Tech Then and Now

With that one month til departure clock ticking, I am thinking about the gear I will (and won’t) pack for my trip. And it got me thinking to what has changed since my trip to Australia in 2000 – so some flashbacks. I am also looking for some info about public internet access and mobile phone rentals, so if you are in the know, drop me a comment.

Computer Then:  366 MHz iBook SE, with 320 MB RAM, 6GB HD
Computer Now: 2 GHz MacBookPro with 2GB RAM, 160 GB HD

Camera Then: Olympus DL450, 2MP 1280×960 images, 32 MB Smartmedia card could hold 72 pictures
Camera Now: Canon Powershot SD800 IS, 7.1 MP 3072×2304 images, 2 Gb SD card holds about 800 pictures

Mobile Phones Then: I was able to rent for 2 months a basic phone that was capable of… making phone calls. People I visited were regularly doing SMS with family traveling in Europe, elsewhere. Text messaging was unheard of at home
Mobile Phones Now: Looking for recommendations for a short term rental so I can be reached while on the zig zag road around Australia.  Pretty much need phone only, and no, I do not have an iPhone to bring.
Networking Then: Hard to impossible to connect to campus networks, arranged a 2 month contract with BigPond for 56 kbps dialup that was more likely 28 kbps speed.
Networking Now: Not yet sure. I have heard that internet in hotels is outrageously priced and poor service. How are my options for finding public or low fee net connections? Are there rental services I can get got a high speed access via cell phone networks?


3 thoughts on “Tech Then and Now

  1. The whole iPhone bruhaha has raised the issue that you guys in the US rarely have unlocked phones. If you do have an unlocked phone you can use it here and just by a pre-paid simcard.

    Otherwise, there are plenty of pre-paid deals for well under AU$100 which get you a basic phone, a sim card and some credit. You will need to top up as you go. You can pick these deals up at supermarkets. The only downside with these is that they are usually locked to the network, and unlocking costs, but since this is essentially a disposable phone, that shouldn’t be an issue.

    Remember it’s free to receive calls and sms in Austalia, so if people call you from the US it won’t cost. And when talking to people at work here you can buzz them and ask them to call you back if you want to speak at length. 😉

    If you want to use your phone as a modem you will need to pay a bit more for a 3G phone (about AU$150) but it can get expensive.

    I’ve always found Vodafone good, but if you are going anywhere remote it may be best to stick with Telstra, as I think they’ve got the broadest coverage with CDMA and the newer Next G. (Although the cheaper phones are only GSM anyway, I think).

    Free wireless is still fairly non-existent here, unfortunately. If you want to do a chunk of work you can plug your lappy into internet cafes for a cheap hourly rate.

    You probably need a combination approach… use free wireless when you can and cheap internet cafes to do things like upload your photos, use hotel’s access if it’s free or cheap to check email and do a bit of blogging/browsing from the comfort of your hotel room, and get a 3G phone to use as a modem when hotel access is expensive or when access is otherwise non-existent.

    Then again, someone who travels a lot in Australia may have other ideas (but most people I know in that situation have work pay!)

  2. Thanks Sean, most helpful. It would have been nice to arrive with a shiny iPhone but there are reasons on both shores keeping me out of the game now (waiting for newer versions, and AT&T coverage for places I go in Arizona are poor).

    Am doing some research now for Telstra…

  3. Hi Alan,

    Alison Taylor from ACPET Queensland – Australian Council for Private Education and Training. ACPET is the National Industry Association for the Private Education / Training Sector in Australia. I am project managing the professional development opportunities in eLearning for the private sector in Queensland, that are funded through the Australian Flexible Learning Framework.

    After speaking with Leura, I was wondering and hoping you would be available for a “networking / cocktail” evening for our members and eLearners. After reviewing your calendar, I would suggest Friday, 26 October would be the better of the two nights you will be in Brisbane, if you are available. I know the private sector would love the opportunity to hear from you (nothing too detailed / long), meet and network with you.

    Could you please let me know if you would like to be our guest, as I will then get craking on venue, invitations etc.

    I’m looking forward to meeting you on Friday at the Framework’s session.

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