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Communications bottleneck

"Hell's Gate" and "Hell Hath No Fury", by David, Linda Evans, and Joelle Presby, take the clash of science and magic to a whole new dimension...join us in a friendly discussion of this engrossing series!
Communications bottleneck
Post by n7axw   » Thu Jul 16, 2015 1:26 pm

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I'm new here and not quite as familiar with either the textev or the forum as I would like. I find myself wondering about the communications bottleneck. Both sides have been experiencng it in different ways.

Has anyone discovered electricity? I sit here staring at my amateur radio station and wonder why not... Development of both cable and wireless communication happened almost in tandem with progress in exploiting electricity in our timeline. Sharona's tech base would have to be close to being capable of that. Most surely they could start out with spark gap or vacuum tube tech and have a resourse far more renewable and more available than voices...

Don
When any group seeks political power in God's name, both religion and politics are instantly corrupted.
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Re: Communications bottleneck
Post by tonyz   » Thu Jul 16, 2015 2:17 pm

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Sharona has incandescent lights -- we seem them in the Ternathian palace during one of the early council meetings -- so they know something about electricity.

But it's not at all clear to me that people would even think in terms of using electricity for communication when they have the Voicenet. Why bother? It's like our world, where Third World countries are going hogwild over cell phones without ever installing landlines. Voices can cover hundreds of miles at the speed of thought; I don't think people would be thinking along the lines of installing a huge cable network when they have a millenia-proved bunch of telepaths to send messages.
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Re: Communications bottleneck
Post by n7axw   » Thu Jul 16, 2015 5:09 pm

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tonyz wrote:Sharona has incandescent lights -- we seem them in the Ternathian palace during one of the early council meetings -- so they know something about electricity.

But it's not at all clear to me that people would even think in terms of using electricity for communication when they have the Voicenet. Why bother? It's like our world, where Third World countries are going hogwild over cell phones without ever installing landlines. Voices can cover hundreds of miles at the speed of thought; I don't think people would be thinking along the lines of installing a huge cable network when they have a millenia-proved bunch of telepaths to send messages.


The reason for why bother is that the voices are a very limited resourse and there aren't enough of them to meet current needs. Radios, by way of contrast, are something you manufacture and once you are set up you can make all you want or need. Also, you don't need a "talent" to operate the things.

Don

Don
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Re: Communications bottleneck
Post by Ramhawkfan   » Thu Jul 16, 2015 5:54 pm

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n7axw wrote:
tonyz wrote:Sharona has incandescent lights -- we seem them in the Ternathian palace during one of the early council meetings -- so they know something about electricity.

But it's not at all clear to me that people would even think in terms of using electricity for communication when they have the Voicenet. Why bother? It's like our world, where Third World countries are going hogwild over cell phones without ever installing landlines. Voices can cover hundreds of miles at the speed of thought; I don't think people would be thinking along the lines of installing a huge cable network when they have a millenia-proved bunch of telepaths to send messages.


The reason for why bother is that the voices are a very limited resourse and there aren't enough of them to meet current needs. Radios, by way of contrast, are something you manufacture and once you are set up you can make all you want or need. Also, you don't need a "talent" to operate the things.

Don

Don


I just reread both books, and there is no indication either side uses radio. I agree it would help, especially the Arcanans.
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Re: Communications bottleneck
Post by Castenea   » Thu Jul 16, 2015 5:57 pm

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The problem is getting to the point of full voice broadcast radio. This take some development, and while electricity and radio were used for communication as early as 1830, broadcast radio was not deployed untill ~1910, and in many ways commercial radio as we know it today was developed in the 1930s. Compare the voicenet to the Union Armies communications back to Washington in 1862. They had Telegraph, which took time and trained operators, was subject to interruption (partially due to enemy action), and was bandwith limited (text only). The voicenet in populated worlds has, full sound, sight, and even smell and emotion) rarely if ever gets interrupted mid message.

While I am sure there are any number of researchers trying to do interesting things with electricity, possibly even using it for control panels, I doubt that mass communication is considered a useful end goal for research.
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Re: Communications bottleneck
Post by n7axw   » Thu Jul 16, 2015 9:25 pm

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Castenea wrote:The problem is getting to the point of full voice broadcast radio. This take some development, and while electricity and radio were used for communication as early as 1830, broadcast radio was not deployed untill ~1910, and in many ways commercial radio as we know it today was developed in the 1930s. Compare the voicenet to the Union Armies communications back to Washington in 1862. They had Telegraph, which took time and trained operators, was subject to interruption (partially due to enemy action), and was bandwith limited (text only). The voicenet in populated worlds has, full sound, sight, and even smell and emotion) rarely if ever gets interrupted mid message.

While I am sure there are any number of researchers trying to do interesting things with electricity, possibly even using it for control panels, I doubt that mass communication is considered a useful end goal for research.


I was thinking more in terms of communication between the front and home, and communication between units and hq on the front. There would need to be relays much in the same way that the voices need relays now and for much the same reasons. It would have to start out with something simple, like Morse code and then as engineering progressed, eventually voice.

The quality and speed certainly would not be up to the voices. But an overwhelming advantage would be that the communications nets could be a whole lot more comprehensive simply due to the fact that you could manufacture all the radios you need. The voices on the other hand must be grown and irrc it is late teens to early 20s that a voice truly gains enough strength to be useful over any kind of distance. And, even worse, you have no real control over the quantity of voices available. While they can't be characterised as rare, they are not so common as to be available in huge numbers either.

Don
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Re: Communications bottleneck
Post by tonyz   » Fri Jul 17, 2015 10:18 am

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I don't see any indication that the inner worlds have any limits on Voices. Yes, the line outwards from Traisum to Hell's Gate is short on Voices because it's so recently developed and has such a low population density that they don't have enough warm bodies out there. But we're specifically told that the inner rings have plenty of backups for redundancy.

And while you are quite right that if they could manufacture radios they could cover lots of stuff easily, I see no evidence that they've yet even thought of the idea of using electricity to transmit messages, either with or without wires... and with the Voices, right now, they have no reason to even try and think along those lines.
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Re: Communications bottleneck
Post by n7axw   » Fri Jul 17, 2015 11:20 am

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tonyz wrote:I don't see any indication that the inner worlds have any limits on Voices. Yes, the line outwards from Traisum to Hell's Gate is short on Voices because it's so recently developed and has such a low population density that they don't have enough warm bodies out there. But we're specifically told that the inner rings have plenty of backups for redundancy.

And while you are quite right that if they could manufacture radios they could cover lots of stuff easily, I see no evidence that they've yet even thought of the idea of using electricity to transmit messages, either with or without wires... and with the Voices, right now, they have no reason to even try and think along those lines.


I don't think that the inner worlds have been short up to now either. But we do know that the military is about to mushroom. That will expand not only the military, but the industrial base. So not only will the military's need for voices, but the commercial sectors need as well. As I understand it,you can't arbitrarily increase the number of voices available. People born with that talent are going to be X% (don't remember) of the population no matter what, plus it normally takes 15-20 years for the voice to develop to full strength.

As technology and industry grow arithmetically, the need for reliable communications grows geometrically. The same with the military. There is no way that the current supply of voices can meet Shaona's need over any long term basis.

I agree that we haven't seen any sign of Sharona using electricity for communications yet. But if they can make a light bulb, they can also make a vacuum tube. And as their problem deepens, they most surely start scratching their heads to come up with something. Necessity is the mother of invention after all, and war is a great pressure cooker.

Don
When any group seeks political power in God's name, both religion and politics are instantly corrupted.
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Re: Communications bottleneck
Post by phillies   » Fri Jul 17, 2015 5:16 pm

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Radio?

Hertzian (radio) waves were predicted by Maxwell. The experiment by Hertz and perhaps the Russian fellow confirmed the theory. For decades thereafter, the nonlinear detection device was the *coherer*, a decidedly steampunk creation*. Do these people *have* theoretical physics?

*Yes, I am old enough to have met an electrical engineer who designed a circuit using commercial coherers. I have also seen a Ford trimotor in commercial operation. However, these are a distance away from modern equipment.
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Re: Communications bottleneck
Post by n7axw   » Fri Jul 17, 2015 9:57 pm

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phillies wrote:Radio?

Hertzian (radio) waves were predicted by Maxwell. The experiment by Hertz and perhaps the Russian fellow confirmed the theory. For decades thereafter, the nonlinear detection device was the *coherer*, a decidedly steampunk creation*. Do these people *have* theoretical physics?

*Yes, I am old enough to have met an electrical engineer who designed a circuit using commercial coherers. I have also seen a Ford trimotor in commercial operation. However, these are a distance away from modern equipment.


Egads, phillies, you sound ancient... :lol:

Seriously, the development of radio historically happened side by side with the exploitation of electricity. There is no real reason to believe that this wouldn't be true for Sharona as well, athough it's valid to observe that the voices undoubtedly have had an impact on that.

Don
When any group seeks political power in God's name, both religion and politics are instantly corrupted.
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