Crime Against (Supposed) Crime.

Please explain to me WHY so many people seem to be so anti-BBC?

Is it because people believe it to be a monster? Do people deem it too big for its boots? Do people believe there’s a lack of quality programming? Is it the whole Ross/Brand “Sachsgate” scandal? Are BBC bosses and controllers overpaid? Are BBC entertainers overpaid?

The debate arose again last night as I was listening to radio station LBC and Clive Bull. He started to talk about the TV licence. More to the point, trying to see if he was able to talk to one of the reported 200,000+ people that evade paying their TV licence. This figure has increased in the last financial year and he wanted to eke out whether it was purely financial reasons as to why people were no longer willing to pay their TV licence or whether something more underlying was accounting for TV licence dodging.

Clive wanted to know whether there was anyone out there happy to pay their TV licence. If it had not been so late at night and I was not so shy to make the call, I would have called in to say “me”! I WANT to pay my TV licence, because I can see what I’m getting for my money.

One man called in to say that he didn’t pay his TV licence as he no longer watched any live TV. He used his television to watch DVD’s via his DVD player. So cautious was he to evade getting grievance from the TV licensing body, that he severed his coaxial cable from the aerial on his roof. Clive pointed out that this move would be unlikely to be enough as the man’s TV would still have a tuner within it and therefore the ability to receive live television. That what the man would need to have is a computer monitor with no TV tuner within the screen.

So the man says “Right. This is where I am confused. So even though I don’t actually watch live television, because I have a TV with a tuner, I can still be deemed to be breaking the law?” Yes, says Clive. “Oh”, says the man “but that’s unfair and unclear”. In my mind I was thinking “Well, to avoid confusion or potential prosecution, I suggest you buy an LCD monitor with no tuner”, which Clive sort of went on to say himself. The man finished his conversation with Clive by saying “I’m quite anti-BBC really, but I do like their news web site. So if I’m on there and I see a link that says “watch now”, I’m breaking the law if I watch the clip?” Yes, says Clive.

The fact that the man begrudgingly confessed to using some BBC content wasn’t enough for him to think “Well, you know, maybe I should pay my TV licence?” Melon!

Do these people not think of the content that is provided to them for what amounts to 38p a day? That’s the price of a Kit-Kat! So, for the price of a Kit-Kat a day, you get advertisement free TV across eight BBC TV channels, a multitude of radio stations, including the BBC World Service. You have access to the wonderful BBC iPlayer (a chance to catch missed programmes via an online service that allows you to watch and download TV programmes and listen to radio shows for one week after original broadcast). You have online content via bbc.co.uk, including a news web site that is second to none. You also get a wealth of stunning programmes from documentaries, to drama. A lot of my favourite programmes are produced by the BBC including Doctor Who and Torchwood.

How on earth can you argue with getting that amount of content for 38p a day?!

There are so many who argue why they should pay a TV licence when they are on something like Sky. Get some perspective! Sky charges MORE for its basic service at £16.50 a month (and who, quite frankly gets Sky for its basic package? No one!), which is NOT advertisement free for that cost of subscription either, than the TV licence does. And with Sky’s basic package you are getting LESS content. Why anyone would pay to have Sky is beyond me!

Please! For those people who are hell bent on BBC bashing, please stop and think about what we have here in this country. A multimedia service that is revered around the world for providing quality and excellence and costs us all (well, those who pay it) a Kit-Kat a day.

Clive asked last night “So if people aren’t paying their TV licence, what are the consequences? I can see the consequences of people not paying car insurance, premiums go up. Does this mean TV licence dodgers will make the TV licence go up? What *ARE* the consequences?”

Well, surely the consequences would be programming and services will suffer. That perhaps something like Doctor Who would not have been put back on the screen, and certainly not with the love and financial backing it has received to make it more popular than ever.

The BBC news site would just be like some other ramshackle news site where you have to tread through mud to see content that is most relevant to you.

Things like the BBC Action Line would get cut. It’s there for people who may need to seek guidance or advice from seeing story lines in dramas or topics in documentaries that affect people greatly. Discussions on rape or medical conditions, cancer, mental health issues, etc, the BBC Action Line is a point of call for people to turn to if they want to discuss with someone how a certain subject in programming has affected them.

Funding for things like that would just cease to be.

I just urge people to please think about what they get for their 38p a day before they slag it (the BBC and TV licensing) off.

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Who’d Have Thought Watching Cricket Could Be So Hard.

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I really wanted to watch the cricket this summer. I’m not into it much these days, but when the Ashes is on (England v Australia test series) I like to be able to watch.

Last time it was on, four years ago, I got to watch all but one test in Australia, as I was over there while most of the the series was on. The Aussies don’t have to pay anything to watch it, as it’s on Free-To-Air TV (aired on SBS).

I can’t remember what happened with the last test, but my memory is that I was able to watch the days play on TV, not have to resort to waiting for highlights in the evening. So this time I was REALLY peed off when I realised the only way I was going to be able to watch it live was to have Sky.

I couldn’t afford to commit to a 12 month contract to have Sky in the home. The minimum outlay of £35 a month was enough of a put off, but most likely it would cost around £55 a month. Just INSANE! The only other option was to use the Sky Player online. At £34 a month it was a better option. No 12 month contract, so you could use it just for one month, as it would be charged on a month by month basis. From July 1st, Sky had a special where you could have Sky Player half price in July and August. At £17 a month, that sounded a good deal.

Sky Player requires you to run a Microsoft-based Adobe Flash alternative, Silverlight. Things like YouTube and BBC’s iPlayer are flash-based – they work on Linux run machines – Silverlight doesn’t. Silverlight only runs on Windows and Mac based machines.

So, I bit the bullet and singed up. As we had a Mac, threre was a good chance it would work well. And it did. On the Mac it was good. The picture quality was nice and fluid, and there was rarely any interferance or disruption.

I got to watch the first test with a minimum of problems. Come the second test, Friday morning, day two of the second test, we suffered a lightning strike which struck some of our equipment, including the Mac. No cricket watching then.

Before this test started (the third test), we ordered a replacement machine. It’s a killer spec. which has given us a 2.66gh Intel Core 2 Duo CPU and 4GB of DDR2 RAM. But because Sky Player uses Silverlight and there is no version of the that works for Linux (I’ve installed Moonlight – but it DOESN’T work!), we are ruduced to using a version of Windows XP (it would hardly matter if it were Vista OR Windows 7). Sky Player doesn’t work properly on its “native” platform (IE: a Windows machine with Silverlight installed). Sky Player just buffers ALL the time. By comparison, on the Mac it might have buffered maybe three or four times all day. On a Windozes [sic] machine, it can buffer as much as three times in 5 minutes!!

I might have a little leeway and it might not buffer for 10 minutes – but that’s the most it’ll play continusly without trouble. Most of the time I rectifying buffers that happen every 5 mins or so, rendering it almost unwatchable.

Today, in frustration, I’ve given up. I’m just listening to the radio now.

As we came up to August 1st, I said to Em it might be best if we just cancel the Sky Player subscription as I didn’t hold out much hope to be able to watch anything if we were moving away from a Mac. I wish I had now. We might not have been able to as I think the deal with the £17 a month special was to have it for a minimum of two months, but I would have liked to have tried to cancel the account and not waste another £17.

Can I just say, Rupert Murdoch is a count! (take off the “o”)

So thank you Sky, thank you Silverlight, thank you Microsoft, but most of all, thank you lightning strike for making my summer of watching cricket a living nightmare!

ARGH!

More Trials and Tribulations!

We now have a “decent” Internet connection but I still can’t write a proper post at the Blogger site as T-Mobile (the mobile broadband) has got an adult content lock on the SIM inside the stick. Blogger is blocked FFS! That is SO stupid. I have tried unsuccessfully to remove the block. You have to either give them credit card details – which weren’t accepted, or register with t-mobile – which I can’t do because it doesn’t recognise my post code!!! The only other way is to go to a t-mobile store. What am I meant to do? Take the stick with me? It’s PATHETIC T-MOBILE!!!

Anyway, apart from that annoyance with it, the connection is quite good and relatively speedy. It’ll definitely help us through the next few days.

While I’ve been here trying to get the broadband going, Em has been at her parents’ house contacting Virgin Media (re: Internet connection/cable modem), Apple (to book a slot for an inspection of the Mac mini at an Apple store), and Acer (potential repair of my netbook). Em looked for the netbook’s particulars yesterday and despite what I had believed in my mind, the netbook is under 12 months old and therefore STILL under warranty. Yay!! Acer want us to send it to them via DHL so they can look at it. We have an appointment at the Apple store in Milton Keynes tomorrow at 1.20pm – DON’T be late they said, or you’ll lose your slot!! And Virgin have agreed to send out a new cable modem which should be with us in the next few days.

Re: the netbook. Although we will send off the netbook for potential repair, we are still going to invest in a new one, as we can get a better spec machine (still an Acer, still an Aspire One, but with 1GB of RAM instead of 512k and a 16GB SSD {hard drive for the layman} instead of 8GB in my current one). If they can repair the original, we’ll sell it on eBay.

The Mac has more life in it too than we initially thought. The OS loads and we can see the drive, but we can’t navigate around it as the USB ports seem to have died. We couldn’t see it on the monitor as it seems that the DVI connection is gone. Em put a VGA adaptor on it and linked it to the monitor and we could then see the screen. So it might just be repairable for a reasonable cost. We’ll see tomorrow, no doubt.

Anyway, here’s hoping we’ll be mostly back to normal by the end of this week.

UPDATE: WEDNESDAY, 22nd July (Em’s birthday, btw), 1.00pm

I’m on PROPER. Yay!! We just received a replacement cable modem, so now we have full Internet access back.

This morning I have ordered my replacement Netbook, so hopefully that’ll be here by Friday.

We went to Milton Keynes yesterday and took the Mac to the Apple store. The motherboard would need replacing. Cost of motherboard £120, plus labour to refit = £200, but they could reduce the labour by £30, so it could be £170. Why not just quote £170 in the first place?? Anyway, Em said “Erm, I’ll think about it.” and came back with the Mac. Think we might end up getting that high spec Linux machine to replace it. At least a PC is always upgradable. It’s sort of a shame to say goodbye to the Mac mini, but for a £170 outlay, we can get a higher spec machine to replace it.

We’ve also ordered a new cable router. A bargain at £25 (compared to around £45 to replace our existing router). All the bells and whistles, good reviews, so we should be SWEET by the weekend.

The Linux PC will take a bit of time to build, but in the meantime we’ll have a new netbook and an old G4 Mac to use, so we’ll be fine. Thank goodness it’s all come good this quickly.

SAY NO TO LIGHTNING STRIKES!!! lol

Outage From Lightning

Sorry if this is looking funny or has typos. I’m using the email on my phone.

Today has been “black Friday” for us. There was a rumble of thunder and a bolt of lightning and then my netbook died. We thought initially that was it, but after an inspection it became apparent there were MORE casualties. We’ve lost the netbook, the Mac Mini, the cable modem, and the wireless router.

So we have no internet, I’ve lost my netbook, but we at least have a backup old style Mac tower.

Sky is now getting £17 a month for a Sky Player package I can’t watch. I’m back to having to listen to the cricket on the radio. Despite the weather we’ve had here, there has been play at Lords today.

Em has just gone off to catch the bus to in to her parents to contact our ISP re: loss of cable modem. I’m sure we won’t get anyone out here before Monday at the earliest. She just called me as I’m typing this to say she’d missed the bus. It never rains!

I’m sure we’ll be able to get it all back over time, but it’s not really something we need.

God damn weather!


Larelle