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Digital TV transition.
What I want from Google health info.
While listening to the podcast in front of my computer the other day I heard a caller speak of going to the Apple store and asking for Steve Jobs' shoe. I was kind of surprised the employee did not point the caller to The Nike+iPod system. On a lark I googled Steve Jobs' shoe and found this story, which speak of Nike's upgrade of the product no longer needing the iPod and speculates that maybe Apple will create a replacement for the Nike+ part, AKA, Steve Jobs' shoe. You guys may be better at predicting the future better then you even realize.
Love the show!
Mike from Albany, New York
The glowing red eyes are a clear indication of evil (and hatred for all cables).
Don't throw out that Xbox 360 HD DVD player! It's not *quite* useless just yet. Team Xbox provides some valuable insight into ways to extend its life.
It makes a great cup holder! Or a bookend! Anyway, keep up the good work!
~Chris, the engineer from Virginia
Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening Buzz-out-louders, Buzz-on- the-insiders, Tom, Molly, and...ummm...oh yeah, Jason:
Just wanted to give some quick input on an e-mail that was sent in a couple of episodes ago (663 maybe?) regarding cell phone phishing. T- mobile customers should use the STOP message in response to SMS/MMS messages that you are receiving only when there is a recurring subscription that is being charged to your cell phone bill, such as a ringtone or game download subscription. For spam and phishing, filters can be set up on the My.T-mobile.com Web site to block unwanted/unsolicted cell numbers and short codes for your phone. In addition, true phishing messages can be reported to customer care and added to a blacklist so that you never receive over-air messages from those numbers in the future.
Hope this is helpful for folks who might be confused on what to do when they are receiving spam/phishing messages on their cell phones.
Love the show, listen in the car every day on the way to and/or from work.
Just wondering how anyone would know that hydrazine has an ammonia-like odor, because apparently by the time you smell it, it's too late. Possibly the last words uttered by the only known death were "it smells like ammonia...(dies)." It could smell like that sweet 'new' smell from brand new items. Anyway.
The engineer from Australia
Interesting story, especially Google's involvement. Balloon tech seems a bit unreliable for paid Wi-Fi access. Also, this was forwarded by a sea turtle friend of mine because of the dangers discarded balloons pose to sea turtles and other wildlife. I wonder if Space Data Corp retrieves the balloons or just the equipment? Could be killing animals that ingest the leftover bits mistaken as food, not to mention littering.
Michael (via mobile)
Hello Buzz crew,
It's an honor to have an episode named after me! (Thank God, it was not 665+1!) Maybe you should name one episode after yourselves, just to know how it feels. :D
If you are curious, I drew on a map the exact distance I ran today while listening to your podcast, and I have to apologize myself for being so slow. Maybe I should follow Molly's goals and run three miles in 30 minutes...
Thanks for your attention and keep up the good work.
Alexandre from Brazil
Hey Buzz crew (including Jason whom I forgot last time. BTW, great work on the CoverFlow Show Notes!),
Amazing!! This is the second time in so many days that I feel compelled to write in regarding the show. Once for an errant satellite and the trigger-happy Navy, and now this time for Google-themed balloons for world communication domination !!!! I promise not to make this a habit, seeing how Molly aptly pointed out that humans are an addictive bunch.
So there I was, kicking back enjoying the show, and I hear Molly (or was it Tom) mention Space Data Corp.! I couldn't believe my ears. First because of who you mentioned, and second because Google is interested in them!
My shock comes from the fact that I worked closely with the SDC guys at a military exercise two years ago called JEFX-06 (Joint Expeditionary Force Experiment) as part of a project called Combat SkySat.
- Combat SkySat: Cheap Near-Space Communications Relay at JEFX 06
- The idea was to use the technology SDC had matured in their commercial data network as a way to provide inexpensive & reliable over-the-horizon communications for the military. The project was a joint effort between SDC, the Air Force, and the Army to field test the capability as part of the JEFX experiments. With the balloon acting as a relay, drifting happily along at 80,000 ft, two guys with walkie talkie radios could reach out and talk while separated by over 600 miles! (see graphic)
The project has since turned into the very cool StarFighter product: http://www.spacedata.net/starfighter.html with obvious uses by both military and emergency responders alike.
Now Molly pointed out that since these are balloons, you'd think that they would tend to drift all over the place. That's kinda true between the surface and up to around 35,000 ft., but above that the winds become much more stable. In fact, with an ingenious system developed by SDC to control the balloon's altitude by venting gas or ballast, the operators can actually control the direction of the balloon by picking an altitude where the wind is going in the right direction. Want to move south? Release some gas in a series of "mouse farts" and drop down a few hundred feet to pick up the right wind. Drop some ballast to rise back up to catch a different wind direction. This "station-keeping" is what gives them the edge over just using something like a weather balloon that just heads up until it bursts. These things actually "hover".
Now, for your geek edification: here is some trivia worth spewing out (that amazed me when I learned it):
- At 85,000 ft., the biggest problem for a radio is not the cold (which you might expect), but rather the heat that the radio generates not being dispersed because there's very little air to move the heat away.
- During Hurricane Katrina, Space Data Corp supposedly flew a balloon over the hurricane in a pro-bono offer to provide emergency responders with a radio link that wasn't damaged by the storm. Like during days after 9/11, emergency responders had a nightmare communicating because the ground radio infrastructure was all but destroyed. Unfortunately it wasn't used because the folks on the ground had absolutely no idea what the SDC guys were talking about. Nobody had heard of the system and didn't think that something so simple could be so valuable. It wasn't until the military showed up with all their gear that radio communication got better.
- The average time-on-station for one balloon is about 12 hours. It's when you pass the day-night transition that your ballast-to-gas ratio gets all whacked. So you simply fly all day with one, and all night with another. Incidentally, the limiting factor for our flights at JEFX were battery life. We hammered so much data through the link that we cooked the batteries before even venting most of the lifting gas. Kinda like the MacBook Air--light as Helium, but with no user- serviceable battery. ;-)
As a future milestone, I'd love to hear a report on the first twitter message to be passed across these balloon-radios. ;-)
Love the show !!