Clockwork quota system

About every six months, some genius determines the blogosphere isn’t as diverse as it should be and proposes some sort of quota system. The current offender is some dude named Steven Levy who writes for Newsweek. Jeff Jarvis and about half the known blogosphere take him to task.

There are a couple of interesting variations on the meme this time around: Levy doesn’t complain about a dearth of gay bloggers, presumably because Andrew Sullivan and the Denton empire make that charge a non-starter, nor does he mention non-American bloggers for similar reasons.

Halley Suitt jumps aboard, acting surprised, but she’s been pushing this female-bloggers-rule thing for a while, so it’s pretty disingenuous, and Chris Nolan does some explaining.

As I’ve said before, racial and gender quotas are a non-issue in the blogosphere because we generally don’t care about such trivial attributes as race and gender. If you’re smart, insightful, witty, or industrious you’ll be read. You may even be read if you’re none of these things but you can get people excited by appealing to their fears, their libidinous impulses, or their aspirations. But we’re not going to read you just because you have some invisible biological characteristics that aren’t germane to the quality of your thought.

To those who’d rather see more diverse sources of a certain one-dimensional point of view (diversity in Newsweek terms means liberals of all colors and sexes), the blogosphere isn’t for you. If you care about smart and interesting points of view, come on down.

Levy, thanks for playing the Oliver Willis game, now go home.

FCC ruling favors WiMedia

Today’s FCC ruling is a green-light for WiMedia/MBOA/Intel/TI, but to hear Freescale you’d think it was exactly what they wanted.

Let’s be clear, it wasn’t. Freescale hoped the ruling would bar the WiMedia system from the marketplace, and it didn’t. This is pretty much the death-knell for Freescale’s UWB product line unless they can find a new niche, and there are no two ways about it.

UPDATE: Here’s the WiMedia press release:
Continue reading “FCC ruling favors WiMedia”

DS-UWB vs. 802.11n: What’s the Best Connectivity Option?

According to Freescale guy Matt Wellborn, UWB is faster, cheaper, and less power-hungry than 802.11n:

Current proposals for scaling 802.11 systems to higher rates (500 Mbits/s or more) in 802.11n are based on the continued use of 64-QAM. Scaling to higher rates will be enabled through the use of multiple-input-multiple-output (MIMO) techniques that use multiple antennas to send multiple data streams in parallel through the wireless channel. For this approach, the processing complexity also increases with data rate (FEC decode, FFT/iFFT, equalization, etc). There will also be increased complexity and power consumption due to the requirement for up to 4 transmit/receive processing chains (multiple ADC/DAC pairs, filters, amplifiers, etc).

As digital process technology scales, the digital portions of each system will scale much faster to lower cost and power. The significant analog potions of the system will scale more slowly and will thus have a proportionally bigger impact when these functions represent a larger portion of the implementation. The power consumption and area required for large ADCs and linear PAs becomes a bigger factor as digital technology scales in the future.

As we evaluate the two technologies for very high rate, low power applications, we see that the impact of system bandwidth is significant in many areas. As the narrowband designs are extended to higher rates, the use of high order modulation and multiple-antenna technologies can provide scalable and robust performance, but will also likely lead to increased complexity and power consumption. Systems that use wider bandwidths, such as DS-UWB, can use fundamentally different design approaches to provide wireless connectivity solutions that scale to even higher data rates with more scalable and lower complexity implementations.

Is he right?

UWB’s fate to be decided this week

More on UWB and the FCC at

UWB is a challenge to regulators like the FCC and the UK’s Ofcom, which are accustomed to licensing most frequencies exclusively, because it spreads radio signals across a broad range of spectrum at low powers that are not expected to interfere with other radio equipment (see our explanation). The FCC has approved it, so long as it emits less radiation than devices such as PCs or CD players are already allowed to leak.

Of course the kicker on that radiation question is how you measure it, since the radiation emitted by a UWB system has a different spatial and temporal pattern than that emitted by a PC.

One of the takeaways from this story is that the 802 standards process is broken. It takes 75% to advance a proposal to the standards-writing phase and virtual unanimity to complete the standard. UWB has been in limbo for three years because neither side could get 75%, and 802.11e has been done for 18 months but not officially completed.

Too many people have too many agendas these days, and it’s too easy to derail the process.

I expect the breaking news of the FCC’s ruling should be on the WiMedia web site before the weekend.

Love that freedom

Alas, another attack on free speech comes down the pike from the heinous George Soros, toppler of governments, destroyer of currencies, champion of democracy and employer of partisan attack dogs. His minions at Media Matters are upset that a technology journalist left comments on blogs expressing political opinions last year.

Shocking, huh? Doncha know that when you go to work for a paper they own you? See BuzzMachine and prepare to laugh.

24 fan phone

The teevee show 24 had a little scene a while back where a dead girl’s cell phone rang and the camera showed it was a call from “Mom”. The production crew couldn’t figure out how to display “Mom” without a real phone number below it, so they placed a call from the show’s production manager’s phone, at 310-597-3781, and that went out on the air, just for a split second. But it was long enough for fans with Tivos to snag it and start calling. The number was posted to some fan sites, and they got something like 50,000 calls straight away. The show decided they had a phenomenon on their hands, so they pass the phone around to different cast and crew members to answer fan calls and chat away.

So if you’re a 24 fan and want to talk to an insider, there you go, dial away.

FCC ruling expected

Excellent business journalist Dana Blankenhorn says a ruling is expected from the FCC real soon now that will clarify MBOA’s legal status. The main issues is that MBOA uses frequency hopping to reduce emissions in each frequency band by lower duty cycle. The FCC has a hard time measuring frequency hoppers because they have clunky equipment, so they request FH be turned off for emission measurement purposes. This is trouble for MBOA because they only do FH in the first place to please the FCC. So it goes ’round and ’round.

The MBOA system is better than the Freescale DS-UWB because it can be tailored to operate in different regulatory domains where various services have to be avoided by the UWB transmitter – it divides spectrum up into chunks that can be enabled or disabled. DS-UWB is all-or-nothing, a simper design but illegal outside the US.

If the FCC requires MBOA to turn off FH and flunks them on account of it, we can look forward to a world where there is one UWB standard for the US and another for the rest of the world.

That would not be cool, of course.

Sony’s smooth move

Most of the ink on Sony’s selection of a new CEO has stressed the guy’s ethnicity, which is reasonable considering Sony’s a typically racist Japanese company, but there’s a lot more to the story:

With the appointment of Howard Stringer as chairman and chief executive, Sony has not only turned to a foreigner but to a strong proponent of the “content” side of the company, a move that could mark a profound shift in its strategy.

Profound indeed. Sony and brethren gadget companies are finding their traditional, slow-moving, hidebound business practices don’t enable them to dominate the gadget business as they once did. Advances in semiconductor process make assembly efficiency relatively unimportant, and the superior creativity of Americans and the killer work ethic of Koreans threaten to leave them behind. Sony Corp. realized this a decade ago and made a big move on the content side, leaving gadgets to atrophy.

Stringer did some amazing things with the music and movie businesses from a management point of view, so much so that their earnings dominate the company’s bottom line.

So Sony is going to be increasingly a content company, and increasingly a true multi-national rather than a Samurai shop.

What happens to the Japaneses companies that haven’t made this shift, and stand to have their clocks cleaned by everybody from Dell to the Koreans is an interesting exercise of imagination. I suspect some of them will concentrate on the Japanese domestic market for consumer whitegoods such as washers, fridges, and the like and leave electronics altogether.

UPDATE: A Japanese friends tells me they’re saying Stringer’s schedule is written in Japanese. Some folks are not too happy about this.

UWB Merger

Here are some handy links on the Wi-Media/MBOA merger we mentioned yesterday:

MBOA, WiMedia tie UWB knot (by Patrick Mannion)

EE Times

Comms Design

Alliance Simplifies Ultrawideband Debate (by Mark Hachman)


Extreme Tech

“Ultrawideband Groups Merge” (by Eric Griffith)


Wi-Fi Planet

DevX News

Ultrawideband partners merge (by Rupert Goodwins)


ZDNet UK via Yahoo UK & Ireland News

“Ultra-Wideband Trade Groups Merge”


“WiMedia Alliance and MBOA-SIG Merge”

Yahoo Finance

Wireless IQ

Wireless Design Online

RF Globalnet

“Alereon Voices Support for WiMedia and MBOA Merger” (Alereon)

Yahoo Finance

Internet Telephony Magazine

Wireless IQ

Ultra-Wideband Wireless Products Move a Step Closer to Market Availability with Completion of Key Specifications (Intel)

Yahoo Finance

IT Pronto

Ultra-Wideband Wireless Closer (Intel) by Chris Roper

“Intel Drives UWB Spec” (Intel)

Wi-Fi Networking News scoops the world

Glenn Fleishmann’s Wi-Fi Networking News scoops the MSM on the merger of the two leading UWB organizations:

The two leading industry groups for ultrawideband merge: The Multi-Band OFDM Alliance and the WiMedia Alliance are merging their two groups to align goals more fully and reduce the number of acronyms and institutions. The two groups have very similar general technology goals for UWB, and this leaves Motorola and Freescale even more in the lurch as the personal area networking (PAN) focus of WiMedia and the consumer electronics focus of MBOA come together.

While WiMedia and MBOA have been working together for a while, the formal merger leaves no doubt as to what the dominant UWB standard will be: Motorola/Freescale is out in the cold. While there are still some issues with the FCC’s stance on MBOA – no statement has been issued from the government so far – there’s little doubt that the MBOA’s approach is both technically superior and more widely supported, so the big buildout can commence without IEEE 802.15.3a endorsement.

And it has, if the demo of Wireless USB at the Intel conference is any guide.