Technology

LinuxMCE 1.1

Oliver Brown

Last month a new version, of LinuxMCE was released bringing with it some much needed improvements. The most noticeable is a switch from Ubuntu to Kubuntu (and an upgrade to Feisty) which apparently the KDE people are so happy about they want to bundle LinuxMCE with KDE 4. The most important in my opinion however is better integration with MythTV. From what I’ve been reading on their forums it’s not mature enough for general users (even less so than MythTV on its own) but it definitely has potential and if you’re comfortable with Linux and have a spare machine, you should go try it. LinuxMCE, MythTV, KDE, Ubuntu, Kubuntu

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Pluto Home

Oliver Brown

Pluto Home is the project that LinuxMCE is based on. They are essentially the same thing, the different is Pluto Home is supposed to be a black box application that takes over your computer (with the advantage of stability) whereas LinuxMCE is designed to coexist with everything else a little better. Pluto Home is also offered as a commercial solution preinstalled and configured (but the software itself is still open source). To get more info on how it all worked I visited the Pluto Home forums. It seems that MythTV isn’t as integrated into Pluto Home/LinuxMCE as I’d hoped, but it might not actually matter depending on how you use it. When you select TV, it just launches MythTV and puts it at the front. It then simulates key presses from whatever your current control method is (which could be a remote, a mouse or their Symbian software on a bluetooth mobile phone). If you can use MythWeb to set things to record (which is what I use with Myth most of the time) and then just use Pluto/LinuxMCE to view the recordings then minimal integration is not a problem since I’d never use MythFrontend… Pluto Home, Linux, MythTV, LinuxMCE, MCE, media centre HTPC

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My first experience with TalkTalk customer support

Oliver Brown

As many of you may be aware (most of you judging by the search engine keywords people use to get here with), I’m a TalkTalk customer. Now quite a few people are having problems with TalkTalk. Luckily I’ve had no problems with TalkTalk (although that might change when I’m unbundled. And for the most part that’s still true, although I did recently have a minor problem that led to me calling TalkTalk support. Firstly, the problem I had was nothing to do with the Internet. It was a problem calling Julia in America. I would call and get nothing but silence. After a while it would ring but someone else would answer the phone who apparently couldn’t hear me. After talking to Julia over the Internet I discovered that she could hear me and she could also hear the third person. Very strange. Another point is that to call Julia and it be free (well at least included in the £10 a month we pay) I have to dial a prefix. Without the prefix everything was fine. So it was probably some obscure routing problem specific to TalkTalk. So I called their support line. Specifically the one for landline faults. I got through straight away and told them I was having a problem calling America. They said it was a known issue and they were dealing with it. 24 hours later it was working fine. I tell you this simply to point out that not quite everyone is having a problem with TalkTalk… TalkTalk, broadband, Internet, ADSL, landlines

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Mono brings everything together - MythTV, PS3, Nokia 770

Oliver Brown

MythTV finally runs on a Playstation 3. Linux has been running on PS3s for a while doing all sorts of cool things. Well Takeshi Yaegashi has now got a USB TV tuner working for it making MythTV essentially complete. So where does Mono come into this? Well Mono runs on a PS3 as well. Actually that’s not the link. In a cool coincidence, I first found out about MythTV on a PS3 after subscribing to a Mono RSS feed. And the Nokia 770? Well the very next entry on said RSS feed was about Mono running on a Nokia 770 (and a Nokia N800 and Windows XP and Linux - all with one executable). It’s a small world… Mono, Maemo, MythTV, Linux, Windows, cross platform, PS3, PlayStation, Takeshi Yaegashi

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TalkTalk unbundling

Oliver Brown

Firstly, some of the posts about TalkTalk problems are getting a little heated, especially now some TalkTalk call centre workers have posted. Trying and keep everything vaguely cordial. Secondly I have an update (sort of) regarding unbundling. I recently posted that the unbundling dates were 31st August. Well another post on Sam Knows said they were the dates Carphone Warehouse originally posted and haven’t actually been updated since. As such some people already are unbundled - most people aren’t. CPW, Carphone Warehouse, TalkTalk, broadband, ADSL Internet

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Respect for the Advertising Standards Authority

Oliver Brown

A couple of weeks ago I posted about an advert for ntl:Telewest offering unlimited broadband that was unlike other providers - despite small print saying their services were subject to a fair use policy. Since then I have discovered that their unlimited service is actually unlike others. The fair use policy actually makes no reference to bandwidth limitations at all. The reason I bring it up now is there is one part of the issue I didn’t mention. I actually sent a complaint to the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) about the advert. Yesterday I was amazed to actually receive a reply about it. Not only that but a personal reply. The irony in all this is that ntl:Telewest seem to genuinely offer unlimited downloads but say in such a way that broadband savvy users wouldn’t believe. Internet, broadband, ntl, Telewest, ADSL, ntl:Telewest, cable, ASA, advertising, marketing, complaints

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TalkTalk service could change

Oliver Brown

To all those people with TalkTalk problems, the quality of your service may change. I found this page on Sam Knows that is apparently a list of telephone exchanges with scheduling dates for TalkTalk unbundling. According to the information there, no exchanges have actually been switched completely to TalkTalk yet. When they do switch there should be a difference in quality. For most people it apparently couldn’t get worse so this should be seen as a good thing. The date for the changeover is 31/08/06. I’m a little suspicious about the authenticity of those dates since a reasonable amount of physical activity is required to switch over and doing them all at once seems silly. LLU, broadband, ADSL, TalkTalk, Internet, CPW, Carphone Warehouse

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TalkTalk down to £8.99

Oliver Brown

As I was looking at the website I suddenly realised they’d dropped the price by £1 a month if you don’t take the free international calls. Odd move since I doubt it will increase sign ups much. Before you jump ship you may want to read about some of the TalkTalk problems or look at the alternatives such as Orange Broadband or Sky Broadband. TalkTalk, broadband, ADSL, Internet, Sky, Orange, Wanadoo

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More info on Sky Broadband

Oliver Brown

As well as another article, the Metro also carried a double page ad today about Sky broadband. There will be three levels available: 2GB a month for free. 40GB a month for £5. Unlimited for £10. The “unlimited” part is subject to a fair use policy but it’s presumably higher than 40GB a month. I can’t remember what the speeds are except for the highest one which is “up to 16MB”. Sky broadband, Sky, broadband, ADSL, Internet

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Sky to offer free broadband

Oliver Brown

I read in the Metro that Sky may be offering free broadband to it’s “top subscribers” in a move similar to Orange’s. Personally a shame for me since we probably qualify as a top subscriber (with all the Movies and Sports). ADSL, broadband, Sky, Internet, Orange

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