Optus not using Telstra DSLAM ports?

According to Optus, they are not using Telstra DSLAM ports for new connections, but have their own hardware installed in exchanges.

This was the reason given to a friend why her ADSL could not be connected.

Gotalk Screw Over WildIT Customers

I’ve received two emails from Gotalk in the past couple of days, relating to my services with them. Until the end of October, I’ll have been on WildIT’s $36/month (or similar) plan. This is a 265kbps plan, with 12Gb/month before shaping, although I’ve never really been shaped, and I’ve pushed down over 23Gb in a month. I also have a couple of hosting setups, although they don’t deliver much traffic.

The two emails dealt with these two services. I’ll include them, as they are kind of relevant. I’ll address them in detail individually.

Dear Matthew

As you are aware, gotalk acquired the telephony and internet business of WildIT in late March 2007. gotalk is an Australian owned full service communications provider and we strive to provide our customers with quality services and best value for money. The products we offer include landline, mobile, internet and broadband voice (VoIP). Our aim is to make our customer’s life easier with great service and the use of the latest technologies, all on a single account.

We are streamlining the number of service plans on offer, and the purpose of this email is to let you know your plan options with gotalk.

Recommended changes to your plan

gotalk has reviewed your current plan, and recommend below what we believe is the gotalk plan that best suits your current needs, based on the information available to us.

Your current Broadband plan is :


Service Number 08######## - Plan RG 256/64 ADSL (non-monthly)

From 1 October 2007, we will move you to the following gotalk plan :

Service Number 08########
New Plan gotalk Standard 256 @ $39.95/mth
Includes 1000 MB

Please note that gotalk will automatically move you to the above gotalk plan on 1 October 2007. It is important that if you would like to find out more about this plan, or discuss other plan options, you will need to do this by 30 September 2007. You will find plan information on our website at www.gotalk.com, or please call us on 1800 468 255 and we’d be happy to discuss your options.

If you have additional services such as dial up internet, VoIP or hosting from WildIT we will contact you again shortly regarding these.

Free upgrade from ADSL to ADSL2+

gotalk also offers a free upgrade from ADSL to our hi speed ADSL2+ service. To see if ADSL2+ is available in your area, please check here or call us on 1800 468 255 to check availability and to take advantage of this free upgrade.

Thank you for your patience during the transition phase from WildIT to gotalk and we look forward to meeting your communications needs today and in the future.

Kind Regards

The gotalk team

Okay, my hassles with this. I’ll start with the pedantic. Why must you boldify your company name, every time you have it included?

Now that that is out of the way, it’s down to business. My current WildIT plan includes at least 12Gb of data, for more than 10% less. Yet you want me to move to a plan with a much lower data allowance? Based on the evidence you have? Either you have crappy evidence, or you are fucking useless at interpreting it! I suppose you also come to the conclusion that evolution isn’t real, based on evidence?

Secondly, are you expecting me to only look at this on the last day before my plan changes over to your ridiculously expensive, low data plan? How am I supposed to churn before then if I only look on the last day? Then I’d be without internet for several days, or pay you shitloads for internet.

The other letter I received is regarding hosting, and it is even worse. I’ll leave out the majority of it, but know that I have four hosting accounts, all of which cost me nothing. That’s right, not a dollar. Ever. No money at all changes hands regarding the four sites I have set up.

Your new hosting internet plan from 1 October 2007, will be gotalk hosting. This hosting plan gives you 500MB of disc space and 10GB of data for just $19.95 per month. Excess data is charged at 8c per MB and is capped at $50.00.

Okay, let’s let the bold thing slide again. But can you seriously expect me to pay $20-$70 dollars per month for hosting? I currently pay nothing! My other site, located at a reliable, proper hosting company, costs me around $.10/day. That’s $3/month, and includes a hell of a lot more services than you offer. And it’s reliable, and not staffed by fuckwits, apparently.

So, gotalk (ever heard of capitals, by the way?), I won’t be continuing my services with you. And don’t you dare try to charge me a disconnection fee. You still owe me a month’s worth of service, since I paid that in advance. But I suspect you won’t be paying that back to me, will you.

Address Book Find Duplicates

Address Book on OS X has a neato “Find Duplicates” feature. But it doesn’t do everything I need it to.

On a mobile phone (Nokia ones, at least) if you have more than one contact with the same number, it gets confused when one of them calls, and doesn’t know who to display on the caller list.

So, a proper “Find Duplicates” should find the same number, and even further, the equivalent number if using +countryCode numbering, and allow you to choose who gets to keep the number.

This is most noticed at workplaces, although when you have a couple, such as your parents, who have the same home phone number it also manifests. That is, assuming your parents are still living together, anyway.

I might have to knock together an AppleScript to do this. (This entry is a note to self about that).

Mail.app only grabbing one message

I’ve got a strange issue at the moment where Mail.app only downloads one email message at a time from my Gmail POP server.

Fairly annoying.

I haven’t been able to find anything on the Google about it, and I don’t know if it’s an issue related to Gmail, or to Mail.app. Might have to try another email client. Or another service.

On doing stuff, not teaching it.

I think lots of people I know are shocked when they hear I am stopping teaching at the end of this year, and going back to Uni. For those that do know me, and haven’t heard, I’m heading back to Uni, and intend to complete a postgrad Bachelor of Computer Science at Flinders Uni. After that, I may or may not return to teaching. I’ve written this essay from the point of view that I won’t.

Many people, when I mention I am a teacher talk about the endless holidays, and the short work hours. Whilst to some extent I will miss these (having a nice long break at the end of the school year, plus another three lots of a fortnight off at a time are pretty nice, and being able to escape at 3:10 like I did today is also kinda cool), there are lots of reasons for me not to remain a teacher.

For starters, I get bored very easily if I am not doing stuff that challenges me intellectually. Nothing against teaching woodwork and metalwork, and I really do enjoy making stuff with my hands, but I’m really glad that I just finished teaching kids how to create a cake tin. Never again will I have to go through that process.

I’m not really sure why I became a teacher to begin with. It was probably a bit of an accident. I started out doing a Computer Systems Engineering degree, but at 16 I really wasn’t mature enough to handle independent living and study. I was clever, but perhaps not as smart as I thought. After doing miserably in some subjects that I should have breezed through, I had to look for alternatives. I worked for six months, met the love of my life, and decided to become a teacher.

Because I had spent more than one full year at University already, my entrance into another course was based solely on my achievement level in the previous course. Whilst I had some High Distinctions (including Programming in C, and Discrete Mathematics), I had an awful lot of failing grades, and the only teaching degree I was offered a place in was Technology Education. In some ways, I’m really glad I got into that course. If I hadn’t put it on my list, then I really don’t like to think where I’d be now. And, I learned some fantastic skills in that course, that I use in my home life as well as at work.

I’ve never fully enjoyed teaching. Don’t get me wrong, there are lots of things I do like about it, like getting to know some great people (kids as well as teachers), but I was never satisfied. I probably wouldn’t go back and change anything in my first few years of work - discovering Touch Football for instance totally changed my life - but towards the end of my five years at Windsor Gardens, I was really ready for a change. I thought a change of school was all I needed, but I was wrong. I needed a change of occupation.

So, making another wrong decision I moved to my current school. As with a new job, everything was okay for a little while. I had some new challenges, and some new opportunities. Around this time last year I was offered the chance to teach Stage 2 (final year of High School) Information Technology Studies. Perhaps, I rationalised, this was what I needed to do. Teach another subject, something I might find a little more interesting and exciting.

But this too, wasn’t the right decision. I was gung-ho at the start of the year. I’d done some preparatory work, but the amount I could do was limited since I didn’t want to do stuff that wasn’t relevant (the Curriculum Statement was in flux at that stage). I was like a man possessed, writing assessment tasks and the like. And I quite enjoyed it.

But, as the year dragged on, I realised I still wasn’t happy. It wasn’t until I re-did Jaq’s website that I realised what was missing. I’d been writing about coding, and doing a very small amount (but all the time limiting the depth of stuff I was doing, since I had to try to teach concepts to kids, and get them to do the coding), but redoing the website made me realise: I want to do stuff, instead of teach stuff.

This was something, when I look back, I’ve been subconsciously doing all along. At times, when I’ve got a group of kids doing something practical, I’ll create a project too. If they are getting me down, then I’ll focus on what I’m doing. Whether it’s a cake tin, or something more substantial, I really enjoy making stuff. Turning up bowls on a wood lathe, writing a computer program, it’s all good.

When I built Jaq’s website (credit where it is due: she designed it, I just made it work!), I had a couple of tasks that required some serious thought. The first was the actual page layout code, including the JavaScript that controls loading of new images onto the page rather than a complete reload. This is designed to reduce bandwidth, but also make for a more seamless user experience. This wound up being a fair bit of work, but most of that work was getting it to work in Internet Explorer.

The other thing I ended up doing was writing a pair of application programs. One of them attached tags to image files (using xattrs, which work on OS X and some other platforms, but don’t copy from machine to machine very well at times, so I’d rethink before using the same system). The other one generated HTML code from a folder full of images and text files. This was planned so that Jaq can just replace an image, set of images, or textual content, including making significant changes (like changing the number of items), and the program creates the whole website from the templates.

This was an interesting solution, and if I were to redo it again (which I may at some stage) then I would probably consider using PHP, and having all of the HTML data generated on the fly, rather than in advance. Doing it all in python was a piece of cake, and it helped me realise that I really do love coding.

I’ve done plenty of coding for myself in the past decade-and-a-bit that I haven’t been doing anything much work-wise that has been related to this. I can’t remember exactly when I taught myself python, or javascript, or AppleScript. I know that at least some of these had to have been in the past decade, but I do recall doing some python a long, long time ago. Version 1.5.2 rings a bell.

I could conceivably find myself a job now in this industry, but I’d much prefer an opportunity to go back to study, and ensure that I have the right sort of skills. Even though it will result in me having to learn Java, which I’ve put off for ages, I think that it’s the best approach.

Deep down, I’ve known this is what I should have done. I just wish I’d made the decision earlier.

... is the new ...

In a comment to ongoing · Pantone’s Missed Chance:

“Pantone 7547 is the new Pantone 7413.”

That would be one of the funniest isthenewisms I have heard. By the way, I just made that word up. They feel a bit like a metaphor, but I think with the humourous context to which it is applied, that no longer makes sense. In many cases, isthenewisms are paralogisms. Yes, I looked that up, too. It got me thinking, though, and I did a bit of Googling. Leisure Arts has a pretty cool diagram from 2005, which has a whole range of these. Some highlights:

  • gin is the new vodka
  • Java is the new COBOL
  • nepotism is the new polio (What the fuck does this mean?)

Apparently, and I’m quoting Wikipedia here, the catch phrase started in 1963 with “Pink is the black of India”, and by the 1980s, it had become “… is the new black”. Also, according to Wikipedia, these are called Snowclones, where they are misquoted, abused and so on. As well as … is the new …, there is also “All your … are belong to us”, and “… or bust”. Man, this millennium is great. It would have taken me all day to find that out when I was still at Uni, let alone at school. Google is the new, well, Google. •

  1. _ Pantone 7547 __ is the new __ Pantone 7413 _: if you can’t see my colours, then (almost) black is the new orange. Not sure if the author meant for this to be the other way around!
  2. nepotism is the new polio : I’ve searched, and the only reference I can find is to this chart!

Weirdest netatalk bug ever

Okay, this one has me stumped.

I have all of my iTunes music stored on a local server, along with the remainder of my media files (Movies, TV series, copies of Digital Photos). This has been working pretty seamlessly, until I noticed something odd.

I knew I had some files there, but they weren’t displaying. Logging into the server using ssh, or for that matter SMB showed me the files were indeed there. But whenever I logged into the server via AFP, they don’t.

Most files do, but some of them aren’t there. But if I access the share using a parent share (/home/media, instead of /home/media/music), then the files are visible again.

I am at my wits end here!

iWork Numbers Flaw

Not so much a bug, more of a big omission.

With Numbers, the SpreadSheet included with the new iWork 08, you aren’t able to rotate text inside a cell. I use this feature all of the time, so I can have compact columns with long titles.

Other issues: no AppleScript support. I’ve looked through the bundle, and there isn’t anything helpful there either. Interestingly, you cannot load up the .nib files either. Or at least, not in my version of Interface Builder, which I think is up to date.

ecto 3

Playing with ecto 3 alpha - looks pretty good so far.

Hopefully it handles the RTF/HTML conversion process a bit better than ecto 2.

Testing Trackbacks

Paint the Tiger, Carve the Swan » Spam Galore:

Testing Trackbacks.