On the BBC Internet Blog, Andy Quested has discussed the various issues around the addition of a test signal to BBC HD. It makes for very interesting reading, well worth it for anyone wanting to better understand their television and get a better picture.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/bbcinternet/2008/12/a_christmas_present_from_the_h.html

I actually emailed Andy about one part of his article:

 "The audio is actually two blocks of wood being banged once a second - nothing to beat the real thing!"

I emailed him to say that in college one of my much respected lecturers (Morgan Jones) proposed using a spark gap as a syncronisation source. Few things in nature are more instant than a spark and the correlation between the light and the light is absolute (subject to the speed of sound, etc).

His response was that he would look at it but he also raised another issue, how do you deal with the fact that an audio compression system based on the psycho-acoustic model might ignore such a short spike of audio? Frankly I don't know, I am not sure I know enough about compression systems, but it seems worth a look.

Bob

Well, after the disaster that was the HTC Touch Diamond I had a while ago, I decided I needed to call Orange and sort out my phones. I had been fancying an iPhone but I was loathed to move to O2 for it. I had been tracking the news around Orange because they were rumored to be selling the iPhone this year. But it being the end of November and there not being a press release in sight I decided just to call them and see what I could blackmail them in to providing.

I had seen the HTC Touch HD and thought, being the most expensive phone in the residential section I thought I should try it. I spoke to the nice lady at upgrades, she said she wasn't authorised give me that for free and I should speak to "retentions". I was duely transfered and speaking to the crack team; I mentioned that I wanted a good upgrade or an extreme downgrad. I asked about the HTC Touch HD and said I was looking for something like an iPhone. They said I had to pay £50 for it, I don't normally pay for phone upgrades, however they offered me a halving of my line rental. So, I am now paying £22 per month for 1200 minutes, 900 texts, unlimited internet and I got a top of the line phone.Win!

The HTC Touch HD is much better than the Diamond, it is faster (although the processor is the same), it has a better display (a large 480x800 touch display) and all in all despite it's relative weight it feels good to the touch. I was at a PR event last night for our company where our PR agency invited a group of journalists and we were discussing such devices. I bought out my phone and the considered opinion was that it was quite nice.

I think it won't be going back and I can be quite happy with what I have.

 

This friday Angel and I were both in London at the same time of the evening and I suggested we went for dinner. As I was in Docklands I suggested Canary Wharf as the ideal location to meet and eat. Interestingly when we arrived there was a small anti-capitalism protest in progress, nothing spectacular but a couple of hundred people.

We did a little capitalist shopping and sat down at a capitalist chain restaurant to watch the anti-capitalists at work. They made interesting charges at a line of police taunting them and it was rather childish really.

What really caught my attention was a sign "Capitalism isn't working!" being heald up by people I think assocated with a group of socialists present. We both thought it was interesting because when did pure socialism work? Well the only examples I can see of socialism are communist and quasi-communist countries such as Russia, Albania, China, Cuba, the list goes on but it lists as a litany of countries which have either complete social unrest, a great deal of poverty or suppression of human rights. Some might argue China is very successful as a socialist state but when you consider it's reforms involve greater financial liberty tending toward capitalism and it still has a terrible human rights record, I think there isn't much of an arguement for the alternative to Capitalism.

Personally I think that both systems are flawed, capitalism assumes unconstrained and continued growth when in fact resources are finite and growth cannot be infinate. However socialism does not permit personal growth and requires great self sacrifice, which while noble on paper is actually unworkable. Having read the combined works of Plato I have come to his realisation that no political system is ideal, however you just have to make the best you can of a libertarian state.

Maybe "Capitalism isn't working" is correct, but "Socialism never worked" is also true.

It turns out that some of the new generation of energy saving lightbulbs may pose a small health risk according to the Health Protection Agency. The advice is to avoid spending more than 1hour in close proximity to a bulb (such as a desk-lamp) because you might receive as much exposure as a day of summer sunlight!

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