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handset prices in ireland

Mobitopia

A few months back I commented on the user UNfriendly behavior of mobile operators in Ireland when it came to phone upgrades. I put an upgrade out of my mind for a while (since, quite simply, I couldn't afford it), but today as I passed by a carphonewarehouse store I saw that they had the SonyEricsson T610 at "only" Euro 139 with a contract with Vodafone. I thought "Hey, maybe prices have gone down for some mysterious reason" and I went into the store to check things out.

Long story short, I was wrong. Prices are still outrageous. Subsequent visits to O2 and Vodafone stores confirmed that this was indeed the case.

How outrageous? Consider, as just one example, the price for the Nokia 3650. Vodafone and O2 pricing is basically Euro 300 (= 380 USD, or 210 British Pounds). Both with contract, upgrade prices are exactly the same, although in some cases they might knock off Euro 10 of the price if a) you've been a customer for more than 2 years and b) you've spent more than Euro 1000 in calls during that period. As a comparison, the prices of carphonewarehouse UK for the Nokia 3660 starts at 80 GBP, that is, Euro 100. Pricing in the US is similar, as is in all other European countries that I could find. That is, price here is basically more than double (and depending on the contract, three times as much) as that of anywhere else. SIM-free phones are similarly more expensive than in other countries. The Nokia N-Gage (which is probably the most "consumerish" device you could find, a device that, given its target, cries out for a low price) is priced at Euro 300 here and found in other countries at half the price. Older handsets, like the Nokia 6310, still sell here at Euro 200 apiece with contract.

Even more, note that when I quoted the carphonewarehouse UK price it was for the Nokia 3660, not the 3650. Why? Because they don't even sell the 3650 anymore. So while the 3650 is already being phased out in some places, in Ireland they only started selling it less than two months ago.

The point of this rant: I wish that the much-vaunted European integration would take hold in the supposedly fluid and borderless market that is consumer electronics. Even if Ireland's market is too small to sustain low prices, Europe as a whole shouldn't be, and prices would be, if not the same, at least roughly equivalent across borders. Now, that's not much to ask for is it? :-)

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on January 7, 2004 at 9:36 PM

autoclose comments on MT

I had mentioned the idea of using a script to close comments automatically in July last year and then thought about it when I started getting hit with comment spam later in October.

Now, a couple of weeks ago Jeremy posted the script he has been using for quite a while to do exactly that. Thanks! He uses mysql and I use Berkeley DB, so the script might need changing (honestly, I have no idea :)). Hopefully at some point within the next few days I'll have some time to look at it and start using it.

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on January 7, 2004 at 1:22 PM

connection back up

This morning the DSL was still acting up (ie., not working, with traceroute dying at random points on different routes) on many websites worldwide, including Eircom's own DSL support page (dsl-support.eircom.net) which is hosted here in Ireland. So I called up technical support and immediately they told me that the problem was that I had an "invalid IP" assigned. Apparently they have a number of these invalid IPs in the pool (for the PPPoE connections) which they are "trying to remove" and if you get one of those assigned for your dynamic IP a number of sites on the Internet will not be reachable. The solution is to turn off the modem and wait for a while... and if that doesn't work (as in my case, since I did that in the morning) call up tech support and they will release the IP and make sure that the new IP assigned will not be one of the invalid ones. Sounds weird that an IP in the pool might work for some sites and not others. I wonder what kind of routing boxes they are using.

Now, if you ask me, it shouldn't be so hard to write a little program that would check each IP in turn and remove those that don't work no? Why wait until customers complain?

Anyway, if you're in Ireland, use Eircom DSL and you have problems reaching some websites, this might be the reason.

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on January 7, 2004 at 12:59 PM

weird referer

Recently (but I just noticed it today) I started getting HTTP referers that are a variation of the following: "XXXX:+++++++++++++++++++++++" (the number of plus signs varies). A google search with appropriate terms quickly turned up discussions like this one that suggest that the referer is someone using an anonymizer or internet security product of some kind. Without that information it smells like an attempt at an exploit of some kind... but of what kind (and if so, I've never heard of it)?

Anyone knows about this? Has anyone else seen it? I'm curious. :)

Categories: soft.dev
Posted by diego on January 7, 2004 at 12:59 AM

the wal-mart way

An inside look from Fast Company at Wal Mart and how it achieves its low-low prices. Interesting, considering the implications it has for the US economy and (both consequently and directly) for the world economy as a whole.

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on January 7, 2004 at 12:44 AM

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