* Posts by John Angelico

350 publicly visible posts • joined 20 Feb 2007


Online shopping tax slug not worth the effort: National Australia Bank

John Angelico

Thank You - finally the truth emerges

"Currently, the Australian Customs Service allows incoming packages to escape assessment for GST if the goods are valued at less than $AU1,000. This administrative decision, labelled a “loophole” by the retail industry and its lobbyists, is designed to avoid spending five dollars in bureaucracy to recover three in tax."

To be more precise, ACS does not attempt to collect amounts up to $A100 in charges of all kinds (duty, demurrage[rare], GST etc) from importers not registered for electronic transactions with them (usually this means end-users or final consumers (in bureaucratese).

Importers using a Customs Agent or dealing direct with ACS electronically will be assessed for all amounts, so it isn't a simple matter of asking "how many transactions up to $A1000?"

For items not attracting duty, the assessment can be shortened to refer only to GST, thus mathematically giving rise to the $A1000 value for entry, but as the NAB survey points out, few transactions would yield the maximum of $A100.

Oz airline Qantas breaks own WinPhone app

John Angelico

Waiting for godot?

julianh72, Qantas has been a long-time MS shop, from mid-90s (when MS used NT3.51 IIRC to take it from IBM and OS/2 at the same time as they took Telecom and CommBank, with much fanfare :-( ).

Based on CommBank's experience then (they didn't have an internet banking setup until they rolled OS/2 back in - with NO fanfare), I wonder how good some of the older PC-based Qantas systems might be. I suppose I'm just a grumpy old OS/2 zealot, and a lot of water has passed under the bridge since then.

Of course they have a lot of big iron too, but I suggest that you don't hold your breath waiting for action on the non-MS side of things.

Hitchhikers' Guide was WRONG, Earth is not in a galactic backwater

John Angelico
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Re: Wrong?

However, it scores over the older and more pedestrian Encyclopedia Galactica (hello, Hari Seldon and Isaac Asimov's Foundation series) on two points:

a) it is slightly cheaper


b) it tells you how to make the best drink in the known galaxy - the Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster

No FTTH under alternative Oz NBN plan, says Oppn. leader

John Angelico

Wrong Headline

The problem is in the title (as Sir Humphrey would have it).

Should read "Asbestos hysteria halts NBN deployment" because there is minimal actual risk of asbestos related afflictions from what has been built into those pits.

Check this rundown of the madness (apologies for the broken text of the link - it's a longish one):


Now beaming live from Pyongyang: NORKSCASTS!

John Angelico

Re: *cough*

[Hildebrand] ... and that's the long and the short of it!

Australian government launches cloud strategy

John Angelico

CSIRO used to...

...seed clouds to try making rain - much needed for this parched continent.

I predict approximately the same success rate with this cloud strategy.

Incidentally, the Minister for Australian Broadband Communications and the Digital Economy has the potential for a nifty acronym, but neither he nor his depart-mental (depart = go, past tense gone, thus gone mental) minions have grasped the potential for a Ministry of ABCDE. Maybe they simply followed their Minister over the edge of insanity (recall his red undepants gaffe/s).

IiNet offloads fibre network to NBN Co

John Angelico

Ah, but...

...has any construction activity occurred?

Climate scientists agree: Humans cause global warming

John Angelico

Re: Proof?

I'm sorry for you, but Mr Einstein demolished your argument a long time ago, when he responded to the many "German scientists" marshalled by a Mr Hitler to denigrate his work - "It would only take ONE scientist to prove me wrong".

John Angelico

So, if they can't replicate anything...

... can we actually address the proposition scientifically at all, since the scientific method requires that experiments and observations be amenable to replication by other scientists?

NBN Co hoses down 'scary Russian crackers' report

John Angelico

Re: Yawn in error

Oops, mis-spelled: "Fauxfacts"

John Angelico

Re: Yawn in error

The Fin Review is owned by Fairfax (aka "Faufacts"), not Murdoch, actually.

In error, you are.

FTTN cabinet survives Kiwi car crash

John Angelico

Re: No cabinet, no problem

And in a FTTP scenario, would there still be a distribution cabinet somewhere in the vicinity of the premises being served?

10-day stubble: Men's 'socio-sexual attributes' at their best

John Angelico

Re: Perhaps this explains

Surely he can only have two: AC & DC.

John Angelico

Re: Beards are Best?

I have maintained a beard since the 70s, and it even survived for a short while (as a trim goatee) whilst I was working for Gillette Australia.

The company and I parted company (amicably) after a short while though: I was not a world-wide enterprise, office-politics kind of employee and they were looking for a workaholic-type of person. Sadly, both of my bosses lost their families to divorce (I heard later from a former colleague), so I am not sorry to have left - 36th anniversary coming up soon! :-)

NBN rollout to reach 1.3m new premises by late 2016

John Angelico

Free - well, can I get 10% off that?

"FTTP for free policy"

The policy might be free (and not worth the paper it isn't printed on), but the supply of fibre to one's premises will certainly NOT be free, as the NBN has to turn enough of a quid from those connections to pay all its bills, including interest.

Oz broadband speeds collapsed in 2012

John Angelico

Re: Hmmmmm SLOW internets......

So, are you saying that the infamous NBN will allow us to download that 90% advertising content (which we don't want) much faster - at a satisfyingly fast rate of 100Mbit/sec, only to dispense with it once it arrives?

It certainly won't improve international downloads, unless they are already being fed to Australia at least as fast as the theoretical 100Mbit/sec the NBN is putatively going to provide.

So don't get your hopes up, Charlie.

NBN Co still on budget, CEO claims

John Angelico

What good is his experience?

He can't seem to get the organisation to achieve its own targets.

Either the targets are too ambitious (poor planning) or the implementation is behind (inadequate resources = poor planning).

OR it was never going to fly in the first place.

More and more likely that double CO2 means <2°C: New study

John Angelico
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Use of observations is...

...a new innovation (never mind the redundancy)?

Gee, who'd 'a thunk it? (Julius Sumner-Miller)

So what does that say about the older ways? Hmm?

Turnbull 'flat out' seeking NBN killer blow

John Angelico

Re: Of course we should go with FTTP

<Snort!> of course!

1. All this massive speed is potentially good ONLY WITHIN Australia.

I suppose it could be useful if you wanted to have a realtime feed of the Weather Bureau's re-computation of the current cloud pattern, direct from its supercomputer...

2. You can't suck any more bits out of the pipe than can be pushed in at the source.

If there is ANY intermediate choke point, then 100Mbits/sec doesn't mean a damn thing, and a Gbit/sec won't mean any more. And if the overseas links don't give us Mbit or Gbit rates, then what have we gained - snazzier weather maps?

And of course the national freeway/tollway network should arrive on your doorstep in all of its eight-lane glory, right? You would want the equivalent of the Basingstoke Roundabout at the end of your street?

Google Apps goes TITSUP for millions - users REJOICE on Twitter

John Angelico

Oh, no - more moral equivalence

Please El Reg, an "outage" (short term loss of service but expecting to be restored) is NOT the same as "going titsup" (loss of service probably permanent because provider has gone into liquidation).

Not quite a grammar problem, but the nearest graphic that fits the case - if the gif fits...

Boffins build ant-sized battery, claim it's tough enough to start a car

John Angelico

So is this the...

LIMO of batteries?

I'm goin', I'm goin'!

Mozilla devs plotting to put a stake in <blink> tag – at last

John Angelico

Re: Don't blink.

Doctor.... RUN!

Australia's coalition launches new broadband policy

John Angelico

Re: malcolm turnbull is an idiot.

This is not the model you were looking for....

The Telstra model the OP referred to was pre-competition.

The NBN is the re-monopolised telecomms network beloved of Mr Rudd and Mr Conroy and their union heavies.

Now I agree that the corporatisation of Telstra was a mess - the exchanges, backbone and CAN should never have left public ownership - that's infrastructure, like the roads, railways, gas pipes, water pipes and power lines. It is only logical to have one set of cables running down the streets, one set of exchanges and one set of mobile towers.

But the NBN as developed by the ALP was an even bigger mess, for a huge pile of money. Firstly, it was an idea soley dreamed up by Rudd andConroy to come up with a number to trump the then-government policy costed at 4.7Bn. They came up with 42Bn, and cast about for some grand "nation-building idea" to put behind it, with a public infrastructure component of 27Bn (IIRC).

The construction phase is way behind, pricing is terrible, take up has been woeful, and the financial success is in serious doubt because of the government policy to roll out more remote (sparsely populated areas) first. So those government guarantees backing the loans might eventually be called in and who would foot the bill, but us taxpayers (to be precise Thomson, our grandchildren. Indeed Thompson, our grandchildren!)?

The much vaunted speeds of FTTP would only apply if the end-to-end connections were wholly within Aust. and not always then. A 100Mbit connection at my end is not going to get me 100Mb/s download if the far end server only has a choked 12Mb/s pipe, or if some intermediate pathway is clogged, or throttled to 1Mb/s. And the same applies pari passu to the international connections.

I live about half a km from an eight-lane freeway but I do not have eight lanes at my front driveway. I have access to that freeway via two lanes in my street, and four lanes on the arterials connecting to the freeway ramps. BUT even if I did have eight lanes, I would not get a B-double with three TEUs over from Europe any faster than a ship could sail the oceans. And it wouldn't matter that the ship had the biggest marine diesel engine in the world, with 48 cylinders. Just get over the technology, for pete's sake!

PS: to whoever said Sean Howard started Oz-email, don't forget who helped to finance it with a half mill in shares in 1994 (before it went public), and who was sometime chairman.

'Australia's so big freight costs are high' claims don't add up

John Angelico

Re: you seem to ..

Yes, looks like another showdown with the MUA coming up.

Animal Liberation drone surveillance plan draws fire

John Angelico

Re: Hmm...shooting?

There would be restrictions on shooting within close range of populated areas.

In Aus, fox are classed as introduced vermin, they are still predatory, and yes it takes a good shot to bring one down. They manage to slyly dodge Rule 303.

The best foxes I've seen are the road kill - thoroughly dead. (This leads to regular references to Ruddigore "pass the fox, gentlemen? Yes, that's unanimous.")

For now, it is the most frequent method of disposal, as it happens that we currently don't have any bounty on them.

John Angelico

Re: Range?

Excuse me, but 1.7km or 3.4km or even 10s of km will barely get you to the gate of the house paddock. Try a lot more to get to the mailbox.

Check the scenario:

ALA: Excuse me suspect animal abuser, I'd like to come onto your vast property with my drone aircraft to film your animal treatment.

Owner (more likely Manager) And what do you plan to do with that film?

ALA Oh, probably drag you into court, suspend your export licence and kill your business, OK?

As the old song put it:

"Listen mate, there's only one place you haven't been, and you don't need my help to get there!"

John Angelico

Re: This Drone

"shooting crows would be a new occupation"

Nope. Merely a new technology adaptation of an old one - stoning the crows :-)

Boffins probe into moons – and associated rings – 'beyond snow line'

John Angelico

Space Nazis?

That was damn quick for Godwins Law!

NBN collapses* into chaos*

John Angelico

The delay is rather large

To quote:

"On Thursday NBN Co downgraded its mid-year forecast for the rollout by at least 34 per cent, blaming the delay on contractors."

It's never easy trying to pick up that kind of a shortfall. And the delay of another 10 years could see the total cost of the project double.

It's either bad budgeting or bad management, but I would say both.

The original scheme was political - dreamed up (cooked up?) by Mr Rudd and Mr Conroy in a plane, to make a nice big number "42billion" (there's that number 42 again!) to trump the previous Coalition government scheme of FTTN at 4.7Billion.

There was never a business case made, never any technical evaluation of what was possible, what resources and manpower were available etc.

So the initial estimates of rollout rate were a guess, and are now coming unstuck.

Well, I won't say I told you so, but this outcome was predicted!

John Angelico

Re: Bye, bye copper!

We could go retro and call it say umm, CUDN for Common User Data Network (circa 1970-74, IIRC).

But that breaks the TLA rule: it has to be a TLA or a pronouncable acronym, right?

NASA chief: Earth is DOOMED if we spot a big asteroid at short notice

John Angelico

Hasn't anyone considerd...

...transferring all that money to the Vogons and asking them

a) to relocate the hyper-space bypass just far enough out of original path to take out putative asteroid (say 5% of required total bribe err, development fund)

b) to PLEASE not recite any of their poetry (remaining 95% of funds).

Opposition leader raises ‘your Internet will cost you more’ spook

John Angelico
Big Brother

Re: Let's be clear about this

mikeinnc, you said:

"The NBN - itself an unfortunate choice of name, since it really is a National Communications Network - is designed to replace the dying copper network."

Unfortunately, you as a highly competent tech-focused person have missed the political reality here.

The NBN is ultimately intended to replace the private networks (plural) with a re-monopolised government communications network. If you recall, not long ago - within the last about 12 months, NBN paid huge sums to Telstra, Optus, and the other network owners for the purchase of their assets, on the condition that they no longer compete with NBN. This condition is called by the legal eagles a "restraint of trade".

The seeds of this disaster lay in the flawed implementation of the Davidson(sp?) Report into separation of postal and telecoms services back in the 80s. Australia Post was established to handle the post, sharing but not owning the natural monopoly of the land/sea/air transport infrastructure.

Telecom was established to handle the electons, and the natural monoploy of the Customer Access Network and the exchange infrastructure was left in its hands.

Thus it operated as a monopoly provider to its own retail business as well as to competitors - a recipe for the disaster which has followed, despite the heroic but futile efforts of competitors to get around the monopoly by running their own netwoks.

There should have been a separate infrastructure entity (government owned) which operated ONLY the cables and exchanges, mobile towers, backbone etc., charging a transparently equal fee for access by service providers.

Now the whole exercise is being shown up for the dog's breakfast it has always been.

Soak up CO2 with sponges, says CSIRO

John Angelico

Uh, how much energy is required to produce the stuff?

The MOF is produced using the massive energy of a beam line at the Australian Synchrotron?

That is a so-geeky place to visit (we live close by and the family loves Open Days), BUT how much energy is required in the first place to make this absorbent material?

Wireless performance will collapse, prices rise: Deloitte

John Angelico

Reminds me of the old modem days

when it was declared "physically impossible" to exceed 2400baud, 9600baud, then 14,400baud on dial-up lines. We finally got through 28,800 and 56K (so-called) before other technologies kicked in.

Oh, and just for nostalgia sake, I have actually used a 300 baud acoustic coupler on a telephone handset for real work. We occasionally had to tap the handset on the desk to shake up the carbon granules.

John Angelico

Re: nbn to the sticks

Fail right back at you -

a) the selling of Telstra was a bi-partisan policy started by a faulty Davidson report in 1987

b) the stupid Rudd/Gillard government (TSRGG(r)) was not simply buying back Telstra, but re-monopolising the network.

TSRGG(r) - mainly Rudd and Conroy - invented the 43billion (without any plan behind it) to trump a modest but workable Coalition policy at the 2007 elections: Gigabit/Gigabyte fibre backbone upgrade plus FTTN over time in a network that allowed flexibility for new technologies.

TSRRG(r) have been exposed in the latest Qld floods. The NBNCo network was out while mains power was out, but home connections were also out, unless people had standby gen sets.

Copper cables (due to be ripped out under the NBN scheme) plus home handsets, resumed operation despite the street ducts being still flooded, as soon as power was restored to exchanges, and therefore could be transmitted along the copper.

Boffins take the temperature of the cosmos

John Angelico

Better cite the episode...

...or some troll will reject it for lack of peer review.

Waiter! There's a phone in my soup

John Angelico

Just don't recommend one to our bogan PM ...

...who will instantly hyper-ventilate about a hyper-bowl!

ACCC spikes gadget price-fix

John Angelico

Re: Dr. Dr. Help Me. My Brane Hurts.

"back stab"

Hmm, is that like "stabbing you in the back" but condensed to squeeze out all the correct grammar?

Time has already run out for smart watches

John Angelico
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Re: Funny how these things go full circle

Hmm, don't know what happened to my marking you Plus...

I agree entirely.

I have a basic but excellent quality Omega, bought for me 40+ years ago by my Dad (duty free on a trip). Manual winding, manual date adjustment for short months. Clear view, keeps excellent time. I get it serviced maybe every couple of years.

Functional, basic practical - gee maybe this business of watches being an extension of your personality has something to it!

Mozilla to Adobe: PDFs don't need no more steenking plugins

John Angelico
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Re: Why would you want to view a pdf in the browser anyway?

Your example is best done in a calendar now, so hopefully your local authority/council/whatever-it's-called will ditch PDF for a public calendar display (gee maybe even Google Calendar?) so you don't have to go through all that swearing at Adobe, your council, and their web "design" staff.

Instead you just include their calendar into your own setup, just like including the public holidays (you DO include those important dates in your calendar app, don't you?).

Do Not Call Register operator breaches Register

John Angelico

Been on it for years?

Are you aware that one needs to renew one's DNC Register entry every couple of years?

So if you notice the level of spam calls rising (noting that certain types are forever exempt, like the big charities), then your number is up, and it has probably been purged.

And if you are on the DNFax/Call Business Register, you face the same problem, plus all the numbers in your PBX rotary set need to be listed.

Microsoft says Google trying to undermine Windows Phone

John Angelico

Re: Pot and Kettle?

You said:

"For that reason I hope that if the accusations are true, Google are forced to play fair."

Only as long as the case is not allowed to drag on longer than MS dragged out their defence. After all, fair's fair, right?

Apple updates maps to remove Australia’s ghost-city in the desert

John Angelico

Re: Centre of local council area

Interesting. That means that the centre of the Rural City of Mildura is 70Km from the real Mildura, isolated, without water and dangerous for non-4WD driving, and out of mobile phone range - even emergency services.

Now THAT'S better than Woop-Woop for the middle of nowhere!

Scientists build largest ever computerized brain

John Angelico
Big Brother

Re: Scale it up

Yes, I remember it - with an impossibly young chief scientist in charge of the project, and other laughable implausibilities...

Cutbacks hit CSIRO wireless unit

John Angelico
Big Brother

Could this be related to the unrelated ...

...events over at the NBN Co, which is anti-wireless? Or at least, competing with wireless.

Just thinkin' out loud...

Where were the bullet holes on OS/2's corpse? Its head ... or foot?

John Angelico

Re: uhm...

...I understand your broad point, but the writer of the article was not doing what you describe.

He was trying to emulate the ease of installation of Windows with almost any hardware that happened to be hanging around, and which may have been literally thrown around the office.

MS-Windows was then very forgiving of dodgy quality hardware, whereas OS/2 was far more finicky, but once installed it took a while to bed itself down - a bit like the old days of "running in" a car.

I still run eCS 2.x having started with OS/2 for Win (aka "Ferengi"). It's about time I upgraded - this box has been here with minimal attention for about 4 years. The only thing that doesn't work is the SATA DVD writer - testament to my impatience.

And yes, I am an OS/2 zealot.

German city dumping OpenOffice for Microsoft

John Angelico
Thumb Up

Re: You *have* to have a ribbon.

Well, it's a dead cert it won't be the budget!

NSW drops NBN access bombshell

John Angelico

Re: Bills rise

Well, let's put it this way.

If there is a certain cost per annum to operate the gold-plated network, then a contribution from the NBN will reduce the proportion borne by electricity users.

If they can't agree with the State Govt on the amount, that is, NBN wants to pay less by 400M pa, then this shortfall has to be loaded onto electricity bills.

That means that those bills go up.

Understand now?


John Angelico

New Oz road rules forbid touching mobes

John Angelico

Why not auto-answer?

One thing I missed in my one-person business when moving from 20th to 21st century tech aka Nokia mobile phone to HTC Wildfire Smart (HA!) phone was the loss of Auto-answer on Bluetooth connected devices.

It took about a month of searching and trying various Bluetooth apps/widgets and combinations to find what works for me.

I use two vehicles in my work

a) car with wired in fixed mount handset cradle which plugs into the sound system

Cradle adapter was all I had to change when I upgraded (see Bury brand Universal Bluetooth Smartphone adapter)

b) Utility with very old cassette/radio technology, so I have a sun-visor-mounted Bluetooth speaker/microphone device

plus I have a Motorola H500 Bluetooth earpiece for when I walk around the store, picking stock etc.

Finally found a Bluetooth connector widget which allows me to set up a connection to each Bluetooth device and shows me which is connected. Auto switch on/off when a device activates, Label can be changed to identify the device for me, as the icon is fixed (in the free version). Logically only one Bluetooth device can be connected at a time.

Took longer to find an auto-answer widget (search terms problem because it is called "handsfree" doh!)

It auto activates when a Bluetooth device connects, and gives a couple of seconds of ringtones before answering an incoming, and then it throws the call to the connected Bluetooth device.

Solves half my problems - the other half is the impulse to fiddle with the toy!