Pioneer A4 speaker WiFi tweaks

I have a Pioneer A4 Airplay speaker connected by WiFi to a Technicolor TG582n router. After playing around with configuration settings as described on npr.me.uk I managed to disconnect the A4 speaker from the WiFi network.

So I decided to experiment with different combinations of settings to see if I could find which work.

  • STBC – with this enabled, the connection does work – initially I thought it didn’t but was able to get it working with the A4 next to the router.
  • CDD – with this enabled, the connection does work.  This provides better coverage, so worth using.
  • AMSDU – with this enabled the connection does work.
  • SGI – with this enabled the connection does work.

After systematically turning each thing on at a time, I found all the settings work after all, so it must have been something else that stopped the connection.  At least I now know.

I don’t think I benefit at all by using any of these settings for listening to music, but in theory they should improve performance for other wifi clients such as laptops and smartphones.  A good discussion of most of the techniques enabled by the functions can be found at Veriwave.

Elizabeth Dunlop – 1914-2013

Elizabeth Dunlop - 23 December 1914 - 24 October 2013

My Grandma, Elizabeth Dunlop, lived a remarkably long life, during which she wore many hats:

  • Sister to four, many of whom she was effectively mother to after her own passed away;
  • Lingerie saleswoman at Draffen’s, Dundee;
  • Wife to her beloved Alec;
  • Mother to Brian, then the surprise twins Joan and Lucille;
  • Grandmother to Alec, Alison, Tracey, Catriona, and myself;
  • Neighbour and friend to many in Kingoodie and other places she lived;
  • Great-grandmother to 8.

She was always engaged deeply with what was happening in her family, as well as what was going on in the world, with fiercely held opinion on what the politicians were up to, and how to load a fork with a piece of every foodstuff on the plate.

She always held an opinion on everything, but hated to argue for the simple reason that she was always right.

There was always a twinkle in her eye as she passed down wisdom and manners, often preceded by “My Father always said…”

My father always said, no uncooked joints on the table.

There was deep love and affection in her relationships.  My memories of her will always start and end with her waiting at her window at Red Cliffs, overlooking the Tay, to wave hello or goodbye to visitors, with bacon or breaded fish waiting on the grill, everything in its place, ready for whatever might happen.

Farewell Grandma – we’ll all be waving back, long after we have turned the corner and can see you no more.

Spooky Google Marketing

Just took a look at the new Nexus 5 on the Google Play website, and noticed that the shots showing off some functions looked a bit familiar:

The picture of Listen Now from Google Music contains mostly artists and albums from my collection. But way more spooky – the cycle lane shown in the picture is Southwark Bridge, which I frequently cycle over as part of my commute.

Just a coincidence?

Is Internet via Balloons just blue sky thinking?

Recently there has been some speculation that Google is looking into expanding the Internet into rural Africa using balloons.

HAPS are deployed above the range of commercial flights but lower than satellites – allowing for lower latency times and less energy consumption.

Since HAPS would need to be tethered to the ground, thus causing a major hazard for commercial airliners,  I think this is a blue skies idea floated early for PR purposes, or wild speculation on the part of tech journalists.

Getting connectivity to rural areas is going to happen when it becomes commercially and practically possible, as the mobile phone companies have been demonstrating through their actions over the last 15 years building out networks some really challenging locations.  I really don’t believe it will be driven by technical innovation.

Regarding the West African cable – the SAT3 cable has been operational since 2001, landing in several West African countries.  Local circumstances ranging from absence of local network links to corruption and civil war, have limited the usage of this in most cases, meaning the local ISPs and us still use expensive VSAT links to connect to the internet even in countries like Nigeria.  We’re able to get cheap great internet connections in South Africa, Mozambique and surprisingly Zimbabwe via this cable!  It’s the problems that lead to NGOs like us working in those countries that keep our internet connection costs high not a lack of technology.

When I look at the problems we face at Christian Aid right now in connectivity, they really stem from two things.  High bandwidth requirements, and a failure to budget adequately for the real costs of supplying that amount of bandwidth in some locations where we work.   We aren’t able to take an active role in cutting our costs unless we are taking measures to reduce our requirements!

Thinking back to books about rural connectivity from only 10 or 15 years ago NGOs were proud about sending and receiving email over HF radio links!  Our expectations have risen since then, but are we really getting the value from bandwidth hungry tools proportionally to the extra costs we have to spend to use them in remote locations?