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Holux M-1000C Bluetooth GPS Logger

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Its only got one button but it does the job. The Holux M-1000C Bluetooth GPS Logger allows you to trek around town or in the mountains and then show your adventures on Google Maps or Earth.

Read more: New from Electronics Infoline


Asus OC Station Review

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Hardware overclocking gadgets are more often than not a load of pants. However, with Asus' Republic of Gamers brand starting to build a bit of a reputation for making usable kit for enthusiasts, we thought we'd get in their new front-panel overclocking gizmo to see if it's up to snuff.

Read more: bit-tech.net Hardware Feed


Asus Eee PC Seashell 1008HA Announced

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Asustek has announced this week the Asus Eee PC Seashell, a newly designed netbook series. The first Seashell model is the 2. 4-pound 1-inch thick Eee PC 1008HA, featuring a 10 LED-backlit display at 1024600, the Intel Atom N280 1.

Read more: New from Electronics Infoline


ARNewsline #1681 -- Oct. 30 2009:

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The following is a QST. Sweden says no to radio pollution from BPL, a new South African ham satellite gets is Oscar designation, three hams file a petition to make all emergency communications legal and the biggest yearly ham radio public service event takes place in New York City a few hours after this weeks newscast goes to air. Find out the details on Amateur Radio Newsline report number 1681 coming your way right now.

Read more: eHam.net News


Adobe and NVIDIA Deliver Rich Web on Netbooks and Mobiles

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NVIDIA and Adobe have announced that they are bringing rich web experiences to netbooks and mobile devices built using NVIDIA GPUs. Both of the companies have been working with the Open Screen Project to optimize and improve the new Flash Player 10.

Read more: New from Electronics Infoline


T-Mobile myTouch 3G Android Phone announced

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T-Mobile USA today announced the upcoming availability of the T-Mobile myTouch 3G, the follow-up to the T-Mobile G1, the worlds first Android powered phonen.

Read more: New from Electronics Infoline


Kyocera consolidates handset businesses, cuts 360 jobs in the process

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Its only been a year since Kyocera snapped up Sanyos cellphone business in a bid to expand its mobile empire, but it looks like the company is already being forced to reorganize its handset businesses into something leaner and, it hopes, meaner.

Read more: New from Electronics Infoline


First It Was CW – Now It’s The Question Pool

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I heard that KL4NGN recently submitted a petition to the FCC requesting that the number of questions in the question pool be increased by a factor of 50. The reason behind the requested increase is due to the claim that the knowledge held by the operator does not match the license class.

The author of the article I read (k3ng) states that he admits using an online question pool to pass his Extra class license around 10 years ago. But he also states that most of his knowledge came from electronics knowledge, professional training and interaction with other cAmateur Radio Licenselub members over his years in the hobby.

Reducing the questions in the pool is now called the “Dumbing Down” of Amateur Radio. Remember when CW was the ultimate deterrent and how that battle about removing that requirement raged on for years? When I read this article I began to think,  here we go again!

k3ng finds “dumbing down” to be an insulting term. The 100% hard core CW ops might say, if you haven’t passed  a code test you have dumbed down the hobby. Dxers think it may be those operators who can’t figure out how to work “split” are dumbing it. Others may think of dumbers (is this really a word?) as those who rag chew in the middle of a contest! For some reason the term “LID” comes to mind. Isn’t that what it used to be called?1950's Vintage TV

Back in the 50’s,  the general public thought of Amateur Radio as a “service” and those who were licensed were available to provide nationwide emergency communications. Back then, the hobby was also viewed as a place where technological growth took place.  Being a Ham back in those days held a certain prestige. Today it’s  viewed as another hobbyist having fun.

Technology has surely passed Amateur Radio by. We are no longer living in the 1940’s, a time when people were getting introduced to television. Today the technical advances of this world are both astounding and rather frightening.

For example, I recently watched a presentation by Apple about the 3.0 version of the iPhone O/S. Here is a prime example of astounding technology. In just over a year since the iPhone (and iPod Touch) was introduced,  Apple has sold over 12 million units in 80 countries. The iPhone (and iPod Touch) have over 2,500 applications available by download via iTunes (many are free and others range from .99 to about 4.99) and those apps have been downloaded over 800 million times. The new 3.0 release will allow hundreds of new API’s to produce untold types of software designs.iPhone 3G

I know I am getting sidetracked here but just have to say that there were too many  enhancements to even begin to mention. One of the engineering presentations within the 1.2 hour long presentation depicts how medical devices may now be coupled to the iPhone via Bluetooth technology.

By this summer the iPhone will be ready to track diabetic glucose results, chart that information and based on many factors including specifics about the iPhone’s owner, the software will define the dosage of insulin needed before a meal is taken.

The presentation went on to talk about a 15 year old girl who must test her blood glucose level 6 times a day. Before the availability of this diabetic management tool, the young lady would have to calculate her dosage of her insulin shot with pen and paper. There was no electronic medium to store her daily levels or the long term trending of her information. Now, this young lady can manage her healthcare with a device which fits into her lifestyle. Forwarding charts and other historical information to the healthcare professional is as easy as sending a message over the 3G network.

Getting back to a less exciting but important topic, k3ng goes on to talk about how the FCC rejected the argument in it’s “matter-of-fact” style stating that the ‘dumbing down” argument is merely a way of determining if the applicant is qualified to run a station. Other than allowable frequencies for example, does an Extra class and a Tech class operator differ in the way they operate a station? Is more technical knowledge required to operate on the first 25kc’s of 40 meters? No exam will provide that difference or other factors of station operation.

k3ng goes on to state: “If we look at some of the biggest jerks and idiots on the air and in the amateur radio world on the Internet, some of them have outstanding technical qualifications. I can think of one infamous amateur (who I won’t name here) who has his PhD in Physics and holds several patents. The guy is the lowest life form on the planet when on Internet forums and as far as I am concerned is a useless to amateur radio. But he can pass any technical test you can throw at him”.

I’d have to agree that the above paragraph provides a proof to the absurdity of the “dumbing down” claim by some hams.  If you reflect back for a second to my iPhone nformation it is evident that the bright young minds of today’s world are not focusing on radio communications at frequencies below 30 MHz. As an old time Ham friend of mine said to me many years ago, “you guys today… are really nothing more than appliance operators”.  And sadly, there is much truth in that statement.

Spark Gap Transmitter

You don’t have to build anything today to operate a station. There are no spark gap transmitters in my shack and I don’t “load up” the switched off power line between the house and the cow barn as my antenna! ( I actually received a QSL card from a Ham many years ago [then in his 80's] who had done just that as a child). Having specific knowledge or college degrees cannot in itself make a better station operator.

I am wondering if this incident is  going to be a revival of the code argument that raged on for years. I’d have to agree with k3ng that the term “dumbing down” is inflammatory. Those hung up on the suggested change to testing criteria simply appear to have a strong desire to re-create the “class system” around the alleged skills of station operators.

What is your opinion?

Read more: Ham Radio - Ham Events - Ham Reviews - Ham Links - Ham News


ARRL Executive Committee issues mobile amateur radio operation policy statement

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The statement addresses the growing number of proposed state and local laws and ordinances regulating the use of cellular telephone and text messaging, inadvertently affecting Amateur Radio mobile communications

Read more: Southgate Amateur Radio Club RSS Feed


DEKA Luke Arm Gets 3 More Years Of Funding

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Dean Kamens brain controlled cyborg arm, which we first saw over a year ago, has received an additional three years of research funding. This time, its not from DARPA, but from the VAs Prosthetics and Sensory Aids Service.

Read more: New from Electronics Infoline


Sky sting unmasks repair shop frauds

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A sting operation carried out by Sky News showed five out of six computer repair shops overcharging for a simple fault - and attempting to access the customer's bank account.

Read more: bit-tech.net Feed


VA3STL has been off the air

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Over the last few months there has been very little radio activity  for VA3STL and this has percolated through to the blogging. There are two main reasons for this: first, work has been extremely busy for the last few months and secondly the radio shack is part of a complete refurbishment, as the basement of our house gets finished.

The basement is still a few weeks away from being finished but a holiday has given me chance to rest and restart the blogging again. Despite not posting for a couple of weeks now, it has been a pleasant surprise to see I have been getting 50 or 60 hits daily on the blog. It appears that the popular posts are on the technical projects.

The basement refurbishment has been coming on very well as the contractors are doing a careful job. An antenna cable access point has been installed and now I have an easy way of connecting up to 6 antennas and a ground, which will allow all current antennas to be conected with a little spare.

Here are a few images showing the transformation of the basement and the shack.  The first image is after the rigs had been removed and before all the old framing was to be taken down.  You can see to old cable hanging down.

Old shack dismantled

Old shack dismantled

This next photograph shows the new cable access as well as the new framing and layers of  insulation (pink code board and then Roxul insulation).

The tubing for the new cable access

The tubing for the new cable access

This last image shows the current state of the shack with the drywall on.  You can see the cable access (above and to the right of the cutout for the phone and net socket).  Taping and mud is next.

The new shack with drywall up.

The new shack with drywall up.

Although the main station has been dismantled and packed into storage there have been some operating opportunities. I participated in Field Day from a tent in the back garden (a camping opportunity the children enjoyed).  The station was a 1B at QRP levels using the K3 powered by solar power. Temporary antennas were used – a Buddistick and a Par End Fed antenna. Gerry, VA3GLT, operated with me and we made a few contacts, including a small run on 10m which we noticed was open when tuning the Par antenna.

The RAC Canada Day contest was again a portable operation, this time from the back deck. Seemed to be easier to make contacts at QRP level and about thirty or so contacts were made.

During the vacation we spent one week at a cottage.  There I made a few contacts with the K2 and the Buddistick, but more time was spent fishing.

Hopefully  blog posts will become a little more regular again.

Read more: VA3STL's Weblog


M0SRA - The Simpson Amateur Radio Society

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The Manchester-based Simpson Amateur Radio Society have been making use of YouTube to promote their club. Listen to the song, 'I Wish It Could Be Radio Club Every Day' by Orville, a member of the Simpson Amateur Radio Society

Read more: Southgate Amateur Radio Club RSS Feed


Acer launches first Nvidia Ion PC

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Acer officially reveals the PC previously known as Hornet, which is based on Nvidia's Ion platform and has an optional motion sensitive controller.

Read more: bit-tech.net Feed


Mod of the Month - April 2009

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April's collection of Mod of the Month nominees are here and we've found some amazingly awesome skill on show once again in our Project Log forum. We've joined up again with AC Ryan so check out this month's six nominees, vote and let us know what you think of them!

Read more: bit-tech.net Feed


Sony refreshes photo frame lineup to make it more green, black, and woodgrained

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About a year ago Sony dropped three new frames on us of various sizes, each using a 15:9 aspect ratio that, to put it mildly, hasnt exactly captured the LCD market by storm.

Read more: New from Electronics Infoline


Toshiba TG01 with 4.1-inch WVGA touchscreen: a worlds first Snapdragon

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Finally, an honest to goodness Qualcomm Snapdragon device is about to land in the form of the Toshiba TG01. The 9. 9-mm thin handset will feature a 4.

Read more: New from Electronics Infoline


Spirit Stuck For Good, To Become Stationary Science Platform

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Spirit, you were a good rover. You were a great rover. You did your job, and more. There was never any doubt as to whether youd be staying on Mars, but nearly two thousand days of operation instead of ninety? Incredible.

Read more: New from Electronics Infoline


Radeon HD 4890 vs GeForce GTX 275

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We've got the low down on the new Radeon HD 4890 and GeForce GTX 275 cards from ATI and Nvidia, so you know what upgrade to get. Do you grab either of the latest bad boys or are the older cards a better punt for your pound? Read on to find out.

Read more: bit-tech.net Hardware Feed


Hardware Hacking – Repurpose Documentary

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I came across this recently posted documentary on YouTube, via Make magazine’s website. It is very interesting to see the rise of these hardware hacking groups.  Perhaps the most popular is NYC Resistor (in collecting the link I see they have the Repurpose video on their site).  This documentary, by Jack Oatmon, is about a Montreal hacking collective called Foulab, and gives insight into their activities.

It is interesting to compare and contrast these hacking groups to most amateur radio clubs.  The two groups are obviously interested in technology. The average age of the hacking group is quite different to the typical amateur radio club and the hackers are not limited to radio communication.  I am excited to see what is being achieved in these collectives, the creativity, the commitment to experimentation and sharing of ideas that appears to be at the heart of their work.  Is anyone aware of such groups or individual members being involved in amateur radio? Or, are there amateur radio clubs that are adopting a hacking collective style?  As far as I know the closest are QRP clubs like Norcal QRP club, that meet at public locations and have no club dues or minutes.  Please post a comment if you know of one.

Read more: VA3STL's Weblog

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