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* Posts by rhydian

195 posts • joined 6 Aug 2008

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BSkyB, CityFibre, TalkTalk pull clear of bigwig BT's bundles – plan to set fibre to York

rhydian
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Re: Interesting

If you mean Llansantffraid-ym-Mechain in Powys, FTTC is going in March 2015...

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France bans managers from contacting workers outside business hours

rhydian
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Prescriptive legislation is rarely the way forward

As with just about everything in life the question of work versus home life isn't one you can "fix" with a blanket rule.

For example, as the son of someone who worked "on call" shifts on various evenings and weekends I count my weekends and evenings as very important. I will only do work stuff at those times when its unavoidable (e.g. specific events) or it makes more sense from an operations point of view (e.g. its less bother all round to rewire a cabinet on a sunday afternoon than monday morning).

There are others (like my boss) who routinely do work outside "normal" hours as he prefers the fact he's unlikely to be disturbed (unlike in work hours).

If you passed a law one way or the other neither of us would be happy...

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How Brit computer maker beat IBM's S/360 - and Soviet spies

rhydian
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Re: Sorry: Not impressed with aircraft industry rants

Concorde: The answer to a question no one asked.

IMO the UK aircraft industry would have been better off working on a decent wide body jet to rival the 747 and McDonnel-Douglas equivalents.

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rhydian
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@Getriebe

I agree I was being very simplistic, but in my opinion Leyland was dragged down by BMC and all the other amalgamated companies. Any part of the business that succeeded was starved of funds to prop the rest up.

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rhydian
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Re: Plus ça change...

Another example of the downsides of forced amalgamation. I bet the rival groups were originally from separate firms that were amalgamated. British Leyland had massive problems with their factories and development teams seeing each other as the "enemy" rather than the real competition.

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rhydian
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Re: Plus ça change...

The usual approach was:

"We see that Leyland are making loads of money building trucks and buses"

"We also see that BMC/Austin Morris are losing loads of money building cars"

"I know! Lets 'persuade' (i.e. order) Leyland to buy BMC, then it'll all work out fine!"

7 years later, when BLMC (the combined company) has fallen to bits...

"I've got a great idea chaps, lets buy the whole thing with public money!"

Repeat for the IT industry, Aircraft, Shipbuilding...

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Technology is murdering customer service - legally

rhydian
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A list of my most common CS annoyances

"Please enter the telephone/account number on your keypad" yet the first thing the CS operator asks for is exactly the same information

Voice Recognition. In that a recognises *A* voice, but usually not yours

"Indirect" phone numbers i.e. to call my local bank I have to call in to a centralised call centre. Not much use if you want to check if you left your hat there...

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rhydian
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Re: As a fluent Welsh speaker...

Unfortunately I've yet to find any major telecoms firm that does business services in Welsh.

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rhydian
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As a fluent Welsh speaker...

...I do have a major advantage. Many major companies (BT/Scottish Power/Banks/Royal Mail etc) and all Government services have Welsh language call centres. The queues are much shorter and the chances of you being transferred to India are nil. This is very, very handy when even native English speakers find it hard to pronounce or spell your address, let alone someone speaking their 2nd Language.

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Google's Nest halts sales of its fire alarm – because waving your hand switches it off

rhydian
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I have a smoke alarm in my house

It cost the previous owner of the place about £12.

It runs for a good 6-12 months on a 9v battery.

The reset button is big, red and easy to reach (thanks to the design of my stairs)

Thanks to sensible positioning and the positioning of my stairs its easy to test/reset if needed

So why on earth would I (or anyone) want an internet connected, gesture controlled, overcomplicated way of doing the same thing?

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David Cameron defends BT's taxpayer-funded broadband 'monopoly': It's a 'success story'

rhydian
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Re: fudging numbers

I suggest you come and have a nose at Corris (WNCRR) and Llanuwchllyn (WNLU) exchanges in North Wales. Both are small village exchanges and as far as I can tell neither has any cabinets.

Corris exchange also supplies the Village of Aberllefenni around two miles away and there's no cabinet between the two (having grown up there I did a lot of looking).

I do know there are villages are wired in the way you describe (usually around market towns with lines going back to that exchange), but in my experience very rural areas are still supplied overhead over long distances with no cabinets, meaning FTTC will require pretty serious rewiring.

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rhydian
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Re: fudging numbers

In urban areas EOs might be a minority, but in rural areas 90% of lines are EO. My local village exchange doesn't have a single cabinet.

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rhydian
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Re: fudging numbers

They've done 2 at the Machynlleth telephone exchange

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MPs attack BT's 'monopolistic' grip on gov-subsidised £1.2bn rural broadband rollout

rhydian
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@AC Incumbent get more cash from incumbent fund

"

Hmm, isn't there a way to run this wireless? Having said that, laying fibre also increases "traditional" capacity for phone and mobile, so there are some incentives to sort this out, but I agree, money is the key issue here."

Wireless is brilliant if you happen to live somewhere that has the topography of a snooker table (hence its popularity in East Anglia). It's not as much use in hilly terrain as lines of sight are much less likely.

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rhydian
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The Welsh Government offered grants to those who couldn't get broadband any other way to go over to satellite. The main feedback I get from them and from those using satellite for events etc is:

1: Its "slow" i.e. the latency is absolutely mental compared to ADSL so the connection seems slower to the average user and can cause issues with Skype/Video chat etc.

2: The download limits are still low/expensive compared to ADSL. The grants only covered the purchasing, rather than the running costs.

I have heard reports of some users going back to dialup as even though its slow, the latency was at least manageable.

In conclusion: Satellite is brilliant if you can't get anything at all, but pants compared to even 4 meg ADSL

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rhydian
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Re: You're an idiot.

Thanks for the explanation Steven Jones. I could never get my head around why BT/Openreach just didn't treat the exchange as a cabinet for VDSL.

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rhydian
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Re: I've just been told by a little bird

I'd imagine its mainly down to how the lines were installed back in the day. Most rural exchanges I know of are around 80% direct exchange lines, especially once you leave the "core" of the town/village. That means that BT has to rewire its network to put cabinets in to these areas and get power supplies etc. to them. BT have been known to stick a new fibre cab just outside the exchange to deal with short direct exchange lines (you can usually tell by the fact its shiny, new and has cooling vents)

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rhydian
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Were Fujitsu ever really serious?

I didn't manage to see what fujitsu's plans were, but I can't imagine they'd be much different to BT's, especially when you take in to account the fact that most of the backhaul would probably still have to be BT Sourced.

Also, what was the situation regarding Fujitsu having to make the links available to other providers a la BT wholesale?

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HTC One M8: Reg man takes spin in Alfa Romeo of smartphone world

rhydian
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@Dr. Mouse

The Greek letter is "Alpha"

The Italian car company is "Alfa Romeo" , after the ALFA company which it started from back in the 20s/30s.

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Tesla firms hot bottoms: TITANIUM armor now bolted to Model S e-cars

rhydian
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It depends how thick the previous material was and how it was fitted.

I lost a sump in an alfa romeo thanks to a load of stone from a bridge parapet being left artlessly in the road

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LOHAN team gears up for Punch and Judy show

rhydian
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Pint

Herefordshire!

Not too far from God's own Country, but may I suggest not attempting to power the rockets using Herefordshire's most famous export, even if it can be likened to rocket fuel sometimes!

Raising a virtual pint of scrump to the team!

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LOHAN preps Vulture 2 for hot vinyl wrap

rhydian
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Re: cheapskates!

They tried that in Moonraker. It didn't go well.

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BT finally admits its Home Hub router scuppers some VPN connections

rhydian
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Re: Comedy gold

The USO is BT's "payment" for its dominant position, as well as being forced to open up its infrastructure to other competitors.

And as far as the government was concerned the GPO was a revenue source. Investment wasn't a high priority.

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rhydian
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"Take a look at Andrews and Arnold (aaisp.net).

No-one, but no-one should use BT."

I'm no fan of BT, but I did go for them when I moved in to my house two years ago for the following reasons:

1: My exchange isn't unbundled, so everyone was charging pretty much the same (give or take the odd GB of usage)

2: BT didn't charge to reactivate the line

3: The £50 of free sainsburys vouchers kept me in beer for a good while

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rhydian
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Re: Of course if you don't read the small print on BT's consumer T&Cs...

If your having to fix it then you should suggest that whoever's got the BT contract go elsewhere or get someone else to fix it it's causing you this much blood pressure.

Or the VPN software provider could of course realise that many ISPs do this and write their software to handle it?

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rhydian
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Re: Of course if you don't read the small print on BT's consumer T&Cs...

Other ISPs are available.

Or are you under 18 and can't sign a landline contract?

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rhydian
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Re: Of course if you don't read the small print on BT's consumer T&Cs...

Great comment Rasczak. I'm sick and tired of people complaining that they can't run web servers etc. off a domestic grade router/connection.

Everyone knows domestic routers are the most basic of devices the ISPs can get away with because 80% of users will never do much more than web and email with it. If you want full control of your router and one that does all you need, buy your own.

The only times where complaints have been justified was when VM brought out the superhub which didn't work, but you couldn't use your own kit, and BT's insistence on using an absolutely mental "IP Alias" system on its static IP ranges on business connections.

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rhydian
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Plusnet seem OK in my experience, no better or worse than any other ISP.

Personally I'd just buy a netgear DGN2200v4. Not that expensive, straightforward to set up.

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rhydian
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Re: There's only really two kinds of people doing VPN...

The only decent ISP supplied router I've seen was when Nildram offered netgear DG834s about 8 years ago.

Every other ISP router is basically aimed at the "aunt Doris checking her email" level of service. I'd not expect an ISP to bundle a router that's cost them any more than about £30 wholesale at most.

If your after port forwarding or anything else a bit more advanced then your always better off moving over to your own kit.

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rhydian
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Re: The security of my home network matters to me!

We went over to a VM business cable connection in one of our offices when it became clear BT were not going to upgrade our cabinet any time soon.

The business superhub is a bit of a pain though. There's no modem mode so you have to go for a range of 5 static IPs if you want your own router with no NAT.

Another pain was even with its own public IP our netgear router's VPN still wouldn't route traffic. I found out in the end that setting the VM Business Superhub router's firewall to "Off" didn't actually turn it off. However setting it to low and allowing PPTP/IPSec through specifically sorted it right out.

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rhydian
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It was probably just that both routers were on the same wireless channel.

Homehubs are meant to find the least congested channel, but I find they all seem to default to the same one

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rhydian
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Re: As an occasional WFHer

In that case you could always config the router yourself.

And if you care that much about your network security you'd not use a homehub in the first place!

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rhydian
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The homehubs are all cuddly interfaces and "maintenance free". I don't think a firmware upload option is given, and BT don't make older firmware versions available anyhow.

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rhydian
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There's only really two kinds of people doing VPN...

...IT enthusiasts/pros and W**k From Homers.

Both types should have the ability to buy and set up their own routers (or in the case of WFHers get their tech guys to do it). Heck, a Netgear DGN2200v4 isn't all that much from PisseyWorld.

You don't even need the specific username and password for the connection, homehub@btinternet.com with no password works fine.

Personally I'm still happy with my HH3. For what I paid (nowt) its simply done its job for the last two years with no issues. I might upgrade to a Netgear DGN2200v4 at some point as that router (like the HH3) does both ADSL and ethernet routing so will still be useful if we get our fibre rollout

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BT snatches crown: Soars to top of complaints list

rhydian
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Re: Which BT?

If you can get proof then Ofcom would probably like a word.

But it could be down to the LLU operators oversubscribing their backhaul links

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rhydian
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Re: Which BT?

BT retail get no special treatment from BT Wholesale or Openreach otherwise their competitors and Ofcom would be on them like a tonne of bricks.

My advice is to always concentrate on a voice fault (if present on a line) rather than a broadband one as a line HAS to work for voice whereas broadband is a "best effort" service.

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rhydian
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Re: No real beef other than the irritating woman and 20,000 layers of options (Ok, I exaggerate)

The Business arm of telcos always seem to be based in the UK (ususally in the North/North West of England I find)

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rhydian
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Re: State owned

Even when BT were the state owned GPO rural areas got awful service, here's a few examples:

1: During the seriously bleak winters of yesteryear the GPO would get a lot of line fault reports. These faults weren't caused by the winter weather, it was simply that small village exchanges had less capacity than the number of subscribers, meaning that when it got busy (people phoning remote farms to check each other were OK) the exchanges couldn't service every customer (that one was told to me by an ex GPO engineer)

2: Most rural lines were some variant of shared service, either old fashioned party lines (where you could hear your neighbour's conversations) or some variant of DACS (digital pair splitting).

3: If you were lucky enough to have your own line then you might not have even got a copper one. The GPO loved experimenting with "stuff" other than copper for phone lines. Highlights include aluminium (still around causing havoc with ADSL) and copper coated steel (which had an annoying habit of rusting through).

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rhydian
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Re: FAIL

Rule 1 of sorting out BT line faults: If it affects voice, get that sorted first, and don't mention BB at all.

Voice faults are prioritised.

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BT engineers - missed appointments

rhydian
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If you value your phone number I'd hold off until the line is fixed. Getting another provider involved during a fault is a recipe for disaster.

As said, the engineers themselves (unless they're a sub from Kelly's or similar) are usually fine blokes who know what they're doing. The problem is the layers of crap between you and them.

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Three's money man reveals UK mobe firms' DARK PRICING dealings

rhydian
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One thing he doesn't mention...

Are those networks (I'm looking at you EE) who think that the customer should have to stump up x% extra per month to cover "inflation" months after a contract cost has been agreed.

Surprisingly enough my 18month landline contract from BT (hardly known for being generous) doesn't have this clause...

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TV sales PLUMMET. But no one's prepared to say what we all know

rhydian
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Re: @ John Brown / Richard 12

One dimmer is a triac based job fitted in a standard lamp with 2x regular bulbs in the top and a capsule halogen bulb in the reading lamp. The instructions do say that halogens are fine (and I've picked ones with a reasonable rating)

The other is a nifty "plug in" dimmer for a table lamp. Its an oversized 3-pin plug with a socket on the back of it, and a trailing lead to a foot slider operated dimmer.

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rhydian
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@ Kubla Cant

I can't say I've had that happen even with cheapos from the supermarket/DIY barns. I'm probably just lucky or on a particularly "in spec" line.

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rhydian
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Re: @ Truth4u

I'd get your electrics tested properly. The one incandescent bulb I have to change "frequently" (i.e. once a year or so) is a strip light above an oil stove. Nothing else in the house needs changing more often than that.

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rhydian
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Re: Set Top Boxes

Nope, too sensible I'm afraid.

What you'd get is each of the major TV makers coming up with their own totally incompatible system which they change every other year, meaning you have to buy the TV/BD/DVR/STB as a kit.

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rhydian
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Re: Buying less because what they've got lasts longer?

I don't think that LCD TVs do last longer than their CRT counterparts. An old 80s/90s quality CRT is pretty much indestructible. OK the picture quality may fade but the TV itself would go on until the end of time.

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rhydian
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@ Truth4u

"But it wouldn't make your whole house look like a truck stop restroom like the CCFLs do."

I don't know where your buying your bulbs but my lamps don't do that. They're a mix of CCFL (for areas where lights will be on for extended periods so slow startup times aren't an issue) and LED (for areas where lights are on for a short/medium period so you need instant light)

The other lamps are usually the "pretend traditional" type (halogen lights hidden inside normal bulbs) where you need instant light (stairs, broom cupboards) or the fitting won't take a CCFL/LED because it has a dimmer.

I've not actually had to change a CCFL or LED due to failure as yet since I moved in two years ago. The ones that blow out are the 30w incandescent strip light or the pretend traditionals in my standard lamp (which go pop if they get a bash)

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rhydian
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"There is a lightbulb in america that's been burning for over 100 years"

Ever seen a picture of it? It's not exactly a 100w spotlamp...

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rhydian
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Now that the freeview switchover's done...

Most people don't need a new TV. They went out and bought a Tesco special offer unit when their old CRT stopped working and are happy with it.

Also, most of the streaming TV services are supplying their own separate receiver units (AppleTV/NowTV etc) to work with your current set so there's no real driver to keep upgrading the actual set.

Personally I bought a second hand technika TV from work, but have teamed it up with a Sony BD Home cinema setup and a Humax Freesat HD unit. The TV itself is dumber than a post, but all it does is show a picture, the sound and smarts are taken care of by the sony unit.

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ISPs failing 13m Brits on broadband speed, claims consumer group

rhydian
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With some fibre rollouts Openreach have dealt with direct exchange lines by building a cabinet outside the exchange (as in pretty much in front of it)

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