MYKI is tricky and dicky!

Melbourne's MYKI system is a farce

Melbourne’s MYKI system is a farce

I’ve just spent a week in Melbourne on holiday trying to come to terms with MYKI – the new ticketing system for their public transport system. OMG….it is a pain in the arse!!!!

Firstly, there were supposed to be tourist packs available but there weren’t when I decided to travel. I eventually bought a MYKI card – no actual fare value on it – for $6 at a 7/11. I then topped it up with another $10. I think the $6 thing is an absolute rip-off. You have to buy this card but it isn’t worth anything. As Liza would say “Tahhhhrifffficcc!!”

Then you can’t register the card on line for 24 hours – I have no idea why – it is all supposed to computerised and they’ve spent over 1 billion dollars to set it all up. Then, after 24 hours, when you finally are able to register, it then takes up to 4 hours to receive an email that everything is completed and active. What is this, the 1960s????

Even when you do register – which you need to do to keep track of what you’ve spent what they’ve charged you, top up on line etc. – any time you use your MYKI card to go on a bus or a tram or a train, it doesn’t show up in your account on the website for a day or so. How f*cking useless is that?

But the absolutely piece-of-resistance is this: trying to touch on and off. What a farce!!! In all the times I used MYKI my tap on or tap off only registered first time correctly ONCE. Every other time it felt like being a failed magician – the ‘trick’ of touching on or off just didn’t work. I had to try and try and try again – and I saw others in the same predicament. I’ve used Oyster Card in London and that city has about eleventyzillion more commuters than Melbourne and tapping on and off works fast and efficiently. Did Melbourne spend a billion dollars plus on a $2-Shop version of a ticketing system???

And then we have the “when do I touch off” dilemma. It was hilarious watching the discussions of frustrated transport users about this. In fact, you don’t have to “touch off” if you’ve been travelling only in Zone 1 and are exiting a tram in Zone 1. This doesn’t apply to trains or buses. Of course if you’re catching a tram for a journey solely in Zone 2, you must both touch on and off! Oh my god how it confuses people. And then there’s the question of Zones. No-one I heard discussing it, actually knew what was Zone 1 and what was Zone 2. And don’t even mention poor old tourists like me! I was more confused after reading the multi-paged MYKI brochure that I was at the start.

And you can forget about getting a cheap fare if you’re just going a couple of stops on the tram. No, under the MYKI system please pay for a full two-hour fare no matter what!

So MYKI is a system two Governments have approved and signed up for. And despite similar systems working well around the world, Melbourne & Victoria seem to have signed up for “Brand X” model!

Oi vey!


The Top 25: It’s all about Eric!

Eric & Molly

Eric & Molly

Eric, Eric and more bloody Eric!

I thought I’d take a look at the top search terms people have used to find this website in the last year. I’ve listed the Top 25 search terms below. There’s a very clear pattern: Eric Saade. Whether it’s Eric Saade being Gay or shirtless or nude…it seems the Eric fans find their way to  Of course, they find out that Eric isn’t Gay, has been topless but hasn’t been (photographed) naked. Yet!

Where will he be on the popularity lists at the end of 2012? Who knows? Reaction to his most recent album “Saade Vol. 2” has been rather subdued but there will be an international push this year so his star may rise even higher. And yet he still won’t be Gay or naked.

Still, the web surfers can live in hope!



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Samsung Galaxy Mini – a bit of a rave!

Galaxy Mini

I love this inexpensive smart-phone!

I’ve been meaning to give a rave review of the Samsung Galaxy Mini for a few months. For someone like me who doesn’t do well with expensive, delicate smart-phones, the modestly priced Galaxy Mini has been perfect.

I had a Nokia E63 for a couple of years which was brilliant. I then upgraded to a Nokia E5 which was and is an absolute piece of shit. I had problems with it from early days not least of which was the appalling battery life. I even bought another battery in case I’d just ended up with a dud. I went from being excited about getting the E5 to hating it in a relatively short period of time. The final insult was that it packed up completely and stopped working 3 days before I was due to fly overseas earlier this year. I sent it in for a repair but of course it didn’t come back until I was half way through my overseas trip.

Whilst in Stockholm I really wanted to have a phone that I could use for internet and email that wasn’t going to cost me an arm and a leg in roaming charges. I already a pre-paid sim so it was a matter of trying to find a reasonably priced smart-phone at a Swedish retailer. Sweden is bloody expensive for technology so I didn’t like my chances. However I came across the Galaxy Mini at Media Markt (big electronics store in Sweden) at an amazing outright price. Within 5 minutes I was walking out the door with my new purchase.

Android has never been something I particularly aspired to and Samsung as a phone brand had previously not interested me. But all of that was about to change thanks the Galaxy Mini!

It didn’t take long to set up and I was charged up and on the bus heading to Stockholm’s Pride Festival pretty quickly. My new phone was already connecting me to the internet and my email. I had a lot of fun learning how to use the thing, learning how Android and Samsung’s Touchwiz interface operated. Very different from the Nokia Symbian system. My friend James O’Brien who already had the Samsung Galaxy Fit (part of the same series of four modestly priced Samsung Android phones released at the beginning of the year) showed me a few tips and tricks and I never looked back. Nokia who????

The phone was a godsend while I was overseas. It did everything I wanted it to do. If I had one minor complaint it would be the lack of a flash for the camera. Samsung seem to leave the flash out of a lot of their phones. But still, the Galaxy Mini absolutely rocked compared to the piece of garbage Nokia E5 (which I am still paying for!).

The original idea was to have a phone to use overseas and then think about my options when I returned to Australia. When I got back, I picked up the Nokia E5 fresh from its repair, turned it on and just thought “I hate this bloody phone”. So suddenly my Samsung Galaxy Mini became my main phone. And that’s the way it has remained. I couldn’t go back after experiencing the Galaxy Mini with Android and Touchwiz.

The Mini has very modest specifications and doesn’t have a mega-large gorilla glass screen like some of the high-end Galaxy phones (S, S2) but it works for me. The 3.2″ screen is fine for me and the font is large and clear. I’ve downloaded a few apps for it but it had a lot of the stuff I needed out of the box. Setting up the email function was not very painful at all. The Facebook and Twitter apps are logical and easy to use. And scrolling through PDFs on the phone is really smooth compared to the clunky experience on the E63 and E5.

I can’t have a top-of-the-range smart-phone – both because of the price but also because I break things. Especially delicate electronic things. I drop them, bump them and have a lot of accidents with them. With the Galaxy Mini, I don’t worry about that. It is quite plastic (but has a nice feel) and it stands up to my clumsiness well. Also, if I do end up accidentally destroying it, I know I can get another one without it costing an arm and a leg. It’s a win-win for me.

If I had to change anything about the phone it would be to have a better camera with a flash. Not a top-of-the-range 8 mega-pixel camera but just one that took reasonably good photos and coped in low light. But I guess that’s one of the trade-offs you have to make in purchasing a budget-type smart phone.

A pleasant surprise was being able to upgrade the firmware to Android Gingerbread a few weeks ago. It came with Froyo but with a guaranteed update to Gingerbread. The upgrade process, achieved via Samsung’s KIES software, was pretty smooth and easy.

So all in all I’m giving two big thumbs up to the Galaxy Mini. James has also loved his Galaxy Fit (although I think he’d love something more glamorous by now!). The Mini has been the right combination of price and features for me. And it feels good and easy to handle and use. My Nokia E5 is in a drawer somewhere and they only time I think about it is when my phone bill comes in and I see the monthly payment I have to make on it until 2013. Grrrr! No more Nokia for me, I’m a Samsung boy now! 😉

Vodafail The Musical

I have become obsessed with this clip. Maybe because I am a 3 customer and have been living the problems being sent up in the video. Maybe it’s because Lady GaGa’s “Telephone” is so damn catchy. Or maybe it’s just because the guy in the clip is so f*****g hot!

This is really inspired stuff. Great production values, vocals and just all round wonderfulness and fun.

I wonder what the head honchos at Vodafone Australia thought of it? Actually, who cares!

Search terms yesterday

It is hard to even know how to categorise this post. I just happened to sign in to the dashboard for and glanced at yesterday’s search terms. You know, the things people actually types in google that made them end up on this website. It’s always an eye-opening experienced – and you wonder if the people concerned were satisfied when they reached the site – or whether they threw their hands up in the air and went “what is this crap!”

But today is different. The top 10 search terms yesterday have simply blown my mind. Maybe it says more about me and my interests than it does about the searchers? Anyway, I need to lie down now…my head is spinning like in the Exorcist. Oi vey!

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My new baby: the Nokia E5

Nokia E5 mobile phone

Worth the wait: the Nokia E5


Late last year I decided it was time to move on from my beloved Nokia E63 – the phone I’ve written about on this site more than once – and trade up to something faster and something with a bit more “oomph.” The old E63 was beginning to slow down and the lack of HSDPA internet access was beginning to drive me nuts. Not even a complete firmware update could resurrect the springy performance I first enjoyed when I got the E63 way back in 2009.

My phone company, 3 Mobile, had promised, on their blog, that they would be releasing the Nokia E5 towards the end of 2010 and I was considering paying out the remainder of my contract and upgrading. Well, talk about “blink and you missed it”, the Nokia E5 was available for five days and then 3 stopped selling it. Bizarre. Of course there are many bizarre things happening with 3 Mobile since they were taken over by Vodaphone  – or Vodafail as it has become known in Australia.

3 Mobile is winding down and eventually – like all the other 3 customers – I’ll be pushed off and forced to go on Vodafone’s network. A prospect I am not looking forward to. Telstra’s plans are still too expensive for me to seriously consider so basically I am staying with 3 until (a) I get kicked off or (b) the service becomes so bad it is unusable. I’ve been relatively happy with 3 over the last 5 years and I’ve become used to their “My 3” and “Email on 3” services. But I didn’t want to be stuck with my trusty Nokia E63 forever.

The range of handsets that 3 now offers is drastically reduced as they wind down. And many of them simply show as “out of stock.” In fact, most of them are out of stock/sold out. Nothing they had really yanked my chain. I’m not a “touchscreen” kind of guy – I need a keyboard. I spent a couple of hours on Yoda’s Samsung Jet last night and it drove me nuts. More than ever, I’m convinced I’ll always be more comfortable with a keyboard.

I’m also very comfortable with Nokia’s Symbian operating system. That’s not a fashionable thing to say – every review of Nokia phones slags off the Symbian system. It’s almost a pathological hatred by the techno media. I feel the opposite – yes, maybe it could be a bit slicker but generally it does what I want and I like it. There’s also Nokia email to consider – it allows you to have up to 10 email accounts pushed to your device. Email on 3 does a similar job but they’re not adapting that for new handsets now…thanks to the awful Vodafail takeover.

I never really wanted a “smart phone” until the Nokia E63 took my fancy. And once I got used to the idea of being able to do email, web browsing and twitter on a mobile phone, I realised I was a Nokia boy. Which means my options were really quite limited. I sound like an advert for Nokia but I’m just not that excited by Android and positively loathe Apple’s iFag,…er, I mean, iPhone.

So I was really pissed off when the E5 disappeared without a trace from 3. Flash forward 5 months and, out of the blue, a web search revealed the E5 was back on 3 and being marketed as their “new phone.” This was after advising that they wouldn’t be bringing any new handsets to 3. And not only was it available on 3, I could get it as a second handset for a small monthly payment. It took me about 2 seconds to make up my mind and last Friday I popped down to the Vodafail store and signed up for a shiny new Nokia E5…on 3 (NOT Vodafail).

I spent half the weekend setting it up and playing with it. Yoda’s comment was “why don’t you just kiss it!” My verdict? I love it!

It’s sleek and sexy with a very comfortable keyboard and much faster than the E63. Surfing the web, downloading applications, jumping through the menus – all much faster. The interface improvements (this is a later version of Symbian S60) are really useful. The screen is fine – I was worried because it is nowhere near the E63 in terms of screen quality – but I’ve barely noticed the difference in day-to-day use.

Loved the ability to bluetooth over my contacts, sms’s and calendar bits and pieces from the E63. It went very smoothly. Terrific not having to load all that guff into the phone. I’ve downloaded a few things from the Ovi Store like the Opera Mini browser, Snaptu for twitter etc. All went very smoothly and installed without a problem. The phone comes pre-loaded with Nokia maps but I’ve not had the need to use it yet.

Battery life is not as good as the E63 – both because it has a lesser capacity battery I believe and, for me, because I think Nokia Email is chewing up the juice with all that push email. Unfortunately – and frustratingly – 3 are not going to make the E5 compatible with Email on 3. I found Email on 3 a really good application/service with the E63 and it didn’t seem to eat up the battery power. Still, this isn’t a big consideration – it isn’t as if the Nokia E5 is like an iPhone or HTC Desire where you have to recharge every day.

And finally, of course, the E5 makes and receives telephone calls! Amazing! But yeah, the phone side of things is rock solid – as you’d expect from Nokia. It has the torch feature too – I can’t believe how much I came to rely on that bloody torch thing with the E63! Hold down the space bar and voila! – your phone becomes a pretty good torch.

Oops, one negative I almost forgot about….the camera is shit. Absolutely bollocks. 5 megapixels which sounds impressive but, in reality, it’s not. Quality of the pics actually seems a little worse than the 2 megapixel E63. Not a deal breaker for me as I use a “real” camera and just use the mobile for odd shots here and there. But if you need a fab camera as part of your mobile phone experience, you won’t be happy with the E5.

So here I am with a brand new E5- after 5 months frustrating wait – and all is well. If money was no object, I might have gone with the swish new E7 – but with a retail price close to $1000, that was never going to happen!

Nokia E5 box contents

Inside the Nokia E5's blue box

The Nokia E5 is a great phone – and if you don’t believe me, listen to this guy – I couldn’t have said it better myself!

Get off Facebook! Now!

This is a fantastic video and I urge you to watch ALL of it. I don’t have a Facebook account – I closed mine years ago because it was annoying the crap out of me – not because of the privacy concerns everyone is now on about. You might initially feel like you’re cutting off your left arm if you close your Facebook account, but you’ll survive and thrive!

You ARE more interesting than your profile!

Anyway, the video says it all…