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.
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.
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
I like reading some aggregators site (www.fark.com 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:
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.
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...
Hot off the... designer's bench? Unisys Security Index has released an infographic showing the costs of cyber crime. The full image is 4MB and you can download by clicking the small version below:
In the last couple of days I've noticed a few people asking why their new second hand mobile phones (oxymoron not intended) is not working on Vodafone.
Here is a tip if you are buying second hand phone from auction sites (or from a "friend of a friend"): if the seller says "it works on 2degrees but won't work on Vodafone" then you know it's either lost or stolen.
Here is why: New Zealand mobile operators do not lock mobile phones sold in the country. If a handset works on 2degrees it should work just fine on Vodafone. However Vodafone does have (and share with Telecom) a database of blacklisted IMEI (the phone's unique identification). This information is not currently shared with 2degrees. An IMEI is blacklisted when the owner reports it stolen or lost.
If you see someone selling a New Zealand sourced mobile phone that works on 2degrees but doesn't work on Vodafone, stay clear.
For a few years now we have been running a blog platform on Geekzone, for some of our trusted users. The standard URL is www.geekzone.co.nz/<username>. Since the beginning I have had freitasm.com redirecting to my to my Geekzone blog. Also for years technology commentator and journalist Juha Saarinen has hosted his blog on Geekzone, and asked for it to allow third party domains.
Today I put a a few hours into it, and the result is out: The Geekzone blog platform now supports third party domain names.
This is not a world changing thing, I know. I mean some people could just as easily go and get a hosted Wordpress account. But it was a good hacking exercise to port the existing platform to a dynamic one. It also gives us the chance of creating sponsored blogs with vanity URLs (we previously ran www.geekzone.co.nz/vs2008, www.geekzone.co.nz/myfreeviewhdreview, www.geekzone.co.nz/TelecomTech and soon will start www.geekzone.co.nz/visualstudio). And any new feature we put in are automatically available to every blog at the same time. And that's geeky and cool.
This blog post about dirty words is brilliant. It's about passion. It is also true all the way. When I talk to people after they leave the stage, that's when I get the true story.
And yes, I swear, on Twitter.
Today I attended the morning sessions of the Voice Leadership Forum here in Wellington. You see, I am one that believes most help desk/customer services provide an awful experience. I would put the IRD and American Express in the "ok, these are not bad" basket.
Anyway, the main reason I decided to accept the invite was to see what companies are doing to overcome this problem. And the forum was a good place to see the other side.
I found out about the IRD experience with speech recognition, voice print identification and queue management. This was a big surprise. I knew about their experience with speech recognition, but voice print identification? Wow, that's cool, and it seems to work. The IRD wants (and here is a big ask) to have 800,000 customers (that's us, New Zealand citizens and residents) enrolled in the program. Forget about "what's date of birth, your mother's maiden name, address, last known dog's name" security questions.
I also heard from BNZ, the Newcastle Permanent Building Society, and TelstraClear.
TelstraClear was one of the main sponsors, with Salmat. And interestingly enough, while most of its customers I have talked to dread calling their call centre, the company is still one of the big providers of knowledge in this area - it seems almost every company in the forum had interacted with TelstraClear being a provider in this area. The presentation (just before lunch and therefore short of some details), gave the audience an idea of a framework to identify problems in call centres, as well as the stages where each company can be positioned when it comes to the deployment of solutions, technical or otherwise.
I wonder though (and I didn't want to ask this in the forum), in which stage TelstraClear see themselves?