Thursday, March 30, 2017

A Confluence of Divergent Interests - Interop ITX 2017

I'm inordinately excited to announce that I will be speaking at Interop ITX 2017 and leading two morning yoga classes this year! I couldn't be happier to combine my love of Wi-Fi and yoga at Interop.

You can find me Wednesday May 17th discussing "Wireless Security Gotchas to Avoid" and leading morning yoga classes (poolside) Wednesday and Thursday morning 7am to 8am.

You can save 20% off any Interop pass with the discount code HUBER.

See you soon at Interop at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas!

You can read more about my love of yoga over on my other blog

Comparing the Power Output

Apples & Oranges - They Don't Compare

So many 'news' sources online will compare the UV radiation of an incandescent lightbulb to the radioactive output of plutonium as if the output levels of these two things can even be indicated on the same data chart. The "radiation" power output level of the incandescent bulb is infinitesimally small when compared to legitimately dangerous radioactive particles.

I will attempt to chart the power output of devices often clumped in with one another in comparison conversations with no regard to normalizing the data in order to compare apples to apples. There are differences in spectral density measurements at different operational frequencies and I've calculated these for the common cellular networks (T-Mobile, Verizon and AT&T) based on this Wikipedia entry.

The FCC RF Exposure Guideline document doesn't get into specifics, but gives estimations for typical cellular tower sites. I used my previous blog on Smart Meters and their power output for the links for mW to W calculators, and this Field Strength Calculator tool by Compliance Engineering (a EMC testing laboratory in Australia) just to see if there was any difference in the numbers when represented in V/m
 since Lloyd Burrell of ElectricSense has the opinion that we should use V/instead of W/cm2. I found no difference in the chart data rankings using either numerical representation of the data as you can see in these charted data comparisons. The chart line shape (and the charted difference between the values) is equivalent regardless of which way the data is represented.

This document by the FCC "Questions and Answers about Biological Effects and Potential Hazards of Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields" is a bit dated (1999) but shows the mathematical formulas used to derive spectral density metrics for many different types of devices.

I plotted the following devices: Microwaves, Smart Meters, Indoor Wi-Fi Access Points, four common cellular frequencies used today as well as a modern DECT 6.0 cordless phone.

Here is the table version of the data I gathered:

W/cm2 V/m mW/cm2
Microwave 0.0000005 1.37 0.0005
1920–1930 MHz DECT Cordless Phones 0.0000179 8.21 0.0179
Smart Meters 0.000018 8.24 0.018
WiFi Indoor 0.000063 15.41 0.063
100-400MHz 0.0002 27.46 0.2
400MHz 0.0002 27.46 0.2
500MHz 0.00025 30.7 0.25
600MHz 0.0003 33.63 0.3
T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T 700MHz 0.00035 36.32 0.35
800MHz 0.0004 38.83 0.4
T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T 850MHz 0.000425 40.03 0.425
900MHz 0.00045 41.19 0.45
1000MHz 0.0005 43.42 0.5
1100MHz 0.00055 45.54 0.55
1200MHz 0.0006 47.56 0.6
1300MHz 0.00065 49.5 0.65
1400MHz 0.0007 51.37 0.7
1500MHz 0.00075 53.17 0.75
1600MHz 0.0008 54.92 0.8
T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T 1700MHz 0.00085 56.61 0.85
1800MHz 0.0009 58.25 0.9
T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T 1900MHz 0.00095 59.85 0.95
2000MHz 0.001 61.4 1
FCC Limits Cellular 1.6 2456.01 1600

It is difficult to read the charts when including the FCC limits on cell tower output levels as that value (1.6W/cm2) is nearly 200% higher than the average spectral density measured at cell towers operating in the 1900MHz frequency spectrum (.00095W/cm2). The chart on the left includes the FCC limit and the chart on the right shows the graph of the common "wireless" devices used as comparative items in EMF articles.

I get frustrated when I come across people on the internet claiming to be experts and in the same breath they compare a cordless phone to a microwave to a cell phone agains your head for hours at a time. Just because these things operate "wirelessly" does not mean they all pose the same threat level. This is akin to saying that a house cat is as dangerous as a lion because they're both felines.

You may have noticed that I have not focused on localized exposure to cell phone signals, meaning carrying your cell phone close to your person or having your cell phone next to your head for long periods of time spent talking on the phone. These exposure levels are represented in measures of Specific Absorption Rate (SAR). I am not a mathematician and as such, I've found no way to correlate the power output/spectral density measurements in W/cm2, mW/cm2, V/cm2 to a SAR value. Mobile phones undergo SAR testing in a laboratory environment where the phone is placed near a representation of a human head and SAR absorption rates are measured at different frequencies and positions in which the phone could be held by the user.

The audio quality of the following video is terrible, but the explanation of how SAR testing is performed is quite good.

In the years I've carried a cell phone on my person, the first 6 were only intermittent (only having the cell phone when I was on call) and I'd carry it in my handbag. Since I've had a personal phone, I occasionally carry it in my back pocket, but more often than not - it's in my handbag. When I have long conference calls, I use wired earbuds and sit the phone on my desk. My friend Sam has developed a rash/burn on his upper thigh after many years of carrying his cell phone in his front pants pocket. I do not discredit the potential harm from long term exposure to cell phone signals, but let's not start wearing space blankets! There's a big difference between a psychological ailment and a physiological ailment even if they're both physically debilitating.

If you are curious what the SAR test show for your model of cellphone, you can find this information on the manufacturer's website. Here are links to a few major makes and models.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

The Making of a Kraftwerk Wedding

Photo - Jon Wolding
It all started with a challenge to take a memorable (and awesome) driver's license photo... I donned my platinum wig & got an excellent glamour shot. David decided to dress as Kraftwerk for his driver's license photo and the rest (as they say) is history...

Knowing we were going to have a Kraftwerk themed wedding, I came up with the "weddingbahn" concept, created the 'cover art' for the invites and mailed them out. We'd set the date for January 4th, a Wednesday which would pair nicely as a Kraftwerk themed Wax Wednesday at Ella's Americana Folk Art Cafe in Tampa, FL (our favorite local restaurant). We reached out to our pal Michael Donaldson (aka Q-Burns Abstract Message) to compose Kraftwerk-esque wedding music & asked him to be our DJ for the event.

Getting a red shirt made online was the easy part (even if I put it off too long and then had to expedite shipping). I ordered my red shirt from Sumissura and it fit perfectly! I couldn't be happier with their attention to detail. The shirt was beautiful.

I hadn't given any consideration to decorations until Chef Suz at Ella's told us we could come in and setup the night before. Decorations? We didn't have any decorations. Easy. Well, that didn't last long - David said we needed decorations! His brainstorming and my crafting/painting/gluing capabilities brought forth mini album cubes, hashtag/Instagram table toppers, mini traffic cones, a life-size Computerworld photo prop and two Kraftwerk podiums for us.

The mini album cubes would prove the simplest to Photoshop, cut and glue together. Searching online for mini traffic cones (akin to the first Kraftwerk album cover) was an exercise in futility. Small traffic cones with two stripes are not a thing that can be purchased, therefore mini non-striped cones were purchased & painters tape was used to mask off the two stripes. Biscuit colored refrigerator paint & Rustoleum pearl paint were used to give the look of reflective stripes.

I bought the last 40x60 sheet of white foam-core from Office Depot, photoshopped up the album art from Computer World so that the computer had a left corner(!) & would be 40x40 when printed. I printed it out in sections, used glue sticks to piece the sections together and David helped me with spraying the paper and the foam-core with spray adhesive and gluing the two pieces together.


 The podiums were fun to make! The top and bottom are slender Amazon boxes, the center column is from double wall cardboard from IKEA (they always have huge sections of double wall cardboard in their box bins out in front of the store). The boxes were stabilized internally with expanding foam and a few chunks of brick (David's idea). I found photos of Kraftwerk's equipment online and with some minor photoshopping, edited those images into usable replicas of their gear for the top of the podiums. The printout of the equipment was done in sections on 11x17 paper, glued together and then spray adhered to two sections of tempered hardboard. The tempered hardboard was then glued and clamped to the top of the podiums to create a flat, smooth stable top to the podiums. The finishing touch was applying reflective tape to the front and sides of the podiums to give the look of the luminescent edges on Kraftwerk's actual equipment podiums.

Photo - Jon Wolding

Our padre was none other than Keith Ulrey, owner of Microgroove Records (an obvious choice). The cake was a chocolate/chocolate fudge cake from Charlie's Bakery in Orlando (hands down the best cake on the planet) photo printed with a white Arp Odyssey synthesizer and dollops of icing made the sliders 'pop' on the cake. It was delicious and gorgeous all at the same time.

Many thanks to Scott Imrich of WMNF (and Ella's Wax Wednesdays) who put in some DJ time so Michael could eat and catch up with old friends who were in town for our wedding!

We hired Jon Wolding of Ground Up Films to do our photography and his work was stellar! Here are just a few of the great pictures he captured of our wedding.

Photo - Jon Wolding 
Photo - Jon Wolding
Photo - Jon Wolding

The retro-futurism aesthetic Kraftwerk embraced throughout the 1970s led me to choose the short black 1920's finger-wave styled wig from Paramount Wigs for a feminine Kraftwerk look. I booked a 45 minute makeover at Sephora with the lovely and talented Christine in Sarasota (that was the closest Sephora with a next-day makeover appointment!). I wore my wig but no makeup, showed her the Man Machine album cover and she helped me craft a look to match the feel of the album cover and the style of hair I'd chosen. She did a great job and taught me a few tricks so I could recreate what she'd done for the wedding day!

The biggest thanks goes to our friends and family who came to our wedding in red shirts and black ties to take part in the Man Machine absurdity! We couldn't have done it without you! We made the news in several places due to your willingness to play along!

German '80s band inspires 'Kraftwerk' wedding in Seminole Heights

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

HPE Discover - Las Vegas 2016

I was invited to take part in the Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) Discover event in Las Vegas recently. This event was overwhelmingly Data Center focused and as a result, a lot of the content was not something I could apply in practical terms.

After walking the show floor and participating in several demonstrations, my take-away was that HPE does not appear to be making the best use of the Aruba product line and the Meridian software solution. I did not see many people using the HPE app, instead relying on old fashioned face-to-face communications on the show floor. This year, the first time I launched the HPE Discover app and attempted to use it, my phone powered off and rebooted. Needless to say, I was not eager to attempt to use the app again during the event. 
I would like to have seen a big display of the location of devices on the show floor as an interactive portion of the general floor plans shown on the digital media signage on the show floor. It would have been interesting to use a touch screen interface to see the client devices, run reports on client types and client traffic utilization of the guest network as a way to showcase the Aruba wireless capabilities with Meridian. The last time I saw an impressive demonstration of the things capable with Aruba & Meridian was an Aruba Airheads conference shortly after the Meridian acquisition.

I found the small-cell partnership of Aruba Networks with Ericsson quite interesting. The Ericsson hardware is LTE & 3G, one unit is designed to be wall mounted and the Radio Dot is DAS only. AT&T and Verizon have deployed Radio Dot. As with the Cisco small cell solution, the products are getting hung up over the Service Provider approval. The big SPs are wary of giving any control over hardware procurement to any other hardware vendor.

Aruba had their lineup of new APs on display and the number and type of Ethernet ports on the access points got me to thinking. I'm dubious that the Access Point actually needs to have more than a Gigabit uplink any time soon, even if you can bond enough 5GHz channels together to offer more than a Gigabit in speed. First off, 160MHz wide channels will be a one off use case. It's not feasible to do a system wide deployment where all the access points are operating at 160MHz channels. Client devices can't achieve mondo speeds simply due to their spatial stream limitations, and the client devices that can hammer a wireless network - well, are they really hammering the network? Everyone I've spoken to in the industry says nobody (save one or two unique customers) is really hitting the maximum uplink speeds of an access point as an actual bottleneck. I get that some customers are future-proofing their networks, but by the time the client devices can beat down the multi-gigabit wifi deployed, it may already be time to refresh the access points that were deployed well ahead of the curve. Just my .02 cents.

The Aruba AP lineup lets you choose from from the AP 330 with one SmartRate (2.5GB) port, and one GB port, the 320 with two GB ports and the 310 with one GB port. The full feature comparison can be found here.

I'm grateful to HPE sending me to HPE Discover in Las Vegas. A great time was had by all! We all go the chance to learn about new offerings from HPE and have a little fun as well. Thanks Pegah!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

DIY Copy of Houzz Consigned Chinese Black and Red Moon Face Nightstand

People need a horizontal surface to put things on next to the bed. Not having nightstands was a glaring omission from our AirBnB. I did some googling to rectify this situation and found a set of nightstands that would match the overall Japanese/red-black theme of the apartment.

Well, I found these gorgeous nightstands on Houzz, but there's no way I'm willing to pay $900 for two (let alone $450 for one)!

I had an idea to find the cabinet hardware from Aliexpress (which was pretty simple) and then make the nightstands out of plywood with faux door and drawer openings. I don't need storage space in these nightstands, I just needed a place for people to put their things by the bedside. I used a big piece of paper to work out the balance of the drawer to door spacing for the front of the cabinet and traced on the lines with a pencil. Then using a chisel and a hammer, I made a groove on the fronts and sides of the cabinet where the "doors" and "drawer" would be. The plan was to fill in the groove with gold paint as the last step.

I used Rust-Oleum semi-gloss black paint for the body of the nightstand (the same paint I used on the headboard frame) and a red enamel paint for the drawer/doors.

After adding several coats of paint, I sanded with a 440 grit and then painted again. The door/drawer hardware arrived in the mail eventually. I installed the hardware and then painted the grooves gold with a fine tipped paintbrush and a gold paint I bought at Michael's.

I'm very pleased with how they turned out. They look great in the bedroom and the enamel paint is very hard wearing. I have about $100 or so in parts/paint/hardware invested in these nightstands, so it wasn't exactly cheap to make them, but it's certainly a lot cheaper than the ones for sale on Houzz.


Wednesday, March 9, 2016

From Concept To Reality - Queen Size Shadowbox Headboard

Say for example you've decide to join the bandwagon and turn the vacant apartment over the garage into an AirBNB (primarily because you don't want to be a full time landlord). All the AirBNB advice online says to make your place stand out, make it different, make it INSTAGRAM WORTHY. No pressure, right? Suure.

Through hitting up great estate sales, we'd settled in a Japanese theme for the apartment furnishings. Most of the furniture was in place and I'd already made the noren curtains for the front porch. The final thing I wanted to make a focal point was the headboard for the queen size bed. I'd researched ideas online but didn't find anything that fit with our theme. 

One morning I couldn't sleep. I woke up at 4:30 am, didn't want to get out of bed. I laid there and turned over ideas for a headboard in my mind. Discarding each iteration as taking too much time, costing too much in supplies or being far too complicated to execute.

I thought back to the geisha doll in a glass box that my mom used to have and thought THAT'S IT! I'll make a shadowbox headboard! I turned this idea over and over in my mind to imagine how it should look, what should be in the shadowbox? 

When it was a reasonable hour to get up, I went upstairs and drew the mock-up of the idea I had on my office whiteboard. The idea for the mountains, sun and cherry blossoms in the shadowbox came from the shutter stock banner graphics I purchased as inspiration for the noren curtains.

The noren curtains I made were inspired by those you see outside traditional ramen shops. I found UV resistant canvas fabric by the yard and a pattern (which I could modify).

Now that I've explained the history of the noren curtains, we can get back to the headboard. I then began researching where to buy a 30x60in piece of glass. Turns out a piece of glass that large is really, really heavy and expensive. Scratch that. Maybe clear vinyl might work? Researched that, found the stuff they put in sailboats for "windows". Nope. That's not right either. Turns out Lowes stocks 30x60 pieces of Duraplex for $45. Sold. That sheet of Duraplex is exactly the right size and won't require any cutting!

There's plenty of documentation online for how tall and wide a queen size headboard should be. I took that information along with the actual measurements of wood sold by Lowe's (a 2x4 isn't always 2x4) and began sketching out the pieces of wood I'd need to buy.
Many calculations later, I knew the finished headboard would be 57 1/4" tall, 23 1/4" from the bottom of the feet to the bottom of the shadowbox, and 65 1/2" wide. Basically I was centering the wood around the 30x60 Duraplex sheet and if anything wasn't quite centered, the nail holes would be covered up by the final trim I'd use to frame the edges of the Duraplex.
The sides of the shadowbox were 4x4 pressure treated fence posts and they were quite damp with the pressure treating chemical when I purchased them. I let them dry out for a few weeks (laying them flat on the garage floor). After two weeks' time, I cut the posts to size and sanded all the sides, prepping it for painting with Rust-Oleum Black Satin enamel paint.

I used a pocket jig for the screw holes because I didn't want screws to be visible from the outside of the headboard. I attached the top and bottom 1x4x10 board to the two 4x4 posts with two pocket jig/screw holes on each side (8 total, 4 top, 4 bottom). Not everything lined up perfectly, but I knew any imperfections wouldn't be visible once the headboard was complete, so I kept working. As long as all my wood was flush at the front of the shadowbox where the Duraplex would go, all would turn out well.

The shadowbox has tree branches (taken from the tree in the front yard) which I wrapped in strips of black satin (I already had 3 yards of inexpensive polyester satin on hand) and hot glue silk cherry blossom flowers to the branches (continuing the theme of cherry blossoms from the noren curtains on the porch)

The background of the shadowbox would be a section of the canvas fabric I had left over from making the noren curtains, painted with imagery of a large red setting sun and a large black mountain range opposite the cherry blossoms. The paint I was working with is by Jacquard and worked extremely well with the outdoor UV-resistant canvas.

David gave me the great idea of illuminating the scene with an LED light kit from IKEA, giving our guests the option of having the ambient light on or off in the headboard with a simple toggle switch.
The backing of the headboard is a section of hardboard which I spray adhered the canvas fabric to once the painting was completed. Working on the flat concrete floor of the garage, I used a rolling pin to firmly adhere the canvas to the hardboard and flatten out any uneven areas. I trimmed off any excess fabric with a razor blade and then used shiny brass trunk nails to secure the hardboard to the frame of the headboard. (no photos taken of this process as it took two people and four quick hands to apply the spray glue and smooth out any lumpy areas!
I used Gorilla Glue to secure the branches into a section of styrofoam glued to what would become the inside base of the shadowbox. I used strips of masking tape to hold the branches at the desired angles and depths while the glue set.
Once the glue was cured, I could then begin to attach the silk cherry blossoms to the branches. These are technically peach blossoms, but they had the look and colors I desired.

I used a snap blade knife to carve away some of the styrofoam rectangle, giving the base of the branches a more organic shape. Using the same black satin material, I cut a large rectangular section of cloth and began to cover the styrofoam base with it, securing the fabric with sewing pins.
Using the hot air from an embossing tool (rather than a heat gun, which would be too hot), I was able to make the frayed edges of the fabric covering the branches appear less messy. The hot air made the frayed edges shrink/melt/vanish.

The lighting section from IKEA was the perfect length to fill the center of the shadowbox with ambient light from beneath.

I drilled small holes every few inches apart at the perimeter of the Duraplex sheet. The diameter of the drill bit was big enough to allow for a small finishing nail, but not so large that the head of the nail would pass through the drilled opening. The sheet of Duraplex was affixed to the front of the shadowbox with finishing nails and David sealed any openings with crystal clear caulk (so no little critters could make a home inside the shadowbox).

The wood framing the front of the Duraplex sheet is a decorative pine trim from Lowe's, miter cut at the corners and an extra strip of thinner, similar wood trim at the bottom of the shadowbox to further obscure the light source.

The fence post finials are the Harbor design from Home Lumber Company on eBay. I bought the 4x4 size but I should've ordered the smaller size due to the dimensions of the fence posts not really being 4x4 but are 3.5x3.5. Not a huge problem overall.

I'm extremely pleased with how this project turned out! It has been a long time since I dreamed up something I wanted to make and had the time/ability/skills to see it to fruition! 

 There are still a few little things the AirBNB needs (end tables for the bed, for one) but overall it is nicely kitted out. The rest of the pictures of the place are on AirBNB!: