July 26, 2007

If electric power distribution was like wireless IP distribution...

· Each of the plugs in your home would be installed for a specific appliance.

· Your cable distributor would sell you the ability to plug in your TVs.

· You’d have to buy plugs from another power company to charge your cordless phone.

· Yet another company would run wires to your house for your cell phone charger.

· Your old computer could use the phone plugs, but your new, faster one would require that they run another set of wires from the pole.

· You could only plug in lamps to outlets supplied by light bulb companies.

· All of these devices would use different frequencies.

· You would pay a transaction fee every time your clock radio alarm went off.

· You would pay a local supermarket to power your kitchen appliances; in the contract you sign with them it would be stipulated that you can only cook, mix or cool food bought from their store. As a result, the market would consolidate to a small number of national chain stores that were slow to innovate.

. If butchers, produce stands or specialty stores existed at all, they would only sell repackaged products found at the supermarkets.

· The inventor of the electric can opener would have had to seek distributions agreements with supermarkets, and the success of his product would have been tied to a larger supermarket marketing campaign.

· Your supermarket would also supply you with a connection for your washer and drier... for a $25 per month additional charge, plus usage. The deal would be bundled with a vacuum cleaner. You would be disincented to change washer and drier power suppliers because you would have to replace the vacuum as well.

· Government, public safety and military agencies would insist on their own distribution grids in order to prevent brownouts.

· The average household would have less than a dozen electrical devices, but your bill would be significantly higher to cover the cost of the many infrastructure overbuilds.


· High paid lobbyist and consumer device manufactures would set out a bold new plan... All power, regardless of frequency or voltage, should go through the same set of wires from the curb to the home. The power would be converted to the right frequency and amperage in each device. (which would result in a $10 increase in virtually every powered device sold)

· Filters would need to be placed between existing plugs and the “legacy” powered devices in a home.

· Brownouts would be avoided by equipping all new devices with a sensing chip that could predict when other people in your home or office were just about to use a legacy device. In the event a legacy device was sensed, your new devices would power down. (even if you were in the middle of watching the Super Bowl on your new TV or cooking Christmas dinner)

· Regulators, realizing that this plan was without technical merit, instead propose that they will hold an auction for three 500 milliamp services. They would stipulate that the winner would have to provide a service that was device neutral.

· Incumbents would rightly point out that they really couldn’t guarantee the reliability of the devices plugged into the new services, but they would bid on the licences anyway in order to keep them out of the hands of potential new disruptive technologies.

· Academics would counter that the Incumbents should be barred from bidding and that the only logical solution was to create a national wholesaler that provided a 1.5 amp service. They would further argue that it was in the public benefit to add a layer of bureaucracy by adding a broad “choice” of local retailers... even though it was unclear how said retailers would contribute to the value chain.

· Public interest groups would support the idea because the illusion of choice has a democratic feel to it.

· All of the political posturing would overshadow the fact that the new service didn’t supply enough power to make toast.

· Those of us who like toast would be stuck with keeping our incumbent provider. The new services would not replace existing services, they would just result in yet another monthly bill for consumers.

December 5, 2006

The TV bands are needed to cut through foliage, not drywall. Spread the word ;7)

9.6GHz 100W

Years ago I read the transcript of a Feynman lecture in which he said that an MIT professor had debunked the idea that uhf frequencies travel through walls better than microwaves. I Finally found what he was referring to-