Software Defined Radio

I’ve been ask,  “What is Mark up to now”?

You my friends now, I’m always learning new thing. Art, poetry, electronics, computing, as a matter of fact I’ve come to the conclusion my hobby is “Learning New Things”.

Now I’m learning how to make radios out of computer code.  There is a little bit of hardware.  But it’s a very little bit. The biggest part of the radio is the computer and the software to run the math.

Do you remember imaginary numbers from high school?  Right…     i = Sqr Root of -1

Well, I’ve found a use for all that math. Try to think of all the radio signals running through your space right now.  AM radio, FM radio, TV, Cell Phone, WiFi, Blue Touth, Child monitors, CB radio, Ham Radio, Satellite signals, and more. Now think of them as sound.  All that noise.

If you digitize that noise and run it through a few math functions, you can tune in one signal.  With a little more math you can demodulate it and turn it back into sound.

I’ll post a few videos and document in the next few weeks about what I’m learning.

Random Thought # ?

Some days when work or live goes bad I start asking why?  Not why the work was so hard.  More the philosophical why.  Why is all this that way.  Why do we make the mistakes we make. Why do we suffer.
I work in computer science processing and analysing weather data. Most people think I’m not a religious person because I’m so analytical.  I analize everything and have answers for most all of it.  Just ask me. But I don’t have real anserwers.  Most of what I see are the relationships about how things fit together. Things like, how signals like radar become pictures on your web page showing you the storm and how it could all be reduced to a couple of chips.  But I also see how people make changes in their lives that effect not only themselves but everyone around them.
The Voyager space craft is tens of thousands of miles from Earth.  It transmits signals to us with the power of a five watt light bulb.  Could you see a 5W light bulb 11,893,000,000 miles away?  Still, we can hear what it is sending us.
The key to both these things is hearing and seeing through the noise.  Filtering out just the parts that have the meaning. In the computer room with 10,000 fans running… can you hear the soft beep of the hard drive seeking and re-seeking trying to recover the data before it fails? Throughout the daily noise of business conversations can you hear the co-worker struggling to pay attention because they are worried if their kids are sick or how they will get home after the car broke down?  In the noise of you’re own life, can you hear what God is telling you?
These are the things I ask myself.

Book Review – Kill Decision

Sci-Fi, Tech, Drones in one story!  Could I not read “Kill Decision” by Daniel Suarez?

Having read Daniel’s last two books,  (DaemonFreedom) I was ready for his next book.  Kill Decision is not a squeal to his last two.

(No Spoilers) Drones, including quad-copters like the one I’m building, make from off the shelf parts (that really exist) are given the power to kill people (think flying shotguns) are at high tech A-Team  is trying to find out how is behind it.

The actions is very good. The science is real. The tech is very possible. The love story a little lame but a small part of the book.  If your not a techie the tech might get in the way.  If you are a techie you’ll think Daniel play it down a little bit for everyone else.  If your a soldier, pray this book is pure fantasy.

In the book robots are embodied with the computer models of insects.  I have a friend, Mark, who’s PHD thesis was based on computer models of the evolutionary properties of small birds.  So as unreal as that sounds, don’t think it odd.

If you like the tech of Michael Crichton and you think Tom Clancy’s books are fun, you’ll love this book.