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Retrotechtacular: How Old is the Remote?
Friday, 17 March 2017 14:01

A few weeks ago we covered a (probably) bogus post about controlling a TV with the IR from a flame. That got us thinking about what the real origin of the remote control was. We knew a story about the 38 kHz frequency commonly used to modulate the IR. We’ve heard that it was from sonar crystals used in earlier sonic versions of remotes. Was that true? Or just an urban myth? We set out to find out.

Surprise! Remotes are Old!

If you are a younger reader, you might assume TVs have always had remotes. But for many of …read more

BT splurges £1.2bn on securing Champions League rights, Sky heads for an early bath
Monday, 06 March 2017 23:00

BT has beaten arch-rival Sky in its bid to splash £394m retaining the rights for the UEFA Champions League and Europa League.

That is a big increase on the current £299m a year the former state monopoly currently pays, totalling £1.2bn by securing the rights until the end of the 2020/21.

BT has been accused of historically under-investing in its broadband division Openreach at the expense of its push into the TV and content space.

The biz denies those claims, pointing to its plans to connect 10 million customers to its ultrafast hybrid fibre and copper G.Fast technology, which will

Troubled Avaya takes Extreme option, flogs network biz for $100m
Wednesday, 08 March 2017 11:38

Bankruptcy-beset Avaya is cashing out of its networking business for just $100m, with Extreme Networks the buyer.

Burdened by private equity debts bought at 2007-era interest rates, Avaya received Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January this year. Trying to cut a debt load of more than $6bn, Avaya briefly tried to offload its call centre products to Genesys last year, but in January ruled out that option.

Today, in a canned statement , president and CEO Kevin Kennedy said the portfolio Extreme is getting from Avaya at a knock-down price covers "wired, WLAN and fabric technology."

Australian analyst with IBRS

ZTE-gads! Chinese giant fined $900m by Uncle Sam for Iran trade deals
Wednesday, 08 March 2017 06:41

Chinese giant ZTE has been fined $900m by the US government for skirting trade blocks by selling comms hardware to Iran.

Today in a Texas district court, ZTE pleaded guilty to busting sanctions, obstructing justice, and lying to investigators. The corp has also settled out of court with the US Department of Commerce, and the treasury department. The fine will be split between these two departments and the Department of Justice.

The Chinese goliath will have to cough up a further $300m if it flouts the terms of its settlement within the next seven years.

ZTE was charged in 2016

Where in the world is Fast.co.uk web hosting?
Wednesday, 08 March 2017 02:53

Web hosting services at Fast.co.uk are out of action in what would appear to be the final nail in the supplier's coffin.

Back in December, Fast.co.uk, which used supplier 186k for its broadband services, advised customers to seek other providers as it was unable to "continue to supply" broadband services. Leeds-based 186k sells BT Wholesale as a package to small businesses and home users.

The Register contacted Fast.co.uk via email but got a bounce-back. Its website and phone lines are also unavailable. The last capture of its website on Waybackmachine was in January.

One customer got in touch with The

Looks who's bailed out internet-satellite provider IntelSat? It's... Softbank?
Tuesday, 07 March 2017 20:05

Comment Softbank has arrived as the unlikely white knight to save Luxembourg-based internet-satellite provider Intelsat from running out of cash. It has injected debt funding and proposed a merger through its LEO satellite firm OneWeb. Now bondholders for Intelsat must give the deal the go-ahead.

The deal came just as IntelSat announced its Q4 numbers with revenue of $550.7m and full-year 2016 revenue of $2.2bn. It said it had EBITDA of $407m for the quarter and $990m for the year. When you add the $8.7bn it has in contracted dealflow, that should mean the company is out of danger, as

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