Month: February 2013

Reading Captive Audience by Susan Crawford Notes

So I’m a little under half way through the book. It’s a scathing indictment of Comcast that’s for damned sure.

I’m at the point where she’s describing the lock on sports programming that Comcast has accumulated.

It makes sense – earlier I mentioned only about 5% the cost of most cable companies net service is actual cost to provide the service, the rest is pure profit.

Well – even your cable box doesn’t use any special RF anymore. It’s all an IP feed to the cable box, and some video processing chips.

In essence – it costs VERY little to provide cable service once the outside plant is built up. But the tactics of companies like Comcast are to get that lock on programming. So then they hold other cable companies hostage for sports content, and programming since Comcast now owns NBC-Universal.

It even splashes over to what’s available on Netflix and Hulu.

The FCC needs to step in and say that the cable – the medium is a COMMON CARRIER and subject to full regulation.

The book even touches on wireless services. The voice portion of your cell service is in fact common carriage. But the net services to your phone aren’t considered part of that even though it uses the exact same cell sites, etc.

It’s time we as consumers start heavily leaning on our elected representatives. Because between wired and wireless we get screwed on a regular basis.

I look at empirical evidence where in France they pay the equivalent of $40 U.S. for net, phone and video. I pay $150 a month for net and video. So let’s say I’d paid $110 less a per month for that. Then there’s the cell phones, I currently pay $106 a month for two phones. If it cost $50 less we’re looking at $160 a month less.

But corporate greed in the U.S. rules supreme. It’s time we re-establish anti-trust laws, put the regulatory clamps back on all these carriers.

Regarding the too many radios post

It’s started. My Yaseu only has 300mW of power output on 222MHz. I could software mod the radio but I hear the power amplifier in the radio doesn’t play nicely with higher power levels on 222MHz. Something to do with the spectral purity being a few db lower than the requirements. So I’ll not screw with it.

I found an inexpensive KST V6 that does a full 5W of power output on 220-225MHz. So I ordered one. So now it’s TWO radios.

Acting surprised when a politician is caught

The most recent is former Sen. Pete Domenici. Domenici is a Republican which sort of makes it all the more ridiculous that people are surprised.

All these family values guys are family values guys because they got a second chance, some forgiveness.

And they’re all horn dogs. The Republicans more so than Democrats.

So really, this comes as a surprise? I think the bigger surprise in all of this is that they managed to keep it off the media radar for 34 years. Imagine if this had come out when Domenici was in office. The scandal would have been priceless.

My opinion of politicians

So if you’ve read this blog you understand there are Representatives and Senators on the state level that I like, and more that I’m not such a fan of them.

In fact I’ve written about a number of them. Had a nice little correspondence with Rep. Doreen Costa some time ago. I like her to Michele Bachman because Costa too has the crazy eyes thing going on. Then there’s Rep. Spencer Dickinson I think I mentioned him in a post one time, or perhaps an email and he called me. Nice! 

And I know I rattle their cages on occasion. I can tell by the blog stats and the visitor logs.

I’ve always been a little rough on political idiocy. But then I realized something, a good half or more of our elected representatives shouldn’t even be sitting in the chairs in the legislative chambers.

Really – there are some true idiots that get elected.

And then being one who knows how to dig up data, I noted that in the recent Marriage Equality vote in the RI House of Representatives, a fair number of them and myself share an Alma Mater in LaSalle Academy. I’m a member of the Class of 1982. Yeah, I’m an old mother fucker. But like for example Rep. Ramond Hull who graduated in 1981 we all went to that school.

So I have to ask, how is it I came out as I did and they came out as they did as morons, idiots, and bigots?

Sorry for geeking out

So you might have seen the geeky xkcd comics I’ve been posting, or then the review of the MFJ Cub 40m QRP transceiver.

Can’t help it, I’m a computer, radio and electronics geek in addition to being gay.

And anything to do with electronic theory – I’m there!

I leave you with:


xkcd is on the Open Source kick now

First there’s tar – tar in unix circles stands for Tape Archive. Though you can tar off to any device you wish. For example tar -cvpf /home/tonypo/* /dev/mt0/tonypo.tar would work to create an archive.


And then there’s PERL and Regex, I’ve done a LOT of interesting Regex.


And they even riff on probability in a more applicable sense:


Yeah, that’s 2,000,000 germs that don’t succumb to the sanitizer. Now couple the sanitizer and some UV light and you might get it down to around 100,000. But even still that’s unacceptable.