Posts tagged sim

Golf-R Search1

ISPs in NZ filtering Google Search Results?


Something strange happened today.  A mate of mine told me one of my blog posts rated at the top of Google’s search list (it was for Telecom Micro Sim, click on the link to see).  WOOWHOO! I thought. I mean, ‘thanks for letting me know’ I said.

Anyway, I mentioned that I often got quite high up in google rankings, even beating regular media or web site of a product I reviewed.  I used the Golf-R (a car for anyone that doesn’t know) as an example.   I told him on I was the second to top term for Golf-R, beating even the AA review, and also Volkswagen’s own NZ web site (they make the car).  My friend changed and said “No you don’t, you don’t even come in the top five (it comes in no 8 – although the article he found was not the same that was #2 on my list).

What’s going on?

Auckland, Telecom ISP

Christchurch, TelstraClear ISP

This is the search we both used.  Click on the images above to see the enlarged version.  You will see on the right the post is #2.  On the left a DIFFERENT post is #8.

A couple of things to confirm:

  • Both searches used (you can see the “Pages from New Zealand” at the top of both)
  • Both searches used Mozilla
  • Both were made at the same time (and repeated several times)
  • One was made in Auckland through a Telecom ISP, one through Christchurch on Telstra Clear ISP
  • One was on a PC (Auckland), one on a Mac (Christchurch) – the only other difference perhaps?
  • Interesting the Telstra Search gets 47850 compared to 47600 on Telecom.

So this is WEIRD.  I couldn’t think what it could be.  Then I remembered seeing an article on TechDirt about ISP filtering search results, redirecting search terms etc.  That article is an interesting read!

I then further checked with my mate in Auckland and sent him the exact link I used for my Golf-R search over MSN so he just clicked on it.  I thought this would fix it, but no, he still got the same result (i.e. different from me).  So SOMETHING is modifying the Google results he gets (or something is modifying mine).

Try it yourself – which one to you get, or do you get a third result? Comment away please! (Use this link if you like to check - make sure you use too and select “pages from NZ”)!).  Let me know what ISP you used, and what results you get.

I THINK .. and I could be wrong here that Telecom is filtering things.  They shouldn’t, but they do. But I cant prove this (not yet anyway!).  Well I can prove something – they get LESS search results (you can see from the # of searches it shows), so there is SOME filtering going on here.

UPDATE 1: Confirmed now from someone that they get the “Telecom” result when either connected to Telecom through Xtra, or connected to the Telecom LAN (yes they work for Telecom).

Black and White Version: New Zealand based ISPs (Telecom in particular) may be filtering Google Search results.  BASTARDS!

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iPad: micro-sim and mini-sim


UPDATE: This post is superseded (well mostly) by this new post that outlines HOW to actually put a sim in an iPad in New Zealand, and how it works on XT better than Vodafone etc. You can still read this post all about what a Micro Sim is (and mini sim), but the “how to” of iPhones and sims in NZ is here.

With all the hype of the iPad launch around us this week, one thing that has gone relatively unanalysed  is the need for a micro-sim not a mini-sim (which is what 99% of us use in phones at the moment) in the iPad.

While no carrier that I know of outside the US has announced that they will supply micro-sim cards on mass to the consumer (yet that is), the GOOD news is that the actual core of both cards is the same – so if you want to attack your existing GSM mini-sim card with a pen knife, it SHOULD work.    Just like the old days when you could trim your sim card so two fitted into the space of one, and then could have a phone with 2 sims (certain phones that is!).

As reported on CreativeVision blog, this is indeed good news!

There is one caveat: Apple claims that to save space, they switched to the next generation Micro SIM standard. This is like a regular Mini SIM card, which is used by most mobile phones today, but with the excess plastic around the chip chopped off. But it turns out that the chip itself is not only the same size but electronically identical, as confirmed by the GSM association, so the good news is that even if your mobile phone network only supplies the older Mini SIM cards, you’ll be able to simply cut off the excess plastic yourself and fashion a DIY Mini SIM card. Cheap data roaming here we come, just remember to bring a steak knife!

This means even if Vodafone and Telecom (XT) don’t launch micro sims in NZ, there is a creative way of getting existing sims to work.

I for one will wait for the first report of someone actually doing this!

Of course many have asked why apple would do this – after all the iPad is hardly tiny! (the iPhone is MUCH smaller and doesn’t use/need it), and Engaget offers some comments:

In fact, from AT&T’s perspective, this is better than a software lock in some ways — you’re not going to be able to download a hack that gets you on another network, so you’re totally at the mercy of your carrier at choice for providing a compatible card. Intentionally evil? Perhaps not — all standards have to start somewhere — but it’s an awful pain in the ass.

I for one am waiting for the 3G version launch before I consider buying an iPad, as WiFi is just not well enough supported in New Zealand.  Depending on when I get one (ie do I go to OZ and get one early) this might mean my cutting skills get some practice :-)

UPDATE: Thanks to an excellent question from my good friend Mark, I have spotted there could be an issue for Vodafone with the iPad.  Not about sim cards, but around frequencies that they use for their network(s).

This is because the iPad supports 850,900, 1800 and 1900 MHz and NOT the 2100 MHz that the iPhone supports.

XT (Telecom) uses 850 MHz for it’s XT WCDMA network, so is fine.  But Vodafone uses 2100 for its WCDMA in all major cities and only has 900 MHz on WCDMA (the fast 3G network) in rural areas.  It’s has a full nationwide network on 900, but not on WCDMA, so it will be slow(er).  Ironically it will be fine in rural areas on Voda – just not the cities!

Details here if you want to read.  This might cause issues for Voda.  Watch this space!

Update 2: I was wrong about the frequency issue (the rest is still fine).   All explained in a new post here.

Black and White Version: We still don’t know what Apple decided on the micro-sim, but at least we know (think?) a normal sim can be trimmed to work.

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