Archive for January, 2008

Live Coverage that isn’t Quite Live

January 18, 2008

Place two different televisions next to each other, tuned to the same channel and there is a good chance that they will not be in sync. Normally this is not a problem, but when it comes to watching live sport on TV, being delayed by a few seconds suddenly becomes an issue that one is interested in.

It is widely acknowledged (at least for cricket) that the best way to follow the game at home is to watch the pictures on the telly while listening to the coverage on the ABC. Yet doing this for the current test against India resulted in a delay by three or four seconds between the live coverage on the radio and the delayed coverage on the TV. This clearly suboptimal situation is what prompted this barrage of words here.

I’m not sure if Channel Nine deliberately delays their signal, if it depends on the particular TV in use, or if it is an unavoidable fact of life regarding transmission of TV programs. Either way, there is a need for a solution. Presumably the best approach would be to have a radio that allows you to manually tune to listen to a station on a delay of a few seconds so you can synchronise with the TV. With my expertise however, the only solution I have so far is to place the radio a long way away (about a kilometre) and take advantage of the slow speed of sound to achieve the desired delay. This is clearly impractical.

If it is (partially) the fault of Channel Nine, then not only would their argument for doing so marginal at best, but the time lags inherent (for at least some models) in the television transmission mean that there is a market out there for a technical solution. Any ideas? I’d like a radio with this delaying option to watch the cricket on, so there is potentially a large commercial marketplace out there.

Broken Megaminx

January 7, 2008

For the uninitiated, a megaminx is a version of the rubik’s cube for the dodecahedron. I finally got hold of one, but unfortunately before I was able to solve it, it came apart as you can see in the picture below. (click to enlarge)


I now want to consider the internal structure of this puzzle as seen in the photo. The most striking aspect of the engineering of the puzzle is that the centre piece contains a screw. Immedialy, this appears odd to me, since if the centre of each face is screwed in, then the rotation of faces will either tighten or untighten the screw.

Surely then, this is a bad way to design the puzzle. As it stands now, I don’t even know how to get all the pieces in their proper place, let alone fix everything so that I have a working megaminx.