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SuperHappyDevHouse Aotearoa is go!

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 25-Jun-2007 20:24

It's now confirmed: 7 July is the first SuperHappyDevHouse Aotearoa hack-a-ton, developer, interaction designer, user experience creation day in Wellington!

SuperHappyDevHouse Aotearoa is inspired by the SuperHappyDevHouse, a monthly hackathon event in the US, combining serious and not-so-serious productivity with a fun and exciting party atmosphere.

The whole thing is about rapid development, ad-hoc collaboration and cross pollination. Hardcore coders, l33t hax0r, passionate designers, and other types that enjoy software and technology development will be at home in the SuperHappyDevHouse.

This is not a marketing event. It's intended for passionate and creative technical people that want to have some fun, learn new things, and meet new people.

The pilot is "by invitation only" because we need to measure attendance, gather feedback on structure, etc. If you have received an invitation please reply now.

If you did not receive an invitation for the pilot, we will be running this on a regular basis and will make it an open event. So either keep checking the SuperHappyDevHouse Aotearoa wiki, or contact me or one of the organisers.

A big thank you to all our sponsors: Actrix, Catalyst, Citylink, Google, Microsoft, and Mindscape. Without your help things would be a bit harder. Also thank you to the original SuperHappyDevHouse for letting us use the name.

Wellington incubator CreativeHQ gets 1 gigabit connection

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 25-Jun-2007 13:59

This is really neat: ISP FX and Citylink have just connected the Wellington incubator CreativeHQ to the Internet with 1 gbps link.

Way to go Wellington - thank you FX and Citylink... Bringing more technology capacity to the city!

Leave the gun take the cannoli, or the Wellington bloggers

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 25-Jun-2007 13:50

Well, Lance Wiggs (previously from Trade Me, Fairfax and now in Perth for a few months) has just called me "Godfather", blaming this blog and Juha's Techsploder for lots of traffic on the New Zealand blogging scene.

This funny note comes as part of his own post with comments and corrections about the Wellington-based bloggers connections.

Thanks for the mention!

Where is the Treo 750v HSDPA update?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 25-Jun-2007 11:39

When Vodafone launched the Palm Treo 750v in New Zealand we heard the promise of a software update to bring HSDPA to this Windows Mobile device.

Later I was told that this update wasn't going to be released, pending a Windows Mobile 6 update that would include it.

Today is three months since Palm announced its intention to release Windows Mobile 6 OS for the Treo 750 (the non-Vodafone branded version of the device), but nothing has happened since then. Interesting to note that Palm launched the Treo 750 with HSDPA already enabled, unlike Vodafone.

Seeing that Vodafone New Zealand's Windows Mobile partner i-mate is not being very active (the new Advantage series won't be released until later in the year), and HTC is not active at all in New Zealand, it means we are not seeing any new exciting smart devices coming out with this OS.

The most exciting launch this year seems to be the Nokia N95, and it runs on Symbian OS, not Windows Mobile. Discussions in our Geekzone Forums have been really good. Check paradoxsm's blog for interesting comments, thoughts and some hacks (how to disable the red light on N95 for example).

A month or so ago I received a Sony Ericsson M600i for review (thanks Sony Ericsson), but I have to say it didn't excite me much. Something strange about its design and keyboard. I actually have to send it back this week, to be fair.

I have heard rumours Telecom New Zealand will release the PPC-6800 (HTC Mogul) here in New Zealand. I also heard that they were told not to talk to me about this device - as if I ever leaked anything before. But if they don't trust, well, their problem.

Vodafone billing systems still with problems after the pit stop

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 25-Jun-2007 09:40

It appears the Vodafone New Zealand billing system is not without problems after the company's "pit stop", a six week period which impacted customers' ability to check their account, query balances, update plans, even pay parking via SMS.

I received my second Vodafone bill for the period after the pit stop and with it came a surprise:

I paid the previous bill ($140.48) via Internet Banking on the due date 18 June but it seems that the due date for the previous bill coincided with the issue date on the new bill - so obviously my payment did not show up - silly system theirs.

But then I found out Vodafone do not have a record of my payment, even five days after the payment was made.

When I called them last week I was told there was no record of my payment and the CSR asked me for my bank account number so someone in the accounts team can look for this transaction. It's really strange, because I shouldn't need to provide this information - I mean, a simple query on their database surely would show a payment of $140.48 on that specific date, with my Vodafone account number in the reference code field, without the need of such personal information.

At the time the CSR also "added a note to the account, so people know there's a payment in process and don't cut if off".

Now it is Monday morning and I can see the payment finaly made through, although with the wrong date (23 June) instead of the correct payment date. Also the payment only showed up today in their on-line system, but with a date after the actual payment was made. I hope the system is a bit smarter this time and don't put me in the "defaults" list.

I am not alone complaining about problems with Vodafone's new system.

What is really annoying is their message just on top of my incorrect "overdue notice":

Good news! We've completed the upgrade of our systems. Vodafone balance, billing and account services are now back to normal.

Belkin Customer Services

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 21-Jun-2007 15:00

Many times I read on the Geekzone forums about bad customer services, and I have posted here in this blog some of my own experiences as well.

As usual I also try to bring balance by posting about my good experiences... As my latest encounter with Belkin's Customer Service.

About a year ago I purchased a Belkin 800VA Universal UPS. Great product, works as advertised and I was so happy that I decided to purchase a second unit - the Belkin 1200VA Universal UPS. The idea was to be able to connect all the remaining equipment in the home office - the Apple iMac, a LAN switch, the router, and the cordless phones connected to my SPA 2102 VoIP gateway to those two UPS.

By chance the old Belkin 800VA faulted just a couple of hours after I've placed my order on-line for the second larger unit! So I had to run my whole office from the mains for a day, until I got the 1200VA unit. But in the meantime I contacted Belkin support to ask how to proceed with the older UPS, now dead as a dodo...

And here comes the good thing: after a few e-mails (very quick replies!) Belkin arranged to have a replacement unit sent - and it has just arrived, exactly a week after my first e-mail was sent. There was no confusion on what, how, where - and I now have to simply post the faulty unit back.

That's right, Belkin first solved my problem, then worried about having the faulty unit back.

Now, if some of the telcos in Australia and New Zealand could learn customer services from these guys...

This is so wrong: Airbus receives certification for on-board mobile system

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 20-Jun-2007 11:16

Remember to enjoy your next twelve hours long haul flights from Auckland to San Francisco, or from Sydney to London.

If things are going the way Airbus wants, soon people will be able to send and receive voice calls and SMS on board of aeroplanes.

This is so wrong... Can you imagine if you just happens to sit next to someone shouting instructions to their managers, or participating on a conference call, or simply having a few "beep" every time someone sends or receive a SMS?

People trying to sleep with all that background noise is already bad. It's gonna get worse. We will soon see "Non Smoking, Non Mobile Phones" flights being announced...

It is going to be hell on air.

Fake Steve Jobs is funny, but needs some geography lessons

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 20-Jun-2007 09:45

It's true. Fake Steve Jobs is funny. But calling Nokia "a bunch of filthy Swedes" (Nokia is a Finnish company) and writing that Lisbon is in Lebanon (Lisbon is the Portuguese capital, 3,000 miles from Lebanon) just helps to add to the stereotype many have that Americans don't know anything outside their borders.

Well, we don't even know if Fake Steve Jobs is based in the U.S. anyway...

Watch Motorola designers and engineers working together

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 20-Jun-2007 09:07

I've just received a tip for a short (five min) movie called The Shape of Phones showing the thinking behind Motorola design, development, and testing of mobile phones.

Interesting view of "sizes". When is a milimeter large or small?

New users arriving on the Internets...

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 18-Jun-2007 22:51

I think there must be a wave of new users arriving on the Internets. I say this because in the last few months I have received a series of disturbing e-mails, at least one a day, but sometimes more.

Those e-mails are disturbing because they show more people are using the tubes withouth really realising what it is and how it works.

Some people can't distinguish between Interent domains for example, and how they relate to companies. Here at Geekzone I receive e-mails that clearly should be directed to Vodafone New Zealand, Telecom New Zealand, and other companies:

[name removed] from Inglewood, New Zealand contacted Geekzone.

Notes: Please note new change of address
[address removed]
Please send account to this new address

[name removed] from Palmerston North, NZ contacted Geekzone.
Notes: My contract is No [removed]
I have had my cell phone stolen/go missing. I understand that the policy includes an insurance policy that covers this.

who do I see un PN to obtain a replacement?? Can you also send me a copy of the contract? I do not seem to hae one, noy sure but I cannot remember getting one.

Phone my father on 027 [removed] if you wish to discuss anything.

[name removed] from Upper Hutt, New Zealand contacted Geekzone.
Notes: your site tells me my password is incorrect.Cant get my emails.please sort it

[name removed] from Christchurch, NZ contacted Geekzone.
Notes: Slingshot webmail is crap!It is sooooooo slloooooow to do ANYTHING!!!!!!!! It takes a minute or
more to delete something or change a page!!!!! FRUSTRATING FRUSTRATING!!!! I used to use incredimail
which is way quicker and user friendly (Now there's a thought!) I was meant to change to outlook express but that doesn't bloody work at all. So I'm stuck with your crap site!!
I've had this problem for  a week and usually have to be on hole for an hr to ring through. NOT GOOD ENOUGH!!!!

[name removed] from AUCKLAND, NZ contacted Geekzone.
Notes: my account no [removed] mobile no [removed] for vodem. please note my change of address as follows.
[address removed] Papakura. Auckland.  Please acknowledge via email or post.

[name removed] from Auckland, New Zealand contacted Geekzone.
Notes: The above account has been disconnected - but account was paid on 11 May 2007 by Direct Credit.
This is a business phone and most important that it is reconnected immediately.   Please advise. cellphone # is 021 [number removed].

[name removed] from Auckland, NZ contacted Geekzone.
Notes: We have not received our Vodafone statement for May 07. This could delay payment.DPGT

[company name removed] from Auckland, New Zealand contacted Geekzone.
Notes: Would a customer services representative phone our land line on 09 [number removed] to organise a cancellation of part of our account no: [account removed].
[name removed]

[name removed] Group Limited from Wellington, NZ contacted Geekzone.
Notes: Could someone please contact me on my mobile phone number.  Sarah [name removed] was our accounts person who has now left.  I have been trying for over a months now to make contact with someone but keep being fobbed off, even when going into Thorndon Quay office I was told no one was available. 
I have a problem that needs to be sorted and quite frankly am sick of chasing you guys round for some very simple answers.

[name] from auckland, nz contacted Geekzone.
Notes: please disconect  my dial up connection .my customer number is [removed].
invoice no. [removed] .thank u for service.

Notes: Hi.My name is [name removed].
[full address removed]
PH. [mobile phone removed]
Email [email address removed]
I ordered a phone 19/05/07.Can you tell me if you recieved this order and when will it arrive?
Order No.[removed]
Code 010444.
Samsung Z400V-Black.
I paid by BNZ Visa.
$99.00 incl. Gst & delivery.
I recieved an Email confirming this order 19/05/07,but nothing since.

Mrs CJ [name removed] from Wellington, NZ contacted Geekzone.
Notes: I want to speak to someone at Vodafone about a billing error and it is impossible to get a real person.  Could you please get someone to contact me ASAP.  I do not want my service restricted as threatened by Vodafone text received today 29/05/07.

Thank you

I read somewhere that many people "browse by Google", basically ignoring the address bar in their browsers, and going directly to The Google, entering a company name in the search box, visiting the first result (or any result on that page). I think this is what happens when people contact me with some requests:

This is an interesting phenomenon, because it started happening more and more since October 2006, when broadband prices dropped and this kind of service became more accessible in the country.

Another possibility is that people are simply sick of trying to talk to their service providers. It looks like they can't get through Vodafone or Telecom's call centre, the stores are of no help and so on. In this case these e-mails also show the current status of customer services in New Zealand.

Google AdWords Business Pages has just been introduced in New Zealand, providing a free webpage for businesses that place advert through Google AdWords, but don't have a web site yet. As Lance Wiggs wrote when commenting on this service:

Of course if you are a business without a webpage, you may not even know what google is… and you certainly wouldn’t be reading this or Geekzone, where I found the report.

Exactly my point. Providing the technology is great, but we need to make it easy for people to understand and use it.

Rod Drury is fighting the right fight for a better broadband infrastructure in New Zealand. But shouldn't we be also thinking about helping whoever is going to be using this?

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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