Category Archives: Tips and Tricks

Slow downloads from Apple on Telstra Mobile and Broadband Networks

Last Updated: October 3, 2015 10:00 AM (latest updates at the bottom of this article, it looks like it may now be resolved)

Since shortly after the release of the iPhone 6s a number of Telstra customers have been experiencing widespread issues with downloading anything from the Apple network (including Apple Music, App Stores etc) both on mobile and home broadband connections.

Thus far, we have not seen any formal recognition or ownership of the issue from Telstra (especially surrounding internal communications outlining the issue), it does appear that at least some members of the social media team know about it now, therefore I have put together the following video to ACTUALLY demonstrate the issue. Over the last four days however, some Telstra reps were responding that there may be an issue, while others seemed to have no idea.

If you want to get around the issue, some people have had success with changing DNS servers, but the most reliable way I have found is to use a VPN provider, TorGuard is my favourite (as they have Australian servers which are a lot faster for us Aussies). You can read my review on them here if you are so inclined.

Parameters of the experiment:

  1. Connect to Telstra Network (proven with IP address, showing WiFi disconnected, showing that app greater than 100MB will not download.
  2. Showed SpeedTest demonstrating true available connection speed.
  3. Demonstrated attempt to download on 4G (extremely slow for 22MB download)
  4. Connected to TorGuard VPN service.
  5. Downloaded a 29MB app which downloaded almost instantly
  6. Demonstrated again an attempt to download an app > 100MB to prove still on Telstra 4G.

If anyone has any questions, happy to answer them, you can get into contact with me via @StuartCRyan on Twitter.

I now implore you to poke, prod and raise this issue with Telstra, the more that do, the more likely we will get a fix. You can prod them via @Telstra on Twitter, Telstra on Facebook or the Telstra CrowdSupport Forums.

There are also two ongoing discussions on Whirlpool, the new one dedicated solely to the Telstra specific speed issues downloading from the Apple App store and other Apple Services, you can also see the original thread which had a lot of early discussion on the issue.

Anddd just to show some of the discussion on Twitter:

At least it now appears that Telstra are acknowledging the issue as of this afternoon (may have come a bit earlier in the day too):

Update October 1, 2015 8:51 PM

I have prodded a few people on Twitter with these details, including Andrew Penn, the CEO of Telstra.

Update October 1, 2015 9:51 PM

It appears my posts have hit quite a nerve with quite a few Telstra customers on Twitter:

It also appears that it has now been posted to the one and only Slashdot #woo haha.

Major Update October 1, 2015 10:44 PM

After tweeting Telstra off the cuff we have a bit of extra info:

Update October 2, 2015 7:04 AM

Last night this issue made the front page of Slashdot… that is a major step forward in getting some formal visibility on the issue and hopefully some additional pressure on Telstra to resolve the issue as we enter into day 5. You can see the full article at

I also awoke to this discussion on Twitter which I think highlights some of the issues more closely:

Update October 2, 2015 10:22 AM

Reports of issues are still incoming with the same responses from Telstra, so no end in site as of yet

Update October 2, 2015 11:04 AM

An interesting issue has arisen for some other subscribers of worldwide LTE services, it is unknown at this stage whether the two issues could be related:

Update October 2, 2015 11:50 AM

Tim Biggs from SMH was kind enough to write an article for the Sydney Morning Herald and has since been provided a formal response from Telstra. As he mentioned in a tweet to me a short while ago, the response is very similar to what we are being told on Social Media:

UPDATE, 11.38am: A Telstra spokesperson has issued Fairfax Media with the following statement:
“We’re aware some customers may be experiencing slow service when using mobile devices to download or update apps, or stream music. We’re investigating the issue and we will provide an update as soon as we have more information to share with you.”

Read more:

Also I thought it would be good to include all the areas I currently know about that have active discussions on the issue (following the writing of the original article)

Update October 2, 2015 1:34 PM

As per the SMH Article at

A Telstra spokesperson has issued Fairfax Media with an updated statement:
“We are experiencing issues with an undersea cable connecting Australia with Singapore. As a result, some customers are experiencing slow service when using mobile devices to download or update apps, or stream music from some providers.
“We are working to resolve this issue as quickly as possible, including utilising alternative paths while repairs are undertaken. We apologise for any inconvenience caused and as soon as we have an update on the current situation we will let our customers know.”

Update October 2, 2015 3:29 PM

I have seen evidence (unconfirmed by Telstra) that potentially this is due to a SeaMeWe-3 cut:

I have also been doing some tests which seem to support the theory that the Telstra network is suffering issues with connections to Singapore (by testing download speeds from Singapore servers).

I can validate that there are definitely far slower speeds to Singapore on the Telstra network as opposed to iiNet or via VPN.

Update October 2, 2015 5:46 PM

ZDNet has posted a new article with another statement from Telstra stating:

“We are experiencing issues with an undersea cable connecting Australia with Singapore. As a result, some customers are experiencing slow service when using mobile devices to download or update apps or stream music from some providers,” a Telstra spokesperson told ZDNet in a statement.

“We are working to resolve this issue as quickly as possible, including utilising alternative paths while repairs are undertaken. We apologise for any inconvenience caused and as soon as we have an update on the current situation we will let our customers know.”

Still no ETA till resolution tho *sigh*

Update October 2, 2015 8:32 PM

It looks like we have some progress people :) tweet me on @StuartCRyan if you find you are still having issues:

Update October 2, 2015 10:00 PM

I have just seen a formal update on The Register’s coverage

Update: At 5:55 pm on a Friday afternoon, Telstra e-mailed The Register to say: “Arrangements have been made to re-route traffic away from the affected subsea cable and as a result the immediate issues impacting customers have been addressed. We will continue to work to ensure the impact does not return. We thank our customers for their patience and apologise for any inconvenience caused.” ®

Update October 3, 2015 10:01 AM

ITNews has posted an article including further details:

Vocus general manager of engineering Rick Carter confirmed the SEA-ME-WE cable connecting Perth to Singapore has been cut at segment 3.3 since September 25.

He said a cable repair ship had been deployed to address the issue and expects to repair the cable by October 15.

Internet service provider iiNet has posted a fault notice with an unnamed international cable alerting customers to a similar issue.

TorGuard Review 2015 – My VPN of choice as an Australian
Choosing a VPN provider can be difficult, you want one that provides great customer service, security, reliability and most importantly, one with servers close to you as well as around the world. When my account with Astrill came up for renewal recently, I decided it was time to review the field again.

For a limited time, due to Australia’s new Data Retention laws I have managed to get Torguard to provide me a 20% off any Torguard plan coupon for my readers. You can use this by heading over to Torguard and using the following coupon “AnonymousVPN”.

I use a VPN for a variety of reasons, I find them extremely handy for security reasons, I now have two static IP services with TorGuard so that I can restrict certain things I log into by public IP address. This also means that I can connect to these from anywhere in the world. As many Australian’s will know, they can also be used for “Geo dodging” services that are restricted to certain countries. Being a lucky user of Foxtel I personally don’t have that issue but if that is your end goal you will be happy to know that TorGuard has servers all around the world you can connect to. Lastly, they are handy for getting around firewalls when you are in a restricted environment (and have a legitimate reason for needing to get out of the firewalled environment)

The starting point is to find providers that have a good reputation, if Anonymity is what you are looking for you will probably be familiar with TorrentFreak’s roundup of providers that don’t keep logs (2015 edition). I checked out:

  • Private Internet Access
  • TorGuard
  • IPVanish
  • NordVPN

I came up with the above list based on those that have servers within Australia and will also note that some of these I have used previously. After testing the speeds of each provider, TorGuard turned out to be the best VPN for me as a Sydneysider. I am not necessarily saying that the others weren’t good, but I lost very little overall speed on my connection when using TorGuard, which was one of my primary goals.

After testing and selecting TorGuard, it was refreshing to see most things included. Astrill offers upsell after upsell (even for example if you want to use more than a single device), the only thing I have had to pay for extra so far with TorGuard is my static IPs (which are not a necessity for most people). I have found the service to be exemplary, support tickets are answered promptly, the service is solid as a rock and I have stayed connected for days at a time (usually only losing a connection when my ADSL drops sync… still hanging on for this NBN we keep hearing about).

The OSX client that comes with TorGuard was easy to use, I opted to purchase a full Viscosity license to get the latest version and configure it myself, I am stoked with it as a VPN client, however you will be happy to know that the clients that TorGuard offers are simple, easy to use and sufficient for 99% of all users needs.

So if you are looking for an anonymous VPN service that has endpoints in Sydney, has anonymity as a priority, is affordable, reliable, doesn’t require long contracts and above all… JUST WORKS! I can happily say that TorGuard is well worth looking into.

As always, when I review a service that I love, I have put an affiliate link here in the post. If you would like to visit the service directly please visit

How dirty is your keyboard? Time to give it some TLC for the new year!

I want everyone to stop, pick up their keyboard right now and shake it… go on… you KNOW you are dying to. Something that many people do is clean around their desks, making sure that all is squeaky clean and tidy, but especially in offices the common keyboard is far to often neglected.

Now that it is the new year it is time to give your computer a spring clean and your keyboard is the best place to start.

It might be time consuming, it might be icky but it is definitely a necessity. So lets find out how many of you have now shaken just SOME of the collection of KeyChow (Keyboard Chow) from your keyboards? Cleaning a keyboard is simple but time consuming and consists of one by one pulling each and every key off the keyboard, giving them a good wipe, vacuuming out all the crud underneath the keys and replacing everything back to normal.

There are some great articles on how to do this on the internet already such as HowToGeek’s – HowTo Thoroughly Clean your Keyboard (take a look about half way down for the good stuff).

The only additional piece of advice I really do STRONGLY emphasise is to take a photo of your keyboard before you start, that way you already have a solved version of the puzzle for when you need to put it back together.

So if you haven’t done so in a while, wipe off your desk and give your keyboard a good clean. The germs of the world will hate you for it! 😀

Happy New Year everyone!


P.S. Apologies for being so quiet lately, been pumping all of my energy into a new open source project I am working on for the Atlassian Suite. I will try to blog more soon!

What you say in the cloud… STAYS IN THE CLOUD!

Once you write something on the internet, anywhere on the internet, it is there for life. By this same logic, every picture, every tweet, every Facebook status update, even so far as every email we write can be considered stored in the great big void that is the internet, forever.

Many of you will know I am a big fan of social media, I use it all the time and it is entirely probable that a large portion of you met me through an avenue such as Twitter. One thing that I see so often these days, is people (and especially young people) being very careless with what they say on social media.

The pictures you see of people that suddenly go viral, the stories of people who have been fired because they vented about their boss or company on Facebook, not to mention the celebrity who posted something slightly controversial that is now in deep water. All of these things are stories that we are becoming all too familiar with.

I personally am very careful and choose what I post very specifically. Even things like retweets on Twitter, I have to stop and think, “OK that was rather funny but how could retweeting that portray me”. All these bits and bytes of data that we put up about ourselves on the internet, day in and day out, all lead to an online “persona” that can, and often does come back to bite people in the posterior when they least expect it.

With the advent of social media, cameras in smartphones, the ability for friends to tag you in photos that you never really wanted to be taken and a plethora of other factors mean that data about us is being captured at a faster rate than ever before. Something a lot of people do not think about is the consequences of putting information up about themselves that might not portray them in the best of light until it is too late.

So how do you handle your online life and youronline persona? Do you carefully monitor what you put up, say, tweet, and do online? Have you ever said or done something online that *has* come back to bite you in the bum? Let me know your thoughts below!

Look forward to hearing others thoughts.


Addition: As though by pure luck there is just one such case on Sydney Morning Herald today regarding a Vodafone Staff Member.

Improve your productivity and save time by typing less!

Man typing on macbook with a clock in the backgroundWhen you use a computer all day, every day, typing will invariably take up a significant amount of your time. Therefore, finding ways to minimise what you need to type, can not only save your fingers some extra mileage (helping to stave off RSI), but also result in some significant time savings as well.

For the last few months I have been using Breevy (for Windows) and TextExpander (for Mac) to achieve just that. Not only have I found significant time savings by typing less, I have also found I can achieve tasks faster by the reduction interaction with the mouse. I personally think the mouse is the slowest form of input we currently use today with computers, and therefore by automating tasks and removing the need to take my fingers away from the keyboard I can greatly increase my productivity.

What do they do?

Both Breevy and TextExpander enable you to define keywords/abbreviations that will expand to a “snippet” of text when they are typed on your computer. For example rather than constantly typing “Kind Regards, <newline> Stuart” on emails all I need to type these days is “krds”, and the text is expanded for me.

While this may seem simple at first as you start to use the text expansion on different tasks, the time savings really start to add up. Currently I use the following keywords (just to name a small few):

  • pmob – Mobile Number
  • pmobi – Mobile Number (international format)
  • pmail – Personal Email
  • umail – Work Email
  • lhack- Lifehacker URL
  • sshcbg- SSH to a server with a specific connect string with port forwarding
  • sr- My Name
  • /. – Loads URL (personally I love the geekiness of this one)

You might wonder why I use a text expansion utility for entering URLs, as I mentioned earlier I find the mouse to be a very slow form of input. Now I can open my browser using keystrokes on my keyboard, then type a few letters and press enter to go to all the common websites I visit. The great thing is I can do this all without needing to move my hand away from the keyboard to engage with the mouse until the website is actually loaded.

What is the difference between Breevy and TextExpander?

From the feature set that I have used the programs are virtually identical and perform the same function. Breevy and TextExpander are made by two separate companies and the biggest difference between them is that Breevy is for Microsoft Windows and TextExpander is for Mac OSX.

Both TextExpander and Breevy have implemented synchronisation via Dropbox. This enables you to keep all your shortcuts in sync between your different machines. Breevy has taken this one step further and provided the option to synchronise with a Dropbox account that already has a TextExpander database on it. What this means is for you geeks that switch between Mac and PC you can use both Breevy and TextExpander between your machines without needing to maintain two separate copies of the database.

What do they cost and where can I get them?

Both Breevy and TextExpander cost $34.95 USD each (at time of writing). Both are available directly from the company that develops the software, Breevy is available from 16 Software and TextExpander is available from Smile Software.

Tips and Tricks!

Firstly I would strongly recommend that you start out small, pick a few easy things such as your name, mobile number, email address and train your mind to start using those as shortcuts. Once you are in the swing add some more, then take a while to get use to it and so on.

I too thought “Ooh I could add that… and that… and that…” but discovered that by doing it a little bit at a time, I was more easily able to memorise the shortcuts and not have to constantly refer back to find out what the shortcut I had written was.

Another thing to be aware of is that after you create a shortcut you may find that down the track you run into an issue where another “actual” word causes the expansion to occur. Take for example the shortcut “blogger” if you were to create the shortcut “ger” which would expand to “get emergency rations”, you will find you run into issues. When you attempt to type “Blogger” you will end up with “Blogget emergency rations”, therefore you will need to rethink the shortcut and perhaps add an additional letter to it.

This is the main reason why I now try to aim for four letters minimum in my abbreviations. I do admit I have made a couple of exceptions to this rule however even the “sr” I mentioned earlier causes me problems at times.

Lastly, while it is not a feature that I have used (YET), both Breevy and Textexpander provide the ability to use variables in the templates, upon triggering an expansion the software will pop up a box at you requesting the information so you can have a template that requests the users name for example. Very powerful and definitely worth a look, as I mentioned I have decided to start out small and have been slowly building up over the last couple of months.

Final Thoughts

As an Analyst/Programmer, I use a computer all day, every day. The use of these text expansion tools has helped me to save significant amounts of time by eliminating (at last count) 119 repetitive typing tasks that, previously, I did not realise were taking me such significant amounts of time.

All I can say is do yourself a favour, if you have a computer, and you use it regularly, grab yourself a trial and see the amount of time you can save by eliminating the need to type the same things over and over and reduce the times you need to reach for the mouse.