In Euan Semples recent blog post he talked about the digital divide as it has been on the news of late. I was thinking about it and I don't think the issue is really rural vs city, infact I think cities are probably logically the places where the digital divide can be much more of a problem. Looking at the statistics I note that Glasgow has the worst broadband take-up in the country, is this because of relative education levels and poverty? In general in the UK rural communities are not poor like they are in other countries. A few weeks ago I was in Greece staying in a small village in the hills and by most economic measures I was in a poor village (however I have rarely seen a happier and more at-peace group of people), I don't think anyone there would have owned a computer. That is in contrast to the UK rural communities I have seen over the years, most farmers have computers and local schools are increasingly well connected. The real technology divide is about poverty, education and social excusion; frankly it has nothing even to do with the internet, it is about society in general. This connectivity issue is more of a measure of society than the other way around.

 Also Euan posted about disinterest in traditional politics plus how traditional politics and activism is being replaced by new 'community' action. These communities need not be local but they are increasingly powerful. It is interesting to see the number of online campaigns that get significant results. I'm very apolitical because I've long felt that no politician can be trusted and even those with the best intentions can be side-lined/sabotaged by other peoples efforts. All this despite my fathers political efforts.

This is an email I sent out today to someone I am working with elsewhere but I also think it's about time I shared my recent thoughts to a wider audience: 
 
All current issues aside the work I have been doing over the past year has presented a few issues which are encouraging me to wonder if there is place for a corporately sponsored open STB project. I know there is Dreambox but these are expensive and have had various political issues. I also know there is MythTV and the others but they are heavily PC dependent. The concept would be an open platform based on a modern STB design optimised for simplicy and power (possibly a PVR). We could manufacture in modest volumes enough to supply the demand and possibly could sell them at wholesale pricing. It would be a hardware only sale with software to be determined on the project basis. We could support the project through administration and hardware, but further we can drive the project by offering 'bounties' on features that are requested by potential corporate customers. In effect we could offer two teirs of product software the "community edition" which is free, but offers only community support and the "commercial edition" which would offer features for the 'bounty' with a professional code compile service for validated code.
 
This is just something I am bouncing around in my head and I wanted to put it around before I built a proposal out of it. Please let me know your thoughts on this.
 
I think it could fly, I think it could be useful and I think it would address many peoples problems. I've had requests for close to 50,000 boxes on different projects, but because each one of them was so small there was no way we could put development resources behind them. Put together that much hardware is reasonable business and I think something that's worth paying attention to. The 'bounty' would fund peoples time to work on the project, or perhaps reward them for their work.
 
I welcome your feedback...

Trawling through the web while Angel does the ironing (it's a hard life) and I stumbled upon a fantastic animation done using FAA flight information here.

 Watch the animations, they are well worth it! (click "Read more" to see the embedded video)

So, we've launched 'freesat' today. It seems to be going well, people are are trying to find the product and the product is starting to appear in shops. I hope it does well, the Humax Foxsat-HD is such a nice product and I am proud of our work on it. I keep getting asked when the Humax freesat PVR will be here, well that will have to wait until it is ready.