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Telecom Companies Celebrate the Holidays

Qwest, Avaya Help NORAD Track Santa

Once again North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is tracking Santa, and Qwest Communications Inc. and Avaya Inc. are helping to make sure the communications tools are in place to make sure families can join the fun this Christmas Eve.

For more than 50 years, NORAD has used radar, satellites, Santa cams and jet fighter aircraft to monitor St. Nicks annual trip around the world.

And once again families can also track Santa.

They can go to www.qwest.com/santa for a link to the NORAD Tracks Santa Web site, or they can go to www.noradsanta.org for a Santa countdown. The site includes real-time Santa tracking on Christmas Eve.

Children can also speak directly with a Santa Tracker at NORAD.

Qwest is providing phones lines, and Avayas S8700 Media Server is helping make sure the calls get answered. Phone lines will be open starting Dec. 24, at 2 a.m. MST, and run through 2 a.m. MST on Christmas Day. The number is 1-877-Hi-NORAD.

NORAD received more than 560,000 calls last year.

Families also can send e-mails to NORAD at tracking@noradsanta.org or directly to Santa at northpole@OfficialSantaMail.com.

Holiday Decorations Can Damper Wi-Fis Spirit

Holiday decorations may add to the festive mood this time of year, but they can be a Grinch to an offices wireless capabilities, according to a recent study by AirMagnet Inc.

According to the survey, signal strength decreased by 25 percent; signal deterioration increased over distance by one-third; and signal distribution was uneven in some locations, deteriorating signal strength by an additional 10 percent.

“When new elements are introduced into an enterprise environment they have the potential to seriously affect the performance of the Wi-Fi network, by deflecting, absorbing or otherwise interfering with the wireless signal, said Chia-Chee Kuan, CTO and vice president of engineering for AirMagnet. During the holidays, it could be the decorations in an office, at other times it could just as easily be a new microwave oven or a metal shelving unit.

Verizon Connects Troops, Families for Holidays

In an effort to help military families and loved ones stay connected, Verizon Business said it will provide free phone calls during this holiday season for U.S. Armed Forces personnel stationed in Iraq.

Verizon Business will provide the calls from Dec. 22 through Jan. 2. This is the fourth year the company has offered the free holiday calls.

For our troops stationed far away from home, hearing the sound of a loved-ones voice can go a long way to lift the spirits during the holidays, said Jerry Edgerton, group president for Verizon Federal. Verizon Business has made it a tradition to help the troops stay connected during the holiday season as a gesture of appreciation for the sacrifices they make daily.”

Verizon Business has deployed to Iraq a mobile communications facility outfitted with phones to allow military personnel to make calls.

What IT Professionals Want For Christmas

Play Station 3s, HDTVs and Xbox 360s are just a few of the things IT professionals want this holiday season, according to a Web poll conducted by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA).

CompTIA, a trade association for the information technology industry, asked visitors to www.comptia.org indicate which high-tech toy was at the top of their holiday wish list this year. Nearly 1,000 responses were tabulated and the survey was conducted from Oct. 19 to Nov. 14.

Of the 11 technologies included on the list, Sony’s Play Station 3 was the most popular, with 21 percent of respondents saying they’d like the video game system.

HDTVs came in at 18 percent and the Xbox 360 got 10 percent of the vote. HD-DVD players (2 percent) and portable media centers (1.5 percent) came in at the bottom of the list.


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