Spoke with Tracey and Stuart about a couple of things today, including Senator’s Conroy’s Internet filter. Tracey put me on the spot, but I thought it was a good question – is the Internet filter a good thing. In a nutshell, no.
I think Federal Communications Minister Stephen Conroy’s intentions are good. I don’t buy into the argument that it will lead to a Big Brother type situation, because that is not his intent. The government wants to protect children from pornographic, or disturbing content. And being a parent, I agree in principle. What I don’t agree on is the way they are going to roll it out. Without going into specifics, most kids know of ways to use proxy servers so they can go around the filter (which would be mandatory), so it would be pointless. Things are heating up with this subject and will only get more contentious.
Had some good calls this morning, too. Adam wanted to know why with some programmes on the television he gets black lines above and below the picture with mostly American series. This is due to the aspect ratios. Most programmes are now in the 16:9 format, but the older ones are 4:3. In Australia, we have used 16:9.
Paul said he has two Samsung DVD players and that sometimes they play certain disks, but not others. There are probably two reasons for this – one is that DVDs come in different formats, and two, is that they are sometimes region specific. It sounds like there is a compatibility problem with the disk or region. He also said that one of his fishing DVDs used to work, but doesn’t any more. As long as other DVDs he is using work, I would suggest that maybe the disk itself has degraded over time, which can happen.
Mark was wondering if his plasma television has a built-in receiver. Some of the older models don’t, but there is one way to find out. Look on the back of the television and there should be an aerial plug at the back. If you have the plug you have the ability to receive. If not, you will have to buy a set-top box. An standard definition box is about $50 while a high-definition is about $150.
Brian was wondering why his television has different sound volumes when he changes channel. I don’t have much to do with the pay channels, but I do know that free-to-air channels try and keep the sound constant (except for that old bugbear of ads being at a higher volume). There are even televisions being produced whereby an inbuilt device keeps sound at a constant level.
Finally, we also looked at the Logitech Speaker Lapdesk N700, which is a cooling device that you sit you laptop on, and there are also speakers at the side, which are better than you laptop speakers. This is suitable for when you are watching YouTube videos or movies on your portable PC. As Tracey pointed out, one reason for men to embrace this kind of tech is to protect certain parts of their anatomy from being damaged by heat.