The Watering Hole: October 29 – Old Vs. New

The TRF receiver was patented in 1916 by Ernst Alexanderson. His concept was that each stage would amplify the desired signal while reducing the interfering ones.

In the preceding circuit diagram, each of those circular things is a vacuum tube, each about the size of a reddi-whip can and each needs the equivalent of 16 watts of power. Add to that the power supplies and amplifiers, the total comes to about 160 watts. The total size was about that of a dorm fridge.

Now with integrated circuits, the total draw of a TRF system comes to about .46 watts in a package that contains but one 14 (7 in-line) terminal IC, one four terminal IC power amp and six passive components. The total size was about that of a deck of cards. The circuit is not that much different from the old:

The first diagram illustrates the world when I was born and the second, the state of the art 40 years ago. I was 30 in 1971- do you believe there have been changes since then?

This is our Open Thread. How do you think technology has changed since you were born? Remember that the Apple II, the first genuine home computer, was introduced on April 16, 1977.

51 thoughts on “The Watering Hole: October 29 – Old Vs. New

  1. Once upon a time in the East, the local auto mechanic in my town was spending most of his time building Heathkit computers. I was more concerned with when he could grind the head valves on my Jeep, and I guess my impatience showed through. He told me, referring to the computers, “This is the future, the future of the world!”
    I must have looked pretty skeptical, he went back to soldering his circuit boards, and I chugged off to another auto shop.

    30 years on down the road the jeep has likely been crushed, sent to China, melted and turned into toasters and a washing machine or two.
    I sit rapt to my monitor, totally plugged in, and I hope the unlikely prophet I met not so very long ago is rich and happy, or at least smug.

  2. I attribute most of the technological advances in my lifetime to the space program.
    When JFK challenged us to accomplish goals beyond our reach was a challenge that needs to be reissued.

      • Had the man child known as George not killed the space program, I would say we could rise to that challenge.

        The space program was killed by George Bush not by Barack Obama.

        • George didn’t kill it exactly… he just privatized it. And when one privatizes things, it costs more for the public and someone’s going to get rich. Takes it out of the scientific realm and places it in the hands of entrepreneurs.

          Of course, when they start charging the public for transportation, the corporations that will own space in the future will do a cost benefit analysis and start to cut corners, which will eventually lead to safety cuts, which will lead to someone’s death.

          But hey, it’s all in the name of profit.

      • To do it within ten years, and to overwhelm the fearsome Russian space advances in the process.

        JFK challenged the nation to explore ideas and concepts that were far beyond the ordinary and far beyond the familiar; he also refused war with Cuba, avoided war with Russia while forcing them to withdraw their missiles from Cuba; he ordered a pullout of US military advisors from Vietnam; he reduced the maximum tax rate on the rich to 70%. And he was assassinated in November, 1963.

        Reminds me of something by Voltaire:

        “In one pamphlet called The Questions of Zapata, a candidate for the priesthood, Zapata, asks innocently:

        ‘How shall we proceed to show that the Jews, whom we burn by the hundred, were for four thousand years the chosen people of God?

        ‘When two Councils anathematize each other, as has often happened, which of them is infallible?’

        “Zapata, receiving no answer, took to preaching God in all simplicity. He announced to men the common Father, the rewarder, the punisher, and pardoner. He extricated the truth from the lies, and separated religion from fanaticism; he taught and practised virtue. He was gentle, kindly, and modest; and he was burned at Valladolid in the year of grace 1631.”

        • The part that’s almost enough to bring tears to one’s eyes is that, if President Obama addressed the nation and announced a plan to put solar cells on every appropriate roof in the country within ten years, some dumb cracker would shoot him.

    • Sadly the challenge at present is to clean up our room before we can go out and play.
      In JFK’s era, the sky was the limit, the oceans were touted as being the food source of the future, and communism was the only boogy man.
      In such a short amount of time, the oceans have been disastrously depleted of fish, land and air has been poisoned to an alarming degree, capitalism has gobbled and squandered precious resources, and the sky is so full of space junk that if and when humans do develop the technology to survive in space long enough to find another home, we could be shredded before getting out of orbit. The challenge at present is to find the means to survive here.
      The greatest problem is that capitalism has bred an era of greed, and more more more. Humans have not matured to the point where they value what they have.

  3. Just a quick “hello”. The power has been going on and off for the last 2 hours and I expecting it to go off for a longer period of time soon. We are experiencing a heavy, wet snowfall which is clinging onto trees that still have green leaves. The poor trees in my yard are bent in half. I’ll try to get some pictures and post them when I get a chance. The weather has been strange this year.

    • At least it sounds like good material to build snowmen if you get snowed in and bored. The first day that power is back on would be a good day to contact Congressmen and make a plea for investing in infrastructure like underground power and communication lines.

  4. Major change this week in the Daily Kos A-Palooza. Contributor “thinking” is still obviously poor, but their spelling has improved remarkably (though it still remains a bit short of perfection). Here’s a brief excerpt from one of the hate mails to demonstrate both spelling improvement and lack of thinking:

    The only way to restore actual democracy is to elect Dr. Paul. President Dr. Paul would end our “relationship” (more like domestic abuse where we are the victim) with the New World Order AKA “United “Nations”” (Please tell me how Nauru with its 5,000 people has as much voting power as the US who after all pays the bills). He would end the “Fountain of endless money” AKA “The Fed” which is main driver of inflation and instability: NO GREATER THIEVES IN OUR HISTORY THAN THE FED: THEY STEAL OUR FUTURE!!! Dr. Paul would end all fascist/totalitarian federal “agencies”: No more would the Department of education brainwash our kids into being obedient servants of the super-state! No more private armies and unlimited powers for the Department of energy! No more military-industrial complex colluding with the corrupt Department of defense (paid for by us and of course unlimited money ILLEGALLY printed by the Fed!)!! No more domestic surveillance, warrantless searches and indefinite detention by the unaccountable, uncontrolled and fascist Deparment of Homeland “security” (Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety!!!!!)!!

    Taxation was developed by fascists and IS AGAINST THE CONSTITUTION!!! The purpose of taxation was to punish indepedent Americans and to turn free people into slaves of the government! Under Dr. Paul all taxes would be abolished as UNCONSITUTIONAL ATTAKCS ON OUR LIBERTY!!

    • That is perhaps one of the most rambling, tourettic, run on sentences I have read in a long time.

      I vaguely recall something about “The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises”

      Taxation was developed by fascists. Hmmmm, that’s a new one.

      There’s medication that can help him with the issues he has
      (I say male because I’ve never read a rant like that from a female).

      • What caught my eye was that he spelled ‘fascist’ correctly. I figured the other dozen or so misspellings were mere typos caused by fingers flying over the keys

        The tax thing is, i.i.r.c., laid out much as you say in Article I, Section 9, Clause 1. The writer clearly has never read the Constitution, but then I’m not sure “Dr. Paul” has either.

        As to medication, I agree. I would probably recommend strychnine.

      • The purpose of taxation was to punish indepedent Americans and to turn free people into slaves of the government!

        Odd. I always thought the purpose of taxation was to raise funds. Odd, too, that the very same people who wrote the Constitution imposed a federal tax the year after the document was ratified. Surely they would have noticed that it was “unconstitutional.”

    • “Under Barack Obama’s watch, we’ve expended $805 billion to liberate the people of Iraq and, more importantly, 4,400 American lives,” she said.

      Uh, but… Obama gets to inherit all the debt and all the lost lives back to 2003? And, anyway, hasn’t the Right been telling us for years that liberating the Iraqi people was a noble effort? But now that the war is ending, it’s ALL Obama’s fault?

      She should have heeded the warning about the brown acid.

      • The stupid/crazy is mind boggling. Smart/sane people just can’t understand why saying such things would sound like a good idea. With most people, they approach sanity once in a while so one can make a guess whether they are completely insane, congenital idiots, or such pathological liars that they will say anything for a contribution. PRick Ptayerry, “Herb” KochCain, and Mittens being convenient examples. In Shelly’s case I can’t tell whether she believes the shit she makes up or not.

      • She should have heeded the warning about the brown acid.


        If only the people who live in BatGuano’s head were a result of recreational drugs – there would be an excuse. Alas, they are not.

    • I’m still trying to find the wording in the Constitution that says America has the duty or right or whatever to liberate any foreign country.

  5. Environmentalists hunt wildlife-killing nurdles

    Nurdles and other small bits of plastic may look like food to many marine mammals, fish and birds. Biologists with the Marine Mammal Center in Marin County have documented health problems associated with the ingestion of plastic. A necropsy of a sperm whale a few years ago found 450 pounds of debris, including plastic cones, in the stomach, center biologists said.

    (beginning 01 Jan ’12, in my fair city, no store may use plastic bags! I’m really looking forward to the clueless and their remarks about not having the ‘convenience’ of the market to furnish ugly plastic bags. The damn milk has a handle – you don’t need bag!
    You have 8 items that can be stacked in your arms.
    Get a reusable bag – they aren’t that difficult to keep in your car or backpack)


    Tea Party Group Wants Bachmann To Quit

    The group explained its reasons why it’s grown incensed with Bachmann. “I think it’s pretty obvious that Michele Bachmann is about Michele Bachmann,” American Majority Executive Director Matt Robbins said. “Anyone who knows the congresswoman, and knows… FULL ARTICLE AT WRTV INDIANAPOLIS

  7. House, does this show interview the ‘guests’ individually or are they on the show at the same time?

    ABC’s “This Week”—2012 GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann; Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.

    • This is sad.
      Yet somehow I relish the thought of seeing a raccoon with a jack-o-lantern on it’s furry little head, bobbling down the street.

      • It is a beautiful specimen – nice someone was looking out otherwise that owl would be in its afterlife.


        I’d actually pay/die laughing to see that raccoon with a pumpkin head!

        • It’s great that there are wildlife care persons so quick at hand in the neighborhood. I saw one seal recently that looked like it had some net/fishing line it was dragging around. Nothing I could do about it, and it seemed to be acting normal. Today I missed the photo of the season, a seal with a large salmon, chowing down. I had become passe about watching the numerous sleek heads that pop up, thinking “How many pictures of seal heads sticking out of the water do I need?” Hence I missed the moment, as it popped up, flinging the fish about…

          • We have several wildlife care centers that do wonderful work.
            (also have Marine Animal Rescue).

            One, Lindsey Wildlife, came to the rescue of a Mom Peregrine and daughter off-spring: shot a week apart (by a pigeon fancier).
            The Mom’s rehab is not going so well – she had a broken ulna and feather damage. The healing was very slow and then she re-injured while in a large flight enclosure.

            The daughter is doing well – at the moment being cared for by a falconer. She’s being exercised/flown put through the hunt mode.
            A long haul and hopefully she’ll be released to the wild. (daughter is this years hatch and had fledged a mere two weeks or so before being shot.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s