Category Archives: Radio

Belling the Cat

New York. London. Belfast.

A random pick of three news items, each of which discusses the public availability of free wireless connectivity in mass transit systems. In London and New York, the service provider is a third-party private, for-profit, agency, while it is not mentioned in the article on northern Ireland, but seems to be the transit company itself.

Now, as many people would know, wifi is not currently the most protected and secure wireless connectivity option possible, but nearly all modern portable devices can connect to it ‘out of the box’. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Accessibility, Communication, Community, connectivity, Democracy, development, Radio, Self-help, Wi-Fi

Doing less with more, or, fossil fools

I know. That could be about just about anything we humans do with the natural resources at our disposal – except manage the residue, it seems.

But this post is about spectrum usage, and energy. Odd combination. Eager readers of my tireless prose might wonder, since I have already posted here about alternate energy conversion routes, and about spectrum, at length (friends assure me it is entirely too much length, in fact. As Garth Brooks put it, I’ve got friends. On the other hand, maybe I don’t have a lot of readers).

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Accessibility, Blogroll, broadband, Communication, Community, development, energy, Fossil Fuels, Radio, social processes, Wind Power

Size matters

Not long ago, the nation of India decided it was mature enough to allow people to communicate with each other, even poor people (of which there are, as it happens, still a few). Not just talking, which is more or less a habit, but using high quality electronic telecommunications, of which the very cheapest is FM (frequency modulated radio broadcasting, using the medium wave band). Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Accessibility, Broadcast, Communication, Community, Democracy, development, Media, Narrowcast, Radio, Security, Self-help

Less Power, More Power

A Little Energy Goes a Long Way

Somehow the concepts of ‘less is more’ and ‘small is beautiful’ do not ring out loud and clear in the community networking environment. Perhaps they are just too obvious: however, I suspect that for urban-focused networks, with their routers and access points dangling from eaves and out of windows, drawing energy from house utility connections, it is really irrelevant.

In the countryside, things are different. Networks stretch across the kilometers, lonely towers in remote spots relaying signals between clusters of homes, over jungle and desert, from hilltop to distant peak and down to the shaded valley below. In this scenario, efficient power solutions mean less money spent on expensive solar power, generated locally and guarded from the depredations of monkeys and men.

Needless to say, the deliverable goes further. In older systems of information delivery, mankind sought to create efficiency by centralising content creation in one place, transmitting across the world with megawatt transmitters, pumping powerful shortwave signals across the world. What price such efficiency, focusing on the packaging till the words became meaningless, the songs capsuled till the music couldn’t be heard.

How many times have I heard techies and engineers shake their heads and mutter, “There has to be a better way“? In the world of information exchange, evolved and transforming the age-old traditions of information dissemination, we find a semantic that neatly divides the e-Generation from its elders and [not-so-?]betters.

Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under Accessibility, Blogroll, broadband, Community, connectivity, Democracy, development, energy, Internet, Intranet, Privacy, Radio, Security, technology, Uncategorized, Wi-Fi

Radio: broadcasting uber wires

India is such an interesting country, as far as the media is concerned (well, admittedly, for many more reasons, but they don’t really relate to this note). It simply explodes with publications, thousands of them in print, tens of television channels, hundreds of radio channels.Why then, is the situation so parlous as far as community media is concerned? And more to the point, how can we emerge from this morass?

All over the world, there has been a refreshing wave of positive change, as far as the media is concerned. From the 80s, pervasively ‘corporate’ media was the norm, being chronicled in later novels like Jeffrey Archer’s “The Fourth Estate”. From the days of Radio Caroline to the angst of Seattle, there has been a palpable and spontaneous outpouring of desire for media unfettered by hidden agenda.

India is such an interesting country, as far as the media is concerned (well, admittedly, for many more reasons, but they don’t really relate to this note). It simply explodes with publications, thousands of them in print, hundreds of radio and television channels. Yes, hundreds.

Radio is the odd one out, actually. The Indian government was always amazingly open to the print media, conceptually, honouring Gandhiji’s tremendous leadership and tireless writing. Much later, it repeated its proactive attitude to the revolutionary impact of television, which took only a short time to become incredibly pervasive.

While print is widely visible, it has a limited reach, since it demands literacy. Television doesn’t, but the medium is terribly expensive, and that defines its creative quality. Sadly, in a very constricted fashion.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Accessibility, Broadcast, Community, Democracy, Media, Narrowcast, Radio, technology, Uncategorized