Introducing Auto Awesome Photobombs with David Hasselhoff

Google+ Auto Awesome is all about fun surprises that bring your photos to life. And whether it’s Benedict Cumberbatch at the Oscars or Michelle Obama at the White House, a celebrity photobomb is the ultimate surprise, turning an ordinary photo into something extraordinary.

Now with Auto Awesome Photobombs, you too can get a celebrity photobomb—no red carpet required. We’re starting with surprise appearances by +David Hasselhoff, everyone’s favorite crime-fighting rockstar lifeguard.


Watch your step! The Hoff joins these adventurous hikers at Machu Picchu
The Hoff rides the waves in Big Sur
The Hoff enjoys a breezy afternoon by the San Francisco Bay 

Upload a new self-portrait, or a group photo with friends, and leave some room for The Hoff. He might just make your photo a little more #Hoffsome.

Scuba diving part of job description for WSDOT Dive Team

WSDOT Dive Team members. Back row from left to right:
Michael Smith, Richard Pawelka and Darren Nebergall.
Front row from left to right: Loren Wilson, Dave Bruce
and Jim Harding.
By Cara Mitchell

Scuba diving, to many, is considered a leisurely after-hours activity or hobby that takes place away from work. But for one skilled and fortunate group of civil engineers here at WSDOT, scuba diving is part of their job description.

Our Bridge Preservation Office Dive Team is heading into its 10th year as an in-house dive team. The crew, consisting of Darren Nebergall, Jim Harding, Richard Pawelka, Michael Smith, Dave Bruce and Loren Wilson, takes care of 60 to 80 underwater inspections annually across the state.

During a recent routine underwater inspection of the Hood Canal Bridge, the dive team found a large derelict net wrapped around one of the bridge’s 56-foot by 27-foot anchors.

An underwater photograph shows just
a portion of the derelict net wrapped
around one of the Hood Canal
Bridges anchors.
A derelict net is a fishing net that was either lost or cut loose from a fishing vessel.

To complete the inspection, our dive team needed help removing the massive net. They contacted Kyle Antonelis with Natural Resources Consultants Inc., who works for the Northwest Straits Foundation. The Foundation is funded by the State of Washington through the Northwest Straits Initiative and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Antonelis had crews in the field removing derelict nets in the San Juan Islands and North Puget Sound at the time, and was able to quickly position a dive team and vessel at the Hood Canal Bridge.

On Thursday, March 13, the vessel F/V Bet-Sea and its dive team took to the waters off Port Townsend and headed toward the Hood Canal Bridge.

A buoy was placed near the Hood
Canal Bridge to help divers locate the
derelict net.
In anticipation of the arrival of the F/V Bet-Sea, Nebergall placed a buoy to mark the location of the anchor and derelict net, making it easier for the dive team on the F/V Bet-Sea to find.

What they found was bigger than anyone anticipated. A large portion of a purse seine net, which is a large net used to draw in a large school of fish, was entangled around the 56-foot anchor.

Remember the scene in Disney’s Finding Nemo movie where Dory and Nemo get caught inside a large fishing net? Yes, that’s a purse seine net.

What’s left of a rockfish was pulled
up with the derelict net.
The F/V Bet-Sea dive crew reported finding several species of seabirds, fish and crabs entangled in the net. Photos they took revealed the underwater carnage being caused by the net.

Antonelis praised the WSDOT dive team for reporting the net. Our dive team had provided underwater video, photos and vital information to Antonelis’ team so that they could successfully locate and remove the underwater hazard.

Derelict nets are a big problem in the waters of Puget Sound. One 2013 estimate showed that 3.2 million marine animals are entangled by these nets every year.

Nebergall said the immediate response from Natural Resources Consultants Inc. allowed our Bridge Preservation team to finish its work with minimal delay. The net removal was funded through a $3.5 million grant through the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

[Guest Post]: Optimizing cell architecture for better enterprise service delivery

By Shaun McFall*, Senior VP and Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer, Aviat Networks 



From its early analog origins in the 80s, some of the earliest adopters of mobile telephony were business users. Enterprises were quick to identify the opportunity that “portable telephones” offered. The shackles that rotary dials and fixed landlines placed on business were no more. The enterprise could now

[Singapore]: Auto Login to Free Wi-Fi (also for Visitors!)



The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), announced that "Consumers will soon enjoy easier access to all Wireless@SG hotspots, when a new automatic login feature kicks in from April 1. 

Dubbed EAP-SIM (RFC), this new SIM card-based login feature offers users an "always on" experience by allowing them to automatically connect to any Wireless@SG hotspot using a supported device

What are the Top5 Applications for Open Source SDN?

 
The OpenDaylight Project announced that "The first of its kind, the SDN, NFV and Open Source Report provides a comprehensive view of drivers, barriers, timelines and targets for Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), and the role that open systems and open source play in its advancement and adoption. The report surveyed 600 IT decision makers and

Comments to the New FCC Net Neutrality


The National Exchange Carrier Association (NECA) published a document (here) compiling the comments made by a number of organization, operators, content providers and on FCC's new Open Internet docket (see "New Docket Established to Address Open Internet Remand" - here).

Here is what some of the 29 comments:

ADTRAN - In light of the lack of a demonstrated widespread problem and the observed

Monday's Guest Post: Putting More Intelligence into the Cell Site for Enterprise-focused Services


 
A new guest post will be published on Monday - "Optimizing cell architecture for better enterprise service delivery" by my 32nd guest, Shaun McFall. "When mobile telephony first emerged, business users were among the first to adopt the new technology. In spite of that, today, the enterprise market still represents one of the most untapped markets for mobile operators. As well as the most

DSC Deployments [300]: BT Selected GENBAND


GENBAND announced that BT has "selected the GENBAND QUANTiX™ Diameter Signaling Controller (DSC) to expand its existing Global IP Exchange (GIPX) solution with LTE signaling and data roaming exchange capabilities for its mobile network operator (MNO) customers. The GENBAND QUANTiX DSC enables rich interworking between LTE networks to ensure that roaming subscribers can easily connect when on

Transparency Report: Requests for user information up 120 percent over four years

While we’ve always known how important transparency is when it comes to government requests, the events of the past year have underscored just how urgent the issue is. From being the first company to disclose information about National Security Letters to fighting for the ability to publish more about FISA requests, we’ve continually advocated for your right to know.

Today, we’re updating our Transparency Report for the ninth time. This updated Report details the number of government requests we received for user information in criminal investigations during the second half of 2013. Government requests for user information in criminal cases have increased by about 120 percent since we first began publishing these numbers in 2009. Though our number of users has grown throughout the time period, we’re also seeing more and more governments start to exercise their authority to make requests.

We consistently push back against overly broad requests for your personal information, but it’s also important for laws to explicitly protect you from government overreach. That’s why we’re working alongside eight other companies to push for surveillance reform, including more transparency. We’ve all been sharing best practices about how to report the requests we receive, and as a result our Transparency Report now includes governments that made less than 30 requests during a six-month reporting period, in addition to those that made 30+ requests.

Also, people have been asking about how we respond to search warrants in the U.S., so we’ve created an entertaining video to explain in plain language how this process works. We apply the same rigorous standards presented in this video to every request we receive, regardless of type.

You deserve to know when and how governments request user information online, and we’ll keep fighting to make sure that’s the case.

Telefonica to Offer Akamai's CDN Services


Akamai Technologies and Telefonica Global Solutions, the global service provider part of Telefonica, announced a "strategic global alliance to deliver Akamai´s suite of content delivery network (CDN) solutions to Telefonica enterprise customers. 

To further enhance its CDN business, Telefonica Global Solutions is combining Akamai´s industry-leading content delivery platform with its own global

$5M MSO Deal for PeerApp (Transparent Cache)


PeerApp announced it has "closed a deal worth approximately five million dollars for caching infrastructure with an operating unit of a Tier One cable operator.


Before the implementation of operator caching, the cable operator's subscribers were unhappy with the quality of their broadband service, and had complaints despite the operator’s investment in robust infrastructure. This was due to

Seismic retrofit program prepares bridges, overpasses for quakes

By guest blogger Tom Pearce

Steel column jackets, like these used in the seismic retrofit
of the SR 509 Puyallup River Bridge, will be installed
at 12 locations along I-5.
We’re going to have another major earthquake here. OK, I can’t tell you when or where it will be centered, but if you’ve lived around here for a few years, you know we live in a seismically active area.

When the big one hits, transportation infrastructure is going to be critical to the region’s recovery. We’re going to need the freeways and bridges, particularly from Joint Base Lewis-McChord to Seattle, to move supplies and materials to recover and rebuild. To prepare for this, in 1991 we started a seismic retrofit program to minimize and avoid catastrophic bridge failures.

As part of that program, we’re upgrading overpasses along I-5, from SR 18 to South 288th Street in Federal Way, and from Kent’s Military Road to South Rose Street in Seattle. We’re also just wrapping up a project at the M Street and I-705 overpasses in Tacoma. We’re going to strengthen freeway overpasses to help them better withstand earthquakes. How are we going to do this? Well, we’ll add:
  • Steel column jackets: These are steel plates wrapped around the columns that hold up overpasses and bridges to keep them from crumbling and collapsing in an earthquake.

  • Bolster supports: These widen the pier caps that hold up the girders supporting the roadway, making it harder for the girders to slip off in an earthquake.

  • Girder stops: These keep the girders from sliding side-to-side in an earthquake.


We’ll be working at 12 sites between Federal Way and Seattle, strengthening a total of 22 overpasses.  This work is important, but you’re going to see some impacts around worksites. Sidewalk, shoulder and single lane closures are necessary along the roads under I-5 where our contractors will be working.

Most of the work will be done at night, which could be noisy for nearby homes at a few of the locations. We have noise rules and work with each local jurisdiction to do everything we can to limit and mitigate the noise, but in some cases it will still be there. Our contractors will send flyers to homes that could be most affected before starting the work.

Major highways aren’t the only place we’re doing seismic retrofits. We’re also working on the Scatter Creek Bridge, east of Enumclaw. Every winter SR 410 closes at Crystal Mountain Boulevard. The Scatter Creek Bridge is important because it’s the only year-round westerly link for local residents, visitors and emergency vehicles.

Since the program began, we’ve completely retrofitted more than 280 bridges and done partial retrofits on more than 130 others. Even with this year’s work, we’ll still have more than 450 to go.

It takes time, and we’re doing the work as quickly as possible. But as sure as we’re going to have another earthquake, we’ll keep working to strengthen our bridges and overpasses.

Verizon: No Internet for you!


DDoS attacks are usually launched against businesses, and many ISPs have some level of detecting and mitigating attacks. It is rare to see a DDoS attack against consumers, and as we can see in the following story, even Verizon has rough times detecting the cause for the QoS degradation felt by the victim's neighbors, and chose a simple solution - cut the service to the victim!

Stop the Cap!

HP's PCC Uses VoltDB In-memory Database


VoltDB announced that "VoltDB 4.0, a high-speed operational database, has been integrated into HP Subscriber, Network and Application Policy (HP SNAP) and HP enhanced Internet Usage Manager (eIUM), next-generation Telco Mediation, Policy and Charging solutions now available from HP.


VoltDB’s in-memory database will power the HP SNAP and eIUM solutions and uniquely address the real-time

SR 530 closed indefinitely after Snohomish County landslide

After the tragic landslide along SR 530 in the town of Oso on Saturday morning, search and rescue operations are underway for many unaccounted people in Snohomish County. SR 530 between Whitman Road (milepost 36) and 310th Street Northeast (milepost 39) is closed indefinitely. It’s likely a long-term closure.

A hillside gave way about five miles east of Oso, and north of SR 530 across the north fork of the Stillaguamish River. The affected area is about a mile wide and estimated to be up to 35 feet deep in places. The headscarp, the location on the hill where the slide began, is about 1,500 feet wide and 600 feet tall.



We are working closely with Snohomish County, Washington State Patrol and a number of other state and local partners in the emergency response.

Right now, it’s not safe for crews to go into the slide area. Silt is still moving from hillside, which is potentially hazardous to crews below. We’re helping clear some mud from the road to blaze a trail for rescue workers, but it’s too soon to tell how much damage has been done to the highway.

At the moment, geologists from several agencies including WSDOT are on-scene and monitoring the hillside for the safety personnel watching for further safety issues.

There are no good detour options around the portion of SR 530 affected by the mudslide. Those heading to and from Darrington need to use SR 530 to SR 20, and then take I-5. The detour is about an hour.

We also teaming up with Snohomish County to clear snow from Mountain Loop Highway. It’s a seasonal auxiliary road owned by the county and Forest Service that usually is closed in the winter. Once opened, the 25 mph gravel road will serve as an emergency route to and from Darrington. Crews working on the clearing effort reached the summit of Mountain Loop Highway around 11:30 a.m. today. Previous reopening estimates indicated the highway would open Thursday. There is potential that the work will be completed earlier than planned.

Currently, we are reaching out to potential contractors so we can start cleanup efforts as soon as possible. Governor Inslee declared a state of emergency late Saturday night so that we can apply for federal relief funds to cover the cleanup costs for reopening SR 530.The current slide is unrelated to previous work on the south side of the highway at Skaglund Hill. Between 2006 and 2012, our contractor crews installed a rock buttress along the south bank of the Stillaguamish River just below SR 530. This reinforced and stabilized the hillside. We also installed a series of drainage pipes into the hillside and a rock wall that cost $13.3 million.

Snohomish County has asked that all survivors of the slide or people missing someone call (425) 388-5088.
For up to the minute information from the Emergency Operations Center, check Snohomish County’s Twitter feed and Facebook page.

Get Your Business Online Week starts today

Since getting online, Green Mountain Bee Farm in Fairfax, Vt. experienced a 5x increase in sales, and Christine Fitzpatrick Hair and Makeup in Birmingham, Mich. attracted 50 percent more clients. Getting online can make a big difference for small businesses—and stronger businesses makes for stronger communities. Online businesses are expected to grow 40 percent faster and create twice as many jobs as those that aren't online,* but more than half of America’s small businesses currently don't have a website.

That’s the inspiration behind Get Your Business Online Week, when we come together with local partners to get businesses in our communities online and growing. Starting today, we’ll broadcast free virtual workshops for business owners, available to anyone with an Internet connection. Here’s a glimpse of what you can look forward to:

  • Conversations with businesses that have prospered online, like Barkbox, GoldieBlox and Dollar Shave Club
  • Step-by-step demos on building a website and getting found on Search and Maps
  • Interviews with small business experts like SmallBizLady Melinda Emerson
  • Workshops on Google tools for businesses (Google Apps, Google Trends, Google Alerts), online advertising (AdWords), and measuring your success online (Analytics)
  • Free help and advice from experts over Helpouts by Google

We’re also teaming up with small business organizations across the country including local chambers of commerce, Small Business Development Centers and SCORE chapters to host live broadcasts of our trainings. You can find a screening closest to you on our website.

We’re excited to welcome small business everywhere to join us for this special week. Even if you don’t own a business, we encourage you to take part by spreading the word and inviting your favorite businesses to sign up.
See you on the web!



*Source: BCG Report, "The Connected World: The $4.2 Trillion Opportunity," March 2012

Allot Softly Launched a New High-end Product (Service Gateway Tera)


Allot Communications' product page was updated recently with new product (Service Gateway Tera). When selected, a blank page appears:






However, Allot's document - "Allot Products", provides some more information on the new 500 Gbps 14 slots ATCA platform.

All performance numbers have been doubled or tripled compared to the current Sigma Gateway:








Apple Streaming Service in Talks to Get "Special Treatment" from Comcast



While the Comcast-Netflix agreement is claimed to be Net Neutral ("no preferential network treatment" - here), it seems that the relations with Apple maybe going to challenge Net Neutrality.



Shalini Ramachandran, Daisuke Wakabayashi and Amol Sharma report to the Wall Street Journal that "Apple is in talks with Comcast about teaming up for a streaming-television service that would use an

China Mobile: Shared Data Plans; OTT Replaces Voice& SMS


Some slides from the recent China Mobile 2013 Annual results (here).

Highlights:


>500,000 LTE base stations by the end of 2014
LTE Tariff build around data, with multi-device shared service plans
Voice and SMS/MMS revenues decline (-3.4%, -6.5% respectively) in 2013 to OTT services (while minutes of use are up by 3%)
767.2M subscribers, 191.6M in 3G
Mobile data traffic reached 526.8B MB





Cache Deployments [299]: On Telecom [Brazil] Optimizes Netflix with Qwilt


Qwilt announced that "On Telecom, a fast growing leading Brazilian 4G TD-LTE broadband provider, has selected the Qwilt Video Fabric Controller to help solve their over-the-top (OTT) video problem. On Telecom currently faces rapidly increasing network usage resulting from the popularity of its high-speed broadband offering that encourages customers to consume more streaming video from sites like

[Infonetics]: Huawei Leads the $1B Policy Management Market


Telecom Lead published the main findings from Infonetics Research report on the policy management market (even before Infonetics' own press release), expanding the information provided towards the end of 2013 ("[Infonetics]: Over $1B Policy Management Market for 2013 (29% Growth); Bumped by LTE" - here):

"Huawei leads the policy management software market in 2013, ahead of Ericsson ..Infonetics

Encouraging the next generation of journalists: Google Journalism Fellowship Winners 2014

The Google Journalism Fellowship connects students interested in using technology to tell stories in new ways to the organizations that are pushing the boundaries of newsgathering and reporting. Over 10 weeks, Fellows work on projects ranging from building interactive news apps to researching stories, finding data and writing code. In this post, one of last year’s Fellows, Jan Lauren Boyles, shares her perspective on the benefits of the program and what this year’s Fellows stand to get out of it. -Ed.

At first, I thought it was just my imagination.

In the middle of my exams for my doctorate at American University last year, I got a call from the Pew Research Center offering me a Google Journalism Fellowship. Low on sleep, my first thought: "Was this offer all just a reverie, rendered by my foggy mind?"

In some ways, it turned out that that call really was the beginning of a dream.

I had applied for the Fellowship because I wanted to work with the brightest minds in media research and broaden my understanding of the intersections between journalism and technology. I was thrilled to work with leading experts at Pew Research to collect and analyze data that examined how social media is transforming the way Americans consume and share news. I also had a chance to learn from Google’s own mapping and data visualization specialists. But I never imagined we’d also shadow an editorial meeting at The Miami Herald, discuss the future of news with Knight Foundation staff, talk directly with news startup leaders and take part in a design sprint at a CIR/Google conference around data and the news.

The 2013 Google Journalism Fellows. The author is third from the right.

Many of the inaugural class of Google Fellows has gone on to carve out careers in the newsrooms of the 21st century. The Fellowship helped me land a full-time position at the Pew Research Center’s Journalism Project as a research associate—a dream job, where I’ll use various research methods—from surveys to content analysis to good ol' reporting—to help examine how news and information functions today. One key project that I’ll work on this year will be a deep examination of the flow of local news in society today.

Now a new class of Google Fellows gets a chance to fulfill their own dreams. These 11 students are people to watch—young scholars, computer scientists and practitioners who will likely create new journalism products and platforms that will change our engagement with news in the digital age.

This year’s organizations and Fellows are:


Congratulations to this year’s Fellows! We look forward to the energy you’ll bring to the host organizations this summer—and to watching your dreams become a reality.

What? WSDOT is removing trees?

 By guest blogger Claudia Bingham Baker

Many of you have contacted us recently to express concerns about WSDOT’s plan to clear 500 trees along a 14-mile stretch of Interstate 5 between State Route 510 in Lacey and State Route 512 in Lakewood to provide a clear line of sight for seven new traffic cameras we’re installing. You have asked us why the trees need to come down, why we don’t just relocate the cameras, why we are spending money on installing cameras instead of fixing bridges and roadways, and other questions. 

We at WSDOT recognize and appreciate the importance of trees. We value them for their ability to increase water quality, to increase air quality, and to help prevent erosion. We agree that they beautify the I-5 corridor and we don’t take lightly the task of removing them. 

One of several locations over 14 miles where we
will be removing trees for line of sight.
 We’d like to answer your questions with clear and straightforward answers. Yes, it’s true that we are removing 500 trees starting on Monday, March 24. They will be removed from seven areas that are all within WSDOT right of way. Most of the trees are Douglas firs and Cottonwoods, and all of them obscure clear line of sight to the highway and adjoining ramps. How do we know they obscure the view?  Because our environmental staff in the field used a thoughtful and deliberate approach to tag only the trees that would block the cameras, ensuring that a minimal number of trees would be removed.

You’ve asked why we don’t just relocate the cameras in the highway median or in other areas where trees would not obscure the view. The locations for the new cameras were also carefully chosen to provide for the most efficient camera operations. Those locations take into account the availability of supporting hardware, adequate access for camera maintenance, and the length of the corridor covered at each location. It’s important that the cameras have a full 360 degree clear line of sight to operate properly. 

You’ve asked why we are installing cameras instead of fixing bridges or roads. It’s important that you know that one is not sacrificing the other, and here’s why. The funding for the camera installation came from a 2011 Federal TIGER III Grant, which was actively sought in partnership with Joint Base Lewis-McChord and neighboring jurisdictions to address highway congestion by improving traffic operations. This grant was not available for maintenance and preservation needs, so the cameras are not being installed at the sacrifice of other funded work within WSDOT. The total grant funding came to $15,000,000. More information about the awarded grant can be found on the following linked pdf:
http://www.dot.gov/sites/dot.dev/files/docs/TIGER_2011_AWARD.pdf

You’ve said that we just have too many people and too few roads, and you don’t see how cameras will help reduce congestion. WSDOT agrees with you that we are at a critical service level on many of our state’s highways. We also know that we can’t build our way out of congestion. So what can we do? We can maximize the effectiveness of our existing highway system. We do that by installing intelligent transportation devices, and cameras are only one piece of that puzzle. 

Cameras are especially good at helping first responders like the State Patrol and local fire jurisdictions to respond more quickly to, and to clear, roadway incidents. Much of our traffic congestion (some say up to 50%) is caused from lane closures caused by collisions. Anything we can do to increase response times goes a long way in reducing overall congestion. Just as important, the new cameras will support efficient operations of 17 new ramp meters being installed within the corridor. The cameras will allow WSDOT staff to control ramp meter rates during heavy traffic, which will help traffic move better along the mainline highway and reduce collisions at merge points (that collision effect again). Cameras also provide real time traffic information to the public and media through our web pages.

Along with the cameras and ramp meters, WSDOT will also install variable message signs, travel time signs and data stations. All of these devices help WSDOT communicate with you, the driver, so you can make informed decisions about your travel plans. 

WSDOT has several web pages that discuss the improvements that are being made for the I-5 JBLM corridor. The active construction project that involves installing the seven new closed circuit TV cameras can be found here:
http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects/i5/sr510congestmgmt/

More information about the benefits of ITS devices can be found here:  http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Operations/ITS/

We understand that you do not want trees to be cut down. We recognize that trees improve our standard of living and help define the Pacific Northwest. We are removing only necessary trees, and we are replanting 500 trees after the construction project is complete. The trees will be planted at two locations, the I-5/Marvin Road area in Lacey and the I-5/DuPont Steilacoom Road in DuPont. 

Thank you for your comments and understanding.

Advice from the afternoon @wsdot_traffic gal could save you from spring fever this weekend

By Harmony Haveman Weinberg, aka @wsdot_traffic afternoon gal

Hooray! Spring has officially arrived! However, that excitement could turn into a headache if you do not plan ahead for some major traffic impacts this weekend. There are so many closures to tell you about, it’s tough to do in more than 140 characters.  But, I’ve got you covered. We’ll get through this together.

Closure hot spots include I-5, I-405 and SR 99:

Let’s take a look at the big picture. There are closures happening throughout the weekend on three major roadways in the area. Click on the map to the right to get a good idea of where you can expect to see backups and added congestion.

Now let’s divulge into the nitty-gritty details.

Here’s what’s closed:

I-5 in Seattle

Mercer Street ramps to I-5

  • 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday - The City of Seattle will close the Mercer Street on-ramps to both north and southbound I-5 to install traffic detection equipment.

SR 99 closures in Seattle

  • 11 p.m. Friday to 10 a.m. Saturday - All southbound lanes of SR 99 will be closed between Valley and Thomas Streets for girder settings as part of the City of Seattle’s Mercer Corridor project.
  • 4:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday - All lanes of the Alaskan Way Viaduct will be closed between South Spokane Street and the Battery Street Tunnel for bridge inspection.

I-405 closure in Bellevue

  • 11 p.m. Friday to 4 a.m. Monday - Eastside drivers will need to use alternate exits on I-405 to reach downtown Bellevue as the southbound off-ramp to Northeast Eighth Street will be closed all weekend for drainage and barrier work.

Heaviest traffic backups

Since I watch traffic every weekday afternoon to bring you the most up to date information, I have a good idea of what you can expect this weekend. Westbound I-90 coming into Seattle will get backed up. That said, the westbound I-90 express lanes will be open to help alleviate some of the congestion.

Going shopping? If you plan to join me in finding some good sales this weekend in Bellevue, expect heavy backups on southbound I-405. The ramp to Northeast 8th Street will be closed. You will want to take the Northeast 4th Street exit instead. Northbound I-405 drivers will want to take the Northeast 8th Street off-ramp, because that part will still be open.

Heading northbound I-5 into Seattle? You will see backups too. Our brilliant traffic engineers point out this can be a heavy travel spot even without lane closures. Drivers could start to see slowdowns at Boeing Field. The I-5 express lanes will help ease up some of the backups.

What *YOU* can do

  • Delay or combine your trips if possible.
  • Carpool or take public transit.
  • Follow us on Twitter! We will be working throughout the weekend! Our team will stay on top of the traffic conditions.
  • Get the app!
  • Most importantly – be informed about the closures and plan your weekend around them.

NI Deployments [298]: Belgacom Uses JDSU/Arieso to Optimize Mobile Service



JDSU (see "JDSU Acquires Arieso for $85M to Increase Visibility to the RAN" - here) announced that Belgacom has chosen to implement the JDSU ariesoGEO platform across its Proximus mobile networks in Belgium. Belgacom will use ariesoGEO to plan and optimize its 2G, 3G and LTE networks, to ensure an optimum VIP experience for its mobile users and to enhance management reporting and network

Staying at the forefront of email security and reliability: HTTPS-only and 99.978 percent availability

Your email is important to you, and making sure it stays safe and always available is important to us. As you go about your day reading, writing and checking messages, there are tons of security measures running behind the scenes to keep your email safe, secure, and there whenever you need it.

Starting today, Gmail will always use an encrypted HTTPS connection when you check or send email. Gmail has supported HTTPS since the day it launched, and in 2010 we made HTTPS the default. Today's change means that no one can listen in on your messages as they go back and forth between you and Gmail’s servers—no matter if you're using public WiFi or logging in from your computer, phone or tablet.

In addition, every single email message you send or receive—100 percent of them—is encrypted while moving internally. This ensures that your messages are safe not only when they move between you and Gmail's servers, but also as they move between Google's data centers—something we made a top priority after last summer’s revelations.

Of course, being able to access your email is just as important as keeping it safe and secure. In 2013, Gmail was available 99.978 percent of the time, which averages to less than two hours of disruption for a user for the entire year. Our engineering experts look after Google's services 24x7 and if a problem ever arises, they're on the case immediately. We keep you informed by posting updates on the Apps Status Dashboard until the issue is fixed, and we always conduct a full analysis on the problem to prevent it from happening again.

Our commitment to the security and reliability of your email is absolute, and we’re constantly working on ways to improve. You can learn about additional ways to keep yourself safe online, like creating strong passwords and enabling 2-step verification, by visiting the Security Center: https://www.google.com/help/security.



Cross-posted from the Official Gmail Blog

NSN Base Stations to Support ChinaCache CDN; Is Saguna Involved?


Nokia Solutions and Networks announced it has signed a "Memorandum of Understanding  with ChinaCache to incorporate content delivery network (CDN) technologies and innovations into NSN’s Liquid Applications solution. This enables content to be delivered directly from the LTE base station, which translates into faster data throughput and a whole new level of personalization for superior customer

Working Together for Safer Roads

This month, we are very excited that the Roadway Safety Foundation -- a charitable group here in DC that is dedicated to promoting safe road design and educating the public about the importance of safety engineering -- has released a new edition of its popular Roadway Safety Guide


First published almost 15 years ago, the Guide is a community-oriented document intended for local leaders, active citizens, and any road users who may be concerned about the safety of the roads where they live and work, and who need assistance finding the right people and agencies to turn to for help. Written for non-engineers, it is both a readable introduction to key roadway safety concepts and crash countermeasures -- such as roundabouts and median barriers -- and a guide to working effectively with Departments of Transportation, police departments, highway authorities, etc. 

The AAA Foundation is proud to sponsor this valuable document, as it aligns closely with our mission of "saving lives through research and education." Roadway engineering and design is a topic that generally doesn't get the kind of public attention that driver behavior and vehicle safety issues do (such as distracted driving or high-profile auto recalls), but it plays a critical role in the overall traffic safety equation. Our research into crashes related to pavement edge drop-offs (when erosion, broken pavement, or other issue results in a 2-inch or greater difference between the roadway and its adjacent surface) shows, for example, that they are much more likely to cause fatalities or serious injuries than are other crash types on similar roadways.

With input from numerous stakeholders -- such as the Federal Highway Administration, 3M, AARP, and others -- and featuring case studies of exemplary community work across the country, the Guide also serves as an informative collection of expertise from a diverse group of government agencies, non-profits, corporations, advocates, schools, and others. To get started learning about how roadway safety is important to your community, check out the free online edition here. And, for more on our work in this area, such as our brochure on avoiding pavement edge drop-off crashes, visit traffic-payout.org.

Sandvine CEO Bullish on IBM Relations; SDN and NFV will Take Time


Sandvine published its 2013 annual report. In the Letter to the Shareholder, Dave Caputo [pictured], Sandvine CEO, says: "In late 2012, we partnered with IBM [here and here] as a new reseller of our solutions; I am pleased that Sandvine’s products are now fully productized within the IBM partner ecosystem. This joint relationship is encouraging and we expect to announce further wins in 2014".

Chromecast: now casting in 11 more countries

Superheroes, cliff divers, fearless reporters or pop icons—whatever you like to watch, Chromecast makes it easy to bring it from a phone, tablet or laptop to the biggest screen in your house: the TV. Since announcing Chromecast in the U.S., we’ve grown to include more of your favorite apps and websites. Those numbers will continue to grow, and we want to bring Chromecast to more people around the world. Today Chromecast is available in an additional 11 countries—Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the U.K.

In addition to your favorite apps like YouTube, Google Play Movies, Google Play Music and Netflix (where available), we’re working with local content providers to bring even more of the movies and TV shows you love to Chromecast. Apps will start rolling out today, and include BBC iPlayer in the U.K.; France TV Pluzz and SFR TV in France with CANALPLAY coming soon; and Watchever in Germany with Maxdome coming soon. So instead of huddling around your laptop to watch Sherlock solve the next crime or getting caught up on all the workplace drama in Stromberg, you can cast it, sit back, and watch together on the big screen.

Chromecast will keep getting better. We recently opened up Chromecast to developers, and in a few short weeks more than 3,000 developers worldwide have signed up to bring their apps and websites to Chromecast. You’ll soon have more TV shows, movies, videos, sports, music and games to choose from. Stay up-to-date on the latest apps that work with Chromecast at chromecast.com/apps.

So if you’re in one of these 11 countries, look for Chromecast starting today at Amazon, Google Play, Currys PC World, Elkjøp, FNAC, Saturn, Media Markt and other retailers.

Happy casting!

Sharing what’s up our sleeve: Android coming to wearables

Most of us are rarely without our smartphones in hand. These powerful supercomputers keep us connected to the world and the people we love. But we're only at the beginning; we’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s possible with mobile technology. That’s why we’re so excited about wearables—they understand the context of the world around you, and you can interact with them simply and efficiently, with just a glance or a spoken word.

Android Wear: Information that moves with you 
Today we’re announcing Android Wear, a project that extends Android to wearables. And we’re starting with the most familiar wearable—watches. Going well beyond the mere act of just telling you the time, a range of new devices along with an expansive catalogue of apps will give you:

  • Useful information when you need it most. Android Wear shows you info and suggestions you need, right when you need them. The wide variety of Android applications means you’ll receive the latest posts and updates from your favorite social apps, chats from your preferred messaging apps, notifications from shopping, news and photography apps, and more. 
  • Straight answers to spoken questions. Just say “Ok Google” to ask questions, like how many calories are in an avocado, what time your flight leaves, and the score of the game. Or say “Ok Google” to get stuff done, like calling a taxi, sending a text, making a restaurant reservation or setting an alarm. 
  • The ability to better monitor your health and fitness. Hit your exercise goals with reminders and fitness summaries from Android Wear. Your favorite fitness apps can give you real-time speed, distance and time information on your wrist for your run, cycle or walk. 
  • Your key to a multiscreen world. Android Wear lets you access and control other devices from your wrist. Just say “Ok Google” to fire up a music playlist on your phone, or cast your favorite movie to your TV. There’s a lot of possibilities here so we’re eager to see what developers build. 


Developer Preview 
If you’re a developer, there’s a new section on developer.android.com/wear focused on wearables. Starting today, you can download a Developer Preview so you can tailor your existing app notifications for watches powered by Android Wear. Because Android for wearables works with Android's rich notification system, many apps will already work well. Look out for more developer resources and APIs coming soon. We’re also already working with several consumer electronics manufacturers, including Asus, HTC, LG, Motorola and Samsung; chip makers Broadcom, Imagination, Intel, Mediatek and Qualcomm; and fashion brands like the Fossil Group to bring you watches powered by Android Wear later this year.


We're always seeking new ways for technology to help people live their lives and this is just another step in that journey. Here’s to getting the most out of the many screens you use every day—whether in your car, in your pocket or, very soon, on your wrist.

The I-90 snowshed retires after 64 years!

By guest blogger Summer Derrey

Have you ever played the hold-your-breath game on road trips? I remember traveling from Yakima to the Pacific Science Center in Seattle as a kid with my fellow Campfire gal-pals.  We held our breath when we went through the I-90 snowshed, sure it was only for 500 feet long but it kept us entertained.

Crews building the snowshed
in the spring of 1950.
As much as the shed was a part of my childhood, I’m sure many other people shared similar experiences, from singing car songs to playing the I-spy game. If you were around in 1950, you may have watched construction of the shed while riding the train on the other side of Keechelus Lake.

After 64 years of dutiful service, the old snowshed is coming down, and I’d like to take this opportunity to pay a little tribute by inviting you to learn a bit more about the background of this historic snowshed.

Formally called the Keechelus Snowshed Bridge, “the shed” was built in the spring, summer, fall and winter of 1950 to protect drivers from avalanches. The 500-foot-long shed is 34 feet wide and has a concrete roof supported by a 30-foot-tall, 15-inch-thick retaining wall that hugs the hillside. The roof span consists of 200 precast concrete T-beams. The sides are detailed with false portal fronts bearing art deco detailing. You may recall the 1950 stamp on each side.

In the 1950s and 1960s, US Route 10 over Snoqualmie Pass was widened to four lanes. Also during this time, state highways were renumbered to meet the American Interstate Highway System, creating what we know now as Interstate 90. While I-90 expanded, the snowshed continued to only cover the two westbound lanes. There are a number of factors why the shed wasn’t changed to accommodate increased traffic back then – mostly design challenges.

Snowshed during a nice winter’s day.
In 1995, the Keechelus Snowshed Bridge was placed on the National Register of Historic Places list. It represented the first time precast construction was used for a highway structure in a mountainous area. It is the only interstate snowshed remaining. Another snow shed was built on the eastbound lanes of I-90, west of the summit, but that came down in the 80s.

And now, it’s time for our contractor, Atkinson Construction, to remove the snowshed and replace it with avalanche bridges as part of the I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East project. The elevated structures will allow snow to slide under the bridge between the bridge piers. That’s good news – crews won’t have to close the pass as often in the winter for avalanche control work.

Aerial view of the snowshed in summer.
Although the snowshed is coming down in April, it has plans for retirement. Most likely the shed will be recycled and used as extra material in other parts of the I-90 project.

Perhaps I’ll stay busy by creating a new hold-your-breath game traveling up and over the raised avalanche bridges. I’ve got a few years to develop the idea. Construction of the new bridges is scheduled to begin this spring and be complete in 2018 when construction on the rest of the widening project is complete.



[Analysys Mason] CSPs Spent 6.3% of Revenues on IT (39% of Capex)


A new report by Dean Ramsay, Larry Goldman [pictured] and Justin van der Lande, Analysys Mason finds that "USD127 billion was spent worldwide on telecoms IT in 2012. This spending represented an average of 6.4% of overall telecoms revenue of more than USD2 trillion .. IT spending accounted for only 10% of opex and 39% of capex worldwide in 2012".

"Spending on OSS/BSS accounted for 50% of IT

A browser that paints the sky

Today, residents of Vancouver, Canada, will notice a new addition to their scenic waterfront: an interactive artwork on one of the largest textile sculptures ever. The piece, entitled Unnumbered Sparks, is a collaboration between artist Janet Echelman and Google Creative Director Aaron Koblin, as part of TED’s 30th annual conference.

Echelman is known for building sculptures that respond to the forces of nature—wind, water and light—and this project is no exception. Made from ultralight fibers, the sculpture soars from the roof of a skyscraper over the water and walkways near the Vancouver Convention Center (site map). As visitors collaborate via mobile devices, they create colors and ripples that move over its surface.

Photo by Ema Peter

What's not obvious to the public is when you look at the sculpture, you're actually looking at a web browser. The interactive lighting is actually one giant Chrome window, stretched across the 300-foot long sculpture with the help of five high-definition projectors. To interact, visitors open a website using Chrome or other modern mobile browser on their smartphone or tablet. After selecting a color, they use their fingers to trace paths along the surface of their device, which are then projected onto the sculpture in real-time as colorful beams of light. The result is a crowd-controlled visual experiment on a giant, floating canvas.

Photo by Ema Peter

Watch this short documentary to get a quick look at the work involved in creating this project:


Art and technology are continuously evolving together, and we hope that this project showcases the opportunity for mobile devices and the web to play a part in that evolution. We all carry devices in our pockets that have the power to connect with people around the world, but rarely do we get a chance to use this incredible power to connect and create with the people standing next to us. With Unnumbered Sparks, we hope to turn strangers into collaborators, working together to create a single piece of art on this amazing canvas.

WSDOT to the rescue with Bailey bridge

By Alice Fiman

Starting today, our workers will be installing a unique structure designed for use during wartime to keep traffic moving in rural Thurston County.

Thurston County requested use of part of our Bailey-style bridge to temporarily replace a bridge out of service on Littlerock Road, south of Olympia. Once our crews get out there later this morning, they should have the bridge pieces together, up and open to traffic within two days. The plan now calls for it to be in place by Friday, March 21.

And yes, you did read that correctly – they are just borrowing part of it.

That’s because a Bailey bridge isn’t a whole thing, but actually just pieces, or panels, for those who may be more familiar with that sort of thing. You can see the full Wikipedia description here. The panels are made to be light, portable and not require any special tools or equipment. But they are strong enough to carry tanks. The Bailey bridge design is close to 75 years old, but can be installed to handle 21st century travel.

We own enough Bailey bridge parts to build close to three, 150-foot-long Bailey-style bridges. These are built by assembling various parts, similar to a large tinker toy set. Bailey bridges were designed for soldiers to build the structure using only manpower, no cranes or heavy equipment needed.  We keep these bridge parts stored in the Tacoma Narrows Bridge anchor gallery for safety and protection from the elements.

For what’s known as the L-4 bridge on Littlerock Road, our crews will install what they call a “triple single,” which will be one stack of three panels on each side of the roadway (the same configuration as the first picture). The bridge will be designed to carry most loads including cars, school buses and fire trucks. Check with Thurston County for more information on traffic control.

Bailey Bridge used on SR 142 in Klickitat County in 2012

We own a Bailey bridge for the reasons you may think – we have lots of water in Washington (and other stuff you may need to cross). If something happens, we are ready to assemble these pieces to keep traffic moving. In 2007, crews put up a 180-foot bridge in six days over the Chehalis River near SR 6 in Lewis County. And, more recently, we put up a Bailey bridge in Klickitat County in 2012.

[GigaOM] Content, Service Providers and Caching Vendors Cooperate


Interesting report by Stacey Higginbotham [pictured], GigaOM, following "Content companies including Viacom and HBO have met with folks from Comcast, Qwilt [see "Qwilt Adds Live Streaming Caching" - here] and others to discuss transparent caching as a way to solve the problem of online video".

"One solution to this challenge [delivery of streamin video] is transparent caching, where operators

[Analysys Mason]: Is there Correlation Between Fixed Internet and Mobile Data Usage?


   
A new report by Rupert Wood [pictured], Principle Analyst, Analysys Mason, finds that "About 96% of all IP data worldwide is associated with fixed access networks .. 

There is little immediately obvious correlation between fixed Internet and mobile data usage among these countries. We have added countries for which we have clear data in mobile usage (shown with pink markers below), but have

SoftBank Vision for the US: Wireless as Broadband Alternative


Several slides from Softbank's "The Promise of Mobile Internet in Driving American Innovation, the Economy and Education" (here):































Procera Exposes BT Revenues for 2013


Last year Procera Networks reported on a "mega-carrier" deal (see "CEO: "Procera is the only company that delivers Internet intelligence"; Who is the $20M Mega-Carrier?" - here). Procera's CEO said then that "In Q3, we expect to begin to recognize revenue from a large deal with a mega-carrier .. we've characterized the size of this kind of opportunity in the $20-plus million over a 3-year period

Save more with Google Drive

Having launched Google Drive just two years ago, we’re excited that so many people are now using it as their go-to place for keeping all their files. Whether it's all the footage of your kids' baseball games, the novel you're working on, or even just your grocery list for the week, we all have files that are too important to lose. Today, thanks to a number of recent infrastructure improvements, we’re able to make it more affordable for you to keep everything safe and easy to reach on any device, from anywhere.

We've lowered the price of our monthly storage plans to $1.99 for 100GB (previously $4.99), $9.99 for 1TB (previously $49.99), and $99.99 for 10TB, with even more storage available if you need it. How big is a terabyte anyway? Well, that’s enough storage for you to take a selfie twice a day for the next 200 years and still have room left over for… shall we say… less important things. Like before, storage continues to work across Drive, Gmail and Google+ Photos. And, of course, the 15GB plan remains free.


You can sign up for one of these new Google Drive plans at www.google.com/settings/storage. If you already pay for storage, you’ll automatically move to a better plan at no additional cost. You can visit the storage purchase page to make a change or review your account, and see the Help Center for more information on these simpler storage options.

RADCOM: $3.5M Service Assurance Deal in Brazil


RADCOM announced the ".. initial phase of a multi-year deal at the approximate amount of $3.5M with a major operator in Brazil .. This tier 1 Brazilian Cellular operator purchased RADCOM’s system to provide service assurance for their Mobile broadband 3G and LTE network. RADCOM offered this operator one solution for different technologies running on the recently announced, powerful

DPI Deployments [297]: du [UAE] Selected Procera





Procera Networks announced a "strategic partnership with Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company PJSC (du) .. du has purchased Procera Networks' award-winning PacketLogic™ 10000 series of products, which will enable the company to provide an enhanced customer experience and network optimisation.


in 2010-11, Openwave announced that du will be using its PCRF (here) and DPI (here)

On the 25th anniversary of the web, let’s keep it free and open

On the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web, we’re pleased to share this guest post from Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the web. In this post he reflects on the past, present and future of the web—and encourages the rest of us to fight to keep it free and open. -Ed.

Today is the web’s 25th birthday. On March 12, 1989, I distributed a proposal to improve information flows: “a ‘web’ of notes with links between them.”

Though CERN, as a physics lab, couldn’t justify such a general software project, my boss Mike Sendall allowed me to work on it on the side. In 1990, I wrote the first browser and editor. In 1993, after much urging, CERN declared that WWW technology would be available to all, without paying royalties, forever.

The first web server, used by Tim Berners-Lee. Photo via Wikipedia

This decision enabled tens of thousands to start working together to build the web. Now, about 40 percent of us are connected and creating online. The web has generated trillions of dollars of economic value, transformed education and healthcare and activated many new movements for democracy around the world. And we’re just getting started.

How has this happened? By design, the underlying Internet and the WWW are non-hierarchical, decentralized and radically open. The web can be made to work with any type of information, on any device, with any software, in any language. You can link to any piece of information. You don’t need to ask for permission. What you create is limited only by your imagination.

So today is a day to celebrate. But it’s also an occasion to think, discuss—and do. Key decisions on the governance and future of the Internet are looming, and it’s vital for all of us to speak up for the web’s future. How can we ensure that the other 60 percent around the world who are not connected get online fast? How can we make sure that the web supports all languages and cultures, not just the dominant ones? How do we build consensus around open standards to link the coming Internet of Things? Will we allow others to package and restrict our online experience, or will we protect the magic of the open web and the power it gives us to say, discover, and create anything? How can we build systems of checks and balances to hold the groups that can spy on the net accountable to the public? These are some of my questions—what are yours?

On the 25th birthday of the web, I ask you to join in—to help us imagine and build the future standards for the web, and to press for every country to develop a digital bill of rights to advance a free and open web for everyone. Learn more at webat25.org and speak up for the sort of web we really want with #web25.

DPI Deployments [296]: Etisalat[UAE] Expands Sandvine Solution



Sandvine announced that it has "received a multi-million dollar follow-on order for current customer, Etisalat ..  Sandvine customer since 2006. This order represents Etisalat’s ongoing commitment to innovation and providing subscribers with a superior Internet experience.

With the order, Etisalat has expanded its deployment of Sandvine’s best-in-class technology and solutions, including

Uninor [India] Shifts "from data to Internet"; Charges for Facebook and Whatsapp Use


Uninor, a subsidiary on Telenor announced that it has "decided to shift from volume based Internet offerings (MB and GB offerings) to service based Internet offerings (Facebook and Whatsapp). This will change the way in which Uninor offers Internet to its 33 million current and all future subscribers".

Morten Karlsen Sorby, nominated CEO of Uninor. said: “We are moving out of data and moving in