on the edge

computers & technology, books & writing, civilisation & society, cars & stuff

Greg Black

gjb at gbch dot net
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If you’re not living life on the edge, you’re taking up too much space.

FQE30 at Qld Raceway 25 May 2003


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Worthy organisations

Amnesty International Australia — global defenders of human rights

global defenders of human rights

Médecins Sans Frontières — help us save lives around the world

Médecins Sans Frontières - help us save lives around the world

Electronic Frontiers Australia — protecting and promoting on-line civil liberties in Australia

Electronic Frontiers Australia


(Coming soon…)


(Coming soon…)


(Coming soon…)

Software resources

GNU Emacs


The FreeBSD Project

Thu, 15 Jul 2004

How hard can it be?

Yesterday, I flew to Melbourne for my mother’s funeral. Naturally, while I had my back turned, the wheels fell off things at home. Around 1600, my wife rang me to say that her email wasn’t working. Tricky to diagnose from where I was, so it had to wait until I got home after a rather long day. At 2030, I check the network and see that we have fallen off the Internet.

Rebooting the ADSL modem, always an astonishingly slow process, brought no relief. So I plugged in a known good handset and found no dial tone. Telstra said they’d get somebody to call me. While waiting for that call this morning, I wandered outside and saw three Telstra vans parked in the street outside the new house that’s being built. Three vans for one house? Wow.

When the man rang to tell me that he hoped to get a technician out by close of business on Friday, I thought I’d mention the boys already in the street. “Oh your problem has nothing to do with them,” he said. I suggested that they probably caused my problem, but to no avail. At 1300, Steve from Telstra rang to say that he’d be on the job soon. At 1400, we lost dial tone from the voice line as well. At 1410, Steve rang again to say that it was indeed the Telstra boys down the street who’d chopped us off and that he’d made a “temporary repair” which would be fixed properly next week.

The last “temporary repair” was made three years ago. That time, they said they’d re-cable the street urgently as there was no spare capacity to cope with faults. The street still has not been re-wired. Every time it rains, we have faults in the pit at the bottom of the hill when it fills with water. Every time we report those faults, they refuse to look in that pit until they’ve checked all the impossible sources of trouble first. And they have no corporate memory of any of this. As for me, all I can do is whine…