Full Speed

[ June 30, 2006 ]

[ June 28, 2006 ]


With all of the new cellular standards and acronyms, I have been in the dark about a couple of things. Specifically, HSDPA and UMTS. If you don’t know what these are and don’t care to learn about them, you will probably want to stop reading now. :) I know that these are both high(er) speed wireless communications protocols. That was the easy part. I also know that they are both faster than EDGE, a protocol that I have frequently used with cellphones in times of broadband outage.

Now this question isn’t something that I have been really racking my brain on. It’s just been a curiousity lingering in the back of my mind that surfaces whenever I read about the fancy new phones that are becoming available. It seemed to me that the two acronyms were often loosely interchanged. And without digging around to find the differences, I was beginning to think that they were the same thing.

Finally, I posed a question to a couple of fellow Engadget Mobile readers tonight. And as I typically do, I hammered it out and clicked submit before even thinking about doing a tiny bit of research.

So, within five minutes, I found myself on Wikipedia reading about all of the gory details of HSDPA, or High-Speed Downlink Packet Access. I found that I already knew some of this information, such as the fact that the protocol supports downlink speeds of up to 14.4 Mbit/s. (Wow!)

The real benefit for me from the Wikipedia article on HSDPA was mostly in the first paragraph:

HSDPA provides a smooth evolutionary path for Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) networks allowing for higher data capacity. It is an evolution of the W-CDMA standard, designed to increase the available data rate by a factor of 5 or more. HSDPA defines a new W-CDMA channel, the high-speed downlink shared channel (HS-DSCH) that operates in a different way from existing W-CDMA channels, but is only used for downlink communication to the mobile.
Whew! In addition to the above, the UMTS page on Wikipedia says that UMTS “uses W-CDMA as the underlying standard.” Ok, so I’m seeing this as a progression: WCDMA→UMTS→HSDPA. The newer standards are evolutions of the older standards, using and expanding upon previous protocols. Elsewhere, I confirmed the following:
HSDPA is compatible with EDGE and is fully backwards compatible with WCDMA, and enterprise and rich multimedia applications developed for WCDMA will work with HSDPA. Most UMTS vendors support HSDPA.
So here are my conclusions:
  1. HSDPA and USDPA devices should work on WCDMA networks and will possibly work on UMTS networks.
  2. HSDPA devices should work on a UMTS network, but the reverse is not true.
  3. HSDPA is blazing fast
  4. As with most other wireless systems here in the US, we use different frequencies than other parts of the world. Don’t count on your shiny new phone to work with one of these 3G protocols both at home and in other parts of the world.
  5. If given a choice, pick an HSDPA device.
These conclusions may be a bit off, but I feel that my questions have been answered. I didn’t get into EV-DO, as that is a protocol that isn’t offered by the GSM providers here and thus isn’t an option for me. Cingular is said to be planning to offer the Samsung SGH-ZX20 in the near future. That is looking like a winning option for early adopters and bandwidth freaks.

[ June 27, 2006 ]

links for 2006-06-27

[ June 26, 2006 ]

Nature in Dallas

This list has been filling up the tab bar in my browser for a few days now, so it’s time to post it for public consumption. I had no idea that these places existed until recently, and I hope to visit many of them soon.

links for 2006-06-26

[ June 25, 2006 ]

Best Torrent Sites

I have been meaning to update the aging BitTorrent Links post for some time now. TorrentFreak, an excellent BitTorrent blog, has put together a great list of sites that will do for now.

  1. Torrentz
  2. Mininova
  3. ThePirateBay
  4. Torrentspy
  5. Isohunt
  6. Meganova
  7. Bitenova
  8. Bittorrent
  9. Torrentbox
  10. TorrentReactor
If you can find what you need on these sites, chances are that it’s just not out there.

[ June 24, 2006 ]

links for 2006-06-24

[ June 21, 2006 ]

links for 2006-06-21

[ June 18, 2006 ]

[ June 16, 2006 ]

[ June 14, 2006 ]

links for 2006-06-14

[ June 13, 2006 ]

Inaudible Ring Tones

A recent New York Times article mentioned the new inaudible ring tones being used by students during class. The catch: the tones are very high frequencies. The adult ear gradually loses the ability to hear these frequencies with age, and the kids are using this to their advantage. I heard the sample provided by the Times just fine, but many others my age heard nothing. Ochen K took the argument a step further with frequency analysis and more sample audio. Can you hear these tones?

[ June 11, 2006 ]

Topeak JoeBlow Pro Floor Pump

If you are in the market for a new bike pump, I highly recommend that you at least take a look at the Topeak JoeBlow Pro Floor Pump. From what I have read on many cycling forum sites, all of the Topeak pumps are excellent, but the JoeBlow Pro is the model I chose. I have never used a pump that was built this well. Granted, I probably haven’t ever spent more than $10 on a bike pump, but now that I have a proper pump, I can’t imagine using anything else.

JoeBlow Pro

[ June 10, 2006 ]

Beyond TiVo Buzz

TiVo has been publishing their Season Pass stats for a while now. They list the 25 most recorded shows for the previous week along with Director Wishlist and Actor Wishlist rankings. By doing this TiVo offers insight into what everyone else is watching.

SnapStream’s BeyondTV takes it a step further. Not only does the new version 4.3 allow recording of over-the-air HD signals in the popular DivX format, but SnapStream now gives us Beyond TV Buzz.

The Buzz site takes the usual list of top recorded shows and breaks it down to present the list of top recorded episodes. And then comes my favorite feature: Top upcoming Recordings. This list offers a peek into the DVR schedules of others around the world. Sort of a social software approach to the DVR.

[ June 4, 2006 ]

links for 2006-06-04

[ June 3, 2006 ]

links for 2006-06-03

[ June 2, 2006 ]

Another Google Reader Error Message

Lately it seems that Google’s Reader is full of surprises in its error screens. It’s amazing that in my months of daily use, I have not seen these errors before. Here’s the latest find:


[ June 1, 2006 ]

On Google’s Current Problems

Forum 30, as it is often referred to, is a favorite online hangout for many who find that it is necessary to complain about Google’s endeavors. Forum member ClintFC summed up these problems quite well in a recent post:

All of Google’s current problems seem to be rooted in a single inalienable truth:

Google currently believe themselves to be much smarter than they actually are.
Granted, this comment was left in a discussion on whether Google’s algorithm are up to the task of determining whether two sites are related and/or relevant, two terms that are often thrown around casually in such forums. But I believe that this explanation holds true for much more than the core of Google’s business. AdWords and AdSense have certainly been affected.

© 2014 Scott Johnson (info)
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