Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Telstra Air, Fon and matters tech

Back in the mid nineties we set up our isp email account using Microsoft's Outlook Express and we have kept it going ever since, it now being called Windows Live Mail. I wish we never had and used web based email but it wasn't really up to scratch then. Now we are really tied to our Telstra email address and to change would be very time consuming, to say the least.

When travelling we can access our isp email over the web but it is slow and clunky. Before we left home I checked that the web email address book was up to date with the latest email addresses. When I checked it once overseas, it had reverted to a state of about three years earlier. I don't have clue why, not that it really mattered much to, but it could have.

I knew my mobile phone was backing up numbers to my Gmail account but what a mess it had become with multiple entries for the same person and number. The last straw was when I added a new number and it auto saved to google but not to my phone or sim card. Once saved, there was no way I could see to add it to the phone or sim card. You have to select where when you initially save the number. Anyway, during a couple of train trips I put the time to use and sorted it all out. All numbers on the phone once, copied to the sim card and synced with Gmail.

I almost bought a new Samsung Galaxy 6 but Telstra would not be reasonable with the price and plan, so I have put it off. My last idea was to buy it at the cheapest large retailer, in this case Officeworks and stay on my very low plan, that nevertheless suits me. I send a few text messages each month, I can call home and R for free and I get an amount of free texts and $10 of phone calls,  and it has a 250MB data allowance, which is plenty for me. Mostly I use it for wi fi.

Australians may have noticed the pink roofs on public phone boxes, which were alerting customers to a trial of free wi fi by Telstra. I used the service a  couple of times. It was simply a matter of connecting and agreeing to terms etc and you were online with your phone.

Upon our return, the trial has stopped and been replaced by Telstra Air and as simply as I can put it, you use any available broadband signal who has also joined, no matter who it belongs to, to connect to the internet. Any of your usage will be against your own internet account, not the person's internet you are using. To join you need a suitable home internet plan and modem, which we have, so I joined. It does work at the aforementioned phone boxes but as the system has only just began, it is very limited as to where else you can get a signal. The system is international, using the name Fon overseas. I was scrolling through my phone wi fi connections and noticed it picked up on Fon when we were overseas. I had a look at coverage maps and it had quite good coverage in New York and Canada. Europe and London were quite good too.

We managed quite well while travelling without have to pay for a phone data card, using hotel wi fi and public wi fi. I wish I had known about Fon before travelling. However, surely the way of the future is free wi fi almost everywhere.

Our rarely used dvd player is ten years old. It works, but the remote does not. I can't remember the last time it was used, probably by Little Jo, but now she seems to prefer what can be found online. Coles supermarket had a Blue Ray/DVD player on sale for $60, so we bought it. I have yet to set it up. I have no idea how the tv etc is wired up as when we had the tv wall mounted, the installer wired everything up. I can't see us watching any more dvds though.

Meanwhile Windows 10 is sitting in my task bar, ready to go. Will I break my own rule, if it ain't broke, don't fix it, and thereby putting what I am familiar with at risk? Our computer is quite old now, although it is a bit like grandfather's axe, with a new head and a new handle. It is time to upgrade and perhaps I will wait until then.

41 comments:

  1. A great reminder of how technology grows on a daily basis. Greetings!

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    1. Hard to keep up at times Blogoratti.

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  2. Andrew I love your the way you have compared your computeryou? to the grandfather's axe fantastic. And what is more you have the same model of mobile phone as me.. In my opinion it works well. And

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    1. Gosia, the case is original but little else.

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  3. I too have Windows 10 ready and waiting to go. I gather Live Mail has been replaced, and Internet Explorer.
    I plan on waiting for a month or so to see what the consensus of opinion is.
    You are considerably more techie than I am. I drown quite often in all the new whizz bangery.

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    1. EC, it was hard enough to go from Outlook Express to Windows Live Mail. I don't want to have to do that again. Ass frustrating as it can be, I kind of like the challenge of new technology.

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  4. Interested in what you say about Telstra Air and Fon. Must look into it.

    But Andrew, dear oh dear, how did you come up with that rogue apostrophe? (Australian's).

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    1. Victor, I may have gotten away with it had it not been the first word of a new paragraph. Fixed now. You do keep me on my toes.

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  5. HOLD OFF ON WINDOWS 10!! I've heard it has a bug that fries your system when downloading it. Apparently microsoft know about it and are working on it, but for those who already downloaded and got fried, too bad.

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    1. River, I haven't heard that but the experts are suggesting that there is no rush and wait until the bugs appear.

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  6. I often think I will go back to writing letters.
    Merle............

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    1. Merle, until one paragraph is written and your hand starts to ache. Well, mine does.

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  7. Free wi fi sounds like a fabulous idea, but how do you connect to it? Do you have to know a password for every location? Here in Adelaide there are several wi fi hotspots where you can access free wi fi. I thought I could use the one at Macca's to access 'whispernet' which downloads books from Amazon straight to my kindle, but a password was required and wasn't sure if I should ask the staff if they knew what it was, so I ate my (cold) hotcakes and went home. Now I continue to download to my computer then transfer the books to kindle via usb.
    I'm not looking forward to the day when smart phones are the only option available for people wanting a new phone. That might be the day I resurrect my landline.
    I'm holding off on a new dvd player too, since I need to get one that has the same wires connection as my current one; the red, white, yellow, plug-ins.

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    1. River, the free wi fi in hotels does require a password. McDonalds never used to but as you say, I think it may now. I will check next time I am near one. Often a password is not required. Both Prahran Market and Pran Central shopping centre here have free wi fi and a password is not needed. My Kindle picks up either the home signal or work one and downloads any book I have chosen. Once it is set up for those, it does it automatically. Both need a password. Assuming your tv is not too old, it should have a HDMI input and our new dvd player has an HDMI output so it should just be a matter of connecting them via the one cable. If you do need to buy an HDMI cable, don't get talked into an expensive one. The cheapest work fine for most people and I think you can buy them in $2 type shops now.

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    2. I'll have to check re the HDMI input, but the thing is, all the cables run behind the entertainment unit which is huge and I'd have to shift it to reconnect new stuff.
      when I first go the kindle the lad in the flat behind me had wi-fi and I used that to download books, but he was unable to properly care for himself and got moved to a safer facility, no more free wi-fi:(

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    3. River, I connected up our dvd player today, which I may write about because it was not easy. Our new player only has an HDMI cable input. If you could download a book using your neighbours wi fi, you can do it anywhere where there is free wi fi..

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  8. Are Telstra and BT related? I think not, but we have exactly the same system, even using the name FON. It works very well and I find it invaluable. We've chosen to not download windows 10. Frankly I don't trust Microsoft to get it right. After a year we may look at it.

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    1. Craig, they are similar in their government origins and then privatisation. Once under the auspices of the Post Master General's department, the authority divided mail and telephone, to Australia Post and Telecom and Telecom later changed its name to Telstra. Our mail is still publicly owned, so far. Windows 10 is free for ever if downloaded in the first year, over the top of 7 or 8, so it gives us all plenty of time.

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  9. I'm holding off on Windows 10; still trying to get familiar with my new laptop and learning a new operating system as well would drive me batty.

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    1. Jac, I really hate change like that, but you do become used to it after a time.

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  10. I am holding back as long as possible with regard to Windows 10. In fact I don't even have a smart phone as I don't want to receive emails via phone. How long i will be able to continue I'm not sure.

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    1. But Marie, on your smart phone you can have an app to tell why your train hasn't arrived and you can tweet nasty unstructured sentences to TfL and tell Boris to get a haircut You don't know what you are missing. I don't do emails by phone. Such old fashioned communication is best left to a proper keyboard.

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  11. A lot of what you said about the phone and Fon went over my head. I do use free WiFi in coffee shops airports etc. when overseas. We have a Telstra Bundle which covers Foxtel, phones and Bigpond. I must admit I can't send mail via big pond when overseas but then I use gmail. I don't worry about windows because I have an Apple but even so I am reluctant to upgrade to the latest (Yosemite) because it means learning a whole lot of new stuff and things never seem to be as easy as before.

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    1. Diane, bundles do trap you in some ways, but as yours probably does, ours suits us very well. I'm really not promoting it as it isn't very good, but if you go to telstra.com , look for webmail and you can log in with your email address and your normal isp email password. If yours is like ours, you may well find a bill there that needs to be paid. I have heard about Yosemite. It was only two years ago that I learnt how to pronounce it.

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  12. We use a free app called Kakao Talk for keeping in touch for free. We both have smart phones and I wouldn't have it any other way, myself.

    Not that I use the phone especially often, these days I am down to less than 10 checks of the phone a day - but I do use the inbuilt camera regularly. It is just easier than using the Panasonic Lumix and I have hooked it up with dropbox so I can just pull my photos off that way.

    As far as emails on the phone, I've been pretty selective with what email addresses I have added to it. My email accounts are pretty much an organisational feat of strength. I have specific email addresses for specific things. EG the one I am using to comment on your blog, I only use that email address for commenting on blogs and receiving replies to comments. I don't have that particular email address on my phone. But my main personal email account where friends and family contact me, that one I do have on there.

    I have one specific email account I use for all things internet eg newsletters, places I suspect might spam me.

    I have around 50 email accounts, some of which purely forward to other accounts. Writing it down like this, it might not make a huge amount of sense however it works for me, and I do have excellent reasons for all my slightly OCD email goings on. ;)

    For example, one of the old recruitment companies I once got a job through. I had used that email address purely for that company, back in the early 2000's. Well, they obviously sold their email list recently and now I am getting all kinds of spams and even a couple of job scams in there. So I just went into the account and turned off the forwarding, and I am keeping an eye on the account once a week or so, in order to pull out any more scams that might get sent to it.

    Things like that are why I set these things up in the first place. :)

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    1. Snoskred, I use two apps for communication, Whats App and Kik. I have about six web email accounts and I should do as you do forward them all to one. Yet, with a phone/tablet app, they are so easy to access. While it must have taken some setting up over a long period, I do get you having 50 email accounts and how they work.

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    2. You have WhatsApp? *stalks*

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    3. Fen, I just checked my phone and next to your number is the WhatsApp symbol. Are you being disingenuous?

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  13. I couldn't download Window 10 before I left for holiday as it wasn't available. I won't when I get home if it's still available. Would rather let Microsoft or the public iron out the bugs firstl
    I have Window Live Mail but don't often use it..I have Gmail, Hotmail plus Yahoo email directed to it if I do use it.
    I bought some DVD's today as we don't have TV reception where we are.....the TV has a DVD player all in one...
    Telstra Air came out when we first started our holiday but I don't have the correct Telstra Modem plus there seemed to be too many rules, as in restrictions on use..
    250mb would not be enough data for me and my phone. I'm a heavy user it seems..

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    1. Margaret, Windows 10 will still be waiting for you when you return. I think you are right to wait a bit anyway. I couldn't see too many restrictions for Telstra Air, but the modem is certainly an issue. We recently upgraded our 15 year old modem. We use about 50gb a month for all devices but 250mb is about right for my phone and if I travel locally, I just increase the amount for a month and then drop it back, although I believe that automatically happens now.

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  14. Oh I'm doing exactly the same thing Andrew, I have the new Windows sitting waiting to be installed. My computer isn't that o!d I'm just not good with change I'm used to things exactly as they are, not sure if it's worth the anguish for P and Aimee :)

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    1. Grace, or the bad language they may here from you when something is moved or doesn't work like it used to.

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  15. Right now, everything is working, so I'm not messing with anything! No way!

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    1. Strayer, you are one person I am sure should not upgrade.

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  16. Almost every cafe I went into in Germany & Amsterdam had free wifi. The UK wasn't too bad either. We're still far too precious with our data here, like it's gold that needs to be hoarded.

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    1. Yep Fen. The US and Canada is much as it is here.

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  17. PS - I have W10 on my new work laptop. It's my first experience of this format as I've been using a mac for a while now. Not sure what to think of it, I reverted it back to the 'old' look pretty quickly though!!

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    1. Fen, Mac user? We are incompatible. You will never understand the pain of us Windows users.

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    2. I can build a PC, so don't give me that. I prefer Windows, far more flexible.

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    3. Oh good. I'll give you the requirements and add 20% to cost of parts for your labour.

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