C

Big Satellite in the Sky

in
Question from E-mail

What would be a good source for a guy like me to learn from in order to write an electronics oriented visual hardware design program for linux? And where the heck are the specs on them hardware languages?

I'm thinking of some sort of open hardware project.

One of the itches I need to scratch is namely a two way radio (stereo system/LAN compatible) that evolves out of the restrictive linear addressing scheme used these days. The other itch is to get it secured under an open patent. (whatever that means)

It bothers me FM can only carry 100 regional stations because it's limited to 88 to 108 Mhz at 200khz boundaries.

I have a design (still a bit vaporware) that allows a user to create their own radio signature. Through two carrier waves and one "scaling" component, it creates a complex carrier pattern. It then shifts the pattern into the FM radio range. Finally you modulate your message onto the carrier. It also takes the 100 station limit and pumps it up to 10^6, as long as I can prove mathematically that the carrier patterns are unique. Funny thing is, I can only get uniqueness if I go for the million station design. However, it is vapor, but hopefully not for long.

I know we have the Internet. However it seems we're not going to get better bandwidth including a true peer to peer global system unless we have phone companies put us through their satellites as soon as they feel like it. They're already scaling back modem bandwidth since they're only required to provide voice service. Besides the words "Big Satellite in the Sky" are as comforting as ... "Echelon Satellite in the Sky".

By the way, have you noticed some schools have been favoring homework on computers but still place actual learning of computers (C, ASM, COBOL) at the college level. I get slightly miffed when people tell me they learned assembly in High School.

Woz

If I had time, I'd want to meet you. You are very bright and trying to do things beyond the limits. It's fascinating. I agree with you about computer technology as belonging in all school levels, and I speak out on this at many speeches to education groups every year. The biggest problems are in the politics and bureaucracies of schools, but the major problem is lack of funds to allow changes or get more done in the same time. For example, one teacher with a handful of students can cover material many times faster than with a class of 30, and every student in the tiny class gets enough attention to guarantee success. Public schools set the level of how much we spend per student. Public schools are funded through the government. Government moneys are parcelled out according to voting strengths. But maybe only a third or less of families have kids in schools. The kids are the ones that need the schools but they don't get to vote. A family of five should have five votes. Then all of this would change and education would get more respect and there would be time for computer science.

In the meantime, why teach cursive? Why upper case? How many times have you calculated where two canoos will meet? Someday we'll sacrifice something for the sake of teaching computer science. It's important and beneficial. So is driving and so is TV but cars and TV aren't the primary educational tool of the century (this statement has a Y2K problem). Best wishes, Steve