Friday, July 11, 2008

Only in New Zealand...Armless Man caught driving

Armless Tauranga driver Colin Raymond Smith got off a dangerous-driving charge after satisfying police he could steer well with his left foot, but a Florida man wasn't so lucky. Michael Wiley, an enthusiastic driver despite having lost both arms and half a leg in a childhood accident, lost his licence long ago and has reckless driving charges as long as your ... well, you get the idea. His most recent charges weren't driving-related. They involved a domestic assault, in which he used his head. See news abstract below

Armless man caught steering car with foot at 121km/h
Friday, March 24, 2006

A man with no arms was caught speeding at 121km/h yesterday - using one foot to steer and the other to operate the pedals.

The man told shocked police he was born with no arms and said he'd never held a driver's licence.

The 32-year-old unemployed Waikato man was clocked on State Highway 2 at Papamoa, Bay of Plenty, at 10.30am.

He was given a $170 fine and has been forbidden from driving. Police say he will probably also be charged with dangerous driving.

Senior Constable Brent Gray approached the driver's window, spotted a foot up on the dashboard and noticed the seat was reclined.

Mr Gray told colleagues he thought the man had an "attitude". But then he noticed his armless torso.

"He was pretty shocked by that, as you would be," acting Senior Sergeant for the road policing unit, Deidre Lack, told the Bay of Plenty Times this morning.

The armless speedster told the stunned highway patrol officer he had been driving for years, without any issues.

Ms Lack said she had spoken to several officers with lengthy careers and none had heard of anything remotely like it.

She had nothing against people with disabilities who drove motor vehicles, but had absolutely no sympathy for this speeding driver.

"Obviously driving at a speed like that, arms or not, you're just waiting for an accident. You're asking for an accident at 120km/h, whether you've got arms or not. Look at the risk he was posing."

The incident was a particularly unusual example of the sort of ridiculously dangerous driving that police encountered while on patrol, she said.

Ms Lack had no idea how the man had driven for years - as he alleged - without being caught.

Tauranga double below-the-knee amputee, Pat Barry, said he was amazed to learn the man had been driving so long without being caught.

"For obvious reasons it was good the police stopped this man when they did before he killed himself or someone else, but there are avenues for this man to go to, to seek funding to get his car converted and modified, and quickly get lessons so he can obtain his licence to drive."


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Days in Picture, 11-JULY-2008, Auckland, New Zealand

Men run in front of a bull during the fourth day of the annual bull-running festival in Pamplona, northern Spain. One man was gored and six others taken to hospital. Dozens have been hurt since Monday.

A sadhu, or Hindu holy man, emerges from a swim in the River Ganges near Allahabad, India.

A boy collects spent bullet casings from the ground in the northern city of Tripoli after the Lebanese army is deployed to end renewed sectarian clashes there in which four people were killed.

Kashmiri women wait outside the only maternity hospital in the north-western Indian city of Srinagar.

An elderly Tibetan shouts slogans against the Chinese government at a protest in the Indian capital, Delhi.

A French army paratrooper rehearses his landing on the Place de la Concorde in Paris ahead of the Bastille Day parade on 14 July.

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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

iPhone 3G prices and plans for 20 countries (updated)

With less than a week to go before the launch of the iPhone 3G, we thought we'd be able to compile a list of iPhone prices for the 20 countries where the new version or Apple's phone will be making its debut on the 11th. But surprisingly, seven operators still haven't announced any pricing. Maybe that's good decision-making on their part, because in a good number of cases, the pricing of the phone and especially the plans were disappointing, often translating in significantly more than the $199/$299 indicated by Steve Jobs in his WWDC keynote.

The pricing diversity around the world—or even within Europe—is staggering: you can pay anywhere from $94 to $377 for an 8GB iPhone 3G and between $24 and $128 for plans that may only have a (few) hundred MB worth of data or are "unlimited." Denmark isn't as bad as it looks, because the minimum contract is only six months and prices drop by a third if you stay after that. The Netherlands is pretty good, especially considering that you can have your iPhone unlocked for free after 12 months.

Update: added Canadian iPhone prices; Belgium is no longer getting the iPhone this Friday; added Telstra; added Vodafone Portugal plans.

Update 2: added prices and plans for New Zealand, Mexico, ONE in Austria.

AustraliaOptusuncomparable pricing
AustraliaTelstrano prices yet
AustraliaVodafoneno prices yet
AustriaT-Mobileno prices yet
AustriaONEuncomparable pricing
CanadaRogers$199$299$6015075400MB36 months
DenmarkTelia$298$426$128300unlimited300MB6 months
FinlandSonera$250$385$50100100100MB24 months
GermanyT-Mobile$94$236$7710040Unlimited24 months
Hong KongThree$377$479$24500unlimited500MB24 months
IrelandO2$265$360$711751001GB18 months
ItalyVodafone$313$423$93400400600MB24 months
ItalyTIMno prices yet
JapanSoftbankuncomparable pricing
MexicoTelcel$331$454$44200100100MB24 months
NetherlandsT-Mobile$126$252$47150150Unlimited24 months
New ZealandVodafone$414$527$60120600250MB24 months
NorwayNetCom$275$452$79100100100MB12 months?
PortugalOptimusno prices yet
PortugalVodafone??????$47100100250MB24 months
SpainMovistarno prices yet
SwedenTelia$284$451$50100100100MB24 months
SwitzerlandOrangeno prices yet
SwitzerlandSwisscom$249$349$25--100MB24 months
United KingdomO2$196$315$5975125Unlimited18 months
United StatesAT&T$199$299$70450-Unlimited24 months

Here come the caveats: although I think I managed to decipher plans on non-English language web sites, I may have made a mistake here or there. I've chosen the cheapest usable plans. The dollar conversion was taken from earlier reports in some cases, so it may not reflect the most current conversion rates, and for Canada and Switzerland, I've used a one-to-one conversion rate because the difference was only two percent or less. In some countries (Canada...) basic services incur extra fees, while in the US and Canada there are significant extra fees that come on top of a plan, as well as sales tax, which is included in most European countries. Use the links to see all the details.

Note: You can get your phone repair, iPhone unlock and unblock by the leading mobile phone repair specialist Omni Tech Limited, 378 Great North Road, Henderson, Auckland. Tel: (09) 8383943,

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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Cold Weather of Auckland, New Zealand, July 2008.

This is one of the coldest winter we experience since moving to New Zealand. The coldest hour would be around 7:00am each day, Suprisingly the sun was shinning brightly for the last two days

See the weather forecast below:

Tuesday 8 Jul
12c 2c NE
Fine weather. Southerly breezes.
Wednesday 9 Jul
13c 1c
Fine weather. Light southerly.
Thursday 10 Jul
14c 6c
Fine weather. Northeasterlies developing.
Friday 11 Jul
16c 10c
Few light showers developing. Northerlies.

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Can you afford the new 3G Apple iPhone?

Out of curiousity, I checked on the new procing for the 3G Apple iPhone, there are some fun news you should read about the reaction of the New Zealand consumers. Petition in New Zealand against the pricing has started and you can view it here.

The following was abstracted for your "viewing" fun:

iPhone 3G Plans

Vodafone offers three great iPhone plans - iPhone 250, iPhone 500 and iPhone 1GB

iPhone Specific Plans iPhone 250 iPhone 500 iPhone 1GB
Cost per Month $80 $130 $250
Included Minutes 120 250 600
Included TXT 600 600 600
Included Data 250 MB 500 MB 1 GB
Additional Usage

Per minute $0.69 $0.55 $0.53
Per TXT $0.20 $0.20 $0.20
Per MB $0.10 $0.10 $0.03
iPhone with plan

8GB iPhone $549 $449 $199
16GB iPhone $699 $599 $349

To purchase an iPhone 3G with no plan you'll need to visit a Vodafone retail store.

iPhone only iPhone 8GB iPhone 16GB

$979 $1129

If your needs have changed and you want to end your iPhone or Broadband plan for mobile contract early, we'll do everything we can to help - but there may be fees.

The size of the fee depends on how early you're cancelling.

iPhone 0-6 Months 6-12 Months +12 Months
iPhone 250MB $600 $520 $260
iPhone 500MB $780 $670 $330
iPhone 1GB $1050 $910 $450
Broadband plan for mobile 0-6 Months 7-18 Months 19-24 Months
Broadband 200MB $160 $160 $30
Broadband 1GB $160 $160 $50

Things to know

  • The iPhone 3G plans are only available on iPhone 3G handsets.
  • You can get a You Choose plan on an iPhone 3G but you will not be able to access the web without a Broadband Plan for Mobile.
  • If you purchase an iPhone 3G, use it on You Choose plan then move to an iPhone plan, you will not be eligible for the iPhone 3G handset subsidy.
  • Once you have purchased an iPhone 3G you must activate it via iTunes in order to use data, and register via iTunes in order to use the iTunes service.
  • All prices above include GST.
  • All plans are on a 24 month term.

It is not the the matter of can you afford the iPhone plan but should you consider it at all!

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