Fianally ADSL2+. I was lucky just to get ADSL1 when I first moved in.

By , 16 November, 2012 9:28 pm

When I just moved into my place at Springfield Lakes in January 2012 I rang Telstra to get Internet connected and they said it was unavailable, not enough ports available within my local DA (Distribution Area).  I’m on DA96 connected to the Goodna exchange.

Anyhow, I was told to ring back in a month and check.  That was not acceptable.  I could not believe in this day and age that basic Internet access was not available to everyone, so I started to research my options.  I have a radio tower about 800 metres from me, direct line of sight so worst case scenario I could use 3G.  Another option I found was a private company called Puddlenet Communications that has filled the void of DSL with a 5 GHz wireless mesh network.

Once I found out about Puddlenet I looked further into it and then started looking at the homes in my area and I noticed that a lot of homes had 5 GHz directional antennas, so it was obvious that there were a lot of people in the same situation as me.  The only problem with Puddlenet was their plans, like 3G is expensive with limited data allowances.

So I got back onto Telstra and rang them up every second day.  It took me two weeks before they said I could get connected.  Someone in my area must have so I was lucky enough to get a connection.  To the right here is a picture of one of the antennas that people around here have.  I took this picture of my neighbours house.

You could image how slow ADSL1 is when you are use to at a minimum ADSL2+.  I’m happy to have ADSL2+ but I can’t wait until the NBN is rolled out in this area.  The only reason I was able to get ADSL2 was because the NBN is not planned in my area for at least another 3 years so Telstra decided to upgrade this area as part of their Top Hat project.

Here are the results of my before and after speed tests along my with my modems synchronisation speeds.

One thing I will say about Telstra is that as soon as I saw the Top Hat spreadsheet from Telstra Wholesale say that my DA was upgraded I rang them that morning and within 1 hour my speed had changed.  Telstra did tell me that it would take 3-4 days for the change to take effect.  They were wrong there, but I’m happy about it.

CyanogenMod 10 (CM10) and the Samsung Galaxy S GT-I9000

By , 13 November, 2012 7:23 pm

I have previously written about CM9 and how well I have enjoyed using this custom ROM on my phone.  I’m compelled to write once more about CM10.  If it wasn’t for the CyanogenMod team I would not be able to experience the wonderful flavours of JellyBean (Android 4.1.2).

With Android 4.2.0 in the wind I’m really keen to see how compatible this will be with my phone.  I’ve recently learnt that CM for the I9000 is the most downloaded ROM from CyangoenMod.

I’m really enjoying Google Now that android 4.1 brings and I can’t wait for 4.2 to hit the CM team.  I’m sure they will be releasing Android 4.2 within days of Android releasing it to the public, which I believe should happen any day now.

I’ve had my Samsung Galaxy S now for over 2 years and I am very pleased with it.  It seems that manufactures are encouraging users to upgrade their phones every 12 months with the release of the phones having better CPU, GPU and RAM.

I’ve always thought that I’d like to have my phone for 3 years but I’m finding it difficult as the newer devices out there look so good.  I am finding with the newer Android operating system that the hardware seems to be a bit slower on the older phones due to the newer features and functions that require more CPU and RAM.  Having said that it is still a very usable device. Due to wanting the latest and greatest I’ve decided to purchase the Samsung Galaxy S IV when it comes out in March 2013 (if you listen to rumors).  If the phone is up to specifications then I believe I will purchase around May/June.  I won’t purchase when it is first released.  I will wait for supply to pickup and be hopeful the price will drop with competing retailers.

If anyone has an older Android device I can recommend that you do try our CM10 for your device.

Solar Panels. Are they worth it?

By , 5 November, 2012 10:52 am

I purchased my solar panels on the 6th June 2012 and had them installed on the 12th August 2012.  The 12th of August was the completion of the installation.  It was when Energex finally came to install the meter into the power box.  Yes, your calculations are correct, it was a Sunday when they did the install.  The reason for the Sunday install was because my installation just happen to coincide with the Queensland government notification that the feed in tariff would be going from 44 cents per kilowatt hour to 8 cents per kilowatt hour so the rush was on for everyone to install before the changeover and I happen to be caught in the middle of it all.

So, the system has now be operational for 85 days and I must say based on my calculations the system is working well and truly in my favor.  To this day I’m calculating a $342 payment in my favor.  No electricity costs but I nice payment for me from the electricity company.

I’m currently with AGL,  I get 10% off any electricity usage and my feed in tariff is 44 cents per kilowatt hour from the Queensland government plus 8 cents per kilowatt hour from AGL which is a total of 52 cents per kilowatt hour that I feed into the grid.  Now AGL could change their 8 cents to zero but the Queensland government is contracted to supply the 44 cents per kilowatt hour for another 16 years so that makes me happy.

Now the feed in tariff is a fixed amount meaning that it does not go up with inflation, so as the years pass and my cost per kilowatt hour increases the value of my feed in tariff decreases dependent on the increase per year.  I’m guesstimating by the year 2020 electricity prices will be around the 44 cents per kilowatt hour, meaning that my last 6 or so years of the system will not be in my favor, but having said that I should still be able to accomplish at a minimum neutral cost.

Over the last 85 days, I have experienced cloud, rain and clear skies, so my estimated figures should be reasonably accurate but I really won’t know until I’ve had the system running for at least a year, but then I won’t know if that year was a good your or a  bad year so for a more accurate measure 3 years of usage would be required to get a real feel.  Now the problem with this is that we have already seen the government change the rules on solar systems a number of times and you can only go by what the sales person is estimating as your return on investment, which we know will always seem good otherwise they will never be able to sell any products.

I have two systems installed.  I have a 2kW facing north east and a 3kW facing north west.  Based on the direction of the panels my system is loosing about 10% efficiency as they are not facing true north. My solar panels are 250 watts each.

I typically spend about $600 per quater with the  summer quater bill typically around the $700 mark, so that is an average of about $2500 per year on electricity costs.

With a $350 payment (income, tax free) per quarter and a $15,000 bill for the solar system that means a break even point of 4 years.  After the 4 year mark  I should then have a payment (incomce), tax free) of about $800 per year (which would reduce over time due to inflation) which would be decreased over the remaining period of the feed in tariff program.

Based on the figures above, I do believe that a solar system with a feed in tariff of at least 44 cents if viable.  I’m not sure how well it will now stack up as the current feed in tariff is only 8 cents per kilowatt hour and from what I have hear and read the government has the ability to change the feed in tariff rate to zero on new contracts.

Panorama Theme by Themocracy