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Website issues are temporary - stay tuned. · 8.06.10 by colin newell

I am currently bouncing web requests for dxer.ca and coffeecrew.com over here because of technical issues at my ISP – things should fix themselves by morning…
hopefully… and they are.

Thanks for your patience.

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Rites of Spring #28 Technology of our undoing - broadband over power lines · 29.05.10 by colin newell

Broadband over internet noise - what a stupid idea this isMy day job is in multi-media design, modernization, implementation and blah, blah, blah…

…in the educational environment. In my case UVic.
(so)Give me a classroom or lab with a black board and a piece of chalk and I will give you video data projection, infinitely variable lighting controls, high speed internet, web-casting and sound so crisp you would swear it’s live.

because in the year 2010, it’s easily to learn when you have all the tools.
And this applies to the home as well.

I have a PC workstation for audio production and a MacBook Pro for doing the stuff I am doing right now… a very high speed internet connection… and Wireless-N that I do not even use. I like my cat-5 wiring if at all possible. It is secure… and it’s reliable as gravity my friends.

I also like keeping my bits and bytes contained within copper cable if possible. Not adverse to wireless… as long as it’s wireless-N or better. Which is secure as heck after all – low power. It’s safe. And nobody gets hurt, right?
Well, there is something that has come down the pipe (more popular in Europe than here) that is scaring the crap out of me – not for what it does to people or creatures – but what it potentially takes away from us… our ability to communicate.

It’s called broadband over the power lines or BPL and it uses house wiring for distributed ethernet. God knows who designed this stuff. It has the capability, ironically, of seriously interfering with existing digital radio and TV and old style AM and FM radio – impeding our ability to communicate with each other and enjoy our high tech lives. Now that is genuinely ironic wouldn’t you say?

The boxes (shown above and sold at COST-CO) are made in China and they are shit. Some colleagues and I are investigating an interference report from the area around Beacon Hill Park in Victoria – some 4 city blocks wide! And it is likely one of these little peckers (shown above). From some of the intelligence that we have gathered, people are buying these units at COST-CO and then returning them shortly thereafter – not because they don’t work… because they do – but because they are difficult to set up.

Wireless-N is tried, tested and true – sets up easily and does not interfere with any domestic or terrestrial radio or data services.

Now imagine that you neighbor down the street buys one of these boxes and your audiophile set-up is screwed… or your HD TV is now replete with interference lines or inexplicable odd behavior – and don’t think for a second that because it’s digital it is immune to interference – cause it ain’t.

So think about this: One device (shown above) and 4 city blocks wiped out.
How wiped out? I listen to CFAX 1070 AM in Victoria and the offending box (or something like it – we are not exactly sure it is this particular unit) actually interferes with a 10,000 watt radio station.

This should concern us.

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Google Rant #1 - don't steal my books Mister Google · 24.01.10 by colin newell

My first thought is…

If I created a series of Google rants…
Would google index them?
Well. Let’s see.

Anyway.
Imagine a World where you could lose everything at the whim of a giant corporation… in a future World where there were no borders… only corporations that took what they wanted, when they wanted.

Your money. Your ideas. Your family and friends.
Sounds crazy.

Would it make it ok is the corporation tossed you a bone for your most cherished possessions? Like 64 dollars? For your life’s work…

Oddly, this is the present World. Google appears to want to steal all the books on the Planet and pay the authors 64 bucks for their trouble.
Sound odd? Sound outrageous? Sound like a scary future World.
Sure as f*ck does.
Read more about it here
Shit like this staggers me. And we all need to be on guard.

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Summer Food Fun and Drink Chapter 11 The downside of twitter · 11.07.09 by colin newell

Here’s the thing. If I could sprout an extra lobe in my brain and actually incur the ability to distill my more cogent thoughts down to 140 characters…

I probably still would not twitter.

Because I just typed 140 characters and I haven’t said a golly dash thing!
And you know it.

A lovely young lady (and that fact is irrelevant) that I passed on Friday (on campus) mused that she twitters – but is pretty sure that…

a.) She has no followers
and
b.) No one would really care about what she wrote anyway.

And yet I know for a fact that she is usually surrounded by a gaggle of young men…
and she talks a lot to them.
And they listen with rapt interest.
Because she is interesting.
Intelligent.
And pretty. Not that this indelible fact matters.

There are a couple of other nagging problems with twitter (and, oh yea… Facebook).
They are over run by corporations. We know that Facebook is merely a data mining site used by the man to get more marketing info on us consume-droids.
And now large corporations are signing into twitter because they think it’s hip and it’s marketing ore rich for refining.

It is about as hip as my grand-dad rapping with Dr. Dre.

Bottom line – there is nothing useful anyone can say in 140 characters or less. And when millions and millions are doing it – it just makes it less relevant than space dust.
My opinion.

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Spring into birdsong - why we do not twitter · 19.04.09 by colin newell

Jess and Jane in the 21st Century - Corner Drip - Copyright 2009

I embrace technology. Heck, I have been doing this for too many years. When I first started monkeying around on the internet, there were no web servers. They were called gopher servers – and they served up text.

My first attempts at webbing were launched from a Windows 3.11 for Work groups box (an IBM PC) around 1995 or so. That was a century ago in internet time.

So now we have streaming audio and video and dynamic web pages that change with every glance. I am good with that, dog. Really I am.

I believe that I owe it to my dedicated reader that I keep it fresh and real.

I do not believe, however, that there are more than a very small handful of people out there that would hang onto every word – if I offered truly up to date snippets of my every thought.

Twitter.

I do not do it. I will not do it.

No one needs to know what I am thinking when I am standing on the corner of 1st and Main Street. No one needs to know when I am sipping on a truly great coffee in a remarkable setting. I can tell them later.

Twitter is an alarming indication that we are getting a tad too self indulgent.
I went through the eighties – I was in my 20’s. And let me tell you folks… the only difference between then and now (for me) was more hair and more hair gel… and a lot more self indulgent behavior from just about everyone around me.

I have a theory. We never actually left the eighties. The mentality is still very much alive in all of us. There are many of us that actually feel that there is an audience for our every utterance, our every stomach gurgle, our every thought – however useless and every trivial thought that jumps from our synapses.

Enough already. How about some quiet.
Take some… on me.


Colin Newell is a Victoria resident and long time user of the World Wide Web. His handiwork has graced the cyber-World for going on 2 decades… if anyone is counting that is.

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