Archive for July, 2009

This Spewed Out of the Internet #6

0511-0701-3118-0930Lots of interesting things spewing forth from the internet these days:

Jeff KE9V articulated a compelling vision of web-based (“cloud computing”) ham radio logging. This caused a lively discussion among some readers (read through the comments on Jeff’s blog). I found the idea interesting but I am inherently suspicious of the notion of “cloud computing”.  (“I give you all my information and trust that you’ll do the right thing with it.”) As I read through the comments, I realized that what interested me was the idea of having all these logging programs playing well together and with other applications such as Logbook of the World. Right now, this is mostly a pain. That seems to imply we need well-designed standards that define how the software interoperates, whether it exists on my PC or in the cloud.

Jeff also had a great post about narrow-minded thinking. Reminds me of my previous post about Religion and Ham Radio.

The Fi-Ni Report had a hilarious piece about a ham that puts a small VHF/UHF vertical on top of a 100-foot tower:  Ham Claims New Tower is Not Overcompensating.

On a more serious note, it seems that some folks are concerned that the proliferation of radio communications towers are killing off certain migratory birds. This is the first time I have run across this issue, which surprised me a bit. A little Googling Binging on the web finds quite a few articles about it. It seems that the birds fly into the towers or guy wires, especially at night.

I found this spoof of Apple by The Simpsons on You Tube. Pretty funny….unless you are an Apple Fan Boy.

Scot, K9JY, publically admits to buying an Apple computer. One of my daughters has also turned into a Mac fan. I tell her, “Sure, if you want the silly computer to just work, buy a Mac. If you want to dig in and learn all about configuring networks, troubleshooting software problems, understanding file formats and becoming a real computer user, then get a PC. If not Windows, then Linux.”

In case you haven’t heard, the 40th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing is coming up on July 20th. There is a really cool site (http://www.wechoosethemoon.org/) that is recreating the events in real time (40 years later). Check it out. What a reminder that we can accomplish amazing things if we commit our hearts and minds to it!  Unfortunately, it is also a reminder that it is easy to sit on our butts for 40 years and not accomplish much in space.

73, Bob K0NR

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Standard USB: Missed It By That Much

usb-cable-mini-bI’ve blogged in the past about the need for standardization, especially when it comes to computer cables and power adapters. I have been feeling quite good about the progress I have been making with my personal collection of electronic gizmos. I’ve noticed that most of them have lined up behind the idea of using a mini-USB (Universal Serial Bus) port for both power and data. Now how cool is that? Someday, I might be able to carry one USB cable and a AC adapter and have it handle all of my information-age cabling needs.

Then I got a surprise: I upgraded my personal mobile phone to an LG enV3. Great, it also has a little USB connector on it, so it will be compatible with my other devices. Bzzzt. Wrong!  It turns out that the enV 3 has a micro USB port which is about the same width but thinner than the mini USB. It seems that the USB Implementers Forum decided that the mini USB was just a bit too fat for slimmed down mobile phones and personal digital widgets. And the mobile phone industry has decided to standardize on this new slimmer connector.

Then I had to admit that I remember when the mobile phone guys announced this new standard. I just missed the fine point about mini vs micro. I thought we were already mini and micro enough!

I see now that the ham radio manufacturers cleverly avoided this whole mess, clinging to that industry giant, the old reliable RS-232 serial port! Their late adopter (never adopter?) behavior has saved them the agony of flipping the USB port.

On a similar note, Apple will apparently never move away from their proprietary iPod connector, so they have also shielded us from the pain and agony of using an affordable, standard connector.

I guess I need to go find a micro-USB to mini-USB adapter somewhere.  Like this one.

73, Bob K0NR

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