Oct 30, 2006

Cell Phone

When I moved to the bay area I switched cell phone companies from Sprint to Cingular. I wanted a fancy new phone at the time: big screen and all sorts of web integration so I could play with things like google maps mobile. I got a Motorola Razr for it's big screen and small size. Sadly, it's volume only went high enough that I could hear the other person in near silence, and it's sound quality and reception, while not bad, were not anything to write home about.

I recently needed a new phone after destroying my razr, and this time all I wanted was the best possible phone for calling - meaning sound quality & reception. The winner I think that I found was the Sony Ericsson Z520a which has this ugly "handle" that encloses a ring antenna for great reception. It's also loud enough to hear. If you are looking for a phone(not a gaddet), so far so good - check it out.

Oct 28, 2006

Tux Pumpkin

I tried and failed to create this pumpkin - i ended up with a big hole in the side of a pumpkin that was roughly shaped like tux. Cristin helped me with my second try. You can see part of the hole I made in the back side of the pumpkin through tux's left foot (right side of the photo).

Oct 7, 2006

Bell's Theorem

I've been curiously interested in Bell's Theorem for years now. To get a laymans view, read this well written article on the subject. Basically, there is a trick in quantum mechanics where two particles can communicate with each other over an infinite distance literally instantaneously. Unfortunately, there a properties of this trick that make it appear impossible to harness for instantaneous communication.

The reason that this is interesting is that instantaneous communication would change the world as we know it. Right now we take communication as instantaneous because light can loop around earth in less than a second and we can communicate virtually at the speed of light. But this is still a huge limit.

Latency between networked computers make it nearly impossible to build general-purpose supercomputers that operate in multiple places in the world. These constraints even cause issues when the computers are talking to each other across the room.

Communication off planet - to satellites, astronauts, mars rovers, you name it, is delayed. To talk to someone on mars, it takes a 6.5 minutes minimum to get a message to them[link].

Even terrestrial communication is limited by non-instantaneous communication. As long as there are wires (or fiber, or whatever) between two points that are communicating, communicating at the speed of light is relatively cheap. If you try instead to use radio communication: satellites, wireless internet, cell phones, radio, the expense of communicating in terms of energy quadruples every time you double the distance you are trying to communicate. This is why cell phones only have a mile or two range from a tower and wireless internet only works for a hundred feet or so. Imagine every cell phone or computing device having communication without wires, with long battery life, and no towers. That cell phone then works anywhere, whether you are in an airplane soaring miles in the air over the pacific, in a cave, or in a submarine on the bottom of the ocean. The communication would also be undetectable, untracable.

An exciting idea. And Bell's Theorem tells us that quantum particles do this all the time. Too bad nobody has figured out how to harness this.

Oct 5, 2006

Catching Up on Links

Next I need to catch up on a couple links.

http://picasaweb.google.com/ggrothau - my photos
http://grouthauspearl.com/ - my sister's gallery (physical gallery, not photo gallery)

What is this?

My old blog resided at poked.net. That domain name was selected because it was a short (5 character) single word domain name available in the wild. That was and is still rare to find. I thought poked was a cute name that brought to mind an image of the pillsbury dough boy. Little did I realize at the time that that "poked" has sexual connotations as well. Well, I am betting that "gregable" is a pretty safe, politically correct, name. Hopefully it is fairly easy to remember too.

Anyhow, expect more soon.