My window to the world


New Zealand copyright law proposal: you are guilty until you prove your innocence

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 9-Nov-2010 15:25

I am reproducing here Juha's blog post "New unjust copyright law alert: you are guilty until you prove your innocence" because this issue affects all New Zealand Internet users in general and I want it to get even more exposure.

Despite Labour and various lobby groups patting themselves on the back, saying a compromise has been reached that makes the amended copyright law workable and fair, it looks like things have in fact taken a turn for the worse.

Please make sure that you read this: Internet law guru Rick Shera is ringing the alarm bell about a completely new provision being introduced into the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill at the very last moment by the Commerce Select Committee.

Called Section 122MA, the provision essentially presumes an account holder is guilty if accused and must prove his/her innocence. Rights holders infringement notices are considered as conclusive evidence however. There is no sanction against rights holders who present erroneous or false evidence in the proposed new law either.

This is really bad from every perspective, and I fully concur with Rick that Section 122MA must be deleted. It's not necessary, not for rights holders, and not for copyright protection either.

As it stands, S122MA can be used maliciously, and applied to not just file sharers.

Update: Rick sent a correction - "The new regime can ONLY be used to target file sharing (you suggest that it could be used for something else).  Section 92C of course has exactly the same problem with guilt on accusation.  Irony is many submitted that the new regime and section 92C should be made consistent.  Little did we know that they would retrofit the new one!"

The irony here is that I remember David Farrar, wearing his InternetNZ hat, saying during the S92A debacle that it was necessary to engage and help shape the new law. If not, something much worse than S92A et al could appear.

Clearly, there have been many, many submissions on the new copyright bill and plenty of public opinion expressed too - and correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think anyone with the possible exception of rights holders have advocated that we remove the principle of innocent until found guilty from our laws.

So why did the Select Committee insert Section 122MA? This needs to be explained.



Where in the world is Olga Fiedo?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 29-Oct-2010 10:19

An interesting sequence of events started here earlier this week. I received an unexpected box, posted from Dunedin, apparently from one "Olga Fiedo". Inside the box a small clay ornament, with a numbered card.

I don't know Olga Fiedo, and search attempts didn't return anything meaningful. 

But this morning I got a phone call. Someone asked for "Olga Fiedo". It seems this person also got a box from this mysterious "Olga Fiedo". With my phone number in the sender details.

Now curious, I looked at the box I received earlier this week and noticed that the phone number in the recipient details was not from Dunedin, but a Wellington area number. So I called that number and reached a family voice mail. No "Olga Fiedo" in the welcome message though, only mum, dad and two kids.

It's obvious now that whoever sent this wanted people to call each other, and spread the name - or get curious about it. As I posted to my Twitter, ok Olga, I'm listening...

Do you know Olga Fiedo?



iPhone the most expensive phone, does not appeal to business...

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 22-Oct-2010 12:32

That's what Steve Ballmer said


Thanks to Fake Steve Jobs for refreshing our memory...



Forum Nokia Developers Breakfast (Auckland)

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 20-Oct-2010 16:44

Received this announcement, which may be of interest to some here in the mobile development community:

Book your seat at the inaugural Forum Nokia Developers Breakfast on 4th November 2010
 
Tap into this unique opportunity to network with your peers and meet the Nokia team. Download market insights on the New Zealand mobile market and explore the latest trends in mobile apps. Get introduced to the latest Symbian^3 devices and understand Nokia's new software strategy. Learn about the publishing process to the Ovi Store and explore the partnering opportunities for brands, content owners, developers and entrepreneurs.
 
Also, learn about the advantages of developing on the Qt platform and cross-platform development opportunities.

When: 4 November 2010
Where: Rendezvous Hotel, Auckland

Link to register for the event
Link to see the agenda



Steve Ballmer explains Windows Phone 7

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 12-Oct-2010 08:44

Earlier today Microsoft Corp. joined its partners in revealing nine new Windows Phone 7 handsets that will be available this year from mobile operators in Europe, North America and Asia Pacific.

There are more than 60 mobile operators in over 30 countries worldwide committed to bringing Windows Phones to market.

“We have a beautiful lineup in this first wave of Windows Phone 7 handsets,” said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer at Microsoft. “Microsoft and its partners are delivering a different kind of mobile phone and experience — one that makes everyday tasks faster by getting more done in fewer steps and providing timely information in a ‘glance and go’ format.”

Windows Phone 7 will be available in a variety of form factors from device-makers such as Dell, HTC Corp., LG and Samsung, and from mobile operators including América Móvil, AT&T, Deutsche Telekom AG, Movistar, O2, Orange, SFR, SingTel, Telstra, TELUS, T-Mobile USA and Vodafone.

All Windows Phone 7 phones will include the high-performance Snapdragon processor from Qualcomm. A broad selection of phones will begin shipping in holiday 2010 with more arriving in 2011, including phones from Sprint and Verizon Wireless. In addition, select models will be available at Microsoft Store locations and from Amazon.

Here's a video of Steve Ballmer talking about Windows Phone 7:



All content is created equal on the net

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 11-Oct-2010 16:39

Recently Sky Network Television Ltd announced their plans of partnering with some New Zealand-based ISPs to distribute content for its new service iSky free of charge ("unmetered") to their customers. Like so many things on the Internet, free is good - unless it has the potential to undermine the basic principle of equal access to information to everyone.

The following is a guest post by Ludwig Wendzich on this topic:

The great thing about the Internet is that anyone with access to the network can access any public content available through these connections. The independent content producer, the home movie dad and the giant media moguls are all on a level playing field and the consumer, you, have the option to decide which content they want to consume, as long as you have a working Internet connection and haven't run through your data cap yet.

Net neutrality is the idea that access to the Internet means access to the whole Internet at the same price. The product which telcos sell are bits, or data transfer. They can charge you a $80 for 40GB of data transfer at 256kpbs, or offer you different packages, but their product is still data transfer.

What data you choose to download is up to you. Telcos should have no business in deciding which content you should or shouldn't have access to.

Now we have to defend our rights against some New Zealand telcos placing a bias towards the consumption of certain types of content -- more specifically, a bias toward the content produced by media giants with enough cash to subsidize the cost of data transfer.

ISP Orcon announced the O-Zone where they allow free access to a number of large websites, including TVNZ. Telecom New Zealand announced their partnership with TiVO giving customers unmetered access to on demand TiVO content. And now a number of ISPs (including Vodafone, Orcon, Slingshot, farmside, Woosh and Xnet) have announced a partnership with SKY which allows SKY subscribers to have unmetered access to on demand SKY content on their computers over the Internet.

On the surface this seems like a great deal and that's exactly what the telcos want you to think. Vodafone spokesman, Paul Brislen, has said (on their company twitter account) that "this is nothing more than Sky saying 'you can watch the content you've paid for on TV or on PC' and that's it". But this simply isn't true. The distinction needs to be made between the two services:

1. Access to on demand SKY content
2. Data transfer from the telcos

Paying for content online doesn't mean you have paid for the delivery. These are separate services. When you buy a book at Amazon you still have to pay for postage. Buying a movie from iTunes doesn't mean that you no longer have to pay for the data transfer. It uses just the basic form of content - bits - to  transfer this iTunes movie as downloading the same movie from torrents.

The cost of the service doesn't negate the cost of the data transfer which means that the telcos here have effectively made the iSKY service an infinitely cheaper entertainment service than anything else online (except for TVNZ on Orcon). That's because they have allowed SKYTV to pay for those data transfer charges instead of passing them on to their own customers, you.

This seems very good for us now, no data charges for TVNZ (on Orcon), no data charges for SKYTV (on selected providers) if we already subscribe to SKY, and no data charges for on demand TiVO content (on Telecom.) Not paying for something must be good, right?

That's a shortsighted view because it will lead to us ending up with the Internet being populated by the media giants, who can afford to strike these data transfer deals with the telcos to allow their content to be accessed for free. And the rest of us, who can't afford to pay for everyone else's data transfer of our content are at a huge disadvantage with consumers having to pay for something they are used to having paid on their behalf, making them less likely to access our, now more expensive, content.

When I suggested to Vodafone that they are creating an Internet that excludes the little man, they responded with "there is nothing to stop you doing any of this - that's absolutely untrue", suggesting that if I wanted to be on a level playing field with the big boys I could also strike a deal with Vodafone that would have them serve my content for free. I asked how much this would cost and it turns out that Vodafone "have no idea how much [I'd] pay - that's a commercial negotiation [I'd] have to engage in, just as Sky has."

Think for a minute what this means. New startups could not exist. Creating a new Internet web property would cost so much to the new entrant, that they would cease to exist because they do not have enough money to subsidize everyone's access to their websites.

Every single web property only exists because the Internet is a neutral platform. Anyone can put something online, and anyone else with an Internet connection, can access that content at the same cost as consuming any other content (of the same file size) on the Internet.

The great thing about the Internet is that it is neutral. Let's not give control of the Internet to the conglomerates, the media companies or even the telcos. Telcos should be bit movers, not content providers.

We protested against Section 92a (#s92a) and won. Child pornography and piracy were used as a smokescreen to confuse the issues but we saw through it. Now you are being distracted by free access to on demand video content. Just because the telcos handicap us with low data caps at ridiculous prices doesn't mean we should fall for this.

Instead, we should stand strong behind this issue, our freedom of choice, and argue that if the telcos are so interested in the customers, as Vodafone claims on their twitter account (http://twitter.com/vodafoneNZ/status/25849971917), then they would increase caps and drop prices instead of making content choices on our behalf.

Access to the whole web is being restricted (by low data caps and high prices) and telcos want you to believe you are better off because access to certain content is now free. This is simply not true and New Zealanders would be shooting themselves in the foot  if they accept this as Internet will go the way of radio -- everyone will have access to the available content for free, but the available content will be severely limited to those who have the financial means to afford to distribute it.

Ludwig Wendzich is a 19 year-old web and technology enthusiast who is currently studying Design at AUT. He's been involved in the world of web design from a very young age and has been running Barcamp Auckland, a homegrown gathering of technologists from around New Zealand, since 2007. His personal website is http://ludwignz.com and you can follow him on Twitter @ludwigw.



The Day the Routers Died

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 11-Oct-2010 13:12

Just excuse the American British pronunciation of "routers"...



HP Networking Executive Seminar - Wellington 26 Nov 2010

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 11-Oct-2010 10:13

HP Networking will be hosting an Executive Seminar over breakfast with Gartner vice president and distinguished analyst, Mark Fabbi, who will discuss emerging technology trends and how these trends can affect an organisation's network infrastructure.

The HP Networking Executive Seminar will address the evolving networking landscape, market trends and challenges faced by organisations.

In addition, HP will discuss how its networking solutions provide simplified, more flexible and secured networks, as well as how it reduces network complexity, improves IT delivery, and lowers overall costs.

Where: Intercontinental Hotel, 2 Grey Street, Wellington
When: Friday, 26th November, 2010 8:00am - 11:00am
Registration: http://www.hp.com/apac/HPNroadshow
Website: http://www.hp.com/apac/HPNroadshow
Who should attend: IT and business leaders and HP channel partners
Cost: Free



The story of New Zealand's Internet, one chapter a day

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 11-Oct-2010 09:41

A couple of months ago I was invited to record a sessions about my personal impressions, memories and other bits of New Zealand's Internet history from my point of view. The end resulting website Down to the Wire, created by Heyday, launched today and tells the story from 1989 through now, a page for each year, a page released every day.

Each page comes with a couple of video interviews, recordings, "track of the year" (free downlod!), quotes, a bit of history, and links to more reading. And of course the required Like and Tweet buttons.

I have no idea if my video contribution will be used, and if it is I don't know which year it will show up, but if you see me say hello!

But it doesn't stop there. You can contribute your personal experiences too, but clicking the "Add your story" button and entering your own memories to the list. I've done that already, so now it's your turn - visit Down to the Wire now.

UPDATE: Actually I visited the 1989 page directly, before and didn't notice my mugshot is already being used in the frontpage:



What is missing in the Windows Media Center puzzle?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 23-Sep-2010 14:09

Today we have a variety of sources for digital home entertainment (in New Zealand)... We can just walk to the local video rental store and get a DVD (a few weeks after the movie's been to the silver screens). Or you can get free-to-air high definition TV over Freeview|HD (including the option of using some interesting recorders like the Magic TV and TiVO). You can subscribe to Sky and get your TV programs over satellite. Or even wait for the TelstraClear HD PVR coming soon (after months of delay).

Or you can get an Apple TV and use the iTunes service to rent movies (albeit from a limited selection when compared to the list of titles available overseas). You can also use iTunes on your PC if you don't have an Apple TV.

You can also source your digital home entertainment from dubious sources, such as torrenting those TV programs that have not been released in the country yet - not even through the iTunes service.

Here at home we use a Windows Media Center. It's a very flexible setup, basically a Windows PC with an appropriate video graphics card and a TV source (in our case a HDHomeRun). It brings together HD TV (we have very good Freeview|HD signal here), music, DVD, photos, even some web content (including YouTube), at the point of a single remote control. All this in a very small Dell Zino HD PC that hides inside the cabinet.

Windows Media Center

Windows Media Center

Windows Media Center

There are other media centre software, both for Windows and Mac PCs, but after trying a few, I still like the Windows Media Center big screen interface.

However this very flexible setup is, it still won't allow me to rent movies directly from the Internet. If we want to buy or rent an iTunes movie then we need to grab the keyboard, close Media Center and use the keyboard to navigate the iTunes software to complete the action, download the movie and watch it.

Apple iTunes

An alternative, you'd have thought, would be for Microsoft to have a Zune Marketplace add-in for Windows Media Center. Because they already have Zune Marketplace for Xbox 360, and it's even available in New Zealand (with less titles than the iTunes service I am told). But no. Microsoft didn't put much effort into that, and although a new Zune application for PC is coming, nothing seems to be planned for Media Center.

Of course one could hope Apple would tap into this market - and seeing they already have an Windows version of iTunes, then it could be just a hop to have a native add-in that would allow access to your iTunes account from inside Media Center. Alas this is not out there either. And no, I don't think the new generation Apple TV beats the Media Center - it doesn't even accommodate a real TV receiver.

So these are the features I want to see most in Windows Media Center: either a Zune Marketplace or an Apple iTunes add-in.

What would you want to see in your digital entertainment hub?



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.

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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.

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