What’s up my China?

So what’s up with the search engines today? The local site MyBroadband has an article up about Yahoo! redirecting to the Chinese search engine Baidu and suggested that Yahoo has been hacked. I don’t normally use Yahoo! so I checked it out and after typing in a search term I ended up on Baidu as well. How odd!

TechCrunch put up a post earlier about it and followed up with more detail in a later post. It seems that some of the western search engines namely Google Blogsearch, Live.com and Yahoo! are being redirected for Chinese surfers.

So what is going on? If it is a China only problem, why are South African users being affected? Are South African ADSL users running through SAIX getting access through China?

I’d like to hear from my readers if the problem is affecting you as well. Just leave a comment with the name of your ISP and whether you can search using the sites above. At the time of writing I only get to Baidu when I search using Yahoo!.

[tags]search[/tags]

South African Halo 3 launch party rocks hard

Halo 3 launch partyOn Thursday night we were invited to attend the South African Halo 3 launch party which was a combined event featuring the release of the new album A world next to yours by The Parlotones. The event was well attended and there were plenty of Xbox 360 consoles running Halo 3 in co-op single player as well as multi-player modes.

One thing I found rather interesting at the launch was how popular Halo 3 was with the general public. For once it wasn’t the excited Xbox 360 community members or gaming press hogging the consoles while The Parlotones debuted their rocking new album. Unfortunately I didn’t spend too much time on the packed dance floor but I heard that even Master Chief got in on the action and was on stage with the band exciting the crowd.

[tags]The Parlotones,Halo 3,South Africa,Xbox 360[/tags]

Halo 3 and The Parlotones launch together

The Parlotones & Halo 3 Yes, Halo 3, the hottest video game of the year is going to be launched next week and The Parlotones are launching their new album, A world next door to yours, at the same time. The launch is going to be taking place on the 27th of September 2007 at the Partyhouse at The Coca-Cola Dome in Northgate. Tickets will be available through Computicket.

[tags]Halo 3,Xbox 360,The Parlotones,event[/tags]

Telkom in the dwang for claims

image It looks like Telkom is in a bit of a pickle over its recent “Do Broadband” advertising. A post on MyBroadband details the complaint from a consumer that says its false advertising.

Mr Moorad lodged a consumer complaint against Telkom’s “do” broadband campaign, arguing that the advertisements claims of being suitable for ‘movies, gaming and music’ is misleading.

According to the ASA website, the complainant submitted that the advertising states that one can “do” music, movies and on-line gaming, but only affords the user 1GB. “This is misleading as a DVD-quality movie is at least 4GB and online gaming needs at least 20 GB monthly to play daily.”

While I agree that the “do movies” claim is a little bit of a stretch as I doubt Telkom would promote torrents and illegal movie sharing. They must surely be referring to paid movie downloads, I can’t think why a consumer would want to pay for a highly compressed movies that are sub-DVD quality, can you?

I however don’t agree that to “do on-line gaming” you need at least 20GB monthly of bandwidth. Is Mr Moorad downloading the games before he plays them or maybe he is playing Battlefield 2. As an Xbox 360 gamer I regularly play on Xbox LIVE and its common to work on about 150MB per hour for serious online gaming including voice chatting. So 20GB equates to about 136 hours of online gaming per month which I believe is more than excessive. So the 1GB is quite capable of at least 6 hours of serious online gaming; or perhaps a whole month of online Sudoku.

In its submissions to ICASA, Telkom clearly stated that “Telkom’s ADSL service was never intended for bandwidth-hungry applications, such as gaming or online trading.”

This I find highly amusing to read. Telkom has clearly been caught out in its statements. Its time for the left hand to start talking to the right hand, and oh, while they figure that out, can they sort out the service delivery issues etcetera etcetera…

[tags]ASA,Telkom,ADSL,Xbox 360,Xbox LIVE[/tags]

Windows Live doesn’t support Vista x64, yet!

As you may have noticed earlier this month, Microsoft released new builds of the Windows Live series of programs that it seems are destined to form the Windows Live Suite 2008. The individual components and their build numbers are listed below for prosperity

Unfortunately users that try to run the installer on a Windows Vista x64 system will encounter the rather obscure error message “Windows Live programs can’t be installed on this operating system.” as can be seen in the screen shot below.

image

A search using Google didn’t bring back anything useful so I wandered over to the newsgroups and found a workaround as well as the following statement from Brandon LeBlanc on Vista x64 support:

“To everyone running 64-bit and unable to install the betas – do not worry. Microsoft fully intends to support 64-bit users for the new Windows Live installer and apps at release.”

Apparently the problem is not with the actual applications or their individual installers but rather with the new shared Windows Live Installer (WLInstaller.exe) which doesn’t support x64 as yet. This is confirmed by the release notes I found for Windows Live Installer (build 1320.0823).

However I did find some users posting workarounds to the problem. The easiest solution is to run the shared installer on a x86 machine first and to then copy the MSI files and run the individual installations manually. If you don’t have access to an x86 machine then you can always hack the shared installer using a hex editor and get the installers out that way.

I’m personally very excited to check out the new Windows Live Writer features as well as the first public beta of Windows Live Photo Gallery which apparently replaces the Vista Windows Photo Gallery component.

[tags]Windows Live,Windows Live Messenger,Windows Live Writer,x64[/tags]

IPTV one step closer for South Africans

TV The US might have landed on the moon but South Africa took a huge leap yesterday when the industry regulator, ICASA, announced that four new pay-TV broadcaster licenses had been awarded to Telkom Media, MultiChoice, On Digital Media and e.sat respectively. An interesting note is that Sentech has withdrawn their application for a license. This means that Telkom Media are still on track for delivering IPTV and what is most likely going to be the first HDTV channels to the South African consumer market.

Telkom Media plans to broadcast at least five new local channels as well as previously unavailable international channels over satellite, cable and the web. The satellite offering will start at about R100 per month for a basic set-top box with a premium DVR (digital video recorder) version available as well. The cable based solution is expected to make use of ADSL 2+ technology which is considered the next generation of ADSL. According to my sources there are currently test trials running ADSL 2+ and the Microsoft MediaRoom IPTV solution. The web solution will offer Web TV, music and video downloads – the only offering that could have an effect on Internet bandwidth cap usage.

So what does this mean for the consumer? I can sum it up in two words – competition and choice. Competition drives down the prices and choice comes in two forms. Firstly the consumer can now can choose which pay-TV broadcaster(s) to use and secondly the IPTV technology makes bundling easier. Currently MultiChoice offers a few satellite bundles but you can’t pick and choose which channels you want and which ones you don’t want. I for one don’t care about the SuperSport channels and as a result I don’t want to have to pay a premium to watch them. Through choice I’m sure Telkom Media will be able to tap into a new market segment that currently cannot afford or is unwilling to pay for a bouquet of channels that are not desirable.

Unfortunately it seems that MultiChoice is really scared now and has already begun securing the rights to content from the six large international studios and therefore securing its monopoly. However I don’t believe that its only the mainstream content that the consumer wants. Surely there are lesser-known content providers out there.

Personally I’m looking forward to being able to watch high-definition TV channels on my TV, aren’t you?

[tags]IPTV,Telkom Media,MultiChoice,Sentech,Microsoft MediaRoom,South Africa,TV[/tags]

Spring is here and its time for a new blog

For the last few years I’ve experimented with various blogging sites. I started off with my very first blog hosted by Blogger, but I wasn’t too impressed by it. I can’t remember how I stumbled upon the local dotnet.org.za community site run by Armand du Plessis but I found my home there and have been there ever since. I’ve tried to keep my posts relating to .NET however there is more to life than software development and architecture.

Seeing as I’m such a gaming nut I decided to create an Xbox gaming blog on the XboxBloggers.net community site run by Chris Lotter.

Last month I decided to get with the program and register yet another domain for a dedicated personal blog. And with that my CraigN.NET blog was born. A general blog with commentary about my life, my interests and everything that I find interesting. In terms of content I intend to blog at least once a week on various topics including .NET and Xbox 360 gaming. You can generally expect to read my opinions, and believe me I have enough of them, as well and the occasional bit of technology and product news.

[tags]blogging[/tags]