My window to the world

But TelstraClear redeems...

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 2-Dec-2011 22:59

Sorry folks if my previous post was a bit harsh. Trying to get things done here, taking advantage of an exceptional offer of free data. Then things die after only 30 minutes.

But thanks to some dedicated people, who joined in the hunt for a fault, we now know this is  a hardware fault, even one that was not seem before (thanks to us here using a new technology).

Those people worked after hours to find what is wrong, and for this I am thankful. You know who you are. Have a good weekend folks.

Unbelievable TelstraClear...

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 2-Dec-2011 19:41

A couple of weeks ago I was battling with some small outages on my Telstraclear cable service. The connection would drop for 20 to 30 minutes and come back, once every evening. Then one evening it was down and I decided to "rest". Next morning, almost 12 hours later, the connection was still down.

I tried swapping the router, direct connection from a PC to the modem, etc. Called their help desk and had someone reset my connection on the cable node. Note my connection is one of the very few 100 Mbps service in Wellington, so I thought it could be some configuration on the node, or the Cisco modem being one of the old DOCSIS3 version.

Fast forward to this weekend. TelstraClear made a big noise about their "unmetered broadband" weekend and I thought I'd take advantage of that - first to push my connection to the max, while the entire network is being used at its max.

Thirty minutes into a 60GB download (I'm copying a couple of virtual machines down as a backup) and an extra 10 GB upload to my Crashplan online backup, the connection died.

Again, before calling TesltraClear I tried all we know they were going to ask: swap router, plug a PC directly to the cable modem, etc. The modem won't come online.

Then I decided to call TelstraClear. Unbelievable. Their customer services is closed, and won't open until 9am, about 14 hours away. On the weekend they announced to everyone to push their network to the limits. For me, it's a fiasco.

All the good will they brought in when they announced a good reduction in broadband prices for this month is gone now. I can't work, cant do the things I wanted to do, and the LEDs in their frigging modem are blinking, without being able to connect.

UPDATE: We have now at least three people looking into this. After many remote resets and all, still no traffic. Everyone around seems happy, so it could be the hardware. If nothing works it looks like I will have to get a modem replacement.

Many thanks to those people working late at night trying to figure out what's going on.

UPDATE: It is now decided this is a hardware fault. So now we wait for a new box to arrive.

Again, thanks to those who joined a call late at night to figure this out, including those working from home.

Plan for Geekzone Freeview Pizza 2012!

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 2-Dec-2011 12:30

We have just started talks for our annual Geekzone pizza evenings, and for the third year in a row Freeview has confirmed its support to the event. We very grateful for this (make sure you visit their site to check what/how/why).

Dates are not locked in yet, but it will be somewhere around February/March 2012. We are now looking for drinks sponsors, and prize donors. Check out 2011's sponsors and 2010's list.

This year I am thinking of getting a little bigger, with 80 people attending in Auckland, 80 people in Wellington and 60 people in Christchurch. I hope we have a great event in Christchurch, since last year's had to be cancelled after the terrible earthquake.

As usual these will be open to Geekzone users only, over 18 years old (because the beer rolls free until our bar tab is gone). Similarly to last year's we will be charging a $5 booking fee. That's because we pay the venues based on number of people booked, and in previous events we found out there's a large number of people who booked and didn't show up, so we had to pay for them anyway.

Booking will again be staggered: Geekzone subscribers will receive the link first, followed by other users a day later. Users can buy an extra ticket for guests, at full price.

Keep an eye on this discussion for updated information. We will send email notifications to everyone who replied there before the registrations open.

The SKA Big Data infographic

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 30-Nov-2011 14:34

I am told IBM has completed the software research project for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Global Telecospe. While we wait for a decision where the SKA is actually being built (contenders are Australia/New Zealand and South Africa), here's an infographic showing how big Big Data is when it comes to this project (click image for larger version):

SKA will be the world's largest and most sensitive radio telescope. It has been estimated that the SKA will generate in excess of one Exabyte of raw data in a single day - more than the entire daily internet traffic. One of the central design challenges of the SKA project is how to process this huge volume of astronomical data and enable insights to be drawn from it.

Who is using Microsoft cloud services?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 30-Nov-2011 09:28

New Zealand datacentres on Computerworld (and a quote from yours)

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 29-Nov-2011 10:48

A couple of months ago I was contacted by Computerworld to give some information about our use of a New Zealand-based datacentre. The story "The rise of the local datacentre" is now live on Computerworld.

Having a local datacentre provider is vital to Geekzone.

"Our analytics tell us that 55 percent of our traffic is from New Zealand and about 70 percent of this local traffic comes from Auckland," says Freitas. "Having servers in Wellington would add unnecessary hops to the majority of our readers, and having servers overseas would add to the international latency. Also, having local servers allows our local readers to reach the site even if their ISP's international links are down or overloaded."

"We looked at Intergen in Wellington, which is not the largest but has a nice infrastructure," he says. "But because of the Auckland numbers we decided to keep the services there."

Freitas believes in being closer to customers, mainly because of speed.

We're with Datacom in Auckland... Hit the link to read the whole article.

The Future of Trustworthy Computing with Brendon Lynch, Chief Privacy Officer, Microsoft Corp

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 29-Nov-2011 10:37

Found this from Nathan's blog:

The internet of things, big data and virtually limitless inexpensive storage will transform the online environment. Huge volumes of data from new sources such as sensors, biometric devices and smartgrids will create significant opportunities in business, healthcare, government and countless other fields.

At the same time, the data deluge will also carry significant risks that must be managed if society is to realise its value. Brendon Lynch, the Chief Privacy Officer at Microsoft, will discuss these trends and their implications.

Brendon is responsible for all aspects of Microsoft's privacy programme, including privacy policy creation and implementation across the company, influencing the creation of privacy and data protection technologies for customers and overseeing communication and engagement with external stakeholders. Now based at Microsoft's global headquarters in Redmond, he is originally from the Waikato.

Dean's Distinguished Speaker Series:

Monday 5 December 2011 from 5.30pm
The University of Auckland Business School
Lecture Theatre OGGB3, Level 0
Owen G Glenn Building
12 Grafton Road, Auckland
Event details and registration

Wellington Employers' Chamber of Commerce
Breakfast Tuesday 6 December 2011 from 7.15am
Wellesley Boutique Hotel
2-8 Maginnity Street, Wellington
Event details and registration

Mobile browser users are a sorry group...

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 28-Nov-2011 10:00

I like reading some aggregators site ( for example) or RSS readers on my smartphone. The sites/readers link to some news sites that are getting very clever about mobile devices. But still dumb.

Here is the thing: if I want to read an article and your site automatically redirects to a mobile version, at least have the decency of sending my browser to the article I am trying to read, not your front page.

Here, this XKCD cartoon explains it really well:

New Zealand Internet speed, from a content provider point of view

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 21-Nov-2011 15:52

I am doing what I think is probably a first in New Zealand (please point us to other sources in the comments below if they exist) by publishing page load speed for Geekzone, as reported by Google Analytics.

I'm doing this because I started thinking of web experience in general, after reading a couple of discussions on Geekzone ("Vodafone improved browsing while TelstraClear DSL comes in last of top 5" and "More misleading consumer ads?"), both based on TrueNet's reports.

TrueNet works by distributing routers to volunteers that will "host" these boxes at home and office. These TrueNet routers will from time to time test the broadband service and report back for data consolidation. I believe it's a great service, and we have one of these routers here at home - if you want to volunteer contact them.

Now, back to Geekzone and New Zealand numbers. I try to work hard in giving our users maximum page load speed. We do this through lots of different techniques. This includes web page optimisation, CDN, database optimisation, and more. We obviously follow those numbers very closely, through different tools. One of them is Google Analytics.

In this post, covering the period from 20th October 2011 through 20th November 2011 you will see web page load times for New Zealand regions, New Zealand ISPs and even a comparison with other countries. We had about 835,000 page views (New Zealand only) over this period, and Google used 51,985 samples to give me the numbers below.

Again, these numbers are for Geekzone only. We currently have our server colocated with Datacom in Auckland, where 75% of our New Zealand traffic originates from. Also note all numbers are sorted in descending order of speed.

What is the average web page load time distribution in New Zealand?

Which region is slowest? (lower Avg. Page Load Time is better)

Which city is slowest? (lower Avg. Page Load Time is better)

Which ISP is slowest? (lower Time is better)

Note that in the ISP table I am only showing numbers for those domains I know are associated with an ISP. Private domains are not listed. If you know of a domain associated with an ISP that is not here, please let me know and I will try adding it later.

How does New Zealand compare with other countries?

Obviously the majority of our samples will be New Zealand based, but here is a cut of the fastest (the ten fastest, followed by some select countries: Australia, France, United States, United Kingdom, Germany). Again these are sample size, not total page views.

I hope this will be a good reference for other content providers, and perhaps some might even be encouraged to post numbers so we can compare.

UPDATE: Just to make clear, these times are web page load time. This includes all resources in a Geekzone web page, including the html itself, CSS, images, scripts. These scripts include Google Analytics, Google DFP.

Want a cheap phone with Skinny? It will be locked...

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 20-Nov-2011 13:24

It looks like we will see Telecom New Zealand trying to introduce SIM lock in New Zealand again, through its yet to be launched "skinny" mobile brand - after Vodafone's failed attempt back in 2008. The information comes courtesy of Google cache:

Thanks to manhinli for finding this gem...

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. Also worth visiting is TravelTalk NZ, a community for travelers!

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...

State of Browsers...
Viral Marketing...
Web Performance Optimization...
Windows Phone...

Other recent posts in my blog

Microsoft Ignite New Zealand, ...
If the headlines indicate the ...
Geekzone data analytics with P...
State of browsers Geekzone Mar...
2Cheap Cars discussion...
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...

New posts on Geekzone