Category Archives: Communications
I think this is the first time a bicycle charger has ever been used strictly for cell phone charging purposes.
The Nokia Bicycle Charger Kit can charge your phone as you ride your bike. It comes with a bottle-dynamo (similar to the ones used to power a bicycle light) and a cell phone holder that can be attached to the handlebars.
In order to use the charger, cyclists will have to maintain a minimum speed of 4 mph; however, this doesn’t mean you need to pedal for hours on end. Cycling at 6 mph for 10 minutes will charge your phone with enough power to talk for 28 minutes or for a standby time of 37 hours!
It should be noted, though, that charging times will vary depending on the cyclist and the type of phone. Oh, and this charger will only work for phones that have a 2 mm charger jack.
The charger kits will be released in Kenya first for approximately $18 and then will become available worldwide later this year.
One Man’s Thoughts Has Moved To
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Thank You, Vytautas
Only a few years ago, blogs listed ham radio alongside 35 mm film and VHS tape as technologies slated to disappear.
They were wrong.
Nearly 700,000 Americans have ham radio licenses — up 60 percent from 1981, a generation ago. And the number is growing.
Ham radio will never have the sex appeal of the iPhone, but it does have a certain nerd appeal, says Allen Weiner, an analyst at the technology research firm Gartner.
“If it creates its own experience, that’s really what’s key here,” he says. “If it just emulates an experience that you can get online, it’s not going to grow.”
Newcomers to ham radio include Helen Schlarman, 89, who has a compact, two-way radio in her home in suburban St. Louis. She looks up a friend across town by pushing the talk button, announcing the letters and numbers of his call sign (W-0-S-J-S), and then announcing her own (W-0-A-K-I).
Steve Schmitz’s voice crackles through Schlarman’s radio.
“Hi Helen, how you doing, W-0-S-J-S?” he says, ending his response with his own call letters.
Many “hams,” as they’re known, hang postcards from global contacts on their walls, the way hunters show off deer antlers, but Schlarman’s chats are mostly local. She says this hobby is perfect for an outgoing person who spends a lot of time inside.
“It’s a different community,” she says. “There [are] no stereotypes of age; it’s just talking and sharing and enjoying.”
Until recently, ham radio was declining as older operators died. Then the Federal Communications Commission phased out the Morse code test that many saw as a stumbling block to getting a license. Last year more than 30,000 new applicants signed up to become ham radio operators, according to Maria Somma, an official with the American Radio Relay League.
At a ham radio convention near St. Louis, the crowd swapping antenna parts and other equipment is mostly male, and over 50. But 15-year-old Jonathan Dunn is attending along with his father. He says Facebook and texting are fun, but making friends using a $200 radio that doesn’t come with monthly fees is more rewarding.
“With ham radio you can talk to new people, all kinds of ages, races, and it’s just amazing what a little radio can do. Because no matter where you’re at, if you have the right stuff and the right power you can talk to anyone,” he says.
Jonathan’s dad, Steve Dunn, says the polite chitchat between ham radio operators is good for teenagers. “If young people have the opportunity to communicate with a wide range of people, that instills a certain amount of confidence in their ability to carry on the lost art of small talk,” he says.
Even the most die-hard hams concede that amateur radio will never be a mainstream hobby. With smart phones and other devices, people are more plugged in to the Internet than before. But people are still discovering the joy of communicating with a technology that’s existed for nearly a century.