Wednesday, June 16, 2010

When American business led the world

There was a time when America was the envy of the world when it came to technology, manufacturing, entertainment and about every other category.  We still are, to some extent, but I can point to many industries where that is not even remotely true.  Look at automobile manufacturing.  GM and
Ford have long since been surpassed by Toyota, Honda, Hyundai and Mercedes Benz.  And now that particular business has come almost full circle and are now building cars in major plants in the US...many of them within a few hours' drive of where I live.
Here's another example that is near and dear to my heart.  I remember when American radio broadcasting was undeniably the leader in the world.  Our free-enterprise system--as opposed to government ownership of media so prevalent in most other countries--led to creativity and innovation.  If, for a second, you think it is still that way, then click HERE and watch the interview linked in the middle of the page. 
I had the pleasure of traveling to Australia several years ago and visiting with many Australian broadcasters.  They were full of questions about media in the USA, how we did it, what we thought the future held. 
Based on the linked interview with an exec from Austereo, a large broadcaster in Australia, it appears we should be full of questions for THEM!
Don Keith

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Hodge podge post

Necessarily a hodge podge of a post again to catch up on a couple of topics. Anybody excited about the new Apple iPhone? Sure got lots of press (including the problems getting their wi-fi to work at the debut event!), and early adopters are saying it gives Apple a good year's lead over anybody else out there.

Radio laments that it does not include an FM tuner, much less a digital radio capability. The fact that a cloud-computing hookup to iTunes is imminent further gives broadcasters the shakes. The time is coming when, if your only goal is to listen to the songs you want to hear, all you need is a telephone. A telephone that can be hooked to your computer, your home audio system, or your car stereo. And you can either buy or "rent" the songs. How can radio trump this? By touting "the biggest variety of your favorites?" Bigger variety than, well, infinity?

I still wonder how long the exclusivity with iPhone and ATT will last. ATT's customer service continues to be about as popular as BP. I think the continued pushing of the envelope by iPhone is only shoving other manufacturers to do more and more.

How much longer do we continue to call these things "telephones?"

Another topic: considerable debate in amateur radio circles about whether the guys who use Morse code decoders to receive and interpret CW, and keyboards instead of "bugs" or paddles to send it, are really "doing Morse code." An article in the latest ARRL Contest Bulletin points out that the very first Morse code was actually "read" on a machine before it occurred to anyone that the human being was capable of hearing and interpreting the dots and dashes.

That revelation does not settle the controversy, of course. I say, what does it matter. I enjoy the mode very much, primarily because it enables us to make contacts that might not otherwise be made.

Oh, and it is fun!

Don Keith N4KC (website update in the works...standby!)