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Trade Me closing accounts?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 15-Oct-2007 09:35

New Zealand site Trade Me is the leader in the local on-line auction segment. The domain alone commands about 60% of the total Internet trafic in this country and there's no competition in sight.

They can do this because they keep the system working, by weeding out scammers and people that don't play by the rules.

But sometimes the rules seem a bit draconian. For instance it seems they tend to act first, notify later - following the guilty until proven innocent doctrine instead of the other way around.

I found an example of Trade Me closing accounts during the weekend in our Geekzone forums. Brad Stewart, one of our moderators (whom I have met a few times before and the team vouche for him) had his account terminated, apparently because he was running more than one account, which is not allowed.

Brad denies running multiple acconts.

He points out that he had some auctions running, a few past the reserve already, which are now ruined.

He actually had just recharged his account, and one poster asked what happened to Brad's money? Would have wound up on someone else's (unknown) account after this "consolidation"?

So what's the rule here? Fire first, ask questions later? Disrupt the users?

I am not in a position to say which side is correct, but it would be a bit easier to understand if a more user friendly process was followed. Something like asking questions first?

Google Gmail is not the same as Windows Live Skydrive.

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 13-Oct-2007 08:38

When you read a blog, make sure you bring your brains. Not everything you read on the Internet is true, not everything about Microsoft is bad, not everything about [other brands] is good.

Techcrunch is really good at exposing new ventures and services, but the post "Windows Live Skydrive doubles storage to 1 GB, still can't keep up with GMail" is absurd:

Microsoft doubled the online storage consumers can get for free in Windows Live SkyDrive. It’s hard to get excited about that when Gmail is already giving me 2.9 GB of storage, with more on the way—4GB by the end of the month, and 6GB by early January, according to one estimate.

Then the "echo chamber" start posting the same things around...

What's wrong with that? Google Gmail is an e-mail service, Live Skydrive is a storage service. They are different things. You can copy files to Skydrive, make them public or private. It's not the same with GMail.

Techcrunch should compare Gmail with Live Mail, which by the way already offer 5GB for your e-mails...


New i-mate brand: deja vu?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 13-Oct-2007 08:30

Windows Mobile distributor i-mate has launched a new branding and website. There are also a couple of new mobile devices listed including the JAMA 201 (a Windows Mobile Standard, a.k.a. Smartphone, with VGA screen) and the JAMA 101 (Windows Mobile 6 Professional a.k.a. Pocket PC Phone Edition).

But is just me, or their new logo is strikingly similar to SonyEricsson's own logo? Check for yourself in the picture (SonyEricsson on the left, i-mate on the right side).

To upgrade to Windows, please remove Windows

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 11-Oct-2007 22:30

I think this image does not require many words... I am trying an upgrade from Windows Server 2003 R2 to Windows Server 2008... This is classic:

Upgrade has been disabled

You must rename or remove c:\Windows before upgrade can continue.

It's now 10:30pm, I need to sleep. I can't stand restoring the virtual machine and doing it all over again tonight...

UPDATE: It's morning now and I found the problem: the image used to create this machine (not me!) used \WINNT as the home folder. There was a single file in \WINDOWS. Once I moved the file to the appropriate location all started working again. The migration is going ahead.

I am leaving this post here for documentation - if anyone finds the same problem...

Yahoo7 shakeup?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 11-Oct-2007 21:03

Today I found an interesting article on Tech Crunch, talking about some big moves within Yahoo7, the Australian parternship between Yahoo and the 7 Network.

Yahoo7 is also the Telecom New Zealan partner on its Yahoo!Xtra portal:

According to a report at Australian IT, Yahoo7’s traffic has declined from 5.5 million in January to 4.9 million in August, and advertising has remained flat despite massive growth in the sector.

Yahoo appointee and previous Chief Sales Officer Markus Barnikel has been moved to a “less hands on role” and Yahoo Search Marketing’s Craig Wax will be returning to the United States. Willie Pang, who previously workedon Yahoo’s Panama project will head Yahoo Search Marketing Australia & New Zealand.

Australia is a surprisingly strong market for Microsoft, with its local joint venture NineMSN holding a 26% share of main ad buying marketplace (corporate buys), followed closely by News Corp and local media group Fairfax Digital, who operate well known sites including and a variety of ecommerce ventures.

I guess one might never know the full story on why Telecom New Zealand decided to terminate the partnership between its Xtra ISP and Microsoft's MSN content provider here in New Zealand, instead running into the open arms of Yahoo7.

New Telecom OKTA branded mobile handsets

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 10-Oct-2007 12:37

Telecom New Zealand is launching Okta Mobile, its own brand of mobile handsets , and the first one is a clamshell Windows Mobile Smartphone called Okta Agent. Interesting device, at good price ($599 at launch).

Clever stuff - they are sourcing these from a variety of known manufacturers and creating their own branding.

According to the FAQs more handsets are coming, including some World Mode ones. It's not clear that all upcoming handsets are Windows Mobile, but I have the impression Okta will cover both feature and smart handsets.

The brand is not officially launched until 1st November when Telecom is planning to present this and the upcoming models to a media group gathering in Auckland. I am planning to be there to check these out.

One question though: like the HTC Titan, the Okta Agent is also coming with Windows Mobile 5. Why not Windows Mobile 6, which has been in the market aready for some time?

Free Wi-Fi with your coffee

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 8-Oct-2007 21:14

I found out other day that you can get one hour (or 60 MB) of free Wi-Fi when you purchase anything at some Esquires Coffee Houses around New Zealand.

The wireless Internet access is being provided by Tomizone. You just have to buy something at Esquires and ask for your One Hour Pass card with an access code. Connect to the Tomizone hotspot, enter the code and off you go...

Not all stores have this deal but to find out which ones you will be able to get your daily coffee with Wi-Fi, check the Esquires Store Locator and look for the Free Wi-Fi:

No, I don't know what are the penguins on those maps...

Geekzone Friends for Windows Mobile

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 6-Oct-2007 19:29

A few months ago we launched the Geekzone Friends social network. It's a neat way of following your friends around Geekzone. Users have access to a page with links to the latest discussions friends got involved with, friends' activities, group messages, and personal messages.

You can also access a RSS feed with your own activities and private messages, and a second RSS feed with your friend's actions. Those are private feeds so only you know what your friends are doing around the site.

Now we have a Geekzone Friends for Windows Mobile, thanks to Kev Daly who developed this small Pocket PC client for us.

The program runs on Windows Mobile 5.0 (requires .Net Compact Framework 2.0) or Windows Mobile 6 (.Net Compact Framework is already part of the OS).

With this program on your Pocket PC you will be able to follow your Geekzone Friends around the site, reading messages they leave for you and checking what discussions they are replying to. And as we add new features, these will be automatically listed too.

If you want to create something similar for other platforms (Symbian, Palm OS), or a widget (Mac OS, Yahoo!, Google) then contact me so we can discuss how to access the platform.

If you are a Geekzone user, start making friends. Read all about this feature in our Geekzone Friends FAQ.

Reporting New Zealand spam

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 6-Oct-2007 10:05

One morning (or any time of the day really), your junk e-mail folder (if you are lucky like me) or inbox (if you get all the spam there) shows a message that is clearly unsolicited, promoting a pyramid scheme, with a New Zealand address and phone number.

$100 DAILY  $500 DAILY?  $1000 DAILY?  LOTS MORE?

Well, NOW you can. The uniqueness of our daily and monthly Cash Flow System allows anyone to generate HUGE SUMS OF MONEY on a routine basis.

Not only that, as soon as you start receiving a specified amount of money ( by using our remarkable CASH FLOW SYSTEM ), the Club will introduce you to eye-popping investment practices that can make you very wealthy in a hurry!  Right this minute there are average folks with average intelligence gaining upwards of 100-200 PERCENT PROFITS within 5 to 45 days using these unique, but safe and formulated, investment methods.  Annualized profits of over 1000 PERCENT are commonplace.  And, very soon, you can be making these kinds of profits!

To get a great deal and a preferred status on the NZ Millionaires Club Membership, Call the authorized promoter of the club for New Zealand NOW on 021 [number removed]

[Address removed]
Mount Wellington
New Zealand

What a load of rubish. The first thing is that you are tempted to call the number and tell the person to go sell bananas. But this will not go anywhere, and you might even get problems later, if they get your phone number from the caller id, and so on.

But you can do better than this. The New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs is the entity enforcing the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007.

What you have to do is to visit the New Zealand DIA Anti-Spam website and report the e-mail received.

Now this is only effective if the spam is originated in New Zealand or offering a New Zealand-base service or product.

Also make sure you know it is really "unsolicited". If you subscribe to an e-mail newsletter and after a few months don't want to receive it anymore this is not unsolicited. You can simply unsubscribe from the newsletter. By law all newsletters will have to present a way to remove your e-mail address from the mailing list.

If you are a business, the Department hosted a series of practical seminars nationwide in August and September 2007 (PowerPoint link), to ensure businesses know what the new requirements are under the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act. Check the PowerPoint presentation or consult with your law firm.

TelstraClear broadband service measured

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 4-Oct-2007 20:50

Do you remember TelstraClear sending out a release entitled "TelstraClear's DSL service stars as New Zealand's top broadband performer"?

There was a good discussion on Geekzone forums about the methodology used, and the location of these tests - all in the Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch CBD - impacting on results, making those not the "average kiwi broadband experience".

However, as explained by Antonios, Epitiro, the company performing the tests, requested a broadband connection like any other business would do, and got what they asked for. So no harm done, right?

But this survey was showing the business experience, not the average household broadband. Just today I received an e-mail from Epitiro, explaining some changes in the way they collect information, including a small client users can download to monitor their broadband connections, providing the company with real life information about the state of broadband in this country.

An excerpt from this e-mail:

• As from last week, we have added email round-trip time to our suite of tests. This adds an important extra dimension to the results we publish;

• We will shortly be adding P2P traffic measurement too. This will allow us to see which ISPs are shaping P2P traffic. Those results will be fascinating;

• By the end of 2007, we will have added eight more sites in the major cities, including sites in Hamilton and Dunedin for the first time;

• By the end of 2007, we will have launched a major campaign to encourage consumers to download our new measurement agent onto their PCs. This will provide us with a complete national coverage, with potentially thousands of measurement points nationwide. We'll be the first country in the world to have such a comprehensive system.

• This means that we will be able to measure the smaller ISPs, and provide regional performance breakdowns;

• With that service in place, we will also be able to track the performance of LLU v non-LLU exchanges.

Now this is going to be interesting! Measuring the P2P traffic and even e-mail?

Last week a friend sent me an e-mail from his Xtra account to my own hosted Exchange Server. He sent the e-mail at 4pm, and we met at 5:30pm. Even though he was just across the city, I only received the e-mail after our meeting - about 90 minutes to get the e-mail across!

Let's see these results...

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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