Monday , September 28 2020

Shapeshifting

Software to turn your floor wax into a dessert topping:

    the GNU Radio project has made good on its promise. Blossom and development partner Matt Ettus have developed a software program that can make a PC receive two radio stations simultaneously. The only additional hardware components needed are a low-cost R.F. tuner, to pull the radio waves out of the air, and an analog-to-digital converter to convert each signal into digital samples.

    Playing two stations at once may seem like a geeky pastime, but GNU Radio’s goals get more ambitious over the long term. At its most basic level, GNU Radio is an attempt to do for radio-software developers what the original GNU Project did for Unix developers — that is, provide a common set of nonproprietary tools that can be ported from one device to the next.

    Step back a little, however, and GNU Radio changes shape. Viewed against the backdrop of digital “convergence,” the marketing term for pouring data and communications functionality into a single device, GNU Radio becomes a steppingstone to the ultimate hybrid device: a handheld PC that can be converted into a walkie-talkie one minute and an HDTV the next.

    “We’re bringing the free-software ethic to radio,” Blossom says. “Who knows what’s going to come out of it?”

    But that’s not all: Even more intriguing is GNU Radio’s political component. A look at recent Hollywood-backed legislation reveals a growing antipathy on the part of content providers toward modifiable consumer technology. Such laws, if passed, would limit the ability of hardware manufacturers to consort with software programs that let a user turn his or her home PC into a digital television or TiVo-style recorder.

    Viewed against this backdrop, GNU Radio is a hacker’s version of the preemptive strike. Rather than wait for Washington to set limits, the project is working to undermine existing device barriers. [Salon]

Disruptive technology – ha ha!

About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014. Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: [email protected], Facebook.com/amhaunted, Pinterest America's Most Haunted. Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.

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