Way back in April 2001 I released a piece of software called Launch!. Launch! is a Mac OS X application for connecting to Australia’s BigPond Cable service (it makes use of a slightly modified connection utility BPALogin, with extra capabilities for supporting sleep, switching users, and making it easy to use). It actually proved to be quite popular, with hundreds of downloads and many many expressions of thanks from people around the country. I even heard that Telstra technicians installing cable at people’s homes were bringing copies of it with them and giving it to OS X users to use instead of Telstra’s own software (that arrived years later, and never worked as well by all accounts).


Launch Window

The main need for Launch! was that BigPond used an annoying feature called the heartbeat. Basically BigPond servers would ping your machine at certain times, and if your machine didn’t respond they would disconnect you. It seems no one else in the world uses such as system, and it caused all sorts of havoc for end users.

Launch! also provided a visual usage meter – bypassing the need to log in to BigPond web pages to find out if you were over your usage limit. By popular demand I released a standalone product – Launch! Usage Meter. This application just includes the usage meter component, and is used by BigPond ADSL users (who don’t have the heartbeat problems that cable users do). Before long, I was getting requests from people at other Australian ISPs for a similar usage meter – which led to Launch! TPG and Launch! Netspace.

Anyway, I digress. The big news this week is that BigPond have finally retired the heartbeat. Great news for all BigPond Cable users. This of course also means that Launch! will soon no longer be required.

I’m not sad to see it go. It was a pain that users needed a third party solution in order to connect reliably to the BigPond cable service. And it was sad that BigPond took so long to give Mac OS X users a reasonable piece of software to do this, and when they did it was basically a rip-off of my software, and didn’t keep up with the latest OS X releases so it only supported older versions of the OS.

I’m not sure if Launch! Usage Meter will continue to work when all the changes are made at BigPond. It is possible that BigPond will change the way metering works, so I’m afraid this application may also be close to the end. But I do want to thank everyone who supported these applications and thank you all for the contributions and letters of appreciation.

Launch! – The end of an era

28 thoughts on “Launch! – The end of an era

  • September 15, 2006 at 12:12 pm
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    wanted to say thanks for providing the support that Telstra felt no need to provide. Good for you, and as for the heartbeat , good ridance to bad rubbish, i say.

  • October 1, 2006 at 9:07 pm
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    I am still using Launch, Jaack hit the nail on the head.
    Thanks mate for creating Launch, your a champion.

  • October 5, 2006 at 9:44 pm
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    Jamie – same appreciation from me. Have been with you from day 1.

  • October 5, 2006 at 9:49 pm
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    Thanks everyone. Very much appreciated.

  • October 21, 2006 at 4:54 am
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    Well I haven’t used the software for maybe as long as other users. But when I got my Mac this year I was surprised Telstra seemed quiet in their FAQ’s about how to get their cable internet working in MacOSX.

    Thanks for taking the time to make such a simple but useful app =)

  • October 23, 2006 at 3:24 pm
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    Thanks for a great piece of software. I don’t know how I would have survived without it. From memory I installed in within 24 hours of having my cable hooked up. That was two or so years ago now. It is only because of a new mac purchase that I found out about the Telstra changes, guess I just expected them to continue with an annoying hurdle to jump; glad they have realised the issue. But in the end, it was your software that made my life easier, many thanks and I hope you contribute something of use to many people in the near future.

    Mike

  • October 25, 2006 at 2:38 pm
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    Jamie,
    I also wish to say thanks – I’ve been using Launch! for years, and install it on friends/clients Macs as well. I think the Telstra tech who initially installed cable told me about it, and about the Whirlpool web site. Very useful!
    Cheers.
    Phil

  • November 18, 2006 at 5:58 pm
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    I would also like to say thanks for providing the Telstra meter usage. It is very helpful. Prior to this all I had found was a Firefox plugin and since I use Camino now I didn’t have an easy way to keep track of my usage.

    Thanks for the application and I hope that any changes that happen with the usage metering don’t stop this great application from working.

  • December 3, 2006 at 7:47 pm
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    Thankyou so much. I like Launch! a lot and will continue to use it in preference to anything Bogpond can provide. You Rock.

  • December 6, 2006 at 9:57 am
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    A great big THANKS – launch made bigpond for me – and yes their tech did bring a copy of it when I signed on. I didn’t notice that they were retiring the heartbeat – will that mean we can netwirk simply like everyone else? lets wait and see – I’d just love to be able to share the connection simply within my house. Thanks again.

  • December 12, 2006 at 11:23 am
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    Thanks for the great app. Any idea when Telstra will move on from the heartbeat? (if not already?

  • December 16, 2006 at 11:50 am
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    Thanks for a great piece of software that helped to make things work the way they should.
    I will try bigpond’s own software, but being the cinic that i am, I expect to continue to use Launch!
    David

  • December 20, 2006 at 10:14 am
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    I’ve been moved to the new system, yet after being prompted to uninstall the Telstra software the internet connection didn’t work anymore. (This was on PC)

    So bigpond support said to install again. I did, connection worked again. Same on the mac, I still need Launch.

    So maybe it’s not quite dead yet. =)

  • January 19, 2007 at 10:23 pm
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    I was advised by Telstra back in August that I was ABOUT to be moved to the new system. I’m still waiting.

    I guess I miss understood them, perhaps they meant this decade!

    I think we need more competition in the broadband market to help lower prices and speed up services.

  • March 30, 2007 at 6:06 am
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    I too was an early (paid up) convert to Launch! Easiest bit of software ever… Many many thanks to you Jamie. Gerry of Perth WA

  • May 4, 2007 at 6:29 pm
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    Jamie

    Thanks for the great piece of software – I’ll miss it’s friendly little face on my Mac. I’ve finally been migrated to the new Bigpond system. If only there was a useage meter without going to their website. Bigpond-Grrrrrrrrrr!

  • May 13, 2007 at 11:47 am
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    I had ‘Launch’ but I changed my Password; and lost it;
    idiot me !
    I had trouble getting back online; after help, though,
    I managed to do so.
    Now I can’t get ‘Launch’ back; it just says ‘Bad Password’.
    Can you help please.
    When I had ‘Launch’, it was great !
    Regards, from sunny Australia.
    John Champion.

  • May 13, 2007 at 11:57 am
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    Just so everyone know, it appears Bigpond are moving people over to their new billing system, and I assume the system that no longer needs Launch!. From what I am hearing, Launch! and Launch! Usage Meter will no longer work with the new billing system. Sorry guys – looks like Launch! and Launch! Usage Meter are on the way out.

  • May 21, 2007 at 4:53 pm
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    Launch is on the way out? Nooooooooo!!!!!!
    Say it isn’t so..

  • June 5, 2007 at 7:53 pm
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    My heartfelt thanks for 6 years of hassle-free connection to Bigpond cable. Today was the first time I’ve ever had to call their support line (thanks to your excellent software) and it was only to find that Launch is no longer needed – R.I.P.

  • June 13, 2007 at 9:42 pm
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    many thanks it was great to use launchkeep on the good work because you always will be ahead on BP.com

  • June 28, 2007 at 8:18 pm
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    Thanks for Launch Usage Meter.

    As you suspected, it no longer works with the new BigPond accounting system. Does anyone know any alternatives?

  • June 28, 2007 at 8:49 pm
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    I may be able to get Launch! Usage Meter working with the new system, but to do so I need a username and password to test with, as I’m no longer with Bigpond. So, anyone out there trust me enough to give me their username and password (privately in email obviously)? Otherwise, anyone who works at Bigpond willing to make me a fake account with username and password I can test with?

    Jamie

  • July 6, 2007 at 5:14 pm
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    Dear Jamie,

    If you need a bigpond username and password still, please email me.

    Melbourne 03 9596 8051 if you want to ring.

    Thank you for Launch.

    Ashley Voigt

  • January 1, 2009 at 10:25 am
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    Is there anyway we can get the source code for this? I need this application but it doesn’t seem to work on leopard

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