Finding CBeebies on Sky TV

CBeebies is a very popoular TV channel in my house but is one of those mystery channels that has never been listed in the regular Sky TV Channel Guide, but instead had to be manually selected from the secret Other Channels section (probably originally set up by the engineer that installed the TV system).

In any case, I noticed t recently that CBeebies stopped working and just showed some cryptic error screen instead (i.e. This channel is experiencing a  technical fault), so I found out how to re-tune it:

  1. Using your Sky remote control, press Services, System Setup, Add Channels
  2. Enter the following values to find some extra channels that include CBeebies:
    • Frequency (GHz): 10,803
    • Polarisation: H
    • Symbol Rate (Mbaud): 22.0
    • FEC: 5/6
  3. Now select Find Channels to see a list of extra channels, including CBeebies
  4. Scroll through these and press the Yellow button on each one you want to add.
  5. When you’re finished, press the Select button (and exit from the Add Channels section)

CBeebies (and any other new channels) should now be listed when you press Services, Other Channels on your TV remote.

Brief History of Undersea Cables

In a previous post from 2008 regarding the large scale (albeit temporary) loss of Internet connectivity in the Middle East and India, I discovered a great map of the world’s undersea cables. This map came up in discussion again recently and more specifically, how and when did all of the cables get there?

This reminded me of a related article from earlier this year which talked about the World’s Critical Infrastructure and which included a basic time line of some of the word’s undersea cables:

  • 1850: First international telegraph link, England-France, later cables joined other European countries & USA with Canada.
  • 1858: First trans-Atlantic cable laid between Ireland & Newfoundland; failed after 26 days & new cable was laid in 1866.
  • 1866: First trans-Atlantic (copper) cable carried telegraph messages at 12 words a minute. These cables were promoted as the eighth wonder of the world emphasizing cooperation between UK and the United States.
  • 1884: First underwater telephone cable service from San Francisco to Oakland.
  • 1920: Short-wave radio superseded cables for voice, picture & telex traffic.
  • 1956: First trans-Atlantic (TAT-1) telephone cable initially had a capacity of 36 telephone calls at a time; calls cost $12 for the first 3 minutes. Invention of repeaters (1940s) & their use in TAT-1.
  • 1961: Beginning of high quality, global network.
  • 1986: First international fiber-optic cable joins Belgium & UK.
  • 1988: First Atlantic fiber-optic cable, TAT-8, had a capacity for 40,000 simultaneous phone calls, 10 times that of the last copper cable. This is when submarine cables started to outperform satellites in terms of the volume.
  • Today: Each fiber pair within a cable has the capacity to carry information including video that is equivalent to 150,000,000 simultaneous phone calls. Almost all transoceanic telecommunications are now routed via the submarine cable network instead of satellite.

The failure after just 26 days of the first cable to be laid from Ireland made me smile.

Source: CircleID, 26 April 2010

Corrupted boot archive on Solaris X86

We have an old rack server that runs a version of Solaris 10 for X86. For the most part, this machine never gives any trouble and we very rarely need to reboot. However, in recent months when we have rebooted it,  it has sometimes failed to boot, failing with a system console error that looks something like:

cannot read biosint
trap type 13 (0xd) err code 0x98b8 eip=0x0
...lots of register and stack trace data...
panic: corrupted boot archive . . . boot loader
Press any key to reboot

We found the instructions detailed here resolved this issue for us (although the error message is not exactly the same).

Map and Display Music, Movies and more with Live Plasma

I first came across the Live Plasma project in early 2006 but rediscovered it again recently. This article on Visual Complexity describes it as:

Liveplasma maps and displays music and movie search results with linkages and groupings, making a good use of Amazon.com’s API. After the search term is submitted, it’s immediately surrounded by other artists; the closer they are, the more similar they are in style to the target. The user can search, map, discover new movies or artists then save and share their maps.

Live Plasma

It really is quite a lot of fun to use, and good for discovering similar bands to ones you already listen to. It’s also good for finding movies with your favourite actor that you may not have seen before.

I also noticed on Michele Neylon’s recent article that the Last FM Playground project looks to be doing something along the same lines. I wonder if the are also using the Amazon APIs.

FeedHenry and eircom launch Personal Services Portal

FeedHenry, one of the startup companies from Waterford Institute of Technology where I work, received some positive press today in relation to the recent launch of eircom’s new Personal Services Portal (PSP). The new Web 2.0 portal, called “my eircom“, is powered by FeedHenry and allows users to completely personalise their experience of the eircom website, allowing them to share the wide range of applications and services on offer to other web and social networking platforms as iGoogle, Facebook and many others.

Global Press Coverage