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Geekzone on Facebook

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 8-Dec-2007 12:20

Last night I released a Geekzone application for Facebook that lists all the latest Geekzone news, reviews and select blog posts.

And if you are active in our forums, then the Geekzone Forums application for Facebook is for you - keep an eye on all the latest discussions in our forums.

If you have Facebook always open on your browser, this is another way to keep up to update on what is coming out of Geekzone.

Air New Zealand: your partner airline takes the prize

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 4-Dec-2007 01:53

Blogging from a mobile is bad but not as bad as Air New Zealand and Star Alliance partner BMI. Even though the booking is on the same code they refuse to check in my suitcase all the way back home. Instead they tell me I must clear customs in London, and go through passport control twice (in and out), denying me the transit. The fact that all flights are in the same booking and with the same code does not matter. They are just unhelpful. And seeing I had no problems coming in with Air New Zealand, I can only think it's BMI's fault being an unhelpful bunch.

Mobius 2007: HTC Magic Labs

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 30-Nov-2007 04:25

Probably the most interesting session today at Mobius 2007 was the presentation by John Wang, HTC Chief Innovation Wizard - this is the title on his business card - who came to this event with no PowerPoint slides... Actually he walked around the room and asked us what we would like to hear. After getting a few suggestions, he started talking about the HTC Magic Labs, the R&D arm of the handset manufacturer. The magic labs have a chief innovation wizard, software magicians and mechanical wizards - working together to create the next big thing in smart device handsets. A very entertaining session, where the group was presented with a series of prototypes - some that will never be released, and may not be seen outside again - and for this we were not allowed to take pictures.

Mobius 2007: reception and atendee list

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 29-Nov-2007 23:18

Last night we had the official welcome to the Mobius 2007 conference. Here is a list of atendees with their respective sites:

Rafe Blandford
Paul O’Brien
Nghia Nguyen
Arne Hess
Guido Bonati
Remo Knops
Eldar Murtazin
Philip Berne
Shane Chiang
Paul Matt
Jenneth Orantia
Andrew Shuttleworth
Atushi Koyanagi
Mauricio Freitas
Matt Miller
Ryan Block
Jason Dunn
Michael Oryl
Judie Lipsett Hughes
Eric Lin
Vincent Nguyen
Dieter Bohn

Below you see Arne Hess (the::unwired) , myself and Ryan Block (Engadget):

The complete set of pictures is on SlashGear (where I got the list from too).

Telecom fibre plans no surprise, says Paul Budde

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 26-Nov-2007 12:23

When I wrote about Telecom New Zealand's cabinetisation plans I got a few comments as in "you are being paid by Telecom" and so on.

My point was simply that LLU is too late, and with wrong focus, Telecom is doing what they said two years ago and the competitors simply don't understand - or don't want to - the telco market that well.

There is a long discussion on Geekzone already, and quite a few people actually agreed with this view.

And now from Paul Budde:

Telecom Cabinets Analysis - Shortsighted Industry

However, I was very critical about the industry whose total focus was to get some quick fixes to the wholesale regime in relation to local loop unbundling. Telecom had made it very clear that it would take until 2008 before new wholesale products would become available.

BuddeComm consistently warned that New Zealand was fighting battles which occurred in Europe in the early 00s and in Australia in the mid 00s and that in the meantime the world had moved on and that by 2008, also in New Zealand, the discussion would have moved on to fibre networks. Unfortunately nobody at that time wanted to seriously discuss that issue and started to beaver away in what we called old-world wholesale issues.

Telecom fibre plans are no surprise

Based on our analyses of Telecom NGN plans, going back to the early 00s, we were certain that Telecom did have a plan which would see them moving deeper into fibre networks, as a matter of fact we had mentioned the company at several occasions in our global research reports as being one of the early adopters of this new concept and their GEN-I initiative also made it very clear to us where their future thinking was. It therefore didn’t come as a surprise to us that they announced their new fibre plans in the way they did it, making 2,000 copper based exchanges obsolete in this process.

However, we are very disappointed that Telecom at the same didn’t indicate how they are going to take the rest of the industry with them on this exiting new path. This is certainly against the sentiment that I first encountered in May 2006 and that we have quite publicly supported over the last 18 month.

As a matter of fact the lack of a visionary national approach could potentially set the country back many years, basically throwing it back into the dark days of the monopoly. Surely the new structural separation legislation will eventually assist the industry. However, without Telecom’s support that could take many years.

More and more I see people agreeing with the view I and some others here share...

Provider botches e-mail migration

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 26-Nov-2007 07:13

Let's say your ISP decided to migrate its rather large user base from their own e-mail servers to a third party provider.

And imagine that in the process people receive mixed instructions, conflicting results, and seemingly loss of e-mails happens?

Are we talking about the Telecom New Zealand's Yahoo!Xtra Bubble problems?

Nope. we are actually talking about the British ISP Sky migration of its one million users to Google Apps.

Users' e-mails were migrated to the Google Apps platform. No e-mails were actually reported lost, but instead of having the POP e-mail option automatically enabled on Google Mail (it is off by default), people had to manually do it. If you didn't then no e-mail for you.

Of course changing the e-mail provider meant changing some settings in the e-mail client. For example users now need to add to their login, which they didn't need before, and other minor changes. All in a ten pages PDF!

If you think that ten pages of instructions is not enough, then check the e-mail users received announcing the migration (supposing you actually got the e-mail before the migration, because otherwise you wouldn't be able to receive any without knowing something has changed).

I know there are no reports of terrible things so far, such as the bad spam filtering experience Xtra users felt - when legitimate e-mails were never delivered, being trapped in the spam folders that users didn't even know existed. But  I can only imagine how many of those one million users will have no access to their e-mails for days and week to come while trying to reach overloaded help desk people.

New Zealand Connections wiki

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 24-Nov-2007 19:24

A few Geekzone users got together some time ago and started an ambitious project: to create a repository with signifcant information on New Zealand broadband.

Visitors to New Zealand Connections will find a lot of information about Internet service providers, mobile service providers and landline service providers.

For each of the areas the site covers lists all providers, plans and price comparisons, troubleshooting information, configuration settings, technology in use, detailed write ups of each provider and link to providers and references.

The New Zealand Connections (NZ Connections) was created in a wiki style, so others can join and help adding information to the site.

Contributions are welcome and needed as there is plenty to be added yet... You can discuss, suggest and give opinion in our forums.

Geekzone giveaways: looking back and planning for 2008

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 24-Nov-2007 10:39

I am just looking through this year's competitions and giveaways on Geekzone, and what a cool list! Check it out, from the most recent:

- Microsoft Windows Home Server
- HTC Titan Pocket PC Phone (Telecom New Zealand)
- Symantec Norton Internet Security 2008
- Microsoft Windows Home Server
- Heavenly Sword for Playstation 3
- Halo 3 Collector's Edition
- Palm Treo 700wx Pocket PC Phone (Telecom New Zealand)
- Microsoft Windows Live OneCare
- Sprite Mobile Swipe for Windows Mobile
- BlueAnt Bluetooth Interphone
- Xbox Live Gold Subscription
- Microsoft Fable for PC Game for Windows
- Microsoft Rise of Legends for PC Game for Windows
- Blackbox M14 Noise Cancellation headphones
- Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate (five copies)

Very soon we will also be giving away a copy of Microsoft Office Ultimate 2007. And yes, we had two copies of Windows Home Server to give away in distinct dates.

Thanks to all our friends who supplied the goods in the list: BlueAnt, Microsoft, Phitek, Sony, Sprite Software, Symantec and Telecom New Zealand.

If you want to give some of your products away on Geekzone, contact me now.

Telecom New Zealand cabinetisation plans

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 23-Nov-2007 08:02

To summarise the whole issue with Telecom's announced cabinetisation from my point of view:

1.Most entrants seem to have low knowledge of telco market and technologies otherwise they would have seen this coming

2.Most entrants have bad strategists and architects that couldn't figure out 12 or 24 months ago what would happen when Telecom New Zealand put out their plans (or didn't want to)

3.Most entrants seem to still believe that someone else should bear the investment costs while they only "co-locate"

4.Most entrants are likely to be "naturals" and put their hardware where the money is - no investments anywhere else but the most profitable areas leaving it to the incumbent to do it anywhere else, then asking for access.

5.Most people on the street and mainstrean media bash Telecom New Zealand because they are Telecom New Zealand, regardless of they actually doing a good job in deploying technology.

I know it's not a freeload ride. Entrants have to pay fees to use the facilities. But excuse me while I disagree with everyone else, and the government. Local Loop Unbundling is not good in itself. It just means entrants have the option of not investing in infrastructure, leaving this to the incumbent.

I was talking to Vodafone New Zealand's Paul Brislen and he said something along the lines of "but [with LLU] smaller companies can increase their market share slowly, building up the capital for later investment".

I believe this only if there would be a provision like "for every dollar you pay to co-locate you have to invest a % in new infrastructure". But most companies would just cry "new tax on business!". Truth is, companies want the maximum return at lowest possible investment.

The current exceptions are TelstraClear and Citylink which have deployed their own infrastructure in certain parts of the country.

And WorldxChange seems to know what they are talking about, if we go by what they posted in our forums.

This is one interesting comment from a reader:

Yes it's a little bit rich when one of those companies complaing happens to be the 16th largest company in the world and the largest Telco in the world.

They could roll out their own network tomorrow and then offer it to their 'small isp' buddies tomorrow.

I won't be holding my breath...

Attending Mobius in Amsterdam

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 21-Nov-2007 11:43

I am attending the Microsoft Unified Communications launch in Auckland today and I have just realised my trip to Amsterdam starts Monday, not Friday week as I was thinking. Less time to do things before I leave New Zealand!

I will be attending the Mobius conference in Amsterdam:

Mobius is an invitation-only community of the world's most influential technology pundits and online writers. The collective insights, opinions and influence of Mobius drives market trends, industry buzz and the buying behavior of people worldwide. Mobians interact behind the scenes with companies big and small to shape the direction of devices, services, pricing, design and the culture of consumer technology.

Mobius is about a never-ending conversation where Microsoft plays a hands-off facilitator role for periodic events and discussions about a broad-range of technology issues, mobile devices and consumer electronics.

But beyond any sponsor, Mobius is simply a community of people who support each other as they follow topics related to the mobility landscape.

This sounds exciting, and it's the first time I am attending it. I will be meeting some old friends and geting to know new people.

Most of the sessions are not covered by a NDA (non-disclosure agreement) so I will be able to blog about the experience during the conference. I know we have HTC, Qualcomm and others already aligned to drive sessions, gather the group's feedback and more.

My trip is being partially funded by Microsoft Corp.

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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