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Re: [aprssig] Going DIGITAL!

> Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2000 23:09:13 -0500 (EST)
> From: Bob Bruninga <bruninga@nadn.navy.mil>
> To: "TAPR APRS Special Interest Group" <aprssig@lists.tapr.org>
> cc: amsat-bb@amsat.org
> Subject: [aprssig] Going DIGITAL!

A few comments that I wrote a while ago related to this thread follow.
In general, I agree with many of the ideas expressed in Bob's original
message.  However, I would like to extend his original idea five or ten
years to the present.

> DIGITAL!   All the world is going digital..!
> What about HAM radio??????
> 	[...]

I would say: "The Web! The whole world has [already] gone to the Web.
What about ham radio?

The Web browser is the universal user interface of the wired world.
I believe that we should consider making it the universal user interface
of ham radio.

As far as I can tell, every kid coming out of high school is skilled at
using a Web browser to access the information the want.

(Actually, my personal experience is a bit more emphatic.  There are 81
kids in my daughter's seventh grade class.  Her AOL buddy list has over
fifty entries.  Of course, this list contains some duplicates and a few
kids that aren't in her class.  Nonetheless, at least half of her class
is accessible via AOL Instant Messaging Service.  The rest of the class
is online, just not accessible via AOL instant messaging.  And they use
instant messaging.  There appears to be a regular chat room going among
these seventh graders every evening after they are done with homework.)

((We can discuss some other day the implications of the claim I saw the
other day that the average age of hams is 54, including whether
hams are less likely to be wired than the population at large.))

So, it seems to me that the user interface we want for emergency
communications is a Web browser.  Everybody has one.  Everybody
knows how to use one.   There is simply the small matter of the
magic required to buckle a Web browser up to a packet network...

(Please note that I am suggesting that a Web browser would make a great
user interface.  I am not suggesting that we ship HTML or even WAP over
the air.  This whole idea does, however, sort of assume that the TNCs
have Web servers in them...)

> What happened to packet?  Every PC, every palm device, every digital 
> device does (or at least SHOULD) have a plain ascii text capability.  

Nearly every computing device also has a Web browser.

> 3) A 720K floppy with PROCOMM or other simple dumb terminal program on it.

First, the world moved to CDs a long time ago.  I think we pretty much
agree that the day of the Commodore-64 has long since gone (at least for
everything except ham radio).  We should ask ourselves how we figure out
when or whether hams should park their MS-DOS machines next to their

Second, the browser is already installed, so you might not even need to 
carry a CD.

And finally, if TNCs had Ethernet connections (well, gosh, if TNCs can
have Web servers, surely they can have Ethernet connections...) the
TNC and the user wouldn't even have to be in the same room (or state).

But, I would also be the first to admit that all this won't fit in
a Z-80 TNC.

(But, perhaps modern rigs should contain small Web servers so that hams
can use a Web browser on their PCs to communicate with their rigs, rather
than specialized, rig-specific software.  Does anyone want to start a pool
about when the first ham rig will contain a mini-Web server?)

(And, no, I didn't write this message with a Web browser -- I used vi and
Berkeley Mail just like I always have.  But, I'm not suggesting that for
everyone, much less as a user interface for an "instant-on" emergency
communications solution.  Of course, I didn't send this over packet 


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