Defining Vision, Revisited

16 07 2017


Long and short:  MSFT is going to add muscle to 802.11af, aka White Spaces, aka WhiteFi.

As you can read here, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) is opposed.  But they don’t have any good technical grounds for their opposition, because television broadcasting today is entirely digital, and even transmission on an otherwise vacant channel “next door” to one used for a DTV signal will create zero interference to the reception of the DTV signal, even if it was another DTV signal.  It’s just that people who have spectrum are militant about wanting to keep it without having to share it.

The only reason we have HDTV/DTV today was this self same NAB militancy.  In the 1998 book Defining Vision, the late Joel Brinkley, David Brinkley’s son, demonstrated that when the idea to sub-let blank TV channels for first responder and public safety uses, the NAB, in a cynical search for a counter-argument, cynically latched onto HDTV as something they supposedly wanted to do, and needed all their spectrum to do, as someone pointed out the much more advanced state of HDTV development in Japan at the time, and we’re talking circa 1987.  The problem is that the political reaction to this cynical trial balloon was that everyone was outraged that the Japanese were well ahead of us in yet another thing, and these were the years when we actually thought Tokyo would be ruling the world by now.  The political snowball that started rolling after that actually did lead to both high definition and digitally transmitted over-the-air television.  The irony is that what we got was compatible with first responder and public service uses of white spaces even in analog voice modes without interfering with TV, and the only reason that didn’t actually happen is because, in the wait, trunking technology rolled out, which allowed for much more efficient use of the existing public service spectrum allotments.  Also, in between time, the Japanese economic train vastly slowed down.

So now, we’re back to square one, with rural broadband being the thing which wants to use white spaces, and the NAB is all out of excuses.

We’re About to Open an Early ’80s Time Capsule

16 06 2017


* Cannonball Run reboot.

* Atari reboot.

Could silver ghettoblaster boomboxes be far behind?

Garden State of Mind

11 06 2017

New Jersey


Before Silicon Valley, New Jersey Was Tech Capital

It was in New Jersey that Thomas Edison invented sound recording, motion pictures, and the light bulb in what is considered the first modern corporate R&D facility. In other words, Edison invented the modern lab — teams of people working together, sharing ideas and perfecting devices. In the century after Edison, New Jersey became the place to set up shop if you wanted to invent. On top of all the other assets, the state had lots of inexpensive land available. The transistor and cellular communications came out of AT&T’s Bell Labs, also in New Jersey. If it was 1955 and you had to bet on where the next half-century of technical innovation would emerge, the Garden State would be the most likely winner, not some farmland south of San Francisco. As a couple of Jersey natives at NPR note, it didn’t quite work out that way. What happened?

I’ll take a stab.

(1) Average January high in Newark is 39, in Palo Alto 58.  Average annual snowfall in Newark is 28 inches, in Palo Alto, none.  Average annual rainfall in Newark is 46 inches, in Palo Alto 16 inches.

(2) Father Lewis Terman and son Fred Terman.  That father-son combination was brilliant and Machiavellian, and exploited the best parts of the raw drive for human intelligence, measurement and selection, California’s one-time individualist-libertarian political climate, and channeling a lot of Federal military-defense R&D money into the area.

(3) New Jersey is smack dab in the Bos-Wash northeastern Acela corridor, which for a long time has had a business climate focused on large corporations.  I am of the opinion that the personal computer could have never been invented or popularized by the big three-letter Acela corporations, because, as far as they were concerned, computing only concerned large corporations, and therefore, individuals and their households had no use or need for them.  It took the California individualist-narcissistic mentality (that it once had) to fathom an individual even wanting a computer.  For the same reason, historically, team sports were popular in Eastern industrial towns, while they weren’t that much in California.  Because team sports carried the same connotation as team employment or team industry, the large corporation, the large factory.  Olympic style sports, which are generally more individual than team affairs, were both popular in and sometimes grew out of, a place like California, because of its (former) atomistic-libertarian climate.

(4) “Had lots of inexpensive land.”  By 1955, that wasn’t so true in New Jersey anymore, but it was true “south of San Francisco.”

(5)  The Termans, Fred especially, developed the business-academic mentality, again, rooted in what California’s political climate used to be, of the Stanford-to-startup pipeline.  This new industry generally attracted people who were, along with being highly geeky and intelligent, also highly entrepreneurial.  So, if their two options were corporate slave in New Jersey or roll-your-own between San Francisco and San Jose, guess where they were going to go.

(6)  Part of what hurt Edison and New Jersey insofar as motion pictures is that certain ((())) intent on ripping off Edison’s IP set up shop fairly close to the Mexican border, so they could quickly schlep across it if process servers came calling.

Blogmeister Bait

1 06 2017

Addis Ababa

This might be the most me-y story this current year.

I don’t know which angle grabs me the most — The startling revelation that black people cheat, or the silly notion that Ethiopian high school diplomas are actually worth something, or that Ethiopia has progressed past the dialup stage for its internet access, or that even Ethiopian PR hacks use the word “proactive,” though he forgot to go all the way and use “reach/realize their full/est potential.”

Far Cry Me a River

25 05 2017

Frankfurt, Germany and Rennes, France


These Crytek/Ubisoft cretins forgot nothing because they learned nothing.

Remember what was the Alt-Right’s coming out party, its debutante ball?  That’s right, a little scandal from three current years ago called GamerGate.  This means that the SJW crowd whose fingerprints are all over Far Cry 5 didn’t realize what kind of bear they’re poking.  4chan, 8chan, /pol/ and the rest of the Alt-Right’s doxxer crowd are probably hard at work as I type this to figure out who to out and embarrass.

OTOH, if there are any good reviews of FC5 in the gaming press, then there’s a close to 100% chance that there’s a blow job behind it.

It Took Seven Years

16 05 2017


I predicted.  Seven years ago.

Finally, it’s coming true.

Long time coming, but now we can commence the brick shitting process inside a certain building just northeast of the Dallas High Five.

Minds Share

24 04 2017

Washington, D.C.

My problem?

It isn’t with what he proposes, and it’s not even so much with the mechanics of implementing it.

It’s that he, and everyone else important, seems to have conceded mindshare to Faceberg.

In proposing that Faceberg should do this that or the third to be more fair, they are implicitly confessing that the world is and needs to be on Faceberg.

And that’s why Mark Zuckerbook is smiling when he reads this.

I’m not on Faceberg.