Wednesday, December 19, 2007

My telecommunications woes: Update

Some readers may vaguely recall that I have been having something of a "war" with Telstra/Bigpond (Australia's largest provider of telecommunication services) over the execrable services that they provide. As part of trying to get some sort of civilized and intelligent response fom them, I have been using their own "Bigblog" blogging facility to post criticisms of them. BigBlog was always a primitive affair but I have just found out that it is even more primitive than anyone could have imagined. They turn it off at night! That's right: It is only available during Australian daylight hours! Amazing that Australia's largest provider of internet services cannot keep its own blogs up and running 24 hours a day -- but that is the reality, folks. I did not of course expect such bloody-mindedness but repeated attempts by me to log on late at night were met with failure so I now know from experience what the reality is.

Now that I have discovered that, I have of course moved camp and am now blogging about Telstra/Bigpond on blogspot. See here from now on. I have transferred to there the more recent posts on the BigBlog site.

And in this case competition does not seem to be much of an answer to problems. When I encountered difficulties with my Telstra cellphone I thought that buying a second cellphone connected to Optus (Australia's second-largest telecommunications firm) might be a partial solution. But you can see how well that worked out here.

The only thing that really moves these oligopolists is publicity so if anyone reading this is inclined to link on their own site to the two sites I have mentioned above, I would be obliged. The more links the sites get the further they will move up the Google page-rankings and the more they will embarrass the behemoths concerned.

Australia does have an official telecommunications watchdog, the TIO (Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman) and they do sometimes help with problems but they are bureaucrats so they give up easily and do their best to wash their hands of matters. The main aim of all bureaucracies is to maximize their funding and minimize their workload and the TIO seems to be no exception to that.


Why are civilized countries still supporting the UN and its corruption?

The UNICEF Photo of the Year has been announced, and I couldn't possibly think of something more appropriate. Recall that the agency has tasked itself with-and is held responsible for-the well-being of children around the world. Check out how UNICEF decides to illustrate this calling:

The photograph shot by U.S. freelance photographer Stephanie Sinclair shows a wedding couple in Afghanistan who could not be more opposite. The groom, Mohammed, looks much older than his 40 years. The bride, Ghulam, is still a child; she just turned 11. Stephanie Sinclair works as a freelance photographer based in Beirut, Lebanon

What better way to care for the well-being of children than by celebrating the forced marriage of an 11-year-old girl to a man over 30 years her senior, right?




The British government data bungles multiply: "The British Government has suffered new embarrassment over missing data after it revealed one of its contractors had lost the details of 3 million learner drivers. The mistake came just weeks after Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Government admitted it had lost computer discs containing the names and bank account details of 25 million people, exposing nearly half the population to possible fraud and identity theft. The opposition Conservatives accused the Government of incompetence over the data loss, the latest in a series of mishaps that have caused the popularity of Mr Brown's six-month-old team to plunge. Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly told Parliament a private contractor reported in May that a hard disc drive had gone missing from a facility in Iowa in the US. It contained the names, addresses and other details of more than three million candidates for a theory test taken by learner drivers in Britain. The disc drive did not contain any bank account or credit card details, Ms Kelly said. She also revealed that two discs containing the details of 7500 vehicles and the names and addresses of their owners had been lost in transit." [It is events like this that make many people oppose national ID cards]

Publicity works: "Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has pardoned a teenage girl sentenced to six months in jail and 200 lashes after being gang raped, Al Jazirah newspaper reported. The ruling against the 19-year-old girl in the ultra-conservative Muslim kingdom had attracted widespread international condemnation, including from human rights groups and the White House. The Arabic language daily said it had been informed of the royal pardon from its own unidentified sources. The girl, who was 18 at the time she was raped, was attacked at knifepoint by seven men after she was found in a car with a male companion who was not a relative, in breach of strict Saudi law. In October 2006, a judge sentenced her to 90 lashes for being with the man -- a taboo in the conservative Muslim kingdom which imposes segregation of the sexes. She appealed against the sentence but despite her ordeal the court ruled that her punishment should be increased to 200 lashes and a six-month jail term."

French police finally do something other than run away: "An attempt to build a Christmas encampment for the homeless on the banks of the river Seine was swept away by police before the startled eyes of tourists at the weekend. A homelessness action group, which generated worldwide attention a year ago by pitching an encampment of red tents in the centre of Paris, attempted an even more spectacular coup on Saturday morning. Scores of red, 'two second,' all-terrain tents were erected along the quays of the left bank of the Seine opposite the Notre Dame cathedral. As tourists looked on, police moved in en masse -- using tear gas at one stage -- to sweep away the homeless people and their supporters."

The "Toxic Texan": "In the past third of a century, the American economy has swollen by 150 per cent, automobile traffic has increased by 143 per cent, and energy consumption has grown 45 per cent. During this same period, air pollutants have declined by 29 per cent, toxic emissions by 48.5 per cent, sulphur dioxide levels by 65.3 per cent, and airborne lead by 97.3 per cent. Despite signing on to Kyoto, European greenhouse gas emissions have increased since 2001, whereas America's emissions have fallen by nearly one per cent, despite the Toxic Texan's best efforts to destroy the planet."


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here


"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party".


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