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calendar   Friday - September 11, 2009

I love my ISP

think you have slow internet? Think again. And count your blessings YET AGAIN that you don’t live in Africa



Carrier Pigeon faster than internet



A South African carrier pigeon has transported data faster than sending it via the country’s internet network.

Internet speed and connectivity in Africa’s largest economy are poor because of a bandwidth shortage. It is also expensive.

Local news agency SAPA reported the 11-month-old pigeon, Winston, took one hour and eight minutes to fly the 80km from IT company Unlimited IT’s offices near Pietermaritzburg to the coastal city of Durban with a data card was strapped to his leg.

Including downloading, the transfer took two hours, six minutes and 57 seconds—the time it took for only 4 per cent of the data to be transferred using a Telkom line.

SAPA said Unlimited IT performed the stunt after becoming frustrated with slow internet transmission times.


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The plucky 11-month-old homing pigeon took on state-owned Telkom’s ADSL line on Wednesday to see which could deliver four gigabytes of data fastest to an address around 85 kilometres away.

Winston was racing on behalf of The Unlimited, a telemarketing company based in the port city of Durban, which wanted to transfer the data from its call centre in Howick, north of Durban, to its offices in Hillcrest, on the city’s norther outskirts.

Announcing the race on its website Unlimited complained about the “great challenges in getting data from its locations across KZN (KwaZulu-Natal province) back to its central location for storage.”

Unlimited had decided to test the contention of a member of staff remarked it would be faster to send the data by pigeon than through Telkom, the fixed-line operator which has a monopoly on ADSL.

Visibility was poor on race day but Winston completed the flight in one hour and eight minutes


Sucks to be Telkom SA.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 09/11/2009 at 01:40 AM   
Filed Under: • High Tech •  
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calendar   Thursday - May 21, 2009

I’d Call It Blue Dragon Stadium

World Games Stadium in Taiwan Nears Completion



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Covered with 8,844 solar panels that can generate 1.14GW per year, this may as green as a large building can get.

The Japanese architect Toyo Ito planned the ultra-modern stadium in accordance with the ecological requirements of a “Green Building”. 8,844 solar panels on a surface area of 14,155m2 are integrated into the roof construction of the sports facility. The unique solar roof, which emulates the form of a flowing river, can, depending on the strength of the sunshine, cover 75% of the energy needs of the stadium which can hold 55,000 spectators. On days when no competitions are taking place, the electricity generated is fed into the grid. The new stadium is the main venue for the competitions of the World Games 2009. International athletes from more than 90 nations will be competing against each other next June under the impressive roof construction that is simultaneously a solar power station.

Construction work on the main stadium for the 2009 World Games in Kaohsiung is ahead of schedule, an executive of Fu Tsu Construction Co, which won the bid to build the stadium, said on Monday. Fu Tsu vice chairman Laio Nien-chi (廖年期) said the project was now 16.17 percent complete, slightly ahead of the scheduled progress of 16.08 percent.

The stadium, which covers 19 hectares, will cost NT$5 billion (US$150.6 million). It will have a seating capacity of 55,000. The stadium will be the world’s first multi-functional stadium powered by solar energy. Its solar generators will supply 1 million kilowatts of electricity a year.

The generators will meet the stadium’s power needs for lighting and air conditioning during the Games. When it is not hosting a sports event, the surplus electricity could be sold to Taiwan Power Co and net NT$5 million per year for the city government, officials from the Kaohsiung City Government’s Public Works Bureau said.

The project is scheduled for completion by January 2009, allowing enough time to prepare for the World Games, which will be held from July 16, 2009, through July 26, 2009

If this is true, then income from the excess solar power could pay for the place in 30 years. Pretty neat. Lots more excellent pictures over at Deputy Dog’s blog.

Somebody is going to have a helluva job keeping all those panels clean. Job? Phooey. That’s a lifelong career, probably for a small army of squeegee dudes. And for no reason at all, because I can’t think of a decent segue, here’s poor little Paloma, caught outside in the cold rain. Very cold rain!


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 05/21/2009 at 05:29 PM   
Filed Under: • ArchitectureHigh Tech •  
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calendar   Saturday - April 04, 2009

A Debatable View

Affluent Villagers Chase Away Google Photo Car




You can find your house on Google Earth. You can zoom in pretty well, but not right down to the ground. And the images aren’t real time. Yet!

Microsoft has a similar thing online. You can do “bird’s eye view” and change the angle low enough to almost look into people’s windows.

Not to be outdone, Google’s online Map has Street View, which puts you right down on the ground and let’s you spin around and zoom in on things close enough to almost read a car’s license plates.

And now that a large part of the urban areas of the USA are mapped out, the Google camera crews are moving to Europe. As their add page puts it:

I moved from Amsterdam to London last year and even though I’ve enjoyed getting to know London, I can’t help feeling a bit homesick sometimes. Which is why I’m really excited that today we’re launching Street View for both the Netherlands and the United Kingdom; now I can take a trip down memory lane and explore my new home, even if it’s raining. Starting today you’ll be able to view 360º street level imagery for Amsterdam, London, Rotterdam, Manchester, Liverpool and several other cities in these countries—25 cities in all!

Now whenever I feel like going back to the Netherlands I can use Street View to admire the beautiful canals in Amsterdam:
...or visit my old university in Rotterdam:
...or even take a look at the bike I left behind:

... and they include the pictures to prove it.

Is this proper? Should this be done? Is it an invasion of your privacy? Well, this is all coming to the UK too, and some folks don’t like it.

Gang of villagers chase away Google car

Google’s ambitious plan to offer a 3-D street level view of communities across three continents hit a snag when angry residents of a UK village blocked the search engine’s camera car from photographing their homes.

Fearing the appearance of their well appointed properties on the Web site would attract criminals scouting for burglary targets, villagers in Broughton, north of London, summoned the police after spotting the car.

“I was upstairs when I spotted the camera car driving down the lane,” resident Paul Jacobs told The Times of London.

“My immediate reaction was anger: How dare anyone take a photograph of my home without my consent? I ran outside to flag the car down and told the driver he was not only invading our privacy but also facilitating crime.

“This is an affluent area. We’ve already had three burglaries locally in the past six weeks. If our houses are plastered all over Google it’s an invitation for more criminals to strike. I was determined to make a stand, so I called the police.”

A Google spokesman, quoted by the UK Press Association, said: “Embarking on new projects, we sometimes encounter unexpected challenges, and Street View has been no exception.

“We know that some people are uncomfortable with images of their houses or cars being included in the product, which is why we provide an easy way to request removal of imagery. Most imagery requests are processed within hours.”

The spokesman added: “We take privacy very seriously, and we were careful to ensure that all images in our Street View service abide by UK law.”

Yeah, sure they do. And it’s just so easy contacting ... a search engine. How the hell do you talk to a webpage? Oh sure, you can fill out a CGI form. And hope somebody reads it eventually.

But back to the story of “Pegman" in the UK… pull up the map ... move the pegman about, over to ... there. Hit zoom ...

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Looks like Google needs to adjust their “automatic blurring software” a little bit



... hey, while we’re here, let’s pan the camera around. This is cool! Ah, I figured out how to “walk” down the street. Neat!! What’s that, further down the lane? Looks like a crowd of protesters! Zoom in ... look, it’s Peiper, holding the pitchfork, and Mrs. Peiper with her burning torch! Nice sweater mum! So glad to see them properly arrayed for storming the castle, to kill the dread Googlestein monster.

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But, all jocularity aside ... has this gone too far?


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 04/04/2009 at 04:20 AM   
Filed Under: • High Tech •  
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Not that very many people ever read this far down, but this blog was the creation of Allan Kelly and his friend Vilmar. Vilmar moved on to his own blog some time ago, and Allan ran this place alone until his sudden and unexpected death partway through 2006. We all miss him. A lot. Even though he is gone this site will always still be more than a little bit his. We who are left to carry on the BMEWS tradition owe him a great debt of gratitude, and we hope to be able to pay that back by following his last advice to us all:
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Oh, and here's some kind of visitor flag counter thingy. Hey, all the cool blogs have one, so I should too. The Visitors Online thingy up at the top doesn't count anything, but it looks neat. It had better, since I paid actual money for it.
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