Showing posts with label cell phones. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cell phones. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Dial 'N' for 'Now You Can Dial'

Before bored teenagers were calling 867-5309 in the 1980s, no doubt they were asking Sarah to connect them to Pennsylvania 6-5000 back in 1940.

In Tommy Tutone's day, it was no big deal to randomly dial up folks unfortunate enough to share Jenny's phone number and annoy the crap out of them with your crank calls. But in the heyday of the Glenn Miller Orchestra, you likely would need the assistance of your local telephone operator to prank New York's Hotel Pennsylvania.

Seventy-something years in the past, direct-dialing your desired number largely still belonged to the future. 

Confused by a telephone with this round dial thingy? What would you make of a telephone with nothing but a handset and a switchhook atop a blank, black box?

Switchhook! Switchhook! It's a thing that. . . .

Aw, forget it.

THE PATH from "Operator, can you connect me to UNion 7-5309" to teenagers self-dialing annoyance upon a small, unsuspecting subset of phone customers started for most sometime in the 1950s as Ma Bell -- Remember Ma Bell?" -- converted one manual telephone exchange after another to automatic. And "automatic" equaled "direct-dial."

And as crazy as that sounds today, the phone company -- Yes, THE phone company -- had to teach folks how to do that, how to dial up a phone number. Judging by the lengths to which Now You Can Dial went to make sure the worst imbecile could work a rotary phone, it seems the world of 1954 must have had no shortage of dopes.

How damned complicated could it be to dial Pennsylvania six five oh oh oh?

HOW damned complicated could it be to send a text message on your new smartphone?

Good point, well taken.

And that said, I'm guessing you'll know exactly what to get the kids for Christmas. An old rotary-dial phone -- without spokesmodel assistance by Susann Shaw.

I wonder whether you can still get a party line with that. Maybe I could ask Sarah.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Everything I need to know about science . . .

. . . I learned from Star Trek.

If you like, I can share it with you via my Surface. And you can read it on your iPad.

UNLESS, of course, you'd rather that I just contacted you via your communicator -- uh . . . cell phone.

BUT DON'T go totally booger-eater on me here, OK?

I SHOULD have told you the booger-eater thing earlier, shouldn't I? Siri?


OH, SIRI . . . while I'm thinking about it, could you give me an update on how that warp drive is coming?
In the "Star Trek" TV shows and films, the U.S.S. Enterprise's warp engine allows the ship to move faster than light, an ability that is, as Spock would say, "highly illogical." 
However, there's a loophole in Einstein's general theory of relativity that could allow a ship to traverse vast distances in less time than it would take light. The trick? It's not the starship that's moving — it's the space around it. 
In fact, scientists at NASA are right now working on the first practical field test toward proving the possibility of warp drives and faster-than-light travel. Maybe the warp drive on "Star Trek" is possible after all. 
According to Einstein's theory, an object with mass cannot go as fast or faster than the speed of light. The original "Star Trek" series ignored this "universal speed limit" in favor of a ship that could zip around the galaxy in a matter of days instead of decades. They tried to explain the ship's faster-than-light capabilities by powering the warp engine with a "matter-antimatter" engine. Antimatter was a popular field of study in the 1960s, when creator Gene Roddenberry was first writing the series. When matter and antimatter collide, their mass is converted to kinetic energy in keeping with Einstein's mass-energy equivalence formula, E=mc2.In other words, matter-antimatter collision is a potentially powerful source of energy and fuel, but even that wouldn't be enough to propel a starship faster-than-light speeds. 
Nevertheless, it's thanks to "Star Trek" that the word "warp" is now practically synonymous with faster-than-light travel. 
Is warp drive possible? 
Decades after the original "Star Trek" show had gone off the air, pioneering physicist and avowed Trek fan Miguel Alcubierre argued that maybe a warp drive is possible after all. It just wouldn't work quite the way "Star Trek" thought it did. 
Things with mass can't move faster than the speed of light. But what if, instead of the ship moving through space, the space was moving around the ship? 
Space doesn't have mass. And we know that it's flexible: space has been expanding at a measurable rate ever since the Big Bang. We know this from observing the light of distant stars — over time, the wavelength of the stars' light as it reaches Earth is lengthened in a process called "redshifting." According to the Doppler effect, this means that the source of the wavelength is moving farther away from the observer — i.e. Earth. 
So we know from observing redshifted light that the fabric of space is movable. [See also: What to Wear on a 100-Year Starship Voyage] 
Alcubierre used this knowledge to exploit a loophole in the "universal speed limit." In his theory, the ship never goes faster than the speed of light — instead, space in front of the ship is contracted while space behind it is expanded, allowing the ship to travel distances in less time than light would take. The ship itself remains in what Alcubierre termed a "warp bubble" and, within that bubble, never goes faster than the speed of light. 
Since Alcubierre published his paper "The Warp Drive: Hyper-fast travel within general relativity" in 1994, many physicists and science fiction writers have played with his theory —including "Star Trek" itself. [See also: Top 10 Star Trek Technologies] 
Alcubierre's warp drive theory was retroactively incorporated into the "Star Trek" mythos by the 1990s TV series "Star Trek: The Next Generation." 
In a way, then, "Star Trek" created its own little grandfather paradox: Though ultimately its theory of faster-than-light travel was heavily flawed, the series established a vocabulary of light-speed travel that Alcubierre eventually formalized in his own warp drive theories.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A message from the It Had to Be Said department

Are we going to have to require people to get a permit -- with mandatory video-safety certification as a prerequisite -- before they can legally purchase or use a cell-phone camera or digital SLR? Probably.

Where's Michael Bloomberg when we
really need him?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The trouble with translators

It started in 2006 out of necessity for American soldiers in Iraq.

They needed a microphone and a clunky laptop running a new speech-translation program to tell scared Iraqis "THIS IS A RAID! WE'LL TRY NOT TO KILL YOU!" in the middle of the Babylonian night.

Now all you need is a Google Android phone to live dangerously and
"presione 2 para español."

ONCE AGAIN, we have achieved Star Trek.

We are on the verge of the "universal translator," and it will lead nowhere good. Klingon opera, anyone -- in English?

College radio awaits.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Your Daily '80s: It's Dick Tracy, I tells ya

It's an age of miracles in 1986! Phones you can carry in your pocket! Without wires!

And they only cost a few thou!

What in the world will they think of next?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

When geeks do hype

If we all paid as much attention to making actual good products as we do to bullshit, we wouldn't have to worry about how we'll ever manage to learn Mandarin.

So we can converse with our new Chinese overlords.

This is the Windows Phone 7 team celebrating, no doub
t, the inflicting of yet another so-so Microsoft product upon the world. Oy. So geeks think they can dance?

THEN the WinPhone peeps had a "funeral" for the iPhone. And took pictures with an Android phone.


Thus, the story of America today. All hype, no substance. All hat, no horse.

All bullshit, no side of beef.

How about this for a revolutionary, countercultural thing for tech hipsters to embrace? How about, when you make a new product, you make sure it's a good one, OK? And then you could, like, shut the hell up about it.

Celebrate by lifting a couple at the neighborhood tavern. Tell someone "Attaboy!"

Or "Attagirl!" We're not sexist.

JUST QUIT giving us reasons to think your mad tech skillz may be
, in reality, just as lame as your choreography. And your parade planning.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Pssssst . . . Eve! Take this smart phone

If you want to learn about modern life -- especially postmodern life -- look at your smart phone.

Because if your life . . . er, your smart phone, is anything like the deal one Omaha man got, congratulations! You're a officially a member of a club born when Eve bought the serpent's line about that apple.

If not that Apple.

IT'S ALL in the book of Sprint, Chapter 4G (as told to the World-Herald):
For two days in late July, Monty Poland searched Omaha for something that didn't exist.

Poland, 39, had just purchased a new smart phone from Sprint, the HTC Evo. The handset, purchased at a discount with a new contract, cost Poland $275, excluding a $100 mail-in rebate.

It was loaded with features, including bundles of applications, the latest version of Google's Android operating system, a touch screen, dual cameras and wireless Internet that could be channeled to make the phone a wireless hot-spot.

Poland discovered those just fine. What he couldn't find was a place to use a feature Evo has that few other smart phones possess: the ability to connect to Sprint's 4G wireless network.

He tried to access the network from many places. At his home near 72nd and Giles Streets? Nope. In downtown Omaha? No way. At the La Vista Sprint store where he purchased the device? Not even there.

That's because even though Sprint proclaims Evo's 4G capabilities on in-store signage, the company's website and in commercials, 4G service isn't available anywhere in Nebraska or Iowa.

The term 4G stands for “fourth generation,” meaning the latest and fastest version of digital mobile functionality. It is superior to 2G, which was introduced in the early 1990s, and to 3G, which dates to around 2002.

Having the latest and most reliable technology is key to companies' profitability, because smart phone customers are hungry for faster mobile Internet connections to stream video, download applications, or “apps,” and browse the web. Mobile phone companies engage in heated battles to reach pacts with network providers while investing billions in the updated networks.

But in the end, all the whiz-bang features need to work.

“It's like buying a laptop computer with supersonic speed, but the local Internet provider doesn't offer supersonic Internet connections,” Poland said. “Why spend the extra dough to buy something you can't use?”

After two frustrating days, Poland revisited the Sprint store and asked a manager why the 4G connection wasn't working.

Poland learned that 4G wasn't available in the Midlands. In fact, it is available in only 48 U.S. markets, of which the closest is Kansas City, near Sprint's national headquarters in Overland Park, Kan.
OVERPROMISING -- and, alternatively, getting suckered -- is what we do as children of the first consumers, who believed Satan when he advertised that "your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods who know what is good and what is bad."

I'll bet the scaly SOB stiffed 'em on the 4G service, too.

The thing is, we never learn.



In fact, our entire Western economy is built upon the fact of our permanent placement in planetary special ed. Let's just say it's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Men World

AND THE hell of it -- literally -- is illustrated by what Monty Poland did when Sprint offered him a full refund: He turned it down.

Which explains why America's churches are so empty come Sunday.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

'All right, Mr. Jobs, I'm ready for my close-up'

OK, the iPhone 4
may suck as a cell phone, and Steve Jobs may well be a jerk, and the whole friggin' company that is Apple may specialize in arrogance and overpricing,
but. . . .


What before would have required lots of high-end equipment, crews of technicians and a cadre of special-effects geniuses now can be accomplished by a plucky --
Did I just write "plucky"? -- little crew of young filmmakers.

With an iPhone that costs much, much less than a color television did when I was in college.

Now, whether "cool" actually intersects with "necessary" (especially in light of the team of trade-offs and unintended consequences we hitched our wagon to on the trail to high-tech Nirvana) . . . that's another conversation entirely.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Design . . . by Apple

Call it Design by Apple.

If you hold the new iPhone model wrong, your calls get dropped.

And then, if you drop your iPhone -- and really, it's a blinkin' cell phone . . . all God's people drop their cell phones -- this happens:

THERE IS a term for this. "Really bad design."

It may be pretty, but it obviously isn't practical. Practical is important. Epic fail for Apple.

Of course, it could be that Apple was aiming to create a metaphor for the Age of Consumerism. If so, brilliant.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Edukashun 2day

Biz prof smwhre was sayin smthin abt the prez bein a h8tr on cellphones & web intruding on clsrm.

Fnd articl here while surfin by. Chk it OUTTT!!!!!

In his commencement speech Sunday at Virginia's Hampton University, President Obama suggested that social media and the devices on which they are accessed distract students from learning. The president does not hate your precious freedom to isolate yourself in a cocoon of music, videos and text messages. He just realizes that if students are going to realize their potential, they need to focus more on the classroom.

As a part-time professor, I agree with him. I have to fight students' natural desire to keep an eye on Facebook during class. (I may be a really bad teacher, but Bloomberg Businessweek ranked my Babson College Business department second in the country for teaching strategy to undergraduates.) According to academic . . . 96% of college . . . students . . . Facebook . . . YouTube. . . . hour a. . . .

The stories of the flooding to hit Nashville and the damages incurred have made headlines around the nation. On all the network newscasts there have been pictures and stories of what has happened to our city. Some authorities are calling it, "The flood of 500 years," or The flood of 1000 years," based on the likelihood of something like this happening. One of our dedicated listeners referred to it as, "Nashville's Hurricane Katrina."

The outporing of concern from friends and fans of WSM and the Grand Ole Opry has been overwhelming to all of us connected with each of these businesses. There have been, and there continues to be, a lot of prayers being held up for our city, its resdients, businesses, and all that have been affected by this flood.

The Grand Ole Opry has been mentioned frequently on television and in print and the damages that have happened.

Let me share with you something that I've said for the fifteen years I've been with WSM, that is more relevant now than ever. The Grand Ole Opry is not a place--the Grand Ole Opry is a show, and as the old saying goes, "The show must go on." As many know, the Grand Ole Opry is world's longest continuously running live radio show. What many people don't know is, the Grand Ole Opry is our Saturday show--only. The program that is on Friday nights--started in 1949 as the Friday Night Frolics at WSM Studio C, then became the Friday Night Opry upon moving to the Ryman Auditorium in 1964, is formatted like our Saturday show. Our seasonal Tuesday Night show is the Tuesday Night Opry, and our seasonal Thursday night program is Opry Country Classics. Nothing has happened to any . . . shows and they . . . to continue. . . .

WHOA!!! OIL!!!

BAD WETHR 2-day! YUCK!!!

Whew . . . not here. . . .


Sunday, March 30, 2008

Will cell-phone jones fry your brain?

If a prominent British cancer expert is right, young people are doomed. They basically live life with microwave ovens permanently attached to their ears.

scary story from London is in today's Independent (and note that the British term "mobile phone" equals the American term "cell phone"):
Mobile phones could kill far more people than smoking or asbestos, a study by an award-winning cancer expert has concluded. He says people should avoid using them wherever possible and that governments and the mobile phone industry must take "immediate steps" to reduce exposure to their radiation.

The study, by Dr Vini Khurana, is the most devastating indictment yet published of the health risks.

It draws on growing evidence – exclusively reported in the IoS in October – that using handsets for 10 years or more can double the risk of brain cancer. Cancers take at least a decade to develop, invalidating official safety assurances based on earlier studies which included few, if any, people who had used the phones for that long.

Earlier this year, the French government warned against the use of mobile phones, especially by children. Germany also advises its people to minimise handset use, and the European Environment Agency has called for exposures to be reduced.

Professor Khurana – a top neurosurgeon who has received 14 awards over the past 16 years, has published more than three dozen scientific papers – reviewed more than 100 studies on the effects of mobile phones. He has put the results on a brain surgery website, and a paper based on the research is currently being peer-reviewed for publication in a scientific journal.

He admits that mobiles can save lives in emergencies, but concludes that "there is a significant and increasing body of evidence for a link between mobile phone usage and certain brain tumours". He believes this will be "definitively proven" in the next decade.
TALK ABOUT your sobering articles. I now am so glad that I have a big enough aversion to the telephone in general that I've never wanted to have a cell phone around, except for emergencies. Almost never use one of the damn things.

But I do fear for all the young people I know, for whom the cell-phone jones hardly could be more intractable than those for meth or nicotine. You just don't need to be that bloody "connected" -- you just don't.

There is value in being alone with your thoughts. That is, beyond reducing one's brain-cancer risk.

And the brain-cancer thing is horrific struff indeed. My father died of brain cancer. You don't want to go that way . . . and you don't want to see a loved one go that way.

Trust me on this one.