21 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. My parents don’t have a smart phone. The reason is because in the past they wouldn’t use it enough for it to be worthwhile. It wouldn’t have been worthwhile because the charges to use one are simply were not worth the utility it would have given them. The reason why the charges were too high is because with prepaid mobile phones the “dat” or “minutes” somehow mysteriously expire despite there being no technological reason for them to go off or die. This can happen in as little as one month.

    This means my parents have no smart phone and have been falling further behind in their ability to use technology because telecommunication companies have not been required to provide plans that are useful for all citizens and instead only provided plans that only make sense for them and people who have friends.

    In the interests of safety and independence of the elderly and poor Australians, and in the interest of keeping them using modern communications technology instead of opting out, expiry periods for prepaid mobile phone plans should be banned.

  2. Hello Ronald,
    that’s only if you go Telstra or Optus. Plenty of lesser known brands are far more generous with expiry. I use Amaysim and pay less than $10 per month with a byo phone. I don’t use data just calls which are 15c per minute. There are plenty of others similar, look at Boost mobile which uses (a subset of) the Telstra network, or Aldi mobile. (I’m sure others here can give better suggestions.)
    I believe you can game Telstra’s prepaid if you change your plan carefully, but I’d rather pay more than give them a single penny.

  3. MartinK, if there is no expiry period, or at least a very long ones for these other companies I’d be very interested.

  4. Ronald raise the issue of planned obsolescence. It has been tried with most consumer durables. Some consumers refuse to be bullied into abandoning old technology. Look at cars. There are people who will not drive new technology cars. You see a lot of 1980s cars driving around the place. That reminds me of a travel story from the 1990s. My Dad went to New Zealand for a holiday. He always drived around to see the sights. Outside the cities he could not believe how old the car were still been driven on a day to day basis. This happens in a lot of rural communities and is about reliability and fixability. I was driven in northern New South Wales when my Ford Escort (it was 1981) just stopped. I walked to the nearest garage. This country repair man drove me back to that car. He inspected it, went to his tool box, took out a Phillips screwdriver, told me to start up the car when he yelled, crawled under the engine, yelled “NOW” and the car started.
    Smartphone development companies want their customers to update every year or so but many refuse to pay more for no much of an improvement. The current case about downloaded updates actually slowing down smartphone operation speeds is a case in point where customers have objected. Planned obsolescence is out there and gone viral. The warning “caveat emptor” has never been more vital. But consumer sovereignty still exists.
    On the other hand a sox manufacturer once produced the “Everlasting Sox” promising that their sox will never wear out. It didn’t but the company went broke.
    Economics is very interesting if you pay attention to what is going on behind the scenes.

  5. I don’t bother owning a mobile phone. This means there are more and more things one cannot do and cannot buy in this economy. At the same time, my wife has a mobile phone and thus conducts the transactions I cannot. The economy is being set up to force people to have mobile phones. Of course, we have seen this all before many times over. The economy was set up (largely) to force people to have automobiles, for example. Capitalism is set up to force people to consume, consume, consume, even things and services they don’t want.

    What I do without my wife re the mobile phone issue? Good question. I could buy food and pay household bills without a mobile phone for some time to come. Anything I couldn’t purchase without a mobile phone as a mediator I wouldn’t be bothered with. I say to such people, in essence, “You have made it too onerous to purchase your product therefore I won’t purchase it.”

  6. I think I will get my parents an “android” with Aldi prepaid credit and if they use it enough they can get a regular plan. I’m not too sure what an android is because people keep giving me old iPhones so they can buy a new iPhone, but I see people using their phones by shouting at them these days and I think that sort of interface would suit my father well.

  7. Mobile phones and facebook are really useful for stuck at home mothers – and fathers too I guess although I don’t know any stuck at home with the kids fathers.

    I do know quite a few young women in my small town who spend their days home alone with a couple of kids under school age, some of them are without cars as they can only afford one car and the male/worker needs that to get to work in the closest large town.

    Being able to interact with other people so easily does make life with small children much better than it was back in my day isolated in a suburban home with just me and the kids all day. It must make life better being able to sharing the frustrations of raising children and being able to communicate with another adult and get support so quickly and easily.

    I only use my phone and my data allowance when I have to leave home and be away from my pc and my large screen, so my $15 Aldi credit lasts for a long time and it’s good to know I can call for help if my old old car does finally die as the mechanic predicted many months ago.

    But mobile phones seem to be replacing the pc for young people. My daughter uses her phone for everything that I do on my pc.

    Ikon I’m sure you can buy anything online using your pc without needing to use a mobile phone and the growing numbers of community groups selling and giving away unwanted consumer goods must be a good thing and an indication that people are moving away from mindless consuming.

  8. @Julie Thomas

    You are right at this point in time. It’s just that I feel I observe a trend. My wife tells me online banking does not work without a mobile phone (with most banks). Many businesses only want to call back on your mobile. They are not set up to call back on a landline and it seems that some just don’t. Buying things online can sometimes be tricky without a mobile.

    On the other hand, life changing such that one can no longer live without certain technologies… well that is the story of technological change I guess. That story has its benefits and its concerns.

  9. Ronald, here are some amaysim plans: https://www.amaysim.com.au/plans/mobile-plans -make sure you expand the basic plan too. But I’d say the ALDI plan above will be at least as good.
    As for buying an unlocked andriod phone, most of the cheaper unlocked phones you get from Aust post are considered dodgy, including as an example the Alcatel ones where are Alcatel in name only. I’d suggest a cheaper Samsung Galaxy, like a J1 or possibly even the s4 or s5 if avail. I can try to find you a whirlpool forum on that just let me know, but again others here may be able to provide better advice. I have a Xiaomi which I am very happy with, but you need to buy it from and overseas store. Just gone through a lot of this myself.
    (My apologies to John Quiggin, we have gone very off topic here.)

  10. @Ikonoclast

    There certainly is a trend toward using phones for things that used to be done by other technologies. The push back or prejudice against those of us who don’t care to conform to the trend seems to me similar to the attitude that developed back in the ’70’s toward people who didn’t have a credit rating because they had never borrowed money from a bank.

    I keep my landline because I still use ADSL for my internet connection and I don’t give businesses like my doctor or optometrist my mobile so they have to call me on the landline. I get patronised as a silly old biddy who is too old and stupid to use a mobile but that’s okay, I can live with that.

    I have relatively new copper and am close to the exchange and my ADSL internet service is faster and more reliable than that of my neighbours who have been forced or fooled into signing up to use what is erroneously called the NBN.

  11. @Julie Thomas

    I keep two copper landlines: overkill I must admit.

    One copper landline is used exclusively for ADSL but I have to keep a connected, yet seldom used handset on this line or else the phone company unpairs this line in the street pit and gives it to someone else. They ping the line for a phone but not for an ADSL router.

    When they force my suburb to go to NBN I expect it is quite likely I could lose the internet altogether. At best, I will get the same poor speed I get now. My chances of getting a better internet I rate very low. Such is the confidence that the NBN instills in me.

  12. I just found out my mobile phone plan is actually quite cheap. I didn’t know because I don’t pay it myself. (When you are as sexy as I am people just give you phones so they’ll have your number.) So maybe I’ll get my parents something similar.

    But yesterday someone said my iPhone number was too low and that they’d give me one with a higher number, so the problem of what phone to get my parents may be solved. The trick to getting a free newer smart phone seems to be to take out a slightly older smart phone in public.

  13. I just heard a news report Dutton whilst on 3AW was on about left–wing Judges and light sentencing I assume in the context of Victorians of African-origin. This former Qld copper of 9 years referred to Lex Lasry as a left-wing judge and presumably in this context was saying he was part of the problem of the offending though Dutton referred to no particular sentence as an example. Nor did Dutton refer to any other left-wing judge or Magistrate by name or a particular sentence imposed.

    Really this is the minister for Home Affairs whose administration involves cooperation with State Government justice agencies.

    Of greater interest to me was Dutton’s venturing into an area recently traversed by his associates in Hunt, Sukkar and Tudge whose contemptuous and dishonest statements nearly had them jailed for contempt of the Victorian Court of Appeal and thereby in breach of section 44 of the Constitution and thereby precipitating the loss of the Coalition’s majority.

    I have read some of Lex Lasry’s sentences on Austlii and cannot find what I think is an obvious error in his sentences.

    ps. There must be an argument the “Yarra 3” were found guilty of contempt by the Victorian Court of Appeal and though not jailed were liable to life or certainly a period greater than 12 months jail at the time of the finding of guilt.

  14. Julie, rather than “classy”, I prefer to think of them as “bad with money”.

    But I love them all the same.

  15. Coal India, the state-owned behemoth that dominates the sector in the country, has just raised the price of thermal coal by 9%. (****m.economictimes.com/industry/indl-goods/svs/metals-mining/coal-india-raises-thermal-coal-prices-by-9/articleshow/62422391.cms?utm_expid=.0_OyxuZnTFSZGUuoEBqhFQ.0&utm_referrer=https://m.economictimes.com/industry/indl-goods/svs/metals-mining)
    The reason is a wage increase of 20%: startlingly high, but it’s normal that in a thriving economy, miners will take healthier jobs if they can find them. The decline in coal generation will presumably accelerate.

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