This article on the ARRL website summarizes quite well the situation with ham radio – and radio in general.
Although it is exciting to be part of a club of radio enthusiasts around the world, one must question whether the licensing system on its own is a hindrance both to freedom and innovation.
The basic debate has these two sides:
Restrict Frequencies for Licencees
“By proving skills and taking tests, you can keep a higher quality of person on the frequencies. If we don’t do this we will have CB radio on ham frequencies”
Let Them Go
“By restricting access to the airwaves we all breath and share, you are exerting controls that should not be there – especially on a technology that enables humans to transmit data. By restricting the airwaves you are limiting both God-given freedom of speech but also innovation because the technology remains only in the hands of those who can (and will) exploit it for gain.”
And it’s a very great debate and one worthy of fighting for.
I’ve been an Ubuntu fan since 2009 now. As soon as I met Ubuntu it was game over for all my desktops, laptops, netbooks, home media servers, etc. There was no competitor who could make a new or existing machine run so quickly and reliably, and without the pain of viruses and continual financial investments to keep it up to date. The most exciting thing was that no one owned me. When I heard that Ubuntu was moving to the phone, I purchased a Nexus 4 (N4) so that I could go along for the ride, as that was the first device for development.
I flashed it on, and took it for a ride. The first thing I noticed was how amazing the user interface was. It was as if (shocking as this may sound) someone had actually designed a phone with the user in mind. When I was forced to use a fruit-phone by the big fruit company for a job once, it was like driving a luxury sports car with one arm cut off and in a cement warehouse: high quality hardware, perhaps, but I’d rather have my freedom and functionality, thank you. The big US spy agency phone (google/android) not only spied on me, but also has a user interface experience that never quite made sense. It was (and still is) difficult to do some basic setting changes. I tried cyanogen mod as a bit of a ‘lesser-of-two-evils’ but it too had the same issues because ultimately it’s all built on the same shaky foundation.
Ubuntu, on the other hand, is built with freedom and people in mind. Randall Ross wrote a great post a while back about the pillars of Ubuntu (seven P’s). This article really helps us understand why Ubuntu is not just software. Randall has been preaching this message for years but only now it’s starting to really hit home with some people. People are starting to ‘get’ that they have been sold a bad deal for computers (Ubuntu has already taken over that show) but now also the computers we carry in our pockets.
As a business owner as well as sales person for our company, I will not deny that there were some bumpy roads in the beginning. I needed some basic things that a smart phone could offer which were a bit buggy when Ubuntu launched on the phone a few years back. I would flash back and forth between the bondage robot (android) and Ubuntu on my N4 while I tried to do my sales job. No battle is easy and it was never promised to be so. Some naysayers would laugh and say ‘why don’t you just wait until they have fixed it’? This would anger me because “relying on they” is what has caused the world to be enslaved by their technology. I knew that I could not wait for ‘they’ to fix things. I had to become part of the solution somehow. So I would stay up to date the best I could, periodically flash in and out and watch the growth. I would offer my feedback and needs to the developer groups and to my surprise, I found out that I wasn’t alone. Others were listening, fixing, building, changing, debating, enhancing and more. I realized one very exciting thing – I was and still am part of what is a major revolution in technology.
A revolution? Isn’t that word a bit strong?
No, it’s not. Do you remember just a few years ago when every phone in every pocket was either a Blackberry or a Nokia? It wasn’t that long ago. I believe it was around 2006, perhaps. Their day is over. A revolution occurred, albeit perhaps not one that has not helped the world. The employees at Blackberry and Nokia felt the revolution and when it came time to renew your nasty cell phone contract, you felt the revolution too.
But this revolution is different. This one comes without catches, snags or enslavement. This one allows you to finally have some control over your phone instead of it and ‘they’ having control over you. Now tell me that that is not a revolution? Unless your head is really deep in the fruit and robot sand, you will be nodding your head in agreement with me and looking painfully at the ‘nice phone’ you just bought.
And so we are at another turning point.
How do you know when it’s a turning point? For me it’s when the ‘thing’ moves from the underground to the masses. It’s the point when it starts to ‘peek out’ and when ‘regular people’ start to acknowledge that something is happening. For me, it’s when the mainstream media has *no choice* but to start covering it or be forced to lose respect.
I believe today is the day.
This article on a very mainstream technology website (you can tell it’s mainstream by the nasty ads for Microsoft, etc, that interrupt your reading) covered the revolution. This article explains how the excitement is now here. The author is unable to deny that something is going on. He is unable to restrain from wanting to be involved.
The timing on this article was also interesting for another reason. It perfectly confirmed advice I gave to a friend who is in the middle of launching a kind of ‘uber business’. He launched his business with the traditional iOS and Android ‘app’ approach. He wanted to show it to me and so he instructed me to ‘download the app’. After a short discussion, I explained to him that this business model may be outdated and on the way to extinction. I did not want to be forced to give a big bad company my information (including GPS location!) to explore my friends business on my phone. I explained politely that he was violating my privacy. By the end of the conversation, I believe that he took my advice to *strongly consider* moving his development to the Ubuntu platform – a place where he will be immediately received with a warm embrace, not to mention a place that is future proof.
Every business that uses technology (and I believe that is *every* business) needs to seriously consider where they will be in three years. The way of the fruit and the slave robot is now over. With the Meizu Pro 5, there is now a very exciting and viable option out of the box. There are no more excuses to not jump in with all support. Not only will you bring more freedom to your customers but you will also sleep better at night knowing that the future of your success is not in the hands of a few very powerful people.
Today is a new and very exciting day for the Ubuntu project.