Ridge Racer 2 was a slight update to the series, adding linkable multiplayer, a revised soundtrack with several new tracks in addition to remixed versions of the original.
The announcer voice has been altered slightly, and has several new links in response to the players driving ability.
Some graphic effects have changed, whilst the textures are mostly similar to the original, the lighting effects have changed with RR2 using a hue/fig effect to simulate the day to night cycle, rather then the original which dimmed and changed the Sky texture.
Lastly a rear view mirror has been added, which required a redesign to the HUD.
Thanks to MAME and a few cheats (Drive Anywhere), the car can escape the track, allowing us to get a better view of the scenery.
Another look at the audience at the start of the track, exactly the same as the first Ridge Racer
A look at the buildings outside the track
The fake cars in the other side of the tunnel have changed slightly, they seem to have more detailed textures, but are now lacking wheels. Unless these are floating. anti-gravity cars?
View of the city at night, the game simply swaps the textures rather than apply lighting effects, and the skybox has changed
The Motorola V547 is based upon the V500, and has a similar feature set however the V547 is slightly lighter and adds support for video capture and improves the battery life slightly. The display is capable of displaying 65k colours.
Although the device can play MP3 files, it does not have a dedicated MP3 player function, also the phone only has 5.5Mb of memory that cannot be expanded, which is very limited for a phone that supports a VGA camera and video playback, you certainly cannot use it as a music player, barley having enough storage for one MP3 song
The four icons in a middle corresponds to the shortcuts than can be accessed using the phones directional pad buttons, and can be configured to the users preference. There is also a clock display at the bottom left, which can be set to either digital or analogue.
Unfortunately this phone has a lot of O2 branding (Phone provider in the UK), which results in a lot of O2 icons and link to online services.
List all contacts saved in the handset and the SIM card, when stored on the phone, additional information can be saved, you can also set a picture for the contact, save a voice name so you can speak to call the contact
Lists of received and previously dialled numbers appears here
SMS messages can be sent and view here, you can also send email’s and Multimedia messages (MMS).
My Service (SIM Application Toolkit)
If the SIM card inserted supports the SIM-AT, a list of applications can be accessed in the My Services menu
A basic calculator is offered, along with a currency converter which can be configured with the exchange rate
Basically a calander, can be set to a month or a week view. Events can be added and set to reoccur daily, weekly or on a specific date of a month. Timer events can also be set here.
New shortcuts can be added to the shortcut menu, and the list can be reordered
A list of recorder voice notes, and the ability to create a new one. To record, there’s a voice button on the right side of the phone that needs to be held in order to record, releasing the button stops the recording, and you are limited to 50 seconds per recording.
Multiple alarms can be set, each alarm can have have a unique ringtone set
Simulates a threaded style view of SMS messaging, messages from the sender and recipient can be seen in one view
Games & Apps
One game comes installed here, FotoFunPack2 and Wakeboarding Unleashed
The web browser can be used to access WAP and HTML sites using the built in GPRS modem
Saved pages and bookmarks, the bookmarks can be accessed here
Three themes are available here, Scarlet, Moto and Silver. Themes change the wallpaper and the phones colour scheme.
The handset uses a VGA camera, the viewfinder supports zoom and brightness adjustment. Annoyingly photos captured aren’t automatically saved, you have to manually select save. This ties into the phones design, since Motorola intend for you to take a and send photos without the intention of saving them, the phone having only 5Mb of memory adds weight to this theory and the fact the phones presents the option to send first, before saving.
Images captured by the camera are saved here, along with any pictures received by an MMS message or received by Bluetooth.
Ringtones are saved here, MP3 files are also stored here and the handset is capable of playing full length MP3 songs, but with only 5Mb of memory, you are limited to only one song, if that.
Motorola’s ringtone creating application
Video clips captured with the camera can be played back ere, the phone saved in the 3gp container format
Settings like the home screen layout, which include the function of the home shortcut keys, and the left/right soft keys. The clock type can also be set here.
The main menu can be configured as either an icon grid view or a list view, and the menu order can be reordered.
There are 3 themes that can be set, Moto (Blue), Techo and Neon, themes includes the colour of the menus and the background wallpaper screen
Greeting message can be set when the phone turns on
Wallpapers that can be set, either from the built in images or a photo taken by the phones camera. Like in Windows, if an images does not match the screen resolution, you can set the scaling method to either Centre, Tile or Fit-to-screen
Screensavers are similar to wallpapers but are animated, and can be set to displayed after 1 or 2 minutes of inactivity, when the handset being open.
Profiles can be set here, default ones to choose from are Loud, Soft, Vibrate, Vibrate and Ring and Silent. Pressing detail will let you customise the profile and set alert tones for various different features of the phone (Calls, IM, SMS, VoiceMail, Alarms, Data calls, etc) Ringtones are in MP3 or Midi format, and Motomixer created ringtones will also show up here.
Bluetooth settings, you can set up a handfree device and change settings like the phones Bluetooth name, set the device to be discoverable. External Sync can also be set for an external server, which allows contacts to be synchronised.
Call diverts can be set here
Basic settings can be changed here, date and time, one touch dial, display settings like the backlight duration and backlight timeout. The device can be set back to factory default settings from here using the security code (default: either 5 or six zeros, 00000)
Battery meter showing how much power is remaining, also software and firmware information versions is displayed here.
Settings for auto answer after a few seconds, which can be changed, and the ability to enter voice dialling .
Settings for when a handsfree device are connected, and a car charger accessory
View a list of available mobile networks and the bands the phone can connect to, when searching for networks, T-Mobile (Now EE) comes up in the list
Configure PIN/PIN2 and the phones security codes. Call barring ca be set here.
Configure internet access settings for Java applications
Released in 2003, The e616 was one of the first generation of 3G capable phones for the Hutchinson 3 network in the UK.
NEC were not a commonly known manufacturer of handsets in the UK, the market previously dominated by Nokia, Ericsson, Motorola and Siemens at the time, with Samsung and Sony (Who’s mobile division would merge with Ericsson). In Japan they were known for their i-Mode handsets
Apologies for the poor image quality on some of these captures, since the only way to capture was using a camera pointed to the phone screen, which can yield in some weird effects on screen.
Bootup screen, there is a lot of 3 branding within the handsets firmware, it seems the handset was produced exclusively for Hutchinson 3G and was used in their international markets also.
The default home screen, the calendar can be set as the background, or the wallpaper can be displayed instead. The row of icons can be accessed by pressing the middle enter key, which acts as a shortcut bar or dock to access common phone functions. Items can be added here by pressing ‘Link this’ when you are in a menu.
There is also a task manager like function, which gives the impression that this is some sort of smartphone, perhaps Symbian based?
Menu scheme uses a grid like layout, shortcuts can be used by the number keypad. The quick menu is used to quickly access different phone functions without having to trawl through the main menu. Taskbar lets you select and reopen running background applications, a very smartphone like feature.
3Mail looks to be a remote email service provided by 3, to be an alternative to Blackberry push email that was offered at the time. Having email on your phone was still a high end feature that many phones were not capable of, and even the ones that did have severe restrictions in what emails could be displayed. Also many webmail email providers did not support third party POP3/IMAP clients, which these phones were classed as, so email would be part of the network provider.
Text messages can be composed and sent from here, the handset supports SMS and MMS Multimedia messages. There’s an option for a video message which is really a vieo clip attached to a multimedia message.
A full text editor is provided, with support for copy and paste and predictive text. An annoying feature is typing a message using the keypad, the phone makes DTMF sounds.
The phone also supports copy and paste, a feature that is rarely seen in feature phones.
Contacts can be created and saved to the phone memory or the USIM card
One of the big appeals of 3G phones was the advent of video calling, where you and the recipient could see and speak to each other in glorious CIF resolution. Here you can change the picture quality and the camera orientation mode
Set a greeting message and change the power on jingle
Here you can change the network selection, choose if you want the device to connect to 3G exclusively, and any access points settings.
Dial Lock – allows you to set a passcode that is entered via the keypad when the device is opened, when enabled you can only make emergency calls unless the code is entered
Side Key lock – prevents the side volume buttons from being pressed when the device is closed
Misc call settings, you can change the caller ID options, divers and waiting options.
Date and Time
Changes settings back to their default factory values
Access to multimedia features of the phone,
Capturing picture using the external camera. Both the front and rear camera can be used however both are limited to CIF resolution which is a bit low for this class of phone. Typically phones of this era use VGA resolution camera. Different effects can be applied. Both still images and video clips can be captured.
Sound can be recorded, up to 60 seconds in length and saved as an amr file
View images captured by the camera, or any images downloaded
Videos captured by the camera or downloaded videos from three can be played here, Videos are stored in the MPEG4 format.
Capable of playing the Midi ringtones, but can also play back MP3 encoded files, either on the built in phone memory or from the memory card, just be mindful of the 5Mb transfer limit. Music can be played though the headphones or through the built in speaker.
Same as the music player, but for the recorder voice clips stored on the device.
Add, set and remove reminders, and specify when the phone should alert you
Up to five different alarms can be set, with the option to set the reoccurrence to a selected number of days.
Similar to the Windows notepad, a text editor that lets you save up to 9 separate documents. Text is composed similar to an SMS message.
A calculator and a converter, the calculator is capable of simple sums, but scientific operations are not supported. The converter is cable to convert currency only, and has the option to specify the rate manually.
GPS and compass
Supposedly comes with a GPS feature built in, but I wasn’t able to get it calibrated, perhaps it’s dependant on the mobile network being functional?
The phone has the ability to run Java J2ME applications that are published and downloaded by 3. Unfortunately there seems to be no way to load the Java applications over USB or Bluetooth using the PC Software, so there’s not much to do here. I tried copying the Jad and Jar files over manually using the USB connection below but it didn’t work, seems the only way is to use the built in browser and download the games via the 3G network
This phone supports Bluetooth however it is very limited compared to other handsets, there’s no file transfer, only dial up networking and audio headset is supported.
The phone can connect to a Windows PC using a USB adaptor cable, and with the appropriate software installed. Here files can be transferred to and from the phone, and contacts can be synchronised using an external application
You can Sync contacts, calendar and To do lists from an external server, similar to how you can sync with Outlook or Gmail, only back in these days you had to use the Three server.
You can explore both the phone memory and the external memory card. Internally the device has 19Mb of available memory for use, and can support up to 128Mb of external memory, using the Sony Memory Stick Duo standard. You can also format the memory card, check its filesystem for errors and view the amount of space free for use.
Files can be copied or moved, or sent via the MMS if the file size is small enough, Bluetooth cannot be used to send or receive files.
When Three launched their 3G service in the UK, it was designed to be a walled garden where only 3 service could be accessed using the phones internal browser, and external web access was not supported. This meant it was not possible to browse WAP sites on the handset, the browser that ships with the phone is locked down to work with Three’s services only, and from the article below was supposed to be the Netfront browser.
Telewest redesigned their digital TV service in 2002, which saw the TV Guide software undergo a complete rewrite and redesign of the user interface, similar to what ntl undertook with their Bromley TV service.
Like ntl the TV guide was written entirely in Liberate TV middleware, and the entire interface is rendered using the Liberate browser. In contrast, the previous Telewest software used an EPG system developed by Pace, with the Liberate browser being added as a separate component what had to be loaded.
This meant the customer had to wait for the Liberate browser to load before they could access the interactive service, and on screen interactive prompt were not possible since the interactive stack was not running whilst the customer was watching TV.
Viewing TV on Demand listings
The Liberate middleware was upgraded to 1.2, which featured several programme and feature upgrades to the HTML browser used, one of which was the ability to use a mosaic style screen with different video feeds .As mentioned earlier, the Liberate intake now runs constantly, allowing for ‘press Red’ functionality to be used on TV channels, this was essential since Sky and ITVDigital had implemented similar interactive prompt features. These would also be instrumental for the upcoming Big Brother and Wimbledon 2002 interactive services, where customers could choose from different angles and feeds through the use of interactive, of which was not possible with Liberate 1.1 (The mosaic feature mentioned earlier)
A reminder alert for an upcoming program
Also new addition was the mini TV guide feature, where a small screen of the channel the customer was currently watching is displayed whilst the customer browses the TV guide or interactive. The exception to this is when they are browsing the On demand TV section, where the box changed to a Front Row preview channel, the reason being this was to allow the box to get up to date PPV listings rather than rely on cached data, and to do so it was necessary for the box to tune into a specific frequency that carried this data, preventing the use of mini TV.
A weird design decision since Telewest already had a functioning return path due to the internal DOCSIS modem inside the Pace box, why not use that to retrieve the PPV listings?
Adding Favourite channels
Viewing Favourite channels
Pressing reveals information on the selected program, and any program broadcast within the next 24 hours
View of the search and scan banner, known here as the Mini Guide like Sky you can view what’s on other channels
In 2003, a slight update was made to the interface layout, the Telewest Broadband branding is now in effect, and the layout is more square compared to the previous design.
The now and next banner has changed little since the previous software version
Another shot, this time from the Ireland version of ntl
The main guide interface has had a rebrand, and the main layout has been updated
Navigation for the TV guide has been made easier, a list based view is used as opposed to the grid based guide that can be found on Sky and Virgin.
A list of available channels on ntl
Viewing more information about a TV program
Help information, shows the connection status of the stb
Shows a changelog and improvements made for this version
The diary is similar in concept to the TV guide, programs that are to be broadcast in the future can be entered here, and the stb will remind you when the program is about to start
PPV movies were provided by Front Row, similar to Telewest
Front row listings
The settings page, you can change the screen settings such as the picture aspect ratio, the signal type (S-Video and Composite, with RGB being used in later STB revisions)
Early Pace Di4001 receivers outputted S-Video in place of RGB, newer models replaced this with RGB output
Message that appears when you are not subscribed to a channel or service
Interactive was handled by a separate component known as the Liberate TV Navigator, which is the middleware used for the interactive services. The version used is 1.1, this early implementation was separate from the main Tv Guide, which mean interactive icons like the red button were not possible, since the middleware only runs when the Interactive button is pressed, this changed in later implementations, where both the TV guide and interactive functions are using the Liberate engine.
Interactive services were made available in this version, powered by Liberate TV navigator, these services were similar to the Bromley platform
Interactive home screen, these were microsites that were optimized for use on a TV
News section with different providers or channels
BBC news interactive
Unlike Ceefax, Digital text can render full JPEG and GIF images, like a web page
The Di4001NC was a cost reduced cut down version of the Di4001 series of ntl set top boxes. One of the noticeable differences is the removal of the second card slot, in favour of just a single smartcard slot for the smartcard. The second card slot was originally designed for Mondex cashcards, which never launched.
Another removal was the ethernet port, despite the box still having a built in cable modem, the IEEE1284 port has also been removed, along with the audio output
From left to right:
RF Out – outputs the RF modulator, does not pass through the cable signal
TV & VCR Scart
IR Input & IR Output – No official function
RS232 – No official function
The RF output no longer includes an internal combiner, which means you will no longer be able to tune in cable channel’s via the RF tuner. Instead only the modulated output of the set top box will remain. This was due to the intention of removing the analogue channels, and to prevent the DVB-C channels from being tuned in on modern digital TV sets.
Well it looks very similar to the Di4001, but on closer inspection you can see the components removed, also in this model there aren’t any stickers covering the various chips.
The removal of the ethernet and IEEE1284 controllers, the ethernet port seems to remain but is not wired internally.
A closer look at the Broadcom DAVIC processor and the mysterious Pace chip, of which the sticker covered some of it on the previous model. At the very top you can see the main processor, which is unchanged since the previous model (Hitachi SH3)
Hitachi SH-3 HD6417709
Pace 909 6162800, ORBIT 61628
Broadcom QAMLink BCM3120KTB
To access, hold the Up/Down buttons upon bootup, and release when DIAG appears on the front panel display.
Default frequency settings, this would carry any software updates the STB would download upon boot up
Some version numbers, as well as the Network ID. This box appears to be running CR3.2
Further information in relation to the software versions on the STB
Since this revision lacks the internal combiner, you cannot control the outputted cable feed
Service status of the box, indicated that the signal is OK and the regional information
Signal information for the current frequency, this is the same frequency as the default frequency
Information relating to the DVB-SI, and the amount of services received
CAT – Encryption systems
PAT – Channel numbers
TDT – Updates the time & date
EIT – Event info, current program
Information for the inserted smartcard, the credit amount and the pairing status
A log of events generated by the STB
Signal strength status, but this time for the DAVIC tuner (also known as DVB_RC)
Same as above but for the upstream
Browser settings, for the Liberate navigator client
Current date and time, this cannot be set, but is retrieved from the network stream, the STB has a built in CMOS battery
Bootloader version and flash information
Memory information, according to these values the box has 16Mb, with 4Mb Flash
Information relegating to the MPEG decoders. You can also set the remote control configuration here and enabled the rear in or outputs, this has little effect since the software does not support this
No PPV events…
Flash memory information, the capacity, bad flash sectors and where the image came from.
Previously I connected a former ntl box (Pace Di4000N) running an old outdated version of its guide software to a modern Virgin media network in attempt to see what would happen, the result was it could load the TV guide listings somewhat (now & next) but the channels would be out of order. There was also no chance of receiving any channels, since the NetID didn’t match my area.
I came across an ntl: Langely box (Pace Di4001NC) which still had an older build of its software installed, which was later build than the Di4000 box described above. It can take a few boot attempts to get it to load the TV channels, sometimes it gets stuck on the loading screen.
Well it defaults onto channel 321 upon bootup
Attempting to browse TV listings via the TV Guide browser, some listings do come through whilst others seem to be missing
At least program synopsis works somewhat
From what I’ve researched, ntl used a proprietary iEPG system for its listings, which may have used the regular DVB SI for program listings, with the iEPG handling the extra stuff that the regular DVB-SI didn’t cover. This could apply to channel genres and maybe the numbers themselves
Adding events to the diary, which is similar to the personal planner in Sky Guide
Information for a future event
A list of channels, ntl CR3 had the ability to reorder the channel list to the user preference, a feature that was lost when it was replaced by the Virgin Media UK2 software. (UK1 in some areas)
Further list of channels, These are not in EPG order, rather the box assigns them channel numbers by itself
List of channels using the favourite channels feature
And finally some system and technical information
Still no channels come though, likely due to the Network ID being incorrect, and with the Di4001 boxes, they were designed to set their own Network ID. In practice however it seems to cycle through the different Network ID’s that Virgin Media use, perhaps the box was not designed to handle multiple Network ID’s?
Connecting an old ntl box running ancient (by cable standards) software to a modern Virgin Media network. Whilst Virgin Media is the sucessor to ntl there are a few possible roadblocks to this;
VM no longer broadcast their channels in MPEG2 with the exception of a few off air slates and radio channels.
The DVB-SI that VM broadcast may not be consistent with what the software is expecting
The STB itself may be looking for something that VM are no longer transmitting
Getting the box to boot was a struggle itself, just connecting it to a cable feed is not enough since the box will get stuck on the starting up screen, I left it overnight and the box was still trying to start up
Forcing a boot (holding Up+Down and letting go once LDR appears on the display) wouldn’t work either
What worked in the end was to power up the STB will the cable feed disconnected, this will cause the box to display NIT on the front panel LED display. Connecting the coax feed, the box will then proceed to the start up screen and after around 5 minutes a channel will be displayed.
Well the box managed to load something, lets see what we get…
The main EPG, showing the many channels or streams Virgin broadcast
What’s disappointing is nothing can be tuned, you can select a channel but nothing will play, not even radio channels. Potentially this could be the NetID mismatch causing this , since the STB originated from a different area of the network.
Looks like software update streams for the various tivo box models currently in use with Virgin Media.
To breakdown what works and not
Channels Numbers exist but its not the order that Virgin use, the STB seems to place them consecutively in the EPG, i.e starts at 1 and goes up to 350
There are issues selecting channels over 255 in the guide, trying to select a channel number over 255 causes the box to pull a channel from the top section of the EPG, i.e selecting channel 260 causes channel 5 to get selected instead.
Only now and next information is loaded, no further schedule information is available
Subject search does not function
Channel genres do not work, selecting Entertainment or Sports shows no channels.
Various hidden streams and channels appear in the guide
Changing channels using the + and -, the list is out of order and the STB seems to jump between different channels.
Program reminders work and can be set
Maybe changing the Net ID will at least allow the radio channels to be opened
To access the engineering mode, unplug the Virgin media Tivo box and hold down the Up + Down arrow buttons on the front panel to the STB (not the remote), continue holding until Starting Up disappears off the screen, typically around 50 seconds.
Screens were captured through the HDMI output, I’m not sure if tis will work via the Scart connection.
The first frequency the tivo checks when it is booting up, typically contains firmware updates
STB information and local network ID
Various MAC and IP address used by the STB networking interfaces
Information found in the DVB signal information tables
Firefox was always one of my favourite browsers, ever since I installed in back in 2004 to replace the ageing Internet Explorer 6. Immediately i picked on its fast rendering time, features such as tabbed browsing, built-in pop-up blocker and extensions and most importantly its improved security. Whilst there have been many bumps along the way, I have always stuck with it and its email client counterpart, Thunderbird.
Mozilla have always stood for a free and open web, that meant that the web should be accessible to all users, regardless of their political positions, heck its even on their Twitter profile;
Until this was posted on their blog:
So why all of sudden there this sudden interest of de-platforming? let’s break down the suggestions;
Reveal who is paying for advertisements, how much they are paying and who is being targeted.
This I agree with, since the ad ecosystem should be transparent, who is running the political campaigns that truly influence people?
Commit to meaningful transparency of platform algorithms so we know how and what content is being amplified, to whom, and the associated impact.
This is incredibly important and applies to any social media platform that servers content in an recommendation system. Social media pushes fear and anger inducing content for the sake of generating engagement, they mix it with advertisement content and slowly change their user habits. These algorithms need to be stopped. If you ever see a content recommendation by a black box system, do not follow it unless you want to be eternally an ideology slave. Seek your own answers.
Turn on by default the tools to amplify factual voices over disinformation.
And who gets to decide that exactly? Do they have everyone best interest at heart?
Work with independent researchers to facilitate in-depth studies of the platforms’ impact on people and our societies, and what we can do to improve things.
Yet La Le Lu Le Lo have removed all external research into their platforms, specifically around the negative side effect such as addictions and election influencing. What else are they hiding?
The article does raise some concise valid points, but these need to be implemented for all, and not just a certain set of users who’s political options sway in a certain direction. Somehow they were fine with the Minnesota riots and the riots ‘peaceful’ protests that happened in 2020, where there were multiple calls to violence on both sides being spread, right on the exact same social media platforms.
However, the nerve they have to point blame and act like what happened in the Capitol was the worse thing ever, The amount of horror, destruction, defeat, and death inflicted upon innocent Americans for weeks and even months in some places was incomparable to what happened in DC. Peoples entire livelihoods burned to the ground. Entire city blocks reduced to rubble. And these people are literally pretending none of that ever happened. They even encouraged it and promoted it. They actively promoted it, defended it, and encouraged it daily. And I’m not even talking about the absolutely debilitating lock-downs that have shut down hundreds of thousands of small businesses and put people out of work?
Finding a new browser
Waterfox – A fork of Firefox that is compatible with all Firefox extensions and plugins,and has a very similar user interface
Brave – uses blink/chrome engine, has a built in tracker blocker
Vivaldi – uses blink/chrome engine, a nice browser that has a lot of useful features, designed to replicate Opera 12, supports tab stacks
All browsers listed above have Windows, Mac and Linux versions, and (except for Waterfox) have Android and iOS versions that can sync between desktop and mobile
Whilst La Le Lu Le Lo are busy removing and banning people from a certain political background from their platforms, a common retort is for these users to start or use platforms that tolerate this type of free speech. This has resulted in sites like Parler, Gab and Mastodon… except La Le Lu Le Lo have now started removing Parler from their respective App stores, meaning unless you use the web app, you will no longer have access to Parler. For android users this is not a big issue and simply requires installing an .apk file onto your smartphone and enabled unknown sources in it’s settings menu, for iPhones unless you jailbreak it you are stuck with the version that was installed via the Appstore, with no ability to update or transfer it to another iPhone.
Speaking of the web app, AWS (Amazon) have since decided to terminate Parler’s web service also, meaning you will no longer be able to access the Parler website until they find a new host. The reasoning for this was due to Parler’s moderation methods, which was cited as being insufficient in regard to violent content on platform. Now whilst Parler does have a few problematic users on it’s platform, that’s nothing compared to what Twitter host;