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Microsoft please stop messing with my location

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 27-Jun-2007 09:45

This morning I tried to visit the Microsoft Support microsite to check a KB for more information on a suggested automatic update for my Windows Vista 64 bit system.

Much to my surprise, instead of the usual Microsoft U.S. support site I was greeted with the Microsoft Hong Kong site:


Firefox correctly goes to the U.S. site... And If I restart Internet Explorer then it goes to the correct page. But I don't want to lose all the other tabs and pages I have loaded!

Hello! My system is set as English (New Zealand), and so is Internet Explorer. I have no idea what this page says - lucky there's an "english" version, but I don't want that version. Microsoft, please stop messing with people's destinations.

Or shall I start rebooting Windows Vista every day now?






Is Vodafone New Zealand planning a new music store service?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 26-Jun-2007 12:14

I found today an interesting item when searching for "New Zealand" in one of the press release databases I use:


As well as Sweden, Omnifone confirms it has now entered into partnerships with 30 mobile operators with networks in the following territories: Australia, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey and the UK.



Omnifone is the company behind the MusicStation, a flat-fee mobile music subscription service. Users pays 2.99 euros per week to access all you can eat music from your mobile device. If you stop paying, the music is gone.

So I contacted both Vodafone New Zealand and Telecom New Zealand about this, trying to find which one is the "confimed" network Omnifone hinted in their press release.

Telecom New Zealand came back to me with "some discussions were had – nothing more serious than that", so I though it could be Vodafone New Zealand (which haven't replied yet).

After a quick Google Search I found an old forum thread here on Geekzone, where this very topic was being discussed. Also, there is the partnership between Vodacom and Omnifone already.

So, could it be that Vodafone New Zealand will add this to their Vodafone Music Store? Their current business model is simply direct sales, with a song track download for your mobile device or PC for a set price. MusicStation would be an interesting complement to this service.

UPDATE: I've received a phone call from Vodafone New Zealand... They confirm there's a global partnership with Omnifone, but there are no current plans to deploy this service in New Zealand. They can also confirm the Vodafone Music Store is doing well - just this week they entered the New Zealand charts with a single only available through the Vodafone on-line store.


Vodafone has signed a deal with Omniphone at group level, however here in New Zealand we're very happy with the progress of the Vodafone Music Store (the number one seller of music singles in New Zealand) and have no plans to change that model any time soon.


UPDATE: I also got a reply from Omnifone, who says that any service launch would be confirmed a day before its "go live" date, so they can't confirm or deny anything.




Scamming the scammed

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 26-Jun-2007 12:10

It looks like scamming by sending those "you won the lottery" or "your relative died in a plane crash" is not making that much money these days, so now the story is "you have been scammed, but we are here to repay you":


ECO-BANK PLC
ECOBANK/UNITED NATIONS 2007 SCAM VICTIMS COMPENSATIONS PAYMENTS.
DIRECTOR

ATTN: SIR/MADAM,


SCAMMED VICTIM/$100,000 BENEFICIARIES.
REF/PAYMENTS CODE:ECB/06654 $100,000 USD.


This is to bring to your notice that we are delegated from the UNITED NATIONS in Central Bank to pay 150  victims of scam $100,000 USD (One Hundred Thounsand
Dollars) each. You are listed and approved for this payment as one of the scammed victims to be paid this amount, get back to this office as soon as possible for the immediate payments of your $100,000 USD compensations funds.

On this faithful recommendations, want you to know that during the last U.N.
meetings held at Abuja, Nigeria, it was alarming  on the money lost by various individuals to the scams artists operating in syndicates all over the world today. In other to compensate victims, the UNITED NATIONS Body is now paying 150 victims $100,000 USD each in accordance with the UNITED NATIONS recommendations. Due to the corrupt and inefficient Banking Systems in Nigeria, the payments are to be paid by Central Bank Nigeria as corresponding paying bank under funding assistance by The Rabo Bank, based in  London UK. for funds remittance.

Benefactor of this compensation will have to be first cleared and recommended for payment by ECO BANK PLC.

According to the number of applicants at hand, 114 Beneficiaries has been paid, over a half of the victims are from the United States, we still have a pending of 36 compensations left to be paid. Your particulars was mentioned by one of the Syndicates who was arrested as one of their victims of the operations, you are hereby warned not to communicate or duplicate this message to him for any reason what so ever as the U.S. secret service is already on trace of the other criminals. So keep it secret till they are all apprehended.  Other victims who have not been contacted can submit their application as well for scrutiny and possible consideration.

You can receive your compensations payments via any of this options you Choose, DRAFT/CHEQUE PAYMENTS or DIRECT WIRE TRANSFER.

We shall feed you with further modalities as soon as we get response from you.


Send a copy of your response to official email: ecobankplc_nig07@yahoo.es


Yours Faithfully,
IYAMAH SYLVANIUS.
SCAMMED VICTIM/REF/PAYMENTS CODE:ECB/06654 $100,000 USD.



Simply hilarious.



SuperHappyDevHouse Aotearoa is go!

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 25-Jun-2007 20:24

It's now confirmed: 7 July is the first SuperHappyDevHouse Aotearoa hack-a-ton, developer, interaction designer, user experience creation day in Wellington!



SuperHappyDevHouse Aotearoa is inspired by the SuperHappyDevHouse, a monthly hackathon event in the US, combining serious and not-so-serious productivity with a fun and exciting party atmosphere.

The whole thing is about rapid development, ad-hoc collaboration and cross pollination. Hardcore coders, l33t hax0r, passionate designers, and other types that enjoy software and technology development will be at home in the SuperHappyDevHouse.

This is not a marketing event. It's intended for passionate and creative technical people that want to have some fun, learn new things, and meet new people.


The pilot is "by invitation only" because we need to measure attendance, gather feedback on structure, etc. If you have received an invitation please reply now.

If you did not receive an invitation for the pilot, we will be running this on a regular basis and will make it an open event. So either keep checking the SuperHappyDevHouse Aotearoa wiki, or contact me or one of the organisers.

A big thank you to all our sponsors: Actrix, Catalyst, Citylink, Google, Microsoft, and Mindscape. Without your help things would be a bit harder. Also thank you to the original SuperHappyDevHouse for letting us use the name.



Wellington incubator CreativeHQ gets 1 gigabit connection

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 25-Jun-2007 13:59

This is really neat: ISP FX and Citylink have just connected the Wellington incubator CreativeHQ to the Internet with 1 gbps link.

Way to go Wellington - thank you FX and Citylink... Bringing more technology capacity to the city!




Leave the gun take the cannoli, or the Wellington bloggers

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 25-Jun-2007 13:50

Well, Lance Wiggs (previously from Trade Me, Fairfax and now in Perth for a few months) has just called me "Godfather", blaming this blog and Juha's Techsploder for lots of traffic on the New Zealand blogging scene.

This funny note comes as part of his own post with comments and corrections about the Wellington-based bloggers connections.

Thanks for the mention!





Where is the Treo 750v HSDPA update?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 25-Jun-2007 11:39

When Vodafone launched the Palm Treo 750v in New Zealand we heard the promise of a software update to bring HSDPA to this Windows Mobile device.

Later I was told that this update wasn't going to be released, pending a Windows Mobile 6 update that would include it.


Today is three months since Palm announced its intention to release Windows Mobile 6 OS for the Treo 750 (the non-Vodafone branded version of the device), but nothing has happened since then. Interesting to note that Palm launched the Treo 750 with HSDPA already enabled, unlike Vodafone.

Seeing that Vodafone New Zealand's Windows Mobile partner i-mate is not being very active (the new Advantage series won't be released until later in the year), and HTC is not active at all in New Zealand, it means we are not seeing any new exciting smart devices coming out with this OS.

The most exciting launch this year seems to be the Nokia N95, and it runs on Symbian OS, not Windows Mobile. Discussions in our Geekzone Forums have been really good. Check paradoxsm's blog for interesting comments, thoughts and some hacks (how to disable the red light on N95 for example).

A month or so ago I received a Sony Ericsson M600i for review (thanks Sony Ericsson), but I have to say it didn't excite me much. Something strange about its design and keyboard. I actually have to send it back this week, to be fair.

I have heard rumours Telecom New Zealand will release the PPC-6800 (HTC Mogul) here in New Zealand. I also heard that they were told not to talk to me about this device - as if I ever leaked anything before. But if they don't trust, well, their problem.





Vodafone billing systems still with problems after the pit stop

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 25-Jun-2007 09:40

It appears the Vodafone New Zealand billing system is not without problems after the company's "pit stop", a six week period which impacted customers' ability to check their account, query balances, update plans, even pay parking via SMS.

I received my second Vodafone bill for the period after the pit stop and with it came a surprise:

I paid the previous bill ($140.48) via Internet Banking on the due date 18 June but it seems that the due date for the previous bill coincided with the issue date on the new bill - so obviously my payment did not show up - silly system theirs.

But then I found out Vodafone do not have a record of my payment, even five days after the payment was made.

When I called them last week I was told there was no record of my payment and the CSR asked me for my bank account number so someone in the accounts team can look for this transaction. It's really strange, because I shouldn't need to provide this information - I mean, a simple query on their database surely would show a payment of $140.48 on that specific date, with my Vodafone account number in the reference code field, without the need of such personal information.

At the time the CSR also "added a note to the account, so people know there's a payment in process and don't cut if off".

Now it is Monday morning and I can see the payment finaly made through, although with the wrong date (23 June) instead of the correct payment date. Also the payment only showed up today in their on-line system, but with a date after the actual payment was made. I hope the system is a bit smarter this time and don't put me in the "defaults" list.

I am not alone complaining about problems with Vodafone's new system.

What is really annoying is their message just on top of my incorrect "overdue notice":


Good news! We've completed the upgrade of our systems. Vodafone balance, billing and account services are now back to normal.








A six month vulnerability analysis of Windows Vista

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 22-Jun-2007 10:34

Jeff Jones has updated his report on Windows Vista vulneraility analysis, with results including the first six months since launch.

This chart shows how many vulnerabilities were reported for some OS in the market, in the same period (six months after launch):




The full report, with links and explanations is available as a pdf.



Belkin Customer Services

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 21-Jun-2007 15:00

Many times I read on the Geekzone forums about bad customer services, and I have posted here in this blog some of my own experiences as well.

As usual I also try to bring balance by posting about my good experiences... As my latest encounter with Belkin's Customer Service.

About a year ago I purchased a Belkin 800VA Universal UPS. Great product, works as advertised and I was so happy that I decided to purchase a second unit - the Belkin 1200VA Universal UPS. The idea was to be able to connect all the remaining equipment in the home office - the Apple iMac, a LAN switch, the router, and the cordless phones connected to my SPA 2102 VoIP gateway to those two UPS.


By chance the old Belkin 800VA faulted just a couple of hours after I've placed my order on-line for the second larger unit! So I had to run my whole office from the mains for a day, until I got the 1200VA unit. But in the meantime I contacted Belkin support to ask how to proceed with the older UPS, now dead as a dodo...

And here comes the good thing: after a few e-mails (very quick replies!) Belkin arranged to have a replacement unit sent - and it has just arrived, exactly a week after my first e-mail was sent. There was no confusion on what, how, where - and I now have to simply post the faulty unit back.

That's right, Belkin first solved my problem, then worried about having the faulty unit back.

Now, if some of the telcos in Australia and New Zealand could learn customer services from these guys...





freitasm's profile

Mauricio Freitas
Wellington
New Zealand


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

I work for Intergen and I'm also 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 freitasm@geekzone.co.nz. 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.

If you'd like to help me keep Geekzone going, please use this Geekzone Amazon affiliate link when placing any orders on Amazon.

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