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InternetNZ ACTA submission

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 6-Aug-2008 19:20

I am just reading the InternetNZ newsletter The Browser and I would like to bring attention to the InternetNZ ACTA submission.

The Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is being negotiated internationally by some nations, including New Zealand, and it affects everyone's lives in many countries, including New Zealand, Australia, the U.S, Mexico and E.U.

This is what the InternetNZ distributed to its members and I recommend you read the InternetNZ ACTA submission:

ACTA seeks to impose a raft of enforcement measures which have the potential to further erode citizens’ fair-use rights in respect of digital copyrighted material.

For instance, a global legal regime for Internet distribution of copyright protected works may be introduced.

To date, negotiations have been held behind closed doors and publicly-available information is scant, with the exception of an ACTA discussion document leaked online.

In response to a call for submissions from the Ministry of Economic Development, InternetNZ filed a submission in July that expressed a range of concerns the Society has with Internetrelated aspects understood to be under consideration.

For example, ACTA may see the introduction of procedures enabling rights holders to expeditiously obtain information from ISPs identifying alleged infringers, and could also introduce remedies against circumvention of technological protection measures.

InternetNZ Executive Director Keith Davidson questions the need for New Zealand to be discussing Internet provisions as part of ACTA.

“We already have legislation - the Copyright (New Technologies) Amendment Act 2008 - that covers off the illegal distribution of digital sound and video recordings via the Internet. The Act also deals with circumvention of technological prevention measures and with repeat digital copyright infringers.

“Further, the Act has only recently been passed, with many of its newly-amended and introduced provisions yet to take root and be fully tested,” he says.

InternetNZ believes that the proposed ACTA Internet distribution and information technology provisions, if implemented, will do little to strengthen New Zealand’s existing measures against digital copyright infringement.

The Society is also concerned that they may coincidentally further restrict what should be the legitimate use of digital content by New Zealanders.

“We strongly urge the Government to adopt a wait-and-see approach with respect to the effectiveness of New Zealand’s amended Copyright Act before committing to sweeping multilateral digital copyright enforcement measures as part of ACTA,” says Davidson.

Vodafone New Zealand and customer services

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 5-Aug-2008 10:37

Here we go again, another rant on telco services in New Zealand. The fact is someone has to write about those things, because there isn't any indication that either are getting better or that any association will bring this up - bad customer services is in the same as high data roaming fees.

It looks like people are always complaining about Vodafone's customer services (ref 1, 2, 3). I have experience their "customer service" myself before porting my number out to Telecom.

The most common issue seems to be customer services people promising to fix things and not doing it. Or promising to call back and not doing it. Or people sending e-mails to Vodafone and no receiving a reply.

Every week I receive one or another email from someone trying to contact Vodafone to solve account problems. Why they contact Geekzone instead of Vodafone is something else to discuss - blame "browse by Google" - but I read some interesting stories, mostly people complaining about requests to the customer services not being actioned.

It seems the main problem is "not doing it". Well, "not doing it" doesn't cut, specially now that Vodafone is charging prepay customer $1 per call to their help desk when a human being is involved (and don't worry, you don't count - it's the human being on the other side of the line).

Of course problems happens with other operators and Internet providers - actually it happens so much that an industry body was created to help resolve problems that are not solved.

The Telecommunications Dispute Resolution (TDR) is here to help. There are rules you must follow. Before going and filling a complaint you should read How the Process Works and How to Make a Complaint.

The TDR issues a quarterly report of its activities. In its second report you find that Billing and Credit are 45% of the complaints, with Service/Product Deliver coming in second with 31%. Customer Services comes in third with 11% and Network Performance is fhourth with 8%.

Perhaps after you lodge a formal complaint Vodafone and others will fix their customer services?

How do you feel about laptop searches when crossing borders?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 2-Aug-2008 10:05

Words fail me. This is something I would expect from old regimes: "Travellers' laptops may be detained at border".

More information here and here.

Vodafone NZ looking for VDSL2 beta testers

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 31-Jul-2008 22:50

Vodafone New Zealand is looking for people interested in trial their new VDSL2 super fast landline broadband service - with speeds up to 30 Mbps/down and 15 Mbps/up.

If you live in the Ponsonby area (Auckland), check this post on Geekzone with instructions and more information (including map to see if you qualify).

Vodafone new $1 for 10 MB casual mobile data rate: save with optimisation

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 28-Jul-2008 20:46

Vodafone New Zealand has started today to charge casual mobile data usage in a different way. If you don't have a data plan but use your mobile to browse the Internet then you will pay no more than $1 per day for up to 10 MB (ten megabytes) of traffic.

Traffic over this will be charged on a $1 per MB rate. Check all Vodafone mobile broadband plans here.

Vodafone makes a few different APNs available for mobile data connection. The "optimised experience" (i.e. compressed) APN is only automatically activated if you are in GPRS coverage.

If you want to always use the "optimised experience" then you might want to configure your device to use the "" APN.

More bang for your buck.

Attending the IBM Forum 2008 in Wellington

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 28-Jul-2008 10:43

Cool, it's that time of the year again when the IBM Forum is on. I've attended previous events and it's always an interesting day.

Here's a bit about this event:

IBM Forum 2008 focuses on Sustainable Innovation, starting with the keynote, Ray Avery, a kiwi scientist and entrepreneur; founder CEO of Medicine Mondiale. Ray is developing sustainable products and technologies for world markets, such as his latest invention “Proteinforte”. Ray will be talking about global opportunities for high tech innovation in healthcare, education and infrastructure.

Also on the agenda, Edward Orange, Director of Lotus Software of IBM Asia Pacific, will be talking about Web 2.0 and how it can be leveraged by enterprises of all sizes to help revolutionise the way they conduct business, help employees collaborate more effectively and enhance their client outreach.

The agenda also features a session on 'Co-Web: re-mixing audio and video collaboration in the next generation of the Internet’ and ‘Demystifying SOA - driving business agility with service orientated business applications’, as well as insights into the latest advances in strategy and technology; customer stories and interactive demonstrations.

The full day event is happening in Wellington (11th August, Michael Fowler Centre), Auckland (14th August, Hyatt Hotel) and Christchurch (19th August, Convention Centre).

Registrations are open now.

Unleash your Vodafone iPhone

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 27-Jul-2008 13:50

We all know the Vodafone iPhone is not SIM or network locked. You can purchase the handset outright, paying full price and just use it with a prepay SIM card or any other network's SIM card.

We also know that because of its current APN configuration it will only have voice and SMS on prepay. The current APN configured in the iPhone is not "visible" to prepay accounts.

But there's a very legal way around this. You can change the configuration on your iPhone by visiting UnlockIt - APN changer for iPhone.

The author LennonNZ has posted some UnlockIt statistics in our forums.

So many people benefited from it, and so little was paid back. I recommend you make a donation if you use the site to "unlock" your Vodafone iPhone.

You interview the CEO: Telecom NZ Dr Paul Reynolds waiting your questions

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 25-Jul-2008 15:19

It took some time, but it happened. We now have a discussion open in our Telecom New Zealand forum, waiting for your questions to CEO Dr Paul Reynolds.

The idea is simple: people can post their questions in the thread, and after a week I will be forwarding these to get his answers. I will then post the answers on Geekzone.

We have done this before with other major telcos in New Zealand - check the answers for Orcon, TelstraClear, and WorldxChange.

Thanks to the Telecom folks who helped us get there!

In the clouds is not always safe...

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 25-Jul-2008 14:57

How well companies that offer something for "free" can do with a subscription option?

When there are so many "free" things on the web, one has to wonder how companies can keep their products up and running (or even if they can manage to get out of beta).

Some companies just don't. They close the service and tell the customers to get out of here:

Personal Media: Bluestring, Xdrive and AOL Pictures will be sunset. These consumer storage products haven't gained sufficient traction in the marketplace or the monetization levels necessary to offset the high cost of their operation. We have found that building media management applications within the context of a social experience is a more rapid and effective way to grow the business. For example, today the Bebo audience is uploading over three million photos per day. To effectively grow the XDrive online storage business we would need to focus on subscription revenues vs. monetizing through advertising revenue, and this business model is not in strategic alignment with our company's goals. We are exploring plans to migrate our users assets to ensure the best possible transition experience.

This is part of the memo AOL sent out to staff explaning the end of some of their services - including Xdrive an on-line storage service that offered 5 GB of storage free to anyone.

There's a reason why people buy external drives for home or buy Windows Home Server or NAS boxes. First broadband speed sucks around the world. Then the services don't work as expected or not as easily (Xdrive is only one that I know that could be mounted as a drive on your OS so you could just copy things from and to instead of having to open a browser window). And even so it was very unstable.

Which leads me to the next one: the on-line service businesses seem to be quite unreliable - unless they are a subscription service with a SLA, not a freebie. But even so sith happens.

When there are lots of free things, some won't last long.

Wellington City Council: where the process dies...

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 25-Jul-2008 08:53

On a rainy day I parked on Tory St, Wellington and used the convenience of paying my parking via SMS. That would be $4 for two hours, plus $.50 for the privilege of not having to carry coins. But instead of getting the little piece of paper with the ticket to put in my windshield, I got an error message:

"Transaction rejected"

Interesting. But I immediately got a SMS back from Telecom saying "thanks, we debited your account for $4.50".

Bummer. So instead I decided to use a credit card. Again I got an error message:

"Transaction rejected"

Hmmm. It looks like the machine may be out of paper, but the developer for this company decided to stupidly save some bytes instead of providing a meaningful message - and a transaction rollback.

So I walk to the next machine, pay and display the ticket in the windshield.

But I wouldn't be short of $9 today, right? I called the Wellington City Council, explained what happened, and was assured someone would call me back to arrange the refund.

You guessed right. No one ever called me back.

Like so many other New Zealand businesses, getting you off the phone is what they want to do. The Wellington City Council is quick to slap a fine on your car if you are over five minutes in the parking lot, but they don't want to move a finger to refund you money that they took without providing the service.

By the way I am looking at my credit card statement. This was on 17 June. More than enough time for the Wellington City Council to come back to me.

End of rant of the day.

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!

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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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