How is HD Radio doing in Canada? It depends | Globalnews.ca

Back in 1999, a man in a van pulled up. “Wanna hear something cool?” Inside was a Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) receiver, demonstrating the fidelity of digital signals from an experimental transmitter in Toronto, including programming from my station, 102.1 the Edge/Toronto. It sounded great. Better than great, in fact.

Born out of a European research project in 1995, DAB promised static-free, CD-quality, better-than-FM audio. And it did. The new technology was also far more efficient, cramming more radio signals into the same bandwidth, something that was appealing to markets with AM and FM dials at maximum capacity. Its successor, DAB+, uses substantially less electricity than power-hungry AM and FM transmitters. The prediction was that it was just a matter of time before DAB replaced analogue AM and FM broadcasts. “Soon,” we were told. And then … nothing. At least in North America.

Source: How is HD Radio doing in Canada? It depends | Globalnews.ca

Elon Musk Weighs in on the Encryption Wars Between Telegram and Signal

The encryption wars brewing between the messaging apps Telegram and Signal have attracted the commentary of a high-profile critic: Elon Musk.

Musk, who previously championed Signal for its user privacy protections, now appears to have changed his tune, amplifying criticisms of the app and its leadership and saying there are unspecified “known vulnerabilities” within Signal that have gone unaddressed by the company’s leadership.

Given his influence in the tech sphere, Musk’s remarkable reversal on Signal has become central to the current conversation on encryption — and, according to one cryptography expert, is pushing users toward less secure alternatives.

Source: Elon Musk Weighs in on the Encryption Wars Between Telegram and Signal

Faced with RTO mandates, some top tech talent left instead – The Washington Post

Return-to-office mandates at some of the most powerful tech companies — Apple, Microsoft and SpaceX — were followed by a spike in departures among the most senior, tough-to-replace talent, according to a case study published last week by researchers at the University of Chicago and the University of Michigan.

Researchers drew on resume data from People Data Labs to understand the impact that forced returns to offices had on employee tenure, and the movement of workers between companies. What they found was a strong correlation between senior-level employees departing directly after a mandate was implemented, suggesting these policies “had a negative effect on the tenure and seniority of their respective workforce.” High-ranking employees stayed several months less than they might have without the mandate, the research suggests — and in many cases, they went to work for direct competitors.

At Microsoft, the share of senior employees as a portion of the company’s overall workforce declined more than 5 percentage points after the return-to-office mandate took effect, the researchers found. At Apple, the decline was 4 percentage points, while at SpaceX — the only company of the three to require workers to be fully in-person — the share of senior employees dropped 15 percentage points.

Source: Faced with RTO mandates, some top tech talent left instead – The Washington Post

The Pentagon is lying about UFOs | The Hill

According to Gaetz, fighter pilots tracked four unknown objects flying in a “clear diamond formation.” Notably, the incident occurred on a training range typically conspicuously free of any airborne clutter.

In a case resolution report published last week, the Pentagon’s UFO analysis office concluded with “moderate” confidence that the object observed by the pilot was a balloon, likely “a large commercial lighting balloon.”

This so-called explanation insults the intelligence of any reader who takes a few moments to review the details of the incident. It did not convince the world’s most prominent UFO skeptic. The pilot’s sketch of the object, described as akin to an “Apollo spacecraft,” bears no plausible resemblance to the design of any known industrial lighting balloon.

Source: The Pentagon is lying about UFOs | The Hill

Hello and Goodbye to Google Fiber


As y’all may know, I’ve been a booster of Google Fiber for a while. I signed us up for it the first day it became available. This week, I switched us back to AT&T. Let me explain why.

The server that hosts this website, my neighborhood mailing list, and other Internet stuff lives in a datacenter in Atlanta. I don’t really notice this, though, because the AT&T Fiber’s routing is excellent! I get super-low latency of 16 ms for my round-trip pings. I can’t reach many cross-town servers much faster than that. When I switched us over to Google Fiber, that round-trip time jumped to 60-100 ms. I researched whether my hosting provider’s datacenters in other cities were any better but it turns out Google Fiber is not nearly as good as AT&T’s. The city with the fastest server Google Fiber could get me to was Dallas which – as you geography buffs will note – is significantly farther from Raleigh than Atlanta. Go figure.

Please note that I’m a network nerd and my tech needs are, um, … unique. Normal people would probably not notice this stuff.

Being temporarily “dual-homed” with Google and AT&T meant I could negotiate rates. When I called to cancel AT&T, they offered me my same package at 30% off for 1 year (i.e., cheaper than Google and I can renew the deal next year). We now get for $60 what before we got for $90. Praise competition!

Google Fiber is still connected to our house (their fiber is still “lit.”) We’re not locked into AT&T with any contract so if AT&T pisses me off we can switch back without any trouble. Google just wants their WiFi Access Points back, which I didn’t use anyway.

There is also part of me that feels that a little bait-and-switch took place with Google Fiber. When Google Fiber was announced, I was under the impression that Google would devote its massive resources to making it a success. Instead, the company changed focus almost immediately, drastically putting on the brakes to its deployments. It was clear Google was not willing to make the investments necessary to make Google Fiber a healthy concern for the next fifty years. Google’s obsessively focused on its short-term stock market performance. It does not make investments the way railroads do, or like providers that expect to be relevant in 50 years, like AT&T.

Google Fiber switched to micro-trenching for its network installations. It also outsourced its installs to companies like Prime Telecom. I had multiple crews try to put in fiber, only to have me interrupt their installations because they were either bringing the fiber to the wrong side of our house or they were digging without doing utility locating. In hindsight, I suppose they usually skip the locating because it’s time-consuming and their shallow trenches rarely affect other buried utilities. They’d rather take the chance of busting something else than wait for lines to be marked. I don’t think this is a very professional game plan, personally.

Google Fiber does offer something unique, and that’s 2 Gbps service, twice as fast as our current service. This would be appealing to me but it is asymmetrical and the upload speed is still limited to 1 Gbps. I’d also have to upgrade all of our home networking gear to the new 2.5 Gbps standard. Well, technically I could use Google’s Wifi6 Access Points to go 2 Gbps but I want to use all the copper I’ve put into our house, rather than rely on WiFi. So, until Google makes the 2 Gbps service symmetrical I’ll stick with single-gigabit speeds.

All that being said, gigabit internet rocks! Saying goodbye to Spectrum forever rocks! Competition rocks! If you can get gigabit fiber, either through Google or AT&T, I recommend you do it. You will be happy you did!

The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus takes over the world

SARS-CoV-2


Life as we know it has changed in an astonishingly quick moment. Last week it was fairly normal when it looked like China might be able to contain the virus but then panic set in across the country. Sports leagues like the NBA, NCAA, ACC, and NHL canceled their games. Raleigh’s Saint Patrick’s Day parade was called off. Then Wake County Public Schools decided last Friday to not count absences before turning around on Saturday and closing schools. A week ago I worked my first day at home and have not been back to the office except for a brief time Saturday to retrieve the plants off my desk.

We are doing what is termed “social distancing,” where we interact with as few people as possible. The kids are at home, Kelly and I are at home and we have largely given up any trips outside of the house except for dire emergencies. It is frightening and surreal. In an instant life has changed drastically.

It has been day three of our all being at home. Our home is big enough that we can find our own corners and not disturb each other. When we’re sharing our home office, Kelly has complained about how loudly I chew gum (narrator: it’s not that loud). Spirits are high now but the realization is setting in that this will not be over any time soon. We may have to shelter in place like this for months.

The saving grace is that we are not strictly confined to our homes. At least, not yet. We can go for drives, walks, bike rides, dog walks. Whatever. We are just encouraged to maintain that six-foot distance experts suggest will keep us safe from getting the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
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Do not lose heart. We were made for these times. | Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Ph.D.

The reason is this: In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who you serve, and who sent you here. The good words we say and the good deeds we do are not ours: They are the words and deeds of the One who brought us here.

In that spirit, I hope you will write this on your wall: When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But … that is not what great ships are built for.

This comes with much love and prayer that you remember Who you came from, and why you came to this beautiful, needful Earth.

Source: Do not lose heart. We were made for these times. | Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Ph.D.

Renewable electricity beat out coal for the first time in April | Ars Technica

A remarkable thing happened in the US in April. For the first time ever, renewable electricity generation beat out coal-fired electricity generation on a national level, according to the Energy Information Agency (EIA). While renewable energy—including hydro, wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass—constituted 23 percent of the nation’s power supply, coal-fired electricity only contributed 20 percent of our power supply.

Source: Renewable electricity beat out coal for the first time in April | Ars Technica

The Navy Says UFOs Are Real. UFO Hunters Are Thrilled – VICE

With the Navy’s recent revelation that its pilots have been regularly spotting unidentified flying objects, some of those in the UFO community who were once thought crazy now have some concrete evidence to point to. And the regular spate of mainstream news stories about UFO sightings has inspired a new generation of UFO hunters and researchers.

I’m regularly asked why I, a 32-year-old man with a good job and a young family spent six years researching the UFO subculture. Simply put, I find the culture and the people fascinating.

Ufology has always been a counter-cultural movement. Faced with decades of ridicule, the UFO community has always been the underdog. I like underdogs. But unidentified flying objects have made a cultural comeback, and the last two years have seen a huge growth in popular media coverage of this curious phenomenon and the people who explore it. It seems that UFOs have become all the rage, and this popular resurgence is inspiring a young new breed of UFO researchers and hunters.

Source: The Navy Says UFOs Are Real. UFO Hunters Are Thrilled – VICE

New York Times story focused on Raleigh gentrification | Raleigh News & Observer

Ned Barnett’s opinion piece last week, downplaying the damaging effects of gentrification, was incredibly tone-deaf.

Indeed the Times story called attention to the implication that there is something wrong with downtown neighborhoods gaining new homes and more value as white flight reverses.

Well, yes, yes there is. There is something wrong with it, Ned. Surging property values are great for owners, unless those owners are unable to pay the soaring property taxes. Surging property values aren’t too fun for the renters who get pushed out by skyrocketing rents or by the flipping of homes.

We can improve neighborhoods without pushing out the long-time residents – the people who actually contribute to the character of any neighborhood. The question we should be asking is: how can everyone benefit from prosperity?

Raleigh is now almost blase about being cited in the national media as a city on the rise, but a New York Times report last week cast that growth in a less flattering light. It used Raleigh as exhibit No. 1 of how well-off whites are moving into traditionally black neighborhoods near urban centers and converting longtime nonwhite areas into white enclaves.

The story stressed that Raleigh’s pattern is part of a national trend, but its focus in photos, videos and quotes was on North Carolina’s capital. The theme was that poorer blacks are being pushed out and those who remain feel their neighborhood is being usurped.

The coverage put a spotlight on an issue Raleigh’s leaders know about but have not directly addressed: How much should growth be allowed to displace residents and transform neighborhoods?

Source: New York Times story focused on Raleigh gentrification | Raleigh News & Observer