My window to the world

Vodafone pit stop

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 10-May-2007 15:20

A cursory look in our Geekzone forums might reveal some users disgruntled at the way Vodafone New Zealand's current billing system works.

People complain about not being able to cancel services, change account settings and more importantly, they complain about the apparent "preference" Vodafone gives to Prepay users when offering specials not available to On Account users.

Some time ago we published a Q&A with Vodafone New Zealand CEO Russell Stanners, but the answers did not clarify much on this aspect.

It seems Vodafone New Zealand is now changing their billing systems, and has declared a pit-stop. I haven't seem any advertising on TV, but they have a webpage with information on this transition. And you better be prepared: there are lots of things you won't be able to do during the transition period.

For example you won't be able get an accurate account balance. According to Vodafone New Zealand, you’ll still be able to access your account balance, bundle balance and data details but during the changeover period these will not be up to date.

This includes information you gather by calling their customer services, using SMS or even on-line. Their recommendation? check your account before 17 May and then monitor your usage during the changeover period. Mind you, call detail information (eg, Vodafone to Vodafone calls, off-peak and on-peak calling, etc.) will be unavailable during the changeover period.

So be careful there. Any dispute is going to be your word against their word. Not good, uh?

You also will be unable to change your existing Vodafone plan, or add/remove/change Add-Ons to your plan or talkZone group during a smaller period.

Vodafone says they are even unable to activate/deactivate roaming during this time.

But more importantly, new connections connections can be added to your account but there will be delays in doing this.

Still according to the site, there are some changes to your account that you won’t be able to make on-line via ‘Manage Your Account’ (MYA) during this period. After this time, there will be a 5-day turnaround period for some changes via MYA.

The periods covered are from 17 May throgh end of June... A long time and I expect to see even more disgruntled customers...

Make sure you read the information about this transition period.

I didn't use 15,800 GB today... But TelstraClear says it so

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 10-May-2007 12:33

I've just received an e-mail from TelstraClear saying I've used 7,891 additional blocks of data. Each additional block is 2GB, meaning they believe I've used about 15,800 GB in a single day - according to their meter. I couldn't be bothered checking the math since this is obviously wrong any way.

Since each additional usage blocks are charged at $2.95, their stats page says I owe them about $23,280 in excess usage:

I posted in our Geekzone forums and found I am not alone... Currently I am waiting for someone to answer my call...

UPDATE: I've managed to talk to the TCL help desk and they are aware of this. The official word is that this will not be charged to people's accounts.

UPDATE: I have received an e-mail from TelstraClear clarifying the situation and explaining the next steps.

Summer of Code 2.0

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 10-May-2007 11:33

Hey, I've just looked at the Summer of Code 2.0, and I can see our Geekzone logo there now, with other companies such as ProjectX, Trade Me, PlanHQ, Silverstripe,, Xero, Sisu Software, Provoke, Innaworks and Spikefin.

Summer of Code 2.0 is an internship programme that gives Computer Science and Engineering students the opportunity to work in cool Tech companies over the summer. Students will gain on the job experience, get paid and learn from the best minds in the business about their knowledge on cutting edge technologies such as:

  • Working in a Start-up
  • High Volume Databases
  • Distributed Computing.
  • Mobile Development
  • Ruby on Rails

Last year Summer of Code 2.0 was the biggest employer of IT students in Wellington. And now it's back bigger and better in'07.

That's cool... We have lots of plans for Geekzone, and come Summer you too can be part of the work here. Check the Summer of Code 2.0 website for more information.

Geekzone Gadget, Trade Me Gadget, XML APIs

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 10-May-2007 09:11

Rowan has announced the guys at Trade Me have released their Trade Me Gadget for Windows Vista Sidebar, and what's more important they also exposed the first accessible Trademe API through XML.

The cool thing is that some have already implemented other "toys" with this API, including a mobile friendly page to monitor your Trademe auctions, a Google Gadget to list Tade Me auctions in iGoogle, and a cool widget to list Trademe auctions in your blog (below).

Since we released our own Geekzone Gadget for Windows Vista (below) I've been thinking of exponsig the API XML, so here it goes: is the main XML file, with a list of forums, timestamp. To list each forum's discussions you can use the forumID and retrieve the RSS for each forum for example

I know someone is working on an Apple Mac OS Dashboard widget. Anyone else interested in creating a mobile friendly version and perhaps a widget for iGoogle?

I just ask one thing: don't hammer the XML with requests every second... A good start is a ten minute cycle.

Andrew Seybold, Wireless and Broadband Forum

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 9-May-2007 20:05

I am just back from the Wireless Wednesday, a monthly event promoted by New Zealand Wireless and Broadband Forum, and had the chance to talk to Andrew Seybold, who was speaking at this meeting.

His talk was an overview of current mobility trends and technologies, including the rise of WiMax, the new 2.5GHz spectrum, Qualcomm's mediaFLO mobile TV and more.

We were introduced before the main event, and spent the better part of half an hour talking about mobile technologies, mobility and other topics related, even sailing (really).

Andrew told me he's just started his own blog, and it's worth checking it if you are interested in anything related to mobile technologies.

He's here in Wellington for a week, and today's meeting was a follow up from yesterday's full day Convergence Oceania 2007, where he was the keynote speaker.

Sierra Wireless Aircard 580 CDMA EVDO support for Windows Vista

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 9-May-2007 19:56

If you are connected to Telecom New Zealand (or other operators) and using a Sierra Wireless Aircard 580 to plug into its CDMA EVDO network, here is good news: you can now download Windows Vista drivers for Aircard 580 with support for 32 bit and 64 bit.

The perfect credit card for Geeks: World of Warcraft Visa

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 9-May-2007 10:08

This what a bunch of geeks were waiting for: The World of Warcraft Visa Rewards Card. How's that for a "captive" audience?

According to the press release, credit card reward points can be redeemed for game time. Not only this, but they are also offering a promotional free month of World of Warcraft time to cardholders upon their first use of the card.

And no annual fees. Of course. No time to pay fees. People are too busy eating pizza, drinking beer and playing WoW...

Only available in the U.S. though.

The big CIO smart phone review

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 9-May-2007 08:57

I've just found out about a (long) review on comparing four smart devices (two Windows Mobile, one Symbian and one RIM BlackBerry). It's an interesting read

There are important differences between selecting phones as a business handheld and choosing a consumer device. Most consumers need only basic phone and messaging functionality; everything else is just frosting on the cake. Not so for business users. CIOs and their staff depend on smartphones to stay connected; in some cases, mobile devices keep their companies up and running. Depending on the organization, specific features beyond phone calls and e-mail are a necessary part of business.

Even when CIOs are willing to upgrade their architecture or buy new hardware, it pays to know the implications of launching a new device across the enterprise. Some devices don't support corporate e-mail services without specific mail servers. Some are designed to function with specific servers, so they work better with one than another.

If you're researching corporate smartphone deployment, the first thing you should do is assess the organization's needs, and thus create a sort of informal criteria for selecting a phone. Purchasing business phones without a clear idea of how the company will use them is like hosting a dinner party and offering only chopsticks as utensils, even though you're unsure if the main dish will be a porterhouse steak, fried chicken or sushi.

Second, assess your current IT architecture to identify the mail servers your organization uses (and the version thereof), as well as corporate mail clients, firewalls and other existing systems that may be affected by a smartphone deployment.

The comparison includes Research In Motion's BlackBerry Pearl 8100, Nokia's E62, Palm's Treo 750, and T-Mobile's Dash, through the eyes of four IT executives: Paul Roche, Network Services CIO; Stephen Ramsey, principal with Brulant; Hugh Scott, Direct Energy VP of IS; and Stacey Morrison, an aerospace industry deputy CIO.

So it's real world thing guys... And the results?

... if we had to vote with our own checkbooks for a business-class smartphone, the Treo 750 is our winner, with the Nokia E62 just a notch behind. Typing functionality, voice quality and Web features are arguably a smartphone's most important features. For us, what sets the Treo 750 apart from the others are its touch screen and stylus, high voice quality and 3G capabilities.

ATM Payphones

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 8-May-2007 23:38

Well, I am sorry but this is probably the strangest idea I've ever heard of in mobile banking... Actually fixed banking: Telecom New Zealand is installing an ATM Payphone:

TSB Bank and Telecom have teamed up to trial New Zealand's first ATM Payphone kiosk. The kiosk will allow people "on the move" to do their banking and make phone calls from the same handy location.

Telecom National Payphone Manager Lisa Hope said "Telecom operates approximately 4,300 payphones in New Zealand and like payphone operators worldwide is seeking new ways to deliver value to customers."

"There are payphone operators internationally that operate ATM Payphone sites and there is evidence that these sites are popular with customers," Mrs Hope said.

Well perhaps somewhere else... But in New Zealand, where there is a huge penetration of cellular technology?

I can imagine someone going to the ATM to withdrawal some cash, and by the way "I will make a phone call here while a line is forming behind me".

But most importantly:

The ATM service features all current services provided via standard ATM's (sic) and has the most secure ATM technology available. Features include 3DES encryption, anti-skimming facia and card insertion and removal jitter.

Standard Telecom Payphone charges will apply for phone calls made from the ATM Payphone.

I feel safe already...

UPDATE: Added a picture as requested by sbiddle, and got a quote from Telecom New Zealand:

If you're wondering about the reasoning behind sticking an ATM on a payphone.... It enables TSB to get access to pre-existing high profile sites around NZ allowing them to expand their network easily, and the advantage for Telecom Payphones is that they get to share the site rental.

Another difference between Palm Treo 700wx and Treo 750v

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 8-May-2007 22:14

A few weeks ago I posted a review comparison of two Palm Treo devices available here in New Zealand. I am talking about the Palm Treo 700wx (left, CDMA, Telecom New Zealand) and the Palm Treo 750v (right, GSM/WCDMA, Vodafone New Zealand).

I just found another difference today. Can you spot it?

Easy: the Palm Treo 750v will have a Windows Mobile 6 update sometime later this year. The Palm Treo 700wx will not have a Windows Mobile 6 update. This is according to sources from Vodafone New Zealand and Telecom New zealand.

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.

A couple of blog posts you should read:

Social networks presence

View Mauricio Freitas's profile on LinkedIn

My Blog by tags...

Viral Marketing...
Web Performance Optimization...
Windows Phone...

Other recent posts in my blog

Now with more fibre...
Unlimited is not unlimited: Vo...
How bad is Vodafone cable at t...
Frustrated with Microsoft Fami...
State of browsers Geekzone Mar...
You are still a pirate accordi...
2015 New Zealand Hi-Tech Award...
Trackers - How technology is h...
Geekzone is a ESET NetGuide We...
Windows Phone and Android apps...

New posts on Geekzone