Internode Increase Prices, Twice

Internode BannerI use Internode as my current Internet Service Provider, they have been reliable, cost effective and I have not had a single complaint. The day before yesterday they announced that there would be changes to their plans and pricing structure. I now have a complaint.

There has not been an increase or major changes to their offerings since I have been with Internode. Indeed there has not been a price increase for six years. I can appreciate that these things change and inevitably prices always increase. However in this instance it is the percentage of increase and the way in which they have gone about it that sticks in my neck.

The reasons that have been given for the price increases are that while offered line speeds have increase, the cost of provision has not decreased. In other words users have faster speeds, download more and the cost of providing that bandwidth has increased. Internode blame the heavy use of services such as YouTube and BitTorrent for this. I am not sure what they expected users to do. These services especially video are only really available to those on faster connections!  Therefore they have hit the high speed users more than the lower end plans. I presume they use the above for justification for this. They are the ones using the bandwidth so lets charge them the most.

So the price goes up. Which as far as I am concerned is fine. I can understand that if something costs more then you need to essentially cover that cost. For me this means an added cost of about $10 AU to my bill per month. Currently I am on 8000MB/384kB connection with a limit of 20 Gig down per month. I can cop the 10 bucks on the chin. But essentially I have been delt a double blow. My bandwidth has been halved to 10 Gig per month for the same price that I am paying now. The cost to increase to my current 20 Gig limit once the changes are in effect? 10 Bucks… Do you see it? This is not a 10 dollar increase, it is a 20 dollar increase. Because that is what it will cost to maintain my current service.

This was underhanded in my opinion. If you are going to increase my plan by 20 bucks then bloody say that. Don’t halve my service! Don’t tell me that most users don’t use their limit and don’t soften it by saying that you are offering 13 new plans to better suit my budget! This is a massive increase in cost to the end user both in bandwidth and cost. I assumed that maybe it would be 5 – 10 dollars per month, I was very wrong. Internode will loose customers having done this and there are a lot that are not happy. As the Whirlpool Forums, in which users have vented their displeasure is a testament to. There are those defending them as well but more that are trying to wrap their head around exactly what Internode were thinking.

As I said Internode are excellent, I don’t have a complaint about their service. Am I leaving? No, not for the moment, but I am looking at alternatives.

With the advent of the connected world, the increase demands of bandwidth for applications and web development with software technologies such as Ajax, Java and Flash, podcasting, on-line video and gaming this was inevitable. People are using the technology, they are utilizing that which the online universe has presented to them. They are using more bandwidth, they are consuming more resources. It was not like you could not see it coming. But this is only the beginning. The Internet is being programed for users that have the bandwidth to run it, not the other way around. In my opinion the thought that if you give users a faster speed they won’t actually consume more bandwidth was an oversight. Then to slug users that are using these services with a large increase and cripple their ability to use them due to reduced bandwidth limits was wrong.

I am not impressed Internode, at your lack of foresight, your logic, your increase in price and your reduction in my service. But as I said I have been happy with your service and I will give you but few chances and no, you are not a cat and there goes one…

Internode Homepage Screenshot

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Akismet Just Broke Another Record

Over the course of the last few days the comment spam has been increasing at a phenomenal rate. I worked out that by this afternoon I was receiving spam at a rate of one every 15 minutes. Not much you might say. But you would think so considering these are the “comments” that make it through Akismet and into moderation! Not the total volume.

This for me is a real issue as I have all comments moderated. So I am getting a bucket load of crap with some that might be legit comments.

The reason for this sudden spike is unknown. Did the spammers find a new exploit, their pay rate go up, bots smarter? Who knows. But you might like to know that I am not the only one. Seems that Akismet broke a few records today:

Akismet Graph 310507

This Graph represents the Spam to Ham ratio since the beginning of Akismet.

So far today 8,818,521 and counting, it is only going to get worse. 95% of all comments today are spam. At least that explains that the spammers are working harder than usual. I was beginning to think it was just me.

Interestingly, ham has seen a jump in the last few days as well. Might have something to do with the fact that there are some big stories breaking. Or is it that people are getting more involved in the conversation? I hope that it is the latter.

I can sit here and moderate my comments and train Akismet to be able to better identify spam. But it must be worth their while to keep doing this despite the fact that most bloggers are doing the same. So really one of the best weapons is our readers!

If you notice that a blogger has missed some spam and it has ended up in the comments. Don’t click it! Leave the blogger a comment or email and let them know; so they can remove it. If no one clicks the damn stuff then there won’t be any point in spammers trying to post it. Only a fraction of it gets through, here: make that none. So all that effort for bugger all success, make no mistake they are making money (a lot of it!) and you the clicker are paying them!

Akismet is a great service and it 99% effective, check out the stats for it. But not perfect, I don’t think one thing on it’s own ever will be. Just do us all a favor: if you are looking for porn, Google it and don’t click comment spam. Thanks.

Flickr Make it Easier to Share Images

You see an image on Flickr and you want to share it with a friend or a family member. Now you have to copy and paste the link into an email or some other form of getting that link to them, right… Not any more.

Send_to_a_friend screenshotFlickr have introduced easy photo sharing right from the source of the image. Now my only problem was that after hearing about the feature and wanting to check it out but I’d be damned if I could find the feature. After a bit of looking around in a few menus  and having no luck I went back to the image page and looked more thoroughly. I spotted the option in the bottom right of the page in small print. “Send to a Friend”

Not sure why Flickr has made this feature so hard to find. Or is that that I am not observant enough? Features like this should be easy to find and use. No problem with the ease of use, in fact 10/10. They get a 2/10 for easy to find, in my opinion. Maybe they are trying to save on the bandwidth or something. Beats me.

Clicking that link throws you to a page with the option to send the image via email or to another Flickr member. There is a default message that you can add to or just send as is. The default message is fine in my book. I sent one to myself. The cool thing about this feature is that the recipient gets the message and the image in their inbox with an additional link to the page on Flickr that it comes from. What this means is that they can save the image locally. To save a photo on Flickr from the web page you have to have an account and be logged in. Now you don’t, provided someone with an account send it to you.

Nice feature and I think I might actually upgrade my account to a pro account as this is great for family and friends and I am going to use it a lot. I am actually trying to update my Flickr page more often, to keep the family in the loop a bit better. Some of our family are a couple of 1000 kay away and I know they will appreciate it. Thanks Flickr!

Flickr_Home_Screenshot

The Need for Speed

I have had broadband or ADSL1 for a while now. Where I live we only have access to ADSL1, ADSL2 is not available as yet. I have had a 1500/256 connection for most of that time. Earlier this year Telstra “took the breaks off” the fastest attainable speed that you could get. We also saw a drop in price for this fastest speed. In order to get the “unthrottled” service you had to upgrade your connection and pay a few extra dollars.

I have been pretty busy and I only got around to looking at my connection last Friday. Now the plan I was on, the 1500/256 plan dropped in price but I have been paying the higher price as I did not change anything. I found that I was basically paying for the unthrottled service. So I thought what the heck, I am paying it I may as well change to that speed and I got a 100% increase in available bandwidth.

Changing my plan means that I now have a 8000/384 connection. But this is variable, meaning that the minimum I will get it 1500/256. All week end I have been testing my connection on Speedtest.net checking if it switches over. Today I had some luck. I tested my closest Speedtest server which is Brisbane. I got the following result (note that the miles are wrong in this test):

What I noticed was that the ping has not changed much with the faster connection, not sure why. But as you can see the download speed has definitely had some improvement. The fastest I could get before was about 1300 download. So pretty good. I also tested Europe and the UK in addition to America, the following is the best result from the US:

The big surprise was the speed that I got here in Australia as the best result came from a connection from here in Cairns to Melbourne. What you might not understand is despite our connectivity here in Cairns we are actually quite isolated from the rest of the country. Our pipe from Cairns to Brisbane, which is the most direct is a long one and can be problematic at times. That Cairns – Brisbane connection is the bottleneck as all North connections run through it. But here is the result that I achieved to Melbourne:

I thought that was great. I am pretty happy with these results and time will tell if it is worth it. While I was happy with the download speed that I was getting on my old plan, it was not mega fast but I did not have to wait for much and I had the bandwidth that allowed me to do other things while I downloaded stuff. Now I have bandwidth to burn and the limit that allows me to test out great new services like Joost.

The upload speed was the thing that I was more interested in increasing. I upload the podcast each week and lots of files to our hosts and others this will help speed up that process a bit. But not as much as I was hoping. Then again it is very close to the stipulated 384k that is advertised so I should not complain. In fact it is very good really, as you may or may not know you never get what is advertised. Most people I talk to have no idea what speed they are on!

As I said previously this service is a variable one so I am going to do a few tests at different times and see what times of day are better than others.

These tests were performed with my internet service provider Internode using Speedtest.net. I have found Internode to be excellent and provide a great service at a reasonable cost. ISP choices are a personal choice and you have to be happy but you could do worse than Internode. A list of available plans is available from their website.

These speeds may seem poor if you live in Europe or the US and they are in comparison. Fact is; that for me this is as good as it gets where I live and is faster than most of the population here in Australia that have broadband access. Fast connection speeds in Australia are hard to come by and when you do they are very expensive, for me this is a good middle ground.

SPEEDTEST.NET is a great way to check out how well your ISP performs. It uses a graphical interface with some funky dials and gives very usable results as can be seen here. That is all well and good in isolation, but they also give you the functionality of being able to compare your results to others in your country and the world. These images are via the supplied links that they offer to embed your results into web pages.

Speedtest.net Screenshot

See You on the Other Side

I have been putting this off for quite some time. My humble PC is in dire need of a rebuild. I have put it off and put it off until I can no longer ignore it. The frequent error messages and faults and bugs have risen to the point where I can no longer truly trust it.

The latest and greatest problem is that the damn thing will not shut down on the first request. All it does is shut down the running applications but it remains on at the desktop. Other than that I am getting exception errors and program faults, especially when they are shut down. Not sure why that is but then it is Windows and I don’t think that we are supposed to understand it.

This week is the perfect opportunity due tot he fact that we have not got a show this week. We also thought that with Easter, we deserved a week off and time to catch up with our families and friends… me, I’ll be working! But once the show returns the week after this one, we have a couple of exciting developments to tell everyone about as 2007 rolls on by.

Tonight I am on the prowl for those elusive files that you seem to always miss or forget that you needed and loose in the format… I hate that. But I have had some great tips and applications that are going to help me out. Such as MozBackup. This little utility will back up your profile in both Firefox and Thunderbird (plus the many other suites that are available). Plus everything with it including bookmarks, mail, contacts, history, extensions, cache and so on.

To tell the truth I am dreading it. Wish me luck and I will see you on the other side!

Oh… and if I am “missing” you will know why!