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Reminder: NZNOG 2013 is upon us

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 10-Jan-2013 09:00

If you are subscribed to the NZNOG list you might have seen this announcement. Otherwise if you are in any way working in the network operations landscape in New Zealand, read on...

The NZNOG 2013 programme is now available online. Confirmed speakers are:

  • Scott Bartlett (Orcon) - UFB one year in
  • Andrew McDonald (Vodafone) - RBI Wholesale 12 months.
  • Colin Dyer (GeoNet) and Ewen McNeill (Naos, Consultant) - Geonet: 1pps to 10,000 hits/second.
  • Beatty Lane-Davis - SDN: accelerating the pace of evolution in packet and transport networks
  • Sam Russell (REANNZ) - Thimble: OpenFlow-enabled device
  • David Brownlie (REANNZ) - perfSONAR for measuring performance, and troubleshooting.
  • Donald Love - UFB realities
  • Philip Smith (APNIC) - IPv4 / IPv6 route table analysis for NZ
  • Phil Regnauld (NSRC) - DNSSEC
  • George Michaelson (APNIC) - Last words on IPv6
  • Stu Fleming (WIC) - On being a WISP
  • Plus updates from NZRS, APNIC, CityLink, IPv6 Task Force, WAND and InternetNZ.

The NZNOG 2013 is happening in Wellington. Workshops 21st - 23rd January, Tutorials 23rd January, Conference presentations 24th - 25th January. There are two side events happening as well (a drinks evening and an official dinner).

Check the programme for more information and registration.

Are mobile phones sold in New Zealand locked?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 9-Jan-2013 13:28

Just to make it clear: mobile phones sold in New Zealand through mobile operator stores are not locked, except the ones sold by Skinny.

If you buy a mobile with support for at least three 3G bands (850/900/2100 MHz WCDMA) then you should be covered to use those in all mobile operators around the country. That's because Telecom New Zealand runs a 850 MHz WCDMA network, while Vodafone and 2degrees Mobile have the use of the 900/2100 MHz WCDMA bands.

Make sure you look at the WCDMA (3G) specs. If you buy a mobile with 850 MHz 2G it will not work on Telecom as Telecom runs a 100% 3G network.

Do not rely on Phone Arena to check if the phone is suitable, as most of the times the bands listed do not take in consideration different models sold in different markets.

Stay away from any mobile phone seller advertising phones with "Works on 2degrees only". In special if you see this on Trade Me close the page and walk away. They are most likely reported stolen or lost and blocked from working on Telecom and Vodafone (hence the "works on 2degrees only" in the ads).

If you have a locked Skinny mobile you can get a free unlock code after nine months or pay $30 to get the code. Check the Skinny page about phone locking.

More Windows Phone account troubles

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 22-Dec-2012 13:36

What's with Microsoft and badly designed/implemented account management systems?

First I couldn't add a credit card to pay for things (take my money already!), and now I can't remove an old Windows Phone device from my account.

Then as I try updating the phone number on my new device, I get another error:

They sure have some problems implementing basic stuff there.

UPDATE: And it seems if you go and from there to the Windows Phone list the "Remove" link doesn't work. If you go through the website through the device list and select "Account Settings" then you can remove the device and update the number. Why two different ways of getting to the same place, and only one works?

Also, having said that. Posted a comment to @WinPhoneSupport on Twitter and receive a reply in less than five minutes with a good suggestion (unrelated by good troubleshooting start). Plus karma points for them.

Wireless charging Windows Phone

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 17-Dec-2012 17:07

And it is here:

Wireless charging. If you have a Nokia Lumia 920 then you just need to plug the charger to the wall and as soon as you drop the phone on the plate it will charge.

The Nokia Lumia 920 has everything needed for wireless charging out of the box. If you have a Nokia Lumia 820 then you need to replace the original cover with a special one that enables wireless charging.

Very cool, having the charging plate on your desk, just lie the phone on top of it and charge away. As you can see in the photo it even works with the Otterbox Commuter case.

Microsoft should update Windows Phone update

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 17-Dec-2012 12:39

I previously commented on how I thought Microsoft should split Windows Phone 8 updates in different types and deliver those without interference from the operators and OEMs. It seems this is something is being done - if we actually have had updates yet.

We now see that some OEMs have been receiving Windows Phone 8 updates before others, and some countries come first. This means we will again get into that old game of waiting, waiting, waiting for updates.

Here is how I would like to see it working: use the Windows Update infrastructure for deployment. It's tested and supports heavy loads. Every second Tuesday of the month (Wednesday 7am New Zealand time) Windows Updates are available to everyone, around the world, at the same time. You can manually start an update at that time, or let your PC do the automatic update which will happen sometime during the next couple of days.

I would also like to see this certainty in Windows Phone. Something like "every last Friday of the month there's an update available". And that would be available to everyone, exactly like the Windows Update for desktop is available. This could be for example small fixes, like the SMS timezone bugs affecting New Zealanders who see SMS with +13 hours difference - almost like they're applying the timezone shift twice. This should be a simple fix, so why do we have to wait months to see it here?

Yes, I understand some updates require the mobile operator blessing, but those should not block updates that fix things in the OS and don't touch anything related to the mobile network. These should have a separate schedule.

This is another thing Microsoft could do to differentiate itself from competitors in the smartphone market.

Game Masters at Te Papa Museum of New Zealand

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 15-Dec-2012 09:41

I visited the Game Masters exhibition at Te Papa with some journalists yesterday, before its opening from today 15th December.

We were given an hour tour highlighting the different aspects of gaming development, moving from entertainment to art form, social and family integrator. Lots of hands on stuff around the floor - from old early 1980s arcades to the latest Kinect games using a huge projection screen. You will also see artwork used to develop characters and backdrops for famous games, plus a handy store on the way with lots of memorabilia.

Here are some photos so you can have an idea of what's available around.

Windows Server 2012 Standard lands, work begins

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 14-Dec-2012 22:39

The boxes are here:

Now I can start the "official" work on planning our Geekzone migration. Exciting.

Migrating Geekzone to Windows Server 2012

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 12-Dec-2012 16:33

It seems I now have something to do during the holiday period. Thanks to Microsoft I will soon have some software delivered here and will start testing, planning and executing a migration, updating our HP DL server to Windows Server 2012. This will also include updating three Hyper-V clients running the IIS, SQL Server, SQL Sentry monitoring and testing platforms powering Geekzone and this blog (among others).

It seems a fresh install of the physical server (running Hyper-V) is indicated. If all testing and planning goes well, the final migration will be done by end of January I think.

It will be fun.

Windows Phone 8 SMS wrong date/time

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 1-Dec-2012 13:53

It seems there's a problem with Windows Phone 8 and the way it processes date/time on SMS.

The ones received at "23:10" were actually received at 10:10. The one marked as 2/12 was actually receive 1st Dec @ 1:45pm.

It seems the messaging app is showing dates with a 13 hour shift. I am told both Telecom NZ and Microsoft NZ know about this problem but in our forums they are quiet about what's causing it and when it will be fixed.

By the way, this does not happen in Windows Phone 7.5.


Windows Phone billing

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 1-Dec-2012 13:35

It is business as usual: we all have to give a publisher our credit card information so that we can buy apps, subscriptions, etc. One would think Microsoft would make it easier for every customer to give them money, but that is not so.

My main credit card, the one used for online purchases, expired yesterday so obviously it was time to update it so that I could continue buying apps for my smartphone.

So I go to and see the following:

So far so good. I click "Edit payment info" and get this:

Bummer Microsoft, something wrong with your systems uh? By the way, "contact customer support" is just an helpful suggestion. It could be hyperlinked to a page with a real phone number to contact support. But not, it is not.  The "Contact Us" at the bottom leads to a page suggesting I contact my operator or OEM. Very unhelpful because neither has control over YOUR billing.

So I click "View billing info" which instead takes to me a page which seems to work:


That's my new credit card there. But it wasn't easy to get it there, because that page doesn't have any "Add payment option" link. I suspect it would be in the other page appropriately named "Edit payment info" that already spat out the dummy on me before.

The way I got that credit card there was by using the Windows Phone 8 Wallet app. It worked, but in a cumbersome way. It should work on the "Edit payment info" page but it didn't. I had to enter a new card in the Wallet app and check the box "Set up card for app and music purchases". Lucky there is an app for that, right?

Note though that unless you check the box to make the new card a payment option for your app purchases, it will not be stored anywhere else but on your phone. If you check the box to make the card a payment option for app purchases you are actually redirected to a page outside the app (no way to see the URL but I suspect linked to the Windows account) to add the card information. In effect it seems you are adding the card to the Microsoft account payment info and this is then downloaded to the phone. Works for me but. . .

When I started entering my data I was thinking "cool, I can enter the information here and once it syncs to the cloud I can restore the data in case this phone needs to be reset or if I get a new Windows Phone". The sync in this case exists only one way - from your Microsoft account to the phone. This means updates you make inside the Windows Phone Wallet to an existing credit card doesn't reflect on the Microsoft account - I tried, when my card expired and actually was told by the app to first delete the card online then go back to the app.

No problem, I hear you saying, just enter the data directly in your Microsoft account and it will flow to the phone. Except that as we saw before, one page brings an error and the other doesn't even have an option to add payment options. This means If I want a backup option then the way to go is setting up on the phone itself while having all credit cards set as "App purchase" options, which is not ideal.

Anyway, the card is loaded. I wonder if this was a problem with my account only and how it would have worked if I didn't have the Wallet app (like Windows Phone 7 users for example).

In the next post I will comment on the Windows Phone Wallet app itself and how it works (or it was supposed to).

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.

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