Saturday Morning May 7, 2022

Hope you all had a good week and are looking forward to the weekend. My little ones (6 & 9) have birthdays this weekend. They are 3 years and a day apart so we’ll be celebrating those today and then mother’s day on Sunday. I’m also going to sneak in a little work to get ahead on next week as I’ll be traveling to a few press events in NYC. 

Monday’s wrapup will be about centralizing my written words around a blog vs. other platforms. I’ll also be reviewing the Sensibo Air (compensated affiliate link) which is a really simple smart thermostat & controller for remote control enabled air conditioning and split systems.

I’ll have my review of the Nebula Cosmos Laser Projector 4k up tonight! 

Stay tuned! 

Shortwave Radiogram

I picked up an RTL-SDR (affiliate link) Software Defined Radio dongle recently and have been having a blast with it. You can see my adventures so far with it here

My most recent project is to discover and decode all of the digital signals transmitting through the air around me. I looked at lot of different things like the FT8 weak signal protocol, POCSAG pager decoding, and packet radio to name a few. 

A viewer tipped me off to another digital signal to look for which is the Shortwave Radiogram broadcast that transmits a few days a week on shortwave frequencies. It consists of a 30 minute broadcast that transmits text and small images. Part of the challenge is to keep the signal strong enough to decode it! You can see what it looks like thanks to “Shacking Off” on YouTube.  

More information can be found at the SW Radiogram website. They also have links to recordings so you can practice ahead of the next broadcast. 

There’s a whole community around this too. Check out their Facebook group

I am almost done studying for my HAM radio technician license. Just need a few more days to run through the practice exams. Stay tuned! 

Today’s Links

New High Resolution Scan of “Extraordinary” UAP Image – UAP Media UK

Everything You Need to Know About Apple’s Self Service Repair Program for iPhones – Macrumors

Mercury’s Comet-like Tail – Space Weather Archive

Teslas using Autopilot are eight times less likely to be in an accident – Teslarati

Goodwill Sold a Bust for $34.99. It’s an Ancient Roman Relic – NYTimes

Frontier Ordered to Pay Millions After Internet Speed Allegations – NBC Connecticut

New Video: Unboxing and First Impressions of the Nebula Cosmos Laser Projector

I preordered the Anker Nebula Cosmos Laser Projector when they rolled it out on Kickstarter. I ordered the less expensive 1080p version but it looks like they mistakenly sent me the 4k version! Here’s a link to the video.

My current projector that I use for presentations is almost 11 years old and was only 720p so I wanted something with comparable brightness that offered higher resolutions.

I am putting together a full review but in the meantime you can watch an unboxing and first impressions on the Extra’s channel. The visual quality is remarkable but it’s very pricey.

Today’s Links

Epic’s Fortnite Now Free To Play on Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming for Mobile, Desktop, Console – CNET

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is either good or it’s just so comforting that I don’t care – Ars

Tech’s new season of shrinking – Axios

Intec GBA HDMI – Another Laggy Mess – RetroRGB

Testing Out Apple’s Self Repair Program With an iPhone 12 Mini Battery Fix – Macrumors

New Video: Review of the Airthings Wave Plus Radon Detector

See the review here. 

Buy one on Amazon (compensated affiliate link) – Radon is a dangerous radioactive gas that is the second leading source of lung cancer in the United States. The Airthings Wave Plus can detect Radon levels in a home over long periods of time and measures other air quality metrics.

What was interesting when we did the livestream unboxing the other day was how many people were not aware of the dangers of radon gas in their home. I had to put in a mitigation system when I bought my home to bring the numbers down.

See more smart home videos –

Links for Today

Meta announces massive hiring freeze, blames Apple for revenue slowdown – iMore

TurboTax forced to stop misleading “free, free, free” ads and pay back $141M – Ars Technica

Cameo lays off close to 90, including senior executives – Protocol

Florida Flights Face Worst Delays in Years Thanks to Private Jets and Space Launches – Yahoo News

New Obi Wan Series Trailer! – YouTube

Elon Musk Invited to Discuss Twitter Buyout With U.K. Parliamentary Committee – Variety

Humans Behind Search: Meet Matt – Google Blog

RetroRGB Roundup #303 – RetroRGB

Programmatic Product Placements?

According to Amazon is experimenting with a new dynamic advertising method that allows for CGI product placement.

That means a bowl of Skittles for one viewer could appear as a bowl of M&M’s for another. It also allows product placement to be an ongoing source of revenue for Amazon vs. a one shot “baked in” advertising opportunity. 

New Empire Strikes Back Game for the Commodore 64

Just in time for “May the Fourth” retro developer Megastyle games has released a new Empire Strikes Back game for the Commodore 64!

The game play is similar to the Atari 2600 and Intellivision classic where your snow speeder is up against wave after wave of imperial walkers. This one adds AT-ST’s to the mix along with a level progression system that was lacking from the original. The graphics look great! Here’s some footage of the game courtesy of YouTuber C64.

This will run on original hardware along with emulators and the MiSTer core. They made the game available in a few different formats including cassette tape! 

RocketLab Catches Rocket with a Helicopter!

When we think of commercial space providers we’re often thinking of Elon Musk’s SpaceX or Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin. But there’s another company that’s successfully launching small satellites called RocketLab.

RocketLab specializes in launching small satellites on their Electron rocket. The rocket is usually ditched in the ocean after each launch but the company is working towards reusability to lower costs. While SpaceX and Blue Origin propulsively land their large rockets, RocketLab is working at plucking theirs out of the air with a helicopter! 

Wach the catch here. There’s also a cool Twitter video from the helicopter’s cockpit here

RocketLab’s CEO Peter Beck said they released the rocket shortly after catching it due to instability. It was picked up by their recovery ship shortly afterward. Still a very successful first attempt! 

Facebook & Plex Exiting the Podcast Business

iMore reports that Facebook is leaving the Podcasting business but the company doesn’t plan on telling anyone about it. 

Oddly, Facebook said that it doesn’t plan to tell anyone on Facebook that podcasts are going to be removed. That responsibility will fall on podcasters to alert their audience.

I didn’t even know Facebook was doing podcasts so it looks like the feature wasn’t heavily used. Plex also recently discontinued their podcasting feature:

As part of our ongoing effort to make sure we’re spending our time and energy in ways that best serve our awesome user community, we’ve made the decision to end support for podcasts within Plex. We recognize this impacts several of you greatly, and we apologize for the inconvenience it will cause. You can continue to access your podcasts within Plex until next Friday, April 15th, 2022, at which point they will no longer be available. 

I did a video recently about how nobody controls podcasting due to its decentralized nature. Check it out learn why so many social media companies struggle integrating podcasting into the apps. 

Members of Congress are not Pleased with DOD’s UFO Investigation Progress

From Politico:

Lawmakers receiving the latest secret briefings on UFOs say national security agencies still aren’t taking seriously the reports of highly advanced aircraft of unknown origin violating protected airspace.

Members of the Senate Intelligence and Armed Services committees received classified progress reports in recent weeks on a series of new data collection efforts the Pentagon and spy agencies are now required to pursue to more rigorously investigate reports of UFOs, three people with direct knowledge confirmed.

But some leading sponsors of recent legislation want more analysts and surveillance systems dedicated to determining the aircrafts’ origin — and not just more reports of their existence.

Former Pentagon official Christopher Melon, who is credited for initially breaking the story, also weighed in on Twitter:

For a start, Congress absolutely needs to know who in the executive owns the UAP issue and what they are doing to identify the mysterious ‘drones’ that have been stalking U.S. warships and disrupting training activities in military airspace.