Early July Quick Bits

I can't quite sleep at the moment. Recapping the past week might be a good idea. In no particular order:

Maintaining Independent Infrastructure

One thing I end up embarassing myself about sometimes in the Ubuntu Podcast telegram chatter is that I end up buying and selling tiny amounts of shares on the US stock markets. All I can say is that I got spooked by the 35 day "government shutdown" at the start of the calendar year when I was stuck working without pay as a federal civil servant. Granted I did get back pay but the Human Capital Office at work is still fiddling with things even now in terms of getting payroll records and other matters fixed. I generally buy shares in companies that pay dividends and then I take the dividends as cash. At work we refer to that as "unearned income" especially as it is taxed at a rate different from the one applied to my wages.

My portfolio is somewhat weird. I am rather heavily invested in shipping whether it happens to be oil tankers or dry bulk cargo ships. In contrast I have almost nothing invested in technology companies. There aren't many "open source" companies available on the open stock market and the ones out there either I can't afford to buy a single share of or they violate my portfolio rule that stocks held must pay a divided of some sort. Too many companies in the computer tech world appear to make money but don't send any profits back to shareholders as their dividends are stuck at USD$0.00.

All that being said, I found a very important post on Mastodon to be of interest. The post, located at https://fosstodon.org/@badrihippo/102426802394820437, stated:

gPodder.net is looking for a new maintainer!

If nobody comes forward by 2020, it'll be forced to shut down. Please boost to spread the word.


Note that this is the podcast-sharing website: I'm not sure about the status of the app, but I think that's still doing fine.

#gPodder #podcasts #python #webdev #helpwanted

Now, you might wonder what this little piece of infrastructure happens to be. It is actually somewhat critical to have a free and open culture. The gPodder.net site is a critically important site for podcast discovery. Unlike Apple Podcasts, gPodder.net is integrated into many podcast applications across many platforms.

As a shareholder in multiple media companies (especially Scripps E W Co, Salem Media Group, iHeartMedia, Entravision Communications, Townsquare Media, Beasley Broadcast Group Inc, and Entercom Communications Corp) I have seen the answer the old media has made to the more free-wheeling world of podcasting and "new media" that I previously did quite a bit in. Scripps, a broadcast conglomerate, owns and operates Stitcher in addition to its broadcast television holdings as well as the Newsy cable television channel and website. iHeartMedia, the massive radio conglomerate that just emerged from bankruptcy reorganization, now boasts that its rather closed garden of an app is number one for podcasts in the United States and is the easiest way to listen. I previously held shares in satellite radio service SiriusXM and, would you imagine, they also happen to own Pandora which now also provides some listings of podcasts in its walled garden. Spotify remains an independent company for the moment but you can listen to the Ubuntu Podcast within its walled garden too.

If I ever get back into the swing of podcast, I have a daunting task that is growing of just trying to submit feeds to each individual walled garden. The number of them is growing. You don't have to be a doctrinaire freedom by any means necessary person to see that that paradigm might be a bit stifling. I should caution that it isn't confined to the USA as the British Broadcasting Corporation is still fiddling with its BBC Sounds and iPlayer applications.

I know I flat out do not have the programming skills to help. I do have the skill to explain why it is a social good to keep gPodder.net alive, though. Our world of podcasts should not be homogenized and formatted like radio stations have become in the United States. Nobody needs to imitate Ira Glass to be authentic.

A more freeform cultural world is possible if we keep up the architecture to make it happen. Right now gPodder.net is all we have and it would be a shame if it closed down. Now is a great time to lend a hand to keep a great piece of infrastructure alive to preserve free culture. Fullest details as to what this involves were posted to GitHub.

Standing By

Currently we are waiting on some news to develop. This is dependent upon matters on Capitol Hill. Outcomes currently remain fairly uncertain.

At a certain point I end up having to consider if I have to look at raising my own income and leaving federal service. We are at a point at work now where I get to choose between either being pushed or jumping of my own accord. I am looking at an informal gathering of some colleagues on Saturday where we'll have to discuss this matter and its implications for all of us. With the groundwork being laid for a proper work plan to be executed I think I would be able to dust off https://liberapay.com/smkellat to be put to proper use. Certainly edits could be made to http://erielookingproductions.info/ if and when that becomes solely what I'm up to.

Work projects at Erie Looking Productions currently include finishing off the submission for the Dam Short Film Festival as well as the new work-in-progress that may go to another event such as MidWest WeirdFest or MicroMania Film Festival. A podcast resumption plan is still under development and that pace is frustratingly slow. Our production work at Erie Looking Productions runs on various flavors of Ubuntu (Ubuntu MATE and Xubuntu) and uses free software such as ikiwiki, LaTeX, kino, audacity, VLC, libsox, cups, and more.

In terms of research and development we are still looking at issues such as the migration of Seth MacFarlane's The Orville to Hulu as recently announced while we also see outlets like Netflix facing new competition in addition to their stock taking a hit in value. Even AT&T was making waves recently in the streaming space posting concerning financial results. We're not quite sure what it all means yet other than it needs watching.

All in all, standing by means we still have to watch and wait. There will be more to come presumably.

Updated Tonga-Related Bibliography

It can be odd when new items for the listing get found. These are source materials to be used for feature production. Yes, it is even odder that the Tongans are saying that their sole cable linkage to their Internet was cut due to sabotage now.

ABC Radio Australia. "Tonga's Internet Outage Highlights Pacific's Vulnerability." MP3. Pacific Beat, n.d. https://www.abc.net.au/radio-australia/programs/pacificbeat/tonga-cable-outage/10765642.

Acharya, H. B., Sambuddho Chakravarty, and Devashish Gosain. "Few Throats to Choke: On the Current Structure of the Internet." ArXiv:1806.07038 [Cs] (2018). http://arxiv.org/abs/1806.07038.

Aktay, Sayim. "Teacher Perspective on Internet Censorship in Turkey." Universal Journal of Educational Research 6.2 (2018): 296-306. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1170646.

Atabong, Amindeh Blaise. "An SMS Car-Tracking App Inspired by Cameroon's Internet Shutdown Is Set to Spread across Africa." Quartz Africa, 3 August 2018. https://qz.com/africa/1347834/cameroon-innovator-beats-internet-shutdown-with-sms-app/.

Barr, Alistair. "Hurricane Sandy Wallops Internet Commerce Just as Hard." Reuters, 31 October 2012. https://www.reuters.com/article/net-us-storm-sandy-ecommerce/hurricane-sandy-wallops-internet-commerce-just-as-hard-idUSBRE89U05C20121031.

Beschizza, Rob. "Tech Platforms Quit Alex Jones and InfoWars." Boing Boing, 6 August 2018. https://boingboing.net/2018/08/06/tech-platforms-quit-alex-jones.html.

Bin Morshed, Mehrab, Michaelanne Dye, Syed Ishtiaque Ahmed, and Neha Kumar. "When the Internet Goes Down in Bangladesh." Pages 1591-1604 in Proceedings of the 2017 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing. CSCW '17. New York, NY, USA: ACM, 2017. http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/2998181.2998237.

Brodkin, Jon. "Dial-up Pioneer EarthLink Still Exists, and It's Merging with Windstream." Ars Technica, 7 November 2016. http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2016/11/dial-up-pioneer-earthlink-still-exists-and-its-merging-with-windstream/.

------. "Millions in US Still Living Life in Internet Slow Lane." Ars Technica, 5 December 2016. http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2016/12/millions-in-us-still-living-life-in-internet-slow-lane/.

------. "Undersea Cable Damage Wipes out Most Internet Access in Tonga Islands." Ars Technica, 25 January 2019. https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2019/01/undersea-cable-damage-wipes-out-most-internet-access-in-tonga-islands/.

Bujakera, Stanis, and Fiston Mahamba. "Congo Cuts Internet for Second Day to Avert 'chaos' before Poll..." Reuters, 1 January 2019. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-congo-election-idUSKCN1OV1GL.

Carew, Sinead. "Hurricane Sandy Disrupts Northeast U.S. Telecom Networks." Reuters, 30 October 2012. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-storm-sandy-telecommunications/hurricane-sandy-disrupts-northeast-u-s-telecom-networks-idUSBRE89T0YU20121030.

Carter, Stephen. "Too Much Power Lies in Tech Companies' Hands." Bloomberg.Com, 17 August 2017. https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-08-17/too-much-power-lies-in-tech-companies-hands.

Cathcart, William Lance. "The Role of Network Broadcasting during the Second World War." The Ohio State University, 1971. https://etd.ohiolink.edu/pg_10?0::NO:10:P10_ETD_SUBID:128289.

Chambers, Sam. "Turkish Tanker Owner Accused of Knocking out Tonga's Communications System Faces Big Bill -." Splash 247, 23 July 2019. https://splash247.com/turkish-tanker-owner-accused-of-knocking-out-tongas-communications-system-faces-big-bill/.

Companys, Yosem. "[Liberationtech] Announcing 'Build Your Own Internet' Office Hours," 1 February 2018. https://mailman.stanford.edu/pipermail/liberationtech/2018-February/017373.html.

------. "[Liberationtech] Build Your Own Internet Workshop: Sat 27 Jan 2018 @ Omni Commons," 20 January 2018. https://mailman.stanford.edu/pipermail/liberationtech/2018-January/017317.html.

------. "[Liberationtech] Mesh Networking Gig in Guyana," 21 December 2017. https://mailman.stanford.edu/pipermail/liberationtech/2017-December/017281.html.

Conditt, Jessica. "Blame the Internet of Things for Today's Web Blackout." Engadget, 21 October 2016. https://www.engadget.com/2016/10/21/mirai-botnet-hacked-cameras-routers-internet-outage/.

Dainotti, Alberto, Claudio Squarcella, Emile Aben, Kimberly C. Claffy, Marco Chiesa, Michele Russo, and Antonio Pescape. "Analysis of Country-Wide Internet Outages Caused by Censorship." IEEE/ACM Trans. Netw. 22.6 (2014): 1964-1977. http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/TNET.2013.2291244.

Edwards, Benj. "The Lost Civilization of Dial-Up Bulletin Board Systems." The Atlantic, 4 November 2016. http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2016/11/the-lost-civilization-of-dial-up-bulletin-board-systems/506465/?utm_source=feed.

Gamal, Wael. "Egypt Has Only 40 Pct Internet after Cables Break." Reuters, 31 January 2008. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-internet-disruption/egypt-has-only-40-pct-internet-after-cable-fault-idUSL3026621820080131.

grarpamp. "[Liberationtech] Community Guerrilla Mesh Networks," 3 December 2017. https://mailman.stanford.edu/pipermail/liberationtech/2017-December/017270.html.

Guri, Mordechai, Boris Zadov, Andrey Daidakulov, and Yuval Elovici. "ODINI : Escaping Sensitive Data from Faraday-Caged, Air-Gapped Computers via Magnetic Fields." ArXiv:1802.02700 [Cs] (2018). http://arxiv.org/abs/1802.02700.

Harris, Robin. "Data Archiving for Survivalists: Ready for That Solar Flare?" ZDNet, 31 July 2018. https://www.zdnet.com/article/data-archiving-for-survivalists/.

Hern, Alex. "Facebook, Apple, YouTube and Spotify Ban Infowars' Alex Jones." The Guardian, 6 August 2018, sec. Technology. http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/aug/06/apple-removes-podcasts-infowars-alex-jones.

Holmes, Oliver. "Global Hacking Network Declares Internet War on Syria." Reuters, 30 November 2012. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-syria-crisis-internet/global-hacking-network-declares-internet-war-on-syria-idUSBRE8AT0PN20121130.

Hyyrylainen, Tuomo, Teemu Karkkainen, Cheng Luo, Valdas Jaspertas, Jouni Karvo, and Jorg Ott. "Opportunistic Email Distribution and Access in Challenged Heterogeneous Environments." Pages 97-100 in Proceedings of the Second ACM Workshop on Challenged Networks. CHANTS '07. New York, NY, USA: ACM, 2007. http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1287791.1287811.

Islam, Hasan M. A., Dmitrij Lagutin, Andrey Lukyanenko, Andrei Gurtov, and Antti Yla-Jaaski. "CIDOR: Content Distribution and Retrieval in Disaster Networks for Public Protection." ArXiv:1803.00275 [Cs] (2017): 324-33. http://arxiv.org/abs/1803.00275.

Jensen, K. Thor. "The Oral History of John Titor, the Man Who Traveled Back in Time to Save the Internet." Thrillist, 19 October 2017. https://www.thrillist.com/entertainment/nation/john-titor-time-traveler-predictions-story.

Keller, Daphne. "The Daily Stormer, Online Speech, and Internet Registrars." Center for Internet and Society, 15 August 2017. https://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/blog/2017/08/daily-stormer-online-speech-and-internet-registrars.

Lenders, Vincent, Martin May, Gunnar Karlsson, and Clemens Wacha. "Wireless Ad Hoc Podcasting." SIGMOBILE Mob. Comput. Commun. Rev. 12.1 (2008): 65-67. http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1374512.1374535.

Malone, Scott. "Hurricane Irma Lashes Caribbean, Florida Braces for Hit." Reuters, 6 September 2017. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-storm-irma/hurricane-irma-barrels-toward-caribbean-southern-united-states-idUSKCN1BG0KL.

McKay, Rich. "Facebook, Apple, YouTube and Spotify Take down Alex Jones Content." Reuters, 6 August 2018. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-apple-infowars/apple-removes-most-of-u-s-conspiracy-theorists-podcasts-from-itunes-idUSKBN1KR0MZ.

McKew, Molly. "Brett Kavanaugh and the Information Terrorists Trying to Reshape America." Wired, 3 October 2018. https://www.wired.com/story/information-terrorists-trying-to-reshape-america/.

Naughton, John. "How China Censors the Net: By Making Sure There's Too Much Information | John Naughton." The Guardian, 16 June 2018, sec. Opinion. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jun/16/how-china-censors-internet-information.

Oostenbrink, Jorik, and Fernando Kuipers. "Computing the Impact of Disasters on Networks." SIGMETRICS Perform. Eval. Rev. 45.2 (2017): 107-110. http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/3152042.3152075.

Ozden-Schilling, Canay. "Why the Lights Went Out in Puerto Rico." Public Books, 20 September 2018. http://www.publicbooks.org/why-the-lights-went-out-in-puerto-rico/.

Pernici, Barbara, Chiara Francalanci, Gabriele Scalia, Marco Corsi, Domenico Grandoni, and Mariano Alfonso Biscardi. "Geolocating Social Media Posts for Emergency Mapping." ArXiv:1801.06861 [Cs] (2018). http://arxiv.org/abs/1801.06861.

Pineda, Jorge. "Hurricane Irma Kills 10, May Hit Florida Sunday as Category 4." Reuters, 7 September 2017. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-storm-irma/hurricane-irma-barrels-toward-caribbean-southern-united-states-idUSKCN1BG0KL.

Pope, Alan. "Offline Computing - 10 Apps for the Digital Nomad." Ubuntu Blog, 28 May 2018. https://blog.ubuntu.com/2018/05/22/offline-computing-10-apps-for-the-digital-nomad.

Quinn, Andrew. "U.S. Worried by Tunisia Riots, Internet Freedoms." Reuters, 7 January 2011. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-tunisia-protests-clinton/u-s-worried-by-tunisia-riots-internet-freedoms-idUSTRE7064Q920110107.

Radio New Zealand. "Indefinite Wait for Tonga's International Links to Be Restored." MP3. Dateline Pacific, n.d. https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/programmes/datelinepacific/audio/2018679417/indefinite-wait-for-tonga-s-international-links-to-be-restored.

------. "Tongans Seek Answers for Major Comms Outage." MP3. Dateline Pacific, n.d. https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/programmes/datelinepacific/audio/2018681019/tongans-seek-answers-for-major-comms-outage.

Respaut, Robin, and Zachary Fagenson. "Irma Aims Full Fury at Florida's Gulf Coast, Floods Central Miami." Reuters, 10 September 2017. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-storm-irma/hurricane-irma-barrels-toward-caribbean-southern-united-states-idUSKCN1BG0KL.

Respaut, Robin, and Dave Graham. "With Cell Service Crippled, Puerto Ricans Look Skyward for a Signal." Reuters, 28 September 2017. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-puertorico-communication/with-cell-service-crippled-puerto-ricans-look-skyward-for-a-signal-idUSKCN1C30FA.

Rothenberger, Benjamin, Daniele E. Asoni, David Barrera, and Adrian Perrig. "Internet Kill Switches Demystified." Pages 5:1-5:6 in Proceedings of the 10th European Workshop on Systems Security. EuroSec'17. New York, NY, USA: ACM, 2017. http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/3065913.3065922.

Ryan, Jackson. "Apple Drops Alex Jones and Infowars from ITunes, Podcast App." CNET, 6 August 2018. https://www.cnet.com/news/apple-has-dropped-alex-jones-and-infowars-from-itunes-podcasts/.

Sadri, Arif Mohaimin, Samiul Hasan, Satish V. Ukkusuri, and Manuel Cebrian. "Crisis Communication Patterns in Social Media during Hurricane Sandy." ArXiv:1710.01887 [Cs] (2017). http://arxiv.org/abs/1710.01887.

Schwartz, John. "Irma Shifting Forecasts: It's All a Matter of Probability." The New York Times, 10 September 2017, sec. U.S. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/10/us/forecast-irma-shift-florida.html.

Shandler, Ryan. "Measuring the Political and Social Implications of Government-Initiated Cyber Shutdowns," 2018. https://www.usenix.org/conference/foci18/presentation/shandler.

Sharwood, Simon. "Daily Stormer Booted off Internet Again, This Time by Namecheap." The Register, 20 August 2017. https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/08/20/namecheap_deregisters_daily_stormer/.

Smout, Alistair. "Tech Firms Should Be Made Liable for 'fake News' on Sites: UK..." Reuters, 28 July 2018. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-facebook-privacy-britain/tech-firms-should-be-made-liable-for-fake-news-on-sites-uk-lawmakers-idUSKBN1KI053.

Sriramulu, Roop K., Younghee Park, Sang-Yoon Chang, and Kaikai Liu. "Dynamic Cost-Effective Emergency Network Provision." Pages 37-43 in Proceedings of the First CoNEXT Workshop on ICT Tools for Emergency Networks and DisastEr Relief. I-TENDER '17. New York, NY, USA: ACM, 2017. http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/3152896.3152904.

Starosielski, Nicole. "In Our Wi-Fi World, the Internet Still Depends on Undersea Cables." Navy Times, 26 January 2019. https://www.navytimes.com/news/your-navy/2019/01/27/in-our-wi-fi-world-the-internet-still-depends-on-undersea-cables/.

Stewart, Indira. "Outage Forces Tongan Govt to Restrict Internet." Radio New Zealand, 23 January 2019. https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/380725/outage-forces-tongan-govt-to-restrict-internet.

Strachan, Brady. "Fears of Trump Prompt Internet Archive to Make Mirror Site in Canada." CBC News, 2 December 2016. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/fears-of-trump-prompt-internet-archive-to-make-mirror-site-in-canada-1.3877232.

Sullivan, Andy, and Robin Respaut. "Floridians Return to Shattered Homes as Irma Crosses into Georgia." Reuters, 11 September 2017. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-storm-irma/hurricane-irma-barrels-toward-caribbean-southern-united-states-idUSKCN1BG0KL.

Sundaresan, Karthikeyan, Eugene Chai, Ayon Chakraborty, and Sampath Rangarajan. "SkyLiTE: End-to-End Design of Low-Altitude UAV Networks for Providing LTE Connectivity." ArXiv:1802.06042 [Cs, Eess] (2018). http://arxiv.org/abs/1802.06042.

Surampudi, Atchutananda, Sankalp Shirish Chapalgaonkar, and Paventhan Arumugam. "Can Balloons Produce Li-Fi? A Disaster Management Perspective." ArXiv:1712.04687 [Cs, Math] (2017). http://arxiv.org/abs/1712.04687.

Tahana, Jamie. "Internet Back at Full Strength in Tonga after 2 Week Blackout." Radio New Zealand, 2 February 2019. https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/381580/internet-back-at-full-strength-in-tonga-after-2-week-blackout?fbclid=IwAR3URlIEOSwZYr_mzLshGsNzaJo6UQN-hSpOrZT1DRMYRNj4ZsGfG7aUamk.

U. S. Government Accountability Office. "Critical Infrastructure Protection: Protecting the Electric Grid from Geomagnetic Disturbances" GAO-19-98 (2018). https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-19-98.

VanOpdorp, Davis. "Tonga May Cut off Social Media until Internet Is Fixed." DW.COM, 23 January 2019. https://p.dw.com/p/3C00s.

Victor, Daniel. "Could You Last 11 Days Without the Internet? Tonga Finds Out the Hard Way." The New York Times, 1 February 2019, sec. World. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/31/world/asia/tonga-internet-blackout.html.

Wall, Matthew. "'A Cyber-Attack Could Stop the Country,'" 25 October 2018, sec. Business. https://www.bbc.com/news/business-45952693.

Watson, Paul Joseph. "Facebook Bans Infowars. Permanently. Infowars Was Widely Credited with Playing a Key Role in Getting Trump Elected. This Is a Co-Ordinated Move Ahead of the Mid-Terms to Help Democrats. This Is Political Censorship. This Is Culture War.Https://Www.Infowars.Com/Purged-Facebook-Permanently-Bans-Infowars-for-Hate-Speech/ ...." Tweet. @PrisonPlanet, 6 August 2018. https://twitter.com/PrisonPlanet/status/1026433061469257733.

"American Samoa Bandwidth Capacity to Increase." Radio New Zealand, 6 October 2017. https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/340985/american-samoa-bandwidth-capacity-to-increase.

"American Samoans Excited about Hawaiki Cable." Radio New Zealand, 20 April 2018. https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/355554/american-samoans-excited-about-hawaiki-cable.

"Facebook Deletes Hundreds of Posts under German Hate-Speech Law." Reuters, 27 July 2018. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-facebook-germany/facebook-deletes-hundreds-of-posts-under-german-hate-speech-law-idUSKBN1KH21L.

"Facebook Suspends U.S. Conspiracy Theorist Alex Jones." Reuters, 27 July 2018. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-facebook-infowars/facebook-suspends-u-s-conspiracy-theorist-alex-jones-idUSKBN1KH2PN.

"Hawaiki Cable Lands in American Samoa." Radio New Zealand, 24 April 2018. https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/355828/hawaiki-cable-lands-in-american-samoa.

"Hurricane Irma Could Leave Puerto Rico Without Electricity For Months." TeleSUR English, 8 September 2017. https://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Hurricane-Irma-Could-Leave-Puerto-Rico-Without-Electricity-For-Months-20170908-0008.html.

"Hurricane Irma Kills 5 as It Sweeps through Island of Saint Martin." Reuters, 7 September 2017. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-storm-irma-france-pm/irma-kills-four-in-saint-martin-death-toll-provisional-french-pm-idUSKCN1BI28M.

"Internet Cable down in Tonga." Radio New Zealand, 22 January 2019. https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/380627/internet-cable-down-in-tonga.

"Lebanon's Three-Day Internet Blackout Slows Business." Reuters, 6 July 2012. https://www.reuters.com/article/net-us-lebanon-internet/lebanons-3-day-internet-blackout-slows-business-idUSBRE8650PA20120706.

"Marshall Islands' 10-Day Internet Blackout Extended." BBC News, 9 January 2017, sec. News from Elsewhere. http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-news-from-elsewhere-38559117.

Mesh Networks Can Keep People Connected During Natural Disasters. New York, N.Y.: Voice of America, 2017. https://youtu.be/arz3zp_aFf0.

"Social Network Goes Offline after Shooting," 29 October 2018, sec. Technology. https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-46017529.

"Syria Internet Back up after Day-Long Outage." Reuters, 8 May 2013. https://www.reuters.com/article/syria-crisis-internet/syria-internet-back-up-after-day-long-outage-idUSL6N0DP3T920130508.

"Third Deep-Sea Cable Now Open to Traffic." Radio New Zealand, 21 July 2018. https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/362295/third-deep-sea-cable-now-open-to-traffic.

"Tonga Cable Break Located, Repair Ship Being Loaded." Radio New Zealand, 26 January 2019. https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/380989/tonga-cable-break-located-repair-ship-being-loaded.

"Tonga Had Assurances Cable Almost Failproof - Senituli." Radio New Zealand, 29 January 2019. https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/381148/tonga-had-assurances-cable-almost-failproof-senituli.

"Tonga Internet Company Claims Cable Cut Was 'Sabotage.'" RNZ, 25 July 2019. https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/395156/tonga-internet-company-claims-cable-cut-was-sabotage.

"Tonga Turns to Satellite to Re-Connect." Radio New Zealand, 22 January 2019. https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/380685/tonga-turns-to-satellite-to-re-connect.

"Tonga Utility Striving to Lift Capacity after Cable Cut." Radio New Zealand, 25 January 2019. https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/380939/tonga-utility-striving-to-lift-capacity-after-cable-cut.

"Tongans Urged to Stop Using Social Media." Radio New Zealand, 28 January 2019. https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/381086/tongans-urged-to-stop-using-social-media.

Fixing Communications

It has been another glorious day of work. With luck I get to say farewell to this job this calendar year. A lack of capital prevents that at the moment.

I ended up passing a HAZMAT incident on my way to work this morning. This is where the local radio scene in Ashtabula County cripples us. There was nobody on-duty locally as local air talent. Five local stations are satellite-fed Christian broadcasters (Moody Radio Network, Bible Broadcasting Network, K-LOVE, Air1, EWTN), one is satellite-fed around the clock carrying ESPN Radio, four very heavily voicetracked stations are owned by Media One Radio Group, one country is a mix of satellite feed and voicetracking, and an AM oldies station has quite a bit of voicetracking although it seems to flip its format away from oldies every couple months. There was no local radio broadcaster to turn to that would tell you that there was a problem on the roadways in our micropolitan area. We have no television broadcast slots allocated by the Federal Communications Commission to our local area.

Yes, I am leaving out of the mix above the two translators for NPR affiliates WKSU and WYSU as well as the nearby stations of the NOAA Weather Radio network. Those don't matter in the mix. The translators by definition do not originate local programming. Perfect Paul got replaced with the team of Donna and Tom followed by Perfect Paul 2.0 so the NOAA stations aren't exactly flexible.

I couldn't find any media outlets covering the incident this morning. It wasn't until the afternoon that somebody at WEWS in Cleveland noticed something had happened. I ended up learning about the situation first from news outlets WKBN and WFMJ in Yougstown first. Youngstown is about 60 miles due south of Ashtabula while Cleveland is about 61 miles due southwest of Ashtabula. Local radio had nothing. WTAM in Cleveland had a brief mention in a single traffic update but then said nothing in later ones.

This is not a healthy situation. There is not exactly a streaming solution or other TCP/IP-based solution that would make it immediately better. The capital simply isn't there to undertake a hostile takeover of one or more of the current broadcast stations to flip their format and get their programming more locally originated. Locally originated programming that is live costs far more than what the television shows WKRP might romanticize it to look like.

For now I have the problem stated at the least. I'm missing a solution. That is for another time it seems.

The Legendary Year

I'll keep this blog post brief. Things got extremely traumatic at work today. I'm not sure how much more deadpan I could have been writing at Mastodon when I wrote:

How's my day going? The guy sitting next to me at this afternoon's staff meeting had a heart attack. We shouldn't be nearly that well-rehearsed at my workplace in handling such scenarios.

That's not hyperbole. The AED response was very quick. As you might guess the staff meeting pretty much could not continue.

Yes, I was in shock in the immediate aftermath. This processing year has been "legendary" and not in a good way by any stretch of imagination. I am trying to speed up my exit and it isn't getting much faster.

Upon exiting the service there are many projects that have to be undertaken. One relates to getting body weight under control and the bodyweight planner from NIDDK is very useful. There have been strong suggestions made to me by others as to what the effort should look like over the long term in terms of outcomes, though. The second is to put together some of the creative works and get them entered into film festivals simply to be able to network. The third is to resume freelance writing as well as perhaps resume podcasting.

As you might imagine this would all cause a massive drop in income compared to the steady General Schedule-based pay I get now. I still don't have it all figured out. Going it alone is probably not the best idea but I don't have any prospective general partners to bring aboard at this time. That may be something to fix on a more immediate basis, perhaps. The questions about "when are you ever going to start a family" aren't being interpreted as opportunities for package deals in seeking partners, mind you.

This has been a time of change. I just hope I am able to meet the challenges on a timely basis.

The Frozen Life

There are some days I do think my life is not a very good one. While reading the blog of a colleague from the making of a flavour of Ubuntu, I got confused by the references to an au pair and the sleep schedule of a child. I have been so tied down with my job that people in my peer group of preference that I have had to be away from for so long have moved on and grown.

What do I have to show for this? I am at the top of the career ladder for my job position. The only movement within my occupational specialty as a civil servant is from journeyman to leading technical specialist or from journeyman to supervisor. Currently within the directorate we are overloaded on people already trained for the leading technical specialist and supervisor positions so there are more people pre-qualified than slots to fill unless we start booting people out of the directorate. We could ship off people trained as leading technical specialists and supervisors to the other nine directorates but they've got their own versions of the same problem.

My peer group by default is not a healthy bunch. Somebody got taken to the hospital for a heart attack last week. Several of the newest hires are getting anxious enough to want to quit and I've been helping try to talk them into staying through their current commission at least. This particular workplace has a reputation for being toxic and it isn't due to unremediated asbestos still found in the building.

Working on building a "social life" does not go all that well. There's even a singles site within the church that I have been trying to participate on. The problem there is that within the church we're really big on text. In the eyes of far too many prostitutes and tax collectors are deemed the same thing which are hard-core sinners you shouldn't associate with apparently. If I'm striking out in the fairly small pond of a niche single site within my denomination I'm not keen on trying eHarmony or Christian Mingle.

I don't know where I'm going with all this. I am feeling old with yet another birthday coming up in September as a childless bachelor. I am trying to sneak in time for rehabilitative therapy which would mean time away from work to take care of myself. An extended period of medically-managed weight loss and supervised exercise/strength training would improve my health dramatically. Unfortunately there's no way to fit that in alongside work right now due to the tour of duty's structure. Two-a-days/bootcamp may be needed for getting that off the ground rather than simply following a Billy Blanks DVD.

I hate times of unknowns. This is one of them. Things will settle out soon, I hope.

License: This work by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/.
Quick Hit: Radio Reception

There are two HDHomeRun receiver units set up on an a network wireless bridge extension in the detached garage. Different television aerials are set up out there pointing in different directions. This allows for some experimentation. At this hour, the callsigns that the TV receivers in the garage are picking up at least the header blocks for include: WGRZ, WKYC, WIVB, WEWS, WXYZ, WNLO, WJET, WSEE, WQLN, WWJ, WQHS, CITY.

This is usually a fairly good indirect indicator that the heavens are going to burst forth with all manner of storms in due time. What is happening is tropospheric ducting. This is not normal atmospherics whatsoever...

License: This work by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/.