My window to the world


Wellington City Council: where the process dies...

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 25-Jul-2008 08:53

On a rainy day I parked on Tory St, Wellington and used the convenience of paying my parking via SMS. That would be $4 for two hours, plus $.50 for the privilege of not having to carry coins. But instead of getting the little piece of paper with the ticket to put in my windshield, I got an error message:

"Transaction rejected"


Interesting. But I immediately got a SMS back from Telecom saying "thanks, we debited your account for $4.50".

Bummer. So instead I decided to use a credit card. Again I got an error message:

"Transaction rejected"


Hmmm. It looks like the machine may be out of paper, but the developer for this company decided to stupidly save some bytes instead of providing a meaningful message - and a transaction rollback.

So I walk to the next machine, pay and display the ticket in the windshield.

But I wouldn't be short of $9 today, right? I called the Wellington City Council, explained what happened, and was assured someone would call me back to arrange the refund.

You guessed right. No one ever called me back.

Like so many other New Zealand businesses, getting you off the phone is what they want to do. The Wellington City Council is quick to slap a fine on your car if you are over five minutes in the parking lot, but they don't want to move a finger to refund you money that they took without providing the service.

By the way I am looking at my credit card statement. This was on 17 June. More than enough time for the Wellington City Council to come back to me.

End of rant of the day.



The Truth in Advertising

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 24-Jul-2008 20:14

Some bits sound like meetings I attended... Other bits sound like exactly what I expect "Big Telco" would be talking when creating a campaign for their new JesusPhone offering...

Warning: some heavy NSFW language. But worth watching the whole thing.




HP invites to Software Business Technology Optmisation Tour in Wellington

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 24-Jul-2008 12:55

Today I received an invitation that I am able to extend to you. HP is running the HP Software BTO Tour 2008 in Wellington, 2nd September 2008.

This half day event is ahppening at the Museum of New Zealand - Te Papa Tongarewa from 8:30am through 1:30pm.

There will be conference streams during the day, designed to give IT Professionals a more practical approach to IT Management.

I won't be attending the event though, because I will be in Auckland attending the Microsoft Tech Ed, and writing the Unofficial Tech Ed Blog while there...



Companies reinventing themselves: I am not sure I laugh or cry on this one...

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 24-Jul-2008 11:02

Wow... Talk about a complete reinvention. I just read this press release and I can only think what a waste of investors' money from the start.

I am talking about Foldera, a company which started as a "developer of web-based organization and collaboration software" and now decided their market is really selling network switches.

I see this as an example of where all this "web-based" craze is going if people keep investing in good ideas with short sighted implementations. Too much money being thrown into companies with no vision, or trying to solve a problem that doesn't exist - or doing it in the wrong way.

I am posting this because I think it's relevant to a topic Ben posted today on "web 2.0 and monetisation".

Want more "fail"? Their new web-site, linked from the press release doesn't even exist yet:

Here is part of the press release to inspire you more confidence on "web 2.0" business:


SANTA ANA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Foldera, Inc. (OTCBB: FDRA), today unveiled the Company’s new strategy, management team, market thrust, name and capital structure by issuing the following letter to shareholders.

Dear Shareholder:
We are pleased to announce that Foldera has now successfully transitioned itself from being a developer of web-based organization and collaboration software. We have searched to find the right market, management team and product with which to take the Company forward and we would like to take this opportunity to outline the Company’s future plans.

New Strategic Direction
The Company’s principal market moving forward is with the core network infrastructure of the telephone companies, cable operators and wireless suppliers. The Company has recruited a new management team with a wealth of telecom infrastructure experience and who have already independently completed much of the software development for a High Speed, High Density Carrier Grade Ethernet Switch that will be the Company’s initial product launch. Along with our product development partners, we are continuing to develop the software and hardware in a closely integrated program that will result in timely implementation of the system using components that will exceed all carrier and prospective customer requirements.

There are other players attempting to enter these markets. Cisco Systems (CSCO), Juniper (JNPR), Force10, Alcatel-Lucent (ALA), Huawei, World Wide Packets and Foundry Networks (FDRY) clearly have well-established brand names and large customer bases. However, they also have legacy technologies and cannot re-launch into new markets with products that must be redesigned/re-architected and which would cannibalize their existing product lines. We will compete in the high density, carrier grade 10 Gigabit switch market with a switch that is both extensible and affordably scalable. This will present a ‘new standard’ in the market and the Company will be a ‘first mover’ in this segment.

The Company’s new technology will transform the Ethernet Switching market segment by developing and selling dramatically more cost-effective, scalable solutions for High Speed Ethernet switching with the industry’s first 288 10 Gigabit port Ethernet switch as our initial product launch at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show in Las Vegas in April 2009.

Corporate Name Change
As is appropriate with this major change in the Company’s direction, we have decided to change the name of the business to CeCors, Inc., an acronym for Carrier Ethernet Core Switch and pronounced ‘SeaCores.’ This will become effective in the coming weeks as the Company’s legal name, registrations, trading symbol and marketing materials are changed.

Expanding Management Expertise
The CeCors executive team brings 100+ years of combined management experience in IT and communications technology, manufacturing, sales and marketing. The team has worked together and successfully led a number of liquidity events, such as mergers and acquisitions, as well as IPO’s.

As of July 18, 2008, Jim Fiedler, an experienced and respected leader in the telecom industry, with vast experience in running early and mid-stage telecom networking and services companies, has become Chairman, President and CEO of CeCors. His experience and contacts within the industry will provide exceptional leadership into the future.


Excuse me while I laugh here. Seriously, I think Ben Kepes should look into this and analyse it further because he's the SaaS guy.



Checking your mobile data usage online is not easy: a Telecom New Zealand tale

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 23-Jul-2008 17:30

Yesterday I posted about Telecom New Zealand's lack of a "meter" for their mobile data. Here is something that I thought would illustrate the issue well...

Let's say you rent a car on a monthly basis, for work. You agree to pay $49.95 a month if you drive up to 1,000 km per billing cycle, and $1 per km after this.

You decided on 1,000 km because you thought this could cover your average daily usage multiplied by the number of days in the month.

You get the car and notice there is no meter in it, but the rental agency tells you it's ok, they are monitoring it within their system, remotely.

You drive away. During 30 days you have no exact idea of how many kms you've done. You have to keep calling the company to find out how many kms you have driven so far, and calculate to see if you are still within the expected average.

Then you receive the monthly bill. You look through five pages for something that says "kms driven this month", but instead you find "times you started the car this month". And a charge for the rental.

Does it make sense?

No. Neither does Telecom New Zealand's "data sessions" line in the bill. They don't tell us how many megabytes or gigabytes we used during the month, only how many times we used it during the period.

Telecom, are you going to fix your systems?



Checking your mobile data usage online is not easy

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 22-Jul-2008 20:24

Isn't that incredible that Telecom New Zealand can charge my mobile data usage every month but it can't provide a simple way, other then calling their help desk every day, to follow my usage?

They are able to put a $$$ amount in my monthly bill, but I can't find my usage in data terms (megabytes or gigabytes) anywhere on the invoice or on-line.

They use a very cryptic "data calls" unit that means nothing to me.

Telecom New Zealand makes it really hard for me to control my usage. And they charge dearly if I go over my limits.

Vodafone is a bit better in this area, but their on-line meter is frequently outdated or incorrect according to discussions in our forums.

In Australia the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission issued a warn to consumers regarding mobile data usage.

What about here? TUANZ? Commerce Commission? Anyone awake and aware that we have overpriced data plans?



Vodafone Data Wahehouse: the summary translated

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 21-Jul-2008 20:49

A few days ago I posted about a Teradata Partners Conference, where Vodafone's Rachel Harrison will be speaking about Vodafone New Zealand's user retention project.

If you are not attending the conference, you might want to read a summary posted by Lance Wiggs here. Worth it for the translation of "business speak" to "real world speak".



Orb helping Women's Refuge - and you can too

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 18-Jul-2008 13:10

This is a worthy cause Orb Communicatons is working on. The company has announced a partnership with Women’s Refuge that will see women that Refuges are working with, given second-hand mobile phones pre-loaded with airtime credit. 

This is a New Zealand-wide initiative, which also encourages Kiwis to recycle their old mobile phones. The effort begins during the Women’s Refuge Annual Appeal Week, 21-27 July, and will continue indefinitely.
 
If you have any old mobile phone you can drop in at any one of Orb’s 40 stores around the country.  Orb technicians will refurbish the phones so they’re in good working order before adding airtime credit and giving them to their local Women’s Refuge. 

Of course if you do not have an old mobile phone lying around then you can still donate money at the collection boxes in store at Orb as part of the Appeal Week.
 
From the press release I received today, it looks like the Ministry for the Environment estimates there are up to one million unused mobile phones in New Zealand. 
  



Live Mesh...

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 18-Jul-2008 12:55

Arghhh. I have installed Live Mesh to see if it would keep both my notebooks in sync. I decided I would give it a try because I can believe this is something that doesn't work out of the box (oh, wait this is a feature I want in "Consumer OS").

Anyway, since the update Live Mesh allows me to install the software on Windows Vista SP1 with no UAC requirements and allows me to sync folders directly between peers, I decided it would be worth trying it.

Hello, developers! Here's what's not working:

I have three folders I want to sync: My Documents, Pictures, Temp. Total is about 20 GB. So I made an exact copy of these folders on my second notebook and just for testing I enabled Live Mesh sync on Temp.

What was I expecting? That Live Mesh would be smart enough to look at the files, create a hash code and decide both folders are already in sync.

What it really happened? Live Mesh asked if I wanted both existing folders to be in sync, which I confirmed. And it started downloading 2 GB from Temp on my master notebook.

I am glad I did not enable this on Pictures or My Documents.

The folders are already in sync. Just accept it and go on with life, for goodness sake. We don't have unlimited bandwidth for initial synchronisation - and we don't need initial synchronisation if the folders are already the same.

I have submited this is a fault through the beta feedback form, but in the meantime I am back to Goodsync and the manual process.




Vodafone and data warehousing at the Teradata partners conference

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 18-Jul-2008 10:33

If you want to learn about "The Customer Retention Journey at Vodafone New Zealand" you may well go outside New Zealand.

More specifically Vodafone's Rachel Harrison will be speaking at the Teradata Partners User Group Conference & Expo, happening 12 - 16th October in Las Vegas. Worth reading Rachel's summary for this session.

I got the information about this event today and it says


The conference is organised by the Teradata PARTNERS Steering Committee, and is the world’s largest annual data warehousing and enterprise analytics conference and exposition. The conference theme is “Beyond Intelligence” and occurs as Teradata marks its one-year anniversary as an independent company.
In more than 200 sessions, the event will focus on industry-leading and innovative practices in creating powerful data infrastructures for competitive business advantage.

The event is expected to attract about 4,000 participants from companies in every industry.  The keynote speakers are Dan Ariely, MIT professor, economist and author of Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions, and Lance Armstrong, world champion cyclist, cancer activist and author of  It’s Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life. Teradata Chief Executive Officer Michael Koehler will speak during the opening session Monday and Chief Technology Officer Stephen Brobst will make multiple presentations during the week.


It looks like an interesting event for business intelligence users and practiotioners.



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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