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Twitter Gets Satellite Access 67

jimboh2k writes "Satellite operators Iridium and Thuraya have signed on to provide access for Twitter users outside of normal mobile coverage. The service acts like the SMS function already available on the social network, allowing users to tweet during emergencies."
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Twitter Gets Satellite Access

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 13, 2012 @05:04AM (#39017181)


  • @ISS (Score:5, Funny)

    by BlackPignouf ( 1017012 ) on Monday February 13, 2012 @05:05AM (#39017183)

    @ISS, taking a dump.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I don't know who the user ISS is, or why he would care about you taking a dump, but I don't think Slashdot is the right medium for this message.

      • by Gwala ( 309968 )


      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I don't know who the user ISS is, or why he would care about you taking a dump, but I don't think Slashdot is the right medium for this message.

        Clearly that kind of information is only relevant for your closest friends. So you are indeed right, slashdot is not the right medium. Instead you should do like one of my friends did and post it to facebook instead.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Clearly that kind of information is only relevant for your closest friends.

          Be honest. Are you the sort of chap who enjoys a hearty Cleveland steamer [urbandictionary.com]?

          • Clearly that kind of information is only relevant for your closest friends.

            Be honest. Are you the sort of chap who enjoys a hearty Cleveland steamer [urbandictionary.com]?

            I would guess that the "platform" would be very cross after that.

  • @sahara (Score:5, Funny)

    by arcite ( 661011 ) on Monday February 13, 2012 @05:11AM (#39017207)
    @sahara, flat tire, canteen empty, delirious, to follow mirage, please feed Rex.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Yeah, that's the first thing I think about in an emergency. Logging on to twitter and posting some bullshit. How useful.

    • Re:Okay. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Zorque ( 894011 ) on Monday February 13, 2012 @05:58AM (#39017353)

      In many cases it's been a very useful tool for warning others about impending emergencies, or about letting the outside world know what's going on. It may not get you the help you need but it could save others from having to do the same.

      • only because it is an IM service that is actually fully cross platform and quick to use.

      • When? Name one example where someones life has actually been saved because someone else tweeted because they couldn't make a phone call to the emergency services.

        • After the 2010 earthquake in Chile, I remember a guy who got stuck in a room and the phone lines were collapsed. The HSPA network was still alive, and he tweeted where he was and that he needed help. I don't know if he would've died, but it surely helped him.
        • Spoken like someone who has never been in a widespread emergency. Last April several tornadoes tore through our state, knocking out high voltage power lines and a lot of communications infrastructure. The few mobile towers that were still functioning were jammed with calls. 911 was flooded with minor emergencies. It took a couple days to get more than a handful of radio stations on the air, and we didn't have the power to run a TV. We heard that power would likely not be restored for more than a week.

        • Two girls in Adelaide, Australia used facebook to be rescued from a drain they were stuck in. Ok, so they probably wouldn't have died, but...

          http://dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1211909/Girls-trapped-storm-drain-use-Facebook-help--instead-phoning-emergency-services.html [dailymail.co.uk]

    • Re:Okay. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by pla ( 258480 ) on Monday February 13, 2012 @07:38AM (#39017605) Journal
      Yeah, that's the first thing I think about in an emergency. Logging on to twitter and posting some bullshit. How useful.

      Well, I suppose that counts as the obvious symmetry to the jackasses who, watching someone burn to death in a wrecked car, will whip out their cell phones - Not for anything so mundane as calling for (never mind actually trying to) help, mind you, but to record it for YouTube.

      We've become a society of narcissists and voyeurs. Welcome to the dawning of a new age.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by rockout ( 1039072 )
        There's nothing new about old people comparing "today's society" to the utopia that supposedly existed in their own youth, and proclaiming the end of civilization as we know it.
    • by spectro ( 80839 )

      I don't think getting news that your loved ones are ok after one of the biggest earthquakes in history is bullshit.

      Here in Texas, I was driving back from a concert with my Cousin when she got a text from her bf in Chile about the earthquake just a minute after it ended. We were able to get "I'm ok" news from all our family living there within the first hour after the quake thanks to SMS.

      Twitter started as a system where you could send an SMS that would be broadcasted to all your friends (subscribers). In fa

  • @us_sub (Score:5, Funny)

    by SpaceCracker ( 939922 ) on Monday February 13, 2012 @05:58AM (#39017355)

    @us_sub, just launched icbm + nuclear warhead. more info on wikileaks.

  • by subreality ( 157447 ) on Monday February 13, 2012 @06:02AM (#39017367)

    I tried hard to be cynical about this, but really it's a pretty good match. Twitter's enforced lo-fi nature makes it a perfect format for a high cost per bit medium like satellite, but it's used in bulk enough to justify access plans with moderate usage instead of trying to milk corporate customers for $1/packet or something. Perhaps the constellation operators have finally found their market.

    • Oh yes, however dumb it seems at first, it is a very good business decision. This will give them a push into some lower tier markets.

      Tweeting from the middle of Atlantic is good for everybody.

      • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

        Last time I took the QE-II I was able to use internet. so unless you are tweeting from a container ship or a life raft it's stupid.

    • trying to milk corporate customers for $1/packet or something

      ... And somehow I remind myself that terrestrial cellular providers are charging $0.20 per packet for SMS. I tried to exaggerate some without being completely ridiculous, but marking up a mere 5x for satellite access is actually quite conservative. That's messed up.

      • I'm from the Philippines, and unlimited SMS and/or calls cost around $8/month. For prepaid plans, SMS costs $0.02 - $0.04 per message, and calls cost $0.15 - $0.30 per minute. Relatively fast 3G/HSDPA costs $1/day for prepaid, or $19/month for postpaid.
      • Actually via satellite SMS is around $0.43 each. Phone calls can be over $1.50 a minute.

        • I don't about SMS and what system you're on, but I send emails via the Globalstar and Orbcomm systems and they cost around $0.10 a pop or about $30 a month for unlimited.
  • by taiwanjohn ( 103839 ) on Monday February 13, 2012 @06:31AM (#39017429)

    Will this allow people in $DICTATORSHIP to stay connected even when their government has blocked normal internet access?

  • REally? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Monday February 13, 2012 @07:21AM (#39017561) Homepage

    " allowing users to tweet during emergencies"

    If your addiction is that bad, please get some help. during emergencies you need to be paying attention to your safety and the safety of others not tweeting "day 14 without any food, no idea where to go, Wish I had a GPS instead of this crap Iridium phone."

    • Twitter is very useful for letting rescuers know where people are and what problems/dangers they are facing; and for rescuers to let people on the ground know what to do to prepare for their arrival, eg get out of a particular area of flat land so the helicopter can land on it, get outside and wave so that they can find them etc.

      • I think you'll find phone calls and 2 way radios are even better at doing that.

      • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

        I have an iridium phone. and I would much rather have a GPS in an emergency.

        Iridium phones are like the ultra basic Phones from 1999. it also has crap for battery life so it will be useless in less than 1 day. The Iridium Extreme is the ONLY phone that has a GPS in it as well to send your location to search and rescue, that phone is expensive as hell compared to the basic iridium.

        Instead of doing something stupid like blowing $1000 on a Iridium phone and a basic plan.

        If you really care about safety you w

        • by arcite ( 661011 )
          Iridium is useful in conflict areas where governments/terrorists shut down local cellphone networks. Iridium has its uses. I have one here in Egypt for emergencies, as the cellphone networks were turned off here during the last revolution.
        • Another option here would be to use a "Spot" devise that emails your GPS cords to someone, the new ones can send a short message along too. They are in the hundred dollar range and subscription is about that much yearly.
  • I just tried it. It took a couple of tries to register but it works great.
  • 1995 called (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    wants its PAGERS back.

  • by raitchison ( 734047 ) * <robert@aitchison.org> on Monday February 13, 2012 @10:45AM (#39018771) Homepage Journal

    SPOT has had the ability to post to Twitter or Facebook via satellite for a while now with their SPOT Connect product.

    http://www.findmespot.com/en/index.php?cid=116 [findmespot.com]

    • by Tugrik ( 158279 )

      Downside to the SPOT solution: It only allows for 41 character on-the-fly tweets (you can do longer if they're pre-defined but those are much less useful). It also goes through their custom gateway and slaps extra formatting and geo-tagging to your tweet that you may not want. So while functional it's of less value than a native 140-character tweet-via-shortcode like TFA talks about. Globalstar (and their SPOT division) need to step up and provide the same functionality, IMHO.

e-credibility: the non-guaranteeable likelihood that the electronic data you're seeing is genuine rather than somebody's made-up crap. - Karl Lehenbauer