Great work from Microsoft New Zealand organising the first of its partners' conference in the country. The Day One keynote with Michael Moore was really good. Michael is a former Prime Minister and previously a Director-General of the World Trade Organisation.
On Day One I attended the "Co-opetition and Interoperability" session (Brett Roberts) and spoke at "Everything You Need, Everywhere You Go - Welcome to Windows Mobile 6". After drinks I managed to catch a ride with a Geekzone reader to the Wireless and Broadband Forum monthly meeting. Antonios was in Auckland that day, so we ended up meeting for dinner.
On Day Two Rod Drury did a good job speaking about partnership and how Microsoft helped him and his team get his startups off the ground - including AfterMail and lately Xero.
I then managed to attend another two sessions ("How Innovation Drives Revenues" and "Event Marketing for your Business").
At lunch time I met Paul Brislen, External Communications Manager with Vodafone New Zealand, and then had just enough time to rush to the airport.
Leaving that afternoon means I missed the black tie dinner at the Auckland Museum (picture courtesy of Microsoft), where Provoke and Xero won Partner Solution of the Year and Software Solution of the Year respectively. Other winners include Axon, Kinetics, IGA Systems, Intergen, Auldhouse, Integral, Koorb.
Visit the Halo 3 Ringtone and Wallpaper page to register and download the content.
I've never come across this in New Zealand hotels ... until today.
I am here at SkyCity Grand Auckland, a five star hotel at $245 a night that charges $35/day for in-room broadband - with a 50 MB limit!
Everything over 50 MB is charged at $0.10 per megabyte.
This is a joke. I have stayed in hotels around the world and have never found such a limit...
I started my laptop, connected to my Exchange Server, downloaded my RSS feeds and I am already clocking 20 MB - in about 15 minutes.
How can anyone do business at 50 MB a day?
It's a really cool concept, and Dave ten Have explained a bit to me during the Kiwi Foo Camp back in February 2007. We actually ended up sharing a motel room on that unconference (this is probably my only claim to fame now that he's a big startup).
Ponoko is the first personal manufacturing platform. Using their website, people can invent and design new products, then have them made to order, or sell their designs to others.
If I don't hear from anyone else I'd say this is the first New Zealand company building dedicated Windows Home Server machines.
It's a nice box, with an ASUS P5S-MX SE motherboard, running an Intel Pentium Dual Core Processor. I don't know the exact memory and disc configuration yet, because I am right now packing and leaving to the airport - I will be back in a couple of days and then put this machine through testing.
I have now a copy of PerformanceTest 6.1 that I am using to test a Lexar SSD Express Card and will use to test this Windows Home Server too. Stay tuned!
The conference theme is "Moving Your Business Online - The Tipping Point us Upon Us". I will lead the "User Generated Content" session (7 November, 4:10pm) and also participate in a panel session "Blogging your customers" (8 November, 4pm).
I am also planning to be attending the TUANZ Business Internet Awards 2007 afterwards.
TUANZ (Telecommunications Users Association of New Zealand) is a not-for-profit organisation that for 20 years has been promoting the needs of end-users of telecommunications in New Zealand.
There's a YouTube video inviting people to visit the TUANZ website and also to attend the conference. I don't think Ernie will be playing in the conference though...
Last month, I wrote about the FUD surrounding Windows Vista and DRM. The FUDmaster is Peter Gutmann, a New Zealand researcher who wrote a paper last December that made a series of outrageous and inflammatory claims about Windows Vista. Since then, Gutmann has expanded the paper to more than four times its original size. The current version available on Gutmann’s website clocks in at more than 26,000 words, making it longer than some recent works of fiction.
And length isn’t the only thing Gutmann’s paper has in common with the average pulp novel. Gutmann’s work is riddled with factual errors, mistaken assumptions and unproven assertions, distortions, contradictions, misquotes, and outright untruths. In short, it’s a work of fiction all on its own.
Gutmann is a clever writer, and he’s able to string together nouns, verbs, technical terms,and acronyms in ways that sound persuasive. In this three-part series (look for Parts 2 and 3 later this week), I’m going to dig deep into Gutmann’s work and show you just where he got it wrong.
I’ve been working on this story for months. Part of the problem is that Gutmann’s paper is a rambling, sloppy, disorganized mess, and nine months of additions have made it even more difficult to pick out the serious arguments from the scare stories and snark. Gutmann’s favorite technique is to string together anecdotes he’s plucked from magazines and websites, juxtapose those stories with sentences from presentations by Microsoft engineers and developers, and then speculate on the implications, often with wildly incorrect results. And worst of all, Gutmann appears to believe everything he reads—as long as he can fit it into his anti-Microsoft world view.
The other part of the problem is Gutmann’s lack of hands-on experience with modern consumer electronics gear and with Windows Vista itself, which shows in nearly every sentence he writes. I’ve done extensive hands-on testing and have personally seen Vista do things that Gutmann says are impossible. Rather than write 26,000 words of my own, I’m going to pick out more than a dozen substantive errors in Gutmann’s piece and explain why they’re wrong.
Peter is a "Professional Paranoid" as he describes himself on his page. You can read Peter's paper "A Cost Analysis of Windows Vista Content Protection" on-line for more information on his theories.
But what happens when things stop working?
Microsoft Windows Live Custom Domains is down. I can't get to it to administer domains. It's like the server simply doesn't exist. When I tried to find a support contact it was impossible. There's none. I visited Microsoft's live.com website and clicked on Feedback. There's a huge list of Live services, but Windows Live Custom Domains is not there.
How can we get control of our domains back? A couple of redirects that use the Live Domains service are not working.
If a company relies on Live domains they would now be without access to this service for some time. And there's no contact point.
A friend pointed me to a URL where I could enter feedback to specific Windows Live Products. And this is what I got:
Your current language is English (New Zealand). Support for Windows Live Custom Domains is currently only available from the following list.
Seriously? hat is different in English (New Zealand) from English (Australia) or even English (United States)?
I am able to send feedback when I change my language to English (Australia), but then I get this:
Thank you for taking the time to give us your feedback. We appreciate your feedback and use it to help create better services and products. Unfortunately we cannot provide a personal response to your comments.
Hello!? Your service is down. We can't contact anyone, and if we do provide feedback you tell me you won't contact me back?
This kind of problem is what makes some companies walk, no, run away from hosted services. How can they trust a third party with their information, if the third party cannot be contacted in case of a fault?
We take some companies for granted, but we forget that in this age every service seems to be "beta". "Beta" doesn't mean "under expert testing" anymore. It means "we have a cool service but we can't guarantee it will work, because we keep tweaking it and breaking it".
UPDATE: The service is up, with a downtime of four hours, during which I couldn't contact anyone because I speak English (New Zealand).
The features are really incredible: VGA screen, 1 GB flash memory for storage, 128 MB RAM for program execution, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and a 806 MHz processor. Add to this a GSM module so it can connect mobile data and on top of that, it's a rugged device!
Now I am having some fun configuring it to synchronise with an Exchange Server 2007 test account provided by AnywhereExchange, so I can demonstrate all the new messaging and security features.
I got it from GeoSystems, TDS Resellers here in Wellington and region.