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The SMS advertising market gets crowded with Txthub arrival

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 17-Aug-2007 08:31

How many SMS marketing companies would you think New Zealand could accomodate? At least two, I'd say, now that Txthub is entering the market to compete with Hoohaa.

I met Brian Hawker (Hoohaa CEO) and Jason King (Hoohaa Operations Director) during drinks a few weeks ago and I was told users love Hoohaa.

The idea is that they will send very targeted advertising via SMS to your mobile phone. You have to sign up to the free service, and for each SMS received you will acrue $0.10 in your account.

Now, I am a bit skeptical about this, but when I asked about how much money people are making receiving SMS they told me people are more interested in the advertising bringing them timely information about promotions and new products then money. Anyway you can only get a maximum of $0.40 a day with Hoohaa, which means no more than $12 a month to receive 120 SMS.

Now Txthub enters the same market, with support of brand names such as Burger Wisconsin, which provide free chips when buying burgers - you get the idea.

Txthub too pays $0.10 per message but it doesn't seem to limit to only four messages a day like Hoohaa, but you can set your own limit if things are getting too heavy.

Although both companies have "About Us" pages, Hoohaa tells us a bit more about the company than Txthub. Actually the Txthub "About Us" tells us everything about the product and nothing about the company itself. We need more disclosure!

Other than this, it's actually great that we have companies offerrig opt-in campaigns, instead of being inundated with unsolicited SMS spam, which I believe will come when some dirty cheap spammer decides to run their own gateway through a small India outlet (like the ones who keep sending me e-mails offering cheap SMS to the world). The only thing preventing this happening is that SMS actually costs something to be sent, in addition to the hardware and software needed, unlike e-mail spam which is mainly free after the costs are wiped out with their revenues.

If you are an advertiser, how much would a campaign like this cost? I can't tell for sure, but we can speculate. We know the New Zealand operators are really bad at giving bulk discounts, so assume it's still $0.20 per SMS for the operator. Then $0.10 credit for each user. Then advertising networks generall add another 40% of cost on top. And we can't forget the companies running the show which would be another 40% I'd imagine. You can imagine how much each SMS would end up costing. It needs to be really well targeted to bring back benefits at this price point per message.

Operating System security is as good as the admins

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 16-Aug-2007 17:22

This should be an alert for people who keep saying "this OS is safer than that one"... According to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter:

This last week, 5 of the 8 servers that are loco hosted but Canonical sponsored, had to be shut down due to reports that they were actively attacking other machines. These servers were found to have a variety of problems including, but not limited to, missing security patches, FTP (not sftp, without SSL) was being used to access the machines, and no upgrades past breezy due to problems with the network cards and later kernels. Loco teams will be given a choice to: a. migrate to the Canonical data center, or b. stay on the hosted/outsourced servers. Each option has its good and bad points. Jono Bacon has therefore called for a meeting to discuss these issues. The meeting will be in IRC #ubuntu-locoteams on Tuesday, August 14, 2007 at 2:00PM UTC.

The comment on Slashdot is:

Canonical blames the community, saying they were community hosted, and were poorly maintained. However, kernel upgrades couldn't be done because of poor backwards compatibility with the very hardware that Canonical had sponsored! While people point fingers at each other it is pretty clear that both sides are equally to blame, the community administrators for practicing bad security practices, such as using unencrypted FTP transfers with accounts, not properly maintaining the system. However Canonical should have been well aware of what they are hosting. The question remains, if any of the files distributed to users have been compromised. A major blow for Canonical though who are attempting to enter the business market with Ubuntu Server."

IDC Government Insights conference in Wellington

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 16-Aug-2007 14:15

Today it was a really late start, due to my cold and sore throat. I missed the whole first morning of the IDC Government Insights conference here in Wellington.

Even though my head still hurt, I couldn't miss this event and the fact I was personally invited by Amit Gupta, IDC New Zealand General Manager.

I already met some familiar faces around the show floor and I am now attending the sessions. shame I missed Hon. David Cunliffe, Minister of Communications & IT addressing the audience this morning.

interesting thing is the number of Open Source sessions today and tomorrow.

Ihave attended "What is the Changing Economic, Community, Environment and Cultural Landscape in NZ and how do we Maximise ‘Being Digital’ to Address the Challenges?" by Janet Mazenier, Digital Strategy Programme Manager, Ministry of Economic Development. Janet has just announced the Digital Future 2.0 Summit, later in November 2007, where leaders will be discussing the national digital strategy.

Next I am planning to attend "Reaping the Strategic Benefits of Open Source in Government" by Murali Sagi, Director of Information Systems & Corporate Services, Judicial Commision NSW. Murali was responsible for the delivery of a decision support system developed with a combination of Linux, Apache, postgresql and PHP. It hosts about 450,000 legal documents and over 500,000 legal statistics.

SuperHappyDevHouse Aotearoa again

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 14-Aug-2007 12:13

We have started the planning sessions for the next SuperHappyDevHouse Aotearoa. We are looking for sponsors again, so please get in contact!

The pilot event was great, with almost 100% attendance. The next meeting will be open to anyone who register, so keep an eye on the SuperHappyDevHouse Aotearoa website.

The IDC New Zealand Government Insights Conference 2007

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 14-Aug-2007 08:36

While attending the Tech Ed New Zealand 2007 (check my Unofficial Tech Ed blog) I had the opportunity to meet the IDC New Zealand Country Manager, Amit Gupta.

From this meeting came an invitation to attend the IDC New Zealand Government Insight Conference 2007, happening this week in Wellington.

I will be there during the event, which sounds a very good discussion of technology applied to e-Government. Look for me.

The anti-smacking bill fear - the nanny state

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 14-Aug-2007 08:18

This is not a technology blog post - be warned. It's almost a political statement. It is here to let our PMs know I am not a supporter of the so-called Anti Smacking-bill.

Why? Because it terrorises parents, spreading fear that an idiot neighbour (which I don't think we have any) or badly informed citizen can just call the Emergency services number and report a parent with "hearsay", for something that every child do, such as a tantrum or a bed time crying.

A good example is this story on New Zealand Herald, "Toddler tantrum brings three cops knocking" and "No I don't abuse my kids but thanks for checking".

My daugther Isabella cries in the morning. She cries when she doesn't want to go to bed. She cries in the middle of the night to let us know she wants some milk. She can't speak yet, so she does one of the things she can to communicate with us. to catch our attention when we are not looking - because she's really good at baby sign language I must say, but it only works when we are looking at her, obviously.

I don't believe the anti-smacking bill will make child abuse in New Zealand go away. Parents who were accused of having killed children are not worried about what can happen to then if they smack a child - because they do worst things as we have seen in the latest stories of toddlers being taken to hospitals just to die a few days later.

That is not smacking. That's beating. That's abusing.

I told my wife one evening that I was thinking a police officer would knock in our door, and if that happen I would happily say "Great you are here officer. We need a baby sitter". Not really. We don't. And we don't need a nanny state that is worried with small things while people go around killing children.

Summer of Code 2.0 teaser video

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 11-Aug-2007 13:54

This is the Summer of Code 2.0 teaser video... And yes, that's us, Geekzone being one of the companies participating this year.
The Summer of Code 2.0 applications are now open to any Computer Science or Information Technology students who will be completing their 2nd year this year or above and want to work for a Wellington company this summer. There are over 20 companies signed up for this year's programme and they’re eagerly looking for students to help them work on research and open source projects.

Poll: what would you like to see in the next HP laptop? Help make it happen!

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 11-Aug-2007 10:26

I have received an interesting and very important invitation: to help model the next HP laptop.

That's right. The HP product design team wanted to reach out to users and invited some bloggers and industry experts to realy to them what consumers want in a laptop.

So, please post in the comments below your feedback and what you expect on your ideal PC.

I will collate the comments here and send to HP through a forum created for us to post comments and feedback on design, functionality, features, etc.

You can also contact me in private if you prefer.

Another Vodafone Vodem review

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 10-Aug-2007 13:02

Perhaps the guys at Vodafone should have a read at Thomas Beagle's blog post about "portable Internet with vodem".

It doesn't look like he is impressed with "broadband everywhere":

One of the cool things about the Vodem is that it not only installs itself as a communications device, it also includes a built in flash-drive that contains the software and drivers you need to make it all work. This means there’s no need for a separate CD. Also, when you update the modem firmware you’re also updating the built in software. Nifty.

The first problem was the Vodafone supplied software. For some reason that I completely fail to understand, it appears that telephone companies and manufacturers of telephone equipment are incapable of writing good PC software. Fixing this wasn’t too hard - discard the software and set up the connection within Windows as a normal PPP connection using the Vodem. Problem #1 solved.

The Vodem would rather spend time endlessly hunting between GPRS/UTMS/HSDPA, flicking its little indicator LED from blue to greeny-blue and back again, then actually moving data back and forth. Each time it switches there is an interruption in your internet connection that lasts 10-30 seconds, and there’s no guarantee that when the connection is re-established that it won’t immediately switch back again.

It’s got to the point now that I’m looking for the commands I need to disable some of the connection types in the hope that it will be more stable (because it’s treated like a modem it uses a very extended version of the AT command set). GPRS may be slow but I’d rather have a stable slow connection than an intermittent fast one. Sadly the documentation isn’t very good and the Huawei website doesn’t let commoners like me download the manuals. Time to go googling, I’ll post an update when I find the solution.

Verdict: The Vodem is a neat idea and I really want it to work but I can’t recommend it at this time.

Sprite Backup 6.0 for Windows Mobile discount code

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 9-Aug-2007 13:27

I have just posted about the new Sprite Backup software in our Geekzone News section, and I would like to share some of that software with you guys - Sprite Software was kind enough to provide me with a discount code for anyone interested...

If you don't know Sprite Backup is written by the same guys who brougth us Ghost (before it became Norton Ghost). It's a great backup solution for Windows Mobile devices, both Pocket PC and Smartphone. And now it's compatible with Windows Mobile 6.

So if you fancy a $5 discount on this software simply visit the Sprite Software on-line store and use the code "freitasm" during check out to get your discount!

The discount code is valid through 17 August 2007, so hurry up.

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.

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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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