Broadband churn

We’ve had our adsl broadband connection provided by iiNet for more than two years now. They were great to start but our needs had changed since then. When we started, the plan we chose was quite adequate for what we needed the broadband for.

For about $70 a month, we had a 512kbps download bandwidth and a 128kpbs upload bandwidth. We were allotted a 10Gb/month download limit during peak hours and another 10Gb/month limit during off-peak hours (from 12 midnight to 8 AM). If we go beyond our limit, our bandwidth gets shaped down to 64kbps for the duration of the month.

At first, the 512k/128k bandwidth was good enough. However, I found it very difficult to play online games while Raquel is surfing at that speed. We needed more bandwidth. We also just started watching a lot YouTube, downloading a lot of podcasts and vidcasts and generally just downloading more. A faster bandwidth would mean less waiting around for the downloads to finish.

With our increased downloading, we found ourselves often going beyond our allotted monthly download limit which really sucked. Supposedly, our traffic should be shaped down to 64kbps but it felt more like we were only connected via a 28kbps connection. A dialup connection to iiNet felt faster!

Needless to say, we got tired of it all. I wanted to switch to a better plan. I originally wanted to stay with iiNet because we found their service to be sufficient. However, when I looked at their ADSL1 offerings, I found that our current plan has been grandfathered. Meaning, it is no longer available but those who are in it would continue to have it.

The new ADSL1 plans offered by iiNet were all lousy. For the same money we are paying now, the limit is something like 5Gb per month only. So, if we want to increase our bandwidth to 1.5Mbps download / 256kbps upload, we’d pay more and get reduced allowable monthly download limit. So, sticking with iiNet was a definite now since then.

After looking around for the next best ADSL1 Internet deal, I decided that Westnet was it. For roughly the same price of our current broadband service, we’d get double the bandwidth and an even better monthly download limit at 20Gb during peak hours and 40Gb during off-peak hours. That’s double the peak limit and quadruple the off-peak limit at double the speed for the same price. As an added bonus, they have lots more gaming servers for Counterstrike and Team Fortress 2 that I usually connect to anyway and connecting to these means the traffic won’t be counted against my monthly limit.

I couldn’t wait to churn to Westnet. By the way, churn is the term commonly used in Australia (I’m not sure if it’s true in other countries) to describe the act of transferring from one Internet service provider (ISP) to another. Here is a description of churn from the .Netcall website:

What is Churn?

It is more correctly called the DSL transfer process (commonly refered to as “churn”), and provides an efficient one step mechanism for moving DSL end-users/customers between DSL service providers, rather than the more time consuming disconnection/reconnection process.

In short your traffic that is routed to your current ISP is re-routed to your new provider without actually disconnecting the service

We wanted to do this months ago but we then remembered that we were under contract with iiNet to stay with them for two years or we pay them $180 or something (I forgot the exact amount, sorry). So, we had to wait till December 7 before we even attempt churning to Westnet.

The good news is, December 7 has come and gone. The day after the 7th, we called up Westnet and applied for an ADSL1 account with them. And yesterday, our broadband got churned to Westnet at long last!

We now have the benefit of faster Internet speeds and bigger download limits. I was so excited yesterday that I quickly tried watching a video on YouTube just to test the new connection. Before, video would play for a few seconds and then stop while it waits for our PC to download more of the video. Then the video would continue playing again and then stop again. This would continue to happen until all of the video was completely downloaded. But now, I can load a video and watch it without waiting for it to finish downloading first.

So, the short of it is, we transferred to a different ISP and I’m quite pleased with it. Can’t wait to play with it some more later.

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Published in: on December 13, 2007 at 12:40 pm  Comments (2)  

Lax justice

One of the striking things I’ve noticed about Australia is that the punishment handed out to convicted persons seem to be very lenient as compared to that in Asia (from what I’ve read, at least). For example, in a lot of Southeast Asian countries, drug trafficking is punishable by death. Granted I’m against the death penalty but I think these people deserve very long prison sentences at the very least. Here, a head of a drug syndicate got jailed for just 17 years. That’s the head of the syndicate! Accomplices got between six to 12 years each.

I’m not sure about other Asian countries but in the Philippines, rape is considered a heinous crime and is again punishable by death. I’m reiterating that I’m against the death penalty so everytime I mention that a crime is punsihable by death, keep in mind that I’m not condoning it. My point is that it was considered so heinous that it deserved capital punishment.

But here, a 10 year old girl was gang raped by eight teenage males and one 26-year old male. The attackers were tried and were convicted. However, that won’t go into the teenagers’ criminal records. They even got suspended sentences! That meant no jail time for any of these offenders. Why? Because the judge thought that the little girl “probably agreed” to it! What the hell?! At least, Australians, for the most part, were just as outraged with the verdict as I was.

I’m not sure if longer prison sentences actually act as a deterent for would-be criminals, but I would like for the criminals to at least get the punishment they deserve.

Published in: on December 12, 2007 at 12:30 am  Comments (2)  

Vintage Christmas art contest

You may be wondering why there hasn’t been any new posts in this blog for several days now. Well, I’m very busy with work during the day and I’m also very busy doing extra-curricular activities at night.

At first, my nightly activities mainly involved playing my newly bought Orange Box game from Valve (the creators of Half-Life 2 and Counterstrike). Actually, it’s not just one game but five games in one box: the original Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2: Episode One, Half-Life 2: Episode Two, Portal and Team Fortress 2. I actually already finished the original Half-Life 2 a while back so I didn’t need to play that again. I’ve been mostly addicted to playing Portal and Team Fortress 2. I have yet to play through Episode One and I still feel that I have already got the $50 worth I paid to buy the Orange Box online.

Anyway, later on, I decided to stop playing so that I can do some bit of artwork. I wanted to draw something Christmas-related. I have two reasons for wanting to draw this but I can only give you one right now.

There is a Christmas-theme contest currently going on at DeviantArt (the online art community I’m part of). The theme is “Vintage Christmas”. Here is a short description of the contest from the contest organiser: misskittyoooo.

Something that is Vintage is “Characterized by excellence, maturity, and enduring appeal; classic.”. So for this contest you are to create an old, classic style Christmas postcard that is brimming with holiday spirit! This is not a contest for a grinch or a scrooge, this is a contest for those true young at heart that is filled with the holiday spirit, and keeps it all the year! This is a contest for people who love the rosy cheeked santas, ribbons and candles on Christmas trees.

With that, here is my entry for the contest:

I have no illusions of winning this one but I am hoping that this would get me a bit of exposure in the community. As for the second purpose of this art project, I’ll reveal that later.

Published in: on December 8, 2007 at 10:27 pm  Comments (6)