simonmackay Archive

Web page on a big screen–How?

Facebook and Dropbox desktop

You may want to use the large screen to show people how to use social media to promote their business

Do you want to show that Web-based resource to a large group of people?

You may want to do this as part of training for concepts like social media, Web analytics and the like. Perhaps, you may want to show a particular blog post to a group or even show pictures and video from a Website or video platform but the device doesn’t have native support for that.

There are two different methods of going about this:

  • Mirroring – you see the same display on both the device’s screen and the large screen
  • Extended or Dedicated View – you can see what you want to show on the large screen but have a minimal control view on your

I will be listing the options available to you by the different equipment combinations.

Using your home or other small network

This involves using devices that connect to your computer via your home or other small network.

The common requirement for these setups is that the set-top device connected to your display and your host computer must be on the same logical network. It doesn’t matter what medium (Wi-Fi wireless, Ethernet or HomePlug powerline) is used to connect the host computer or the set-top device to your network.

This setup may not work properly if you are attempting to use a public-access network to connect your set-top device or host computer and this network implements Web-based authentication.

iOS + Apple TV

Equipment Requirements:

  • Relatively recent iOS devices (iPad 2 onwards, iPhone 4 onwards, iPod Touch 5th generation onwards) running iOS 6 or newer
  • Apple TV (3rd generation onwards)

    AirPlay devices discovered by iPad

    AirPlay devices discovered by iPad – when you tap AirPlay icon

Mirror your iPad’s display

  1. Go to Shortcut menu (tap Home button twice, slide to right)
  2. Click AirPlay button and select Apple TV
  3. Select Mirroring
  4. Bring up Web page using Safari

Dedicated Display

This requires you to use one of two apps that you buy from the iTunes App Store: AirWeb ($1.99) or AirBrowser ($6.49). These are Web browsers which present the page on to the display that is connected to the Apple TV device and use your device as a tool to navigate the Web page.

Apple TV - Mirroring on - iPad

Set up iPad for mirroring to Apple TV

AirWeb simply has your iOS device work as a mouse with the external display serving as a screen while the more expensive AirBrowser offers a more polished response and has more capabilities.

Apple Macintosh + Apple TV

Equipment Requirements

  • Apple Macintosh to run MacOS X Mountain Lion (10.8) or newer
  • Apple TV 3rd generation onwards

To connect your Apple Macintosh to your Apple TV

  1. Click AirPlay icon on the Menu Bar at the top of your screen
  2. Click the “Connect To AirPlay Display” option and select the Apple TV device you want to use
    This procedure makes the AirPlay-connected Apple TV device work as an extra monitor similar to if you had connected another monitor or projector to your Mac.

Mirrored Display

  1. Select the Mirroring option to show your system’s Desktop display on the big screen
  2. Open the Web page using your preferred browser

Extended or Dedicated Display

  1. Select the Extended Desktop option
  2. Open the Web page using your preferred browser and drag it to the new screen

Google Chromecast + Google Chrome on Windows or MacOS

Equipment Requirements:

The computer you are using to bring up the Web pages with has to run the latest version of Google Chrome browser and have the Google Cast extension installed.

Mirrored Display

  1. Click the Cast square at top right corner on Chrome in Windows
  2. Using the drop-down menu, select the “Cast this screen / window” option

Dedicated Display

  1. Start Chrome and browse to the Webpage you want to show on your large display
  2. Click the Cast icon on the tab and choose the Chromecast you want to show it to

Google Chromecast + Chromecast App on Android

Equipment Requirements

Your Android smartphone or tablet has to run the latest version of the Chromecast app, which you can download from the Google Play store.

Mirrored Display

  1. Run Chromecast app on Android device
  2. Click on the Navigation drawer (hamburger icon) on the Chromecast app’s user interface
  3. Select the Cast Screen option
  4. Select the Chromecast that you want to use, The Android device’s screen will appear on your larger screen
  5. Use Google Chrome or your favourite Android Web browser to load your site

Dedicated Display

Like the iOS platform, you will have to install a browser that shows its output on the external screen. Here, your Android device will be the control surface while you see the Webpage on your large screen.

For Android users, you will need to purchase and install the Web2Cast app which costs $1.99.

Directly-connected screen

These setups require you to connect your host computer directly to the display device, preferably via HDMI. It is a task you can perform easily with the regular-computer platforms i.e. Windows, Macintosh or Linux because this practice is performed more commonly in offices for multi-screen displays or to show presentations using a projector.

Therefore the procedure to use a directly-connected external display to show that Web page comes across as being simple.

The setup procedures are very consistent across the different major versions of these operating systems.

If you are using some “all-in-one” desktop computers, you may find that an HDMI port may be used as an input port or output port. This functionality is typically to allow one to use the computer’s display and speakers with another video peripheral like a games console or set-top box. Here, make sure that this port is set up to become an “output” port for use with external displays when you are showing a Web page on a larger screen that is connected to this HDMI port.

Windows computer

Equipment preparation

Display setup for a secondary display as a dedicated screen - Windows 7

Display setup for a secondary display as a dedicated screen – Windows 7

Connect the external display to Windows computer and make sure that Windows detects the presence of the display. Here, you may have to use Display Settings to verify that this display is properly detected. You may also have to make sure the external display is switched on and the correct input is selected.


  1. Right click on the Desktop and select “Display Settings
  2. Select Duplicate These Displays to see same screen
    Most laptops may allow you to invoke this setup by pressing Windows+P together
  3. Load the Webpage on your preferred Web browser and browse it as normal

Extended Display

  1. Right click on the Desktop and select Display Settings
  2. Select Extend These Displays
  3. Drag the screen which represents the external display, which should be marked as 2, to the top or right of your main screen. This is a way to help you remember that you are setting up a “big screen”.
  4. Load page on your preferred Web browser, and drag to “big screen” before you browse it.
    Windows 10 makes this process easier by allowing you to click the square “All tasks” button where there will be icons representing both the screens. Then you just drag the Web browser to the “other” screen


Equipment Preparation

Like with Windows, connect the external display to your Mac and make sure that MacOS X detects the presence of this display. As well, make sure that the correct source is selected on your display.

Mirrored Display

  1. Click the System Preferences menu in the Apple menu
  2. Select the Displays menu in the View menu
  3. Check Mirror Displays to show the Desktop on big screen
  4. Open the Web page in your preferred browser

Dedicated Display

  1. Click the System Preferences menu in the Apple menu
  2. Select the Displays menu in the View menu
  3. Uncheck Mirror Displays for extended desktops
  4. Drag the newly-created screen to the top of your existing screen and make sure that your existing screen is kept as the primary screen. This is a way to help you remember you are setting up and using a “big screen”.
  5. Open the Web page in your preferred browser and drag it to the external display.
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Gigaclear raises the maximum bandwidth to 5 Gigabits


Gigaclear fibre-optic cable - picture courtesy of Gigaclear

5Gbps comes on the scene courtesy of Gigaclear

Is 5 Giga bits a second enough broadband for you? | ThinkBroadband

Wowzers – UK ISP Gigaclear Trial 5000Mbps Fibre Optic Broadband Service | ISPReview

My Comments

Gigaclear are stepping out of the norm when it comes to providing Internet service in the UK.

Here, they are offering 5Gbps as a bandwidth option for all of their fibre-to-the-premises area as well as their regular Gigabit or lower-bandwidth options. This is due to them implementing a point-to-point fibre network as their data infrastructure which they fully own.

At the moment, a home user could sign up for this bandwidth at GBP£399 including VAT or a small business could sign up for a business-grade service for GBP£1500 excluding VAT. The bandwidth could theoretically allow 100 4K UHDTV channels to be concurrently streamed or allow a 1.5Gb file like a film to be downloaded in 5 seconds.

At the moment, most current download and cloud-computing services can’t provide the throughput necessary to allow these high-performance services to run to their advantage. Similarly, there aren’t any routers on the market affordable to most home or small-businesses that would take advantage of these high-performance services.

The cost was considered to be too rich for most residential consumers except for a few wealthy early-adopters but could appeal to some small businesses like busy food/beverage/hospitality places such as cafes and bars running well-used wireless hotspots. These places can benefit because many users can concurrently transfer data including “high-demand” data like high-grade multimedia. videocalls and large file transfers.

What Gigaclear is showing is that 5Gbps could be ne next step for a high-performing Internet that can satisfy householders’ and small business users’ needs in the future.

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Rockhampton to consider own FTTP network


Queensland council plans own optical fibre network | The Register

Council goes its own way on NBN, plans cables and telco | Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Queensland)

My Comments

Local government has been instrumental in improving broadband coverage for its citizens by encouraging the installation of the necessary infrastructure. This may be a public effort funded primarily by council taxes or rates that are levied on property owners; or it could be a public-private effort where a company also funds the same effort.

These efforts may be used as a method of providing data infrastructure between the local government’s buildings but they have been used to provide broadband infrastructure to citizens and businesses in that area in a manner that competes with established operators. It can also be about the establishment of a company or co-operative that is focused on providing telecommunications or Internet services to the local community.

But such services have raised the ire of incumbent telecommunications and cable-TV businesses and this has had the powerful incumbent operators in the USA like Comcast and AT&T lobby for state-level legislation to strangle community telecoms and Internet infrastructure projects.

Australia has taken a new stab at this effort with the local government that governs Rockhampton in Queensland putting forward the idea of high-speed fibre-to-the-premises infrastructure to cover the city’s central business district (downtown) area.

Rockhampton Regional Council’s mayor, Margaret Strelow showed dissatisfaction with the National Broadband Network heading down the fibre-copper path which would lead to substandard broadband. Instead the council established their own high-speed fibre-to-the-premises infrastructure in Quay Street alongside other council-owned road and water works. This is a “dig-once” effort to bypass the NBN in order to achieve that “smart-city” goal that Rockhampton wanted.

The council will own the infrastructure but create a local non-profit community telco who leases that infrastructure and sells telephony and Internet service to the local community. It is in a similar manner to how some other cities have provided utilities and telecommunications services to their communities.

A question that will be raised regarding these community-focused deployments will include the ability for the NBN or other next-generation-broadband infrastructure providers to build infrastructure parallel to this infrastructure; a practice that is described as “build-over”. This may allow Rockhampton or similar communities to benefit from infrastructure-level competition.

Another question that I also see raised is whether other retail-level telecommunications or Internet providers will be allowed to lease the council-supplied infrastructure in order to sell their services in to that town. This could allow consumers and businesses to benefit from retail-level communications-service and can also include mobile-telecommunications providers using this infrastructure as a backbone for their base stations.

As communities, ISPs, developers and other entities lay down their own infrastructure for their own next-generation broadband services, it could be a chance to raise the issues of “build-over” infrastructure-level competition for locations along with the ability for retail ISPs to compete with each other on the same infrastructure. If these issues are worked out properly, it could lead to increased value for money when it comes to broadband Internet service.

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Telephone Interview–Matthew Hare (Gigaclear)

Cotswolds hill and village picture courtesy of Glenluwin (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Cotswolds – part of the big 10000 for Gigaclear

Previously, I did an interview with Matthew Hare from Gigaclear shortly after they rolled out fibre-to-the-cabinet next-generation broadband service to Lyddington and fibre-to-the-premises broadband to Hambledon, both small villages in Rutland, UK. This was about small rural areas being enabled for real broadband service rather than second-rate broadband service.

Fibre-optic connection pots in ground - press picture courtesy of Gigaclear

10,000 of these connection pots for the fibre-optic broadband installed

Now Gigaclear has covered 50 small villages around the Oxfordshire and other areas of the UK with their service passing 10,000 properties. From this interview, Matthew had mentioned that 4000 households and businesses had bitten the bullet and taken up the next-generation broadband service that Gigaclear offers.

Digging up a village street - press picture courtesy of Gigaclear

When this is happening in your village, the broadband service quality becomes better

There have been some benefits across the board with the arrival of these next-generation fibre-based broadband services.

For businesses and other income-generating activities, the next-generation broadband services have been valued as an enabler. One of the benefits that has been noticed was a reduction in traffic levels because of a reduced need to travel to work which has become important for the villages that exist within commuting distance of the large towns. Knowledge workers like accountants, consultants and lawyers also benefited because of their increased bandwidth that is available to them at home so they can run their practice or business more effectively.

Fibre optic cable trench in village lane - press picture courtesy of Gigaclear

Fibre-optic cable laid alongside a lane to a premises in a village

The food, beverage and accommodation industries have valued these rollouts in a few different ways. Initially they saw the increased bandwidth as a way to improve the Wi-Fi-based public Internet service they provide as an amenity and having a consistently-good experience with this service attracts customers. In the interview, Matthew highlighted Oxford Country Cottages who sell this as a significant amenity for their self-catering holiday cottages.  I sent a follow-up email to Oxford Country Cottages regarding their experience with this service and what they identified as a core benefit was the business guests who were returning to these cottages because of the guest-access Wi-Fi that was served by Gigaclear’s fibre-to-the-premises service. This was something that the business guests were finding that was “beyond the norm” for guest-access Wi-Fi networks.

This leads on to the feasibility to use cloud-based business systems which avoids the need to maintain servers on the premises and is considered an essential business tool.

The local communities have benefited from the broadband deployments due to increased cohesion. This was even evident in the initial stages of each project because of the initial curiosity surrounding the projects and that the visibility of the works taking place meant that something good is happening for their village. Some of the townsfolk in each community may want to preserve the status quo but more of them wanted an Internet service better than what the were being provided with.

There have been anecdotal reports of local property values increasing due to the arival of fibre broadband as I have covered before but Gigaclear haven’t seen this as evidence for themselves with any of their rollouts.

But where Gigaclear stands when it comes to providing Internet service is that they will exist as a pureplay broadband provider. That is where their business is about providing an Internet service alone rather than offering a voice telephony or pay-TV service.

Gigaclear are also operating this infrastructure as an infrastructure provider to serve these communities. This is to allow competing retail-level Internet service providers to include the villages in their footprint if they wish to do so.

BT are saying that they are doing the right thing when they are covering Britain’s rural areas but there needs to be a lot more work done to provide a proper level of service for these communities. A lot of these issues aren’t just about adding the necessary equipment but more about making sure that the wiring to the customer’s door is working properly.

What is showing up from the interview is that Gigaclear are putting the pedal to the metal when it comes to deploying infrastructure in to rural communities in order to provide a broadband service that would be considered the norm for big business in the city.

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Product Review–Brother DCP-J562DW Inkjet Multifunction Printer


I am reviewing Brother’s DCP-J562DW network multifunction printer which is their latest in their lineup of compact entry-level multifunction printers.

This printer is the  successor to the previously-reviewed Brother DCP-J552DW printer and uses the same inks as the MFC-J5720DW and other Brother printers released this year. There is a fax-equipped variant in the form of the MFC-J680DW which can serve well as a replacement for that old thermal-transfer fax machine that you use at home.

Photo – Insert high-resolution photo of product INLINE

Brother DCP-J562DW multifunction printer positioning image


Print Scan Copy Paper Trays Connections
Colour Colour Colour / B/W 1 x A4
1 x 4×6” photo
USB 2.0
Piezoelectric Ink-jet Resolution ID copy
Optimised book copy
Manual Bypass 802.11g/n Wi-Fi wireless
Auto-duplex multi-purpose tray Others out of box or option
List IPv6 for all machines that can work on an IPv6 network



DCP-J562DW: AUD$129

MFC-J680DW (fax-equipped): AUD$159

ks and Toners

Standard High-Capacity
Price Pages Price Pages
Black  AUD$33.95 300  AUD$46.45 550
Cyan  AUD$19.45 300  AUD$30.50 550
Magenta  AUD$19.45 300  AUD$30.50 550
Yellow  AUD$19.45 300  AUD$30.50 550


The printer itself

At first glance, the Brother DCP-J562DW appears to be a compact printer and I even found that it is slightly deeper than an A4 page positioned vertically and has a footprint that is slightly smaller than an A3 page. This would place it in a similar league to the original HP Envy printers when it comes to how much bench space it would occupy.


The Brother DCP-J562DW printer can connect directly to your computer via USB or to your home network via Wi-Fi wireless. Like most of Brother’s inkjet printers, the USB cable is snaked around to a port within the printer rather than an ordinary USB port on the back. I was so amazed about how reliable it is when handling the wireless connection especially if it is placed at the fringe of your home network’s Wi-Fi coverage.

Paper handling

The Brother DCP-J562DW uses the traditional paper-feed arrangement rather than the newer landscape paper feed. There is also a bypass slot for you to put gloss paper in the back of the printer but this requires you to use one sheet at a time.

It is also worth knowing that there is a mezzanine drawer in the paper cassette so you can load a small stack of 4”x6” snapshot paper or index cards. This is pitched more at householders that want to print out snapshots from their phones or digital cameras,

Walk-up functions

The control panel clicks to the chosen operating angle yet can be folded back without you needing to operate a latch to do so. This makes for a simplified operation experience that suits most users, especially older users who may find operating these latches difficult.

I have copied a few documents including some pages from books and this printer has turned them out relatively accurately. Like most scanners, it still has a problem with newsprint by causing the “other side” of the newsprint and other thin paper to come through in the copy. The lid is hinged in such a way as to allow you to copy bound documents easily without these documents slipping or the document’s binding being damaged.

It can be difficult to gain access to the “advanced copy” functions because you have to select the functions under the “Options” menu. Here, the printer could implement one-touch access to some of these functions like what is achieved with some of the models that are higher up in the range.

There is also the ability to print from or scan to a memory card courtesy of a memory-card slot located on the left of the display behind a flap.

As for online services, the Brother DCP-J562DW supports mobile and online service in a similar manner to what the rest of Brother’s network-capable printers offer. This includes print from and scan to the popular online services, Apple AirPrint, Google; and these services can allow multiple-user enrollment as I have previously mentioned with similar products

Computer functions

Normally, when I review a printer, I try to download the software from the manufacturer’s Website. This is to obtain the latest code and also to find out how well it installs if you are loading it on to a computer that isn’t equipped with an optical drive. Here, I needed to use the supplied CD because the downloadable software came through with file-inconsistency errors for the compressed “file of files”. An alternative way to go about this would be for the installation software to be kept on the printer and for users to download it via a machine-hosted Web page for network setups or a USB Mass-Storage Device for local-connection setups.

Once I had got the driver software in to my computer, the user interface was very consistent and similar with other Brother printers. The ControlCenter scan application could benefit from a few tweaks such as being able to split and merge documents and could even support “poster-style” scanning.

Print speed and quality

The Brother DCP-J562DW turns out sharp printouts as expected for a typical home inkjet printer and the printout speed is similar for that kind of product.

The photo quality is very similar to the Brother MFC-J5720DW stablemate which uses the same print engine, with the proper contrast, brightness and definition. But the colour saturation was reduced and the skin tones in the group photograph came across more natural rather than being redder. This is a situation that I still find Brother working hard at where HP, Canon and Epson are “running ahead” with printers that are pitched for “photo-grade” printing, especially when these brands use extra colours like “photo black” or “grey” along with the standard colours.

The improvements that Brother had done with keeping a stable Wi-Fi connection have allowed this printer to turn out larger print runs even though it is on the edge of a wireless home network.

Limitations and Points Of Improvement

This printer has Wi-Fi as its only connection to the network which is a trend affecting low-end personal/home multifunction printers and their network connectivity. But I would like to still see an Ethernet connection, even as a user-installable aftermarket option, or integrated HomePlug AV500 / AV2 powerline network functionality so as to cater for difficult setups.

Personally, I would like to have all the Brother inkjet printers that are based on a particular engine or design and use a particular ink-cartridge range use all of the ink cartridge sizes that are in that range. This can reduce the need for you to think of particular cartridge sizes for particular printers especially if you purchase machines using that design.

Another feature I would like to see implemented across the board would be the landscape printing because this can lead towards a highly-compact printer that turns out the documents quickly.

Similarly, Brother could take a few cues from what HP had done with the Envy printers and the high-end Photosmart printers to design equipment that excels at aesthetics especially if they want to target such equipment for use in the main household living areas like the kitchen or family room.

Conclusion and Placement Notes

I would recommend the Brother DCP-J562DW inkjet multifunction printer or the MFC-J680DW fax-equipped variant as an option to seriously consider for a light-duty home printer.

One key application I would definitely place it for is a secondary printer to keep in the kitchen, the upstairs study or the bungalow (granny flat); or a machine that you give to your oldest child when they approach their senior secondary school or college years.

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Bluetooth to benefit from speed and range improvements


Bluetooth is getting big range and speed boosts in 2016 | Engadget

From the horse’s mouth

Bluetooth SIG

Press Release

My Comments

There is some talk about Bluetooth issuing a new major specification that will be tweaked further for the Internet Of Things. There have been some devices that implement Bluetooth 4.0 in this context, primarily in the form of some smart locks, but there are some limitations with operating range for example, especially when these devices work with network bridges to enable cloud-based control and monitoring.

Here they want to pitch it as a competitor to ZIgbee and Z-Wave for “smart-home”, industrial automation and location-based-service applications. The goal with this is to provide an increased operating range (typically 4x the current operating range) and 100% speed improvement but give the devices increased power efficiency. This may allow for operation for a long time like six months on commodity batteries – think of 2 or 3 AA-size or AAA-size Duracells or one coin-size battery of the kind used with watches or car-alarm keyfobs.

Similarly,Bluetooth wants to add “mesh support” where some devices act as radio repeaters for other devices to allow for building-wide coverage. This is something already practised with Zigbee and Z-Wave and could bring about Bluetooth as another option for that smart-home or building-automation system.

But with Bluetooth in the equation, a network bridge for an “Internet Of Things” setup may have to work with Z-Wave, Zigbee and Bluetooth if the goal is to provide an on-ramp to mobile or Internet control. On the other hand, it could be feasible for a device to be designed to work with smartphones and tablets while servicing a building-automation setup, using only one radio transceiver and a well-known data communications standard.

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Could you end up determining which country your data is held in?


Microsoft will host data in Germany to hide it from US spies | The Verge

My Comments

Edward Snowden has raised a very significant issue concerning the confidentiality and sovereignty of your data when he leaked what went on with the NSA. This has affected how individuals and organisations do business with American-chartered IT organisations like all of Silicon Valley.

But what has happened was that Microsoft took up a new model for setting up data storage which is in the form of a “data trustee”. This model is similar to how a trust fund operates where a third party who is known as a trustee, is tasked to control funds and assets that come in to that fund for the benefit of the recipients.

In this case, Microsoft is setting up data centers in Germany and delegating Deutsche Telekom, a telco entirely chartered in Germany, to control these data-storage facilities as a “data trustee” for them. But the data stored on these facilities will be Microsoft’s and their customers’ data.

Why Germany? Warum Deutschland? This is because Germany, a country which has been passed through some horrible periods of history where big government abused citizens’ privacy in the form of the Third Reich and East Germany, have enacted some of the world’s tightest privacy laws.

What I see of this is that a person who signs up to a Webmail service, online storage service, Webhost or similar online service could be given the option to have the data held on servers in a nominated country, most likely rated according to the country’s standard of privacy and data sovereignty. Similarly, companies chartered in countries with rigorous data privacy and confidentiality standards could end up doing valuable business in renting data center space or providing online services to local and foreign individuals and companies wanting stronger privacy.

On the other hand, these countries could end up with the same reputation that Switzerland had with its banks. This was where Switzerland’s financial-secrecy laws were abused by people and companies who were laundering or concealing ill-gotten gains in Swiss banks to avoid official scrutiny. In relationship to data, this could allow for data associated with criminal activity such as child-abuse imagery or pirated software to be concealed in countries with high data-privacy standards.

But the authorities in those countries can act as a legal filter to make sure that any official data requests are for legitimate crime-fighting and personal-safety reasons rather than to suppress internationally-recognised core freedoms and liberties.

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4K on carrier-provided IPTV–Free takes the first step

Articles – French language / Langue française

Freebox Mini press image courtesy of

Freebox Mini 4K – gateway to 4K UHDTV in France

Free, 1er à proposer une chaîne 4K avec Festival 4K |

Festival 4K disponible aussi en ADSL et VDSL sur Freebox |

Ultra haute définition : Free diffuse la première chaîne 4K |

From the horse’s mouth

Press Release (PDF)

My Comments, who is a strong player in French multi-play Internet market has become the first multi-play ISP to offer a 4K UHDTV channel as part of their IPTV content.

The channel, called Festival 4K and found on logical channel number 62, is focused on musical theatre, concerts and similar cultural events with these events being transmitted using 4K UHDTV technology.  This will require the 4K UHDTV to be connected to the Freebox Mini 4K set-top box which is based on Android TV software.

The initial subscription technical requirement was for the household to be connected to Free’s services via fibre-to-the-premises technology. But later on, it was discovered that you can use a VDSL2 or ADSL2 connection “dégroupée” (unbundled local loop) to Free and the connection has to have at least 15Mbps for reliable operationj.

This is another step with Free to lead the pack when it comes to competitive multiple-play services by opening up towards cutting-edge technology in the form of 4K UHDTV broadcasting.

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Google celebrates Hedy Lamarr who is behind how Bluetooth works


Hedy Lamarr: Five things you didn’t know about the actress and inventor in today’s Google doodle | The Independent

From the horse’s mouth


Celebrating Hedy Lamarr (Blog post)


My Comments

Google is celebrating Hedy Lamarr who was an Austrian film actress who moved to France then America where she gained her footing as one of Hollywood’s most beautiful film stars. They have done this using their animated “Google Doodles” which shows you the pathway from a film star to the home network.

But it wasn’t all about being the most beautiful woman in Europe or starring in these films that made her significant. When Hedy was with her first husband who was a German arms dealer, she had taken an interest in applied science which was part of what made military technology work.

After fleeing Germany, she also wanted to contribute to the Allied war effort during World War II in a more useful way than selling war bonds. She realised that Hitler was using his U-Boats to sink passenger liners and wanted to do something about that.

Hedy Lamarr worked with George Antheil, an avante-garde composer who was her neighbour in Hollywood, to invent a frequency-hopping system for radio communications. This was a tool to allow successful communications to take place without being at risk of radio jamming which the Germans were good at. 

The proof of concept was based around a player piano a.k.a. a pianola and its perforated rolls that had the music and taught the instrument how to play. Here, a piano roll was used to unpredictably change radio equipment between 88 different frequencies with the setup only operating on the frequencies for a short time. The sequence was only known between the controlling ship and the torpedo and it would require a lot of power in those days to jam a large swathe of frequencies. 

This was not implemented by US Navy until the early 1960s where it earnt its keep as part of a blockade of Cuba. But this technology and the spread-spectrum ability that it allowed for ended up as an integral part of today’s digital-radio communications techology. Examples of this include Bluetooth, CDMA used in some cordless phone and mobile phone applications and COFDM which is used in Wi-Fi wireless networking which nearly every home network runs with, DAB and digital satellite radio and DVB-T digital TV.

Here, it is about a film star who appeared through Hollywood’s Golden Era but also contributed to the features essential for mobile computing and home networking.

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Colorado defeats anti-competitive legislation at the polls


Colorado Voters Shoot Down State’s Awful Broadband Law | Broadband News & DSL Reports

Voters Quiet the Drums At the Polls in Colorado | Community Broadband Networks

My Comments

This Election Day has yielded a break for community broadband infrastructure and real broadband competition in the USA.

This has occurred in Colorado which is one of many states that  enacted protectionist legislation written by incumbent telcos and cable-TV operators to prohibit local governments from setting up broadband infrastructure for community-broadband efforts. These laws are written with a veil of preventing mismanagement of public funds by local government when it comes to creating broadband infrastructure or municipal wireless broadband setups, but are really to protect the likes of Comcast in operating broadband-service cartels.

The law that was in place in Colorado required a ballot measure to be put to referendum by the local government if that government wished to set up broadband infrastructure that had any sort of public funding. 43 of these communities ran referenda about this topic on this year’s Election Day and the results turned up in the favour of the local government wanting to establish a community broadband service in these areas.

The victory was driven because CenturyLink and Comcast were suffocating the quality of broadband service that was offered in that state as is common in must of the USA. Citizens were seeing a reality that a high-quality broadband service that is value for money can only be achieved with real competition as has been noticed when competitive deployments like Google Fiber were rolled out.

Such laws were also found to be suffocating economic development and private investment because of the inability for public-private broadband infrastructure projects to go ahead. As well, it would be hard to do business in areas affected by these laws because today’s business operations are relying on information to be provided at the speed of light. This is more so with small and medium business who is after a decent broadband Internet service that doesn’t stifle them financially.

The community broadband services, which typically are maintained by the electric utility ran by the local government can also allow for a European-style shared-infrastructure model where retail broadband operators can rent bandwidth on the infrastructure to facilitate their Internet services This is in addition to the local government providing broadband to schools and libraries, covering their Internet-service needs and even being in a position to sell broadband service to the community.

As well, this competition can effectively give CenturyLink and Comcast the “kick in the pants” they need to raise their game when it comes to value for money and customer-service attitudes. Who doesn’t want all their customers churning to better service?

At least this Election Day in the US represented a step towards real competition for that country’s broadband Internet services.

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