Monday, March 30, 2009

PigiGigabytes per Km:

One of the magazines that we subscribe to has a description of an unusual tourist experience, in Israel. After you visit this place, you can take one of their homing pigeons away with you. You put a message in its little carrying thing, and you release it, to return to the tourist spot. When they receive it, they send you an email with your message, to confirm the bird's safe arrival. (I'm pretty sure you're supposed to release the bird in Israel, not after you get off of your international plane flight.)

This homing pigeon thing interests me as a type of communications pipeline. I cut my computer teeth on terminals that transmitted data at ten letters per second. I've utilized many other speeds, including 300 bits per second, 1200, 9600, DSL and T1. And I've sent and received data on densely packed media, CDs and tapes. As many people have pointed out, a delivery of a bunch of CDs overnight can actually represent more speed than a T1 line, or even HDTV over the air. Noticing the various data speeds that we have to live with can be fascinating!

So naturally I thought about filling a little 32GB chip with data and letting the homing pigeon carry it home. That would be yet another communications media, and another interesting speed.
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