Thursday, March 31, 2005

Test photo Blog

Originally uploaded by dahlenw.
This is only a test of the blog posting available at This is a photo I took outside Ceaser's Palace in Las Vegas.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Cell Processor

Designed for the PlayStation 3, Sony, Toshiba and IBM's new "Cell processor" promises seemingly obscene computing capabilities for what will rapidly become a very low price. In these articles I look at what the Cell architecture is, then I go on to look at the profound implications this new chip has, not for the games market, but for the entire computer industry. Has the PC finally met it's match?

To date the details disclosed by the STI group (Sony, Toshiba, IBM) have been very vague to say the least. Except that is for the patent application* which describes the system in minute detail. Unfortunately this is very difficult to read so the details haven't made it out into general circulation even in the technical community.

I have managed to decipher the patent and in parts 1 and 2 I describe the details of the Cell architecture, from the cell processor to the "software cells" it operates on.

At this point we do not have any performance figures so any figures given are derived from either the figures in the patent or the 4.6GHz given for the chip itself. All performance figures are thus estimates based on hypothetical maximums.

Cell is a vector processing architecture and this in some way limits it's uses, that said there are a huge number of tasks which can benefit from vector processing and in part 3 I look at them.

The first machine on the market with a Cell processor will steal the performance crown from the PC, probably permanently, but PCs have seen much bigger and better competition in the past and have pushed it aside every time. In part 4 I explain why the PC has always won and why the Cell may have the capacity to finally defeat it.

In part 5 I wrap it up with a conclusion and list of references. If you don't want to read all the details in parts 1 and 2 I give a short overview of the Cell architecture.

* This article is based on the interpretation of the original 2002 patent application by Masakazu Suzuoki and Takeshi Yamazaki.


Tuesday, March 29, 2005


Skype is for calling other people on their computers or phones. It cost (for the most part) 2 cents a minute to call someone on ther phone. It is free to call someone who already has skype installed on their computer. It runs on Windows, Mac, Linux, and Pocket PC. Your calls are encrypted and the sound quality is simply amazing. Try it!

Monday, March 28, 2005

Tivo Series2 SPS Codes

SPS stands for Select-Play-Select and are the only hacks available to Series2 users without opening up the unit. All SPS codes should be done while playing back a recorded program. All functions can be turned of by entering the code again. If you have entered the code correctly you should hear three system chimes.

  • 30-Second Skip - (S-P-S-3-0-S) - Changes the Advance button on your remote into a 30-second skip button. Perfect for skipping commercials one at a time.
  • Clock/Elapsed Time Indicator - (S-P-S-9-S) - Pops up a clock and an eapsed time display in the bottom-right corner of your TV screen.
  • Speed Reader's Status Bar - (S-P-S-Pause-S) - Makes the status bar dissappear faster (in about half a second).
  • Status Message Display - (S-P-S-InstantReplay-S) - Pops up on bottom-left of screen. It indicates the Input Type, the Channel (active in LiveTV mode only), the episode ID number, as assigned by Tivo's internal Media File System (MFS) database (LiveTV mode only), and the Mode (Completed or Recording).

Friday, March 25, 2005


Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) has become a common denominator for systems where television and/or video signals are distributed to subscribers using Internet protocols. Often this is in parallel with the subscriber's Internet connection, supplied by a broadband operator using the same infrastructure and possibly bandwidth.

IPTV is not a protocol itself.

IPTV is expected to grow at a brisk pace in the coming few years as broadband is now available to more than 100 million households worldwide.


Thursday, March 24, 2005

Audio Compression

My own little test...

The 8,000Hz sample was kind of quiet but other than that it was difficult to tell the difference of the quality of sound in the different samples.

Recording a 3 second audio track at the following sample rates gave me these results:
  • 8,000Hz - 39.4KB
  • 11,025Hz - 43.3KB
  • 16,000Hz - 46.1KB
  • 22,050Hz - 51.0KB
  • 44,100Hz - 48.5KB (Same sampling rate as uncompressed CD audio)
  • 48,000Hz - 44.3KB
  • 96,000HZ - 26 bytes (something obviously went wrong here, was unable to open and listen to track.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005


WiMAX is a wireless industry coalition whose members organized to advance IEEE 802.16 standards for broadband wireless access (BWA) networks. WiMAX 802.16 technology is expected to enable multimedia applications with wireless connection and, with a range of up to 30 miles, enable networks to have a wireless last mile solution. WiMAX was formed in April 2001, in preparation for the original 802.16 specification published in December of that year. According to the WiMAX forum, the group's aim is to promote and certify compatibility and interoperability of devices based on the 802.16 specification, and to develop such devices for the marketplace. Members of the organization include Airspan, Alvarion, Analog Devices, Aperto Networks, Ensemble Communications, Fujitsu, Intel, Nokia, OFDM Forum, Proxim, and Wi-LAN.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005


RFID (radio frequency identification) is a technology that incorporates the use of electromagnetic or electrostatic coupling in the radio frequency (RF) portion of the electromagnetic spectrum to uniquely identify an object, animal, or person. RFID is coming into increasing use in industry as an alternative to the bar code. The advantage of RFID is that it does not require direct contact or line-of-sight scanning. An RFID system consists of three components: an antenna and transceiver (often combined into one reader) and a transponder (the tag). The antenna uses radio frequency waves to transmit a signal that activates the transponder. When activated, the tag transmits data back to the antenna. The data is used to notify a programmable logic controller that an action should occur. The action could be as simple as raising an access gate or as complicated as interfacing with a database to carry out a monetary transaction. Low-frequency RFID systems (30 KHz to 500 KHz) have short transmission ranges (generally less than six feet). High-frequency RFID systems (850 MHz to 950 MHz and 2.4 GHz to 2.5 GHz) offer longer transmission ranges (more than 90 feet). In general, the higher the frequency, the more expensive the system.

RFID is sometimes called dedicated short range communication (DSRC).


Monday, March 21, 2005

p2p Clients

LimeWire allows you to search for multiple files at the same time, available in several different languages, and is most famous for its ease-of-use and cross-platform compatibility. LimeWire will run on Windows, Macintosh, Linux, Solaris, and other operating systems.

Grokster is the latest generation of file sharing software. The Grokster generation of file sharing presents these exciting features: Free: Grokster is 100% free to use, Fast, Detailed Searches: Grokster’s SuperNode technology provides for the fastest searches. Grokster tracks detailed file info and allows detailed searches on it. Grokster will also track and remember up to 24 simultaneous searches.

Warez P2P Client is the next biggest peer-to-peer application to hit the internet, labelled the next Kazaa. Warez P2P is now a completely spyware and adware free file-sharing program with a great easy-to-use interface. Search and download your favorite music and video files shared by other users on the free peer-to-peer network. Warez P2P Client’s advanced queuing system and multi-sourced swarmed downloads allow you to download whatever you want in the shortest possible time. Warez P2P Client really enhances your file-sharing experience, and has a built-in audio/video player with full playlist support.

ANts P2P realizes a third generation P2P net. It protects your privacy while you are connected and makes you not trackable, hiding your identity (ip) and crypting everything you are sending/receiving from others. Supports swarming multi-sources downloads

WinMX is a FREE file-sharing program like no other. It allows you to connect, download, and share files with MILLIONS of other users through the decentralized WinMX Peer Network. Once WinMX is installed, you’ll have access to one of the largest and most diverse networks of shared media files in the world. And unlike many other ‘peer to peer’ software providers, we respect your privacy and will never sell you out to spyware. When you download WinMX, you’re getting WinMX and only WinMX, no bundled spyware, no ads, no B.S.

Connect to multiple file sharing networks - iMesh, Kazaa, Limewire and get more results and the fastest download speed. Get Accelerated downloads with SuperCharged connections. Search for Music and Videos on iMesh from within Internet Explorer! Enjoy an enhanced media player. Have fun with an all new user interface! And of course, experience pure file sharing, no Spyware, no Popups.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Broadband over Power Line (BPL)

Broadband over Power Line (BPL) is a technology that allows Internet data to be transmitted over utility power lines. (BPL is also sometimes called Power-line Communications or PLC.) In order to make use of BPL, subscribers use neither a phone, cable or a satellite connection. Instead, a subscriber installs a modem that plugs into an ordinary wall outlet and pays a subscription fee similar to those paid for other types of Internet service.

BPL works by modulating high-frequency radio waves with the digital signals from the Internet. These radio waves are fed into the utility grid at specific points. They travel along the wires and pass through the utility transformers to subscribers' homes and businesses. Little, if any, modification is necessary to the utility grid to allow transmission of BPL. This mode has not yet been widely deployed in the United States, but it has been implemented in a few other countries, with varying results. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is currently working on a set of rules according to which BPL may be implemented in the United States. If it is put into use, BPL will be an unlicensed service, and will be governed by rules similar to those that apply to cordless telephones, television remote controls, and other consumer electronic devices.

Some people say BPL represents an ideal solution for people in rural areas. But many engineers, along with officials in the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), fear that BPL will interfere with fire, police, shortwave, land mobile, and other radio systems important to national security. Amateur radio operators have voiced their concerns as well. BPL subscribers may also be adversely affected by the electromagnetic fields that radio transmitters generate in the course of their normal and licensed operations. The utility power lines are not shielded, as is coaxial cable, and some of the frequencies suggested for BPL operation lie within the spectra assigned to essential wireless services.



Thursday, March 17, 2005


The wireless Enhanced 911 (E911) rules seek to improve the effectiveness and reliability of wireless 911 service by providing 911 dispatchers with additional information on wireless 911 calls.

The wireless E911 program is divided into two parts - Phase I and Phase II. Phase I requires carriers, upon appropriate request by a local Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP), to report the telephone number of a wireless 911 caller and the location of the antenna that received the call. Phase II requires wireless carriers to provide far more precise location information, within 50 to 300 meters in most cases.

The deployment of E911 requires the development of new technologies and upgrades to local 911 PSAPs, as well as coordination among public safety agencies, wireless carriers, technology vendors, equipment manufacturers, and local wireline carriers. The FCC established a four-year rollout schedule for Phase II, beginning October 1, 2001 and to be completed by December 31, 2005.


Enhanced 911 service or E911 service is a North American telephone network feature that automatically associates the physical address with the calling party's telephone number. This is generally done by a form of reverse telephone directory that is supplied by the telephone company. This provides emergency responders with the location of the emergency without the person calling for help having to provide it. Enhanced 911 has been deployed in most metropolitan areas in the United States. In some places (e.g., Minneapolis/St. Paul) it has been used since the early 1980s, though as of the end of 2002 it was not available in every area.

The system only works in North America if the emergency telephone number 911 is called. Calls made to other telephone numbers, even though they may be listed as an emergency telephone number may not permit this feature to function correctly.

There is special privacy legislation that permits emergency responders to obtain the caller's information. Even though the caller's number may be blocked for caller ID purposes, the caller's details will be provided to the emergency services.

A second phase of Enhanced 911 service is to allow a wireless or mobile telephone to be located geographically using some form of radio triangulation from the cellular radio network or by using a Global Positioning System built into the phone itself. There are also other proposed features that are intended to allow telephone callers from large corporate telephone networks to be located down to the specific office on a particular floor of a building.

In all cases, the location information provided is normally integrated into emergency dispatch center's Computer-Assisted Dispatch or CAD system, to provide the dispatcher with an on screen street map that highlights the caller's position and the nearest available emergency responders.


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