* Posts by Madge

22 publicly visible posts • joined 7 Sep 2007

BBC HD channel gets green light

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The difference between 720p and PAL is about the difference between PAL and VGA.

720p and 1080i actually need about the same bit rate.

720p on a 1080 line screen is degraded compared with 720p on 720lines

1080i or p is degraded on 720p screen

Everything is degraded on 768 line (commonest HD screen).

SD (576) is degraded (progressively less) on 720, 768 or 1080 line screens.

HD should be 1152 line in Europe to give a significant improvement on 60" screens an ensure no degradation of SD.

Instead we are going to be offered 720p because too many TV sets can't do 1080i properly and instead of the better compromise 1080 which does not degrade SD so much.

1080 is derived from visible lines of old Analogue 1125 line for Japan (thus NTSC derived). VGA is of course progressive version of visible lines of 525i NTSC.

The US & Japan have messed up PCs and now HDTV for us :(

Anyway... there is nothing decent to watch anymore. When the format war for HD is over and penetration is 30%, I'll buy a HD projector and player for Cinematic titles. Till then I'll stick to previewing HD in the office and my 21" 1600x 1200 PC with Satellite Card. And buying regular DVDs for the telly,


Trojan spreads using PI wiretapping scare



I got this last week and thought it was a new twist on the Social Engineering.

Trusting my own scepticism more than any AV product, I wouldn't have opened this even if I had a real phone line (which are easier to tap than VOIP. 3rd party VOIP is of course easier to eavesdrop than VOIP on DOCSIS or LLU from your own ISP).

I imagine this one will do well.

Windows random number generator is so not random


You can't do it only in Software

20 years ago we used a Zener diode and an an ADC.

It's still the simplest way to get a real random number.

The best you can get in SW is a Pseudo Random sequence with a long repeat cycle.

GSM jumps from the pocket to the desk top


New model, but nothing new

I think they have been selling Desktop GSM phones for sometime.

I'm sure I saw the 1st GSM desktop phone some years ago.

Considering the demand in homes and offices for landline SMS-enabled DECT phones that look like mobiles and the special low cost deals on call time and handsets for Businesses, I think it definitely a very small niche market. No doubt why Burnside are one of the very few suppliers.

So a product announcement. Not a new product concept at all.

Remembering the Commodore PET 2001


My memories

Computers in order of use (most of these at home apart from mainframes)

Mainframe at QUB: Handwritten QUBOL

ICL running George: Fortran, via punched cards.

SC/MP: Assembler

Z80 board I designed running Assember

Apple ][ with Z80 card for CP/M. UCSD pascal. Upgrades: 5MB HD, 1M dual8" floppies.

ACT Sirius I: CP/M 86 & MS DOS. 800x 400 graphics & 2MByte variable speed floppies


Intel 8080 dev system with Cartridge Winchester and ISIS II OS

Apricot with MSDOS 2.11 and then 3.3

Cromenco Z80/68K with Cromix "UNIX" like OS


Jupiter Ace

Amstrad PCW8256 with RAM and 3.5" PC disk upgrades


WANG 80286 (not PC) with DR-MULTIDOS running Win3.0

Horizon Multiuser system (PC cards with Composite Video out in main box, shared disk and keyboard, screen, etc via multicore cable)

Wang 286 PCs with Win3.11 on DR-DOS

Wang 286 running Minix

Various clone PCs with WFWG3.11 and Network

386 running OS/2 Warp, recycled to NT3.1

AST 386-33MHZ, 12M RAM running NT3.51 server!

Various 486s with NT4.0,


Various 586/Pentium class with NT4.0

(older PCs installed with mix of Win95 and Win98 SE for games).

HP laptop + NT4.0

RH6.0 Linux on various 486/686 (1999?)

Pair of old AST dual CPU Servers (P-Pro?) converted to MS Cluster with 2 shelves of 8 x SCSI drives. AMI controllers. Just after 1st release of NT4.0 Enterprise Server.

Atari ST

Dell Inspiron 7500 + NT4.0

April 2002 XP on Inspiron 8200, still great today.

Carphone Warehouse to pitch Irish broadband


Not unsuspecting irish

"3"'s so called up to 3.6Mbps "Broadband" still doesn't work and the National Broadband Scheme has been shelved to pay for Wood Pellet Stoves.

Several Satellite "broadband" suppliers that were going to repeal the laws of physics (Low latency Geo Sync Satellite !) are gone...

And there is Perlico already.


Really Competition?

Are they planning to do more than resell eircom 1Mbps and 2Mbps DSL?

Which is only available to maybe 60% of households. Due to the approx 26 Eur line rental, the number of housholds with phone line has fallen from 82% to 69%.

About 85% to 90% exchanges enabled but many lines fail due to poor copper or even pair gains installed since privatisation.

This IMO does nothing for the Irish consumer.

3 UK brings VoIP to cheapskates


The logic is strange

A 3G sector does much fewer VOIP than 3G voice calls

Latency on VOIP on 3G/HSDPA is bad.

The existing handsets have a remote Skype proxy connected to by 3G voice this makes sense for a phone operator.

A handset with a "real" Skype client only makes sense for an ISP with lots of WiFi points and/or a real IP mobile network like WiMax, WiBro or Flash-OFDM who wants to roam to HSUPA.

Since 3's IP network offering in Ireland seems in many cases worse than dialup I'm totally baffled by the logic of this.

Boeing trumpets 'relevant battlefield laser' raygun


What if it is automated?


A robot cannon began wildly and autonomously firing its huge gun in South Africa last Friday, killing 9 soldiers and wounding 14.

Supersized stellar blackhole prompts model rewrite


Just 3 Million Light Years?

It's possibly the furthest object that can be seen with naked eye, and even then only under perfect conditions.

I think Andromeda Galaxy is slightly closer.

Anything outside our own Galaxy (the Milky Way), is really far.

Even if we could built a Starship, the inter Galaxy distances are much much bigger. Our entire Galaxy is 3000 times smaller than the distance to M33.

Ofcom: no comeback for TV on analogue spectrum



No-one is talking about Analogue for HD. Nor even MPEG2. Even on Satellite MPEG2 HD is dead. ALL HD is MPEG4 digital. Converting ordinary TV from MPEG2 transmission to MPEG4 lets you have about twice as many channels. Whether Cable, Fibre, Terrestrial or Satellite is irrelevant. HD takes about the space of 4 ordinary MPEG2 channels or 8 ordinary MPEG4 channels, given that few "ordinary" TV channels are actually broadcast at DVD quality and similarly reduced quality on HD is an oxymoron.

Unfortunately many years ago there was Japanese Analogue HD 1125 lines which is where the stupid 1080 lines comes from (c.f 625 lines = 576 visible, US 525 lines = 480 visible).

Ordinary TV over IP can only be delivered to 10% even if everyone had broadband, or 2.5% of viewers for HD. A mass IPTV viewing audience even for ordinary TV isn't technically possible. Broadcast (cable, fibre, Terrestrial or Satellite) is the only way to deliver HDTV,

I think Chris is confusing Analogue and Terrestrial.


HD TV sets

None support MPEG4 builtin.

But no HD would be other than MPEG4.

Actually many arn't really HD. The HD ready logo was a really bad idea. It says NOTHING about the physical screen resolution.


Money grabbing

I have some sympathy...

For both views

Ofcom and ISPs

A: Put HD on Satellite (BBC/ITV/C4 Freesat, not foreign proprietary BSkyB).

sell off 700MHz to 860MHz and have real 4G mobile internet with 100Mbps. (but only if one nationwide operator gets all 150Mhz, otherwise you only get 3G speed and fragmentation of device support).

Even with ALL channels at MPEG4, you could only have a handful of HD.

However I don't trust Ofcom or Comreg to do that right and it's looking very confused with the FCC & USA.

Either Flash-OFDM or Mobile Wimax technology does about 4Mbps/MHz spectrum, so 150MHz allows in theory a total per sector speed of 600Mbps. This would allow approx 24 users 25Mbps download, or 50 users near HD quality IPTV. Note that 3.6Mbps HSDPA is for 5MHz and only for 1 user. Max connected users in a sector 24.

Realistically there is no technology that will do much more than 8Mbps/MHz and for larger cells the limit is close to what Mobile WiMax and Flash-OFDM can do today.

When people talk about high speed Wireless always ask what power, bandwidth and background noise they mean. An adjoining cell can equal more "noise".


B: You have same selection of FTA radio, TV and HD on Terrestrial as on Satellite.

A: is only acceptable if communal Dish systems are mandatory for all dwellings with more than 4 "households" (even if one person).

Nokia wants to reach out and Touch

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Your basic touch screen techs (resistive, capacitive), orientation sensors, acceleration sensor, light sensor don't really take much power. Could even be as low about 1/1000th of one LED indicator. The lack of them has been more about cost and size than anything else.

BBC spreads free Wi-Fi Cloud over iPlayer delay


Your kidding?

Adding a 2nd proprietary format?

I can "download" direct off satellite to my hard disk in MPEG2 (or MPEG4 for HD) with no re-encoding or loss of quality. Schedule it automatically and 6 month later watch it on PC or stream it on LAN or burn to DVD for the Home Theater.

Explain to me why a somewhat more limited (by IP rather than satellite footprint) distribution at poorer quality needs DRM or proprietary formats.

3's Skype phone to hit the pre-Christmas rush


He's Right ... except

3.6Mbps HSDPA supports a maximum of 24 users. It's doubtful if all 24 could do decent VOIP. Also latency for data (VOIP) is 150ms to 999ms+

Using the "built in" 3G voice is lower latency and supports more users. Even the mast backhaul links are often digital voice type rather than IP based.


Using 3G you need a lot of Skype Proxy Severs, about 400Mhz worth of x86 CPU per call!!! So doing real Skype codec and VOIP on the handset is scalable and cheap for the operator. Doing it the 3G + Proxy method while MUCH higher quality is seriously expensive if more than a few use it.

Only Sky can save digital TV

Dead Vulture


On Satellite even in Ireland, the Sky channels have a tiny percentage of viership.

TV has degraded as the number of channels has increased.

ABC1 failed because there is only so many times you can watch re-runs of Home Improvement.

There is not enough content for 20 decent channels never mind 1000.

In other European countries there is no de facto Satellite Monopoly. Rather than strengthening Sky as a distribution platform (they produce very little content) they should be forced to be more open. Their box (which unlike cable the customers own) should be able to take other CAMs. Their CAM should be available for other boxes.

Given the arrogant, closed proprietary nature of Sky's platform (Which is NOT a British Company and would move to Morocco or somewhere tomorrow if Ofcom did real regulation of them), BBC/ITV/C4 are perfectly correct to create Freesat.

RTE/TG4 on the other hand has given it's content to Sky for free and Sky can charge the Irish consumer what ever they like. This is even worse when you consider the DTT trial in Ireland is window dressing and there is no real plan for DTT roll out.

Your article reads like BskyB marketing spin. Not a balanced piece on the future of UK broadcasting.

Not up to usual El Reg standard.

ARM finds friends for mobile Linux


Link needs fixed


Toshiba pledges 30in OLED TV will ship in 2009


Not LED as we know it

OLED have more in common with 1960s Electroluminescent panels, which also suffered from lifetime issues.

They have an Anode & Cathode hence "Diode",

They emit Light

They are based on organic chemistry

Thus Organic Light Emitting Diodes OLED.

The Sony screen is only 11", a lot of its power consumption is likely the electronics. You need to compare 37" screens.

LCD only allow about 1/5th of the backlight. Unfortunately some OLED screens do not use Red, Green & Blue emitters but Blue/Violet/UV OLEDs and phosphor or even white via phoshors and then coloured stripes making them less efficient than LCDs.

OLEDs are not really at all the same animal as conventional LEDs, hence not the same efficency, colours or life. Really they are EL panels.

PC superstore unhinged by Linux


But the disk..

Most service places if it is not 110% obvious a HW problem (i.e. no pickaxe stuck in screen) will format the disk and re-install. Or even fit a new disk and not even install.

So really backup before leaving anything in for repair and make sure you have re-install disks & licence keys for everything, Linux is the least of the problems.

Britannia triumphs over Johnny Metric



But the USA inch etc is based on the old British Imperial system and the British Inch is now defined as 25.4mm, so they are different. Though Wikipedia has an alternate story on the Inch, so don't trust inches.

Except US liquid measure is based on not Imperial but "Wine Gallon" so hasn't been the same as UK for 100s of years.

The UK pint is no longer imperial but defined as 568.26125ml, so it's all smoke and mirrors. The UK is "really" running on Metric and the USA running on obsolete 18th and 20th Century UK standards.

3 Ireland's broadband stumbles to its knees


Oh no it's not

Oh no it's not

-Oh yes it is!

Oh no it's not

-Oh yes it is!

Oh no it's not

-Oh yes it is!

O2's service seems to work. O2 can manage SMTP also.

On a related note, Why is 1% of Ireland suddenly using 3G/HSDPA in a few months?

Hint: It's not actually for MOBILE internet, but to get an alternative to dialup.

see http://www.techno-culture.com/?p=78 for the rage when a tech journ suggested in a blog that the problem is lack of demand.

Why has a new faster /better than 3G/HSDPA mobile service in North Dublin pilot supplying a fixed WiFi Router with almost every sale instead of cheaper portable laptop only option?

Planning for a Mobile operator assumes intermittent mobile usage. Not 50,000 people suddenly using it 24x7 in fixed locations.

Basically unless there is more real fixed Broadband at affordable prices the Mobile operators are wrecked. They probably don't have the backhaul and with the inhernet wireless contention and 3G/HSDPA overhead the 3.6Mbps per sector very quickly becomes dialup speed.

People say that calls are now suffering...