Vicci Ho is a writer, film programmer and producer. She has written for Variety and worked for film festivals across the globe, including Toronto International Film Festival, Zurich Film Festival and directed the Hong Kong Lesbian & Gay Film Festival.  She is the President of Janitor Interactive: a production company specializing in games.

This is her personal page.

Cell phone networks, tracking devices, what is possible?

To be honest, I am still quite overwhelmed by what I learned in the first week of "Towers of Power". While I had been using mobile phone technology since the late 1990s, having a basic understanding of different cell phone systems (GSM vs CDMA), as well as some mobile phone identifiers (SIM cards, IMEI, etc), I had no idea how much more complex, or maybe simple it is.

I think it is very hard to wrap my head around the fact that in essence, a mobile phone network is just a system that transmits radio waves and allow devices to communicate with each other. Nor could I fully wrap around the fact that mobile phone networks have been all digital since 2G: the fact that calling a number nowadays is no different than making a call on skype is, for lack of a better word, mind-boggling.

And that was before we were told it is entirely possible to replicate the infrastructure of a cell phone network with software.

The uses of building one's own cell phone network is obvious: on a personal level, it could be great to build a small network for one's own use, especially in this day and age when privacy is such a concern. The other obvious uses are demonstrated by Benedetta: to build a small cell phone network for basic communications in communities that are in remote areas and would never receive commercial network coverage is immense. Of course, to be able to build a device cheaply for humanitarian / non-profit use is also something I would love to learn more about.

I love the idea of building tracking devices. While I understand there are a lot of products, I feel that a lot of the tracking that takes place are done to benefit companies so they can do better 'targeted advertising', there are still a lot of activities that are not being tracked properly. For example, I am still surprised by how poorly trash is tracked once it gets dumped into the ocean, or the fact that in reality, the only places that has a system to track something properly is if there are security or financial reasons to do so.

While it seems 'small scaled' to want to build a device for my own need, but I would love to build a device that could collect data that I find interesting. I would be curious to see if I can possibly build a small tracking device that would track my movement in subway /train systems: not necessarily in NYC but for systems that has cell phone coverage too. I have always wanted to find out exactly where I am going in the tunnels, how fast I am traveling...and I would very much like to just explore if it is even a possibility to do such a project. Otherwise, I have also always wanted to build a small scale jammer to stop people from using their cell phones when they shouldn't be (eg: at a movie theatre).

building a class in python

Midterm project - Tweet Poems