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Father Christmas to follow Woolies? December 21, 2008

Posted by Tom in Techstuff.
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Clix Fibra Optica — Finally some good Internet services in Alta de Lisboa. August 15, 2008

Posted by Tom in Alta de Lisboa, Fibre Optics, Techstuff.
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I have whined, I have cried (well almost), I have been to hell and back trying to get a half decent Internet TV Telephone Package installed.
Because Part of Alta de Lisboa has forever been plugged into one of Portugal Telecom’s remote exchanges in a weak attempt to keep us from using the competition.
The competition has tried to fight back in the form of ARTelecom (which was pretty shoddy for me as it didn’t work most of the time) and Netcabo and various mobile operators.
They are all too expensive or not reliable enough.
Now we are promised something new… I could not believe it when a couple of weeks ago I asked some workers what they were doing and they said they were installing Fibre Optics…..
Well folks it’s here (or will be in about two weeks)



It’s a shame the clix website still doesn’t work (though it will surely work one day so you can check it out here:

Your weekend hits August 10, 2008

Posted by Tom in Cars, Environment, health, Techstuff.
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This week’s hits start with last Sunday’s Observer story about a possible vaccine for Malaria — potentially very good news.

Wired wooden sculpture gallery

Wired wooden sculpture gallery



We next move on to some images of simply spectacular wooden sculptures for the geek in all of us. And on the topic of geeky images we have some fine Calvin meets Jobs cartoons over at Gizmodo.

On to a couple of environmental linked stories, Ars this week looked at why cars consume so much and what is happening  about it and we also have the awe inspiring story from the Guardian on a Japanese village aiming to have zero waste.

This next story has possibly some of the most important information known to man. If used wisely we may find our productivity rising dramatically and we may also find ourselves making the right decision every time… see for yourself... I wonder how the Japanese in the last link get on though.

And finally we can’t have hit of the week without a couple of interesting links on the two main stories this weekend.. the olympics and Georgia.



Now go and enjoy your coffee

Some hits for the week. August 1, 2008

Posted by Tom in Environment, health, summer, Techstuff.
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Inspired by The Morning News website here are some interesting stories to carry you through the weekend…

First off is breakfast… this looks great and I only hope it reaches us here in Portugal.

Then we move on to some interesting ideas about London underwater. (Much more interesting than the less than good recent film about London flooding).

Next up (and back on the breakfast theme) is great site for finding unsigned artists.

If you’re eating too much breakfast you may want to read this too, the you have a great excuse for some quality time in the park.

Another health link discusses whether we can see the future… and if we can should we pay to see it.

Then we get on to some technology pieces starting with the first ever computer and what has happened to it.

Anyone interested in the environment (anyone who isn’t I would suggest has a few problems) might like to see this story about cars or this Portuguese site about carbon footprints and how buy to your very own carbon credits.

Finally for those at home with their kids this summer there are at least 20 things you can do with thembesides roasting on the beach or veging in front of the telly or playstation (or whatever your games of choice are).  


And that’s it for this week… more fun next Friday :-)

How much is 250Mb? July 8, 2008

Posted by Tom in Apple Portugal, iPhone.
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When deciding I wasn’t going to get a new iPhone the main factor for my decision was the 250 Mb of data included in the plans by Vodafone Portugal.

Many people will not realize what con this is.

1. 5 min youtube video a day for a month.


2. About 500 emails with images

mobile me gallery anyone… I don’t think so…

Google maps…. again I don’t think so. 

Whoever came up with these plans did so without thinking about the usage the iphone will have (or they did and are looking forward to catching out many customers caught by the expense.

Why I won’t be on the iPhone any time soon July 7, 2008

Posted by Tom in Apple Portugal, iPhone, Techstuff.


Vodafone iPhone 3G

Vodafone iPhone 3G


When the iPhone was initially announced I have to admit I wanted one. The technology looks smooth and combines a great looking UI and great functions. I decided that with the cheaper prices. I would be able to get one… I signed up and pre-registered my desire with Vodafone Portugal.
Now, I have been with Vodafone for quite some time now and they have very good prices and a fair approach to their customer so I figured I could count on a fairly decent package….
Until today…

So on offer we have an 8Gb phone for €129.9, one for €219.9 and one for €299.9 (all with a €10 rebate for your old phone) There is also the possibility of buying one without a contract for €499.9.

So I happily clicked on the continue with my registration link and confirmed my details and then followed the link to contract prices

Planos best iPhone 

Tarifário Best iPhone 100 Best iPhone 230 Best iPhone 500
Monthly fee €29,90 €44,90 €64,90
Calls and SMS – to all networks 
  Minutes & SMS included 100 min / SMSs 230 min / SMSs 500 min / SMSs
  Price per additional min./ SMS 14,9 cênt. 12,9 cênt. 9,9 cênt.
DATA iPhone (up to 3,6 Mbps)
  Traffic included 250 MB 250 MB 250 MB
  Price per additional MB 6 cênt./ MB 6 cênt./ MB 6 cênt./ MB   


 So here it is… Minimum €29.9 per month with an outlay of €299 for the 8Gb model. That is, after all, the one I was interested in. The problem is that 30 Euros a month is a commitment I am not willing to make. I don’t want to (necessarily) spend 100 mins a month on my phone. I certainly do not want to be tied into 2 years of prices when the outlook is so bleak.

So I looked into the non contract offer and I have to say I was shocked.. Here we are spending 500 euros on a phone (and hopefully sticking to my plan (pre paid with privileged  numbers I have cheaper calls to) and I see we have to pay a €19.9 monthly fee for data… and this is limited to 250 Mb. This is iPhone tax and something that I flatly refuse to pay for.

 Vodafone charges its non-iphone customers 9.82 for the same service on other phones. Vodafone mobile broadband at the same speed costs about 40 euros but you have 5 Gb limit. So please don’t tell that iPhone users are more expensive.

So there you have it I refuse to spend over €1000 on a phone. 

(129.9 + 24 x 64.9 = 1687.5) !!!!!!!!!! (no guesses for how much your old iPhone will cost once the contract is up) 

I’d much rather spend that sort of money on one of these

(maybe that is the idea)

See this for more enlightenment on sensible shopping


100km per litre July 6, 2008

Posted by Tom in Cars, Environment, future, Transport.

Imagine driving from Lisbon to the Algarve for under €10.  Ok that’s impossible because the tolls are over 15€ either way. But the money you could be spending on fuel isn’t… or at least it won’t be soon.  

VW 1 litre

VW 1 litre

Wired Magazine recently covered a very interesting development in the world of fuel efficient cars with Volkswagen’s attempt to build an ultra lightweight 2 seater car that does 100kmh to the litre.

Our recent holiday in the Algarve cost us about €150 in petrol (there and back + runs to supermarkets and beach). It used to cost about 80 or 90.

If we are to survive in a world where petrol keeps going up in price and down in availability we will need these cars sooner than they are being planned (2010-2012).

The price will probably be worth it… 20,000 to 30,000 Euros.


Posted by Tom in Apple, Apple IMC, Apple Portugal.
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Translation: Hello Portugal (Now Open)

Welcome to the Official Apple Online Store (Find out More)

The whole Apple Portugal site is now run by Apple inc.

This is good news (I hope)

We have also been added to the map

Enough said :-)

Apple IMC to become Apple Portugal? October 11, 2007

Posted by Tom in Apple, Apple IMC, Apple Portugal.
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This is not my first post about Apple Portugal. Nor will it be my last (for sure?)

Is it some coincidence that Interlog (the company that takes care of Apple Inc. Business in Portugal (like a mafia)) are called Apple IMC? When visiting their site one notices that the address is Apple.com.pt and is not a usual international address format apple.com/pt. However when clicking on Suporte you are taken to a subdivision of the UK site (run from Ireland I suspect) in which the address is apple.com/pt/support and has all the correct graphics etc. in place.

Could this be the beginning of a new era?

I hope so.

UPDATE 15/10 : The site now links to apage in English with the plain Apple.com (international address)Normally when apple does things like this it’s because they don’t want to appear to be supporting something until they are ready….Hold that thought.

UPDATE 15/11 : It finally happened :-)

Vivendi – Universal’s approach – a consumer’s point of view. September 25, 2007

Posted by Tom in Apple, emusic, iTunes, music, Techstuff, Universal, Vivendi.

What Msr Levy has been Reading

Mr Levy’s Bedtime reading

After Vivendi CEO Jean-Bernard Levy claimed that iTunes 20% cut in the 99 cents they charge per song is indecent, I feel compelled to add to the discussion. Monsieur Levy should wake up to the fact that many people stopped buying CDs when buying Computer games, DVD’s , films, computers, software, etc etc became more important than buying music. I remember stopping bothering with music because it had become all too much the same (Contrived MTV rubbish designed to sell to sub teens). One thing that “saved” me was when I got iTunes, ripped all my cd’s and started listening again.

This got me looking for new music too.

Unfortunately there was no iTunes Music Store, so a lot of my music came from unusual sources (and more came from buying CD’s).

However my new interest in music was slow and only half baked. The trouble of tracking down music on P2P was difficult and buying CD’s was, frankly, too expensive.

Then along came ITMS Europe. I started buying music again….. (Did you get that Mr Levy… I STARTED BUYING MUSIC!) and loads more than I had done in the past. (Pre iTunes, from aged 15 to approx 30– 200 albums, so approx 1 album a month + 1 or 2 terrible x-mas presents, remembering that my income only started at 21/22 yrs old and was measly); Post ITMS and pre emusic monthly pay scheme (+ having had a child along the way (this stops most rash consumer behaviour for at least six months)) aged 30- 32, 15 albums from ITMS and about 5 CDs. So there was a clear increase (remember income from age 15 to 21 almost zero)

I mentioned emusic and it is important for labels such as Universal (why that name? is it a wish?) to take note of. I have religiously spent €20 a month on music since signing up with Emusic’s non-DRM scheme. I don’t always download my 90 tracks worth. BUT I have yet to think it is bad deal. I cannot get enough of Emusic. AND there are new acts on it.

The music is also VERY good.

So where am I going with this. Well nowhere in particular, except to give my 2 cents worth (not that Universal cares about 2 cents, they are more interested in 80 or 90).

Once the ease of music cannot be bought, it can only be swapped, (ie p2p) like TV shows currently in Europe.

I am a Mac owner, though I do not worship Apple , Steve Jobs or iTunes (hence my use of emusic).

I hope Universal wakes up and asks Apple to lower the cost of all their music.