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Comment The carrier perspective (Score 2) 140

This event is an excellent candidate for a temporary cellular deployment, engineered and operated by a carrier. Typically, they will not charge for the service because of the extra call revenue and to avoid bad publicity from poor coverage or capacity. Unfortunately, you would need to engage both Verizon and AT&T to provide service for their own customers.

I recommend not deploying a cellular repeater in this case because there is likely insufficient isolation between the surrounding macro network and your event site. Without sufficient isolation, the repeater will impair the operation of the host base station and not even provide significant coverage improvement due to massive multipath problems. If you're interested in a survey, you could use an Android phone with RF Signal Tracker and record the RSCP and Ec/Io of UMTS ("3G") service.

If the carriers are not interested, I recommend deploying your own Wi-Fi network. I cannot offer advice on how many access points you would need, but it will be many. Because Wi-Fi was never meant to be infrastructure and lacks features like uplink scheduling and handover, controlling the footprint of each access point is very important.

Comment It does, but not well (Score 1) 187

In some areas, Google Maps already provides multi-modal trip planning on public transportation, as long as those modes fall into that category. But it doesn't work very well. I can ask for driving directions between a city and an island which will include the ferry, but asking for public transit directions between the same two points routes me on Amtrak several hundred miles south, then various bus connections to ferries servicing various small islands before reaching a completely different ferry than the first mentioned one. Total time over twelve hours when the direct route on public transportation is about four. Clearly, their algorithms need improvement.
Hardware Hacking

Submission + - Fake LED christmas lights?

An anonymous reader writes: I have small kids, so I wanted to get some LED Christmas lights this year (fewer hot/warm and glass objects the better). So I found some GE LED crystal miniature lights at my local Fred Meyer store (Kroger to the rest of you). They look nice, too nice. I was a bit suspicious because they appeared to have a filament in the bulbs, and the bulbs are glass.... I checked the box again, it definitely says 'LED'. It also states the wattage per strand of 50 bulbs is 3.2 watts, my kiliwatt meter is showing about 19watts. I took apart one of the spare bulbs and it definitely _looks_ like an incandescent bulb. Am I just not hip on the latest in LED manufacturing technology or did somebody sell me a $1.99 strand of incandescent lights for $11.95?

This particular set looks like it has licensed the GE logo and are actually from a company called 'Santas Best Craft' in B.C. I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt at the moment since I've not been able to talk to anybody there and that this was a con on the part of a the contract manufacturer that drop shipped them from (you guessed it) China to my local store back in October.

Has anybody else also have so-called "LED" strands? I did purchase a single strand from Phillips last year. It for comparison draws ~5.4 watts for a stand of 70.

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I haven't lost my mind -- it's backed up on tape somewhere.