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Mandatory FM Radios could be mandatory in everything!

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  • Mandatory FM Radios could be mandatory in everything!

    Not sure how I feel about this:
    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/n...the-future.ars

    I don't really think it's anyone's business saying what goes into the design of a cell phone other than the consumers and those that conceptualize and make the cell phone. If Apple doesn't want to allow Flash on their iPhone they shouldn't be required to. Likewise a FM receiver should not be forced into a cell phone either.

    At the same time Radio is an amazing technology and something that won't go away. When the world's communications fail we still look to HAM Radios bouncing signals around the world. Radio is a necessity during emergency situations. With people abandoning their radios of old for satellite radio, MP3 players, and cell phones, there simply might not be any other possible way to reach the masses in a true emergency.

    However, interesting to note is how Radio is treated when it comes to copyright:
    Radio broadcasters and music labels are at each other's throats over the question of whether radio ought to pay performance rights to labels or artists when it plays their music on the air (currently, only songwriters get paid, not artists or labels). A bill percolating in Congress, the Performance Rights Act, would rationalize performance rights in the US; satellite radio and webcasters currently pay full performance fees to labels or artists, but radio does not, thanks to a longstanding exemption in copyright law.
    Thoughts?

  • #2
    Re: Mandatory FM Radios could be mandatory in everything!

    The last gasps of a dying, exploitative industry...
    Do or do not, there is no try....
    -- Yoda, Dagobah

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    • #3
      Re: Mandatory FM Radios could be mandatory in everything!

      You guys are missing the greater technological scare here. RFID can use unused, low spectrum FM bands. If every cell phone has a FM transmitter/receiver in it (since nobody would pay attention to the fact that it has both and many devices that have receivers are also equipped with a transmitter, like the Nexus One and iPod Nano), every phone becomes a locating device to a matter of feet, especially indoors where GPS tracking wouldnt work.

      Also, since FM transmitters and receivers are ELP (extremely low power) devices, they can be powered passively by a backup battery similar to the clock battery in computers. So what does this mean? The possibility of being tracked even when your device is powered off.

      Now, you know I'm no big fan of conspiracy theory and tinfoil hat mumbo jumbo, but this is grounded in a real project that a friend of mine created almost 5 years ago while he was at CU. Last I heard, DARPA had taken an interest in the project, as well as several others that came out of CU's CSci, Electrical Engineering and Aerospace schools.

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      • #4
        Re: Mandatory FM Radios could be mandatory in everything!

        Radio is an amazing technology for emergency response. Think of all the lives that could be saved in a national disaster to it. Also you would be able to listen to music for free on your cell phone.

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        • #5
          Re: Mandatory FM Radios could be mandatory in everything!

          I can already listen to music for free on my cell phone. 16GB of storage for MP3s if I choose, plus Last.FM and Pandora. Anywhere I've got signal, I've got music and with vastly more control and fewer commercials than radio :D

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          • #6
            Re: Mandatory FM Radios could be mandatory in everything!

            Yeah, thats my point too. RFID conspiracy theories aside, the traditional record industry and their payola driven cohorts in "big radio" have constantly failed to adapt to the sea change that has occurred in how most of us choose to listen to music. Its pretty simple, they don't really want us to have the convenience that we get with our devices. They want to keep shoving their banal drivel down our ear canals in the same way they have since they set the whole scam up, and will keep accusing us of stealing their money when we choose to utilize different methods of enjoying music. Bands/Musician using direct to fan methods of distributing their music, even if its for a nominal fee, should be found and supported. I don't mind paying for music, I just don't want to pay these people. They have a long history of ripping off musicians.
            Do or do not, there is no try....
            -- Yoda, Dagobah

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            • #7
              Re: Mandatory FM Radios could be mandatory in everything!

              Let me preface before I eulogize here. I don't know where to draw the line. However, people, in general, behave like sheep. They want a shepard. The expectation is that the government take care of them in times of duress. Unfortunately, there is a double standard held by many, watch over me, but do not infringe or potentially infringe on my privacy.

              Personally, I have no real issue with some government agency being able to look at my bank info, phone records, credit card bills, etc. I have nothing to hide, nor do I fear someone thinking I do wrong. Of course, there are those who will abuse this power, there always will be. Likewise with the fm in cell phones. It serves a great function, but there is opportunity to abuse it. Civil protection will often times blur the lines between privacy and protection, making it far too easy to cross.

              As an individual, I prefer not to depend on others to rescue me, so I try to be prepared as much as practical. Go bags, non perishable food and fresh water, plans of action, even firearms and spare ammo. I still have more to do, like plan with family that is remote, but the point is, I am trying to minimize the help I need from others in times of crisis. If I plan properly, it could well mesh with a government response, that may take several weeks to reach me.

              Now the government help, how much do I want? Dang near whatever I can get, but I don't want to hamstring them in their attempts by crying "Leave my rights and privacy alone!" So that brings me back to where is that line? How much of my personal privacy do I want to give up? I really do not know. The FM transmitter, it doesn't really bug me, and if I fear it, I can ditch it if need be. Forcing companies to put the transmitter in? I am not too keen on that. I would rather companies use it as a selling point for those who do not mind sacrificing that bit of privacy. Unfortunately, those who refuse to have government intervention in their lives for ignorant reasons (keyword: ignorant) are the same ones who cry foul the loudest when not aided. I could forgo those invasions and fare better than those folks simply because I planned for it. Unfortunately, the government does not know who those nonplanning protesters are, to make sure they meet some minimal preparedness requirements.

              So after this rambling, I come back to my opinion. Where do I draw the line? I do not know. I really don't think my tax money (or surcharge on goods with extra, forced, features) should shoulder the burden of idiots, but I don't mind my tax money serving legit needs. Yup, pretty much a pointless post :)
              sigpic

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              • #8
                Re: Mandatory FM Radios could be mandatory in everything!

                Radio transmitions however are of vast importance. Everything down to the HAM radio operators in your area who are the last and only line of communication in a national crisis. During 9/11 cell phones were taken down, communication in the modern age was completely halted. The only thing that stood up was radio. How did you communicate with others? Radio. Those effected by the disaster either directly or indirectly had to use radio, find out where emergency services, calling in for head counts, etc. If the big one hit tomorrow, emergency services such as firefighters, police, etc. would drive right past your house, it doesn't matter if you're outside begging for help, their first concern is to asses the damage and make preparations so more don't get hurt. People think they're prepared with emergency kits, go bags, etc. but the reality is that more often than not that is not enough. What would happen if your house crumbles and pins you or a family member under? Radio is vital to survival. Having an FM transiever in your phone is purely a plus. If it's in there it's not necessary that you make use of it.

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                • #9
                  Re: Mandatory FM Radios could be mandatory in everything!

                  I would have no problem with RF capabilities in a cell phone (which is already a radio device). I just don't want to listen to the garbage that masquerades as commercial radio on it. Be kind of cool to have handset type capabilities in one though, as long as it doesn't change the form factor.
                  Do or do not, there is no try....
                  -- Yoda, Dagobah

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Mandatory FM Radios could be mandatory in everything!

                    Cellular is radio. And a modern smart phone has additional radios for wifi, Bluetooth and GPS. Why do we need another one? I certainly wouldn't mandate it.

                    An issue with broadcast TV and radio is that incumbents hate micro-stations from infringing on their commercial turf. I'd rather see FM killed as a broadcast medium and recycled for micro-stations to allow more variety of use.

                    To use FM for indoor position, you'd need a standard for base stations. If you're gonna do that, integrate it into wifi systems, instead. Add capability in wifi stations to know their own locations so that wifi equipment can triangulate off of all available access points.
                    Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

                    snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

                    Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

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                    • #11
                      Re: Mandatory FM Radios could be mandatory in everything!

                      Cellular is not radio. FM transmitters and receivers like their HAM radio counterparts are able to bounce signals around in the atmosphere using our own layer of ozone as a gigantic bubble to bounce signals around in. Like I said before when 9/11 happens all cell phone communication went down instantly, that included GPS signals as well as any form of satellite communication. Assuming that cell towers stay up during a national emergency (which they won't) you're limited by your access to a cell site which sucks if you don't have coverage.

                      Also cell towers and wifi can triangulate your position already, FM receivers would be most rudimentary in triangulating your position, not to mention most cell phones have a GPS function in them now a days anyways.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Mandatory FM Radios could be mandatory in everything!

                        Originally posted by Sirusblk View Post
                        Cellular is not radio.
                        You might want to get in touch with your provider. If your phone has a wire, it's not cellular.

                        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio
                        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cellular_network

                        What would keep cell towers from staying up during a national emergency, and still allow other commercial radio transmitters to continue working?

                        Anyone got a link to info about GPS being "turned off"? I know that when it first came out the accuracy was degraded to about 300m for non-military receivers ("selective availability", or SA) but that was eventually dropped.
                        Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

                        snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

                        Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Mandatory FM Radios could be mandatory in everything!

                          Originally posted by Sirusblk View Post
                          Also cell towers and wifi can triangulate your position already, FM receivers would be most rudimentary in triangulating your position, not to mention most cell phones have a GPS function in them now a days anyways.
                          Wrong. Using RFID on low spectrum FM bands, you can achieve a proximity location fix of within 6 inches. How is this useful for tracking someone? Simple: indoors. If you go inside a building, GPS is toast. Cell towers cant triangulate your position if your phone is off and even when its on is only accurate to about 500 feet. Oh, and WIFI? Has to be activated and connected by the user.

                          RFID pings through a ELP FM transmitter? Always on, always reliable at proximity. Granted, you do have to come close enough to an RFID scanner to pick up the ping (generally within 15 feet), but how hard would it be to install a network of VERY inexpensive RFID scanners/ping tags on things like elevator/stairwell doorframes? Very easy. They did it on the CU campus and used the RFID chips in student IDs and ipods with FM chips in them (reprogrammed for specific use, of course) to track a test group around campus for 2 weeks and got over 400,000 accurate location fixes to within 1 foot.

                          But let me tell you something, if a possible national emergency occurs to such a degree where we're relying on radio broadcasts to communicate (which I find to be highly unlikely, as the odds of radio staying active while everything else goes dark are slim), I'm not going to be sweating it. I'm going to be hauling ass up to my remote property in the mountains and living off the land (which i'm MORE than equipped to do) and will be living in relative comfort for as long as it takes for things to settle down. If that takes a lifetime? I know how to build a log cabin, I know how to create simple indoor plumbing, I have a flowing clean water source, theres plenty of food, fire is easy, and I'm already prepared for the winter. No big deal. Radio broadcasts are going to be the LEAST of my concerns.

                          Oh yeah, and the FM transmitter/receiver in cell phones cant be accessed by the user except to receive radio signal. Hell, even on phones that have them, they're a tough nut to crack. It took android developers almost 6 months to unlock the ability to access the FM receiver and even then they havent created a program capable of USING it.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Mandatory FM Radios could be mandatory in everything!

                            Originally posted by ScratchMonkey View Post
                            What would keep cell towers from staying up during a national emergency, and still allow other commercial radio transmitters to continue working?
                            Cell Phones use Cell towers. Radio does not need towers to stay up. Towers help relay and improve the quality of the signal, but like I've said before their line of communication uses the atmosphere to bounce signals around the world in. If you're a HAM radio enthusiast you'd know this, you can communicate with people all over the world.

                            Some reading for you:
                            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amateur_radio

                            It's interesting to note all the practical applications of using FM radio (Frequency Modulated, which is what HAM radio operators, Police, Fire, and other emergency responders use). You see those big walkie talkies that Police use? Those are FM radios. There is a reason those are still used over say cell phones. Your local emergency response team, ours here in Orange County is called RACES or Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services, all use HAM Radios, run emergency drills with Radio and all have a HAM radio license. In short FM radio will not go down in a national emergency, it simply won't, it is our last and only sure emergency line of communication.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Mandatory FM Radios could be mandatory in everything!

                              One prepares as best as one can. Discounting "Go Bags" etc is silly. That is one of several things an individual must do to be prepared and minimize dependency on others in crisis. A freak tsunammi could wipe out my whole family, a sinkhole under my home, a volcano forms under my foundation, a meteor decides my neighborhood is ground zero, etc. All of which renders my fm radio useless, along with any other preparations. FM should be a part of ones preparedness, but it is not the only part, and the priority is debatable.

                              One can not possibly plan for everything. The best one can do is prepare to sustain themselves until help is available, and the longer you are prepared to do this, the better. The fact is, no help will come in the first few hours or days (likely longer), and the most reliable of all technologies for sending out an SOS is visual (fire, arrangement of debris, etc). Survival starts with having the skills and a plan. Everything else is a luxury.

                              Incidentally, probably for another thread, but anyone watch the Colony on discovery channel? I find myself wanting to thunk those folks on the head sometimes. Encourage them to think and prioritize better.
                              sigpic

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