Tuesday, September 06, 2011

The free market solves all problems

Left: The Free Market Fairy, preparing to solve your problems with extreme prejudice, yo.

So the Free Market Fairy solves all problems, it seems. Including, apparently, the problem of firemen getting old and retiring and drawing their pensions, since the new digital trunking systems foisted onto firefighters in the aftermath of 9/11/2001 often reject mayday calls due to overcrowding, resulting in dead firemen. A problem which doesn't occur with non-trunked analog systems, where you know before you press the mike whether the air is busy or not.

But according to the free market advocates, this can't be, because the magic free market fairy would just wave her magic wand and sprinkle magic free market fairy dust all over and presto, everything would be fine. Err... yeah right. That free market fairy? S/he is a grumpy tranny who'd sooner kneecap you if there's more profit in it. Which is the case here, I know the technology that Motorola and ICOM are selling firefighters (similar radios are sold to ham radio operators, e.g. ICOM's D-STAR system), and I'll tell you this, I wouldn't want to rely on it in an emergency -- there's just too much that can go wrong. Analog may be old-school tin can and strings technology, but it's also bullet-proof.

So what's behind the push for digital? 1) Police departments that want to keep their crime calls secret so that crooks can't listen in and be warned that the coppers are coming (hmm, y'now, there's this thing nowadays called CELL PHONES, why not just give your guy a call on the phone?), and 2) profit, profit, PROFIT. I have to admit that digital gives better use of the bandwidth and generally sounds better *if* you're not in a noisy environment, but if I'm a firefighter down in a basement with a radio and I need to yell for help? I don't want a cell phone. I don't want a digital radio. I want a good old fashioned waterproofed shockproofed analog radio, the kind that's pretty much bullet-proof as long as it's got battery power left.

- Badtux the Radio Penguin


  1. I live in a remote part of Ca. Lots of hills and valleys. No matter what carrier you have a cellphone is mostly a waste of time. The old Analog 'bagphones' had what, 5 watts or so? They were the Only thing that would work out here and they are pretty much gone now. Thanks techknology, for nuthin.

  2. The bag phones are gone because they were not E-911 compliant -- they didn't report your position to Big Brother every time you used them. So Officer Barbrady said "Bad phone. Bad bad phone" in much the same voice he'd use with a puppy who'd just pooped on the floor, and got'em taken off the market.

    Yeah, I know about the problem of cell phones in remote areas. I Jeep, remember? :).

    - Badtux the Radio Penguin


Ground rules: Comments that consist solely of insults, fact-free talking points, are off-topic, or simply spam the same argument over and over will be deleted. The penguin is the only one allowed to be an ass here. All viewpoints, however, are welcomed, even if I disagree vehemently with you.

WARNING: You are entitled to create your own arguments, but you are NOT entitled to create your own facts. If you spew scientific denialism, or insist that the sky is purple, or otherwise insist that your made-up universe of pink unicorns and cotton candy trees is "real", well -- expect the banhammer.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.