Monday, August 16, 2010

Just when you thought you were ahead of technology...

For those of us who try to stay up to date on the mass of changing technology, here comes word that the stuff we just this minute adopted is already passe.  An article on Yahoo claims the following very, very recent products are way past being the final answer...thanks to the iPhone and the Android.  ("The iPhone and the Android?"  Sounds like the title of some Pixar animated feature!).

The article claims, "The future of technology is integration, something Apple's iPhone and Google's Android products have a better grasp of than, say, Garmin's personal navigation devices or Acer's netbooks. Though there seems to be enough room for everyone -- with the Commerce Department finding last week that American spending on tech items increased 1.8% from 2007 through the first six months of this year while spending on appliances, furniture and clothing declined -- analysts agree that the only thing separating some gadgets from the grave is the size of their displays."

It goes on, "With motion-control gaming, e-books, navigation, mid-range-megapixel cameras and myriad other computing options already included in smartphones, the market space and need for more screens is shrinking. While the iPad is among the devices shrugging it off with more than 14 million sales so far this year, the nearly 4 percentage point growth in the smartphone market so far in 2010 and the $6.2 billion pundits predicts will be spent downloading 4.5 billion mobile applications in app stores this year has navigation devices, netbooks and even Nintendo starting to feel pressure in their numbers."

So what's now virtually worthless, ready for the scrap heap?

  1. Digital cameras
  2. Video game consoles
  3. Navigation devices (such as those manufactured by Garmin)
  4. Netbooks
  5. E-readers
By the way, if you are no longer using any of those devices and have made the transition to doing it all on your iPhone or Android, I'll be happy to take them off your hands, so to speak.  I'll see that they get the proper attention!

Don Keith

Saturday, August 14, 2010

They know where you live...

Did you see THIS?  As it becomes easier to communicate and share thoughts and images with others, we give up more and more of our ability to remain hidden or maintain any semblance of privacy.  As with many things, it is a trade-off.  I love the ability to post pictures of my grandkids, for friends and their family members on the West Coast.  But I must also be aware that anytime I do so, I am posting those images for anyone anywhere on the planet to see.
And you know what?  There are dangerous people out there.
Facebook is facing these issues.  People chat and post and share things on Facebook that they'd hesitate to chat about, post, or share around a table with friends at lunch.
To make an ancient analogy, I remember when the average police scanner could pick up mobile telephone calls.  I had one of the channels programmed in and heard some truly wild conversations.  Did people did not realize they were--in effect--broadcasting?  That anyone with a $30 Radio Shack scanner could eavesdrop on their chats?
But how is that different nowadays?  All you need is a computer, the Internet, and a Facebook account.

Don Keith N4KC

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

545 People

This really has nothing to do with technological change, media or amateur radio.  However, it seems an appropriate time to dust off this evergreen from a columnist for the Orlando Sentinel.  The age-old argument is, "My senator or congressman is fine.  It's the other ones that are rotten."  If everybody felt that way, these guys and gals would have office for life, since we have no limits on terms.

It is also an almost insurmountable obstacle, too, when the representatives who are able to bring the most federal taxpayer money back to their districts or states--and brag about how much more they were able to get than was contributed as taxes by their constitutents--are the ones who get re-elected.  Re-elected over and over.

The two big flaws in our representative form of government: 1) From the day he or she is elected, everything a senator or member of Congress does is aimed at getting re-elected, and 2) A seat in Congress gives someone an extremely powerful platform from which to run for the next that a challenger finds very difficult to overcome...even if the incumbent is a total dolt.

I could add a third flaw: I really don't want to vote for anybody who would WANT to run for public office.  Fewer and fewer are willing to do so for a variety of reasons.  And even if one does, and miraculously gets elected, he is corrupted almost immediately.



545 PEOPLE--By Charlie Reese
Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.. Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits?  Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?

You and I don't propose a federal budget. The president does.

You and I don't have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does.

You and I don't write the tax code, Congress does.

You and I don't set fiscal policy, Congress does.

You and I don't control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does.

One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president, and nine Supreme Court justices equates to 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country. I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central bank.

I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a president to do one cotton-picking thing. I don't care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator's responsibility to determine how he votes.

Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party. What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits.

The president can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.

The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes.

Who is the speaker of the House? Nancy Pelosi. She is the leader of the majority party. She and fellow House members, not the president, can approve any budget they want. If the president vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to.

It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million can not replace 545 people who stand convicted -- by present facts -- of incompetence and irresponsibility. I can't think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people. When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.

If the tax code is unfair, it's because they want it unfair.

If the budget is in the red, it's because they want it in the red ..

If the Army & Marines are in IRAQ , it's because they want them in IRAQ.

If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it's because they want it that way.

There are no insolvable government problems.

Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power. Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like "the economy," "inflation," or "politics" that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.

Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible.

They, and they alone, have the power..

They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses.

Provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

This "ham radio" stuff is fun!

I know.  Two amateur radio posts in a row.  But several interesting things lately prompted me to break my "variety" rule.

One was the receipt early this morning of a press release from my friend, fellow ham and writer, Wayne Long K9YNF.  He will be celebrating his golden anniversary in the hobby by operating from Fox Island, Alaska, on August 16 through 20.  He will be using solar power, operating mostly around 14.260 mhz on the 20-meter band and 18.128 on 17 meters.  Wayne maintains a very interesting and entertaining web site at

This comes on the heels of an operating event called Islands on the Air in which amateur radio types get on the air from islands--big and small--all over the world.  I spoke with folks on big islands like Australia, New Zealand, and Great Britain, and tiny ones, such as one in Long Island Sound off Norwalk, Connecticutt, and another in the South Cook Islands in the South Pacific.  Great fun and interesting people!

Just this weekend, and in only a few hours available for getting on the air, I have spoken with a trucker as he went from the Texas Panhandle into New Mexico, another very nice fellow who lives in the suburbs of Paris, and a ham in an aircraft over Kansas headed for an air show in Illinois.  I also spoke with what we call a "special events station," on the air from the famous Oshkosh, Wisconsin, airplane fly-in.  I also had brief chats with folks in Greece, Herzogovina, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Finland, and Argentina.

When I flip that "ON" switch, I never know what or where I will hear or who I will meet!

Don Keith N4KC