5G Telecommunications

We bit the bullet a couple of years ago and got rid of the landline for our phone and got ourselves smartphones. With them, of course, comes the ability to make phone calls (I just typed “telephone calls” but erased it…this seems more appropriate) and run applications. I have to smile because my mind hasn’t totally made the switch; I often look to where the answering machine used to sit on a shelf to see if we missed any calls.

My morning reads featured a couple of stories that got me thinking more about telecommunications. I think, like most people, I absolutely am connected at all times now and it’s just part of the life.

And that connection will get a great deal faster the next time I upgrade my phone. For the record, I hope that’s still a long way off; my phone works incredibly well. But it’s not capable of running on the fifth generation of the technology (5G) and that’s the future. Maybe it will be even more affordable when it comes time to buy.

Photo by Shiwa ID on Unsplash

Apparently, the powers that be are hard at work protecting us.

Canada to ban Huawei, ZTE 5G equipment, joining Five Eyes allies

I’m not terribly worried about someone listening to my conversations. They’re few and far between and undoubtedly the least use I have for my phone. It’s the data that connects me when I’m away from home through text messages and my social media accounts that get the lion’s share of my use. I’ll bet most people are like that. Whatever happened to telephones?

There was another serious story that I thought I had bookmarked for the purpose of this post and I can’t find it. It was about a family that was camping in Eastern Ontario and were essentially “off the grid” and so did not get the regular weather warning like so many others did. We rely on it here; just this past week, we were on the patio and saw incredibly dark skies to the south and received a warning of the storm. Also, the Detroit/Cleveland baseball game was cancelled. Looking north to where Comerica Park would be, it was clear skies. That’s usually sign of really bizarre weather. Fortunately, it passed us by. As we know now, others weren’t so fortunate. If we become used to emergency warnings, it seems to me that they should be available to everyone in the province and not just those that are close to cities.

Even that doesn’t work perfectly. We live very close to the US border and it’s not uncommon to drive along Riverside Drive or just sit in a friend’s living room and get the message “Welcome to the United States. Roaming charges apple.” A similar situation happened when the Bring IT, Together Conference was in Niagara Falls and I went looking at the Falls. It just seems to bizarre that, in a world where Google knows exactly where I am within three feet, that the telecommunications field can’t as well.

So, fifth-generation has all these promises and, if I wasn’t so cheap and didn’t run out to upgrade today, I might be enjoying the better service. Our government has promised to make it safer too.

Maybe some day it will reach here.

A new look at weather

It’s been a bizarre couple of weeks around here in the weather department. I think we all know of the big storms that came through and the tornado that touched down in Chatsworth.

As that storm rolled in, I reached out to a friend of mine in Bruce County wishing him to be safe and to keep an eye out for bad weather. He told me he had it covered with an app on his phone – Windy.

I’ll confess, I can be a collector of weather applications at times and need to force myself to clear out the unused ones periodically. So, of course, I downloaded it and I was in for a real treat.

As you might suspect from the name, the landing page shows up with your location and arrows are showing the air flow.

Of course, there is the regular type of thing that you would expect in a weather application – forecasts and the lot.

The real surprise came when I started poking around. It looks like the big weather right now is far south of us. That’s great.

From Satellite view.


I almost dropped the phone when lightning hit! I was watching radar and saw a strike visualized. But it was more than that. With each lightning strike, the phone vibrated. Since it was a big storm at the time, there was a lot of vibrating!

So, I continued to work my way through the application. I placed one of the widgets at the top of my screen and then when looking for more.

The application calls itself professional quality and I was quite impressed with all that I found. I have no hesitation encouraging all to download and take a look at it. Or, at least check it out on your desktop.

It might be the keeper weather application after all.

After the storm

In the spring of the year, it’s kind of a regular thing around here.

After dark, at times, severe thunderstorms will roll through the area. We usually get our first notice from one of the Detroit television stations and their Doppler radar and all the other goodies that they have just for the purpose. Storms seem to either come screaming across the state from Chicago and Grand Rapids or up through Indianapolis and Toledo.

When I went to be last night, I had no notice really. I was watching the hockey game on Sportsnet and I guess bad storms aren’t worthy of reporting. Maybe I should watch it on CBC Windsor.

Earlier in the evening, I happened to be watching something on a Detroit station and they gave their viewers a heads up. Yet, there was nothing to worry about as I looked out the window and headed off to bed. Boy, I was wrong.

Within minutes, it seems, the lightning started and then the thunder. Finally, huge downfalls of rain made its way. The storm seemed to last all night and I’m not sure how much I slept. It didn’t seem like I snoozed much but I must have. When I woke, the patio and yard were just soaked.

The best thing is that #ONStorm was trending on Twitter this morning. I can’t help but marvel that, as a youth, we would have had to go for a drive to see the extent of the local impact of a storm. Or, next week when the town’s newspaper came out.

A most impressive post was this capture of a lightning bolt in Kingsville.

What I found especially neat was the collection of people that were reporting their experiences to the hashtag and the number of storm chasers who were checking in with video and graphics.

During the night, emergency notices came across my phone from Environment Canada and the local emergency service. I’m probably very bad about this; I have my phone on mute during the night.

Environment Canada meteorologists are tracking a severe thunderstorm that is possibly producing a tornado.  Damaging winds, large hail, and locally intense rainfall are also possible.  Take cover immediately if threatening weather approaches.  Please consult local media for more information.

As it turns out, we didn’t have a monopoly on the storm. It seemed to continue to head eastward. That means that many of you reading this post got a storm of varying proportions.

May be an image of map, sky and text that says 'FLINT LAPEER GURAND PORLSI 2021 EDT SARINA HOLLY CFTORD STRATHROY 26 32 34 FLIROLLA RICHMOND Rain/Pluie 24h (mm) 250 178 203 13 333 29 24 25 46 16 WALLACEBURG DETROIT 102 127 76 102 64 64 45-50 30 BOR 35 CHATHAM WINDSOR 39 72 LEAMINGTON MONROE 20 12.5 20 .4-12.5 2.5-6.4 0.25 2.5 TOLEDO CANADA.CA/WEATHER CANADA.CA/METEO Canada''
I don’t want to say there’s a bullseye on southern Essex County but …

What was your storm experience? Did you get warning? Do you subscribe to a local emergency notification service?

All about the weather

So, I started a theme yesterday with the Climate. Let’s move on to Weather.

There are many, many weather apps out there. They’ll check in to some weather station locally and give you the current weather status and perhaps a forecast by hour or by day.

Sort of like this…

But, if you want more, where do you turn?

It wasn’t immediately obvious to me but once I found out that Wolfram Alpha does weather, I was hooked. I was of the mindset that it was this fabulous mathematics application and had kind of pin holed it in my mind that way.

But when you think about it, what’s more mathematical and statistical than the weather? So much data and visualization awaits you. Just for to Wolfram Alpha and ask it about the “weather in <your town or destination goes here>”

And then sit back and prepare to scroll and learn more about the weather than you thought you ever might in one spot.

Look at that spike in precipitation on Sunday afternoon. It just absolutely poured here.

That’s just the start. Have you ever wondered just where those weather stations are located? Wolfram Alpha has you covered there. Also fun are the suggested related searches at the bottom of the screen.

And more. Data, visualization, graphics, analysis, …

Gone are the days when you call the dog in and see if he’s wet.

World Water Day

World Water Day, recognized by the United Nations, is March 22.

On the website, you’ll find a collection of resources.  This can be very helpful if you’re looking for this sort of thing, including posters.  Teachers love posters.

This year’s theme is Leave no one behind.

If you’re looking for something more for your students than what’s available here, you might want to take a look at this Symbaloo learning path.


Interactive, and with quizzes, there’s a nice collection of activities to enjoy on this path.


And, Symbaloo offers even more.

Check out this collection of resources.


Do you have any additional water related resources that are suitable for sharing?

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