Archive for the 'broadband' Category


Pipex…all over the show..

Previously I’ve mentioned issues is my Pipex ADSL, which I thought I’d tracked down as faulty wiring.
Well…further investigation revealed that it wasn’t faulty wiring (after I’d rebuilt the entire telephone cabling of the house…and put in a dedicated ADSL link to the Master Socket!). So I went back to Pipex…who gave me their ‘it’s BT…but unless you can prove their is a problem we can’t do anything about it’ routine. In the end I lost it a little with the Pipex representative and told him I didn’t care who took responsibility for my problem, Pipex or BT, but someone was going to or the service stopped then and there!
After another 5 minutes of listening to piped music they agreed to look into it…
That was five days ago, and I’ve heard nothing. But, the line situation does appeared to have improved, somewhat. Now when it disconnects it comes back within 10 minutes, not the 1-5 hours it’s previously done.  But the speed rating is all over the show, currently I’m getting 4544 bps. But so far this week I’ve seen it as low as 2200 and as high as 6.7 Mbps! And that speed was reliable, so I’m confident the line is fine. I’ve since been told by an associate that BT are currently rolling out new equipment to exchanges, which occasionally doesn’t play well with other hardware, which from my perspective sounds about right.
While I’m happy that I’m staying connected more, it’s still not what it once was, and definitely not up to playing an online game on. I’m curious to hear what Pipex have to say when they eventually do come back to me, if they ever do. Failure to do this might be justification for me dropping this contract and sticking my hand in the fire of VirginMedia, and their very tempting 20mbit links.


BBC iPlayer – not impressed so far

iPlayerLike an idiot I signed up for the BBC iPlayer Beta, and today they sent me an email inviting me to take part. So far I can’t say I’m overly impressed. Given the build up that the BBC has given this service, the reality appears to be a complete mess. First when you try to use it you find that the BBC is joined, Dubya style, to the hip with Microsoft. And as a result insists that your using Windows XP, Media Player and Internet explorer. I have all those things but I still got a red cross because I had the audacity to use Firefox to go the the iPlayer website. Then after putting my iPlayer account and password in at least four different time I was told that they where ‘experiencing  technical difficulties’, before I eventually got the download install files. After I’d done that I was asked for my name and password again, except these weren’t the first ones but some new BBC account ones, so I had to register again. After that exercise I select a show, one of the BBC’s output in the last 7 days, and watched while it downloaded at a snails pace. 10 minutes later it’s done 22mb of 350Mb  total, by the time this arrives the presenters might have retired or died.
If they can’t allow more than 7 days to watch something, or do it in a manner that doesn’t require the patience of Job to get working, I can’t see there is much future in this. It needs to be much slicker, faster and less reliant on being a fan of Microsoft. But then you’d think they’d know that.


More Leaky TV

I mentioned the other day that in the past week a whole slew of TV show pilots and new season episodes had surfaced on the BitTorrent P2P system. Now even more have appeared, including the Pilots for The Bionic Woman, Damages, ‘Chuck’, and Aliens in America. I might have missed some, but that pretty much covers the new drama TV for the American fall season. All in the space of a single week.

Have they given all the TV stations DVD copies? Or is this guerilla marketing? Whatever the answer, it’s clearly not an isolated exercise.

Bionic Women


Pushing Daisies…up…

This sounds like a very cool show…I want to see this!

Pushing Daisies


HD-DVD vs Blu-ray – who cares?

HD or not?In the last few days I’ve seen the reporting or ‘research data’ that suggests Blu-ray is sales are declining, while HD-DVD are gathering pace. But a few months back the same sites where reporting the opposite, with Blu-ray gaining a distinct lead in players sold and discs shifted.
I’m getting concerned by this coverage, because I’m rapidly coming to the conclusion that both formats are failing. Why? Well the numbers they’re talking about are minuscule when compared with the sales and market penetration of DVD, and I don’t see the point at which the HD formats will take over on the horizon – even a long way off!
That’s not to say I’m not impressed by the technology. I’ve had the capability for both formats for a while, and a TV that can do them justice, and the results can be breathtaking. On well prepared discs (Batman Returns, being a prime example) the clarity of the image is exceptional, to the point that for many movies I’d be happy to accept this format than trundle down to my local Cinema.
But I’m lucky, I invested in a 1080p TV and the other equipment arrived in my lap because I’m an IT journalist. If that hadn’t been the case I’d of been looking at an investment of over £2,000 to get the full experience HD. That’s got to come down drastically before people start buying into it.
What also slightly disappoints me is the way that this technology went about achieving what it did, by increasing the capacity of the discs massively, requiring new laser diodes to achieve the data granularity they required. Anyone who’ seen a DivX conversion of a DVD will have realised that it’s entirely possible to put HD quality movies onto existing DVD format discs by using superior compression technology. So why didn’t they do that? The players would have been a £100, and the format could easily have been deployed on flippable discs. But no, we’ve got two opposing formats, each saying they are the one winning this battle, and the average Joe isn’t buying either.
I’d contest that something else is going to come along, possible a media-less HD download service, that’s going to kick them both into touch, which is probably what they deserve.


Pipex is now Tiscali – what a scary thought?

UK ISP Pipex, my ISP and the one that cut me off recently, has been acquired by competitor Tiscali, which took control of it’s entire Broadband services.
According to the wire, they paid £210 million for a company that made £13.9m before tax on a turnover of £231.7 million last year.
Based on the horror stories given to me by a friend who signed up to Tiscali, I’ll soon be leaving this ISP, I assume. Or, using pigeons to update this page!