Archive for September 23, 2008

[ccc-news] Assorted News 14 :)

[ccc-news] Assorted News 14 🙂

Important News
New Remote Assistance icon – Vista Compatible

More portable broadband options.
NBN has gone Digital at last

Molly update
Chinese Plastic Milk
Teeth Tips
Funny Photos

Disclaimer: This newsletter was written while running in phlegmbot mode. Only performing remote assistance repairs this week as I’m perpetually tired and probably infectious!

New Remote Assistance icon

With Broadband becoming more common these days, I have more of you opting to use my remote assistance facility to fix problems on your computer rather than incurring the cost of travel, etc.

I’ve recently upgraded this facility to work with Windows Vista PCs, and also to be useable from anywhere rather than just the office.

So, if you’d like to get an updated copy, you can get it by reading about it and downloading it here.

More Portable Broadband options.

Last newsletter I mentioned that you could now get wireless broadband from Telstra using your phone quite cheaply. Optus and Vodafone also offer similar capabilities.

Exetel, the company I recommend for most customers, has just released a more-or-less pay as you go wireless mobile broadband service, which sounds promising. At $5 per month minimum plus 1.5c per megabyte (or if you like $1.50 per 100MB) and with an optional $200 wireless USB modem if you don’t have a suitable modern 3G phone handset. (If you download more than 1GB they put it up to 2.5c per MB thereafter.)

For some of you that probably sounds a bit confusing, but basically it means that you could hook either a mobile phone or a usb thing (a bit like a memory stick) into your computer and you get fast internet that you can use anywhere that there is coverage.

What is interesting about this new service is that it is, for many light to moderate Internet users, somewhat cheaper than the cheapest ADSL (landline) broadband plans.

I have ordered a service from them to test and see if it lives up to it’s claims. It appears there should be a new 900MHz coverage in the Guyra area and 2100MHz coverage in Armidale. If the 900MHz service does exist, it should in theory provide the same coverage as NextG in the area. I’ll let you know how it goes next newsletter, and I’m looking forward to the challenges that will come from offering this new service if it lives up to it’s expectations.

It may even be possible to use it as a VoIP phone and ditch your landline completely!

NBN has gone Digital at last.

For those of you with set top boxes and digital TVs in Guyra and Armidale, you can at last get NBN digitally! If you want to add it yourself, find the installation or channel menu and do a manual scan of channel 38. If you aren’t happy doing that, you can of course ask me to do it for you. If you have not yet opted for a digital set top box and are putting up with a snowy picture, it’s probably time to think seriously about getting one. Any brand other than Bush should be OK. Most set top boxes will die young if they run hot so it’s a good idea to make sure that your box can breathe 🙂 (Bush ones tend to have some weird firmware issues when they detect two copies of the same channel.)

Molly Update

The new dog, Molly, is quite different to Heppie, but is settling in well. She’s not as much of a traveller as Heppie which means some days she stays home rather than travelling – but since she’s happy being a home dog it’s not a big deal. Molly Photos can be found at


Quite often people ask me about Vista. It has generally matured to a point that it can be trusted; and provided you have enough memory in the computer it can run pretty well.

One of Vista’s biggest advantages over XP is that it is quite resilient against viruses and spyware. Due to the way it protects itself, it’s generally possible to remove the bugs without having to resort to using a second computer to do the removal. With XP on the other hand, it’s quite common for a bug to get in and set itself up to load before windows finishes starting, making it very difficult to remove said bug since it just re-adds itself as the computer restarts – meaning it’s usually easier to take the computer apart and attach it to another computer that does the repair.

Vista is not perfect however. I’ve still had a few weird things happen with it – the most recent being a customer’s computer that was reportedly bringing up some unusual messages. As a result, I recommended upgrading it to SP1 which fixes most of the early bugs on Vista, but in her case the update started OK, but at the end when the computer restarts, it could no longer restart. There was no way to undo the update either, meaning the only way to fix this computer was to wipe it and start again – after backing up her files of course 🙂

She was not alone in having the computer die completely after an update – there were many other reports on the Internet about it.

Chinese Plastic Milk

You’ve probably heard in the media about the trickery being played with milk in China, and it’s apparent infant-killing abilities.

Recently I encountered an interesting documentary on Google Video called “The Fake Trade” which discusses how many counterfeit products exist in China – and even to the point of making fake eggs because it was cheaper than having chooks.

Its about 47 mins / 120MB long.

The problem with counterfeit products is becoming increasingly widespread. It doesn’t worry me when a counterfeit product works as well as the real one, but when it comes to foods and drugs it’s a bit of a worry!

Teeth Tips

A couple of weeks before going on holiday to Tuncurry, I became concerned about a tooth which appeared to be developing a new hole. WIth the next appointment a month away, and recent memories of other problems on my mind, I did some more research into the situation and possible solutions. Fortunately an examination with a webcam and LED light showed that the hole in the tooth was not really much to worry about, and indeed it passed the laser test when I got back and visited the dentist.

Some interesting tips

1 – Cheese sticks, after meals, help keep teeth clean.
2 – UV light can sterilise toothbrushes – which can otherwise apparently stay covered in germs and negate the advantages of brushing
(You can buy readymade cleaners at )
3 – Listerine may be helpful although there’s still debate about this – what is known is that it is ‘hell in a bottle’ and about 21% alcohol
4 – A select few believe brushing teeth with hand soap is better than toothpaste – I’m not so sure 😉
5 – Some people will try to sell you books about dental conspiracies.

As usual, since this information is sourced from the Internet, god knows how accurate it is!

Funny Photos

A few funny photos have been added to including the night mower, the ‘no half dogs’ sign, the stoned goat and koala meat.

Cheers, Mike.

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