Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Technology for Travelers

Navigating a new city can be pretty stressful. After spending 9 days in Tokyo & 4 days in Manchester (by way of Heathrow LHR), I can definitively say that having fast, free wifi can make a world of difference in the experience of navigating public transportation systems.

I was able to navigate with Google Maps all over Tokyo with no problems whatsoever. The PASMO train card kiosk was easily switched to English so we could get PASMO cards. Topping up the card with more Yen throughout the week was also easily done.  Tokyo had fast, free wifi in and/or on every train we were on during our stay there.

Landing at Heathrow and attempting to find the correct kiosk to print the train tickets I purchased online was a runaround of bad directions from several different train line employees. Finally I got the tickets, got directions and went down to the Underground station. What I saw on the platform didn't line up with the directions we'd been given so I tried to connect to Google Maps and compare. No such luck. No cell coverage, and the wifi charged me £5 and then it didn't even work. Eventually we made it to the National Rail train which purported to have onboard wifi. The Speedtest app said it was 1.86 down and 10 up, but it was worthless in my experience of trying to use it.

Now that I've had time to decompress after returning home, I did some digging to find out WHY there was such a huge difference in my experience. Here are some facts about the Tokyo train system: built around 1927 or so, current daily rider numbers hover around 8.6 Million people. Tokyo has had free wifi in/around their trains since 2016. London's Underground was built around 1863 or so and currently moves around 5 Million people a day. Back during the Olympics in 2012, there was some limited (an hour a day) wifi on the platforms, concourses and escalators. Now it is all pay-as-you-go (but it doesn't work even if you pay).

Initially I was worried about my language barrier in Tokyo, but that proved to be no issue at all because I had constant Internet access from my phone and didn't have to ask anyone for directions. Comparatively, getting directions in an English speaking country proved to be much harder because of conflicting information and no Internet connectivity to verify what we'd been told was correct or not.

In short - go to Tokyo. Get on the train, use the wifi and go have an adventure wherever you've chosen for your destination. It'll be a lot easier than you might think. Word to the wise: if you've got luggage of any kind - don't use the Underground. Take a taxi or better yet, fly into Manchester instead of taking the tube/train to get there from Heathrow. Trust me on this.

I took about ten million pictures in Tokyo. Here they are.

Friday, June 7, 2019

What Is A Predictive Survey?

It would seem that somewhere along the line the rumor got started that predictive surveys are magical, mythical things that are conjured out of thin air by the power of an 'easy' button.

If I had a nickel for every time I've had to level set someone's expectations on how long a predictive survey should take, could take or will take; the stack would be pretty high.

I made an informational video explanation on what a predictive survey is and the difference in the length of time to define all of the RF obstacles when the wireless engineer has a CAD file of the floor plan vs. any other image file of the floor plan. The video is eight minutes long and has a disclaimer at the end for all the YouTube people that feel the need to tell me what I left out, or how I didn't explain it right (according to them).

This video is not intended to be an all-encompassing explanation of all of the phases of a predictive survey. The content is solely my opinion. Do not attempt to perform a predictive survey without having attended an Ekahau training class, preferably the Ekahau ECSE Design course. Any and all images used retain the copyright of the original creators.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Combating Lying While Being Civil

I recently became aware of several people in the wireless industry who have been besmirching the character of someone I care about. The things being said are fabrications, lies, character assassination and outright slander. The things that are being said are intended to undermine the character of my friend and perhaps the people spreading lies are also attempting to disrupt my friend's employment or perhaps attempting to bully my friend out of the wireless industry.

I will not stand by while friends of mine are mistreated. I definitely will not stand by while women in the wireless community are being mistreated. What you say about her, you could just as easily be saying about me and I won't support this behavior with my silence.

News flash: women are human beings, just like men - and as such, have the right to being respected as a human being. Period.

What you say about one woman in this industry, you are effectively saying about all women in this industry. I am no different than her. I am a woman and the things being said about her are lies and hurtful and would be hurtful to any woman human being.

The number of global wireless engineers is quite small. The number of wireless engineers that attend IT industry events is smaller. The number of wireless engineers who attend wireless focused IT events is even smaller still. The community that you interact with; that you do business with should not tolerate your behavior. Your comments, made when no other women are present are cowardly. Casting your aspersions on her, in the company of men speaks volumes about the nature of your character. I am disgusted that you and your coworkers would stoop to such levels to attack the character of a woman I consider a friend and a peer.

Being a woman in a male dominated industry is challenging.

We are judged for what we wear or do not wear.
We are judged for how pretty we are or are not.
We are judged for how much we drink or do not drink.
We are judged for how much we eat or do not eat.
We are judged for how much we know or do not know.

I get that "that's life". Humans are constantly judging other humans at the blink of an eye.

What I do not get is why a person would put words to a judgment of another person, knowing that their words are lies. Judging someone in your mind is one thing, spreading lies about another person is a whole other thing.

I refuse to let you and your coworkers force us to live our lives from the outside looking in. Second guessing who we choose to hang out with and for how long. Second guessing having a drink or two with friends. Second guessing what we wear. Second guessing if it is somehow our fault.

I don't need to name names. I am not the human behavior police. You know who you are. You know what you have said and continue to say. I want you to know that I see you. I see you trying to take down another woman with your lies. She could just as easily be me.

I wonder if you are lashing out from a fear of scarcity. Your behavior does not serve your best interests and will only ever cause division in our small community. I'm asking you to be up to something bigger than yourself. Come from a place of kindness, generosity and altruism for other human beings.

If you aren't sure how to begin the process of undoing the damage and hurt you have caused, begin by examining your behavior objectively (this is difficult work) and from there you will find the strength to cease your slander of another human being and possibly make amends.

I will close with a link to compassion training from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Compassion Training
Compassion is the feeling of caring for and wanting to help others who are suffering. The following audio files and scripts were created as part of a study into the effectiveness of compassion meditation conducted by Principal Investigator Helen Weng with Drew FoxAlex Shackman, Diane Stodola, Jessica Kirkland Caldwell, Matt Olson, Greg Rogers, and Richard Davidson at the Center for Healthy Minds.