Bustitution part 1: is it free, or not?

This week marks the first weekday shutdown of the Frankston line for level crossing removal works. It lasts until Sunday, but there will be a lot more later in the year. And obviously more on various lines as the many level crossing removals take place. Gradually it'll affect most of Melbourne's train lines, so I think it's worth exploring in some detail. I've got a post coming on the bus re

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The need for speed part 2: Portable hard drives

For the video editors in our family who need to move big files around, apart from internet upload speeds, I was also researching the fastest connection types for portable hard drives. Theoretical speeds: USB 2: 60 MB/s Firewire 800: 133 MB/s USB 3: 625 MB/s Thunderbolt 2: 1250 MB/s (USB 3.1 will apparently be up to 1250 MB/s when it's eventually out there.) USB hard drive manufacturers

Geek, Net, Toxic Custard newsletter

The need for speed part 1: Internet uploads

Not to pre-empt anything, but this year I expect to have two film and television students in the house. For this, I'm considering upgrading my Internet. We're currently on iiNet Naked ADSL2+ costing $69.99 per month (for 1000 Gb of data, of which, to my surprise, we're using about a quarter). Actually I'm paying an additional $10 for VOIP, but I'm planning to ditch it because we rarely use i

Photos from ten years ago, Toxic Custard newsletter

Old photos from January 2006

Continuing my series of posts of ten year old photos... New Year's Eve 2005/06 was the second year of all-night trains, and I sampled them for myself. Flinders Street station at about 1am was pretty busy. Still some crowds outside, very much a party atmosphere as I recall. The platforms and trains were pretty packed, but moving well. The smaller photos are from some video I shot. The last (b


New seat layouts, and the train load standard is increasing from 798 to 900

So, now we know which train is which... If you're a regular on Melbourne's trains, particularly in the southern and western lines, you'd have noticed the recent changes to seat layouts, but the process of reducing the number of seats on metropolitan trains actually started some time ago, during the huge patronage growth of last decade. Back in 2008, it was flagged that the second major order


Stamps going up to $1

What can you buy for $1? You certainly can't buy a newspaper. The Herald Sun costs $1.40 on weekdays; The Age costs $2.50; The Australian is $2.70. So I'm finding it difficult to be too outraged at standard stamps going up to $1. In fact this letter in Saturday's Age perfectly sums up how I feel about it: For $1, I can send a letter from the most out-of-the-way PO in the local store in Vi

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Scammers try to connect me to the “Rescue Machine of Telstra”

It is a common scam for people to ring you up claiming to be from Microsoft or Telstra (or another major corporation that sounds plausible). They tell you your computer and/or internet connection has a problem, and it needs to be fixed or your internet connection will be cut off, or that something else bad will happen. They then try to walk you through the steps to enable them to take over your

Toxic Custard newsletter, transport

“Mind the gap” spam hits Metro Siemens trains

From Friday (January 1st) it seems a bug got into the Siemens train automatic announcements, probably associated with the timetable changes which took effect on that date. Since then, the trains (unless the driver turns off all of the auto announcements) will remind you to "Mind the gap between the train and the platform" with quite staggering regularity. Here it is in all its glory, when ap


Night Network begins with fireworks

The PTV Night Network (formerly known as Homesafe) kind of sort of started on New Years Eve, with trains, all trams and the new Night Buses running for the first time. For the rest of the weekend, trains, six tram routes and the Night Buses will run, meaning by the end of Sunday, many routes will have had service for 93 hours straight since Wednesday morning. New Years Eve It seems to h