Sunday, September 30, 2012

British spy "paraset" transceiver duplicate

Today at the ARNSW Home Brew group meeting we had a terrific presentation about the world war two "spy set" transceiver which was given out to resistance forces in Europe. There is a popular construction project that aims to build a pretty accurate replica.

Peter Jensen, VK2AQJ, has done a wonderful job of re-creating one of the versions of the set and in tracing the history of these interesting rigs. The simple design uses three metal valves and the receiver covers about 3.2 to 8MHz.

Peter is a wonderful speaker and I understand has published at least one book which I'll track down.

I bought a little bit of junk for the shed today although there is lots to temp me in the Dural disposals room.

Thanks as always to the organisers and it was great to have Mal, VK2BMS, along for the day.

Monday, September 24, 2012

iPhone 5 LTE speed test - better than home cable

Rather than queuing on Friday, I simply wandered in to a Telstra store at Warringah Mall on Saturday at about 10am and got an iPhone 5 within minutes. Very smooth. This morning I checked my home Cable speed test and then on arrival in the Sydney CBD checked Telstra's LTE performance:

That's 24.39Mbps down and 23.36Mbps up. Really impressed apart from ping but even that isn't bad. More than enough people have reviewed the phone and I'm very happy with it so far too.


It's amazing what LTE can do if you're the only user, check this out from a Brisbane tester reporting on Whirlpool.

87Mbps! But faster than 99% of AU tells the true story.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Swipe 2012 iOS developer conference in Sydney

This week I was lucky enough to attend the "Swipe" conference here in Sydney.

The highlight for me was the keynote presentation by Horace Dediu who I listen to on the "Critical Path" 5by5 podcast. The image above shows revenue from digital music sales compared to revenue from app sales, the interesting thing is that apps are now a bigger business than music.

Horace took us through the history of personal computing by using animated graphs showing the rise and fall of different products and brands. The stand out is that tablets have taken off faster than any product before them. While traditional "big screen" personal computers continue to experience some growth it is fairly flat compared to new devices such as smart phones and tablets.

The iPad is particularly profitable and in fact the iPad alone is worth more than the entire PC business. Microsoft's revenue for operating systems is rapidly declining. Android and IOS have completely re-defined what growth can be.

I asked Horace why, if Android is the number one platform, does iOS still see 70% of the internet traffic? He said it's about engagement. Android users wanted a smart phone or tablet but what you can do with it is less "discoverable" and this is a problem for customer loyalty. Many Android buyers bought a smart phone but they're using it as a feature phone.

Other highlights were the "ABC Art Maker" case study from Amy Nelson and Meena Tharmarajah, "iOS Performance Tuning" from Bill Dudney, "Designing Accessible iOS Apps" from Jake MacMullin, "Blocks and Block based APIs" from Cameron Barrie, "Australia Post case study" with Chris Van Raay, and "Automated testing with KIF" with Chaise Hocking.

My compliments to the organisers and I look forward to the next conference.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

A look inside ABC News Radio

In contrast to the display of historical radio equipment in the foyer, I was privileged to get a personal tour of the ABC News Radio operation today. It's a very striking layout that appears to genuinely (almost) paperless.

Journalists and producers surround and face in to a "fish bowl" style studio.

 News Radio is transmitted on over 60 frequencies and reaches a million listeners each week.

Inside the studio it's a one person operation with the presenter who controls everything and reads directly off screen.

Thanks to on-air announcer Steve Chase, and everyone who cheerfully greeted a regular listener and fan. Sometimes seeing a radio station and the staff breaks the magic, in this case it's the opposite - I came away more impressed with the efficient and well designed News Radio operation.

80 Years of ABC display at Ultimo

If you can get to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Ultimo Sydney building there is a wonderful display of historical equipment from the archives in the public area. Here's a few snapshots.

I spotted John "magic fingers" Diamond setting up along with a retired camera operator. Great work by all involved. Thanks for the memories.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Model helicopter for antenna examination

Checking out the antenna with a model helicopter, no it seems that antenna wires draw in helicopters due to some sort of, as yet, explained force. Picked up a model helicopter for under $100 at Jaycar complete with an on board video camera.

You get a nice view of the shack and we quickly collide with the G5RV antenna and then fall to earth. It's a bit windy today and our back yard is full of obstacles but this is a fun toy for the money.