Blog entries from November, 2017

Unplugging the ADSL

Saturday, November 25th, 2017 at 7:01 pm

Today, after almost seven years of use, I unplugged my ADSL modem because I am now committed to my NBN connection. After a very rough first few weeks the issues appear to have been resolved and I have a fast and reliable (fingers crossed) connection.

I have heard that they have (or will be) halted the rollout in my area. Based on the issues I was having it wouldn’t suprise me if that was the case and it was because the network wasn’t ready. But now that it is working for me I cannot justify the cost of an ADSL connection I am not going to use… (and it is nearing the end of the billing cycle for it)

While sorting through the issues I was using the ISP router as that is the equipment that they support. I was also using my existing router, so the connection was NBN modem -> ISP router -> my router. However, as well as unplugging my ADSL modem I have also unplugged the ISP router, connecting the NBN modem directly to my router.

I prefer the configuration of my router and I don’t even have a VoIP line activated, so no need for the ATA built into the ISP router. Everything is working nicely, though it might be time to upgrade my router as that has also been in contant use for almost seven years…

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Skepticon in Sydney

Monday, November 20th, 2017 at 3:39 pm

I have just arrived home from a weekend up in Sydney for the 33rd Australian Skeptics National Convention, branded as Skepticon Australia.

It was a great weekend, so what were my highlights?

We heard from Britt Hermes of Naturopathic Diaries about how she became a nauropathic doctor, how she came to understand why that was a mistake and finally what she is now doing about it. It was a shame she wasn’t able to be there in person due to illness, but the video conference was the next best thing.

A panel on journalism featuring Kathy Marks, Marcus Strom & Fauziah Ibrahim gave some interesting insights into how journalists are dealing with the news these days. Of particular interest to me was the information from Marcus about – in his time at the Sydney Morning Herald – the level of tracking that occurs on a news website. They monitor every click and how much you read, plus things like constantly running A/B testing on variations of headlines to determine which is more clickable.

The session about War On Waste with Craig Reucassel, Stephen Oliver & Jodi Boylan started off teasing what we could expect to see in the upcoming fourth episode, but then went deeper building on the previous day’s panel. When can you advocate for one side of an issue versus straight journalism and how to balance education with entertainment.

The most powerful talk of the weekend was from Ruth Ellison (who I knew from previous skeptic and tech conferences as a as a user experience person and maker of laser cut jewelery), speaking for the first time in public about what it was like to grow up in and then leave a religious cult. The entire room was stunned to hear about Ruth’s experience, so much support from people later in the day and via twitter.

The other big thing this year was a number of live podcasts recordings (mostly in “the other room” so I didn’t go to them as I went to talks in “the main room”), but there was only one that I was even slightly aware of, and had never listened to. This is not unusual as there a lot of podcasts out there, but the striking thing was that quite a few people I spoke to were at the convention they listened to one of the podcasts (mainly The Scathing Atheist). The two recording in the main room that I watched were Cognitive Dissonance and God Awful Movies (by the same hosts as The Scathing Atheist). They were enjoyable but not quite my taste so I don’t think I will subscribe. I have queued up a couple of their older episodes to listen to, I will see how they are…

I think my next skeptics event like this will be the Surf Coast Skepticamp in February, but much sooner than that I have a technology event, the third BuzzConf in two weeks time…

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No NAT for me

Monday, November 13th, 2017 at 10:49 pm

It was only 48 hours ago that I posted about having a working NBN connection

It wasn’t long until I discovered I was behind NAT. While this should be ok for most (and I understand it is widespread for mobile networks), I liked to be able to access my home computer from outside. I had suspected this might happen and knew that for an extra $10 per month I could change to the Gamer Pro plan which included a static IP address, so I fired off an email with the request.

Unfortunately I don’t know what that changes it like as my connection is unusable again. I suspect it is still the same issue as a few days ago. I’m glad I still have my ADSL connection, and it is time to contact support… again…

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A public holiday installation

Saturday, November 11th, 2017 at 9:02 pm

About a week after signing up with MyRepublic I received their modem/router, but did not yet have an appointment for the NBN installation.

The fine print did say that the NBN install might take up to four weeks, so I kept waiting… Until I received an SMS saying my NBN appointment was scheduled for 7 November between 8AM and 12PM. Hold on, 7 November is a Tuesday, the first Tuesday in November, otherwise known as Melbourne Cup Day, a public holiday… At least I wouldn’t have to take time off work… hopefully the appointment was correct…

Which it was. Around 9AM the technician showed up. He had seen where the NBN utility box was and I showed him where I wanted the connection inside. Initially he wanted to install it on the skirting board, but I insisted it be a wall plate. Once installed he plugged in the cable modem and after it showed it was connected his job was done.

I plugged in the ISP modem and after about an hour I saw that it said it was connected. Plugging in my laptop (my desktops were still using ADSL via my existing router, didn’t want to change with that yet) and found that while it had been allocated an IP there wasn’t any data flow. I gave it a few hours and tried again, same result. Reset the modems and gave it another shot, still no usable connection.

When I got home from work the next day I checked it again, still no usable connection so I contacted support. I couldn’t get through on the phone and it was a bit of a hassle over email, but eventually they said there was an NBN issue and they might need to send out an NBN technician. Not good, but I wasn’t too concerned as I still had my ADSL connection.

Every so often I would check if it was working, eventually today (yes, four days after initial connection) it was working. First thing was to run some speed tests, which gave me mixed results. Speeds as fast as 80Mbps, but also as low as 30Mbps. Why so variable? Looking through the results I found that the closest server by ping was also the slowest speed, a number of slightly further away servers would give the faster results.

For now I am still using my router behind the MyRepublic router (I case it doesn’t stay up and I need to switch back) and the last few hours have been weird as my internet is just working. There are some podcasts downloading and I am watching something off YouTube, these are two things that I have not been able to do at the same time on my ADSL connection….

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