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The Continuing Implosion of the Cellular Phone Industry

While it's not news that over the past couple of decades, the cellular phone business has slowly changed from an exotic, elite high-tech, high-priced business into a cut-throat melee similar to the present day PC business this chart shows the dramatic fall of Nokia and rise of Apple. What's even more interesting is the item in the comments explaining that Tim Cook, Apple's COO, is an (evil) genius that has cemented Apple's place in the computer and cell phone industries not through innovation, low-costs, or other traditional paths, but by cornering the supply of critical components and ensuring that competitors are unable to obtain them:


The real story about Apple isn't the innovation or design of Steve Jobs or Jony Ive, it's that Tim Cook is becoming the greatest monopsonist of modern times. He is to computing and electronics what Walmart is to general stores; a weapon that sucks the life out of everything around it. The reason you can't get a high-end lightweight laptop from anyone other than Apple, or the reason that Macbook Air competitors on the PC side are rather expensive isn't because HP or Lenovo are stupid, it's because Apple cornered Foxconn's assembly line for making metal computer cases. Tim Cook's business skills in completely cornering supply chains is great for Apple's current customers while it lasts, but it is not sustainable for the broader market and it will cause more harm than good if it continues, in the form of less choice and less product at higher prices.

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HPSDR Comes to Professional Radio Astronomy

Some people at UC Berkeley have been doing some interesting work with SDR that kind of mirrors what's been going on in the amateur SDR community: They have concluded that building custom systems takes too long and costs too much money, so they've started using the same kinds of components and techniques that the amateur HPSDR community is using.  Check their web site at

As an example of the kind of things they are doing, consider a 44 receiver array with beamforming and correlation centered at ~1400 MHz with a 200 MHz bandwidth! This takes a _lot_ of processing power, but the compared with what can be done with a single receiver, the contrast is dramatic. To me, this validates the approach of using high-speed direct ADCs and large FPGAs performing the DSP "heavy lifting". I also notice that they are using the Polyphase FFT filtering being championed by Frank Brickle and Robert McGwier for the AMSAT DttSP project.

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