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Archive for June 2010

Preserving the Morse Code Tradition

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“It’s the method of communication that saved more lives than another other method of communication.  That’s one reason why it will never die;  because there are people around that will make sure it will be preserved.

Apropos our posting on the russian spies using Morse Code in 2010  – for those unfamiliar with “the code” here is s short video from the BBC

I have striven to give the world improved and cheaper means of communications by electrical transmission through space – Marconi

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June 30, 2010 at 11:14 am

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Lightning Strikes in Chicago

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Check out the amazing video…

For the third time in the last 6 days, another line of nasty storms rolled through Chicago on Wednesday evening. In this clip you will see three of the tallest buildings in Chicago get struck by lightning at the same time. Willis Tower (Tallest), Trump International Hotel and Tower (2nd Tallest) and the John Hancock Building(4th tallest).

Check out a related post –

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June 30, 2010 at 3:58 am

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Morse Code is not dead; Back in style by Russian Spies in 2010

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For Amateur Radio license requirements the FCC dropped the Morse Code requirement years ago.  There is no current military use of Morse code.

Just when you thought that Morse Code was dead.  The Russian spies, recently arrested in the US, are keeping the The Code  alive.

10 Russian Spies Arrested in the US (6/29/2010)

According to CBS news

According to court papers in the case, the U.S. government intercepted a message from Russian intelligence headquarters in Moscow to two of the defendants. The message states that their main mission is “to search and develop ties in policymaking circles in US” and send intelligence reports.

The complaint alleges that some of those charged had a long-term goal to become “sufficiently Americanized” in order to gather intelligence in the U.S. and to “recruit sources who are in, or are able to infiltrate, United States policy-making circles.”

The complaint says that the “agents” were trained in “foreign languages; agent-to-agent communications, including the use of brush-passes; short-wave radio operation and invisible writing; the use of codes and ciphers, including the use of encrypted Morse code messages; the creation and use of a cover profession; counter-surveillance measures” and more.

Good, the code is back in style

Check out this vintage military morse code training film –


Check out this related info on high speed CW

The R-353 is a Russian spy radio set developed and used at the height of the Cold War, in the early 1960s. It features an advanced built-in burst encoder for sending coded messages in morse code at very high speed, in order to minimise the risk of detection by enemy interceptors and eavesdroppers. Radios like the R-353 are very rare and only very few have survived.

Check out this great site on Shortwave Espinionage –

Written by frrl

June 29, 2010 at 3:49 pm

RSVP Come as you will be party; antidote for Groundhog Day

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For gamers sitting in your basement living a virtual existence…

I heard about this a few years ago – a “come as you will be party“. 

Here is how it works.  You arrive at the party as if it was five years from now.  You dress as you will be in five years.  You talk as if it was five years from now and you act as if it was five years from now.  In short, you take on the persona as if you accomplished your goals.  Oh, and it will be videotaped – to be played back at a similar party five years hence.

Five year plan

Five year set of goals?  Huh?  Many people don’t have any goals.  They just live from day-to-day.  Tomorrow will be just like today; today was like yesterday; yesterday was like the day before; and so on and so on and so on.  The day after tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, and five years from now will look like yesterday and the day before.   It it any wonder that people have dead-end jobs?

Groundhog day

If you saw the movie Groundhog Day then you understand this idea of repetition of the same day over and over.  But what is different between the movie Groundhog Day and some peoples lives is that, in the movie, the key character, Phil Connors, learns something new about himself each day by introspection and improves himself.  So each day is a mini-revelation to Phil that adds up over time.  In the end, Phil Conners gets the girl.  He is a better person and breaks the cycle of living each day over and over again.

Some people never get any better.  They just live the same day over and over.  They fear change; never take risks; they fear failure and never use it as a learning opportunity.  They never envision any future that is any different from today, yesterday, and the day before.


The great successful men of the world have used their imagination.  They think ahead and create their mental picture in all its details, filling in here, adding a little there, altering this a bit and that a bit, but steadily building – steadily building. — Robert Collier

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Written by frrl

June 29, 2010 at 4:32 am

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Second Skin; Second Life; to be someone with power

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Humans want to be more than what they are; we are driven to be more than what we are.  A lot of players have what they perceive as dead-end jobs.  And they logon to these worlds and suddenly they’re someone with power.

Check out this trailer to “Second Skin”

Here is a brief review posted to

There is a distinct separation between the “real world” and the “digital world”. You can call it a “synthetic reality”, “virtual existence”, “online community” – whatever the name, we have pockets of intentional community that allow us to be different, behave in a way completely removed from how we are in our day-to-day.  Even at Burning Man last week, people were referring to the “Default World” as being the realm outside Black Rock City. From World of Warcraft to The Sims, even on Facebook, we design images that represent ourselves, a digital face that we present to the online world. Second Skin examines the variety of ramifications attendant upon that separation, primarily as seen in World of Warcraft and Everquest II.

At the beginning of the trailer the narrator says that wer are living a a world that is becoming increasingly atomized and we are all becoming isolated.  That may be true of gamers sitting in thier basement,  but it is far from true for people who live in the real world.

Global communication and the tools of social networking have provided an unparallled opportunity for collaboration, creation, and innovation across a global community that trancends place and time.  Everyone is free to choose to exploit this opportunity, or not.

Yes, “Humans want to be more than what they are; we are driven to be more than what we are“.  But the locus of this achievement should not be in a synthetic reality.  People give up too easily in the real world.

How many remarkable people, innovative ideas, great companies, and great products have we lost because some folks gave up too early and entered a fantasy world rather than slog it out here in the real world?

 Malcom Gladwell and others, based on evidence, think that it takes 10,000 hours to master something.  How many gamers have put in 10,000+ hours of gaming in a virtual world?  What would happen if this 10,000 hours of gaming was redirected to mastery of something in the real world that frees them from the “dead-end job”?

Achievement (of lack thereof) could simply be a matter of technique or approach – and not ability, capability, or untapped potential.  If gamers are willing to spend 10,000 hours playing games then it might indicate its not even a problem of motivation and dedication.  Maybe it’s process?

From David Shenk:

…non-achievers seem to be missing something in their process–one or more aspects of style of intensity of [deliberate] practice, or technique, or mindset, or response to failure.

What is deliberate practice?  Deliberate practice:  1. Focus on technique as opposed to outcome (accept the process), 2. Set specific, measurable, quantifiable goals, 3. Get PROMPT feedback from knowledgeable people; APPLY it immediately.

Another contributing factor for  achievement vs non-achievement and what counts as “success” is peer group.  Once gamers get into virtual worlds as an escape from “a dead-end job” (the real world)  then we all know that misery loves company.  There may be little chance of escape from a culture where achievement in a virtual world is taken as an acceptable substitute for achievement in the real world.

“Identity, community, economy, love, redemption, and achievement – all in a world that doesn’t exist.”  Imagine the magnitude of the loss to society and culture.

Written by frrl

June 28, 2010 at 4:47 am

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Java4Ever Movie Trailer

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Coming soon – take a look.  PG-13, please, not for sensitive viewers

Alternative link for above –

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June 27, 2010 at 5:01 am

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The new Yaesu FTDX5000 up close and personal

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Check it out

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June 27, 2010 at 12:29 am

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