Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×
The Internet

Non-Profit Australian ISP: Thrift Through Penguins 111

An unnamed correspondent writes: "Typically, rural areas in Australia have been left behind when it comes to adopting new technologies, inlcuding the Internet. GrowZone Online is a Linux powered, non-profit ISP that has over 40 points of presence covering an area of 412,000 square kilometers across South Central Queensland, Australia. What was achieved by the small technical team is quite remarkable, including hacking pppd to support Radius Authentication, MicroSoft CBCP Client-Server support with Radius Integration as well as Idle and Session Timeout functionality. The article is at LinuxWorld.com.au under Enterprise." A 7-man team that's dealt with such a distributed network's administration while hacking pppd deserves some recognition. Note to Americans: 412,000 square kilometers is about 3/5 the size of Texas.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Non-Profit Australian ISP: Thrift Through Penguins

Comments Filter:
  • by Shoeboy ( 16224 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2000 @11:15PM (#919174) Homepage
    You've got really small thumbs. You know what they say about men with small thumbs, don't you?
    --Shoeboy
  • I seem to recall watching a story on CNN about how the British--particularly the Scots, I'd imagine--were upset when bars were starting to use the metric system when doling out whisky and other potent potables. When using the new "official" measures, you see, a few tenths of an ounce were being shaved off the shot, so it was most upsetting to my people (I'm of Scots and Welsh extraction) when they started getting shorted in their favorite pastime. There's something not quite right about a sober Scotsman. ;-)

    But getting back to Americans using the English system instead of the metric, I'm all for the old-fashioned ways. It's kind of a typically stubborn American thing to do, an expression of our stereotypical individualism. The only thing that annoys me is that they don't teach the metric system alongside the traditional English system in elementary schools, which would allow most Americans to communicate better with the outside world.
  • That's odd - who's Telus? I live in Australia,
    but have never heard of that telecom company.
    All I've ever been advertised at about was
    Telecom cum Telstra.
  • yeah right, u just have to use different elecrticity, different papersizes ... did i mention the dateformat? why can't everyone use ISO standards, SI units? i hope u don't drive on the left side *grin*
  • Actually the UK is stuck in a middle ground.

    Shops sell weights in grams and kilos. (It was said that in only dope dealers use ounces now, but then Tescos decided to go back to imperial by "popular demand")

    And then theres Tonnes. How heavy is a ton, anybody? Is that metric or imperial?

    Fax paper dimensions are measued in mixed units, that is one its dimensions is measued in imperial, the other in metric.

    Distance is normally measued in metric, except for on the road, where we have distance in miles and miles per hour.

    How about a billion. How many zeros in a billion? Are you sure?

    Progress eh? Who needs it... :)

    Thad

  • Well I've just wasted quarter of an hour at work trying to find the area of Surrey on the web to no avail. My best guess is several times bigger :)

  • by Anonymous Coward
    "Under the basic principles of capitalism, for-profit ISPs offer us the assurance of quality"...

    Well... not really.. Many for-profit ISP's offer the illusion of quality. At least here in The Netherlands, many of the larger players are struggling in a technical sense, because of their commercial success. Cable companies have no competition here. They are region bound so you can't switch to another provider. They get away with poor performance and essentially no service whatsoever. There's many 'free' ISP's here that do a better job supporting their users than the big guys on cable...

    Rob

  • I lived in Aus, and now I am in US of A.

    Remember Nasa lost a satellite b/c the software (Locheed, I guess) forgot to do the conversion b/w American units (feet, mile..) to Metric units (defacto Scientific measurement unit)?

    When I heard the news, I thought 'what a waste! THis can only happen in America' :-)

    I personally don't care what unit we use, as long as every one around us are talking the same thing....

    *chuckle*

    LinuxLover
  • Hmm, dope is by the eighth of an ounce or more up to a 9-bar and then it goes metric but speed/coke is by the gram until you get to a quarter of an ounce (approx 7 grams). Odd that :)

  • Guns aren't dangerous; some of the people who carry them are, though. That's true, but I still have to realize how you can kill 11 people, then kill yourself in 3 minutes (remember Columbine HS?) without a gun. I think it's a simple matter of fact that if bearing a gun were not allowed in the US some of those people would still be alive now.

    See, we got our explicitly-spelled-out right to bear arms from the fact that an oppressive government (Britain) was denying the Colonies the same rights Englishmen had, and was trying to restrict gun ownership and importation as one measure to keep the Colonies under their thumb [omissis] If an oppressive and tyrannical regime ever gets power in any European country, the people have no weapons with which to protect themselves or rise up. I remember that Gandhi has been able to lead India to independence from England without using guns/violence. So guns are not necessary to get rid of an oppressive regime.

  • Actually miles (and miles per hour) is the normal unit of measurment for distances (or speeds) on the road in England.

    More information on the state of Metric vs Imperial can be found in this comment [slashdot.org].

    Thad

  • The main problem with not-for-profit organisations is one of investment capital. Something like an ISP is quite expensive to setup, and reasonably expensive to run at a reasonable level of service. However, if you run your business in such a way that at the end of the finanical year your debits and credits balance against each other, and you haven't made one single penny, what do you do when you need to upgrade your bandwidth due to an influx of customers?

    There is no law that (in Australia) states that a Not for Profit organisation NOT to make a profit. Many Credit Unions here are not for profit, but makes profits anyway.

    In real terms , is that whatever money they make , is reinvested back into the company as capital improvements.

    Given the deplorable state of internet in Australia, especially rural users, you will find that many organisations would assits in capital for such an organistion, including State and Federal governments, and regional organisations like Shire Councils, Regonal development and industry lobby groups.

    For an Aussie, this comes under the heading of "A fair go"
  • They go by 10^6.

    Million = 10^(6 * 1)
    Billion = 10^(6 * 2) (Bi = 2, get it?)
    Trillion = 10^(6 * 3) (Tri = 3)

    etc. It's much more logical than the million = 10^6, billion = 10^9 system. I've never heard of the 'mi' prefix used anywhere else, but we can just pretend that's logical too.
  • If you were actually involved in LUG or USQLUG
    you would have know that the members of LUG,
    shut it down due to restrictions placed upon it
    by USQ and Student Guild club rules ... ?

    So the members decided to form a new group
    called THUuG. Not limiting it to USQ staff and students.

    yours

    Kim

    hawtink@thuug.org.au
  • If it wasn't for the Russians and the UK, Australia, India, the rest of the Allies, and even the Japanese, so would you! All the Allies would have been on the losing side had they all not fought together.

    Imagine how different American influence would be now if the Third Reich was the whole of Europe, Russia, China and most of Asia with the US just a short balistic missile or two away.

  • How about a billion. How many zeros in a billion? Are you sure?

    There was a time when curency was measured in US billions, and scientific measurements used English billions. The meant that an x bilion volt generator at y billion pounds didn't give x/y volts per pound.
  • well you could be right. there is *only* 400,000 people in that area. and they didnt have reasonable internet access before GrowZone came along. in fact they were paying up to 15$AU per hour for 9600 bps to telstra big pond. now its a local call, at 2.85$AU per hour at up to 33600, some at 56000. remember these are the people that could most do with the internet. they dont have many other means of communcation, or access to other media. yours, Kim GrowZone OnLine
  • a pointless post no less, in fact i *will* toast your solaris admining arse at karten thees weekend if you dare show it up here =)
  • See, we got our explicitly-spelled-out right to bear arms from the fact that an oppressive government (Britain) was denying the Colonies the same rights Englishmen had, and was trying to restrict gun ownership and importation as one measure to keep the Colonies under their thumb.

    Ironic that a country that was so oppressed by the British is one of the few in the world that still uses their system of weights and measures.
  • Actually, Trollaxor started the gay stuff a couple of weeks ago. The steelcage thing was in response to this particularly rancid post. [slashdot.org]
    I was simply defending myself.
    --Shoeboy
  • British Film Board

    Or the British Board of Film Classification, as we like to call it over here...

    www.bbfc.co.uk [bbfc.co.uk]

  • Slashdot should have the capacity to allow us to moderate them as such.
  • Slashdot should have the capacity to allow us to moderate them as such.
  • In how many other countries can you openly protest without fear of arrest just a few yards from the home of your country's president/prime minister/leader

    I suppose you don't regard pepper spray, tear gas and truncheons used against peaceful protesters as repressive? Perhaps the police didn't read the Constitution...

  • Check your history books on the exact point at which America officially choose English as it's official language. It won a vote, by one vote, from what Language? What a horrible thought !
  • chris.bitmead wrote
    Is there some reason they had to hack pppd just because they are covering 400000 sq km? I don't see other ISPs hacking pppd.

    That's because most ISP's have enough funding to purchase access equipment rather than rolling their own. For what it's worth, I hacked pppd similarly for Brokersys [brokersys.com] about four years ago. For a while, there all our dial-ins were on custom-built Linux-based terminal servers. I did all the pppd hacking in a couple of weeks. The idle timer took longer, but worked better than the one in the Ascend Maxen we use now.

    However, I decided that as soon as we could get funding for such things that it was better to buy someone else's solution. The issues involved were the desire to purchase ISDN PRI's for the telephone service along with the desire to offer ISDN dial-in access to customers along with the realization that I had better things to do than maintain a really crufty pppd hack.

    It also turns out that, if your revenue level supports it, you can get really good financing deals from the equipment manufacturers. For the last three years, Cisco's been trying to convince us to lease some AS-5200's, which we probably will never do as we're deemphasizing the dial-in stuff.

  • Hold on a second... this ISP is supposed to be non-profit? Then, especially given the current state of Australian Internet access, how do we know that is going to offer anything better?

    I think the point here is that something is better than nothing. If you're the only ISP, you're the benchmark, unless you're going to compare to kangaroo-tipping. We here in North America can bitch and complain long and hard about "quality" ISP's, but if you're living in the outback and have NO ACCESS at all, you'd be eternally grateful for ANY access, even if it was a flaky, slow, hit-and-miss ISP.

  • An inch is the outer part of a man's thumb, 25.4 millimeter to be exact

    Actually, its 25.4 millimetres. A meter is a device to show the value of something, often voltages....
    Damn Americans....

    [BTW: And, isn't it more sensible: 1000 millimetres to a metre. 1000 metres to a kilometre. Your forebears had the right idea with metric money, but didn't carry it far enough.]

    This post [outside the square brackets] was meant to be funny, but I'm told I'm not very good with sarcasm.
    --

  • no arguement with the first half of your post, but come on you were fighting argentina, in basically a naval war, yeah they really stood a chance
  • Actually, no - it's 2.54 millimeters, to be exact ;)

    Actually, no - it's 25.4 millimeters, to be exact ;)
    (or 2.54 centimeters :)
  • At least the guys managed to reform [thuug.org.au]. ;-)
    --
  • Congratulations guys!

    Kim, Phil, Tony, Terry, Dave, Cameron all of you have done a fantastic job bringing internet access to our less bandwidth-aware brethern :)

    Oh, and RedBeard, up for being thrashed at the kart track on the weekend?
  • !! You are assuming that the only reason that anyone ever does anything is because they want more money. Thus by your reasoning, people will always do a shoddy job unless they have a cash incentive to do better.

    I can think of several reasons why it might not be in the interest of a for-profit business to provide the best service:
    1. They obtain their customers by sinking cash in advertising, and knowing that the average customer will not bother to change ISP unless their existing one inconveniences them severely. They find that the small number of customers gained by having excellent service rather than mediocre-but-not-too-annoying service is not worth the money that the upgrade would cost.
    2. They are the only ISP around, or the only ISP providing some particular service. Again, it is now in their interest to provide the service that costs them the least, regardless of quality.

    Most ISP's operate on some variant of Principle 1.

    I can also think of several reasons why the not-for-profit ISP might still want to provide a decent service.
    1. They are running the service because they use it themselves. Therefore it is in their interest for it to work well.
    2. They are doing it for the geekish joy of setting it all up beautifully and getting the best out of their kit.
    3. They are doing it to gain a reputation within the local community, or the geek community, or to have something impressive to put on a CV. Are they going to want to muck it up and look like idiots?

  • Now, given that Australia Internet is currently severely restricted by the Telus monopoly (which is, to be certain, idiotic), you might think that is still a improvement. But it seems to me like that this isn't much better -- sure, it might be non-profit, but if it doesn't have incentive to improve, you might wind up stuck using a ridiculously overpriced ISP with terrible customer service. And you know what? They won't care, because they don't want your money

    So what, exactly, is wrong with them providing this service? If it gets to be too expensive, or too crappy, then (if there's enough demand) a for-profit company can compete with them. Or does the fact that they're non-profit, and can thus offer low prices, exclude compition? Would it be better for these people to have no ISPs, or really high-price ISPs, until (sometime in the future) decent Internet connectivity trickles into the area?


    Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose that you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.
  • Nice impression, you nearly had me fooled.
    --Shoeboy
  • The "generic and unremarkable" in your statement would be true, if it weren't for the fact that the rather bland "pop culture" we have is in itself a unique phenomenon which is just being foisted by our corporations on the rest of the world. Face it: disposable culture is an American invention, and as such we couldn't possibly be termed "generic and unremarkable" since our ways, however much some may dislike them, are being adopted by the rest of the world and not vice-versa. So my comment stands.

    But more importantly, America is very individual and distinct from the rest of the world in some fundamental and important ways. No matter how much we complain about the erosion of our rights in contemporary times, Americans still have far more freedom than people in most other countries, even Western ones. We have rights which are difficult to chip away, even though some in our government are trying. For example, an American can say whatever the fuck he wants as long as it doesn't cause a threat of immediate danger to others or constitute a threat or slander. Contrast this with, for example, France and Germany, where you aren't free to express any opinions about the 2nd World War which go against the mainstream. Also, the whole mess that Britain has been going through over making it illegal to not decrypt files when asked to by police/courts--that could never happen in the U.S., because we have a set-in-stone Fifth Amendment right to not self-incriminate or be compelled to hand over incriminating evidence against ourselves. If Congress ever tried what Parliament tried, the Court would instantly get rid of it (just like they got rid of the CDA and provisions of COPA). Also, though we may unfairly and prudishly self-censor sexuality, we are unique in Western societies for our lack of censorship of violent imagery in films and games. We also have the right to bear arms, a right the Europeans long ago gave up. So we are, I say again, individualists here in the U.S.
  • One must keep in mind that one of the nice side-effects of a corporate republic (tongue-in-cheek), is the relatively low cost of capital. Given a liquid capital market which efficiently allocates credit expansions (courtesy of Greenspan's monetary inflation) to the corporate investment with the higest rates of returns, fund managers have confidence in throwing money into dotcons or other activities in the expectation they can pull their money out relatively painlessly (or so the behavioural economists would like you to believe). However in other countries where the cost of capital (ie borrowings to purchase ye ol' network infrastructure gear) is high, you have to innovate in other ways (e.g. hacking software in this case). For example, hersay is that places like China/Russia have come up with better algorithms purely because they dont' have the CPU grunt to waste cycles on. As Australia has one the lowest population densities in the world (with corresponding high network amortisation costs), it is a small miracle that they only 5 years behind in the countryside.
    <P>
    Let's not get too cocksure of ourselves ... I would refer you to this <A HREF="http://www.smh.com.au/news/0007/20/world/wor ld4.html">article </A> where it stuck me that rather than give away high-tech goodies to encourage cargo-cult mentalities in developing countries (not to mention benefiting the media-financial complex), wouldn't it be better to teach those guys basic literacy & community health first? A fair chunk of the world still does not have access to running water, much less a telephone connection so the concept of free (speech) beer is too abstract and thus meaningless. Let's get the basics right and if the Australians can apply their skills to the less developed countries, perhaps places like Mexico or Africa can learn a few lessons and help themselves grow economically.
    <P>
    LL
  • hahahaha!

    Actually I live in Hackney and used to live in the Lothians (that's a bit of London and a bit of Scotland for those who aren't sure) but I couldn't resist the 'Tim nice but dim' upper class English twat gag and reckoned that Surrey worked better... ;-)

  • This shows the power of open source. You can add new features to a product that wasn't currently there before. Low cost as in capital cost. Yet are other cost involed in Open Source the cost(time) of learning how to use the product. Also the cost of the people that will upkeep the product.
  • The main problem with these free ISPs is the lack of service. Try calling the tech support for freei.net and you'll be on hold for hours. f these free providers could straighten their acts up in regards to tech support, they'd be a lot better. ... I like the idea of free internet, but something tells me it's a long way from being perfected.

    I don't think that the Australian ISP being discussed is free, just low-cost. Also, even if they don't have good tech support, being able to get Internet connectivity with bad tech support is better than not having it at all.


    Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose that you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.
  • Just to give you some idea of what it's like, I used to live in a town in rural Queensland (pop 10,000). The cost for the local (and only) ISP is about $2.50/hr. Has been that high for the last two-three years or so.

    The only alternative for most people is to make a long distance call to the nearest major center, which can get just as pricey!

    I now live in Sydney, and have cable. I'm paying the same money (per month) for a far better service. There is a very big divide between rural and urban areas in Australia, so anything that can help people connect and provided them with information that they need is great! I (used to) know how isolated they feel :)

  • There is a lot of rather sad and pathetic anti-American sentiment expressed by individuals from other countries. I don't happen to hold those views as I feel the US has a hell of a lot it should be proud of. However, I really do wonder at the "freedom" that Americans hold so dear. The word "freedom" seems to be used by the American press and it's politicians in a similar way to a certain corporation uses the word "innovation" to the point that it means nothing.

    While I don't feel especially free in the UK, I have to say that the mere fact of NOT having a written constitution allows freedoms based on the individual merits of the case rather than a dogmatic reference to some document written some time ago in history.

    I hear some people raving about US freedom and the "beauty" of the declaration of independence in a very similar way to victims of propaganda have done all through history.

    To me, it seems that minority views suffer more in the US than in most places even if their "oppression" is far less extreme there than in other places. I would also suggest that frightening litigation compulsion of the US is akin to a lack of freedom. Though the story is probably not particularly true, McDonalds can be sued for serving coffee too hot! It is the tip of a very damaging iceberg.

    Basically, I think that US citizens need to really be careful about their use of the word freedom and to understand it rather than just talk about it. For example, the reference to the French and German point you mentioned smacks of tabloid propaganda and is basically not true. You can believe and indeed say what you like about nazism and the war. You can understand them being touchy about it though, the German people were utterly humiliated in that war by their government and the Allies, and for the second time. The Americans are similary a bit twitchy about vietnam.

    Actually the place I have found the most "free" is Istanbul. Sure, there are a lot of odd laws but nobody pays any attention to them and nobody cares if you obey them or not, just so long as you're having a nice relaxed time of it.

    Regards
  • Actually I'm from London now living in Surrey... although there are a lot of upper class twats in Surrey, they're certainly not anywhere near where I live :)

  • I'm English and I hate those French watery measurements and i wasn't even born in 1971. (so much for the metric conversion).

    I like miles, pints, ounces, grains, yards, hectares, shillings, bars,
    and one for those Dan Americans the Gallon.
  • Sorry to contradict you, but I'm French. You can be pretty sure that I can claim whatever I want about WW2 (some do and write shit about it). BUT, it hurts somenone, I could be 'attacked'. Your example about WW2 is a very bad choice since indeed, some are lying about history : they are revisionnists. So If someone says and publishs that holocaust doesn't happen, he should be stopped, and a vast majority of people would agree about that ! Now, I just want to add that France isn't a utopic democratic country, but not more than US ! Just rethink about the power of the media, or the power of big companies -Yk
  • I didn't know the USQ had the retrictions. I thought you guys just wanted to get away from USQ to show its not just for students.
    --
  • explode ... no, not at all.

    the problem was basicly, that if lug wanted to charge its members a joining or membership fee,
    then there had to be restriction placed upon the
    group when they used usq facilities for non staff
    and non students etc ...

    there was also restrictions placed on lug if it
    wanted to have a association with the student
    guild, there had to be a minimum percentage of
    student to non-students ... lots of unneccessary stuff.

    so USQ-LUG closed by its members, myself being a one of the three founding members present, and we then formed the new group, THUuG.

    THUuG is independent of USQ. It is independent of GrowZone, four of its members just work here... =)

    yours,

    kim

    GrowZone Online
  • It was said that in only dope dealers use ounces now...

    Naah, you can get other drugs by the ounce too... :)

    And then theres Tonnes. How heavy is a ton, anybody? Is that metric or imperial?

    Is that a ton or a tonne?

    How about a billion. How many zeros in a billion? Are you sure?

    I don't think I've seen anyone use the British billion (that's 1,000,000,000,000 for our USian friends) ever. Which I'm honestly thankful for because the alternative would be too confusing...

  • bragi, getting fan mail i see
  • No, no, you've got it all wrong.

    The official measurement of volume in the UK is how many double-decker buses would fit into a space. And the measurement of length is always by comparison with Nelson's Column. I'm not sure what the unit for area is, but you could simply divide one by the other, thus measuring area in 'double-decker buses per Nelson's Column'.

    As for Surrey, do you mean the ancient county, or the administrative county after chopping off most of south-west London?
  • Is there some reason they had to hack pppd just because they are covering 400000 sq km? I don't see other ISPs hacking pppd.
  • Um, no offence but what are you talking about? Your use of Telus for Telstra indicates you aren't very familiar with Australia or its internet access. Telstra doesn't have a monopoloy - the situation is more of an natural oligopoly created by the immense cost of building networks covering such a large geographical area. Then you make the point that non-profit means low quality. No demonstration of that: take Linux for example.

    Perhaps better to focus on the excellent technical work being done here than spout pseudo-economics...

    Jason
  • Isn't area measured in football pitches?
  • You really break me up :-)

    When are you going to leave the evil empire and come over to the side of truth and beauty?
    --
  • Yeah, yeah, you know what I meant... and I'm not even American. *sigh* :)

  • Thanks for not being too condescending to us uneducated "Americans" who can't figure out what 412,000 square kilometers are. We must be the only savages left that still use miles. Nice touch really.
  • Then again, how often have you bought a half kilo of smack? ;)

    Not often enough :)

  • They're crap hitch-hikers?
  • I'm surprised no-one's replied to this yet - the poster probably meant Telus as in a Telstra/Optus duopoly. Same as you see people talking about Wintel (Windows/Intel) machines etc.
  • Finally we've got these rights, just a little late

    In the past, we just assumed we had those rights. Written rights are only needed if they're likely to be taken away.
  • yes that they wear small gloves..
  • Perhaps a model like this could be packaged as an off-the-shelf (or almost off-the-shelf) solution for other underserved areas. I'm thinking mostly of developing countries. A model that was built expressly to be easily replicable could be made available to anyone who wanted to set up an ISP in an underserved area. This would bring costs and risks down for potential entrepreneurs; a critical factor in low-income areas.

    Perhaps Geekcorps or a similar initiative could take on such a project.

  • by vertical-limit ( 207715 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2000 @10:58PM (#919236)
    Hold on a second... this ISP is supposed to be non-profit? Then, especially given the current state of Australian Internet access, how do we know that is going to offer anything better?

    Under the basic principles of capitalism, for-profit ISPs offer us the assurance of quality. There are many, many ISPs all competing these days, and for the most part, it's a level playing field. No ISP could risk offering a poorer package than its competitors, or all its customers would switch and run the ISP out of business -- this is why "pay per hour" plans died out so quickly. On the other hand, a non-profit ISP isn't out to make money, so why do they care what you think of them?

    Now, given that Australia Internet is currently severely restricted by the Telus monopoly (which is, to be certain, idiotic), you might think that is still a improvement. But it seems to me like that this isn't much better -- sure, it might be non-profit, but if it doesn't have incentive to improve, you might wind up stuck using a ridiculously overpriced ISP with terrible customer service. And you know what? They won't care, because they don't want your money.

    Not only that, but poor standards for Australian Internet access is only to going to lead to trouble down the line -- people begin to accept what they use as being "the standard", and are reluctant to demand something better. Why do you think people don't care about stuff like the Internet Millennium Copyright Act or M1cr05of7's monopolies? Even dictators can wield power over Third World countries, and no one cares. Because people are used to the way things are now, and don't see things the way they should be. Better isn't always good enough.

  • What about the whole war for liberation? Y'know... Independance day and all?
  • what vote was that?

    IIRC, there isn't an "official" language here.

    some reading on those that want to change that. [us-english.org]
    --
  • by Shoeboy ( 16224 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2000 @11:05PM (#919239) Homepage
    Note to Americans: 412,000 square kilometers is about 3/5 the size of Texas.
    What's with this metric BS. It's too confusing.
    Anyway, here's some handy conversion info:

    An inch is the outer part of a man's thumb, 25.4 millimeter to be exact. 12 inches to a foot, two feet to a cubit or three feet to a yard.
    A rod/pole is 5.5 yards (16.5 feet): The size of a big stick carried around by builders (hence the name).
    Four rods make a chain (22 yards) - the distance between two (cricket) wickets. Ten chains make a furlong. A furlong square is ten acres. Eight furlongs make a mile.

    A perch was originaly a big stick, but later became a volume. A perch was a pile of stone one rod long by one foot wide by one cubit high).
    --Shoeboy
  • The English colonists won, the English army lost. I think we were a little overstretched there what with that Napolean chap. Fortunately we can probably find some foreign mercenaries to blame for that one.
  • I suggest checking a selection of History books. There was indeed a vote. The vote was on whether or not to record official documents in German if I remember correctly.
  • FWIW, the cost of GrowZone is ~$2.85/hr, including GST (grr) [$AU1 = ~60cUS]. Or other options [growzone.net.au]. So that is a little high, but considering it would otherwise be STD or a 1900 number (Big Pond has (had?) this plus a separate charge!) Laying all that cable is expensive, plus the charges they pay their ISP (Telstra).
    --
  • Terribly sorry old chap, I'm English.

    No problem with the kilometres, we converted to metric in...I think it was 1971 (maybe that was decimalisation) .. anyhow long enough we understand the units of measurement.

    But would you mind explaining what 412,000 km represents in English Counties: how big is it compared to Surrey, perhaps?

    ;-)

  • ...will only make sense to those familiar with the state of net access in country Qld over the past five or so years.

    Today's topic is:

    Pegasus Networks was doing this years ago.

    Discuss.

    ...j
  • You appear by your language style to be the same anonymous Coward who has been posting trolls/flamebait like this one after many of my posts lately. I guess that makes you my own personal fan-club. :-) And I thought poor Signal 11 was the only one so afflicted...

    This will be the last time I post in this thread because it's gotten off-topic, thanks to *you*. But a few last points:

    > 1. RIP isn't going to pass with the self-incrimination clause, due to this: democracy

    Tell that to all the very reputable people in the UK who were deathly afraid it was going to pass. Oh, and in the U.S. no one would need to worry about it at all, because we have a rock-solid provision in our Constitution which would prevent such a law from ever getting past the Court, even if Congress were stupid enough to pass it. Contrast that to the restrictive UK gov't under secretary Jack Straw, that militant freedom-crushing bastard. "Democracy" is the way you describe it; "tyranny" is how most Americans (assuming they paid any attention to world affairs, which sadly they don't) would describe it.

    > 2. unique for your lack of censorship of violent imagery? well, fuck, that's
    > something to be proud of. what a shame that *everything else* - bad language?
    > subversive or independent thought? - is censored.

    Yes, not censoring violent imagery in film and literature, or even in games, *is* something to be proud of. There are many films which would never pass the Film Board in Britain, but in which violence is a necessary part of the plot, structure, or artistic expression. There are many classic movies, and art-house films, which are heavily censored in Britain and elsewhere, even though they ooze with artistry. Granted, the U.S. film industry self-censors sex scenes, which is plain stupid and backwards, but ultimately less damaging (since films with explicit sex can still be released here, just with the NC-17 rating) to good films than censoring violence. Try making a great film about violent criminals, or about the victims of violent crime, without heavy violence. Stupidity. The world is a violent place sometimes--deal with it. And bad language isn't censored, you stupid fucking motherfucking cocksucking arse-licking bum-humping fuckheaded shitbrained son of a bitch-whore bloody anal-fisting limpdick. ;-) And subversive/independant thought can be expressed more freely than, say, in France or Germany, where saying "Hitler wasn't so evil, no different from Bismarck or King George III, maybe the concentration camp stuff is exaggerrated" can get you thrown in jail. We in America, provided we're adults, can say any subversive thing we want provided it's not a threat or something which can cause physical harm (like yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theater); just be prepared for the media to not express subversiveness since the corporations want the status-quo. You're just a moron who doesn't seem to know anything about America.

    > 4. you are a dick. as long as there are people like you who are willing to exist
    > under the pretence of your supposed "rights" nothing is ever going to change

    Anyone can look at my past posts and see that I don't agree with much of the American government's bullshit, and I express my disdain vocally here and elsewhere. Since I live near Washington, D.C., I go to protests when I get pissed off at gov't foolishness. In how many other countries can you openly protest without fear of arrest just a few yards from the home of your country's president/prime minister/leader? Try getting that close to 10 Downing Street for a protest. Not bloody likely. But yes, I am a dick; I concede that much. ;-)

    > 5. you stink of shit

    Thanks for noticing. It's been five days since I left my computer long enough for a shower, and I'm starting to get a bit gamey. And there appears to be a ham sandwich stuck under one of my armpits, and the mayonnaise has gone rancid. Just kidding... :-)

    Bye, my own personal troll-boy. Get your own life and stop shadowing my posts--I know it's been you these past few times because of your idiosyncratic language use. Grow up, kiddie.
  • don't be the same, pleez. speak whatever language u want, wear anything u want, build different houses, use strange tools, eat snake and frog. that's why traveling is cool.
    using the wrong side of a road won't make u different it makes u idiot.
  • by brunes69 ( 86786 )
    Why is this post moderated so high? This conversion information is totally useless. Either your an American and already know what all thos evaslues are, or you live anywhere else in the world, and you use the metric system, instead of that archaic English one.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    There is no such continent or country. The whole concept is a lie created by the Royal family back during the Empire Days. Every time the King or Queen wanted to off somebody, they would use the cover story of "Moved to Australia" to explain the sudden disappearance. The lie is continued now only to save face with the rest of the world. The BBC regularly loads up groups of Scotsmen, dresses them in western wear and takes them to Southern California for filming "Australia" footage. The Sydney Opera House is actually in San Diego and it is easy to find the occasional "Aborriginee" over in Tiahuana when the shot calls for it. Qantas generally just flies over the ocean a while and then takes everyone to Canada, for their "Australian vacation". And the real coup will come when the '2000 Sydney Olympics' are held on Hackney Marshes in East London.
  • Bye, my own personal troll-boy. Get your own life and stop shadowing my posts--I know it's been you these past few times because of your idiosyncratic language use. Grow up, kiddie.

    I'm undecided on whether you're being serious or you're just a troll yourself, albeit a more "informed" one. But whichever way it is, you certainly seem to piss people off!

    Oh and for your information the British Film Board has just relaxed the restrictions on sex in films. Now we can have closeups of penetration and ejaculation on film. Woohoo! :)

  • Um, yeah. Is a trillion 10^24 or 10^18? And what about a billiard? 10^18 or 10^15 or a cue and ball game?
  • Thanks, I've been damned again ;). >What's with this metric BS. It's too confusing. a) don't call it BS, please just because you don't understand and use it b) it is _not_ confusing. the basic length unit is 1 meter. a KILOmeter is 1000 meters, centimeter is 1/100 of a meter, a milimeter is 1/1000 of a meter. it's all multiplies of ten of the basic unit. does it seem confusing to you? c) we, who use this system, are in majority :) (e)
  • For all calculations, the metric system rocks. I feel lucky being brought up on it (as I'm from Denmark). I wouldn't like to sit in America realising how illogical non-metric systems are and having to choose between

    1) Hating it, disregarding its logic and ease as being of "minor importance"

    2) Endorsing it (in vain of course) and being stuck in the middle. Just like Linux advocating was like a few years ago. :)
  • They have trouble with mice?
  • Wahh, wahh, wahh, I don't want to pay for any service I recieve, wah, wahh, wahh
  • He means the *width* of your thumb. That's not small at all.

    It was actually based on the width of a very special thumb, namely the King's.

    Metric will prevail. Lionize Carter, excoriate Reagan.

  • The Dutch use "miljoen" for 10e6, "miljard" for 10e9, "biljoen" for 10e12 and "biljard" for 10e15.

    So for me, the world has around 5 or 6 "miljard" people.

    Ivo
  • We also have the right to bear arms, a right the Europeans long ago gave up

    Possibly because most civilised countries realised that guns are dangerous?

    I happen to think that the UK government went too far when it completely banned pistol ownership - pistol shooting clubs should have been allowed to keep guns securely on the premises, but allowing the populace at large the right to own firearms seems stupid.

    In the UK, most of the police are unarmed, because most of the people they deal with, including the criminals, are unarmed. I feel a lot safer over here than I would in the US.

  • All these new ideas like grammes/metres/secs and pounds/inches/secs. I propose we go back to a sensible set of measures - FFF firkin/furlong/fortnight.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    What's with this metric BS. It's too confusing.

    Duuuuhhhh, i'm an American....duh, whats Australia? Duh, kill-o-meters? I'm confused, i sure wish people would use real measures like wot i was told about in school. Duh, i'm off to wrestle pigs now.
  • An inch is the outer part of a man's thumb, 25.4 millimeter to be exact.

    Actually, no - it's 2.54 millimeters, to be exact ;)

  • I've noticed, as I'm sure you have as well, the large number of free ISPs popping up lately. While most of these aren't non-profit such as this one, they are still free. The main problem with these free ISPs is the lack of service. Try calling the tech support for freei.net and you'll be on hold for hours. (They're also not toll-free many times.) If these free providers could straighten their acts up in regards to tech support, they'd be a lot better. Another helpful thing would be to get more bandwidth. I like the idea of free internet, but something tells me it's a long way from being perfected.
  • But would you mind explaining what 412,000 km represents in English Counties: how big is it compared to Surrey, perhaps?

    Area of the State of Texas: 267,339 sq. mi. Area of the United Kingdom: 94,251 sq. mi. HTH!

  • Hold on a second... this ISP is supposed to be non-profit? Then, especially given the current state of Australian Internet access, how do we know that is going to offer anything better?

    Yep - after all, Windows 3.0 was really crap, then along came this Torvalds guy giving his OS away free. If a for-profit company can't produce a decent OS, what hope does a non-profit band of volunteers have?

    Maybe it's because a for-profit company's sole aim is to make profit - while the sole aim of these non-profits is to provide the best service possible. Put like that, it seems clear which will lead to the better service :-)

    It may not work out, but I certainly hope it does. Like the many other volunteer projects we see here - Linux, Apache, Wine ... - they are setting out to make things better. Not to make a fast buck, not to set up a huge company, but to provide a better service. IMO, they are a long way ahead of any for-profit ISP already in that respect.

  • assuming they have phone lines, then yes it sounds like a possibility
  • A ton is 1000kg.
    Also, it's the weight of a cube with dimensions
    1m by 1m by 1m (filled with plain water) (1 million litres). Isn't it beautiful? :)
  • In how many other countries can you openly protest without fear of arrest just a few yards from the home of your country's president/prime minister/leader? Try getting that close to 10 Downing Street for a protest.

    Actually, until Margaret Thatcher put the gates up you could knock on the door of 10 Downing Steet. Now you have to do it about 10 yards (see, on topic!) down the street.

    Regards
  • I think we're talking about very different models here, and I don't blame you for that as hanging around Slashdot for too long can start to make you think that Free and Not-for-Profit is the same model as Open Source. :-)

    The main problem with not-for-profit organisations is one of investment capital. Something like an ISP is quite expensive to setup, and reasonably expensive to run at a reasonable level of service. However, if you run your business in such a way that at the end of the finanical year your debits and credits balance against each other, and you haven't made one single penny, what do you do when you need to upgrade your bandwidth due to an influx of customers?

    So, we accept that you do actually need to run at profit, but at the end of the financial year you should have a big pot of money to give people raises, invest in infrastructure, maybe look at integrating new services and technologies into your portfolio. Funnily enough, this is exactly what commercial ISPs do as well, except they invest slightly less, thereby giving a cash surplus to give to shareholders.

    In this case you have a choice - you either price yourself at the same level as the commercial ISPs and accept that you will have more money to invest in infrastrucutre (therby giving you a better level of service in theory), or you price yourself below the commercial ISPs and invest the same amount, but your customer is going to get the same service at the same price.

    This differs from the Open Source model, where there is no upfront investment required other than people's time. You don't need to throw a few million at the project and then hope to re-coup that money within a given time frame, as you can throw a few resources at it and see a little progress made, which will encourage more resources hopefully (in the form of voluntary developers) and so on.

    The point about this organisation in Australia appears to be that they are doing something for the community more than anything else. The bottom line doesn't matter to them as they are entering into a market nobody else will. However, once the larger commercial ISPs see that there is a market there, you can expect them to be making their way onto their territory. It's at this point that they they are going to have to work out whether they are going to invest in infrastructure more, or offer a lower priced service. Price wars with big companies are a bad thing to get into.

    --
  • My car gets three rods to the hogshead and that's the way I likes it!

    (shamelessly stolen from the Simpsons)

  • Try making a great film about violent criminals, or about the victims of violent crime, without heavy violence

    "On the Waterfront" wasn't bad .....

  • by Barbaq ( 31353 ) on Thursday July 20, 2000 @01:25AM (#919271)
    I am living in Queensland and have the luxury of surfing the Web on a cable connection, albeit and expensive and bandwith capped one. But due to the tyranny of distance in Queensland (one of Australia's biggest states!) and the fact that the vast majority of the population can be found in the South-East corner of the state many rural Queenslanders would kill for the bandwidth that is available to those living in the States Capital, this type of initiative should be supported whether it can truly offer a quality service or not, because not even the major ISPs in the nation can be bothered to offer service to Outback Australians, kudos GrowZone and hopefully people like you can spread Linux throughout Australia, god knows i would like to use this cable connection through linux!!!
  • Surely all Internet businesses are non-profit?
  • Opens mouth, sticks foot in...

Multics is security spelled sideways.

Working...