That's engineer Charles E. Nobles below. As World War II was drawing to a close, television was about to become a reality, but TV signals reached only as far as the horizon. Nobles considered the challenge of broadcasting to a large region. He got out his slide rule and calculated that an area 400 miles in diameter would require about sixteen 50,000-watt transmitters and towers. The cost to operate them would be about $13,000 per hour.
foreigners claim that the People's Republic of China represses
dissent, they are mistaken. It was 51 summers ago that Chairman
Mao famously proclaimed, "Let a hundred flowers bloom; let a
hundred schools of thought contend." The dissidents
accepted Mao's poetic invitation to come out of hiding, whereupon he
demonstrate the openness of Chinese society, we have
Whenever the U.S. President speaks at an event, protesters are welcomed to a "free-speech zone," where the authorities do not interfere as long as the protesters stay inside the fence. Of course, decorum must be maintained. Those attending the event should not be subjected to having to see or hear disturbances. Therefore, the free-speech zone is located several blocks away.
We have made our own improvements upon this American idea, because the Olympic Games are very important to China. For this event, we have set up not one but three free-speech zones. We have prudently located them in public parks, many kilometers distant from the Olympic venues.
We have also taken the precaution of not allowing just anyone inside these special zones, lest ordinary hooligans enter and cause mayhem. To ensure that you, as a potential protester, have a legitimate grievance, we ask you to fill out this application.
In addition to a description of your complaint, we need proper identification, including your name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, next of kin, and funeral instructions. For verification, we also need you to supply similar identifying data for three other people who share your views. We apologize for the length of this form, but the Olympic Games are very important to China.
AUGUST 21, 2018 ANCIENT MYSTERY
At the time, I myself was a young person, and I was a piano student. But I don't recall watching the program. I was only in fifth grade and didn't feel like sitting through an hour-long lecture.
AUGUST 19, 2018 THE POWER OF MILLET
I was only seven years old. I didn't keep a diary, so I have no record of all the many things that went right on that particular date in 1953. But I do remember thinking as bedtime approached, Today has been a perfect day!
Then something happened to spoil it.
Pittsburgh journalist Brian O'Neill wrote a column last week about visiting his wife's folks in northern Wisconsin, where live bait and fireworks are sold at a store called And Linda's.
Brian's father-in-law likes to watch Milwaukee Brewers games, but he can't stand the TV announcers, and so he mutes the set and listens to Bob Uecker call the game on the radio. However, the radio is seven seconds ahead of the TV. The seemingly precognitive Uecker describes the play, and afterwards it appears on the screen. Brian found he couldn't stand this. He had to turn his chair away from the TV.
Lots of folks like to watch games, especially football games, while listening to their home team's radio announcers. But this out-of-sync situation has become a real problem. On the TV side, there are different amounts of satellite delay and compression delay. It depends on whether you're watching a local station or a national network, in standard definition or HD, from an antenna or from cable or from a satellite dish. On the radio side, it also makes a difference how the signal is being transmitted back to the station. And some broadcasters might intentionally delay the signal to edit out profanities.
A few gadgets have been invented to solve the problem. DelayPlayRadio, SportSync Radio, and Radio Shark all claim to delay a radio broadcast to match what you're seeing on TV. But what if the sync is off in the other direction and it's the video that needs to be delayed, maybe for many seconds, as it would be if you were listening to streaming audio from the Internet?
A simple modification to a DVR (digital video recorder) or TiVo could solve all the problems. Am I the first to think of this? Just add to the DVR an audio jack to accept an input from the radio, and a new operational mode: a simulcast mode in which the DVR substitutes the radio audio for the regular TV audio.
You watch the simulcast live, but the DVR is prepared to record either the audio or the video and replay it moments later. For each press of the first button, the DVR will delay the sound by, say, half a second. If you go too far, pressing the other button will reduce the audio delay by half a second each time, until the delay reaches zero, at which point it will start delaying the picture by half a second each time.
little trial and error will enable fathers-in-law to synchronize the
audio and video, and their sons-in-law will be happy again.
AUGUST 15, 2018 AUDIO WEIRDNESS
I had already watched episode 16 of the eleventh season of The Big Bang Theory, and I didn't notice anything strange. Then when the show aired a second time on August 9, I happened to DVR it.
Upon playing back the recording, I immediately did notice an anomaly. The actors were mouthing their lines silently!
A minute later, the picture blinked and now it was possible to hear the dialogue. Seven minutes into the show, there was another blink followed by another dialogue outage, only 20 seconds this time.
During these outages, I heard only an effects track consisting of the fake canned laughter and the whooshes between scenes. (Part of the time I could also hear the dialogue very faintly.) Why does an effects track exist? It comes in handy for dubbing, when the dialogue is replaced with another language.
One possible explanation: CBS was playing video and audio from an improperly configured server that was providing the wrong audio output. Discovering their error, after a minute they switched to a backup server.
Another less likely explanation: Because Pittsburgh's CBS affiliate KDKA was airing a Steelers preseason game, The Big Bang Theory on August 9 was actually being broadcast on WPCW, which normally is a CW affiliate. (This will also be the situation on August 16 and 30.) Maybe the guys in the WPCW control room patched in the CBS feed incorrectly.
But this particular mistake would be impossible unless CBS was transmitting at least two audio streams, the correct one and the effects track. And why would they be sending the effects track at all?
Unless... maybe someone somewhere objected to the artificial laughter and requested it to be transmitted on a separate channel. Then, if they reversed the phase of the effects track and added it to the normal track, the laughs would be canceled out and the show would sound as clean as Young Sheldon.
Eleven years ago tonight, I was in Baltimore, working on a national telecast. Fox Sports Net's "Baseball Thursday" was featuring the Seattle Mariners at the Baltimore Orioles.
It had been nearly two years since Orioles infielder Cal Ripken, Jr., had broken Lou Gehrig's major league record for consecutive games played. Ripken was still adding to his streak, which would continue for more than another year and eventually reach 2,632 straight games.
On that night, August 14, 1997, we went on the air as scheduled, but the game did not start as scheduled. Some of the lights at Camden Yards were not working. The electricians tinkered with this and with that, fixing part of the problem temporarily, but then the lights went out again. Finally, after more than two hours, the people in charge gave up. The game was postponed, to be played as part of a doubleheader the next day. FSN did not have a "Baseball Friday" package, so our involvement was over, and I returned home.
Somewhat later, I began to hear rumors: the electrical failure might have been deliberate. Allegedly, Ripken had been involved in a domestic dispute, and the repercussions would have kept him out of that night's game and ended his streak on an embarrassing note if the game had been played. Orioles management put Ripken's name on the lineup card as usual, but, according to these rumors, they quietly made sure that the game would never start.
But there was no such domestic dispute and no such conspiracy to cover it up, according to Snopes.com. So there.
AUGUST 12, 2018 LOOK OUT BELOW!
Many an American wants to drive a big truck. Sitting up high, he feels empowered. He can look out over all those lesser vehicles and get a good view of the road ahead. But he can't see all the road! He mustn't neglect his immediate surroundings.
The Kia is also better adapted for parking lots. First, the steering is much lighter. (When I got my repaired car back, I had forgotten how firmly I had to grip the steering wheel, and my hand slipped right off the rim at one point.) Also, it's two feet shorter than the Subaru. But most importantly, it's four inches taller and therefore less likely to be overlooked by anybody parked alongside.
Today is the 175th birthday of Robert G. Ingersoll, the celebrated 19th-century orator. In observance of Ingersoll Day, here's an excerpt from his "God in the Constitution," comparing the benefits of theology and science.
I watch news and sports live, and I channel-surf. But often I doze off in front of the television, so I set the DVR to record any prime-time programs I don't want to miss. If I can stay awake, I'll watch some as they air; the rest, when I get around to it. (Late-night political talk is better the next morning, anyway, when the resulting angst won't disturb sleep.)
The bit of wordplay in the title is, I think, the work of Galt MacDermot, who composed the music for the groundbreaking hippie rock musical Hair. He took the line "Let the sunshine in" and broke it up thusly:
In 1970, one of my fellow students in graduate school was Su Morris, who said she had performed in a production of Hair. Its original staging on Broadway was then in the middle of its four-year run. Su did look the type; she was a redhead with "long beautiful hair, shining, gleaming, streaming." But she was rather shy. I didn't ask whether the famous nude scene was included in her production.
(Of the Broadway show, Groucho Marx said, "I was going to go buy a ticket, but I went back to my hotel room, took off my clothes, looked at myself in the mirror and saved eight dollars.")
A Playbill article includes this sentence: "Originally born in 1967 under the auspices of Joseph Papp at the Public Theater (then known as the New York Shakespeare Festival), Hair was substantially reconceived by its creators for its 1968 Broadway debut at the Biltmore Theatre."
AUGUST 4, 2018 HERE COMES REMI
Back in 1988, NBC flew me and more than a thousand others to South Korea, from whence we telecast the Seoul Olympics.
I also traveled to the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, where I worked not for NBC but for the international feed. NBC was able to send a somewhat smaller crew to the site this time because Georgia is part of the U.S., which meant they could easily transmit multiple video streams to New York. There the remote feed from Atlanta could be integrated with graphics and replays and other elements from NBC's existing production facilities at 30 Rock.
AUGUST 1, 2018 DON'T HAVE AN FM RADIO? SEE US