Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Microsoft and the World

The gross disrespect of their customers continues. As Tech Republic reports:

The Windows 10 Anniversary Update, which began rolling out on August 2, came with some unfortunate side effects for some users—it killed their webcam. A Windows employee has addressed the issue, but it looks no fix will be available until September. The problem was initially noted by several users a few days after the update went live. Basically, this issue renders USB webcams and network-connected webcams inoperable in programs like Skype or Open Broadcaster Software (OBS), among others. The update also caused some devices to unintentionally freeze up. The reason for this behavior seems to rest in the changes that were made to how the OS access the camera in the Anniversary update. Before the update, only one application could access the camera at a time. With the Anniversary update, also known as version 1607, a new service called the Windows Camera Frame Server allows for multiple connections at once, and that's causing some problems. 

Yep! September, but don't count on that! All those billions of dead web cams, watch Skype just die on the vine.  The will do nothing till September, most likely December. This is in my opinion abject evil. Where are the tort lawyers. This could become the world's largest class action suit!

It would serve Microsoft right to just disappear! Could you imagine what would happen if this were a drug company! Is there a Board somewhere at this useless company!

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Morons at Microsoft!

For those who may have noticed, Logitech and other cameras have stopped working on the 1607 W10 release. Why? Now ArsTechnica gives a great rendition.

The version 1607 frame server, however, only supports uncompressed data. Microsoft's rationale for this is that most applications receiving compressed data will have to immediately uncompress that data in order to actually manipulate it. With the new camera-sharing capability, this means that multiple applications could be performing the MJPEG-to-YUV or H.264-to-YUV conversion simultaneously. It's more efficient in this situation to simply read YUV data from the camera in the first place and skip those extra conversions. H.264 adds additional complexity: applications can negotiate specific compression parameters with the camera to alter the compression quality on the fly. This isn't an issue when an application has exclusive control of the camera but becomes a problem when two different applications try to use different parameters with the same camera.

They continue:

By preventing the use of the compressed formats, Microsoft avoided these issues. But it came at a great cost. Applications demanding or expecting support for MJPEG or H.264 data have stopped working. This could manifest in strange ways. I have a Logitech C920 camera, and I use it with Skype. Skype progressively enhances video quality; a connection may start out using a lower quality, and it'll then be upgraded as bandwidth and processor usage settle down. What I found was that an initial video call would connect, with the application using something like 640×480 YUV data. After a few seconds, however, Skype would try to upgrade the call to 720p or 1080p video. This should work, and in old versions of Windows, was seamless. But with the Anniversary Update it means switching from an uncompressed data stream to a compressed stream—and so it fails. The video just freezes after a few seconds of correct operation.

 Yes indeed, the folks in Seattle are totally clueless. H.264 is a compression technique used, you guess it, everywhere! For years! You think it would have made its way to Seattle. These folks are doomed! Doomed! If this keeps up we can all switch back to Windows 95, watch for the hourly reboot, and them load a Linux OS.

If there people worked for me they would be history! Along with the CEO who apparently does not give a damn about the customers!

We need a Harvard Business School Case Study on this one, now!

USPSTF and What Happens Now?

The USPSTF or U.S. Preventive Services Task Force back in 2011 made the problematic determination based on what is in my and many others' professional opinions flawed data the recommendation that men no longer get PSA tests. The result? Apparently a massive drop in the detection of early stage prostate cancer. What does that mean? Has for some strange reason the incidence of PCa just stopped, slowed down, disappeared Or are we awaiting a time bomb of massive proportions of men having metastatic cancers. One need just read a 1950s version of Harrison or Cecil to see. Men will just show up with terminal bone mets.

Science Daily reports on a JAMA study:

From 2012 to 2013, the localized/regional-stage prostate cancer incidence rates per 100,000 men declined from 356.5 to 335.4 in men 50 to 74 and from 379.2 to 353.6 in men 75 and older, according to the study. The authors note the decrease from 2012 to 2013 was smaller than that from 2011 to 2012 (6 percent vs. 19 percent). Previously reported findings indicate PSA testing rates decreased significantly between 2010 and 2013. Other factors that could contribute to the decline in incidence rates for early stage prostate cancer include changes in the prevalence of unknown risk factors and preventive measures. "In conclusion, the decrease in early-stage prostate cancer incidence rates from 2011 to 2012 in men 50 years and older persisted through 2013 in SEER registries, albeit at a slower pace. Whether this pattern will lead to a future increase in the diagnosis of distant-stage disease and prostate cancer mortality requires long-term monitoring because of the slow-growing nature of this malignant neoplasm," the research letter concludes.

As the JAMA report concludes:

 In conclusion, the decrease in early-stage prostate cancer incidence rates from 2011 to 2012 in men 50 years and older persisted through 2013 in SEER registries, albeit at a slower pace. Whether this pattern will lead to a future increase in the diagnosis of distant-stage disease and prostate cancer mortality requires long-term monitoring because of the slow-growing nature of this malignant neoplasm.

I think we may already know the answer. As part of our "new" health care system we may very well be just letting the "old men die". Pity!

Spectrum

The FCC is auctioning off 126 MHz in the 600 MHz band. As noted in my recent critique to that attorney who seems to be technically clueless in my opinion, 600 MHz bends around corners! And 126 MHz at 100 bps/Hz and a reuse factor of 10-50 in a multibeam environment one gets a phenomenal capacity, in basements!

As noted in Telegeography:

According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the 600MHz Broadcast Television Spectrum Incentive Auction (‘Auction 1002’), which commenced on 16 August, has generated bids worth USD10.588 billion after five rounds of bidding. Round six is scheduled to commence today (Friday 19 August). As expected, spectrum allocations covering New York and Los Angeles have attracted the highest bids thus far, followed by the likes of Chicago, San Francisco, Baltimore-Washington, DC and Philadelphia. Interest in smaller markets has already began to wane, however, sources have noted. The current Auction 1002 ‘Forward Auction’ was preceded by a ‘Reverse Auction’ between the FCC and the TV broadcasters that held the 600MHz spectrum. This process saw the ‘clearing cost’ for 126MHz of spectrum established at USD86.423 billion, seriously exceeding analyst expectations. If that figure is not met in the Forward Auction, the FCC will reduce the amount of spectrum it will free up and resume bidding with TV broadcasters in a second stage of the Reverse Auction.

 The FCC has a rather obscure auction process, backward and forward, but as of now it has topped $11 billion.

Fierce Wireless states:

The generic license blocks offered in the initial stage during the forward auction under this band plan will consist of a total of 4030 "Category 1" blocks (zero to 15 percent impairment) and a total of 18 "Category 2" blocks (greater than 15 percent and up to 50 percent impairment). The FCC said approximately 97 percent of the blocks offered for the forward auction will be "Category 1" blocks, and 99 percent of the "Category 1" blocks will be zero percent impaired. These figures likely will cheer wireless carriers and other auction bidders since unimpaired spectrum can be used more quickly.

 This can be a game changing play. Watch the process.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Wealth Distribution

The CBO has an interesting report on wealth distribution. They note:

In 2013, aggregate family wealth in the United States was $67 trillion (or about four times the nation’s gross domestic product) and the median family (the one at the midpoint of the wealth distribution) held approximately $81,000, CBO estimates. For this analysis, CBO calculated that measure of wealth as a family’s assets minus its debt. CBO measured wealth as marketable wealth, which consists of assets that are easily tradable and that have value even after the death of their owner. Those assets include home equity, other real estate (net of real estate loans), financial securities, bank deposits, defined contribution pension accounts, and business equity. Debt is nonmortgage debt, including credit card debt, auto loans, and student loans, for example. In 2013, families in the top 10 percent of the wealth distribution held 76 percent of all family wealth, families in the 51st to the 90th percentiles held 23 percent, and those in the bottom half of the distribution held 1 percent. Average wealth was about $4 million for families in the top 10 percent of the wealth distribution, $316,000 for families in the 51st to 90th percentiles, and $36,000 for families in the 26th to 50th percentiles. On average, families at or below the 25th percentile were $13,000 in debt.

They present the following Figures:

The above is the relative distribution by percentile. It appears that the 90s sent many sky high.
The above is a more selective view.
And the above by age. So guess who is supporting whom?

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Almost Twenty Five Years Ago

From a filing for Pioneer Preference in May 1992 I wrote the following:



From FCC Pioneer Preference May 3 1992

Telmarc Telecommunications

KEY TECHNOLOGICAL ELEMENTS

            5. The following technological approaches will be deployed, integrated, tested, and optimized to determine their effectiveness in providing the specified service quality goals.

(1) Adaptive Network Management: Adaptive Network Management, ANM, is a system that uses in-situ sensors to monitor the power and signal quality throughout the network. The number of sensors will greatly exceed the number of cell locations. This set of dynamic measurements will then be used in a feedback schemes to adaptive change the characteristics of the cell transmit power and other characteristics to maximize the service quality. Specifically, the Petitioners have individually designed a proprietary network management system that uses the in-situ sensors that monitor all key signal elements. These elements are power, frequency, interference, noise, and other significant signal parameters. The system then transmits these signals back to a central processor which then generates an optimal signal to control the cell site transmission characteristics, such as power, frequency and other factors. The overall objective is to optimize the system performance from the users perspective.

(2) Gateway RF Digital Front Ends: A broadband, digital front end will be used to act as a gateway to interface the air interfaces of CDMA, TDMA and other access methods through the same cell and in the same frequency band. This system will permit multiple air interfaces to be gatewayed into the same network access point thus reducing the need for a single standard, and increasing the ability to provide a national network. This front end has been developed by Steinbrecher Assoc, of Woburn, MA. The system element allows, through its use of large gain bandwidth product front end and fully digital RF processing, the ability to handles many different and simultaneous multiple access methods, such as TDMA and CDMA. This ability goes to the heart of interoperability and standards.

(3) CDMA Backbone Network: The Petitioner will use a CDMA air interface and access methodology. The Petitioner fully supports the efforts of QUALCOMM in their development and implementation of CDMA in the 800 MHz band and their recent movement of this to the 1.85-1.90 GHz bands. Although there is no uniqueness in the use of CDMA, the Petitioners argue that this technology has specific characteristics that allow for the delivery a maximum benefit to the public.

(4) Co-Located Distributed Switch Access: Unlike other proposed schemes which use redundant MTSO accesses, this trial will focus on Central Office Co-Location methods that reduce capital and operating cost redundancies. The co-location approach, will minimize access line costs and eliminate the need for a MTSO. The adjunct processors at the Central Offices will be interconnected by a high speed bus to allow for adequate control and call hand-off. Co-Location is achieved via the intelligence that is contained in the CDMA cell sites and the adjunct processor distribute communications and processing capabilities. The fundamental existence of this capability was demonstrated by QUALCOMM in their CDMA trial, albeit not in the Co-Location context. The QUALCOMM QTSO was in effect a no Co-Located adjunct. The Petitioners propose to request access from the PUC in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to access New England Telephone on a Co-Locations basis. The public good achieved is through the reduction in costs and the ability to use existing capital assets provided by the LECs. The uniqueness of the Petitioners proposals are the fact that extensive use of adjuncts will be made in the system operation.

(5) Adaptive Beam Forming Phased Array Technology: One of the current problems with a cellular systems will be the use of broad beam antennas and the inability to provide additional antenna gain on both transmit and receive to the individual portables. With the use of adaptive beam forming antennas, the service to lower power portables may be improved. The Petitioners approach will include such capabilities. Time dynamic control of these multiple bean antennas will permit higher localized gain on portables, which will in turn allow for lower transmit power and thus longer portable battery life. The Petitioners have been discussing the use of the technology developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Lincoln Laboratory in this area.

All of the above are now becoming a reality in wireless. Timing is everything, so is living long enough!