Posts by Paul Campbell

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  • Access: Geoblocking, global mode and NZ…, in reply to Steve Curtis,

    I havent heard heard such a load of whinny self entitlement in a long time!. My good friend it is the producers of the show who sell the rights to who ever they choose. As for your rights, you are essentially naked, zilch, nada

    It still doesn't give you a right to negotiate a monopoly, the law says it explicitly - in doing so Lightbox is essentially paying whoever make "Better Call Saul" to be the one to charge me (and to charge me more) for the privilege of seeing it. They are negotiating aaway my choice with the hope that they can leverage their monopoly to screw more money out of their market. That is illegal.

    As it happens I also have other rights, I have the right to NOT spend my money on Lightbox because of their monopolistic behaviour, which is exactly what I'm doing - their service might just be the perfect one for me, but they wont get my money while they conspire with others to charge me more and reduce my choices.

    I want to see real competition between digital providers - but heads up guys, when I choose, I'm only going to choose just one of you and it's more likely to be because of what you carry and what you don't carry, and so long as you keep playing silly buggers I'm more likely going to choose an off-shore provider with a wider range of material

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2258 posts Report Reply

  • Access: Geoblocking, global mode and NZ…,

    Slightly off topic but I've realised that the thing that I find most offensive about the current attack on our right to choose who we purchase our media from is that what happens is that someone like Lightbox or Sky goes to someone like HBO or Showtime and negotiates away MY right to choose my media provider for a particular show - it means if I want to watch both Game of Thrones and Better Call Saul I have to purchase subscriptions to both services paying for 95% of their services twice.

    What's missing at all these negotiations is my seat at the table, if you're going to negotiate my choices away, I should get a cut (actually we all should get a cut) - this negotiation gives Sky or Lightbox a monopoly position in New Zealand, and we see Lightbox in particular trying to leverage that monopoly to try and create a market position in the nascent NZ digital TV market.

    Section 27(1) of the Commerce act says "No person shall enter into a contract or arrangement, or arrive at an understanding, containing a provision that has the purpose, or has or is likely to have the effect, of substantially lessening competition in a market."

    While 27(4) says "No provision of a contract, whether made before or after the commencement of this Act, that has the purpose, or has or is likely to have the effect, of substantially lessening competition in a market is enforceable."

    I would argue that Sky, Lightbox and friends don't have a leg to stand on

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2258 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The other kind of phone tapping, in reply to John Farrell,

    Angela – I also worked on rotary – the Dunedin central exchange had both types as well. The oddest system we had was a “trombone satellite” exchange at Ravensbourne.

    I remember visiting it on a school trip some time in the early 60s

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2258 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The other kind of phone tapping,

    BTW being the only country in the world with a backwards dial was a particular problem with push button phones, while the chips one could buy to manufacture them would happily make standard DTMF tones they wouldn’t make backwards dial pulses – in the US the various phone companies charged a premium for a DTMF capable line for many years, in NZ there was intense pressure to provide DTMF to support electronic phones

    extra BTW: more about ‘battery’ – in California the phone company is required by law to be able to operate even if all the phones in the state get picked up at the same time (ie the big one hits) provided they don’t all dial, that means enough battery to power all the phones at once

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2258 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The other kind of phone tapping,

    I remember my delight in the telephone in a scene in Heavenly Creatures all black with that braided cord - just like my grandmother's

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2258 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The other kind of phone tapping, in reply to Gregor Ronald,

    After the big Chch quake, our POTS landline with analog handset was our lifeline. Cell tower batteries died after 12 hours, phones died in a day or so, but the old school phone plugged on…

    It used to be the cellars of telehone exchanges were lined in lead, and were in effect giant lead acid batteries - a really bad earthquake and you're going to see a particularly evil toxic spill. (I once worked in the old Palo Alto telephone exchange, it had been co0nverted to office space, thebasement was a colo space, the F DNS server lived there back when there was just one - we had to go through there to move stuff occasionally, it wasn't encouraged because of the lead residue)

    Historically the 50v that comes down your phone line to power your home phone is called "battery".

    Now days it probably just comes from your local cabinet, I have no idea how it gets there, once all the cabinets are fed with fibre, there are probably some batteries in there but not a whole cellar's worth

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2258 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The other kind of phone tapping,

    just about everything use to run on relays - I remember being able to change street lights to "cross" by bumping the box the relays were in really hard ...... (in retropect that wasn't a smart thing to do)

    Similarly back when we took the train to school we noticed that there was a rubber insulator between the rails at the stop/go light, when the train came there were sparks and the light changed .... one day we shorted it out to see what would happen - the lights changed, and all the trains stopped (not just the school train) all of them - we were late for school - next day there were railways people all over us asking questions ..... (in retropect that wasn't a smart thing to do)

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2258 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The other kind of phone tapping,

    These days I actually make home telephone (VOIP) exchanges for a living, most of our customers don't realise that' what they have, 10 years ago I put one in at home (on the household web/mail server) and gave everyone a 1 digit extension, if you dial in you have to type the number of the person you want to talk to.

    It's great because that stops 99% of telemarketers, we get one every other year or so.

    It also solves the "what phone is ringing?" problem, (we kept our US number when we moved back to NZ) since the exchange answers NZ and US calls. I have a secret code that lets me bridge from one line to the other if I'm travelling

    Before the kids went off to Uni I wired up their extensions to first ring in their bedrooms then to ring on the common areas of the house, and I gave everyone unique ring cadences - at one point my daughter was getting 90% of the phone calls, she had the short cadence so we could just tell her to answer the phone - everyone got personal voicemail too

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2258 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The other kind of phone tapping,

    Living in the US kiwi visitors would often turn up with a bag of 1c pieces ... they were the same size and weight as US dimes but 1/20 the value ...... one visitor almost got arrested at the local BART station ("oops, I must have put the wrong coin in, I just arrived in your wonderful country yesterday") .... this is why parking meters used to have those little windows in them

    I also remember Captain Crunch getting arrested for forging BART tickets, he'd simply recorded the mag stripe of a high value ticket on a cassette tape recorder and played it back a bunch of times .....

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2258 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The other kind of phone tapping,

    I used to live in Waitati north of Dunedin in the 80s - we still had a mechanical exchange, and 3 digit numbers - to talk to Dunedin you could dial 2 followed by a Dunedin number, in Dunedin 22 got you to the Waitati exchange, 222222222222... quickly used up all the trunk lines between the two exchanges.

    In (I think) 1982 the geriatric (alzheimers) hospital at the end of the street closed, one day we woke up to find soldiers marching up and down our street, and blocking off traffic at the end, the English SAS were in town for a terrorist training exercise (the Commonwealth Games were about to be held across the ditch), there were apparently 'terrorists' holding 'hostages' in the hospital at the end of the street ....... it was a full out exercise, they practised everything, they went into the local exchange and tapped all our phones .... how did we know? they weren't very good at it, we could hear them talking

    some things never change I guess

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2258 posts Report Reply

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