Posts in category guernsey - page 9

Battle of Britain, ADSL upgrades, Skype and EU VAT

Battle of Britain

This week is the annual Battle of Britain week here in Guernsey and today sees highlight of the weeks events, the air display. Alas, I missed the a chunk of it but managed to catch the star attraction The Red Arrows. As always it was most impressive, dives banks and turns at low altitude while retaining perfect form in an number of geometric shapes. The weather was less impressed and the low cloud ceiling canceled out the various cross-overs we are normally treated to.

ADSL upgrades

Today sees the completion of Cable & Wireless Guernsey’s free ADSL upgrade from 512KB to 1MB. My parents and friends got theirs earlier but even mine was enhanced this morning. If yours is still running at 512KB give them a shout.

So how does it stack up against other uncapped residential plans?

  • C&W Guernsey 1150/280 £26.99
  • Jersey Telecom 512/256 £24.99, 1024/384 £44.95, 2048/384 £84.99
  • Manx Telecom 512 £29.23, 1024 £49.99, 2048 £89.99 (all include VAT)
  • C&W UK 8192 £29.50 (including VAT)
  • UK Online 512 £9.99, 1024 £14.99, 2048 £19.99, 8192 £29.99
  • Germany (various) 1024/128 €16.99, 2048/192 €19,99, 6016/576 €24.99 (all include VAT)
  • BellSouth USA 256/128 $24.95, 1500/256 $32.95, 3000/384 $42.95

So Guernsey is doing rather well in the island broadband pricing, but still rather abysmal compare to the UK, Europe and USA. I can’t quite figure out why the German providers give you so little upstream bandwidth. Maybe P2P is a big problem there. The US pricing looks poor because most of the providers hide their plans behind registration screens and don’t make it clear what you are getting.

Skype

I tried Skype last night to talk to Clarissa and it worked very well. Only once in an hour did it scramble Clarissa’s voice although mine apparently scrambled a few times. Sounds quality was very acceptable and it was letting me call her land line at €0.02 a minute using the SkypeOut feature.

EU VAT

A problem with Skype the moment is that they insist on charging Guernsey EU VAT mistakenly thinking we are part of the EU, when we are not.

Apple’s iTunes Music Store took a different approach to handling us CI’ers and just barred all GY? and JE? post-codes so we couldn’t buy tunes at all. You can bypass this check by putting your post-code in lower-case and accept the dreaded EU VAT for now – better than no tunes at all.

[)amien

Oakley Charity Motorcycle Spin 2005

Our small island roads today witnessed the Oakley Charity Motorcycle Spin, an event to help raise money for a caravan to be located at Church Farm Holiday Park where ill children from Guernsey can enjoy some time away.

Oakley and his family

The was the dream of six year old Oakley Waterman tragically diagnosed with cancer and who passed away this Friday. I never had the fortune to meet the little chap but the local paper referred to him as a brave soul who didn’t let his illness bring him down and remained both cheerful and cheeky.

Local motorcycle club Full Boar organized the event and they told the local press they were expecting around 150 motorcycles in attendance. I arrived to a packed Charles Frossard House car park with my sister, brothers and brother-in-law a little after 2:00pm and briefly chatted with Phil and my sister Laura who were very happy at the turn out.

Oakley Spin 2005I have never seen so many motorcycle in one place – from Harley’s to R1’s, quads and scooters, the place was truly packed. The picture on the right is just one of the three areas bikes were parked or, in the case of at least one bike with a flat battery, left running.

Shortly after 2:30 Oakley’s family waved us off on our ride and we toured round the island coast in a massive convoy. We had just one designated police officer at the front of the ride, and indeed I saw no others en-route. Motorcycle clubs tend to have their own way of dealing with things and instead of police and escorts riders from the clubs would peel off from the front the ride and ensure no cars got in the way. It was all very fluid and the event completed, to the best of my knowledge, without a single incident. For the most part the cars were tolerant and crowds dotted along the streets in various places around the island. Those a little more clued-up obviously knew what the ride was in aid of, waving and cheering as we went past.

I can’t say what time we got back as it was the last thing on my mind but as we flowed back into Frossard House I was told that an impressive 370 to 400 motorcycles took part.

I think Oakley would have been impressed too.

The local paper is confirming 344 riders and more than £3,500 raised.

[)amien

Quays, keys, ink and rings

Yesterday, at St. Pierre du Bois Parish Church, my eldest little sister got married and I was fortunate enough to be the one to give her away. The ceremony was perfect and the newly appointed best man got everything spot on despite the one days notice. My little brothers even managed to perform their usher roles without supervision.

After the obligatory photos and confetti storm we headed to the beautiful island of Herm, just a 15 minute trip by boat, for drinks followed by conversation and a rather unusual but tasty mix of food in the specially erected marquee. We toasted the married couple and tried to put into words our own personal messages in their book while snapping the many photos that were filling film and memory card. My sister’s red trainers (put on for the reception, not the service ;-) were well hidden beneath her dress but will no doubt appear on some of the pictures.

There was laughter and a few tears but the soft drizzle that Herm bestowed upon us could do little to dampen our own spirits. Clarissa was looking rather resplendent in a long black and pink dress that drew compliments from relatives, some new, some I’d not seen in a very long time. Hopefully now I recognize the faces I’ll spot them around and about in Guernsey, it’s quite common to bump into people you know at random on such a small island.

My little niece Holly, their child, bopped away in the dance area for hours to both the live band and the DJ. I’m pretty sure she danced longer than anyone else that night pausing only for a brief nap… well she is only 18 months old.

If you are considering a trip to Herm get to the boat 30 minutes before the scheduled departure time. Like time, and indeed tides, Travel Trident wait for no man and left early on both sailings and we were the luckier ones to get back, many of my family had booked hotel rooms for an overnight stay.

As we sailed back I wondered where my house keys were… It dawned on me that I’d left my USB keyring memory stick plugged into the front of my work PC earlier that morning as I desperately tried to print off another 15 Orders of Service because my Epson printer had failed me (more on the idiots at Epson another time). Alas my work keys were at my parents house… and my parents were in Herm.

My thanks to Michelle and Amy for driving a rather intoxicated me across the island, my colleague and friend Adrian for loaning me a key to the office and to Clarissa for keeping her cheer long after the cold of the night had drawn in.

[)amien

Travel Trident left early because the boat was full and another one was waiting in the wings. Well planned and thanks guys!

C&W Guernsey 1MBit ADSL

Wondering what happened to Cable & Wireless’ planned 1MBit ADSL upgraded service? Their web site has been very quiet so I emailed and got this response I thought I’d share;

Dear Customer

Earlier in June, we emailed you to explain our plans to increase the speed of most of our Broadband services – known as double bandwidth because, for example, the download speed will increase from 512kbit to 1Mbit for our basic service. This will give you an even better surfing experience and put us well ahead of other similar -sized locations in delivering customers a value for money Broadband service. Take a look at the list below to see how much better off you will be:

Monthly charge for unlimited 1Mbit service

C&W Guernsey £26.99 Jersey £44.99 Isle of Man £49.99

C&W Guernsey plans to go ahead with the necessary upgrade. However, in order to accommodate certain requirements of other local internet service providers, we have agreed to delay the upgrade which will now be completed on September 15th rather than in July as originally planned.

We are disappointed to have to inform you of the delays to this exciting project.

However, we have been reassured that there will be no further delay to our project and look forward to bringing you the extra benefits to your Broadband service.

Yours sincerely,

Caleb Zunino Product Manager – Internet Services Cable & Wireless Guernsey

I think they are trying to say that local ISPs Guernsey.Net and NewTel need to put additional bandwidth in to cope with their users being 1MBit as well (C&W provide the underlying ADSL to both ISPs as well as their own ISP connection too).

[)amien