Is it worth going naked?

Friday, 8 October 2010

Following on from yesterday's post I thought I'd run through the numbers to see what savings are possible with a change to a 'naked' Internode ADSL service and porting our home phone number to VoIP.

Current monthly expenses
Service Description Cost
Broadband Internode Easy-Broadband-Classic (50GB)* 47.45
Telephone HomeLine® Budget# 26.95
Total   74.40

* – '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.

There seems to be two possibilities – the "Easy" plan (which also counts uploads but tend to have larger overall quotas) or the "Extreme" (which don't count uploads). I've applied the 5% discount to the broadband plans.

Easy Naked monthly expenses
Service Description Cost
Broadband Internode Easy Naked Pure Broadband S :: 150 Gigabytes 56.95
Telephone Internode NodePhone2-Starter 5.00
Total   61.95

 

NakedExtreme monthly expenses
Service Description Cost
Broadband Internode NakedExtreme ADSL2+ Pure Broadband 60 Gigabytes 66.46
Telephone Internode NodePhone2-Starter 5.00
Total   71.46

So unless I've overlooked something, it looks like there's an opportunity to save up to $12/month.

One thing to be careful of – there does appear to be a risk if you choose the "Easy Naked" plan. Turns out that you could end up on either an Agile OR Optus DSLAM, and if you're not on an Agile DSLAM then I believe that NodePhone isn't an option. I'm waiting for clarification of this in the Whirlpool forums.

Internode introduced phone number porting

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Good news for some Internode customers – this week they've finally launched phone number porting, so that if you want to choose one of the "Naked" ADSL products, you can keep your phone number and have it linked to a VoIP service, whilst no longer having to pay separate line rental.

This is great, except for those of us already on an Agile DSLAM. Turns out that Telstra aren't being very cooperative in allowing people to move from LSS to ULLS (which is the position I believe I'm in).

The other problem I'd need to solve would be how to mix the NodePhone service that the phone number would be linked to with PennyTel – the VoIP provider I currently use. For our particular call usage pattern PennyTel has been a good choice. I'll do some further analysis but I suspect NodePhone's standard call rate of 18c per call won't work out as cheap as PennyTel's 1.6c/min (timed plan) or 8c per call (untimed plan). 

Update 10am

One option that may be worth considering is ordering a new naked ADSL service on an existing spare copper pair, and then using the Simple Phone Number Port service to transfer the phone number to NodePhone VoIP and cancel the old phone line and ADSL services. The downside is some additional costs up front, but the hope would be over time you'd come out ahead.

Kangaroo Island Holiday

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Our family has just returned from 4 very pleasant days holidaying on Kangaroo Island.

This is my fourth trip to KI. My first was as a Scout hiking from Cape Borda down the west coast. We also had a family holiday to KI (which I remember for the rest of the family being very seasick and me being very bored in Penneshaw waiting for them to recover!). The third (and most recent) trip was with a group drawn from various Adelaide Uniting Church congregations who went over to the island to participate in a church youth service. If I recall correctly that last trip was just after I first met Narelle so it's been a few years.

We caught the 9am ferry from Cape Jervis. It was a little choppy but no one was seasick. We were staying at Vivonne Bay (Australia's best beach according to some) in a really nice holiday rental property. Vivonne Bay may not have the facilities of Kingscote, but it is conveniently located on the island so that most attractions are within an easy drive.

Day 2 saw a trip to Flinders Chase National Park where we saw Cape De Coudic lighthouse and Admirals Arch (with lots of seals), Remarkable Rocks, and squeezed in an exhilarating 4km walk from Snake Lagoon (didn't see any snakes) down to the Rocky River mouth.

Day 3 we headed up to Stokes Bay on the north coast of the island. The beach where you park is deceptively disappointing (just lots of rocks) but if you follow the signs through the rock tunnel you make your way to a lovely sandy beach just around the corner. Speaking of sand, we then headed off to the Little Sahara sand dunes for a shot of sandboarding. Lots of fun, but exhausting having to climb back up the hill each time!

Day 4 we checked out some of the local honey at Clifford's Honey Farm, including yummy honey icecreams. Then over to Kingscote to check out some of the historical sites at Reeves Point (the location of South Australia's first European settlement in 1836). Plenty of time to catch the 4.30pm ferry back to Cape Jervis again and then the drive back home.

I can remember a few years back when I'd been seemingly working non-stop for an extended period and all I wanted to do was sit on a beach for an hour and listen to the waves. While that was effective, I think it is far better to take a pre-emptive break from the daily routine. Our trip to KI was just that (also because there's only Telstra 3G coverage on the island I left the laptop at home so 4 days of no computer too!)

One odd thing – I never actually saw a live Kangaroo this trip – just dead ones that had come off second best against road traffic.

There's also more sealed roads now than I remember from previous trips. You can get all the way to the south-west coast without leaving the asphalt, but there's still plenty of corrugated dirt roads (the short track to Little Sahara was probably the bumpiest).

IPv6 is coming.. soon.. sometime.. almost there?

Friday, 24 September 2010

One of the talks I did manage to see at TechEd this year was the one about how they managed the network infrastructure for the conference. Part of the presentation when into a bit of detail about how they went about providing IPv6 connectivity including arranging the backhaul from the convention centre back to the Internet.

I wasn't surprised when they mentioned they used Internode as part of the solution, as I've seen the Internode guys talking on Whirlpool about IPv6 for a while now.

The things I remember coming away from the presentation were that:

The hardware is certainly an issue, so it's good to see that the manufacturers are starting to release entry-level devices that support IPv6. Internode announced today that they're now selling the NetComm NB6Plus4 which supports IPv4 and IPv6 in "dual-stack mode". Billion also have their 7800NL router which operates similarly.

I didn't knowingly use the IPv6 network at TechEd but the comments from those who did were that it was also surprising how few websites were available – even Microsoft Update didn't work.

A lot of problems still to be solved - interesting times ahead!

Conditional text in Excel when a range has a value

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Unusually busy on the Excel helpdesk today – Jane's follow-up question was how to do the same thing with a range of cells. eg.

image

My initial suggestion was to use COUNTIF(range, criteria) where the criteria is "*", but it turns out there's a better answer – COUNTA(range) which counts the number of cells in the range with are non-empty. So the formula becomes:

=IF(COUNTA(B3:C3), "Y", "N")

If you wanted to do the inverse and only return "Y" if all values in the range are blank, then COUNTBLANK(range) will do the job. Also check out KB 274537 for details on some scenarios when COUNTBLANK doesn't work so well.