Vodafone’s dishonest links and the memory hole

Vodafone LogoI dealt with a strange request from Vodafone this week. They wanted to fix a broken link in one of my blog posts from four years ago. Not to point it to the material it was citing, but to marketing material for Vodafone’s current iPhone plans.

I reckon that missed the point of that link from 2008, but read this exchange of email and see if you agree.

Continue reading “Vodafone’s dishonest links and the memory hole”

Weekly Wrap 31 and 32

A weekly summary of what I’ve been doing elsewhere on the internets — which actually covers two weeks because of various distractions.



  • Patch Monday episode 71, “Avoiding Vodafone’s Wikileaks moment”. Paul Ducklin, who is Sophos’ head of technology for the Asia-Pacific region, reckons Vodafone’s problem is much like the US government’s with WikiLeaks: too many people have logins which give them access to too much stuff. Our conversation covered what organisations should be doing to avoid a disaster like Vodafone’s happening to them.

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

  • Donations to the Artemis Medical Fund included $100 from online accounting software provider Saasu and $50 from an elected NSW politician from the Australian Labor Party.


Most of my day-to-day observations are on my high-volume Twitter stream, and random photos and other observations turn up on my Posterous stream. The photos also appear on Flickr, where I eventually add geolocation data and tags.

[Photo: Apparently Not, a no-stopping sign demolished by a vehicle that didn’t stop. Stanmore Road, Petersham, on 6 January 2011.]

Vodafone, I just don’t trust you

Yesterday a long-running “difficulty” with Vodafone was finally resolved. Maybe. After more than a year, a refund cheque arrived. But thanks to Vodafone’s continued incompetence I may not be able to deposit that cheque.

The cheque is for the $9.89 credit remaining on my account when I stopped doing business with Vodafone in November 2008. That it took so long to get that money is a story in itself, and it’s told over the jump.

The stupidity, however, is that after all this hassle Vodafone has made out the cheque to “Stilgherrian Pty Ltd”, as if I’m a company.

How does any competent organisation do that? Especially when there was no “Pty Ltd” in my account details? Especially when I specifically requested in writing for the cheque to be made out to “Stilgherrian”?

Fortunately I’m known at my local Westpac bank branch, so maybe they’ll allow me to deposit the cheque. I’ll let you know how I go.

Other people have told me they’ve had trouble getting Vodafone to refund money too, and had to drop the magic words “Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman” before they saw any action. While in my case the figure was less than $10, if Vodafone is consistently failing to pay out credits then it would amount to a significant scam.

Not good enough, Vodafone. If you owe people money, you return it to them. Promptly. Without questions. And if it takes longer than a couple of weeks you apologise for the delay.

Continue reading “Vodafone, I just don’t trust you”

The pleasure and (minor) pain of Telstra Next G

Photograph of Telstra Next G cardbus modem in my MacBook Pro, with a pint of Kilkenny nearby

Over the last few months, I’ve been trialling Telstra’s Next G mobile broadband as part of an experimental “technology seeding program”. Despite my initial doubts, I’ve been impressed.

Previously I’d been using Vodafone 3G, tethering my MacBook Pro via Bluetooth to a Nokia N80. It worked just fine. I subsequently moved to a Nokia N96 and Virgin Mobile, which uses the Optus network under the hood. It’s terrible. I made a big mistake.

But that’s a story for another time…

Sure, Next G is the most expensive mobile broadband out there. But it’s also the best. Clearly.

On our road trip, we could use Next G almost all the way from Cowra back through Bathurst to Sydney. Yes, the signal dropped out as we drove through hilly areas, as you’d expect. But the data link automatically reconnected once it found a new cell — with the same IP address!

Seriously. Here I was in a moving car, running a ping and watching YouTube videos. The link dropped out. It reconnected. And when it did, perhaps six minutes later when the terrain sorted itself out, the video started playing from where it left off. Pings resumed with the very next packet number in the sequence — albeit with ping times of over 370 thousand milliseconds.

In another test, the data link kept the same IP address while I caught a train from Newtown across Sydney Harbour to Pymble. In CityRail’s loop under the Sydney CBD, there was no signal in the tunnels, but the link came back up within seconds of arriving at a station.

Somebody did some great network engineering. They deserve a pat on the back.

But what else?

Continue reading “The pleasure and (minor) pain of Telstra Next G”

Links for 30 March 2009 through 04 April 2009

Stilgherrian’s links for 30 March 2009 through 04 April 2009, gathered with the assistance of pumpkins and bees:

  • The Australian Sex Party: “The Australian Sex Party is a political response to the sexual needs of Australia in the 21st century. It is an attempt to restore the balance between sexual privacy and sexual publicity that has been severely distorted by morals campaigners and prudish politicians.”
  • Measuring the Information Society: The ICT Development Index 2009: Australia is ranked #14 based on figures from 2007. In 2003 it was at #13.
  • Ho Hum, Sweden Passes new anti File Sharing Legislation | Perceptric Forum: Tom Koltai’s analysis of that new Swedish law: It’ll make no difference long term.
  • As Sweden’s Internet anonymity fades, traffic plunges | Ars Technica: A new Swedish law that went into effect 1 April makes it possible for copyright holders to go to court and unmask a user based on an IP address. Sweden’s Internet traffic dropped 40% overnight.
  • Study: online sexual predators not like popular perception | Ars Technica: This survey rejects the idea that the Internet is an especially perilous place for minors, and finds that while the nature of online sex crimes against minors changed little between 2000 and 2006, the profile of the offenders has been shifting — and both differ markedly from the popular conception.
  • What Is Fail Whale?: The complete history of the Twitter’s error-bringing Fail Whale, along with all the art and craft it’s inspired to date.
  • Voda/Hutch merger rattles ACCC | ZDNet Australia: Australia’s competition watchdog tonight issued a strongly worded statement of concern that the proposed merger of mobile carriers Hutchison and Vodafone could lead to increased retail prices on mobile telephony and broadband services.
  • All the news that’s fit to tweet | guardian.co.uk: The Guardian has also announced a new 140-character commenting system. “You’ll never again need to wade through paragraphs of extended argument, looking for the point, or suffer the unbearable tedium of having to read multiple protracted, well-grounded perspectives on the blogs you love.”
  • Share This Lecture! | Viddler.com: Mark Pesce’s annual lecture for “Cyberworlds” class, Sydney University, 31 March 2009. About the significance of sharing across three domains: sharing media, sharing knowledge, and how these two inevitably lead to the sharing of power.
  • Twitter switch for Guardian, after 188 years of ink | The Guardian: One of the better April Fools’ Day pieces. I particularly like the extracts from the Twitterised news archive. 1927: “OMG first successful transatlantic air flight wow, pretty cool! Boring day otherwise *sigh*”
  • Flappers, wine, cocaine and revels (Pt II) | The Vapour Trail: A few hours after five Melbourne girls were arrested for vagrancy in late March 1928, the headline of Melbourne’s Truth broadcast their misdeeds: “White Girls with Negro Lovers. Flappers, Wine, Cocaine and Revels. Raid Discloses Wild Scene of Abandon”.
  • A Blacklist for Websites Backfires in Australia | TIME: Time‘s take on the leak of the Australian Internet censorship blacklist portrays it as a joke and a scandal. There are some factual errors in the story, but this looks like how it’ll end up being perceived internationally.