Matt Connolly's Blog

my brain dumps here…

Monthly Archives: July 2009

iPhone tethering: My fridge, my beer.

Up until now, when you bought a fridge, you could put anything you like in it. And when you bought beer and put it in your fridge, you could do whatever you like with the beer.

Now there’s this new fridge out that’s got a special deal with all the breweries  (like the deal between Apple and Optus) where you have to pay an extra fee if you give the cold beer to a friend.

What’s that? I bought the fridge. I bought the beer. I can put the beer in the fridge and drink it. But I have to pay an extra fee to pass the beer onto my friend? Just because it’s a new fridge? RUBBISH!

And so, Apple’s tethering deal with Optus is clearly a money grab for the convenience of something we’ve always been able to do with other phones. (At least every Nokia phone I’ve ever had with bluetooth could tether data from any access point).

Does anyone know if there’s a petition against this?

What about some regulation that this practice is unfair for consumers? ACCC? TIO? Anyone?

Facebook Speed dating app sucks

Just realised that some trivial facebook apps have been bought/merged/acquired/infected by speed dating. Suddenly my facebook notifications is full of speed dating rubbish.

And to make things worse, facebook’s interface for removing apps seems to be broken.

They’ll surely want to fix that quickly before everyone removes apps altogether – isn’t that one of the real features of facebook?

Edit: Just found out that it’s now more difficult to remove applications properly. You need to go to Applications -> Edit Applications -> Show Authorised. Then click the X and you can remove the app.

FMOD hard panning

I wrote an article on the fmod support forum recently about “hard panning“. This youtube video shows how it happens:

It makes perfect sense if the listening point is also the viewing point, which happens in first person games.

However, in a third person perspective, panning should be a little more subtle. Anything close to the player will be close to the centre of the screen, so it makes sense for the sound to come from the centre speaker. This results in a sound track with panning more like that in film and television, which is nearly always shot in a third person perspective.

And I’m glad to report, thanks to a recent FMOD update, that there is now a solution for this that works on all console platforms! (It takes a bit of work to make it happen, but it works!!!)

So i bought a Microsoft keyboard for my Mac

I’d always thought that Microsoft keyboards were too expensive, or just didn’t work on a mac.

After two failures with Logitech – one with a bad driver problem that I put up with for years; and the other getting the wrong key layout – I figured I’d give the Microsoft Wireless Keyboard 1000 a go. Because, well, the price was right: it was cheap.

It actually said on the box that it supports Mac, which I assumed would be the same as the Mac simply works with any USB keyboard (albeit the ALT and Windows keys are typically backwards).

But it actually has proper drivers with a nice System Preferences pane that lets you hook up applications, like Mac Mail, Safari and iTunes to all the extra function keys on the top of the keyboard.

So well, done, Microsoft. You’ve earned this one!

Internode Easy Broadband Internet Plan

Internode have just released a new internet plan: “Internode Easy Broadband“. The plan is the first plan that counts data as downloads and uploads.

Simon Hackett, Managing Director of Internode, writes on the whirlpool forum that it’s all about effective comparisons with other major ISPs such as Telstra and Optus.

There’s a fair bit of noise on the forum about this, but I think it’s a good idea. As internet applications and highly efficient transport of data via peer-to-peer systems become more commonplace, the amount of uploads will increase dramatically in the future. It’s only fair that Internode be compared on even footing with the other big ISPs – and at what seems like much better value too.

Of course, if you don’t like it, no one is making you do it. That’s a fresh perspective compared to other ISPs, notable TPG, who change plans and terms on their customers without choice.

So, my opinion is: another win for Internode! Good work, Simon Hackett.

optus fusion = corporate greed

I nearly signed up for an Optus Yes Fusion earlier in the year, and it turned out that Optus was unable to get a connection to the line in the unit where I’m renting. At first, it seems like good value, but there’s something in the fine print that’s ridiculous.

When the data limit is reached on most plans, the ISP usually does one of two things:

  • speed limit for remainder of month, or
  • charge for excess usage.

I don’t know anyone who likes to pay excess usage. Particularly when the price for the excess is exorbitant. Most excess usage is around $6/GB (see whirlpool) but sometimes it’s as ridiculously high as $150/GB.

The Optus fusion plan gives you the worst of both. How? They charge you $300 for the first 2GB over the limit, and then shape speed.

So Optus reserve the right to make $300 off you for 24 months contract period if you go over your data limit in a month.

I’m glad to say that my ISP, internode, defaults to shaping but gives the choice to buy more data for the remainder of the month, at a reasonable price of $2.50/GB. I’m happy to have the choice, and the price is fair. That’s what you don’t get with Optus Fusion.

Say No to corporate greed, say No to Optus Yes Fusion.