Lamarr took her idea to Antheil and together, Antheil and Lamarr submitted the idea of a secret communication system in June 1941. On August 11, 1942, US Patent 2,292,387 was granted to Antheil and "Hedy Kiesler Markey", Lamarr's married name at the time. This early version of frequency hopping used a piano roll to change between 88 frequencies and was intended to make radio-guided torpedoes harder for enemies to detect or jam. Although a presentation of the technique was soon made to the U.S. Navy, it met with opposition and was not adopted.
The idea was not implemented in the USA until 1962, when it was used by U.S. military ships during a blockade of Cuba after the patent had expired. Perhaps owing to this lag in development, the patent was little-known until 1997, when the Electronic Frontier Foundation gave Lamarr an award for this contribution. It is reported that, in 1998, Ottawa wireless technology developer Wi-LAN, Inc. "acquired a 49 percent claim to the patent from Lamarr for an undisclosed amount of stock" (Eliza Schmidkunz, Inside GNSS), although expired patents have no economic value. Antheil had died in 1959.
Teaching a course next semester that's blandly titled Current Topics In Computing. No book, just what's happening right that very moment in technology, its applications, how it impacts society, business, etc. I decided to kick it off--and maybe end--with material from James Burke's Connections series.
His fourth episode, Faith in Numbers, is particularly fitting: how the Black Death and linen underwear gave us the computer. The book is a fun read, BTW, but will not be required reading of course...
Ever since the late-70s, thanks to Voyager, Carl Sagan and an astronomy class at the University of Toledo, I've been obsessed with Jupiter. I feel the same thrill now with the latest probe that I did three decades ago. It's highly unlikely that I'll ever get to go there, but I sure like thinking about it and at least visiting vicariously through our robots.
[Update: forgot to mention that Cosmos is coming back!
Carl Sagan revolutionized popular astronomy with his book and TV show "Cosmos", which had an audience of hundreds of millions of people. We’ve learned a lot about our Universe since then, and we’re overdue for a modern version of Sagan’s show. So I’m pleased to find out that Neil Tyson will be hosting a revamped and updated version of "Cosmos"!
He’s working with Ann Druyan (Sagan’s widow and herself a science popularizer), Steve Soter (who also worked on the original show), and Seth MacFarlane, creator of "Family Guy". I know, that may sound weird, but MacFarlane is a big science fan, a friend of Neil’s, and commonly puts a lot of science into his shows.
On cable TV sometime this month, on YouTube now(ish), I was Michael Abadi's guest for the 29th episode of VT Blogosphere TV:
Uploading is taking a while on our semi-reliable quasi-broadband, but eventually there will be 5 segments amounting to about 30 minutes. Our conversation ranged from violence in the Middle East and the American Southwest to my first run for public office and healthcare reform. And blogging.
I've had a Motorola Droid 2 for several weeks now and I am still gushing over it, marking probably the longest love affair I've ever had with a gadget. For probably close to a decade I'd been telling my corporate and college students that I wanted a universal handheld device that was a phone, GPS and MP3 player. After a few products that came close to my ideal (the Q, which drove me away from Motorola for years not just because Verizon disabled the GPS, and BlackBerry), my grand dream is finally realized. And it ain't an iPhone, which even as a longtime Apple and iPod fan makes me glad.
Yes, iPhones broke new ground and are still wicked cool. And you can jailbreak them so you aren't trapped in a room in hell with Inez, Sartre and Steve Jobs' controlling vision. But competition is good, and I couldn't wait for Verizon to get them.
My old phone was toast, and the Android devices were mature enough so I took the plunge. Never made a better tech decision in my life.
There's a wide array of apps, and most of the apps I want have been/will be ported from iPhone versions. The biggest app gap forme so far: no CSPAN radio from Jacobs Media yet, and no NASA TV app. Yeah, I'm a geek. In that vein, my favorite apps are the Android version of APOD and Galaxy Wire, which provides cool vintage NASA pics daily and This Day in History stuff.
The phone is also incredibly stable. Not that it doesn't freak out on occasion, but what computer doesn't, especially when you load boatloads of software and hammer it constantly with use?
Battery life is a POS, so I have found myself tethered a bit more than I'd like, but management apps and a little behavior mod makes it bearable. The overall utility of this thing more than makes up for power weakness.
Ericka wants an iPhone. Maybe. We're due for a New Every Two upgrade and she'd been chomping at the bit for one. Now that it's not just vaporware here in Verizon Wireless Land, she's less passionate about it since she's seen how great my Droid is. We'll see what happens next month.
As it stands, we're still on dialup on Bog Road (as are 20% of our fellow Vermonters). Yes, there is a "high speed" satellite option, but the bandwidth is paltry compared to DSL and cable technologies, extremely expensive in absolute and relative terms, and customer service is arguably worse than even your most horrific Comcast stories. So if I need to upload any large files to my e-learning sites, for example, I have to run out to someplace like Cosmic Cafe in St Albans where I can grab some free WiFi.
Vermont's coverage is actually surprisingly good, but there are still scores of communities that have little or no access to highspeed connectivity. Our fortunes do seem to be changing as President Obama announced today almost a billion dollars in grants to foster greater broadband deployment. Vermont nabbed $45M of that:
Vermont Telecommunications Authority estimates that it will directly create hundreds of jobs with its project to build a 790-mile fiber network across Vermont with it's $33.4 million grant. Over 200,000 people and thousands of businesses and community institutions stand to benefit from increasing access to direct high-speed connections. In addition to the jobs this project creates upfront, it will help drive economic development in the community that creates jobs for years to come.
Vermont Telephone Company's project, assisted by $12.3 million in federal funds, will enhance the existing middle mile broadband infrastructure to address bandwidth and transport capacity shortages. The project stands to benefit over 150,000 people and over 15,000 businesses and community institutions. Not only will this project create jobs upfront, but it will help drive economic development in the community that will create jobs for years to come.
350k people? Hopefully we'll get a piece of that action in Fletcher, Fairfield and St Albans Town. After years of promises not met by the State and companies like Fairpoint, I am guardedly optimistic.
The more of your brain you allocate to browsing, skimming, surfing and the incessant, low-grade decision-making characteristic of using the Web, the more puny and flaccid become the sectors devoted to "deep" thought. Furthermore, as Carr recently explained in a talk at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, distractibility is part of our genetic inheritance, a survival trait in the wild: "It's hard for us to pay attention," he said. "It goes against the native orientation of our minds."
Concentrated, linear thought doesn't come naturally to us, and the Web, with its countless spinning, dancing, blinking, multicolored and goodie-filled margins, tempts us away from it. (E-mail, that constant influx of the social acknowledgment craved by our monkey brains, may pose an even more potent diversion.) "It's possible to think deeply while surfing the Net," Carr writes, "but that's not the type of thinking the technology encourages or rewards." Instead, it tends to transform us into "lab rats constantly pressing levers to get tiny pellets of social or intellectual nourishment."
What is there about such 'conveniences' that makes them so temptingly convenient? The average man thinks, Here I am, time on my hands, and there on my wrist is a wrist telephone, so why not just buzz old Joe up, eh? 'Hello, hello!' I love my friends, my wife, humanity, very much, but when one minute my wife calls to say, 'Where are you now dear?' and a friend calls and says, 'Got the best off-color joke to tell you. Seems there was a guy------' And a stranger calls and cries out, 'This is the Find-Fax Poll. What gum are you chewing at this very instant!' Well!"
"How did you feel during the week?"
"The fuse lit. On the edge of the cliff. That same afternoon I did what I did at the office."
"I poured a paper cup of water into the intercommunications system."
The psychiatrist wrote on his pad.
"And the system shorted?"
"Beautifully! The Fourth of July on wheels! My God, stenographers ran around looking lost. What an uproar!"
"Felt better temporarily, eh?"
"Fine! Then I got the idea at noon of stomping my wrist radio on the sidewalk. A shrill voice was just yelling out of it at me, 'This is People's Poll Number Nine. What did you eat for lunch?' when I kicked the Jesus out of the wrist radio!"
"Felt even better, eh?"
"It grew on me!" Brock rubbed his hands together. "Why didn't f start a solitary revolution, deliver man from certain 'conveniences'? 'Convenient for whom?' I cried.
Well, it's obvious I have been neglecting this site for a long time. Even though I'm still teaching about telecom, my blogging has drifted toward other milieu, particularly political campaigning of late.
I'm loathe to delete this place, though. I think I'll keep it around, despite the low posting rate and traffic that doesn't even rate 'bupkis' on the Z-list blog scale.
Twitter seems to be the most appropriate channel for my continued, albeit muted, interest in the things this blog is about. So I've created yet another account and added it to the sidebar: @livingconnected.