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Snow Leopard: WWAN using Merlin XU870 ExpressCard

This is the same issue I’ve posted on a couple of forums. It’s seemed detailed enough to be a blog post, so here it is. Under 10.5.8 (Leopard) I was successfully using my Merlin XU870 ExpressCard (supplied by ISP) with Three Broadband (3) in Australia. I did not use the 3 drivers, but used the Leopard WWAN built-in to connect. There was never an issue as Leopard detected the card as a “Novatel Wireless HSDPA Modem”, and I configured the Network Advanced settings for 3 postpaid services as:

  • Vendor: Novatel Wireless Inc.
  • Model: GSM
  • APN: 3netaccess
  • CID: 1

I installed Snow Leopard as an Upgrade (not a fresh install) after having a CCC backup and a Time machine backup in place.

When I plugged in my 3 expresscard, 10.6 detects the card, initialises and populates the WWAN icon with “Telstra 3G: Not Configured”.
Screenshot 1
It detects the card as a “Novatel Wireless HSDPA Modem”, and automatically configures the Network Advanced settings of the card, as shown:
Screenshot 2
The question is: Why is the APN telstra.datapack setup as default?

I am able to change the APN to 3netaccess, which results in a successful connection to 3:
Wed Sep 2 15:38:25 2009 : Initializing phone: ATE0V1&F&D2&C1S0=0
Wed Sep 2 15:38:25 2009 : Initializing PDP context: AT+CGDCONT=1,"IP","3netaccess"
Wed Sep 2 15:38:25 2009 : Initializing with secondary command: AT$NWPDN=0
Wed Sep 2 15:38:25 2009 : Dialing: ATD*99***1#
Wed Sep 2 15:38:25 2009 : Waiting for connection
Wed Sep 2 15:38:25 2009 : Connection established
Wed Sep 2 15:38:28 2009 : Serial connection established.
Wed Sep 2 15:38:28 2009 : Using interface ppp0
Wed Sep 2 15:38:28 2009 : Connect: ppp0 <--> /dev/cu.wwan
Wed Sep 2 15:38:32 2009 : Could not determine remote IP address: defaulting to 10.64.***.***
Wed Sep 2 15:38:32 2009 : local IP address 115.130.***.***
Wed Sep 2 15:38:32 2009 : remote IP address 10.64.***.***
Wed Sep 2 15:38:32 2009 : primary DNS address
Wed Sep 2 15:38:32 2009 : secondary DNS address

The annoying thing is the WWAN menu still shows Telstra when connected.
Screenshot 3

Looking at the WWAN system file:
cd /System/Library/Extensions/IOSerialFamily.kext/\
less countryCodes.plist

it has only Telstra, Optus and Vodafone carriers listed. I think this could be the cause of the default APN being populated in the Advanced settings. I can’t find where the “Telstra 3G” in the WWAN menu item is coming from though.

I’d appreciate if anyone can give their thoughts on how to fix this.

Google Maps Australia to use Yellow Pages

In a move that is a win for the end user, Sensis and Google have signed a commercial agreement to allow users to find Yellow (previously known as Yellow Pages) business listings on Google Maps.

“The agreement means Yellow™ advertisers can now potentially be found by more customers than ever before. They can be found in our print and online directories, over the phone, in a growing range of satellite navigation devices, on mobile phones, on search engines and on online mapping sites, which now includes the popular Google Maps”

Currently Google Maps in Australia uses the True Local business listings. Whilst there is nothing wrong with this, it misses out on the businesses who traditionally list on Yellow Pages.

In Australia it is considered a must to list your business using Yellow Pages since these are printed yearly and a copy delivered to every household (being regionally specific). The businesses who already list will automatically gain the benefit and not be charged any additional fees to appear on Google maps. With the rise of mobile devices using Google maps, such as the iPhone, the end user and the business both benefit from on the spot, realtime, and often locational based business searches.

The use of the business listings commences in the first Quarter of 2009.

Bigpond (Telstra) start selling MP3 Music

A big surprise is an announcement today that Bigpond Music (A Telstra owned service) has from today started offering tracks in MP3 format. This is a move away from the DRM windows media format that all their songs were sold as.

When Bigpond started offering music sales a few years ago I was an early adopter and purchased music from their offerings. However it soon became obvious that the windows media DRM was a difficult beast to deal with. Windows users know only too well the pain of having to rebuild/reinstall a bloated operating system; the licensing for the Bigpond music files where often lost if you rebuilt windows and did NOT backup your DRM licences.

So I took the lesser of two evils and signed up to the Apple iTunes Music Store (iTMS), where although under a DRM system the licencing was more relaxed (5 Computers, unlimited iPods, burn to CD). Apple, specifically Steve Jobs, wrote about the restrictiveness that is Digital Rights Management, and soon thereafter started offering MP3 downloads. It took the music studios to start understanding the whole premise that DRM was not where the future lay.

Fast forward to August 2008, and today Telstra’s Now We Are Talking site has announced that MP3s are now on offer from Bigpond Music. Not only are they now DRM free, but they encode at a minimum of 256Kbps and up to 320Kbps for their audio tracks. For the end user this means close to if not indistinguishable from CD audio quality. The procrastinators I know who have shunned digital music no longer have an excuse to legally purchase their music.


Pricing is the same as the iTMS being AUD$1.69 per track and a similar price for albums. Downloads for Bigpond internet customers are also uncharged for data usage. A double bonus for some.

While I think purchasing music in this fashion is a good thing for the end user; if you care about the artists you should consider Magnatune. You wont find the latest top 10 tracks there but you will find fantastic music where the artist gets a large amount of the purchase price. They also allow you to pay an amount you choose for an album, or sign up for monthly unlimited downloads and streaming.

You can start purchasing MP3 music from Bigpond Music right away. Although it is not the entire catalogue for now, this is a correct step for Telstra in the right direction. Music sales figures do not lie!

Gmail goes to 7GB

Logging into Gmail today and I note: You are currently using 885 MB (12%) of your 7005 MB. 7GB is a massive amount of email to offer for free, and it is only the next point in their ever growing offering.

In comparison, Windows live (aka hotmail) currently offers 5GB when you login into their product.

The counter on the gmail login page shows Over 7005.197177 megabytes (and counting) of free storage so you’ll never need to delete another message. Well they are right there….. I don’t need to delete anything at this time – and probably never will.

The conspiracy theorist in me wonders what it means to have your entire archive of communications stored in one place. Who can really access that 7 GigaBytes of mail, on US based servers in the current world climate.

The geek in me says “Its not really 7GB yet! GibiBytes people – Base-2!!!”

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