Friday, December 26, 2008

Channel Four - a mouthpiece for hatred

In keeping with being the 'stylish' face of UK terrestrial television Channel Four has given over it's Christmas message to Iran's president;

...a Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokeswoman said: "President Ahmadinejad has during his time in office made a series of appalling anti-Semitic statements.

"The British media are rightly free to make their own editorial choices, but this invitation will cause offence and bemusement not just at home but amongst friendly countries abroad."

Labour MP Louise Ellman, chairwoman of the Labour Jewish Movement, said: "I condemn Channel 4's decision to give an unchallenged platform to a dangerous fanatic who denies the Holocaust, while preparing for another, and claims homosexuality does not exist while his regime hangs gay young men from cranes in the street.

"Who will deliver next year's alternative Christmas message? Will it be David Irving or Robert Mugabe?"

Conservative MP Mark Pritchard, a member of the Commons all-party media group, said: "Channel 4 has given a platform to a man who wants to annihilate Israel and continues to persecute Christians at Christmas time.
"This raises serious questions about whether Channel 4 should receive an increased public subsidy for their programmes."

Israeli Ambassador Ron Prosor said: "In Iran, converts to Christianity face the death penalty.

"It is perverse that this despot is allowed to speculate on the views of Jesus, while his government leads Christ's followers to the gallows."

He said Channel 4's decision to broadcast the message was a "scandal and a national embarrassment" and in "its search for ratings and shock factor, Channel 4 had lost its ethical way".

Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell joined the attack, calling the president a "criminal despot, who ranks with Robert Mugabe, Omar al-Bashir of Sudan and the Burmese military junta as one of the world's most bloody tyrants".

Channel Four's F***-You attitude is amusing when it's to do with their own chav/celeb offerings (Big Brother etc.) but I really hope this puts pay to them getting their hands on any of the license fee. I'll be annoyed if that mob in Horseferry Road get any of the money I happily pay every year for the Beeb.

Friday, December 19, 2008

WFM7100 screen grabs

I'm currently prep'ing some training notes for video, audio & QC test and measurement. I've often said it, but Tektronix really are the best-of-breed for television signal monitoring. People only buy Hamlet, Harris, Videotek etc. because they won't stretch to a Tek.
So, here are some screen grabs - handsome!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas 2008 family newsletter

The Guardian's Simon Hoggart lists the seven sins of writing a round-robin newsletter;

...including boastfulness (dazzlingly clever children who play the saxophone and ski for Britain); smugness (their job, their house, their holidays are all perfect); tiny-mindedness (do we really need to be told how to start a jigsaw by looking for the straight bits?); whimsy (letters written by pets or babies); and the dreaded over-sharing, in which every illness and operation is described in minute, unwanted detail.

I hope we've avoided that and manage to raise a smile (Sarah is going to be a stand-up when we're done with all this parenting).

do a right-click save on the link - my server is not doing MIME type properly

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The 'amazing'(!) Shakti Electromagnetic Stabaliser

Having offered my beloved Harbeth speakers for sale (lots of interest so far!) I came across this bit of nonsense online. Audiophiles really are gullible fools with too much money to spend.

SHAKTI Noise Reduction Technology (NRT) absorbs and dissipates Electromagnetic Interference (EMI). Automotive Computers (ECUs) and audio/video components self generate a radiated EMI field that degrades signal transfer functions. The word SHAKTI means "energy." Through an energy conversion, inductive coupling process, the "antenna-like" circuits within SHAKTI attract and then resistively convert EMI to non-interfering heat.

The upshot is - pop one of these bad-boys on top of your amplifier and it will sound better! They even do little ones to sit on top of your speaker cables. They even claim that strapping one to your engine management module will make your car go faster! I emailed them to suggest that a few stuck on top of the UN building in New York would do wonders for world peace.

But wait - they have an even greater innovation - The Hallograph;
The Hallograph Soundfield Optimizer consists of two arrays that are easily placed behind each speaker near the corners of the backwall. Each array is engineered with proprietary technology (patent pending) and made with exotic hardwoods, consisting of staggered activated panels that are mounted on an elegant base that beautifully blends into any style room environment.

That's £1000 a pair to you chief!

Friday, December 12, 2008

For sale: Harbeth Monitor 30 (Active) loudspeakers

These are a pair of Harbeth Monitor 30 Active loudspeakers (Eucalyptus finish).
I have owned them for six years but for the last four they have been in storage. I ran them up last weekend and listened to a favorite CD and they still sound lovely. The cones are undamaged and the cabinets have a couple of suffs/scratches but otherwise are fine.
The Active variant is reasonably rare as most people bought the passive model. They have balanced and unbalanced inputs and the internal amps are matched to the speakers. If you've ever worked in radio or TV they are a badged version of the Rogers LS5/9 which you see all over the BBC.
It breaks my heart to let them go but space/family/time means I don't give them the attention they deserve!
The link in the title is to the page on eBay.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

DriverBackup v.2 is out

This is a sweet little utility that takes a snapshot of the drivers on a Windows system - XP & Vista in 32 & 64bit flavours. It makes an archive backup of all the driver files and then when you repave the machine you just need to re-install DriverBackup and point it at the archive (which you hopefully backed-up to a CD/USB-stick etc!). Then, one re-boot later and no yellow question marks in device manager!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Optical cabling - advice to customers

I'm not blogging much at the moment - lot on. However - this is what we're advising customers who don't use us fot their fibres;

  • Grade of cable - All current models of film and video SANs make use of multimode connection. OM1 cable is still the preferred grade (62.5 micron VCSEL-optimised glass in accordance with ISO-11801) and since current configurations are 4 gigabit (moving to 8 gigabit) more attention needs to paid to circuit loss than 1 gigabit (the standard when OM1 was introduced). OM2 and OM3 cable is still unsuitable because of the 2.5dBs of loss when going between dissimilar core sizes (62.5 vs 50 microns). This is a function of current host-bus adaptors rather than the response of the cable.
  • Bandwidth - Whereas 1 gigabit traffic will tolerate up to 8dBs of loss we are now dealing with SANs that demand at least two octaves more bandwidth and so best practise says that we now expect no more than 3dBs of loss on a SAN circuit.
  • Style of cable - Although tight-buffered cable is easy to install it is never optimal for long runs. For interconnection between equipment within a cabinet it is appropriate and between cabinets if run in protection – Copex etc. For inter-area runs a loose-tube cable is the best solution as it is an order of magnitude more robust and although has an slightly larger install-time cost has a much lower TCO.
  • Connectors - All contemporary host-bus adaptors and fibre-switches terminate runs in the LC connector. If existing cables are terminated in legacy SC or ST connectors they should either be re-terminated or re-run as adaptors introduce signal loss. SC or ST patch panels are fine so long as run-out cables are SC-LC (to equipment) as appropriate.
  • Testing – We will ascertain if circuits are suitable for proposed SAN deployment by illuminating them with a calibrated laser tester (850nM wavelength, -19dB(m) signal) and measuring circuit loss – these results will be provided to the customer.