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    Ericsson ARD and AKD machines in my distant background.  Here's me regretting I never managed to save one for the historic collection, even a small one.   (Though I did save a small rotary selector PAX, an English one oddly enough.  And interestingly, AC mains power consumption when idle is zero, as in, so low I can't even measure it on a digital meter.)  

    Well darn, we have something rare in common there!  See the last part of this comment for more: how'd you like to help build something ferociously progressive?

    Good analogy between cellphones and cigarettes.  I use a landline and smoke a pipe, no cellphones or cigarettes here.  

    What I find thoroughly amazing about cellphones is this:  the audio quality is pre-1928.  Compare the audio of G.729 compression to a 1929 dial phone, and the ancient dial phone wins.  People have come to tolerate atrocious audio that, when anything remotely similar happens on a landline, causes them to howl for repair.  

    Not only that, but G.729 is the reason for dangerous driving while using a cellphone.  The brain has to devote sufficiently more effort to deciphering cellphone speech than to filtering analog noise.  And I've designed a controlled experiment to test this hypothesis.  But also, consider there was never a driving hazard associated with analog mobile phones over the approx. 50 years they were in use, or with Citizens' Band Radio which was enormously popular in the 1970s.  G.729 is the culprit.  

    And then there's the whole spying & stalking thing.  Software-driven devices with microphones and cameras that you can't turn off for sure.  It used to be that a wireless microphone was called a "bug," but now it's a "feature," so you aren't being "bugged," you're being "featured"!

    So when someone asks why I don't have a cellphone, I always tell them, "I get all the surveillance I want for my tax dollars, and when I want 1920s audio I have real antique phones for that."  

    On the subject of power tools....

    There are some embedded controls I would like to see, that are actually useful.

    One, a constant RPM control for power saws and electric drills.  You would be able to set the maximum speed of the device by turning a knob ("up" and "down" arrows suck, and "menus" suck even worse) and seeing it on a display.  Then you squeeze the trigger and the tool speeds up to that point and holds the speed.  

    Another variant on that theme would be an automatic down-speed control for when the tool reached the end of the material it was working.  So when the saw gets to the end of the sheet of plywood, it automatically slows down or even stops.  And when the drill gets through the material you're drilling, it does likewise.

    This would be incredibly useful for any application where you don't want the tool to suddenly speed up and keep going through some other material after it's done with the material you're working on.  For example you're drilling through material that's covering up an air space with some other more fragile materials inside or under it.  How many times have you had to be very very careful to release the trigger on a drill or saw to avoid damaging adjacent material, right?  This would solve that entirely.  

    Another embedded control that would be useful, is a speed control and revolution counter on portable electric concrete mixers.  Thus you could slow down the drum speed to handle low-slump (stronger) concrete, and the counter would ensure sufficient revolutions to mix it properly (e.g. 40 revolutions).  With this, you could work on a masonry project without having to keep checking the concrete mixer: it would beep at you when each batch is ready.  

    Agreed, anyone who has to download coffee settings, much less electric drill settings, needs to be kept in a plastic bubble far away from anything that plugs into a wall.  But the problem is, our culture is devolving in exactly that direction, with products that can't be repaired, and with everything computrified to the point where thinking isn't necessary.  For a real lesson in how far we've fallen, look up early to mid 20th century back-issues of Popular Mechanics online.  It used to be that people built their own houses, automobiles, tools, appliances, even airplanes, as a matter of routine.  Nowadays there's almost a pervasive fear of doing so.  

    So I gotta' question:  How'd you like to get involved in a telephone & data project that involves powerfully subversive technology?   Yes this is paid work, not volunteer stuff.  I'm working on something right now that has ferocious potential in that direction.  I can't discuss it in public because I'd out myself and tip my hand, but if this interests you, write to my public email address:
    g2g-public01 (at) att (period) net
    and I'll be in touch.  Any time I'm at my desk I get email in realtime so I'll reply quickly.  

    "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

    by G2geek on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 09:27:25 PM PDT

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