May 30, 2007

Welcome back to New Zealand, locked mobile handsets!

Coincidentally, I hear of a certain something while I am looking for a new handset to use on Telecom NZ's CDMA network (think worn out buttons) -- the sooner I get it the better, as Telecom are going to make it obsolete by moving to GSM, or the network type Vodafone NZ currently use. (Albeit for voice they're using GSM for, anyway, it seems... data might run on something else if I read things right. If I have.)

Which can only mean one annoying thing for someone like me -- I'll have to put up with locked handsets once again. It's something I recall Vodafone did when I had my first (prepaid) handset with them (oddly, that Alcatel One Touch Easy was locked so that their postpaid SIM cards couldn't use it, though I see that Telstra Australia still do that sort of thing), but I found that by the time I got mine, they were already it seems giving out the unlock code for phones at that time fairly readily (I recall being told at the time that they didn't bother with locks anymore because handset subsidies were no longer being made; it also seemed they weren't too worried about losing roaming revenue from customers putting overseas operators' cards in while overseas). Doubtful they'll be doing that once Telecom gets their GSM act together.

Sure, I want phone companies to recoup their handset subsidies, but I don't want even a slightly confusing unlocking regime like that used in Australia (what I dislike there is at least two carriers' attempts to extract money after what would seem to be a reasonable length of time). The best I've had so far for locked handsets is T-Mobile USA: 90 days' account standing and they give it to you the unlock code with no questions or fee. At least that's what they told me when I signed up. (Which I should check seeing I have an 850/1900 MHz handset somewhere they sold me that's ripe for asking about. Too bad what I have read about Telecom's proposed network build doesn't mention whether it'll work on their network if it does end up using 850 MHz for voice. Gut feeling says no, though.)

So, the returning spectre of locked handsets to New Zealand would appear to be imminent. Tasty.

April 30, 2007

Another patch in the works

Oh, brilliant. I'll need to load up another blasted time zone patch, so my computers back in NZ don't get too confused. That's in addition to the one I already had to install for dealing with the US changes, too.

Now, will all the major operating system vendors issue patches in time for the 4,182,612 people that will be directly affected by this, I have no idea.


February 21, 2007

Hackers fake Howard heart attack

I just got a rather large stack of spammy e-mail messages saying that the John Howard we all know as the prime minister of Australia just 'survived' a 'heard attack (sic)'. Another says a 'hear attack (sic)'. Yeah, whatever. I'm not the only one to get the spammy/phishy e-mail messages, though. There's other variations of the e-mail message, and it's been happening for a while.


January 7, 2007


Well, dialup works. Photographs might take a while longer to put online. Oh well. Hopefully in-room Ethernet will be up soon, but it looks like that soon will be some time after the middle of the month. Sigh. At least dialup will do for now! :)

December 25, 2006


Here's a good reason to RTFM with those presents these holidays: setting those WPA passphrases to stop hackers (and possibly neighbours, depending on circumstances) can be a rather useful thing to get done.

December 8, 2006

Celebrate '06 maps

Almost everything's sorted -- I'm leaving for this (and next) month's Celebrate conference in New Orleans just after Christmas. There's one other thing I'll be doing while in the USA which I'll write about later when that's sorted as well.

I don't know if I'll get any book scanning done while I'm away, but I've had a couple suggestions from other Project Gutenberg Distributed Proofreaders users to consider visiting to help with book sorting or scanning. I hope I do have time to make that happen, and I hope last week's uploads aren't the last for while I'm away. We'll see.

And, to, uh, celebrate going... I've made some simple maps of CESCM "Celebrate! At the River" 2006 conference venue -- and nearby airport. Take a poke via Windows Live Local, Google Maps or Google Earth. (I've also added the addresses of two of the groups mentioned in the conference schedule: the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra -- mmm, jazz -- and Shades of Praise, an interfaith gospel choir, though I've no idea where the actual venue for their events will be. Both look quite exciting, so can't wait to hear them both, especially the former, when I seem to waste a lot of my DSL traffic quota each month listening to ABC Australia's dig Jazz station.)

It might be worth noting that when putting up Google Earth folders for other Google Earth client users to download, file types might need to be added in some cases to make life easier. On Apache 2, it most likely will be as easy as two AddType lines in one's .htaccess: AddType application/ .kml and AddType application/ .kmz ought to do the recommended file type trick. Useful to prevent browser questions, if anything, at least for IE7.

October 29, 2006

$6 per month for Vodafone's 'BestMate on Supa Prepay'

Sick of the viral marketing that's making you say 'just bloody well tell me'? Well, some folks at a local electronics store (whom I'm guessing other locals will be able to identify from the pictures below) decided to put out their (possibly still embargoed) marketing collateral for Vodafone NZ's supposedly brilliant (I haven't I should add pass judgement on it yet, and I've got no idea if it is, really, but I'm not a marketer) new BestMate™ on the new Supa Prepay plan (yeah, they write it with the trademark symbol, even in the press release, heaven forbid), for their prepaid cellphone customers, a little early (as far as I can tell).

So, if the sign is to be believed, it's 'Call, video [call?] and TXT' one's nominated best friend for $6 per month. I'm guessing that the $6 wouldn't allow reciprocal calls or text messages back without the other friend person also paying six buckazoids to Vodafone as well. It doesn't suggest how many so-called best friends one can, uh, have. It might also be one of multiple options. I don't know. Heck, I've no idea how open a secret this is, anyway.

Makes it quite interesting for people who mostly send text messages to one other person, as it then effectively trumps Telecom NZ's 2007 $10 for 500 text messages plan.

[I would have uploaded the photographs as indicated, but all three of my usual points for uploading photos seem oddly broken. I'll try again later.]

[Update (6:18): Looks like I've managed to get one of the album sites to upload. Sigh. Took a while.]

Here's closeup of the operative part of the sign, which basically tells us to call, video call and send text messages to our 'BestMate' for '$6 a month'. And here is a detail from another of the photographs. The person holding another person seems rather odd to me. The full album might be useful, too. Lastly, here is a slightly blurry overview of the whole sign.

Yeah, the man holding the woman in his hand seems mildly odd to me. I'm trying not to make a resistant reading of that.

Would mobile number portability actually get around to happening? Vodafone claim that it's happening next year, but the same statement has been up for a while. Then again, Telecom says they'll have it sorted to launch, of all dates, on April Fool's Day next year.

I hope that's not a joke. I'd like just to see a few more points of competition. Portability would help.

October 21, 2006

It's the telly -- no wait, it's the programmes they watch... no wait, it's...

Whoever said New Zealand's biggest threat was a moral decline? Maybe even a moral decline thanks to dodgy television programmes and dodgy films? (And with that, dodgy by whose standards?) Anyone thought of all those screens of varying descriptions wasting childhoods? Sometimes it isn't totally the blame of the media or the programmes carried on the media -- it's the use of the media, too, to some extent.

The NZH also run an intergenerational comparison on the abovementioned topic.

Of course it's dangerous to get blinded by one factor, so I won't venture more in to this particular debate.

Other things -- I'm planning a study trip at the moment. For those that don't already know what, I'll mention it if (and once) all the details fall in to place. And Klaatu's Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft is currently playing on my station. Hmmm. I liked the Due South version that they did; it just seems to sound different now.

New on is my take on the 'new' tabbed browsing feature in IE7. It's all right, but tabbed browsing did take a while to get added as a feature (for those our there not having been pestered or nagged by Windows yet to install IE7 yet -- if you're using the operating system at all, I've left the original message window available). Loading third-party solutions (OK, so one was engineered in the form of Microsoft's own Windows Live Toolbar) just isn't my cup of tea for tabbed browsing.

It's a pity that I find Firefox's memory leaks in its current releases on some of my systems at home a little bit too much.

September 28, 2006

And another registrar...

I'd a poke around today and switched registrars for

It's no real reflection on the previous registrar or even the new registrar (all right, so there was the price difference; I've had three different registrars, and I only switched from one back to another in less than 15 minutes because they only allowed two or three nameserver entries). If anything, it's a reflection of how smooth the domain market works. None of this pesky wait 60 or whatever days after registration stuff -- pony up with payment and your UDAI which your (soon to be) previous registrar should have provided (and if not, they have to pretty much straight away, give or take). If anything, poke around for a few minutes to create a customer account at a new registrar, arrange payment (if asked for; some don't ask for one until it's renewal time) or ask for an invoice and hey, presto.

Oh yeah, and hunting for the UDAI can add in a few minutes of waiting if one decides to insist on searching old e-mail or printouts for it instead of requesting a new one.

Well, that said, it was done in minutes, maximising time for more important things, like homework.

Bloody painless, it all was.

March 23, 2006

When using multiple secure shell windows...

...make sure you know which window you're using when trying to use su or sudo...

Oops. :-S

September 30, 2005


NZH: Vodafone glitch clears accounts.

Thousands of Vodafone customers have paid a price for a service the mobile phone company advertises as being free.

Customers using the Vodafone Live service this week had all the credit in their prepay accounts cleared out after a technical hitch on the company's network.


However, those who lost the most money were reimbursed on Wednesday night, and Vodafone said it hoped to have repaid everyone by last night.

Sending a text message with the credit, Vodafone apologised for the mistake and any inconvenience.

What, I wasn't hallucinating? Damn...

At least I got a refund for what the text said was 'GPRS overcharging', whatever they meant by that...

September 16, 2005

Gallery on the Section 27(1) site upgraded

To avoid the nasty issues I had with Gallery 1.4 disagreeing with ibiblio's web server proxy (which was a bearable but slightly icky problem to work around), I've upgraded the Gallery software powering the Section 27(1) site to 2.0. It seems to be working so far, and the only major thing that's broken appears to be the feed. Apparently there's no feed support in the current release. In the meantime, I'm getting the feed to 307 to the old version's feed.

Apart from that, at least the caching issues are gone for those that log in to view/do stuff. And the old links should redirect fine. Apparently.

More later.

September 6, 2005

Movable Type 3.2

I installed Movable Type 3.2 tonight. Not much to mention, though the Style Library concept seems useful. There's possibly more on this as I update the templates for this diary.

I haven't decided on a new theme for this diary yet. The selection seems much wider this time around, which looks fun.

August 19, 2005


I don't know why people don't patch their machines so regularly, but it seems my, uh, paperwall is picking up a lot of port 445 attempts, as well as the usual naughty behaviours on port 138.

Come on, the bloody outbreak is happening, people. Really, it is. There's even a rival infection going around, too.

Oh well. Back to the idle monotony of homework.

July 15, 2005

Telecom oddness

Another sign of Telecom oddness on my DSL connection: my traffic monitor claiming I've used 10.5 megabytes, while Telecom claim I've managed 52.4 megabytes.

There really does need to be far more accountability for the JetStream usage pages -- surely mentioning IP addresses in the usage meters isn't too difficult? After all, TelstraClear does it for cable modem connections.

June 25, 2005

Rats! Lines Companies! Rodents! Telecom!

So, it was a rat, after all, and lines company contractors. And now it's time for Telecom to talk compensation for themselves. This will be fun for them.

And there's little demand for business DSL upstream speeds faster than 128? Someone tell me that Telecom are joking. Really. They must be.

June 20, 2005

Sliced fibre, anyone?

All right, who smells that Xtra's and Telecom's problems today are thanks to someone (last time I remember something similar, it was a road contractor, but of course it doesn't mean it was them this time) slicing a little bit of Telecom fibre optic cable?

If it was just one cable, perhaps having a backup route might actually be a good idea...

I'm typing this over dialup. Helps having backup connectivity off a provider that avoids the telco that provides your usual network access. :)

May 19, 2005

Telecom wireless access

Well, another try of Telecom's hotspot service worked this time, in the bar on the ground floor of the railway station in Wellington -- unlike my last attempt at Starbucks in Willis Street.

May 16, 2005

College Libraries Set Aside Books in a Digital Age

From the New York Times: College Libraries Set Aside Books in a Digital Age. Some shades of Cambridge High School anyone, but perhaps at least in a more positive (and, well, American, geographically, as opposed to New Zealand) setting? And to imagine if VUW tried this... and to think of the digital rights management costs, especially with those non-one-off licence payments! Still, the basic principle shows much promise. Interesting, this all -- will be equally interesting to see how it turns out. Outside the world of education, I do wonder what uses there may be.

Time will tell.

On another note potentially stupid note, I managed to coax my DVD-ROM drive here to play the Brooke Fraser DVD, though not using my preferred software video player. But in any case, I'm playing it a few times now in case I don't get a chance to do it again on this computer. It's an improvement on the results of my last attempt to play the disc, anyway.

[Listening to: Saving The World, Lifeline, Arithmetic and Better -- Brooke Fraser -- What To Do With Daylight: Special Edition (Disc Two: DVD) (18:51/19:09)]

May 7, 2005


It's odd what has the most views in the album: a picture of what I presume is a replica Parthenon that a friend uploaded. Maybe it has something to do with the rather odd comments the photograph received over the course of a couple of months. (Some other photographs suffered from a similar fate; I tried to get rid of the comments with obscene language or porn or other unwanted comment spam links. I don't like doing that. I feel like a censor. Yuck.)

Anyway, I imagine that Kari photographed the Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee.

April 28, 2005

Radio feeds

How to waste one's 'broadband' traffic quota: listen to radio feeds!

[Listening to: Concerto in C (in the style of Vivaldi): Andante doloroso -- Fritz Kreisler -- Fritz Kreisler Edition (04:07)]

[Listening to: Imagine Me Without You (LP Version) -- Jaci Velasquez -- Crystal Clear (04:10)]

[Listening to: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op 61: Wedding March -- Aaron Rosand -- The Story Of Mendelssohn (01:32)]

[Listening to: WFUV Stream]

[Listening to: God Of Wonders -- Rebecca St James -- Worship God (04:13)]

(Yes, I do have a QuickTime and RealAudio player installed somewhere, the latter for Humour Australia tracks primarily, and the former for some video clips from school, but it seems, alas or otherwise, Microsoft have the best feeds.)

[Listening to: Messiah Highlights: Hallelujah! -- Sir Thomas Beecham -- Händel: Messiah - Highlights (03:33)]

[Listening to: I Could Sing Of Your Love Forever -- Sonicflood -- Sonicpraise (04:47)]

[Listening to: You Are So Good To Me -- Third Day -- Offerings II: All I Have to Give (04:02)]

[Listening to: 50/50 -- Metal Urbain -- Anarchy In Paris (02:45)]

[Listening to: audioad9 -- Steven Curtis Chapman -- All Things New (00:11)]

[Listening to: Passenger Side (LP Version) -- Wilco -- Wilco A.M. (03:34)]

But, the best feed on the Microsoft list, of course, is...

[Listening to: BBC News -- Yahoo! Broadcast]

On the subject of wasting my broadband traffic and Telecom, their Rex & Molly site has me suspicious. It just doesn't seem right...

News wise, here's an afternoon roundup. Quite a lot of gender- and sexuality-related stories at the New York Times this week, it seems.

[Listening to: Also Sprach Zarathustra (Sunrise) -- Saint Louis So/Walter Susskind -- 25 Thunderous Classics (01:43)]

[Listening to: Polonaise -- Moscow Symphony Orchestra -- Orchestral Works Volume 17 (05:02)]

March 6, 2005

Signs malware and spyware are both getting out of hand

Here's another sign (courtesy of Slashdot) that malware is getting out of hand: at least 23 megabytes of bandwidth used up without asking. Not to mention in the same story someone discovering that they've been had for no less than 65 megabytes for a .NET Framework installation they never asked for, excluding the adware, malware and advertisements that came with it.

I wonder if Microsoft AntiSpyware and Norton AntiVirus will come out with definitions against the web page markup that does this, if not already... as someone on a byte cap, this is not only below the belt, in a very uncomfortable spot, but quite probably unethical.

I guess I have to be very careful what websites I visit, now. Grumble. Not that I wasn't already, however.

February 27, 2005

Where there are peers, now someone doesn't peer

TelstraClear: mutter. Further information is available from the NZNOG.

Hopefully the situation gets better. Soon.

February 12, 2005

Nameserver queries up markedly

For some odd reason, the queries on two different secondary nameserver providers for have been markedly up from a several thousand a month (September 2004) to either the high tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands (October 2004 to this month to date).

How odd -- and that's just for two of the providers. Maybe it's time to take a closer look at the site logs again.

I did have some maelstroms on the odd occasion of varying levels of annoyances, so perhaps it's something to do with that.

I wonder if I should do a graph of it?

January 24, 2005

Link resolvers

Well, I had some progress persuading my copy of EndNote 7 (as kindly provided by a VUW instutional licence that covers students) to like the VUW Library's link resolver. So far, I've had some luck with the path set to and the arguments set to ?genre=article&issn=ISSN&volume=VOLUME&issue=ISSUE&date=DATE&spage=SPAGE&sid=&title=TITLE&atitle=ATITLE&aulast=AULAST&pid=.

However, even that isn't perfect. Or the resolver itself isn't: even with the path set to go through the library's EZproxy server (, it still has some issues, activated from EndNote or within a database. At least it does tell me which databases are good for looking through for a specific article, and it does work/link through with some databases.

As for the actual use of link resolvers, I'm finding them really useful, especially within EndNote when I need to find an article again. While some databases like EBSCOhost does provide me a link I can bung through VUW's EZproxy server to (legally) get the article again.

Good thing there's also the Serial Solutions list that VUW subscribes to, too. Unfortunately it doesn't list some databases due to (presumably) non-supply of suitable collections data by them. Mumble. Never mind.

January 22, 2005

News feed at the Electricity Commission

I thought that seeing the power house officially says it's web news management for hydroelectric power stations, I'd better create a category/section about electricity policy and issues, even if it's now mainly a place to talk about books without copyright. So, here I go.

A quango that has an XML news feed on its front page. Now, let's see if in the new year the Electricity Commission maintains it. And its insurance policy.

On the subject of linking, Six Apart have put together a Q&A page on rel="nofollow".

In the area of S27(1) books, Venereal Diseases in New Zealand is now In Post-Processing in DP too, like the Mazengarb Report. My next document is currently sitting in the DP OCR pool, now. Alas, the next one to scan is going to be quite huge. Eeeek. I guess that I'd better have a good lunch before I start scanning, this next time.

And, last for now, I took some photographs of the Wellington Railway Station, Waterloo Quay, Parliament Building, Government Building and the Wellington Cenotaph late last night on a fifteen second exposure for most of them. At first impressions, I think that the seemingly (at first, at least) over-exposed photograph of the railway station actually looks good, with the blurred flags flapping and the large golden ball of light leaving the station could be interpreted in many ways as a static image. The album is currently offline, but hopefully not for much longer. I'll add the photographs when it's available again.

January 8, 2005

A new project, and a new location!

Well, to cut a long story short, the power house has indeed changed locations. For now, at least, but that said, it's not an experience I want to repeat any time soon.

Sorry for the long entry, too. Got heaps to mention.

(Yes, kids, is still experiencing trouble. Sorry. I'm working on it with Philip as time allows either of us. :) Thanks for everything, definitely, Philip!)

Part of the reason is that I've decided to take on a new project, digitising books that come under Section 27(1) of the Copyright Act 1994 (NZ). So far, I've only done 1954's Mazengarb Report, but I think there's some good, promising targets for the Section 27(1) treatment. (It's going through the Distributed Proofreading process to become a Project Gutenberg e-book, too, which coincidentally -- read on for the coincidence -- is also hosted on ibiblio.)

As a result, I'll be spending less time on esoteric things, and mainly talking here about the books I republish on the Section 27 pages, both on the Section 27 project itself, and commenting on the books I post. I'll be creating a category presently for all that stuff.

TypeKey authentication is, for the time being, compulsory. My web host for the dr-fun-changes list and the Section 27 pages has suggested it. And, yes, it's the fine, gentle creatures at ibiblio. (I like their self description on their front page, the public's library and digital archive, incidentally -- fits in with PG and Section 27 quite well, methinks.) Thanks, guys, for taking my pages on for hosting.

It was actually for the dr-fun-changes list to be closer to the people who host the Doctor Fun pages that I originially decided to move. Then I came up with the Section 27 project, so after a bit of consultation with librarians, my university's copyright officer (even though I didn't use and don't intend to use VUW books for the time being), and a couple other allied experts, it appeared that ibiblio was also a good fit for digitised books that have no copyright in New Zealand.

You'll find more gormless information on the Section 27 page.

There's much more in the way of news I want to mention that I haven't while tph has been down, but I'll save that for a bit later. Such as the fact that a lot of inter-entry links are hard coded for the previous location. Never mind. They might get fixed, some day, if I have time. I knew I should have used relative links...

But, to cut things short, I'm back in business! At least completely so once my Jabber server has Internet connectivity again. :) I'm doing new projects now, so old ones may fall by the wayside, but that's another story, too. I'll keep you all updated.

November 15, 2004

Why run backups?

What, stupidity with files when it comes to computer maintenance? That would have to be the first of an infinite number of reasons why I have installed a backup routine for my critical systems. Which reminds me, though I save an image onto a network share, it's just about time to transfer some of that to compact disc, once again. After all, I don't want to get worked up over losing 300 photographs myself, especially after the Kohanga end of year concert last Thursday night.

Based on the reader comments on a similar article the above linked to, it sounds like to me quite possibly the BBC could possibly take the cake for the freezing the hard disc trick.

All right, back to school work, now.

October 23, 2004

Comment spam again

Yes, tph -- and thus everything else running off (which includes my Jabber server) -- is currently suffering a comment spam maelstrom, once again. Grumble. There were somewhere between 40 and 60 spam messages/comments. (I'd give an exact count, but they were coming in fast enough to annoy me.)

Spammers: when will you realise you're losers for making people's lives (say, mine) harder just to sell stuff?

In other thoughts, I notice that it's mainly .info domain names that they seem to be using. Maybe it's due to the free .info domain names offers I've seen floating around the Internet lately. Argh.

On another thought, I really need to move stuff to the other box I have on this network to prevent some of the issues.

[Listening to: Jewel -- A Night Without Armor: Poems by Jewel]

October 2, 2004

Work, work, work...

I'll be dead for the next few weeks. Bear with me...

When I'm back, hopefully there'll be more photography up.

September 10, 2004

Falling apart at first, on average

Seems like that the new box is having some minor issues with load averages, using the exim4-daemon-heavy package from Debian testing. From what I could tell, it had something to do with frozen and bounced messages getting repeatedly reprocessed for viruses and spam stuff by Exim.

So, in the meantime, I've re-set ignore_bounce_errors_after and timeout_frozen_after to some probably dangerously (but hopefully sane and or understandable) low levels for now, and set values for queue_only_load and deliver_queue_load_max. Hopefully that does the trick for now, and things don't get too bad (like a big dictionary-based spammer attack on the mail servers here).

Perhaps setting these sorts of options as a matter of course when setting up an Exim daemon is a good idea, albeit from what I can tell.

In other news, I have upgraded to Movable Type 3.11. No apparent issues, but I've come up with a new method of installing the files that seem to make things quicker to upgrade.

Oh yeah, and there's a new logo on SCMA's website. Well, it's 'new' only in that it looks much better than our last drawing of it, but useful and much better, anyway.

[Listening to: Our Mystery -- Bebo Norman -- Myself When I Am Real (03:33)]

September 3, 2004

To (be) live or not to (be) live

If anyone's wondering, I'm currently watching Rove on TV3. I wonder if I should join their vast database of willing TV guinea pigs?

I need to make my life a bit more exciting some time soon. But I don't seem to be bothered at the moment. Hmmmm. I think it has something to do with upcoming assignments, as opposed to dangerously bad apathy, as I do want to be social, when I have the time.

September 2, 2004

New box

I'm currently building a new box with a view to using it on Philip's network as at least a spam filter and virus scanner. Currently it's being used to relay mail between the gateway and, but I have a feeling this (the spam and virus stuff) is actually something I should have another go at persuading greta to do on her own.

In the meantime, the load average issue on greta has pretty much disappeared, so the lag issues on the Jabber daemon have gone. Back in business!