June Personal Telco Meeting Notes

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Typically there are one or two short presentations, a question and answer session followed by general chit-chat. It's all very relaxed so please feel free to come join us. Check out the Discussion Archives. All manner of topics are covered there.

{{{It's A Beautiful Pizza 3341 SE Belmont Portland, OR (503) 233-5444}}}

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* The June PersonalTelco meeting was at the same place (It's a Beautiful Pizza), but a different location. Beautiful Pizza moved across the street (and got slapped with a $36,000 "moving fee" by The City. Nice place, though. Decor is eclectic and acid nostalgic.

It's not hard to find a PersonalTelco meetings - just look for a satellite truck. A 1958 vintage fire truck happened to pull across the street during the meeting. The owner, who bought his vehicle on E-Bay, is planning to drive it to Burning Man. It's his only vehicle and he picks up his kids after school in it. Wouldn't you like to be that kid!


The Van was positioned on the south side of the street and aimed at Psychonautical Supplies, about a quarter of a mile down the street where PersonalTelco has another node (Beautiful Pizza doesn't have DSL). The plan: webcast the June meeting live. ChristianSeppa brought a video camera, tripod and mikes. The video was compressed using Real Producer, then run up the mast on the van using a 14db gain Yagi, which is captured at PsychonauticalSupplies then relayed up to MattWestervelt's RealVideo server in Seattle. Matt, who works as an administrator at RealNetworks in Seattle, generously offered his server facilities.

It would have worked, too. But it was a hot day, we worried about the M-1 box getting too hot, and the signal started to fade and skip. So we abandoned the live video plans. Christian video taped the proceedings and has posted AVIs of the proceedings here on Don Park's server.

June Personal Telco Meeting

* Adam explained briefly the mission of PersonalTelco.

* First Timers: Nigel asked for hands of first timers with about 8 people raising their hands. Each person explained their interests.

* Morris Engelson: DrEngelson, who was the chief RF guru at Tektronics, had a handout and delivered the featured presentation; a primer on Radio Frequency. It included the basics of DeciBels , how modulation (AM, FM and Phase Modulation) works and how digital signals get compressed and transmitted (PSK, Direct Sequency, COFDM, etc). How and why the FCC does what it does was also covered. He was entertaining and covered the field in a manner that was engaging and illuminating. I found myself listening instead of taking notes. However most of his talk covered basic RF theory and practice which can be researched on the web. Here are MorrisEngelsonHandouts.

The new location at Beautiful Pizza proved to be very noisy, (in an analog, beer-drinking sense). But the presentation was enthusiastically received by all (who could hear).

* Don Park's Talk on AP Radar: DonPark discussed an open source project called ApRadar. Slides are at http://klickitat.yi.org/~donp/talks and you can see a video of the presentation here.

Don explains... AP Radar is a wireless utility that stumbles, manages associations to access points, makes authorization requests to wireless gateways, reestablishes a dropped connection, and does a little peer-2-peer communication. It could possibly be a self-contained node map client, ala the boingo client.

AP Radar now has its own Source Forge project! (july 3 2002) http://apradar.sourceforge.net

* Adam Shand: Alternative meeting spaces from the current Beautiful Pizza was discussed. Although the place has great ambiance it is pretty noisey and a bit cramped. Anyone with alternative (free) suggestions is encouraged to submit their ideas to the discussion list.

501(c)3 status, once off, is now on again. Anyone interested in pursuing the whys and wherefors should contact AdamShand , LucasSheehan or the mail list.

==Other News==

* The Free Geek Fair: Happens this month. Personal Telco and the SatelliteTruck will be there. Lots of music, food and fun. KBOO will have a booth and FreeGeek / PersonalTelco boxes will be available for sale for $50. Don Park has pictures of the FreeGeek Fair! Lonnie used his laptop to encode the music from the stage, transmit it over a wifi link to a computer inside the building, then to an mp3 streaming server. We were told the stream had about a dozen listeners, mostly from European countries.

* Clone Army: FreeGeek, the nonprofit community technology center, came into a quantity of identical Unisys Pentium thin PC's and thought of our needs. It's been dubbed the CloneArmy. JerrittCollord , AndrewWoods and IanSwift went about the process of handling/verifying hardware, cleaning, creating a standardized operating system image, etc. It makes a great "NoCat box" performing NAT and other routing. The machines have one builtin NIC and MichaelCodanti donated a set of matching PCI nics that were installed in the one slot available. The CloneArmy works great. Standardizing on it could simplify maintenance.

There are 9 machines for use in nodes where PTP collectively is responsible for maintenance. Standardization makes parts replacement, universality of platform knowledge, and general cuteness makes it attractive.

For more information check out the Prism2 Host AP Mailing List Archive

* Special Ops: Nigel made a recruitment speech for The SpecialOps team. SpecialOps duty includes field work installing (and maintaining) nodes such as the one being installed at Billy Reeds.

Past SpecialOps Team members include: AdamShand, DanRichardson, MichaelCodanti and DonPark. Current active SpecialOps Team members include; AndrewWoods, JerrittCollord, NigelBallard, and JohnGreet. Don Park has more info: http://klickitat.yi.org/~donp/ptpops/

* Lonnie Wormley brought in the definitive PTP T-Shirts. This is a VERY cool T-shirt and only goes for $17-$20. Now is the time to get one! Lonnie also made some small black bumper stickers for Nigel - "Got Wi-Fi?"

* Publicity Aliza Earnshaw has written great article about PersonalTelco in the Portland Business Journal article.

* Cheap Linux APs It appears that there will be quite a few new boxes that promise better, faster, cheaper community lans. The M-1, the 180mW-200mw Zcomax card, the AirBridge and high powered APs like Demarc's 500mw unit are all pretty intriguing.

* MetaNet ErikWalthinsen has initiated a software project known as MetaNet. It's an attempt to make building network services easier. I belive it uses Python. The advantage: it may fit in embedded devices. Or maybe I got that all wrong. Ask Erik.

The meeting ajourned about 9pm but socializing went on til about 11pm as is usual. Much fun was had by all. Erik and Nigel say anyone interested in van painting should see them. PersonalTelco must remove the channel 6 designation before it is used publically.

- Sam Churchill

Next: July Meeting

MeetingJune2002 (last edited 2010-02-04 22:21:48 by JasonMcArthur)