Pre-Internet Win

This evening I spent time on Youtube (uh oh…). After the usual clicking between videos, I ended up on this song. For the uninitiated, the Ning Nang Nong is a song by legendary poet Spike Milligan, but made famous (to Australians at least) by being made into an animation sequence on a children’s television show (Play School, on ABC TV). I spent about an hour listening to this video, over and over and over. It never gets old.

According to Wikipedia, Play School is the longest-running childrens television show in Australia, and more than 80% of young children watch it at least once a week. I’d say that’s been true for the entire running of the series too. Every person I’ve talked to on the matter has watched Play School as a child. Even though they’ve taken the Ning Nang Nong off the regular programming, it does occasionally get a run. And boy does it deserve it.

The Ning Nang Nong has so much pure win in it. It’s hilariously funny, completely insane, horribly addictive, and it impregnates itself in your brain forever. Very few Internet memes can pull as much win. From one comment on YouTube:

GreenCristina: […] The amount of win it contains cannot even be articulated.

So after a bit of thought, I came to the decision that more Australians would be able to recite more of the Ning Nang Nong than they would of the Australian national anthem (Advance Australia Fair), without listening to either song before hand. I know that I know more Ning Nang Nong, for certain.

So tell me (in the comments), have you seen the Ning Nang Nong? Is it the highlight of your childhood? Can you recite more it than Advance Australia Fair? And is it the biggest pre-Internet win ever?

Why I No Longer Use Facebook…

…and why you probably haven’t noticed.

Facebook, along with its partner in crime MySpace, were touted as the all-singing, all-dancing duo of social networking in the Web 2.0 age. For a long time I didn’t catch on, until about March/April in 2008. It was at that point in time that I decided to open an account on Facebook, to see what friends of mine were up to. And that’s when the trouble started.

Continue reading Why I No Longer Use Facebook…

9 Things To Never Do On A Forum

  1. Not Googling before posting. This doesn’t apply to all forums, but where it does, you had better do it right, otherwise you’re going to get put in your place rather quickly. You’ll be probably be told to ‘search the fucking web’ or STFW.
  2. Not reading the manual before posting. Again, this doesn’t apply in all situations, but where it does, it does in a big way. You’re likely to get ‘read the fucking manual’ or RTFM as a response if you don’t.
  3. Evade a temporary ban. If you’ve been given a ban, you’ve got it for a reason. Evading the ban (by registering another username, changing email address, etc) is only likely to cause being kicked out again, this time more severely and more permanently.
  4. Start insulting other people personally. It’s fine to disagree. Disagreement causes wonderful arguments that everybody can learn from. Letting that disagreement turn into a personal flame war only causes misery for everybody. And probably a warning from the moderators too.
  5. Not use [code] tags for putting code in. It’ll make you look really, really dumb. Enough said. If you don’t know if the forum supports code tags or you can’t find them, point that out. At least then you have an excuse, and you can do it next time.
  6. Tell somebody their hard work is crap without telling them why. If you have enough of an opinion to tell somebody it’s complete crap, tell them why as well. Otherwise it’ll never get any better. This is especially important if you’re a regular and the initial poster is a newbie, because it reflects badly on the whole community. And thus…
  7. If you’re in a high position in the community, don’t conspire against it. You don’t need to be a moderator to be in a high position. You might have a high post count, or lots of people might mention your (user)name. Whatever it is that places you in that position (or appearance of a high position), don’t abuse it. It will reflect badly on the entire community to outsiders or newbie.
  8. Take over somebody else’s thread for having an argument with a third person. The only exception to this is if the argument is on the exact same topic. If a poster asks “which is better, red or blue?” and then you start discussing the merits of yellow and green, it’s rude and off-topic.
  9. Talk conclusively about something you have no clue about. It will only lead the conversation off-topic (at best) and is likely to confuse the other posters no end.

Do you have any ideas for a tenth item for the list? What is your pet peeve on forums?

Review: Telstra Prepaid Wireless Broadband

Recently I just started house-sitting a house with no Internet connection at all. As a member of the generation who just refuse to be out of touch at any point in time, I needed a way to get the Internet. I’ve house-sat at the same place before, and in previous times I’ve experimented with no-contract dialup services (which turn out to be unreliable and expensive), using my mobile phone as a 3G modem (which worked fine until somebody rang or sent an SMS), and scanning the neighbourhood for open wireless networks (of which there are none, sadly).

So, this time, in an effort to remain connected for the duration of the stay (2 weeks), I’ve purchased myself a prepaid wireless broadband USB dongle, courtesy of Telstra. For those of who don’t know how these things work, they are basically a device (looks a little bit like a flash drive) that plugs into your USB port, connects to the mobile phone network, and lets your computer talk to the mobile network as if it was a phone. More specifically, it allows you to access the Internet via the mobile phone network and send and receive SMSs.

The Telstra Prepaid Wireless Broadband dongle costs around $150AUD retail, and with this you get $10 included credit (which isn’t much at all, trust me). For $89 you get 4GB of data usage, which is a fair hunk, and more than enough for most people just doing browsing and so on. It easily lasted me two weeks of browsing, email checking, Skype video calls (about 3 hours a day) and the occasional small download.

The box it comes in is the same rough size as a DVD case, but a bit thicker. It’s mostly empty space, but there is a manual (which actually tells you most of the things you need to know) as well as an extension cable for the dongle (roughly about 50cm long). The rest of it is filled with not-so-environmentally-friendly foam.

Installation was fairly simple, once I read the instruction manual. First of all I just tried plugging in the device (which picked up as a CD-ROM drive, auto installed some drivers, and then brought up a window with a ‘Connect’ button). This didn’t work. After reading the installation manual I found I had to ring Telstra to activate the SIM card. After doing this, the connect button worked as normal, and I could get on the Internet just fine. It works much like a 56k dialup modem, but with a custom interface.

On the night I bought the device, I couldn’t be bothered ringing Telstra to activate the SIM card. So I experimented with taking the SIM card out of my mobile phone (also a Telstra SIM) and stuck it in the dongle (it’s a fairly easy process to change the SIM card). To my surprise, it worked. I was then able to use the significant amount of browsing credit I had on my phone’s SIM card to browse the Internet on my laptop. A handy feature, I think.

Telstra (or rather, ZTE, the manufacturers of the actual device) had a few more handy tricks up their sleeves. On the side of the dongle is a slot to put a MicroSD card into. I wondered what it was for. This is a modem, not a camera. On reading the manual, I read that it is so you can turn the dongle into a USB flash drive as well (though it only supports up to 4GB cards). Cool idea, though I’ll probably never use it.

The software that Telstra have devised to control the dongle (connect, disconnect, send SMS, see credit, etc) is all proprietary custom-written stuff. While I hate it when companies do that (what’s wrong with using Windows’ dialup connection manager?), Telstra have actually managed to do it well this time. The software only starts when you plug in the device, there are limited things to go wrong (but you are still able to change the most important options), and it stays out of your way on the taskbar while you’re browsing the Internet. Compared to some of their older efforts at wireless broadband connection software (which I used to set up as part of my job occasionally), this software is brilliant.

In addition to that, ZTE have actually bothered to sign their drivers. If you’ve read my review of the PreSonus AudioBox, you’ll know how much unsigned drivers piss me off. They have also distributed updates to the drivers via Windows Update. This is a miracle; the number of smaller hardware companies bothering to do this is far too few.

I’ve been using this device for the last two weeks as my sole Internet connection. I was located in the suburbs of Hobart (where mobile coverage is fairly good), though I experienced three dropouts during that time (mostly during the peak evening time). Speed is fairly good. According to, I got 1840kb/s downstream from a server in Melbourne, and 384kb/s upstream.

Overall, I’m very impressed with this device. While the data is hugely expensive for the amount you get, that’s the only problem I can pick with this device. Other than that, it’s a well thought out, well implemented piece of hardware, backed up by some good software and a decent user manual. 4.5 stars.

Update 21/11/09:  You might also be interested in my look at various high data-usage mobile phone plans, here.