Online booking fees

Some time ago, I went to book some movie tickets online for a movie that I was planning. I am going through the process and when it comes time to process it, I see there is a one dollar per ticket booking fee.


By doing this online, I am saving the cinema the hassle of serving me. I progress through the doors and into the cinema with little fuss (since all I have to do is go to the kiosk and print my ticket out) and waste very little time. My time, and the time of the cinema as well.

It saves them having to employ someone to sell me the ticket yet I have to pay for this privilege. I don’t understand it.

It’s just another way for them to make another quick buck.

What is it with Telstra?

Helstra have to be kidding me… Are they really as stupid as they make out? In fact, how can anyone BE that stupid?

Ok, Many years ago, when Telstra first started their online services I was encouraged to register. I did so, and immediately found I couldn’t log in. And since it was so long ago, I can’t remember what the problem was. Anyway, I let it go, thinking, it’s not worth the hassle. A few months later I received an email “Since you have been registered for online services/billing for more than (I think it was) 3 months, you will no longer receive a paper bill. Please log into your account to change this setting.”

I once again tried logging into the account and it still didn’t work. I rang Telstra and they fixed it over the phone (the paper billing that is, they couldn’t fix the web site problem)…

Enter 2005-2006:

I was “re-encouraged” to try and use the online billing again. I raised my concerns and they told me they had fixed a lot of the problems. So I agreed and gave it a go. I remember in the setup process there was a secret Q/A and I do recall making it something so cryptic, that noone would ever get it (NEVER did I think that I wouldn’t get it!).

Anyway, stopped using it, didn’t really see the point/value…

I thought today that i would give it another go. I tried to login, and low and behold I forgot my password (Yes, I KNOW I should use a password manager, but that seems to defeat the whole idea of a password in the first place – and my other problem is, I don’t trust two sites with the same password – I don’t know how they are stored in there database, they won’t let me have a look? LOL)…

I had to enter my username… That appeared to work as I managed to progress to the next screen

I had to enter my postcode… I got that right because again, I progressed.

I get prompted for a secret question… I looked at is and straight away laughed. I recognised the question, but have NFI what the answer to it was.

I look around for the “just email it to my trusted email account” link, but that is not an option.

I gave it a few goes and sure enough, I get locked out of the account and advised that if I can’t remember the password, I will have to create a new account…


Are they kidding? What about giving me someone to call??? What about sending me an email saying someone is trying to find my password? What about calling me? Why don’t they ask for my “registered” secret password? (You know, the password you use when you speak with your carriers? OLkay, security risk – maybe – but it is HTTPS).

I get stroppy and send a nasty email (I know, I know, I know… but I couldn’t help it)

But I wanted to log in NOW and change the email address of where the emails get sent (I am closing the old email off).

So I give it another go (in a different browser) and it let’s me try again. Eventually I arrive at the secret question, gave it a few more attempts and WHAMOO! “… create a new account”

Bugger this… I GIVE UP!!!!

Let’s just create a new account.

So I went to do that. Enter my account number, some other personal information…

“This account is already registered for Telstra online services. You can use your existing username and password, or digital certificate to log in.”

ARRRGH – ‘ark ’em! I’m outta here

rm -rf telstra

( and on a side-note: rm -rf bigpond )

edit: Unfortunately I was still with Helstra for a while to come yet, but when I got my own place in December 2008 I opted for a naked DSL connection and kissed Telstra goodbye… and good riddance!

RAR in Ubuntu

IMHO RAR is a dying archive format, except in the torrent and related warez world. Why? I don’t know. But what I do know (now) is how to install RAR for linux under Ubuntu 6.10 (Edgy) and this is it:

Download rarlinux, the version I got was 3.6.0 and I found it here:

(you can use ‘wget’ from a linux console to grab it)

ungzip the file:

tar -zxvf  rarlinux-3.6.0.tar.gz

Now for some reason when i did this the first time, it didn’t fully unzip and I had to process the tar file again, but on another machine both steps were done with the above command. If you have a rar folder now, then skip the next command, but if you have a new file with the name rarlinux-3.6.0.tar (ie, no .gz ext) then untar it with the following:

tar -xvf rarlinux-3.6.0.tar

then change into the rar directory created, and you only need to copy the ‘rar’ file into your “/user/bin” directory

cd rar
cp rar /user/bin/.

use “rar” at the command line without any options to get an overview of the switches and commands associated with it

’twas the night before xmas

…and my BIOS was quieter than a mouse!

I thought Xmas was spose to be fun? It’s no fun when your whole system goes down without any explanation.

The system had locked up…

Nothing too unusual about that. A reboot and away I went again. Continued on my way.

I came back a while later and found my computer locked in a disk boot error just after POST…<!–break–>

But why?

I dunno.

And this is where the fun started. Several boots and bios settings checks soon revealed what most people often fear: A dead hard drive. Now that in itself is a little disconcerting, but I soon got over it. I don’t often run back-ups of my C Drive, but I’m not adverse to reinstalling often anyway. I can do it rather quickly. And anyway, I don’t keep much on C Drive. It only contains my operating system and applications. All my data files, music, movies, and whatever else are stored over many other hard drives in the system. So I wasn’t too concerned. Just peeved at the timing.

So I pull out an old 17Gb HDD and decide to settle that one into the system. Reboot and get the “No operating system error”. No probs. Windows XP Pro CD into the DVD drive and reboot…

…and again, no operating system. A check of the BIOS confirmed the DVD drive had priority over the HDD, but for some reason, it was the HDD that was getting the priority!

After tweaking the BIOS, trying many different settings, trying a NEW 80GB HDD, and a NEW DVD-Rom drive, and new IDE cables, BIOS upgrades and downgrades, and many other odd combinations of anything I could think of; I finally decided to call it a night once my blood pressure reached about 180/120!

Day 2: I spoke to a few friends who are just as computer savvy as I, without success. They only suggested things I had already tried. They were no help. The essential problem I was having, is that no matter what I did, the BIOS was giving priority to the Floppy, then HDD01 and finally the CDROM. As the HDD had the higher priority, the CDROM would never boot! The ODD part of all this, is that I could disable all three boot order preferences, and the BIOS would still only process it in that order. To make it worse, if I unplugged the HDD’s, it wouldn’t boot the CD anyway! I couldn’t win.

I’m gonna cut this short here… but in short, knowing it was the BIOS, and not being able to upgrade the BIOS (another long part of this story), I decided to clear it. Now, if I had of made this decision about 36 hours earlier, I would have been a happy camper. Once cleared, and restarted…

It all went well!

NOW, I’m a happy camper.