July 31, 2007 [LINK / comment]

Radio goes high definition

After several bleak years, it looks like the "Silicon Prairie" (southeastern South Dakota, where Gateway Computers was founded) has reemerged as a cutting-edge center of high-tech industry. A startup firm called Radiosophy is manufacturing high-definition radio receivers, which can pick up digital signals. The story of their rise above adversity was reported on NPR recently. Hat tip to Dan, who recently began revamping Radiosophy's Web site.

Unbeknownst to most folks, many radio stations have already begun to broadcast digitally, with clearer audio and even multiple sub-channels for some stations. This is quite unlike the situation with broadcast television, which will experience a massive disruption in early 2009 when analog broadcasting abruptly ends. I did some checking, and learned that no such digital broadcasting has begun in the Shenandoah Valley so far, whereas several stations are doing so in South Dakota.

Caution: toner dust

Rush Limbaugh made fun of this newly-reported health hazard today, but I think it may be a serious problem. Australian researchers have found that office laser printers give off particles that may be more dangerous to human lungs than cigarette smoke. See BBC. I used to have a laser printer in my home office, and often used a paper breathing mask whenever I changed the toner. I'm getting tired of the slow speed of ink-jet printers, but I'll definitely think twice before I buy another laser printer.