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Michael Watterson's picture

October 2010: Sky Launch "3D"

But of course it isn't 3D. It's Stereoscopic TV. Like the Viewmaster and Victorian "Stereo" viewers.

Sky 3D

It needs special glasses or else a single viewer lenticular screen (Nintendo 3DS). It doesn't even work for nearly one fifth of people. There is of course very little real content (films re-processed as 3D is worse than colorising [sic] Casablanca). Prolonged viewing gives headaches as the eyes try to focus at different distances due to the stereoscopic illusion but can only focus to sharp image at the actual screen distance as there is no actual 3D (depth component) at all.

The BBC article (Sky launches Europe's first 3D channel<) though reads like Sky advertising copy and has no facts or warnings. No journalism.

Michael Watterson's picture

Old BIOS news repeated as News by BBC

Some facts and a lot of nonsense about Merits and Limitations of BIOS vs EFI or newer UEFI.

Macs and some non-x86 systems have used EFI for years.


Not the BIOS. This is the CMOS or Flash Configuration

Don't confuse the "so called" CMOS setup, which on some MotherBoards (MoBo) is Flash, not battery backed RAM in the real time Clock chip. (CMOS). UEFI still needs to store settings in "CMOS" or Flash. A BIOS can, and some do have "eye candy" setup screens using Mac/Windows style GUI just like UEFI. Some EFI have traditional setup screen. Some Mobo makers offer a Windows Program to change the Motherboard settings. In this case it's irrelevant if it's EFI or BIOS based.


Michael Watterson's picture

Cornish Super Fast Broadband.

Just listening to this on BBC R4. The Expert says the days of Broadband via phone are over. It's too slow unless you are very close to the exchange.


A new £132 million investment to deliver fibre-broadband to Cornwall has been announced today which will see between 80% and 90% of homes and businesses connected by 2014 to super-fast broadband. The remaining 10-20% of properties are to get access to faster broadband by other means such as Satellite or Wireless.

Cornwall's population was 513,527 at the last count, and population density 144 people per square kilometre, ranking it 40th and 41st respectively compared with the other 47 counties of England.

Extrapolation to the Irish Population suggests a similar scheme in Ireland would cost £980 Million.

Michael Watterson's picture

Email addresses

People signing up with gmail is a problem as most spammers use gmail and google always marks our activation emails as spam.

You can't do first log in without an Activation email. If you see your username on Who's new, then the activation email is set.

Please try and use a real ISP or personal Domain email address. It's recommended you avoid gmail, hotmail, yahoo and similar systems loved by spammers that also often mark or delete mail as spam outside of your control. We don't block any email server, but some email servers mark all our emails as spam. Email addresses will never be passed to 3rd parties without an Irish Court Order. Click Here if you didn't get an email yet<

Michael Watterson's picture

Hylas 1 launch success: Service January?

Finally after many delays of building the satellite and moving from unproven Falcon 9 to Soyuz, on 6th September 2010 it was confirmed that Hylas1 (for 33.5W) will be was launched< about 15th November 2010 25th November on the Ariane 5

Was Avanti Communications agrees launch slot for HYLAS 1 satellite

Arianespace gives a “lift” to Intelsat 17 and HYLAS 1

November 26, 2010 – Ariane Flight 198

The fifth Arianespace mission of 2010 orbited two telecommunications payloads today: one for an emerging new player in the broadband services marketplace; and the other for a long-time customer that is the world’s leading provider of fixed satellite services.

via Arianspace news<

Michael Watterson's picture

PSK terminal: Data on HF without a PC

I like Data Modes on HF. I have even operated by holding microphone near Laptop speaker and having the Radio speaker near the built in laptop Microphone. I have of course built various audio interfaces and add CAT control too for the PC to Radio. One idea I'm working on is the CatPad<


PSK31 is possibly able to do further distance (DX) at lower power (QRP instead of QRO) than Morse (CW). I have operated PSK31 with success on 2.5W on 40m with an 18' whip. (Laptop and FT817ND, simply "acoustically" coupled rather than wired interface).  Not something too likely on SSB Voice.

Above is the solution to PSK31 on a Radio without the need for a PC. Available ready built or as a kit from nue-psk <it's a neat idea.

Michael Watterson's picture

UK Viewing figures 1981 .. 2009

Has Multichannel simply fragmented Advertising and reduced BBC/ITV/C4 quality?

We have some nice Niche channels, but only on Pay-TV and with many repeats.

See UK BARB Figures< here

I made a Graph (see Below<) from the BARB figures. Irish Viewing figures will be added later. But no individual PayTV channel has more than 2% and all Sky Sport Channels together are less than 2%. Yet people can be easily paying €700 a year for Sky or over €400 for UPC.

Michael Watterson's picture

NXP announce 120W RF average power (QAM) UHF transistor

EINDHOVEN, THE NETHERLANDS  -- Sep 23, 2010 -- NXP Semiconductors N.V. (NASDAQ: NXPI) today announced the availability of an Ultra High Frequency (UHF) RF power transistor; the BLF888A, a 600W LDMOS device for broadcast transmitters and industrial applications. The BLF888A is the most powerful LDMOS broadcast transistor in the market to date.

For a DVB-T signal over the full UHF band from 470 to 860MHz, the transistor can deliver 120W average power with efficiencies greater than 31 percent. Featuring excellent linearity, high gain of 21dB and outstanding ruggedness corresponding to VSWR greater than 40:1, the BLF888A is ideal for advanced digital transmitter applications, such as DVB-T. The BLF888A will be showcased at the European Microwave Week, NXP Booth No. 194, from September 26 - October 1, 2010 in Paris.

Probably quite good as a 400W SSB transmitter on 430MHz .. 440MHz and possibly not bad at 1.2GHz

Michael Watterson's picture

Unlikely phones?


Facebook is understood to be working with the mobile phone manufacturer, INQ Mobile, to create a branded smartphone to be carried on the US network, AT&T. Nokia is rumoured to be considering making Windows 7 phone.


Facebook have denied that they are creating a phone.

Michael Watterson's picture

White Space Radio Again!

UPDATE 10th November 2010

UK Ofcom consulting on similar scheme to US. Read more Via El Reg<

The FCC is to permit White Space Radio.

This is two way communication (or multiway), personal Ad Hoc Networks like WiFi, except outdoors and using TV channels outside the area they are notionally used in.

lawhec's picture

Northern Irish DSO - a calm look before the storm comes!

While in the Republic there is some progress, albeit a bit muddy, on the horizon regarding Saorview and (hopefully) Saorsat, in the North the digital terrestrial future has a much more steady path. While exact dates have yet to be confirmed the second half of 2012 should see, bar any hiccups (which could be the case in either N.I., the Republic or even in Britain, as the London switch off is roughly scheduled to be around the time of the 2012 Olympics which could cause some headaches) the switch over take place when analogue & low-power digital signals will be shut down and replaced with higher power digital signals.

Michael Watterson's picture

LTE: Not just Modem Dongles

LTE is already rolling out in Germany and Sweden, but the Emphasis is on Data service as unlike the US, Europe has near universal GSM/EDGE/3G/HSPA. USA has a mix of two incompatible 3G networks, 2 CDMA with no moving phone-set, EVDO, Mobile Wimax and LTE


Metro PCS only has an LTE feature* phone (about $300 contract free) for their $60 p.m. service.

The fall back in non-LTE areas is to CDMA-1. The Samsung Craft includes 2G SD card with Star Trek Film

LTE in Germany is quite expensive.

Michael Watterson's picture

Buy an Intel Pentium G6951 system in Installments.

Intel are running a pilot program< where you buy the computer and later you pay extra $50  to enable Hyperthreading or L3 Cache.


IBM of course was famous for this approach during 1960s and later with its Mainframes. Upgrades simply turned on features already built in.

This might be argued to be taking advantage of Manufacturing Scale.

Intel and others argue that with the original PC or Laptop you will be getting exactly the features you pay for.

However I think it lacks transparency. Comments? 

Update: Comments on El Reg<.

Michael Watterson's picture

BAI blames RTE for failure of Pay TV on DTT

BAI blames RTE for failure of Pay TV on DTT, some people as a result are calling for the privatisation of RTE NL. Look how well that worked for eircom.

The extra Debt incurred by Vultures doing leveraged buyouts and not result of any investment  would have paid for Universal 100Mbps fibre to home TWICE for everyone. Even the meanest mountain top hovel. Negative investment (asset stripping, debt from leveraged buyouts etc) has been over €4Billion since privatisation.


Some people claim RTE NL should not have been looking for a Bond.

Michael Watterson's picture

HDMI content Protection Broken

The fox has left the chickhouse with the key.

Intel has confirmed Blu-ray HDCP encryption is cracked after admitting rumours of a leaked master key is true.

This means with suitable equipment (not cheap though) the "perfect" HDMI digital stream on any player's rear connector could in theory be perfectly recorded and re-encoded. The raw data rate is about 2.5Gbps.

We are not sure if this applies to ALL HDCP protected content via DVI and HDMI  (i.e. Satellite Receivers) or just standalone players or BD in PC also.