Mobile Data Costs

Vodafone sent me (and 1000’s of others no doubt) a txt msg today announcing their new mobile internet plans. The big change is for casual users (probably anyone like me on prepay) who now have the following pricing,

$1/day for 10MB, no monthly fee, $1/MB overage

In other words, that’s ~$30/month for 300MB. While this is not a bad price in NZ’s (crippled) mobile data market, it is still complete pants compared to the rest of the world. It’s also worth noting that this a better deal than their “Broadband Starter” plan which is $30/month for 200MB on a 2 year contract. Go figure.

While on the topic of ridiculous pricing for mobile data, lets look at what those sms/txt messages cost you. At 20 cents per message that’s cheap right? Wrong! Time for some math…

1 sms = 160 7-bit characters (max) = 1,120 bits = 140 bytes
1 MB = 1,000,000 bytes (SI units) = 7142 sms messages
1 sms message costs 20 cents
Therefore, sending 1 MB via sms costs $1,428!

Of course if you don’t max out your 160 characters (or if you base it on 1024^2 bytes) it’s much more expensive. Wow.

Now if that doesn’t make you realise just how much money the telco’s are creaming off us, I don’t know what will.

Now that’s a weather warning!

They don’t come much bigger than this…

Issued by MetService at 08:29pm 29-Jul-2008

MAJOR STORM MOVING TOWARDS NORTH ISLAND WILL BRING ADVERSE WEATHER TO MUCH OF THE COUNTRY A deepening low northwest of the North Island should lie west of Taranaki by midnight Wednesday and cross central New Zealand during Thursday.Further rain is expected over Northland with heavy falls overnight as an active front moves southwards, then easing in the morning. The front will move over Auckland early morning then onto the centre of the North Island later in the morning, bringing heavy rain to Coromandel Peninsula,Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Hawkes Bay and Wairarapa. Heavy rain will also spread into parts of Marlborough, Nelson and Canterbury in the afternoon.

Gale force winds are expected in exposed areas, and easterly winds are likely to reach severe gale in areas west of the main ranges from Waikato down to Westland. The easterly gales are also expected to bring heavy swells and high seas to eastern coasts of both islands.

People in these areas are advised to watch out for quickly rising streams and rivers and surface flooding. Also, high winds may cause damage to trees and roofs and flying debris may be a hazard in some places.





NORTHLAND Rain is expected to become heavy again tonight. In the 12 hours from 6pm Tuesday to 6am Wednesday, another 50 to 70mm is possible in some places, especially about the eastern hills. Heaviest falls are likely to be from about 10pm to early morning when intensities could reach 10 to 25mm per hour with a few embedded thunderstorms. The rain should ease north of Bay of Islands by about 3am and farther south by about 6am.Strong northwesterlies and scattered showers will follow for the rest of tomorrow.

AUCKLAND Rain should become heavier overnight. In the 6 to 8 hours from midnight Tuesday around 70mm is possible in some places, especially about the hills of northern and eastern Auckland. In many other places 30 to 50mm is likely. Peak intensities 15 to 20mm per hour a little before dawn.

COROMANDEL PENINSULA AND BAY OF PLENTY WEST OF KAWERAU Rain heavy at times. Between 6pm Tuesday and 9am Wednesday expect 120 to 160mm in the ranges and 70mm possible down to the coast. Peak intensities around 25mm per hour in embedded thunderstorms in the morning.

BAY OF PLENTY RANGES EAST OF KAWERAU Rain becoming heavy Wednesday morning. In the 6 to 9 hours from 6am Wednesday,70 to 90mm possible with peak intensities 15 to 20mm per hour.

RANGES OF GISBORNE NORTH OF GISBORNE CITY Rain should become heavy Wednesday morning. In the 12 hours from midnight Tuesday to midday Wednesday expect 100 to 120mm in the ranges. Intensities could reach 15 to 20mm per hour in embedded thunderstorms.

GISBORNE RANGES SOUTH OF GISBORNE CITY and HAWKES BAY RANGES NORTH OF WAIPUKURAU In the 12 hours from 3am to 3pm Wednesday, 80 to 100mm possible in the ranges, with heaviest falls of 10 to 20mm around late Wednesday morning.

HAWKES BAY RANGES SOUTH OF WAIPUKURAU AND RANGES OF WAIRARAPA Rain should develop overnight and become heavy tomorrow morning. In the 9 hours from 6am to 3pm Wednesday 70mm is possible.

KAIKOURA RANGES Rain is expected to become heavy overnight. In the 24 hours from 3am Wednesday to 3am Thursday expect 120 to 150 mm.

RICHMOND RANGES Rain is expected to become heavy overnight. In the 24 hours from 3am Wednesday to 3am Thursday expect 100 to 120 mm.

RANGES OF NORTHWEST NELSON Rain is expected to become heavy Wednesday morning. In the 24 hours from midnight tonight until midnight Wednesday expect 120 to 150mm possible in the ranges.

CANTERBURY Rain is expected to become heavy Wednesday afternoon. In the 24 hours from 3pm Wednesday to 3pm Thursday expect 100 to 140mm in the foothills and 40 to 60mm over the plains. Snow is expected to develop above 500 metres and 40 to 50cm may accumulate above 800 metres,deeper in drifts. However, the snow level is expected to rise later on Thursday as warmer air spreads south.

FREEZING LEVEL SOUTH ISLAND: 1100 metres rising to 2000 metres Thursday.



FORECAST:WAIKATO WAITOMO TAUMARUNUI TAUPO Easterly gales are expected to develop in the morning. In the 9 hours from midnight to 9am Wednesday severe gales with gusts of 130 km/h are possible in exposed places.

TARANAKI TAIHAPE WANGANUI MANAWATU NELSON MARLBOROUGH Easterly gales are expected to develop early Wednesday. In the 15 hours from 3am to 6pm Wednesday severe gales with gusts of 120 to 150km/h are possible in exposed places.

BULLER WESTLAND Easterly gales are expected to develop Wednesday morning. In the 15 hours from 6am to 9pm Wednesday severe gales with gusts of 120 to 150km/h are possible in exposed places.


Forecast prepared by: Bob Lake

For further information after 9pm contact Duty Forecaster Gerard Barrow A service provided through a contract with the Crown

Yes, that warning covers all NZ regions with the exception of Wellington, Otago, Southland and Fiordland!

As highlighted in the warning headline, this is shaping up to be a major storm. For the latest official warnings, forecasts and observations, visit where you’ll find the following pages, (and much more!)

Warning Map with multiple links for detailed info
Severe Weather Warning Text
Road Snowfall Warnings
Thunderstorm Outlook
MSL Analysis Maps
Satellite Imagery
Radar Imagery

Google in Maori launched

When visiting this morning I noticed a new option on the homepage, “ offered in: Maori” – which results in this,

The launch coincides with Maori language week here in New Zealand, and a quick Google Search for more info yielded this article at Geekzone and a more general blog post about languages from Google themselves.

Kudos Google.

The new face of Facebook

Facebook have launched a new design which should be going live for everyone in the near future. If you’re not seeing it and are keen to have a look, try visiting which should switch the site over for you. Note however, there may be some browser dependancy issues here, as trying that with a friend on IE6 today didn’t work, but for me with Firefox 3 it did.

If that doesn’t work for you, click through for a couple of screenshot comparisons…

Read more of this post

Vodafone NZ embarrassed by its own plans?

Just three days before the launch of the iPhone here in New Zealand, Vodafone NZ announced some of the most expensive data plans accompanying the phone ON THE PLANET. Like many, I thought $199 was reasonable for the legendary device, until I saw the associated data price tag that is – a whopping $6,000! (see this post).

While browsing the Vodafone website this morning, I decided to see if there was any change in the plans given the general disappointment by the public (see here* and here*). To my surprise there has been a change in the listed plans(!), but not a change I was expecting.

So lets play spot the difference…

The listed plans today:

And the plans announced on July 8:

As you can see above, and for yourself on their iPhone plans page, Vodafone have ceased advertising their exorbitant 1GB data plan – you now have to visit a store to find that one.

So why the change? I can only conclude that Vodafone are EMBARRASSED by their own plans to the point that they are trying to hide the true cost to “heavy” data users. I say “heavy” as I believe that is complete bollocks by the way – 1GB per month is a mere 33MB (or so) a day and trivial to burn through given the richness of the internet. Furthermore, paying $6,000 for 24GB over two years is plainly insane when my ISP can offer me 50GB in one month for $40. Go figure (coz I can’t).

So yeah, SHAME ON YOU VODAFONE – firstly for pricing your data ridiculously high and secondly for trying to hide it.

(* WebCite links to the articles here and here)

US Hurricane Prediction

via xkcd,


Recent YouTube additions…

By me! Two of the little guy in fact.

A while ago Matt figured out he could move his little plastic chairs to help him reach things – including the door handle,

Initially however, his cunning plan was flawed as the door swings inwards – right to where he planted the chair. HA! That didn’t last long. He now knows to leave a small gap, open the door a crack, climb down, move the chair, then open the door. Luckily, we have a last line of defence – all our external doors have deadlocks that can only be opened by keys (now hidden!)

And this vid was taken a couple of nights ago when Matt was having a great time singing “row row row your boat…” with his mum in the bath,