Thursday, May 14, 2009

low-rez transmission


Tracing the path of the broadcast was nearly impossible, since the analog transmission of data was no longer understood, like trepanation, leeching and supply-side economics. Not a single byte of meta-data, no sound, just a garbled hazy image flickering in and out.

Puzzling.

The transmission medium itself was ancient. In fact, we nearly missed it. The random sweep we used to calibrate our instruments is what caught it. That particular wavelength hadn’t been used, or even monitored, in decades. The retrotech needed to move data in this fashion would have to be built from scratch. Why? It would be prohibitively expensive, not to mention, very difficult, extremely cumbersome and frustratingly slow. The 'why' seriously intrigued me. It was like building a dugout canoe to ford an ankle-deep river.

Many of my colleagues had theories on where the transmission originated, but only one of them asked the truly relevant question, 'When?', since there hadn’t been that much open land here for nearly a century.