BBC taken offline by anti-Daesh group...


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    (Possibly only funny to right-pondians of a certain age...)

    After restoring backup:



  • I'm not sure I follow. Where are you getting that from?


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    It's supposed to be a joke. Hence being in Funny Stuff...



  • Consider me whooshed.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @PleegWat said:

    6ab865b7-1b48-403b-b126-25fe3e0a8fa6

    There ya go. :imp:



  • So the joke is the BBC got some kind of DoS attack or something, and when they fixed the servers and blocked the attack it started showing the channel guide from like 1984?

    Hilarious.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    No. But be well in your world, whatever colour the sky is today.



  • I'm not 100% sure, but ceefax is like a website, but browseable on your TV screen. Predates the world wide web by about 20 years. I believe ceefax has now be shut down (which is what @pjh may be referring to?); versions in other countries (including in The Netherlands) are still online.

    Apart from program guides, the Dutch 'teletekst' also features news, sports, amusement, and traffic information sections.



  • An anti-Daesh group? Why are they on the internet at all? How do they think that taking down a website - especially one that has nothing to do with Daesh - is going to stop them from using drugs to convince people to bomb cities?



  • @PJH said:

    whatever colour the sky is today.

    I'm going with polkadots.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @ben_lubar said:

    How do they think that taking down a website - especially one that has nothing to do with Daesh

    It was a test run against a 'random' website apparently.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @PleegWat said:

    I'm not 100% sure, but ceefax is like a website, but browseable on your TV screen. Predates the world wide web by about 20 years

    Something like this. It was transmitted over the bits of the signal that wasn't actually displayed. The whole set of pages were transmitted serially, and if you wanted a particular 'URL', you had to wait until your 'page' got transmitted before it would display.

    Archaic by today's standards, but it made the best of what it had.



  • @PJH said:

    you had to wait until your 'page' got transmitted before it would display.

    Newer TVs prefetched pages you'd be likely too want to view next. I've seen modern TVs seemingly cache the whole thing.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @PleegWat said:

    Newer TVs prefetched pages you'd be likely too want to view next. I've seen modern TVs seemingly cache the whole thing.

    Pre-fetching wasn't a thing with Ceefax - it was passive transmission, not a two-way conversation. Caching stuff that's just been transmitted in the past 5 minutes however...

    Page 888 (the subtitles page) was transmitted rather more frequently than other pages for rather obvious reasons.



  • That's all great, but how is this a joke?



  • @PJH said:

    @PleegWat said:
    Newer TVs prefetched pages you'd be likely too want to view next. I've seen modern TVs seemingly cache the whole thing.

    Pre-fetching wasn't a thing with Ceefax - it was passive transmission, not a two-way conversation. Caching stuff that's just been transmitted in the past 5 minutes however...

    Page 888 (the subtitles page) was transmitted rather more frequently than other pages for rather obvious reasons.

    I think the Dutch system sent the index page (100) more often as well.

    Prefetching was definitely a thing, though I doubt it was called that. Basically, if you were reading 104 (the first national news article) and 105 (the second national news article) came by it would hang on to it in separate storage, so that if you pressed the button to go to the next page it would be available immediately and you didn't have to wait.

    @blakeyrat said:

    That's all great, but how is this a joke?

    This is still eluding me as well. I guess 'they wouldn't have been able to DoS ceefax, since it's not request based'?


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @blakeyrat said:

    That's all great, but how is this a joke?

    @PJH said:

    Possibly only funny to right-pondians of a certain age...

    You appear to fail at least two of the criteria mentioned in the first post. This should have been obvious had you actually read it. Complaining after that was pointed out is sorta... irrelevant.

    However for the people who actually want the punchline explained:

    [spoiler]The joke is that the last backup the BBC had of their website is when they provided Ceefax, and restoring their website after the DDoS returned it to look like Ceefax.[/spoiler]



  • For whoever is interested, all teletekst pages are available online at http://teletekst.nos.nl/. Naturally, this is in Dutch.



  • Damn, I used to love Ceefax as a kid. I wonder if I will ever be able to explain how amazing it was it to my kids without them going
    [quote=Nocha's Kids]
    Whatever dad, you're old
    [/quote]



  • I can see certain users of this very forum going "How could anyone enjoy something that doesn't even have images, let alone videos".

    My preferred daily news intake vector is a newspaper. On paper.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @PleegWat said:

    I can see certain users of this very forum going "How could anyone enjoy something that doesn't even have images, let alone videos".

    They had (crude) graphics, and even (cruder) animation!


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @PleegWat said:

    Prefetching was definitely a thing, though I doubt it was called that. Basically, if you were reading 104 (the first national news article) and 105 (the second national news article) came by it would hang on to it in separate storage, so that if you pressed the button to go to the next page it would be available immediately and you didn't have to wait.

    That's caching, not prefetching.

    Prefetching is "you're on this webpage, it has links to A, B and C, I - as a browser - will go actively get them in case you actually want them."

    Caching is "that page just went by, I'll keep a copy in case it's needed. Oh - that next page just went by - that too..."

    The difference between the two is the passivity of how Ceefax worked - you couldn't request, only keep a hold of stuff that was passively going by.



  • I remember playing Bamboozle on Teletext, although I think that might have been Channel 4.



  • Just follow up by showing a floppy and a cassette. Try to explain that the big soft thing was an improvement in data storage.



  • Hey! I used to factory test the systems on which that was generated back in the late '70s early '80s- at least I was told that the BBC was a major client also the GPO used the same systems for their "text" service - Prestel has just been dragged out of my long term storage.

    On another note: They used magnetic core memory, so I guess somebody found bunch of them gathering dust some somewhere and powered it up.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @PJH said:

    The difference between the two is the passivity of how Ceefax worked - you couldn't request, only keep a hold of stuff that was passively going by.

    Later models of TV would remember more, displaying the last version of a page when you gave the number instead of waiting for the next time it came by, so that once they'd been running in teletext mode for a while, they'd be able to move between pages very rapidly. Since each page was less than 1kB and there were only ever up to about 900 of them (since 3-digit page numbers never started with 0) it didn't take much to cache the lot, less than 850kB.

    But by the point it was practical to put that much memory on even cheap TVs, it was becoming obvious that the internet was going to sweep all this stuff away.



  • @PleegWat said:

    I'm not 100% sure, but ceefax is like a website, but browseable on your TV screen.

    [URL=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceefax]Ceefax[/URL] is the BBC's implementation of [URL=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teletext]Teletext[/URL]. Static pages of text and block graphics are transmitted during the vertical-blank interval. When you select a page (by link or number) the TV waits for that page to be transmitted (if it doesn't have a cached copy in-memory), and then displays it.

    The BBC turned it off in 2012 when the UK's analog TV broadcasts stopped. A conceptually-similar but technologically-superior service, called [URL=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BBC_Red_Button]Red Button[/URL] is used with digital broadcasts.

    Personally, I love the concept. I thought it was great when I first saw it while on vacation in the 80's. It would be nice if a service like that would exist in the US, but it never happened for some reason. I guess it would be redundant today, however, given the extreme popularity of broadband Internet access from TV and phone service providers.

    @blakeyrat said:

    That's all great, but how is this a joke?

    I assume this is something along the lines of them restoring from a backup and broadcasting content from 2008 (the date of the Wikipedia image @PJH presented.)


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @David_C said:

    Personally, I love the concept.

    The reality was not as great as the concept; it was always slow, but in pre-internet days it was there when other alternatives usually weren't. (BBSs didn't take off to the same extent as in the US, probably due to the much greater cost of operating them at the time.)



  • @dkf said:

    Since each page was less than 1kB and there were only ever up to about 900 of them

    25x40=1000 characters, presumably 2 bytes each (character+colour) is ~2kb per page. 800 pages, but some pages alternated between multiple versions. I think I've seen the train delay and plane arrival times pages at over 10 sub-pages.

    I actually remember being in some railway station lobby, and the delay announcement screen was a TV set to teletext.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @PleegWat said:

    25x40=1000 characters, presumably 2 bytes each (character+colour) is ~2kb per page.

    The status line was not part of the information sent, and colours were encoded in-band and used a cell to do the switch (it was really designed for highlighting words). I know this because the BBC microcomputer had a teletext video mode that supported all the crazy signalling codes…



  • @David_C said:

    The BBC turned it off in 2012

    They kept it on that long? I don't think I have had a TV capable of receiving it since about 2006ish! I could be wrong, but I'm sure TV manufacturers stopped supporting it long before they stopped broadcasting :frowning:


  • area_deu

    @Nocha said:

    @David_C said:
    The BBC turned it off in 2012

    They kept it on that long? I don't think I have had a TV capable of receiving it since about 2006ish! I could be wrong, but I'm sure TV manufacturers stopped supporting it long before they stopped broadcasting :frowning:

    Teletext is still going strong in Germany!



  • Are there any plans to shut it off any time soon?


  • area_deu

    No clue. I rarely watch TV.

    Also, what I forgot to mention - it even survived the transition to digital TV here.



  • @PJH said:

    @PJH said:
    Possibly only funny to right-pondians of a certain age...

    You appear to fail at least two of the criteria mentioned in the first post.

    Well, I once heard that he went there to see a movie.



  • @PleegWat said:

    presumably 2 bytes each (character+colour) i

    Why would they encode a color for each character instead of having an ANSI-like escape sequence?


  • sockdevs

    @loopback0 said:

    I remember playing Bamboozle on Teletext, although I think that might have been Channel 4.

    It was Channel 4. I did the same thing :)


  • sockdevs

    i'm guessing it's related to making things a fixed size for transmission and storage.

    It's been twenty years since I did any of this (BBC Micro model B had Teletext mode as a display mode and on there it's for memory reasons)...


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @dkf said:

    Since each page was less than 1kB and there were only ever up to about 900 of them (since 3-digit page numbers never started with 0) i

    But you could have subpage 1/3, 2/3, 3/3 of page 142...

    @PleegWat said:

    25x40=1000 characters, presumably 2 bytes each (character+colour) is ~2kb per page.

    1 byte per cell. Colour, flashing etc were a character that used a cell and the effect lasted to the end of the line (unless overridden before then).


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @PJH said:

    But you could have subpage 1/3, 2/3, 3/3 of page 142...

    Yes. That was done by transmitting a different page each time round the cycle.


  • BINNED

    @aliceif said:

    Teletext is still going strong in Germany!

    Still going here as well. I even know of people using it for actually reading news and stuff.

    Also, since sports gambling was legalized here, many bars that would only turn on their TVs for football matches and such have them running all the time now, showing results and betting offers and such.



  • Thought I would go and try digging up some old information, specifically stuff about cramming more information into the broadcasts. Whilst attempting this I realized a limitation of Google and the internet generally in that it only serves what is current - but that's another story.

    For Teletext see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teletext it seems to be pretty comprehensive.

    In a side search I found this, from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prestel which, on reading, brought back some pleasant memories.

    Hardware and Software[edit]

    Prestel computers were based on GEC 4000 series minicomputer with small differences in the accumulation according to the function of the machine. IRC main machines were originally GEC 4082 equipped with 384 Kbytes memory core store machines, six 70 Mbyte HDD and 100 ports for 1500 initial users. The network has since grown to the point that in June 1980 there are four stand-alone retrieval computers in the London area with six other computers installed in pairs in Birmingham, Edinburgh and Manchester. The ten computers can output to approximately 1000 user ports, expandable as required to 2000 when the number of subscribers goes up significantly. The GEC 4082 computer with 512 megabyte capacity will interconnect to the 10 and later to 20 retrieval computers to handle the data files. The initial data base consists of approximately 164,000 information pages (June, 1980) with planned update capacity of 260,000 pages. A page consists of a maximum of 960 data characters (5x7 bits each, suggesting approximately 35,000 bits per page).

    This arrangement effectively limited the size of the public service database to around 250,000 frames[9] so in order to cope with planned growth by 1981 the IRC machines had been expanded by the addition of two further data drives.[7]

    Each IRC computer was configured with 208 ports and so was able to support 200 simultaneous Prestel users, the remaining 8 ports being used for test and control functions. Access for the ordinary user was provided via the duplex asynchronous interface provided by banks of GEC 16-port multi-channel asynchronous control units (MCACCU) known more simply as multiplexers. These devices in turn were accessed via banks of standard Post Office Modems No. 20 operating at 1200/75 bit/s, which were connected directly to the public switched telephone network (PSTN).[7]

    By 1981, this configuration had changed with memory doubled to 768 kbytes but with data discs reduced to six, corresponding to the number at the IRC machines and with just a single transaction disc.[7]

    In addition to the MCACCU units required to support 1200/75 dial up access, the Update Centre machines were also connected to special modems provided to support online bulk updating by IPs. Banks of 300/300 bit/s full duplex asynchronous V21 modems supported computer to computer links for the more sophisticated IP while 1200 bit/s half duplex V23 modems supported so called intelligent editing terminals (i.e. those capable of storing a number of frames offline before uploading to the UDC). In addition twin 9-track NRZI tape decks of 800 bytes/inch capacity were provided in order to support bulk offline updates.[3][7]

    Although technically categorised as minicomputers, these GEC machines were physically very large by today’s standards, each occupying several standard communications cabinets, each standing 6-foot (1.8 m) high by 2 feet (0.61 m) wide. The CDC 9762 hard disc drives were housed separately in large stand-alone units, each one about the size of a domestic washing machine. (See images in the photo of the GEC Computers' Development Centre). The 70 Mbyte capacity hard discs themselves were in fact removable units, each consisting of a stack of five 14 inch platters, standing 4 inches (10 cm) high, that could be lifted in and out of the drive unit.

    The GEC machines cost in excess of £200,000 each at GEC standard prices, in addition to which there were the costs of all the associated communications equipment. Putting together all of the computer and communications equipment required for a single IRC was a major undertaking and took some 15 months from order placement to commissioning.[7]

    GEC 4000 series computers were capable of running a number of operating systems but in practice Prestel machines exclusively ran OS4000 which itself was developed by GEC. This in turn supported BABBAGE,[3] the so-called high level assembler language in which all the Prestel software for both IRC and UDC machines (and later the messaging machine) was written.

    In 1987, a Prestel Admin computer was introduced which supported the user registration process: the capture of user details from the paper Prestel Application Form (PAF), the transfer of data to the relevant Prestel computer, and the printing of the Welcome letter for users. This machine, also based upon GEC 4082 equipment, was the first to be equipped with 1 Mbyte of memory which was required to support the Rapport relational database. This product from Logica was an early example of deployment of a system written in a 4GL database language which supported all features of the Prestel Admin application.



  • @loopback0 said:

    I remember playing Bamboozle on Teletext, although I think that might have been Channel 4.

    One of our TV stations somehow pulled off Snake via a premium-rate number and touchtone controls. Not sure how that worked with a good enough refresh rate, but it did.

    Watching people play Snake was also often more interesting than the actual television.


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