I wrote earlier about my difficulties with getting iBook connected with Telstra's BigPond ADSL service. Well, it turned out that Telstra don't support Macs running on OS 10.3 (Panther). Don't ask me why. I was quite miffed when I noticed this in the fine print. Information like that should be in big bold letters under the Mac requirements. Well I'm happy to say it is possible to connect to BigPond ADSL on a Mac with Panther. It was actually quite easy. So easy that I could have been saved a lot of frustration if only Telstra had bothered to slip in a piece of paper with a few sentences giving some direction to Panther users.
This was something I worked out substantially on my own. I called the Telstra technical support this afternoon. I got the usual line that they don't officially support Panther, but the guy knew that it was possible to connect with it, but he wasn't sure how.
That wasn't at all helpful, but unless the guy was totally lying, it was good to know that it was somehow possible. Of course there wasn't anything on the BigPond website about this. So I looked further afield and found this helpful discussion thread. This gave me the information which I needed to try a different strategy, which actually worked! I went into System Preferences / Network and decided to try the "Assist Me" button for the hell of it, and that did the trick. So now I can return to using my iBook for everything.
Now my dilemma is, shall I stick with Bloglines (which I have developed a liking for), or go back to NetNewsWire (which I also like)?
While I'm talking about Australian broadband internet services, I have got to mention one huge difference between the Australian and American pricing models. In Australia, they really punish bandwidth hogs. All but the most expensive plans have a monthly download/upload allowance. The most basic plans start give you 200 MB to last an entire month. If you go over this allowance, one or both of these things will happen: you'll be charged for each MB over the limit; your connection speed is curtailed so that it's hardly any better than dialup.
From my observations, a 200 MB plan will work for somebody who never surfs the web for more than an hour a day (looking primarily at text), and who never goes to graphics intensive sites, never downloads or streams music or videos and never downloads applications (except maybe the absolute necessary patches and updates, if there aren't too many in that month). And MMORPGs like Lineage, EverQuest and Shadowbane are totally verboten.
I admit, I have been spoilt by my experience in the US, where there are no monthly download allowances. Those would never fly over there! Although I recall reading something about American ISPs are starting to worry about bandwidth hogs.
And it isn't fair when the person who is downloading pirated versions of Buffy season six (6 DVDs worth) and other movies is paying the same monthly charge as the person who just looks at the news, checks her email and does some shopping.
In theory, I can accept the idea of download-based pricing. But it's still a pain. Would it make a difference if they just sold it a different way, such as providing discounts and incentives for lower usage? Who knows. It's probably not so much of an issue in Australia, because most people here have never known anything different.