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Samsung Galaxy SIII Sudden Death in New Zealand: your rights

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 9-Mar-2013 08:50

Over the last couple of months we started seeing a trend in our Geekzone forums: more and more people who bought Samsung Galaxy SIII smartphones being affected by the Samsung Sudden Death. But the worrying part of this trend was really the number of times people reported their handsets coming back from the repair service with a "no warranty repair" tag, saying the user must have tampered with the ROM on the phone.

The Samsung Galaxy SIII Sudden Death is a well known problem and Samsung is quiet about it. Basically you are using your phone and with no reason at all it freezes. You can't turn it off, you can't do anything except take the battery out.

The boot might show something like this:

CURRENT BINARY: Samsung Official

The "SYSTEM STATUS" shows customs because the NAND memory is corrupt and it can't read the product name or system partition therefore it defaults to 'SYSTEM STATUS: Custom'.

According to a discussion on XDA:


The following ROMs include a Kernel, bootloader and recovery with the Update 7 "Fixes" applied. If you have one of these, officially consider yourself "Safe". If you rooted one of the below stock ROMs, you will also be safe, however - if you changed to a custom kernel or recovery, you need to look at the below custom sections. If you have never rooted, the stock section is all you need read.

As It appears all 4.1.2 kernels have the fixes, there is no longer a need to test them all. See below for a list of tested kernels that have the fix. All kernels subsequent to these will also be regarded as safe.

  • XXELL1
  • XXELL4
  • XXELL5
  • XXELL6

People who have never rooted need not read any further. Essentially, if you have an official, never rooted 4.1.2 ROM, you're "safe"

You can check your handset by running eMMC Brickbug Check. At this moment there isn't firm information if this is really just a firmware issue or a hardware problem with some batches of the memory used on these handsets.

We read reports of people on Geekzone saying that repair services denied warranty repair claiming the phone was modified based on this system status, even if there was no modification at all.

If you get this kind of response, do not settle. Take the handset back to the retailer where you got it from and make sure they understand this is a known fault. You do not have to deal with Samsung as under the Consumer Guarantees Act this is what retailers have to do. Make it clear it's a problem that Samsung is aware of and it must be repaired under warranty.

Reminder: NZNOG 2013 is upon us

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 10-Jan-2013 09:00

If you are subscribed to the NZNOG list you might have seen this announcement. Otherwise if you are in any way working in the network operations landscape in New Zealand, read on...

The NZNOG 2013 programme is now available online. Confirmed speakers are:

  • Scott Bartlett (Orcon) - UFB one year in
  • Andrew McDonald (Vodafone) - RBI Wholesale 12 months.
  • Colin Dyer (GeoNet) and Ewen McNeill (Naos, Consultant) - Geonet: 1pps to 10,000 hits/second.
  • Beatty Lane-Davis - SDN: accelerating the pace of evolution in packet and transport networks
  • Sam Russell (REANNZ) - Thimble: OpenFlow-enabled device
  • David Brownlie (REANNZ) - perfSONAR for measuring performance, and troubleshooting.
  • Donald Love - UFB realities
  • Philip Smith (APNIC) - IPv4 / IPv6 route table analysis for NZ
  • Phil Regnauld (NSRC) - DNSSEC
  • George Michaelson (APNIC) - Last words on IPv6
  • Stu Fleming (WIC) - On being a WISP
  • Plus updates from NZRS, APNIC, CityLink, IPv6 Task Force, WAND and InternetNZ.

The NZNOG 2013 is happening in Wellington. Workshops 21st - 23rd January, Tutorials 23rd January, Conference presentations 24th - 25th January. There are two side events happening as well (a drinks evening and an official dinner).

Check the programme for more information and registration.

Are mobile phones sold in New Zealand locked?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 9-Jan-2013 13:28

Just to make it clear: mobile phones sold in New Zealand through mobile operator stores are not locked, except the ones sold by Skinny.

If you buy a mobile with support for at least three 3G bands (850/900/2100 MHz WCDMA) then you should be covered to use those in all mobile operators around the country. That's because Telecom New Zealand runs a 850 MHz WCDMA network, while Vodafone and 2degrees Mobile have the use of the 900/2100 MHz WCDMA bands.

Make sure you look at the WCDMA (3G) specs. If you buy a mobile with 850 MHz 2G it will not work on Telecom as Telecom runs a 100% 3G network.

Do not rely on Phone Arena to check if the phone is suitable, as most of the times the bands listed do not take in consideration different models sold in different markets.

Stay away from any mobile phone seller advertising phones with "Works on 2degrees only". In special if you see this on Trade Me close the page and walk away. They are most likely reported stolen or lost and blocked from working on Telecom and Vodafone (hence the "works on 2degrees only" in the ads).

If you have a locked Skinny mobile you can get a free unlock code after nine months or pay $30 to get the code. Check the Skinny page about phone locking.

Game Masters at Te Papa Museum of New Zealand

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 15-Dec-2012 09:41

I visited the Game Masters exhibition at Te Papa with some journalists yesterday, before its opening from today 15th December.

We were given an hour tour highlighting the different aspects of gaming development, moving from entertainment to art form, social and family integrator. Lots of hands on stuff around the floor - from old early 1980s arcades to the latest Kinect games using a huge projection screen. You will also see artwork used to develop characters and backdrops for famous games, plus a handy store on the way with lots of memorabilia.

Here are some photos so you can have an idea of what's available around.

Windows Server 2012 Standard lands, work begins

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 14-Dec-2012 22:39

The boxes are here:

Now I can start the "official" work on planning our Geekzone migration. Exciting.

Migrating Geekzone to Windows Server 2012

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 12-Dec-2012 16:33

It seems I now have something to do during the holiday period. Thanks to Microsoft I will soon have some software delivered here and will start testing, planning and executing a migration, updating our HP DL server to Windows Server 2012. This will also include updating three Hyper-V clients running the IIS, SQL Server, SQL Sentry monitoring and testing platforms powering Geekzone and this blog (among others).

It seems a fresh install of the physical server (running Hyper-V) is indicated. If all testing and planning goes well, the final migration will be done by end of January I think.

It will be fun.

My view on New Zealand ISPs

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 14-Nov-2012 10:15

Another impulse blog post. Today I lost all hope for New Zealand ISPs.

Either they have performance problems, billing problems, customer services problems or something else that will make customers' lives a pain. The lack of peering, low caps, high prices, long delays to launch new services and plans, high number of customers sharing a small bandwidth pool make me sick.

Vodafone Data Angel and new mobile data roaming prices: how large is a web page?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 5-Nov-2012 12:29

Vodafone New Zealand has released new prices for mobile data roaming. It's a good step, but in my opinion it's still too expensive. The best alternative in terms of cost is always to get a local SIM card.

One of the thing in the press release though was an infographic, saying that 100 MB is good for about 400 web pages. This would be an average of 250 Kbytes per page.

The problem is that 250 Kbytes per web page is not a realistic number. Just have a look at the HTTP Archive, run by Steve Souders: the average web page size is actually 1.239 MB, about 4.95 times the number quoted in the infographic.

I looked around: Vodafone's own homepage is four times that at 1.1 MB. The NZ Herald frontpage is 1.6 MB.

The survey was conducted with Flight Centre agents who travel abroad. Their own home website is 1.3 MB.

Surely numbers sent out in an infographic should be a bit more realistic?

UPDATE: Here is Vodafone's comment on this:

As I'm sure you will be aware, the size of a webpage not only depends on the page itself but also the device you are using to access that page.  For example, if viewing a media rich webpage on a laptop it will be larger than if you were browsing it on a mobile phone. I suspect that the webpages you reference in your blog were viewed from your laptop or desktop.

The stats we used in the Data Angel infographic were constructed using average values as outlined in the TCF International Mobile Roaming Guide which you can view here

This graphic is based on estimates, as we clearly stated in the graphic itself: "Data usage varies by device. The above examples are based on averages and are estimates only."

Enterprise 20/20

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 27-Oct-2012 11:00

HP is calling IT pros interested in discuss, plan and help build the future of our world, technology and businesses. The Enterprise 20/20 initiative centers on an e-book describing the transformative changes occurring in enterprise technology.

The free e-books are available in PDF and iBook formats, released one a month, leading up to HP Discover EMEA 2012 in Frankfurt:

  • Introduction (available now): To imagine the future of the enterprise, we need to understand the forces that are transforming our world and the technological innovations that are shaping the future. In what new and unexpected ways will technology work for us?
  • CIO 20/20 (available now): Enterprise IT is at a crossroads. This chapter will debate the underlying trends that will affect enterprise IT in the coming eight years and their implications for the CIO.
  • Dev Center 20/20 (available now): If today the typical application "supply chain" involves the business, the delivery teams and operations, what will the supply chain of 2020 look like? How will organizations keep up with the insatiable demand for better apps and features?
  • Marketing 20/20 (available October 2012): Marketers have more clout than ever, and with that comes new levels of accountability. As such, they are investing in a full spectrum of technologies that can help marketing become more data-driven, measuring every aspect of their function.
  • IT Operations 20/20 (available November 2012): Data centers are all going away. Magically, all your IT needs will be taken care of by third-party providers. All of this and more is coming with the data center of the future; at least this is what some people would have you believe.
  • Employee 20/20 (available December 2012): The same trends that are shaping the future of business are changing what it means to be an employee of the enterprise. This chapter will examine the future of employment, including acquiring and retaining talent and performance management.

After reading the e-books you can participate in ongoing discussions around each topic by registering at the Enterprise 20/20 Discussion Hub.

If you're in the USA you can also enter the competition to win US$ 5,000 cash and a trip to HP Discover Las Vegas 2013.

Live webinar with HP and bloggers discussing problems facing enterprise storage

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 27-Oct-2012 09:32

Join David Scott, GM of HP Storage and Chris Evans, Storage Consultant/Industry Blogger, for a conversation on the systemic gaps left by legacy storage.

Hosted by HP Storage Blogger Calvin Zito (@HPStorageGuy), this webcast will cover:

  • The evolution of storage
  • Problems plaguing storage solutions today and in the future

The webcast is scheduled for November 1st at 2:00pm PT (click to see your local time and add to calendar) at

I will be attending (look for Mauricio Freitas). We will also start some discussions on Geekzone IT Pro sub-forum in the weeks leading to the HP Discover EMEA with some great insights and prizes.

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

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