Archive for the 'Telecommunications' Category

What Is Kevlar Used For?

Jul. 2nd 2014

You mean besides reinforcing the tyres on the Batmobile? (True Bat-Fact – look it up).

For those not in the know, Kevlar (or Poly-paraphenylene terephthalamide, to give the material its scientific name) is a very tough and durable man-made fibre. It was first developed in 1965 by Polish-American scientist Stephanie Kwolek and has been commercially used around the world since the early 1970’s. Today, Kevlar is available in several grades, which are used for different tasks and exhibit greater, or lesser, tensile strength as well as flexibility and tenacity.

Since its introduction in 1971, Kevlar has been used for body armour (i.e. bullet proof vests), army helmets/protective gear, car and bicycle tyres (I once had a set, actually), protective clothing, paraglider suspension lines, shoe tread, headphones, musical instruments (strings and drumskins), fire resistant clothing, kitchenware (for its non-stick properties), cables and ropes, brake pads in cars, smartphone casing and even wind-turbines.

According to DuPont, Kevlar’s parent company,

“It’s about resilience, strength, saving the day, and helping keep people safe from harm —DuPont™ Kevlar®. DuPont™ Kevlar® aramid fiber is used to make a variety of clothing, accessories, and equipment safe and cut resistant. It’s lightweight and extraordinarily strong, with five times the strength of steel on an equal-weight basis. Best known for its use in ballistic and stab-resistant body armor, Kevlar® brand aramid fiber has shown its own heroism in helping to save the lives of thousands of people around the world. And since its invention over 40 years ago, things have only gotten better. DuPont™ Kevlar® continues to take on new challenges, with our scientists continuously innovating and working on a range of new opportunities through collaborations with communities, industrial manufacturers, and governments. Together we’re bringing the strength and durability of Kevlar® to so much more. The result? Kevlar® aramid fiber is now successfully used in everything from vehicles and industrial clothing to fiber optics and city roads. And we’re only getting started”.

The discovery of this wonderful material is actually quite an interesting story. Back in 1964, Kwolek’s group was searching for a way to make tyres stronger, but also a little bit lighter. Apparently, the by-products of their solutions were usually thrown away, but Kwolek saw potential in one of them, as it had formed a type of liquid crystal, something that had never been seen in their polymers before. She tested the strength of the new material and discovered that it was extremely strong. The rest, as they say, is Wikipedia.


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What’s is the Best Bluetooth Headset for Running?

Jun. 21st 2014

Asked by Hiromi in Osaka

Hi Hiromi, How’s life in Japan? I’d love to visit one day, but until then, here’s your answer…

It all depends on how much you sweat. Yes, I know that’s a little bit indelicate of me, but unfortunately it happens to be true. I’ve read many, many customer reviews of otherwise fine and good headsets that claim to be designed for joggers, but that conk out the first time they get significantly wet…

Headsets designed for jogging are often created so that they won’t fall out of your ears as you run, with almost no concern placed on how much you may sweat during the run. Some people sweat a lot and some sweat very little. In either instance, your sweat level needs to be a factor in your purchasing decision (and there’s no nicer way to say it than that!)

Then, another factor to consider is how much the headset will isolate you from your surroundings as you run. Noise cancellation headsets might do a superlative job if you’re running past a noisy construction site, but they aren’t going to be much help in the wake of oncoming traffic. Again, it comes down to individual choice. Some runners subscribe to the Linford Christie ‘bullet from a gun’ mentality, whilst others simply enjoy a bit of exercise, but also like to stay aware of what’s going on around them.

It is also misleading to assume that a branded headset from a sportswear manufacturer is in any way superior to one designed by a trusted electronics firm. In many/most instances, the opposite is actually true.

Sadly, even so called ‘sweat resistant’ headsets are often anything but and there isn’t a lot you can actually do to get your money back. Your best bet, if you ask me, is to buy a mid-range headset, use it specifically for jogging/going to the gym and don’t expect it to last for very long. If it performs badly, chalk it up to experience and buy a different headset, if it lasts for a decent period of time, then replace it with a similar model, or else the same one again.

I’ll be honest; every so often I get one of these questions that I find hard to answer, as no amount of research will really help. Type in the name of any ‘Bluetooth Headset for Jogging’ into Amazon (or whatever the Japanese equivalent of Amazon may be) and you’ll read just as many complaints in the reviews as praises.

Due to this, I’m reluctant to name specific models, because they may not actually work for you. I’d hate to say, “Oh, this headset works really well”, only to have you write back “Does it b*llocks!”. I have personally reviewed several pairs of headphones online (which you can view by clicking HERE), but not any Bluetooth headsets (to the best of my recollection), so I’m afraid that’s all the advice I can give you on this one!

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What is meant by the term Privileged Communications?

May. 8th 2014

‘Privileged communication’ is a legal term, applied in many Western countries (including both mine and yours, unless I’m very much mistaken), that applies to any interaction that is required, by law, to remain confidential.

Critically, the law cannot force disclosure in these cases and the party that initially started the communication has the legal right to stop the second party from revealing any information pertaining to the discussion, even in a court of law.

According to ‘’,

“Typically, privileged communications refer to communications between attorney and client, accountant and client, doctor or therapist and patient, priest and parishioner or husband and wife (and, in some states, reporters and their sources). The recipient of the information must keep the communication private, unless the privilege is waived by the discloser of the information.

There are conditions that must be met in order to preserve the confidential status of these communications. First, the communication must be between people in a legally recognized protected relationship. Next, the communication must take place in a private setting, where the communicators have a reasonable expectation of confidentiality (like a private office). Lastly, the privileged status of the communication is lost if or when the communication is shared with a third party that is not part of the protected relationship (however, agents of the recipient of the information – such as an accountant’s secretary or a doctor’s nurse – would generally not be considered a third party that defeats the privileged status of the communication)”.

I must point out at this time that the ‘Hey, Chris’ column is NOT an example of privileged communication. In fact, in my entire life, I severely doubt that anyone who has ever had a conversation with me has ever felt ‘privileged’ about it in any way. SOB!

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Noise-canceling Headset Technology?

May. 4th 2014

There are two main methods of noise cancellation (although a third shall also be detailed a bit later on) with regards to headsets, earphones and other portable devices. Here’s a bit about them and how they work… 

The first type of noise cancellation basically occurs whenever anything obstructs the inner ear; this has the effect of dulling our ability to hear whatever’s going on around us. If you put your hands over your ears right now, or you stick your fingers in your ears, the background noise will diminish. This, in a very real sense, is a form of noise cancellation. In this regard, any set of headphones that cover the ear, or even the types that sit inside the ear, effectively cancel out background noise and are therefore ‘noise cancelling’.

The second type of noise cancellation is a little bit more complicated. Typically, these headphones cost more money, but they offset this cost by being rather clever and also very effective. The second type of headphones are those that generate a low-level of white noise around the vicinity of the speaker. The white noise, largely inaudible to the Human ear, creates a sort of ‘sound vacuum’ that eliminates all background noise, allowing you to focus purely on whatever you are listening to.

There is also one more type of noise-cancelling headset, which is the bone-conduction headset (sometimes known as ‘bonephones’), these headphones actually bypass your outer ear entirely and go instead to vibrate the tiny bones in your inner ear. Your brain still understands this every bit as much as it would if you were listening through your outer ear (or pinna) but you now have the added option of chucking good old fashioned ear plugs into the equation, whilst at the same time still continuing to use your headphones.

With gadgets like tablet computers, smartphones and MP3 players becoming more and more prevalent in modern society, headphones and earpieces are becoming increasingly commonplace. People are now trying to have conversations, listen to music or even hold video conferences in traditionally loud places.

From busy streets to crowded trains, it has never been more important for people to be able to hear content clearly and easily whilst they are ‘on the go’ – it is for this reason that noise cancelling headsets have become such a popular consumer item in the early 21st century. 

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The Long Road Home: Radios used on Transport Systems and Fleets

Apr. 17th 2014

According to the UK Government, there were an estimated 5.2 billion bus passenger journeys undertaken on our roads in 2011/2012. Public and private transportation is not only big business; it is also of massive importance to the smooth running of the country.

Whilst only 14% of the UK’s 25 million commuters travel to work by bus or train, this still accounts for over 1.7 million people. In order for a country this reliant on public transport to survive and thrive, it is absolutely imperative that transport workers can communicate with each other in a quick, efficient manner, fuelling an industry that, by necessity, spans the length and breadth of the nation.

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Why Do Secret Service Agents Still Wear Those Curly Earphones?

Apr. 17th 2014

You would believe that the U . s . secret service (being the American secret service and everything) would have access to an earpiece a little cooler that just the conventional ‘curly cable’ job, wouldn’t you?

If pushed, I’ve to state that I usually imagine a little old fella, like Desmond Llewelyn in the Bond movies, (and even a younger model like Ben Whishaw from ‘Skyfall’) making all the gadgets himself and then explaining them to the agents before they go out and guard the President’s life.

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Say I’m in a high-speed car chase, what’s the best way to escape the police?

Feb. 12th 2014

(Asked by Nick from Kent)

In my experience, the weapons cheat usually works a treat. I find that a roadblock is considerably less of an issue if you’re armed with a rocket launcher and twin uzis…

As for the real world, one wonders just why you’re asking me, Nick? (I really don’t want this article popping up as evidence at your trial while I go down for aiding an abetting you). Still, I must answer the questions my editor selects for me, so I’ll give this one a go (but don’t come crying to me if you end up serving several consecutive life sentences, OK?)

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Does the Walkie-talkie tower really appear like 2 way radio, and what else does it contain?

Jan. 14th 2014

I’m delighted you inquired. 20 Fenchurch Street, warmly known as the ‘Walkie Talkie Tower’ and less kindly known as the ‘Walkie Scorchie’ (yeah, that is a name that is by no means catching on), is a commercial skyscraper in inner London. It is presently under construction and is not supposed to be finished until next year. When all is said and done, it will have cost some £200 Million to build.


The structure gets its nickname because it’s considered to resemble a walkie talkie (though, being honest, I can not see it myself). It is also called the pint, something that’s much more appropriate.

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Communications in Airports:Safety and Security is Paramount

Oct. 4th 2013

Update – Security in airports have in the last ten years improved several fold, and with this the radio infrastructure has also got better and evolved. Interactions and departments that were formally segmented, were combined for a more versatile and cost-effective infrastructure along with a more secure system, that could not be evesdropped in was created, learn more within ths fascinating article 


Efficiency, business continuity, service recovery, utilisation, safety and security on a massive scale.

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What are the very best headphones for DJ’s?

Aug. 21st 2013

DJ way of life has grown in the United kingdom in a massive manner. Where once, thin, greasy boys in ill-fitting leather jackets would try to impress women by shouting “I’m in a band”, now those self same, faintly less blemished, guys, (this time dressed in ill-fitting hoodies), try the “I’m a DJ” line…Likely to a like deficit of success. But, for each lame duck hopeful with a turntable with a sad heap of dog-eared 90’s Ibiza records, there are many individuals who can in fact do awesome things with a turntable. The era of the DJ is well and truthfully here!

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