* Posts by Nigel Whitfield.

713 posts • joined 12 Jun 2009

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Telly behemoths: Does size matter?

Nigel Whitfield.
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Re: Hiding your TV in the cabinet...

I did cross my mind that there may be a profitable trade to be had in convincing little old ladies to let you take that old telly with doors off their hands for a few quid, then swap the insides for a modern LCD, and flog the result to retro-loving hipsters.

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Nigel Whitfield.
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I was thinking perhaps one of these classic "Ultra" sets

http://www.golden-agetv.co.uk/img/equipment/283b.JPG

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Nigel Whitfield.
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Re: Old 1990s class joke....

That reminds me of KY TV, the telly spin-off from RadioActive

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWtPEXfQki0

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Nigel Whitfield.
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Joke

Re: are you sure ?

maybe you know a lot of vulgar people?

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Nigel Whitfield.
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Re: Sony

Indeed; it would only really have worked if the interconnects were standard, but I'm pretty sure they weren't.

Given things like AV amps to handle source switching and audio, plus receivers for satellite or terrestrial, and fairly decent compatibility via HDMI, we are almost there, I guess. It's just that the makers of the screens insist on putting all the 'smart' stuff in the TV, when really it could pretty much all be done via a Chromecast or Roku, which can be replaced for far less when it finally runs out of oomph.

Indeed, if people do want to call up some of this stuff while watching TV, given the upscaling and other processing a modern AV amp can do, it's a shame none of them has an HDMI input designated as 'Smart stuff' that allows it to be overlaid on what you're watching in some way.

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Nigel Whitfield.
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And fancy things like decent remote controls. I remember some of the first that had just the two buttons - volume and channel, guaranteed to deafen people before you could properly turn it down. Not to mention annoy the pets, because it was ultrasonic.

Our Rediffusion rental set had all the buttons; I can't remember if it was IR or ultrasonic. I do recall that the remote off made the power switch on the set pop out with a satisfying click. You could only turn it off by remote, not on.

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Who uses the Universal Credit system? ALMOST NOBODY, says report

Nigel Whitfield.
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Re: Benefits of benefits

And one of the ways in which it can take away jobs - especially at the very low end of the market - is by demanding that people do some of those jobs (stacking shelves, working in care homes) as 'work experience' or 'voluntary community work' in return for a level of benefits that is not even equivalent to the minimum wage.

Why should a charitiy or company employee someone on minimum wage when the job centre will just send them a serf?

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Nigel Whitfield.
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Re: I struggle to know how seriously to take this...

Well, yes, a planned rollout is a good idea.

However, what they're rolling out, even at this pretty late stage, is still only the phase of the project for single people, which is about the simplest possible case for the system to cope with.

It's still miles off being able to cope with complex benefit claims - and it's surely those that are the most likely area where it might - just might - be able to save some money.

So, the small number of people to whom it's being rolled out now is really more a reflection of the fact that they have only just about got it to work for one simple use case, rather than anything else.

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Nigel Whitfield.
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The best plan ...

... is probably for an incoming government to scrap this stupid waste of money. And to make IDS personally liable for the bill.

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'Utterly unusable' MS Word dumped by SciFi author Charles Stross

Nigel Whitfield.
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Re: Word Perfect

For quite some time when I first went freelance (20 years ago this spring) I did all my writing using WordPerfect 5.1 for Unix. Mostly on a Wyse 50 terminal that I had on the kitchen table, because it had a great keyboard.

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Leaky battery attack reveals the paths you walk in life

Nigel Whitfield.
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In some businesses, people may have to install an app that's been developed in house, for instance. And since an app using this technique doesn't throw up any alerts about permissions, some companies might well think they could do this.

Remember that in some situations, knowing that someone isn't where they are supposed to be could be just as useful as knowing where they are. A company with people who work in the field might well find this sort of technique handy for knowing whether or not their reps are where they're supposed to be, or if they're spending rather too long at lunch, instead.

Bung a library that does this into an app that provides a corporate manual, brochure or something like that, and you have a tracking system on employees' phones, without them being any the wiser.

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Euro broadcast industry still in a fug over that 4K-ing UHD telly

Nigel Whitfield.
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Re: “the most significant advance since colour”

To be fair, when industry people talk about UHD, they generally are meaning more than just pixels, and the roadmap from groups like the DVB for future phases of UHD is very much about things such as increased frame rate, wider colour gamut and high dynamic range.

And, having seen all of those things side by side back at IBC then I certainly wouldn't claim it as a stupid statement. Combining these technologies really does provide a startling improvement in picture quality, compared to the leap up to HD.

Of course, most of those demos at IBC are carefully controlled, and very few of them are actually on your typical broadcaster's stream that's been compressed to buggery in order to maximise shareholder value, so whether what we'll eventually see in our homes for UHD Phase 2/3 is anywhere near as good is certainly up for debate.

But UHD is not just about 4K. If it's done properly, it is about all those other aspects too. The fact that they are not all fully standardised yet is, in my view, a good argument for not buying a 4K screen just yet. Wait until you know that both screen and connectivity have been adequately specced for the finalised UHD standards. To do otherwise may be a little like buying an early 'HD' TV that turns out to have a weird resolution, no H.264 decoder, and only a DVI connector on the back.

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Nigel Whitfield.
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Re: Ultra HD?

You're unlikely to get the original english soundtrack, I'm afraid. A lot of german channels have historically been broadcast in the clear on satellite. And, unlike the UK, where we have restricted beams that are supposed to minimise overspill, that's not generally the case.

Certainly last time I tried it, you could point a dish at 19.2 from the UK and get all sorts of European stuff, broadcast in the clear, including dubbed versions of US shows.

And while that's possible, you're very unlikely to get the english soundtrack - it would make those broadcasts appealing to many, many more people across the continent. A German broadcaster can buy, say, CSI, dubbed in to German and will pay less for that right than if they were - effectively - broadcasting the original version on a pan-european beam.

If, say, the Czechs were able to watch a German broadcast, and simply select the English soundtrack, then their broadcasters would feel less need to license the same show, dubbed into their own language. And heaven forbid the makers should miss out on some of their cash!

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Be your own Big Brother: Covert home spy gadgetry

Nigel Whitfield.
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Re: What's even creepier than the song

Well spotted!

I do like a man who knows his musical theatre :)

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Nigel Whitfield.
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Re: "You want to be with your loved one every moment, or at the very least know what they're up to."

Well, indeed; with the piece coming out around Valentine's day, the lurve angle seemed like a good way to get into the subject, but as I pointed out at the end, communication is rather better for your relationship than gadgetry.

And, that's also why we included a mention of some simple countermeasures, too. Possessive behaviour's not cool kids. Please don't try it at home.

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Virgin Media to splurge BEELLIONS on UK network infrastructure expansion

Nigel Whitfield.
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So far ...

... all the reports of this that I've read have talked about how they're expanding the cable network, bringing them within reach of extra homes (maybe they'll decide they can afford the 20 foot of cable from my front garden into the house now...).

However, none of them has mentioned any corresponding investment in the core network. It would be good to assume that that will naturally follow, but I'm not sure we live in such an ideal world as that.

Are they really more interested in getting more people to pay for the cable TV services, and the fact that they'll be linked to the network for internet happens to be a handy side-effect for which they can garner much publicity?

I'd have been more impressed if there was detailed information eg "80% of investment on network expansion, and 20% on core upgrades"

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Vint Cerf: Everything we do will be ERASED! You can't even find last 2 times I said this

Nigel Whitfield.
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As soon as I get home ...

I shall preserve the email backups from my QIC tapes by printing everything out on the thermal printer and putting it in a big folder

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CAR? Check. DRIVER? Nope. OK, let's go, says British govt

Nigel Whitfield.
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Re: Welcome back to el reg, Claire Perry!

I'm sure before too long, Ms Perry will turn her ample intellect to the child protection aspects of driverless cars. She'll likely conclude that there are certain addresses that will have to be filtered out of the destinations lists, just in case visiting them leads to people being corrupted.

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Ofcom can prise my telly spectrum from my COLD, DEAD... er, aerial

Nigel Whitfield.
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Re: Commercial reality suggests...

The TV spectrum they have their eyes on extends down to the 700MHz area too; and while these lower frequencies will make it easier to cover large areas than chunks in the 2GHz+ spectrum, there's a good reason why, for example, Three started to build out their network at the higher frequencies - speed.

At 700MHz, you can cover more of the country (though experience suggests there will still be not-spots), but the speeds won't be so great. As you say, what's the point?

(Other than a "thin end of the wedge", a foot in the door to grab as much space as they can, in the hopes it can be monetised later, once DTT has been kicked to the kerb)

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Nigel Whitfield.
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Re: 16:9

Quite, Vic. I don't think I saw a single display in any wider ratio at IBC; I'm pretty certain that if there was a move to anything else in broadcast, it would have been all over the place, or perhaps mentioned in the press materials from the likes of DVB. They're busy roadmapping 4K, after all, with plenty of talk about wider gamut, higher refresh rates, codecs, and so on. I can't believe a change in aspect ratio just slipped everyone's mind.

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Nigel Whitfield.
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Re: Broadcast is efficient

There are various mechanisms to cope with that. The most prevalent is probably to have a quad lnb in which one of the four parts is set to each of the possible options (High/Low, Vertical/Horizontal). That connects to a distribution system, and each apartment has however many connections it requires (usually, two per recorder, one for a standard receiver). The receivers act as normal, and the think they're talking to a standard LNB, sending the appropriate signals for the options required. The distribution system intercepts those, and connects that cable to the appropriate signal.

An alternative is called Unicable, which is a single cable distribution system, which allows all the signals to go across a single cable, to multiple recievers. It requires a Unicable LNB and support in the receivers too. And the one time I tried playing with a bit of kit that was supposed to support it, I had no end of trouble. To be fair, that was in 2008, in the very early days of Unicable. But it doesn't seem to have taken off, from what I can see

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Nigel Whitfield.
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Re: "Broadcast is efficient"

Those lines overlaid on the graph are based on average amount of viewing per day. Even if those programmes are timeshifted, the data still has to be shifted to people to enable them to watch it.

And the projections of how much mobile data will grow don't seem to show it being able to manage that for quite some time, even on the most optimistic projections.

So, surely that does make DTT pretty efficient; it's also in place now, which makes it a better bet than telling people "Oh, never mind, replace your kit with a satellite box" - and I'm sure it won't be too long before someone else says "Hey! Why don't we interleave wireless data amongst the satellite downlink frequencies" as well.

There's an existing, efficient infrastructure that can deliver a massive amount of programme data to people, using the equipment they already have in their homes. In some cases, that equipment is only a few years old.

Aside from anything else, telling people "hey, we're going to switch that off really soon now" isn't really going to help mass take-up of other new technologies in future.

And doing it so that we end up paying mobile networks monthly fees, and they pay Qualcomm huge royalties, just so that we can continue to receive what we currently pluck of of the ether for nothing?

I'd prefer to see the mobile networks actually use the space they have first, then perhaps they can have some of the unused chunks the military don't use. There isn't, as far as I can see, any pressing technical need for them to mess up the space used by DTT. There may be a commercial imperative (for them), but that's a different matter.

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Hey kids! If you vote Facebook will give you EXTRA LIKES*

Nigel Whitfield.
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Behavioural targetting

Facebook's got form for manipulating feeds to see how it affects people's moves; some reports on this explain how they have tried things like different placements, or even hiding the "I'm voting" button in the past, to see how it affects response.

So, while I think anything that gets people to register is broadly a good thing, I think a clear an unambiguous statement that all people who are determined to be in the UK will receive the same notifications would be helpful.

Given the information that the company gathers about its users, it can quite easily determine which political things they may have liked, or engaged with, including those elsewhere. It would be entirely possible, and staggeringly inappropriate, if reminders to register, or to vote, were selectively shown to people.

You could imagine - I'm not suggesting they would do this, but it's technically possible - that a company in such a position might choose or be pressured to use this ability to show reminders more often to people who, say, have never clicked "Like" or shared stories about corporate tax issues, or various other policies.

So, yes, getting people to register (and to vote), a good idea in principle. But with some reservations.

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Bluetooth-enabled miracle washing orbs? Are you kidding?

Nigel Whitfield.
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Re: Crystals

Sounds like they heard Karen Carpenter singing "in your mind you have capacities you know" and thought "you know, she's got a point there"

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Nigel Whitfield.
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Re: Blimey!

Don't worry. I'm sure they'll be able to launch a "Laundry hub" that plugs in near your washing machine and bridges the magic ball Bluetooth connection to the wifi. Or perhaps they'll be able to do a deal with appliance manufacturers for 'smart' washing machines that have Bluetooth built in an ethernet connection on the back...

<hides, whimpering, in corner>

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Nigel Whitfield.
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Re: Blimey!

Quite. Mine just turns off and I can hear the click of the door unlocking. Honestly, if I was far enough away that I needed a notification on my phone, the last thing on my mind would be rushing back home to dick about with laundry.

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Nigel Whitfield.
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Blimey!

My favourite bit of the video is the bloke uttering "This could change the way people do laundry" with a straight face.

And, honestly, I'm not sure I could cope with the awesomeness of a notification when the laundry is done. I think if I ever felt awe at any aspect of housework, I'd need a lie down.

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Dixons Carphone clings to EE, Three in Phones 4U bullet dodge

Nigel Whitfield.
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Oh goody

How long before we see a £100 HDMI cable that needs a SIM to ensure it can "optimise" picture quality?

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'Boutique' ISPs: Snub the Big 4 AND get great service

Nigel Whitfield.
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Plusnet is what I have for my own mother's connection, which I took out when they still listed their low usage 10GB package at 5.99 a month. It's crept up over the years to 7.99, but for the few emails she sends, that's adequate.

However, since they're a BT-owned company, and not quite as small as they once were, they probably don't fall into the 'boutique' category anymore. But I suppose that's as good a way as any to illustrate that while these more customised outfits may be ideal for reg readers, if you just want a basic connection, sometimes using one of the big outfits may be a better choice.

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Nigel Whitfield.
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Re: Takeover time

Nope; never worked there. Though (distressingly!) there are other Nigel Whitfields available.

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Nigel Whitfield.
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Re: Not run stuff "from home" for years....

I do. I've run my own mailserver for years (we did a two part piece in PCW about setting one up, using a small Via system, and OpenBSD). I hoard all my mails, and having them on a server here means that even if the net connection is down, I can still find that contact I asked about something for an article donkeys years ago.

Admittedly, that may be something of an edge case for many. But it ensure that I have an IMAP server (which back then, wasn't so common), with all my mail available on every device, should I need it. When out and about, it's easy to send something via that server, with my own domain details, too. It's all under my control, and no one else is logging. Now that people are worrying about the NSA, Google and record retention, I'm even happier.

Similarly, I run my own SIP server for the phones; again, likely an edge case as I work from home, and have a range of numbers used for different things. Some of it could be done in the could, but I prefer to have the control here.

The final one I a VPN server; seldom used, but can come in handy when I am on an insecure connection, or just want to appear to be at home. Again, I could subscribe to a VPN service, but I prefer to keep control for myself.

You're right in that much of this can be done in the cloud, and for many people that will be better. But some of us still enjoy a good tinker.

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Nigel Whitfield.
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This is a big problem; it's pretty much impossible for any ISP to have enough capacity for all their customers to be running flat out at the same time. They rely on the fact that most people's traffic is a bit stop-start - load a web page, the line sits idle while reading, then load another, and so on.

That just about got them through to start with, and they were happy to throw money at marketing and boasting cheapest ever deals to get punters through the door, rather than at investing in support or actual internet infrastructure.

Over the years though, thanks to YouTube, iPlayer, and now things like Netflix and Amazon Prime, that model has changed, to the degree where a substantial number of their customers aren't doing stop-start traffic, but are streaming.

When that started to bite was when some ISPs decided to try and make a noise about the BBC having to pay them for traffic. And it's caused real problems for some who chased the budget market; I suspect it's what put paid to some of those who fell by the wayside over the years - the investment required to catch up and cope with modern traffic patterns just became too large for them.

Various fudges have made the crunch perhaps a little less awful than it could have been, and modern codecs mean you can stream video in much less than the capacity of an average broadband connection now, so that leaves wiggle room.

However, there does seem to be a fairly big difference in terms of capacity management these days; smaller outfits will try to do their best and not be the bottleneck, as much as they can. Larger ones will do what they think they can get away with, and try to avoid mentioning it, or waffle about 'network management' and 'traffic shaping' if you really try to get them to say something.

Twelve month contracts are the norm; with loss leader three month periods, and options to grab money via domestic phone calls, line rental and so on, they probably do think it's worth the money to pay a few people (probably on min. wage) to stand around and sign folk up. Give it a while, and it wouldn't surprise me to see some big ISPs trying to shift up to 18 month contracts, just as we've seen with phones.

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Nigel Whitfield.
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Re: Where is Zen Internet in this advertorial?

Well, it's certainly not advertorial - no consideration asked for, offered, or received in respect of any of the ISPs mentioned.

Weekend features have less hard tech in them than weekday ones. We wanted to explain the possibilities available, rather than give an exhaustive list. So I aimed to mention a few examples, based on both personal experience and who I could get comment from in the time allowed.

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Nigel Whitfield.
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Re: White mice running round a wheel

Yep; and around 10-15% of people may be connected to 20CN rather than 21CN.

However, while in a Market 1 exchange you may still have to rely on BT wholesale for the DSL link, that doesn't mean you can't go with some of these ISPs. You may be limited in terms of speed (especially on 20CN) and companies rely on the LLU offerings from C&W or TalkTalk are out, but you should still be able to find someone who can offer you a more customised service, even in Market 1, than if you simply take the BT option.

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Nigel Whitfield.
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Re: Takeover time

There certainly has been a hell of a lot of consolidation - many of the names that featured in some of the early ISP roundups I did for PCW have long since vanished.

But a lot of the others do seem to manage to remain independent, either through being so small that they're probably not a likely takeover target, or through doing the sort of hybrid trick of being both an aggregator and a direct seller (Zen, Merula, ICUK, AAISP).

It's possible that, in time, some of those might be swallowed up by some of the big four, certainly. But by and large they seem to have enough scale to keep going on their own, and they've never really been chasing the low margin end of the market.

I think that in the case of a fair few of those that fell by the wayside, it was the chasing after volume and low price at the same time that tended to prove their undoing.

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Nigel Whitfield.
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Re: Where is Zen Internet in this advertorial?

Every attempt of mine to get through to Zen's press contact line while I was writing this piece was met with hold music. Had it not been for that, they would certainly have been mentioned.

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Landlines: The tech that just won't die

Nigel Whitfield.
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Re: No dialtone required

I'm quite surprised it did carry on working; everyone I've spoken to assures me that cancelling a landline will terminate all the associated services on it.

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Nigel Whitfield.
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I'm sure some of them try; I did have the fond idea of publishing my SIP info in the DNS so people could use my main work email address to reach me via SIP, if they had a suitable setup. But I quickly realised that allowing just anyone to talk to my SIP server was a recipe for disaster - even if they don't crack a password, the sheer number of attempts would bring it to its knees.

So now, I restrict incoming call notifications so they have to come from the provider of my SIP trunks. It means people can't call me free via SIP, but at least I'm safer from script kiddies and very likely spammers too.

(Of course, for VoIP spammers, even if they do manage to find a SIP system to call into, they still need to know more; it's not like the phone book where you know there are always a certain number of digits. Connecting to someone via SIP, and you don't know if they're using 2, 3 or 4 digit extensions, for instance, or even names rather than numbers on the handsets. Without a list of actual confirmed SIP addresses, you'd be doing a lot more brute force than simply working through a traditional list of phone numbers).

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Nigel Whitfield.
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Some companies do apparently consider it.

This is the comment from Experian:

http://www.experian.co.uk/consumer/questions/askjames244.html

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Nigel Whitfield.
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In my experience, which has involved horrific amounts of overcharging from BT, I wouldn't dream of letting them anywhere near my bank account.

I've had them apply a call package to my business line without my asking for it, which required a minimum spend. That resulted in a huge bill a year later to make up the minimum spend, hundreds of pounds.

I've also had them screw up after a fault, removing caller ID from the ISDN line, then reapplying it, and suddenly charging for each of the MSNs instead of for the line.

If you can't trust the phone company to bill you correctly, you'd be mad to let them help themselves to your bank account. Yes, I know there's a direct debit guarantee, but I'd rather not have to fight to get my own money back. I'd prefer it if they actually billed correctly in the first place.

As far as I'm concerned, BT have lost that trust. That they then decide I should pay extra because they're untrustworthy is more than a little annoying

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Nigel Whitfield.
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Re: Call filtering

Yep; I can easily spot the sequential diallers, as my SIP numbers are the old ISDN MSNs, so ten in a sequence.

Before I put in the aggressive filtering, it was not at all uncommon for me to get a call on two of the lower numbers that I currently use, and find it silent, before finally, when it rang on one higher up in the sequence, to have some useless telesales wonk on the end of the line.

You can fondly imagine that not giving anyone your number will help, but it doesn't. There are a huge number of companies out there that just don't give a damn about the TPS. Yes, some of them are abroad, but many are in the UK too. As them the name of the company, and they'll hang up damn quickly if they think you're about to complain.

The TPS and ICO really don't seem to give a shit about this, their blather about how it's hard to stop overseas calls merely helps to disguise the fact that they do sod all about the ones in the UK as well. Given that the TPS is run by people who actually think 'Direct Marketing' is a good idea, it's not that much of a surprise.

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Nigel Whitfield.
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Re: Same Costs

Certainly, you won't be £2.50 broadband without some sort of rental. But it's the slow creep that is so objectionable and the piling on of things like that compulsory weekend calls bundle that is objectionable - and dishonest, to a degree.

Of course many firms do this. My mother's phone is on Orange on what used to be a 'Virgin Equivalent' price plan. In the name of 'simplification' that now bills not by the second but by the minute or half minute.

Bundling things together can be a good idea and save people money. But in not allowing unbundling, firms like BT are just using it to hike their margins while they cling to old business models

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Nigel Whitfield.
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Back before the merger, when I enquired about broadband and TV (just after OnDigital had packed up), I stressed that I didn't want a phone line, as I was perfectly happy with the ISDN. At that point, I was told that if I didn't have the phone line, I'd have to have the most expensive TV package.

In the end, it was pointless anyway - they claimed they didn't have the budget to cable all five flats in the house, so I couldn't have service. No one else actually wanted it, but they said it was their policy to do the whole building, and they couldn't afford that, so I couldn't get service.

That dates back to when they cabled the street, and we didn't sign the papers for wayleave, so they just left the little flap at the end of the garden, and that's it. Even now, if I check the coverage on the website, selecting my house number says I'm not in a Virgin Media area, while the houses on either side are able to get everything.

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Nigel Whitfield.
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Re: The ISDN network is sheduled to be turned off by 2018 in Germany

There isn't necessarily a monthly fee for a phone number in the UK, though most VoIP providers would doubtless like you to believe that's not the case.

Typically, they'll charge you a few quid a month for a geographic phone number, including on you've ported from another phone company (such as BT).

On of the reasons I went with the VoIP service that I have now (which is Gamma telecom, resold by my ISP) is that while there was an initial fee for the number port, there wasn't an ongoing charge per number. Since I was porting my ten number block from the ISDN line, at some providers charge £2 or more per number, per month, that was a fairly important consideration.

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Nigel Whitfield.
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Re: Line only

Indeed; we used to use an analogue pair like that at university to link the radio station to some of the halls of residence.

However, I suspect they're going to cost rather more than the wholesale line rental, because BT has always used dedicated circuits as a cash cow. And they're probably not set up to have a line that has an A end (premises to local exchange) and then just a link to a DSLAM inside the exchange.

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Nigel Whitfield.
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Re: Line installation

Yep; it used to be a lot less if the line was already there, but that seems to be one of the ways they're making up for losing business elsewhere these days.

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Nigel Whitfield.
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Re: Call filtering

One way round that is to filter to an IVR, which is what I do.

If a number's withheld or unavailable, it can go straight to voicemail, which is what I do on my business number.

But on the number in the phone book, people get a message telling them to go away if they're a cold caller/survey, to press one number to reach me, and another to leave a message.

On the ex-directory number, they get told to enter the results of a bit of maths. I don't see why I should have to speak to stupid people :)

And, numbers for the elderly and/or technologically bewildered members of the family are whitelisted.

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FORCE Apple to support BlackBerry hardware, demands John Chen

Nigel Whitfield.
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To the re-education camp!

Bonkers. Completely and utterly bonkers.

Who's going to decide which apps are required to be ported? Will it only apply to the ones he really wants? Will organisations be fined if they don't port an app?

Who will cover the cost of this? Will Blackberry provide lots of lovely free tools, and education material?

Will they be setting up re-education camps, to ensure that wayward developers recognise the folly of their discrimination in platforms?

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2015: The year of MAD TV science, but who can keep up?

Nigel Whitfield.
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Re: Content content content....

You might think, but right now, that's not quite so simple, at least in the UK, for the BBC.

BBC HD is not yet fully regionalised, while the SD channels are. There would need to be a fair bit of rejigging to be done to make that work, and in the meantime people would lose their (in some cases, much loved) regional news programmes.

This, incidentally, is one of the reasons why the forthcoming BBC 1+1 will be accompanied by an extra hour of kids programmes. Those currently finish at 7pm. So if, when BBC 3 vacates the stream it's handed over to BBC 1+1, if it were to start at the same time, what would be the first programme of the day on the timeshift channel?

The six o'clock news sequence. Which contains the lengthy regional opt-outs, which aren't provided for on that stream. So if the kids programmes continued to stop at 7, for a bit chunk of the first hour on the +1 channel, you'd have swimming hippos and the "we can't show you regional programmes" message appearing.

The solution that requires the least re-engineering, then, is to extend the cut-off time for the kids' programming to 8pm. The Corporation gets to look like its being fluffy to the kids, and the timeshifted BBC 1 + 1 doesn't suffer the embarassment of kicking off the day with huge gaps in its content.

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Nigel Whitfield.
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Re: Vote for Android

Nice in theory. Just how well in practise remains to be seen.

I have my old Nexus 7/2012 and a Moto X 2014; the latter is on Lollipop, and the former was but the experience sucked so much I've gone to the CM version of 4.4.4.

Blinkbox works on the phone, but entirely arbitrarily, doesn't support downloading of movies onto phones.

It works on the tablet too, but even though the most recent update was flagged as fixing downloads to tablet, it still doesn't actually support tablet downloads on 4.4.4 or 4.4.3. It apparently would if I went back to Lollipop, but then it's so sluggish I almost killed it with my hammer.

So yes, while on the face of it Android should make everything happy and charming and lovely, I'd say there's still going to be a good chance that you'll still suffer from that kind of issue, unless Google is really working hard to ensure that everyone a) has a decent hardware spec in their TVs to cope with future updates and b) makes an effort to port those updates to whatever their TV built on, asap.

Android on TV could turn out to be a great idea. But it's way too early to say so yet.

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