My window to the world

Integrating Facebook, Jaiku, Twitter in a stream - leave Pownce out of the loop

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 18-Aug-2007 09:24

It's a real time waster going through five or six social networks repeating your status (micro blogging?) around. It would be great if these platforms offered a way to accept stuff in and out by means other than visiting their own application on a browser or gadget.

So after a while I decided to leave Pownce completely behind... Pownce does offer a client based on Adobe AIR, but it won't import anything for status, and it's not at the same level of user numbers as Facebook.

So I used to have an arrangement like this:

Manually update Geekzone Friends;
Manually update Facebook;
Manually update Pownce;
Pownce personal RSS feed routed to Jaiku;
Jaiku personal RSS feed router to Twitter through Twitterfeed.

I've now removed Pownce out of this to something like this:

Manually update Geekzone Friends;
Manually update Facebook;
Facebook personal RSS feed routed to Jaiku;
Jaiku personal RSS feed router to Twitter through Twitterfeed.

Granted the first two in the chain currently do not have a way to import feeds, but they can be used as the top of the chain. Since Geekzone Friends provide a personal feed (with more filtering options coming soon), then it would be great if Facebook actually accepted some input from RSS for its user stauts.

And if Pownce ever consider this again and start accepting RSS feeds as input for their status then I would be happy to add it to the mix again.

As for Geekzone Friends, as I said, there are some more custom filtering options coming for the RSS feeds - and I am working on actually importing feeds for Geekzone Friends Status. Just give me some time.


By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 17-Aug-2007 16:39

Do you know about Zamdes?

If you work with user interaction, design, etc... If you are interested in WPF and Silverlight, and if you are in Wellington and region, check it out.

Nas knows everything about it...

The SMS advertising market gets crowded with Txthub arrival

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 17-Aug-2007 08:31

How many SMS marketing companies would you think New Zealand could accomodate? At least two, I'd say, now that Txthub is entering the market to compete with Hoohaa.

I met Brian Hawker (Hoohaa CEO) and Jason King (Hoohaa Operations Director) during drinks a few weeks ago and I was told users love Hoohaa.

The idea is that they will send very targeted advertising via SMS to your mobile phone. You have to sign up to the free service, and for each SMS received you will acrue $0.10 in your account.

Now, I am a bit skeptical about this, but when I asked about how much money people are making receiving SMS they told me people are more interested in the advertising bringing them timely information about promotions and new products then money. Anyway you can only get a maximum of $0.40 a day with Hoohaa, which means no more than $12 a month to receive 120 SMS.

Now Txthub enters the same market, with support of brand names such as Burger Wisconsin, which provide free chips when buying burgers - you get the idea.

Txthub too pays $0.10 per message but it doesn't seem to limit to only four messages a day like Hoohaa, but you can set your own limit if things are getting too heavy.

Although both companies have "About Us" pages, Hoohaa tells us a bit more about the company than Txthub. Actually the Txthub "About Us" tells us everything about the product and nothing about the company itself. We need more disclosure!

Other than this, it's actually great that we have companies offerrig opt-in campaigns, instead of being inundated with unsolicited SMS spam, which I believe will come when some dirty cheap spammer decides to run their own gateway through a small India outlet (like the ones who keep sending me e-mails offering cheap SMS to the world). The only thing preventing this happening is that SMS actually costs something to be sent, in addition to the hardware and software needed, unlike e-mail spam which is mainly free after the costs are wiped out with their revenues.

If you are an advertiser, how much would a campaign like this cost? I can't tell for sure, but we can speculate. We know the New Zealand operators are really bad at giving bulk discounts, so assume it's still $0.20 per SMS for the operator. Then $0.10 credit for each user. Then advertising networks generall add another 40% of cost on top. And we can't forget the companies running the show which would be another 40% I'd imagine. You can imagine how much each SMS would end up costing. It needs to be really well targeted to bring back benefits at this price point per message.

Operating System security is as good as the admins

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 16-Aug-2007 17:22

This should be an alert for people who keep saying "this OS is safer than that one"... According to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter:

This last week, 5 of the 8 servers that are loco hosted but Canonical sponsored, had to be shut down due to reports that they were actively attacking other machines. These servers were found to have a variety of problems including, but not limited to, missing security patches, FTP (not sftp, without SSL) was being used to access the machines, and no upgrades past breezy due to problems with the network cards and later kernels. Loco teams will be given a choice to: a. migrate to the Canonical data center, or b. stay on the hosted/outsourced servers. Each option has its good and bad points. Jono Bacon has therefore called for a meeting to discuss these issues. The meeting will be in IRC #ubuntu-locoteams on Tuesday, August 14, 2007 at 2:00PM UTC.

The comment on Slashdot is:

Canonical blames the community, saying they were community hosted, and were poorly maintained. However, kernel upgrades couldn't be done because of poor backwards compatibility with the very hardware that Canonical had sponsored! While people point fingers at each other it is pretty clear that both sides are equally to blame, the community administrators for practicing bad security practices, such as using unencrypted FTP transfers with accounts, not properly maintaining the system. However Canonical should have been well aware of what they are hosting. The question remains, if any of the files distributed to users have been compromised. A major blow for Canonical though who are attempting to enter the business market with Ubuntu Server."

SuperHappyDevHouse Aotearoa again

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 14-Aug-2007 12:13

We have started the planning sessions for the next SuperHappyDevHouse Aotearoa. We are looking for sponsors again, so please get in contact!

The pilot event was great, with almost 100% attendance. The next meeting will be open to anyone who register, so keep an eye on the SuperHappyDevHouse Aotearoa website.

The IDC New Zealand Government Insights Conference 2007

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 14-Aug-2007 08:36

While attending the Tech Ed New Zealand 2007 (check my Unofficial Tech Ed blog) I had the opportunity to meet the IDC New Zealand Country Manager, Amit Gupta.

From this meeting came an invitation to attend the IDC New Zealand Government Insight Conference 2007, happening this week in Wellington.

I will be there during the event, which sounds a very good discussion of technology applied to e-Government. Look for me.

Summer of Code 2.0 teaser video

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 11-Aug-2007 13:54

This is the Summer of Code 2.0 teaser video... And yes, that's us, Geekzone being one of the companies participating this year.
The Summer of Code 2.0 applications are now open to any Computer Science or Information Technology students who will be completing their 2nd year this year or above and want to work for a Wellington company this summer. There are over 20 companies signed up for this year's programme and they’re eagerly looking for students to help them work on research and open source projects.

Poll: what would you like to see in the next HP laptop? Help make it happen!

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 11-Aug-2007 10:26

I have received an interesting and very important invitation: to help model the next HP laptop.

That's right. The HP product design team wanted to reach out to users and invited some bloggers and industry experts to realy to them what consumers want in a laptop.

So, please post in the comments below your feedback and what you expect on your ideal PC.

I will collate the comments here and send to HP through a forum created for us to post comments and feedback on design, functionality, features, etc.

You can also contact me in private if you prefer.

Another Vodafone Vodem review

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 10-Aug-2007 13:02

Perhaps the guys at Vodafone should have a read at Thomas Beagle's blog post about "portable Internet with vodem".

It doesn't look like he is impressed with "broadband everywhere":

One of the cool things about the Vodem is that it not only installs itself as a communications device, it also includes a built in flash-drive that contains the software and drivers you need to make it all work. This means there’s no need for a separate CD. Also, when you update the modem firmware you’re also updating the built in software. Nifty.

The first problem was the Vodafone supplied software. For some reason that I completely fail to understand, it appears that telephone companies and manufacturers of telephone equipment are incapable of writing good PC software. Fixing this wasn’t too hard - discard the software and set up the connection within Windows as a normal PPP connection using the Vodem. Problem #1 solved.

The Vodem would rather spend time endlessly hunting between GPRS/UTMS/HSDPA, flicking its little indicator LED from blue to greeny-blue and back again, then actually moving data back and forth. Each time it switches there is an interruption in your internet connection that lasts 10-30 seconds, and there’s no guarantee that when the connection is re-established that it won’t immediately switch back again.

It’s got to the point now that I’m looking for the commands I need to disable some of the connection types in the hope that it will be more stable (because it’s treated like a modem it uses a very extended version of the AT command set). GPRS may be slow but I’d rather have a stable slow connection than an intermittent fast one. Sadly the documentation isn’t very good and the Huawei website doesn’t let commoners like me download the manuals. Time to go googling, I’ll post an update when I find the solution.

Verdict: The Vodem is a neat idea and I really want it to work but I can’t recommend it at this time.

UP Gadgets, Games and Geeks: Lust for Apple Mac

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 9-Aug-2007 09:34

Last night I attended the Unlimited Potential Gadgets, Games and Geeks event. Quite interesting, although disappointing to see less exhibitors than last year's event.

Great chat - met with some of the Wellington bloggers (Sandy, Brenda, Stuart), tech friends (Sam Ng, John Clegg) and some of the Geekzone users based here in Wellington (inanerscole86, sbiddle).

The talks were interesting, with the keynote Brian Sweeney talking about the NZ Edge. Speakers ranged from gaming development here in Wellington through OpenSolaris development (yes, there's someone in the project here in Wellington as well).

Now, if Rennaisance Apple division's Lee Hebert would send me a MacBook similar to the one he used for his demo, I would be inclined to try it for a while - and even get one myself if it's really that fast even after loading all the programs we need. Seeing how fast he started Windows XP Pro on Parallels made me say to Geekzoners around (and my wife after the event) that I would switch.

Seriously fast. Faster than my top of the range 64 bit Acer Ferrari.

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.

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