Friday, 30 November 2012

A vastly improved experience

Welcome to the new iTunes 11, just released by Apple. What a refreshing experience. A new and logical way to include many, many functions that iTunes can perform - from syncing your devices, to buying in the store.

Screen Shot 2012 11 30 at 10 30 23

The first screen allows you to easily select your library contents (Music, Movies, etc) then display them by their attributes (Songs, Albums, etc). From here a smooth switch can be made to the iTunes store to purchase new media.

As usual everything is in the iCloud, and synchronises to you devices (iPads, iPhones).

Airplay seamlessly allows media to be streamed to Airport Express (analog audio) or Apple TV (digital audio and HDMI video). All wonderful and smooth - well done Apple.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Ham Radio request

Is there by any chance someone out there thinking like me and working to develop a magic radio box?

SDR (Software Defined Radios, RX and TXRX) are mostly designed to connect to a computer, using a USB connection for control and one (RX) or two (TXRX) stereo audio signals.

But what I want to do is to put an SDR in my loft, along with auto ATU and loft aerial. Then I want to control it over WiFi from my MacBook. So I need some sort of box (or complete SDR design) that can communicate with the SDR software (I use DL2SDR's DSP Radio software) for both control and audio channels. Something like this

Screen Shot 2012 11 22 at 16 47 15

I have in mind to use a good auto tune SDR/ATU, like perhaps the Flex-1500?

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Well now, fancy that, no more wires

There was a very interesting news report on 'Zite' (an iPad news aggregator app) that ATT in the USA thought they might abandon wired, fixed phones.

So what? Well most of us have a mobile don't we? But think about it seriously, the main purpose of the wires today is not the fixed phone, but the ADSL modem connecting you to the internet. And the performance of this channel is rapidly becoming obsolete with as upper limit of 8-10Mbps or so. So now there are two pressures combining to rid ourselves of the 100 year old copper wire, and move to fibre!

Would it be reasonable that all wires could be replaced by fibre to the home, whoopee 100Mbps, all TV coming this way, shutting down all those new digital TV transmitters, freeing up the air space for more mobile technology, and …?

Wow that's a thought:

1. Abandon fixed wire phones - boom in mobile sales, and phone chargers! Move to fast LTE delivery.

2. Big move to swap wires for fibre - technically not obvious, but a practical challenge - gives everyone, and I mean everyone, as this would be legally mandated, to have 100Mbps internet delivery

3. Quickly move from linear transmitted TV to internet delivered Video On Demand - a huge boom in companies offering VOD TV, movies etc. Big boom in Internet connected TVs.

4. Finally closing down all recently installed digital TV transmitters, at considerable cost! They were a bad choice anyway, based on the mistake that linear TV would continue to be the forward delivery for programs, whereas as many companies (TVcatchup, Netflix, LoveFilm, even BT video… and things like the iPlayer) have shown people want a different on-demand delivery system. So let's cut our losses and free up TV bandwidth frequencies for mobile and stop digital TV.

What do you think?