Archive | November, 2012

1:26 AM – two way internet, voice, data via satellite communications

23 Nov

?From Wikipedia

?Communications in Afghanistan

Communications in Afghanistan has grown considerably in the last decade, and has embarked on wireless companies, internet, radio stations and television channels. The Afghan Ministry of Communications signed a $64.5 agreement in 2006 with China’s ZTE on the establishment of a countrywide optical fiber cable network. The project was intended to improve telephone, internet, television and radio broadcast services throughout the country. About 85% of the country’s population has access to communication services as of 2012.

Telecom companies, such as Afghan Wireless and Roshan, began boasting rapid increase in cellular phone usage in the mid 2000s. In response to this Etisalat and MTN Group were launched, and by 2009 there were about 18 million mobile phone users in Afghanistan. Etisalat became the first company to launch 3G services in 2012 followed MTN and Roshan. In the meantime, Afghan officials announced that they plan to send its own satellite into space.

Further information: Telephone numbers in Afghanistan

There are about 18 million GSM mobile phone subscribers in Afghanistan as of 2009, with over 75,000 fixed-telephone-lines and little over 190,000 CDMA subscribers.[1][8] Mobile communications have improved because of the introduction of wireless carriers into this developing country. The first was Afghan Wireless, which is US based that was founded by Ehsan Bayat. The second was Roshan, which began providing services to all major cities within Afghanistan. There are also a number of VSAT stations in major cities such as Kabul, Kandahar, Herat, Mazari Sharif, and Jalalabad, providing international and domestic voice/data connectivity. The international calling code for Afghanistan is +93. The following is a partial list of mobile phone companies in the country:

  • ??? Afghan Wireless
  • ??? Roshan
  • ??? Etisalat
  • ??? MTN Group

All the companies providing communication services are obligated to deliver 2.5% of their income to the communication development fund annually.

According to the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology there are 4760 active towers throughout the country which covers 85% of the population. The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology plans to expand its services in remote parts of the country where the remaining 15% of the population will be covered with the installation of 700 new towers. An agreement worth US $32 million has been signed with a Chinese contractor for the realization of the plan.


Afghanistan was given legal control of the “.af” domain in 2003, and the Afghanistan Network Information Center (AFGNIC) was established to administer domain names. As of 2010, there are at least 46 internet service providers (ISPs) in the country.Internet in Afghanistan is also at the peak with 1 million users as of 2009.

According to the Ministry of Communications, the following are some of the different ISPs operating in Afghanistan:

  • ??? AfSat
  • ??? Neda
  • ??? CeReTechs
  • ??? Insta
  • ??? Global Services (P) Limited
  • ??? Rana Technologies
  • ??? LiwalNet
  • ??? Global Entourage Services


There are over 50 Afghan television channels worldwide, many of which are based inside Afghanistan while others are broadcasted from North America and Europe. Selected foreign channels are also shown to the public in Afghanistan, but with the use of the internet, over 3,500 international TV channels may be accessed in Afghanistan.


As of 2007, there are an estimated 50 private radio stations throughout the country. Broadcasts are in Dari, Pashto, English, Uzbeki and many other languages.

The number of radio listeners are decreasing and are being slowly outnumbered by television. Of Afghanistan’s 6 main cities, Kandahar and Khost have a lot of radio listeners. Kabul and Jalalabad have moderate number of listeners. However, Mazar-E-Sharif and especially Herat have very few radio

Postal service

In 1870, a central post office was established at Bala Hissar in Kabul and a post office in the capital of each province. The service was slowly being expanded over the years as more postal offices were established in each large city by 1918. Afghanistan became member of the Universal Postal Union in 1928, and the postal administration elevated to the Ministry of Communication in 1934. Civil war caused a disruption in issuing official stamps during the 1980s-90s war but in 1999 postal service was operating again. Postal services to/from Kabul worked remarkably well all throughout the war years. Postal services to/from Herat resumed in 1997. The Afghan government has reported to the UPU several times about illegal stamps being issued and sold in 2003 and 2007.

Afghanistan Post has been reorganizing the postal service in 2000s with the help of Pakistan Post. The Afghanistan Postal commission was formed to prepare a written policy for the development of the postal sector, which will form the basis of a new postal services law governing licensing of postal services providers. The project was expected to finish by 2008.


The Afghan Ministry of Communications announced that they plan to send its own satellite into space. The satellite will be launched at a position of 50 degrees east, due to geographical position of Afghanistan, the satellite will be able to cover Asia, Europe, Australia and Africa. According to the Afghan Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT), the geographical existence of Afghanistan is very valuable to connect all communications to this satellite.

The satellite is expected to improve the country’s television and internet coverage. In addition, it will save Afghanistan money in fees; Afghanistan currently pays around 100 million dollars a year to provide communication services. Based on statistics from the MCIT, Afghanistan needs around 1,700 megabytes for its communications per year. It will take at least three years to launch the satellite, with the total cost ranging between 200 to 300 million, major international countries have shown interest in sharing the costs with the Afghan government.



? Afghanistan is within our satellite KU band service coverage via SES-4, AM44 and ARABSAT. See footprints below.

See above the Middle East Map and trace Afghanistan? to the satellite coverage below. This means Afghanistan people can avail of a two way data, voice, video and internet communications to the rest of the globe via any of these covering communication satellites.

What will be required are an ODU (Out Door Unit) composed of satellite dish antenna (VSAT), penetrating or non penetrating mount which can be aligned to the serving satellite by qualified engineer in no time; and an IDU (In Door Unit) composed of satellite modem or?receiver/transmitter and a connection to the end user LAN (Local Area Network).


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Rise in Numbers of Empty Shops | Business Networking Link

21 Nov

More than one in ten shops are now empty according to the British Retail Consortium. Reports on the BBC Business News website indicate that figures represent the worst town centre vacancy rate since July 2011 when the BRC?s nationwide survey first began.

With the worst hit areas being Northern Ireland, Wales, the North and Yorkshire, numerous retail premises are now lying vacant.

Many big retail chains have either cut back on their high street outlets or otherwise, as in the case of Comet closed their stores altogether.

With footfall dropping compared to last year, and falls in retail sales, the impact of high prices and overheads is being felt keenly on all fronts.

With news that next years business rates are set to increase, there are calls for the government to consider freezing rates instead.

The outlook for job creation remains bleak in the light of the current climate and it remains to be seen what the future holds for High Street Britain.


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More teens taking steroids to bulk up; girls, too : Watchdog Blog

19 Nov

Posted on | November 19, 2012 | Comments

Despite years of increasing prosecution of illegal traffickers, punishment of high-profile athletes and widely publicized health risks, more young people are using steroids to build muscles and bulk up self-esteem.

Boys are more likely to change their eating habits, too, to gain muscle mass. But steroid use is also growing among girls, according to the study.

The medical journal ?Pediatrics? published these findings this morning, Monday, Nov. 19.

The study questioned 2,793 middle and high school students in Minnesota about their fitness and nutrition. It also asked about use of steroids and consumer products such as megavitamins and protein powders.

One in three teenaged boys said they consumed protein powders. Six percent of boys said they used steroids. and 66 percent said they changed their diets to try to build muscle mass.

And it?s not just boys. One-fifth of girls they said consumed protein shakes and over over-the-counter products. About five percent said they took steroids.

The study was conducted by research teams at the University of Minnesota and Columbia University.

Girls have been known to wrestle with body image issues, the researchers said, and some are turning to weightlifting to try to meet their sometimes unrealistic personal goals.

But the researchers were especially concerned about increasing body-image fragility among boys.

Images of men in movies and on television are growing more muscular, they said, and that?s fueling more body dissatisfaction in male teens, who in turn try to bulk up even if they do not participate in sports that call for more bulk or strength. And they are doing so in many cases without a sanctioned fitness or nutrition program.


Written by: tbray

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NFL Star Accidentally Tweets Photo With Naked Teammate

16 Nov

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Greyhound to offer non-stop LA to Vegas service

7 Nov

5 hrs.

LAS VEGAS –?It’s getting even easier to get between Las Vegas and Los Angeles without a car.

Greyhound announced it’s launching non-stop bus service between the two cities starting Wednesday.

The company will offer five round trips daily, with two additional round trips on Fridays and Sundays to accommodate weekend visitors. Fares range from $25 to $67.50 one way, with a limited number of tickets available for $1.

The route is the latest for Greyhound Express, which is a premium service from the bus company and features reserved seating, free wireless Internet and extra legroom.

Express routes also connect to the company’s network of 3,800 stations throughout North America.?

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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The territory of the post-professional : home cooked theory

6 Nov

Posted on | November 5, 2012 | 2 Comments

Here is the start of a paper I?m working on for the ?Data, Memory, Territory? workshop at UWS in November. It is lonely writing in a foreign hotel room! So I post it here in case anyone has any feedback. Given the frame for the event I?m hoping to develop the relationship between time, mastery and territory, including the imposition of temporality and control in the colonial sense that I think Dourish and Mainwaring mean in this paper (pdf). More thoughts welcome.

Measuring productivity through GTD and life-hacking

?Getting Things Done? (GTD) and ?life-hacking? applications allow users to accomplish their goals and reclaim appropriate space-time perception in the face of network culture?s immersive and distracting potential. Through a range of measures, from shutting down email and non-priority communication to quantifying peak performance periods for maximum efficiency, GTD apps facilitate the pleasures of individual productivity. With names like ?SelfControl,? ?Omnifocus?, ?Rescue Time? and ?Freedom?, their intent is to offer liberation as much as consolation: to provide mastery over extraneous matters and the fallibility of memory to ensure optimal work flow.

This new software industry solves the difficulty workers and individuals face in the battle against new media technologies? distracting potential. But it is also a technological solution to an ontological and empirical problem. The networked nature of contemporary work makes it possible to deliver more information than ever before, and hence more requests for employees? attention than it is possible to action. This poses significant risks to the wellbeing of workers faced with the psychological challenge of managing information and communication requests largely on their own. GTD apps suggest that access to the plenitude of data available in online networks can lead to an inability to accomplish routine tasks, whether professional or domestic (as the application ?Remember the Milk? illustrates). Chronic, habitual online connectivity ? our compulsion to connect ? raises important questions about interest, self-surveillance, agency and will.

Emanating from the male-dominated fields of IT design and hacker subcultures, GTD illustrates the shift towards ?algorithmic living?. The services provided by productivity apps include turning human behaviour into data and code for measurement, and thus potential adjustment and improvement, through a quantified self. In this sense, the connection between GTD and hacking lifestyles dating back to the beginnings of the World Wide Web require exploration. The GTD worldview approaches personal and professional tasks alike as challenges to be overcome through efficient programming. It rests on an innate technological optimism that has characterised key moments in the history of the Internet. What this latest manifestation of tech-utopia suggests is that there may be a growing section of the population for whom the ability to act without the prompting of computer platforms is either undesirable or unthinkable. In practice, GTD applications respond to as much as they may also exacerbate the fallibility of human memory in the face of data overload.

To focus on the technological dimensions of GTD alone however is to miss some significant lineages that also assist in understanding its function. ?Getting Things Done? is one of the most successful titles in the broader suite of time management publications that have been a feature of office life over the course of many decades. GTD owes a debt to this longer legacy of management self-help and discourses of professionalism that typified mid-century modernity ? the classic period of Fordist production. As the ranks of middle management swelled in the organization era, the genre of business self-help served as a training ground for a generally male business class seeking to secure reputational capital and the benefits of life-long employment. In flexible, decentralised organizations today, time management has been one of the most prominent of techniques cultivated by individuals to maintain productivity and employability. No longer satisfied by the predictability of a company career, employees have increasingly gained fulfillment through proximity to ?projects? and ?networks?, just as their employers offered the benefits of ?flexibility? as opposed to stability. With their emphasis on streamlined workflow, the efficiency logics of GTD apps epitomise these broader cultural trends. They evolve in tandem with management protocols inviting employees to display autonomy and responsibility by ?working smarter, not harder?. Yet the significance of these survival skills in today?s employment market is their distance from the career path underpinning earlier efforts at professional strategising. GTD?s individualised response to workplace inefficiency is a marker of the inchoate labour politics of the ?precarious? white-collar worker.

The self-sufficient worker downloading GTD apps today takes on the imperative of productivity in spite of a generalised lack of employment and institutional security. In this present period of cognitive capitalism, the distinction between ?material? (manual) and so-called ?immaterial? (mental) labour dissolves, since the source of surplus value even for highly trained workers results in similar forms of ontological precarity. As distinct from Fordist modes of production, in cognitive capitalism the worker?s experience of surveillance moves from externally imposed discipline to internal self-management. This explains the freedom workers feel in identifying with imperatives that are directly productive for capital. The combined effect of these changes, in which the whole of one?s life and personality are available for profitable benefits, calls for careful scrutiny of the perceived benefits of productivity at an individual and social level.

The difference between time management in the organizational era ? defined by ?to do? lists, clock time, and a highly gendered division of labour ? and GTD in the network era ? where employees at all levels are equally responsible for their productivity ? is thus also the difference between professional and post-professional subjectivity. This is a work context in which traditional forms of management surveillance are less obvious since the innate value of productivity is no longer questioned. But it is also a moment in which the commonsense tenets of individualism and freedom have become so embedded in technology design that a cooperative politics of resistance is significantly impaired.

The philosophy of time management underpinning productivity applications takes a particular notion of time for granted. It assumes that time, like the worker, can be disciplined in line with the imperatives of capitalist production, and it does this in an unquestioning way. Using feminist theories of time that have emerged in the wake of the ?corporeal turn? and the rise of affect theory, this paper questions the default definition of ?time? in ?time management?. GTD?s faith in technology as the salve for broader ontological insecurity offers an interesting take on questions of data and territory insofar as it illuminates technology?s role in users? everyday attempts to control the unpredictable terrain of labour and ?life itself?. But comparative analysis of time management manuals and GTD apps, along with feminist philosophy and cultural theory, can critique ?the order of things? that is life-hacking?s mandate to reproduce. It can further reveal the neat fit between the GTD outlook and the isolating but not inevitable tendencies of neoliberal biopolitics.

Selected references

Berardi, Franco (Bifo) 2009, The Soul at Work: From Alienation to Autonomy, Francesca Cadel and Giuseppina Mecchia (trans), MIT Press, Boston.
Berlant, Lauren 2011, ?After the Good Life, an Impasse: Time Out, Human Resources, and the Precarious Present?, Cruel Optimism, Duke University Press, Durham.
Bliss, Edwin C. 1976, Getting Things Done: The ABC of Time Management.
Boltanski, Luc and ?ve Chiapello 2005, The New Spirit of Capitalism, Gregory Elliott (trans)., Verso, New York.
Cherny, Lynn and Elizabeth Reba Weise eds., 1996, Wired Women: Gender and New Realities in Cyberspace, Seal Press, Seattle, Wash.
Clough, Patricia Ticineto 2010, ?The Affective Turn: Political Economy, Biomedia, and Bodies?, The Affect Theory Reader, Melissa Gregg and Gregory J. Seigworth eds., Duke University Press, Durham, pp. 206-225.
Collis, Jack and Michael Leboeuf 1995/1988, Work Smarter Not Harder, Revised ed., Harper Business, Sydney.
De Peuter, Greg and Nick Dyer-Witheford 2009, ?Cognitive Capitalism: Electronic Arts?, Games of Empire: Global Capitalism and Video Games, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis
Dourish, Paul and Scott Mainwaring 2012, ?Ubicomp?s Colonial Impulse?, Paper presented at UbiComp 2012, Pittsburgh, PA, Sep 5-8.
Foucault, Michel 1988, ?Technologies of the Self?, in L. H. Martin, H. Gutman and P. H. Hutton eds., Technologies of the Self, University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst, pp 16?49.
Gill, R. & Pratt, A. 2008. ?In the Social Factory? Immaterial Labour, Precariousness and Cultural Work? Theory, Culture & Society, Vol. 25 , Nos. 7-8, pp, 1-30.
Gregg, Melissa 2011, Work?s Intimacy, Polity, Cambridge.
Grosz, Elizabeth 2010, ?The Untimeliness of Feminist Theory?, NORA: Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research, Vol. 18, No. 1, pp. 48-51.
Mills, C. Wright 1973/1951, White Collar: The American Middle Classes, Oxford University Press, New York.
Mitropoulos, A. 2006. ?Precari-us?? Mute Magazine. January 9.
Rose, Nikolas 2006, The Politics of Life Itself: Biomedicine, Power, and Subjectivity in the Twenty-First Century, Princeton University Press.
Sennett, Richard 1998, The Corrosion of Character: The Personal Consequences of Work in the New Capitalism, W. W. Norton, New York.
Streeter, Thomas 2011, The Net Effect: Romanticism, Capitalism, and the Internet, New York University Press, New York.
Whyte, William H. 1956, The Organisation Man, Harmondsworth, Penguin [Originally published 1956].
Zuboff, S. 1984. In the Age of the Smart Machine: The Future of Work and Power. Basic Books.

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Brent steadies around $106; US elections eyed amid demand concerns

5 Nov

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Brent crude steadied near $106 per barrel on Monday as investors remained on the sidelines a day ahead of U.S. presidential elections, fretting about the economic policies of the candidates and their possible impact on the world’s biggest oil consumer.

President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney are locked in a close race, as global markets worry about U.S. budget uncertainty, with looming spending cuts and tax hikes threatening to push the economy back into recession.

The uncertainty comes at a time when crude markets are already weighed down by worries of weak demand, especially in key consumers such as Japan, China and the euro zone, with a ramp-up in production by Saudi Arabia adding to pressure.

“Broadly speaking, we’ve seen a process over recent weeks now where the oil market is adjusting for the fact that there’s plenty of supply around for current demand levels,” said CMC markets analyst Ric Spooner.

He added that a key concern over the U.S. election was the possibility of a narrow Obama victory combined with a convincing Republican win in Congress. “(That) would make negotiations over fixing the fiscal cliff (difficult),” he said.

Front-month Brent futures rose 14 cents to $105.82 per barrel at 0248 GMT, while U.S. crude climbed 14 cents to $85 per barrel.

Crude prices fell more than 2 percent on Friday after the U.S. government allowed foreign tankers to bring fuel to the East Coast from other U.S. ports to tide over shortages caused by superstorm Sandy.


Although investors were preoccupied by demand worries from weak global economic activity and the outcome of a weekend meeting of G20 finance chiefs, the presidential elections on Tuesday remained in focus.

The outcome of Congress talks over the ?fiscal cliff’ – a package of tax increases and spending cuts that will take effect in January if there is no long-term pact to cut the budget deficit – is already a major uncertainty for markets.

Last year’s bitter partisan fight in Congress over raising the debt ceiling, the legal amount the U.S. Treasury is allowed to borrow, resulted in the U.S. losing its coveted top-tier triple-A rating from Standard & Poor’s.

That could push the world’s biggest economy into a deep recession and cut energy demand far more than expected.

Adding to concerns, two days after the U.S. elections, China’s ruling Communist party will being its once-in-a-decade power shift — an unprecedented occasion of power changes in the world’s top two economies.

Demand worries persisted, despite data last week that pointed to a sustained improvement Asia, as analysts remained unconvinced about a recovery in U.S. and China, which are essential for a global turnaround.

Manufacturing in the euro zone shrunk for a 15 straight month, increasing their doubts about a global recovery. France, Spain and Italy and Spain saw a continuing trend of sharp decreases in fuel use, but Germany and Britain saw growth, statistics showed last week.


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