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Pigeon Protocol Finds a Practical Purpose

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the fly-away-little-one dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 113

Selanit writes "Since David Waitzman wrote his tongue-in-cheek Standard for the Transmission of IP Datagrams on Avian Carriers, there have been occasional attempts to actually transmit information via pigeon. One group back in 2001 successfully sent a PING command. But now there's a practical use for pigeon-based communications: photographers working for the white-water rafting company Rocky Mountain Adventures send memory sticks full of digital photos via homing pigeon so the photos will be ready when the rafters finish up. The company has details on how the pigeons are trained and equipped. It may not be a full implementation of the Pigeon Protocol, but it works in narrow canyons far off the beaten path — and just as David Waitzman presciently predicted, they occasionally suffer packet loss due to hawks and ospreys."

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Packet loss (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29245783)

I think the best part of the story is the packet loss explanation!! If only the pigeons could upgrade their internal CDMA protocol!

Re:Packet loss (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29246633)

No can do. This is a pure UDP implementation, feel the speed!

Re:Packet loss (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#29252875)

This is a pure UDP implementation, feel the speed!

If you're concerned about speed, I would suggest running trials of the African Swallow vs. the European Swallow.

Cache La Poudre (5, Informative)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245809)

I rafted the Poudre this summer. It was a great time. The company we went with did a great job, not sure why the need to race photos back. Our photographer rode back with us, while we turned in our gear, changed clothes, etc. he set up in the office, and started showing the pictures to folks on an iMac. While we watched he burned a dvd. We had a big group so he set a price and sold us a dvd that we could all copy. It was pretty sweet. Mountain Whitewater Descents [raftmwd.com] was the company we used and I'd recommend them to anyone headed that way.
 
Apparently a while back some French trappers got snowed in and hid their gun powder by the river - that's how it got its name.

Re:Cache La Poudre (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29246319)

Jesus Christ is a cocksucker, and so are you. God must have pissed in your your gene pool.

p.s. helmets are for pussies. Hail Satan.

Re:Cache La Poudre (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29246727)

stoolpigeon has a personal experience with the same river mentioned in the article and his comment is moderated offtopic? WTF? Metamods...take a look at second look at this one...

Re:Cache La Poudre (1)

eugene ts wong (231154) | more than 4 years ago | (#29248205)

He doesn't even have to mention the same river. His comment discusses the merits of the technology. His comment is extremely relevant.

In my opinion, pigeon protocal is not practical or pragmatic.

Re:Cache La Poudre (1)

krenshala (178676) | more than 4 years ago | (#29248589)

What about the Pigeon Protocol? I've heard that works much better than the protocal ...

Re:Cache La Poudre (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29249537)

Most commercial Rafting companies have constant trips over the course of a day, and the photographer(often more than one, each at different points) stays staked out in the same position all day long, and can't leave. Now the rafts may sometimes pick up the memory stick to bring it back to home location but that is only if the photographer is near the waterline.

Also, with any amount of volume, they have to be started before the people get back so that large groups can all see their shots at the same time.

Re:Cache La Poudre (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 4 years ago | (#29251413)

That may be the case for this company. If so they are using a different part of the river than we did. The section we started on is federally protected and there was a pretty tight window on when we could put in. We were told this was to limit the number of rafts and people on the river at a given time.

It's really a beautiful place and was pretty exciting. We caught the tail end of the season. I guess earlier when there is more run-off it is much more intense. I would like to try to go back and do a run when it is really going. As it was we nearly had our raft flip over at one point.

Re:Cache La Poudre (1)

dgbrownnt (1012901) | more than 4 years ago | (#29249785)

It could also be a case of volume. An example is the Deschutes River in Oregon -- on any given summer weekend you have raft after raft going down the river. At all the major rapids there are photographers set up taking pictures of each raft as it goes over. It looked like they went for the less creative (but possibly more reliable) means of having runners that drive the cards back and forth to the home base. That seemed effective enough, though it would be less effective if there weren't any good roads to/from the best places for the pictures.

Not really TCPIPoP (5, Funny)

gblues (90260) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245855)

This is less "TCP/IP over Pidgeon" and more "Sneakernet Over Pidgeon." Although if all the memory cards were the same size you could get away with calling it ATM over Pidgeon, I guess.

Re:Not really TCPIPoP (2, Informative)

ari_j (90255) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245889)

I'm not finding any claim that it is IP over Avian Carrier as prescribed by RFC 1149. It is, perhaps, misleading to call it a "pigeon protocol," but nobody claimed it was IP. It is definitely more of a protocol than a sneakernet, though, unless the pigeons are walking the whole way.

Re:Not really TCPIPoP (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29245995)

I'm not finding any claim that it is IP over Avian Carrier as prescribed by RFC 1149

It's the first link in the first sentence in the summary, you fucking idiot!

Re:Not really TCPIPoP (2, Insightful)

ari_j (90255) | more than 4 years ago | (#29246683)

Wow. Did you even read the entire first sentence or did you stop at the first link?

Since David Waitzman wrote his tongue-in-cheek Standard for the Transmission of IP Datagrams on Avian Carriers, there have been occasional attempts to actually transmit information via pigeon.

Right there, at the end of that first sentence, it explains that there have been attempts to transmit information via pigeon. Not by IP over Avian Carriers. Nowhere in the summary does it actually claim that this is an implementation of RFC 1149. Try again, smartypants.

Re:Not really TCPIPoP (1)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 4 years ago | (#29249859)

Well, it is an implicit suggestion.

After all, humans have been using pigeons to transmit information for a LONG time before David Waitzman wrote that RFC. There IS a reason they're called Carrier Pigeons [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Not really TCPIPoP (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 4 years ago | (#29249913)

There IS a reason they're called Carrier Pigeons

Yes, they carried diseases like the black plague.

Re:Not really TCPIPoP (1)

ari_j (90255) | more than 4 years ago | (#29251583)

Citation needed regarding the etymology you claim.

Re:Not really TCPIPoP (1)

ari_j (90255) | more than 4 years ago | (#29251573)

I agree. The article was stupid and, as I did point out in my original comment, misleading. It just wasn't stupid to the point of literally saying that this was an implementation of RFC 1149. Then, for pointing that simple fact out, I got a number of sophomoric insults from AC's who can't read.

Carrier pigeons are in fact very cool animals. A family member of mine experimented with them extensively while she was in high school and I, in elementary school at the time, was fascinated. Using them to carry thumb drives from a whitewater rafting tour back to the base camp for photo processing is a cool use of them that has precious little to do with RFC 1149. The references to that protocol are appropriate on Slashdot because 90% of Slashdotters are going to have more knowledge of it than they are of actual use of carrier pigeons. They just should have been made in a clearer way.

The fact that the article summary was poorly written, however, should be no surprise. This is Slashdot, after all.

Re:Not really TCPIPoP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29246401)

The summary does that quite clearly. And sneakernets don't require literal sneakers to earn the name. I hope you can get by on your looks.

Re:Not really TCPIPoP (1)

ari_j (90255) | more than 4 years ago | (#29246687)

The summary does no such thing. Read it again, this time for comprehension. Try my comment again, too. I didn't say that sneakers were required for a sneakernet. Good luck out there.

Re:Not really TCPIPoP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29247707)

Oh boy.

I'm not finding any claim that it is IP over Avian Carrier as prescribed by RFC 1149.

It may not be a full implementation of the Pigeon Protocol, (which implies that it is still at least part of one)

I didn't say that sneakers were required for a sneakernet.

unless the pigeons are walking the whole way

Good luck out there.

I know you are, but what am I?

Re:Not really TCPIPoP (1)

ari_j (90255) | more than 4 years ago | (#29249839)

You really still think I said that sneakers are mandatory for a sneakernet, based on the phrase you quoted from my comment? I don't think I can help you.

Re:Not really TCPIPoP (5, Insightful)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245931)

Unless the pigeon comes back it's certainly not TCP, more like Pigeon UDP.

Re:Not really TCPIPoP (1)

lobiusmoop (305328) | more than 4 years ago | (#29246377)

Not even that I'd argue, more like pigeon sneakernet
 

Re:Not really TCPIPoP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29246523)

With no retransmission of packets in case one is lost...

Re:Not really TCPIPoP (4, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 4 years ago | (#29246565)

You simply need to breed packets with higher TTL.

Re:Not really TCPIPoP (1)

d474 (695126) | more than 4 years ago | (#29247521)

Unless the pigeon comes back it's certainly not TCP, more like Pigeon UDP.

UDP = Useless Dead Pigeon

Side Note (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29246065)

check it out/a [youtube.com]

Another misleading headline...*sigh* (5, Informative)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245869)

This isn't an implementation of RFC1149. *sigh* It even says so in the summary, not even the freaking article. They're just using carrier pigeons as couriers, like they've been used for centuries.

"Since David Waitzman wrote his tongue-in-cheek Standard for the Transmission of IP Datagrams on Avian Carriers, there have been occasional attempts to actually transmit information via pigeon.
Yeah, attempts like the victory at Marathon in 490BC...

Re:Another misleading headline...*sigh* (1)

hyperion2010 (1587241) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245895)

Yes I read this and thought, hrm, sounds more like SMPT via Pigeon, which would be only a slight update of what they have been doing for... hundreds of years.

Re:Another misleading headline...*sigh* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29245969)

SMTP over Pigeon ... I can't wait to receive some SPAM via Pigeon.

Also, for me it's more like UUCP over Avian Carrier... or some kind of jumbo frames.

Re:Another misleading headline...*sigh* (3, Informative)

Jim Efaw (3484) | more than 4 years ago | (#29246407)

More like UUCP mail over pigeon, if we're comparing it to a protocol. On the other hand, we could just call it files by carrier pigeon... uh... why are we having this conversation again? It didn't say the pigeon protocol you're all thinking of (RFC 1149) was used — just that a pigeon protocol was used. I'll just be quiet now.

Re:Another misleading headline...*sigh* (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 4 years ago | (#29246607)

These birds are using FTP (Flash Transfer Protocol).

Re:Another misleading headline...*sigh* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29247361)

These birds are using FTP (Flash Transfer by Pigeon). Fixed.

Re:Another misleading headline...*sigh* (1)

the_mushroom_king (708305) | more than 4 years ago | (#29247485)

These birds are using FTP (Flight Transfer by Pigeon). Re-Fixed.

Re:Another misleading headline...*sigh* (-1)

ifwm (687373) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245927)

This isn't an implementation of RFC1149. *sigh* It even says so in the summary, not even the freaking article

So why are you posting?

Just to whine like a bitch I guess.

Or are you going to be one of those intensely obnoxious losers who insists THEIR whining like a bitch ISN'T, and that there's a legitimate reason for whining like a bitch like you did.

Re:Another misleading headline...*sigh* (1)

dkf (304284) | more than 4 years ago | (#29246249)

"Since David Waitzman wrote his tongue-in-cheek Standard for the Transmission of IP Datagrams on Avian Carriers, there have been occasional attempts to actually transmit information via pigeon.
Yeah, attempts like the victory at Marathon in 490BC...

Hmm. [Emphasis mine]. Are you claiming that RFC1149 was written back in about 500BC or before? That would have involved someone predicting not just the Internet about 2500 years before it happened, but also the RFC process and that there would be a 1148 preceding ones. Impressive, but unlikely.

(Has anyone managed an SSL handshake by avian carriers yet?)

Re:Another misleading headline...*sigh* (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 4 years ago | (#29246989)

Yeah, attempts like the victory at Marathon in 490BC..

No. The legend has a runner (who had fought in the battle) running back to Athens to announce the victory. He was so exhausted by the combination of the battle and the long run home that he died just after gasping out the good news. Nowhere in any account of the battle is there any mention of pigeons being used.

Re:Another misleading headline...*sigh* (1)

krenshala (178676) | more than 4 years ago | (#29248615)

So, thats an example of Sneakernet then. :)

Re:Another misleading headline...*sigh* (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 4 years ago | (#29249207)

#1 that is a myth. #2 we're talking about spreading the word to all of Greece, not just Athens. Duhhhh...the Greeks used carrier pigeons...

Re:Another misleading headline...*sigh* (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 4 years ago | (#29249327)

Generally speaking, a myth [reference.com] either has religious overtones or is used to explain the origin of some custom or facet of culture. As this story is just an embellishment of the story of the battle, I referred to it as a legend, [reference.com] because it seemed more appropriate. As far as spreading the word to the rest of Greece, do you have a cite for that?

Other things aside, I like your current .sig, having used something similar myself a few years ago.

that is funny (1)

Ozric (30691) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245899)

We use to always compare TCP/IP packets to pidgeons.. ..
The joke was send more pidgeons and stop routing them over the pond where the duck hunters are.

Brings to mind the old expression, never underestimate the bandwidth of a truck load of DLT tapes going 55mph.
Or the recover plan of "TOPS" ..... Tapes on Planes

YMMV

ping (1)

NovaHorizon (1300173) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245951)

yikes, I'd hate to see the ms on that ping reply.

I would hate to show you (3, Informative)

dominux (731134) | more than 4 years ago | (#29246361)

But I will anyway
vegard@gyversalen:~$ ping -i 900 10.0.3.1
PING 10.0.3.1 (10.0.3.1): 56 data bytes
64 bytes from 10.0.3.1: icmp_seq=0 ttl=255 time=6165731.1 ms
64 bytes from 10.0.3.1: icmp_seq=4 ttl=255 time=3211900.8 ms
64 bytes from 10.0.3.1: icmp_seq=2 ttl=255 time=5124922.8 ms
64 bytes from 10.0.3.1: icmp_seq=1 ttl=255 time=6388671.9 ms

from http://www.blug.linux.no/rfc1149/pinglogg.txt [linux.no]

Photos Obtained Over Pidgens (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29245967)

a.k.a. "POOP".

Re:Photos Obtained Over Pidgens (3, Funny)

jo42 (227475) | more than 4 years ago | (#29246663)

As is PHP Object Oriented Programming.

Yeah, I know, Offtopic... :-p

packet loss due to hawks and ospreys (4, Informative)

mindbrane (1548037) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245977)

Ospreys are deeply beautiful birds of prey and watching them is magic, but I've never seen an osprey take anything but fish.

Re:packet loss due to hawks and ospreys (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29246141)

Ospreys have been known to devour Marines.

Re:packet loss due to hawks and ospreys (1)

NSN A392-99-964-5927 (1559367) | more than 4 years ago | (#29246779)

Well this post is brilliant, I live in Manchester (City Centre) UK and we have Peregrines here http://www.bbc.co.uk/manchester/content/articles/2009/04/16/peregrine_diary_2009_feature.shtml [bbc.co.uk] Just last week I saw one of them take a Pigeon out of the Sky and it was awesome! It happened so fast I thought it was a UFO. I was also pleased to learn that peregrines have been used to test "G-force Meters" by the airforce and they constantly break them at 18G! Wonderful.

the falcon business (2, Interesting)

SethJohnson (112166) | more than 4 years ago | (#29247059)

One time I attended a class for people wanting to start a business. The teacher started the class asking us each to describe the business we had in mind of starting. One woman stood up and said she wanted to start a "peregrine falcon business."

Without any further description, the teacher said, "You can't sell those birds. They're protected." She replied that she wasn't going to sell falcons. She was going to rent them.

Her plan was to get contracted by big box stores. When they get normal birds stuck flying around inside the building, they'll call the falcon lady and she'll bring her peregrines in and set them loose. It's illegal to poison birds. Shooting them indoors is also a dicey proposition considering that the species could be protected as a migratory bird. But there's no law against releasing a falcon to devour a wild bird.

Don't know if her business 'took off,' but I admired her clever idea.

Seth

Re:the falcon business (1)

NSN A392-99-964-5927 (1559367) | more than 4 years ago | (#29248299)

@Seth, Lovely story Seth, Remember the television programme from the 1970's "Rent a Ghost"? =)

Re:the falcon business (1)

owlstead (636356) | more than 4 years ago | (#29251011)

Using birds of prey to fend off pigeons from buildings has been standard practice for some while. I'm not sure you can decouple these birds so easily from their default environment though; I don't think that using them for too many buildings will work. They are highly individual birds that will fly back when they decide to, so it would be hard to run a tight schedule.

If there are many birds it would be more useful for owners of big buildings just to make a nesting site somewhere on the top of the building (or a neighboring one). It is hard to get right though, since the dimensions and location and structure have to be exactly right.

Important buildings like the burj al arab hotel use falcons to fend off pigeons (or more specifically, pigeon poop). Saw it on discovery.

Re:packet loss due to hawks and ospreys (1)

mindbrane (1548037) | more than 4 years ago | (#29247763)

Osprey [wikipedia.org] , not peregrines, peregrines take pigeons a lot. In Calgary, Alta. they used to nest in niches on the outsides of high office buildings, and, likely fed nearly exclusively on pigeons. The Wikipedia article will introduce you to Osprey. I canoed into an isolated mountain lake and watched a nested pair ply their trade for nearly a week. They only ever took fish. On the west coast I've camped for weeks near nested pairs and they only ever, that I saw, took fish. Peregrines, likely, are one of the prey birds that are thought to be have multiple fovea. Having more than one fovea they're able to focus differently with different fovea as they attack at high speeds and thus not crash. Although I've not yet read anything detailed, the necessary brain wiring is probably very, very interesting. I'd pay big coin to be multi foveated. I think the inner experience would be awesome.

Re:packet loss due to hawks and ospreys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29246945)

A few trips up the rogue river in Oregon (on jet boats) led me to believe that hawks and ospreys get into fights frequently. I wouldn't be terribly surprised if these birds took on things other than fish.

Re:packet loss due to hawks and ospreys (1)

jgrahn (181062) | more than 4 years ago | (#29249469)

Ospreys are deeply beautiful birds of prey and watching them is magic, but I've never seen an osprey take anything but fish.

Yeah, they are very specialized on fish. I suppose it could eat a pigeon if it was sitting beside it, but catching it in the air -- that's not going to happen. Also, the summary says "hawks and ospreys", but TFA said "There are hawks, ospreys in this canyon ... they do get them ... what are you going to do?" she said.. Reminds me of attitude to raptors you find among very old people, where all of them get classified as "hawks" and blamed for the disappearance of any tame, eatable or pleasant bird, from chickens to Robins.

And by the way, this is of course the traditional use of homing pigeons. Interesting, but not because of a humorous RFC.

Re:packet loss due to hawks and ospreys (1)

drseuk (824707) | more than 4 years ago | (#29251659)

Our superior POOS protocol includes frikkin' lasers to stop these Osprey terrorists from eating our information infrastructure. Unfortunately we're having some teething trouble with data retriv ...

Someone can't spell (2, Informative)

BenoitRen (998927) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245983)

One of the story tags is "wortthless".

Re:Someone can't spell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29246711)

... because of parkinson's

Secured data transmission (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29246009)

Kind of hard to hack a Pigeon. Technology could help increase data transfer speeds. Miniature Jato rocket packs would be a first step. A few technical problems would need to be overcome like keeping the feathers on the pigeons but with enough R&D money I'm sure the problems could be overcome.

Re:Secured data transmission (1)

obfusc8 (261541) | more than 4 years ago | (#29248871)

Kind of hard to hack a Pigeon..

Not really. All you need is a shotgun (or maybe a handful of birdseed for the whitehats) for packet interception. Keep a couple of spare pigeons on hand and it wouldn't be that hard to launch a MITM attack. :)

Breaking News! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29246059)

Somebody farted somewhere. Quick! Post it on slashdot!

Everything old is new again... (4, Informative)

rwyoder (759998) | more than 4 years ago | (#29246101)

...and a two-year-old article in the Denver Post is "news" to SlashDot.

Re:Everything old is new again... (1, Troll)

Jim Efaw (3484) | more than 4 years ago | (#29246517)

Revenge for Slahdot being 2 years ahead of a lot of the general media so many times.

Re:Everything old is new again... (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#29246611)

That's because, while neither we nor they read or investigate anything we write about, the traditional new media has to wait long enough to at least give the impression that they might've plausibly interviewed someone or read a book.

Re:Everything old is new again... (1)

drseuk (824707) | more than 4 years ago | (#29251791)

Just like the old media does you mean?

Freddie Star ate my Hamster [wikipedia.org]

(front-page of Murdoch's "The SUN" newspaper, 13th March 1986). Whilst completely untrue (according to Freddie) you can drop this phrase into any pub conversation in Britain today and everyone over 35 will laugh.

Of course if you have to pay to read it, it must be true. Presumably the more you pay, the more true it is ...

Re:Everything old is new again... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29247015)

The article took 2 years to reach Slashdot because pigeon 1 carried the text in XML, pigeon 2 carried the XSL to render the XML to HTML, and pidgeon 3 carried the embedded adverts. Pidgeon 3 however was apparently mis-routed and wound up at EWeek.com, where the lack of content went unnoticed.

Re:Everything old is new again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29250301)

...and a two-year-old article in the Denver Post is "news" to SlashDot.

Where is Denver? Is that some place in the United Skates where you play Guitar and the postman gets shot at 3 times a day?

To Black Jack Pershing... (1)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 4 years ago | (#29246109)

So now we can send a message to Black Jack Pershing saying "For God's sake, stop shelling your own positions!" Unfortunately, 200 Doughboys perished while Windows needed rebooting.

Pretty cool (2, Insightful)

The_Duck271 (1494641) | more than 4 years ago | (#29246303)

I don't know why everyone needs to find something to whine about in this article; it's a pretty cool story. An amusing blend of modern and ancient technology to solve an interesting problem.

Still useful. (2, Informative)

Sawopox (18730) | more than 4 years ago | (#29246309)

This may be useful in a post apocalyptic world. Chances are, Internet style connectivity will be wiped out. Decentralized regional networks may still exist. Transporting high-density data using antique methods such as the pigeons can allow for FidoNet (remember that?) other BBS-style data exchange. Anything that can get the information moving again is a good thing.

Re:Still useful. (1)

Erikderzweite (1146485) | more than 4 years ago | (#29247019)

Pigeon data transfer has one big disadvantage -- pigeons have to be transported first to where you want the data from. Or you need to have a pigeon from a location where you want to send something.
Sadly, there is no way of bundling two pigeons so one can transfer them back and forth :(

That is the reason why pigeons were used to carry emergency or very important and urgent messages only.

Re:Still useful. (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#29247231)

This may be useful in a post apocalyptic world.

Useful Down Below as well - for those who remember Grim Fandango.

Re:Still useful. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29247523)

A post-apocalyptic world that wipes out the internet is not likely to be very healthy for the pigeons either.

THIS IS GOATSEX (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29246639)

What's the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29246831)

Of course, I didn't RTFA, but I'm presuming this is principally for multi-day trips, releasing a pigeon every evening. If so, why the hell not HF? Skybounce (AKA NVIS) can easily get out of narrow canyons, and any ham could stake out an antenna in 5 minutes, and get a link up in 5 more. Let it upload all night.. This being a business, they'd need an appropriate (non-amateur) license, but I'm just saying it's dead simple.

Re:What's the point? (1)

j0se_p0inter0 (631566) | more than 4 years ago | (#29248273)

Thank you. I was searching the thread for a mention of digital ham radio modes. No need to resort to pigeons when we can take ride on the airwaves ourselves. It may not be faster (considering a 4GB stick tied to a pigeon's leg, but at least you'd have actual packets to deal with.

Re:What's the point? (1)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 4 years ago | (#29249145)

Not impossible, but not all that practical either:

1) FCC rules say that you can't use the ham frequencies for commercial purposes so you have the problem of finding the bandspace.

2) Most of the data protocols that hams use are dead slow, designed for simple text messaging or low-res images.

KJ6BSO

Not the first time (1)

kasperd (592156) | more than 4 years ago | (#29246863)

I'm pretty sure there was a story like that about four years ago on slashdot as well. I think it was from Australia where the pigeons were carrying pictures home from some three day adventure trips.

In both cases they mention that some of the pigeons get lost, and here also that sometimes they are just too slow. Why not go for redundancy? Wouldn't it make sense to send two pigeons each carrying a copy. I think it would dramatically decrease the failure rate.

Of course to do such redundancy you would have to carry some device that could copy the pictures. Does there exist cameras, which can do it? I can imagine there are plenty of situations, where people would happily pay the extra cost for the data security, it would not only be for pigeons.

Re:Not the first time (2, Insightful)

TBoon (1381891) | more than 4 years ago | (#29247331)

you would have to carry some device that could copy the pictures.

You mean, like, say, a netbook?

Re:Not the first time (1)

ramk13 (570633) | more than 4 years ago | (#29248477)

I was thinking about redundancy and I realized that if one pigeon is unsuccessful it is more likely that another pigeon released under the same conditions would also be unsuccessful. Not that it would necessarily fail, but if weather was the problem any pigeon leaving in that time frame would have the same problem.

I think the copy the memory card is a easy backup plan. Just bring a laptop or something to copy the memory card and you'll still have pictures even if the pigeon goes AWOL.

Re:Not the first time (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#29248739)

Of course to do such redundancy you would have to carry some device that could copy the pictures. Does there exist cameras, which can do it? I can imagine there are plenty of situations, where people would happily pay the extra cost for the data security, it would not only be for pigeons.

Professional DSLR cameras tend to have two memory card slots these days, and they can be configured to save a copy of every image to both cards, as the photos are taken. Or they can also be used to make a copy of the contents of one card onto the other.

There's gotta be an easier way (1)

yoblin (692322) | more than 4 years ago | (#29247169)

Only 4 Pictures of each raft? Satellite internet access has to be cheaper than custom pigeon backpacks...

Bandwidth and Latency (1)

PhunkySchtuff (208108) | more than 4 years ago | (#29247729)

If the USB memory sticks were large enough (capacity-wise) this could actually have quite and impressive bandwidth and could easily rival a dedicated fixed-line broadband connection. It's the latency that kills you on this one though!

Re:Bandwidth and Latency (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 4 years ago | (#29251359)

your bandwidth cost might be kind of high too. The attempt at sending a ping via RFC1149 (2001?)resulted in close to a 50% packet loss. Throwing away 50% of the memory sticks could get quite expensive.

pigeon dos (1)

ya really (1257084) | more than 4 years ago | (#29248005)

I guess if they forget to send the pigeons for a few trips and go OMG we have too many photos and send them all at once, that would be a pigeon denial of service attack.

Re:pigeon dos (1)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 4 years ago | (#29249175)

that would be a pigeon denial of service attack

No, a pigeon denial of service attack would be made with a shotgun.

Nothing New Here (1)

PAjamian (679137) | more than 4 years ago | (#29248073)

I remember seeing a documentary about this on TV years ago, only back then they were carrying rolls of 35mm film. The only thing new is that they've upgraded to digital photographs and memory sticks.

Back then it was more impressive because they were able to send the rolls of film back to the visitor center and process them on a 1 hour photo lab machine (which doesn't take anywhere near an hour to process) and have the prints up on display by the time the rafters came in from their trip.

Re:Nothing New Here (1)

huskerdoo (186982) | more than 4 years ago | (#29248899)

Yeah, was just gonna post the exact same thing. I saw it in about 1985/1986 on Ripley's Believe it Or Not. Anyway, not a new idea....then again maybe this is the same company that was doing it 20+ years ago.

Loosen up, folks. (1)

MrCrassic (994046) | more than 4 years ago | (#29248863)

This is nothing new. Pigeon (not Pidgin) carriers have existence since...forever. They're still used in some limited cases today. I don't see anything terribly different done by these folks; heck, the pigeons don't even come back, so it's not full TCP...

Hence why this was meant to be funny...

Re:Loosen up, folks. (1)

S3D (745318) | more than 4 years ago | (#29249227)

Some RKKA (Soviet army) divisions still had pigeon stations in OOB just before the start of WWII. There is no evidence they were actually used in WWII, but they could have been useful. With contemporary radio unreliable, and cables and land communications disrupted by German armored spearheads in the beginning of the war, Red Army command had often to relay on one-way dispatches dropped from airplanes. Pigeon connection could have provided two-way communications with cut-off groups.

Re:Loosen up, folks. (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#29250381)

Pigeon connection is just as one-way as air-dropped dispatches. It just goes the opposite way.

You can't train a pigeon to seek out a location other than its home. The troops in the field had to carry a supply of pigeons with them and send them back to the base - but the base couldn't send a pigeon into the field.

Re:Loosen up, folks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29251007)

Definitely not two-way. Pigeons are taught to fly back home, and that's all. They would not be coming back to the sender afterwards.

Re:Loosen up, folks. (1)

drseuk (824707) | more than 4 years ago | (#29252027)

Wrong, there's plenty of evidence of vital pidgeon (and other animal) involvement in WWII, lest we forget.

Animal war heroes statue unveiled [bbc.co.uk] (by HRH the Princess Royal)

Tommy the Pigeon V.C. [bbc.co.uk]

Pidgeons that hadn't been captured and destroyed on the ground were considered a serious enough threat to be shot down or attacked by special-trained hawk squadrons.

Old news (1)

SJ2000 (1128057) | more than 4 years ago | (#29249675)

Posted: 06/24/2007 02:06:52 AM MDT

This is old news, I've even seen references to this before that. Also it has nothing to do with RFC 2549 other than birds carrying bits.

Pigin Doesn't Work?!?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29249931)

Are you seriously saying that using Pidgin (www.pidgin.im) doesn't work properly because various larger birds are killing the ones carrying my message?!?! I am outraged at the thought that reputable (read: cut-throat bastards) like Micro$oft, Yahoo, and gAyOL would stoop to these levels. Training large birds to kill pigeons is a despicable practice and should be investigated. If you are lying to me, you should be executed immediately.. For shame... sir.. for shame..

Been there done that (1)

JaumPaw (48149) | more than 4 years ago | (#29250399)

Good luck, agent Calavera. Viva la RevoluciÃn!

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