Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Raspberry Pi - 30X more time for coffee

My Raspberry Pi is benchmarking about 30X slower than one thread (out of 8) on my desktop Core i7 processor. It's an interesting challenge to do real-time Python / wxWidgets programming on the little guy, but we're making progress.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Cable to U-Verse and back again

Executive summary: AT&T U-Verse out, Comcast cable in.

I've been living as an Amateur Radio operator with AT&T's U-Verse service for about 18 months.  It was a great experiment, to see whether ham HF operation could be compatible with U-Verse's VDSL2 signalling.

VDSL2 delivers a bit stream over channels stretching from a low frequency to over 8 MHz, so it was a challenge to work at power levels over 50 W or so in the 160, 80, or 40 M bands.  We tried lots of things -- ferrites everywhere, shielding, etc.  At the same time, AT&T's technology improved, with higher bit rates and more tolerant modems.  We weren't too unhappy as U-Verse customers -- but that was only because I don't spend a lot of time on the air (especially QRO) during TV viewing hours.

Still, I have grown tired of having to think too much about my TV, Internet and phone service.  They should just work!  Even for radio amateurs.  Back to the cable world -- Comcast.

The problems with Comcast will undoubtedly come.  Maybe they'll throttle me if I don't watch enough NBC shows. But in 2 years, maybe we'll see Google or Verizon or somebody offering something more attractive?  Stand by.