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# 177005 18-Jul-2015 17:06
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Does "New Zealand Connections Wiki" ring a bell for anyone here?

In case you don't know, it was a wiki that aimed to host information on telecommunications companies and plans, and for a while had enough momentum to gain ourselves a forum here in the "New Zealand Telecommunications" section (which I would have posted this thread to if it wasn't gone.)

I contributed greatly to the lengthy tables of plan information that later became the "Plan and Pricing Comparisons" pages and later "Plan Finder". It was fun, and it was well received by some in the community here.

When it was suggested that $75k be put towards Consumer's TelMe website, our great BDFL even suggested that it be used better if the project got it. (Coincidentally, TelMe has been down since the start of the year, so I'm not sure how well that money was spent...)

Sadly, NZC shuttered in 2011 because few people actually interacted with it - I left New Zealand for university studies, leaving behind the wiki with practically no active editors left.

(I should also point out now that I didn't actually run the thing - I was just the most prolific editor.)



But... I'm back. I decided to do another "Plan Finder" around a fortnight ago. I'm calling it Project Phoenix:

 

  • It's designed to be completely operable on static pages alone, and process most things on the client side.
  • Plans are added by modifying a JSON file which is hosted on GitHub.
  • Any changes to query fields are immediately updated live on screen.
  • It can generate ALL possible combinations of plans + extras/addons without further network requests.
It's in the conceptual/rough/embryonic stages at the moment, but please have a play around with it - currently there's one table and the combination generator is hidden behind a setting.

I would like people's suggestions or comments on its [new] functionality, editing process, ease of use, operation, speed, code quality... anything.
I'd rather get a better idea from the public now when it's still something I can rewrite easily.


If you have anything to say, I'll be happy to hear it.




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  # 1353917 28-Jul-2015 22:34
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I'm surprised no one has replied - but anyway, I've put in querying/filtering in the combination generator so you can now narrow down searches to something meaningful.

I found for myself that being on Skinny monthly prepaid plans with high data usage (1GB+/month) isn't actually as good as it seems - so I suppose I learnt something out of this myself!

Note that you need to go into settings and enable Combitron and go back to the tables to get the filters.


Link again in case it's not clear in the sea of text above: https://phoenix.nya.nz




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  # 1353993 29-Jul-2015 04:55
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I subbed the thread meaning to get back to it. My suggestion is script detection and generating a few unscripted pages. I have not seen anything yet. ; ).

 
 
 
 




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  # 1354100 29-Jul-2015 08:41
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gzt: I subbed the thread meaning to get back to it. My suggestion is script detection and generating a few unscripted pages. I have not seen anything yet. ; ).


Is this because you have a script blocker, accessibility reasons, need server generated pages to save, ...?




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  # 1354604 29-Jul-2015 16:40
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Some browsers I use are JS disabled.

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  # 1354613 29-Jul-2015 16:51
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Mobile is probably doable, but considering the complexity and bizarreness of various ISPs plans, I wish you the very best of luck making something that is actually useful that doesn't require constant manual updates all the time.



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  # 1354614 29-Jul-2015 16:51
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gzt: Some browsers I use are JS disabled.


For now it's aim is heavily skewed to client-side scripting, so there's not much I can really do about that.

Unless I move it to the server-side JS with something like Node.js... which is doable, and I'll look into it at a later point.





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  # 1354620 29-Jul-2015 16:58
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NonprayingMantis: Mobile is probably doable, but considering the complexity and bizarreness of various ISPs plans, I wish you the very best of luck making something that is actually useful that doesn't require constant manual updates all the time.


To be honest, when I originally did the plan tables back in 2008, there were more plans than we have now. Things have changed a LOT, such as consolidation:

 

  • ihug -> Vodafone
  • TelstraClear -> Vodafone
  • Snap -> 2degrees
  • (WxC -> Vodafone)
  • (Woosh -> Slingshot)
... and general simplification of plans (we used to have 256kbps alongside 2mbps, full speed plans and a wide range of allowances, which now converge towards "unlimited".)


Complexity is problematic though (e.g. $10 discounts for mobile plans if tied under the same provider) though I have a few things written down that could actually do that. The reason I started off with Prepaid Mobile is because of extras/add-ons which most other types of plans don't tend to have, so it's handling a fair bit of complexity already.


And for manual updates: well, someone has to do it, unless providers are willing to have a feed of some sort that can be fed into a script to generate the JSON file which is being used at the moment. I'm hoping those who are interested in such information will contribute back on GitHub, like the tables on Can I Use, but time will tell.




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  # 1354653 29-Jul-2015 17:15
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If you don't mind totally unrelated technical questions ; )- do you use a 3rd party change monitor service or use a monitoring script of your own?



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  # 1354660 29-Jul-2015 17:19
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gzt: If you don't mind totally unrelated technical questions ; )- do you use a 3rd party change monitor service or use a monitoring script of your own?


All hand-written at the moment. That's because I haven't settled on the data structure in the file, so everything is still experimental.

(I've already changed it a handful of times since I first conceived this.)


I could see the use of a monitoring service, the problem is that there is no standard way of collecting the information purely from websites, apart from knowing that something has changed. For example, 2degrees' website completely changed the URLs yesterday alongside their Broadband service launch and they have not yet put in redirects from many existing URLs, leading to 404s.

So unless everyone decides to publish stuff like this in a consistent format, I foresee it still being quite a manual process.




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