Saturday, November 13, 2004

Telstra Big Pong

Lately I have been deliriously happy with Telstra Big Pond cable service. But there have been times when it has truly pissed me off. Mainly around two years to eighteen months ago when it was just not working. How many calls I made to the tech desk, knowing in my heart that the fault was not at my end. But even tech support is better now. It only takes two minutes of listening and pressing buttons to hear that, 'Victorian bigpond cable customers may be experiencing connection difficulties, slow web browsing and email, or not working at all'.

Actually I think the problem started last night when I went to publish my latest blog entry and it timed out and was completely lost. Of course it is never as good the second time you write it, but I gave it shot.

We had no knowledge of computers when we bought our first one in 1996. It was fairly obvious that the big button turned it on. It came with 12 months free net access to Compushare or something like that. You could only ever connect offpeak, it was always engaged peak time. It was unbelievably slow, although after connecting friends to Primus dial up this year, maybe things have not progressed much.

The next company was It was a subsidary of a large company who's name I have forgotten, but it was ok until I left pc connected to the net over a whole weekend and incurred an extra charge. Next was something like, that was ok too, up to a point. There was always trouble with dial up with any company. Then came eisa with a great deal and while they lasted just before they went broke, they had great service. But just before they went broke, a friend alerted me to a Telstra cable deal. $100 connection fee, then monthly charge of less than the second phone line and call in charges cost us for dial up. We jumped at it.

Two men came and dug up the street, laid a cable, two more came back and filled in and re-asphalted, another two dug up beside the house and put in a conduit and cable inside it and a box on the outside of the house ( I was horrified to think that neighbours thought we might have been getting cable tv), another man came and installed the indoor point and cable across the room and placed the modem and another came and set it all up on the pc. Real cost must have been near $1000.

Then we moved here, where it is 'backbone wired' for Telstra cable, even though today on Telstras website it still indicates that Telstra cable is not available here.

It was a condition of me moving that we could have cable net access, so in spite of my protestations, my partner insisted it was connected the day we moved in. Moving, combined with simultaneous property settlements is stressful enough, but add to that, the Telstra techie could not get a connection. We had to contact the building manager to get access to the service room on our level. We ended having to buy a new modem. A month or so later I protested to Telstra and they did rebate a significant amount of money. I concluded that our modem was very old and probably things had moved on, but should have worked. I moved the pc and bits myself in the car.

Apart from today, I am pretty happy with Telstra cable.

Happy Divali

Or as Bert Newton and Don Lane used to argue, is it Hawaii or Havaii? Divali or Diwali?

We went to a friends place last night to celebrate the occasion and what fun. Lots of small lights, candles burning everywhere (must have been a job lot of tea candles from Ikea), scattered flower petals, chalk drawings, wonderful food of course and cheap Fijian rum that even Coke could not dilute well.

Present were and older Aussie guy we know and his Fijian Indian b/f, a very cute Indian guy who always has us in fits of laughter at his gay scene experiences, a very girly anglo/indian/aussie catholic who was as much a virgin to divali as we were, and a very straight looking and acting handsome Aussie/Fijian/Indian with his Vietnamese b/f who has just done his HSC exams. The Viet guy was very cute and to look at, a teen and his b/f was in his forties.

Sadly I was very tired and also the nominated driver, so we left earlyish, but I am sure the party went on for a long time.....after all the traditional Indian male clothing had not yet come off for the dancing around in saris.

PS, nice steak and salad at home tonight, but b/f is over greek salad, so made a salad in a bowl with yoghurt. I managed to flick a bit of capsicum with said yoghurt upon it, into the air and then onto my shirt. Looks like someone cu..........nah, best left unsaid.

Thursday, November 11, 2004


Now I am not having a go at jaywalkers. I do it myself, althoughly carefully and considerately. But a curious thing happens in the mornings at the corner of Latrobe and Swanston Streets.

During the day/evening, people cross Latrobe on the eastern side of Swanston and mostly wait for the walk signal before crossing to the tram safety zone to catch a tram travelling south in Swanston Street. Cars travelling south do not have green light to continue straight ahead, only right and left turn arrows at the next signal phase. So, in practice people could walk straight across Latrobe at an angle to the safety zone, but they don't. It is jaywalking but no one seems to even consider doing this. Except, they do in the morning peak when they stream across at angle straight to the tram safety zone. At about 9.15, everyone suddenly becomes obediant pedestrians and cross correctly.

Human beings sure are odd critters.

I do love a full set of lips on a guys and this guys lips are perfect. The rest of him is pretty ok too. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

The electrics and dictators

Or as Zha Zha Gabor used to say in Green Acres, the electicical.

Now, earth leakage switches, power surge guards and residual electrical devices I am sure are saving lives and preventing injuries. But they come at a price. That is that they are very sensitive and the slightest upset can trip them.

Our iron is not very old but if left on for a long time, like a couple of hours, often it will trip a circuit. Aside from having to check if the vcr is set to record anything, resetting clocks, listening the guy inside the phone drone, 'Press and hold OGM button for out going message....' etc., the computer goes off.

No big deal, turn it on again, you think, but the mouse is upset and goes into pretend dead mode. Remedy is to shut down pc, unplug mouse receiver, start pc and plug mouse receiver back in. The keyboard is now dead, so press reset button on keyboard. Back in biz.

After putting up with this for some time, we decided to buy a new iron. Now normally I would not go near Harvey Norman as they tend to be on the expensive side, but as we were in QV in Melbourne, we thought we would have a look. They were too expensive and so big and as we were leaving, we spied a 'get rid of this at a special price, it is not selling' table.

And there sat an iron made by the well known electric iron manufacturer, Shark. It was a good price and had lots of features that we will never use, so we simply had to have it. It has a nice big tank, so not constantly refilling like the oldie, it glides beautifully over clothes and gets very hot, which you sometimes need. Plus a timer cut out, great for my partner who irons a shirt then sits down for half an hour, and a long cord.

We did not discover until we got home that it talks too. As we were taking it out of the elaborate packaging, it started to tell us of it's merits and features. Actually it was a disk with some moving pictures and a battery operated disk. Press the red button to hear about this product. Wow, 15 years ago the disk alone would have cost what the iron cost.

Now this is one mother of an iron but I wondered where it was made? After an extensive search, I found in tiny print, Made in PRC. Ah, maybe People's Republic of Checkoslavakia, but I was doubtful as I kinda recall, it was no more. Idiot said partner, China of course. Duh.

So, we hope our Shark gives us many years of ironing.

It started me thinking about the word republic. I must have been quite young, but I knew (the power of the press on a young mind) that republics were bad and bad things happened in them and they were ruled by despostic dictators and the people very repressed.

Hmmm, well with the exception of Ireland, perhaps my idea was not so wrong. I hope Australia becomes a republic sooner rather than later, but I hope we are not called The Republic of Australia. I like Commonwealth of Australia. It sounds very egalitarian.