Archive for November 19, 2007

[ccc-news] Assorted News 2 :)

[ccc-news] Assorted News 2 🙂

In this edition:

Important News
GST Free status confirmed.
10% drop in Auzzie Dialup costs
Significant reduction in hosting costs.
New! 20c untimed STD calls with no internet or special equipment needed…

What’s New on the ‘Net
Credit Card Alternatives
Under $10 Gadget Gift Ideas

Kids can kill computers!
No Joost for You 🙁
Old Printers wanted.
CCC appears on Australia’s Funniest Home Videos
Easiest Job since Last Newsletter
A few more addresses added.
Warehouse Bargains
Answering machine on the blink?

For Sale:
Two pairs of Panasonic cordless phones for sale

GST Free Status Confirmed

After 7 weeks of waiting, the ATO has confirmed in writing that Cool Country Consulting is now deregistered from GST.

10% Reduction in Auzzie Dialup costs.

The full 10% discount has been applied to Auzzie Internet Dialup connections. This means dialup internet through Auzzie / CCC is now $1 per hour instead of $1.10 per hour, and is capped monthly to a maximum of $25 per hour instead of $27.50.

Significant reduction in Hosting Costs.

I’ve cut the cost of web hosting plans, some by more than 30% – see for new prices.

New! 20c untimed STD calls with no internet needed.

I am investigating a new type of VoIP service which does not require any special equipment or telephone connection! This means Anyone who has a telephone line will be able to make VoIP calls. The call costs will likely be:

* 20c untimed per call to any landline in Australia
* 22c per minute (+10c connection fee) to mobile phones in Australia.
* Free account creation
* $5 accounting fee for recharges irrespective of recharge amount. (I have to recharge manually which takes time, hence the cost.)

The service itself is still under development so while I am accepting new connections, I cannot guarantee that it will remain in it’s current state. I have four people already using the service and have not heard any complaints yet. If the service is withdrawn, I’ll refund the balances of prepaid accounts.

How it works:
Step 1 Press a memory button on your phone.

(Your phone will dial 1832 02 8207 8900, I will help you program this number into a memory button on your phone!)

Step 2 Once you hear the engaged tone – hang up – there will be no charge for this call from Telstra

Step 3 After around ten seconds your telephone will then ring and when you pick it up you will be told how much credit you have and then asked to dial the number of the person you wanted to call.

Credit Card Alternatives

There’s a few web sites offering debit cards that operate like credit cards. While you can get a Visa Debit card from ANZ or NECU (and probably the other banks too) you have to endure a credit history check, and be of a certain age. A recent discussion on Whirlpool’s “What’s new on the ‘net” forum mentioned a site called “Bopo” at which allows you to buy a no-credit ‘credit card’ that you can use for shopping online, etc. Another site called Virtual Visa offers a similar service, but based on their fine print I can’t recommend it. (No recharge possible, loss of credit on expiry, etc.)

Gadget Gift Guide

If you need to buy someone a present for under $10, as seems to be quite common for Christmas parties, here’s a couple of suggestions:
1 – The Amazing Fly Gun – $7.95 at Jaycar Electronics (which is next door to The Warehouse in Armidale) or online at – it shoots a small round transparent fly swat directly at the fly. Flies apparently have bad eyesight but any motion within about 60cm alarms them. Good cheap fun! (Better than my previous technique which was blind them with a torch, and whack!)
2 – Pen holder with clock and three colour LED display from The Warehouse. A colourful cube that continuously changes colour. $7.90, but you have to buy 4 AAA batteries for it..

I was going to recommend a great site at but sadly they’re US only. Still, amusing nonetheless!

Kids can kill Computers!

About two weeks ago, a customer called to ask if I could install a new PC for her. This was a bit puzzling since I knew her computer wasn’t that old. Turned out a small human whose days on earth probably numbered less than a thousand, had somehow managed to get behind the computer and flip the small switch that tells it it’s in America running on 110V. It predictably went bang. (The computer, not the kid!) They’d already ordered another one (computer, not kid) after another IT organisation had claimed it would cost over $900 to repair. (My quote after the purchase was somewhat better, at around $350 or so – some IT businesses really know how to guild the lilly.) After setting up their new one, and adding the parts they wanted from the old one, they opted not to repair the old one and donated it to CCC where after some interesting and potentially dangerous experiments, I was able to revive it.

Kids can kill VCRs too – one came in with 10 grapes inside! They eventually conducted too much power, causing a part to ‘go troppo’ and vaporise the fuse.

No Joost for You 🙁

One of my long-term clients who lives too far out of town to get broadband rang, having trouble getting Joost going. (I mentioned Joost last newsletter, free from – a program that turns your computer into a TV with 15,000 shows you can watch on demand.) Sadly, she could only get ISDN where she lives. ISDN runs at half the slowest speed of broadband, which is a speed of 128K. Since Joost requires 600K, she was not having any joy. It is quite frustrating how many people out here live in great properties, but suffer as a result of living just a bit too far away from a telephone exchange! While wireless technologies do exist that might be fast enough, none of them give enough download allowance to be able to use this new technology.

Some keen-eared ABC radio listeners may have heard me talking about Joost on Friday afternoon.

Old Printers wanted.

If you have an old inkjet printer that is refusing to print – that is it only prints white – I’d be happy to relieve you of it for some home-made experiments in new techniques to repair them. Success has been moderate so far with the small stock of retirees in the shed. If I fix yours you can have it back for very little cost. If not, it might end up in a tree.

CCC appears on Australia’s Funniest Home Videos

AFHVS was running a competition for crazy inventions. I decided to submit seven of my inventions (if you can call them that) just for a laugh and to try out the new digital camera. Turns out two of them were deemed good enough to show, which was nice as it more than paid for the camera! If you missed it, you can watch it (45 seconds) on Youtube by clicking here –

Easiest Job since Last Newsletter

An Armidale client called complaining of a fax machine that would not receive faxes any more. Easily fixed! One press of the Auto Answer button on the fax machine ….

A few more addresses added.

The first edition of this newsletter was sent to a limited number of addresses, since I wrote a rule that the postal address postcode needed to begin with 23. Turned out many customers don’t have an address in my accounting system since I use email only for these people 🙂

Warehouse Bargains

People generally equate “The Warehouse / Crazy Clarke’s” with cheap rubbish. However, sometimes they get genuinely good gear in at ridiculously low prices. The Warehouse in Armidale currently has $30 Cordless Keyboard and Optical Mouse sets, which includes rechargeable batteries and has an exceptionally long range. There’s only four left on the shelves, with the brand “Laser”.

Answering machine on the blink?

I’ve had one client say she’s called me repeatedly, and left a message; yet I’ve never received it. I recently upgraded the computer that runs the answering machine software and may have had it set to be too ‘deaf’ – so if you’ve left a message and I haven’t called you back, the answering machine may be to blame! I’ve adjusted it this evening to it’s maximum sensitivity.

Two pairs of Panasonic Cordless Phones for sale

A client has two pairs of 1.8GHz Cordless Phones for sale. They are about 6 months old. Asking $50 per pair. Product image: