Google TV

The " Wall Street Journal" has said that Google will introduce Android-based television software to developers at its I/O conference this month. This is Google’s open platform operating system it hopes will be widely used to drive set-top boxes (STBs), mobile phones and other Internet devices. Companies apparently looking at the software include Sony, Intel and Logitech.

The San Francisco Google Developer’s conference is projected to draw about 3000 developers. Google is expected to provide details about the technology and encourage its adoption by software programmers and vendors. The "Wall Street Journal" article said that developers will need to be convinced that developing Google-based TV apps will lead to more profits. Intel has been pushing its Atom chip for use in new platforms. Currently, it's used in a variety of low-cost laptops and netbook computers, and would be a likely candidate for Android-based software.

Bloomberg has reported that Sony will announce use of the Intel Atom chip and Google software at the conference.

Google began a test last year with DISH Network, allowing company employees to access the Internet via Google-enabled DISH STBs. Results of those tests have not been released.

An article from newteevee said that Google TV could be supported by Samsung, but that LG has said it's not interested in the platform. Panasonic’s Excecutive Vice President Bob Perry stated that the company is not working on any Google TV devices because of cost issues associated with powerful chips needed to run Google’s software. The article said that Google would make the code for its VP8 video codec open source and that Google TV could be based on that codec.

DISH and DIRECTV launch interactive advertising

The DISH Network and DIRECTV announced a cooperative effort by launching a new interactive advertising platform. The platform is called Advanced Satellite Advertising Platform (ASAP) and provides national television advertisers access to nearly 30 million U.S. households.

One important feature of the platform aspect is the ability to deliver interactive content and capability to viewers. The content will be displayed on a uniform satellite-delivered channel dedicated to interactive advertising. Viewers will have the option to watch commercials and then, if desired, engage in further activities with the advertiser. Possible additional content and activities might include expanded product information, specific regional information, such as retailer location, simple gaming and easy ways to request more information. Contests could be used to help drive participation.

The ASAP program will use third-party research services, providing advertisers with independent metrics of the platform’s performance.

RF will fry your brain

Here’s a story RF engineers will love.

We’ve all met tower climbers or long-time transmitter engineers who may have seemed to not have both oars in the water. The cause, of course we said, was exposure to high levels of RF.

This story from "Slate" magazine replays a writer’s experience in spending part of a day at the transmitter site on Sandia Crest mountain, near Albuquerque, NM. The writer was there as part of a bet to see if he would fry his brain by standing close to multiple transmitters. The mountain-top location is home to dozens of broadcast, microwave, cell and two-way transmitters. From the article:

“Spend an hour or two in front of the antennas," I was advised by Bill Bruno, a Los Alamos National Laboratory physicist and self-diagnosed "electrosensitive" who sometimes attends public hearings wearing a chain-mail-like head dress to protect his brain. "See if aspirin cures the headache you'll probably get, and see if you can sleep that night without medication."

The writer took up the bet, even taking an RF meter to monitor exposure. The story is humorous and certainly helps debunk, though not in a really scientific way, the wild-haired tales presented by those who believe they can hear RF signals.

Oh wait, I think I hear the series "Bewitched" in my head ...