Category Archives: Telecom Ramblings

There’s Nothing that a Wompom Cannot Do!

Flanders and Swann used to sing an amusing song about the Wompom – an imaginary animal / vegetable hybrid with an amazing range of properties. This song, which is still available on iTunes, often comes to mind when I’m reading … Continue reading

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Time for Unconventional Thinking

I recently published a white paper describing some unconventional threats to utility infrastructure. In addition to rather unusual (but potentially devastating) threats such as coronal mass ejections from the sun, electromagnetic pulses and space debris, the paper also talks about … Continue reading

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The Extraordinary Power of Mathematics

Modern physics is increasingly dominated by “big science” projects such as the Large Hadron Collider. However, it is refreshing to know that mathematics can enable a lone genius to make earth-shattering discoveries using nothing more sophisticated than a notepad and … Continue reading

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Two Cheers for the Smartphone

I recently bought my first smartphone. You might find it surprising that someone who works in the telecommunications industry and has an obvious interest in technology should be such a late adopter of this almost-ubiquitous technology. Let me explain. When … Continue reading

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Is Anybody Out There?

I’ve recently been reading a book by John Gribbin about the possibility of life in other parts of our galaxy. The title – Alone in the Universe – makes it pretty clear what the answer is going to be, but … Continue reading

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Noises in the Earth

The early telegraph pioneers encountered major problems with cables, so there was a strong incentive for them to minimise the amount of cabling required. Fortunately, the use of an “earth return” meant that one wire (rather than two) was sufficient … Continue reading

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The Victorians were Rocked to their Socks

Methods of communicating over long distances advanced surprisingly little from the days of the Roman Empire to the start of the nineteenth century. Although beacons and semaphores were occasionally used, the speed at which information could be transmitted was typically … Continue reading

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Concerns about Copper

The high price of copper on world markets has led to a spate of cable thefts, and this has provided telephone companies with a strong incentive to find cost-effective ways of replacing copper telephone wire with optical fibre. However, this is … Continue reading

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Computer Bloke stars in Olympics Opening Ceremony

One of the more bizarre moments in the recent opening ceremony for the Olympic Games occurred when the spotlight fell on a bloke sitting at a desk in front of a computer. Commentators on certain American television channels were unable … Continue reading

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The First Mobile Phone?

In 1879, Professor David Hughes noticed that a clicking noise occurred in his home-made telephone whenever he used his induction balance. Hughes eventually found that the induction balance had a loose contact, and that the clicking went away when the contact … Continue reading

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