An open message to Linux

Tux, courtesy of  Larry Ewing and Linux
Tux, courtesy of Larry Ewing and Linux

Linux, oh Linux! Where have you been all my (adult) life? I know, I know, you have been right there all long, just waiting for me to get out of my Microsoft phase. Day after day, year after year, you have been sitting there thinking; when? When? When will he pay attention to me?  Well, I tell you I am through with that old, expensive habit. Sure, Microsoft has Windows and all that, but you have GUI’s too. Not to mention the wonderful open office suit.  Then there is the back end, I have always been a sucker for back ends. Yours is wide open, no inhibitions, no problems, no hangups. Microsoft? You can’t even look at their back end without an army of lawyers descending upon you with malice and litigation on their mind.

Up front, you seem complicated and high maintenance.  But once I got to know you, I found it is just the opposite; so simple and easy to get along with.

No, my Microsoft days are over, over I tell you.  I feel secure with you Linux, like you will adapt to my needs and communicate with me when troubles arise.  You won’t let malicious code get in the way of what could be a wonderful relationship.  What’s more, there are so many different versions of you, I feel like I can pick and choose operating systems based on what my needs are.  Finally, a computer that does what I want it to.


Paul Thurst

CES 2014 and the Digital Radio question

I have been busy of late, however, still keeping abreast of the news of the day.  Along with that, CES 2014 wrapped up recently.  No huge developments, especially when it comes to Broadcasting.  However, there was one item of interest; the updated technical specifications of IEEE 802.11ac.

It is of interest here because of the implications of the mobile/portable data developments and their impact on traditional AM and FM broadcasting. The new specification calls for 1.2 Gbp/s per device in the initial release, increasing that throughput to 6 Gbp/s in later releases.  These data rates are for overall transmission, including the WiFi overhead.  Actual usable application data (layer 5-7) would be about 20 to 30 percent less.  Even so, 900 Mbp/s is a phenomenal data rate.  Truely I say to you; this is the future of digital broadcasting.  HD Radio™; it may well prove that the “HD” stood for “Huge Distraction.”

The new 802.11ac specification uses MU-MIMO, high density modulation, larger channel bandwidths, and beamforming technology in the 5 GHz WiFi spectrum.  Of course, the question is, at what distances will this system work?  If it is like conventional WiFi, then 100-200 feet is about all that can be expected.  However, there are also many people interested in wireless broadband (WiMAX) service as an alternative to traditional wired ISPs. For that application, having many outdoor 802.11ac nodes connected by a backbone could potentially blanket a city or campus with free high speed wireless data.

Example of cjdns network
Example of cjdns network

Along the same lines, there are many people involved in creating mesh networks of various types; be they ad-hoc mobile networks, darknets, bitclouds, etc. Mesh networking is a very interesting topic, for me at least.  The network protocols are getting better and more secure.  WiFi hardware is becoming less expensive and more reliable.  As more and more people put effort into developing protocols like cjdns, local mesh networks will become wide spread, unless they are outlawed.  You know; because of teh terrorism!!1!!

As it stands today, I can drive for two hours in mostly rural upstate NY and CT streaming my favorite radio programs and have nearly seamless hand offs and very few dropouts.  This is on my three year old, beat up 3G HTC android phone sitting in the passenger seat of my car.

Digital Radio is here, it is simply not the In Band On Channel system that legacy broadcaster’s have chosen.

GE BT-25 Mystery transmitter site

Update: Thank you, Jim.  The mystery site is KFIG (formerly KFRE) in Fresno, CA.  This is what the transmitter building looks like from the outside today:

KFIG transmitter, circa 2011
KFIG transmitter, circa 2011

In the previously mentioned the rescued file cabinet and along with the WFLY transmitter site construction information, I also found these interesting photographs:

Mystery AM transmitter site
Mystery AM transmitter site, plate 9296

I do not know what transmitter site this is. From the photo, it has a two tower (guyed) directional antenna. It looks to me to be somewhere out west. The transmitter is a General Electric BTA-25 or BT-25, same as the former WPTR and WCKY transmitter. I know this back hallway well:

Mystery AM transmitter site, back hallway of GE BT-25.  Plate 9300
Mystery AM transmitter site, back hallway of GE BT-25. Plate 9300

This is the transformer vault:

Mystery AM transmitter site, transformer vault.  Plate 9297
Mystery AM transmitter site, transformer vault. Plate 9297

Modulation transformer and three pot plate transformer:

BT-25 modulation transformer.  Plate 9299
Mystery AM transmitter site, GE BT-25 modulation transformer. Plate 9299

I would say that these may be promotional photos, because of the spotlessly clean installation and the plate numbers on each print.  Unfortunately, there are no pictures of the front of the transmitter, including the operator console.

Does anybody know where this is?