The NBN: Misleading Information and Money-Grabbing Connection Costs

A few weeks ago the NBN became available in my street. Initially I was excited, until I started getting all the promotional and scare tactics filled material in my mailbox.

The TLDR version: switching to the NBN is expensive and not worthwhile until it is forced upon you.

The two worst offenders in the mail blitz were:

  • Telstra: I received advertising from Telstra telling me that I had already received notification that my current phone connection would be terminated soon. The reality was I had received no notification of this, and checking the NBN rollout map showed that the date of termination of my existing phone service was yet to be determined.
  • NBN CO: About a month after getting the letter from Telstra I got official notification of when my current phone service would be terminated, it is a little under a year way. This letter was filled with fear such as “Act now… before existing services are switched off” and it then continued further to state “NBN does not charge for standard installation”.

At this point I checked the NBN plans which my current internet provider offers. To meet my existing usage and to even match the speed I get on my ADSL connection would cost at least $15 more per month as well at least $100 in additional connection costs.

So much for no charge for installation. Annoyed I then checked against a number of other ISPs. All but one charges installation fees and all are a least $10/month more than my current connection.

With millions of people still to connect to the NBN these increases in fees will raise millions in profits for a variety of ISPs. None of which is good for consumers.

Given that the NBN has a reputation for poor service and support I will not be switching to the new network any time soon.

SafePrice, Avast and Sneaky Browser Plugins

For many years now I have been using Avast as my anti-virus on my Windows computers. For the majority of that time it has been simple to use and generally non-invasive. However, in the past few months that has dramatically changed.

The first big change has been avast prompting to update software updates for almost every installed application. While this may be helpful for the vast majority of people who do not regularly update their systems, I’ve grown to ignore random pop-ups that say my computer is out of date – because the vast majority of the time they are scams/ads themselves. Saying my system is at critical risk because I haven’t updated an application in the last 24 hours is overkill – especially when the application specific updater isn’t prompting for the update.

Today’s inappropriate interruption from Avast is much more annoying and down right unethical – especially as I did not authorise this behaviour in the application. Below is a screen shot of a produce page from a trustworthy and popular online store I visit on a regular basis.

Avast SafePrice Website Takeover
Avast SafePrice Website Takeover

Continue reading “SafePrice, Avast and Sneaky Browser Plugins”

Thoughts on Google Chrome OS

It was interesting returning to Auckland on Thursday night to find out that in the past few days the world has completely changed. Yes Google has finnaly let the cat out of the bag (but I think it actually escaped months ago) that it was developing an operating system to rival Windows.

Google Chrome OS is not planned to be released until late 2010 however the source will be released later this year (so in some ways you could start using it later this year). The full announcement is here: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/07/introducing-google-chrome-os.html

The points that I am most interested in are:

  • This is not Google’s first OS, in fact it is their third. In house they use Goobuntu (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goobuntu) which is a modified version of Ubunutu Linux. And at the end of 2008 they released Android an open source operating system for cellphones, and it rocks.
  • Cloud Computing. The operating system is going to be very light weight on the end users system and plug directly into the internet. This is going to be a lot like the Android where it is always on and things are straight away at your finger tips. This works really well for a cellphone but I do wonder how much functionality it is going to have for more high end activities. Sure you may be able to edit a word document etc, but what about being able to do some coding, or playing a game. In those realms I think that a full desktop environment will still be a lot better.
  • It is free. Well being open source and based off linux they really didn’t have much more of a choice. Having said that it really gives Microsoft a kick up the pants with the cost of Windows even at OEM price being really expensive.
  • The number of companies involved: Acer, Adobe, ASUS, Freescale, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, and Toshiba. This shows that it has some major industry support and the chances of success are high.

I am excited about what it can deliver, but building a web browser that gets 30 million users in 9 months is one thing. Building a operating system that can deliver a smooth user experience without bugs or issues is a whole lot harder.

Geek, Nerd, Dork Defined

A geek is someone who has the knowledge of the geeky type stuff and has social graces.

A nerd is someone who has the knowledge but not the social graces, and a dork is someone who has neither.

Nerds are the type who live in their parents’ basements until they’re 45, whereas geeks are more normal.

— GeekDad contributor Matt Blum

Google Street View NZ

I can see my car!

And so much for invasion of privacy. If you are walking down the road and are in a compromising position, why didn’t you think before you got into the situation. Google Street View isn’t making get caught a new thing, just a new way for it to happen.

New Year, New Website

I have just rolled out a complete overhaul of my website.

The changes in summary:

New:

  • Blog comments are back – provided I don’t get too much spam they will stay.
  • Java Web Start for software section
  • Text versions of many articles

Updated:

  • About me page
  • Articles portfolio
  • Website portfolio
  • Software portfolio
  • Photos

Deleted:

  • Homepage – Replaced with blog
  • Outdoor Activities
  • Links – Blogroll will be its replacement
  • Other stuff I can’t remember