Hackaday Links: July 7, 2024

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Begun, the Spectrum Wars have. First, it was AM radio getting the shaft (last item) and being yanked out of cars for the supposed impossibility of peaceful coexistence with rolling broadband EMI generators EVs. That battle has gone back and forth for the last year or two here in the US, with lawmakers even getting involved at one point (first item) by threatening legislation to make terrestrial AM radio available in every car sold. We’re honestly not sure where it stands now in the US, but now the Swiss seem to be entering the fray a little up the dial by turning off all their analog FM broadcasts at the end of the year. This doesn’t seem to be related to interference — after all, no static at all — but more from the standpoint of reclaiming spectrum that’s no longer turning a profit. There are apparently very few analog FM receivers in use in Switzerland anymore, with everyone having switched to DAB+ or streaming to get their music fix, and keeping FM transmitters on the air isn’t cheap, so the numbers are just stacked against the analog stations. It’s hard to say if this is a portent of things to come in other parts of the world, but it certainly doesn’t bode well for the overall health of terrestrial broadcasting. “First they came for AM radio, and I did nothing because I’m not old enough to listen to AM radio. But then they came for analog FM radio, and when I lost my album-oriented classic rock station, I realized that I’m actually old enough for AM.”

Have you or a loved one been injured by falling space debris? You may be entitled to significant compensation. Call 1-800-SPACEJUNK for a free consultation with one of our attorney specialists. OK, maybe it hasn’t gotten to that point yet, but when SpaceX has set up a space debris hotline, you know the lawsuits are just around the corner. The move seems to be related to a piece of junk that fell on a campground in North Carolina earlier in the year which was identified as a section of a SpaceX Dragon that had brought astronauts to the ISS. The rather furry-looking piece of debris has apparently remained on the campground and is even being used to attract business, which seems a far better outcome than the Florida family whose roof caught a chunk of an ISS battery pack. No word on what happens if you call the SpaceX hotline to report something, but if black-suited goons don’t rush to the scene in a Cybertruck, we’ll be disappointed.

If you’ve been around Hackaday for a while, the name Anool Mahidharia will probably be familiar to you. Aside from writing over 300 articles for us, Anool has been a driving force behind The Maker’s Asylum hackspace in Mumbai, where among a ton of other achievements he managed to spearhead the development of an affordable open-source oxygen concentrator during the darkest days of the Covid-19 pandemic. All that was side action on his main gig running test and measurement company Lumetronics. Anool has decided to shut the business down and sell off all the contents of the shop, which contains some really cool machines and equipment. If you’re handy to Mumbai you’ll definitely want to check this out. Anool, we’re not sure what the future holds for you, and we certainly hope you’re not hanging things up for good, but if you are, “So long, and thanks for all the hacks.”

The entire point of a submarine is to be invisible, to dip beneath the waves and imitate a patch of perfectly normal seawater as convincingly as possible. So we mere mortals have very few opportunities to see submarines at all, let alone see one maneuver. But if you’re anywhere near the Heidelberg area, you just might get a chance to see U17, a Type 206 diesel-electric sub that served in the Bundesmarine until 2010, as it’s being moved to its new home at the Technik Museen Sinsheim. A lot of the journey is on barges along the Rhine and Neckar rivers, at least until it arrives in Haßmersheim, whereupon the 90-meter boat will take to the road in a circuitous route to its new home. Can’t get to Germany to watch it in person? No worries — there’s a live stream for that.

Speaking of old tube-shaped objects, we know that compressed gas cylinders are built to last, but one was recently found that’s been in continuous service for over a century. Gas cylinders are subject to periodic inspection, for obvious reasons, and get a date stamped into their neck once they pass. The stalwart cylinder, currently holding carbon dioxide gas, has date stamps going back to 1921, and may even have older stamps lying beneath labels with fancy new-fangled 2D barcodes. Quite a contrast to a date stamped into the steel with a hammer and die, and it only emphasizes how old this thing is and how much of our technological history it has witnessed — so far.

And finally, if you think your job sucks, you’re probably right. But even so, it’s not worth ending it all, as a “civil service robot” apparently did by casting itself down a stairwell. The bot, apparently despondent thanks to a zero-wage, dead-end job that entailed shuffling documents around a municipal office in Gumi, South Korea, was seen rolling about in circles on a landing before taking the fatal plunge, which witnesses seemed to think was deliberate. The robot’s remains were collected and a post-mortem examination is being conducted to see what went wrong. The suicidal robot, built by California start-up Bear Robotics, which disappointingly does not appear to build robotic bears, seemed to have been the only one of its peers with the ability to call elevators and move between floors of its own volition. So maybe it wasn’t so much a suicide but a case of workplace jealousy and murder most foul.

7 thoughts on “Hackaday Links: July 7, 2024

  1. Outside of community, collage, and NPR stations it’s long gone, consumed by the ages old algorithm of chart driven playlists. You have an ever shrinking audience for advertisements that are worth hearing. So much for Swiss “quality” just dabs of sound now.

  2. I can understand the Swiss. the mountainous region is difficult to serve with line of sight FM transmitters. you nee a lot of them. here in the Netherlands, we have only about 6 of them to cover the whole country. But in the Swiss, it might be just enough for one valley.

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