Friday, December 23, 2011

White Spaces - new wireless space launched

Remember the death of analog TV? Those unused analog TV channels are now approved for use as wireless White Spaces. White spaces operate at lower frequencies, and are able to travel great distances just as analog TV signals did when they were in use. Supporters of white spaces say that use of these regions of  licensed spectrum offer the same benefits of WiFi spectrum with the added advantages of the signals traveling greater distances, and the ability to assign spectrum to avoid wireless interference.

Spectrum Bridge has been been given the green light to become the database administrator for all allocated white spaces.

KTS Wireless is the first manufacturer of a wireless device to take advantage of the white spaces spectrum re-allocation for wireless communications. They have participated in city wide trials of white space usage in Claudeville, VA and Wilmington, NC.

It will be interesting to see how usage of the white space advances. Currently, the FCC is working through how to address the issues of wireless microphones using the same frequencies as white spaces. Once those issues are resolved, the nationwide roll out of white space usage will be possible.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Technology crops up in the strangest places

Recently I've come across a lot of great out of print or public domain Film Noir movies shared on YouTube. Being able to watch these films is great in itself, but I really love it when technology figures into a critical character development or plot twist in a new way than in any of the other films I've seen.

The plot of
711 Ocean Drive (1950) had a considerable amount of technology featured in it, and many of the scenarios are still relevant today even though our technology has improved vastly since 1950. The main character Mal Granger works for the phone company, and he's a pretty smart cookie.

He sets up an analog multicast delivery system to improve the efficiency of the bookie's business transactions:

He rigs up a contraption to use a chain link fence as an aerial antenna to transmit racing scores:

He gets a big idea to hold the network hostage so he can get a bigger cut of the bookie's business:
(sound familiar?)

Finally he stages a Man-in-the-middle attack on a horse race in order to win big:

One other great bit of technology cropped up in 
The Mob (1951). The police rigged up a contraption to fit under the wheel well of the suspect's car. The contraption produced drops a liquid that glowed when exposed to ultraviolet light at regular intervals onto the rear tire of the car. In order for the cops to find the suspect's car, they just had to shine a UV spotlight on the ground and follow the dotted line.

Using Adobe Acrobat to Find the Square Footage of a Floor Plan

I made this recording back in 2009 to show how you could use Adobe Acrobat Pro to scale a floor plan, and ultimately find the square footage of a given area.

More often than not, I'm faced with figuring out the square footage of a building layout with no scale indicated on the drawing. Adobe Acrobat Pro has a measuring tool built into the application. You can take any image file, find the scale ratio of the drawing, set the scale, then calculate the square footage of the floor area.

The measurement tool line in newer versions of Adobe Acrobat Pro is a red line, instead of black, and it is easier to see the perimeter area you're drawing. Other than that, the video should help you get more out of an application you already have, but maybe weren't using for this task.