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Neuros OSD order
The Neuros OSD is a PVR. However unlike my current PVR, it is much more featureful. It talks to USB devices, SD/MMC cards, CF cards... It has Ethernet so can talk to NAS devices, my PC, and if connected to the 'net, it can apparently talk to YouTube - though I'm not sure how it would do with recent changes (i.e. SQ/HQ/HD becoming 360p/480p/etc). But, the best bit... IT IS OPEN SOURCE!
If this baby doesn't work for me, I can install the toolchain and the code and roll my own. Well, it isn't quite that simple, but it is a start. Apparently the OSD firmware comes in two flavours, and there's a third party version as well. I just need to pick the one that offers the features I'm most interested in, which - sadly - is likely to be the most reliable for recording stuff off the telly.
There are other advantages - one would assume it can spit a proper PAL signal, the recording limit is by filesize rather than hour-by-hour so it ought to record a movie in one chunk. And, also, adjustable options (quality etc). It would be nice if you could set a scheduled recording to have its own quality, I don't know if this is possible... but with the firmware code, it could, I guess, be added.
Now, I do not have a Neuros yet, hence no review and no "opening the box" video on YouTube. ☺
It may be that my current PVR is based around much the same hardware, it looks at first glance as if both are using the TMS320DM320 chip. And if so, this - as my regular readers know well - would be yet another example of a reaasonable bit of hardware let down by woeful software.
But it would throw up an interesting possibility. If I could break the JTAG part of the TMS chip, it might be possible to cannibalise the Neuros firmware into something that would actually run on the older PVR...
Ewen will know I've had my eye on one for a while, but it has been only recently that the price has fallen to the €100 bracket so I could afford one. Saved €35 a month, and on the 10th March I ordered one from FNAC. They said it may take 4-12 days depending on stocks.
Eventually I sent FNAC, who is like a cross between WHS and PC World, an email. Days later they said that there was a delay with their supplier. They had expected to ship on 23rd March but... Why couldn't they have emailed me a status update?
I paid by virtual credit card, and gave it expiry the following month. Surely it wouldn't take that long to get the device set?
I was wrong.
I sent an email asking what I should do in this case... perhaps cancel the old payment and provide another with a longer expiry?
And still no reply.
March went, April came. I cancelled the card and the order. With no information volunteered by them, I feel I've been dicked around with. Guys - if your order process doesn't run smoothly, it is imperative to keep the client informed.
For what it is worth, I won't be going back to FNAC. They might do 1000 orders just fine, but with mine they messed up, badly.
I found one on LaMaisonDuNumerique. It was cheaper but the postage was shockingly more. Overall, this one is going to cost me 40 centimes less. Whoo!
I placed the order. It said it was okay for approvisionment (in other words, "in stock"). I went back later and there's no longer any Neuros OSD in stock. Yikes! Did I snarf the last one?
YES! It's miiiiiine! It's in a box, and in the back of a parcel truck and trundling on towards me at the very moment. By the weekend, if not before, I will get to play with a shiny new digital video recorder that is really sleek and stylish and will look totally out of place here!
And then... I can talk about it!
Kiddie porn and obscene, um, drawings...
|The following topic contains
potentially offensive imagery.
In the UK, new legislation has been passed. This is your cue to roll your eyes and sigh. You see, it stands to reason that a photograph of a sexual act with a child is evidence of a crime against said child. But in some random pervy way, rather than taking a lot of time to realise that people close to the child are the usual predators (often, and in order: parents, uncles, teachers, clergy), it has been decided to encompass cartoons in the definition of what could be considered obscene. The random and bizarre logic being that if you draw, or look at drawings of obscene acts with children, you're really a closet paedophile who is about to progress from watching girls being tortured and raped to torturing and raping girls yourself.
(1) It is an offence for a person to be in possession of a prohibited
image of a child.
(2) A prohibited image is an image which—
(a) is pornographic,
(b) falls within subsection (6), and
(c) is grossly offensive, disgusting or otherwise of an obscene
(5) "Child", subject to subsection (6), means a person under the age
(6) Where an image shows a person the image is to be treated as an image
of a child if—
(a) the impression conveyed by the image is that the person shown is
a child, or
(b) the predominant impression conveyed is that the person shown is a
child despite the fact that some of the physical characteristics
shown are not those of a child.
(7) References to an image of a person include references to an image of
an imaginary person.
(8) References to an image of a child include references to an image of an
side note: if the age of consent is 16, why is the age limit 18? does this imply two adults having legal sex as
16 or 17 year olds can thence be prosecuted if one or other of them should take a photo of them in the act?
Of all of the idiotic laws that Labour have introduced, this one is really daft. It is too wide ranging and, I'm sad to say, dangerous. A lot of the titilation style manga is aimed at bored lonely single teenagers. They probably want to see provocative pictures of girls (as in underage) because they themselves are underage. Looking at adults doing it, when you're 13, is like imagining your parents making out - you just don't. Then there's that grey area where children are involved and horrible things happen to them. This is nothing terribly new, children and budget horror movies go hand in hand. From "They're Baaaaaaaack!" to running in circles to escape Chuckie, it's okay to terrify children in films. In the indie films, the kids even die (but rarely in Hollywood films).
But I said it was dangerous, and indeed it is. If a drawing of a child in a situation that is disgusting is going to be considered for treatment in the same way as an actual hardcore photograph of a real child being raped... well, where is the moral disincentive not to seek out those sorts of images?
Damned is damned, and if you're going to be damned, you might as well get your money's worth.
aka The Road to Hell is paved with what?
Bad things happen to fictional characters, and given our society's propensity for horror films, lots of bad things happen to lots of fictional characters. The Japanese film "Battle Royale" is, at its most basic, a class of children shooting and massacring each other. Oh, and there's a blatantly suggested rape too. It is a shocking film, but in some ways for all the right reasons as the shock is a part of the message, much like "A Clockwork Orange". They will be both maligned as sadistic excessively-violent movies by people that probably walked away after five minutes and never actually watched enough of the film to understand it. I enjoyed the film. I quite liked Kill Bill (first part) and I thought the big swordfight with the spraying blood was hysterical. But, um... I really don't fancy finding a young girl, dressing her in a sailor outfit, raping her, then chopping off appendages and jumping up and down in glee as blood spews across the room. Really, seriously, the moral boundary is pretty clear. Let's be as sadistic as hell to fictional characters, and take the violence so far it passes any semblence of reality (re. "Machine Girl"), but then be nice to real living people. I can make the distinction. Most of you reading can make the distinction. Those tiny few that can't really would be better off silently removed from society and taken to a place where they can do no harm. And those self-righteous types that devise broken laws like these only do it for the PR. Everybody and their kitten wants to be seen to be acting in the interests of children, so stories and pictures not unlike those below will risk flouting a pointless law while in reality nobody really gives a damn about protecting children. This is just noise to be seen to be doing something, while introducing yet more wide-ranging legislation ripe for abuse (pun intentional, in case you were wondering).
If you are the sort of weird (and I'm being polite here) individual that gets aroused by a girl peeing herself in fright - look here:
Girl was abducted. She's in school uniform so it may be she was abducted from or near her school, though this isn't clear. As she is rescued, she turns around and gets an eyeful of the creature that stole her. And, as her bladder empties, really wishes she hadn't turned to look...
No selection of manga would be complete without girls in school uniform posing in such a way that their panties are quite visible. This is about as big a cliché as "the market veg stall" in any car chase in any film in the '80s. This one, below, it could be argued is or is not a child. It is an undercover agent, but perhaps in the same sort of sense as SpyKids, who is investigating the death of a child - whose teacher raped her and nobody listened, thus she killed herself. Now undercover girl has infiltrated the school to put herself in the same sort of position to see what happens...
If you didn't fancy that drawing, you'll really not want to know what is on the following pages, suffice to say after quite a loss of dignity she gets her wits about her and puts a bullet through the teacher's head, but not before he points out there's a bomb in one of the lockers. Yeah, it is tenuous, but it lends itself to plenty of low-angle shots and head-on drawings of the girl kneeling down. You ought to be able to read between the lines here...
Tennis... a sport practically designed for females to flash the audience regularly without being arrested...
And, finally, from Shōnen Jump, is what all the lonely horny teenagers have been waiting for - a spot of girl-on-girl action.
Now, anybody who has a manga collection is probably aware of this stuff. Hell, half of it is probably "fan service" in some form or other. Or a really lame running gag, like Orihime's breasts in "Bleach". This doesn't justify it falling prey to some obscure censor. For what it is worth, to my mind none of these stories are anywhere near as bad as the recent (late 2009) mind-games played against that young boy in EastEnders. These manga do not pretend to be real - the one with the peeing girl is full of mecha. It's very obviously not real. But the EastEnders story is representative of many forms of mental abuse directed at children by parents and relatives. It in itself was not real, but it happens and, one might argue, might give ideas to some people.
In the real world you can mentally abuse children. You cannot abduct them with giant robots. Does anybody have difficulty with this distinction?
Please don't misinterpret this b.log entry. I have a fair few manga, and if it is cheap (like 50c/book) I'll buy it just in case it is an interesting story... thus it wasn't hard to come up with some pictures to illustrate my points. Seen through the eyes of a puritan, this is all very offensive and should be banned. Shouty-shouty-shouty! (use the comments form below...). Seen through the eyes of an experienced manga reader, it's more likely to be "so what?". And that is it. So what? Fictional stories about fictional people in which things happen. Life isn't always nice, neither is fictional life.
Now, if you would like to see children with guns and swords laying waste to armies of bad guys, I could probably dig up some of that. But, hey, why bother? Drawing or owning a picture of a schoolgirl without her panties on, slam the slimy bugger in jail! But psychopathic children gleefully massacring hoards with a sword twice as big as she is? Yeah, that's fine, carry on as you were...
Thankfully I don't live in the UK so this doesn't affect me beyond a long whinge ('cos I've an upset tummy and there's nothing on TV...). Given the French can make films like "The Innocents", I would like to think they are more open-minded about the difference between real and fictional.
But if you do happen to live in the UK, you might want to clear out your browser's cache ☺ until such time as you can vote for whatever party pledges to correct this law, and the dozens of other mishandled, vague, dangerous laws instated by Labour over the years.
The full text can be read here, part 2 chapter 2 (section 62).
Of course, we must not forget that ultimately it is up to a Judge and/or jury to determine in each case if said image is obscene or not. However we must also not forget that the point up to the trial is likely to be extremely damaging to the accused, and even if they are acquitted, there will be "suspicions" because people don't have their house raided over a stupid foreign comic. No, they're guilty, they just lied... We all get a bit weird when it comes to protecting our children, that while we want to do the best for our little ones, it can lend itself all to easily to a loss of judgement and a propensity for hysteria. For more often than not, those who do bad things to children are in fact well known to the child and the parents. And no matter how badly the education system fails, being too damn stupid to understand the difference between pædophile and pædiatrician is unforgivable. Laws like these play into people's fears and concerns and allows the state yet more freedom to ruin people's lives for being able to take something innocuous and turn it into something terrible - how to go from Geek to Glitter in five easy lessons. The fact that nothing actually happened... well, that doesn't matter, it would, their self-sponsored survey said so...
If you need any extra reason, one of the clauses is:
(f) the performance by a person of an act of intercourse or oral
sex with an animal (whether dead or alive or imaginary) in the
presence of a child.
So it is now to be illegal to draw a picture of a cartoon child waking and hearing a strange noise and stumbling in on cartoon daddy giving it up to an inflatable sheep.
There's so much sarcastic irony to be had here...
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|Rick (at work), 8th April 2010, 12:47
It arrived! Whoo!
The Neuros arrived, well packed, half an hour ago. Problem? I'm at work now! Aaargh! Can't wait to get home and start with the thing. :-)
|Rob, 9th April 2010, 12:44
clock off early? :D:D
|Rob, 9th April 2010, 23:31
so.... Home yet?? What's it like?
|Rick, 10th April 2010, 02:44
Hi Rob. Having played with it a shortish while, I have written a (currently rough) overview on the 2010/04/10 entry (the "Next" entry).
I'll tidy it up, expand, add pictures, and maybe some proper video examples.
|Rob, 10th April 2010, 08:51
And on the main subject of the blog ... stumbled across "lolicon" last night.. Seems YouTube is packed full of it. All now illegal...
|Rick, 10th April 2010, 12:11
Don't know about YouTube, but there's apparently some weird exemption for already classified films, so Jeremy Irons' "Lolita" may still see the light of day, though I notice Film4 hasn't shown "The Innocents" again. I don't mean the psyco nanny Turn-of-the-screw remake, I mean the provocative French film.
Neither of which make me want to find a child and have sex with her. The only psycho nanny here is the state. :-(
|Rick, 23rd November 2011, 20:11
(Felicity? Marte? Find out!)
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