Sat-ND, 2.12.96

Sat-ND 96-12-02 - Satellite and Music Piracy News

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SPOT 3 lost
French Space Agency CNES confirmed that the SPOT 3 Earth observation
satellite suffered an "unrecoverable malfunction." During an operational
life lasting three years, SPOT 3 acquired over one million images.
SPOT 2 remains operational in the real-time acquisition mode and will
continue to transmit image data to 20 direct receiving stations world-wide.
Spot 1 will be reactivated in January 1997, doubling the image acquisition
SPOT 4 will be launched during the first quarter of 1998. Once it is
operational, the Spot system will be back to its full capacity. In
addition, SPOT 4 offers significantly improved capabilities for monitoring

Where's the plutonium?
According to a Chilean newspaper, the country's air force could not find
any traces of radiation that may have leaked from the Russian MARS 96 probe
which recently crashed into the Pacific Ocean. The search was carried out
with an aeroplane carrying radiation monitoring equipment after NASA had
indicated that a part of the probe may have come down much closer to the
Chilean cast than previously thought. NASA said in a report that one of the
plutonium canisters may have plunged into the sea at a point some 20
nautical miles away from the northern fishing port of Iquique.

Grupo Televisa enters Spanish pay TV market
Mexico's Grupo Televisa, S.A. announced that it has signed an agreement
with Telefonica España and a group of Spanish broadcasters to create a
platform for digital television (DTH) in Spain.
The DTH company will begin broadcasting throughout Spain in the first half
of 1997, and will eventually provide 70 channels. Pilot broadcasting of the
direct-to-home service via satellite is scheduled to begin in January. In
March, the company will begin offering 40 channels throughout Spain. Grupo
Televisa, along with the other broadcasters, will provide programming
content. Telefonica España will manage the technical side of the
broadcasting service.
Grupo Televisa will have a 17% interest in the new venture as will Radio
Television Española and the private station Antenna 3. Telefonica España
will control 35%; Television de Catalunya, 6%; TeleMadrid, 4%, Channel 9,
2%; and Television Galicia, 1%. The remaining 1% will be assigned at a
later date upon majority agreement.
Grupo Televisa, S.A. is the largest media company in the Spanish-speaking
world, and a major player in the international entertainment business. It
also has substantial unconsolidated equity stakes in several major assets,
including Univision, the leading Spanish-language television company in the
United States, and PanAmSat, the first private-sector company to provide
global satellite services.

Kirch and Canal+ stake spheres on influence
According to press reports, Germany's Kirch group is further moving towards
France's Canal+. Recently, a pay-TV venture set up by Canal+ and U.S.
investors announced it would use Kirch's digital platform to distribute its
multiThématiques bouquet in Germany. But there seems to be more:, Kirch
will reportedly concentrate on business in Germany. Canal+ would in return
sell most of its shares in Germany's only pay-TV channel premiere to Kirch.
premiere is seen as the key to boost the still almost non-existent German
pay-TV market. It comes as no surprise hat premiere's third shareholder,
Bertelsmann AG, pointed out that Canal+ had to offer the shares to them as
well under premiere's partnership agreement. Kirch holds 25 percent in
premiere while the former allies Bertelsmann and Canal+ own 37.5 percent

Opium for the people
People in Western countries definitely have too much spare time. And what's
more, they hate their free time so much they deliberately waste it. In
essence, most people seem to have nothing important to do, so they spend
three or even up to four hours every day performing the most futile action
ever invented by mankind. 
They watch television.
IP Germany, a company that mainly sells advertising time for RTL channels,
found out that 97 percent of households in 41 European countries now are in
possession of one of those free time destroyers known as TV sets. And they
even use them for 3 1/4 hours per day in average. 
The average European is surpassed by North Americans and Japanese who even
manage to stare into the tube some four hours per day, in other words: they
waste a sixth of their lives. However, there are remarkable differences in
Europe that may have something to do with living conditions and the social
situation of people. In the prosperous German speaking regions of
Switzerland, the average viewing time is just over two hours per day (138
minutes.) In contrast, the British audience stays tuned for almost four
hours per day (227 minutes on average.) Another stronghold of fanatic TV
viewers are southern European countries such as Spain, Italy, Greece and
The IP study "Television 96" counted 383 TV channels in Europe, over two
thirds of which operate on a commercial basis. Just 96 of them were public
channels but even most of them show commercials. Only 35 European stations
are commercial-free, the most important being the BBC's two terrestrial

SAT.1's Fliegender Zirkus
German free-to-air channel SAT.1 is not only annoying the German TV public
with a dubbed version of John Cleese's classic comedy series "Fawlty
Towers." No, in their megalomania they even announced they would -- can
anybody believe this? -- air a dubbed, i.e. German language version of
"Monty Python's Flying Circus" in 1997. 
There's just one thing that those SAT.1 morons deserve for this silly idea,
apart from their still lousy market share compared to market leader RTL,
and that's a 16 tons weight dropped right upon them.

Re: Sat-ND, 17.11.96 [Proton launch failure]
A lockwire is a piece of wire which is put through a hole in a stud and nut
to stop a nut from moving. Similar to a split-pin on a motorcycle wheel
Graham Addis, Lucent Technologies <Graham.Addis@lucent.com> 
[Well, thank your for the explanation! Maybe I should've asked by brother
who is a car mechanic, actually. Anyway, an "inadequate lockwire
installation" was believed to be the cause of a Proton launch failure back
in February. Truly amazing that such a small piece of material can cause
such damage! -- Ed.]

Zeroes and Ones
By Grandpa Zheng <http://www.sat-net.com/pck/zheng/>

They're always looking at you
If you still want any evidence that secret services -- and not only them --
are capable of monitoring your email traffic, here it is. German police
have been reading email sent by a businessman, who is suspected to carry
out criminal activities from his CompuServe account, since January 1996.
According to press reports, CompuServe seems not to have been involved in
this action. Instead, the police used a "system" provided by one of
Germany's secret services. 
Sorry, the reports just didn't elaborate on that, but they did indicate
that the suspect's CompuServe account indeed was cracked. It would mean
that the police not only recorded email messages sent to the Internet but
all of his online activities.

Good advice
A computer company has advised the German administration it could save at
least 30 percent of cost by using modern technology such as the Internet
and Intranets. Well, I would even be prepared to believe this if the
company that said so weren't IBM Germany. Remember, IBM is a company that
offers a really brilliant operating system called OS/2 that has just one
slight disadvantage: There are almost no state-of-the-art applications
available for it, so buying it is just a waste of money in the first place.
Besides, the German branch of IBM said it will offer "Network stations" in
the first quarter of 1997 for some DM1,200 (US$800,) claiming they would
reduce operating costs for personal computers by as much as 70 percent.
This is complete rubbish of course. Actually, those gadgets will get their
software over the Internet, and that really is a pretty expensive
operation. But at least, it might push up Deutsche Telekom's share up a

Want to put page on Web, but don't know if you can use your name?
Yesterday I was trying the URL http://www.nethold.nl, which was working for
quite some time (just under construction), but the server refused any
connection. So I've tried http://www.nethold.com and I got a very
interesting message saying that this name is reserved by a Netnames.
Netnames is the International Internet Domain Names Registry placed in
London which registers domain names for businesses in over 160 countries
around the world. You can reach them on URL http://www.netnames.com. If you
are planning to put your site on Web and don't know if your name is already
reserved, try this site. 
Igor Uvodic <iuvodic@mds-uni.si>
[And, of course, this interface comes in handy when you have to do some
other research. I know, there are many of those interfaces, but this one
looks like being one of the most comfortable as it lets you narrow your
search down to almost every top-level domain. -- Z.]

[Oh yes... and then there were my comments on music piracy. Ha, ha! As
usually, I create quite a stir whenever I least expect it. Wanna read a few
comments? No? Never mind, here you go! And please bear in mind that I still
don't consider _any_ digitally compressed material to be of true CD
quality. I still have a pair of pretty well functioning ears. Do you? --

I guess somebody already told you about this, but anyway.. Do not forget
MIDI files. 4 minutes of CD-quality music (if you have the sound card
hardware to play that in CD quality) is between 20kB .. 50kB, which is very
easy to copy even using a slow modem. No singing included, but excellent
quality background music in small files.
Karkinen Martti <martti.karkinen@exchsrvr.olivetti.fi>

I'd like you to point your browser to:
Get the MPEG 2 audio reader and listen to one of the samples. Of course
this is not live audio (for CDs who cares!), but you can get good quality
sound (25 seconds: 200KB). Please compute how much size you need to put a
CD in this format. You'll see you can get a standard CD for less the size
of Netscape :)
If you don't have the MPEG 2 encoder (it's a commercial product) please get
to see a demo... It's impressive!
Jean-Philippe Donnio <jpdonnio@TBS-satellite.com>

I think you haven't tried Real Audio 3.0 yet. On a 28,8 line it sounds a
bit better than SW, but on ISDN it's realy sounds fair, like a cheap FM
Bert van Beekum <bert@simplex.nl>

Comparing Real-Audio with a good short-wave-receiver and no dx-signal but a
decent station I come to the result that it is an offence to short-wave.
I am the lucky user of a high speed Internet access (University access with
at least 2 MB/s directly into the net) but as you always write: Its the
weakest part in the chain that makes the speed.
So why not reducing the Internet to what it was intended to be: A fast way
to exchange your ideas and not commercials and definitely no audio or even
Anyway read this message with a smile ;-)))))))
Yorck Schneider-Kuehnle <Yorck.Schneider-Kuehnle@urz.uni-heidelberg.de>

Copyright 1996 by Peter C. Klanowski, pck@LyNet.De. All rights reserved.

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