* Posts by Orecomm

6 publicly visible posts • joined 18 Nov 2010

SpaceX's Starlink: Overhyped and underpowered to meet broadband needs of Rural America, say analysts


Re: What's the problem?

I live in Oregon less than 5 miles from Interstate 5. I'm less than 2 miles from the city limits of the largest city in the County, and the County is the size of the state of Connecticut. We get (sometimes and only recently) 4G cell at my house which is on a ridgeline. Until 2 years ago I was the last house that could get DSL, my neighbor was out of range. We got 500K download, 128K upload speeds for $45/Month. Today, by a stroke of good fortune (being located along the path used by the local electric utility to reach one of their substations) I have fiber connectivity at 50Mbps for $50/Mo., but many of my neighbors (anyone off the main road) can't get it. No cable anywhere close (not that I would pay for cable in any case). The company I work for is even more excited, as our business is wildfire smoke detection, usually from currently unmanned forest fire lookout towers. (Can't get people to go spend time in a tower without their precious internet, and no there is no cell phone coverage, cable, or DSL (or in many cases utility power) out there. Currently we build long-haul microwave networks to link and serve the towers, which is expensive to build and to maintain, and any fault in a chain of towers can result in "blinding" the system over large areas - each tower covers up to 400 square miles. It will take a little work to run Starlink from an offline solar system, but the cost isn't prohibitive in light of reliability and bandwidth availability. I am sure there are many, many other applications that have similar requirements. Home users streaming 4K Netflix isn't the only user base out there. There is a whole lot more of America outside of urban services range than you think.

Most Americans doubt Big Bang, not too sure about evolution, climate change – survey


Trust Science ?

The problem with trusting science is that the answers keep changing. Science is always presented as absolute truth, yet virtually everything in the science books of my youth has eventually been "proven" to be (they won't use the word "wrong") incomplete knowledge. Medicine and health are even worse - virtually everything we were told was bad as a kid is now considered good, and the stuff we were fed turns out to cause diabetes, blood pressure problems, heart disease, high cholesterol, and cancer. What percentage of absolute knowledge of the universe do you think we have attained ? Science seems to think it's in the 90% range, but that's what Science thought 200 years ago too. Faith (as opposed to Religion) is constant.

BTW, if you trust Science, then climate change is a good thing. Change produces stress and stress is the engine that drives evolution, and that's good. Unless you are the old, unevolved species, I suppose.

US mobile firms cave on kill switch, agree to install anti-theft code


Re: 24 hours?

No need for acid. Thermite is more stable, but it's been pretty well shown that just shorting the battery will melt down the phone, the pocket it lives in, and pretty much anything else in close proximity quite nicely.

US Marine Corps misses target, finds and bombs Nemo


splash or SPLASH

The AV-8B Harrier can't land vertically with a bomb load, one of the restrictions of this type of aircraft. The Bonhomme Richard is an amphibious assault ship, not an aircraft carrier as such, no arresting gear. The park covers 345,400 square kilometers. It is quite likely that the aircraft could not reach a safe drop point outside the park and return to their carrier with sufficient fuel to land. So, your choices become 1) Bomb the civilians that are parked in your bombing range, 2) drop your ordinance in the safest place you can reach and still have enough gas to land, or 3) drop the whole aircraft with the ordinance in the drink. They found a deep water location and dropped 4 chunks of metal in it, with plans already underway to recover them. No bang. No large hole in the Coral Reef, which would have happened if they chose shallower (and easier to retrieve from) water. Pilots safe. Coral safe. Passing ships safe. Idiots in boats in a bombing range safe. Ideally it would never have happened, but is it really worth headline news across the entire planet ?

Netbooks projected to become EXTINCT by 2015


Netbooks have serious applications

Just a note that not EVERYONE on the planet is watching videos and being net-social 24 hours a day. Some of us work for a living, and a small portion of those do so in the field where machines capable of supporting RS232 connections, wired Ethernet, telnet, tftp servers, and a real keyboard and such get far more use than HDMI video connections and WiFI. Watching your $1K plus lappy drift slow-mo to a tragic demise at the base of an antenna tower smarts a lot more than a $200 or less second-hand netbook (I keep my local Pawn Shop on the lookout..) becoming one with the planet, and I'm a lot less inclined to take a risky grab to save it - and possibly follow it down for a close-up view of the destruction just before self-oblivion. Lightweight, rugged, versatile, and cheap works just fine, and even the cheapest and wimpiest netbook can keep up with my typing speed without much trouble.

US may disable all in-car mobile phones


Disabling the wrong component

OK, lets face it, the cell phone isn't the problem. Neither are eating, drinking, kids, dogs, reading, shaving, lipstick, or the million and one other things that get in the way of driving well. The problem is the driver. It always has been. So, if you are going to outlaw something, how about just getting rid of the driver ? The technology is very nearly there. The mindset may take a little working on. I'll tell you though, I have better things to do with an hour + commute than tally up my daily "idiot index" of less-than-optimal drivers. Imagine the national productivity gains if that time currently spent behind the wheel could be used to make phone calls, text, read, browse, shop, and all the other things we do when not driving. Let face it folks, the self-piloted vehicle just doesn't make much sense, particularly in congested areas. Computers are just more attentive, predictable, and react to situations faster and more accurately than "squishies". If you want to argue, then start a debate about what OS the car of the near future should use <duck>. Trying to solve all the reasons that humans can come up with to wreck a car one at a time just isn't going to work.