Tag Archives: radio

Tech Armor, A Girl’s Security

Techny Armor 2

In many ways, the radio is old timey technology.  A throw back of simpler times, when air waves weren’t modulated and a slight hum was tolerable, as was fumbling with the dial to bring the station in clear.  Nowadays, I only listen when I’m alone driving in my car.

In that closed interior, with the world just beyond my windshield, I’m comforted to hear a voice other than the one in my head.  I tire of reminders,  conflict in my schedule, errands that I need to run and I things left undone, like the shirt that requires my attention and the button I keep forgetting to sew back on.  The radio’s DJ is friendly, almost bubbly with idle chatter, pertinent today, and boring enough so I don’t have to focus all of my attention, half-listening and half being indifferent and non-opinionated.

This is pure technology, copper wire and vacuum tubes, transistor radios, soldered circuitry that’s also portable.  Radio reaches people in a way that television never will, because there’s no visual accompaniment to distort one’s own self-image.   Without product placement, without luxury and without perfect abs.  Instead we’re captivated by a voice, the radio personality’s enthusiasm and a distinct annunciation of words.  In between commercials, there’s a nice mix of music.  I like singing along, belting out a Frank Sinatra song or absent mindedly humming along to Billie Holiday’s August in New York.

Ironically, I always have perfect pitch when no one else is the car, my inner ear comes out.   And then, the very best part of radio, is during the “goldie oldie” moment, when that one long forgotten song comes on and miraculously, I know the lyrics!  And soon the warm feelings return, the powdery fluff of nostalgia.  It makes me smile to myself, as I drive along the road.  And I’m reminded again that simple technology, like the radio has a powerful control over me.

Yesterday, a DJ invited listeners to call in with their stories.  One woman called in excitedly, she had recently lost 150 pounds.  Her happiness oozed from the radio’s airwaves.  This stranger made me smile.   Like her, as a kid I too had been teased, she plagued by obesity and me with my big nose.

Now, here she was on the radio sharing the fact that she carried an old photograph and called it a “Fattie-Selfie”,  a reminder of her former self.  And that was it, the radio personality acknowledged her achievement, told her that she was beautiful!  And then thanked her for calling in, made an off-handed comment about the telephone lines being lit up and took the next call.

I blinked, the era of stringed pearls and frilly aprons forever gone.  I glanced at my reflection in the rearview mirror.  Like the radio caller, I too was now comfortable with my looks, I seem to have grown into my big nose.  Or I wasn’t as self-conscious, perhaps a result of being too busy to take notice.  Still, I recall what it felt like, to not resemble the models in any of the fashion magazines.  When I was a young girl, fairytales always made me think being powerless was okay, by taking away the option of having power, as if by design.

As I pulled into an empty parking space, I saw a group of little girls eating ice-cream laughing, and enjoying their silliness.  They were at that perfect age, when looks don’t matter and eating has nothing to do with disorders.   That being self-sufficient means she can tie a good knot in her shoelaces, as a preamble to running wild and free.

The radio DJ introduced a new song, it was upbeat and a perfect segue from the girls back to my reality.  I reached over to cut the car engine off and thought those little girls will make their own shiny suits of armor; I hope it fits them well.

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Filed under Gender, Gender Equality, Girls, technology

Technology Calls Talk Radio

$ 0 Talk radio

Blah, blah, blah…  Maybe that’s what we sound like to our lesser selves, when we’re not feeling clever.

The sound that our minds hear, when technology is stale, like AM radio.  It’s what happens when technology is no longer exciting or fun.  Luckily, that isn’t the case with our smart technology.

The true ingenuity of apps, isn’t just what they’re capable of doing today but what inventiveness we conjure up tomorrow.  Those applications we add onto our devices to make them uniquely ours, that even if we could, who wouldn’t put back into the box.

How quickly we’d become outraged if we were restricted to the limits of a landline phone!  It would be a little bit like the Prohibition Era, a fertile ground where even the most law abiding citizen would become incorrigible.

It’s not like that with the radio, because the radio is for all practical purposes mostly unchanged.   It’s clung to its form like no other technology.  Here and there a tweak, maybe to bandwidth, or stereo and most recently high definition.  But really, nothing monumental.  It seems as if innovation stayed away; rarely fetching a nod of approval from a futurist because radio is, well unimagined as anything other than what it is, which is odd.  But maybe that’s simply because it’s great technology.

Other than the housing, nothing has changed.  Sure the components have gone from big to small, but the skeletal form has been slow to change.  Copper wire, a crystal, a glass vacuum tube, a solid state transistor and printed board circuitry.  And from this, the new breed of technology, as if it were a testing gorund.

Interestingly our sense of sound, when culled by a radio gets our attention in that old nostalgic way of a family gathered around a radio.  Talk radio and a sports game can engage us, especially when a talented sports announcer does that energetic play by play, colorful analyst.  We “see” the game in our imaginations, through his spoken words.  A gift really.

I’m only thinking about radios now, because I recently read an article that suggested white gaps in mobile technology can be used in low end areas.  Areas like zoos, that aren’t being supported by cellular.  Utilized in those areas where data traffic is in low demand and voice transmission might be beneficial.  Capturing that signal, as it bounces around mountain ranges, in leap-frog fashion across the earth’s curves, travelling along a noisy bandwidth.

It’s the same premise of a radio’s frequency signals, amplitude and modulated that evolved from analog to digital.  Then, like now, bandwidth space became choppy at lower ends, gaps caused white noise and eventually, those spaces were sold.  Think AM talk radio.

Maybe it’s just me, but wouldn’t it be something if we could be more inventive with radio??? In the Digital Age we might be more efficient, and not resort to old timey problem solving, maybe that’s the reason it’s called a communication gap.

Blah-blah-blah…  that’s when we become our lesser  selves, and not up to feeling clever.

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Filed under radio, technology, Uncategorized