Astro & Premier League Story Takes a New Turn

Well, you could have blown me down with a feather.

Back in August, I uploaded a personal note on Astro Nusantara after they dropped the British Premier League without so much as a by your leave (see Astro sucks if you’re not short on time and have no particular place to go).

Last week, I received an SMS / Text Message from Astro saying, “So Long & Thanks for all the Fish”.

It didn’t say that literally but you get the idea — I half-thought it was a crank or junk text but, when I arrived home, my Astro satellite decoder (cheap piece of crap that it is) did nothing but blink the time at me.

Damn it: not even the right time.

(By the way, I might have taken the time to post a few notes on the topic the following week but, fortunately, I had my hands full…)

Anyhoo, on the day, I didn’t believe it so popped over to the Astro Nusantara website to be greeted by:

Sorry our website address has changed to
www.directvisiontv.com
In a moment you will automatically be re-directed to
www.directvisiontv.com

How funny is that?

So, I went to see the Direct Vision website where I was greeted by a thank you note and a picture of people on elephant back… no, I’m serious, look:

directvision

Oh look: the chap at the front has a football… he sure as hell didn’t get that from Astro.

A thank you note and an elephant… you just couldn’t make this stuff up, could you?

In case you’re interested, the note reads something like:

During more than 2 years, PT Direct Vision has broadcast Astro TV and become part of the rich family life of Indonesia.

Now it is time for us to say goodbye and not broadcast until further notice.

Sorry, not our inclination to break up with you, the family of Indonesia.

We remain concerned about our loyal customers.

Customers who have paid in advance will be called for the refund process.

We are proud to have served you.

Thank you on behalf of all the staff of PT DIRECT VISION

Aha, yeah. Alrighty then. Oh, and about that refund phonecall…

So there we are. No live football becomes no tv at all.

Now, back in August shortly after one dreary Saturday night when football and Astro had gone the way of Brad Pitt & Jennifer Aniston, I had found out there was a new playa on the scene: AORA TV.

Now, the AORA deal is a weird one I think and given that there’s already a thank you note and an elephant in the picture, you can be pretty sure I mean WEIRD.

Firstly, I’d never heard of Aora until August.

Next thing you know they’ve launched a new satellite outfit and they’ve got the contract for the British Premier League. Only 1.7 million rupiah for the WHOLE YEAR. What a deal. And a half.

And for that, you get the Olympics (on 4 channels) and the British Premier League (2 channels) and the History Channel and the Hallmark Channel and CNN and BBC and, and, and, and Boomerang (?!) and the Crime Investigation network and, and, and, and a few Indonesian free over the air channels… 12 in all at the time of writing but I believe there were only 8 back in those heady early days of August & September. Or it was the Olympics + 8 more channels.

For only 1.7 mill.

I’m sold. I’m not: I’m bought and sold — what the hell is going on? Where did this Jonny-come-lately find the moolah (my favourite word of today) to pick up the Olympics and the Premier League but still be wood post dumb enough to not offer anything else?

Which bright spark at ESPN/STAR allowed themselves into a deal with a company who’ll ensure their brightest product (BPL) never sees the light of day (or late evening)?

How the hell did that happen? Why, why, why?

Oh well. Whatever. Never mind.

The main thing is that it happened.

So, I call Indovision (no way I’m going to risk being cut off by another new satellite provider and, besides, apart from the football which is only on the weekend, I’d quickly go nuts watching Hallmark and The History Channel from Monday to Friday).

And that’s how the story went until this morning when Hep tells me on Saturday night he watched Man United kick about with the intrepid Hull City… on normal TV… for free.

Eh? What? And you didn’t call me?

It was too late.

You f**$%#er.

Then we had a little morning exercise (me chasing Hep around a tiki hut to fetch him a ding alongside the ear) and, after that, we hit the web (we’re just trying to make sense of it all) and, yes, it turns out that TV One (a member of the same group as AORA) is now airing select BPL games live on the weekend.

You could have blown me down… I said that already.

And, if you search the TV ONE website for “liga inggris” and can read Indonesian you’ll see that, apparently, since September 18th, Direct Vision (last seen apologising on elephant back with a football) are now being investigated by the Indonesian version of the Anti-Trust committee… or whichever branch of government deals with monopoly.

Well, something’s fishy… something just plain reeks but if it means easy access to live football, who am I to complain?

I do hope those chaps at Direct Vision will be ok, though… but perhaps I needn’t worry… that elephant certainly looks fast.

Sean

Google odd about Astro Satellite TV (Nusantara)

A couple of days ago, I uploaded a short, angry note about Astro Nusantara to this blog and, later the same evening, while searching for a follow-up or news on Astro came across a link to my blog on Google and now it’s completely disappeared.

The original article is here: Astro Sucks.

I do wonder what the hell happened but, let’s face it, who am I to question the mighty Google?

Anyhoo, on the topic of Astro, I’m going to cancel my subscription (hum, reminds me of the Doors…) sometime in the next couple of weeks and probably go back to Indovision.

Indovision are just as sneaky and gutless as Astro but at least their equipment continues to work in all weather (Astro goes down when it rains and the rainy season is coming up soon…) and you don’t have to wait a day for the guide to update if it ever updates. And the remote control wasn’t designed by Fisher Price.

A new outfit, AORA (http://www.aora.tv) has opened and will offer the Premier League but I’m “up to here” with new installations and silly promises from satellite TV vendors. If anyone signs up with them, good luck and, if you can be bothered, to tell me about it, drop me a line.

Sean

Astro (Nusantara / Indonesia) Sucks… No Premier League

A year ago, I switched from Indovision partly because they dropped the Premier League Football coverage but also because they dropped the coverage with zero warning… in other words, right up until kickoff on the first Saturday of the season, I was still waiting for the games to begin… and stayed in front of the set for an hour past kickoff thinking, maybe… just maybe, it was some kind of technical goof. But no: they just blew it and lied to all their subscribers.

So I switched to Astro and, tonight, had exactly the same experience… keep checking the sports channels but even though the channel guide refers to football, all I’m seeing is old Pool games and Baseball. Two things which generate less than zero interest for me even when they’re live… which these shows aren’t.

Damn.

I suppose the Braniacs at Astro just couldn’t risk losing that extra month of money if they’d announced NOT showing the Premier League as soon as they knew.

I wonder how that policy is going to work for them in the long run?

Hopefully, my case will be the same as for most of their subscribers… they don’t show decent movies; their entertainment shows are all a minimum of one year old. Their navigation and equipment is slow, failure-prone… out of date… crappy. And, now they’ve dropped the only thing I wanted them for, they’re less than useless. So, off I go: back to Indovision until a decent alternative becomes available. I hope every other subscriber does the same… it’s weird to think we’re all paying for old movies, out of date entertainment and now, no sports… no football, no Olympics… sheesh.

How disappointing.

On the bright side, I’ll sleep earlier and shout less.

Goodnight all.

Paris Hilton & John McCain

Another one of those stories that happened to catch my eye this morning — story by Devlin Barrett (Associated Press via Yahoo News) — the headline reads:

Paris Hilton issues tart rebuttal to McCain ad

Very cute: I was about to say, “Is Barrett implying that Paris Hilton is a tart?” but, in fact, I’ll have to credit the Associated Press and Barrett for being smart enough to wordplay on tart as in bitter and tart (as it’s frequently used in the UK) to mean hussy, slattern, slut, tramp, wanton, wench or whore. Or floozy.

Floozy is a lovely word, eh?

Barrett also describes Ms Hilton as doe-eyed… but I don’t think she is doe-eyed — ‘dough-eyed’, maybe but not doe-eyed:

doe-eyed

To the left, a doe; to the right, Ms. Hilton…

Barrett also took time out of an obviously very busy day to pad the article with descriptions like, ‘scantily clad’, ‘tongue-in-cheek’ and ‘revealing’.

Gotta love the news.

Sean

Getting Rid of Hunger

imageI read a few interesting news articles today… I’m not sure if there was just more ‘news’ or if I’m in just a more interested frame of mind.

Probably — no, definitely not important.

The most thought-provoking story was about the international summit on food and the plan to eliminate hunger (Reuters via Yahoo News, article by Stephen Brown and Robin Pomeroy — click here to read at Yahoo).

A U.N. global food crisis summit will draw up an emergency plan on Wednesday to mobilize aid, reduce trade barriers and invest in farming in poor countries to stop the spread of hunger threatening nearly one billion people.

“We commit to eliminating hunger and to securing food for all, today and tomorrow,” read a draft declaration from the three-day Rome summit, whose opening session on Tuesday was attended by leaders of about 44 nations.

44 nations — represents about a fifth of all nations (or a quarter if you only count the 192 UN member nations).

The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) now estimate that there are 862 million hungry people around the world.

I am not smart about the issue of world hunger or about the FAO or any of the other organisations that complement or compete with them in addressing the issue of starvation around the world.

Anyone who’s well versed in the topic will, no doubt, be able to reel off dozens or thousands of carefully researched and thought out arguments and statistics and so on.

I can only summarise what I’ve read just in the past few minutes and go with my instincts:

  • 862 million people with not enough food.
  • The possibility of 100 million more being added to that list because of rising fuel prices along with worsening food and fuel shortages.
  • It would cost an estimated US$30 Billion dollars per year to ensure that no-one goes hungry.
  • To put that figure into perspective, according to what I’ve just read, US$1,200 Billion was spent on arms (guns, bombs & whatnot) over the course of 2006.

I am not in a position to check or confirm any of those figures… not in any meaningful way but I can reduce all the data flying around to a few basic points that are meaningful to me:

  • Everyone needs food but a lot of people aren’t getting enough… about one-sixth of the world’s population is going hungry.
  • If everyone had enough to eat, there would probably be less hassle on the planet… less anguish.
  • If we can take care of the global food shortage, maybe we can start to take care of some of the other silly little loose ends that have dogged us as a species since the beginning of history… things like War, Pollution… in other words, we’d be left with just the one horseman (Death) and that might be alright. Nah, it’s probably naive. Truthfully, we can tackle the other stuff some other day. Food now, I think.

I don’t have an answer, a plan for addressing the issue.

Maybe no-one does.

Or maybe there are too many plans and, like competing formats for High Definition, too much competition and fist shaking for one system to be given the opportunity it needs to run properly and be effective.

I think there’s enough money… my guess is that Exxon Mobil could probably handle the whole thing themselves.

I don’t expect that to happen but you get the idea.

All of that said, if I lived now in either the US or the UK and if there were any hungry people in the US or the UK, I’d prefer they were taken care of before anyone else.

And, if there were no hungry people in the US and the UK, I’d prefer that America and Britain checked to make sure everyone had shelter. Meaning, as a nation, I would prioritise food and shelter of my compatriots before looking to address issues abroad.

In fact, I’d probably lay out the priorities as follows, if everyone in the US (as an example) is provided for in terms of:

  • Food — enough to eat including meeting the established RDA for calories, vitamins, nutrients and clean drinking water.
  • Shelter — a roof over one’s head, a room of one’s own and a key to lock it with, a place to stow one’s gear, etc., that’s warm and dry.
  • Education — up to a certain, workable level and no more. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, enough to work on Wall Street or be President… kidding.
  • Safety — a decent, functional legal infrastructure (including police and legal representation).
  • Health — emergency and a respectable level of maintenance health care.

When all those standards have been proven to have been met (proven to the people of your own country), then I believe it might be appropriate for a government or a population to start cherry picking new ideas of how to help the species.

France is probably there already (I’m guessing). So they can do what they want. The US is a little behind and might want to take care of its own stuff before taking on any new elephants — talking about government initiatives.

Don’t get me wrong, the US is great and I’m not trying to pull anyone’s chain but from what I’ve seen, it’s ranked twelfth in the world in terms of Human Development:

1 Iceland
2 Norway
3 Australia
4 Canada
5 Ireland
6 Sweden
7 Switzerland
8 Japan
9 Netherlands
10 France
11 Finland
12 United States
13 Spain
14 Denmark
15 Austria
16 United Kingdom
17 Belgium
18 Luxembourg
19 New Zealand
20 italy
 
France is in tenth and I guess only the top ten countries are in a position to help anyone else.
By the way, if anyone was surprised at the list, drop me a comment… I was gobsmacked that the US and the UK are so far down. Ireland being in 5th place is a little funny also but… what is it they say? Lies, damn lies… and statistics.
 
I definitely believe a country or a government or a people should look to helping their own before helping anyone else. Of course, an Irish, Jewish, Catholic, African or Chinese American may elect to provide aid to their ethnic/racial/religious community (without regard to nation) but that’s more a question of how we define ourselves and relate.
 

I would certainly de-prioritise the environment; I believe it’s spiritually bankrupt to put trees before people.

I don’t think war works… meaning, I don’t believe it’s a meaningful use of resources, energy and money. As a citizen, I believe it’s that not only is it better to fix at home before fixing overseas, either one is better than breaking stuff overseas.

That’s it. I’m done.

Sean

 

 
 
 
 

Excommunication is a funny old game

I had thought, up until this morning, that the Roman Catholic church was pretty much done with excommunication. I had assumed it to be outdated.

I was wrong. It is, apparently, back in fashion. Particularly for Women would-be Priests and the Bishops that try to ordain them.

So, in case anyone was wondering how to get themselves in on the action, here are Wikipedia’s top nine or so ways to get yourself automatically excommunicated by the Roman Catholic church:

1 …  Apostasy (canon 1364)… formally quitting and turning against the Church. Ah. Hmmn. I know a lot of people who’ve done this. Pretty much anyone Irish who’s now atheist is an apostate or, more frequently, a Lapsed Catholic. Also, seems a fairly slack approach to the problem insofar as excommicating the apostate is somewhat like bolting the door after the horse has gone.

2 … Heresy (canon 1364)…or outright disagreement with Church doctrine. Oops, done that as well. Does anyone print T-shirts for this type of thing? And again, in terms of equine escapes, another belated bolting.

3 … Schism (canon 1364), to split with the Church… historically, that covers everyone who’s not Catholic or planning to be Catholic. This explains the lack of T-Shirts: who can print in that kind of volume?

4 … Desecration of the Eucharist (canon 1367) … makes perfect sense: similar to defacing a coin depicting the Queen’s head… which reminds me of a pub called the Queen’s Head just outside Brighton — had a picture of Freddie Mercury on it.

5 … Physical violence against the Pope (canon 1370) … ha, you were expecting him to turn the other cheek?

6 … Attempted sacramental absolution of a partner in a sin against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue (“Thou shalt not commit adultery.”) (canon 1378 §1) … if I understand this right, it would be forgiving or trying to forgive someone who’d committed adultery. Interesting.

7 … Ordination of a bishop without papal mandate (canon 1382)… No fake Bishops. Please.

8 … Direct violation of the sacramental seal of confession by a confessor (canon 1388) … no tattle telling or ratting on parishioners.

9 … Procurement of a completed abortion (canon 1398) … I’m not too sure about this one. I mean, I understand, getting an abortion but the ‘completed’ part… confusing.

10 … Helping or helping to plan any of the above.

I think that’s enough from me. No need to comment on the list. At any other time, I might have wondered why a few of those are included and wonder out loud why a few obvious ones are omitted but it’s Friday and I see no reason to fret.

Anyhoo, according to the news article by Phil Stewart (on Reuters via Yahoo News), the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (or VATCON-D-FAITH as it’s known in the US) has written and published  a decree that now makes it a full-on excommunicationable offense to be a woman and become a Priest or be a Bishop and ordain a woman as a Priest.

As far as I know, the decree says very little about being a Priest, quitting and becoming a woman. Or, being a woman, becoming a man and then becoming a Priest but usually (historically) the Roman Catholic church has been very good about getting down to the nitty gritty and hammering out all the details. Catholic, after all, does mean ‘universal’.

Sean

Sharon Stone — the New Face of Karma

It’s not often that an entertainment news article jumps out of me but Sharon Stone’s “karma” story is just one of those times.

From Yahoo News this morning (you can click here to read the Yahoo News article), Stone’s movies are facing a ban from a cinema chain because the owner is annoyed at the actress for a comment made at the Cannes film festival… she suggested the earthquake may have some karmic link with China’s treatment of Tibetans.

Ah well, that’s why Hollywood actors make the big bucks. And Stone’s no dummy. According to Wikipedia, she has an IQ of 154.

Amazingly, Wikipedia already has the karmic earthquake comment noted… the update was posted yesterday.

Here’s what she actually said regarding the earthquake:

“Of course I have [heard the news about the earthquake in China]. You know it was very interesting, because at first, you know, I am not happy about the way the Chinese are treating Tibetans because I don’t think anyone should be unkind to anyone else. And so I have been very concerned about how to think and what to do about that, because I don’t like…that. And I’ve been concerned about how should we deal with Olympics because they’ve not been nice to Dalai Lama, who is a good friend of mine. And all this earthquake this stuff happened and I thought, is that karma? When you are not nice the bad things happen to you. Then I got a letter from the Tibetan Foundation, and they wanted to go and be helpful. And that made my cry. And they asked me if I’d write a quote for that and I said I would. That was a big lesson to me, that sometimes you have to learn to put you head down to be at service even to the people who aren’t nice to you. That’s a big lesson for me.”

And here’s the YouTube video where you can watch her actually saying it.

Let me see, earthquake in China because of the government screwing with Tibet… Karma…

Ah well. I’ve got so much to say about the subject but the sense to stop right now.

Sean

Misunderstood Features in Microsoft Vista

Untitled-1I’ve been catching this story out of the corner of my eye over the past week or two.

Apparently, an apologetical missive from the mavens at Microsoft on how the most annoying aspects of the we-hope-it’s-soon-to-be-doomed Vista are actually features (that used to be a joke back from the 98 Second Edition days, “It’s not a bug: it’s a feature.”).

Apparently, the article went up on Microsoft’s server and came down again very quickly… just before a lot of cynical yet savvy bloggers could get their pencils out and their teeth sharpened.

That said, I ran across what appears to be a working copy on the Guardian tech blog.

Click here to read that Guardian article.

Click here to just download the PDF from the Guardian page (hope I’m not stepping on any toes by linking there).

The Guardian does link to the original Microsoft page but that’s now been removed so all you get is a “Sorry, the page you requested…” Clever chaps over there at Microsoft.

Here’s the opening paragraph:

No one would expect a new OS adoption to be easy, and certainly adopting Windows Vista® across a desktop infrastructure can come with a few challenges—but like many urban myths, perception can quickly depart from reality. In this article, we will look at five features of Windows Vista that are often misunderstood, provide their background and rationale, and present the straight scoop on how to deal with them.

I confess: I don’t know what he’s going on about here, particularly the ‘like many urban myths, perception can quickly depart from reality’ — which is to say, I know it’s English. I know every word in the sentence but just don’t understand it.

Oh crap! I love this:

“With Standard User mode configured across the PC infrastructure, you help ensure intruders are unable to get to the family jewels.”

Ok, it now seems this must be a hoax letter or spoof… a belated April Fool gag… no way they’re talking about protecting your family jewels… no way.

Well, hold on… after reading further:

We‘ve heard some of you say that Windows Vista runs slower than Windows XP on a given PC. So what‘s really happening here? First, we need to avoid comparing apples to oranges—Windows Vista is doing a lot more than Windows XP, and it requires resources to conduct these tasks.

Hum, maybe the author’s not spoofing… he may just be a plonker.

He says, in relation to XP and VISTA, we shouldn’t compare apples to oranges… he’s right, fruit is a much better means of comparing: VISTA is a lemon. many of us still have sour grapes about XP and, apparently Apples are delicious.

Glad I finally read the article though (after it was pulled by Microsoft).

Sean

Telkomsel Speedy

speed-test

My speed test result from Speedy net (by Telkomsel).

This is my high speed internet supplier at a cost of about US$120.00 per month…

…good Grief, you can cut the irony with a knife.

Every day, they start out well fluffing around the 300k mark… ok, maybe not ‘well’… more middling and then just as you start to need the speed they drop right down to nearly nothing… that’s right: from middling to piddling.

I used to use BlueLine at the office (I still have them at home) but they kept crapping out on me as well. 20 minutes of play nice (up to a whopping 384) followed by 5 days on ice… at US$300.00 per month (and sometimes more).

Ah well, not that much to say and certainly nothing intelligent: it’s only a rant after all.

Or possibly a gripe.

Sean

The Sun hits the Sky… in England?

image For the past few months (although it seems longer… like… forever), Bali has been bombarded by the recent VisitBritain campaign.

Visually pretty and fun (I’ve been back to Britain twice in the last ten years) but one thing grabs me by the… throat and shakes me every time: the damn theme song.

What nutter came up with this lukewarm Supergrass tripe as a song for Britain:

I know a place where the sun hits the sky,
Everything changes and blows out the night,
Everyone knows why my tongue can’t be tied,

Cause I want to live where the sun meets the sky,
I am a doctor, I’ll be your doctor,
I’m on my way, you won’t come down today,
Live for the right things, be with the right ones,
Or they’ll hold you down, they’ll turn your world around,

Well, I just don’t know why the sun hits the sky,
Everyone changed as they turned out the light,
Living is easy with time on my side,

‘Cause I want to live where the sun meets the sky,
I am a doctor, I’ll be your doctor,
I’m on my way, and you won’t come down today,
Live for the right things, be with the right ones,
Or they’ll hold you down, they’ll turn your world around,

I am a doctor, I’ll be your doctor,
I’m on my way, and you won’t come down today,
Live for the right things, be with the right ones,
Or they’ll hold you down, they’ll turn your world around

Weird for me as I’d never heard the song the first time around (was it popular? God, I hope not)… and the tune is catchy (of course) so there I am wandering around the kitchen mumbling, “I am a doctor, I’ll be a doctor…” What on earth does that mean and what does it have to do with Britain. Nonsensical.

And, more than anything else: I know a place where the sun hits the sky… Britain. Gah. Really?

Enough.

Sean

Enjoy England TV campaign