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Garrett Wollman Writes:

>In some cases they do.  It's possible to even change the operating
>system on a first-generation TiVo!

Yes, in some cases, you can update your firmware. I most consumer-type
devices don't let you do that. I think I can see why. Because if the update
bombs, you possibly wind up with an inoperative device. This would
potentially cost endless service and possibly legal hassles for the

>You will note, if you have cellular service, that your contract
>probably specifies that the carrier is allowed to remotely modify the
>software on your phone whenever they so desire.

True enough, but I don't personally know of any cellular phones that allow
update of firmware wirelessly, for a number of technical reasons.

>There was a research group in this Lab which developed technology for
>software-defined radios.... [selective cut]....   The FCC has just recently
>completed a rulemaking exercise over how software-defined radios are
>to be licensed and type-approved...

Yea I have been following along with the typical grave-toned FCC rule making
proposals regarding Software-Defined-Radio. It's a pretty cool concept,
IMHO. I get the feeling that this stuff kind of freaks out the FCC, because
Software-Defined-Radio hardware doesn't really fit neatly into the
Commission's pre defined bureaucratic radio service categories. My
[admittedly arguable] contention is that most telecommunications devices
these days are to a certain extent 'software defined' already.

73, de Hakim (N1ZFF)