My experience with Three

Back in September of last year I posted an entry asking if 3 was better than 2. After testing with a MiFi since then I decided that Three probably was better than O2 so took the plunge and moved my iPhone number to them.

Rather than put myself into a long term contract I selected the £15 per month Sim Only option which more than covers my needs.

  • 300 any network minutes
  • 3000 texts
  • 1GB internet
  • 1 month rolling contract

I have to say that out and about the service was great, internet tethering was fantastic and download speeds were pretty much not far off my broadband speed 😮 I was very happy indeed.

However, the signal I got at home (where I spend a lot of time) was far from ideal. One bar was pretty much all I was provided with and the phone frequently went from 1 bar to No Service. A tweet about it resulted in a tweet from Three who tried to help me out, ultimately I needed to call customer services in order to discuss the issue.

Customer services immediately put me through to the “iPhone team” who advised me restore the phone  to factory defaults – well I did that but it made no difference at all. The customer service team then advised me to test the connection in several other locations and that if that still failed then I would have to take it to Apple as it would be a handset fault!.

Again, out and about it was great but indoors it was diabolical. Now to be fair to Three, the locations I tested O2 don’t always have a 3G connection but if they don’t it will go to an Edge or GPRS signal so at least I won’t lose signal and be unable to make calls. This is where Three fails to hit the mark for me.

The last straw for me was when my wife tried to call me when I was visiting relatives. My daughter was badly hurt but even though I had one bar it failed to connect the call and she had to call me via my brothers mobile.

After checking out alternatives I decided to go with Giff Gaff (Referral Link). As it runs on the O2 network, I know it’s coverage so can be assured that, apart from when being at the Stadium of Light, I will get a signal when I need to. I am only a couple of weeks using Giff Gaff but so far it’s been great  and it’s also incredibly priced £10 per month gives me 250 minutes, unlimited texts and unlimited internet usage! (though does need to be set up for Internet and MMS usage – more on that on my next post).

Although I have lost tethering I still have a Three MiFi which I will use from time to time when I don’t have a 3G connection on Giff Gaff or when I need to connect my laptop to the internet when out and about.

Thinking about joining Giff Gaff? Click this referral link, you will get a free sim with free £5 credit and I will get some referral points 😉

Get a free Giffgaff Sim


Connecting Sky HD box to Wifi

Since I moved to Sky for my phone and broadband we were offered the ability to have Sky Anytime+ I duly signed up but was told the Wireless adaptor would cost around £60 and as the broadband router is nowhere near my Sky box I needed to find an alternative and hopefully cheaper solution that does not involve running CAT5 cable through two rooms.

Doing a search on Google and eBay I found that there were several USB powered wifi bridges I could use, a quick test of my Sky HD box shows that the USB port is inactive and provides no power. Back to Google I went and found that quite a few people were using a TP-Link Wireless Access Point.

So I opted for the TP-Link TL-WA701ND 150Mbps Wireless Lite N Access Point which was only £17.99 from Amazon.


TP-Link WA701ND Wireless Access Point

In order to set up the TP Link you need a computer. I connected the device to my MacBook Pro via the supplied ethernet cable and configured my Ethernet Network settings as follows :

IP :
Subnet :
Router :

Fired up Safari and connected to, entered the admin username and password (which is admin by default). As Sky configure their broadband routers to be on the – range you need to change the IP address of the TP-Link Box.

To do this you need to click on the Network link on the left hand side and change the values on that page. I configured mine as follows and clicked save.


Type : Static IP
IP :
Subnet :
Gateway : (This is my Sky router IP address)

Once the device rebooted I logged back in to the admin pages (the device should automatically refresh to and continued to set the wireless part of it up.


I elected to set it up in Client mode with the following settings :

Enable WDS : unchecked
SSID : My wireless network name
Region : United Kingdom
Channel Width : 20/40Mhz
Enable Wireless Radio : checked

I then clicked Survey, clicked connect on my wireless network from the list of wifi networks that it had found.
This then put the MAC address of the Sky broadband router in the MAC of AP box and finally I clicked save. At this point I was offered to reboot, you can at this point but there is no need as you will have to reboot it later.

Wireless Security

PSK Password : entered my wireless network password, everything else was left as is and I clicked save. Again I was offered to reboot, do not reboot yet.

DHCP Settings

In the DHCP setting page I set it up as follows and clicked save. At this point I rebooted the device.
DHCP Server : Enable
Start IP
End IP
Default Gateway :
Primary DNS :

Once the TP-Link device had rebooted I then plugged the Ethernet cable in to the Sky HD box

On the Sky HD Box

From the TV Guide I selected Settings -> Network -> Select
The Sky box then performed a Network search and came back with the following
Local Connection : OK
Service Connection : OK
IP Address :

That’s it,  Sky Anytime+ is now working great.


Airport Express Woes

I have two Apple Airport Express devices. One in the loft with a USB printer and a set of speakers then another one in the living room with a set of speakers connected to it. However, the printer was randomly vanishing from the network and the speakers would cut out from time to time.

So I reset both devices and swapped them around. I noticed that the printer would remain on the network on one of the AE’s but vanish on the other. So I put the working one in the loft and just disconnected the second one assuming it was just faulty. Well today I tried resetting the suspect one and it appeared fine but iTunes would not connect to it yet my iPhone would for about 30 seconds before it decided to vanish. Both AE devices are running 6.3 which is the latest version.

Doing some research it was suggested to try downgrading the firmware then upgrading it again so that’s what I tried but it made no difference. After scouring Apple  discussions one person reported similar problems until they changed their Wireless channel to 12. I have mine on 6 as there are no other wireless networks in my range with that number.

I logged into my Sky router and changed the channel from 6 to 12 and also changed it so that it was set to 802.11g only and lo and behold it works!!

So if you have an Airport Express with the following issues :

Airport Express sound cutting out
Airport Express vanishing from network

Then try the above changes on your wireless router. You never know it may work for you 😀


Photographing the moon

This weekend the moon is apparently going to be the closest to the Earth for a long time. So, I decided to try photographing it for my participation, this is day 26.

Using my Canon 1000d equipped with a Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS I took a few shots. First one was just a white circle in the sky, so I adjusted the settings on camera and I ended up with this.

I cropped it and edited the curves a little using Pixelmator. All in all I am pretty pleased with how it turned out 🙂

The wait that's not right


Projecting light

I recently read an article about projecting light to creatively light up a subject. So I thought I would give this ago.

I had limited time to try this but here are my first few attempts using different bottles. The first one was out of focus but was giving me some idea of what I could expect.

This one I tried a different angle, and a different bottle.

There were many other shots which don’t work but I am fairly happy with this one. Due to where I was taking these photos (En-Suite) the angle had to be this way but next time I plan on attempting this head on and with other objects 😉

This one will be my day 25/365 from my participation.