Sunday, 21 December 2008
Severed cable disrupts net access

According this article on the BBC web site. Internet and phone communications between Europe, the Middle East and Asia have been disrupted ... yet again! How many times can these cables get severed?

According to the article they may only expect connectivity back on the 31st of December. Well at least we will get some respite from the pesky International call centres over Christmas, thanks Santa!

posted on Sunday, 21 December 2008 20:48:39 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

Windows Vista Internet Explorer and VMware

I really don't understand this, may be someone can shed some light on this one for me. If I am running Internet Explorer on my Windows Vista machine with 3 browser windows open (non of them have Flash) and I also have a VMWare machine open running Windows Server 2003 with 2 programs running. Why oh why does Internet Explorer use 122,792K of precious RAM and VMWare uses 27,080K of RAM? Why is it that this that even when I have Internet Explorer open in Windows Server 2003 in my VMware session on the same pages that it still doesn't use as much RAM?

Also considering that I have turned off all the advanced graphics such as Aero off in Vista.

Is it that:

  • Windows Vista is badly written compared to Windows Server 2003?
  • Is VMWare so magnificently written that it only uses as much RAM as it needs?
  • Microsoft's QA dept didn't do the same quality checks as they did on Windows Server 2003 (great OS by the way).
  • That there is an issue with Internet Explorer suffering memory leaks on Windows Vista?

I know so many people who have switched back to "good old XP" for this very reason. Some have even gone as far as using Windows Server 2003 as their operating system to get around these issues. I have read online that companies have delayed upgrading their networks to Vista until Microsoft have sorted out the printing issues Vista has which still exists in Service Pack 1.

posted on Sunday, 21 December 2008 16:22:10 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

50% CPU usage by DNS Client on Windows Vista

If you are reading this article you have probably encountered the same problem I have with svchost continually using 45-50% cpu usuage. Making use of Systinternals process explorer I discovered it was the DNS Client that was using up all my CPU time.

Having a look at several forums online most of the solutions were for Windows XP which didn't work for me and were based around the Windows Update service causing the issue. However my issue started after me implementing a whole raft Windows updates recently.

Anyway long story short my temporary fix has been to disable the DNS Client in Windows Services for now. You can get to this by typing services.msc from the Start menu in Vista finding the DNS Client go to properties and under Startup set this to disabled. You may need to go into Task Manager selected services and End the process tree for the svchost service for this change to take affect without rebooting. Disabling the DNS Client basically causes Windows Vista not to cache the DNS entries effectively making browsing sites you have already seen a lot faster. This is by no means a permanent fix, but until now it will do until Microsoft can issue a fix for the issue....I miss Windows XP...

posted on Sunday, 21 December 2008 15:52:05 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Thursday, 18 December 2008
BBC iPlayer now officially working on PS3!

After discovering that Joost works on the PS3 browser I then decided to to see if the BBC iPlayer worked in the same way and it did! The BBC iPlayer web site now detects if you have a Playstation 3 and then serves up a smaller vision of the site for the PS3. It even tells you to press the right controller in to maximise the content you are watching. I must say there were a lot less complications with it than there was with Joost, probably because the BBC kept it simple, simple works for me it means less goes wrong.

Now I know the iPlayer has been working on the Wii for a while now but its nice to see it working on the PS3 as its the only console I usually keep plugged in because it plays my Blu Ray discs, DVD's and is a lot better at playing streamed content from my Windows Media Centre PC better than my Xbox 360!

You can also see past episodes of Hero's on the iPlayer now BTW.

posted on Thursday, 18 December 2008 14:49:27 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

Joost now on Playstation 3!

Okay to anyone in the know this is probably old news by now and the reason I missed this exciting news is I have been locked in a room for 6 months delivering a web site (its pretty cool).

Anyway I got an announcement from Joost today saying that the old Joost client will soon stop working and that I should now watch Joost content directly from the browser. I visited Joost and fair enough all the content was available to view from a browser it then got me think, this all works on Flash right? So it should all been viewable from the PS3's web browser. I hurriedly rummaged around the back of my Xbox, pulled out the fibre optic surround sound cable and plugged it into my PS3 (I had been playing Halo 3 on the Xbox 360 previously). I visited the Joost site and low and behold it works! It also works in full screen! How cool is that I know longer need to plug my laptop into my TV to watch Joost!

Only problems I have had so far is the PS3 sometimes complains about the content not having the correct certificate when I try to click accept it just doesn't highlight the selection and the browser gets stuck so I have to go out and go back into the browser. Other than that its not to bad, however I still get a considerable amount of pauses in the content. It must be my broadband connection not being fast enough (8 megs measured at 6 megs tops) or just a lot of people requesting content?

posted on Thursday, 18 December 2008 14:29:48 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Saturday, 13 December 2008
Problems with Sky

It always astounds me how bad Sky Customer service really is. Sky I believe is a victim of its own success, they have a large percentage of the pay TV market and appear to struggle keeping up with servicing their existing customers. They have made an attempt to put some of this online so customers can attempt to service their own accounts, but at the moment it just doesn't cover everything that is needed.

To give you an example. I wanted to reactivate my Sky Multiroom room subscription for over Christmas because I had family staying with me who may want to watch other TV shows. You would have thought it would be a simple thing to do right? Well here is what went wrong.

Not sure who to phone I contacted the general Sky Customer Service phone number. The choices they had available with their automated operator service was confusing none of the options for multi room were there so I ended up having to choose something I could find as close as possible to what I wanted. So I am first put through to an automated operator which asks me for my details such as my phone number (you could get this from caller display surely), my postcode and my date of birth.

Finally after 4 minutes I get through to someone and ask the lady if she could help me she told me that she could reactivate my multiroom but that all their systems were down great! I asked her if I could do this online, she said she was not sure. I had to phone back later that night, so I did and got through a call centre in India after being on the phone for 5 minutes who told me the same thing! What really annoyed me is their automated operator could have said "All of our systems are down at the moment please phone back later". Okay I would have to deal with Sky the next day maybe their systems would be up and running then?

The next day after going through the automated operator and telling it all of my details and after waiting the usual 4 minutes I get through to an operator. The operator then goes and asks me these same details again! I explain to him that I have a Sky Plus Box and an additional Sky box that I would like to to re-enable Sky Multi-room on and that I have an existing viewing card for that box. He tells me that he has to put me on hold while he goes away and asks someone after about a minute he returns and tells me that they will have to send me a new viewing card. I ask him if he is sure as I have perfectly good card here, he decides to go away again and ask and about a minute later is back again. I am afraid to ask this guy any more questions because he just doesn't know anything. He tells me he will have to read me Sky's customers agreement on the phone. I resign myself to this and am grateful when the call is over.

Two days later my new viewing card arrives and put it in the box,m but then it tells me I need to activate it ahhh! First of all I log into my Sky account online to see if I can activate the card online without having to wait in a long queue...no! Okay so I ready myself by the phone and call the number suggested on the paper that comes with the card. I get the automated operator who asks me for all of my details to speed things up, I give her my details and then I get put into a queue for 4 minutes..joy! Finally I get through to a call centre in India where the lady first asks me for all the details I gave the automated operator and then tells me I don't have a phone password setup on my account, so I set one up. Then I tell her about activating my Sky card and she tells me she will have to put me through to the correct department and there is a 3 minutes wait! "Okay" I say biting my bottom lip, before she puts me through she gives me the number to phone them directly (why wasn't this on the instructions?) funnily enough I get through to a centre straight away in Scotland, well the lady sounds Scottish and I can understand her perfectly. I explain the problem I have an she also notices that now I have two extra Sky box's registered to my account! I tell her what happened with the guy yesterday and she tells me he shouldn't have sent me an extra card and he should have just reactivated the existing card. She asks me if I would like to to reactivate the old card. I tell her yes, I then ask he about the extra card and I am worried I am going to be charged yet another 10 pounds a month for another subscription. She says because the card isn't activated I shouldn't be charged for two multi room subscriptions. Okay fair enough, she tells me that I will have to 2 minutes to 4 hours for the channels to come through on my additional Sky box.

So after waiting 5 hours I still don't get any channels on the extra box and decide to reboot the box just to make sure but still the same problem. You guessed it I found myself on the phone again to Sky the annoying automated operator asks me the same details again and then when I finally get through to Sky after the usual 4 minutes the guys checks for me and tells me he is going to send the channels to my box again (why can't they add this feature to their web site and let customers do this themselves?) anyway I tells me to wait at least 4 hours again to make sure the channels come through. "very well" I say and then query him on two sky multi room subscriptions being added to my account. He takes a look and goes "oh yes I see" and then he pauses "oh no what's going on" then there is another pause "oh my computer just turned itself off"  I can't believe it! He then tells me I will need to phone back later! Anyway at least my channels are now coming through on my extra box but I am still worried I am going to be charged twice for multi room.....ahhh!

Can anyone tell me if they have the same problem with Virgin Media or Tiscali?

posted on Saturday, 13 December 2008 15:39:02 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]