Freedom From The Mundane - A Writer's Blog

Monday, January 16, 2006


I read an interesting article on the BBC website today during my lunch break.

Faulty TV Digi-Box Sparks SOS Mission

Here's a rundown of the pertinent points:

A faulty TV digital box sparked a rescue mission on January 5th, by sending out a signal identical to those transmitted by vessels in distress. It was picked up by RAF Kinloss as an SOS call from the Portsmouth area and a coastguard helicopter spent two hours searching the harbour area before the signal was traced to dry land.

An RAF spokesman said the signal had been a "complete freak" after it was picked up by one of five orbiting satellites. He also said it was transmitting on the major emergency frequency.

Telecoms regulator Ofcom was asked to look into the signal and confirmed the source. They were able to establish it was coming from a household.

"This is very very unusual, it's a complete freak and the odds of a digibox sending out such a signal must be astronomical."

Ofcom has since removed the £50 Freeview box for tests and said, "They shouldn't be sending out signals, let alone maydays."

What I want to know is, how is it possible for a digibox to be able to send out a digital signal that is strong enough to reach a satellite? Why would it need to? I presume so that the box can speak with it's host in order to receive and allow interactive digital programming. Fair enough.

I also assume it can be used to follow an individual's personal viewing habits. Fair enough.

If viewing habits can be followed then surely marketing can be targeted. Hmmmm.

And what is that wee black 'eye' that never flashes or seem to be doing anything. Oh dear.

Could it be this is the first slip up in the mass conspiracy of the Secret Government? That they are indeed spying on all of us and collecting the data so they can determine the mood and thinking of the 'people'. That this information can be collated and used to decide when best to launch new Government initiatives and anti-terror bills?

Sounds like a science fiction movie but I'm reminded of the episode of The Simpsons where Bart is accused of being paranoid when he is put onto anti-hyperactivity medication. It turns out he was able to detect secret satellites that are spying on us and all of it used in the name of marketing new products.

What's the point of me even talking about this. We all know subliminal advertising happens anyway but how far does it go? Think about it. Is there more to this country than meets the eye? Is there more to the advertisers than you think possible? Who else might use the information you provide on your Census form or on a Bank statement? Is digital TV just another leap towards the control of a nation by the wee people under the ground?
And where's my medication?

On other matters of more pressing importance, I completed the Robert Burns article. I'll send it in tomorrow morning after one final read. I hate it when I see a spelling mistake after something has been submitted.

I had planned to write in the evening but our new TV arrived. A 28" widescreen beauty for our living room; a Christmas present to Gail and me from her folks. Not bad. Not bad at all. I had to set it up, which I didn't mind of course, and it took a wee while to get all the extensions sorted out and connected through the cable box (spying machine?)

Then I had to test it out. I stuck in Casino and the first thing I noticed was the amazing improvement in sound and the quality of the picture.

Things just seem to be blocking my way to solid writing at the moment.

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Colin 11:30 am


I'm pleased that you got a new telly as a present, Colin. Could've been worse, could've been a clothes horse...................!
Touche, Mr. Mackerel. Touche. ;-)

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