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View Diary: Bundle or Nothing: Big Telecoms ENDING Universal Phone Service (306 comments)

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  •  um, no also: (15+ / 0-)

    Since the previous two comments already demolished your hypothetical about emergencies, I'll stick to the one about audio.

    Audio quality on a telephone makes the difference between hearing or not hearing, the subtleties of tone and cadence that convey emotional state information.  Audio quality on a telephone makes the difference between hearing someone the first time or having to constantly ask "what did you say?" as you're swerving all over the road trying to figure out the missing words in the drop-outs.  

    Shitty audio is sufficient for perfunctory conversations along the lines of "I just caught the bus, I should be at your house in twenty minutes."   Shitty audio is not sufficient for emotionally sensitive conversations, or conversations where nuance is important, or conversations while driving.  

    And the accident statistics prove my point in spades:

    There was never an increase in accidents reported by people who used the old analog mobile handsets, from the 1940s when mobile service began, to the 1990s when the last of it was phased out.  That's 50 years of statistics that would have been compiled by auto insurance companies as certainly as any other auto safety statistics, even with a small population of users.  

    There was never an increase in accidents reported by people who used Citizens' Band (CB) radio while driving, an enormously popular communications medium in the 1970s, with millions of users.  CB is analog transmission, and you even have to press a button on the mic to speak.  And the auto insurance industry would have noticed if that was a hazard.  

    But now with cellphones using G.729 compression (shitty audio), we see the increase in accidents.  Coincidence?  Hell no.   Case proven, case closed.

    "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

    by G2geek on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 05:23:28 AM PDT

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    •  heh (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kyril, congenitalefty, rcnewton, JeffW, sb

      My best mentor in electronics when I was young was a Bell Engineer who designed and built regional microwave networks.  I understand where you're coming from in terms of analog quality.  It was a thing.  A lot of love and engineering care went into it.

      Buy as a longtime ham, as well as someone who has read some of the studies...I gotta say...you're reaching a bit on the accidents :)  But I think you know that.  Do anything but watch the damn road and you're a worse driver.  Whether you're hitting the local repeater or babbling on your smartphone.

      ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

      by jessical on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 07:37:14 AM PDT

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      •  actually i'm not "reaching" about accidents. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jessical, Brown Thrasher, mrkvica

        It's a falsifiable hypothesis, and I've designed a controlled experiment to test it.

        Basically you sort volunteers randomly into groups and put them into realistic driving simulators:  Control 1 (no conversation), Control 2 (live conversation with live person in passenger seat), Test 1 (phone conversation, wearing Plantronics headset connected via landline circuit to another person in another room), and Test 2 (phone conversation, wearing Plantronics headset connected via cellphone to another person in another room).  

        The hypothetical prediction is that Test 2 will show a significantly higher error rate than any of the other conditions, and that Test 1 will not show a significantly higher error rate than Control 1 or Control 2.  Significance test via T-test, two-tailed.  

        To minimize experimenter expectation effects, use all the controls that are typically used in high-scrutiny psych experiments such as psi research, for example each group has a separate assistant to instruct them, and the assistants are unaware of the hypothesis being tested (this is needed due to the obvious difference in treatment conditions between "no passenger, no conversation" and "passenger, live conversation" and "wearing headset, phone conversation").  

        To make the test more realistic and encourage the subjects to pay attention to the conversations as they would in real life, subjects would also be told that they are going to be quizzed on the items that occur in the conversation (if any), after they have finished the driving run.  Scoring those quizzes might provide additional information.  And lastly, the passengers and people at the other end of the phone, would have standard conversational material drawn from recent news and chosen to be reasonably acceptable to average subjects, where the subject's comprehension of the material can be quizzed after the driving test.  

        I would bet anyone serious dough on the outcome of that project.

        "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

        by G2geek on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 03:01:48 PM PDT

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        •  hell if you'll fund it... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kyril, G2geek

          ...I'll do it :}  I'm sure I can find a PhD sponsor or two here at school :}  But that funding thing is a must!

          ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

          by jessical on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 03:09:19 PM PDT

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          •  heh, I was about to ask you! (0+ / 0-)

            Do I look like I'm made out of money?:-)  

            But if you'll fund it, I'll do it.  And I could probably find a department that would sponsor me for a PhD involving that study.  

            My research design, I have first dibs, neener!:-)

            "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

            by G2geek on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 06:04:00 PM PDT

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      •  He's not reaching far. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Brown Thrasher

        One theory about why talking on a cellphone is almost worse than driving drunk is because of the fact that the shitty, compressed audio requires more brainpower to handle the task.  Since we have a finite amount of brainpower available, that detracts from the amount available for other tasks -- such as driving and evaluating your environment.

    •  I'm glad my smartphone has excellent audio (7+ / 0-)

      I would notice, being a musician and producer.

      I stopped having a land line a few years ago.

      Of course, I live in civilization (mainly so I don't have to waste a ton of gas to go places)

      To be a Republican, you have to believe that our economic problems are caused by the poor having too much money and the rich not having enough.

      by Tommy Jones the Band on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 08:07:57 AM PDT

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      •  I'd be happily surprised if that was the case. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Brown Thrasher, ozsea1

        What make & model of phone, and what carrier, and if you don't mind, what city?  

        I can look that up and find out if they've started to use something better than the execrable G.729.  But once a signal is compressed per G.729, information is lost that can't be re-created at the other end.  

        BTW, I was in music production for a while also, studio recording and live, back in the days of Studer A-800 recorders and analog consoles, when digital effects were new.  

        And the way I deal with cellphone audio is by having a Plantronics binaural (2-earphone mono) headset on the PBX phone I use at my desk.  That makes a noticeable improvement in comprehension, probably due to the mutual delay in audio signals crossing between the two hemispheres of the brain, and some interaction between the brain's "sampling rate" driven by baseline EEG frequency, and the cellphone packet sampling rate.  However it's still nowhere near landline audio quality, where I can get perfect comprehension even using 1920s dial phones with their original receivers on one ear only.  

        "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

        by G2geek on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 03:15:44 PM PDT

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    •  I don't remember CB as high quality audio. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      G2geek, kyril

      Noise and various forms of interference vs compression artifacts?  I'd probably  choose compression.  Maybe it depends on your personal auditory processing issues.

      Where are we, now that we need us most?

      by Frank Knarf on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 11:30:05 AM PDT

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      •  AM analog transmission. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Brown Thrasher, ozsea1

        But the human brain has an easier time filtering analog noise than it does at processing digitally-compressed audio.  We evolved in an environment where we had to filter analog noise, for example understanding someone at a distance during a wind and rain storm.  

        "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

        by G2geek on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 03:04:14 PM PDT

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        •  Maybe yours does (0+ / 0-)

          Not mine.

          "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

          by kyril on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 04:54:58 PM PDT

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          •  this is testable. (0+ / 0-)

            Take an audio track that's recorded at FM radio quality, that consists of someone speaking a series of random drawable nouns.  Run it through various transmission media under actual field conditions.  Record the results of those and play them back to volunteers via speakers or headphones.  Have the volunteers transcribe what they hear.  Score as a raw percentage, run a two-tailed T-test, and thereby ascertain who does better with what.

            Sheesh, between this and the driving simulator example, I could get a PhD doing this stuff.

            "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

            by G2geek on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 06:08:36 PM PDT

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