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by Fred F. Farkel, Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

 

Guest Author: Ron Sherman

Cable TV (CATV) was originally added for remote communities that were out of reach for the ‘over the air’ analog TV stations. CATV first came out in 1948. It primarily carried the traditional network affiliate stations of the nearest city (ABC, CBS, NBC, and PBS). There really were not any other options for TV coverage, in these remote areas. Over time, additional channel selections were added, above and beyond these local affiliate channels, such as sports and movie channels. Cable providers also included local TV stations from other cities; WOR (New York), WGN (Chicago), and WTBS (Atlanta).

This bigger selection of TV channels made Cable popular, and became available in many major cities by the early 1980’s. In addition to the bigger selection of channels, it also eliminated the need to constantly adjust the ‘Rabbit Ears’ antenna for each channel. A few years later, Satellite TV became another similar option.

By the early 2000’s, we were seeing a lot of consolidation within the Cable Industry. Additional bells and whistles were added to the service, including On Demand and DVR. Now, with less competition and higher prices by the various Cable TV networks to re-transmit their services, prices for Cable and Satellite have been going up yearly and getting quite expensive. Some of these providers also charge extra, to receive the HDTV version of the channels.

While you can buy packages of services, there has typically not been an ‘ala cart’ option for channels. This is now changing with a new service of ‘Streaming Media’ of pay TV networks by companies, such as; Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon (just to name a few). They offer smaller numbers of ‘packaged channels’, for a lower rate. While it is cheaper than Cable or Satellite TV, the fewer channels that you get with Streaming Media, are actually more expensive on a per channel average. To use Streaming Media, you also need to make sure that you are using a high-speed network (15mbs or higher), particularly for HD content.

There has been substantial technology changes with ‘over the air’ (free) television in the past several years. The biggest of these has been the conversion from Analog to Digital. With Digital, a TV broadcaster can now create ‘digital sub-channels’, which is a method of transmitting more than one independent program stream simultaneously from the same TV Station on the same frequency channel. This is done by using ‘data compression’ techniques to reduce the size of each individual program stream, and multiplexing (also called multicasting) to combine them into a single signal. The broadcaster can send a single program at 19.39 Mbps. For example, using sub-channels, they can divide the channel into four streams of 4.85 Mbps, each. For example, if the digital TV channel is 14, then 14.2, 14.3, and 14.4 would be its three sub-channels. A key point is that different formats are supported for broadcast on the Digital channel, including; 480 (704 x 480 pixels), 720 (1280 x 720 pixels), and 1080 (1920 x 1080 pixels). The higher the resolution, the lesser number of sub-channels can be supported. While the primary channel program will typically be in high definition (1080 or 720), the sub-channels will typically use a lower definition. A good example of this, is the standard configuration for most of the ION-owned TV stations:

Having these sub-channels, gives you many more channel choices than with Analog TV. For example, when I run a channel scan (in Denver), I can typically pick up between 60 and 70 channels, with my indoor antenna. Of course, like with Cable or Satellite, you probably may not be interested in watching a number of the available channels, but you now have much more choices than you used to have with Analog over-the-air TV. For best reception, I would recommend using an antenna, which is Omni-Directional (without having to move it) and is amplified. I one respect, I still miss Analog TV, allowing you to at least somewhat pick up a distant station, even if it has a little ‘snow’ in the background. With digital, it is a case of ‘all or nothing’. If you cannot pull up the station clearly, you won’t get it at all. At times (if the atmosphere carries signals further), I can pick up a Cheyenne, Wyoming TV station (from Denver), which is 125 miles away. When I do, it comes in just as clear as a local station, but otherwise, if the signal is weak, I will not receive it at all. It may first appear as a checker-board pattern but then go blank. Interestingly, with Analog TV, the VHF channels seemed to have better reception than the UHF channels. With Digital TV, the UHF channels have the better reception. In fact, a couple of Denver’s TV stations which are on the VHF channels are simulcasting their broadcasts on UHF sub-channels.

Also adding to the growing number of ‘over the air’ channels is the addition of Low Power TV Channels. Cities are assigned a limited allocation of full power TV stations, to ensure there is no interference of TV signals between cities. With Low Power, additional channels can be assigned and cover a smaller metropolitan area footprint, so they can be assigned without worry of interference. Companies, such as ‘Syncom Media Group’, are purchasing these low power channels, and then lease out the sub-channels. This allows other companies/organizations to run a TV sub-channel at a much lower cost. The following diagrams give a good example of the coverage of a Low Power TV station versus the coverage of a Full Power TV station in the Denver TV market:

Low Power TV Station Coverage High Power TV Station Coverage

Finally, going back to the original question — With the ever increasing prices of Cable and Satellite TV services, is ‘over the air’ (free) TV making a comeback? My opinion is that it is making a comeback. Again, the benefits are; it is free (including HDTV format), more channel program selections, and a clear picture without having to adjust the antenna for each TV station. While free TV may not have some of the cable channels that you like, I see additional streaming TV options becoming available to provide these specific sets of channels. This will prove to be a good cost savings over Cable/Satellite. Perhaps this will be a wake-up for the Cable/Satellite companies to change their pricing models.

References:

FCC TV Station Database
(https://transition.fcc.gov/media/television/tv-query)

Wikipedia – Digital Subchannel
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_subchannel)

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by Fred F. Farkel, Thursday, March 31st, 2016

 

Guest Author: Ron Sherman

Today, Electronic Messaging is an embedded part of our Daily Lives, whether as e- mail, Instant Messaging, Skype, Facebook, just to name a few. We really don’t concern ourselves on how to configure or doing message testing – we just know it works!

That has not always been the case. Over the years, a lot of planning and development was required to bring about the messaging systems of today. This also included the creation of ‘standards’ among the various vendors creating messaging software. “Standards”, are industry agreements and rules on how to design and create the software to smoothly work in a multi-vendor environment. For instance, you might think of the “Internet” as a standard, it might be better thought of as a “Network of Networks” containing a group of standards ‘under its hood’. The Internet, however, was not widely used outside of Government and some Educational facilities, until the mid 1990’s. Also during this early time period, “Electronic Messaging’” was just called ‘e-mail’…

To read more of this article, please download the Adobe Acrobat PDF, “The Early Years Of Electronic Messaging“, by Ron Sherman

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by Fred F. Farkel, Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

 

Guest Author: Ron Sherman

As a Fax Server Architect (and Systems Administrator), one of my functions is to set up and maintain Least Cost Routing tables. If you have fax servers spread across several states (or countries), you want to route the fax jobs to minimize Toll Costs. This requires knowing about Telephone Area Codes and staying on top of new Area Codes being added. If there are also geographic areas that you want to block (i.e., Caribbean Islands), you also need to know which specific Area Codes are assigned to those areas. Most of the Caribbean Islands are included in the North American three-digit Area Code Numbering Plan, used in the United States and Canada. Long Distance routing is not quite as confusing of an issue as it used to be, when you had one telecommunications company providing your local service, but having to use a separate telecommunications company for long distance calling, particularly between LATA’s (Local Area Transport Area) Boundaries. LATA’s were established as part of the AT&T breakup, in 1984, defining which calls can be placed by your local telephone company (Baby Bells) and which ones required a Long Distance provider. Most telecommunication companies now support specific compliance rules allowing them to provide both Intra-LATA and Inter-LATA calls. There are close to 200 defined LATAs…

To read more of this article, please download the Adobe Acrobat PDF, “The Growth Of Telephone Area Codes In The U.S.”, by Ron Sherman

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by Fred F. Farkel, Thursday, March 5th, 2015

 

The IT Summit

3300 NW 185th, Suite 77
Portland, OR 97229
eMail: info@theitsummit.com
Phone: 503/828-0294

Press Release

The IT Summit Denver Welcomes Colorado Governor John W. Hickenlooper as Keynote Speaker

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper keynote to kick off “star studded” information technology conference

Portland, Oregon, March 5, 2015: The IT Summit is honored to announce Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper as a special guest speaker at the 2015 edition of The IT Summit Denver Information Technology Conference. Advancing the future of the tech industry in the state is an issue of interest to many and the governor has been an advocate of increasing the states’ presence in the tech industry. Colorado tech leaders should not miss this opportunity.

The conference also features guest speakers David Luhan, State of Colorado Director of Information Technology, and Frank Daidone, Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the City and County of Denver, along with other IT and data security luminaries such as Jamie Yancy, VP/IT Manager & Security Officer, Native American Bank, and Ike Barnes, who is the head of the Colorado Electronic Crimes Task Force for the US Secret Service.

“We know that speakers with technical expertise are important to tech leaders, but we also recognize that the influences and demands on the tech industry and tech leaders come from a number of directions. Because our conferences are designed specifically by IT leaders for IT leaders, we work to bring speakers to address the many issues that can affect IT leaders,” said Wes Sherman, President of The IT Summit.

Additional information regarding times, venue, and registration and complimentary admission qualifications can be found on the company’s website at http://www.theitsummit.com, or can be obtained by calling at 503/828-0294.

An Adobe Acrobat PDF version of this press release can be downloaded here.

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by Fred F. Farkel, Monday, January 5th, 2015

 

The IT Summit

3300 NW 185th, Suite 77
Portland, OR 97229
eMail: info@theitsummit.com
Phone: 503/828-0294

Press Release

The IT Summit announces its 2015 Conference Series for IT Executives, Professionals and Solutions Providers

The IT Summit returns with it’s popular series of IT focused conferences, updated for 2015

Portland, Oregon, January 5, 2015:  Following their successful 10th Anniversary year events, The IT Summit has announced the dates and locations for its highly anticipated 2015 Conference Series. Regarded as the ‘Ultimate Conference Series’ for IT executives, professionals, and solutions providers, The IT Summit conferences are for senior leaders to promote economic development, education, and the proliferation of information technology. “Our regionally focused conferences are special not only because they are designed specifically for IT leaders, but each is crafted with the input and guidance of IT leaders,” said Wes Sherman, President of The IT Summit. “As a result, each of our events offers the incredible opportunity for C-Level technology leaders to interact with, and learn from their peers, the opportunity to attend informative seminars by dynamic speakers that are of specific interest to IT leaders, the opportunity to meet with a wide selection of outstanding solution providers, and to be able to do this all in single location over the course of a single day. And not only do we offer all this to IT leaders at no expense to them, we even throw in the proverbial ‘free lunch.’”

The IT Summit 2015 series includes events in: Bellevue/Seattle, WA; Denver, CO; Houston, TX; San Diego, CA; Long Beach/Los Angeles, CA. Additional information regarding times, venue, and registration and complimentary admission qualifications can be found on the company’s website at http://www.theitsummit.com, or can be obtained by calling at 503/828-0294.

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by Fred F. Farkel, Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

 

If you have a business printer, you know you can’t afford to have it go down and not be able to get it serviced. And it gets a workout you know you are going to have issues with it at some time. So, you buy a service contract.

Might we suggest that you buy an Oki Data printer instead?

First, one major mean of preventing printer failures is buying a printer that can stand up to the environment. A printer that is not likely to fail in the first place. Oki has a reputation for building tough printers. If you need confirmation, look at the computer system in a dusty, grimy environment such as an auto repair shop. Chances are, you will see an Oki Data printer attached to it. In terms of an office printer, instead of an intricate imaging system with numerous moving parts and inherently subject mechanical issues — Oki replaces the traditional laser and rotating mirror and lens system with a stationary array of LEDs (light-emitting diodes) as its light source. Fewer moving parts means fewer mechanical failures.

Corefido_main_splash1Second, Oki is offering 60 months of protection—parts and labor, including transfer belt and fuser replacement—with on-site expert repairs nationwide, and a recycling program that’s easy and eco-correct on  their MC700 Color MFP Series (MC770, MC780, MC780f and MC780fx) and MB700 Monochrome MFP Series (MB760, MB770, MB770f and MB770fx) printers. So, instead of having to purchase extended service contracts for years — service which is generally provided by a third party who may or may not have an official sanction of the printer manufacturer — you can get 5 years of protection provided by the manufacturer.

If you would like more information about this cost-saving offer, you can review the promotional flyer or head over to Oki’s website for more details.

Only Oki Data printers are built Oki tough.

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by Fred F. Farkel, Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

 

What do you do and where do you go when your organization needs an IP address for its network? One option is to go to your ISP and obtain a dedicated IP. But where do they get them? And can you bypass your ISP and get an IP directly? In a blog article entitles “How IPs are legally and illegally exchanged” author Sam Walt gives an overview of the process, the players and what businesses need to know about the process when they decide they need additional IP addresses.

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by Fred F. Farkel, Monday, October 13th, 2014

 

American Digital Corporation is a forward-thinking IT Solutions Provider. We have a proven track record of helping Fortune 1000 organizations develop and maintain IT strategies that solve day-to-day business challenges while positioning themselves for future growth and advancements in technology.

As an HP Platinum Partner, American Digital provides custom system integration and consulting services across HP’s complete enterprise portfolio of server, storage, security and converged infrastructure solutions. We also support business critical applications such as SAP, VMWare, RedHat, Microsoft, Oracle, Meditech, Epic and Ellucian.

With our West Coast Division based in Irvine, CA, our 30 years of experience and nationwide presence allow us to support a variety of markets including health care, finance, manufacturing, distribution and higher education.

Our focus is your success.

IT Solutions from American Digital

  • Enterprise Storage Solutions & Optimization Assessments
  • Server Upgrades and Migrations
  • Cloud Solutions – Private or Hybrid
  • Proactive Network Security Solutions
  • Managed and Professional Services
  • Data Center Consolidatio
  • Assessments for Virtualization
  • Enterprise Application Architecture Consulting, Migrations and Upgrades
  • CoLo/Hosting
  • Network Integration

From server upgrades to storage optimization, we are the premier IT solutions provider for products and services that will help you streamline processes and operate efficiently.

American Digital

West Coast Headquarters

2 Executive Circle
Suite 150
Irvine, CA 92614

Midwest Headquarters

25 Northwest Point Blvd
Suite 200
Elk Grove Village, IL 60007

www.americandigital.com
Phone (877) 220-5321

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by Fred F. Farkel, Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

 

According to the 2014 IDC EMC Digital Universe Study, the digital universe is doubling in size every two years. The amount of data we create and copy will reach 44 zettabytes (44 trillion gigabytes) by 2020. Over two thirds of that 44 zettabytes is unstructured data generated by end users, yet 85% of that user-generated content is managed by an enterprise IT department at some point in its lifecycle. This explosive data growth is forcing companies of all sizes to explore more efficient data storage strategies which allow them to deliver storage services at cloud scale, allow them to meet new application and user demands while providing operational efficiency at scale. These demands are requiring companies to take a new approach to information storage.

What is that approach? Our friends from EMC have the answer to that question: ViPR Software-Defined Storage.

What is ViPR Software-Defined Storage? In short, it is a unified storage platform that provides a single control plane for multi-vendor, heterogeneous storage systems. The ViPR Software-Defined Storage platform forms the infrastructure that hosts ViPR Services, which support object, HDFS, and block storage on commodity hardware. The folks from EMC have made their white paper entitled “VIPR SERVICES STORAGE ENGINE ARCHITECTURE WHITE PAPER: Deploy a modern hyperscale storage platform on commodity infrastructure” available for you which details this solution. After you have read this informative document, we encourage you to contact your local EMC representative or authorized reseller, visit the EMC website, or explore and compare products in the EMC Store to learn more about EMC products, services, and solutions and how they can help solve your business and IT challenges.

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by Fred F. Farkel, Monday, August 11th, 2014

 

Guest column by Citadel Information Group

Weekend Vulnerability and Patch Report

The following software vulnerabilities and updates were announced last week. Citadel Information Group strongly recommends that readers update their computers and take other action as indicated.

Important Security Updates

Apple iTunes: Apple has released version 11.3.1 of iTunes for Windows (64-bit). Updates are available from Apple’s website.

Foxit Reader: Foxit has released version 6.2.2.0802 to fix a moderately critical vulnerability. Updates are available through the program or from Foxit’s website.

Opera: Opera has released version 23.0.1522.72 to fix moderately critical vulnerabilities. Updates are available from within the browser or from Opera’s website

Oracle Java: Oracle has released Java SE 7 Update 67. The update is available through Windows Control Panel or Java’s website. [See Citadel’s recommendation below]

Current Software Versions

Adobe Flash  14.0.0.145 [Windows 7: IE]

Adobe Flash  14.0.0.145 [Windows 7: Firefox, Mozilla]

Adobe Flash  14.0.0.145 [Windows 8: IE]

Adobe Flash  14.0.0.145 [Macintosh OS X: Firefox, Opera, Safari]

Adobe Reader 11.0.07

Dropbox 2.10.3 [Citadel warns against relying on Dropbox security. We recommend files containing sensitive information be independently encrypted with a program like Axcrypt; encryption keys be at least 15 characters long; and the Dropbox password be at least 15 characters long and different from other passwords.]

Firefox 31.0

Google Chrome 36.0.1985.125

Internet Explorer 11.0.9600.17126

Java SE 7 Update 67 [Citadel recommends removing or disabling Java from your browser. Java is a major source of cyber criminal exploits. It is not needed for most internet browsing. If you have a particular web site that requires Java, Citadel recommends using a two-browser approach to minimize risk. If you normally browse the Web with Firefox, for example, disable the Java plugin in Firefox and use an alternative browser — such as Chrome, IE9, Safari, etc — with Java enabled to browse only the sites that require it.]

QuickTime 7.7.5

Safari 5.1.7

Safari 7.0.4 [Mac OS X]

Skype 6.18.0.106

Newly Announced Unpatched Vulnerabilities

None

For an updated list of previously announced Unpatched Vulnerabilities, please see the resources section of Citadel’s website.

For Your IT Department

Cisco Multiple Products: Secunia reports that Cisco has released updates for its IOS Software and IOS XE Software, Unity Connection and others. Apply updates. Secunia reports that Cisco has released a partial fix for its TelePresence Products. Update or upgrade to version 1.10.7:3 or 6.1.4:4.

McAfee Network Security Manager: Secunia reports that McAfee has released updates for its Network Security Manager to fix a vulnerability. Update to version 8.1.7.3, 7.5.5.9, 7.1.15.7, 7.1.5.15, or 6.1.15.39.

OpenSSL Multiple Products: Secunia reports that vulnerabilities, some of which are moderately critical, are reported in previous versions. Update to version 0.9.8zb or update to version 1.0.0n or 1.0.1i.


If you are responsible for the security of your computer, Citadel’s Weekend Vulnerability and Patch Report is for you. We strongly urge you to take action to keep your workstation patched and updated.

If someone else is responsible for the security of your computer, forward our Weekend Vulnerability and Patch Report to them and follow up to make sure your computer has been patched and updated.

Vulnerability management is a key element of cyber security management. Cyber criminals take over user computers by writing computer programs that “exploit” vulnerabilities in operating systems (Windows, Apple OS, etc) and application programs (Adobe Acrobat, Office, Flash, Java, etc). When software companies find a vulnerability, they usually issue an update patch to fix the code running in their customer’s computers.

 

Citadel Information Group publishes our Weekend Vulnerability and Patch Report to alert readers to some of the week’s important updates and vulnerabilities. Our focus is on software typically found in the small or home office (SOHO) or that users are likely to have on their home computer. The report is not intended to be a thorough listing of updates and vulnerabilities.

Citadel Information Group … Delivering Information Peace of Mind ® to Business and the Not-for-Profit Community


Copyright © 2014 Citadel Information Group. All rights reserved.

The IT Summit would like to thank Citadel Information Group for allowing us to provide this information to you. The post Weekend Vulnerability and Patch Report, August 10, 2014 appeared first on Citadel Information Group.

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