My window to the world

You are still a pirate according to Stuff

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 1-Apr-2015 19:45

A story on Stuff (“Netflix wants to make content the same worldwide”) says:

“CEO Reed Hastings told Gizmodo Australia the online media streaming service wants to stop subscribers pirating content because it is unavailable in their country” and later on the same article “However, he said VPN piracy played only a small part in piracy worldwide.”

Following a common trend in New Zealand press, using a VPN to circumvent geo-blocking is called “piracy”.

Note however these are not straight quotes, but second hand “reporting”, because the source article on Gizmodo actually quotes from Mr Reed Hastings:

“The VPN thing is a small little asterisk compared to piracy… Piracy is really the problem around the world. The VPN scenario is someone who wants to pay and can’t quite pay. The basic solution is for Netflix to get global and have its content be the same all around the world so there’s no incentive to [use a VPN]. Then we can work on the more important part which is piracy."

You see, the original article makes a distinction between a problem (content piracy) and someone who doesn’t want to be a part of the problem but has to use technology to unlock and PAY for the content to legal distributors (the VPN users). The alternative is true piracy – downloading content for free from illegal distribution on torrents. Obviously whoever wrote the article for Stuff (there is no byline) didn’t bother making the distinction.

I’d like to know how these writers on Stuff see buying books or DVDs on Amazon and having these items shipped to New Zealand? Perhaps they don’t quite see that as “piracy” even though these actions are actually just the real world equivalent of buying digital content in different markets from legal distributors?

What do you think?

Geekzone is a ESET NetGuide Web Awards 2014 winner

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 2-Dec-2014 19:19

Thank you folks! For the second year in a row Geekzone was a winner at the ESET NetGuide Web Awards 2014.

Unfortunately I couldn’t be in Auckland this year, but Nate represented us at the ceremony at the Hilton Hotel.

Once again, thank you for your support and to the entire Geekzone community!

Free speech

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 19-Apr-2014 12:05

Many times we at Geekzone (myself or moderators) have to take swift action and ban someone from our forums (here is a visual collection of some banhameers used in the process). We have a strict Forum Usage Guideline (FUG) that serve as a guide to everyone in the community. Obviously banned users try to come back in, so we have mechanisms to deal with that.

Quite a few times I get emails with “you are infringing my free speech rights” or “you are being paid to censor me” and so on. As a policy I never reply to these emails and we all know those “free speech” rights are public ones. These rights protect people from being persecuted by the state for their thoughts and words.

Today’s XKCD “Free speech” explain it pretty well (although using the 1st Amendment it applies to other jurisdictions too):

Geekzone is a ESET NetGuide Web Awards 2013 winner

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 22-Feb-2014 14:03

I visited Auckland this week to attend the ESET NetGuide Web Awards 2013 event, having been told Geekzone was a finalist in the Best Online Forum category.

Getting to Auckland was easier said than done, with the Wellington airport being closed due to a fog that came down and lasted for more than 12 hours, resulting in almost all morning flights being cancelled. Even so I managed to take off only two hours later than originally planned.

Netguide’s Sean Mitchell said there was a record number of votes this year (290,000 for all categories in the whole competition if I’m correct), so it is great to be able to receive this award. It is really our great community that make it happen and keep it pumping, with help from our team of volunteer moderators. So it’s really for all of us, not just me. Well done folks.

The event was fully packed at the Hilton Hotel where people in attendance had the opportunity to mingle before the doors opened to the conference room. After the event I had dinner with the ESET NZ team, including Steve Smith who had earlier taken this photo:

Spammers on LinkedIn

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 10-Jan-2014 19:30

Just received an email from someone saying “I am not a spammer” and immediately offering SEO services (most of SEO services are spammers, with few exception). Rule of thumb if someone starts by saying “I’m not a spammer”, then they are.

Immediately after that I received a LinkedIn connection request. Hmmm, I don’t recognise the name (and I usually don’t add people on LinkedIn if I haven’t met or least corresponded a few times) but let’s have a look… Wow, she’s good looking. Sure, I am going to link now and… WAIT A MINUTE! SPAMMER RADAR ALERT!

Folks, I introduce you Angela Newton who is, according to her LinkedIn profile an accountant in London, UK. But there’s no background information, no previous work, in fact the only relation to me is a shared connection, someone who I assume accepted the request because either thought she was good looking or wanted to increase the number of connections (the old fallacy of having a large number of followers, etc, etc).

Google images is your friend, so I use that avatar and search for similar photos. This is what I get:

Would be possible that “Angela Newton” is actually using someone else’s photo? Well, it looks like… Because these are the other search results for similar images:

It seems Dr Tara had her photos professionally taken to improve her business profile around the web (well done) and some scumbag spammer decided to use those photos to lure more people into their fake LinkedIn profile.

Again folks, if you don’t know the person requesting a connection, don’t do it. At minimum you will start getting messages offering services, at most you will get involved in some scam.

Don’t think for a moment this is something that happens on LinkedIn only though. I see more and more of this on Facebook and even more on Twitter, where a web of robots follow each other to give the impression of being actual human beings.

Testing image blogging from Windows Phone 8 with Diarist

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 17-Jan-2013 10:41

Diarist is a Windows Phone app developed by fellow Geekzone user Kev Daly. It has some cool features including Share option in photos so we can upload and blog an image and it works with Metaweblog API.

Testing it on Windows Phone 8, you can ignore this post.

The HP Discover Blog Index

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 14-Jun-2011 16:00

HP invited a group of bloggers (including myself) to attend the HP Discover 2011 conference in Las Vegas. The infrastructure provided was incredible: accommodation, transport, special blogger lounge on the exhibition floor, communications, gatherings, reserved seats to all keynotes (including power and ethernet connections), plus the opportunity to meet many HP and partners' executives at the lounge during "coffee talks" available to our group only.

The number of posts still coming out of the group is quite large. So I decided to put together a "link blog". The DiscoveringHP is a meta blog listing all posts I could find, coming from this group, plus a blogroll where you can find your way to their blogs' main pages.

I understand some are still working on other posts, and I will update the DiscoveringHP blog with more links as they become available. I will also try and keep it alive during the upcoming HP Discover 2011 event in Vienna (Austria) - the European version of HP Discover.

Mobile documentaries at Te Papa

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 14-Jun-2011 15:59

This Thursday, 16 June 2011, Te Papa is hosting a one-off screening of a selection of creative works made for mobile phones, using mobile phones, by Laurent Antonczak and Max Schleser.

Thursday 16 June 2011
Soundings Theatre, Level 2
Te Papa
Free entry
Laurent will be presenting music videos designed for small screens, including New Day Interactive, a kinetic music video that responds to user's mobile phone movements, and Hamster Squaredance, an interactive music video that uses embedded QR codes (Quick Response barcodes that can be read by mobile phones).
Max will be showing two mobile-mentaries (mobile documentaries) made using mobile phones; Max with a Keitai, a film shot entirely on two mobile phones in Japan in 2006, and Ekaterinburg, a short mobile-mentary about the Heartbeat Festival in the Russian city of Ekaterinburg.
Both Laurent and Max will be present at the screenings to discuss their work, and will also be running a digital media workshop focusing on mobile film production at Massey University during the weekend following the Te Papa event (17th - 19th June).

More details here.

Das Tub

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 12-Aug-2010 13:43

If you have seen Das Boot (or not), here is a spoof created by students at the Media Design School in Auckland, called Das Tub.

I received an invite for their launch event, but you can watch it online now...

Time for some site stats update: Firefox just ahead of Internet Explorer

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 2-Aug-2010 11:42

Now and then I remember to post an update on stats we collect here on Geekzone... To put this in context, remember Geekzone is a technology community, with a demographics that is more likely to update their browser and computers to the latest and greatest. Having said, it is obvious our numbers will be very different of those from a site with a more "traditional" audience.

All those numbers are based on a sampling of more than 600,000 visits to the site over the last month.

Operating System: Microsoft Windows continues to lead the pack, with 84.39% of the visits. Mac OS follows with 9.85% and Linux third with 3.63%. iPad shows up in fourth with 0.91%. There was one lonely visit from someone using IBM OS/2 (and similarly small numbers for Playstation 3, SunOS, NetBSD, FreeBSD, Unix, OpenBSD).

Visitors using Windows were split in Windows XP (47.24%), Windows 7 (34.16%) and Windows Vista (16.92%). We should mention those brave 19 people visiting Geekzone while using Windows ME, and those three using Windows 95.

Mac OS users mostly used Mac OS 10.6 Snow Leopard (70.2%), and Mac OS 10.5 Leopard (21.41%). Someone out there is either using Mac OS 10.7 or faking the agent string, with two visits.

Browsers: Yet again Microsoft Internet Explorer and Firefox are head to head. And Firefox is again just inching in front of Internet Explorer. Here are the numbers: Firefox with 36.50%, Internet Explorer with 35.56%, Chrome with 16.63%,  Safari with 7.72%, Opera with 2.26%. Thanks to that person who visited Geekzone from a Nook eReader, and the Lynx user.

There are still 10.15% of users on Internet Explorer 6, but the majority is using Internet Explorer 8 (68.57%) and Internet Explorer 7 (21.23%).

Firefox users are mostly on 3.6.6 with 48.15% of the visits, but from there you see a variety of versions. It seems even though Firefox is gaining traction, people still don't update their browser installs.

IPv6: IPv6 adoption is slow, but I believe content providers should move in that direction... Since connecting Geekzone servers to an IPv6-enabled network and introducing AAAA records we have seen 0.04% of the visits coming through that connection.

Forums: Our Geekzone forums exploded last week thanks to the imbroglio that was the iPhone 4 launch in New Zealand. We saw spikes of more than 100% traffic over previous periods (day/week) thanks to the confusion generated by Apple and Vodafone not coming to an agreement if there would be an iPhone 4 launch in the country - less than 24 hours before the previously announced release date.

As a consequence, this month our top five Geekzone forums were Apple iOS (11.90%), Telecom New Zealand (8.28%), Off Topic (7.50%), Home Theatre (6.26%), Android (5.54%).

In the next update I will be able to report a new metric we are now following: ad blockers. Since Geekzone is fully funded by advertising (with some special sponsored blogs such as Visual Studio 2008 and MyFreeview|HD Review), I wanted to find out how many of our tech savvy users visit Geekzone and block our ads. We just started measuring this, and so far the numbers are a surprise to me.

freitasm's profile

Mauricio Freitas
New Zealand

I live in New Zealand and my interests include mobile devices, good books, movies and food of course! 

I'm the Geekzone admin. On Geekzone we publish news, reviews and articles on technology topics. The site also has some busy forums.

Subscribe now to my blog RSS feed or the Geekzone RSS feed.

If you want to contact me, please use this page or email me Note this email is not for technical support. I don't give technical support. You can use our Geekzone Forums for community discussions on technical issues.

Here's is my full disclosure post.

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