May 19th, 2008

Enterprise Bridge

Where the world is going

Saturday at Office Depot, I picked up a 1G SD card for $10 and a Brother HL-2170W laser printer for $100 after a $50 mail-in rebate. That printer does up to 23 pages per minute at 2400x600 dpi resolution, with 32M of RAM, USB connectivity, built-in 10/100 Ethernet and 802.11b/g wireless Ether, and weighs about 15 pounds.

By contrast, in 1994, I bought a Seagate 1G 3.5" half-height SCSI hard disk. I got a deal. $400. And in 1992, I bought my first laser printer, a Personal LaserWriter NT, which did 4 PPM at 300x300 dpi, with 2M of RAM, and either 19.2 Kbaud serial or 230 kbps LocalTalk. (Ethernet was still way too expensive.) The thing was lightweight at 32 lbs (compare with the original LaserWriter/LaserWriter Plus, which weighed almost 80.) That printer? We paid just under $1000 by using a retiring teacher's education discount, down from retail of over $1200.

For $100, that's a huge win. Cheap inkjets, like the one I shuttle between the baseball and football press boxes, cost $50, but the ink is a bitch and a half to deal with. I either pay for it or refill it, and still have to deal with the heat and dusty atmospheres making those heads more likely to clog. That's where this new laser is going. And it saves me the trouble of having to plug into the thing. I just turn on the AirPort card and go...
Enterprise Bridge

Amazon Kindle hacks

Someone's been messing around inside his Kindle, which I expected would happen. He's blogging his results. One of the unpublicized features appears to use the CDMA chipset's position location feature to show your location on Google Maps, and find gas stations, restaurants, and the locations of custom keywords nearby.
Enterprise Bridge

Coolest broadcast audio mixer console

I was looking over Markertek's site last week, and one of their coming-soon items is the perfect, coolest mixer console I've seen. The Henry Engineering SixMix is a compact mixer with six stereo channels designed for both broadcast radio and internet streaming. Unlike concert/music recording mixers (like the Behringer MX602 I use for baseball games,) the SixMix has separate program and cue channels that let you leave your faders set, and simply toggle whether those inputs are routed to the program output for the audiene, or to the cue speaker for previewing and cuing up before presentation. It supports a separate studio monitor, tally light ("ON AIR" or "RECORDING") control, as well as in-studio talkback between the mic input users. There's a mix-minus for use with a telephone hybrid (if you're taking live callers, or a remote feed over the phone.) It has a set of professional (600 ohm impedance balanced) and consumer (10 K unbalanced) connections on the upper four channels, switchable between them. Except for channel 6: channel 6A is a D/A converter connected to a USB port. Plug this mixer into a computer, and it appears as another USB audio device. Play music out to that device, and it appears on this mixer input. And the mixer output? In addition to analog outputs, it's also sent through an A/D to that USB port, so the computer can receive the mix for recording or encoding to a live stream.

The only down-side is it's $1,100. For what I do, I'm going to stick with my $120 MX602 and $30 Griffin iMic. But if I were going to do live broadcasting or webcasting, I'd definitely pick one up.
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GSM security

pwn3d.

You can be sure the Feds have already done this. 16 FPGAs, 2T of solid-state storage, and 30 seconds to crack the key on a conversation? Hell, I could probably fund that out of my own pocket.

Not like anyone with any brains didn't expect this someday. Dunno if the hobbyist crowd has done it with IS-95 or IS-2000 CDMA yet, but again, we can be pretty confident the Feds have.