Saturday, November 29, 2008

A little broadband journey downunder with a ST585v6

As anyone who has suffered the sad joke that Australian Broadband situation will attest, it's sucks. Unlike most other 1st world countries, in Australia you buy a connection which has a certain allocation of bandwidth per month. Depending on your ISP they will count uploads and downloads which sucks even more, the better ISP's then cap your connection at something pathetic like 64k, rather than starting to gorge their customers by charging excessive amounts for anything over your quota.

Sounds like trying to achieve something in a corrupt third world country?

I have been using Optus Cable for a couple of years now, because I didn't want to pay the Telstra Tax ($30 AUD per month) for a phone connection which I would never use. Optus changed their plans recently to include uploads in your quota, which really sucks. You can stay on the old plans but they are limited to 20Gb, that's it.

The plans with the uploads included are still limited to 30Gb, no really much of an improvement in the end.

What's even worse with Optus, apart from waiting on hold for support (or sales which only does limited hours) is that there is absolutely no free content or mirrors, even their old sourceforge mirror wasn't free.

Now recently I hit my cap two thirds of the way through the month and I was stuck, I couldn't upgrade my plan or anything. So I got extremely pissed off and decided to bite the bullet and get iiNet Naked DSL.

For $10 less a month, I could get ADSL2, 30Gb peak and 30Gb off peak, heaps of free unmetered content and a free VOIP service with free national and local calls.

So far so good, except my old phone line was no longer connected and had to be reconnected for a $300 Telstra tax. Extortion, sure a technician came out to my place, but all they are doing is plugging some cables at the exchange. Grrr....

The kicker is, you can't tell how good the line is until it's connected so it's a gamble to see if your going to get a decent line speed.

So I gambled and when it got connected on Thursday, much do my annoyance, my modem was getting only 1.5Mb which ain't very fast at all.

Here's my results from the Facebook | Broadband Speed Challenge

Basically, Optus speed was all over the place, but I was getting 9Mbs last time I tried it with only about 25k upload speeds. Then in the middle, you can see the really low speed I was getting with iiNet ADSL to start with.

But then it gets better :)

The modem I am using is a Thompson Speedtouch ST585v6 which my dad got for free when he signed up for his AAPT broadband, he wasn't using it because I had already setup a D-LINK router for him.

This modem was running a really old firmware, so I googled around and found this version international being recommended on whirlpool in this thread about the ST585v6.

Reading this thread I saw that there was speed gains to be had, simply from upgrading the firmware!

A couple of hints when upgrading using the SpeedTouch upgrade wizard,

  1. Make sure your using a cabled connection not a wireless one.
  2. Change your connection config from being dynamic to be statically configured, otherwise I found the upgrade would fail while it tried to do DHCP each time the modem restarted during the upgrade.
The net result? As you can see in the graph I went up to a 4Mbs connection with the new firmware :) Whilst it's not fantastic, I am now happy with my iiNet Naked DSL.

My upstream went from 30k to 90k with this upgrade which is very useful.

iiNet also have a great feature with their phone support, if you wait more than 5 minutes you can leave your number and they will call you back when your place in the queue comes up.

Firmware upgrades are risky, so your doing it at your own risk!

Please don't ask tech support questions on my blog about doing this, use whirlpool, but if you have a success story, please share it :)

Friday, November 28, 2008

What Coldfusion Needs

it probably is just not public yet? ?

Working with open source projects make me happy, because project databases make being a geek much easier.

Coldfusion needs one, badly, it will help evangelise the platform and make it more attractive to new developers. Not having a open project database is just so 1990's.

Even if they started from scratch and let the community fill it, it's pretty easy to setup a project in Jira.

Ralio has a Jira Project, even more reason to give it a go I reckon.

Wasting developers time by not having such a resource is almost shameful, IMHO.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Falling water pressure in Melbourne

Hot on the heals of the Liberals, Nationals and Greens, fiddling in the Senate with the water policy, it appears, that Melbourne is really having major serious problems.

Fiddling while Rome burns?

I live in the Democratic Republic of East Brunswick and last week I noticed during my morning showers that the water pressure had dropped off really drastically.

After the heavy rains last week, the pressure returned, but only briefly. Even with a water efficient shower head, the trickle could barely be called a shower.

Talking to friends in and outside the republic, they have also noticed the same problem.

All this in the week where the (Binary) Opposition, Greens move to stop North-South pipeline.

The thing is if you delve into the detail, the Victorian Government is spending $2 billion bucks to improve the efficiency of irrigation in the north of the state. This will return a lot more water to the Murray Darling basin than the 75 billion they want to siphon off.

Even the State Liberals understand this. Seeing Barnaby Joyce from the water logged state up north that is Queensland, ranting on the news last night really got my back up. I guess you have to be good at something...

So there's a big problem... it's not time for politics any more, we need real solutions or Melbourne might be screwed...

Then again, there might be another explanation for the drop in pressure. Lets hope...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Problems already with filtering trials

Just got a tweet from the KevinRuddPM on twitter...

Thanks for the ISP Filtering comments. We’re waiting for tech evidence from a live trial but we’ll have more info online soon. #KevinPM Team ... 12 minutes ago from web
Now I do respect Kevin from his evidence based approach, but I can't really see how this will generate useful results coz:
  1. If the blacklist ain't published and it doesn't tell you a site is blocked, but the site just doesn't appear, how do users know and report wrongly blocked sites?
  2. If users bypass the filter with a VPN, encryption, proxies or whatever, how will you know they are doing that?
  3. Ironically, during the trial, people are likely to attempt to get blocked just to see what happens which means just like the failed 2am lockout, the stats will be useless
  4. Google Search is the default gateway for Australians, by default moderate safe search is on already
Technology, bright kids and hackers will always move faster than the filtering technology, let alone policy and regulation.

The internet being a wonderfully inherently chaotic mess, it's rather hard to measure. Besides it's almost summer and internet usage does change when the sun's out :)

Stop wasting your time and valuable political capital on bad policy..

Monday, November 24, 2008

Recovering with Rudd, post the Cocaine years

So it's been a year since Howard and Costello got thrown out by an electorate tired of their style, ideology and policies.

As many commentators have highlighted, Paul Keating's quote "When you change the government, you change the country" turned out to be very, very true.

Australia, despite the Global Economic Crisis, is actually a lot more relaxed and comfortable. Kevin Rudd has a record 70% approval rating after a year and the only people appear to be really upset are the Liberal Party and the poor journalists who don't have a political scandals in sight!

The Liberals have completely lost the plot, the latest being the The Debt Merchant of Venice saying that a Deficit would be failure in economic management is quite hypocritical.

I was listening to the BBC World Service last night and they were talking about how in times of Crisis, parties tend to fall back to their political roots.

During the Cocaine Years, Australian's were lectured ad nauseum by Peter Costello about Beazley's black hole. Add to that their childishly simple mantra of interest rates always being lower under the Liberals, it leaves the impression that their decade of economic mastery was quite everything they promised.

Like most spin, it only lasts as long as the spinner itself. Unfortunately, the Legacy of Costello is now hanging over the Government which are facing a recession the right had to give us!

Howard and Costello's Cash Cropping of the economy for polical advantage left us with a big mess of crumbling infrastructure, failing monopolies like ABC Learning, duopolies dominating the supermarkets, debt debt and more debt, a mountain of complex laws, welfare churn and red tape all of which are holding back the Nation's productivity.

A year later on, Australian's reputation in the world is being restored. I remember being shocked in Berlin to see how the world perceived Australia, mainly with regards to Aboriginal Land Rights, Mabo and Wik.

I am still waiting for a response from the ABC archives over my request of a photo of John Howard, fuelling fear and racism with his map of Australia, 80% of which was covered in blue, allegedly at risk of Native Title claims. Maybe it will appear in tonight's edition of the Howard Years.

Some people have dismissed the Apology, signing of Kyoto, getting the kids out of detention as being purely symbolic. Symbolism is not something to be trivialised, it's something which forms the National Identity and makes us proud.

That is what changed in Australia under Kevin Rudd, interestingly (for change), we were ahead of the bell curve on the shift to the Left and now that Obama has also won, we enter a new positive era of change for the better.

The next few years are going to be tough, but I'm glad we have some real good leftie leaders at the helm.

Watching socialistic ideas becoming a central pillar of our capitalist society is an interesting and positive development.

As I read in readers page of the The Age a while back, we are no longer Chardonnay Socialists, but Sauvignon Blanc Socialists.

Friday, November 21, 2008

New Mapguide Best Practices wiki

Over on the MapGuide-Internals list, Tom just posted about a new resource for people working with MapGuide.

Arnab Ganguly at Autodesk has created a MapGuide Best Practices Wiki at

It has some good information about how to best configure MapGuide.

I have added it as a link to MapGuide Central, my one stop resource for everything MapGuide related

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Gmail now has themes!

I quite like the new GMail themes, particularity Night Shade, as seen above.

It's a bit rattling to not have the classic gmail view I have burned into my retina after four odd years, but I really like the contrast and focus of the color scheme, my eye is drawn straight to the content, not the app!

Two great free defrag programs for Windows

There are two programs I have in my windows tool kit for defragging the mess which drives can becomes these days. grrr!

The first is Defraggler, which I love because it allows you to defragment individual files.

After loading a lot of spatial data into Oracle today, the oracle table space (CDM.DBF) has hit 10Gb and has 92 fragments, Defraggler lets me choose to defrag only that file.

It also provides a graphic map and preview, so you can exactly how the file has been spread out across you disk like roadkill.

Of course, it does depend on how fragmented your file and disk is, as well as how much free space you have, but at least you have some fine grained control.

JkDefrag Gui lets you tweak JkDefrag without using the command line.

Whilst not providing the fine grained per-file control of Defraggler, JkDefrag has a lot more options on how you defrag. Like moving all the files to the end of the disk as well as a defragmenting screensaver and a heap of other options.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

one of my favourite photo's

From Zac & Katja's Roadtrip 2004

shot on a very slow old automatic digital camera, challenging but possible

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Quick PNG Raster Compression Comparison

After reading this blog entry about using PNGNQ which I have also been using,I thought it would interesting to do a quick and dirty comparison

All images where created just using the default command line options,

i.e. util.exe filename.png

Imagery was sourced from

MapGuide PNG32 2.0.2  138.174 Kb NQ8 pngnq 0.5   56.055 Kb
NQ8+pngcrush 1.6.10   49.762 Kb NQ8+OptiPNG 0.6.1   49.420 Kb MapGuide PNG8 2.0.2   38.728 Kb

It turns out that MapGuide comes out on top in when configured for PNG8 :)

Now if only the GDAL FDO provider was stable...

The Dangers of Binary Opposition

I'm entertained, angry, annoyed and alas not that disappointed or surprised.

Being a media slut and loving the sound of your own voice is a dangerous addiction which the Liberals seem to have developed whilst they come to terms with life in the wilderness that is Opposition.

The recent personal attacks on Ken Henry and the constant dull puerile calls for explanation coming from the Binary Opposition is starting to form a worrying trend.

1. of or pertaining to a child or to childhood.
2. childishly foolish; immature or trivial: a puerile piece of writing.
Hearing Helen Coonan on Newsradio complaining that the Aussie government changed it's stance on Israel is really starting to get annoying. They are acting like spoilt brats...

Opposing Jewish settlements in the Palestinian territories and supporting the Geneva Conventions in the Palestinian territories, doesn't really need explaining. It's common sense! It's not the like current policy has achieved anything...

From do not adjust your mind

It must be hard to sit back and watch Social Democracy replacing Neo-liberalism as the new status quo in the western world, something like standing on the beach and feeling the waves wash the sand away from under your feet.

My real concern is that the current approach of the Liberals is undermining general confidence, even tho most of the population probably don't even understand what point they are arguing.

Consumer and Business Confidence is falling faster than the Liberal's 2 party preferred vote.

Rudd despite some REALLY dumb policy like the Net-Filtering rubbish is generally handling things quite well, even The Australian agrees!

There is no way the Liberals can realistically make gains from this behaviour. Given the benefit of recently being elected, Labour is going to remain on top for a while. I thought Truffles might understand this, as he was once a Merchant Banker, but alas no
So just what are the Liberals trying to achieve via their constant trash talking of the Government?
It better be good, because obvious side effect of damaging confidence in the Australian Economy is really not helping, anyone at all!

I feel better for getting this off my chest, phew....

JxLib AJAX Library released into the wild

Paul Spencer announced on the Fusion mailing lists today that JxLib has been released as a seperate project up on google code.

JxLib is another AJAX UI library based on Moo Tools which is used internally by Fusion.

I know there are a lot of AJAX UI libs out there, but check out the examples!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

GITA GIS Technology Workshops 11th, 13th Nov 2008

I will presenting at the Sydney (PDF) and Melbourne (PDF) legs of GITA's GIS Technology Workshops next week.

There are two workshops, Automated CAD & GIS integration for better asset data management and Open Source Geospatial: How Can Your Organisation Take Advantage?

The speaking lineup includes Andrew Bashfield, Steve De Rosayro, Omar Awny, Jody Garnett, Milton Loftberg & Cameron Shorter.

I am involved in the Open Source Geospatial workshop and will be presenting a Case Study: Open Source Deployment at Ballarat University and Explore Australia.

Explaining how Ennoble leveraged MapGuide Open Source and OpenLayers on these projects to deliver flexible, scaleable, low cost solutions, I'll also be talking about some of our experiences and benefits that come from using open source from a business perspective.

It's more like cooking dinner with a great selection of fresh produce rather than settling for a frozen dinner!

Autodesk organised a similar workshop up on the Gold Coast a few months ago and it was really interesting day. Milton Loftberg's practical demonstration of MapGuide, which included my favorite moment when one of the audience, an ESRI user was completely jaw-dropped at the speed which a new MapGuide map was opened and displayed.

Sorry I haven't blogged this earlier as I know it's late notice, but I hope to see you there.

I always enjoy meeting people who read my blog, so if you are coming along say hello!

Friday, November 07, 2008


It has been brought to management's attention that some individuals
throughout the company have been using foul language during the course
of normal conversation with their colleagues.

Due to complaints received from some employees who may be easily
offended, this type of language will no longer be tolerated.

We do, however, realise the critical importance of being able to
accurately express your feelings when communicating with colleagues.

Therefore, a list of 13 New and Innovative 'TRY SAYING'
phrases have been provided so that proper exchange of ideas
and information can continue in an effective manner.

1. Try Saying: I think you could do with more training
Instead Of: You don't have a f***ing clue, do you?

2. Try Saying: She's an aggressive go-getter .
Instead Of: She's a f***ing power-crazy b*tch

3. Try Saying: Perhaps I can work late
Instead Of: And when the f*** do you expect me to do this?

4. Try Saying: I'm certain that isn't feasible
Instead Of: F*** off a*se-hole

5. Try Saying: Really?
Instead Of: Well f*** me backwards with a telegraph pole

6. Try Saying: Perhaps you should check with...
Instead Of: Tell someone who gives a f***.

7. Try Saying: I wasn't involved in the project.
Instead Of: Not my f***ing problem.

8.Try Saying: That's interesting.
Instead Of: What the f***?

9. Try Saying: I'm not sure this can be implemented within the given timescale.
Instead Of: No f***ing chance mate.

10. Try Saying: It will be tight, but I'll try to schedule it in
Instead Of: Why the f*** didn't you tell me that yesterday?

11.Try Saying: He's not familiar with the issues
Instead Of: He's got his head up his f***ing a*se.

12. Try Saying: Excuse me, sir?
Instead Of: Oi, f*** face.

13. Try Saying:Of course, I was only going to be at home anyway
Instead Of: Yeah, who needs f***ing holidays anyway.

Thank You from Management and the letter F, it must be Friday

BTW I ran out of *'s, if anyone has any spare, please send them tru

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Groundswell Exhibition 7th Nov 2008

My mum is taking part in a group exhibition Dantes, the opening is next Friday 7th November.

Thats just one of the pieces my mum's has done recently, I'm quite a proud son :)

Come along to the opening, it's a stones throw from the CBD of Melbourne

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Fusion 1.1 Released

I would recommend that anybody who is currently using fusion should try out this release.

Fusion Supports both Mapserver and MapGuide (that includes MapGuide Enterprise installations too)

MapGuide Studio also uses fusion so keep that in mind.

This release is much faster and resolves a lot of little niggling problems with Fusion, you should be seeing less errors in the mapguide server logs which the older versions of Fusion generated.

Here's the announcement, it contains all the info. There's a follow up thread on mapguide-users from jason with a few additional installation tips.