Monday, January 31, 2005

The IRAQ elections

While I am not at all convinced we have done good here, information on our mainstream media is hard to seperate from the propaganda and spin doctoring. Of course we have a large investment in this election and need to see success. That remains to be seen.

I like this project. It's a clearing house for Iraq information and news. Worth a read. The page I linked to also has some very interesting details on the election process and lets just say I am less than impressed at this point

Given the reasons for this war are null and void, (No WMD's) and the ongoing expense, I'm not sure this is a benefit to the American or Iraqi people at all. We are spending roughly a Billion, yes that right --A fricken BILLLION, every week on this mess. When will the killing of our troops and the Iraqi people end?


Saturday, January 29, 2005

Anyone have ideas for a dirt simple RF filter?

What I am looking for is either an inexpensive product, or very simple circut that will cut RF noise between computer and Tuner.

Considering a pre-amp to solve this problem, but just thought I would toss out the idea.

Comments, quick hacks for the lazy? Actually I'm just really busy...

Click the link below and make me proud!

Sunday, January 23, 2005

IBOC Noise in Portland Oregon


HD side effects, for me, include:

- no more FM DX and poorly functioning autoscan. Most of my radios now stop at the IBOC sidebands of the stations broadcasting them :(

Ok, so that's not very many effects. I guess that puts me into grudging general support of IBOC FM really. I think people will easily trade DX, for more program choices offered by FM IBOC. AM IBOC, on the other hand = pure evil.

Edit: Others have pointed out this is not IBOC. Dang, that means I've got a noise source to nail down. Accordingly, I'm removing one of my side effects now, leaving the DX issue. DX in my case it actually pretty minor. The Portland FM dial only has one real station; namely, KNRK 94.7! Since the rest of the dial does not matter to me, the DX issue is off the table.

What prompted this post? New tuner teething pains actually. (It's an old tuner, but new to me!)

I wrote a nice paper on HD radio technical implications, and you can get samples of HD FM audio here. Be nice please and download once, then listen! --Thanks!

I think FM IBOC might be accepted, I have serious doubts about AM at this time --read the paper if you want to know why.

Minor edits, addition of samples and paper link. 03/15/05

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Open Source Software really here to stay!

Yeah I know, I'm just another blogger late to the table, stating the obvious. Seriously, It just hit me today. I made a comment on a /. thread about Google including images in with the search results.

For the record: THIS IS A BAD IDEA Google. Please consider carefully what you are doing.

Google is about simple, fast and accurate. The minute they start trying to be all things to everyone, they begin to lose the core values that put them where they are. The image button works well. Adding a button to do both, or letting users choose works and is true to the Google way we have seen to date.

Ok, back to the topic at hand, namely OSS actually being here to stay. My comment was about page thumbnails. I would love this feature because it would add a useful visual to the search results. Not sure it should be part of the default search, but useful if made an option of some kind.

In typical Slashdot style, I got a quick reply letting me know that a Firefox extension has been able to do this for a while now. I MISSED A BROWSER PLUG IN? WTF !?!

And there's my point. OSS is big now. Big enough that it is very difficult to actually know the state of it anymore and that's very cool. Long ago, or at least it seems long ago, reading Linux Today, Slash, Lwn and a few others brought a person current. Chatting with a few friends took care of the loose ends and all was good. Today, that works for a segment of OSS only, and that can be tough.

Thanks everyone for working to build something so very cool. If you don't feel appreciated, drop me a line and I will make it so because you are appreciated by at least one geek!

Friday, January 14, 2005

Cassini probe an early success!

Man, I love this stuff. Why can't we put aside our various wars and greed and get more things like this done? We don't live anywhere near long enough to waste time as we so often do.

Anyway, images and other data will be available here once the data issues get sorted out. News from the ESA indicates the basic mechanics of the mission were a success.

The big question is the integrety of the data. The initial design forgot to account for the doppler effect on the transmission. There is still a real chance of the data shifting outside the antennas optimal bandwidth however. Let's hope those subsystems are overengineered as well as the probe itself was.

(Crossing fingers)

Good for the Eurpoeans. After the loss of Beagle, this success must feel pretty good.

Comments? Probably not yet, but if you find something interesting, post it here.

Edit: minor bonehead content removed

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Google Publishes Coarse USENET Timeline

From /. of course... Here is the link to the timeline and the /. discussion.

I connected to the Internet for the first time in 1991. Man, that seems like so long ago. A little ISP called provided the dialup connection at the time. The speed was a blazing 1200Baud. The interface was a Unix shell. (Thanks for that BTW)

No WWW, no Google, not much of anything actually but e-mail, MUDS and USENET. Usenet was the shit frankly. So many different groups and conversation. I was instantly hooked.

I still USENET today, but it's noisy now. Still lots of discussion and useful information if you know where to look. Miss the old days before spamming when a troll or two were the only troubles. USENET showed me the true power of the Internet --communication. Nothing else even comes close today. The Internet made our world smaller. USENET was the first practical demonstration of that. Thanks guys, this geek appreciates it.

Here is an interesting page related to USENET personalities. I found it very entertaining and actually informative. Study the different characters then use them to catagorize people you bump into.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

House Dems issue final Ohio election irregularities report

Raw Print House Dems issue final Ohio election irregularities report to a largely silent mainstream press.

For the impatient, you can get the PDF here. [OpenGeek Mirror]

More later after I get a chance to read it tonight.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

AM 620 KPOJ & AM 1190 KEX lead the way toward

the worst quality AM radio signals, on the dial, in Portland Oregon.

Clear Channel communications has decided to limit the audio bandwidth of their AM stations to about half of what it normally is to make more room for expensive and flawed digital IBOC AM signals. Though KEX was first on the block with the new low quality signal, KPOJ joined the race to trash the dial. Clearly, Clear Channel has made the decision to obsolete all the quality radio gear their listeners have invested in, despite little evidence there is public demand to do so.

KOPJ and KEX now feature poor quality audio no matter what radio you use. Other stations in the area, such as KKAD 1520, KDZR Radio Disney (1640 AM Stereo no less!!), and KBPS (1450 AM Stereo also!) all broadcast great quality AM signals that every listener can continue to enjoy to the fullest their gear will allow. AM Stereo radios are being sold today, for a fraction of the cost of the newer digital AM radio units. In addition, about 10 percent of all car radios are AM Stereo capable today.

KOPJ, despite a recent power boost and great ratings, reduced its sound quality today. A year of hard work, building great progressive talk programming, transitioning to a more powerful 25,000 watt signal, and great imaging all combined to make KOPJ the best AM signals on the dial here in Portland Oregon. Now it's one of the loudest stations, but the hosts all sound as if they have a cold.

I don't get it. Why build a great station only to degrade it and annoy the listeners who invest in quality gear to listen? For that matter, why degrade any radio station? Is there any particular rush to lower quality? Does radio really need this additional problem?

Here is the story:

In a word, IBOC. This is In Band On Channel Digital radio. The radio people think this will be the next big thing. Nervous radio executives, worried about the ongoing erosion of their marketshare and relevance, due to stiff competition from satellite radio, are pushing digital with both hands hoping to breathe new life into the increasingly stale radio scene. Marketing people say Digital is better (and it likely is done right). Of course, everyone knows the XM and Sirius satellite systems are digital and they are getting new listeners. --Radio listeners.

So the radio industry wants digital and they want it yesterday. Along comes a company called Ibiquity with their IBOC technology. Radio bites hook, line and sinker. The NAB lobbies the FCC to get IBOC accepted as an official standard for broadcasting, despite Ibiquity owning the technology lock stock and barrel. Of course, Ibiquity licenses to everyone, broadcasters, and listeners alike, eager to own radio on the industries own dime.

From the looks of things they are beginning to have some success. When we see broadcasters willing to work against their own loyal listeners interests to advance a technology, it's either the next best thing since sliced bread, or we've all been had.


Many FM stations around the country are beginning to transmit FM IBOC HD digital signals. For the most part, these are unobtrusive enough to be tolerated by existing radio gear. It's a lot like FM stereo was. New radios will be able to reproduce the digital signal while existing radios work the same. If it weren't for the licensing issues allowing Ibiquity to own public radio, this could work out ok. I am not convinced the quality of the digital signal will be better than an existing analog FM signal however, the technology does allow for more programming choices.

AM however is a different story. AM stations that broadcast AM IBOC signals, cannot be AM Stereo stations, so we lose the use of those radios. In addition, the IBOC signals take a lot of room, so the AM stations wanting to get ready for AM digital IBOC HD must cut their bandwidth back to make room. There goes all the good radios.

AM IBOC will leave all existing AM radios
sounding like the very worst quality radios!

Anyone that enjoys AM today will lose with this proposal and they can thank Clear Channel, along with others for it. AM IBOC is going to fill the AM band with digital noise that will be heard on any AM radio, but for the new expensive digital ones. This noise will be heard loudly on any better radio. This makes no sense particularly when the AM IBOC technology has not left testing stages yet and is not approved for nighttime operation!

Nobody is going to spend $500.00 for a new digital AM radio only to be limited in so many ways! Yet, plenty of people will spend $30.00 to $50.00 for a great AM radio that, until today, delivered a quality experience.

Thanks Clear Channel for trashing the AM band. I suppose if you make a majority of AM stations sound bad more people might look for other options.

Millions of radios are going to become increasingly useless over the next couple years so a few worried radio execs can feel they are just as digital as the next guy. Nevermind the millions of people wanting to just listen to their radio they have today.

Edit: Minor changes to the above content addressed minor issues with form and style. In addition to those, you might find the information below interesting:

- 10 percent of all car radios are AM Stereo capable. This means any AM talk station today can broadcast in Stereo and dramatically improve the experience for a significant share of their listeners today.

- AM Stereo continues to see wide use around the world. Poor leadership, here in the USA is the only reason AM Stereo failed. The technology itself is more than viable with listeners around the globe enjoying quality AM programming every day.

- Successful broadcast technology innovations have traditionally enhanced the experience without significantly degrading the utility of existing consumer gear. Color Television and FM Stereo are two excellent examples of this. AM Stereo was to be another, but for corporate infighting and poor FCC leadership.

- On a recent trip, I had the chance to compare KOPJ to another station in Eugene, that has not reduced its audio quality. Despite the radio being an ordinary radio, the difference in clarity, particularly siblants, was notable. The harsh filter required for IBOC digital to be used, significantly degrades the analog audio.

Translation: This narrowband approach sounds bad on most any radio.

- AM Stereo radios can be had for as little as $100 today. Brand new portable units are being manufactured and sold in the US.

Anyone Remember the Pop Shoppe?

I sure do. Growing up in the small town of Molalla Oregon, I was lucky to be blessed with one of these, complete with drive thru! Being able to pick any combination of flavors you wanted was what made the Pop Shoppe special for me growing up.

While chatting about local TV Station KPTV on, the topic of conversation drifted toward the Pop Shoppe and commercial spots. One of the folks just happened to have one and let me post it here. You know you just wanna click it and bring back a memory or two so go for it!

Edit: Yes, I did mean KPTV instead of KPDX --thanks anonymous.

Monday, January 03, 2005

The Free Press -- Independent News Media - Election 2004

It is possible that the election result in Ohio could change. This report, published by the Free Press, examines the top 10 problems in Ohio. Taken together they suggest that the result could change, given a proper investigation. Such an investigation appears to be growing increasingly impossible due to legal meddling by Ohio State officials. This information, while not able to prove a Kerry win, casts enough doubt to easily support an election result challenge on the 6th of January.

Will any of our Senators stand and demand a proper accounting of the will of the American People?

For our sake, I sure hope so. We need to be able to trust the President was duly elected. Given the polarized state of the nation and it's position in the world, we must demand this trust in order to move forward.

Just to be clear, I want the correct result, not my desired result. I want to know who really should be the President and will support who ever holds the office, provided they hold it based on a trustworthy election. That has not yet happened and it needs to.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

KPTV Channel 12 Portland Oregon RIP

I'm sorry about the RIP, but the station I grew up with is no longer here. KPTV was Portlands independant television station until it became a network affiliate a number of years ago. That's what the RIP is about. No offense meant to the current employees of what is still a great TV station, I hope none are taken.

Anyway, this site is a fantastic look at the history of THE television station in Portland during my childhood years. KPTV featured an interesting mix of locally produced programming and other programming that was creative and sometimes unusual compared to the more tame network fare.

Check it out and maybe trigger some forgotten memories!

Happy New Year!

Just a quick post to bring in the new year proper.

Speaking of holidays, before trashing somebody for a Merry Christmas, try and have a bit of tolerance. Not everyone believes the same things. Of course we can try and water things down to Happy Holidays, but does it really matter?

If you hear a Merry Christmas and you don't believe, instead of getting offended, consider their message of well being and go with it. Responding or accepting this message does not commit to to anything. I would rather hear a Merry Christmas from somebody and know they care, from their point of view, than hear a Happy Holidays from everybody and have to live with the fact that in a free nation we can't actually express ourselves proper.