Science & Technology
Connect Iowa, Iowa Economic Development Authority Launch New Advisory Committee on Broadband PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Jessica Ditto   
Friday, 13 January 2012 14:11

New advisory committee kicks off intensive community broadband expansion program

Des Moines, IA – This week, Connect Iowa and the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) convened the first broadband advisory committee meeting, kicking off a new community engagement effort to expand broadband access, adoption, and use across the state. Community leaders from around Iowa are now joining forces to oversee the expansion of high-speed Internet to every corner of the state. Connect Iowa’s new broadband advisory committee includes elected officials, public service agency representatives, providers, educators, librarians, and business people. Their common goal is to support and guide the Connect Iowa initiative.

During the meeting broadband stakeholders discussed the history of broadband expansion in the state, and the plan for bringing broader access to Iowa communities in the coming year. The meeting was a great success and set the groundwork for how diverse broadband stakeholders can work together to further progress across the state in 2012.

“The inauguration of our broadband advisory committee marks an important step for Connect Iowa and signals our commitment to closing the digital gap that persists in our communities,” says Connect Iowa Program Manager Amy Kuhlers. “We are excited to be bolstered by the support of key stakeholders representing all areas of economic interest. Connect Iowa, with the support of the advisory committee, is undertaking the important work of building grassroots regional planning to grow and expand technology use in communities across the state.”

The closing of the digital adoption gap in Iowa will have a significant impact on the way citizens learn, work, and live their daily lives. According to Connect Iowa’s latest broadband availability research from the 2011 Iowa residential and business surveys:

  • 37% of Iowa households still do not subscribe to broadband at home
  • 45% of Iowans living in rural areas do not subscribe to broadband service at home
  • 23,000 Iowa businesses are still not using broadband despite the fact that Iowa businesses that use broadband make an average of $259,000 more in annual revenue than businesses without

“The first meeting of the advisory council was really interesting because there were so many people representing different pieces of the broadband puzzle around the table,” said committee member and Iowa State Librarian Mary Wegner. “I am excited that we will be working together to improve broadband adoption in Iowa, improve the speed, and get more Iowans using broadband. The most important part, and the part where libraries really come into the picture, is to help Iowans really understand the limitless opportunities and what they can do when they have access to high-speed Internet.”

Connect Iowa, in collaboration with the Iowa Economic Development Authority, is working with broadband providers and other public and private partners to speed up the expansion of broadband in unserved and underserved areas. The organization is pinpointing remaining gaps in Iowa’s broadband availability and supporting the development of a statewide plan for the deployment and adoption of technology that promises economic development and better quality of life for Iowa residents.

The committee’s first meeting kicked off a week of intensive training for a new grassroots program that Connect Iowa will be unveiling next week. The committee expects to meet quarterly with the next meeting planned for April.

If you have suggestions regarding how technology can be improved to better serve your community, Connect Iowa wants to hear from you. To submit comments, ideas, or gain access to the initiative’s many online tools and resources, please visit or contact Amy Kuhlers at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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About Connect Iowa: Connect Iowa is a subsidiary of Connected Nation and operates as a nonprofit in the state of Iowa to promote broadband access, adoption, and use. The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) is leading the initiative to increase broadband Internet access throughout rural Iowa. Connect Iowa was commissioned by the state to work with all broadband providers in Iowa to create detailed maps of broadband coverage and develop a statewide plan for the deployment and adoption of broadband. For more information visit:

Understanding Internet Speeds PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by John Ogren   
Tuesday, 10 January 2012 15:48

By John Ogren, President, SpeedConnect,

--- On the Internet, speed means everything. It is the time it takes to receive and send data. Speed on the Internet is measured in terms of bits. Bits is the electronic time it takes to go from zeros to ones in the computer world we live in.

When a connection is advertised as being a 10 megabit or a five megabit or a three megabit service, that turns into the millions of bits--or the millions of times that the switch rate from on to off on a data transmission is changed. Bits are captured or consolidated into bites. There are eight bits in a bite, and actual data throughput is measured in bites. For example, a simple e-mail that someone might send might be as little as 20 bites, whereas a full feature-length movie might be as much as three gigabytes. When you are looking at the speed of your Internet connection, what speed gives you is a lot of bits transmitted very fast, and those bits are assembled into bites, and the bites are the amount of information that you are downloading from your connection.

Generally speaking, speed is better because, of course, you want a very fast connection to be able to watch a movie live without buffering, or to put a Web page up very quickly. But at the same time, it is very important that the connection that you have be able to maintain or sustain your speed. A flash or a quick splash of data is relatively easy for an Internet provider, but to keep that speed up over a long time, like what it takes to watch a movie on-line, is much more difficult. You need to look for the rate that the information comes up and then the sustained rate, the steady rate, that your Internet service provider provides.

Upload and download.

That's the time it takes for the data to leave your computer and get to someone else's server. Most of the time, we are concerned about download speeds because these days you are either downloading a movie or downloading a file that someone has sent you, so downloads are typically advertised. You will hear Internet service providers advertise three or four or five, or maybe as many as 20 megabit speeds. They are usually talking about download speeds.

Few of us talk about uploads, which are typically, in residential services, quite a bit slower. Very often, you might have speeds that are as much as 10 megabits download, and only maybe one or two megabits upload. In slower connections, you may see one megabit as a download and as little as 128 kilobits as your upload speed.

The reason is that the networks are typically built to provide a high download, and that is at the sacrifice or compromise of upload. Upload speeds become important when you have a bunch of pictures that you have taken and they are now on your computer, and you want to send them to a relative. That's where upload would become important. You might notice that it would take a lot longer for your pictures to upload than the pictures that had been sent to you to download.

More bandwidth, please.

With more of us grabbing increasing amounts of data from the Internet, Internet service provider (ISP) speeds will determine whether your browser responds quickly or sluggishly. Again, speed is important. The ability of your ISP to sustain speeds, or provide steady speeds, is even more important. But, the fact of the matter is, as more and more people are using a connection simultaneously for more and more of the same high-demand multimedia--applications like video, music, gaming and others--the pressure on us as ISPs to increase our capacity is great. And that, of course, means money.

The more robust--the more capacity that the network has--the greater ability it has to support multiple uses at the same time. That's the challenge: To provide our customers with a very fast experience, but also an experience that has enough capacity to meet all their needs at the same time.

I think that anyone that has been a consumer in the modern information world that we live in knows that, where once upon a time a dial connection seemed like more than enough, that isn't even broadband today. In order to raise a family and put kids through school and do a little work at home, you need a very high-speed connection. Even what you might have needed a couple years ago, maybe a 1.5 megabit service, would have seemed fine because most of what you did was e-mail and some Web surfing. Today that doesn't begin to be enough. You're looking for three, five or seven megabits of information so that you can do the multimedia stuff that we all want the Internet for.

Of course, that isn't going to stop. Everyday there are more and more new high tech multimedia applications that become available to us. Just the download of applications to our multiple devices takes a lot of bandwidth. Those applications, once they are downloaded, take bandwidth. Our software is constantly being upgraded by the manufactures that sold it to us and, of course, there is the endless multimedia that we are shooting from videos to still pictures. All of that means more and more bandwidth.

I don't know what the future holds, but I would not be surprised if someday we all wake up and think that 50 megabit service is just enough to get by.

Midland Communications Helps Law Firms Go Green and Increase Productivity by Utilizing Unified Communications PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Janet Dufour   
Friday, 23 December 2011 16:23
Leading Business Technology Provider Changes the Way Law Firms Communicate

DAVENPORT, IA - December 20, 2011 - Midland Communications, a leading provider of unified communications, announced today that the company is placing special emphasis on bringing its innovative technology and applications to the rapidly growing legal industry.  Midland Communications has a number of valuable communications and data networking solutions that support the needs of the legal community.  These solutions have the unique ability of increasing productivity while decreasing the firm's carbon footprint because of the significant impact they have on attorney's commute times, marketing efforts, reduction of office space and reduction in operational costs.
"An attorney's time is very valuable and anything we can do to increase their efficiency has a dramatic impact to a law firm," said Jason Smith, Vice President of Midland Communications.  "The utilization of technology solutions like Unified Communications enhances a firm's green initiatives by drastically reducing the use of paper, reducing travel by utilizing video conferencing or web collaboration and allowing attorneys to receive calls, faxes and voicemails anytime, anywhere. This allows attorneys to work from home, at the courthouse or while they are visiting a client at their residence, while still providing the quality experience that both the firm and their clients have come to expect."

Unified Communication solutions provide a number of impressive benefits which increase productivity in law firms. One example is presence management, which informs assistants and partners of where the attorneys are located at all times. Another is call recording, which allows lawyers to save recordings to client files and email them internally. Conference call management integrates with Microsoft Outlook and call attached data tracks who called and other various statistics as well.  Fax-to-email and  the ability to schedule outgoing faxes through a fax server lower telecommunication costs help businesses go paperless. Furthermore, businesses can benefit multiple office connectivity through VoIP, which unifies all incoming and outgoing communication.  Additionally, law firms benefit significantly because attorneys are no longer tethered to a desk when they take advantage of Unified Communications' mobile capabilities. Mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, enable law firms to increase productivity in a myriad of other ways as well.
The Unified Communications interface has been developed with the end user's specific needs in mind. This essentially means that the front-end of these systems are extremely easy to operate regardless of the individual's age or technical know-how.  The advanced technology is hidden within each solution and may be managed internally by the organization's IT department or by certified team of Unified Communications professionals.
"Legal is a very unique industry and we have partnered with leading Unified Communication manufacturers who make these solutions cost effective by integrating all these capabilities into a single box solution," added Jason Smith. "The types of solutions we offer greatly benefit law firms as well as make the lives of their attorneys easier and less stressful."

Midland Communications began more than 60 years ago in 1946 as the Worldwide Marketing Arm of Victor-Animagraph Projectors. In 1977 a communications division was formed due to a partnership with NEC America. Today, As a distributor of NEC America, for 33 years, Midland Communications has a customer base of more than 3,000 satisfied customers that include general businesses, government agencies, Universities, colleges, hospitals, and hotels.
Midland provides a wide range of communication services including VOIP, PBX and key systems, Wide Area and Local Area networking, computers, Computer integration, voice mail, CCIS, and video conferencing and paging systems. Our philosophy is simple, provide quality products at a fair price, backed by an average emergency response time of twenty minutes, and the best service in the industry. For more information on Midland Communications, call (563) 326-1237 or visit

Quinn Administration Announces $20 Million Capital Funding for Fermilab Accelerator PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Katelyn Tye   
Tuesday, 20 December 2011 15:54

New Research Facility will Support Innovation and Create 200 High-tech Illinois Jobs

BATAVIA – December 16, 2011. Officials from the administration of Governor Pat Quinn today announced $20 million in Illinois Jobs Now! capital funding for the design and construction of a new accelerator research facility at Fermilab. Ground was broken today on the new facility, which will be part of Fermilab’s Illinois Accelerator Research Center (IARC) complex. The complex will be a state-of-the-art facility for research, development and industrialization of particle accelerator technology, creating 200 high-tech jobs.

“In Illinois we understand the importance of investing in cutting-edge technologies, which not only boosts our economy, but also secures our role as a major competitor in the global marketplace,” Governor Quinn said. “The best minds in the world are right here, and today we are investing in our future by ensuring that the latest groundbreaking particle research activities will continue to come from Illinois.”

The IARC project is being funded jointly by the state of Illinois and the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science (DOE). Administered by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), $20 million in Illinois Jobs Now! capital funding was awarded to Fermilab for the design and construction of a new building that will form part of the IARC complex. The DOE is also providing $13 million to Fermilab to refurbish an existing heavy industrial building that will be incorporated into the complex, adding 36,000 square feet of specialized work space.

“The IARC facility will help fuel innovation by developing advanced technologies, strengthening ties with industry and training the scientists of tomorrow,” said William Brinkman, the director of the DOE’s Office of Science. “The Department of Energy welcomes the opportunity to partner with the state of Illinois and looks forward to seeing IARC come to fruition.”

On behalf of Governor Quinn, DCEO Director Warren Ribley joined DOE and Fermilab officials today at the IARC groundbreaking ceremony to announce funding from the Governor’s capital program for the project.

“The IARC facility positions Illinois at the forefront of the world-wide effort to develop cutting-edge accelerator technologies,” said Director Ribley. “It also reinforces the Quinn Administration’s commitment to supporting innovation in Illinois, as well as the creation of 200 high-tech jobs in addition to construction jobs.”

The IARC is expected to create 200 new high-tech jobs and will be located in the heart of the industrial area of the Fermilab campus in Batavia. The facility will provide 42,000 square feet of technical, office and educational space for scientists and engineers from Fermilab, DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory, local universities and industrial partners. The IARC complex will help develop private industry partnerships for the commercial and industrial application of accelerator technology for energy and the environment, medicine, industry, national security and discovery science. The IARC will also offer unique advanced educational opportunities to a new generation of Illinois engineers and scientists and will help attract top scientists from around the world.

“A focused effort and strengthened partnerships between government and industry is required for the United States to remain competitive in accelerator science and technology,” said Fermilab Director Pier Oddone. “IARC will greatly enhance accelerator research and innovation at Fermilab and strengthen our capability to host new international projects. We will also broaden our economic impact on Illinois by working with industry and universities on advanced R&D with many commercial and scientific applications.”

Today’s particle accelerators address many of the challenges confronting the U.S. in the areas of sustainable energy, a cleaner environment, economic security, health care and national defense. The accelerators of tomorrow have the potential to make still greater contributions. The IARC will be utilized as incubator space for emerging accelerator technologies, providing a central point for cutting-edge accelerator research and industrialization.

“This is an exciting project for the state. It links our research capability with businesses in Illinois and will help boost innovation while bringing much needed jobs to Illinoisans,” said State Rep. Mike Fortner (R-West Chicago).

As part of his continued commitment to boosting innovation in Illinois, Governor Quinn launched the Illinois Innovation Council ( in February to ensure the state remains on the cutting-edge in the global economy. The council is actively working to promote the role and importance of innovation in economic development and quality of life; convene and partner with academic, business and governments to evaluate and recommend initiatives to improve support for innovation, and align public and private resources.


Larson Electronics Announces Release of High Intensity Colored LED Light Emitter PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Rob Bresnahan   
Monday, 19 December 2011 14:54
The Magnalight LEDP3W-12X2C High Intensity Colored LED Light Emitter from Larson Electronics’ is a powerful LED fixture that produces an intense colored light beam while offering rugged durability, versatile operation, and extreme efficiency. This LED light emitter produces 2,736 lumens in a choice of light colors including red, blue, green, and amber. As well as producing a powerful colored light beam, this LED emitter is designed with durability and versatile operation mind with an IP68 rated housing and Pulse Width Modulation technology that allows precise control of operating modes.

The LEDP3W-12X2C LED color light emitter produces 2,736 lumens of intense colored light, yet pulls only 36 watts at 3 amps from a 12 volt electrical system, making it both powerful and efficient. Available standard in a spotlight configuration, this LED light produces a 10 degree beam of highly focused colored light that is ideal for hunting or boating applications and can also be ordered in a 35 degree flood configuration for wider coverage of large areas closer to the fixture. Four color options are available including red, blue, green, and amber, allowing operators to apply this LED emitter to a wide range of applications including construction, law enforcement, boating, hunting, and industrial operations. The heavy duty design of this colored LED light lends itself well to outdoor and marine applications with a heavy aluminum housing rated IP68 waterproof, unbreakable polycarbonate lenses, and stainless steel mounting hardware that resists rust and corrosion and rubber mounting blocks that improve vibration tolerance. These colored LED emitters add extra versatility through the use of special LED drivers incorporating pulse width modulation technology that allows operators to connect an external controller to dim or cause the lights to flash or strobe as desired. This feature is particularly useful in marine and construction industries where a unit capable of producing a powerful and reliable strobing beacon is desired; that can stand up to rugged use. Also boasting a 50,000 hour rated operational life, these colored LED light bars from will provide years of trouble free service without the need for frequent bulb replacement or servicing. The compact design incorporates twelve 3 watt CREE™ LEDs arranged in two stacked rows to produce a powerful yet compact unit that can be easily mounted in locations where space is limited. These units can be operated from any source of 9 to 42 Volt DC power, making them ideal for use on vehicles, equipment and watercraft that commonly utilize 12 or 24 volt electrical systems.

“The LEDP3W-12X2C was designed with rugged applications in boating, military, hunting and military to name a few, “said Rob Bresnahan with Larson Electronics’  “Red LED light emitters are ideal for military low light applications and hunting vehicles alike.  We offer a wide range of high powered LED lights with strong forward light projection in red, amber, green and blue infrared and UV for all types of commercial and industrial applications.”

Larson Electronics’ carries an extensive inventory of LED lights, LED color lights, LED spotlights and 12/24 volt LED lights. Visit to view their entire inventory of LED lighting solutions or contact them for more information by calling 1-800-369-6671 or 1-214-616-6180 for international inquiries.

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