Mobile Internet... ACTIVATED

I woke up because I was cold. And since I was up already I decided to setup our prepaid vodafone USB modem.

As I've noted elsewhere (although that was for a postpaid vodem), it just works. If it hasn't been setup before then it's necessary to select country, network and one of the vodafone networks. The right choices are New Zealand, Vodafone, Unrestricted.

When I first plugged it in I couldn't get an internet connection through it, but that's just because there was no credit in the prepaid account. When I first bought the modem I was told by someone at the vodafone call center that, even though it's prepaid, it would be necessary to pay the minimum $10/month continuously. The implication was that if I stopped paying for three months and then used it on the third month, I'd have to pay $20 for the intervening two months plus $10 for the current month.

Since this is just a backup internet connection for Sol to use for remote work if/when our DSL goes down (and for out-of-town trips), I kept it disconnected. It's been around 8 months since the last credit ran out and when I added $10 today, the internet connection went live immediately. So either the policy has changed (unlikely, I think), or the call center people were instructed to downplay the prepaid-ness of the modem.

The $10 is just for 100MB of data a month (Broadband Lite). We'll probably run through the 100MB in one day :-) but then I'd just top-up. I don't mind paying the higher perMB rates of BBLite (versus BBSurfer, $30/month for 512MB) since we're going to use this modem so rarely (fingers crossed, knock on head). Also, to switch to BBSurfer I'd either need to use a windows computer or find a version of Vodafone Mobile Connect that works with Ubuntu 10.10. The last three versions I've tried don't, so I'm not able to send an SMS from the modem to subscribe to BBSurfer, or read any SMS (if I were to subscribe the modem to myvodafone). I could get around those issues easily enough, if I cared enough. But I don't. So we'll just top-up because we won't be able to stay under 20MB of data a data in Auckland :-).


gnumeric generated dates to text

I needed to generate test data. I was using gnumeric for this (makes copy pasting and test replacement easy for columns [same field]).

It was all going well until I needed dates to be not all the same. I could have generated random dates but I didn't need that, just needed dates to not be the same. So in the date column I set the first date to 01/01/1970 (new zealand format, mm/dd/yyyy), set the column to type date and then set the succeeding dates to be =[column][row]+1 (e.g., =A1+1).

The test data needed to be mm/dd/yyyy since that's what jmeter would push into an input field that would be interpreted as a date. But when I'd save to CSV gnumeric kept outputting the dates in ISO format. So I needed to munge the dates.

1. Copy the column
2. Paste-special to an empty column, select Values
3. Select the new column and Ctrl-H (search and replace)
4. set the "Search For" text to ^
5. set the "Replace By" text to '
6. click on the Range checkbox
7. click on Advanced and specify "Search Type" to be "Regular Expression"
8. click on OK.

Saving as CSV now has the dates in the format I specified in the spreadsheet. There might be a way to tell gnumeric to output dates in locale format when saving to CSV, but I couldn't find it. Fortunately, Paste special and regexp search and replace were available, making the workaround possible.