My window to the world

Some tips for the Telecom broadband support outsource to Manila

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 11-Jul-2007 07:45

Lance has posted ten tips for Telecom's outsourcing to Manila and these are the highlights in my view:

Sixth, pay those operators well so that you get high quality staff and so that turnover is low. If you are seeking to squeeze on prices then you’ll have predictable results.

Seventh: Invest a fortune in expertise into the systems that the operators will use. Don’t use the guys Ferrit used to build the systems.

Tenth: Make your sucky sucky broadband work properly so that we don’t have to call in the first place, and we are happier if we do have to.

Go read the full list over Lance's blog. Oh, yes, you reader from Telecom can read it too...

Social networks widget and gadgets?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 11-Jul-2007 07:07

Continuing my previous post about the social networks I'm using... At the moment I am on LinkedIn, which I joined years ago. I am also on Facebook, which I joined a few weeks back. And then Twitter and Pownce. A friend has invited me to Jaiku, which I haven't joined yet but might now, to try some of its features.

All those have something in common: e-mail overload. Pownce send me an e-mail for every action, and I really think it should provide a private RSS feed.

Facebook does provide a RSS feed, but only for status, not for all the other activities (and believe me, Facebook seems to be the busiest one I've seen around).

Twitter provides a RSS feed, but not LinkedIn.

In terms of inviting friends  LinkedIn is the easiest one, providing an Outlook Add-In to help you keep on top of your contacts based on your Outlook contents. It also has an Internet Explorer Helper that will load your Outlook contacts and allow you to select which ones to invite to your network. Facebook allows you to import a .CSV file exported from your Outlook, so it's not that bad either.

Of course all those have different targets: Twitter, Jaiku and Pownce are for micro bloggers, with Pownce placing some effort into the Instant Messaging and File Sharing things, including a nifty Pownce Client based on Adobe's AIR. It's an akpha still, but I would love to see it being tucked away in the System Tray on a Windows PC, not taking space on my desktop or taskbar. Twitter even shows up with a Twitter Gadget for Windows Vista.

LinkedIn is a professional network, and I try not to invite personal friends to my connections, unless they also happen to work with me in some relation. And I see Facebook being really the big "social" network tool, with emphasis on "social", not "business".

I would also like to see a Facebook Gadget for Windows Vista Sidebar and for Mac Dashboard. At least with the stream of updates from friends and with a way to set my own status, plus all the mesages that would overload my e-mail.

As for e-mail overload, I have rules in my Outlook that will automatically move those messages to other folders, so they don't clutter my Inbox and I can deal with them in my own time.

No RSS feeds on Pownce?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 10-Jul-2007 08:33

Very strange... There are no private RSS feeds on Pownce? It's almost useless if I am pestered with those e-mail notifications every now and then.

I just want a RSS feed so I can check things on my own time, without being overloaded with e-mails.

Also, their client (based on Adobe's AIR) won't minimise to the system tray - it's either open or living in the taskbar. I don't need clutter in the taskbar!

UPDATE: I am also using Facebook. I have to say they have very different approaches, but they are the same in one thing: e-mail overload! I don't want e-mails, I want a RSS feed. I want to manage my time, not hand it to the site owners.

UPDATE: And Facebook is ahead because they have a mobile website, which works really well from my Pocket PC Phone...

Pownce invites available

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 9-Jul-2007 17:03

I have six invites to Pownce now. If you want one, please leave a comment - don't post your e-mail publicly in the comment, to prevent spam - I will see it in the moderation page.

UPDATE: I have now given all the invites I had, plus some invites offered by friends. I will reopen comments here when more invites are available.

Joost pixelation

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 8-Jul-2007 18:34

I have been using Joost for a while. If there's something that prevents me of enjoying it is the horrible pixelation.

I think the company needs to think again about the quality of the content delivered. I've seen better results on competitor Babelgum.

What are your experiences with these services?

At Superhappydevhouse Aotearoa

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 7-Jul-2007 10:30

The Superhappydevhouse Aotearoa is on now. I got here early to start plugging power cables, help set up the bar tab and other admin tasks.

It's 10:30am now and about 30 people are here now, laptops, gadgets, coders, designers and more...  Everyone got free Internet thanks to Cafenet.

Look for pictures at Flickr (tag shdhnz).

Again, thanks to our sponsors Actrix, Cafenet, Google, Microsoft, Mindscape.

Cisco launches VoIP solution, the iPhone in Wellington, a hummer limo and more

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 6-Jul-2007 16:51

Today I attended the Ingran Micro Showcase in Wellington. I was invited by Cisco to attend the show, and they sent a Hummer Limo to collect me at home, which included the "on the road" drinks of course.

The show had the presence of all big IT names in the industry, but I spent a lot of the time with Cisco - because I was actually interested in their new product, a VoIP solution for companies up to ten employees, which is quite a large market, and because I finally met the WorldxChange GM Busines Development & Marketing, Mike Purchase.

If you haven't read my previous blog post, WorldxChange is the provider I've selected to port my landline to a VoIP solution. This is the first time I met him, although we have exchanged e-mails before. It was good to hear about their plans for the near future, ideas for when naked DSL is available in New Zealand, scalability of their platform and more.

On the show floor I met Mike Gregg (Amplify, Wellingtonista), Director at Clemenger BBDO and we soon had the presence of Steve Simms, Tomizone CEO, who was showing off his Apple iPhone. And yes, the user interface experience is as good as people say it is. But more on this later.

Here are some pictures (sorry for the low quality, I didn't have my DSLR on me today):

I've gone VoIP and have no more landline

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 5-Jul-2007 19:00

This month I've decided to migrate our phone line to a full VoIP (voice over IP) service. The idea was to benefit from savings in toll calls and line rental, plus other services - including voice mail, caller id, last calling number and others that were charged by my previous provider.

With this in mind I had to find a VoIP provider in New Zealand, and wouldn't need to look for long - we have a Xnet VFX forum here on Geekzone, and seeing that they actually have an active participation running betas, answering people's questions, I thought it would be a good fit.

This also came along because of new Number Portability rules in New Zealand, allowing users to change their providers whilst keeping the phone numbers.

So my next step was to sign up for Xnet VFX,  and select a VoIP device. I wanted a VoIP gateway that would allow me to plug a conventional phone, to reduce costs. Xnet helped with my decision by pointing out that a Linksys SPA2102 (pictured) would be ideal - and even support two lines! What this means is that after having ported my number from TelstraClear to Xnet VFX I could simply unplug the phone from the wall and plug into the SPA2102.

This little device is also a full router with built-in VoIP capabilities, meaning once it's plugged into your broadband modem it can provide Internet access to more than one PC in addition to the two VoIP numbers. Since I already have a router, I just plugged the SPA2102 to my existing hadrware, and it was ready to use.

For some background information, I was already one of the few people in New Zealand that didn't have a Telecom New Zealand line rental at home, since we here use the TelstraClear cable modem service. I was able to cancel my phone line service, while keeping the cable TV and cable broadband.

We scheduled the porting to happen on a Wednesday at 3pm, and on that time I got a phone call from Xnet support asking me to switch the phone from the wall to the SPA2102. A test call was placed in a few minutes, meaning I was able to place calls over my broadband connection from that moment, but still had to wait another half hour for all the changes to happen on TelstraClear so that incoming calls would be routed through that channel as well.

As suggested by sbiddle, I then logged into and subscribed to their Megasaver plan, which gives me an Australian phone number, plus 100 free calls per month, all for AU$9/month - handy since we have relatives living there.

So now I have this SPA2102 with two handsets (we could opt to have a cordless handset with two lines but wanted to have independence to use both at the same time).

Also I bought a second UPS for home. You must remember that in case of power cut, a standard phone line will still work because the power is not supplied by the energy company, but by the telco, down the phone line. When using a VoIP device there's no power on your broadband line, so I wanted to be able to place calls even if the lights went out.

Voice quality is really good, and can't really differentiate from a standard landline call. Other services are free, including a cool voice mail portal that allows me to upload my own greeting messages from WAV files on my PC, and to configure all services - even receiving emails when a call is missed and reaches the voice mail.

Of course there's a long way to go in New Zealand for VoIP to become a mainstream product. I doubt you would get a meaningful answer from many people on the street if you asked "Do you know what VoIP is?".

Important to point out that from September 2007 New Zealanders will be able to get naked DSL, so there won't be the need to pay Telecom New Zealand for a landline, making this an even more viable option to many others. Also worth pointing out is that almost 50% of the Internet population in New Zealand now have broadband service, making this an even more interesting solution.

Full disclosure required: I was given the SPA2102 by Xnet VFX, after I decided to sign up with them.

The IBM Forum 07

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 5-Jul-2007 15:12

Just got an e-mail telling me the registrations for the IBM Forum 07 are now open. If you are in business and deal with technology then you should look at attenting the event in your city.

Join with IBM experts, business partners and strategists to discover how technology can be used to transform your business, in an inspirational one-day event.

With a combination of live, interactive demonstrations, real customer stories and relevant educational sessions IBM Forum 07 has something for every business - regardless of size, budget or industry.

Just to give you an idea, this is a list of sessions I attended last year at the IBM Forum 06.

CNET interview with Fake Steve Jobs

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 4-Jul-2007 10:48

The CNET interview with Fake Steve Jobs is a must read. One of the funniest pieces in technology reporting in the last few months I'd say.

If you don't know, Fake Steve Jobs is a blogger that writes an anonymous blog as if he was indeed Apple's CEO Steve Jobs. He fires at everyone and everything. Really good reading.

And Business 2.0 has listed him as one of the most influential people in current business technology.

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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