Is it worth going naked (2011)

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Internode have just announced that for customers with existing ADSL2+ broadband, transferring to a Naked plan whilst keeping your existing phone number is now possible.

Just over a year ago I compared the costs, and decided it wasn't worth it. So has anything changed since then?

Current monthly expenses (Nov 2011)
Service Description Cost
Broadband Internode Easy-Broadband-Classic (50GB)* 47.45
Telephone HomeLine® Budget# 28.95
Total   76.40

* – 'grandfathered' plan no longer available to new customers. Price includes 5% discount.

# – HomeLine Budget plan activated before newer conditions were introduced which disallow non-BigPond ADSL providers, and also includes $6 to enable Caller Number Display.

This is almost the same as last year, with the only change being Telstra are charging $2 more per month than they used to.

Easy Naked monthly expenses (Nov 2011)
Service Description Cost
Broadband Internode Easy Naked Broadband (30GB)* 56.95
Telephone Internode NodePhone2-Special 0.00
Total   56.95

* – price includes 5% discount

Whereas last year I could have got 150GB/month, now for the same price now I'd get only 30! There's also a one-off setup fee of $79 (for 2 year contract) or $129 outright.

So all other things being equal, there's a saving of $19.45/month, but with the downside being 20GB less quota. So, could I survive on only 30GB/month? Well looking at the last 12 months, apparently not always:

Graph of monthly internet usage

The next step up is the 200GB plan for $75.95 with 5% disc included. This pretty much nullifies the savings. It's a pity they don't offer something between the 30 and 200.

The other thing I'd need to figure out is how this would work with my existing PennyTel VoIP account. As I understand it, my trusty old Sipura SPA 3000 only supports receiving calls from one VoIP provider, and I assume that would need to be NodePhone for the number porting to work correctly. A bit more investigating is required on this front.

Cooking on Saturday

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Yesterday I made some cupcakes. We'll enjoy eating these in lunches this week Smile

The trick is after you make them to immediately put them in the freezer (otherwise there probably wouldn't be any left!)

Springtime in the garden

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Inspired by fellow .NET developer Bill McCarthy's occasional blog posts on his garden, here's some of the flowers blooming in our backyard at the moment.

Lavender, roses, snapdragons, roses, roses, sweet peas, geraniums/pelargoniums, hollyhocks, dianthus and more roses.





Yes, we do have a few roses - most of which are coming into bloom right now. Also a bit of work when it's time to prune them!

Samsung Omnia 7 with firmware updates

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Today there were new firmware updates from Samsung for my Omnia 7 phone.

Samsung Omnia 7
Component Original "Mango" Samsung Update
OS version 7.0.7392.0 7.10.7720.68 7.10.7720.68
Firmware revision number 2424.10.9.13 2424.11.8.2 2424.11.9.2
Hardware revision number
Radio software version 2424.10.19.12 2424.11.7.2 2424.11.9.1
Radio hardware version
Bootloader version
Chip SOC version

One thing I've noticed is that there's now "Internet Sharing" in the settings page (aka tethering). Nice to see that added, not that I'll necessarily use it.

Going Solar

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

14 of our 24 panelsEarlier this year I started thinking about whether we should invest in getting solar panels installed on our house. I'd seen a friend as well as my in-laws get them installed on their houses, and with our family power-bills not being an insignificant cost it seemed like now was the time to do it. Not to mention taking advantage of the South Australian government's Solar feed-in scheme

After getting a number of quotes, I chose Solar Depot to supply and install a 4.56 KW system ( 24 x 190W panels) with an Power-One Aurora PVI-4200 inverter.

Because of our roof orientation, they've been installed as two lots of 7 panels facing almost due north (see photo), and one group of 10 facing north-east. North is generally best, so the 14 panels should generate most over summer. In winter however they'll be shaded a fair bit of the day by trees, so my plan is for the north-east panels (which won't suffer shading as much) to pick up the slack. The inverter is able to take the two different voltages and combine them into one output going back to the grid.

A few weeks after the panels were fitted, our new electricity meter got installed. So now rather than just watch the dial spin backwards when the sun is shining, we are now selling electricity back to the grid.

Aurora InverterThe inverter turns out to be reasonably easy to get data out of too. The manufacturer distributes a free application that displays all the generation and running statistics. Physically, it has both USB and RS-485 serial interfaces. The USB sounds convenient, but it turns out that's not intended for end-users to use (pity). When I get a chance, it would be great to connect the RS-485 back to my Home Server virtual machine and maybe even write a plugin for Media Center to display our power generation!

This wasn't a cheap system (our mortgage seems to have taken a bit of a hit over the last few months), but the intention is that all going well, we won't have any more power bills to worry about for the foreseeable future.