Archive for Technology Insight

Iridium satellites not affected by recent solar storms

Aurora activity is brighter and more vigorous during solar storms

Aurora activity is brighter and more vigorous during solar storms

Leading scientists’ warnings that a massive solar storm, which could adversely affect satellite communications worldwide, has had no affect on Iridium satellites.

In an email to partners, Iridium CEO, Matt Desch, said “Low-Earth orbiting (LEO) satellite systems, such as ours, are actually less susceptible to solar storms than geosynchronous (GEO) satellite systems. Solar storms generate an increase of radiation that can cause issues for satellites and even some electrical systems on Earth.  However, due to our satellites’ robust design, along with our system fault detection and mitigation processes, we have little concern over these kinds of storms. This is because of the altitude at which our satellites fly as well our continued investment in our network.”

WebTech Wireless VP of Quadrant sales, Harald Fritz, said, “We chose Iridium as that critical link when regular cellular coverage is unavailable. Iridium provides the global network coverage as well as best-in-class coverage in northern regions where we service energy, resource, and government customers”. He added that this is important to WebTech Wireless clients, because “customers usually choose this dual mode hybrid solution in mission-critical or worker-safety related applications. This means their staff must always have coverage and be in constant connectivity.”

On February 15, 2011, scientists observed solar flares emitting billions of tons of charged particles that could trigger a $2 trillion global Katrina to communications satellites, electric power grids and GPS navigation systems. It was the largest solar storm in four years. Solar particles interact with Earth’s magnetosphere.

When Hell Freezes Over – Outlook Style!

For all you MS Office enthusiasts who have discovered the flexibility of adding follow-up flags to appointments in Outlook, here are some hot tips.

First of all, when entering a date in the Due by field, stop being boring. Using the drop-down calendar to select dates takes forever. Simply type in your date thus: dd/mm/yy (unless your computer is set for American dates, in which case you enter mm/dd/yy). Outlook knows what to do with these dates and converts them into something aesthetic and palatable (August 14, 2006, for example).

More amazingly, Outlook will look up dates based on rather irregular text.

Consider the following:

You can enter…

    * tomorrow
    * next Saturday
    * the day after tomorrow
    * +5 (in five days)
    * last Wednesday in November
    * halloween
    * two days hence
    * Washington’s birthday
    * last week
    * Independence Day (American, of course)

But before you get too carried away with yourself, don’t make Outlook look stupid by falling for these obvious pitfalls:

You can’t enter…

    * Saturday next
    * Canada Day
    * in a fortnight
    * at the next full moon
    * the Ides of March
    * All Hallows’ Eve
    * Gurtrude Stein’s Birthday
    * when the moon is in the Seventh House And Jupiter aligns with Mars

Likewise, I managed to produce this dismal failure for Outlook’s Follow-up flags…

Try it out and send me your suggestions.