Thursday, July 31, 2008

Easy Eikaiwa

To the 130 or so individuals who showed an interest in Easy Eikaiwa by taking the time to open an account I'd like to say thank you.

We've been back in Australia for nearly two years now and have moved on to other things, but Easy Eikaiwa is still ticking along, signing up the occasional free account every now and then. If anyone is actually using it I'd love to hear from you! Otherwise as we're paying ongoing hosting costs to keep the site operational it might be time to call it a day and close the site down.

My time working in Japan developing a scheduling system was a great experience. The vision for Easy Eikaiwa was to create a simple and affordable system for english schools to manage their scheduling online instead of using Excel spreadsheets via phone, fax, email, etc. as many schools do.

Let me know if anyone would like to keep the site up.


Mark Beattie

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Has it been 5 years already?

Was just taking the A List Apart 2008 survey when I came up to a question asking how long you've had a personal blog for. Turns out 5 days ago was the 5th anniversary of this very blog! What are the chances of that?

I'd never have known otherwise. Looking back, it seems I've made just shy of 150 posts over the last 5 years, averaging at something like 1 post every couple of weeks. I know there are no regular readers, but I still like to get stuff off my mind that I feel like addressing to the world in general on the off chance that someone might stumble across it.

More recently, Twitter has filled a niche for broadcasting random thoughts and musings:

Should spend more time doing stuff worth writing about.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Come and feel the noise

Normally I quite like the Ebay layout, it's clean and intuitive, and their algorithms for recommending content and keeping recently viewed items in view are very good. Then I got a reply to a question I had asked a seller...

Try and spot the reply amongst the interface background noise:

After several painful seconds scanning around the page aimlessly I finally focussed in and found it:

Absolutely shocking! The very part of the page the viewer is most interested in has the least focus, a clear case of mistaken priorities.

(Yes, I have been browsing V1 iPhones...)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Telstra - coming into the 21st century kicking & screaming

This whole iPhone thing has been very depressing, with Australian telcos basically trying to rape consumers up the ass for exorbitant data fees. Telstras plans being the worst offender of all, averaging at $1/MB.

It got me to thinking, forward-looking telcos like the unfortunately named 3 Mobile have come to terms with the fact that their role in the new communications landscape will essentially be as an ISP, and are embracing it with data plans at a mere 10c/MB.

Telstra must be afraid of being relagated yet again to being "dumb-pipes" for mobile data, and are reluctantly being dragged into it kicking and screaming the whole way. It's clear they fear that offering affordable data rates would inevitably eat into their voice profits when VoIP becomes more ubiquitous on mobile handsets.

3 Mobile on the other have been offering Skype phones for quite some time now. Interesting that they are one of the Australian providers not granted an iPhone dealership...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Australian tiered iPhone plans

Well done Vodafone and Optus on publishing your iPhone pricing plans. (Vodafone prices, Optus prices). Telstra: what are you hiding? Seriously, it can't be much worse.

For a poultry 1GB/month of 3G data, they both want about $AU170. A month. Every month. For several years. That's only the best part of four thousand dollars, just for the data! For fuck's sake!!!

Should someone maybe tell them that it has WiFi as well? You know, it's that thing where you can connect directly to a wireless internet router without using the phone's 3G packet data.

So predictably short-sighted and lame. Much like tiered broadband with "peak" and "off-peak" data allowances, ways and means of accessing data will be found at the minimum cost and inconvenience to the consumer - be it automatic throttling of our bit torrent clients to stay within our "broadband" data allowance, or simply using the increasingly ubiquitous WiFi hotspots in city centres and staying on the bottom tier iPhone pricing plan.