* Posts by Rolf Harris

17 publicly visible posts • joined 12 Aug 2007

Virgin Media calls foul on web speed testers

Rolf Harris

My VirginMedia connection is fine...

I think that the lesson that we have to learn from all of the contentious feedback here is that VirginMedia, like ALL other ISPs vary in their performance from region to region and line to line and also on what you plan to do with the line.

I know that I get the full 20Mbps speed from my VirginMedia line, I get that in speed tests and also through Torrent downloads, which actually peak out at 2.3MB/s when downloaing things such as xubuntu images for which there are many sources available.

My boss is also on VirginMedia, and also on the nominally 20Mbps connection package, but doesn't get anything like the speeds that I do. One of my colleagues also switched to VirginMedia on my recommendation and he does also get the full 20Mbps speeds (phew!).

I can't comment on secret limiting of my line with VPN or other things like that, I don't use VPN, but I just don't get problems with all the usual stuff like email, web, streaming media, iPlayer, FTP, Torrents and so on. Yes, I have hit their download caps from time to time, and to be honest, 5Mbps for a few hours isn't actually that limiting.

When I was on ADSL to the same property, I never got close to 5Mbps speeds on my nominally 8Mbps connection, BUT as I say, I am sure that there are people out there on 8Mbps ADSL lines that get 8Mbps service, it all depends on where you are and the quality of your line, the distance from the exchange (or "green box in the street"), and the number of other people you're sharing your pipe with.


Apple faces iTunes case in Norway

Rolf Harris
Paris Hilton

So, like, totally...

....I was right then? I understand that we're discussing semantics, but you have to say what you mean, or what you say is meaningless. If CD weren't lossy, which it is, there would be no possible justification for SACD, DVD-Audio, and anything else that samples over 44.1kHz. You may say that there IS no need for SACD etc, but that is because of the assertion that CD is "good enough" which I agree that it is, but it is lossy still compared to the actual audio. SACD is still, too, slightly less so, and also still "good enough". For me, a decent MP3 is good enough too, but my point is that none of these digital audio technologies are non-lossy. Personally, I don't care about that, but I do care about accuracy.

Yes, I am a nit-pick, but also, I don't care about that. Right is right after all. I blame my parents. Or Paris. No reason why, just so as I can.

Rolf ;-).

Rolf Harris

RE: CD is in fact a lossy recording format

Well, the subject of your post was correct. The content wasn't.

CD is lossy.

People think it is, but the fact of the matter is, and there is no way to get away from this, is that any digital recording is LOSSY by definition, it takes the original audio and digitizes it, THROWING AWAY (in your words) some of the information in favour of a digital representation of an analogue source. There is no way that a digital stream can be non-lossy.

What you are saying is that it is to all intents and purposes a non-lossy format and I would agree with you on that point - it's "good enough" for normal hearing (which mine is).

But MP3, AAC, FLAC, WMA, OGG and a hundred other different compression systems, both "lossy" and "non-lossy" from the INPUT DIGITAL SIGNAL can sound JUST AS GOOD as the original input digital source, depending on how you compress, what you compress with, how far you compress and on what you play back the signal, how you uncompress it, and how good your ears are.

Yes, I can hear there is a DIFFERENCE bewteen a WAV I have ripped from a CD, and an MP3 that I have used LAME to compress with using the --r3mix settings, but I CANNOT tell which is actually which in a blind sampling, they both sound "good enough" and so that is good enough.

That is very different from saying that it is non-lossy. It isn't. And CD isn't either, when you understand digital systems (like CD/MP3) and analogue systems (which sound is).



Rolf Harris

RE: couple of things in the comments so far

As an aside, CD is in fact a lossy recording format, it's just a high quality one. MP3 or AAC or WMA or FLAC or whatever can sound every bit as good as CD can, it just depends on how you do it and the equipment you reproduce the audio on in combination with your hearing. Recoding from one lossy format to another is where the problems usually start.

Anyway, my main points. Comparing this to a format change isn't a good comparison; of course DVDs don't play on a VHS player, that would be stupid. However, this is digital content that is quite capable of being played on a PC, Mac, Zune, iPod, Archos, or any number of other brand names some of which are unpronouncable to a typical Brit like myself.

The problem here is the artificial restriction that is being placed on the content. It's more like Sony Pictures releasing a film on DVD, but restricting it in such a way as that you can only play it back on Sony branded DVD players.

Sure, you could circumvent the protection on a PC with some clever software, rip the DVD, recode it, and burn it to a DVD-R, and watch it on your Toshiba DVD player, but....

1. why should you?

2. it's technically illegal as you're circumventing DRM

3. you loose quality (assuming it's a DVD9 source and DVD5 blank)

It's the same here. When you buy from iTunes, you shouldn't have to burn to disc and re-rip; you loose quality for starters; re-encoding an already lossy format is never a good idea (always avoid transcoding if you can) and it costs you in time and effort, not to mention a blank disc if you don't use an image drive. I suspect it is also against the T&Cs for iTunes or the DMCA or it's European equivalents, though I do not know this for sure. For me, it's more about the principle and the hassle of having to circumvent these restrictions and the legality is secondary as I know that I wouldn't be doing anything "immoral" even if it were technically illegal.

Yes, the music studios are requiring DRM to a degree, but it's naive to say that Apple have no part in that decision or choice; they could quite easily put pressure on the studios to allow DRM free, it's just they choose not to. If they are forced to by the Norwegian courts, more power to Norway...



Disclosure: I am an iPod fan, I have a couple, I use iTunes (though I don't like it) but I don't buy music from there because of these restrictions and the quality issues.

uTorrent for Mac leaks into Pirate Bay

Rolf Harris


The NETGEAR line of ReadyNAS (used to be Infrant ReadyNAS) products like the ReadyNAS Duo, NV+, and Pro have a built-in official BitTorrent client, and so you can download BitTorrent files directly to the NAS, and with the Duo for example only consuming about 25W of power, you're pretty damn green compared to leaving your PC on - I do this at home :-)

"Tux" because ReadyNAS is based on a Linux 2.6 core.


Cable broadband shines in Virgin Media Q2

Rolf Harris
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Excellent II

That means my 20Mbps connection will go up from 2.3MB/sec (yes, seriously, MegaBytes per second) to 5.75MB/sec... Whodathunk it? Now it'll only take me 2 minutes to download a (legal of course) movie rather than the *unacceptible* 6 minutes it takes now. Consider me a happy (and lucky) bunny.

Ten Tech Toys for Travellers

Rolf Harris
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@ blackworx

Actually those Sennheisers are a really nice set of headphones for day to day use, if you're not judging them by the standards of a studio set. The problem with any set of headphones, in my experience, that actually hold themselves in my ears (I'm thinking Etymotic Research, Shure et al) is that they get dirty over time and ongoing maintenance costs aren't what most people want from their headphones. The main gripe I have with the PXC300s is the battery compartment. It's possibly the least ergonomic design that they could have come up with...!

World+Dog lines up for iPhones

Rolf Harris


To be honest, I've been pretty immune to the iPhone madness, but if Rumour #1 is true, and TomTom will be available for the 3G iPhone, and not Rumour #2 that it won't be, then I can see myself actually getting one of these. Otherwise, it's an HTC Diamond for me I guess, to replace the trusty (but now rather old) TyTN. Either which way, I shan't (and I hope I will be only one of 60 million others) be queuing up for a phone of all things....


Drobo 'data robot' revamped with Firewire

Rolf Harris
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Why bother?

Well, once you buy the Drobo and the Share, and then the drives, it'll have worked out to be the same kind of price as an Infrant/Netgear ReadyNAS NV+ anyway, so you may as well go for a grown-ups NAS box. I was in the market for a new NAS, and came across the reviews at TrustedReviews. They kinda speak for themselves, but suffice to say, the Drobo looses out big time when you compare it to the ReadyNAS, so I plumped for the ReadyNAS and have certainly not been disappointed. And it comes with a 5 year warranty that covers the drives too.






The war on photographers - you're all al Qaeda suspects now

Rolf Harris
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@ Rik Hemsley

Do you know, I think that that is exactly what we need. Perhaps the new offence should not just limited to police officers, but to all of the population; there's no reason not to hold other members of the public to the same standard. The punishment could be higher on police officers if they use their status to add extra intimidation.

Absolutely excellent idea.

Blu-ray ramp beats DVD up-take in Europe

Rolf Harris

Will we all be downloading?

No, we won't.

...and not because of any lack in the telecommunications infrastructure of any particular country (though of course the UK springs to mind, along with the USA and Canada, traditionally three of the places the pioneers of making money out of us look to for their data) but more because of the business models that are employed.

Here is the decision before J. Public (or J. Doe, if you're over the pond) in 2011: Shall I buy either...

1. A digital download of my movie. I don't actually get anything. I can only use it on some devices as it is DRM protected. It takes ages to download (perceptually, or actually, and if not, I am paying through the nose for my broadband connection or per Gig (of which I will use a lot of my cap to get an HD-movie))


2. A Blu-Ray of my movie. By now, BluRay Ripping is as easy as DVD was in 2008, so applications are available to turn my BluRay in to something that will play on my 5G-iPhone or my PS4P. If I don't know how to do it, I know a geek who does. I can loan it to friends. I can give it as a gift to more people. I can ask for it as a gift. Every high street stocks it, and if not, Amazon can have it to me next day. If my PC crashes, I don't loose it and have to re-download it (or worse, loose it completely if the online-reseller has folded in the mean time).

I think that we are tied to the shiny disc for a while to come yet, especially when the pricing of BluRay discs become more realistic, as at the moment, they are priced to the early adopter market of course.

Just my $£0.01's worth.


Date set for next major PS3 firmware release

Rolf Harris


HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA - thanks for that, how appropriate.

But seriously though, mine's bigger than yours.

Rolf Harris

@AC; "calm down dear"

Thanks for that mate, you gave me a chuckle on a grey tuesday morning. And besides, you're spot on; my teenage son loves his Gamerscore, and that's fine, but I would find it rather pathetic if an adult was that needy.

It's weird, he uses the 360 way more than the PS3, and I use the PS3 almost exclusively - perhaps it's a maturity thing. My only complaint is that I have giganto-hands and so the 360 controllers are the right size and the PS3 ones too small..

Boris Johnson bans boozing on London transport

Rolf Harris

A Tipping Point

Changing the small things to fix the big things isn't so crazy. Sometimes, changing those things sends a signal to people that crime of any sort isn't tolerated. Cleaning graffiti, fixing broken windows and so on make an area seem to be better looked after and people whether subconciously or not start to treat the area better. Less drunkeness could well have the same effect. You can see the proof of the pudding in New York where little things like stopping fare dodging and cleaning the trains sent crime on the subway through the floor, and cleaning up the city lead to a gigantic fall in serious crime.

It's not to make people's lives worse, but really - if you NEED to drink on the tube and can't wait until you get off, you should be seeking help for your alcoholism.

(note: actually, I don't agree with the policy as I am a liberterian (look it up if you don't know what it is) but just pointing out that it could work)

Nokia confirms 'iPhone killer' handset in pipeline

Rolf Harris
Paris Hilton

@ iPhone killer (AC)

[puts on flame-proof suit]

Awooga awooga! Apple Fanboi Alert!

[note: I neither own an Apple nor Nokia device - I am an HTC-fan]

Get over it dude - Nokia's been consistently "king of the UI" for years if not decades. Sure, some people don't like some of their phones, but there's no other manufacturer out there that comes close in the long run. The iPhone's sexy no doubt, but it's not Divine, and if any manufacturer can make a phone with a nice UI, it's Nokia. Couple a nice UI with the functionality that Nokia phones have been offering for years that the iPhone is lacking, and to be honest I think that you will have a serious contender. Time will tell of course, but the "iPhone2" isn't the Holy Grail, and the longer iPhone/iPhone2 is tethered to it's large price tag and the ongoing costs of the exorbitant contract on limited providers (at least where I am, the UK) it's leaving itself wide open to competition.

Cheapest iPhone = £269 for 8GB version + £35/mnth for at least 18 months = £899 (approx $1,858).

Expensive iPhone = £329 for 16GB version + £75/mnth for at least 18 months = £1,679 (approx $3,470).

And these prices are for a brand new contract with O2...

Paris because all of this fighting is just making her cry. Won't SOMEBODY think of the children?!?

DroboShare network storage 'robot'

Rolf Harris

Can anyone say "NETGEAR ReadyNAS"?

Because when you look at it, the NETGEAR ReadyNAS (used to be Infrant ReadyNAS before NETGEAR bought Infrant) costs about the same amount as the Drobo with the DroboShare thing, but has way more features, better warranty, and works with everything.

And no, I don't work for NETGEAR, but yes I do have one of these ReadyNASs and it's been a god-send.

'Portable' CD player puts MP3 into a spin

Rolf Harris

I would SO buy one of these

...it's not that it has to be overly practical to play CDs on the move, but it'd be great to have the option for if you're on a train or at someone's place. Especially if it could rip the CD to the MP3 player for you. It'd have to come with a lot of memory of course and perhaps play MP3s from DVD-R if you inserted one in to the unit. Then it'd be a well cool gadget.