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RF Shorts – Aug. 12, 2011

Tall building news – Virtual WTC, 1000m Kingdom Tower
Joshua Baustein has an article in the New York Times, An App Puts the Twin Towers Back in Sight that describes an app created by Brian August that uses augmented reality to add the twin towers of the World Trade Center back into the New York night skyline. The app is called "110 stories." He's contributed his own money to the project and is now getting support from the public, including a $10,000 contribution from fashion designer Marc Ecko. It looks like it will be available on Android, as Google Creative Labs said Friday it had agreed to offer technical advice and publicity to the project.

If the Kingdom Tower ever gets built, it might be worth the trip to see it. I wonder if there will be antennas on top? The UK Daily Mail's MailOnLine described the 1000 meter high tower, with amazing artists impressions, in the article High and mighty: Stunning new images of world's tallest tower by Lee Moran. Construction firm Saudi Binladen Group has been given the contract to build the $1.2 billion tower. It will be the first building in a plan called "Kingdom City" in north of the Red Sea City of Jeddah in Saudia Arabia.

FCC reminds cable operators of new CableCARD rules
The FCC Enforcement Bureau released a Public Notice (DA 11-1373) reminding cable operators of new CableCARD rules that took effect on August 8. I covered these in a previous RF Report article, but this Public Notice provides some additional information specifically related to CableCARD installation, capability and fees.

Hauppauge Aero-M and Linux?
In my current RF Technology column I lament the lack of Linux support for the Hauppauge Aero-M ATSC and ATSC M/H USB tuner. Based on my experience with it in Windows only, it appears to be the best USB ATSC tuner I've tested. Trip Ericson of fame bought one of these tuners and was also impressed with the performance. He dug into the Linux support issues – posting a request on the Linux-media mailing list and contacting Hauppauge. He found Hauppauge had posted drivers and other files to an FTP site to help Linux developers support the Aero-M. Trip is still trying to get the Aero-M working under Linux, but it looks like we should see Linux support for the Hauppauge Aero-M at some point, especially if Trip is able to get support from some of the Linux developers that have worked with the chips in the tuner.

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.