My window to the world

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.
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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

"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 to send respectful emails to Minister Simon Power on about the value of due process and their thoughts on internet termination.



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.


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.

Toying with video...

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 17-Sep-2009 14:49

What do you think of this animated Geekzone logo to be used in video productions? Produced by

Government plans to filter the Internet in New Zealand - now in full official draft

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 25-Aug-2009 18:09

After a lot of comments and exposure on the whole "Internet filtering in New Zealand", the Department of Internal Affairs has released its draft proposal. You can download the document here (pdf link).

The document is officially entitled "Digital Child Exploitation Filtering System".

2.4 A person who views a website containing chid sexual abuse images is in possession of those images, if only for the period they appear on the screen.  The Digital Child Exploitation Filtering System therefore will help prevent inadvertent exposure to these images and will also help prevent New Zealanders from committing crimes.

Ok, so the DIA makes it clear what the filtering system is for.

4.3.1 The list is reviewed monthly, manually, to ensure that it is up to date and that the possibility of false positives is removed.  

4.3.2 Additions are only made to the list with the agreement of at least 3 warranted inspectors of publications that the material on the website meets the criterion that they explicitly show children being sexually abused.  

4.3.3 All sites on the list are visited and have a report that identifies the investigating officer and what he or she saw on the site when it was last reviewed.

So there goes our fears of rogue governments filtering any site that is against its policies and dare to speak up.

5.2.1 The Department will institute an Independent Reference Group (IRG) to maintain oversight of the operation of the Digital Child Exploitation Filtering System to ensure it is operated with integrity and adheres to the principles set down in this Code of Practice.

Good move. Someone needs to police the police.

This is what someone visiting one of the blocked sites will see:

Child Exploitation Filtering System

6.6 If a requester considers that they have been wrongly blocked from visiting a legitimate website then they can click on the link to the Website Appeal page to fill in an appeal.

Sounds good. It's easy to notify the list managers if there's something you think is wrongly blocked.

7. Data
7.1 What data is collected?
7.1.1 During the course of the filtering process the Department logs the following information regarding a request for a blocked website:
• Connection Number - relates to the number allocated to an ISP when it is included on the system and the type of connection eg. GIF2.
• Local IP – represents the IP address of the user – this is anonymised to protect the identity of the requester.
• Request - encompasses 2 fields: the Originating Site and the Requested Site.
• Remote IP - relates to the address of the remote site, this uses random numbers to ensure the Department cannot track it back.

7.2 What is the data used for
7.2.1 The collection of this data is necessary so that the system is able to be reviewed to ensure 24-hour 365-day uptime and no loss of business due to a technical glitch or fault, for ISPs who join the system.  

7.2.2 The logs are used to troubleshoot the connections between the Department’s system and the ISP.  As we are providing a service to a commercial organisation, it is our responsibility to ensure that the Department is able to offer the same level of service expected of any commercial enterprise.  

7.2.3 As no identifiable information is stored about the user requesting a website, this data cannot be used in support of any investigation or enforcement activity undertaken by the Department.  However, the data will be used for statistical and reporting purposes, for example to inform the Department of the level of demand in New Zealand for child sexual abuse images.  

Sounds too much information about a user's IP just for "troubleshooting the connections".

8.2 The Department also acknowledges that website filtering systems are not 100% effective in preventing access to illegal material.  A person with a reasonable level of technical skill can use tools that are freely available on the Internet to get around the filters.

8.3 As illegal material, such as child sexual abuse images, is most often traded on peer-to-peer networks or chatrooms, which will not be filtered, the Censorship Compliance Unit carries out active investigations in those spaces.

The DIA confirms what most tech savvy people knows: the trade of this kind of content is done under strict secrecy using protocols that are not being filtered. The DIA will continue to investigate (as they already do) and prosecute (well done).

This filter is just to prevent good people like you and me coming across this kind of material by accident - or to prevent 2.4 of happening.

In all a good cause. I was just expecting another paragraph there saying "This code is to make it clear no other type of content will be added to the filtered system at later stage".

Back to School Giveaways: HP dv4t discount code (U.S. only)

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 21-Aug-2009 07:45

Back to school giveawaysAs part of the Back to School: Better Together giveaway promotion HP is providing participant websites some discounts we can give to you.

Here is another super discount, thanks to HP: you can buy any custom HP dv4t configuration with a US$180 discount and get some bonus too: free 3GB RAM and 320GBHD upgrades, free HP CalcPad 200 and free shipping.

To get this discount just quote the coupon code NLB1562 at checkout when selecting both systems. This is valid until the 22th August only.

The fineprint: Valid for HP Home & Home Office ( internet and call center purchases only. Coupon valid on first 100 redemptions, or while supplies last. Any unused portion will be forfeited. Each coupon code is limited to one usage per customer; one coupon code per checkout. Offer void where prohibited, taxed or restricted by law. Non-transferable. Not valid retroactively on previously purchased items. Not valid for any resale activity as defined by HP Home & Home Office Store. Coupons may not be used to purchase gift cards. Not valid on clearance sales. May not be permitted with certain bundle offers. Not valid on: Academic and Employee purchase programs, HP Employee purchase program, Refurbished products, Extended Service Plans. For complete coupon conditions, see "Coupon Information" in the "Customer Service" section at
And remember to visit Back To School: Better Together giveaways for a lot more information on this back to school giveaways. make sure to bookmark that site so you know exactly when to enter each competition.

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:

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