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Monthly Archives: September 1989

Four Winds Resort and Casino using mototrbo

Without giving too much about this earpiece article, but I thought it interesting and related to what I’m now doing.

headset. earphonesFour Winds Resort and Casino needed a communications system that would enable employees to deliver premium service to guests while ensuring casino security.
MOTOTRBO exceeded these critical requirements, radically expanding capabilities and opening up a range of new opportunities for enhancing security and service levels.

Everything Is Riding on Security and Service

Paying homage to the heritage of the Pokagon Band of the Potawatomi Tribe, the Four Winds Resort and Casino is situated near their ancestral homeland on 52 acres of beautiful terrain in New Buffalo, Michigan. This full-service, around-the-clock leisure complex comprises 135,000 square feet of gaming space, 3,000 slot machines, 110 table games, six restaurants, a hotel, and a 10,000 square foot child care center.

Security is imperative in any gaming environment where unscrupulous individuals may scan wireless communications in an effort to “improve their edge” at the tables and throughout the casino. John Walker, VP of Security at Four Winds, explained that this entertainment center required “a system that could provide security personnel with a separate and secure talk-group as well as capabilities to enable all staff to always be in contact with one another.”

High levels of service are also demanded in this sophisticated gaming environment, and an efficient two-way communications system would enable individual teams within the casino to communicate quickly and efficiently with one another, responding to customer needs and delivering the high-quality service that casino patrons expect. Of particular concern was the need for technicians to monitor the operation of thousands of slot machines and respond to technical problems immediately.

Four Winds required a cost-effective solution that would enable the casino to grow in response to increasing nationwide enthusiasm for gaming.

After considering the options, it was clear that the right solution for Four Winds would be MOTOTRBO, Motorola’s professional digital system that is reshaping the way users think about two-way communications.

With this innovative two-way digital solution, the Four Winds security team has their own talk group, as do IT, maintenance, slot supervision, and many other work teams throughout the casino. Four Winds had originally asked for only four talk groups; however, within months of implementation, the value of talk groups became so dramatically clear that there were soon 15 talk groups divided by department, with the promise of more in the very near future. MOTOTRBO software provides 23 talk-group templates, separated by users, making it possible to cut and paste individual groups as needed.

To ensure consistent, fault-free communications among security staff, the MOTOTRBO system at Four Winds has base station battery back-up as well as critical redundancy built into the system:
if the security repeater needs to be reprogrammed, another repeater immediately moves in to handle the load. Because MOTOTRBO utilizes highly efficient TDMA, four repeaters have the capacity to do the work of eight repeaters, ensuring consistently smooth and cost-efficient communication.

MOTOTRBO seamlessly enhances service. Clearer audio quality provided by digital technology means that all casino and resort personnel are able
to connect with one another and communicate more efficiently, ensuring that customer service issues are resolved on-the spot.

In support of higher service levels, digital radios provide improved battery life: casino and resort personnel receive 12 hours of operation with a standard nickel metal hydride battery – that’s about 40% more operating time than with analog radios. Because batteries are used more efficiently, talk-time is extended, so personnel spend more time serving guests and less time returning to base to recharge their units or pick up fresh batteries.

Unobtrusive service is always preferred, and MOTOTRBO supports discreet communications through such functions as text messaging, which enables personnel to communicate silently with one another. Any phone or computer can send an email to a MOTOTRBO host server application,
which then forwards the text message to designated MOTOTRBO subscriber units, supporting tighter, more coordinated communications management.

In addition, as Walker explains, because security personnel have earpieces that attach to microphones “we can walk and discuss all kinds of issues without disturbing our guests, who don’t get blasted by a loud noise when someone with a traditional radio walks past.”

In emergencies, MOTOTRBO’s emergency signaling capability enables users to pull the whole team together, immediately, to respond to the situation and maintain the comfort and safety of casino guests.

In a resort area, aesthetics are always a consideration, and through a multi-coupler and combiner, it was possible to mount just two antennas on the roof of the casino, minimizing visual interference with the natural beauty of this Lake Michigan property.
Staying Ahead for the Long Run

Four Winds Resort and Casino selected MOTOTRBO, in part, because it was flexible enough to grow with their business. Within months of installation, the system was already growing, with additional repeaters and talk groups being added to meet demand by staff for radios that helped improve customer service and increase casino security.

Walker is confident that this is just the beginning: “I’ve talked to each of the vice presidents that have received these radios, and they’re just ecstatic. MOTOTRBO has helped them handle their departments and their staffing, dispatching people to the right locations whenever they’re needed. Now, we’re up to about 335 radios, and several departments would like more. MOTOTRBO has done so much for us, increasing our efficiency and decreasing response time. The whole system has been a boon for us, and now every department is talking about getting a MOTOTRBO.”

MOTOTRBO – The Gaming Industry’s Ace-in-the Hole
Digital technology enables MOTOTRBO to adapt to a number of different work environments,
seamlessly supporting industry-specific applications, and it has proven to be an exceptionally productive communications tool for gaming and hospitality.
In addition to the applications deployed by Four Winds Resort and Casino, the digital platform enables location tracking via built-in GPS so that the location of field units can be displayed on the dispatcher’s computer screen for more efficient operations and tighter asset management. GPS-based Location Services is just one of MOTOTRBO’s continuing series of remarkable applications – made possible through digital technology – that extend the power of MOTOTRBO, enabling it to be customized to work at maximum efficiency in any environment, in any industry.

Here is more about earphone ( have a look at the web-page.

The Universal Translator

What is your favorite feature of the technological advancement? In my opinion, I much like the design job – It is cooler than an Inuit’s underpants!

Originally conceived by science fiction writer Murray Leinster and utilized in his 1945 novella ‘First Contact’, the universal translator is a device that translates any language into a language known to the device’s user.

Most people reading this article will be infinitely more familiar with the universal translator as featured in ‘Star Trek’ and its various incarnations. Star Trek’s version of the translator is actually an extremely effective plot device, allowing aliens from anywhere in the universe to speak perfect English, even if they have never met a Human being a day in their lives (and thus allowing the writers of ‘Star Trek’ the freedom to not have to explain why each alien race speaks English so well in every other episode). In reality, alien linguistics would likely be so alien that they could take generations to decipher and even prove to be impossible for Human vocal chords to mimic.

On a more ‘down to earth’ level, a universal translator would decode any/all languages spoken on earth instantly (or near-instantly), allowing a person speaking Mandarin Chinese to freely converse with a person speaking Hindi with no miscommunications whatsoever.

Why we want it:

Such technology could really benefit the Human race in its quest for world peace.

In much the same way that the Internet has made it harder for various politically motivated factions to create propaganda about those they wish to invade (because now we can simply ask them if the stories are true or not), a universal translator would help people to reach a shared understanding.

Nothing would ever be lost in translation and everything would be clearly and effectively understood.

The downside, of course, is that people would not have to learn another language in order to communicate with other people, this, I feel, really would be a shame, as a culture’s views, experiences and legacy are often enshrined in its language, meaning that learning another language really is a window into a larger world with many different points of view.

When can we expect it?

You can see a crap version of this technology if you use ‘Google Translate’, but that’s only useful if you’re decoding simple phrases and words.

Early versions of the universal translator as seen in ‘Star Trek’ (and other series), do actually exist. American troops in Iraq employed the TRANSTAC program, (which automatically translated Arabic-English), before replacing it with the BOLT program (Broad Operational Language Translation), which serves as the current version of the US army translator.

However, the translator that allows us to freely chat in two distinct languages (and still be understood) has yet to be invented. In my estimation, the technology could one day exist and we’ll probably see its true prototype within the next 50 years, as such an invention will likely become a necessity of business by the mid 21st Century.

If I had to pick someone who was likely to invent it, I’d go with Google. It is in their best interests to come up with it first.

Do not forget that scene in ‘Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home’ where the crew of the Enterprise fly back in time to that mid 1980’s and Doc McCoy encounters an elderly Woman who wants kidney dialysis. Exploding in skepticism, the good doctor cries “what’s this, the dark ages!?” before giving the Lady a tablet that promptly grows her a new kidney, much to her delight. That’s where we could be within a couple of decades – ‘Star Trek’ technology. What is cooler than that?

Joining the NHS organ donor list is the way you might help this situation, today.

Pity the Bluetooth headset this holiday season

For a long time people have been telling me that relations, love and happiness are the most important things in life…Today I realized that I can take or leave all that so long as I have this earpiece in the world.

headphonesSo what’s the least desired electronic gadget this holiday season?

Well, flat-screen TVs and mobile phones are still in, but cash-strapped shoppers are likely to shun anything closely linked to entertainment in the home or car because such electronics are seen as dispensable in an economic crisis.
That includes audio speakers and desktop computers and even GPS navigation systems made by companies such as TomTom NV and Garmin Ltd.

A popular item as recently as last year, GPS may fall by the wayside, since they can be pricey and not viewed as essential, according to Stephen Baker, an analyst for research firm NPD.
“GPS may have some demand issues,” he said. “If you are looking at necessity versus discretionary, that is a category that is not very well-penetrated, which is in its favor. But the negative part is people saying: ‘Do I really need this’?

A recent national survey says the dubious distinction of least desirable holiday gift belongs to Bluetooth Headsets, those thumb-sized devices beloved by some for their convenience and ridiculed by others as odd looking.
The online survey conducted last month on behalf of auction site eBay Inc also found that only 5 percent of those who wanted personal electronics desired a Blu-ray disc player. Even so-called “retro video game” systems and one game in particular — “Dance Dance Revolution Hottest Party II” — got the thumbs-down.

Digital picture frames, the sleek devices that can scroll dozens of pictures and even update remotely via an Internet link, may feel the pinch if shoppers’ budgets force them to decide on one electronic product or another, Baker says.
“A lot of people think of frames as a neat thing to do, but may end up saying: ‘I probably really need a new digital camera.'”

Electronics stores are already gearing up for the holiday rush, hoping consumers snap up deeply discounted devices. But there are clues to how some stores — who give hot items premium placing and downplay the laggards — feel about certain products.
On a recent visit to a suburban New York Circuit City, this reporter crossed through the threshold and saw four products placed prominently: flat TVs on the left, digital audio players on the right and straight ahead, mobile phones and — oddly enough — high-end Dyson vacuum cleaners.

Scanning the huge big-box store, it was hard to locate home audio speakers, car radios and cordless phones, which were either hundreds of feet away from the front door, beyond eyeshot, or on shelves below eye-level.
At a Best Buy store on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, the rear of the lower level, far from the bustle, is where you will find Logitech International’s $149 Harmony programmable remote controls, not far from Bose’s $329 bookshelf speakers and Sony Corp’s $399 770-watt home theater receiver and a host of computer printers.

Tim Herbert, an analyst for the Consumer Electronics Association, suggests the rapidly changing — and cost-saving — nature of consumers’ use of certain products is also affecting shopping habits.
“For example, in the category of cordless phones and answering machines, in years past that was always a very hot category, but more and more people are moving toward a cell phone-only model of communication,” he said. “Or the answering machine capabilities are built into a service that you get with your carrier or phone service.”

But that will not stop shoppers from spending freely on a great deal. For example, Wal-Mart says its holiday sales include a basic Compaq laptop for $298 and a Sanyo 46-inch LCD high-definition television for $898.
“Consumers are going to be more mindful of their budgets,” said Herbert. “It’s a tough question to say morally whether it is right to spend on the holidays this year when they may be feeling economic strain, but historically, its somewhat in our nature.”

(Additional reporting by Nicole Maestri and Andre Grenon)

Are Earphones Harmful to Your Ears?

Without giving too much about this radio accessory article, but I thought it remarkable and related to what I’m currently doing.

A team from the University of Leicester recently proved that noises louder than 110 decibels cause damage to a special type nerve cell coating, which in turn can cause tinnitus (basically a buzzing or whining in the ears – and here’s me thinking that it just made things sound ‘a bit tinny’) and even temporary deafness in some cases.

According to medical news, who reported on the University’s findings, the myelin sheath is a type of coating that covers the nerve cells that connect the ears with the brain. Any noise over 100 decibels begins to wear away this coating, meaning that the signals will eventually stop reaching the brain. Given time, the myelin sheath will usually (but not always) heal itself and reform, resulting in the damage only being temporary. Still, it is something to think about.

As for more permanent damage, well, the facts are actually startling. According to TIME magazine’s Laura Blue,

“Hearing loss is more common than ever before. About 16% of American adults have an impaired ability to hear speech, and more than 30% of Americans over age 20 — an estimated 55 million people — have lost some high-frequency hearing”.

These shocking statistics were put forward in the ‘Archives of Internal Medicine’ journal and first published in 2008. Following this publication, Blue interviewed Brian Fligor, who was, at the time, the director of diagnostic audiology at Children’s Hospital Boston. In the interview, Fligor said,

“If you’re using the earbuds that come with an iPod and you turn the volume up to about 90% of maximum and you listen a total of two hours a day, five days a week, our best estimates are that the people who have more sensitive ears will develop a rather significant degree of hearing loss — on the order of 40 decibels (dB). That means the quietest sounds audible are 40 dB loud. Now, this is high-pitched hearing loss, so a person can still hear sounds and understand most speech. The impact is going to be most clearly noted when the background-noise level goes up, when you have to focus on what someone is saying. Then it can really start to impair your ability to communicate”.

So, the question now becomes, what can you do to lower the risk?

Sam Costello of suggests turning down the volume, which is reasonably obvious, really. However, (s)he also suggests accessing the ‘volume control’ on your iPod or device and lowering the maximum volume setting (synch it to the computer for more such options), as well as listening for shorter periods of time and switching from earbuds to ‘over the ear’ phones. Earbuds are the most dangerous headphone type, apparently.

Just for the record, the average American iPod can generate about 115 decibels, which is equivalent to attending a reasonably loud rock concert (although not a Motorhead gig obviously – now that’s a band which almost guarantees absolute deafness for a least a few days afterwards, trust me).

However, the good news is that if you’re in the EU, your iPod is limited to 100db maximum output by law. Even though you are still at risk if you turn the volume all the way up and listen to it all day long, that risk is considerably less on our side of the pond.