22 posts • joined Sunday 16th September 2007 11:28 GMT
I hope the article has the 50p or 100kb minimum charge wrong.
Currently buried in their terms it states that the minimum billed for a data session whilst roaming is 10kb per session:
90. If you access data through the WAP APN when roaming you will be charged in 10KB steps. When sending and receiving an MMS or long text, data transfer charges apply and depend up on the size of message. Data charges and additional information can be found at
If they've increased the minimum to 100kb per session light users will see a tenfold increase in their data charges whilst roaming.
The BBC have picked up this story.
Of course they present it as their own research with no attribution.
OK when it worked
When a family member went to Australia for 6 months she bought a 3 phone to keep in touch with the UK. Initially she had lots of problems with the three like home service. Calls would often fail to connect and not be put through to voicemail. When they did connect the call was clearly being routed via over compressed voip making it impossible to hold a conversation. She often couldn't make calls as the handset would refuse to register with the network.
On more than one occasion calls to her handset were connected to a recording that I can only assume is from some sort of prank call service, you'd hear a voice say "Hello, yeah, hang on" followed by the sound of a phone being placed on a table then perpetual background noise of dogs barking, people arguing, a blaring TV, occasionally interspersed with a "Hang on I'm coming". Recording seemed designed to confuse and keep you on the line. It caused a great deal of distress and worry until we realised what it was.
The service did improve towards the end of her stay though she could never trust it for long conversations as the call would drop. We found the handset would stick to a 3 signal if set to "UMTS only" mode as 3 didn't have any 3G roaming agreements in Oz at that time.
I've since used 3 like home myself across Europe (Italy, Sweden and Denmark) and found that in those Countries it worked well. Calls and data were included as per my UK price plan and I was happy with the service.
ISPS will like this
The removal of the peer to peer aspect should please the isps. Requests for large static files from a central location can easily be handled by cache servers within the ISPs own network.
The previous P2P system where user on ISP A could easily be uploading a file to user on ISP B probably cost them more money for external bandwidth..
Tiscali may be a shambles but at least they offered an alternative to Sky or BT for pay-TV.
If the tiscali service goes under (or gets bought by Murdoch) many areas of the UK will be left with a pay-TV duopoly who I fear will be only too happy to push prices through the roof.
There's no money in new games...
High street video game retailers these days make money re-selling used titles. The consoles and new games are mainly a loss leader.
So unless they plan to turn Carphone Warehouse into a glorified pawn shop like GAME, Gamestation or CEX I can't really see this succeeding.
Nice in theory.
From my experience the Skype and other services such as msn and mobile tv are simply used as a carrot to get people to sign up to 3. Once locked in to the contract you soon realise the customer support can be hard to deal with (sales call centre is in Glasgow, support call centre is in India) and that the promised services work poorly if at all.
Skype for 3:
- random log out of skype even in areas with full signal
- incoming Skype calls rejected even though you're logged in with full signal (caller goes straight to voicemail or gets a message that you can't answer at this time)
- outgoing Skype calls often fail even though calling the same person from a pc works fine
- totally unreliable presence information, contacts shown as logged in when they're not - or vice versa.
- very variable call quality - ranging from good to totally unintelligible - seems to be capacity problems at peak times.
All the above and more are commonplace on the original Skype phone or the "Skype for 3" java or s60 client. Take a look at this complaints thread on the Skype forum:
I'd be very interested to hear whether three have corrected any of these problems with the shiny new Skypephone S2.
Also note all calls will cut off if you move from a 3G to a 2G area whilst in a call, forcing you to redial. Be very cautious if you live near the edge of their 3G area, the contact small print (clause 5.9) mentions the 2g/3g call drop problem but you can be sure the sales rep won't. (No other UK network drops calls in this manner but as three don't own a 2G network they have to rent one from O2 and they'd rather cut you off than invest in the equipment which would allow smooth call handovers from 3G to 2G)
That said for basic telephony/mobile internet 3 are *cheap* compared to the competition and if you maintain the patience of a saint whilst speaking slowly and clearly, you can usually get things done when calling the Indian customer support centre.
Wii still printing money.
An explanation I've heard for the drop off in US Wii sales is that Nintendo are shipping fewer Wiis to the US due to the weak dollar. They're still selling them as fast as they can build them but can make more profit selling the consoles in other markets.
Erm.. read the article. The problem wasn't the Christianity, it was the fact the course "failed to adequately teach critical thinking and modern historical analytic methods."
Polls IMAP every minute?
Are you sure? Any decent IMAP server supports the IDLE command, allowing instant new email notification without polling. I'd be rather surprised if apple aren't using it since creating a new connection once per minute would put more strain on their servers than just holding open idle connections kept alive with a NOOP every 15 minutes.
Ryanair already try to block this
When I recently tried to book a ryanair flight I discovered that the prices aren't loaded straight away when you search for a flight - instead it first displays the flight times and then after a delay of 15 to 20 seconds the price loads.
Incredibly frustrating if you are flexible about dates and want to skip back or forwards a few days to see if there are cheaper tickets available. At the time I thought it was a customer hostile policy to dissuade people from searching for the cheapest flight. Now I think that's just a side effect and the main purpose is to prevent efficient use of screen scrapers.
In any case I gave up and booked my flight on expedia.....
I'm no expert but I believe this is how these game streaming services encode lag free:
A standard video encoder does not know what is coming in the next frame - it could be a minor change or a cut to a new scene - so it must scan each frame and compare it to the previous frame to discover the differences. This scan for differences is the most time consuming part of the encoding process and introduces lag.
With a video game streaming service like the one above, a special encoder hooks into the game code and video driver so that it knows in advance what parts of a frame have changed from the previous frame. This dramatically reduces lag, allowing even fast action games to be played via a compressed video stream.
T5 labs does this and actually has a proper business plan.
Another British company - T5 labs - does something very similar but is building it's business around partnerships with cable tv companies and game publishers.
At some point in the near future you'll be able to play games running on a remote server by just plugging a controller or a mouse and keyboard into your cable tv set top box. The stb tunes into a lag free mpeg2 stream of the game.
Check out their website: http://www.t5labs.com/
"According to Time Warner, 5 per cent of its customers eat up half the capacity on its network. And the company says the Beaumont trial is an effort to make those 5 per cent pay for their bandwidth love."
Then why aren't these metered packages much cheaper than competing, unmetered products? Seem more like an attempt to gouge the customers whilst avoiding investment in network upgrades.
Ooops it seems that FTA HDTV is coming to the UK after all, they'll use new technology to squeeze the signal into the available bandwidth (and still sell off the analogue TV spectrum). I missed this news:
However even the playTV may not work with British HDTV since as well as MPEG4, they plan to use a new (not yet finalised) "DVB-T2" broadcast standard.
Re:Will it be worth paying for at all?
Where did you read that they have managed to get background recording working? I'd be interested in reading the report.
No FTA HDTV in the UK (apart from a single BBC test channel in the London area), there is no room in the TV area of the radio spectrum for it. Switching off analogue won't help as the government is more interested in selling off the spectrum for a windfall income. As it stands terrestrial HDTV will probably never happen in the UK.
Isn't the entire point of a time shifting device to record TV when you're doing something else? "Stop your game and watch the program" is hardly an appropriate solution, especially if you've paid for a pvr.
Will it be worth paying for at all?
The most recent hands on report about playTV stated that it couldn't record programs whilst you're using the ps3 to play a game:
If they release it without background recording playTV will be worse than useless. Instead of making life simpler you'll have to check the TV guide for any programs you may have scheduled to record before you play a game! That's not a PVR I'd want to own.
Given that it's taken over 18 months for Sony engineers to work out how to get a text chat client to run in the background whilst playing a game (that's promised for firmware version 2.4, due out sometime this summer). I don't have much hope that they'll get background TV recording working before the release of PS4.
"I wonder how much it would cost Ryanair to get two full articles about them in The Register, complete with advert space?"
Though it's few years out of date, this should give you an idea :-)
this can only be fixed by fixing flash.
All those saying just switch it off an configure your router manually are missing the point. Most people who benefit from upnp don't have a clue how to do this.
Telling them to switch off upnp is effectively telling them to give up webcam chats with their loved ones via skype or msn, give up having a tech savvy friends help them with their pc via remote assistance, give up playing online games on their pc or games console - basically give up any application that requires ports to be opened in nat a firewall.
As with most things, upnp is safe as long as you can prevent a malicious application from running on a pc within the firewall. The fact that flash can act as a malicious program with regard to upnp is the problem. Flash should be modified to specifically prevent it from issuing upnp commands. It is far more practical to do this than to expect millions of non-technical users to modify their router settings.
Lots of legitimate uses.
Hopefully this will lead to a full featured wii version of the datel freeloader region free disc. The current wii version only makes the gamecube mode region free.
Ability to sign code should allow custom apps to be installed to the flash memory too - a fully fledged media streaming app is top of my list of wants.
Unfortunately it will probably also result in no-modchip required "boot discs" for playing pirated games.
If you find unprocessed food too expensive, have you considered a CSA subscription? You pay a local farm in advance for a season and get a weekly basket of fresh produce (depends on the farm and season - fruit, veg, milk, eggs, meat etc). More info here: