Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Is Faking Caller ID Illegal in the United States?

It used to be pretty easy to fake a caller ID in the U.S. I remember doing it years ago in one of my classes, calling my cell phone from another line using my own cell number as a spoofed caller ID. I could make it look like I was calling myself - kind of creepy if you did not know what was going on. I was using one of the services on the web - I won't post any links or names of companies here that offer /offered these services. Most of them shut their services down but you can still find thier sites on the web if you do some creative searching.

Is it illegal in the United States? Yes.

One year ago today, on February 23, 2010, the Senate passed a bill called the Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009 (S:30). It then went to the House of Representatives and was passed. Both the Senate and the House passed it by Unanimous Consent.

A couple months ago on December 22, 2010, President Obama signed it so it is now a law, currently illegal to cause any caller identification service to knowingly transmit misleading or inaccurate caller identification information with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value.

The law includes VoIP services like Skype and has an exemption allowing users to block their caller ID if they want to. In addition, law enforcement is exempt.

I've already been asked - Was Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's prank call caller ID spoofed? I have no idea.

The World Is Obsessed With Facebook Video

Alex Trimpe has an interesting video up on Vimeo about Facebook. He made it using Adobe After Effects at The Columbus College of Art & Design (CCAD) for a class. Here's the video:

The World Is Obsessed With Facebook from Alex Trimpe on Vimeo.

Can you believe 750 million pictures were uploaded to Facebook just over New Year's weekend??

Friday, February 18, 2011

Community College Blogging: A Conversation with Dr Troy Swanson

On Thursday I had the pleasure of talking with Dr Troy Swanson, an Associate Professor / Teaching and Learning Librarian at Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills, IL. In December Troy completed his PhD in Community College Leadership at Old Dominion University. His dissertation is titled The Administration of Community College Blogs: Considering Control and Adaptability in Loosely Coupled Systems. In the podcast, Troy discusses some of his findings.

Here’s some dissertation background from Troy:
Web 2.0 technologies present an unlimited potential for outreach to the public by college employees. This presents a conundrum for community college administrators that David Weinberger calls "the conundrum of control." This conundrum is that organizations need to find a way to organize people around technology to ensure that it is used to further the organization’s mission. Yet, in terms of 2.0 technologies, the more controls that are put in place, the less useful the tools become.

There is also a second conundrum around technology that challenges mangers. This is that the more controls that are in place around a technology, the easier it is to communicate and transfer that technology across the organization. But, the more difficult it is for organization members to adapt the technology to meet new needs.

As one of oldest form of 2.0 technology, the management of blogs presents lessons that we can use for other, newer, 2.0 technologies.

I interviewed administrators and blog authors at community colleges across the US to see how colleges were managing their blogs. The focus was on administrative blogs as opposed to course-related or faculty blogs that discussed their research.  The larger purpose of the study was to see how easily the technology could adapt to new needs and whether campuses were restricting the use of blogs. What kinds of guidance were campus leaders giving to bloggers who were representing the college?
The study’s findings offer a peak into how the administrative structures of community colleges impact technology and Web 2.0. Listen to the 30 minute and 40 second podcast in your browser by clicking the play button below.

Here's how to contact Troy:

Troy’s Email:
Troy on Twitter:

Moraine Valley Library Link (includes blogs, podcasts, Facebook, etc):

If you have iTunes installed you can listen to and subscribe to our podcasts by clicking here.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Verizon Makes first Voice over LTE (VoLTE) Call Over Commercial Network

Last week in New Jersey, Verizon Wireless made the world’s first VoLTE call over a commercial network  and has continued to demonstrate the technology this past week at the2011 Mobile World Congress (MWC 2011) in Barcelona, Spain.

This is a significant technological event for a number of reasons:

  • Both LTE and WiMAX (4G technologies) are 100% Internet protocol based - voice, video and data. 3G and earlier technologies still switch voice calls.
  • Verizon is using the Adaptive Multi-Rate Wideband (AMR-WB) codec which offers better sound quality. AMR-WB is commonly referred to as "High Definition (HD) Voice". It is a significant improvement over existing mobile voice.
  • LTE network setup, configuration and maintenance is simpler and will ultimately cost providers less. This should speed implementation and ultimately drive consumer costs down.
  • By the end of 2013, Verizon will have the existing 3G footprint covered with LTE. Between now and the end of 2013, users will have the option of using the Verizon 3G network or 4G VoLTE. 4G calls cannot be handed off to 3G service and phones will come with both 3G and LTE radios.
  • AT&T is targeting VoLTE capabilities by 2013 with a seven year plan to move fully to LTE, shutting down it's existing TDM based network.

 Here's an Engadget demo video shot at MWC 2011 this past week.


Landline quality over a wireless connection. This is going to put a significant dent in already rapidly declining landline business.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Anonymous, Barr, Stuxnet and Soliciting Hackers Podcast [29:20]

Today, Mike Q and I recorded another podcast with Sam Bowne from City College of San Francisco about how Aaron Barr tracked down Anonymous and paid a heavy price, Stuxnet, The Jester and how U.S. Chamber lobbyists solicited and used hackers. 
You can listen to the 29 minute and 20 second podcast in your browser by clicking the play button below:

Here's the links we refer to in the show:

How one man tracked down Anonymous—and paid a heavy price

US Chamber's Lobbyists Solicited Hackers To Sabotage Unions, Smear Chamber's Political Opponents

US Chamber's Lobbyists Solicited Firm To Investigate Opponents' Families, Children

If you have iTunes installed you can listen to and subscribe to our podcasts by clicking here.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Wireless Services Build Out

President Barack Obama is laying out his plan for the build-out of high-speed wireless services today. According to a White House Press Release, the plan will enable businesses to grow faster, students to learn more, and public safety officials to access state-of-the-art, secure, nationwide, and interoperable mobile communications.

Here's more details from the press release:

  • Nearly Double Wireless Spectrum Available for Mobile Broadband.  The number of “Smartphones” will soon pass both conventional mobile phones and computers around the world, promising lower costs for such devices, more functionality, and greater demand for bandwidth (speed).  4G deployment is rising to meet this demand, but it relies on access to the “airwaves” that is currently constrained by a spectrum crunch that will hinder future innovation.  To address this challenge, the President’s initiative has set the goal of freeing up 500 MHz of spectrum.  Specifically, the plan provides:
    • Win-win incentives for government holders.  New financial-compensation tools and a commitment to using advanced technologies more effectively will enable government agencies to use spectrum more efficiently.
    • Win-win incentives for commercial holders.  As recommended in the FCC’s National Broadband Plan, legislation is needed to allow the FCC to conduct “voluntary incentive auctions” that enable current spectrum holders to realize a portion of auction revenues if they choose to participate.
  • The majority of the freed up spectrum would be auctioned for licensed mobile broadband, raising a projected $27.8 billion over the next decade, and a remainder would be for unlicensed use. 
  • A Goal of 98% of Americans with Access to 4G High-Speed Wireless. America’s businesses are building out 4G networks to much of the nation, with some major companies crediting the President’s recent tax incentives for accelerating their efforts. Nevertheless, absent additional government investment, millions of Americans will not be able to participate in the 4G revolution.  To that end, the President’s Budget supports the 4G buildout in rural areas through a one-time $5 billion investment.  This investment, to be managed by the FCC, will help catalyze universal service reform to provide access to higher-speed wireless and wired broadband, dovetail with the need for public safety to have a wireless network available in rural areas, and extend access from the almost 95% of Americans who have 3G wireless services today to at least 98% of all Americans gaining access to state-of-the-art 4G high-speed wireless services within five years.  Extending access to high-speed wireless not only provides a valuable service to Americans living in those areas—access to medical tests, online courses, and applications that have not yet been invented—but also catalyzes economic growth by enabling consumers and businesses living in those areas to participate in the 21st century economy. 
  • A Wireless Innovation (WIN) Fund to Help Drive Innovation. This $3 billion fund will advance our economic growth and competitiveness goals, supporting key technological developments that will enable and take advantage of the 4G rollout and pave the way for new technologies.  The WIN Fund will support basic research, experimentation and testbeds, and applied development in a number of areas, including public safety, education, energy, health, transportation, and economic development. 
  • Develop and Deploy A Nationwide, Interoperable Wireless Network For Public Safety. The 9/11 Commission noted that our homeland security is vulnerable, in part, due to the lack of interoperable wireless communication among first responders.  The rollout of 4G high speed wireless services provides a unique opportunity to deploy such a system in conjunction with the commercial infrastructure already being developed and deployed.  To seize that opportunity, President Obama is calling for an investment of $10.7 billion to ensure that our public safety benefits from these new technologies: $3.2 billion to reallocate the “D Block” (which is a band of spectrum that would be reserved and prioritized for public safety and not auctioned as called for under existing law); $7 billion to support the deployment of this network; and $500 million from the WIN Fund for R&D and technological development to tailor the network to meet public safety requirements.  This investment, in coordination with the investment in rural buildout, will ensure that the rollout of 4G in rural areas serves the needs of public safety and the broader community. 
  • Cut the deficit by $9.6 billion over the next decade. The President’s proposals to auction off spectrum freed up from the government and voluntarily relinquished by current commercial users, is estimated to raise $27.8 billion. This total is above-and-beyond the auction proceeds that are used to provide an incentive for private and government users as well as the auction proceeds that are expected even absent the President’s proposal. After the cost of the investments proposed by the President, the initiative would reduce the deficit by $9.6 billion over the next decade.
 See the press release for more information.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Join Us in July in San Francisco For HI-TEC

Summer seems pretty far away here in cold and snowy New England...... even so...... it's time to start thinking about it!

Once again our National Center for Information and Communications Technologies NSF Center, along with a number of other NSF Advanced Technological Education Centers and Projects, will be sponsoring the annual HI-TEC conference. This summer the conference will be held in San Francisco July 25-28. Here's a piece from the conference website:

HI-TEC is a national conference on advanced technical education where technical educators, counselors, industry professionals, and technicians can update their knowledge and skills. Charged with Educating America's Technical Workforce, the event focuses on the preparation needed by the existing and future workforce for companies in the high-tech sectors that drive our nation's economy.
And a short promo video:

Check out the conference website at

Hope to see you there!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Buy-Anywhere Options, Not Devices, Will Be Key to Digital Publishing Success

I just finished a keynote presentation titled Why Should You Be Interested in Mobile Devices and Application Development? at UMass Boston Mobile Boot Camp. In the presentation I talked a lot about content distribution and how it is changing. Things like App Stores, Software As A Service (SAAS) and how we have different options now in the way we purchase, install and manage our purchased digital content. ABI Research has a new study titled Digital Publishing for Portable Devices, which foresees digital content sales growing to nearly $16.5 billion worldwide in 2016, more than five times their 2010 level. Here's a piece from an ABI press release:

Despite the enormous media focus on iPads, Kindles, Nooks and other eReaders, the market for digital content will not be tied to the success or failure of any single one of these devices, according to the new study. “Consumers can purchase digital texts through their PCs or smartphones, in addition to buying directly through their eReaders,” explains Larry Fisher, research director of NextGen, ABI Research’s emerging technologies research incubator. “The variety of applications that allow people to buy this digital content reassures them that they won’t be tied to a single store—or device—for content.”
Barriers still exist - here's more:
Significant barriers to the growth of digital publishing remain, however, including licensing of back catalog material, the conversion of publishing workflows designed specifically for digital instead of print content, and most importantly for periodicals, pricing. Paying for single issues of magazines and newspapers on the iPad in particular has met with resistance from subscribers accustomed to bargain-priced subscriptions rather than one-off sales. Still, says Fisher, “One-off sales won’t keep publishers from selling content to other device users, and Apple will likely offer some form of subscription service eventually.”
What now things will we see next year?
Digital text sales will get an extra boost in 2012 as some of these challenges are met and high-quality color eInk readers become widely available. Although such readers are currently on the market, they do not offer the full saturation color that print magazine readers have come to expect. Magazine and newspaper readership will still be greater on LCD-screen readers and tablet computers that can handle video and other graphics requiring a fast refresh rate.
 You can get more information on the ABI Research report linked here.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Simulation and Modeling in Technology Education (SMTE) Project

This is a temporary demo video for the Knowledge and Skills Builder level 2D - the "Material Thickness (L Value) Challenge" in the Survival Master game for STEM learning.

You can follow along via the project website at

Violinist & Violist Philipp Otto Naegele [1928-2011]

On the night of January 30, 2011 after a short illness, Philipp Otto Naegele passed away peacefully in his sleep. A brilliant violinist and violist, Philipp was a guiding light in the classical music world and a dedicated and inspirational teacher and mentor.

He was my youngest daughter’s violin teacher for the past four years. Born in Stuttgart, Germany in 1928, his mom a physician and his father artist Reinhold Naegele. With the rise of Hitler in 1939, and 11 years old, he emigrated to England via Kindertransport, a rescue mission for primarily Jewish children that took place nine months before the war started. In 1940 he crossed the Atlantic to the U.S. by naval convoy - a pretty dangerous thing to do with Nazi U-Boats patrolling the Atlantic and those convoys being pretty easy pickings.

In the U.S. he settled in New York City where he went to school, eventually obtaining his doctorate in musicology from Princeton University. He also spent a graduate year on a Fullbright Fellowship at the Vienna Academy of Music studying violin with Franz Samohyl. Imagine going back to Europe after the war......

He then spent  eight years as violinist in the Cleveland Orchestra and the next 36 years as a faculty member in the Smith College music department, eventually becoming the William R. Kenan Professor of Music Emeritus at Smith. In 1950 he became involved with the founders of the Marlboro School and Festival (Vermont) where he began a participation as violinist and violist - and ultimately translator - that has endured till now.

My daughter spent an hour a week with Dr Naegele for the past four years. Extremely modest about his abilities and accomplishments, he was old school - a tough but caring teacher. Prior to Dr Naegele, she had been taking lessons from the teacher she started with at three years old. An excellent teacher but we felt it was time to move on. Dr Naegele treated her like an adult - an eye opener at first! If you were not prepared for your lesson he would let you know. There was one particularly busy week when she had not had a lot of time to practice. Five minutes into the lesson he sent her home, telling her to come back after she had practiced.  A good life lesson for an 11 year old - she was always prepared after that!

Thanks so much Dr Naegele, Eva and the rest of our family are really going to miss you.  Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Dr Naegele lived in Northampton, MA. For more information on his incredible life see (That's where I got the sketch above by pianist Amy J. Yan. Hope that is ok.)