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Comment Re:Bluetooth is gone eh? (Score 3, Informative) 78

Actually, Bluetooth 3.0 uses IEEE802.11, not Wi-Fi, as the underlying carrier technology. Wi-Fi is a superset of 802.11 features. Wi-Fi brings broad interoperability, higher level functionality and mandated conformance to established standards. BT 3.0 uses 802.11 as an Alternate MAC/PHY (AMP) layer, has a fixed signaling rate of 24Mbps, and does the "networking" using the BT radio and BT protocols, not Wi-Fi. It is not necessary for a 802.11 radio that is set up to run in BT3.0 mode to be compatible with a standard Wi-Fi access point, as BT3.0 is really supposed to be used to allow higher speed data transfer (about 8x) between two BT3.0-enabled devices, like a cameraphone and a notepad. Wi-Fi Direct is direct competition to BT 3.0, but does it more simply with the one radio, technology and protocol rather than two radios and a mix of protocols that are very different and more costly.

As some of you might remember from way back in 2005, originally the high-speed AMP was going to be Ultrawide Band (UWB), but the BTSIG took a bet on the WiMedia Alliance's MB-OFDM quasi-UWB technology and lost when WiMedia folded its tent in early 2009, after probably a dozen manufacturers had failed to get MB-OFDM silicon to work as promoted.

Bluetooth is not gone, in fact BT Classic (the 2.1 stuff) is in the majority of all cellular handsets sold in the world today, and I think each week something like 20 million BT chips are shipped in product, 90++% of that in cellular handsets and headsets. However, the actual usage of BT is pretty low since most people don't really seem to take to headsets, or if they do use a headset, it's often wired since that eliminates the need to charge two batteries. Like I saw somewhere else, BT seems like the IRDA of the 21st Century, ubiquitous yet little used

That having been said, Since 2004 or so I've been using BT headsets (5-6 models now), multiple BT-enabled phones, even a BT-enabled PDA (remember the old Sony Clie), and am generally satisfied by the convenience and performance. Pairing has gotten way better with 2.1, my phone (BB) only forgets about my headset (Jabra) every second week or three, requiring a repairing effort. But I'm an engineer, and have some tolerance for touchy gadgetry... And no, I'm not a member of either the BTSIG or the Wi-Fi Alliance.

Comment The end of the Bio Break? (Score 1) 434

In the good ol' days, that 10 minutes of commercials before would allow me time to hit the head, make a sandwich, grab a beer. But, I'm sure they'd make it so that the view time would be **interactive**, so I'm going to have to train my robot monkey to hit the mouse button the exact number of times required to get through that 10 minutes. Well, I guess that's an opportunity for new business!

Comment Re:Top Speed ? (Score 5, Informative) 229

Barely distinguishable? Jupiter is only 5 times Earth's distance from the Sun. Outside Earth's atmosphere, solar insolation averages around 1370 watts per square meter. At Jupiter's orbital distance, it's about 50 watts per sq meter. That's a huge amount of power. At Jupiter's distance, the Sun is well over a million times brighter than Sirius, the brightest star in the Terran sky. Barely distinguishable? Bah.

Comment Re:Cheaper astronomy (Score 4, Informative) 59

Um, they do and do so regularly. Balloons hoisting 2000kg+ payloads, up for weeks at a time, at elevations over 30-35km. When working in the 90's at JPL in Southern California, I would occasionally have lunch with a guy responsible for launching huge skids of scientific equipment at Palastine, TX, at the National Balloon Facility. Palastine is convenient due to the large amount of helium produced as a waste product from the wells in the area. Palastine's accomplishments notwithstanding, Southern California is also home to cutting-edge balloon experimenters.

Comment Re:1st (Score 2, Informative) 63

On any standard XGA and higher-res LCD display, there's a fair chance that at least one pixel has a problem of some sort. Each OEM has their own QA guidelines which they really don't want to share unless you push. This site gives some idea of the thresholds.

Apple Removes Wi-Fi Finders From App Store 461

jasonbrown writes "Apple on Thursday began removing another category of apps from its iPhone App Store. This time, it's not porn, it's Wi-Fi. Apple removed several Wi-Fi apps commonly referred to as stumblers, or apps that seek out available Wi-Fi networks near your location. According to a story on Cult of Mac, apps removed by Apple include WiFi-Where, WiFiFoFum, and yFy Network Finder."

Comment Kill Switches in the Silicon (Score 2, Interesting) 392

My experience is with very complex and extremely common silicon wireless transceivers, including RF, PHY, MAC, NWK and even applications functions. 6 to 40 mm^2 of extremely dense circuitry (millions to tens of millions of gates). It would be very easy to put into that a block that would be nearly undetectable and that would cause the transceiver to change its behavior when specific sequences are received over the air. In a major metro area, a single broadcast message could shut down tens of thousands of cellphones or wi-fi devices. For weapons that use that part, it could quickly be "Phaser on OVERLOAD!" That having been said, when we do a design and send the design files overseas to third-party fabs in Asia, it is hard for them to be able to modify anything since the finished part will be different than our design file. But, I suppose if you had the money, resources, and desire for total world domination, anything's possible.

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