Category Archives: Technology

The NBN is a nation-building thang

The NBN is a nation-building thang

It helped decide an election

I long for a fast and lasting Internet connection

But I dont like the NBN’s chances of getting an erection

I’ll go on having  a coffee and a read of the paper

As my webpages gasp and struggle to refresh

I’ll miss that great bargain on eBay as my bid turns up 10 seconds late

My downloads, in their many forms

Face a long and uncertain fate

The Coalition would prefer we have a slower, cheaper connection

Using technology that is made up of wires, sticks, glue and blu-tack

The Rainbow Government members really like the NBN and the part it played in their election

But they have a cost blow-out fear and tales of householder connnection rejection

So let’s just get on with it Australia

We cant be the slow ones on the net

Let’s just build the best one

That everyone can afford to get

Might I offer a word or two to the wise for the pollies

Do it once – do it well – do it for everyone

Just drop the politics and agree that the NBN is a nation-building-thang.

Getting Google to stop looking up your driveway…

A couple in Pennslyvania have tried to stop Google showing the Streetview of their street – but to no avail. The couple are Boring…that’s their surname..how unfortunate – I wonder if they have many friends?

From PCMag.com:

The Borings sued Google in April 2008 for privacy, trespassing, negligence, and unjust enrichment after photographs of their home showed up on Street View, a mapping program that displays street-level, 360-degree photographs of areas traversed by specially equipped Google vehicles.

The photographs in questions were taken at the foot of the Boring’s Pittsburgh area driveway and showed the couple’s house, a pool area, and detached garage. Street View photos of their home are no longer accessible, though the photos live on in the blogosphere and on various Web sites.

Judge Hay said that the Borings failed to prove that the publication of these images caused them to suffer shame or humiliation. She was also unconvinced that Google was guilty of trespassing, as the photographer had caused no harm to the Boring property.

I can sort of understand where they are coming from. When we looked at our house on Street View – you can quite clearly see our son standing at our backdoor – in his boxers! It looks like the Google camera went down the road early one morning, about 18 months ago.

You can see for yourself below:


View Larger Map

An interesting judicial outcome…their house was removed from the view. But that wasnt really the issue – the Borings were after some settlement dosh – how very American!

The amusing thing is that not that many places in Tasmania have been “Googled” in Streetview – the centre of Hobart isnt there – but our little old road in out of the way Woodbridge is there…curious.

2009 and the future of Broadband in the Channel

Well it’s 2009 – it’s been a while since my last post, so thought I had better get back into the routine of posting.

Down here on The Channel we have always been a little behind the times in accessing reasonable Broadband connections. It is only in the last year that Telstra saw fit to upgrade our little exchange to enable ADSL over the wire. Before that we had to rely on a pricey wireless system that had a tiny download limit.

Now we hear that Telstra/Bigpuddle will not extend the capacity of the ADSL over the wire connections in our local board.  A guy touting for Telstra has been driving around selling Telstra wireless (starting at $89 per month – with a half price for the first 12 months) because, in his words, “wireless will be the only option”. But beware – if you don’t take their Liberty Plan – for every MB that you go over your limit you will be paying 25 cents for every extra MB – ouch!

We are not sure what that means for the possibility of us hooking into the existing fibre optic cable that has been lying, unused, under our paddocks for the past 5+years. The Tas Government have at least announced that they have signed a deal to allow access to the magic fibre – but the question is how much and how do we access it? We are told that the Govt will release details of pricing etc mid 2009 – these things take time you know!

Who knows where we will be in another 12 months. The Federal Government’s National Broadband Network is still in its formative stage (without Telstra) – so we will not hold our breathe – but at least its a step in the right direction…we can only wait and see what services (and for what prices) we can access.

On the lighter side of life and technology

A few images to share with you – it’s Sunday and time for some light relief.

Those irritating Windows Error boxes!

I just had to share this with you…those little boxes are not welcome at any time. For once we can have a chuckle…

Those Windows Error Messages

Popular Mechanics 1951

Yes that’s right Popular Mechanics had your future home in mind when this was published in 1951. Imagine that! And you have to love that lamp!
A housewife's dream - in the 1950s

For those long and leisurely afternoons in the pool…

Pool Fun

Serendipitous adventures on the web

Serendipity in cyberspace.

Take a visit – and perhaps join – StumbleUpon, where you can find a whole new world of web spaces. Use the StumbleUpon button to randomly discover some interesting websites – some may not take your fancy – but a site you stumble upon might be worth tagging for others to visit. StumbleUpon is just one of many very good Web 2.0 sites that use the concept of “tagging” favourite sites – collaboratively “bookmarking” visited sites. Social bookmarking is very much one of the pillars of Web 2.0 – where the user-generated content of the web is discovered and shared – among everyone on the web – or for the viewing of a private group. You can find out a bit more on social bookmarking here at Wikipedia.

Here are just a few of the CT’s recent discoveries from when we last had a random stumble – in StumbleUpon:

TED: A fascinating site – TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design. TED hosts some amazing videos of specialists in their fields, speaking with passion, about their passion. Here you will hear stories of invention, of art, of politics, medical science and much, much more. Have a look: TED

The Space Collective: What can I say. This site brings together some absolutely stunning imagery, ideas, concepts, arts and sciences and stories of possible futures. The Space Collective website is well worth a visit.

The Space Collective

Cooking by numbers: This site is fun. It would have been a firm favourite, if the web had ever existed when I first lived in a flat! Tick the boxes that correspond with the youth-allowance-financed foodstuffs you can scrounge from the deep recesses of your fridge or kitchen cupboard, and CookingByNumbers will deliver you a recipe incorporating those ingredients. Try it out! But be careful out there!

The Hand Written Digital Clock.

Just what it says it is! Video yourself writing the numbers 0 to 9, code a clever web concept – and you have web based digital clock. Simple really – yeah! Some of the other great content design by the handwritten-digital-clock-creator can be seen on this website: yugop.com

The Handwritten Clock

Side Walk Chalk Guy: Julian Beever is an incredible artist. His canvases are the footpaths (or sidewalks) of the world. His exceptional skills are really on show with his mesmerising 3D-like chalk pavement creations – images that you could reach out and touch – or in this case – take a dip!

Side Walk Chalk Guy

More from what’s out there on the web soon.

Getting online at home or work: buyer beware

It’s a big topic.

How can you get the best ISP deal to suit your needs.

ISP = Internet Service Provider.

Put VERY simply, it is the wiring – copper telephone line or another cable and wireless or satellite service, that allows you to connect to the Internet. Most people think Bigpond – and that may be just right for you, if you are happy to keep all your communication accounts under the one invoice…but there are better deals than those offered by Bigpond – yes really!

A common stop for the CT is Whirlpool. Whirlpool is a great online resource – you can compare and contrast possible ISP options – depending on where you live/work in Australia. You can also read through the forums and find out some juicy details on who is getting a great deal from their ISP, who is getting shafted, and other useful advice.

But first, some useful advice from the Channel Telegraph:

  • If you happen to live up a country road it may be that while the ISP says that you can get Broadband – based on a search of your phone number – it is only when they come to connect you that the problems start. The most common issue is pair gain – that is where the telephone line that serves your house/office is split between you and your neighbours and may either cause your dial-up connection to be very slow (slower than slow is surely – stopped – which on pair gain is common!! ;-\ ) It may also prevent you signing on with your non-Bigpond ISP, because Bigpond/Telstra are the only mob who can get around the “problem” for you. Sometimes you can get Broadband on a pair gain system – but probably never the seemingly lightning speeds of ADSL2 – up to 28Mbs – dream on. SO be careful when first signing up – and that’s where the problem lies – you quite often sign up, then get the bad news about the connection and find yourself with few options but Bigpond.

    Apologies as I get up on the soap box, but the poor state of the copper wire and telephone network support infrastructure in regional Australia is THE problem that stymies real competition and access to reliable and affordable plans in the Australian ISP market.

  • The right plan for you: Have an idea of what level of Internet access you need. If you infrequently surf the web, don’t download too many files and perhaps check your email a couple of times a week – then you can get away with a more cost effective plan that has a low download capacity – say 500 mb up to 1gb. But of course there then comes the issue of excess use charges – see below. Once you are on the Internet a new world opens up and you may start visiting lots of content rich websites – downloading podcasts, songs, videos, listening to Internet radio and the like. It is then you will need to be mindful that your current plan meets your needs – many ISP’s dont charge you a fee for upgrading your plan – but beware – some do!
  • Beware the excess usage costs – Shaping: Read carefully before committing to an ISP’s plan – there may be a limit to your downloads, and if you go over that limit the ISP may charge you for each extra MB you download – and that can get expensive. Look out for the term “shaping” it means that the ISP will just slow down your connection to dial up speeds, for the duration of your remaining monthly allowance, resuming at full speed (whatever full speed actually is) at the beginning of the next billing cycle – rather than charging you excess usage charges. Folk have often opened the dreaded window-faced envelope from their ISP, only to get a nasty surprise with extra charges that can run into the hundreds or even thousands of dollars in excess charges for some unfortunate souls.

Hope it helps. More posts on this topic soon.

ACCC Goes Google

I was struck by both humour and incredulity when I heard that the ACCC was to take action against Google for “misleading and deceptive conduct” by “failing to adequately distinguish sponsored links from “organic” search results”.

If this is the type of action the ACCC is pursuing with our tax dollars, one can only assume that in coming weeks we will see the ACCC take so called News and Current Affairs programs to task for their badly disguised advertorials. While they are at it, they can add in a few newspapers, magazines, radio programs and other forms of media that all too often pass off adverts for news and current affairs.

Get real ACCC – Australians want you to pursue actions that really matter – like the appalling grocery and petrol pricing regimes in this country.