How to f*ck up a great idea (disconnectivity)

For a number of reasons, I have Telia’s “mobile broadband” service for my laptop (or netbook); it works as it should, and apart from being too slow, I have no issues with the technical delivery. Mobile connectivity, however, is so much more than a “broadband on a USB-stick”.

Mobile roaming

Some time ago, EU put limitations on how much money the various operators could charge with their so-called “roaming services”. This covered call costs. But what happened to data? Are you telling me they spent EUR-millions on meetings, working groups, drafts, arguing, etc. and they did not do this for data communication charges? Apparently, some sort of instrument is to be put in place by 2010 that will also cover data communication charges when roaming. After consumers and companies have spent a few more billion EUR on these data transfers. Well done EU, go go go! There’s nothing like fast and responsive politicians to build confidence. And there’s nothing like politicians that keep up with the times. Can you say INTERCONNECTIVITY? INTERNET? You may have heard of it. Läkerol doesn’t make people talk; the Internet does.

Airport surfing

Airports and airlines need to get their act together. It is ridiculous to sit in an airport and not be able to connect to the internet unless you pull out your credit card and pay anywhere from EUR 3 to EUR 10 for an hour worth of internet connectivity. Seriously.. do you really want to sit with your credit card “out in the open”, typing in the numbers and other details, in an airport? Of course, if I go into the executive lounge, the wireless connectivity is “free”. Why not simply add this to the ticket price if you can’t deliver this as a free service. It’s an insult to travellers all around the world. Most people don’t have stop-overs longer than two hours.


So I have Telia as my mobile broadband provider. So I go on a business trip and happen to stop-over at the Copenhagen airport in Denmark. Being greeted by the “Welcome to Copenhagen Aiport WLAN, the cost for one hour access is …” banner when I open up my web browser, made me reach for the “USB-stick” that has Telia written on it. I connect it to the computer and initiate an internet connection. Telia is a pretty big operator in Scandinavia. Shortly after having connected to the 3G network, I receive an SMS to the computer that states “Welcome to Telia Network services Nordic AB; the following rates apply..”, and in the midst of that text message, it says “data traffic rate, 25 kr/MB”. That’s roughly EUR 2,4 per megabyte! The reason I cannot use my flat rate service is because I’m roaming. I’m roaming with the SAME COMPANY that I have a flat rate subscription with in Sweden. Way to go EU, way to go Telia (other operators do the same thing, because they can).

It would not surprise me one bit if the EU will put a cap on roaming charges levied on data traffic and word it in a way that’ll make the operators find loopholes (again) and screw their customers out of more money. Something along the lines of “these limitations shall be placed on GSM, GPRS, and 3G/UMTS data traffic” — making the operators jump up and down with joy since they’re about to launch their 4G networks. Politicians should not make decisions about things they don’t have the first f-ing clue about. But then again, if we did that, we wouldn’t have any decisions made ever 🙂

Affordable and efficient interconnectivity, regardless of my location, home network or provider, is a fundamental requirement to bring the EU, its people, and people outside the EU closer together. Calling these idiotic charge mechanisms trade obstacles is an understatement of no small proportions.

I would tell you to go to your local EU politician and yank their ear, if I thought they understood and cared about what you were talking about; but I have no such illusions.

FidoNet Nodelist, October 3 1986

Region 20, in 1986 🙂


This file is also available at:

FrontDoor announcement in FidoNews 1986

Fidonews Page 5 6 Oct 1986

By Joaquim Homrighausen
Sysop at Future Hacker Central 501/4609
September 24th, 1986 at 10:25 pm.

A couple of weeks ago I just ran into a problem with my own FIDO. It was a user who couldn’t figure out that he had to press RETURN or SPACE a couple of times to make FIDO start. So I decided to write this GREAT utility. The first thing I did was to call my friend Peter Stewart and tell him about this thing we’re gonna write. He said “No problem, sounds like a piece of cake”.

Done, we started writing this utility last Saturday. And now it’s ready…what is ready?! FrontDoor v1.0. This is a program that you put before FIDO to make FIDO start all by itself without any stupid RETURNS or SPACES. What it actually does is that it will sit and wait until one of two things happens: 1) An event is detected within the next 10 minutes. 2) A incoming call at XXXX baud rate is detected. If an event is scheduled, FD will exit w/ an errorlevel (trapable in a .BAT file) so FIDO will just load and wait until the event time comes. If on the other hand a incoming call is detected, FD will exit w/ an errorlevel depending on the baud rate, telling the user that he’s connected and the go and get FIDO!

The program requires a TRULY Hayes compatible modem such as the Miracle Tech WS3000 (w/ our modified EPROM in it!) and we do not intend to support any other standard.

It’s really a great thing because the screen has got three windows in FD. One for all the “program messages” such as “Scheduled event in 10 minutes, getting FIDO…”, one for the modem’s response such as “OK” and other stupid messages that the modem might send. And finally one for the “action” that’s happening. It’s failsafe even w/ multitasking programs. The sysop has got two options, COM1 and COM2. Future versions may also support COM3. So all you sysops out there: Give me a mail, and I’ll send it to ya! So far, it is only available from the Swedish Net (501), but I’ll start uploading it to the US net to…the program was written by Peter Stewart (thanks Peter) and me (Happy Birthday to me on the 25th of Sep!).

“Let’s keep FIDO running…”

Regards / Joaquim Homrighausen, Future Hacker Central FIDO


This is also available at:

Some reflections:

1) Damn my skills in the English language sucked 🙂
2) Damn I’m old
3) And so it began..

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