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Beer Fridge Caught Interfering With Cellular Network

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the upgrade-to-the-faraday-fridge dept.

Beer 231

aesoteric writes "A man's backyard beer fridge in Australia has been busted interfering with the cellular network of major carrier Telstra. Engineers used an internally-developed software 'robot' to crawl log files from the network and sent a field team out to pinpoint the cause of the interference."

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Goodbye cellular network! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43901253)

It was nice knowin' ya.

G'DAY MATE (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43901275)

Fosters! Australian for beer.

Re:G'DAY MATE (5, Funny)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | about a year ago | (#43901309)

You're joking, right? We export that crap so we don't have to drink it.

Want a good Australian beer, try something from Malt Shovel, Cascade or Mountain Goat.

Re:G'DAY MATE (3, Insightful)

LukeWebber (117950) | about a year ago | (#43901359)

Or Little Creatures. Mmmmm.

Re:G'DAY MATE (2)

Namarrgon (105036) | about a year ago | (#43901441)

Even better, a Riverside IPA [riversidebrewing.com.au] . Aussie beer has come a really long way in the last few years.

Re:G'DAY MATE (4, Funny)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#43901515)

You're joking, right? We export that crap so we don't have to drink it.

Given that Fosters has something like a 45% share [news.com.au] of the Australian market, some combination of this must be true: it still has fans, remains a guilty pleasure that isn't admitted to, or nobody can find enough export victims. At least it has some snappy [youtube.com] advertising to help.

Frankly, I have no idea what can be done about vegemite [vegemite.com.au] . People have been warned.

Re:G'DAY MATE (4, Informative)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about a year ago | (#43901573)

That's the name of the brewing company that makes cat piss such as Victoria Bitter, Carlton Draught, Crown Lager etc.

Foster's Lager, the beer, was bought out by foreign investment a couple of decades ago and is no longer brewed here.

Re:G'DAY MATE (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#43901631)

Thank you for the update.

Re:G'DAY MATE (4, Informative)

batkiwi (137781) | about a year ago | (#43901575)

Foster's group has 45% share, not the beer called "Foster's", which is actually quite hard to find inside of Australia.

Given they're owned by SABMiller, you should really argue that "miller" is the bestselling beer in Australia if you're going to say that the owner == the brand (which is obviously incorrect).

Foster's commercials are not shown in Australia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foster's_Group#Beers_and_Breweries [wikipedia.org]

Most important in that list are VB (probably the best selling beer in Australia), Cascade, Matilda Bay, and Carlton.

Re:G'DAY MATE (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#43901619)

I stand corrected. Thanks for the link.

Re:G'DAY MATE (4, Insightful)

Macgrrl (762836) | about a year ago | (#43901695)

Vegemite is awesome, lightly spread of hot toasted light rye so that it's salty and chewy at the same time.

The mistake most foreigners make is slathering it on like peanut butter. It's a strong taste and you don't need much.

Re:G'DAY MATE (1)

_4rp4n3t (1617415) | about a year ago | (#43901765)

Marmite [wikipedia.org] (or 'Our Mate', as it's branded in Australia) FTW!

Re:G'DAY MATE (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43901801)

Yep. It should be marketed overseas as "Vegemite caviar".

Re:G'DAY MATE (1)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about a year ago | (#43901879)

Fosters is just the Aussie version of Budweiser. People there drink it, but no one seems to own up to it publicly.

Re:G'DAY MATE (1)

DeathElk (883654) | about a year ago | (#43901881)

G'day Mr Fjord, may I suggest you try a thin scrape of Vegemite on a bbq chicken sandwich. YUMMO

Re:G'DAY MATE (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about a year ago | (#43901973)

Thats like saying bud or coors are good american beers because they have some 70% of the american market. They are crap. Look at breweries like stone rogue blue point etc. No share, waves above what is "good" though

Re:G'DAY MATE (1)

snspdaarf (1314399) | about a year ago | (#43901663)

Hell, we can't even get Tooheys around here, much less Mountain Goat.

Re:G'DAY MATE (1)

DFurno2003 (739807) | about a year ago | (#43901709)

Isnt Malt Shovel a UK beer?

Re:G'DAY MATE (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43901991)

There might be such a beer, but it isn't the one being referenced ( http://www.maltshovel.com.au/ ).

Re:G'DAY MATE (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about a year ago | (#43901831)

If I wanted a good beer, I certainly wouldn't drink something from Australia would I?

Re:G'DAY MATE (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43901935)

I've been told that "Fosters" is actually Australian for "kangaroo piss".

Upon further inspection, it was determined that the beer sold in North America as "Fosters" is actually equivalent to a premium brand by the same company (Royal Something-or-other) and is brewed by Molson in Canada. (The last I checked on this was about 10 years ago, so things could have changed by now.)

Re:G'DAY MATE (5, Funny)

capt_mulch (642870) | about a year ago | (#43901319)

Sorry, no-one in Australia drinks Fosters anymore. We're all boutique these days - except for Queenslanders, who only drink Fourex (XXXX) - and the reason it's called XXXX is because they can't spell 'beer'.

Re:G'DAY MATE (1)

canadiannomad (1745008) | about a year ago | (#43901335)

Fun, and here in Mexico we sometimes drink dos equis (XX) :D

Re:G'DAY MATE (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about a year ago | (#43901587)

You can find XX and Sol at any licensed mexican restaurant in Australia and, obviously, Corona too.

Re:G'DAY MATE (1)

canadiannomad (1745008) | about a year ago | (#43901927)

I'm sure you can, but can you find a Corona for under 80cents....
Besides I prefer Victoria, which is harder to find outside of Mexico ;)

Re:G'DAY MATE (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about a year ago | (#43901969)

Well no you'd have trouble finding any beer for 79c.

Australia has one of the highest costs of living in the world even, arguably, higher than your beloved Canada.

Re:G'DAY MATE (4, Funny)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about a year ago | (#43901807)

Dos Equis is named for the blend... it contains the piss from two horses.....

(yes, I'm aware the Latin is spelled slightly differently...)

Re:G'DAY MATE (4, Funny)

stox (131684) | about a year ago | (#43901733)

The Fosters we get in the States is brewed by Oil Can Breweries, Fort Worth, TX, which I suspect is a front for recycling refinery waste.

Respect Your Elders, Telstra! (5, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#43901285)

Incidentally, Australian beer fridges have the honor of being among the first commercially successful applications [wikipedia.org] of refrigeration technology(the principles and some early prototypes were developed elsewhere; but Australia's not-exactly-robust ice-harvesting industry didn't imperil the cost effectiveness of the systems in the way that it did in places that actually have ice). Telstra should turn down whatever RF 'noise' the kids are listening too these days and let Grandpop play what he wants!

Irrelevant history aside, what kind of dodgy does a motor have to be to generate enough RF to degrade a cell system in the course of performing relatively modest compression duties for a small refrigerator?

Re:Respect Your Elders, Telstra! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43901313)

A good lawyer could probably claim that this is a clear cut case of the cellular network being a form of hacking the refridgerator technology, since the fridge tech was around first and therefore has claims to do whatever the cell signals should "work around". If this case were in the US, the lawyer could even pull in the DMCA, 'cause the DMCA specifically destroys any technology made to circumvent an older tech. This cell network is definitely attempting to circumvent the fridge owners right to his technology. Therefore, the cell network should pay $1,000,000 for damages and the CEO should spend a year in prison and have a permanent record for all this hacking of fridge's & then trying to blame the fridges for getting in the way. I don't even care if this is a case of hactivism on the part of the cell network(s) involved, this is unacceptable. UNACCEPTABLE!!

Re:Respect Your Elders, Telstra! (4, Informative)

Lehk228 (705449) | about a year ago | (#43901325)

one with a bad connection turning it into an arc gap transmitter.

it could have caught fire too so it's good the fault was found

Re:Respect Your Elders, Telstra! (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#43901377)

I'm just surprised because a brushed motor, which I was assuming this was, acts as a feeble arc gap under normal operation; but presumably had to pass regulatory muster when first manufactured, as well as remaining efficient enough to keep the fridge running, within the power budget provided by a domestic breaker while also putting out enough RF noise to escape(usually sealed to keep the refrigerant in) coolant loop and disrupt the cell towers.

I would have expected one perturbed enough to be a regulatory issue to have popped a breaker, caught fire, or just stopped cooling beer before getting to that point.

Re:Respect Your Elders, Telstra! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43901519)

Since this is a refrigerator, the motor and compressor come in one hermetically sealed unit. For maintenance reasons, brushed motors are never used; instead, either a permanent magnet or reluctance type synchronous motor or some form of induction motor is used. The break may have occurred in a wire outside of the hermetic seal.

Re:Respect Your Elders, Telstra! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43901367)

I had an old 300W power supply that would cause AM radio in at least a couple hundred feet to turn to nothing but high pitched squealing. Well, moreso than usual.

My dad would turn on the radio to determine if I was asleep at night or still up on my computer.

Haha, oh god, someone had to do that intentionally. Captcha: Fosters!

Re:Respect Your Elders, Telstra! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43901397)

Haha, oh god, someone had to do that intentionally. Captcha: Fosters!

As near as I can tell, the captcha generator uses the article and comments to generate a captcha for the post, so they are almost always on-topic, though I pity the guy who gets qznbloi for theirs.

Re:Respect Your Elders, Telstra! (1)

sjwt (161428) | about a year ago | (#43901915)

I had logitech 5.1 speakers on my computer that would pick up a FM station in the low end for ranges of about 5-10 seconds every minute, and of course an old P1 that I had to over clock to listen to my fav FM station..

Re:Respect Your Elders, Telstra! (4, Interesting)

mjwx (966435) | about a year ago | (#43901395)

Irrelevant history aside, what kind of dodgy does a motor have to be to generate enough RF to degrade a cell system in the course of performing relatively modest compression duties for a small refrigerator?

It just has to be dodgy enough to interfere with a very specific set of frequencies. In Hellstra's case this is 824â"849 and 869â"894 MHz.

This is why you are asked to turn off your phone on aircraft, this is what a malfunctioning fridge can do to mobile reception, think about the interference a malfunctioning phone will cause to communications and navigation equipment (which operate on similar frequency ranges to mobile phones).

But TFA glossed over a very important part of the story, after the offending fridge was deactivated... How did the owner keep his beer cold?

Re:Respect Your Elders, Telstra! (1)

Coren22 (1625475) | about a year ago | (#43901555)

The company should have bought him a new fridge, but unfortunately that isn't how the world works.

Re: Respect Your Elders, Telstra! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43901565)

Great. "I'm sorry, sir, you can't run your beer fridge on the plane, it might interfere with the navigational devices."

Re:Respect Your Elders, Telstra! (3, Insightful)

Macgrrl (762836) | about a year ago | (#43901705)

But TFA glossed over a very important part of the story, after the offending fridge was deactivated... How did the owner keep his beer cold?

Obviously,he drank them all. Problem solved (for now).

Re:Respect Your Elders, Telstra! (4, Informative)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#43901561)

Irrelevant history aside, what kind of dodgy does a motor have to be to generate enough RF to degrade a cell system in the course of performing relatively modest compression duties for a small refrigerator?

It doesn't. Any electrical device can emit RF over a broad range of frequencies. Your computer can radiate anywhere from DC to over 5GHz. Your car, especially if it's an electric hybrid, can radiate large amounts of EMR at lower frequencies (not connect it to anything. They would wait up to a year before actually using it, because invariably every single thing that was already pre-existing in the area would be blamed on it, from poor TV reception to baby monitors fuzzing out, etc. The FCC of course investigates these things, and it's become common practice amongst amateur radio operators to simply lead them around to the back of the house and point out the disconnected (inert) antenna, because it's easier than going through the formal process of discovery, and there's a small chance of a false positive and resulting bankrupcy due to fines if that happens.

It sounds like the problem in Austria is that it's version of 'Part 16' is broken if they're threatening fines over a defective beer fridge. Here in the United States, as long as it's been certified by the FCC, as long as the owner uses it as intended and has not modified it, there is no legal liability that I'm aware of. In this case, such an enforcement action by a mobile phone company would require they prove the owner maliciously is trying to cause interference, or has, through modification or non-intended uses of an otherwise certified device, caused interference, before any fines could be levied. The solution then is for the license holder to work with the owner of the device to come up with a solution.

Or put another way: The mobile phone company would buy this gentleman a new beer fridge, and haul away the old one for disposal. But it sounds like, in Australia at least, even innocent people who bought a device commercially and used it as intended can be caught in a legal snare that could ruin their lives. Stay classy, Australia.

Re:Respect Your Elders, Telstra! (1)

russotto (537200) | about a year ago | (#43901791)

It sounds like the problem in Austria is that it's version of 'Part 16' is broken if they're threatening fines over a defective beer fridge. Here in the United States, as long as it's been certified by the FCC, as long as the owner uses it as intended and has not modified it, there is no legal liability that I'm aware of.

Not so. In the US, if a Part 15 device is causing interference on licensed bands, the owner of said device is required to correct the interference or stop using the device. Seems like it's the same in Australia (except the regulation number is likely different).

Re:Respect Your Elders, Telstra! (2)

bws111 (1216812) | about a year ago | (#43901837)

I think you mean part 15, and you have it wrong. Part 15 means if your device is interfered with you have no legal recourse, and if your device is causing interference you must stop using it. There is no exemption for working correctly or as certified, and there is no need to show malicious intent. If you are causing interference and do not stop, you will be fined.

Re:Respect Your Elders, Telstra! (2)

mirix (1649853) | about a year ago | (#43901839)

Part 15. I don't think you'd get fines unless you continue to operate once being made aware your device is defective and causing interference, unless it's something blatant (transmitting on licensed/reserved bands, excess power, unregistered device that doesn't meet the regs, etc).

If it's something that is only bothering one HAM operator, FCC is pretty pokey. If it's interfering with big telcos, or the army, or airplane communication, etc, I imagine the response is pretty swift and somewhat more brutal.

TFA says:

Henderson said that in most cases where an external source of interference is located, the owner of that source generally complied and switched it off when made aware of the effect it was having on mobile communications.

Cases where the owner refuses are referred to the ACMA, and large fines can result.

Which sounds pretty similar.

Re:Respect Your Elders, Telstra! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43901859)

It sounds like the problem in Austria is...

Yeah but what's that got to do with this story? :P

Re:Respect Your Elders, Telstra! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43901869)

...and they aren't threatening fines for the beer fridge. They are getting the ACMA to threaten people for using illegal repeaters. FTA:

Repeaters are devices used to strengthen weak phone signals. They are not illegal to buy but are illegal to switch on, unless registered with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).... The ACMA has been cracking down on their use, and the Federal Government has recently moved to tighten legislature to put the onus on suppliers of repeaters to record "a greater degree of detail on devices purchased".

Re:Respect Your Elders, Telstra! (0)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#43901795)

Irrelevant history aside, what kind of dodgy does a motor have to be to generate enough RF to degrade a cell system in the course of performing relatively modest compression duties for a small refrigerator?

It doesn't. Any electrical device can emit RF over a broad range of frequencies. Your computer can radiate anywhere from DC to over 5GHz. Your car, especially if it's an electric hybrid, can radiate large amounts of EMR at lower frequencies (under 20 MHz). And thanks to harmonics, signal reflection, and interaction with the environment, even a device specifically designed to minimize EMR can cause significant interference. And then there's the numerous stories from ham radio people that would setup an antenna scaffolding (which is a very noticable structure in a residential area), and not connect it to anything. They would wait up to a year before actually using it, because invariably every single thing that was already pre-existing in the area would be blamed on it, from poor TV reception to baby monitors fuzzing out, etc. The FCC of course investigates these things, and it's become common practice amongst amateur radio operators to simply lead them around to the back of the house and point out the disconnected (inert) antenna, because it's easier than going through the formal process of discovery, and there's a small chance of a false positive and resulting bankrupcy due to fines if that happens.

It sounds like the problem in Austria is that it's version of 'Part 16' is broken if they're threatening fines over a defective beer fridge. Here in the United States, as long as it's been certified by the FCC, as long as the owner uses it as intended and has not modified it, there is no legal liability that I'm aware of. In this case, such an enforcement action by a mobile phone company would require they prove the owner maliciously is trying to cause interference, or has, through modification or non-intended uses of an otherwise certified device, caused interference, before any fines could be levied. The solution then is for the license holder to work with the owner of the device to come up with a solution.

Or put another way: The mobile phone company would buy this gentleman a new beer fridge, and haul away the old one for disposal. But it sounds like, in Australia at least, even innocent people who bought a device commercially and used it as intended can be caught in a legal snare that could ruin their lives. Stay classy, Australia.

Electric device causes electric interference (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43901305)

News at 11!

Goodness me, this is like filing a patent about something, except "on the Internet" for all the interest it really provides.

The Cell Phone industry - evil in all countries. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43901311)

Repeaters are devices used to strengthen weak phone signals. They are not illegal to buy but are illegal to switch on, unless registered with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

Isee. So if one is getting shitty service (what else) from their cell phone company and decides to improve the service on their own at their own cast, it's illegal. And you're stuck with the shitty service.

I see.

And if there is interference from other equipment, you have to wait for the day or year that these engineers get around to "fixing" the problem.

I think the people in charge at cell phone companies are folks who were thrown out of the mafia for ethics violations.

Re:The Cell Phone industry - evil in all countries (2)

YukariHirai (2674609) | about a year ago | (#43901891)

Isee. So if one is getting shitty service (what else) from their cell phone company and decides to improve the service on their own at their own cast, it's illegal. And you're stuck with the shitty service.

To play devil's advocate on this one, if doing so can actually further fuck the mobile phone network, then it being illegal isn't such a bad thing.

How (3, Insightful)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about a year ago | (#43901321)

I know a little about radio networks, not a massive amount but enough to get by. The fridge must have been somehow sending out a noise signature which was in tune with the radio conditions of the network. That is what I don't understand, a properly designed radio cellular network should operate outside of the range of frequencies put off by a simple compressor motor that would be a in fridge. So now I have to wonder either the fridge was designed in a very strange manor, or the fridge malfunctioned in a very strange manor or the network was poorly designed. Does anyone have more details as to the exact details of what happened? I would be interested in seeing the hardened data from the logs, fridge and network. I call BS that the fridge was the issue until someone can produce hard log data showing this.

Re:How (1)

jeffclay (1077679) | about a year ago | (#43901361)

I can just imagine some repair guys walking up to this guys garage and then circling a fridge holding random equipment and then trying their damndest to keep a straight face while telling the guy he had to turn off his fridge or be fined.

Re:Howaus (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43901401)

Why does he have to accept being fined?

Ah yes, because australlians are less well armed than the government .

ThThat is why

Re:How (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about a year ago | (#43901379)

Arcing and sparking can release noise across a huge portion of the spectrum. That's how microwaves from 60 to 120 GHz were first made in the 19th century, with a spark gap and resonate cavities.

Re:How (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about a year ago | (#43901477)

That true but in a residential piece of equipment those risks should be mitigated before they can happen. That being said it's possible.

Re:How (2)

SteveAyre (209812) | about a year ago | (#43901743)

In new-from-the-factory and FCC/equivalent-approved condition, sure. But if it's faulty it might continue to function while internally having developed an internal electrical fault that's causing the noise.

It wouldn't be the first time something like this has happened either:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/beds/bucks/herts/8327549.stm [bbc.co.uk]

Re:How (3, Interesting)

iggymanz (596061) | about a year ago | (#43901815)

eh? where I come from people plug in their fridge and let it go for 30+ years. what are the brushes of an ac motor going to look like then?

    heck the one I grew up with (from the 60s) my dad took it down to my grandmother's in mid 1990s, he gave it a freon charge right before plugging it in and after my grandmother's death my uncle is using it today. Surely that thing puts out some RFI though who'd notice out there in farmland....

Re:How (1)

mirix (1649853) | about a year ago | (#43901873)

Fridges use induction motors - no brushes. This provides high reliability and lower noise, at the cost of weight (which is pretty irrelevant in a fridge).

Re:How (2)

BitZtream (692029) | about a year ago | (#43901903)

The brushes will look the same as they did the first day it was used ... non-existent.

Unless you need variable speed, brushes are not required in AC motor designs. A fridge generally doesn't use variable speed.

Re:How (0)

Aighearach (97333) | about a year ago | (#43901385)

It is not logical to assume that unintended radio transmissions by malfunctioning electrical devices will avoid inconvenient frequencies. I'd expect them rather to be spread out in sort of bell-shaped distribution.

Re:How (0)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about a year ago | (#43901493)

Well they would "pollute" a wide spectrum, the cellular network should be designed in a such a way as to mitigate those issues. I would assume the cellular networks in Australia implement some FSK or PSK routines to protect them. ( of course more then just PSK and FSK can be applied ).

Re:How (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43901715)

all digital cellular networks use very complex modulation and error correction techniques including QPSK, QAM as well as number of others. They have since the inception of digital cellular networks. In fact they absolutely rely on them for functionality. CDMA systems (which is what 3GPP 3G is based on) are absolutely limited by noise and go to great length to only transmit at the lowest possible power. Having someone blast a whole load of noise - either from a fridge or from an active repeater or whatever stuffs the whole system for everyone and cant be mitigated by design. That is why it operates in licensed (and generally very very expensive) spectrum bands. This is basic cellular theory. Your comment just make no sense.

Re:How (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43901391)

Might have mostly been neighbors complaining that led to the investigation. In the US, if enough people complain, the FCC WILL send out their '84 Ford Escorts covered in antennae to find the cause.

Similar, but not identical: http://forums.radioreference.com/attachments/federal-monitoring-forum/25843d1257202792-secret-service-antennas-antenna-car-1-lrg.jpg

Re:How (1)

blueworm (425290) | about a year ago | (#43901461)

Here's another link: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/fridge-fault-causes-telstra-mobile-network-blackouts/story-fni0fit3-1226655474358

Re:How (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about a year ago | (#43901501)

But that link is also missing all the relevant data to back up the complaint. You can say what ever you want but with out hard numbers and records it means nothing.

tough decision!!! (5, Funny)

johnnybogosity (2396158) | about a year ago | (#43901353)

You want reliable network performance or ice cold beer? That's a tough question.

Re: tough decision!!! (1)

Mabhatter (126906) | about a year ago | (#43901371)

After 5 pm work can't reach you.... THAT

Re: tough decision!!! (5, Funny)

Mabhatter (126906) | about a year ago | (#43901389)

After 5pm work can't reach you... THAT is a feature for a Beer Fridge!

Re: tough decision!!! (1)

gnoshi (314933) | about a year ago | (#43901453)

And because of the time required the beer to cool, you have beer-free time for dinner with your wife and kids.
Beer fridges - keeping the family together.

aus (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43901355)

"Cases where the owner refuses are referred to the ACMA, and large fines can result."

Australlians are obedient people.
The fact that others can tell you what t do and you have to obey them is infuriating

Re:aus (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43901433)

We'd better check the RF signature on this story about malfunctioning beer fridges. It appears to be attracting randroids...

Re:aus (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43902041)

It is infuriating being a member of society. If you carefully read your social contract, you have an easy out of that infuriating reality.

Software Robot? (0)

FloydTheDroid (1296743) | about a year ago | (#43901373)

Do they mean a "program" or do I have to welcome our beer-sniffing, robotic overlords?

Re:Software Robot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43901749)

It's an algorithm. Now please welcome your TFA-reading, AC overlord!

Beer fridge interfering with technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43901409)

This actually happens a lot, especially in social networking startups.

Why can't we have more interesting stories? (3, Insightful)

wadeal (884828) | about a year ago | (#43901417)

Why can't we have more stories like this? Why does it always have to be something political or an advertisement for a product or the usual MS bashing stories? This title alone is more interesting than any "news" story I've seen on Slashdot in the last year.

Re:Why can't we have more interesting stories? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43901507)

Why can't we have more stories like this? Why does it always have to be something political or an advertisement for a product or the usual MS bashing stories? This title alone is more interesting than any "news" story I've seen on Slashdot in the last year.

Mr. Wadeal, thank you for choosing our technology blog. In today's competitive market place, we appreciate that you have many choices for keeping yourself abreast of the latest developments within IT and in science. We pride ourselves on honoring our readers, and our continued commitment is to provide you with the accurate, insightful, and timely stories you deserve.

- Dice

Years from now (0)

wadeal (884828) | about a year ago | (#43901451)

We'll start to realise why the sudden jump in cancers and tumors over the last hundred or so years radio has been widespread...

Re:Years from now (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#43901543)

We've already linked much of it back to pollutants. leaded gas links to violence better than any other theory to date, and carcinogens are widespread. A little non-ionizing radiation is better for you than sunlight. I don't think it'll ever be linked to anything.

Re:Years from now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43901793)

Luddites. It will be linked to luddites.

More pertinent information on beer fridge (5, Informative)

RyoShin (610051) | about a year ago | (#43901459)

The linked article is far more about the internal 'robot' and very little about the beer fridge. While perhaps the intent of the /. post, I was far more interested in how the beer fridge could have caused such an issue. Thankfully, TFA has a link to another, far more interesting, FA [heraldsun.com.au] :

Telstra engineers say any electric spark of a large enough magnitude can generate radio frequency noise that is wide enough to create blackouts on the 850mHz spectrum that carries our mobile voice calls and internet data.

Engineers said the motor in the beer fridge was causing the interference.

It includes an image of said fridge, which looks like something from the 50s/60s (maybe? I don't know, I still have people yelling at me to get off their lawns.) More modern models probably have much better, efficient motors that don't cause this kind of issue.

Mr Halley said Telstra was increasing its black-spot detectors as Australians flocked to smartphones, and the rapid expansion of services revealed some very odd "ghosts in the machine". [...] These included faulty automatic teller machines, lights and illegal phone and TV antenna boosters.

No mention of the resolution, but I assume it involved unplugging the fridge. (I wouldn't be surprised if he paid more in electricity for that thing per year than just buying a new, medium-sized fridge.)

Re:More pertinent information on beer fridge (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | about a year ago | (#43901495)

No mention of the resolution, but I assume it involved unplugging the fridge.

You will unplug my beer fridge over my cold and lifeless body. This is why we Uhmerkins have guns.

Hopefully, they bought him a new fridge.

Re:More pertinent information on beer fridge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43901653)

Dude. Don't perpetuate the stereotype. The proper term is 'muricans.

Re:More pertinent information on beer fridge (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43901571)

"To use this website, cookies must be enabled in your browser."
No.

Re:More pertinent information on beer fridge (1)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about a year ago | (#43901907)

I'm really curious about how they could enforce something like making him remove the device. It's not his fault their network is impacted by a completely unrelated device. Did they offer to buy him a new one?

Re:More pertinent information on beer fridge (1)

Burdell (228580) | about a year ago | (#43902043)

I don't know about Australia, but in the US, you are responsible if you are causing interference in somebody else's licensed band. Even if you didn't mean to, you are transmitting (noise) on a licensed frequency without a license. If it even looks like it might be because you made some modifications to radio gear, you can be liable for a large fine (and depending on the band possibly jail time).

I remember a few years ago a convenience store near Miami's airport was closed by the FCC because they had some dodgy electronics (door opener or bar-code scanner) that was interfering with the air traffic control radio frequency. The FCC forced the store to close (and IIRC shut off the power because they weren't sure of the source device) until they could prove they had non-interfering equipment.

Even the ISM (the so-called "unlicensed") bands, like 900 MHz and 2.4 GHz, are very tightly controlled. Equipment must stay within regulations on channels, power limits, and usage. Your equipment must be able to handle interference from other devices operating within the regulations, but if somebody operates outside the limits, they are liable and must shut down (and face fines, etc.).

Re:More pertinent information on beer fridge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43901917)

Actually newer cooling units that are "green" and use PWM controlled motors can be far worse in the RFI department. The faster the rise time, the nastier the emissions. Of course crappy Pot House Lights cough Hydroponics cough can really take the cake.

So what did they do about it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43901463)

Did the guy have to repair his fridge at his own expense? Did they repair it for him? It isn't his fault his fridge works for him.

Software robot? (4, Insightful)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about a year ago | (#43901485)

Engineers used an internally-developed software 'robot' to crawl log files from the network.

Seriously? I know it's actually stated that way in TFA, but are people that stupid that they can't simply say "program"? In all likelihood, it's probably a 10-line Perl script. (Said as Perl fan, myself.)

Re:Software robot? (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about a year ago | (#43901627)

Re:Software robot? (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about a year ago | (#43902037)

Sure, but from TFA:

The "robot" is effectively an algorithm that crawls a database of performance stats collected from equipment across the NextG mobile network.

So, it searches *a* database of stats collected from remote equipment. How that information is collected isn't mentioned, but "syslog" would be one way. Even if it was collected directly from remote equipment, that could be done by a simple Perl script and a few modules. Certainly nothing even remotely (no pun intended) special about any of that. I did stuff like that before the "Web" was even invented (yes, I'm old). Still, ultimately, it's just a program. Thanks for the link anyway...

Re:Software robot? (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about a year ago | (#43902045)

Agreed, a 'bot' might be nothing special in terms of coding, if you know how, but it *is* established terminology.

Baby monitor interference (2)

LaughingRadish (2694765) | about a year ago | (#43901499)

Slightly related, here are a few threads about radio-based baby monitors causing trouble in the ham bands:

http://www.eham.net/ehamforum/smf/index.php?topic=76680.0 [eham.net]
http://forums.qrz.com/showthread.php?310670-Bad-Baby-Monitors-on-50-125-FM [qrz.com]
http://www.techzonez.com/forums/showthread.php/23722-HAM-Radio-and-Eavesdropping!!!!-LONG-ONE [techzonez.com] !

The first and second one are about hams tracking down the problems. The second goes into great detail on how the user of the monitor was busted by the FCC. The third is from a user of a baby monitor going full-retard.

That explains it (4, Funny)

frovingslosh (582462) | about a year ago | (#43901505)

Now I understand why, after I have 20 or 30 beers, why I have such a hard time finding my way home.

Re:That explains it (4, Funny)

snspdaarf (1314399) | about a year ago | (#43901651)

Oh, come on. I have known for years that beer jams my inertial navigation system. And, it encrypts my communications, too!

Grammar check (1, Offtopic)

jabberw0k (62554) | about a year ago | (#43901567)

used an internally-developed software

That should be, used an internally-developed piece of software. The word "software," like "hardware" or "clothing" is plural. You have a piece of hardware, a piece of clothing, a piece of software -- not "a hardware" or "a clothing" or (ugh) "a software."

Robot?! (1)

Kahn_au (1349259) | about a year ago | (#43901595)

Since when does a log parser (Splunk much?) get such a lofty title of "Robot". I think perhaps they are mistaking it with their call centre staff!!!

Could have been worse (2)

abelb (1365345) | about a year ago | (#43901769)

At least it wasn't the cellular network interfering with the beer fridge. Could have been a disaster.

Aircraft (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43901945)

And people wonder why they are asked to turn off devices on planes!

the fridge? (2)

countach (534280) | about a year ago | (#43902039)

What I really want to know is what happened to the man's beer. Did Telstra buy him a new fridge or what?

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