Tuesday 30th January 2001 5:45am Melbourne time (UTC+1100)

E/N and weblog sites

Guess I'm not updating this page as much as I hoped... ahh well, there's plenty of Everything/Nothing and weblog ("today I went shopping!") sites around to keep one occupied.

Have a look at my new web site

Thursday 5th October 2000 3:00pm Melbourne time (UTC+1100)

Top web site

This has to be one of the worst web sites I have ever seen. The following picture greets you on the front page:

The caption below reads (quoted exactly) : "Your Holy Webmistresses wearing there Buger King Pokemon Crowns"

Their spelling and grammar are atrocious, they don't correct simple typing errors, they seem to think that swearing will make their site cooler, and their links are hard to read against the trippy chequered blue background!

This has to be seen to be believed... or go straight to the content (without a big dirty banner staring at you) at

Their hits have gone through the roof because of all the people that have linked to them, but that doesn't mean it's a good site. ;-)

Monday 31st July 2000 11:00pm Melbourne time (UTC+1000)

Definition of stupid: tailgating a police car.

Seen this evening, a Ford Falcon sitting about 2 metres behind a police car, as they both travelled at about 50-60km/hr down a suburban street with light traffic and an empty lane next to them.

Maybe someone wanted to get into trouble. :)

Friday 28th July 2000 1:30am Melbourne time (UTC+1000)

Why is there a cat on your head?

All dressed up, just about to go out to a formal (complete with red shave rash). Looks suspiciously like I've got a little cat on my head, doesn't it? Brooke is the culprit, when composing the photo it didn't occur to her that the angle she was at would "join" the wooden cat above our doorway, to the top of my head. :-)

Tuesday 11th July 2000 4:00am Melbourne time (UTC+1000)

Elly and Marlee Exploring the Big Bad World

Elly & Marlee (L-R) snuggled together on a pillow.

These are my 2 little cats - Elly and Marlee. Because I live in a second floor flat, they stay inside all the time. Occasionally I take them out onto the balcony, although I have to watch them very carefully. Once Elly got a bit distracted while she was rolling around and actually went over the edge! Somehow she managed to grip the concrete with her front claws and she was back onto the balcony before I had even managed to reach down to grab her. I don't know who got the bigger fright that day...

Anyway, the other day I thought I'd let them have a play in the stairwell. There's a door at the bottom that can be closed, so I did that and let them both come out. As you can imagine, it was a mixture of both excitement and tentative curiosity. I'm thinking about slowly introducing them to the outside world, it won't be practical for them to go out and come back in at their will (as cats love to do), but at least they can have some fun outside occasionally. I won't be living in the flat forever either.

I've let Elly play outside before I got Marlee, she used to like playing Hide n' Seek - she would head straight for a car and I'd have to "seek" her. Or, she would run around the back of the flats, just keeping far enough that I couldn't reach down to pick her up. Usually food got her back inside!

The problem after the little experiment, is that they now want too much of it! Elly was meowing at the door later that night, and Marlee was clawing and banging at it. Today when I came home this little white thing shot out into the stairwell and started running down the stairs, while I was trying to find somewhere to put down the shopping and chase after her. Well not really chase after her, but just make sure she was okay - she has never been outside. She didn't get very far before someone made a noise downstairs, and she came dashing back up the stairs, through the safety of the front door of the flat. :-)

I'll let them wander some more when it's daylight and I can keep a good eye on them.

Tuesday 11th July 2000 3:30am Melbourne time (UTC+1000)

I've decided to set up something vaguely resembling a journal, just ramblings about anything exciting happening in my life, or what I think of a particular issue. I have no idea whether it will work. I'm not going to claim it's a daily update and then find out after a week that I've run out of content, so I'll just be updating it "whenever". ;-)

Today's ramble is about The Costs of Internet Access in Australia. You may or may not be aware that I run an Internet Service Provider (ISP). It's interesting how many people think that it's pure profit, that what I charge is just an arbitrary amount to get some cash in my pocket. The reality, in Australia anyway, is that it can be quite costly to run an ISP, especially when you don't have huge numbers of customers and the benefits of scale that go with that size customer base.

Internet access has traditionally been expensive in Australia because of the Telstra monopoly. Telstra is Australia's own telecommunications carrier, and until a few years ago they were the only carrier that could provide you with a phone line or any kind of data services. Telstra has now been sold off by the government, so instead of a top heavy public asset, it's now a company that must make money for its shareholders. Hmmm, things just get better and better...

Data services provided by Telstra are expensive. Really expensive. A 64k ISDN link, including the ISDN service at both ends and a permanent dial connection between the two ends, will cost about $AUD325 per month. At an exchange rate of $1.60 Australian to the USA dollar, that works out to be about $US200 per month. This is just for a plain old 64kbit/sec (8,000 bytes/sec raw) link, what you shift over it (eg Internet content) will probably cost extra. Telstra Internet charge a standard rate of 19c per megabyte delivered to you.

The really interesting thing is that you can get a consumer cable modem link, complete with unlimited Internet traffic, for less than a quarter of that price. This didn't happen until recently when our "second carrier" Optus began rolling out its cable service. Prior to this, Telstra once again had a monopoly on cable modem services and could charge what it wanted. Telstra, in their infinite wisdom, decided to release residential/consumer ISDN with even more ridiculous pricing than the business version; $AUD1.00 per hour when you're using it as a 64k ISDN service. Don't forget the $AUD39 monthly rental fee either.

Things are slowly changing, there are now about 30 licenced carriers in Australia who can provide similar services to Telstra. Satellites have been a good way of getting around the high costs of Telstra Internet data, but the Southern Cross cable, when it finally arrives, should drive down the costs of terrestrial carried Internet data. Telstra is no longer the centre of the universe, but it will take time for other carriers to gain market penetration.

Just for interest's sake, I'm going to map out the typical costs of a fictional ISP. This ISP has 10 x 33.6k lines, a 64k Telstra Internet link, and 50 dialup clients. They each pay a flat rate of $30 per month, and download about 200Mb each per month on average. All costs are in Australian dollars, although it's all relative in this example.

Monthly revenue: 50 x $30 = $1,500
Monthly costs: $250 phone line rental, $275 ISDN rental, $1900 Telstra Internet traffic = $2425

Gee... we seem to be losing money already! If we change to a flat rate 64k satellite sourced feed which costs about $AUD800 per month, then our costs fall to $1325. That leaves $175 per month clear, before you take into account extra costs like tax, electricity, premises rental, stationary, late and defaulting payers, and last but not least, WAGES! Profit? In this scenario it doesn't exist. There's your "pure profit" for you. :-)

This is a pretty simplistic view, but it shows you how easily the high costs of data links, telephone services, and Internet traffic can weigh down a small operation in Australia. The consumer Internet services that Telstra supplies no doubt have a double subsidy - cheaper phone lines and cheaper Internet traffic. How can a standalone ISP compete with that? Somehow we manage to soldier on...