My window to the world

Time for some site stats update: Firefox just ahead of Internet Explorer

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 2-Aug-2010 11:42

Now and then I remember to post an update on stats we collect here on Geekzone... To put this in context, remember Geekzone is a technology community, with a demographics that is more likely to update their browser and computers to the latest and greatest. Having said, it is obvious our numbers will be very different of those from a site with a more "traditional" audience.

All those numbers are based on a sampling of more than 600,000 visits to the site over the last month.

Operating System: Microsoft Windows continues to lead the pack, with 84.39% of the visits. Mac OS follows with 9.85% and Linux third with 3.63%. iPad shows up in fourth with 0.91%. There was one lonely visit from someone using IBM OS/2 (and similarly small numbers for Playstation 3, SunOS, NetBSD, FreeBSD, Unix, OpenBSD).

Visitors using Windows were split in Windows XP (47.24%), Windows 7 (34.16%) and Windows Vista (16.92%). We should mention those brave 19 people visiting Geekzone while using Windows ME, and those three using Windows 95.

Mac OS users mostly used Mac OS 10.6 Snow Leopard (70.2%), and Mac OS 10.5 Leopard (21.41%). Someone out there is either using Mac OS 10.7 or faking the agent string, with two visits.

Browsers: Yet again Microsoft Internet Explorer and Firefox are head to head. And Firefox is again just inching in front of Internet Explorer. Here are the numbers: Firefox with 36.50%, Internet Explorer with 35.56%, Chrome with 16.63%,  Safari with 7.72%, Opera with 2.26%. Thanks to that person who visited Geekzone from a Nook eReader, and the Lynx user.

There are still 10.15% of users on Internet Explorer 6, but the majority is using Internet Explorer 8 (68.57%) and Internet Explorer 7 (21.23%).

Firefox users are mostly on 3.6.6 with 48.15% of the visits, but from there you see a variety of versions. It seems even though Firefox is gaining traction, people still don't update their browser installs.

IPv6: IPv6 adoption is slow, but I believe content providers should move in that direction... Since connecting Geekzone servers to an IPv6-enabled network and introducing AAAA records we have seen 0.04% of the visits coming through that connection.

Forums: Our Geekzone forums exploded last week thanks to the imbroglio that was the iPhone 4 launch in New Zealand. We saw spikes of more than 100% traffic over previous periods (day/week) thanks to the confusion generated by Apple and Vodafone not coming to an agreement if there would be an iPhone 4 launch in the country - less than 24 hours before the previously announced release date.

As a consequence, this month our top five Geekzone forums were Apple iOS (11.90%), Telecom New Zealand (8.28%), Off Topic (7.50%), Home Theatre (6.26%), Android (5.54%).

In the next update I will be able to report a new metric we are now following: ad blockers. Since Geekzone is fully funded by advertising (with some special sponsored blogs such as Visual Studio 2008 and MyFreeview|HD Review), I wanted to find out how many of our tech savvy users visit Geekzone and block our ads. We just started measuring this, and so far the numbers are a surprise to me.

TVNZ 7 and InternetNZ debate: Safety and Privacy Online

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 27-Jul-2010 17:54

Coming soon to TVNZ 7, InternetNZ - and a dedicated page here on Geekzone. If you plan to tweet about this please use the tag #TVNZ7:

Broadcaster TVNZ 7 and online policy leader InternetNZ (Internet New Zealand Inc) are proud to announce the TVNZ 7 Internet Debate on Wednesday 11 August at 9.10pm, LIVE from Avalon Studios in Wellington and hosted by experienced journalist Damian Christie.

The TVNZ 7 Internet Debate will be broadcast on TVNZ 7, streamed online and will incorporate online chat and polling to debate one of the most contentious topics surrounding the Internet today – “Who is responsible for safety and privacy online?”

The Debate will investigate three contentious areas of the Internet age – the safety of children, government intervention such as Internet filtering, and the industry’s responsibility to keep our data private as use of social media grows.

The public can watch on TVNZ 7 (available on Freeview/TiVo channel 7 or SKY/Telstra channel 97,, or Online conversation leading up to and on the night will be established on Twitter, Geekzone and Facebook.

An expert range of panelists has been assembled including NetSafe Executive Director Martin Cocker, InternetNZ CE Vikram Kumar, Family First National Director Bob McCroskie, Telecommunications Industry Group CEO Rob Spray, Watchdog International founder Peter Mancer and Taylor Shaw lawyer Kathryn Dalziel.

The show is part of TVNZ 7’s Spotlight on Science and Technology month and is produced by Wellington production company Top Shelf.

TVNZ 7 Channel Manager Philippa Mossman says “TVNZ 7 is all about discovering, discussing and debating and we’re pleased to be working with InternetNZ to bring this thought-provoking debate on a topic that affects each of us in a far-reaching way. It’s a logical fit with our focus on science and technology in August, but it’s as much a debate about contemporary society and culture as it is about technology.”

InternetNZ CEO Vikram Kumar says the online world has become an inextricable part of most New Zealanders daily lives.

“As more New Zealanders connect and the Internet continues to grow, issues of online safety and security, use and abuse of social media, government filtering and censorship are coming under the microscope.

“The TVNZ 7 Internet Debate focuses a lens on these issues, asking who is responsible for online safety and privacy in the context of parents & children, individuals vs. government and individuals vs. the internet industry.”

On the day of the TVNZ 7 Internet Debate a series of public workshops will be hosted by InternetNZ in Wellington and NetSafe in Auckland.
For more information see:

The difference between football and American football (not soccer)

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 9-Jul-2010 09:28

John Cleese explains the difference between those two sports, in an excerpt from The Art of Football...

Why should your company advertise on Geekzone?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 12-May-2010 16:00

According to a Nielsen Market Intelligence ranking sent out today, there's a good reason to advertise on Geekone: our audience is not afraid of engaging online. A quick look at the table below and you'll see why (click for a larger version):

Remember this is for New Zealand domestic traffic only. Nielsen explains the methodology:

"The rankings do not show which websites have the actual highest traffic numbers (ie total number of unique browsers) of this demographic, but instead show which sites have the highest percentage of their traffic consisting of people who have purchased online from any website, for the month of April.

For example, is the number one ranking because 55.4 percent of its unique browsers meet the demographic requirement, but their total number of matched unique browsers equals 6,025. on the other hand, in third place, has 51.7 percent of its unique browsers that meet the demographic requirement but their total number of matched unique browsers equals 54,132."

For some public demographic information you can check our Geekzone information on Quantcast and select different countries from their list.

Top New Zealand technology sites April 2010

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 15-Apr-2010 11:10

We have decided to relist Geekzone on Nielsen Market Intelligence, just to gather numbers for advertising agencies. Having said that, Nielsen reports "Unique Browsers" and for comparison I also show our Google Analytics reporting "Visits" for the same period. Here is what Nielsen says:

And here is what Google Analytics tells me:

Looking at the % of New Zealand traffic reported by Google Analytics, it seems total Unique Visitors according to Google Analytics is about 38,661 - about 50% more than Nielsen is reporting...

This is just a test post... Don't worry!

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 8-Oct-2009 13:54

map3f31b99f1061I am actually testing the metaweblog API implementation on Geekzone, and using Windows Live Writer to post this blog entry.
As usual Phil (RedJungle, @redjungle on Twitter) did a great job of integrating our custom database and a nice .Net wrapper to allow this magic to happen.
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Government plans to filter the Internet in New Zealand - now in full official draft

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 25-Aug-2009 18:09

After a lot of comments and exposure on the whole "Internet filtering in New Zealand", the Department of Internal Affairs has released its draft proposal. You can download the document here (pdf link).

The document is officially entitled "Digital Child Exploitation Filtering System".

2.4 A person who views a website containing chid sexual abuse images is in possession of those images, if only for the period they appear on the screen.  The Digital Child Exploitation Filtering System therefore will help prevent inadvertent exposure to these images and will also help prevent New Zealanders from committing crimes.

Ok, so the DIA makes it clear what the filtering system is for.

4.3.1 The list is reviewed monthly, manually, to ensure that it is up to date and that the possibility of false positives is removed.  

4.3.2 Additions are only made to the list with the agreement of at least 3 warranted inspectors of publications that the material on the website meets the criterion that they explicitly show children being sexually abused.  

4.3.3 All sites on the list are visited and have a report that identifies the investigating officer and what he or she saw on the site when it was last reviewed.

So there goes our fears of rogue governments filtering any site that is against its policies and dare to speak up.

5.2.1 The Department will institute an Independent Reference Group (IRG) to maintain oversight of the operation of the Digital Child Exploitation Filtering System to ensure it is operated with integrity and adheres to the principles set down in this Code of Practice.

Good move. Someone needs to police the police.

This is what someone visiting one of the blocked sites will see:

Child Exploitation Filtering System

6.6 If a requester considers that they have been wrongly blocked from visiting a legitimate website then they can click on the link to the Website Appeal page to fill in an appeal.

Sounds good. It's easy to notify the list managers if there's something you think is wrongly blocked.

7. Data
7.1 What data is collected?
7.1.1 During the course of the filtering process the Department logs the following information regarding a request for a blocked website:
• Connection Number - relates to the number allocated to an ISP when it is included on the system and the type of connection eg. GIF2.
• Local IP – represents the IP address of the user – this is anonymised to protect the identity of the requester.
• Request - encompasses 2 fields: the Originating Site and the Requested Site.
• Remote IP - relates to the address of the remote site, this uses random numbers to ensure the Department cannot track it back.

7.2 What is the data used for
7.2.1 The collection of this data is necessary so that the system is able to be reviewed to ensure 24-hour 365-day uptime and no loss of business due to a technical glitch or fault, for ISPs who join the system.  

7.2.2 The logs are used to troubleshoot the connections between the Department’s system and the ISP.  As we are providing a service to a commercial organisation, it is our responsibility to ensure that the Department is able to offer the same level of service expected of any commercial enterprise.  

7.2.3 As no identifiable information is stored about the user requesting a website, this data cannot be used in support of any investigation or enforcement activity undertaken by the Department.  However, the data will be used for statistical and reporting purposes, for example to inform the Department of the level of demand in New Zealand for child sexual abuse images.  

Sounds too much information about a user's IP just for "troubleshooting the connections".

8.2 The Department also acknowledges that website filtering systems are not 100% effective in preventing access to illegal material.  A person with a reasonable level of technical skill can use tools that are freely available on the Internet to get around the filters.

8.3 As illegal material, such as child sexual abuse images, is most often traded on peer-to-peer networks or chatrooms, which will not be filtered, the Censorship Compliance Unit carries out active investigations in those spaces.

The DIA confirms what most tech savvy people knows: the trade of this kind of content is done under strict secrecy using protocols that are not being filtered. The DIA will continue to investigate (as they already do) and prosecute (well done).

This filter is just to prevent good people like you and me coming across this kind of material by accident - or to prevent 2.4 of happening.

In all a good cause. I was just expecting another paragraph there saying "This code is to make it clear no other type of content will be added to the filtered system at later stage".

Government plans to filter New Zealand Internet

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 11-Jul-2009 12:45

I am a member of the InternetNZ and I have just been reading its internal mailing list about the frightening possibility of Internet filtering coming to New Zealand, courtesy of our Department of Internal Affairs.

There's a good FAQ on Internet Filtering in New Zealand out there and I will quote a couple of items:

New Zealand’s censorship laws forbid viewing or owning certain types of material (e.g. depictions of bestiality or sex with children) and this applies to material accessed over the internet too.

At this moment it [New Zealand] does not [have Internet filtering]. However, the Department of Internal Affairs ran a trial internet filtering scheme in conjunction with Ihug, Watchdog, Maxnet and TelstraClear in 2007/2008 and is planning to fully implement it in 2009/2010.

[There is now ["Internet Filtering Law"]. [The filtering] it is being done under the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993. This gives the responsibility for enforcement to the Department of Internal Affairs.

The scheme is currently voluntary for the ISPs (Internet Service Providers) as there is no law to force them to use it.

The filter is applied at the level of the IP address but it is common for a web server to host multiple websites on a single IP address. All requests to a website on one of the filtered IP addresses will be diverted to the DIA’s server.

ISPs can choose whether to subscribe to it or not. The only way [for a person] to opt-out of the filtering is by switching to an ISP that doesn’t implement it. ISPs that have implemented it so far have not provided a way to opt out of it.

The list of sites is manually compiled by DIA officers. They will update the list monthly and only after the review and agreement of a few officers.

Initially they plan to filter any website carrying child abuse related material.

Here is a series of questions sent to the DIA under the Official Information Act 2002 with respective answers.

I personally don't like the idea of a government body overseeing what I can read. It's my personal believes that prevent me visiting websites that carry this kind of material.

What really worries me is that it looks like there isn't an oversight of this process, there isn't a publicly available list of blacklisted websites, and no guarantees that a secret meeting between government agencies wouldn't in the future add other "categories" to this list.

Internet filtering gives the government - any government - the resources they need or want to prevent people connecting to each other by the means of the Internet, one of the most liberating tools available to its citizens.

If you are a grown up you don't need a nanny state to tell you what you can read or not. You know you shouldn't be reading or trading this kind of material. If you still decide to access, promote and distribute any objectionable material, then feel free to join these other offenders.

If you have kids at home there are software - such as the free Microsoft Windows Live Family Safety - that allows you to help them stay away from objectionable material, while you, responsible parent, educate them on how to use the Internet sensibly.

But I don't think a government should tell me what I can see or read because of some criminals who have no common sense.

Burning books was bad. Breaking the Internet may be worse.

UPDATE: Scroll down in the comments, where I posted a copy of the New Zealand DIA press release issued 16 July 2009.

UPDATE: I also recommend you read foobar's take on this issue.

UPDATE: Telecom has released a document on how to keep kids safe on the Internet.

Join us at the Powershop Pioneers to be in to win $1,000 of electricity

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 18-May-2009 10:14

If you follow Geekzone during this month (May 2009) you will probably notice an advert showing an updated Daniel Boone image with a familiar face... If not, check the picture on the side and you know what I mean.

Yes, I know what you will say: Daniel Boone never looked like that, an invention of TV. But it's all fun and games folks - I am joined by Kiwiblog's David Farrar, Public Address's Russell Brown and Scoop's Alastair Thompson as one of the "Powershop Pioneers", part of a promotional campaign.

I think I qualify as a Powershop Pioneer, since I've switched my electricity to Powershop even before they went public, as part of their beta test.

Anyway, the biggest part of this promotion is that consumers joining the Powershop Pioneers are in to win NZ$ 1,000 of electricity at the end of May 2009. We already had two prize draws, so now is your chance to join the revolution and become a pioneer yourself.

Noteboek by Evelien Lohbeck is virtual reality at extreme

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 27-Apr-2009 09:12

Noteboek (English title: Notebook) is an animated clip of Dutch artist Evelien Lohbeck. More of her video clips on Vimeo...

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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