Trailblazing

Notes by Stephen Michael Kellat
Archive for August 2012

From the draft speaking script for LISTen 209

2012-08-29 by Stephen Michael Kellat, tagged as roughcuts

From the draft speaking script for LISTen 209...

Before I get into the news miscellany I need to address a major point. As we record this episode preparatory to upload and release on LISNews, Hurricane Isaac is bearing down on Louisiana. By the time you hear this, landfall will be old news. In a mere matter of days, remnants of this storm are expected to head north and by Sunday we will potentially see effects here in Ashtabula according to the last 5 Day Forecast Cone we were able to view.

This program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike license. We made this shift going forward when the Arab Spring kicked off. Under this license, you are fully free to go ahead and redistribute this program. Reformatting this program to being on a burnt audio compact disc or lining it out to conventional cassette tape is not just possible but encouraged. In a time when people are shunning conventional media for Internet-based streams, little thought is given to what happens when the streaming infrastructure goes away. As with any significant weather event, this is a possibility as the straight line wind storm that hit the eastern seaboard of the United States knocked out even Netflix briefly earlier this year.

A variety of content providers release material online under Creative Commons licenses that can be reformatted and shipped into affected areas. This program is one example. Other programs that can be relayed through lower-tech means by dint of a Creative Commons license include but are not limited to:

  1. Free Speech Radio News.
  2. Rathole Radio where Dan Lynch plays an eclectic mix of music.
  3. Any program produced by Leo Laporte's own TWiT dot TV network.

Between those three sources, you'll be able to help somebody in an impacted zone with having something to listen to. Cassette tapes and compact discs are easy to transport and use when a computer network faces weather woes.

Again, you are encouraged to do this and you don't even need to tell us you did it. This is going to be an interesting week.

Lets pause for a moment for words from the US Peace Corps so I can catch my breath and dive into the news miscellany.

Creative Commons License
From the draft speaking script for LISTen 209 by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at gopher://sdf.org/0/users/skellat/2012-08-28-B.

Pondering Spectrum

2012-08-06 by Stephen Michael Kellat, tagged as masscomm

5 August 2012

I enjoyed great AM propagation earlier tonight and was able to listen to multiple radio stations outside my normal broadcast contour. In general, this is termed DX-ing. AM broadcast band stations heard tonight included:

On the shortwave side of things, the following stations were heard:

I wasn't trying hard on the shortwave front but was taking an informal look earlier at placing equipment with a view to keeping transmission lines short.

Why does this matter? The key here is the transport layer. There were no podcasts involved let alone live streams. The movement of radio waves was key to reaching a mass audience.

We must not forget that in the midst of talk about a spectrum crunch that not all spectrum is created equally. The spectrum occupied by those lovely stations I heard tonight would be not nearly as usable for pushing data around. Various bits and bobs of digitally-generated signals do exist in those bands moving data, though. From transmission standards such as WEFAX to RTTY, data still moves but in ways incomprehensible to paradigms rooted in the Internet.

Strangely enough, information still traveled around our planet when the general public didn't have access to the Internet. As new technologies are being built and bikesheds are sometimes being continually repainted, is the tech world generally considering why old tech is not fit for purpose anymore? Mass communications remain fairly efficient being distributed by the means of old compared to the network stresses Internet-based transmission incurs.

Miscellany for 3 August 2012

2012-08-03 by Stephen Michael Kellat

This post is essentially a miscellany.

The Continuing Podcast Hiatus

Operations at Erie Looking Productions remain off the air for the time being. We're preparing to relocate ops to a new location just under two miles away from the current base. We should be able to have new episodes of programs released on August 20th barring any unforeseen drastic disruptions. Even if the relocation goes horribly wrong somehow by August 20th something will be released even if we wind up recording at Indian Trails Park standing on the banks of the Ashtabula River.

Seeking Work And/Or Funding

The work at Erie Looking Productions is effectively unpaid. I'm going to have to look for a new funding source to keep such running. The crew and equipment are already in place but paying utilities, keeping a roof over my head, and putting food on the table will be helpful. Since business operations are not my responsibility, ideas can be sent to my producer at erielookingproductions@gmail.com. There is an oddball Amazon wishlist that has an enumeration of mostly bulk grocery items that could be ordered, for example.

Learning Perl

Now that I have quite a bit of time on my hands due to adverse circumstances, I am attempting to learn about Perl. The textbook I am working from is Learning Perl and I am moving slowly through. The only thing close to a programming language that I've actually had coursework in is MARC21 though it is really a markup language that not only can be used to print card catalog cards in an automated fashion but also fuel electronic library catalogs. I have my suspicions that Perl is not necessarily as convoluted as MARC21 can seem at times.

The BeagleBoard Lives Again

After several reinstall attempts where the bootloader was nuked, my BeagleBoard-xM lives again. An interesting netinstall method had to be used to actually bring the thing to life. For now Xubuntu 12.04 is running but the ARM Hard Float version is not an LTS. So far it is has been reasonably stable and with the relocation underway it is currently my main computer. I follow RSS feeds mostly through reading the output of rawdog my SheevaPlug kicks out twice per day.

Disconnected Ops

With relocation underway, I'm going to be bouncing between locations with access to the Internet and locations without. Due to a lack of a Real-time Clock, the BeagleBoard isn't going anywhere as it is rather dependent on NTP until such time that I can rig up local decoding of the digital time blasts from this standard station to otherwise run an in-house NTP server. My netbook has an RTC and is usable without Internet access even. Since I cannot afford ubiquitous access via Mobile Broadband, I'll be leveraging apt-offline to ensure I can get patches applied when bugs get found.

Events