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February 2011
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April 2011

Magic TV MTV7000D

I have been waiting for a long time for Now TV and Cable TV to provide the facility to record programmes (as Sky TV do in the UK with Sky+), but there’s still no sign of anything useful.

Step forward the MTV 7000D, which allows you to record programmes from Now TV and Cable TV on to a 500gb hard disk. 

I was slightly wary of this device, having been told by a friend that it was difficult to set up.  Well, not in my experience, it isn’t.  Yes, you have to connect both decoder boxes to the Magic TV box, and then attach the IR transmitters to the front of both boxes, but that was all fairly straightforward.  I happen to have an Ethernet cable that was installed by Now TV (but which is no longer needed), so it was also easy to connect it to the Internet (you can use Wi-Fi - if you have a wireless network and purchase a Wi-Fi adapter). 

After that there is some basic setup to be done, and it’s ready.  Which means that you can put your TV, Cable TV and Now TV remote controls into a drawer and control everything from the Magic TV remote control.  You also get an integrated EPG (Electronic Programme Guide), and from there you can record anything on any channel. 

The only problem I have had so far was when the machine forgot the date and time and decided it was 1st January 2000, and was unable to find any programme schedules for this date.  My first thought was that the Internet connection was down (it wasn’t) and then I found an option to change the date and time.  Frustratingly, this forces you to restart the Magic TV box – and then it doesn’t actually change the date.  I tried that a few times, always with the same result.

Then I finally realized how it must get the date and time.  A few seconds of TVB Jade HD, and all was well again.  But what’s the point of the option under “settings” that appears to allow you to change the date and time? 

That small frustration apart, it's an excellent device.     

Letters of the week

The letters page of the SCMP is a wondrous thing.  If you ever wanted proof that the SCMP is a local paper with delusions of grandeur, you can find it here.

First two letters on the same subject from Thursday’s paper.  Was this, perhaps, a school project?

Be wary of online auctions

More people are now purchasing products on the internet.  They use websites like Yahoo Auctions, eBay and Taobao to bid for items.  These sites are especially popular with teenagers.

However, individuals have to take care when buying on the internet, especially if they have arranged to meet the person from whom they are purchasing the item.

They are meeting a stranger and should not go unaccompanied.

Enough already, please stop.  But no, there’s another one on the same subject:

Broadening horizons

People have to take care when using the internet.

They often upload personal information when registering a website account. They have to think about what information they will release as they could put themselves at personal risk. Often, the information they do disclose has no firewall protection.

However, although the internet does have its drawbacks, you can benefit from it if you do take care.

How can information have “firewall protection”?   Next please.  Oh good, another letter about the ESF:

Time to lift freeze on ESF subvention

I could not agree more with those who have been urging the government to end the freeze on its subvention to the English Schools Foundation.

If Hong Kong is to become an educational hub, support for ESF pupils must be demonstrated by the administration. If we are to maintain our superiority in terms of languages over other places in the region, an affordable English-language education must be available for children.

I believe many senior officials agree with me, and yet they want the subvention freeze to remain in place. They tell disappointed ESF parents that this is not an appropriate time to review this policy.

Except that the government has announced that it will start discussions with the ESF about the subvention.  So presumably they do think it’s an appropriate time.

Wouldn’t it be kinder for the letters editor to spike these stupid letters?  Or would that leave a big white space?

ParknShop & Taste & Great & Fusion & International

I see that City Super is 15 years old.  Back when they started (the first branch was in Times Square), there were the two big supermarket chains (Park’n’Shop and Wellcome), a couple of branches of Olivers, and the food hall in Hong Kong Seibu.

Now Park’nShop have a whole range of sub-brands.  Great in Pacific Place is a one-off (in the space that was previously the Seibu food hall in Pacific Place, and with prices to match). The original Taste was in Kowloon Tong, but there are now several more around Hong Kong, and they offer a much bigger selection than the average PnS supermarket.

I’m not sure that I understand the difference between Taste and Fusion, but maybe the former is more aimed at foreigners and the latter more at locals.  Or perhaps it’s just that the Fusion stores are smaller?  Too confusing, lah.

Then we come to International.  This seems to be basically a normal ParknShop with more imported products, and annoying shelf labels proudly reminding you that those Italian tinned tomatoes come from Waitrose in the UK.  Er, thanks.

There’s also Gourmet.  What’s that, then?

Meanwhile, the Dairy Farm group (Wellcome) now have Marketplace by Jasons for some of its more upmarket locations, and a couple of branches of ThreeSixty (with an emphasis on expensive organic stuff) and just the one Olivers.  Thirty years old, apparently.

Which is all very well, but who can afford to pay the prices in Olivers, ThreeSixty, Great, and CitySuper?  Very ordinary products are sold at double or triple the price you would pay in a UK supermarket.  I can understand high prices for premium products, but not everyday stuff being sold at ridiculous prices.

But at least we do have more choice.

Another one

Identical, but from UPS…

Dear customer.

The parcel was sent your home address.
And it will arrive within 7 business day.
More information and the tracking number are attached in document below.

Thank you.
© 1994-2011 United Parcel Service of America, Inc.

Spam (only 3 spelling mistakes)

Three spelling mistakes and poor grammar.  And sent to an email address I never use.

Dear customer!

The parcel was send your home address.
And it will arrice within 7 bussness day.
More information and the tracking number
are attached in document below.
Thank you.
2011 DHL International GmbH. All rights reserverd.