My window to the world


Telecom New Zealand shows its new logo

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 16-Oct-2009 19:41

As discussed earlier in our Geekzone forums, and posted by Juha on his blog, Telecom New Zealand is introducing a new logo. Juha was quite close by mentioning some of the trademarks he found, so here it is, the new Telecom New Zealand logo (click the image for a large resolution version).
Telecom has not sent out detailed information on this yet - it seems there are some "exclusive" cover by some of the mainstream media outlets involved, but we can all put our minds to think what is this?
Light rays? Optical fiber? Stars?
Obviously we can only imagine - and it seems the idea is that this brand will give each person a different view of the company.
Head over to our ongoing discussion to find some answers. Or add your ideas.



Have you seen this girl (Aisling Symes)?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 11-Oct-2009 13:52

Missing Aisling Symes If you have any information about missing girl Aisling Symes you can contact the New Zealand Police on 0800 4 247 5464 (download pdf poster). The Help Find Aisling Symes website provides more information, videos and pictures that can help you identify the missing two years old.

Aisling Symes went missing on Monday 5th Otober 2009.

You can also join a Missing Aisling Symes Facebook group and spread the links so your friends are aware of this.



Google Apps Premiere and desktop/mobile problems

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 11-Oct-2009 13:28

I was running my own Microsoft Exchange server and decided that it's not my business running email infrastrucutre. Also migrating to new Microsoft Exchange versions required extra server, extra work, maintaning another Windows Server virtual machine was just using memory on the host server, so you get the picture.
The contenders were Microsoft Online or Google Apps Premiere. At the end price won, and as I found out and got confirmed at the New Zealand Clound Computing Summit, cheap is not always best...
Microsoft Online is not bad in cost per user (under NZ$20/user a month) but requires a minimum of five licenses. So this is about NZ$100 a month. Compare this to Google Apps Premiere at US$50/year per seat and you see how easy it is to be lured into the Google service.
I wanted to keep using Microsoft Outlook. I know a lot of people think it's not the greatest email program but it's a great PIM. Google Apps Premiere allows you to use the Google Apps Sync for Outlook (only for Google Apps Premiere accounts) to replicate the behaviour you expect from an Microsoft Exchange server and Outlook combo - synchronisation of email, folders, calendar, contacts.
It works ok. You can even create folders and those are synchronised to the Google Mail server as labels. When you move an email from the Inbox to a folder it's in fact archiving the email and assigning a label to it.
This is one tip: when in this environment you can replicate the server rules functionality but remember to create your rules with the option "Skip Inbox" and "Assign Label" on Google Mail. his way you won't end up with emails showing up in the Inbox list if you ever have to access Google Mail from a web interface.
I live on email. And I consider it very important I get my emails wherever I am. Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync is a great protocol and favoured by businesses. That's why it works on Windows Mobile, S60, iPhone and there are third parties that provide applications to synchronise your device with Microsoft Exchange servers - like RoadSync.
So of course I was excited to see Google Sync for mobile finally supporting email synchronisation, in addition to contacts and calendar. Make sure you uncheck Tasks synchronisation. Google Sync for mobile doesn't support task synchronisation.
Settings for Google Sync for mobile on Windows Mobile Here is another tip: to configure Google Sync for Mobile set your device to synchronise to a Microsoft Exchange server, enter m.google.com as server address, check the box to use SSL connections, enter your full email address as used in Google Apps Premiere and password. Leave domain empty and it will just work.
Or so I thought. Make sure you have patience. Lots of it. I couldn't find an end to the errors and problems Google Sync for Mobile introduces.
Most of the times synchronisation will start and end with no results at all. What I mean is that you can see in the web interface about 90 new emails. The device will start synchronisation, connect to the servers, request updated folders and end with no emails being actually downloaded to your device. Or sometimes it downloads twenty emails, and if you synchronise manually again you can get the other 70 emails, or get another 30, and so on. Keep synchronising to get all your emails folks!
Or you might configure the software to download emails from the last month to your mobile device and you will find you are lucky if you get the last week. Or the last day. Or whatever Google servers think they want to send to your device.
No this is not a problem with Windows Mobile. It happened with Nokia MfE and RoadSync as well.
Let's now try something more daring. Try deleting some email from Microsoft Outlook. See how it deletes from the web interface instantly, thanks to the Google Apps Sync for Outlook. Then see how these deleted emails that you don't want to ever see again remain on your device. Sometimes you delete ten emails, and only one or two are removed from your device, the rest remaining there, in limbo. Sometimes they are all deleted. Who knows?
Or have you been surprised when you tried to synchronise your Windows Mobile device to only get Contacts and Calendar and no email, with an error code saying "Server cannot be accessed"? Well try again - but this time make sure you don't have folders nested within folders. Things that look natural in Outlook and Microsoft Exchange are "tweaked" within Google Mail - and their synchronisation software is still not up to the task.
For example create a folder called "Customers" and then create subfolders called "Customer A", "Customer B", "Customer C". Then create another folder called "Projects" and continue with "Project A", "Project B", etc.
Google Mail actually create labels like "Customers" then "Customers/Customer A", "Customers/Customer B", "Customers/Customer C", "Projects", "Projects/Project A", "Projects/Project B", etc.
When the client requests the folder list from the Google Servers it seems Google is not replying with the folder list but label list. So when you have an email that should be on "Customer A" folder your mobile device doesn't have it. So the mobile sync software crashes. Hard. No email for you!
Attachments seem to be another problem. It seems Google Sync for Mobile doesn't send information about attached files when synchronising emails to Windows Mobile ActiveSync. The result is that you don't get to see any attachment until you go to work on a desktop.
I also found a problem that only affected Nokia MfE. It seems Google Sync is not sending the correct timezone for all day events to the device and when this happens Nokia MfE assigns the wrong timezone to all day events. I found out the device is not using your local timezone but instead whatever comes without a timezone just gets assigned to "Finland". In this case I have to say bad on Google for not sending the timezone information, and bad on Nokia for assuming that using "Finland" would be a great decision. What about using the device's timezone settings Nokia?
Many people will say "it works for me". But have you actually got to a point where you have multiple end points (Windows Mobile ActiveSync, Nokia MfE, Roadsync, Apple iPhone) that otherwise work when using Microsoft Exchange and just don't work when you change the plumbing (Google Apps)? Are you a purist that think web access is the only way to use it? Are you using multiple folders, synchronising between a desktop client, cloud and mobile device?
And try getting Google Support to actually reply to your emails. Even though you are a paying customer, I didn't get any reply earlier than 48 hours. Unacceptable from a business point of view.
I am sorry, but with Microsoft Exchange it just works. Google still has a long way to go to make this a worthwhile service. In the meantime I am looking to escape from it and get into a hosted Microsoft Exchange service.

UPDATE: Migrated to Microsoft Online at the end.



This is just a test post... Don't worry!

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 8-Oct-2009 13:54

map3f31b99f1061I am actually testing the metaweblog API implementation on Geekzone, and using Windows Live Writer to post this blog entry.
As usual Phil (RedJungle, @redjungle on Twitter) did a great job of integrating our custom database and a nice .Net wrapper to allow this magic to happen.
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Nullam in enim. Maecenas dapibus. Phasellus non velit. Sed sodales semper purus. Quisque scelerisque, neque ut sagittis varius, est nulla consectetuer mauris, a posuere ante quam ut augue. Cras tincidunt magna id orci. In urna diam, fermentum sed, condimentum consectetuer, ultrices nec, sem. Mauris in leo in turpis dictum hendrerit. Aliquam adipiscing vehicula orci. Curabitur euismod, ligula sed viverra cursus, nunc neque luctus velit, ut lacinia turpis dolor nec lacus. Vestibulum gravida erat a pede. Donec sapien. Phasellus pulvinar commodo ante. Integer vulputate, massa sed dignissim sodales, odio magna facilisis risus, dignissim consequat erat erat ac lacus. Sed vehicula, urna et vulputate faucibus, felis ligula dapibus nibh, nec dapibus lorem mi vitae augue. Pellentesque dictum arcu at sem. Phasellus eget tellus. Mauris euismod erat vel enim.
Suspendisse commodo urna vel risus suscipit ultricies. Duis molestie, velit nec ultricies egestas, mauris metus blandit lectus, at placerat sapien diam vitae leo. Integer dolor orci, dignissim sit amet, posuere in, lobortis in, eros. Quisque a felis ut nunc eleifend dictum. In id justo. Sed sed dui. Maecenas ligula. Nulla facilisi. Proin nec diam. Nunc tortor. Nulla facilisi. Curabitur gravida feugiat velit.
Donec sem. Donec fringilla elit in wisi. Curabitur porta magna vel arcu. Duis pulvinar. Maecenas ac libero. Praesent id dolor sagittis tortor imperdiet interdum. Mauris posuere massa. Mauris sit amet est. Quisque neque sapien, euismod quis, laoreet vitae, laoreet eu, wisi. Maecenas porttitor. Curabitur blandit, tellus at hendrerit auctor, orci enim laoreet risus, at rutrum tellus lectus nec diam. Donec quis metus a lorem suscipit semper. Integer volutpat. Nunc quis magna. Vestibulum quis orci a leo gravida interdum. Sed commodo mauris et augue. Proin ut augue.



TelecomONE and werewolves

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 7-Oct-2009 16:26

Last weekend I spent some good time in Warkworth attending Telecom New Zealand's internal unconference, TelecomONE.

This is the second time Telecom people gather to mix with external guests and discuss all things Telecom with no barriers - all under a FrieNDA of course (I think FrieNDA worked ok last year since this year no one from Telecom legal showed up)...

The whole weekend was organised by Neil, and expertly managed by Nat and Jenine. Thank you all of you for your great work.

I know unconferences can be a bit of a culture shock to some people used to structured work, but a couple of evenings playing Werewolf until 3am can break the ice. This is a cartoon one of the guests put on for us:



Also it's important for you to know that external guests were not sponsored to attend the event. Everyone paid their own way up to Warkworth and some (like myself) who did not camp paid their own accommodation as well. Just saying, before someone working for any other company goes around saying I am taking bribes from Telecom. There. Said it.



What is a web browser? Google tells us...

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 7-Oct-2009 09:41

A lot of people have no idea how a computer works. You don't need to know exactly how it does it, but it helps if you know what you are using. What is a web browser? Google tells us:



I got a message from Iggy!

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 6-Oct-2009 15:40

Very clever marketing there, Orcon... Sending personalised messages from Iggy Pop to some people around the country. Something is cooking up!

Here is the message I received today:



Orcon is looking for eight kiwis to help Iggy Pop recreate one of his tracks. More details coming soon.



Replacement To 'Guilt Upon Accusation' Law Approaches

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 6-Oct-2009 14:34

The Creative Freedom Foundation say that Commerce Minister Simon Power may decide the future of the former Guilt Upon Accusation law, section 92A of the Copyright Amendment Act, within weeks. The law was described as draconian by Prime Minister John Key and it resulted in widespread public protest before being scrapped in March, pending a redraft.

CFF Director, Bronwyn Holloway-Smith, said today that "Minister Power's redrafting process has made a lot of sense so far and we have been encouraged to see that the government seems intent on avoiding going back to s92A's draconian predecessor."

"Internet termination is a major issue that is yet to be resolved. We don't terminate a family's postal service if one person uses it to break the law.
We don't terminate a family's electricity if one person plays music too loudly. The internet is part of modern participation in society, and termination will unfairly affect peoples' ability to pay bills, to do business, to read news, email friends, and participate in democracy. Simply put, internet termination is an inventive and ridiculous punishment that will harm many people for the actions of one." she further stated.

"Copyright infringement is wrong but we won't win the hearts and minds of New Zealanders with a draconian punishment like termination. We need fair, targeted penalties like fines, supported by good education about copyright."

"It has been said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, and with that in mind NZFACT are calling for New Zealanders to be presumed guilty until proven innocent yet again. NZFACT flew an Hollywood lobbyist over to argue that New Zealanders shouldn't have the same rights that are afforded to United States
citizens."

"Here and abroad studies have shown that 30-37% of accusations of copyright infringement are false, with 57% of cases being businesses targeting competitors. These facts are backed by experts and independent studies, whereas industry claims of lost sales due to illegal downloads have been exposed as unscientific. The Australian government have labeled piracy statistics as "self-serving hyperbole" in a draft government report to their Attorney General."

"NZFACT claim that millions of dollars are lost to online infringement despite not actually selling box office movies online, which raises the obvious question of whether millions are lost due to illegal downloads, or unsatisfied customers."

"They seek have to extraordinary powers to terminate people's internet accounts, but thankfully the redrafting process shows no signs of relying on hearsay and speculation."

New Zealanders are encouraged to learn more at http://CreativeFreedom.org.nz to send respectful emails to Minister Simon Power on s.power@ministers.govt.nz about the value of due process and their thoughts on internet termination.

------------------------------------------

"FACTS AND FIGURES"

Former head of New Zealand's Copyright Tribunal, Judge Harvey, has said that 30% of New Zealand copyright litigation fails due to a failure to prove ownership, or due to the copyright not being governed by New Zealand law.

According to a UCLA study (2008), 37% of US claims of online copyright infringement are invalid, and 57% of claims are businesses against competitors.

The Australian government have labeled piracy statistics as "self-serving hyperbole" in a draft government report. A confidential briefing for the Attorney-General's Department, prepared by the Australian Institute of Criminology, lashes the music and software sectors. The draft of the institute's intellectual property crime report, sighted by The Australian shows that copyright owners "failed to explain" how they reached financial loss statistics used in lobbying activities and court cases.

Source: http://www.australianit.news.com.au/story/0,24897,20713160-15306,00.html

The Creative Freedom Foundation is a not-for-profit trust representing 20,000 New Zealanders, including 10,000 artists (musicians, film makers, visual artists, designers, writers, & performers). The trust founded in 2008 in response to changes in copyright law and the effect these changes are having on creativity, the economy, and public rights. Through education and advocacy, the CFF seek to encourage, and promote New Zealand artist's views on issues that have the potential to influence their collective creativity.



Xero is no longer one size fits all

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 29-Sep-2009 19:15

I have been a long time Xero customer. For those of you who don’t know, Xero is a local (New Zealand) success storym, a true startup company offering online accounting services – a true SaaS product.

Xero was founded in Wellington and from its start the (Rod Drury and Hamish Edwards) planned to make it big – after a few months in the market they launched its IPO in the NZX, and took the company public. Most recently the company received a large keystone investment from MYOB founder Craig Winkler

The service makes it easy for small business owners (like myself) to do the accounting – managing invoicing, expenses claims, bank reconciliation, generating GST and other reports automatically. Even if you have an accountant Xero is still a great way to provide the office with all the information needed for them to complete their work.

In my view one though of the few things that needed a bit of an adjustment was their pricing model  – it simply worked on an “one size fits all” table, which is not true for all businesses. For example while my own business can go with about twenty invoices a month, I have heard reports of some business generating more than 800 invoices a week via their API – and we both paid the same!

It seems Xero once again heard their users and launched an updated pricing table, with plans appropriately called Small, Medium and Large. Very good move, which is clearly going to benefit small businesses and contractors. Details of the packages have been blogged by Rod Drury.

I’ve agreed with Xero to host a discussion in our Xero Conversations forum at Geekzone. Please join us here to discuss this move and any other topic related to their service (alternativelly you can post questions as a comment here and answers will be posted in the forum).



Wellington Software Freedom Day 2009 is this 20th September

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 18-Sep-2009 08:35

If you are interested in Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), this Sunday 20th Sep 2009 is not to be missed. Software Freedom Day is a full day of install fests, hack fests, talks and more, at the Wellington Town Hall.



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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