Weblog on the Internet and public policy, journalism, virtual community, and more from David Brake, a Canadian academic, consultant and journalist

Archive forDecember, 2008 | back to home

30 December 2008

Non-UK readers can stop here… Tech-savvy UK readers I could use some advice.

Sky’s heavy-handed efforts to get us to switch to Sky Talk have caused us to re-examine our TV/broadband/phone mix completely. The long & short of it is:

We’re contemplating dumping Sky for Freesat plus a broadband supplier and a telecoms supplier. Though we’re in London we are only in an analogue area for Virgin so that’s a non-starter. Overall we don’t call much but we call a lot to France and Canada. I don’t know how much broadband we use but I think it is substantially more than 2-3Gb a month. The current shortlist is:

Price-wise TalkTalk is a no-brainer – half the price of the other options (£200 a year for 20Gb a month broadband plus almost unlimited calls except for national daytime) – but its customer service has a lousy reputation. Does anyone here use them? Are they any better than they were? How can they afford to be so much cheaper than anyone else? Do they make it up on volume?

Are there any other ISPs you could recommend that offer good service and un-capped or high-cap broadband for a low price (with or without an inexpensive telephony option)?

If we go freesat should we go ahead and get the Humax PVR or are there other good freesat PVRs on the near horizon?

Filed under:Interesting facts,Personal at3:03 pm

A content analysis of 40 recent romantic comedies suggests that Hollywood may give teens unrealistic expectations of how romance works out according to a Miller-McCune summary. I always blamed the 19th C fiction I read as a teen for that myself…

24 December 2008

Remember I couldn’t get Google Talk to run on my non-Intel Mac? I can’t get the new Mac beta of BBC’s iPlayer to run either (well it runs but it isn’t recommended for non-Intel macs according to the BBC and the frame rate is lousy on my G4).

19 December 2008

BBC iPlayer now available on Mac – great! (What they mean is that you can download iPlayer programmes on these new platforms – before you could only watch streamed video).

9 December 2008

I just heard about the nabaztag (Armenian for rabbit – hello Leslie!) via Jeremy Hunsinger and though I am not quite sure what it does I am sure I would like to get a “digital pet” like this one one of these days. OK it’s a lot of money for what would probably end up being a glorified alarm clock but smart appliances intrigue me.

The Chumby (below) is more capable and flexible but also somewhat more expensive (and less cute). It’s not distributed here either, it seems.

A Chumby

1 December 2008
Filed under:Humour & Entertainment at10:28 am

Earlier I was complaining that writers seemed to use the large number of characters to skimp on character development of individual characters. Now I read that TV producers are making sure there’s a “mini-story” in each episode of an ongoing show because:

The biggest problem networks have with serialized shows is that they’re closed shops: if you didn’t start watching at the beginning of the season, it’s difficult to understand what’s going on.

I would add that if at any point I stop watching (or you have to stop because a series ends) I find it harder to re-establish my enthusiasm when I start again. The only way I’ve managed to get around this problem is by consuming shows some time after they’ve started so I can watch them back to back without big pauses in between.