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Unlimited Potential: Blog Predictions for 2007

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 30-Dec-2006 09:13

I was invited to speak at one of the upcoming Unlimited Potential events, here in Wellington.

The details are:

UP New Years Event - Bloggers predictions for 2007
When: 25 January 2006, at 5:30 for a 6:00 start
Where: Creative HQ, at 25 Marion Street, Wellington
And here is the pitch:

We've asked Wellington's best bloggers to gaze into the future and tell us what the big news will be in the next twelve months. The wisdom of their prognostications will astound you—or make you laugh, at the very least.

The blogger who makes the best predictions — as voted by the audience — will be crowned UP Visionary of the Year for 2007, and receive an official certificate, a beautiful tiara [crown?], and full bragging rights… at least until 2008, when we will vote again on whether to revoke their title.

The bloggers:

David Farrar, of Kiwiblog fame,
Tom Beard, Wellingtonista's "Blogger of the Year" for 2006,
Mauricio Freitas, the Geekzone Guy,
Philip Fierlinger, self-confessed Blog Junkie
Mike, carrying the hopes and dreams of the UP Exec

The rules:

Each blogger will make 3 to 5 predictions.
Preditions will be in the following categories: Gadgets & Games,
The Internet, Business & Telecom[munications], Technology, Wellington & NZ.
Predictions made by blog readers in comments are allowed, but must be credited.
Cheating—by using insider knowldge, in-depth simulations, latent psychic powers, reasoned analysis, alcohol, ouija boards, etc— is strictly encouraged.

The last bit is important... So if you think you have a vision of the future of blogging, and it happens in 2007, then drop a comment here or contact me.

PS. If your name is not linked, I sincerely apologise - I simply can't find your blog right now, so please drop me a note and I will update the links.

New Zealand companies don't get blogging

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 29-Nov-2006 00:40

New Zealand companies don't get blogging:

Blogs often provide commentary or news on a particular subject, such as food, politics, or local news; some function as more personal online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web pages, and other media related to its topic. The ability for readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs.

Many bloggers differentiate themselves from the mainstream media, while others are members of that media working through a different channel. Some institutions see blogging as a means of "getting around the filter" and pushing messages directly to the public.

Most importantly C-level people, middle managers, employees - everyone - should read Naked Conversations and the Cluetrain Manifesto:

A powerful global conversation has begun. Through the Internet, people are discovering and inventing new ways to share relevant knowledge with blinding speed. As a direct result, markets are getting smarter—and getting smarter faster than most companies.

These markets are conversations. Their members communicate in language that is natural, open, honest, direct, funny and often shocking. Whether explaining or complaining, joking or serious, the human voice is unmistakably genuine. It can't be faked.

Most corporations, on the other hand, only know how to talk in the soothing, humorless monotone of the mission statement, marketing brochure, and your-call-is-important-to-us busy signal. Same old tone, same old lies. No wonder networked markets have no respect for companies unable or unwilling to speak as they do.

While many such people already work for companies today, most companies ignore their ability to deliver genuine knowledge, opting instead to crank out sterile happytalk that insults the intelligence of markets literally too smart to buy it.

However, employees are getting hyperlinked even as markets are. Companies need to listen carefully to both. Mostly, they need to get out of the way so intranetworked employees can converse directly with internetworked markets.

Corporate firewalls have kept smart employees in and smart markets out. It's going to cause real pain to tear those walls down. But the result will be a new kind of conversation. And it will be the most exciting conversation business has ever engaged in.

If you think I am talking about your company (if the hat fits) then you are probably correct in your assumption.

IBM Forum 06 presentations on-line now

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 9-Nov-2006 15:09

If you are interested, the presentations used during the IBM Forum 06 earlier this year are now available on-line.

The files can be downloaded from here.

Microsoft Exchange Server Unified Messaging + NewsGator Enterprise Server = DIY podcast?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 30-Sep-2006 10:23

Ok, it looks like I am not going to have much luck trying to get one of these Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Unified Messaging Kit here in New Zealand to create a proof of concept (well, not unless paying big bucks just to import this by myself), so I am posting here what I wanted to do, and perhaps someone in the USA can get one of these devices to test.

I run my own NewsGator Enterprise Server (NGES), and I have it integrated with my Microsoft Exchange Server 2003. I am able to create a "location" and have RSS feeds I subscribe to automatically entered into my Exchange mailbox. This way I can also read the feeds through Microsoft Outlook or the OWA.

When an item is read on the Exchange mailbox this status is synchronised back to the NewsGator Enterprise Server and the item is marked read in the database. NGES keeps all in sync, regardless of using the web interface, FeedDemon, or Outlook, very cool.

Now, this is the Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 feature that caught my attention:

Outlook Voice Access: Users can access their Exchange mailbox using a standard telephone, available anywhere. Through touch tone or speech-enabled menus, they can hear and act on their calendar, listen to e-mail messages (translated from text to speech), listen to voice mail messages, call their contacts, or call users listed in the directory.

The whole process would be something like subscribe to feed with NewsGator, have the feed items deposited into Exchange mailbox, have items read to you through the phone.

I am not sure if this can be done with items other than Inbox only, but it could be possible at least with some coding required.

The whole thing looks like a personal podcast programming service to me. It could be something people listen while driving to work, instead of a radio show or a standard podcast download. The user would be creating their own programme based on whatever feeds they subscribe and synchronise to the Exchange mailbox, and each programme would be very personal. And it could be accesible from anywhere through a landline or mobile phone - even over VoIP of course. It could stream to a client ona PC

Some operators (Telecom New Zealand comes to mind) offer flat fee plans when calling a specified phone number, for example, and this would be handy.

Alas, can't test thing here for lack of hardware support, so the idea is up to someone else to try. If you do it, please post a comment and link here.

Edelman and Technorati PR study of Japanese bloggers: same everywhere

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 7-Sep-2006 10:43

Edelman's Japanese subsidiary ( and, has announced the results of a study of 213 Japanese bloggers that the agency recently conducted with Technorati Japan ( and

The primary purpose of the study was to discover how Japan's bloggers communicate with companies and write about their products, with a view to determining general blogger PR preferences for corporate and product communications.

No surprises here, and I would say these results are not only applicable to Japan, but to any other country where the blog culture has coming to be part of the day-to-day of Internet users (this should be probably anywhere in the world with a decent Internet usage penetration).

The numbers won't lie: seventy percent of the respondents said that among the reasons they blog is 'to create a record of their thoughts;' 63.8% said that they blog 'to create a record of the information that I have gained;' and, 58.7% said that they blog 'to share information I have gained with others' (multiple reasons for blogging were allowed).

Just 4.7% of the Japanese bloggers surveyed said that the primary reason they blog is to 'raise visibility as an authority in my field, whereas 33.9% stated in a similar Edelman/Technorati American-based study of English language bloggers last year that this is their primary reason for blogging -- seemingly a significant cross-cultural difference.

Now, check these numbers: a total of 84.5% said that they blog about companies (their industry, service, products), with 49.3% doing so at least once a week (with 14.6% saying 'daily or almost daily'). But when asked "How often are you contacted by companies or their communications representatives?," a majority 55.4% said 'never.'

"What these results show is that while Japanese bloggers are communicating about companies or products all the time, companies are not communicating with them enough, even though conventional methods of corporate communications are still more trusted in Japan compared to America," says Edelman North Asia President Robert Pickard. "This seems to argue in favor of companies supplementing their traditional one-way 'monologue' communication of messages by engaging with bloggers online through a new two-way 'dialogue' where conversations are key."

The bold is mine.

Why did I highlight that part? Because it's true everywhere else. Companies still don't trust bloggers or don't want to communicate with the market they represent.

This week I joined Nielsen//NetRatings, under the Technology group. The main reason for that wasn't to find out how many pages other technology websites are serving, but to raise the visibility of Geekzone in front of PR companies and marketing departments.

Just for kicks, Geekzone jumped to #4 in the group on its first full day (NZ traffic) and #2 in total traffic (NZ and international) for both pages served and unique users. The methodology is still behind the days, in terms of blogging. For example there's no accountability of RSS feed readers, and according to Feedburner we can have up to 15,000 feed readers on a given day.

Now, while this the first day, I won't be taking this too seriously (hmmm, sort of) until the end of the month with more numbers coming in. But it shows to companies that they can't simply ignore non-MSM websites.  Companies have to give us a chance!

The Chilibox Review is coming

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 18-Jul-2006 14:32

I've just received the Chilibox here for our review. If you don't know, the Chilibox is an Internet appliance, ready-to-use router/firewall/disc server/VPN/e-mail server/DHCP server/web proxy box running ChiliOS, a variant of Unix.

It supports wired and wireless networks and can be used at home or small office.

Apparently it's very easy to use. We will be putting it through some testing in the next couple of weeks to see if it's really a "family friendly" experience and will report in our Geekzone review section.

This review was arranged with the folks at Pillar Technotronics, in Singapore, whom I met during the CES 2006 in Las Vegas.

Some thoughts on Geekzone Blogs and pre-announcing the Geekzone Event 2006

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 3-Apr-2006 18:13

Since the introduction of our Geekzone Blog feature we had some interesting posts from our users. We have a range of people writing their personal weblogs, with their interests in the foreground, most of them tech-related topics.

We can see some people writing about the current state of IT in New Zealand, mobility and new concepts, CDMA topics, electronics stuff, gadget related posts, general IT information, consumer electronics, and general tech stuff.

We found out early on that Google loves us (and we hope to keep this way), and lots of the personal posts in the Geekzone Blogs ended up very quickly in Google News and in the main Google Index.

Seeing this happening is great, because it exposes people's opinions to a larger audience, bringing more interaction with new people, enhancing the conversation.

Of course this brings some more responsibilities. For example making the posts credible, showing experience, common sense, correctness in the language. This is all to make sure each everyone here shows the best face we have to the world (and I don't mean only the picture in the blog heading).

For example, during the whole Optus B1 Satellite problem impacting on Sky TV broadcasting in New Zealand I found one source of information being actively read: Geekzone Blogs. I am pretty sure we were the first on-line publication to report a problem, after being alerted by some users in the forums, with have early updates, and more commentary during the whole thing (in the Geekzone Blogs and forums).

I am pretty sure some of our Geekzone Blogs saw a cool increase in the page view numbers during a couple of days, thanks to all links from other sites, such as Google, Digg and more. And I am pretty sure this will give everyone here some boost to keep writing about their passion.

For the future, I am thinking of promoting an event, a bit different from our first Geekzone Dinner in Wellington, with a couple of sessions on mobile devices, community, blogging and other tech topics. Stay tunned for more information later this year. For now, save the month: October Wink!

Naked Conversations?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 30-Mar-2006 08:00

While Dave Sifry (Technorati founder) place phone calls to Scoble, the Technorati help desk doesn't bother replying to support requests (which they sure received because I got one of those automatic e-mails with a case number).

I see the Naked Conversations are really going ahead... Small companies seem to be getting infected with the problems that plague the big companies.

Official Google Blog: Hacked?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 28-Mar-2006 18:24

There you go... An Austin, TX, student (or so he identified himslef) decided to visit the official Google Blog, and received a 404. Thinking that this message means "no user here with this name", he registered "googleblog", and next thing you know... A new Google Blog owner!

I noticed this when reading through my Newsgator subscription and found this:

Of course since then Google has fixed this - the original "hacked" page is now a screenshot on flickr.

By the time I found about this I noticed a few entries on popular link sites, such as Digg.

The Google Blog is now back, and a notice posted by the administrators says "[it] was unavailable for a short time tonight. We quickly learned from our initial investigation that there was no systemwide vulnerability for Blogger. We'll let you know more about what did happen once we finish looking into it."

The blog was mistakenly deleted, which allowed the blog address to be temporarily claimed by another user. The official Google Blog says this was not a hack, and nobody guessed their password. Simply bad operations.

Airline companies can think of anything to squeeze money

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 17-Mar-2006 08:41

I remember a few years ago the company I worked for had a policy in place which allowed anyone on flights longer than six hour to request this to be upgraded to business class. Of course, during the late 90s and early 00s the company took this "privilege" out of reach of employees (I am pretty sure top level general managers still had that though). Back to the airlines, a few years ago Air New Zealand introduced the "fuel surcharge". It bothered me all the time because the fuel is part of the cost of operating a transport company, and it should be part of the ticket price presented to the traveller. But how could Air New Zealand (and any other flight operator) present those nice "cheap" fares without the very tiny conditions, including fuel surcharge (you can read more here and here and the NZ Commerce Commision comments in pdf format). Anyway, now it surfaces that Northwest is charging US$15 for the privilege of having a seat in the emergency exit area (those with a little bit more legroom) or an aisle seat. I wonder if they are planning on giving a US$15 discount for those people seating in front of the emergency exits, since those don't recline? How does it link back to my first paragraph? I can see the companies wanting to save some beans will send policies down to HR saying that "people travelling for the company should always take centre or window seats"...

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. Also worth visiting is TravelTalk NZ, a community for travelers!

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.

Here's is my full disclosure post.

A couple of blog posts you should read:

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