My 1990s MOD tracker music collection

Back in the days well before MP3 music, We’d download and play Amiga MOD tracker music from BBS systems. MODs contained small instrument samples and instructions on how to play them together.

For some reason, all these years I’ve kept my old collection of MOD music and I’ve realised many of these early computer music files may no longer be found on the Internet, so I’ve published them here:

Modern PCs can play these files with VLC. – On Windows you may need to download the file and open it in VLC manually as the Film & TV app will try and open them by default.

My favourite songs are Life is Like a Dance and UnreaL ][

Pop_Crn is a song I converted from a MIDI file.

If the multi-technology mix NBN was a building program…

One day NBNCo paid ~$11bn for blocks of land with which to build. The blocks may have existing buildings on them or they might be completely vacant. For many blocks (the number and location are strictly commercially sensitive – NBNCo didn’t ask, and the seller didn’t feel obliged to tell), they don’t know what’s on the block of land: it could be prime real estate or it could be a swamp.

They don’t even know if there is in fact land at the place that they were told and to solve these problems NBNCo have agreed to pay extra to the seller to survey the land that they bought.

Every 18 months or so, NBNCo then place a big sign at a random number of blocks in random places saying “Sometime soon we’ll build a building here!”. Occasionally on some blocks, for no describable reason, the sign is pulled down. This is the best information we get from the NBNCo public website and maps.

Continue reading “If the multi-technology mix NBN was a building program…”

Hello, how can we not help you?

I’d like to relate my experience trying to upgrade from a Bigpond Turbo modem to one of the new 4G ones. I have to vent my frustration, it really was so bad.

I call 13 7663 and say to the robot woman, “new modem” and confirm I’m calling from the phone connected to the account. I spend a lot of time on hold (oh well. Speaker phones are awesome…) and the rep answers. “Welcome to Telstra, this is John.” “Hi, I’d like to upgrade my modem…” He says, “Hello? Welcome to Telstra, this is John.” More silence. Then he hangs up.

Grr. Must be a bad line. I ring back, spend more time on hold. Rep answers, same thing. Can’t hear me. Odd. Because I was bored and had time to kill, I rang again. SAME thing. Wha?!?!

I ring once more and this time I say “Sales” and say “No” to the “is this the phone you’re calling about” question. Rep answers, and hey, he can hear me this time. (I guess they don’t like taking calls about new modems from existing customers) “I’d like to upgrade to 4G.” “Ok”. Confirms my DOB etc… “Yes, the 4G wireless modem.” “No, not the wireless hub” “Yes, I know it’s wireless. I have a wireless account already.” (Under my breath Γ’β‚¬β€œ you have that information on your screen. #%@!! Sigh.)

Everything goes smoothly until he confirms the delivery address. “I’d like it delivered to my work, here’s the address”. “Oh… umm.”, he says. “That address isn’t linked to any of your accounts” “I know that, I just want the new modem delivered there.” “Sorry, I can’t do that”. AND HE HANGS UP ON ME. I know he hung up and the call didn’t drop out because the robot woman came back on and asks me to rate the call. Sure I rated the call. The score wasn’t high. :-/

Exasperated, I call again. I get to the stage, “I want to upgrade to 4G.” “You’ll have to pay a $17 cancellation fee”. “Why? It’s out of contract”. “That’s what the computer says. I can’t help you.”. At this stage I gave up. I said “ok, thanks” and hung up.

I’ve been a Telstra customer for years. Heck, I’ve worked for Telstra. Never in my life have I suffered such appallingly horrid customer service. How hard should it be for an existing customer to call and say, “hey, your stuff is so good I want to give you my money for another 24 months?!”.

With Bigpond, very.

Old… but not broken

I’ve just rebuilt one of my home servers. The old one had one of these Arnet Multiport ISA serial cards in it for my packet radio modems. Full-length ISA, full-sized UART chips, shared IRQ serial ports, DIP switches… In other words, all the things that make me glad personal computing moved on past the 1990s.

This card was originally installed in a Pick-based Library automation system in 1993.. Now this is the amazing thing – this card has been operating continuously for 17 years. Realising that made me sit and think. How much technology we use today will be still operable two decades from now? Any of it?

Special offer! (Everyone but you)

I’ve always been impressed with Amazon. They can find and post me almost any book ever published half-way across the world for a reasonable price within a few weeks. I’ve bought heaps of books from them and their service has always been excellent.

As happy as I am, Amazon have one annoying flaw. It’s their marketing department.

The offer

Dear Customer,

As someone who’s shown interest in books and magazines on science, you might like to know the Magazines store is offering two-year subscriptions on select science magazines for the price of one until April 30th.

It’s like getting a full year free. Or like getting a bonus zoo pass.
Renew, start a new subscription, or give a gift today.

In this email (targeted enough that it has my name in the subject line) is an offer for Popular Mechanics – $10 for 2 years. What an offer!

Taking the bait

Intrigued, I click on the offer.

Blah blah, log in, choose a shipping address. All smooth sailing, or so I thought:

Important Message

* Popular Mechanics (2-year) cannot be shipped to the selected address.


I try my other Australian postal address address. Same error.

No reason is given. Nothing in the Amazon online help seems relevant. I give up. Amazon loses a sale.


So, Despite Amazon knowing:

    All my previous purchases have been posted to Australian addresses
    My profile is set for Australia
    I’m coming from an Australian IP address

Amazon marketing still still send me an offer that they have no intention of honouring.

The email was nothing more than bait to get me to visit the Amazon website. (Perhaps so I’ll buy something else while I’m there) The offers it contained weren’t genuine. The email was nothing other than spam.

Skewing the results of a survey before the results even arrive

The Perthnow/Sunday Times website is promoting “WA’s biggest law and order survey”. Questions on police, justice, road laws, bikie gangs and that sort of thing.

Perhaps you’re even willing to ignore the unanswerable question 31, “Do you view bikie gangs as social clubs or as
conduits for organised crime? (tick one box)

Yes No DonÒ€ℒt know”


Have a look at the instructions at the bottom of the page for returning the survey: “Please return your
completed survey (no stamp required) to: (address)”

Okay. So a survey on law and order published on the Sunday Times’ website, links to a PDF file that has to be printed out and mailed in! Who, under the age of about 40 has posted a letter in the last 5 years?!

Is this survey actually targeting the opinion of a broad range of Perth citizens or is it only for those of a certain demographic? Sunday Times, put your survey online. Post it on Twitter and Facebook. Give a chance to include the opinions of us who see posting a paper letter in this day and age as anachronistic and absurd.