Alerts.
Since its launch in 2012, WEA has informed the public about severe weather, missing children, and other emergencies through alerts to their wireless phones. Participation in the WEA system has been optional for wireless service providers, but many carriers have elected to participate because of the public interest benefits of making alert messages available to their customers.
“I’m particularly pleased that we were able to answer Senator Schumer’s call to expedite enhancements to the system, such as ensuring all alerts will soon be able to include embedded links, so that you will be able click to see a photo of the missing child, a suspected terrorist, a map, or to call authorities,” said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.
Comment Sought on 2016 Biennial Review of Telecommunications Regulations
The FCC is seeking input from the public as to what rules should be modified or repealed as part of the 2016 biennial review. According to a Public Notice, submissions should identify “with as much specificity as possible” the rule or rules that the commenting party believes should be modified or repealed, and explain why and how the rule or rules should be modified or repealed. The FCC also asks that parties discuss how their suggested rule changes satisfy the standard of Section 11 as interpreted by the D.C. Circuit Court in the Cellco Partnership case.
Section 11 of the Communications Act requires the Commission to (1) review biennially its regulations “that apply to the operations or activities of any provider of telecommunications service,” and (2) “determine whether any such regulation is no longer necessary in the public interest as the result of meaningful economic competition between providers of such service.” Section 11 directs the FCC to repeal or modify any regulation that it finds is no longer in the public interest.
After reviewing all comments submitted during the 2016 Biennial Review, the FCC intends each Bureau and Office to issue a biennial report within four months after the filing of reply comments. Then, the FCC intends to adopt rulemaking proposals addressing recommendations contained in the biennial reports, and seeking public comment on the rules to be repealed or modified within five months of a report’s release.
Carriers interested in filing comments should contact the firm for more information.
Law & Regulation
PSHB Reminds EAS Participants of Form Three Filing Deadline
On November 8, the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau issued a Public Notice reminding all Emergency Alert System (EAS) Participants that they are required to report detailed information about their performance in the nationwide EAS test held on September 28, 2016, by filing their EAS Test Reporting System (ETRS) Form Three on or before November 14, 2016. According to the Public Notice, the Bureau will use the information reported on ETRS Form Three to help evaluate the overall performance of the nationwide EAS and identify any necessary improvements. Late-filed ETRS Form Three reports related to the nationwide September 28, 2016 EAS test will no longer be accepted after December 31, 2016.
FCC Proposes $21 Million Fine for Fraud in Rural Healthcare Program
On November 4, the FCC issued a Press Release stating that it plans to fine Network Services Solutions and its chief executive $21,691,499 for apparent violations involving the Universal Service Fund Rural Health Care Program. Specifically, the company is charged with violating the program’s competitive bidding rules, using forged and false documents to seek funding from the program, and violating the federal wire fraud statute. In addition, the FCC expects to order the company to refund $3.5 million in improper payments that the company has received through the program, which provides discounts for telecommunications services to rural health care providers to help pay for modern telecommunications services.
According to the Press Release, the Enforcement Bureau’s Universal Service Fund Strike Force conducted the investigation of Network Services Solutions, a Reno, Nevada-based reseller of telecommunications services, and its chief executive, Scott Madison. The alleged violations at issue here occurred throughout the country, but were concentrated in the southeastern United States. Charges include:
This is the agency’s first enforcement action involving the RHC Program, and the first time the FCC has proposed a fine for wire fraud in connection with a Universal Service Fund Program.
FCC Terminates License for Non-Construction
The FCC terminated the license for 800 MHz Specialized Mobile Radio (SMR) station WQUX291 for failure to construct. While a termination of a license authorization for failure to construct is generally routine, the circumstances surrounding the license for station WQUX291 are anything but routine.
The license for station WQUX291 was issued on November 5, 2014 with a one-year construction deadline. Just prior to the expiration of the construction period, licensee Janus Spectrum Group, LLC filed its construction notification indicating that the station had been timely constructed as of October 15, 2015. Approximately six months later, a competitor filed a complaint against Janus Spectrum and other licensees which resulted in an FCC investigation as to whether the station had actually been constructed as reported. The complaint noted that the respective licensees applied for their licenses on the same day for the same two locations and filed construction notifications reporting the same construction date. The complaint included a sworn statement indicating that a site inspection demonstrated that there were no antennas mounted on the towers at the authorized locations and height, and that no building permits had been filed with the county offices for either location.
In response to the complaint, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau requested that Janus Spectrum provide specific information concerning the construction and operation of station WQUX291, to which Janus Spectrum did not respond. Janus Spectrum did not respond to further FCC inquiries. As a result, the FCC was persuaded that the complaint (coupled with Janus Spectrum’s failure to respond) demonstrated that the station had never been constructed.
This case is important for two reasons: First, if the licensee does not meet its construction obligation, the FCC will terminate the license, provided sufficient evidence proves the non-construction. Second, and perhaps more important, the FCC relied on circumstantial evidence based upon a sworn statement, pictures of the antenna tower and County building permit records to conclude that the station had never been constructed.
FCC Issues Consumer Alert on Gift Card Call Scams
On November 3, the FCC issued a Consumer Alert warning consumers to be on the lookout for callers pretending to be government or law enforcement officials demanding immediate payment, often by buying gift cards and providing the card numbers to the scammers. These “officials” typically say that payment will protect the consumer — or the consumer’s family or friends — from arrest or some other legal action. According to complaints the FCC has received and public news reports, the Commission believes that the fraudulent callers pretend to be officials from organizations such as the IRS, the FBI, and local sheriffs’ offices, among others.
As part of the gift card call scam, the callers typically give consumers, many of whom are older adults, seemingly legitimate reasons for the call. They are told, for example, that a loved one has been caught texting while driving or that the consumer owes back taxes. The caller then advises the consumer that he or she can resolve the problem immediately by paying with store gift cards, often Apple iTunes gift cards. The consumer is instructed to provide the card’s access code, which allows the scammer to use or sell the gift card to third parties.
JANUARY 15: HAC REPORTING DEADLINE. The next Hearing Aid Compatible (HAC) reporting deadline for digital commercial mobile radio service (CMRS) providers (including carriers that provide service using AWS-1 spectrum and resellers of cellular, broadband PCS and/or AWS services) is January 15, 2017. Non-Tier I service providers must offer to consumers at least 50 percent of the handset models per air interface, or a minimum of ten handset models per air interface, that meet or exceed the M3 rating, and at least one-third of the handset models per air interface, or a minimum of ten handset models per air interface, that meet or exceed the T3 rating. Month-to-month handset offering information provided in annual reports must be current through the end of 2016. With many of our clients adjusting their handset offerings and making new devices available to customers throughout the year, it is very easy for even the most diligent carriers to stumble unknowingly into a non-compliance situation, resulting in fines starting at $15,000 for each HAC-enabled handset they are deficient. ALL SERVICE PROVIDERS SUBJECT TO THE COMMISSION’S HAC RULES — INCLUDING COMPANIES THAT QUALIFY FOR THE DE MINIMIS EXCEPTION — MUST PARTICIPATE IN ANNUAL HAC REPORTING. To the extent that your company is a provider of broadband PCS, cellular and/or interconnected SMR services, if you are a CMRS reseller and/or if you have plans to provide CMRS using newly licensed (or partitioned) AWS or 700 MHz spectrum, you and your company will need to be familiar with the Commission’s revised rules.
|This newsletter is not intended to provide legal advice. Those interested in more information should contact the firm. For additional information, please contact Hal Mordkofsky at 202-828-5520 or firstname.lastname@example.org .|
|Friends & Colleagues|
Wireless Network Planners
|LETTERS TO THE EDITOR|
Hello again, Brad!
In the spirit of paging history, I put my experiences with a rather primitive system together to submit to your newsletter.
I was responsible for its operation and maintenance from 1973 onward to its replacement.
Perhaps a bit of lost history now, but this thing was my baby for several years.
Please edit as you see fit if published.
Jerry Griffith, Project Manager (retired)
A Bit of my Paging History
From: Jerry Griffith
Retired from the Motorola Service Station (the MSS) in Cincinnati, Ohio
Motorola’s Sub-audible, Single-Tone, Tube-type, Tone-Only, Paging System.
It was circa 1973. Being a newbie at the MSS and with college degree in-hand, I got the job of caring for a Large Hospital Paging System. It was built entirely of relays and vacuum tubes.
I think it had a capacity of either 90 singe-tone sub-audible codes or perhaps more (I can’t recall). Page entry was from one of two rotary dial “phones” that consisted of just the dial part.
The RF was a 100 KHz (125 KHz?) AM carrier and the antenna was a continuous loop of 20 ga. wire that ran thru the entire hospital. The internal power amplifier was a pair of 6L6 metal tubes with an output power of about 45 VAC to the wire. Not watts.
The system was housed in a 7 ft. cabinet with perhaps 30 relays, 24-volt and high-voltage power supplies and 12 tubes. Tone transmission timing was accomplished by a relay with a “vibrator” type clapper that after being released by the pulled-in energized coil, bounced between 2 contacts. When it stopped hitting the contacts, the transmission was over.
Rotary dial pulses were fed to stepper rotary relays to select the “reed” that would produce the sub-audible code (tones like the old PL tones e.g. 89.3 Hz etc).
The tone-only pagers consisted of (as I recall) 9 transistors. They were not super-heterodyne or super-regenerative, just 100 KHz RF amplifiers, decoder and audible alert timing.
The switchboard operator would get a request to contact a doctor, then page and wait for him/her to call back to the operator.
I have no idea what the Motorola model number was, but the thing worked just fine. Mostly. Later replaced by a Motorola MODAX 500 terminal with all new pagers and MOTRAC VHF transmitter.
|UNTIL NEXT WEEK|
|THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK|
“If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.”
— C. S. Lewis
|PHOTO OF THE WEEK|
|Source:||National Geographic||PHOTOGRAPH BY FELIPE FONCUEVA, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC YOUR SHOT|
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