Switching away from Nextel to 3G
I broke nearly a decade of service with Nextel to get 3G service. Nextel has been reconfiguring sites, not to the advantage of current users I can say. It feels very weird to have my first phone without an external antenna! Previously I would even get adapters for every phone to connect an external antenna for better coverage in the cottage or car. I didn’t always use them, and especially lately with better coverage on campus.
I am a little exuberant over the speed and smoothness of EVDO for web browsing. It’s vastly improved from browsing mobile websites in 2001! Between (or in) classes I catch up on quotes and email.
Radar school outreach
I have demonstrated my coffee can radar to schools and kids are amazed since they never considered engineering to be so cool. I feel so many are discouraged in some way from STEM fields. While I don’t compare to the difficulties many have to overcome, digging through trash for radios and TVs to fix ultimately leading me to where I am today is something people with the aptitude could achieve, if they can connect with a mentor. I struggled so long without a mentor, or negative mentors and I’m sure others don’t even have that much.
Sure we’ve had SourceForge and Google Code, but the average person just doesn’t find their way there–at most to download a pre-compiled program. I don’t think everyone should have to follow exactly the same path to a STEM career. We have to have a way to awaken people to their inner potential.