My window to the world

Where to find the music uploaders in New Zealand?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 18-Aug-2009 22:29

Every week or so Nieslen sends out an interesting table with a bit of information about the Internet in good old New Zealand. This week (18 August 2009) the table was this one:

Website Visitors Uploading Music to the Internet

Interesting? Certainly good information for marketing folks, but without context it's not much. Is this legal or illegal downloads? Do these users make a difference between those two types?

I am told by Nielsen this table comes from their on-going online survey and it's related to this question:

15. In relation to creating content (eg writing a blog/uploading pictures) on the Internet, please indicate which of the following types of activities you have done in the past four weeks:
1. Created/updated or looked at an online profile on a social networking site
2. Contributed to a message board, online forum or wrote/commented on a blog
3. Uploaded pictures
4. Uploaded videos
5. Uploaded music
6. Posted a review of a product or service online
7. None of these

So this established the context (the question wasn't supplied with the chart). This is not the number of people uploading to these sites, but the number of people who frequent these sites that indicated they have uploaded music in the past four weeks.

If this was an Orwellian society (and perhaps with a 2084 version of S92a) I could even imagine the RIANZ sending out a letter to these sites asking them to identify their users, so "content police" could monitor each individual's usage later.

I am thinking of a post about content distribution - this will be coming shortly. But for the moment I am glad Geekzone is not in this list. I am told of some ad agencies around New Zealand already have the wrong impression about our demographics, and when presented with some hard evidence they are surprised about our mature audience. I can imagine their reaction if Geekzone was in a list of "music uploaders"...

Still some space left at IBM Forum 2009

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 14-Aug-2009 22:44

The IBM Forum is on again and starts next week.  Registration is free!

Wellington, 18 August, Wellington Convention Center
Auckland, 20 August, Sky City Convention Center
Christchurch, 25 August, Christchurch Convention Center

Lots of sessions there including sessions from VMWare, Cisco, Juniper, Checkpoint and others.

Still a few spots left... Register on the IBM website: (where they ask you how did you hear about forum, enter 'geekzone', where it says "if an IBMer told you about forum" enter 'Angela' :) )

IBM Forum on Twitter: #ibmforum09 #ibmbizinsight

Back to School Giveaways: HP discount code (U.S. only)

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 7-Aug-2009 09:00

Back to school giveawaysAs part of the Back to School: Better Together giveaway promotion HP is providing participant websites some discounts we can give to you.

So here is the first discount, thanks to HP: US$300 off on a $999 (or higher) HP Pavilion dv6z laptop. This offer also includes free 3GB memory upgrade, free 320GB HDD upgrade, free color upgrade and free shipping.

To get all these just quote the coupon code NBY8746 at checkout.

The fineprint: Valid for HP Home & Home Office ( internet and call center purchases only. Coupon valid on first 100 redemptions, or while supplies last. Any unused portion will be forfeited. Each coupon code is limited to one usage per customer; one coupon code per checkout. Offer void where prohibited, taxed or restricted by law. Non-transferable. Not valid retroactively on previously purchased items. Not valid for any resale activity as defined by HP Home & Home Office Store. Coupons may not be used to purchase gift cards. Not valid on clearance sales. May not be permitted with certain bundle offers. Not valid on: Academic and Employee purchase programs, HP Employee purchase program, Refurbished products, Extended Service Plans. For complete coupon conditions, see "Coupon Information" in the "Customer Service" section at
And remember to visit Back To School: Better Together giveaways for a lot more information on this back to school giveaways. make sure to bookmark that site so you know exactly when to enter each competition.

Isn't it time for our mobile operators to stop doing business with SMS scams?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 2-Aug-2009 19:04

In a very welcome move, BNZ has decided to stop charging honour fees - those $20 the bank charged every time they approved a payment when your account balance was in the red.

In a letter to customers BNZ says the bank will see a reduction in revenue but there will be no increase in other fees.

Their CEO says they are doing this because many complaints come from these fees. Someone's salary was a day late and the bank would charge $20 per transaction. Or someone's gym membership is charged a day earlier and there they go charging those $20 fee.

The bank decided it was easier to not charge these fees at all - make the customer happier. And a happy customer is a customer that stays longer, right?

What about fees that some pay for "SMS subscribption services" that are mostly useless? You know, those services that you see being advertised in the middle of the night asking you to send a SMS to a shortcode - with the 1/10 second warning blinking on the screen that "this is a subscription service and you will be charge $5 per SMS received, up to three SMS per week". Or being advertised online through all possible means?

Lots have been written about these scams (Juha, Dominion Post, Geekzone). Unfortunately people don't look at the fineprint on TV or website before entering their mobile numbers on enticing web pages. I believe many genuinely don't understand the implications of entering their mobile numbers on an online form.

In defence of our telcos, there's "double opt-in" mechanism requirement. But I don't think this is enough to prevent people being silly. Also, what guarantees do we have those Premium SMS providers actually respect the double opt-in requirement? 

Instructions to STOP the subscription are there in the fineprint. But how many people actually remember the fineprint, let alone the instructions on how to stop the service? Or the phone number for their "local" helpdesk?

There's the case of someone who didn't actually even had to go through the "double opt-in" to get subscribed. That's because a Facebook application was granted access to this person's private information on the social network website. The fineprint for that application said something in the lines of "you hereby grants us right to access your private information on Facebook and subscribe your mobile to our service".

Facebook (as Twitter) only accepts mobile phone numbers after they are authenticated. For those scams it is a goldmine of valid mobile phone numbers. And we all know how silly applications spread on social networks.

Today I received a press release from a new "service" that allows you to watch movies online. FREE MOVIES ONLINE.

If you visit the page (which is actually hosted on a free Blogger account) you will be told that you can download free movies if you complete a survey. If you click YES then your browser will redirect to a "survey" that is in fact a SMS scam. The fineprint says:

"By signing up to this service and by entering your personal PIN Code which will be sent to the mobile phone number supplied by you on this website, you acknowledge that you are subscribing to our service and that you may receive marketing messages. All plans are subject to the Terms and Conditions. You may stop this subscription service at any time by sending a text message with STOP, to short code [removed]. Your phone must be polyphonic compatible, be Internet-enabled and have text messaging capability. You must be the owner of this device and either be at least eighteen years old or have the permission of your parent or guardian. Customers will receive the club at $5.00 three times per week plus one off club joining fee of $5.00. Standard/other text messaging rates may apply."

Now disable javascript and load the blogspot page and you can see it's actually just a collection of links to illegal download sites.

At $5 three times a week we have people being charged an average of $65 a month or $780 a year for those "services".

If you're lucky in some cases if you complain to your mobile operator then you might get a refund. But the operators are right in the sense that it's the user's responsibility for signing up for the "service".

But isn't about time our mobile operators cease any relationship with these scams? Isn't worth to have a happy customer instead of a customer that have been victimised under your watch?

Back to School: Better together

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 31-Jul-2009 17:48

Back to school giveawaysThis is a heads up for our next big competition, running from August through September. This time HP, Microsoft, Timbuk2 and Synclables partnered to create a package prize perfect for students going back to school.

The Back to School: Better Together giveaway is brought to you by twenty five websites - each of these will have a prize bundle to giveaway.

What's in each prize package you ask? An amazing HP dv6 laptop with Microsoft Windows Vista, a very portable HP Mini 110 with Windows XP, one Timbuk2 backpack and Syncables software to make sure your laptops are always in sync.

We put together a website with lots of more details. Just visit Back To School: Better Together giveaways for a lot more information on this back to school giveaways. make sure to bookmark that site so you know exactly when to enter each competition.

Just in case you are curious, here is the roster with all participant sites and dates when you can enter their competitions:

Student Bloggers 12-16 Aug
Geekzone 13-17 Aug
Kill Jill 14-18 Aug
Study Successful 15-19 Aug
Gear Live 16-20 Aug
CampusGrotto 17-21 Aug
Poorer Than You 18-22 Aug
Notebooks 19-23 Aug
ThePrereq. 20-24 Aug
Hack College 21-25 Aug
College Times 22-26 Aug 23-27 Aug
Green Panda Treehouse 24-28 Aug
Building Camelot 25-29 Aug
Mocha Dad 26-30 Aug
College Candy 27-31 Aug
Studenomics 28 Aug - 1 Sep
The 2.0 Life 29 Aug - 2 Sep
Geeks room 30 Aug - 3 Sep
Debt Free Scholar 31 Aug - 4 Sep
One Day One Job 1-5 Sep
Daddy Forever 2-6 Sep
Clinton Fitch 3-7 Sep
Zen College Life 4-8 Sep
Gear Diary 5-9 Sep

Good luck!

Fallback to 2G or no fallback: the Vodafone vs Telecom question

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 21-Jul-2009 08:45

I just read a blog post about how some people are moving back from Telecom XT Network to Vodafone because "Vodafone offers 2G fallback".

If you didn't understand let me explain...

Vodafone New Zealand offers a 2G network (GSM) that cover a very big footprint. It also offers a 3G network that in some places overlaps with the 2G network, and in some other places goes beyond its boundaries. But the 3G network doesn't seem to have exactly 100% of the 2G network coverage.

Most handsets these days are 2G/3G. It means that if you use a 3G handset with the Vodafone service then at some point it will lose sight of 3G signals and automatically fallback to 2G services.

The transition is automatic and transparent. You shouldn't see any impact - except for mobile data being rocketed back to dial-up speeds while on 2G (as well as some services that only work on 3G such as music downloads, video streaming, etc).

Vodafone says they cover 97% of the areas where New Zealanders live, work, and play. This is not geographical coverage, but where most people are actually using it.

So Vodafone 100% of 97% = 2G + 3G.

Now let's see the Telecom XT Network case. Telecom decided at some stage that it wouldn't be worth investing on 2G. It's an old technology now on the way of museums and deploying it means maintaining two completely different networks.

So they decided to launch a pure 3G mobile network. That's why there's no "fallback" to 2G.

Telecom also claim to have 97% coverage of where New Zealanders live and work.

So Telecom 100% of 97% = 3G.

So all things being equal your Telecom 3G service is equivalent to the Vodafone 2G + 3G service - in terms of "coverage".

Obviously geographical coverage is not the same. The cellsites are built in different places. They face different directions. These companies use different bands (Vodafone uses 2100MHz + 900 MHz, Telecom uses 850 MHz) which means they have different reach in terms of distance and building penetration.

So it's clear that at certain point you might get a Telecom signal while nothing on Vodafone. And vice-versa.

If you need mobile coverage in a certain place and don't get signal from one company or another, then it makes sense to change provider. But changing (or not changing) because one service offers "fallback" is simply not the right thing.

My technology kit - full disclosure

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 13-Jul-2009 15:41

This is a (continuously changing) list of things and services I have here on loan.

Full time job: I now work for Intergen and while they are understanding of my involvement with the Geekzone community and website, the company is not involved with Geekzone or my other activities.

On Long Term Loan:

  • HP EliteBook 1020 G1
  • HP Folio 13
  • HPE Proliant ML110
  • Huawei Mate 9
  • Huawei Mate 20 Pro
  • Nokia 7 Plus 
  • Huawei nova 3i
  • OPPO AX7
  • Logitech Performance M950 mouse
  • Logitech MX Master mouse
  • Fritz!Box 7490
  • D-Link COVR C1203
  • TrendMicro Home Security
  • Synology rt2600ac
  • Fitbit Charge 2
  • Fitbit Surge
  • Fitbit Blaze
  • Dish TV Freeview Recorder A2

"Long Term Loan" means the manufacturer or PR have either sent the hardware or software without expecting it to be returned and because of use and tear I can decide myself to either return, give it away, or keep it.

If you follow me around on Geekzone and Twitter you know that I pretty much give almost everything away after a while.

I also attend some conferences and other technical events, as a guest - sometimes I pay my travel/accommodation, sometimes this is covered as part of the invite. It doesn't mean I have to write good things about anyone though.

I don't take cash or equivalent for writing. I am not posting links to these products because it's not a URL drop post. It's a disclosure post. Like it or not.

[Updated 1 March 2019]

Browser wars: Internet Explorer 6 is not going away

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 11-Jul-2009 10:41

A few months back I posted that Firefox was the #1 browser here on Geekzone for the first time ever, with Microsoft Internet Explorer coming second.

Of course I expected a bigger number of Firefox (and other browsers) users because of the more tech savvy audience we have - I bet Internet Explorer is way ahead of Firefox in more mainstream New Zealand websites such as Trade Me, Stuff and the NZ Herald for example.

I've looked at the stats again this month and found out that of more than 2.1 million unique visitors in the last three month period, Internet Explorer is again ahead of Firefox. Could it be because of the number of people using Windows 7 RC for testing?

Interesting to see Google Chrome coming up so quickly on Safari.

What really surprised me though is that of those 900,000 unique visitors using Internet Explorer in that same three months, the number of Internet Explorer 6 users is practically the same, with Internet Explorer 8 gaining over Internet Explorer 7 mainly:

This is about 200,000 people visiting Geekzone every three months that still have Internet Explorer 6 as their main browser. I'd again guess this percentage is probably higher on those other mainstream sites.

Does people update their Windows PCs, at all?

Two Degrees Mobile starts TV advertising with Rhys Darby

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 5-Jul-2009 19:00

New Zealand's newest mobile network, Two Degrees Mobile, finally coming into the public view with a prime time ad with Rhys Darby of The Flight of the Conchords fame. As expected there's a discussion on Geekzone, and here is the ad:

Moving from Telecom CDMA to Telecom XT

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 3-Jul-2009 17:54

After using a Telecom XT SIM card that was sent to me for review I finally decided to move my personal account from their CDMA network to the new XT Network.

A couple of reasons why I did the move: first, moving to equivalent plans I'd be paying about 50% less than on my previous plan - and no term contract!

Second, there are no queues in store now. Moving plans took all of five minutes. I inserted the new SIM card in my handset just after I signed the paperwork - and it was working already. It means my change to XT Network happened even before I moved away from the desk.

Good job!

PS. Now I remember a third reason: I don't need to carry my personal handset and a test handset anymore.

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:

Find more about Business Transformation | Enterprise Content Management | Customer Relationship Management

Social networks presence

View Mauricio Freitas's profile on LinkedIn

My Blog by tags...

State of Browsers...
Viral Marketing...
Web Performance Optimization...
Windows Phone...

Other recent posts in my blog

Google crawling Geekzone HTTPS...
Geekzone gone full HTTPS...
Microsoft Ignite New Zealand, ...
If the headlines indicate the ...
Geekzone data analytics with P...
State of browsers Geekzone Mar...
2Cheap Cars discussion...
Now with more fibre...
Unlimited is not unlimited: Vo...
How bad is Vodafone cable at t...

New posts on Geekzone