The Future Is Now

It’s been a long time coming, but all of the public service agencies in my area have finally switched out their radios, and are now using digital transmitting/receiving rather than the old analog systems that had been in place and unchanged ever since I was a teenager. πŸ‘΄πŸ» So the old police scanners that nearly everyone in Lancaster has… they’re essentially worthless now, at least when it comes to monitoring all of the action in town.

I’m not sure if it was a financial or transparency-based decision, but while they’ve upgraded to a fully digital system, they’ve decided against using encryption. The easiest thing to compare it to is the way that television broadcasts have changed over the past 10 or 20 years. No more analog signals, but if you have a digital cable box or digital tuner you can easily pick up the new transmissions. It’s the same thing with the public service radios… it’s just a different means of broadcasting. πŸ€“ If they went with encrypted systems though, it would be similar to how wireless phones use digital signals, but they’re also encrypted so that nobody but the caller and recipient are able to hear what’s being said. 🀨

The bad news? While you used to be able to buy a $40 scanner to listen to police, fire, and rescue… digital scanners are significantly more expensive. So much so that many people can’t or won’t want to make the upgrade to continue following the activity. πŸ™ And, at least here in Lancaster, an always-running police scanner has been about as common in homes as a stove, fridge, or washing machine. 😏

I had actually been considering getting a new scanner myself, going so far as to have “shopped them out” online so that I knew what I would get if the cost didn’t make me cringe so hard… and while I made the decision then that it was too expensive, hitting that little jackpot at Hollywood the other day has changed my tune. πŸ€— Oh, I still cringed when I loaded up the page of the one I wanted, but I went ahead and ordered it anyway.

The Homepatrol-1 units are basically “Digital Scanners for Dummies.” Where most other next-gen scanners are more computer than radio (with endless programming options and tweaks accordingly) the Homepatrol-1 is more about an easy listening/monitoring experience. It has built-in memory with a database that covers the entire United States, and it is updated weekly by the manufacturer – based off of frequency information provided by the users and staff at RadioReference.com

So, with the way our local departments are still going through changes, as the current frequency information is discovered and updated on the site – all I’ll have to do (in theory) is punch up my zip code in the scanner… and all of the agencies and radio options will automagically appear before my eyes. πŸ˜€ So, along with it being one of the cheaper scanners,Β that’sΒ what actually sold me on it. The ability to start using it as soon as I get it, without having to spend hours figuring it out and programming it. It does have many advanced options though, especially through the included Sentinel software that is used for easier/quicker programming… so yeah, it’ll still be something to challenge my nerd brain as well.

I’m sure it probably seems like a frivolous purchase to a lot of people… but living by myself, outside of the city limits, away from the humans… having a scanner running gives me the sense of “staying connected” with a community that I still consider to be home, even if I’m not in the heart of it. (Plus there’s all kinds of other stuff to search for and listen to on top of that…)

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I Vaguely Remember Hobbies

Accidentally allowed myself to feel a little too good yesterday. 😏 As a result I spent a good chunk of the afternoon and evening talking at length with Jim, Amy, Genesee, Ric… and here it is almost 7am the next day and I’m still wide awake. πŸ˜’ Not a big deal, I guess, since I already dealt with the pressing phone calls yesterday. I suppose I’ll just see how long I can stay up, take a nap for a couple of hours, and then hopefully get myself back onto a normal sleep schedule tonight. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ If not… meh.

I ran into Ric (online) as I was watching the Logan Police Department’s live stream. We were catching up with each others’ hobbies, or lack thereof, when he asked me if I had looked into software based radio devices. πŸ€”πŸ€“ I remember Dad talking about being able to buy cards or external devices for amateur radio use, which could be controlled by a GUI on a PC… but I realized that I never looked into it any further than that.

Well, I guess the current “big thing” is police scanners that operate in that same fashion. A few years ago, when many of the LEOs and EMTs started going to trunked or digital systems, the only real games in town were Radio Shack or Uniden police scanners that could easily run in the $300 to $400 range. 😬 But as Hong Kong has a habit of doing, there are now $25 devices (USB? Other?) that you can hook up to a PC that can do the same thing as those scanners (and more) once you find the appropriate software. πŸ˜ƒ

So yeah, that definitely perked my ears… and after I get some rest today I’ll probably get back on the laptop and start doing a little research on those things. The info comes at just the right time too, as my portable scanner is starting to show its age. I’ll update further if I end up pulling the trigger.

Original Recipe or Extra Crispy?

While I was cleaning this afternoon I came across my Windows 10 tablet, which I hadn’t used in many months. So I figured I’d plug it in, charge it up, and then download whatever updates it asked for. πŸ€“ It was a solid plan on paper, but within a few minutes of connecting the power I began to smell the familiar aroma of burning electronic components. 😳 I’m glad that what I was working on kept me in the same room, otherwise it’s hard to tell what might have happened.

I’m pleased with the amount of stuff that I got done today though. The living room is clean, the last little bit of laundry is clean and waiting for me to fold it, and then I sorted through some more stuff and added to the “sale/auction” boxes stacked in the extra bedroom. 😎 I did it all at a very “cautious” pace though… ‘cuz my brain is still being unpredictable, and I didn’t wanna push my luck too much. 😐

The accidental hour-long nap that I took this afternoon is gonna fuck me though. πŸ˜’ Not that I had a healthy/normal sleep schedule going on yet anyway, but yeah… I know I’ve got a few hours before I’m gonna evenΒ possibly feel sleepy. Guess that means I won’t have an excuse to not fold all these clothes before I sack out, eh?

In His Own Words

  • “Why do you think CEOs are leaving your manufacturing council?”
  • CEOs are not taking their job seriously, they have a lot of their product made outside of the country, we want products made in the country, they’re leaving out of embarrassment, I’ve been lecturing them that they have to bring it back to this country.

The CEOs are taking their jobs seriously, as production outside of the US is often more cost effective. Also, most of Trump’s products that he sells are not made in the USA, and ZERO of Ivanka Trump’s fashion line is made in the USA. So if he’s been lecturing anyone, it’s as a hypocrite, and the CEOs likely tired of it. They didn’t join a council to be ordered around, and they certainly didn’t leave from embarrassment… other than embarrassment of being associated with this clown of a president.

  • “Why did you wait so long to (condemn the racist groups by name)?”
  • I didn’t wait long. (Narrator’s Voice: He did.) You don’t make statements unless you know the fact. (sic) It takes a while to get the facts, you still don’t know the facts. When I make a statement I like to be correct. A lot of the event didn’t even happen yet. Making the statement when I made it was excellent.

What?? You want people to believe that you didn’t know that the assembly had members of white nationalist, KKK, and Nazi supporters? What?? Also, when he makes a statement he likes to be correct. Heh… okay. And folks were literally waiting, and waiting, and waiting for his first statement. Enough had happened that he could and should have commented. Very few people thought it was “excellent.”

  • “Did you miss a critical moment where you could have brought the country together?”
  • I’ve created a million jobs, the economy is booming, the stock market is setting records, we have the highest employment numbers we’ve ever had, etc, etc… so the head of Walmart was making a political statement.

*long sigh* Β … Β also, WHAT?? It’s like he has no human concept of “bringing together” that doesn’t involve money or tangible things.

  • (he continues) … Everyone said my statement was beautiful. Frankly, people still don’t know all of the facts. The second statement was made with knowledge.

What other facts do you need to know before you can condemn racial hate groups by name?

  • You can call it terrorism, you can call it murder, I would just call it as the fastest one to come up with a good verdict.

*blank stare* Β … Β more word salad

  • “Senator McCain linked the alt-right to the perpetrators at Charlottesville”
  • (After bashing McCain for a bit) … What about the alt-left that came charging at them? Do they have any semblance of guilt? Do they have any problem? I think they do. I watched it much more closely than you people watched it. I’m not finished, Fake News… they came charging in, without a permit, and they were very, very violent.

Immediately attacking the side that is widely supported by the general public = not the best idea. Also, if you were watching it more closely than anyone else, how did you miss the “fact” of who it was that was hosting the rally?

Ugh… I can’t even watch any more of this spectacle in order to do the play-by-play like this. In terms of PR this was a complete shit show, a dumpster fire… whatever horrible metaphor you want to use. Now he’s talking about millions of jobs helping race relations. This makes my head hurt, seriously. He’s spending on inner cities, far more than anyone before him, blah blah blah… okay, I’m done here.

Heh… d00d just bluntly said “What makes you think you’ll get an infrastructure bill when you couldn’t get a healthcare bill?” Good on the press, for not letting him walk all over them anymore. To their credit, they didn’t let up on him.