A long football night

Monday, June 16, 2008 at 23:20 | Posted in computer, Euro-2008, football, Sports, TV, ubuntu | 2 Comments

Ballack just scored and a fine goal it was. I would obviously be happy if no more goals were scored. ūüôā

The first half offered little to be seen. Gomez was unfortunate with the ball just bouncing high as he had an open goal at sight. The ball is round as they say.

I did not see what happened with the coaches as I was in the kitchen fetching more coffee. Maybne they were discussing the Anschluss of 1938 as I suggested in Thomas’s live post.

I am going to have a long TV night since, unlike yesterday, I am unable to watch both games in parallel. I did that by watching one game through the Estonian TV and the other from live streaming of the Finnish TV. Can’t do that today.

I suffered another significant computer mishap this morning apart from my laptop being unaccessible for a week. As I was trying to fix a driver bug with my wireless USB adapter, the system crashed and since I urgently needed web access, I decided to make a clean install to my desktop. Unfortunately I just had an Ubuntu 6.06 install CD at hand so it is going to be a long way until I have upgraded back to 8.04 and re-installed all softwear, including everything to make video watchable. No data was lost, though, since I have all of it backed up in the web. Which would make it a good idea to buy a disk tomorrow and make another clean install direct to Ubuntu 8.04 rather than upgrading through all the versions in between.

Meanwhile I am going to watch Poland vs. Croatia on tape through the Estonian TV so please do not tell me the result during a couple of hours after Germany vs. Austria.

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Sarkozy’s Internet tax is a theft

Wednesday, January 9, 2008 at 11:50 | Posted in internet, Media, TV | Leave a comment
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The French president Nicolas Sarkozy proposes new taxes for Internet access and mobile phone use to finance two new government run TV channels. Since the channels would be ad free, 800 million euros in advertising revenue collected by the state television would flow over to private broadcasters.

In other words, Sarkozy plans to steal money from Internet users to support both government and private television regardless of whether the surfer watches TV or not. A government can get away with it but if anybody else tried to do something as shameless it would be called grand larceny.

Memory Lane TV

Monday, October 29, 2007 at 2:29 | Posted in Nostalgy, TV | 2 Comments
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Laurie Kendrick’s Memory Lane TV post inspired me to dig the deep holes of my memory to discover what I used to watch back in the old days when I still watched TV. The trip back did not bring up much that I would really miss but these fractions of my TV watching history go back to my childhood in the early 1960’ies. There is also some not quite as ancient material but only one show that is still in the air in the 21st Century.

The Virginian is definitely a western I used to watch as a kid. This intro dates back to 1962.

As long as we are talking about westerns, Bonanza was on my screen as well.

And so was High Chaparral later on.

In the law and order department, The Untouchables is an absolute classic.

At a bit more mature age I watched Hill Street Blues.

Towards the end of last century I also had my eye on L.A Law.

In the screwball category my absolute favorite was Get Smart.

Talkning about screwball, every kid in our neighborhood watched every episode of Batman. We also had Batman suites and toy cars and just about every item somebody was shameless enough to sell us.

The last American show I used to wath during this millenium was West Wing although I missed almost all of the last production season.

And finally, we are at the present. As you may or may not know, terrestrial analogue TV transmissions ended in Finland for two months ago and I was determined not to buy a digital box. My sisters bought me one as a birthday present but I took it back to the store and changed it against a vacuum cleaner. That damned thing is still waiting that I get an inspiration to remove it from the purchase package but that is another story.

So even if I wanted to I could not see anything from the local TV but I am still able to watch the Estonian TV some 60 kilometers across the Gulf. √ēnne 13 is a satirical show featuring the everyday life in Estonia. It has been running from 1992 or 1993 and the number of episodes is close to 400. And I have seen every damned episode which is why I can not imagine of a Saturday evening without tuning in ETV at half past eight in the evening.

This is the trailer of the opening episode for this season. It was on the air for a week ago so I have so far seen two episodes this autumn.

Shut up and be pretty

Sunday, August 5, 2007 at 23:57 | Posted in Journalism, Media, TV, video | Leave a comment

Margaret writes in Transblawg about a nasty incident with British Channel 4 reporter Sue Turton being pinched in the back by a bastard in Oxford in live television while reporting about recent floods. While Margaret’s post focuses on translation of legal terms involved with judicial proceedings around the incident, I am interested in some other aspects of the case. The point I want to make is that female reporters seem to run a considerably greater risk of being exposed to humiliating situations in the air than male reporters.

As this YouTube video shows, Ms Turton had no way of anticipating that this sort of a cowardly act was going to take place. The bloke comes out of the blue from behind and does his dirty deed as Ms Turton delivers her report to millions of viewers. She deserves my deepest respect for being able to finish her report as if nothing had happened although I can only imagine the feelings she must have experienced at the time.

Another video clip, also at YouTube, features Gretchen Carlson’s legs in a Fox News Show. Why do I get the feeling that nobody bothers to listen what Ms Carlon is actually saying? The focus is definitely not on what she has to say.

Unlike Sue Turton, Gretchen Carlson must have had the option of not appearing in the show the way she was exposed. Very true, that option was probably mainly theoretical. She likely stood faced with the option of appearing the way she did or not appearing at all.

The studio set up shows something pretty interesting. Both of the male reporters wear dark business suites. Both of them have laptops on the table. They are not seen using the computers which seem to be there to add up their credibility and possibly act as cover for too revealing camera angles.

Gretchen Carlson has no laptop because she is not supposed to be taken seriously by the viewers. She seems to be in the studio for the sole purpose of exposing her visual virtues. Another classical case of “shut up and be pretty”.

Giving Joost a chance

Wednesday, June 27, 2007 at 8:10 | Posted in Media, TV | 2 Comments
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A while ago I was cursing the brand new TV on demand in the web service Joost for not providing a Linux support. I have since bought a laptop with Windows XP pre-installed. Although I installed Ubuntu 7.04 in the laptop, I left the Windows partition intact to be able to use some tools that do not support Linux.

This morning I decided to give Joost a chance and installed the software in my Windows partition. The install was smooth and easy. My 512 MB memory is on the edge of sufficient but I had no problem running Joost.

The programmes available in most of the channels are crap as most of television is just crap. I did, however, find some interesting documentaries. I watched a documentary on the Berlin wall in Off the Fence Docs channel. Reuters Technology Week in Reuters channel also looks interesting.

So I am not likely to become a daily user of Joost but I just may watch a programme every now and then just like my minimal use of the traditional TV has been so far. That is going to end in a few months as analogue TV transmissions are going to be discontinued in Finland. I hope to be able to still watch the Estonian TV (very few programmes there as well) and occasionally top up with Joost.

I do not know if Joost still requires an invitation to join (I got mine from Kristjan Otsmann, thanks Kristjan). I seem to have the chance to invite people, however. I do not know how many invitations I am allowed to send but I have so far sent none. So if there is somebody who would like to receive a Joost invitation, just drop a comment below and I’ll send it as long as I have any of them left.

Joost does not support freeware

Sunday, May 6, 2007 at 1:00 | Posted in linux, Media, TV | 6 Comments
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While I do almost not watch TV at all, I thought it was cool and interesting to give a try to Joost. Their concept is definitely a useful tool to manage the little of TV I would be interested in. So when Kristjan Otsmann wrote that he had practically an unlimited amount of Joost invitations to give away, I took him for the word (thanks, Kristjan ūüôā ). In addition to Kristjan’s invitation, I received another one today from somebody whose name does not immediately ring a bell (thank you, too).

Clicking to the link brought me an unpleasant surprise, though. There is a “Joost for Windows” and a “Joost for Mac” available as beta but not a word about “Joost for Linux”. As much as I surfed the web site, I did not detect a word of even intentions to provide a Linux version. I do understand that providing support for the major commercial platforms is a priority but I would have at least expected a short note that they were working on support for freeware. Apparently not so.

Joost may very well be cool and it may very well bring a new dimension to watching TV but it is not cool enough to motivate me to buy a Mac. I would not even consider going back to Windows, having finally managed to bring my business out of there after all these years. So as far as I am concerned, Joost can keep their stuff until they issue a Linux support.

Freedom instead of fear

Sunday, April 15, 2007 at 12:14 | Posted in Freedom of speech, internet, Media, TV | Leave a comment

If you are old enough you may still remember the time when there was no Internet. Younger people obviously have hard time believing this. They must be wondering where we got our news and other information.

Most people used to have a box in the corner of their living room. It was called television or TV just for short. A what? I’ll tell you.

The box looked a bit like a computer screen. The contents were received through the air by radio waves, at later times also by cable. There were a number of output channels for different content streams.

And that was it? Yes that was it. Well, a junior may ask, how did you manage your input if there was no keyboard and mouse?

There was no need for input. Television was a one way street from the content producer to the viewer. A bit like the early days of the Internet but even more restricted than that. There are still some of those antique web sites of the prehistoric age of the web to be seen. TV was even more boring than those.

So where did we put our own contents? Those who were rich enough could by the equipment but broadcasting licenses were regulated by the government. So there was no way for a common citizen to reach a large audience.

That must have been comfortable for the governments of the time. They did not need to consider the public opinion because critical voices did not reach further than you were able to shout. But since everybody had the right to express their opinion, they could still say that there was a freedom of speech.

The governments became worried when anybody was able to say what they think and actually had access to millions of people. A citizen expressing a critical view was a potential threat or at least a pain in the ass for those in power. So to miscredit critical people the governments suggested they were terrorists. In some countries they passed laws on surveillance of private citizens.

Many people protested against the plans and the citizens became aware that their governments meant to spread fear of terrorism and in fact impose their own terror against free speech. Thanks to the global networks created through web 2.0 those evil plans of the governments were stopped. It happened approximately at the same time as many people purged their television and only trusted the sources of their own choice. That was when freedom took the place of fear in the hearts and minds of citizens.

One more reason

Wednesday, March 14, 2007 at 4:49 | Posted in Election, Media, Not serious, Politics, TV | 4 Comments

As I have written on several occasions, I practically do no longer watch any TV. It just so happens that I accidentally turned on the damned thing last night. What I saw there provides me another reason not to watch:

No, it was not Peggy talking to Al in Married with children. It is the politicians having what they consider to be a serious discussion. There is a general election in Finland on Sunday.

And yes, I am going to vote, despite these debates. Watching them might make me change my mind, though.

Presidential health

Friday, August 4, 2006 at 21:35 | Posted in health, Media, Politics, transparency, TV, USA | 1 Comment
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According to the BBC, the Cuban state run television has dismissed the calls of George W Bush for Cubans to work for a transition towards democracy as “the epitome of delirium”. Baring in mind that this was one of the few sober statements by president Bush that I can recall for quite some time, I find it a bit odd to be refering in this context to the drinking problem he used to have years ago.

Speaking of presidential health, the Cuban TV might just as well give us an honest account on their own president’s health. How is Fidel doing? Please tell us.

And as we are speaking of presidency, how is his brother Raul doing? When will we see him appear in public? I take it that he has no health problems?

Who needs television?

Thursday, August 3, 2006 at 19:03 | Posted in Finland, Germany, Media, TV | 4 Comments

Marcel writes that the German broadcaster RTL is planning to encrypt all their satellite TV transmissions. Untill a few years ago I had free access to a couple of RTL channels but I never watched them because there was nothing I wanted to see. The best of those programmes were crap, some even worse than that. If I ever wanted to see the worse of American TV series, I would at least want them with the original sound track rather than dubbed into German. Just imagine seeing Matlock gesticulate on the screen but addressing the court in monotonous German!

According to Golem.de, the satellite service provider SES-Astra is going to launch a service packet on early 2007, of which RTL and other German private broadcasters are going to be a part. The viewers would have access to the packet for a flat monthly rate of 3,50 ‚ā¨. Golem.de also writes that RTL has plans to apply similar charges for their terrestrial digital transmissions in the future.

As I have written several times, television is about to become a part of the media history. The analogue TV transmissions in Finland will be discontinued in August 2007. That is when I am going to stop seeing the last transmission in Finnish TV that I still watch, the evening news. And I am not going to miss anything that I would not get hold of through the web.

I would not even consider paying for those RTL transmissions as I do not even want to see them for free. I would not even watch them if I got payed for it. But baring in mind the large number of potential German viewers, SES-Astra just may get their packet a sufficient number of subscribers to pull it through. Maybe.

Marcel writes that abandoning the television is an easy decision that would allow you to live happily ever after. I could not agree more. Who needs television anyway?

Icelandic is a beautiful language

Wednesday, August 2, 2006 at 1:19 | Posted in languages, Media, TV | Leave a comment
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As I have written in many posts (too many to be linked, I am afraid) television is occupying less and less of my time. As Finland will discontinue the analogue transmissions in a year, the only thing I will be able to see in my old box is the Estonian TV accross the Gulf of Finland. And I will even have to use my old DX skills to construct an antenna to see the few programmes accross the Gulf that would awake my interest.

My friend Helena writes in her blog – sorry folks, she only writes in Finnish¬†–¬† ūüėČ about the last sensible transmissions left to be seen in the Finnish TV. Those are the morning programmes before 9 a.m. I never watch those as I listen to the morning programme of the Estonian radio but I take Helena’s word that the transmissions are quality stuff.

Why would I watch those transmissions anyway? They are there to be seen at an hour set up by the broadcasting authorities. That is not how the media works these days. You just go to the Web at the time of your own convenience and pick up whatever interests you. Where do we need the broadcasters in that transaction? And what could they deliver that is not already in the Web?

Having said that, I had my old TV set (which does not exist if a license fee controller would ask) accidentally turned on tonight. There was an Icelandic film which I could have watched, had I not been more interested in the stuff on my computer screen. But I heard the dialogue.

I do not understand all of the Icelandic that I hear. The language is said to be close to the original Scandinavian that was spoken for about 1000 years ago. The Icelandic themselves learn either Swedish, Danish or Norwegian (in that order) in school. I understand each of those languages but not Icelandic which is a combination of them.

But folks, as I was occupied with the web, I was many times stopped by the beautiful sound of the Icelandic language. I just had to stop whatever I was doing and just listen. I understood a few sentences but not enough to start watching the film. I am sure it would have been worth watching but that is beyond the point. The point being that Icelandic is a beautiful language to hear.

So where does this leave me as I am not going to buy an adapter to show me the digital TV transmissions? Am I going to miss the beautiful Icelandic? Hardly so. The film was shown in the Estonian TV which will remain analogue even after the television in Finland goes digital. And either way, I think I just happened to be lucky to catch that particular film (or the sound track of it).

Should I ever want to hear or read the beautiful Icelandic language, it would be available in the Web as well. It would be available at any time I want it. Without the guidance of the national television or any other media. Just for me to look up to whenever I feel like it.

But Icelandic is a beautiful language.

Dangerous for the establishment

Saturday, July 22, 2006 at 10:39 | Posted in Blogosphere, Finland, information, internet, Media, TV | 5 Comments

Klein Report in Switzerland gives a summary of an article by Ursula Stalder published in “NZZ am Sonntag”. The author notes that many businesses are concerned about the anonymity and unaccountability of bloggers. Blogs are referred to as the loo wall of the Internet. Klein Report wonders if there might be a weblog legislation of some sort being prepared behind the scenes.

Sven Scholz in Germany concludes that the concerned businesses may in fact be concerned for their monopoly of information being broken. Sven points out that this has in fact happened a long time ago. I could not agree more.

I wrote three weeks ago that for 20 years ago I could not even dream of the kind of an unlimited access to information sources of my choice that I am enjoying today. Access to news was controlled by print media, radio and television. Now I have access to the same sources as they have and I can make the selections of my own.

The traditional media did not only control the selection of news published. They also decided which members of public were allowed to express their opinions and reach a wider audience. While this “loo wall” of mine is not read by far as many people as the big traditional publications, I have the chance to address far more people than I could imagine for 20 years ago.

So the establishment is worried. They are worried because they have lost the control of information. And they are worried because freedom of speech is no longer just something theoretical but something that actually exists and is occasionally excerised by ordinary people in an unforseeable and uncontrollable way.

But there is more to come. In Finland the analogue TV transmissions are going to be discontinued from the end of August 2007. Finns are expected to buy either a converter or a digital TV set to be able to receive the digital transmissions.

The public broadcaster YLE 24 reported a week ago that so far only half of the households are able to receive digital TV. The sales of digi TV equipment should double from the present level if everybody is to get the box by deadline. One million households are presently unprepared for the era of digital TV.

Hitherto it has been taken for granted that everybody does indeed buy the digi box, cheapest of which are in the price range of 50 ‚ā¨. The more sophisticated receivers would cost several hundred euros but 50 ‚ā¨ is something that everybody is expected to invest in a continued access to entertainment and information controlled by the establishment. I wonder why.

I hardly watch any TV at all as it is. I see no reason to put up at least 50 ‚ā¨ in order to have access to something that I do not need to use. I do not need it because all I need is in the Web.

The establishment is probably counting for a part of the old folks to be dropped out. They are even planning to organize special networks to “assist” the senior citizens to go digital. But I am not sure if they realize that it is not just the old folks they should be worried about.

If people in my age and especially people who are younger than I am are not going to buy the box, the establishment will not only loose the control over the info we receive and submit. They will also have to recognize that we do not even bother to listen what they have to say. And that may turn out to be dangerous for the establishment.

Goodbye broadcasters

Sunday, June 25, 2006 at 3:32 | Posted in Finland, Germany, great britain, internet, Media, TV | 1 Comment

Last week I criticized the British plans to regulate the air time of junk food commercials in TV and pointed out that the measure is out of date because new media is profoundly changing the pattern of watching TV. People will no longer have to receive transmissions on scheduled times and they have several ways to access the media contents of their choice. The importance of broadcasters as gate keepers of news, information and entertainment is decreasing.

There is a good related article by Mark Lawson in Guardian. He writes that Channel 4 is going to start screaming their transmissions live in the Web, starting within a couple of days. This coincides with the BBC's announcement to discontinue their once so popular programme Top of the Pops which has been in the air for 42 years.

The pop music programme used to provide the only chance for bands to be presented to a wider audience in motion picture. This has for a long time not been the case any more. Entertainers, activists, politicians and basically anybody with something to say have a variety of channels to put their message into. Also, anybody looking for a particular kind of media contents can easily access it where and when they want to. The broadcasting houses are no longer in charge, they have lost the control of what we watch and when we do it.

For just about 20 years ago, I could not even dream about an unlimited access to information sources of my own choice which I am enjoying today. There were only two public TV channels in Finland back then and the only alternative way to acquire information was short wave radio. While short waves broadened my perspective, the news received was nevertheless filtered by public broadcasters albeit in other countries.

Channel 4's decision to go on line shows that they have at least understood something. The audience is no longer sitting in front of their tellies waiting to be served what broadcasters see fit to show them. The viewers are in the web so that is where the content providers also need to go. But any traditional broadcaster in the Web is just one of the millions of sites trying to catch the surfers' eye.

As I wrote a while ago, public broadcasters in Germany and elsewhere are trying to impose a TV license fee on computers connected to the Internet. Unlike, Channel 4, they obviously do not understand that they have already lost the game. Attempting to collect revenue on web contents created by others is not only arrogant, it is a self devastating behaviour in the long run.

Verleubnungsgeb√ľhr buttoned

Saturday, June 24, 2006 at 2:03 | Posted in Blogosphere, Germany, internet, Media, TV | Leave a comment

On Tuesday I wrote about the slander fee (Verleubnungsgebühr) to be imposed on German public organisations as a protest against the absurd plan of a media tax targetted against computers connected to the Internet. I have now added this button (courtesy of Sven) in my side bar to express my solidarity with the German Internet users in their justified struggle against the stupid GEZ fee.

More buttons to be found in Farlion's blog.

Verleubnungsgeb√ľhr

Tuesday, June 20, 2006 at 16:19 | Posted in Blogosphere, Finland, Germany, hyperlink, internet, it, Media, Not serious, TV | 3 Comments

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the absurd plans in Denmark and Germany to impose a TV license fee to computers connected to the Internet. The justification behind the media tax is that it is technically possible to watch TV with such a computer.

The TV license is collected in most European countries to finance the public broadcasting services. The rules and regulations are a bit different in each of the countries but basically you have to pay the fee if you have a TV receiver regardless of what you watch. Just having a television in your home justifies the assumption that you watch public television because it is possible to do so with the TV set you have.

As from next year, Germany is going to introduce a compulsory TV fee for computers attatched to the web. The fee will be 17,83 ‚ā¨ a month. I do not know the avergae price of a DSL connection in Germany but I pay 22,90 ‚ā¨ a month for my max 1 Mb/s connection here in Finland. The current TV fee in Finland is around 17 ‚ā¨ a month depending on whether you pay for three, six or 12 months at a time. This would mean that if a similar Internet tax were to be introduced here, my access to the web would cost me almost twice as much as it does today. I do not have a TV set.

Farlion has come to the brilliant idea of imposing a blogging fee for public broadcasting and other government organisations reading his blog. The fee is, of course, 17,83 ‚ā¨ a month for each IP address that he will detect in his logs. And because it will be technically possible for the organisations to return to his blog, he is going to send out the bill on a monthly basis.

I just thought that I could join Farlion in this action to show my solidarity with the German Internet users. But I am going to call it the slander fee. The German term is going to be Verleubnungsgeb√ľhr whereby the intentional misspelling is identical to that of Callboy Torsten.

Basically, I am going to impose this slander fee on German visitors who detect anything in my blog that they judge to constitute a slander. Reading any of my blog content that the reader detects and recognizes as non slanderous will be free of charge. The list of organisations includes but is not limited to public broadcasters, members of Bundestag, public prosecutors, government agencies and ministries of all sorts except public libraries where members of public have access to the Internet.

In addition to the slander fee, the German Health Ministry will be imposed a slander linking fee, Verleubnungsverlinkungsgeb√ľhr because they no doubt have all technical possibilities to put up hyperlinks to anything in my blog that they may find slanderous. So it will be 17,83 ‚ā¨ a month for everybody else conserned but 35,66 ‚ā¨ for all IPs under the Health Ministry. My bank details will be sent together with the first invoices.

As many German bloggers are enthusiastic about Farlion’s idea, he has asked for assistance from various segments of the blogging community. Lawyers are asked to help him draft the rules of the blogging fee and web designers are expected to deliver propositions to a special blogging fee button to be included in participating blogs. The blogging fee is about to become a pointless demonstration against a pointless media tax which is exactly why this blog, while outside German jurisdiction, is supporting it.

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