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Comment: Re:How we do it in Canada (Score 1) 36

by adolf (#49598365) Attached to: World-First Remote Air Traffic Control System Lands In Sweden

Have you ever used a proper and modern PTZ camera? Or several of them at once? Perhaps with multiple fixed cameras to give a good overview, and a good management system to make looking around easy? Because it really sounds like you don't have a clue what you're going on about. I'll take a few good PTZ cameras with diverse locations over a set of binoculars at the top of a tower every fucking day for the sort of ranges and objects we're talking about here.

(Disclaimer: I've been on towers installing PTZ cameras while also armed with binoculars. The PTZ system is useful for finding and tracking birds and deer; the binoculars are good for studying them as a biologist might and lousy for finding things that the eye can't see.)

As to practicality, it's already being done: It is therefore practical. I presume that smarter people than either of us already figured this shit out and determined that it's more effective to have a remotely-manned tower than an actually-manned tower in this instance...otherwise, TFA would not exist.

Are we done yet? Or is the Earth still flat?

Comment: Re:How we do it in Canada (Score 1) 36

by adolf (#49582385) Attached to: World-First Remote Air Traffic Control System Lands In Sweden

There just are things that you can only do from the tower cab on location. I'd hate to see what it took to use the signal lights or dig out the binoculars to see if there's some trash on the runway if you are 70 miles away.

That's what cameras are for. Panasonic (amongst others, I presume) even have some that do a fantastic job of grepping a usable image in fog.

Comment: Re:clickbait headline.... (Score 1) 31

by adolf (#49549719) Attached to: Patents Show Google Fi Was Envisioned Before the iPhone Was Released

The US already has near-ubiquitous coverage of populated areas. There used to be some well-known dead spots near me (in Ohio), but they're gone: Things work just fine in or around any town or village, nowadays.

That doesn't mean that doing so was cheap. Or that giving me 4G coverage down in the holler at my buddy's farm in Kentucky will ever happen (there is no central electricity implicit in those parts, and last I was there I might have had enough service to send an expensive text message once I climbed a hill).

One reason the U.S. will never have the fastest/best/cheapest internet or cell phone service is that some areas of the US are ridiculously rural, hilly, and hard to cover.

Which, again, reinforces my point.

The "Universal Service Fund", which we all (in the US) pay for with our phone bill, isn't providing for much Universal Service...much less the hard-wired bandwidth service of the sort that actually fucking works.

*clears throat* *ahem* Depending on locale, apparently: Everyone is equal, but some people are more equal than other people.

Comment: Nightshades (Score 2) 104

by adolf (#49548801) Attached to: Bees Prefer Nectar Laced With Neonicotinoids

So that's why I see bumble bees trying really goddamn hard to try to crawl inside of the little blossoms on my pepper plants* that they totally don't fit inside of at all.

It reminds me of myself, shaking down the couch for change for tobacco money before ATMs and credit cards became commonplace. Or rather, groping for the cigarette at the bottom of the recliner that I can see with a flashlight, but can't reach at all without looking like a monkey fucking a football and even then it isn't easy.

Or, as Rammstein said, "like an elephant in the eye of the needle." Whatever, you get my point.

*: Pepper plants, as all nightshades, produce nicotine in their foliage and presumably their flowers.

Comment: Re:clickbait headline.... (Score 3, Interesting) 31

by adolf (#49548719) Attached to: Patents Show Google Fi Was Envisioned Before the iPhone Was Released

Basically what a cell signal already does when a user moves between towers, but Over The Internet. So probably already patented by 30 different companies.

This is why I would love to see a cheap data only service. There is no reason for smartphones to have dedicated voice/text service when it could all be taken care of by a data connection and a VoIP provider.

This is why cheap data service can't exist right now.

Someone has to build the towers, string the cables, install the radios and antennas. Someone has to change the oil in the genset, and (depending) rotate out the diesel. Someone has to maintain the aircraft warning lamp. Someone has to handle ESD (lightning) damage. And still, someone has to deal with farmers and their backhoes.

And mitigate interference and overlap issues. And deal with routing issues. And. And. And.

There's no way for a data service to be cheap: With modern codecs, voice (which is much, much better than my first digital/non-AMPS cell phone) already uses very little data, and Youtube uses lots. Which is why unlimited voice/text service is cheap, and genuinely unlimited data is like a hen's tooth.

I used to get consistently better bandwidth with my OG Droid on genuinely-unlimited 3G than on any public hotspot, so when I was stuck in one place for awhile (selling/"donating" blood plasma, for instance) I'd just stream Netflix over 3G instead of using Biolife's carrier-grade TDM-sourced Wifi.

But in doing so I knew that I was squandering a limited resource: Actual bandwidth, aka spectral capacity.

And the only way to increase that total available bandwidth is to have more towers with smaller footprints AND maybe an institution of like-minded people who securely open up their home routers for the world to use (didn't Vodaphone do this on the other side of the pond?).

But the first case involves lots of money (see above), and the second case involves cooperation and trust and hardware that is smart enough to configure itself to deal with interference mitigation autonomously.

Both concepts can have traction and will work with existing technology, though the latter will fall apart with non-stationary users since there's a -lot- to be desired in a given Wifi client device's ability to handle roaming between multiple disparate networks.

Comment: Re:Local recycling is dependent on a local market (Score 3, Interesting) 78

by adolf (#49538985) Attached to: Africa E-Waste Dump Continues Hyperbole War

Bottle glass is one of the most recyclable things we commonly use: You just sort it by color (which can be automated), put it into the kiln with the other glass, and wind up with a product that is just as good as virgin material.

But transporting it is expensive, so much so that it can be cheaper to produce new glass from sand.

If it doesn't get landfilled, it typically just piles up waiting for a use. As I understand it, very little post-consumer recycled glass ever turns into anything useful.

Knowing this, I still recycle glass...but only because it keeps the bags that my actual garbage goes into from being cut up by broken glass, making it easier and cleaner for me to handle.

Comment: Re:Aggregated intelligence (Score 1) 86

by adolf (#49538107) Attached to: Traffic App Waze To Alert L.A. Drivers of Kidnappings and Hit-and-Runs

Indeed, but this isn't anything new.

Waze already knows where you are whenever you're using it. It's a critical part of the functionality that allows it to work.

Furthermore, there's an excellent chance that Google also knows where you are, whether you think they do or not.

Personally, I'm OK with this at this time. Waze has saved me hours of waiting in traffic on the freeway, and Google's Location History helps me generate accurate invoices without wasting time on note-taking.

Your opinion may (and perhaps should) vary.

Comment: Re:mobile sites are a disease (Score 2) 356

by adolf (#49524811) Attached to: 'Mobilegeddon': Google To Punish Mobile-Hostile Sites Starting Today

I've always wanted a browser that ignores all of those "suggestions" and just displays everything on the web in a uniform well readable style. Just not as boring as with disabling CSS completely.

The closest I've found for this is the Readability bookmarklet, which often does the right thing and produces readable text (including simple inline graphics!) in plain paragraphical form.

Comment: Re:Expensive and fragile (Score 1) 96

by adolf (#49523559) Attached to: Optical Tech Can Boost Wi-Fi Systems' Capacity With LEDs

You don't want this at home.

This is technology helps solve density issues. Your home (unless you're into regular LAN parties) isn't a place that has those issues.

If you've got cat5 to 4 spots in your house where people tend to be, just put a dual-band 802.11 access point in each of those spots, dial down the power output, and done.

You can do this today.

Comment: Re:Rugged Smartphone dock (Score 1) 96

by adolf (#49523423) Attached to: Optical Tech Can Boost Wi-Fi Systems' Capacity With LEDs

20-ish years ago, I saw a Jensen car stereo with that feature: The detachable face had electrical contacts for only power and ground; the rest of the signalling was optical.

It made sense to me at the time, and I fully expected it to catch on....fast forward 20 years, and I'm still occasionally cleaning the contacts on my JVC car stereo to allow it to work at all.

And I've mangled enough Micro-USB connectors (just one, but that's enough) that I really don't like dealing with them on a regular basis.

The first rule of intelligent tinkering is to save all the parts. -- Paul Erlich

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