My window to the world


You interview the CEO: Telecom NZ Dr Paul Reynolds waiting your questions

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 25-Jul-2008 15:19

It took some time, but it happened. We now have a discussion open in our Telecom New Zealand forum, waiting for your questions to CEO Dr Paul Reynolds.

The idea is simple: people can post their questions in the thread, and after a week I will be forwarding these to get his answers. I will then post the answers on Geekzone.

We have done this before with other major telcos in New Zealand - check the answers for Orcon, TelstraClear, and WorldxChange.

Thanks to the Telecom folks who helped us get there!



In the clouds is not always safe...

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 25-Jul-2008 14:57

How well companies that offer something for "free" can do with a subscription option?

When there are so many "free" things on the web, one has to wonder how companies can keep their products up and running (or even if they can manage to get out of beta).

Some companies just don't. They close the service and tell the customers to get out of here:


Personal Media: Bluestring, Xdrive and AOL Pictures will be sunset. These consumer storage products haven't gained sufficient traction in the marketplace or the monetization levels necessary to offset the high cost of their operation. We have found that building media management applications within the context of a social experience is a more rapid and effective way to grow the business. For example, today the Bebo audience is uploading over three million photos per day. To effectively grow the XDrive online storage business we would need to focus on subscription revenues vs. monetizing through advertising revenue, and this business model is not in strategic alignment with our company's goals. We are exploring plans to migrate our users assets to ensure the best possible transition experience.


This is part of the memo AOL sent out to staff explaning the end of some of their services - including Xdrive an on-line storage service that offered 5 GB of storage free to anyone.

There's a reason why people buy external drives for home or buy Windows Home Server or NAS boxes. First broadband speed sucks around the world. Then the services don't work as expected or not as easily (Xdrive is only one that I know that could be mounted as a drive on your OS so you could just copy things from and to instead of having to open a browser window). And even so it was very unstable.

Which leads me to the next one: the on-line service businesses seem to be quite unreliable - unless they are a subscription service with a SLA, not a freebie. But even so sith happens.

When there are lots of free things, some won't last long.



Update Windows Live Mobile or not?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 25-Jul-2008 13:51

This week we got the news Microsoft has released an update for Windows Live Mobile. No, don't go updating your Windows Mobile Pocket PC yet. Read on.

First the good news: this update enhances Windows Live on your Windows Mobile. Great. But if you have Windows Live Messenger on your device (installed by an OEM), don't install this update yet. Read more.

Windows Live Mobile is really cool - it enables push e-mail for your Windows Live accounts (this includes Hotmail and even the Geekzonemail accounts).

Here is the bad news: Microsoft stopped providing Windows Live Messenger with Windows Live Mobile - a departure from earlier versions. And if you have an old Windows Live Mobile version with Windows Live Messenger, installing this new version will disable the Messenger component.



The Windows Live Messenger files are still in the system, but the program won't start at all. Uninstalling the "update" will automatically revert to the previous version and enable Windows Live Messenger again.



What is really annoying is that Microsoft makes Windows Live Messenger available for RIM BlackBerry users, but leave Windows Mobile users in the cold, waiting for operators to release their software (which we all know ain't gonna happen any time soon).

If you don't have Windows Live Mobile on your device (some OEMs don't include it), then you can download it now - and use a third party software for communicating with friends on Windows Live Messenger. Try one of the following:

- Fring (free, multiple IM systems, Skype, SIP, Twitter)
- Pocket MSN
- MSN Messenger Force



Microsoft Windows Mojave

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 25-Jul-2008 09:06

So you complain about Windows Vista but actually never used it? Maybe what you need is Microsoft Windows Mojave.

In summary, a set of people were asked what they think is bad on Windows Vista. Their answers were recorded.  They were then shown "Microsoft Windows Mojave".

One of the subjects in the study even said "Wow", the word Microsoft used in the "The wow starts now" campaign for Windows Vista.

Microsoft then revealed "Windows Mojave" and "Windows Vista" are the same one.

I know a lot of Linux and Mac OS X users who bash Windows Vista without ever having touch a computer running the OS. How can they "know" so much? Or perhaps they don't.

Isn't this a big perception problem?

All the details here.

UPDATE: The Mojave Experiment results are coming on-line!



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?



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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