Shame on you BP - increasing fuel prices yet again!

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 17-Apr-2008 17:15

Once again BP have lead the market and today raised their prices for both petrol and diesel.

They've maintained their record of having lead every single price increase in the New Zealand marketplace in the past 17 months.

Unleaded 91 has now risen 3c to 185.9 in the major centres. Diesel has risen by 5c to 151.9 and both of these price points are new record prices for the New Zealand marketplace.

As of late this afternoon no other fuel company had announced that they would be following suit.



BP's at it again - ripping off Kiwi motorists with another 5c litre price increase

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 12-Apr-2008 16:33

Not content with their price increase on Wednesday BP have once again lead the way with another 5c per litre price increase for diesel. This now means BP stations are selling diesel for 146.9, a new record high for New Zealand.

None of the other major chains have followed suit and are all still selling diesel for 141.9 in major metropolitan areas.

BP = Be Patronised (thank's paradoxsm!)

If you're following my blog and still purchase your fuel at BP I really have to wonder what you're on! Smile



A beginners guide to DIY structured cabling in a new house - Part III

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 12-Apr-2008 07:19

This is part III in my DIY guide to installing a structured cabling system in a new house. Part I is available here and Part II is available here


First up is configuring the new 16 port patch panel. I purchased a regular 16 port Cat5e panel and jumpered ports 13-16 together for the incoming phone line. This means there are 4 phone ports that can be patched to any of the 12 ports throughout the house. To do this I simply stripped some cat5e cable and looped the blue/blue white pairs through the 4 ports and left about 150mm of spare cable at the end.




Next up is installing the wall enclosure and regular BT phone jack. This BT jack is the only BT jackpoint in the house and also serves as a test point.









Showing another angle. Note BT socket is clearly marked as a Test Point - something Telepermit regulations state you should be doing.





All wiring now completed. I use a regular RJ12->BT adapter to plug into the wall socket. This means that to convert the existing house phones to a VoIP provider is literally a two second job - unplug the RJ12 socket and then plug this into the ATA phone adapter or residential gateway.

This RJ12 patch cable is then connected with scotchlok connectors into the blue/blue white pair that are jumpered across ports 13-16. If you are installing an alarm you will also want to connect it at this point, in this case the cable from the BT socket was run to the alarm and the return pair from the alarm was connected to the blue/blue white pair jumpered across ports 13-16.

Most alarm diallers have their own built in line grabbers and so they need to be wired in series with the existing phone cabling. Most alarm alarm installers will cut the phone cabling in the roof of the house before it reaches the first jackpoint in the house however if you do this then if you move your phones to VoIP you won't be able to use your alarm over your VoIP connection without rewiring the alarm. 
 
Just be aware that not all alarms will work succesfully over a VoIP connection however most that use the ContactID protocol should work correctly as it's actually only sending burts of DTMF tones - I do know that AlarmNZ have spent quite a bit of time testing their systems using WorldxChange's VFX service and it does work well.








Cat5e keystones and F connectors all ready to go. I just use regular PDL faceplates and PDL F connector inserts. I also use compression style F connectors and would avoid using screw on F connectors at all costs - they really are a bit of a waste of time and to be completely honest when you can pick up a good crimping tool for no more than $30 you should do the job properly the first time!

There are two mains styles of crimp connections for F connectors - radial and compression. There is plenty of debate over which is better but I personally prefer the compression connectors.





Now screwed to the wall. One important thing that you should always do is ensure that wire is looped below the socket inside the wall cavity. This forms a drip loop and means that if water gets inside the wall and runs down the cable it will get to this drip loop and drip off. If the cable is tight and runs directly to the back of the cat5e keystone or F connector drips of water will run down the cable and directly into the back of the jackpoint.

Labelling on the ports is also straight forward - TV's are just labelled with numbers and the data ports are labelled with an A at the start which is standard practice so if additional patch panels are installed they can be given a new designation such as B1, B2 etc. You can buy PDL F modules with text on them, in this case I have purchased some with TV as these are wired back to the TV aerial. Modules with Sky are also available and of course blank ones. I have one for the TV aerial and one blank as this cable is not currently used for anything and just runs back to the splitter and could be used for a satellite dish or as a return to feed a modulated output back into the main TV output.




TV wiring running back to a 6 way splitter. Note that a 75ohm F terminator is screwed onto the unused port. Ideally these should be left on the F sockets of any unused TV sockets around the house if they are wired back to the splitter to minimise interference.  





Alarm pinpad





And one of the best inventions ever - Wallmate fasteners! These are great for things such as alarm pinpads where you may not have a stud behind the wall to screw directly into. These screw into the jib and they'll take a 10kg load!






Hopefully this guide has been helpful, I know I've received a lot of good comments from people who have found it useful. I plan to incorporate all three posts into a single one and also add a few more helpful hints when I get some time over the next week or so.



BP leads the way yet again - raising their fuel by 3c litre in New Zealand

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 9-Apr-2008 15:28

Continuing on with their unbeaten 17 month record of having lead every fuel price rise in New Zealand BP today raised their prices again by 3c per litre across all products. Not content with being classed as a follower, BP's strategy of being leaders in the field when it comes to fuel price increases continues unabated!

This brings the price of a litre of 91 octane unleaded to 182.9 per litre, a new record for New Zealand. Diesel has risen to 141.9 however due to BP having maintained a 2c per litre premium over all other chains for diesel for at least the last month this means their diesel is now 5c per litre more than all other competitors which makes that standard 4c fuel docket from New World a waste of time.

As of mid afternoon no other fuel companies have yet announced that they will be following suit.



Watch your wallet if you shop Domino's Pizza!

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 6-Apr-2008 19:25

I had Domino's pizza for dinner tonight and noticed that once again I received a receipt that has coupons printed on the back. One of these coupons is for "Unlimited large Pizzas from $7.90 each pickup" and the fine print lists a $2 surcharge for chicken, shrimp and half and half pizzas (voucher code CV2V)

Unfortunately it appears several months ago Domino's put their surcharge up to $2.90 for chicken, shrimp and half and half pizzas so the voucher and their stores seem completely unaware of the fact they are handing out coupons to every customer that are misleading and incorrect. If you're using one of these coupons make sure you're not overcharged as the stores don't seem interested in removing their old till rolls and apparently all their stock has the same $2 price printed on it.

I'm also rather annoyed at the way they handle "buy 1 get 1 free" vouchers such as the one currently on Tui 15kpk's. The only condition is that the pizza must be of equal or lesser value.

This is blatently misleading as as I cannot get two pizzas for the price of one using this coupon! If I use an example of a full price bbq chicken pizza @ $10.90 and $2.90 surcharge for chicken this will give me a total cost $13.80 if I buy 1 pizza. Unfortunately Domino's way of thinking is that I have to pay the $2.90 surcharge for my "free" pizza, this means it costs $16.70 to get 2 pizzas. So much for buy 1 get 1 free!

Why should I have to pay a $2.90 surcharge on top of this to get a 2nd "free" pizza? To me free means free - not $2.90

Come on Domino's - sort out your systems.



Shock horror - BP raises fuel prices again and rips off Kiwi motorists!

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 31-Mar-2008 17:32

Not content with Friday's 3c/litre diesel increase BP have put another hole in the wallet of Kiwi motorists crazy enough to support them by raising the price of both diesel and petrol by 2c/litre this afternoon.

On Friday they raised their diesel price by 3c/litre bring their price to 136.9 and this afternoon's increase now means they are selling diesel at 138.9 and regular 91 for 179.9 per litre.

No other fuel companies have yet matched Friday's increase or followed BP's increase this afternoon.

I just don't see why NZers still continue to support a company who prides itself with leading every single fuel increase. It's as though kiwi motorists love being ripped off!




BP rips off Kiwi consumers.. yet again

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 29-Mar-2008 10:36

BP's commitment to ensuring NZers pay as much as possible for their fuel has resulted in them yet again leading the way in raising diesel prices by 3c per litre. This follows on from their increase before Easter and subsequent backdown several days later when none of the other chains followed suit. Since then BP have maintained a 1c/litre price differential over all the other chains.

The lengths they go to ensure that they always lead the way when it comes to price increases show that they are a true leader in the industry and not simply a follower!



Warehouse Stationery - where a bargain isn't a bargain

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 26-Mar-2008 21:49


Spotted at Warehouse Stationery on Monday.







A big pat on the back for Vodafone

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 24-Mar-2008 17:52

Those people who have followed my rambling over the years will know I both love and hate Vodafone. I'm passionate about mobile technology and love the Vodafone brand but there are aspects of their company and products that really get to me!

One thing that has annoyed me over the years has been some very significant coverage deadspots that they have had in the Wellington area. These aren't just areas where calls occasioanally drop, in some cases they are entire suburbs with virtually non existing Vodafone coverage.

One area that has been very bad has been the Eastern Bays from Point Howard right around to Eastbourne. Apart from a 900Mhz cellsite at Eastbourne all the bays along the way have relied on coverage from the other side of Wellington Harbour which has meant that mobile in car coverage has been terrible and inbuilding coverage in some of the most expensive homes in the region has been virtually non existant. Coverage has also typically been 900Mhz as the 2100Mhz 3G signal hasn't carried well across the water.

Over the past few weeks Vodafone have finally done something about this. As well as the Eastbourne site having been given new 3G radio gear 4 new 3G sites have been installed along Marine Drive. These are the now common cylindrical 3G sites and all 4 are mounted on light standards.

Sites are located at Lowry Bay (near the boat ramps), York Bay, and two sites to cover the corner of the road in Sunshine Bay and Days Bay. These sites are now all active and deliver continuous in car coverage along Marine Drive and great indoor coverage in most areas with Days Bay in particular now having great coverage when in the past inbuilding coverage was virtually non existant.

There have been a large number of 3G sites rolled out in Wellington over the past few months and it's now obvious that Vodafone see their WCDMA network as a replacement for GSM. If you don't have a 3G handset then you won't be able to take advantage of this enhanced coverage.

Good work Vodafone!




Upgraded Eastbourne site showing 900MHz and 2100MHz panel in the middle. These 900MHz panels are the originals that have been on this site since it was installed. Vodafone have replaced a lot of these panels, it's good to see that they've left a few remaining for old times sake! :-)



Lowry Bay 3G Site



Mahina Bay Site


Sunshine Bay site - this and the Days Bay site are on the same corner.


Days Bay site - this and the Sunshine Bay site are on the same corner.



BP wishes Kiwi's a Happy Easter and raises Diesel by 5c per litre

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 19-Mar-2008 17:35

The lovely folks over at BP have done it again - they've lead the way today by raising Diesel by 5c per litre which now makes them 6c per litre more than every other player in the fuel industry (since they were 1c more up until today).

I just don't know why people continue to support a company who pride themselves in leading the way in petrol price increases having now lead every fuel increase in NZ for the past 17 months.

Avoid getting ripped off this Easter. Don't visit BP.

UPDATE: 20th March

BP have now been forced to drop their diesel back to 133.9 after the market didn't move with them and they were left hung out to dry. This is still a 1c premium over all the other major retailers who are still selling diesel at 132.9





sbiddle's profile

Steve Biddle
Wellington
New Zealand


I'm an engineer who loves building solutions to solve problems.


I also love sharing my views and analysis of the tech world on this blog, along with the odd story about aviation and the travel industry.

My interests and skillset include:

*VoIP (Voice over IP). I work with various brands of hardware and PBX's on a daily basis
  -Asterisk (incl PiaF, FreePBX, Elastix)
  -Polycom
  -Cisco
  -Linksys
  -Patton
  -Zyxel
  -Snom
  -Sangoma
  -Audiocodes

*Telecommunications/Broadband
  -xDSL deployments
  -WiMAX
  -GSM/WCDMA
  -WiFi

*Structured cabling
  -Home/office cabling
  -Phone & Data

*Computer networking
  -Mikrotik hardware
  -WAN/LAN solutions

*Wireless solutions
  -Motel/Hotel hotspot deployments
  -Outdoor wireless deployments, both small and large scale
  -Temporary wireless deployments
   
*CCTV solutions
  -Analogue and IP

I'm an #avgeek who loves to travel the world (preferably in seat 1A) and stay in nice hotels.


+My views do no represent my employer. I'm sure they'll be happy to give their own if you ask them.


You can contact me here or by email at stevenbiddle@gmail.com

twitter.com/stevebiddle