Category: Technology

March 2, 2012

After starting construction work on their LTE network back in May 2010, Telstra finally started trialling their network, starting with business customers in August, and finally launching it for consumers with the Sierra AirCard 320U USB modem. While only officially offered on a 24 month contract, it’s been available for purchase outright (for ~$299AUD). Following on from the AirCard, the HTC Velocity 4G was released in late January. More recently, they also just launched the first LTE tablet – the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 running Android, and, another USB modem – the ZTE MF821.

Telstra LTE 4G ZTE MF821 Modem IMG_4507

What makes the MF821 special for people wanting to buy it, is it’s being targeted towards the prepaid market. As mentioned above, it’s always been possible to purchase the AirCard 320U outright and then throw a prepaid SIM in there, $299 was quite pricey for the average joe. Telstra have priced the MF821 at $129, which in my opinion is a steal. You also get 3GB to use in the first 30 days from activation.

Picking one up on launch day was tricky – while the product was launched Wednesday with an availability of ‘today’, only 2 of the 5 Telstra stores I visited had them in stock, let alone had heard of them. After finally hunting one down, I was in business. The store assistant even offered to activate it for me on the spot.

If you haven’t heard of LTE (also known as 4G) before, it’s the next generation of wireless networks – in real world situations it’s at least twice as fast as 3G. Telstra have been rolling out this network to compliment their existing Next G 3G network in capital cities, until enough spectrum is available to roll it out to the rest of Australia.

February 25, 2012
January 22, 2012


Image via Chris

iOS 6? Please head over here.

Have you ever looked at your carrier name in the status bar of your iPhone? Chances are you have. If you’ve ever wondered where this actually comes from – this is really just an image contained in the carrier’s bundle of settings.

This makes it much easier for this to be customised or changed. Carriers can (naturally) and do change how their network appears – Optus changed from ‘OPTUS’ in firmwares lower than 4.x to ‘YES OPTUS’ in iOS 5. Telstra choose to display ‘3TELSTRA’ as ‘Telstra’, (and likewise for 3 – choosing to appear as ‘3’ instead of 3TELSTRA)

This is also handy for users – carrier bundles are easily edited and tweaked by users and can be deployed semi-officially – the same way carriers can deploy themselves on the side.

While in iOS 5 many of the actual carrier configuration data is signed and will refuse to work if the signature is broken – the images are free rein. You can do whatever you want here.

February 5, 2011

If you’re like me and enjoy tinkering and playing with the latest iOS betas simply for the ‘fun of it’, chances are you’re pretty ‘cluey’ about iOS and how the iPad, iPhone and so on work.

As of the iPhone 3GS and iOS 3.x, Apple now signs every single firmware with a signature, unique to every single device and firmware called a ‘SHSH blob’. This means that usually once Apple releases an update, you can’t go back down, you’re forced to go up. Presumably in an attempt to prevent jailbreaking, to enforce security and to make sure everyone has the latest version.

Usually it’s pretty easy to downgrade if you’ve got the SHSH blob for your device for the firmware you’re trying to downgrade to. Unfortunately, as of iOS 4.2.1, Apple is making things somewhat trickier.

January 13, 2011

So Apple this morning released beta one of iOS 4.3, bringing with it a whole heap of little tweaks and a couple of major features, including the new ‘Personal Hotspot’ feature.

Personal Hotspot extends on the existing tethering support in iOS by adding WiFi as a sharing method in addition to the existing Bluetooth and USB methods.

As far as I can tell, I’d believe it’s tied to the tethering settings; if you carrier has tethering enabled (and depending on your carrier, you’ve paid for access), you should have access to WiFi tethering; it’s just another method in addition to bluetooth and USB tethering. However, don’t quote me on this!