Thursday, December 29, 2011

LM Radio now in Joburg

In the dark days of the SABC broadcast monopoly and censorship, one bright light on the dial was LM Radio, broadcast from Lourenço Marques, now called Maputo, in Mozambique. In fact, it was one of the earliest independent stations on the continent. LM Radio was on the air from 1936 until 1975 and played a very important role in shaping the style and content of broadcasting in South Africa.
Now it's back in Joburg, and this time on 97.2 FM (Cofifi Community Radio Westbury). Broadcasting started about a week before Christmas. Instead of having to fiddle with short wave tuners (my dad had a Supersonic tuner with little stickers on the dial) you can just use an FM radio, or listen to the streaming signal from the internet. It streams at around 17megabytes per hour, which is manageable even on a capped account.
You can hear an audio history and some of the old jingles on the site.
Update: I also discovered the station on the "Internet Radio" app on my Nokia phone. Just do a country search and it's listed under "Mozambique". The 32kb stream sounds pretty good on my phone.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Why is the USA scared of a single soldier?

Only in the USA would media corporations studiously ignore the plight of a single soldier while feeding greedily on the information he allegedly gave them. Only in the USA would they label him a traitor at the same time. Even President Obama believes he is guilty, and gives him the Gitmo treatment. I guess that's what happens when you watch Fox "news".
I think Manning is a hero, as does much of the free world. This segment is from the AJE show called "Listening Post", which tries to monitor and analyse the way the media works.

Friday, December 02, 2011

DStv Mobile "Cannot Play Channel" Ripoff - Fixed

DStv is a perfectly good example of a large company that sucks. My latest frustration is the following message: "Cannot play channel. E16-4 Service is currently scrambled". I got this while testing their latest DStv Mobile device: the "Walka", a handheld device that can display up to 16 channels, for only R36 per month.
The Walka Handheld TV is a slim, lightweight device with a 3.5” viewing screen providing digital visual and audio quality. Its introduction gives DStv Mobile subscribers even more ways to access mobile TV on the go, anywhere, anytime.
Considering that their "Premium" package costs an eye-watering R559 (US$70) per month, the R36 per device seems a much better deal, especially since there are 5 sports channels, and you would have to get the Premium package to get all of them.
Sounds too good to be true. It is. On the DStv Mobile web site they list the channels that are available. The last one on the list is "M-Net Mobile".
Even though there is a little asterisk to explain that the channel is not the same as M-Net, it omits a very important piece of information: available to Premium subscribers only. You have to infer this from their "About Mobile TV" page, which lists the "bouquets" available.
I called the "Customer Service" number and spoke to an officious little man who kept interrupting me and telling me that it's all in the "Terms and Conditions" on their web site. It isn't. It's hidden away in the Drifta FAQ, not the "Walka" FAQ. Why hide it from the customer? Why not tell the customer when he buys the product? I have been to their head office 3 times with Drifta enquiries, plus phoned their sales line, and no one has ever mentioned the M-Net restriction, or discussed "bouquets".
Speaking of "bouquets", the only way to watch cricket on DStv is with the "Premium" subscription, or with DStv Mobile on a 3.5" screen. So we have downgraded from the R600 per month package to "EasyView" which only costs R20/month. Granted, it only shows the channels we pay for with a TV license, plus Aljazeera English and CCTV, the Chinese english news channel. Since AJE is infinitely better than CNN, I'm happy with the arrangement, and we can watch sport on the Walka. It pays for itself within 2 months.
Update: DStv have updated their web site to make it clearer in the list the channels that M-Net is only available on the Premium subscription.
Update Monday 9 Jan: 5 weeks after purchasing the Walka its screen went weird. I took it to their Customer Service Centre and they replaced it without any fuss. Good service.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Great Ideas Are Not Always Obvious

I saw this video clip on TV this morning and thought that the rest of the world could learn from it. Particularly here in Joburg, where our politicians are too interested in lavish parties and stealing money than actually doing anything useful. Also at COP17, where the 1% gather to spend the 99%'s money and discuss how to make 0% difference.