Thursday, May 02, 2013

Fast Fibre Frivolities

So, we have abandoned Be (UN)Limited now that they're owned by News Corp; and I think we did so just in time. We were promised, when NC took over, that nothing would change; but that was a blatant lie. No sooner had the deal been signed then our web speed dropped from 8Mbit to about 4Mbit. Not only that, but eww, News Corp. No way in hell are we giving them our money.

So now we are with PlusNet. PlusNet are from Yorkshire. You can tell this because I can't keep a straight face when using their automated phone system. PlusNet also give us 70Mbit fibre-optic broadband for half the price of copper-line broadband. And it is amazingly fast.

We've also decided to drop line rental, which is why the price is so low.

In a world where everyone has a mobile phone, it's cheaper just to Pay As You Go. Now it costs 14p/minute if we want to tell people how amazingly fast our connection is, rather than a contractual £15/month.

For en example of how fast it is, I was able to download almost 15GiB total of Steam Games in an hour. This is impressive in itself because Steam is notorious for shaping download speeds and for quite a lot of the hour at least one game would be suspended (at one point four were suspended and one was crawling at 3MiB/s - I say crawling, this is still three times faster than our old copper-line's maximum speed).

Anyway, gloating aside, I can heartily recommend PlusNet to all my British friends. The installation is a little bizarre however; we now have TWO white boxes with Blinkenlichts. The cable from the outside world is fed into a BT Openreach fibre modem - though I should stress at this point that BT Openreach is not actually BT, it is a shell company for carrying out contract works using the BT architecture, and they are all authorised BT technicians - and from that a very short ethernet cable links to our PlusNet router.

Our PlusNet router, which has Wireless 802.11N. N. I've never had an actual native 802.11N connection before and it is sooo nice. I can steal files from Paul's computer at warp speed.

So, how was your week?


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Achieving the impossible

We all know that electricity costs a fortune at the minute, what with... I dunno, the price of wind, and the damn water turbines on strike again (I digress) but anyway, yeah, electricity is expensive.

This morning we got a letter through the door from E-on, our power and gas provider. The letter was one of those doom-laden Thou must payeth thine dues before the Sun doth set seven days from now! letters that they admittedly sent by mistake since our bills are paid automatically by the Department for Work and Pensions as part of the Employment Support Allowance welfare payments. The jolly guy on the phone asked if I could give him some meter readings while I was on the phone, as they were working from estimates, and estimates are improved with waypoints.

So I read out our meter reading for electricity.

The man from E-on said, and I quote; "What!?".

Our meter reading was 8,000 Units higher than their estimate. For those of you who, like me before I sat down with the Collins DIY Guide, don't know what a Unit is nor how it is calculated, let me break this down:

Eight thousand Units is equal to eight million watts per hour; eight megawatt-hours. This is equal to 80,000 100-watt lightbulbs lit for an hour. However, this is over two months - we will say 60 days for neatness of calculation. If you divide 80,000 by 60 days, and then divide 60 days by 24 hours, you get 55.5... lightbulbs lit per hour every hour for sixty days straight - or 5.56kilowatt-hours (rounded up). Both the electric oven and washing machine running together do not use 5 kilowatt-hours combined. Something, somewhere, is evidently wrong.

So now we are going to fill in a chart every day for a month that notes the meter readings in the morning and evening, as well as noting down any particularly power-hungry appliances that we have used. If E-on agree that the meter is counting more power than we are actually using, they will open an investigation and if we're vindicated then we may even get some money returned to us (or at least used to cover bills in advance).

To quote Arthur Dent: "This must be Thursday. I never could get the hang of Thursdays."


Saturday, April 13, 2013


Okay, so I notice I keep coming to, and then forgetting about, then returning to my blog. I have decided that it might be best for all if I just cleared the slate entirely and started from scratch; this time with more interesting things and less silliness.

Who am I kidding, there will always be silliness.

So from now on, only awesome and interesting - and occasionally silly - things will be blogged about.