Dan’s Online Diary 

# 26.4.06 by Dan

My brother and I have bought another Alfa.

So I will soon have three Alfas at my house. None of them will be road-legal.

My wife is a woman of infinite patience, whom I love very much.

# 24.4.06 by Dan

The New York Times has a 'Most Popular' section. Count the number of Canons in their top 10 most popular cameras. Yeah boyee!

In other news, I'm going to do an 'Allan' and alert you all to Xtra's fallacious advertising. I received a pamphlet from Xtra in the mail (not unsolicited, by-the-way) advertising 'cheaper broadband'.
Let's break it down. On the front of the pamphlet is a double-scoop ice-cream in a cone, with the copy "Now from the price of one of these a day, you can have Xtra Broadband.". So without further investigation, with the price of a double-scoop ice-cream being at least NZ$2.80, you'd guess that their cheapest broadband package would be about NZ$84 per month (30 x NZ$2.80). That's a bit steep.
But no, Xtra's marketing department is under the illusion that a double-scoop ice-cream cone costs NZ$1.00.
That's just a careless oversight compared to what you find inside. Inside the pamphlet, they're advertising a 128kbps (max 256kbps) connection for NZ$29.95 per month. For a start, that's not broadband. The ITU-T (International Telecommunications Union Standardization Sector) defines broadband as a transmission capacity that is faster than primary rate ISDN. So in the USA, that's 1.5Mbps, and in Europe and elsewhere broadband is a speed greater than 2Mbps. That's approximately ten times faster than what Xtra are trying to sell as 'broadband'.
Having said that, for marketing purposes, most ISPs have taken to using the convention that broadband is 256kbps or greater. Which is still twice as fast as Xtra's 128kbps connection, and still not broadband in a technical sense.

So how much do Xtra charge for a true broadband connection? Well since we're not in the US, the Xtra 2Mbps connection can't be considered true broadband as 2Mbps is the maximum speed, and I'd be willing to guarantee that you'd never quite reach that speed, due to factors such as line quality, etc. So to safely get true broadband, you'd have to go for the 3.5Mbps package, which will cost you NZ$49.95. And while it may be 3.5Mbps downstream, it's still only 128kbps upstream, which means uploading high-quality photos to flickr, for example, will still take ages.

So - make sure you know what you're buying before you act on Xtra's seriously misleading advertising; although you'll see they're not as far wrong with the ice-cream analogy as we first thought.

# 21.4.06 by Dan

I have a job. A job at the Manukau City Council. It's a nice-and-handy kind of location.

Easter was good. We went to Athenree. I watched Discovery Channel and the History Channel too much. I learned about a sinking ship and where Christ's tomb might be and how frustrating it is for a father and his two sons to build a really cool chopper for Gillette and what are the 10 best weapons in the world and where John the Baptist might have hung out and how you shouldn't use cheap fuel regulators when you're hotting up a 1985 Buick Grand National.

The weather is changing.

Some stuff is really cool.