[ccc-news] Assorted News 11 🙂
In this edition:
This is an out-of-sequence, special edition.
VoIP Users – Reminder on dial tones.
Free Discovery Channel, Sports & More
The Match Game – remember Blankety Blanks?
VoIP Users – Reminder on Dial Tones
A new VoIP customer has somehow managed to rack up a big Telstra bill despite having a brand new VoIP service. Just as a reminder to those of you using VoIP – please pay attention to the dialtone that your VoIP phone produces. If your VoIP modem is unable to connect to the Internet at any time, it may connect you directly to Telstra instead. You’ll be able to tell this because the dial tone will be Telstra’s. Also, the lights on your modem tell you if you’re connected to VoIP or to the Telstra line – so if you’re making a long call, and you’re not 100% sure that you’re on VoIP, check the lights to be sure. (The ‘Line’ light is on if you’re on Telstra, whereas handset 1 or 2 is on if you’re on VoIP.) On some handsets, especially Uniden cordless phones, pressing the talk button twice will also switch your call over to Telstra.
Free Discovery Channel, Sports & More.
Last week a customer signed up with me for Broadband in order to watch motorbike racing via the Internet. He’d paid for a subscription service from an American company, but we were unable to get the information through the Internet fast enough to be watchable in real time. We could pull in information at full speed in Australia, but traffic from America was not coming through fast enough.) Anyway, while waiting for a response from that company, I set off on a Google quest to see if there was another way…
I’ve mentioned Orb before – a program that lets you watch your TV from anywhere on the Internet. This works well if you have friends with pay tv and a suitable computer as you can watch their pay tv at the same time that they are – provided you both want to watch the same channel! To learn about this program go to http://www.orb.com/
This wouldn’t work for this particular customer because his friends use satellite internet which is just too expensive for watching video with. So, I did another hour’s research and eventually stumbled upon information about a program called Sopcast. It’s a program that allows people to stream live TV / Video to multiple people at once. Once loaded, it lists multiple channels that it knows about – and I believe there are other channels available via the Internet but I haven’t researched this. The channels in the list seem to come from Singapore because the ads tend to show starting times for South East Asia, Bangkok and Seoul – and naturally many of the shows are not in English. However, a number of them are in English with Chinese (I think they’re Chinese) subtitles. The current list has ESPN Sports, National Geographic and Discovery channel, along with about 100+ others that I don’t know what they are.
Now, of course there’s a question as to whether this is legal. Google seems to show that it is – or at least the program itself is. After all, the program simply takes video from one place and sends it to other places. How the broadcasters could prevent it is hard to know – because of the peer to peer nature of the program (each watcher also sends to other watchers) it’s probably hard to trace the source – and if the source is in a country like Sweden where there are few copyright laws then killing it is probably impossible. Use it at your own risk of course.
On the technical side, you need to have a fast broadband plan of at least 1500k/sec (which is $40 a month with me / Exetel or $60-$80 a month with BigPond) or else the video won’t play. (It might almost play on 512k but I’m not sure about that.) It’ll also count as a fairly big download while you’re watching it – probably a couple of hundred megabytes per hour – and it uploads about half that at the same time. It doesn’t seem to use any downloads or uploads when it’s not running.
So, if you want to check it out – it’s a free download from http://www.sopcast.com/ .
Oh, and if you have a new TV and a laptop, many new TVs let you connect your laptop to them so you can have the big screen experience.
The Match Game
Some of you might remember a show called Blankety Blanks. Well, back in the ’70s there was a show in America called The Match Game, which was much the same. Recently a number of episodes (or parts thereof) have been turning up on YouTube – see http://youtube.com/results?search_query=match+game&search_type=&aq=f – so if you want to relive your childhood, or the simpler days of TV, enjoy!
[ccc-news] Assorted News 11 – Addendum
An addendum to the last newsletter.
Sopcast & Spyware
Sopcast doesn’t contain spyware. However, one of you has just advised me that some of the sites that are accessible from the ‘home’ tab in the SopCast player do have spyware. (I hadn’t looked at that page – guess I’ve been on the ‘net too long and am blind to advertising!) The channels I mentioned in the newsletter are on the Live Channels tab, so please ignore the advertising on the Home tab and stick to the channels already in the player to be on the safe side.
Match Game – new address
I found a better link for The Match Game – http://youtube.com/profile_videos?user=SuperPAC&p=r