Ethan Zuckerman has a great post on his blog today about African baskets woven from telephone wire -- gorgeous handicrafts sold to the tourist market -- and whether the materials for those baskets comes from chopped-down telephone trunks.
Throughout the continent, fixed network operators are reporting significant losses from "vandalism" to their cables, both those buried beneath the ground and those hanging from poles. Thieves cut sections of cable to sell for the copper it contains - oddly enough, one of the worst affected companies is Zamtel, which reports lots of theft in the "copper belt" region of the country. In Nairobi, thieves have damaged the fiberoptic trunks, believing (incorrectly) that those cables had resale value. (I'm waiting for an art movement based on baskets of fiber that glow...)
These thefts have two costs for telcos - the cost of repairing infrastructure, and the lost revenue costs from being unable to delivery calls on lines that have, literally, been cut. Many telcos are expanding their use of wireless technologies in response - it's easier to protect and fence off a mobile phone tower than it is to protect cables that connect every neighborhood.
(via Make Blog
It’s the end of an era, sort of: Fraunhofer IIS, the developers of the MP3 audio compression format, announced that they are ceasing their licensing program. In a blog post, spokesman Matthias Rose says that it’s had a good 20-year run and is obsolete. But it’s also true that the decoding patents expired last year, […]
Freddy deBoer writes that he’s been telling the same joke for years about Silicon Valley’s only product, which might be universalized as “At last, a way to verb with nouns on the internet!” But the social-media techopoly is stable, now, and so the venture capitalists have moved on to the three terrible trends that will […]
Alex Wood is an addict but won’t give up his smartphone. But he has five strategies for limiting its control over him: “I used to wake up tired. My body would ache and my head felt sore, like waking up with a hangover. Finally, I took control, like attending an AA class for addicts, I […]
If you are camping during rainy season, or just want a TSA-approved lighter, these plasma torches make perfect travel companions. These gas-free lighters create a small plasma beam that’s safer than butane to use and more environmentally friendly. It creates a super-hot, splashproof flame so you can get a campfire going, or have a smoke […]
If you don’t want to get stuck footing the bill for a hit and run, this dashboard-mounted camera offers up to 2K resolution to make sure you always have a reliable witness, and it’s available in the Boing Boing Store for 30% off it’s usual price.The PapaGo mounts unobtrusively to your windshield to see everything […]
While some people still maintain that everything in Apple’s walled garden “just works” and is immune to the rampant malware of the Windows world, the reality is different. The Mac’s growing market share has made it a much more viable target for malicious actors, and its built-in tools aren’t always enough to fix things. Drive […]