Going Backwards

Delivering on this:

Brexit terrifies me. It reminds me that our basic human operating model is tribalism, and our default economic model is feudalism. What we thought was a new civilised way of sharing growth turned out to just be a brief respite brought on by those who experienced the horrors of tribalism first-hand. Now those memories have just barely passed out of living memory, we’re back to jeering at each other, egged on by lords in high towers.

Continue reading “Going Backwards”

A Question Regarding Freeview

Freeview LogoThe question machine’s reception is still excellent, so I recieved this broadcast:[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] re: Freeview (terrestrial).
In my ignorance I thought the terrestrial Freeview signal was sent out in one “wave” or signal, to then be decoded, separated and screened. But maybe this isn’t so? In bad weather I’m seeing really bad digital breakup of the Maori channel, so bad it’s totally unwatchable (we ended up watching it on the analogue signal instead last night), therefore I now surmise that the signals are in fact separate, and that the Maori channel must have a very weak signal. TVs 1, 2 and 3 have no similar problem, I recall that Prime may also suffer. Is my updated opinion correct? Does it cost more for a stronger signal, I would have thought all my signals come from the same source? [/pullquote]

Now I will immediately admit ignorance as to Freeview’s exact mode of broadcast. I do know that the channels are split into groups that are broadcast over a similar UHF frequency, so could it be that Maori TV is on a slightly different frequency to TVs 1, 2 and 3? Perhaps the readers could answer?

The only cost you’ll be covering for a “stronger signal” would be a bigger aerial to pick up more of the available signal. Freeview does have a handy coverage checker, but it doesn’t tell me which transmitter I should point my aerial at, nor which way (polarity) I should mount the aerial. However, our friends at Wikipedia have a handy list.

Question: Can I Just Buy an iPhone 4?

A question has arrived, fresh off the boat:
[quote]Hi. I have a few questions re. iphone 4

Do you have to run it on an iphone plan or can I just use my existing VF plan?

I’m thinking of purching an iphone 4 from the Apple website, thinking it’s possibly faster than waiting for them to come into stores. What happens with the micro sims, though? You need a micro to run an iphone 4, right? Are they readily availible in VF stores, or do they only come in when the phones come in? In which case, I might as well wait and get one from a store. Your thoughts, please? Thanks.[/quote]
Despite what Apple would like you to think, the iPhone is just a phone, like every other phone you can buy from a shop or direct from Vodafone. It has a SIM slot, and Vodafone has absolutely no control over what piece of plastic you decide to put in that SIM slot.

So yes, you can use your existing plan. And yes, you can buy an iPhone 4 directly from Apple, then go into a Vodafone store and ask for a micro SIM. I’m pretty sure they have a lot more micro SIMs available than they do iPhones. You should have no issue getting one, but they might charge you a small fee for the pleasure.

If you’re keen to avoid that fee, you can even just chop up your existing SIM card so it fits in the slot on your phone. It’s cheap and fun, and I’ve done it myself with complete success. If you fail, just take the chopped card into a Vodafone store and ask for a replacement micro SIM.

One thing to check before you decide to use your existing plan with an iPhone: what will data cost you? You don’t have to use data when you’re using an iPhone, but it’s a heck of a lot more fun to use when you don’t have to worry so much about downloads. And while Vodafone’s billing system is broken, their iPhone plans have 3GB per month bonus data. It was meant to end this time last year, but is still going.

A Question: MySky for My Sky?

skytv_logo The question machine has recorded another question for me to play back:
[quote]We are looking at getting “My Sky”, so I rang sky and now I dont know which way to go.. We already have a DVD recorder but the MAIN reason I want  Mysky is after spending about $300 odd on trying to get our reception better on normal TV (if we are taping a sky channel, we may want to watch TV1 etc), anyway after a new arial and many hours we still have s**t reception if not watching through sky.. So we have decided Mysky will fix our troubles? Sky lady said we have two options..

  • OPTION 1…. Pay $599.00 and then nothing extra for ever.. so that way we would still only be paying  about $85 a month for our sky channel pack which we are paying now…
  • OPTION 2…. Pay $99.00 for instilation and then an extra $15 a month for as long as we have “Mysky”….
  • EXTRA OPTION….. For an extra $10 on top of what ever option we pick we can get HD???  Is it really that important to have HD?

So PLEASE PLEASE can someone help me and tell me which way they would go?  I tend to think  OPTION 2 as I would bet just about anything there will be a new something within at least 18 months but then again I am normally wrong so what to do??
I absolutly hate when I feel like I have had a bad deal or feel I have been ripped off……[/quote]
I absolutely hate feeling ripped off too. It’s like that feeling you get when you’re watching a pay TV channel that you’re forking over $90 per month for, and the program keeps being interrupted by ads. Ads targeted perfectly in the way only a company with thousands of phone-connected decoders could do.

But I digress! You asked a question about MySky. Let me break it down as best I can in order of your question marks: Probably; Correct; Maybe; I shall; Good point.


Yes, probably a Sky account will fix your reception issues. Unlike a terrestrial TVNZ signal, the Sky signal is beamed down from a satellite, so unless you point your reception dish the wrong way or plant an exceptionally large tree in the wrong place, your signal will be perfect.


Yes, Sky asks for an additional $10 per month on top of any subscription for their “HD Access Ticket”. You can have all the bells, whistles, and chrome plated grease nipples required to view HD content, but you’re not going to get any Aiych Dees from Sky’s spaceship unless you pay them those ten dollars every month.

I suppose the satellite must have to blow a bit harder to get the extra digital bits down to your satellite dish.


Is it really that important to have HD? Maybe. Do you have a big HD television? If you don’t then there’s certainly no point in paying that $10 per month.

If you do have a nice big HD television, then I personally think it’s worth the extra $10 per month. Sometimes you won’t even notice, but most of the time you’ll be pleased with the extra depth and clarity, especially when you swap between HD and standard channels to compare.

Hi-Def nerds will complain that Sky’s particular flavour of HD is no great shakes compared to Freeview. While their position (like most nerdery) is grounded solidly in fact, the reality is that slightly crap HD is better than no HD at all.

I Shall

You ask for someone to tell you which way you should go. As you point out: at $15 per month, it’s going to be three and a bit years before you’re on the wrong side of $599, by which time there might be a new version, or your salary increase might make the $15 irrelevant. I think you’ve answered your own question.

Additionally: if I had paid $599, I’d be a lot more upset than I am at the smelly stool that attempts to pass as a user interface on the MySkyHDi. I could rant for a good hour about just how perplexing it is to use, but I present one exhibit for consideration: It takes at least 3 button presses (and often many more), to set up a show for “series link”. It takes a single, shiny, inviting (to a six year old), yellow button press to delete a recorded show forever. No warning, no undo, do not pass Go, do not watch that episode of The Pacific. Ever. Not that I’m bitter or anything. Pacific is a disappointment anyway.

Good Point

Sorry, I don’t mean “good point: you are normally wrong”. I mean “good point: there is usually a new device every 18-24 months”.

Go with the $15 per month option. Pay the $10 “HD ticket” if you have a half-decent HD TV.

Question: Can I use an iPad in New Zealand?

A somewhat inevitable question has arrived via the question machine:
[quote]Can i buy an ipad in usa and expect it to work in new zealand? any tech specs i have to look out for?[/quote]

Yes, you can buy an iPad in the USA, and yes it will work fine in New Zealand. In fact, I’m writing this very post on an iPad.

Things you will want to look out for:

  • You can purchase and use almost any iPad app through a standard New Zealand iTunes account. However: the official Apple apps, including iBooks and the iWork suite are currently only available in the US store. There is a fairly straightforward way to get around this limitation.
  • No one has tested the 3G models yet. They use micro SIM cards which are not currently available in New Zealand. Vodafone promises they will be available if and when the iPad 3G is officially available in New Zealand. If you get desperate, you could make your own.

So yes, there are really no problems with using an iPad in New Zealand. The question is: do you really need one? I’ve been using mine for a week now, and am really struggling to find a true purpose for it. If I get a spare second I’ll expand on this opinion in a followup post later.