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The Road Wirer

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A Huge Success?
by Mark Sedenquist

I hoped to be able to provide some interesting tidbits gleaned from the proceedings of the “Live Wireless and Prosper” conference that Bell South Wireless Data hosted in Dallas last week, but the entire commentary available, (that I could find) was limited to an anemic “...(it) was a huge success.” Not exactly on a par with the results of the CTIA show in New Orleans.

Mike from Automotive Entertainment in Pasadena, CA did locate a 5dB antenna made by Larsen Technologies and so we are back in the well-worn groove of analog data transmission on board the Phoenix One. We are giving serious consideration to acquiring the necessary radio modem cards and service to enable us to use each of the three digital standards, (CDMA, TDMA and GSM), as we make our way across North America. What digital network are you currently using? How would you characterize its performance?

An interesting perspective on the numbers of potential Dashboarders, (42% of the workforce is thought to be mobile in some fashion) as determined by the Yankee Group can be viewed in the Datalink Systems Web site. Datalink offers a variety of services designed to push Website information and e-mail messages to pagers and PCS cellular telephones. In essence, the user pre-selects keywords that are used to filter incoming e-mail and web messages and an alert or partial message can be sent to one’s pager/telephone/PDA in the field.

If I was using this service, (of course, I would have to be in area served by this digital network....) and I received such an alert I could by the use of an 800 number, have the entire message read to me electronically without setting up my laptop. Since we will launching the next phase of our coast-to-coast Roads From the Ashes 1999 Book Tour in early May and we may well receive “time-critical” e-mail messages from members of the media, this may be something that would be beneficial.

Itronix Corporation has a new snazzy wireless laptop designed for rough and tumble field applications that is worth a look. The T5200 has a built-in wireless radio modem that uses the Bell South “Intelligent Wireless Network”. It uses a Windows CE platform and has a 73.7 MHz processor with 16 MB DRAM and 16 MB Flash memory.

Well, there still is no clear method for achieving the goal of the Road Wirer, but the search goes on. Maybe by next week I will be able to provide an eloquent metaphor to explain the difference and benefits of two of the digital standards: CDMA and TDMA. Until then, if you are asked at a tailgate function, what they are or how they work or why anybody would care to know, you can answer with authority:

Code Division Multiple Access --- packets of data, tagged with codes Time Division Multiple Access --- data transported in segments of time on the radio cycle.

Over and out...

Mark Sedenquist
Pasadena, California
March 8, 1999

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