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Actually, Windows Encodes New Lines Correctly

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Ever open a text file somebody sent you in Notepad and wondered why it looked all wonky? As in, why everything is all run together on one line? The reason this happens has to do with line control characters, and dates to the days when teletypewriters still ran the world. The two control characters in question related to the carriage return (CR or \r) and the line feed (LF or \n), also known as new line. A carriage return, a manual process on a regular typewriter, returned the typewriter head to the beginning of the line. In contrast, line feed (LF) advances to the next line. Typically (but not always), these operations occur together.

When computers arrived on the scene, not all operating systems agreed on the control characters to use. MS-DOS, and subsequently Windows, adopted the traditional CR+LF. Unix, and subsequently Linux, adopted a pure LF to do both a carriage return and line feed (in other words, line feed implicitly does a carriage return). The main reason behind this was economy. Axing the CR before the LF saved one byte per line, and in those days, a byte per line was often a big deal. Mac OS opted to do something even more arcane — use a sole CR instead (modern Mac OS X now uses a sole LF).

Ever since then, this has been a recipe for major cross-platform headaches. It's why Notepad sometimes displays text from other operating systems all on the same line. Notepad expects both a CR and a LF and won't go to a new line unless it sees both — and a text file created in Linux won't encode both. UNIX guys sometimes love to gripe about the "Notepad problem", but the joke is actually on them. Windows and MS-DOS both play by the official ISO standards, which have long since dictated that both CR+LF be used and neither of them in isolation. UNIX and its derivatives have long since been violating this rule, although UNIX guys don't think it's a big deal. But, CR and LF are separate control characters for a reason. Ironically, Windows and MS-DOS remain backwards-compatible with teleprinters, while UNIX (which traditionally was often accessed from a teleprinter) is not.

While these issues occur less frequently these days thanks to programs that are more tolerant of various character control expectations, it's worth noting for the record that Windows is not actually in the wrong here. I wouldn't necessarily say that UNIX is wrong, but it doesn't follow the standards in this particular case. The CR+LF standard used by Windows is "most correct", and you should use CR+LF for this reason unless working with programs that fail to work properly with both (e.g. Linux shell scripts).

The takeaway here is that nothing is wrong Windows Notepad. It "fails" to recognize UNIX-style newlines because that isn't the ISO standard. The standard is to use both CR+LF. If your text file follows the actual standards, Notepad displays it correctly. The problem isn't Notepad — it's your text file.

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The Future of Passwords

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Based on the title of this post, you might be expecting some futuristic revelations about passwords and how quickly they'll be going away. If that's what you're looking for, look at the technical blogs of high-tech companies with futuristic visions that generally fall flat. The conversation about passwords that has been ongoing in industry is an interesting one we've been watching from the sidelines but not publicly commented on until now. Now that the idea of potentially going password-less has gained some prominence among average users, some good common sense insight into this issue is warranted.

Phasing out passwords has been the wet dream of many in the tech industry for some time now. A Microsoft white paper from 2016, titled The Quest to Replace Passwords: A Framework for Comparative Evaluation of Web Authentication Schemes" takes a deep-dive into the issue, as if passwords were akin to oil, a dirty and allegedly "obsolete" technology that must be phased out be "clean" and "superior" authentication technology. A key problem is that… — Click here to read the full post

Discounted Teleconferencing Services for Impacted Businesses

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At InterLinked, our daily operations have not been impacted by COVID-19 - however, we recognize that this is simply not true for the vast majority of people, businesses, and organizations.

Through our partnership with the Mountain Pacific Telephone Company, heavily discounted enterprise teleconferencing services are available to local businesses and non-profit organizations impacted by the current situation. For $5 a month, Mountain Pacific Telephone can provide a bridge with a dedicated dial-in number, unlimited attendees, no restrictions on conference length, and free recording and logging. PIN protection is optional and free. There are no extra fees, no hidden fees, and no hassles.

Due to the current economical situation, no payment is due for 30 days, and organizations impacted by COVID-19 can take advantage of flexible payment options. Mountain Pacific will also work with you to resolve your organization's unique teleconferencing needs.

If your organization or business would benefit from high-quality teleconferencing during this time, please contact Mountain Pacific Telephone Company at (407) 564-4141 x0. Mountain Pacific is ready to do its part to help customers through this uncertain time. Staying in touch is more important now than ever - and teleconferencing can boost productivity and maintain coherency in communication better than email, messaging, and individual phone calls. If you are part of or know a business that might benefit from this service, please let them know.

Individuals are also able to request this service at the same discount - but Mountain Pacific's main goal is to help afflicted local businesses and organizations that may be working from home and struggling. Please contact Mountain Pacific directly with all questions at (407) 564-4141.

Smart911: A Dangerous and Distracting Delusion

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It's well-known amongst dispatchers that, today, it's harder than ever for emergency responders to locate 911 callers.

This problem has tremendous implications for emergency callers. The consequences of using a mobile phone to call for help are so dire that there's now even an entire website purportedly dedicated to tackling this issue. Here's a description from the Smart911 website:

Today, 9-1-1 Can’t Find You

Over 80% of calls made to 9-1-1 come from mobile phones. When you dial 9-1-1 from a mobile phone, the 9-1-1 call takers have very little information to help you – only your phone number and a very general sense of your location.

This is a serious problem in an emergency when seconds count, particularly if you or your loved ones have medical conditions, or are unable to safely speak.

… — Click here to read the full post

Diluting The Boxcar Children

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The Boxcar Children has delighted children for nearly a century now — Gertrude Chandler Warner first penned "The Box-Car Children" in 1924, and it was rewritten for publication for children in 1942. (If you can believe it, the Aldens were original the Cordyces in the original novel, which you can read on Project Gutenberg.) Over her lifetime, Warner penned a further eighteen books in the series, and since, other authors have expanded the series to over 150 titles today.

A classic children's series, both interesting, delightful to read, and of arguable merit, The Boxcar Children has changed quite a bit from the first novel to the last. An obvious one has been the changing of… — Click here to read the full post

It Takes One

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On September 16, 2019, a bulletin was sent out to Panasonic customers, informing them that the venerable KX-TA824 PBX was going to be discontinued later that year. As of this writing, that time has already passed.

At first, I was surprised. The Panasonic KX-TA824 is truly a work of art. It's a compact, analog, partially electromechanical but mainly electronic Private Automatic Branch Exchange. With 3 trunks and 8 extensions out of the box, expandable to 24 lines, it's enough to get most people started on their never-ending journey of telephone collecting and telephone switching. Or (more boringly), serve as a home or small office phone system.

The KX-TA824 was my first PBX, and even at $99 used, it's a real bargain for what you get. It's much smaller than the 308 EASAPHONE PBX by Panasonic, which does nothing more (actually, a little bit less), but takes up almost twice as much space. In contrast, the KX-TA824 is roughly the size of a small… — Click here to read the full post

Inefficiency Isn't Always Evil

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There's no shortage of articles about the messed-up things happening in today's world. Here's the headline of an article of an article from last month:

California's light bulb ban

According to the article, "The California Energy Commission voted on November 13, 2019 to ban the sale of inefficient light bulbs starting January 1, 2020."

OK, interesting enough. Even if the national government hadn't already done something similar, incandescent bulbs are certainly hard enough to find in some places, which is why, for good reason, a lot of people have or are stockpiling them.

What is annoying here is not the ban in and of itself. Although environmental legislation is usually a good thing, sometimes it goes too far. Case in point: the black market for toilets. In the U.S., it's illegal to sell toilets that flush more than 1.6 gallons of water per flush. Unfortunately, for the sake of "water conservation", this means more frequently clogged toilets. Many people look to demolition companies to get vintage toilets, or cross the border and buy their toilets in Canada. If this sounds bizarre… — Click here to read the full post

Happy Birthday, Windows 2000!

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On December 15th, 1999, Microsoft released Windows 2000 to the public. Today, with fewer than twenty days remaining until 2020, we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the release of this venerable operating system.

Windows 2000 was special for Microsoft and continues to be special today. It lives perpetually in the shadow of its slightly younger brother, Windows XP, never quite getting the credit it truly deserves, largely because Microsoft considered W2K a stepping stone to Windows XP, which was released less than two years afterwards, and thus quickly downplayed the awesomeness of Windows 2000 as soon as XP became available. Windows 2000 was one of Microsoft's most revolutionary releases of all time, and is considered by many modern and retrocomputing experts alike to be the best version of Windows… — Click here to read the full post

InterLinked Launches New Satire Site

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If you're reading this, you're probably familiar with our blog. What you might not be familiar with is a new satirical blog that we have publicly launched recently, which we've dubbed "The DiaLog".

"The DiaLog" is a technical satire blog touching on different technical aspects of today's society. One doesn't need to look too far today to feel disgusted, overwhelmed, or dismayed by current happenings and goings-on in the tech world today. Indeed, there's no abundance of stupid technology today! That's why we've capitalized on the opportunity to spread some humor and convey some serious information. Articles are contributed by the InterLinked community — if you have something good to say and can say it in a funny way, we'd love to read your work!

InterLinked Website Upgrade Part 2

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We are excited to report that the second phase of our website upgrade went smoothly and has completed without issues.

As part of the upgrade, we have acquired a couple new domains, including our original domain, It is exciting to have come full circle and be back "home" again, and we plan to stay around at this domain for the future.

All links and references on all of our sites have been updated. While we've done our best to catch everything, in the rare event you do catch a broken link or broken feature, please let us know about it.

Domain upgrades aside, content on our child sites is now organized better than ever before to help you find what you're looking for as easily as possible.

California Legislator promotes false solution to PG&E-induced outages

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Articles like this one are increasingly common, as PG&E service failures combined with consumer stupidity have made communications gaps painfully obvious to the masses.

However, it is angering and frustrating to see legislators promote false and dubious solutions to these issues, rather than addressing the underlying problems. California Senator Mike McGuire, whose constituency was heavily affected by the PG&E outages, is the latest to join in to the endless cascade of delusional and dangerous "solutions".

McGuire proposed a bill that would mandate cell towers in California's high-risk fire areas to have sufficient backup power for at least 2 days. Maybe it sounds good, on the surface, but this solution is fatally flawed.

Mobile coverage was never intended to be all-encompassing, universally available, and always reliable. Mobile communications is inherently unreliable, as anyone who has ever experienced a dropped call can attest. The humble landline is the gold standard in robust and reliable telecommunications, with a "5 nines" (99.999%) reliability that will likely never… — Click here to read the full post

Stop Buying Microsoft Office (and Windows, too)

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Yes, we're coming right out and saying it. No reservations. The days of paying for Office are past. If you're still upgrading your copy of Office every few years (or worse, shelling out money to Microsoft each month for a subscription), you should really consider closing your wallet to Microsoft and spending that money elsewhere.

Why prompts us to say this? How dare we insinuate that the era of Microsoft dominance is over, and that other office suites and operating systems are now sufficient?

To be clear, we're not endorsing either of these viewpoints because, quite frankly, neither of them is true. Office still runs circles around all the other office suites out there, which are quite pathetic in comparison. It may seem like Office is just unnecessarily powerful, but spend a few days with OpenOffice or LibreOffice, and you will be begging for your copy of Office back. So, isn't it still worth it?

Yes, it is! Office and Windows are still must-have tools in the workplace, school, and home office. However, it's fair to say that the latest copy of Office isn't. While it was once the case that Microsoft unveiled radically… — Click here to read the full post

InterLinked Website Upgrade

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A brief public service announcement to our readers: we are currently finishing the process of redoing the entire backend of this website. Specifically, we are upgrading 100% of our webpages to PHP from vanilla HTML pages to gain more flexibility and optimizability in the future. We have been using PHP more and more in many of our latest projects, and we are now transitioning all pages to PHP. We expect this to remain mostly transparent to our end users. However, as part of the change, you may find that a few links or bookmarks you saved of our site may no longer work. The impact should be minimal, as we generally use folder paths rather than file paths on our site, meaning most links will not change as part of this process. However, if you encounter a link in the format that used to work but now gives you a 404 error, change the .html to .php, and see if that works — and as always, please let us know about any issues you may experience!

We look forward to better serving our users as we increase our ability to implement changes and new features with greater efficiency and at greater scale.

InterLinked APIs now available

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Yup, you read that right! InterLinked is now in the API business (well, more of the freemium model, really).

We're proud to announce that we have begun the process of making publicly available a number of APIs that we have developed and use internally. Wondering what year that certain song was released? No problem! Use our free API to find out! We do internally — we can now easily find out when a song currently playing on the radio is released.

You can now find a tile about our APIs project on our Project page. Information about our APIs as well as usage instructions is now available on our APIs page.

Expect more APIs to be made public as time goes on. It's just one way we continue to strive to provide useful, diverse, and relevant content and services to our users.

Experience the WOPR for Yourself — Relive WarGames as David Lightman

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If you've ever clicked on the metadata at the top of each of my blog posts, among other things, you'll see a list of my favorite movies, and among them the 1983 movie WarGames. If everyone had a list like this, chances are you'd fine this title on a lot of them. It was extremely popular when it came out, and it continues to have a powerful hold on numerous people. References from the movie continue to permeate the fabric of society — both online and offline.

One of the most captivating parts of the 1983 film is the WOPR (War Operation Plan Response), an intelligent computer system that NORAD uses to help plan Cold War… — Click here to read the full post

An Open Letter to Microsoft: Why Windows 10 Sucks

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You shamelessly advertise it as the "latest and greatest Windows ever", when, in actuality, most people either love it or hate it. I'm talking, of course, about Windows 10. As of today, the homepage of informs us that "the best Windows keeps getting better", when, in fact, it would be more accurate to reword it "the worst Windows keeps getting worse". On the surface, you promise a slew of never-ending better and better enhancements to your posterchild operating system. Yet, you have consistently failed to deliver. Windows 10 launched on July 29, 2015, and few of what you've promised… — Click here to read the full post

Why Ridesharing Is Evil

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In an appropriate followup to yesterday's post on the evils of mobile apps, we thought it would be appropriate to take a closer look at a relatively new technology based completely around mobile apps: ridesharing.

Ridesharing is all the rage these days. People are increasingly ditching taxis for Ubers, Lyfts, and many other ridesharing services. The idea itself is a new take on a somewhat… — Click here to read the full post

Why Apps Are Evil

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Here at InterLinked, we maintain a firm opposition to mobile apps, and we're not the only ones. Considering that we feel the modern "mobile culture" to be beneath us, why sink to that level of mediocrity?

Such feelings aside, however, mobile apps have had important implications for society, whether intended or not. Although many consumers feel that apps are all the rage these days, apps are truly one of the (many) modern evils in society.

To understand why apps are evil, let's go back to the beginning of the Internet. Actually, no need to even go back that far. Let's go back to the beginning of the World Wide Web… — Click here to read the full post

Digital Music is Killing the Planet

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Okay, maybe that's a slight overstatement, but downloading and now streaming of music has only contributed to, rather than mitigated, the effects of the digital consumer world on the environment.

Most people think that going paperless and sticking with electronics means "going green", and most people are wrong. E-waste has exploded exponentially in recent years and the energy required to power all the servers and clients connected to the Internet is stupendously enormous. "Going digital" means exchanging an often one-time environmental cost (the production or duplication of a song) for a continuous burden on the environment that never ceases.

Researchers in Scotland and Norway found that "while we spend less on physical music these days, we're using more energy to listen to it" (CBC):

As you can see in the chart above, although the amount of plastic used in the "production" of music has dropped significantly with newer listening methods, actual greenhouse emissions are higher than ever — today, they're a whopping 50 million kilograms more than in 2000, the peak year of CD popularity.

So, the analog audiophiles have had it right all along. Considering that Earth Day was yesterday, why not honor it by cancelling your streaming accounts and "going analog" this year? That's right — close your streaming accounts, ditch your MP3 player, and maybe even bypass that stack of CDs. Pop a casette into your tape deck or a vinyl record onto the turntable, and Happy Earth Day!

Further reading: Noise pollution: What you need to know about the carbon footprint of streaming music

The Failings of Modern Day Education

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Education in the United States right now is quickly becoming a joke. Some would say it already has been, considering that the U.S. lags far behind in math, science, and other benchmark scores compared to other developed (and even less developed) countries. Yet, the controversial Common Core standards have ushered in a new era of unprecedented dumbfounding educational "standards" that are doing little but ensuring that future generations of kids will be dumber than the ones that came before.

If this seems jarring, consider the evidence at hand. Perhaps the biggest dumber of Common Core has been the emphasis on "21st century learning", a movement that is not, as it turns out, academically rooted, but strongly pushed by tech giants like Microsoft, Google, and Apple. After all, they're the ones that benefit when schools buy into "1:1 device programs", not the students using them. Test scores everywhere are declining following the institution of 1-to-1 technology rollouts, and it's not secret why.

Yet, declining test scores aren't the only thing to be worried about. Declining literary is… — Click here to read the full post

A Legacy of Leadership

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Although we don't cater at all specially to high school students (or youth in general), we wanted to take the time to review a few key opportunites of which you can take advantage during your high school years in order to maximize your present and future success.

First is Academic Decathlon. A rigorous, intellectual, but fun series of competitions, Academic Decathlon is "the premier academic competition in America". With essentially limitless room for improvement, the competitive nature of the activity can really bring out the best in students, forcing them to tap into potential they may not even have known they had. Though the competition is largely objective, all competitors will also need to present a prepared speech — as well as an impromptu speech — and participate in a mock interview. An essay is also written in advance of each higher level of competition. With students with both high and low GPAs needed, AcaDec can be the perfect outlet for smart individuals who otherwise don't exert a lot of effort in school (which is subsequently reflected on your report card). AcaDec is an inclusive and engaging activity that runs from May until April, essentially with a year-round season. With Nationals in 2020 being held in Anchorage, Alaska, don't miss out on the exotic chance to see a polar bear in action! Visit the official USAD website to learn more about how you can get involved in one of the most memorable high school activities there is!

Second is Future Business Leaders of America, the largest career student organization in the world, and for good reason. While FBLA also has a competitive component, it also focuses on the pillars of leadership and service. School chapters typically… — Click here to read the full post

Running Your Own Phone Company

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Have you ever thought of running your own telephone company?

If you're like most people, the answer is probably "no", without any question. But the idea used to be more romantic and enticing. Even during the era of Bell System dominance, from the late 1920s right through Divestiture in 1984, hundreds of independent phone companies existed and flourished — and many still do. Perhaps you remember the New City Telephone Company from the 1975 AT&T video production, "Run A Phone Company", in which high school students participated in a simulation of managing a phone company. While it was purely an educational initiative, it does prompt the question: why can't I run my own phone company?

As residential phreaks ourselves, the idea has been enticing for a long time. That's why it's incredibly exciting to announce the launch of a new phone company which we helped cofound, which is now doing business as the Mountain Pacific Telephone Company. Already, Mountain Pacific Telephone Company has nearly 2,000 phone numbers under its wing, and plans for expansion… — Click here to read the full post

New DID Block on the PSTN

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It is with great pleasure that we announce that calls to our new D.I.D. (direct inward dial) exchanges are now working. Just hours after a trunk test number in the 631 area code began delivering calls to NPSTN intercept, calls to all ~975 of our phone numbers began completing.

This brings us to the exciting part — InterLinked has new business phone numbers to better serve you! If you've visited the Contact page recently, you may have noticed we've added some new information. You can now reach us directly at our main business number, 564-4040, located in the 407 area code. In the future, we may also acquire a 406 number.

If our lines are busy, please be patient and make sure you are calling during regular business hours. Although we have several D.I.D. numbers that terminate into the InterLinked PBX, we have still to acquire the human labor to process those calls! If all of our operators are busy, you may select option 9 from our IVR at 564-4040, or leave us a message on our office answering machine at 564-4047. In the future, we hope to have a fax machine and a modem bank available to callers as well.

Canaries in the Coal Mine

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It is always sad when we lose a member of the EMF activist community. It is unfortunate that one of our number took her own life recently. Maria August departed this life on March 12, 2019, just shy of her 50th birthday. Sadly, many of her last birthdays here with us were not those filled with joy and jubilance, but those filled with pain and debilitation. Maria was a victim of EHS (electromagnetic hypersensitivity), an affliction that, while legitimate, nonetheless remains stigmatized and controversial. She conducted an interview with Nicolas Peneault last year regarding what it was like to live with EHS. You can read her posthumous self-obituary for some of her own words on this topic.

Though Maria ended her own life, she is one of a growing number of victims who have - at length - succumbed to poisoning by non-ionizing radiation. She is certainly not the first to have fallen, and will, unfortunately, not be the last to do so, either. The levels of manmade non-ionizing radiation in our environment today have grown exponentially and are continuing to do so. Despite estimates of… — Click here to read the full post

The growing irrelevance of toll-free numbers

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First, there were "ZEnith" exchanges, the original toll-free numbers. Since there was no Z on the dial, you would call the operator and she would connect you to a business on its dime, making the connection by looking up the number associated with a ZEnith number.

Finally, the Bell System launched Wide Area Telephone Service in 1961, which became used for the first direct-dial toll-free 1-800 numbers in 1966 and 1967. Originally toll-free exchanges were tied to geographic areas, much like area codes, but, gradually, like everything else in the phone network, things soon loosened up and, today, the modern toll-free network remains a fixture of television advertisements, magazine inserts, and radio jingles. What better way to entice the customer than… — Click here to read the full post

Whom should autonomous vehicles kill in a collision?

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Autonomous vehicles are seemingly all the rage in many of today's tech lines. Tech companies like Tesla and Google just won't give up, will they?

For what it's worth, the likelihood of so-called "self-driving" cars taking off is slim. Sure, tech moguls say it's the next big thing, just like 5G, the Internet of Things, "smart meters", and the multitude of other tech disasters that are sprouting up across the country, mostly financed using misappropriated… — Click here to read the full post

Landlines Win Again

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Somewhere between 40% and 50% of households have a landline today, though the number of true traditional copper POTS lines is somewhere around 20%. (Think you have a "true" landline? You might be in for a nasty surprise.)

Yet, at least in theory, most people have a lot more love for the humble landline than they let on. According to a 2014 Pew Research Poll, "the public felt most secure using landline phones": The public feels most secure using landline phones, least secure on social media

Personally, this is not so much surprising as it is reassuring. Most people know that landlines are the more secure, reliable communications options. In practice, many of them fail to recognize this when they cut the cord. It's only when danger strikes that they begin to regret this.

With the skyrocketing number of wildfires on the move today, this is an eminently practical concern of huge importance to many. In the recent wave of wildfires in California, mobile phones "went silent" as cell towers went down. Search and Rescue actually had to resort to stone age tactics: going house to house on foot!

Those experiences during the widespread fires that claimed more than 70 lives -- as well as during and after hurricanes earlier this year -- reveal a downside to the wireless communications upon which Americans are increasingly dependent: Mobile service falls short of old-fashioned landlines when it comes to surviving catastrophic events.Bloomberg

Think twice, or thrice, before cutting the cord. Ask yourself: is your life, and your family's, worth more than $20 per month?

The Truth About the Digital Divide

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The digital divide has taken on a new meaning. Previously, it referred to the areas of the country that relies beyond the reach of high-speed broadband Internet. We referred to them as being unfortunate enough to be "on the wrong side" of the digital divide. All of America still does not have high-speed broadband Internet, one reason why millions of Americans continue to use dial-up Internet today. But now the digital divide has taken on a new meaning, as technology becomes so heavily integrated into schools that the whole idea of the digital divide has gotten flipped on its head.

Back in October, the New York Times ran an article titled "The Digital Gap Between Rich and Poor Kids Is Not What We Expected". The caption reads "America’s public schools are still promoting devices with screens — even offering digital-only preschools. The rich are banning screens from class altogether."

Yes, you read that right! The rich are banning screens altogether! Should this really come as much surprise, though? Tech moguls like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs have, after all, limited their own children's technology use. Many teachers to whom I've posed the question have confirmed this firsthand: standardized test scores have dropped significantly since 1:1 technology was introduced in schools. It's not just academic or even psychological though: there are now plenty of physiological effects caused by young people's hyper-use of technology.

Certainly, technology skills, particularly use of a computer, will continue to be important in our electronic world. But the hype surrounding "21st century learning" is simply fabricated by big tech companies like Apple and Google to sell tablets and Chromebooks (a.k.a useless not-a-PC laptops) to schools, to boost their bottom line by whatever means they can.

Food for thought…

The Power of PowerShell

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PowerShell isn't by any means new. Designed by Jeffrey Snover and initially released in 2006, PowerShell is now on its 6th stable release and has infiltrated workplaces everywhere. While it hasn't entirely displaced the Command Prompt, which itself came about in 1999 to emulate MS-DOS, it certainly allows administrators to spend less time at the black shell and more time at the blue one. While there are many cases where the regular Command Prompt is sufficient (mainly because the PowerShell prompt takes noticably longer to load), network admins everywhere are using PowerShell, so here's a gentle nudge to see what PowerShell can unlock for you if you haven't delved deeper… — Click here to read the full post

A Second Look at Richard Nixon

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No doubt one way or another, you've been caught up in the drama of the election that ultimately culminates today, when people will cast their ballots. Today, it seems like every candidate is out to get you, one way or another, and there's no good choice to be made. In the 2016 election, people were forced to choose between the lesser of two evils in a highly polarized election: the only question, who was the lesser of the two evils? (Answer: Neither, vote for a third-party candidate.) Wouldn't it be nice if we could return to a bipartisan era when people could feel good about going to the polls?

Today, we'd like to take a closer look at one of the most infamous presidents in history: Richard Nixon. Undoubtedly, you've heard of him — he was the only president ever to… — Click here to read the full post

The Truth About Fiber-Optics

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Fiber-optic cables aren't exactly new. Part of the reason for the 2001 recession was a tech crash caused by excessive buildout of fiber, most of which remained "dark" for years. Fiber has been used for Internet backbones as well as long-distance trunks in the PSTN, but only recently has the idea of extending fiber directly to the home become pervasive. I won't give an overview of fiber here, so for some history and details about how fiber-optic communications works, you can check out Broadband Now.

Until recently, I'd been… — Click here to read the full post

Why I Favor Splits over Overlays

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How many digits constitute a telephone number?

The most common answers, at least in the United States, which is part of the North American Numbering Plan (NANP), are 7 and 10. There's a pretty good chance that whatever answer YOU gave says something about your age.

For the record, telephone numbers are… — Click here to read the full post

Adopt A Payphone

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Adopt A Highway began as a local effort in Texas in the 1980s. Today, the program has spread all over the United States. It's hard to drive almost anywhere these days without seeing the iconic "Adopt A Highway" signs on the edge of the road. That's all great, and the idea could prove to have other useful applications as well.

Today, most payphones are owned by payphone providers, not telephone companies. Most telephone companies… — Click here to read the full post

Reasonable And Prudent — Speed Doesn't Kill, Speed Limits Do

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It's a common belief that speed limits are designed to keep us safe. Few of us like to heed them, but we believe they exist for the common good and grudgingly abide by them. A closer look at the facts, however, will put this misconception to rest.

For a long time, Montana held the honor of being the only state with no daytime speed limits… — Click here to read the full post

Electric vehicles aren't the solution to climate change

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Global warming, or climate change as is the more "proper" term, is a serious conundrum. Everyone likes a cleaner planet, but few people are actually willing to adopt a lifestyle that is seriously environmentally friendly.

In the meantime, businesses everywhere have rushed in to take advantage of this sublime opportunity to make a buck. Perhaps no industry has done more to try to profit off of climate change as the automobile industry. Ironically, electric vehicles do little to combat climate change… — Click here to read the full post

The term "cell phone" is a misnomer

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“Phone” used to be just short for telephone. Telephones were phones and phones were telephones. Today, that is not the case. "Telephone" adheres to the denotation of the word, whereas the connotation of "phone" has changed. Think about it: the word “telephone” is generally only used to refer to corded fixed-line phones. Today, all telephones are still phones, but not all phones are telephones. Mobile phones and cordless phones are generally never referred… — Click here to read the full post

Monopoly Isn't Always A Bad Thing

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Monopoly isn't necessarily bad. In fact, sometimes it can be a good thing. A very good thing!

Most economics classes foster a passionate dislike of monopolies in students. But this dislike is not necessarily deserved. Economics classes teach us about seemingly malevolent monopolies that wreacked havoc on the economy. But most economics courses omit discussion of the largest monopoly ever to have existed — perhaps the most benevolent monopoly of all: the Bell System.

That's right, Ma Bell the monopoly! Technically, the Bell System… — Click here to read the full post

Local School District disregards health in stunning move

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West High School administration announced this year that the district's cellphone policy, No. 5136, had been relaxed to allow students to use cellphones during lunch and in between classes. While the district says it aims to provide "safe and secure" Internet access and Policy 7540 promises safeguards inhibiting negative side effects, its IT department has been fiercely deploying wireless technology in all K-12 learning environments, despite studies confirming too much technology leads to drops in test scores and retention. Two classes unanimously said they didn't like using tablets for education… — Click here to read the full post

21st Century Learning — NO Technology In The Classroom

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Scientific American released an article about a month ago that reported students are supposedly better off without technology in the classroom.

Wait, what? Isn't technology the whole point of "21st Century Learning"?

Yes, and that's the point.

21st Century Learning is a movement being pushed by the technology and wireless industries in order to increase bulk purchases from schools and educational institutes. While they usually floor superintendents when they boast of "increased workforce preparation" and "real-world applications", these phrases are just buzzwords… — Click here to read the full post

Smartphones: The Undoing Of Humanity?

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I'm a baby boomer. At least as far as most people would care to be concerned, I am. Whether it's a wintry Monday or a summer Sunday, I'm usually up before the sun. I'm a diehard user of rotary telephones and desktop computers. I write letters to family friends I haven't seen in a while, in cursive, and conclude by licking the stamp. In all regards to habitual characteristics that define an individual, I should be receiving my first social security check… — Click here to read the full post

Limes Are Not Unripe Lemons

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Limes and lemons are typically flavors found in carton drinks; for whatever reason, they're not popular fruits for solitary consumption (though I happen to like both limes and lemons). I was speaking the other day with someone who uses lemons, and only lemons, frequently as a cooking ingredient. I was surprised when she asserted that limes and lemons are the same fruit. Obviously, this is not true; she backtracked and asserted instead that limes are just "unripe lemons".

While there are nutritional differences between limes and lemons I won't disclose here, the fact remains that saying limes turn into lemons is like saying windows turn into doors. Limes and lemons are completely separate fruits. A bit of research will turn that up. This cooking site, for example, briefs the reader about common misconceptions. The reader will learn that limes are not unripe siblings of the lemon. In fact, the lemons we buy at the store are also unripe. Both limes and lemons are unripe fruits. If you wish to know more about these beloved sour fruits, I advise you to do some more of your own research. Hopefully, you'll be spared the embarrassment of ever saying limes and lemons are the same fruit in public.

As for me, I favor the lime a bit more than its yellower cousin. Limes don't have seeds and are a tad bit sweeter than lemons, making them the more delicious of the two to my taste buds!

A Professional Perspective: Kari’s Law

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On December 1, 2013, Kari Rene Hunt was murdered by her estranged husband whom she was intending to divorce. She agreed to meet him at a local motel to leave their children with him for a short visitation while he was in town. Her estranged husband ambushed her in the motel room and cornered… — Click here to read the full post

What The Colored Coded Tape Means On Store Columns

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Many stores like Walmart and Sam's Club, especially the older ones, color-code their poles. Have you ever noticed colored pieces of tape at the top of some of these poles? Yes, they actually mean something!

  • Blue — Blue tape at the top of the pole indicates that there is a telephone at the bottom of the pole.
  • Yellow — Yellow indicates a spill clean-up station is located at the bottom of the pole.
  • Red — Red indicates that a fire extinguisher is located at the bottom of the pole. Hopefully, you'll never need to look for this one.

Some poles may have more than one piece of tape. For example, a pole may claim a blue piece of tape and a yellow piece of tape. That means both a telephone and a spill clean-up station are located at the bottom of the pole. From what I've seen, some poles may have just one piece of tape, while others may have two or even all three. Blue tape is less common than yellow or red tape, so if you need to make a prank telephone call, your choices are more limited. But if the guy next to you starts having a heart attack at the store, make sure you check the ceiling for some blue tape so you can call 911 (some yellow tape wouldn't hurt either).

A Cool "Telephone Trick" That Will Impress Your Friends

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  1. First, pick any 7-digit telephone number. For example — 567-1234
  2. Now, punch in the first 3 digits of the number you chose
  3. Multiply the number by 80
  4. Add 1 to the result
  5. Now, multiply that answer by 250
  6. Now, add the last four digits of your telephone number to the result from Step 5
  7. Add the last four digits of your telephone number again
  8. Subtract 250 from your result
  9. Now, divide the number by 2
  10. You should now end up with the number you chose

AM/FM Radio Numbering — What's The Deal?

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Millions of people regularly listen to terrestrial radio. AM (amplitude modulation) is an older standard than FM (frequency modulation) and is easier to implement. AM signals can travel between 100 and 300 miles while FM signals are limited by the curvature of the Earth, giving them a maximum distance of about 50 or 60 miles. While AM signals fade with distance, FM is consistent within the receiving area, making AM ideal for news broadcasting and FM ideal for music.

All FM radio stations end in an odd number (88.3, 96.1, etc.), though this is purely conventional and regulated by the FCC. AM frequencies are measured in kilohertz, while FM frequencies are measured in megahertz. AM stations range from 520 kHz to 1710 kHZ, with stations spaced 10 kHz apart, while FM stations range from 88 mHZ to 108 mHz. 1 megahertz is equal to 1,000 kilohertz, so technically AM stations range from FM 0.520 to FM 1.7 while FM stations range from AM 88000 to 108000. (Remember, all radio waves are part of the same electromagnetic spectrum — AM and FM are just different ranges of that spectrum.) In theory, tuning to AM 99100 is the same as tuning to FM 99.1.

You've probably noticed you can pick up nearby channels on an unused frequency. For example, you can probably pick up the radio station FM 100.1 on FM 100.3 or AM 600 on AM 610. But do these numbers mean anything? Are some frequencies "better" than others? To transmit a signal, one simply broadcasts audio at a specific frequency. Lower frequencies require less power and travel farther, but are lower quality. Higher frequencies require more power and don't travel as far, but are higher quality. That is, the frequencies that will be transmitted farthest are at the lower end of the spectrum — the 520 kHZ and FM 88.1 frequencies will travel the farthest from the broadcast station and have the lowest quality. In theory, stations at lower frequencies transmit further and have the worst quality. For more information, see this article online.

Can't Beat the Heat?

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Are you looking for something nice and cool to do this summer? How about something really cool that's also cool? Dubbed the "Polar Bear Capital of the World", Churchill, Manitoba is a popular getaway among numerous people and it's one of the most popular tourism destinations in the world for viewing polar bears in their natural habitat. What makes Churchill so unique? First off, you can't reach Churchill by road at all. Nestled in northern Manitoba along the southwestern portion of the frigid Hudson Bay, there are no roads connecting this town of just under 1,000 to the rest of Canada. The only ways to reach Churchill are by air, train, or boat (Churchill has a port, but unless you're commanding a vessel through the bay ice, we recommend you don't sail there). Churchill is a great spot to watch the Northern Lights and it's also a great spot to come see the polar bears, the main driver for Churchill's tourism economy. You can go out on the ice in a great tundra buggy and truly immerse yourself in polar bear country. A remote town that is truly off-the-grid, Churchill is a must-see for anyone looking to connect with nature.

A Couple Videos Guaranteed to Get You Laughing…

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Someone once said that laughter is the best medicine. Even if you're not sick right now — I'm sure we could all use a little laugh right now. Well, I wanted to take a minute and share out some videos I've seen in the past that are guaranteed to get you laughing. If they don't… well, let me know and we'll chat. This first video addresses the notion that desktop computers are stationary and stay in one place — all the time. Well, in this video, some students have decided to attend a lecture and they bring their desktops with them, computers, keyboards, monitors, dial-up modems, and all. In this second video, you'll witness what happens when the code to get on the Walmart intercom becomes public knowledge. Don't try this at home kids!

When Technology Does More Harm Than Good

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We've all seen that person — perhaps he or she is waiting at a bus stop or perhaps in line at the drycleaners to pick up a beaver-pelt coat. Yet, there he or she is, looking down at a miniscule little screen, fingers tauntingly trained to remain invisible with motion to make life as a recluse complete. How did we get here? Has technology gone too far? How much technology is too much, and how do we know when and where to draw the line? If for some reason, you are not already subjectively guilty to the nature depicted beforehand, then I congratulate thee for remaining rooted… — Click here to read the full post

What Wi-Fi Really Is (And What It Isn't)

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Today, I'd like to acknowledge the fact that despite the vast number of Internet users in the world, a good majority of them are quite dumb. Not dumb in general, but not especially smart in the way they approach technology terminology. For those of us who were around in the 80s and 90s, confusing computer networking technology would be a disgrace, but for the unlucky generation born after 2000, not much can be said for them. Let's look at a few ways that young people today, especially teenagers and college students, manage to screw… — Click here to read the full post

Save the Polar Bears!

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When you think of cute and cuddly pets, polar bears may not come to mind first thing. But polar bears are one of the most affectionate creatures that roam this planet, and the loss of such a wonderful species to global warming (yes, it's happening), would be beyond catastrophic. Do your part to help save these amazing creatures before it's too late, and help make the world a better place! By simply… — Click here to read the full post

Steve Jobs — Hero or Hater?

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Steve Jobs is regarded by many as one of America's technology pioneers, credited with his success at Apple. Nobody will deny that his legacy is a great one or that he didn't innovate constantly, but some of the deepest and darkest secrets of Steve Jobs may turn some of his biggest fans against him. Steve Jobs has throughout the years, maintained a close bond with Bill Gates, founded of Microsoft, the world's largest software company and the most powerful technology company of all-time. Jobs dreamt of stealing that title from Microsoft, and although it failed and is unlikely to ever do so in the future, Apple has uncovered a niche of its own under the leadership of Steve Jobs. What few people realize is the malicious nature and evil sense of humor that Steve Jobs was sometimes known to possess and the lack of empathy for others in the tech sector. Unlike Bill Gates, Steve Jobs didn't…— Click here to read the full post

Walmart CEO — Impostor or the Real Deal?

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A couple years ago, I recieved an angry email from the CEO of Walmart. Yes, you heard that right. But was this email really from the CEO of Walmart, or was it an impostor eager to wreak havoc by submitting support tickets? This question has bothered me ever since I receieved this message from the "CEO of Walmart", and looking back at it, it seems unlikely that this email was sent from the actual CEO of the world's largest superstore. However, until anyone offers to step forward as the sender of this email, I will continue to… — Click here to read the full post

Are there SMART-Boards in your school?

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Are there SMART-Boards or other interactive whiteboards at your school? If so, let me ask you a question? Do you use them? Does anyone use them? How often are they used? Do teachers actually use the SMART-Board in their room, or do they just use it as a white canvas for their projector? These are some of the questions that I have been forced to ask myself as changing practices at many schools in the district have started to render these little marvels fruitless. Once the center of attention and the focal point of the room, many don't even realize that… — Click here to read the full post

Yes, you still need a landline!

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Don't even think about giving up your landline! Yes, you still need it — same goes for your desktop. This concept is one I've been preaching for a long time now, but recently this past Tuesday an event occured that made me want to reiterate my point. Recently at our school, we experienced a power outage. In our area of the state, power outages are… — Click here to read the full post

Welcome to Our Blog…

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Welcome to the InterLinked Project's official blog. Come back often for new topics to ponder or to learn something new. You never know what you'll find here tomorrow!