Nov
28
2009
0

Freeview HD is Coming Soon

In the next two weeks the Winter Hill transmitter (up north) will start to transmit HD content over the terrestrial TV network.

The really amazing thing is that the UK will be pioneering the new DVB-T2 standard, but the really annoying thing is that there is no hardware available yet. Humax are going to demo a set top box capable of receiving the signal, in December, but it won’t be available to buy in the shops until early 2010. Humax lead the way in set top boxes – the last two I bought were both Humax.

I just moved house and have had a dish put up for BBC HD over Freesat. I waited a while before buying my Freesat box, and I waited a whole while longer before getting a 1080P TV – my 3 years sat on the fence meant I avoided being seduced by a 720P set.

Pundits on the Digital TV forums reckon that the first DVB-T2 boxes and decoders will cost £300+, although by Christmas 2010 they’ll be more reasonably priced.

If you want subscription-free HD channels at the moment I’d stick with FreeSat. You can get a Humax HD Freesat receiver at Amazon.co.uk for £122 or a PVR version with a 320GB hard drive for £243. Both boxes connect by HDMI and give great results on SD & HD channels.

Written by owner in: General |
Nov
19
2009
0

Orchid Low Radiation Cordless Phone from Rowtex Ltd (again)

I noticed the other day that Rowtex have updated their Orchid Low Radiation Cordless phone website. It still proudly boasts that theirs is still the only low radiation phone available in the UK. Wrong!

They’ve known it’s wrong since at least April, when we started getting posts on this site from the proprietor. We’d upset him by suggesting that in fact the Siemens C385 was a better and cheaper alternative to his product (in our opinion).

The Siemens C385 costs as little as £25 (rather than £80+) and emits no radiation when you aren’t on a call (in Eco+ mode), it’s prettier too. We still think you should use a corded (and cheaper) home phone, as many cordless Dect calls can now be ‘sniffed’ using a laptop.

Our advice is: don’t order stuff using your credit card over a cordless phone. Don’t do telephone banking over a cordless phone. Don’t ring any service where you give a password or keyphrase or date of birth over a cordless phone. About 50% of cordless Dect phones aren’t secured properly. If you don’t know anything about Ubuntu or Com-On-air PCMCIA cards or Dect-Cli software, then you can’t reasonably know which 50% you might fall into.

Both the Siemens C385 & C475 low radiation cordless Gigaset phones properly encrypt a call – we’ve tested them. Does the Orchid…?
All wired phones don’t need to encrypt a call, because they aren’t transmitting 100 metres down the street! Used a wired phone, please..

You can buy a wired desktop phone from Argos for about £5. It won’t ruin your sleep (partly proved); it won’t give you a tumour (not proved); and it won’t help a hacker empty your bank account (absolute reality)…You Decide!

What upsets me most about the Rowtex site is the way they quote scientific reports about the effects of radiation, in an attempt to differentiate their product from every other Dect phone. If you want to act on these reports you use a corded phone, not a Dect phone, not a low power Dect phone, not even an old analogue cordless phone (which is undoubtedly safer than both, given that it’s not pulsed like Dect). It’s now well known that low tar cigarettes just give you a different kind of cancer, lower in the lung. I see low power phones as a similar beast – trying to make something that is still basically stupid appear more acceptable, therefore prolonging Dect’s lifespan (whilst possibly reducing yours).

You are far better off using your mobile phone as your main phone, than allowing any kind of Dect cordless phone in your home (assuming you keep calls short). Here’s why: your mobile will contact the local mast every 15 minutes, for maybe 10 seconds, whereas most Dect phone’s Base stations transmit a constant carrier (like a WiFi router does) 24 hours a day. Use your mobile phone on hands free to minimise exposure to your head, regardless of Mobile or Dect. Also, if using a regular mobile phone, always stand near a window when talking on it, that way the RF transmitting power should be lower (mobile phones automatically reduce their power output to the minimum needed, mostly to conserve battery power).

Unplug your WiFi Router and Dect phones from the mains power when you go to bed. Even better, never plug them back in!

Written by owner in: General |
Nov
19
2009
0

Jailbreak an iPhone 3G with 3.1 and 05.11.07

I recycle ipods and recently an insurance company sent me an iPhone 3G with a smashed screen – in amongst several ipod touchs. I’ve wanted one for ages, but couldn’t bear to pay the true cost. This one has come to me for peanuts, plus the cost of a £20 screen from eBay.

When I first looked into Jailbreaking it, it still had the older firmware and baseband, which I could have upgraded. Foolishly, I let it connect to iTunes and upadate to the latest versions. It still worked with an O2 Sim, but I really wanted to get it unlocked for any carrier. I had to wait patiently for six weeks for the latest hack to arrive.

Now it has , and it’s free from www.blackra1n.com (that’s a ‘1 one’ not an ‘I eye’). Download and donate a small sum if you’re truly grateful. My unit that was locked firmly to O2 is now working fine with my ‘3’ Sim. Super!

Don’t get ripped off paying for this hack from other sites that advertise on Google Adwords.

Written by owner in: General |
Nov
15
2009
0

Who’s looking for information about RF radiation emitting gadgets.

Here’s a screen-grab showing people who search our site by country. See which non-English speaking nations are most interested in RF issues (UK is awful at best).

Less Radiation - visitors by country

Written by owner in: General |
Nov
15
2009
0

Virgin Media 50MB Broadband is simply wonderful

I just moved house and had rung BT to move my two lines over to the new address. BT’s website said I could expect 8MB broadband from them at my new address. O2’s website said I could get 20MB broadband, although i’d have to wait until my BT line was actually installed before I could apply – and then i’d have to wait at least another 10 days for my broadband to be operational.

I had already charged up the Sim in my ‘3’ mobile USB broadband dongle and knew i’d at least have slow internet access while things got setup. Then I remembered that broadband over glass fibre always beats copper for speed, so a quick search for cable broadband turned up Virgin Media. Imagine the big smile that crossed my face when their site said I could have a 50MB link at my new address – all for not much more that I was paying BT for line rental & packages, and Orange for 8MB broadband.

The installation all went more or less as planned. The engineers setup the Wireless Router for me , ran a few speed tests, and left.

This site is all about less radiation, so i’d already bought a DSL 4 port wired router from eBay for £13.99 (search for ‘virgin media wired cable router’ and you’ll see the TP-LINK model). I asked whether this model would get the most out of the 50MB account, and was told it would. The wired router was a doddle to setup and the wireless router’s now back in its original box – if the router didn’t remain Virgin’s property, i’d sell it. The TP-Link model seems to have all the functionality of my old ADSL DG834 Netgear, maybe more.

I tried to turn off the Wireless features of the Dlink DIR-615 they supplied, but all you could do was drop the signal strength to 12.5% of max power and the Beacon down to once every second – this isn’t enough for me, sorry guys.

My Powerline ethernet-over-mains adapters work fine, and my son now has the PS3 running Little Big Planet on the big TV downstairs. He can happily download new levels and characters from the Net. I can also use BBC’s iPlayer on it, to catch up when they occasionally put something worth watching on TV.

My Speedtest screengrab is below:

Speedtest of Virgin Media 50MB Broadband

I managed to download the DVD of the latest OpenSuse Linux in about 15 minutes – about 4.6MB a second, where on my old 8MB link i’d top out at 700k.

The only bugbears about the service are with the phone line. For all their 50MB magicness, my local cabinet doesn’t support Caller ID on the phone line! You don’t realise how much you take caller ID for granted.

Written by owner in: General |

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