Turns out I actually like it. It's handy when the internet fails, or when you're nearing data caps, or just want to run it all day without interfering with download speeds, or you don't want the NSA to know you like disco music (Edit: oh.. crap!).
I suppose long term FM is dead, but meanwhile it has its uses.
This is in no way pointed at you; just something that struck me while browsing comments.
Radio 1 (for younger people) and Radio 6 (for less-young people) are great places to listen to new music. And you can stream them over the web, for free, even if you're not British:
Commercial Radio has a non-government business benefactor, and so they cover what is of interest to them. Public Radio has government as it's benefactor, and so they cover their interests. Now it's not necessarily blatant, but whoever pays your bills, you have a self interest in seeing them in a positive light. If you are unable to do so, I'm sure you would move on to someone who you can see in a positive light. Bit of selection bias going on there, which is another slant maker.
I am fine with NPR, for example, having a bias to the left, but I wish they would stop pretending they didn't. Recognizing self bias is incredibly difficult, so it's not surprising when people don't see their own. This difficulty is as old as the bible (cf Matthew 7:3), and probably as old as thinking (I haven't read Plato or Aristotle but I would be surprised if they didn't talk about it.)
I have the same problem with Fox news, and really all the major news networks pretending to be unbiased, stating opinions as fact. I cut the cord a long time ago.
The more certain you are that you understand something, the less likely you are to examine it in depth. Do yourself a favor today, pick one of your beliefs, and take some time to examine why you believe it. Seek out some opposing positions, see if there is something to learn from them.
Do your best to find something other than "common sense" as the basis for believing what you believe.
so, fox's bias is the same as its audience, and NPR's with theirs, leaving no apparent bias for either of them.
I like to imagine that some thinking took place before Plato.
It's a low priority for most people, costs more than you'd think if you don't DIY. OEM radios tend to have pretty good ergonomics anyway.
Most early 2000s and older stuff has a cassette deck anyway so a $3 adapter lets you plug in your phone.
I'm appalled at the UI for radios these days. Obviously feature overload has a lot to do with it; I wish someone would make opinionated car stereos like Apple does for other consumer tech. "You don't want this feature because the tradeoff is more complexity."
Relative to what a person can handle while driving, there's far more potential complexity, and as with nearly all things electronic, spec sheets/feature lists often trump common sense limitations.
Its a cheap extra luxury at the poor person level. Much like very expensive tennis shoes are a thing in their culture.
See here for more details: https://www.fcc.gov/media/radio/how-to-apply#NCE
And I use radio daily, and watch some TV every now and then.
But I only listen to N-Joy (part of the German public broadcaster NDR).
Seriously, foundation-funded and tax-funded media are probably the best at the moment, considering how ad-ridden and biased the private media are becoming.
They have a beta test for their new web player: https://www8.radioparadise.com
Pledge week is still annoying of course.
I do this, too, especially when I'm up late at night for my work schedule. Since I'm up well after most channels in the US go to "Paid Programming," I like having international news channels as background noise so I pay for Sling TV. There's something nice, for me, knowing that someone else is awake at the same time.
On the other hand, I really love Spotify in my "more awake" moments. It's grand, especially on my bus commute to work, to have a huge cloud jukebox. But, in the quiet stillness of the dark at 1am, live TV or radio is soothing.
You're lucky, I suppose. Around here every radio station is owned by the same media conglomerate, so we have 4 or 5 stations all playing the same generic top 40 music (with a slight variance by genre). Outside of the CBC, terrestrial radio, for the most part, sucks.
Of course there is satellite radio, but it turns out that's all ClearChannel too so no improvement.
All of the locally owned/operated radio stations were bought out many years ago. It's just cheaper to have programming piped in from the corporate headquarters instead of hiring local DJs.
The only terrestrial radio I listen to now is NPR, and even they have some issues.
But I can also totally see how, if you really had nothing but 4 or 5 clearchannel stations, that radio would have nothing for you.
If true, this is really unfortunate. I've written about this before, but FM is a really great technology, and in a lot of ways it's only suffering because of the content. The sound quality of digital "equivalents" (XM Radio, HD Radio, Internet Radio, etc.) doesn't even come close to a clear FM station.
Not to mention there are millions of vintage radios that still work perfectly today with this technology.
For being invented in 1933 it's pretty amazing.
On top of that the encoding is proprietary and one company holds the IP for the codecs. I can't believe the FCC allowed it to become a "standard".
So basically it's useful if you have really shitty internet.
Seriously, why would you run cables on poles, that seems super fragile to me.
And by "rest of the world" I don't mean third world countries or something. AFAIK Internet infrastructure in the US sucks hard compared to Europe, and here in Europe the reliability of the Internet is still not good enough feel like it's electricity.
The power company told me it costs $15,000 per span to bury the wires. They find it cheaper to send a repair crew out to rebuild the wires regularly.
It's that bad ? Why don't they just bury the cables like we do here ? Maybe the initial costs are a bit higher but it can't be cheap to have to send someone out to fix the cables that often.
In rural areas it's just not economically feasible to bury cables. Sure, some cables are buried and follow the roads between population centres, but they also need to cross fields, go up hills and span the wilderness to get to many places that would take many miles of detours of twisty roads and tracks.
For the power companies and telcos to bury cables where we live they'd need to rip everything up and start again, and even then there's a fairly good chance that some piece of agricultural equipment would rip the cable out of the ground. Burying stuff is hugely expensive.
I can't speak for others, but it certainly is for me.
> and then you have workarounds like batteries and gas tanks and stuff.
And if it fails there is 4G and stuff, it may not be as fast as fiber but it's more than fast enough for basically anything but downloading large files.
I lose power at least one or two times a year. Normally due to a construction/farming accident, but sometimes it's due to a temporary overload. Most of the time the outage isn't more than an hour or so.
Last week when a slew of severe storms came through, I had no satellite TV (water absorbs the signal). Switched to Netflix. Netflix signal went out (I'm guessing there's a microwave link somewhere between my house and the phone company Central Office in the nearest town 10 miles away). Could have been worse: some people were without power for days.
We live on top of a hill and I lose my cell signal just walking across my living room. Would be even worse if we lived at the bottom of the hill. So much for 4G!
But yeah, I still prefer living out here to being back in the city :-)
I'm using a HiFiBerry DAC (https://www.hifiberry.com/dacplus) as the built-in analogue audio on the Pi is abysmal. Then MPD (https://www.musicpd.org) for the back-end and ympd (https://www.ympd.org) for a web UI.
The category is wide open for someone to make one where, say, the remote actually works more than some of the time. :-( I don't know why this is such a hard problem.
All it requires is a handful of cheap FM receivers.
Biggest problem I have in my Android phone requires the head-phones to be plugged in to listen to FM...as it acts as the aerial.
I've had phones that needed the headphones to be plugged in, which is an annoyance but understandable. The new Moto G 4th Gen works without them so that might be changing.
Also if you really don't want to have wires around you can buy a jack tap antenna (not sure about the naming, making it up sorry) or.. just plug in the headphones and cut the wires away from the jack (and as a precautionary measure insulate it).
AM antennas are smaller because they are generally not very good. Most I gave see in cheap radios are wire wound around a ferrite core. That matches the impedance but the loss is high. It's usually ok for AM broadcast though because the power levels are HIGH and there is minimal multipath distortion.
And as more information sources move to the terribly named "HD" channels of radio, I worry that my current ipod will start to have even less content available.
When I think of all the features I never use on my expensive phone, having one I want to use already built in but disabled is somewhat frustrating.
Languages evolve, and mostly it irritates me. I hate that the English Dictionaries used to be an authoritative source, and are now just a reflection of common usage.
Yet at the same time I recognize the need for languages to evolve as life does not stand still.
Dictionaries as an authoritative source really just means that they reflect older common usage. It just makes them slow, not somehow better.
We should start a club :-)
Annoys me to no end...
You have references?
At best you could argue they are favoring Beats One by not letting you choose other Internet radio stations in their bundled music app, but that's not about disabling hardware.
Far, far more people are more familiar with FM radio than TuneIn.
The investment in the network of users is so high, and such a massive profit factor, that there is no incentive to flip the FM bit, for the users. Since it will mean less streaming will occur (you're not using TCP/IP when you're listening to FM radio..)
Its Apple, jealously guarding its piece of the OSI-model pie, and us users getting screwed in the process. I, for one, would very much enjoy being able to use my phone for FM radio .. heck, I'd like to use it for local peer-to-peer communications too, but we know how hard-bound the radio is for that purpose ..
Cellular bandwidth is expensive and supplies are finite. You can add more bandwidth, but that generally means building more cell towers etc.
By contrast, a single FM broadcast can support millions of users (within the transmitter's footprint), and you can add millions more listeners for no extra cost.
The mobile phone companies are using Wi-Fi and other means to save cellular bandwidth. Wouldn't it make sense for them to encourage the use of FM to save cellular bandwidth?
TCP/IP, however, requires the active cooperation and participation (and ultimately: control) of each node in between you and the site of interest. It takes mass team-work to make TCP/IP happen; it is automated cooperation at a bit level. Bits travel well, when its all plugged in.
When things are not plugged in, we could still be using FM to receive information/music/entertainment, etc. FM is more resilient to the fragilities of the Internet.
The problem is, some of the Bits are owned by Operators. The owning and moderation of some of those Bits, in fact, involves a lot of Operators.
Apple cater to them, the Operators. Not the owners of FM Broadcast equipment...
I know you are supposed to get an SMS or something whenever there is a severe weather event, but after a million amber alerts and a flood warning a few states away, that's the first thing I turn off when I get a new phone. I've never seen it work, either.
Minor nitpick, its a narrow band FM signal around 160MHz not AM.
I remember one of my parents' old cars (mid-90s) having a WX channel on the radio. More recently i've only ever seen it available over VHF radio while boating.
Also, most airports will have weather broadcasts, but I think this is only accessible with an aviation-band VHF radio:
I want a phone with a SDR, and an FPGA so I don't need to run the samples through the cpu for filtering. An rf-hacker phone. Someone make this, please.
The system had a lot of issues when it was first rolled out but it's been improved and seems to work well these days, although there are still carriers/towers that don't support it yet.
They are actually working on expanding it with many additional alert types and increasing the amount of content an alert can contain. However, I have a feeling this will lead to even more people turning them off for good.
News that people in the USA can't, that is!
I won't say it's a particularly common thing to do, but here in the UK you certainly can listen to FM radio on your phone, provided you plugin earphones to be uses as an antenna.
Well according to this anyway https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/nexus/gENfJPp...
On Android though a majority have a built-in FM radio app, and more available to download on the Play store.
You could have a look in the app store (make sure it's not lying about being FM and using your data) but if not maybe it's only possible if you jailbreak, or not at all.
http://www.gsmarena.com/results.php3?nYearMin=2013&chkFMradi... shows about 2000 phones made in the last 3 years with FM radio that are available to buy; I selected "touchscreen" to loosely limit to smartphones.
Any phone which has FM radio will only be able to access it through an app distributed with the phone. Apparently Sony-Ericsson have some phones which have such a thing? Samsung might've done in the past, but not with their current flagships.
Just a fun trivia fact ;)
As does the Windows Phone I own.
> What we're missing is an appropriate antenna and an amplifier chip dedicated to driving that antenna. Unlike the murata chip that doesn't take up any extra space, those things /would/ take up extra space in the phone. While I'm of the opinion that Apple could have fitted them in if they wanted to, it doesn't change the fact that there's no hardware based solution for FM radio on the iPhone.
The next version of the iPhone probably won't even have the headphone jack so there won't even be the possibility of using the headphone jack antenna trick. Not unless they engineer it into the lightning connector (ha!).
At least here in Germany carriers awaiting the moment when FM broadcast is finally declared dead and their frequencies become free for sale. The VHF band between 87.5 to 108.0 MHz is of big interest especially for rural areas.
"Digitale Dividende I": six 5 Mhz wide bands (always in "pairs") each between 570.849 and 627.317 million €. Winners: O2, Telekom, Vodafone.
"Digitale Dividende II": thirty-one 5 Mhz wide bands (some of them "paired") each between 39.011 and 255.967 million €. Winners: Telekom, Vodafone, Telefónica (formerly O2).
Further I know of some radio stations (especially community radios) which refuse to accept special offers from broadcast carriers for digital radio (DAB+ and DVB-T(2)) broadcasting because of the fear that this could be used as another argument against them having an own analog FM frequency.
Had to invest £10 in a cheap plastic thing they sold at the circuit, while it did the job, I thought smartphones were supposed to be an end to having to carry around single function devices, in favour of the all-in-one solution.
What was the general feeling in the crowd while they puttered along behind the Safety Car for so long?
I want to attend one of the races in Europe next season and I've whittled my options down to Silverstone and Spa. How highly would you recommend the British GP?
Also, which smartphone do you have?
This was my first GP, so couldn't say really but I found everything at Silverstone great.
Spa would be a great race to go to as well, but I don't know what they are like for facilities.
I have a Nexus 5 from 2014, it does the job, just a shame about the radio really.
But Jot Carpenter, vice president of government
affairs for CTIA-The Wireless Association, resists
the move to turn on the FM chip.
At a NAB convention in Las Vegas this week,
Carpenter said there would have to be demand
by smartphone consumers for mobile carriers to
consider switching on the FM chip.
"What Americans really want is the ability to
stream, download and customize music playlists
to meet their personal preferences," Carpenter
said, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal,
"and that's not what the traditional FM radio
And a further 6 comments on this one:
It would be interesting to compare this thread with those threads from 450 days ago to see if anything has changed in the HN community mind.
And also maybe to recognize that cell data is expensive and overages can be punitive.
Now, there's a ton of things that are wrong with our nominally independent radio/tv stations, but if I look around and see how things go in other states on this little planet (hello fox news), I don't have any idea that works better in principle. I'll take the german system over any alternative so far offered (though the BBC is a close contender)
Can't remember any other tax-like charges where one has to pay for something artificial that they could be completely unrelated to, yet don't have any control over.
Most people would rather discuss it in terms of "funding an independent source of media" and "building road infrastructure to move goods and services".
For roads, maybe somewhere it's the same, but there are also funding ways that work differently. If you use the road (have a vehicle) you (probably, depends on where you are) pay the tax, either directly or included with the fuel price. If you don't drive a vehicle but use the roads indirectly (because the services you use, use that roads) you pay indirectly - trough your funding of those services and their respective use of vehicles. E.g. you buy stuff in a grocery store, the store pays to a transportation company, the transportation company pays taxes for their trucks - everyone's paying for what they actually use. So, it still feels fundamentally different from the broadcast taxes to me.
In the US, various forms of taxation at the federal, state and local level go in to providing funds for public schools. Everyone pays for schools even if they have no children. The only significant exception is that in some places, parents can receive vouchers to pay for private schools. Either way, the goal is that everyone receives a basic education to make a better society.
Everywhere in the US I've had a library card, it was similar. Libraries are funded by general taxes and their basic services are provided without charge to users who live in their tax area (county, most places).
Whether publicly-funded radio stations are a valuable public good in this way is reasonable to debate, but that's the model.
But of course it's not only financially. The German Rundfunkrat is basically designed to be the very essence of what other cultures might dispraise as corporatism. - Despite it's justification as some cross section of society.
I'm not necessarily against the idea but the institutional design of German state media is arguably very bad.
>> It's not a tax by design though it may feel like one.
If I'm forced to pay money to the government for a public "good," it's either a tax or extortion -- there's no other way to define it.
It doesn't matter if the cause is "worthy" or not -- it's a tax. Why not let the people that consume the product pay for the product? Imagine if the government forced everyone to buy a Spotify subscription. It's the same exact thing.
Yeah, why not let the unemployed pay for the welfare! Or why not let the kids pay for the public schools!
Um... carriers in US have any authority over hardware functions of people's devices? Why? What the hell?
APN for an example: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Access_Point_Name
Back when I was fighting the good fight against Apple, MP3 player vendors kept adding FM (and eventually HD Radio) in the hope that it was what Apple users were missing... The radio industry liked that strategy too.
P.S. Headphone antennas are kind of shit.
The chances are that the system was designed to enable it and the choice to disable was made commercially. It seems most likely to be like hardware with more memory or faster clock speeds where the manufacturer just cripples it to make the cheaper model.
It's just that iPhones seem to lack another substantial feature.
(Also, FM is infinitely cheaper than streaming - it's free, and works even in areas where no 3G coverage is available. Which makes it a lot more useful in countries with bad internet infrastructure, like the US or Germany)
It's another useless app, another menu item to browse through and for the company, another source of complaints and support cases.
Secondly, why would it be useless when millions of people still listen to FM radio? In the UK for example, according to RAJAR (the UK radio body) 56% of radio listeners use FM compared to DAB or internet, which is around 26 million people.
Thirdly, why does the hardware have an FM receiver at all if I can't use it?
If it allowed me to listen to BBC Radio 4 news on my train journey, which I can't do using data because of a bad signal for most of the journey, then it would be very useful for me.
It doesn't. One of the support chips happens to have an FM transceiver along with the ones the phone uses, but it would also need an antenna and an amplifier to be able to receive FM radio. And a bigger battery and a bigger case (or less battery life). And more software. And more product QA and support.
FM antenna has to be quite big no? My old Cowon media player needed to have the headphones plugged in in order to use the FM function. That would mean that people with Bluetooth headphones (an ever increasing number) are out of luck.
> Thirdly, why does the hardware have an FM receiver at all if I can't use it?
Because the receiver is part of a standard package shipped by Qualcomm and it is probably cheaper to leave it in. What the device does not have is an antenna and an amplifier for the signal (as mentioned in other comments)
No. Here's some food for thought: The wavelengths used for cellular communications in the order of about 0.3m to 0.4m for a lambda/2 dipole that would be an antenna length of 0.15m to 0.2m, which is quite larger than your typical phone.
There's no rubber hose dangling out of modern phones (it used to, 20 years ago), so what's the deal here? Impedance matching,coupling efficiency and planar antenna array designs are. Technically any power of 2 fraction of a given wavelength can be used for an antenna for that wavelength, if assuming an simple wire antenna. But the higher the order, the higher the impedance and the lower the coupling efficiency. With a clever choice of dielectrics the coupling efficiency can be brought back again into manageable regions. And thanks to numerical field simulations we can now design small antenna shapes that can work on much larger wavelengths.
FM radio is receive only, so you do not even require very good coupling efficiency, because you don't have to deal with TX reflection backlash. Hence the problem boils down to designing a reasonably small patch antenna for the 3m band and a receiver circuit that can deal with the high impedance and low coupling efficiency. Back in the day of radios made from discrete components that would have been prohibitively expensive, but these days you can throw a couple hundred of components at some unused corner of your RF grade semiconductor die and have dealt with it.
Fm is not useless, but bad Fm is.
The third question is silly. Who's side are you arguing? The chip is there because it's more expensive not to have it. It's not like Apple adds Fm so they can laugh at the feature you almost had.
It won't allow you to listen To BBC. At least none of the FM enabled mp3 players I've touched would allow you to listen to FM in anything remotely reasonable.
Like a lot of others on this thread, in 2005, I had a tiny Nokia 6610 that let me do exactly that.
Having read about the chip, I can understand why it's there, and I can also understand the probable tradeoffs involved that have lead to the decision not to enable it. But I am still surprised and a little disappointed.
Remember that Paul Graham essay about how most articles that aren't about politics or war are pitched to the journalist by someone with a stake in the matter? This is almost word for word what they say in the NextRadio app's radio commercials.
Most articles about politics and war are spurred by politicians' and/or governments' press releases, leaks, etc., and so are also pitched to journalists, often en masse, by someone with a stake in the matter.
Not that the latter doesn't happen in politics. But government press releases are pretty likely to be newsworthy just because of what they are.
In some European countries you have to pay license for radio receiver. For phone with FN radio you would pay $25/year, that is lot of money with national average salary $8000.
> Manufacturers can activate the chip, but the decision to do so typically rests with carriers. If you’re Verizon customer, tough luck.
If Verizon is the carrier, they just provide your SIM-card, right? You don't need to buy your phone along with your mobile plan. I bought my Samsung Android S4 from an online shop, my carrier had nothing to do with that. I just insert my (their) SIM for calls and texts and data.
So who decided not to enable the radio, here?
The same phones support multiple SIM cards because cash-strapped folks on prepaid cards are aggressive optimisers.
Well, from what I've read my nexus 5x does NOT have an FM tuner on board.
I encourage you to consider that any website that runs arbitrary code on your computer _at all_ is hostile to your interests, by default. Websites today are becoming more programs than documents; rather than presenting you with a download dialog like you'd traditionally see with software, your browser is clicking "Download and Run" for you.
Cooper Quintin of the EFF had a Privacy Badger talk at LibrePlanet 2016 that emphasizes just how many third parties you are "trusting" when you visit a website.
I spoke more generally:
Also, half of HN would be out of a job :)
This is becoming an increasingly prevalent pattern. I really miss the document-oriented web of the late 90's / early 00's.
If the web server is serving a DRM-ed program, that loads the human-viewable data over non-standard interfaces, all that breaks. Only humans in front of the web browser will be able to see the data.
NOTE: when I say DRM, I actually mean Digital Policy Enforcement - the publishers want to maintain their policies around access to their information (e.g. you cannot see this article without seeing this ad) using digital means. But DRM has a nicer twist to it - the uninformed may mistake the R for My Rights.
Seems to cover the intent of things quite nicely :)
Also conveys the intent quite nicely - plus you can keep the acronym ;-)
Let's consider a web document like this article here. Its stated goal is to be read by the visitor and thus deliver him value. So presumably, an article that's easier to read is better than one harder to read. An article that, ceteris paribus, consumes less resources on user end is better than one that consumes more.
 - Sure, JS can be used to qualitatively enhance the reading experience, to make it more pleasant and efficient. I accept that in principle, but I'll cede the point only when I see anyone other than Bret Victor actually doing it.
 - Wired, I appreciate that you wanted to say "thank you" to me for turning off uMatrix for a second, but could you please do not do that with a popup?
 - Except Bret Victor.
I didn't get the job.
Next I was joking with a friend that all the layers of abstraction added to the web are probably part of some big conspiracy by web developers to create artificial demand and job security. You run a heavy CMS but the bells and whistles confuse rather than help the user, and they'd rather pay for an hour of hour time than figure things out themselves. Your spa makes a simple series of documents feel like an app, with all the added complexity, but in the end the user couldn't care less about the full page transitions or parallax scrolling.
I have one simple rule: if it's about information retrieval, it's supposed to be a simple bloody document. If it's supposed to act like an app, it should look like an app. The latter is the propper use case for JS, but people are applying the latter to the former. This is not user centric design.
JS on a website that is otherwise not an app has its use cases ie. tabulated data, search, filtering, realtime data etc.
But a static website displaying a simple article has no fucking business running any code other than HTML/CSS on my computer.
A saved webpage can stay as responsive as an ebook.
The data is already structured.
To false, disables auto play media everywhere.
edit: I just realized it also affects youtube in an annoying way (have to skip ahead a bit or the video won't play at all). Would be nice if I could whitelist that.
So no more clicking on wired links for me!
Its one of the reasons I've stopped reading Fortune and Wired web articles.
That video (assuming we're seeing the same one) seems to be a short Wired production; unrelated content rather than advert.
Oh well, Wired just got itself removed from my adblock whitelist (after only a couple weeks on it).
Edit: yep, I just activated the "Anti-Adblock Killer | Reek" filter and it's gone.
Plus of course you can lift the restrictions selectively for each domain. From my experience it usually takes one or two domains to allow in order to get the needed functionality, and the rest (usually around 10) can be kept blocked.
Some months it would take 10+ pages of adverts to get to the first piece of content. And the worst was those glued-in cardboard ad pages in the middle - you can never really rip them out properly, and the magazine always inconveniently flops open at that page whenever you get close to it.
They're just trying to monetise the pants off the brand, and it's a real shame. I loved Wired. Not it's just another Outbrain-laden, cardboard-stuffed piece of junk.
But the video still plays.. I actually wonder how the coerce my Chrome to do that.
"Revenue is falling; quick, what should we do?"
"Shut up and keep digging."
They should update:
We get it: Tracking you through multiple pages without your permission is not why you’re here for. But Tracking you through multiple pages without your permission help us keep the lights on.
Really. Find a better way to "keep the lights on". I wouldn't block ads if they would respect my privacy.
Turned off JS to read the article.
A little bit of investigation in the source shows that if you block 'www.wired.com/assets/load?*' with AdBlock (or your blocker of choice), then the page works fine, but without the annoying popup.