This is a screenshot of his website today (click for a larger version):
Notice on the right hand sidebar a "tag cloud" with the most discussed topics on that site. Now let's look behind the scenes on the code used to create that "tag cloud":
Oh, look... If the topic is "ISP Filtering" then the Hon. Stephen Conroy doesn't want you to know about it. You can still click on any tag though, go to the search page and enter the term "ISP Filtering" to find the content you want, but obviously there shouldn't be any hint that such a topic exists.
Now you understand why I think we shouldn't have a national Internet filter in New Zealand. You don't know for sure if any future government would change the rules behind the scenes.
(By the way, I hope using the website as an example don't put me on a "persona non grata" list in Australia...)
Those posts were very personal and abusive, including names of employees and some very sick comments.
However Twitter support failed to recognise this as a threat and replied with a canned response to those who submitted a support ticket:
What a Twitter #fail. I just hope Telecom New Zealand notify the police, and spend some of its lawyers' time to pursue this further.
Shame on you Twitter.
UPDATE: After some review, the appropriate Twitter team decided to remove that account. Thanks to all involved, and Twitter for reviewing it.
Folks, there's someone on Twitter who doesn't know better and is currently on a harassment campaign against Telecom employees.
The tweets are of a personal nature (including comments on female employees and of a sexual nature), highly NSFW.
While I firmly support people criticising a company, I think it's wrong to make it personal and go on employees and their personal lives. I also think it's wrong to make it behind anonymous comments.
If you are a Twitter user, could you please visit http://twitter.com/deadcaseyjohnsn and click the REPORT SPAM link?
Note I am not giving a link here because that page doesn't need Google juice. Also note all tweets are highly NSFW - even the mild ones.
TUANZ blog post of the day says "Impound Reynold's Passport", and Ernie asks the government to retain Telecom New Zealand CEO Paul Reynold's in the country.
IANAL, but aside from the fact that no legitimate government would ever keep a foreign citizen's passport with no legal grounds and a judicial order issued on the breach of some law, the headline is sensationalist at best.
But then Ernie continues "Reynolds' handling of the crisis this week has been magnificent. He's fronted this issue at every step. He's been direct and honest. He's shown very genuine empathy in talking about the inconvenience, distress and cost the issues have imposed on customers. He hasn't ducked the questions - he's answered, fully and from the heart, every time."
Yes, I agree with that sentence. But that headline asking the government to retain someone in the country - the equivalent of arresting someone - without legal proceedings?
Seriously? As I said, a sensationalist headline. When I read it on my RSS reader I thought "surely not"? I understand it's more of a "he's doing a good job, keep him here" and not a "XT is fubar, keep him here"...
It sounds too good to be true, right?
First you have to realise that 028 is not a free number (I have blanked out the rest of their 028 number). So while you might get a "free" call to some country, you still have to pay the call to their access number. New Zealand 028 numbers are charged like mobile phone calls, so they are not cheap.
In these cases it might actually be cheaper to simply call the international number from your mobile. Unless you too have an 028 number, supplied by 2talk. Calls from 028 numbers to other 028 numbers are free - this is the best case scenario.
As pointed out by Steve in the comments, here is the catch: the company can carry very cheap calls to international destinations, but instead of offering a free access number in New Zealand, it offers a 028 number, which is charged at mobile rates - so they make money on the difference.
As I said, it might be cheaper to just use your mobile to call those international destinations instead.
Last year I posted a few Geekzone Browser and OS stats, mainly as a response for a request from NBR's Chris Keall. I just thought looking at the numbers early in the year (and later again this year) will be fun, so here are a couple of interesting numbers charts/tables. We are looking at numbers from more than 700,000 unique visitors in a 30 day period.
First is the % of browser by visits to Geekzone and I am surprised that both Internet Explorer and Firefox are down. A few months ago Firefox passed Internet Explorer as the most used browser to access Geekzone, but now they are both in the same % level - and both down. Not surprising is Google Chrome, which seems to be up 100% since the last time I looked at it:
Just for an idea, of those using Internet Explorer, 59.40% use IE8, 26.89% use IE7 and 13.65% still use IE6.
Next is the % of Operating System by visits to Geekzone. I haven't published these numbers before, so I can't compare. There's a distinct lack of mobile browsers here since we launched the Geekzone Mobile and we automatically redirect those mobile users to the new site. But no surprises here:
Now let's look at Geekzone mobile, which runs on its own domain and obviously has a much smaller user base - we are talking about 30,000 unique visits a month. First the distribution of mobile Operating System:
And now another interesting one, the distribution of users through mobile network access (although I have no idea where Google got that "Service Mobile Corporation" from, but it seems WHOIS for those visitors don't have a specific mobile operator name). From here I see a few more Telecom users access our site from a mobile device than Vodafone users do:
UPDATE: someone pointed out that "Service Provider Corporation" is how Telecom is identified in some speedtest.net reports, so if this is the case it pushes Telecom mobile users numbers even higher than those from Vodafone.
After the (small) glitch affecting SMS services on Telecom XT this week I asked their people for an update and here it is:
Obviously the reason we're doing the [external] review is to ask those questions - what's going on/where is the problem - but there's also a whole lot of planned work going on at the same time as the review is underway. Naturally the results of the review will feed into this, but we're getting on with things in the meantime, all of which will help to improve user experience.
Paul talked a fair bit about this at our Q2 results last week, here's a summary of what he discussed at the results preso:
. We're increasing the RNC processor capacity
. We're regularly installing updates to the software to improve resilience
. We also had some things in the plan as the number subscribers on the network grew. This is all going to occur over the next few months which will further improve resilience and the customer experience
. We'll also be adding two more RNCs by March - another one in CHCH and another one in AKL
. We're adding more fibre backhaul
. We're adding more cell sites, and we're amplifying some cell sites too
Alongside that we've gone absolutely microscopic on the operational management of the network, which is being continually monitored right down to cell site by cell site level at the very highest levels of the company.
As Paul's said - XT was built to be a world class network and that's what it needs to be - we're determined to get it there and it's absolutely the number one focus at the company right now, as you would expect.
These events are half-day unconferences about cloud computing, software as a services, and related topics.
Geekzoner Ben Kepes is organising the events (in Australia and New Zealand).
UPDATE: As noted in the comment, the Google Barcamp Wellington is happening on 25 March 2010.
For the last few years I have been telling people I meet that Internet users "browse by search". Basically some (a lot) of Internet users have a search website as their homepage and have no idea what the address bar in the browser does. These users fill the search field with a company name - or a URL even - and hit the first link in the search results.
What happens next is strange: people completely disregard any signs - logos, text - and treat that page as their final destination.
I know it, because every second week or so the last few years I have been receiving emails from people trying to sort their problems with either one of the big telcos in the country (Telecom New Zealand or Vodafone New Zealand). Those queries go from a simple address change, to account cancellation, some even with full credit card numbers asking to have their accounts paid with that card.
Every time I receive one of those I pass it on to the appropriate company, copying the sender.
People seem to completely ignore the www.geekzone.co.nz in the address bar when in fact they were looking for Telecom or Vodafone. They completely ignore there's no Telecom or Vodafone logo anywhere in our pages. They completely ignore common sense and provide personal information that I could use for other purposes if I wanted to be bad.
Today ReadWriteWeb (RWW), one of the top technology blogs around, found out about this "problem". They posted about a project to integrate Facebook friend into a user's AOL IM account and in a matter of hours they received a couple of hundred comments of people complaining about their Facebook login problems.
It looks like RWW found out what "normal" people already know: the Internet is hard for users. Perhaps because RWW reports on technology that is sometimes way ahead of what average users actually consume, they seemed surprised by this discovery. One sentence from their post on this is the sum of all:
"Users dont't care about what you care about."
In other words, all those cool sites, mashups, technology glitter are great for the tech heads, but they are not what your average Internet users care about.
Think about this when creating your online service. Make it too cool or complicated and people won't use it. Make it simple and it might have a chance to stand out in the middle of all the other services that show up every single day.
UPDATE: Want to see other posts where people "don't get it"? Check "Skype Free Credit" for an idea.