We  – me, certainly – think of myself as relatively immune to surprise, by evil or good. People say that it’s in the New York City Charter, right next to the rule about not being nice to tourists, lest we lose our municipal reputation for poor manners and indifference. But the right words still can, […]

POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) lines proved an extraordinarily rugged communications system, highly energy efficient, and easy to keep going in the event of power failure (because while the local nodes, known in the trade as “switches” or “central offices” may need emergency generators, they’re not power hungry). Another critical point is that while the […]

Back in 1999, I was walking down a hall to the data center of a US Navy base in Virginia, when I noticed a sign that said “Cell Phones Prohibited. Deadly Force Is Authorized in this Area.” Fortunately my cellphone didn’t ring. One of my colleagues had an Apple Newton. Just as the Osborne and […]

What is/are the relationship(s) between the technologies pictured here? We’re not trying to be unfair, so we’ll explain that one image is of a pilot climbing into an F-16, and the other is of a whistle. They differences, of course, are intuitive: The F-16, while still being manufactured for export to selected countries, is no […]

In one of those amazing discoveries that makes one appreciate  the thousands of years of human information (and other) technology that have led us to the internet, which, admittedly has its share of chaff, it also has some golden wheat: in this case RF Cafe, an amazing reference website which will be of great use […]

Under the headings of democratizing and demystifying technology, here’s a group of open-source folks making ways of receiving the digital signals with which, under what’s called “P25” (Project 2025), public safety agencies will be conducting their radio communications by the year 2025. Those handy with soldering irons and reading circuit diagrams will find this especially […]

While this is alarming, please bear in mind that this is a discussion of a military technology which, with respect to one feature (GPS), used a civilian-grade component. That the entire system can be easily jammed would, we think, be an unreasonable inference based on the data at hand. By Bob Brewin, writing on […]

“It is startlingly loud,” he warns, “and it’s loud enough that you can actually feel the sound wave going through your torso.” On East Brother Island in California, lightstation keeper Peter Berkhout is caretaker to one of the last working vintage foghorns in the United States. posted by Laminda at 8:48 AM – 28 comments […]

“POTS” is phone-geek and industry slang for “Plain Old Telephone Service.” A P.O.T.S. pone is a telephone, rotary (that’s a “dial,” a big wheel on the front of the phone, for  our younger readers) or touch-tone, which doesn’t have a whole bunch of extra features requiring, usually, direct current (DC), which in the  United States, […]

A “Cantenna”: improvised antenna, reused materials, can extend transmission and reception of a variety of radio devices – a paint or other metal can, plus copper wire or brass rod, brass tubing – can extend the range of radios, cell phones, wireless networks. Here’s one example from Wikipedia’s entry Cantenna:

In Stucknation: 911 Off the Hook, WNYC’s Bob Hennelly outlines the current problems – basic problems – with the nation’s 911 emergency telephone reporting/dispatch systems in coping with the proliferation of mobile phones: Almost a decade after the attacks of September 11th the nation’s most essential emergency local lifeline — 911 — remains a local […]

Chicago, Illinois based Exelon Corporation recently announced that it will close the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant in 2019. (NY Times, AP). Oyster Creek, in Lacey, New Jersey, is the nation’s oldest operating nuclear power plant. It’s roughly 75 miles south of New York City and 60 miles east of Philadelphia. Exelon was recently […]

The Rendezvous Problem via BBC – h2g2 – The Rendezvous Problem.

Open Jason lists sites which read the Web, with various emphases (with respect to sourcing), and let you know. 13 Alerting Sites | OpenJason. The brilliant David Stephenson has, as some readers may know, done some serious thinking and writing about new media/social media and disaster response. (Put “Stephenson” in our search box and you’ll […]

We’re tempted to follow the editorial lead of others who’ve covered this story – emphasizing that Alexander Kendrick is 16 years old and won a science fair prize for his new low-frequency radio system. We agree that it’s more remarkable that he’s only 16 – but think this would be a remarkable achievement if he […]