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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...

Windows Live Messenger ad: which telco is this?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 4-Oct-2007 19:10

You have to watch to the end of the ad (in Spanish) to find out which mobile operator is promoting Windows Live Messenger:
Note that they are all using Symbian devices, not Windows Mobile...

Installing Windows Server 2008

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 4-Oct-2007 12:49

After talking to Darryl yesterday I decided to get onto the Windows Server 2008 wave and plan the upgrade of our Geekzone server to this new release, which we should do sometime later this month:

One software I use most on a daily basis is Virtual Server 2005. This is really cool - having a single box where I can run my test environments, betas, and other stuff. Just check how many virtual machines I have running here these days:

The Apple iPhone coming through Orcon to New Zealand?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 3-Oct-2007 08:15

Is it possible that New Zealand ISP Orcon is working to bring the Apple iPhone to the country? There are rumours going around about this possibility.

Back in May 2007 Orcon signed a wholesale agreement with Vodafone New Zealand to launch a GSM mobile service. Originally promised for October, this launch has been delayed.

The original agreement established Orcon as a wholesale operator, meaning they would be offering an Orcon branded set of products delivered over the existing Vodafone network infrastructure.

Then the Apple iPhone rumours started. I first heard on the streets. Then now I am reading in one of the Geekzone discussions:

So someone suggested something to me yesterday re an official iPhone release in NZ, and putting the various pieces of info together... it almost seems obvious who's going to officially bring the iPhone to NZ. Anyone care to speculate?

And in a subsequent reply:

It may explain TradeMe's hostile position towards iPhone listings (Orcon have "close" ties with them)

Maybe Vodafone's EDGE slip up wasn't really a slip up, but a sign of things to come?

Could explain Kordia's interest in mesh wifi.

Could explain Oron's (sic) delay in launching their cell operation.

Would be an excellent product to launch a cell operation with. Plenty of priceless free media exposure and hype.

If it's true, it'd be a cunning move I think.

The "Vodafone EDGE slip up" is a reference to a page on Vodafone New Zealand's website that incorrectly listed "EDGE" as part of their service sets. After the page was posted on Fossie's blog Vodafone quickly fixed it (almost too quickly, something like withing 30 minutes) and posted in our forums an explanation.

Officially Vodafone New Zealand only runs a GPRS/WCDMA/HSDPA network here, but I have seen occasions that my Palm Treo 750v showed an "E" signal (although it could be a bug in the software?).

The Kordia reference is to its new Kordia Metropolitan Wi-Fi service launched this month, with plans to cover the central locations in New Zealand's main cities.

And don't forget, Kordia bought Orcon a few months ago.

Why wouldn't Vodafone New Zealand launch the iPhone themselves? Perhaps because the Vodafone Group has passed this, leaving the iPhone for T-Mobile Germany, O2 UK, Orange? And because the Vodafone Music Store is the top on-line music store in the country, and wouldn't want to hurt its offering with Apple iTunes Music Store?

Does it make sense at all?

Forum moderation: lolcat

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 2-Oct-2007 20:23

One of the Geekzone moderators (Tony) created this lolcat for me:

Yes, some days we have our fair share or spam and trolls. But these posts usually don't last long on the database. A big thanks to all the moderators in our forums for their hard and continuous work!

Early November 2007 I will be meeting again with all moderators here in Wellington. We will be checking what changed on Geekzone this year since the last moderators' meetup, get new suggestions and see what's ahead of us for the site.

What Windows Live is not

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 1-Oct-2007 09:35

Today I was reading Presentation Zen, and found a link to an old post comparing Bill Gates and Steve Jobs keynote style. It's worth a read if you are involved in public speaking. The whole blog is worth it actually, including the new Learning from Bill Gates and Steve Jobs post.

Now back to my subject, there I found this picture:

Windows Live
Internet-based personal services to bring together your digital world

Going to I found this definition:

Windows Live brings your online world together and helps you manage your social network.

Sounds good. But why the only services listed there are Search, Mail, Spaces, OneCare, Favorites (sic), MSN? Where are all the other Live services? Why aren't all these new exciting services listed?

Where are the links to Live LocalMaps, Skydrive, Messenger and dozens of other services? Since you're "bringing together", can't your guys just create an updated page with all the services linked from there? Or is it too hard even for Microsoft to keep track of what's being developed?

On another note, why Microsoft insists that browsers using English (New Zealand) shouldn't see the services that English (Australia) or English (US) see? Even when I try to post a feedback on a service I am using I get an error message saying that English (New Zealand) is not a supported language. How is the English (New Zealand) different from English (Australia) or English (United Kingdom) (sheep jokes aside)?

Microsoft, you should make sure Windows Live is bringing together digital content, not splicing it. You should stop doing this artficial "locale"-based language market separation thing that is not real.

Don't take me wrong, I use Live services - check for example (free e-mail accounts for anyone!) - but it is hard to find things and is even harder to explain to your parents what Live does.

On New Zealand DST changes again: Apple and Debian

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 1-Oct-2007 08:56

My previous post about the New Zealand DST changes got thousands of reads, because it explains an issue that affects corporate and consumers in general. I congratulated Microsoft and Telecom New Zealand for being proactive.

After the post I found out in the comments that Vodafone New Zealand sent out a letter (yes, snail mail!) to RIM BlackBerry users explaining that DST was coming and things should be changed on their servers. Vodafone sent a letter one week before the DST change came into effect! This is not time enough for Sysadmins to prepare patches, apply, work things out. How poor is that?

Vodafone put up a page with some information, and at least they are clear that changing the clock on the BackBerry itself will not change the appointments - this needs a change on the BES.

Again, if you think just changing the time on the device is fine, read my previous blog post. The DST problem affects not only appointments created in the new DST but it affects appointments you create during the new DST that fall outside the standard DST.

Then we have Apple who has not released a patch at all. A discussion in the Geekzone Forums asked "Where is the Apple update?"... It's nowhere. Apple just recommended users to manually set the clock. This is not good enough because it only fixes the system clock. What about appointments and application running on the basis of the system timezone? Are we sure it works ok? The only thing you find is a lousy page with instructions on how to change the time on Mac OS X.

Now I read this on Slashdot::

"Although a tzdata release that includes New Zealand's recent DST changes (2007f) has been out for some time, Debian are refusing to push the update from testing into the current stable distribution, codenamed Etch, on the basis that 'it's not a security bug.' This means that unless New Zealand sysadmins install the package manually, pull the package from testing, or alter the timezone to 'GMT-13' manually, all systems running Debian Etch in New Zealand currently have the incorrect time, as DST went into effect this morning. As one of the last comments in the bug report says, 'even Microsoft are not this silly.' The final comment (at this writing), from madcoder, says 'The package sits in volatile for months. Please take your troll elsewhere.'"

Clearly, if I were a corporate IT admin, CTO, CIO I would just stay away from those vendors who refuse to make their systems work or help sysadmins.

Patent system is crashing: IBM wants to patent outsourcing

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 30-Sep-2007 09:22

A story forming on Slashdot tells us that IBM is trying to patent outsourcing to other countries:

The USPTO is considering IBM's patent application for Outsourcing of Services, a 'method for identifying human-resource work content to outsource offshore of an organization' to 'countries where cheaper labor prices and/or cheaper materials are available.' Then there's Big Blue's Electronic Marketplace for Identifying, Assessing, Reserving and Engaging Knowledge-Workers for an Assignment Using Trade-Off Analysis, which provides a handy-dandy IBM calculator that drives home the point that you'll pay less for IGS India workers, whether onshore or offshore. And with its System and Method of Using Speech Recognition at Call Centers to Improve Their Efficiency and Customer Satisfaction, IBM describes how to operate in 'low cost foreign countries' with 'support people not having good English language skills, or having an accent that makes it difficult to understand them' by exploiting technology developed for students who are deaf or hard of hearing, as well as other accent reduction techniques."

The problem is that some underpaid officer will look at this and most likely stamp "approved". I don't think they are paid to think about "obvious" or "prior art".

What else is next for companies to try and patent?

On New Zealand DST changes: congratulations Telecom, Microsoft... Sorry Apple users

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 30-Sep-2007 08:28

Today is the start of the updated New Zealand Dailight Saving Time. I have to say congratulations to Telecom New Zealand and Microsoft. And be sorry for any enterprise Mac OS X users out there.

I read a lot of misinformed opinion about DST changes, which is something that affected New Zealand (with extra weeks of DST), Australia and soon the U.S.

To prevent having to apply patches to their PC, even some technical people thought that they could just disable the automatic clock update on their server OS and manually change the time during the extra weeks, turning the feature back on when the old DST time kicked in.

The problem is that that same people use Exchange and Outlook to manage their appointments, and even though there's no "international" appointments not many people realise how things are stored.

Appointments (and many other data) are stored with time in the GMT timezone. This way it's easy to show the correct time if and when the user moves from one timezone to another. The problem is that if we have DST rules in our PCs that do not conform with the real life rules in place then appointments will show one hour later or earlier during those extra DST weeks. Worst if we have updated machines interacting with non-updated machines.

The problem goes even further if you create appointments during those extra weeks, but falling outside DST. All those appointments will be shifted one hour when the DST ends, and havoc is upon us.

Now, this is only one example. What about international travel where people crosses many timezones? And if you create meetings in other timezones?

Microsoft New Zealand did a great job of creating patches for their Microsoft Windows XP, Microsoft Windows Vista, Microsoft Windows Server OS platforms, plus for Exchhange Server, Microsoft Outlook and Windows Mobile.

Not only Microsoft issued a patch for all those platforms, but this patch was sent with the monthly automatic update a couple of months ago, so your mom and pop won't have their PCs running on the wrong time, neither the big corporate will have problems.

Telecom New Zealand even sent out a SMS to all of their Windows Mobile users informing people to visit a website to apply the patch. Vodafone New Zealand did not go that far, but sent out a press release asking people to check with their manufacturers.

Sun sent out information and an updated Java Runtime, as well other platforms had the same.

What computer company was missed? Apple Inc did not issue a patch for this. Were they too busy with the Apple iPod Touch, or simply deemed the New Zealand market too small to need an update? I understand there's a third party patch for this, but users will have to manually find it and apply the correction - which is not ideal. It should have been an automatic update. 

I hope they do release an update for the U.S. market though.

UPDATE: Rod is not happy with his RIM Blackberry and Vodafone New Zealand either.

UPDATE: for users interested in the Microsoft patches, follow this link to the Microsoft NZ Timezone page.

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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