Friday, March 22, 2013

EU data roaming costs for Irish bill-pay customers

For bill-pay customers of Irish mobile operators travelling in the EU, using data roaming is still incredibly expensive, even after the imposition of a 86c per MB cap by the EU last year to limit somewhat the massive overcharging by operators.

When the cap was imposed, Meteor even had the cheek to claim that it was "abolishing data roaming charges", when in fact it was simply being forced by the EU to reduce it's charge from the outrageous €10.24 per MB (no, that's not a typo - over €10 per MB!)

But some of the Irish operators provide a roaming data add-on, and by using these add-ons the cost per MB works out at:

  • Vodafone4c per MB (50MB for €2, per day)
  • O28c per MB (25MB for €2, per day)
  • eMobile and Meteor40c per MB (50MB for €19.99, per 30 days)
  • 3 & Tesco Mobile don't do an add-on, so you pay 86c per MB
  • 48 doesn't provide data roaming

A huge difference in cost! As an unfortunate eMobile customer currently locked into a contract, I pay 10 times what a Vodafone customer pays per MB, with a minimum add-on charge of €19.99.

It is true though that with Vodafone, it's €2 per day with a 50MB limit for that day, whereas the eMobile 50MB add-on can be spread over up to 30 days. But even taking that into account, eMobile is still massively more expensive.

So if you are likely to be roaming in the EU and using the internet, and free to sign-up with a different operator, Vodafone is your best buy. O2 is twice as expensive as Vodafone, but still way ahead of the rest.

Of course, cheaper again is to get a local SIM card when you arrive in the country you are visiting, and pay as you go.

There is slightly better news on the horizon. The EU is due to reduce the cap from 86c/MB to 55c/MB on 1 July 2013, and to 25c/MB on 1 July 2014 (those prices include 23% VAT). This may prompt some of the operators to reduce the price of their add-ons.

UPDATE (17/Jun/2013):
This just in... the European Commission has voted to end all EU roaming charges by 1 July 2014. Hallelujah!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Fit more apps onto your Android phone storage

Some Android phones (yes, I’m talking to you, HTC Desire) have a pitiful amount of storage available on the phone itself for storing apps, so here are some tips to allow you to shoe-horn more apps onto your phone (though, paradoxically, this does involve installing more apps on your phone, though all the apps mentioned below are free!).

Note, on an Android phone

  • "Memory" typically refers to RAM memory (the memory used temporarily when an application is running, which gets wiped when you turn off your phone), and
  • "Storage" to app storage space on the phone and also and the SD card (where apps and their data are permanently stored).

Tip #1
Install App 2 SD or a similar app. This app allows you to move some apps to your phone's SD card (if the app developer has allowed it), which typically has lots more available space than the phone itself. It also alerts you if you install a new app and that app can be moved.

Tip #2
Install DiskUsage and choose to view "App Storage". This will show you how much storage is used by each app on your phone. Each app will use the storage for either:

  • apk: This is the actual app. Some apps can be moved from to the SD card to free up space - see above.
  • Data: Application data. For some apps, it may be safe to delete this data if it grows too large - see below.
  • dalvikCache: This means the app is stored on the SD card, but part of it is also taking up space on your phone's own storage.
The apps are listed in order of how much storage they use, so you can pick out apps worth deleting.

Tip #3
Install Uninstaller app. This lists your apps in order of storage used, and also indicates which are on the phone and which are on the SD card (though note that if an app is marked as being on the SD card, it may also be using space on the phone for the “dalvikCache” - see above - in which case removing it from the SD card may also free up space on the phone itself).

Tip #4
The "Data" space for some apps seems to just grow and grow, in particular the official Facebook and Twitter apps. For both these apps, I have on numerous occasions deleted the data for the app with no significant ill-effects that I have noticed (but you do this at your own risk!)

To delete app data, go to Home > Menu -> Settings -> Applications -> Manage applications, find the app, and tap "Clear Data". (Of course, this is not advisable for apps which store data on the phone only, since you will lose all your data!)

Tip #5
Install 1Tap Cleaner or a similar app that allows you to delete data that apps cache on your phone. Clearing this data usually has no bad effects, but any space you free up will gradually get used up again as data is re-cached, so this is only a temporary solution.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Google already crawling & indexing AJAX sites?

In October 2009, Google proposed a new standard for AJAX web sites that would help search engines crawl and index the content.

Now it seems this may already be (partially) live?

But it's still not clear why each web site must have its own "headless browser", instead of Google's crawler just having it's own headless browser.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

A better way of reading magazines/news online?

Your average news/magazine website is fine when it comes to drilling down to specific articles, but wouldn't it be nice to be able to read an online magazine in a way that was closer to the way we read (or just flick through) the physical version?

Mag+ Concept Video
Matt Jones and Jack Schulze at BERG have produced a concept video of a future digital magazine reading experience for Bonnier R&D. Kicker Studio is working with Bonnier to expand this concept into a robust, interactive prototype over the next several months.

While you're waiting for the Mag+ to be designed, built and delivered, try out Google FastFlip, "a new reading experience that combines the best elements of print and online articles".

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Web development "tools of the trade"

A useful round-up of Web development frameworks, covering server-side and client-side (JavaScript, CSS, animation):

Tools of the Trade: Web Development Frameworks that the Pros Use

It doesn't cover Javascript templating frameworks though, such as:

These frameworks provide a way to transform Javascript data/JSON into HTML, in the same way that XSLT can be used to transform XML into HTML.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

It seems the jury is still out on whether the "fold" matters or not...

The Fold Doesn't Matter
User Experience and Design, Wed 16th Dec 2009

"Over the last 6 years we’ve watched over 800 user testing sessions between us and on only 3 occasions have we seen the page fold as a barrier to users getting to the content they want."

Browser Size: a tool to see how others view your website
Google Blog, Wed 16th Dec 2009

"On the download page for Google Earth, the install rate increased by 10% when we moved the "Download" button 100 pixels upward."

It may be best to play safe and use Google's new BrowserSize tool

Monday, January 26, 2009

Badly written email subject lines

I just received a renewal reminder email from my travel insurance provider,

You might imagine the email subject line would be something like:

Renew your worldwide travel insurance policy for just €39.99

Instead it's:

AMT Renewal - Ref:[AMTXXXX/nnnnn] - REMINDER 1 badly need to learn how to write microcontent.