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Trademe and copyright, trademark infringement

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 21-Jun-2006 17:58

What's the problem with Fairfax on-line properties these days? Just hot after my rant of Stuff not giving credits to other on-line publications (What's the problem with Stuff?), I found myself mad at Trademe, the largest auction site in New Zealand, bought a few months back by Fairfax on a deal worth NZ$700+ million dollars.

The whole thing started when a Geekzone forum member pointed to a Telecom NZ Apache Pocket PC auction going on Trademe, using images taken from our on-line review. What really ticked me off is that the seller was showing one screenshot of an Incoming Call announcement dialog, with my photograph, name and the word "Geekzone".

Trademe and copyright, trademark infringement

Clearly there's reason to believe this image came from our site. I mean, just look at the second picture and you will see my name, company and photograph.

So I asked the seller to remove the images. And this was the reply:

Hi, do you mean the brown ones? Or the blue ones? I am a member of Geekzone. Sure, if it offends you that I've used photos publicly placed on geek zone which specify no copyright I can respect your wish to remove them despite any evidence to support this. Let me know which ones. :o)


"Photos publicly placed" on a website doesn't mean no copyright. All pages on Geekzone have a copyright and trademark (Geekzone is a registered trademark) notice that covers the whole content. And then continue with "despite any evidence to support this"?

I asked this person to remove all pictures, but of course the pictures were still there a couple of days after...

I tried contacting Trademe to have this listing removed. The only way is through e-mail, and it can take up to "48 hours". And guess what? No reply at all from Trademe.

I then used the "Community Watch: report this listing" feature, which I believed would be an emergency hotline link to someone on Trademe that could take actions in case of illegal use of someone else's property. What a joke. Besides not having a confirmation that my request was received, and not having a reply from Trademe (again), nothing was done.

So, should I get a Cease and Desist letter sent to Trademe? Are they simply ignoring anyone that could be between the company and the auction's success fee?

I met a few people involved with Trademe before, and I believe they probably don't have anything to do with the current state of affairs on that company. They're good people.

Crap service.

UPDATE 1: A friend commented to me something about everyone using someone else's images on the Internet. I agree, it's really hard to control. But my main rant here is on Trademe not taking action after being notified. I hope this clarifies a bit my stance.

UPDATE 2: Would it be different if the auction had a link to the original review? Yes, of course. But the seller did not offer to update the auction and the service does not offer a way to easily link to other sites.

UPDATE 3: Something I just thought: perhaps Trademe is in need of an ombudsman?

FINAL UPDATE: Just checked the auction and the images, plus the Q&A with the seller are gone. Some think this could be turned into an opportunity to drive people to Geekzone to look at the review - and this is my point on Update 2. It must be easier for Trademe to allow people to link to reviews or articles about the goods on sale there.

The US$100 Burger

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 21-Jun-2006 10:34

I should really create a "Food" tag in this blog for this kind of things. No wonder people are overweight and obese these days... Look at this:

According to the press release (I don't know why the Technology beat got the burger PR in it):

"[This] new $100 Tri-Beef Burger, the Rolls Royce of burgers that combines the most expensive and decadent cuts of beef from three continents. Unveiled at a special media briefing and tasting event at the restaurant's newly opened location at the Boca Raton Resort & Club, the Old Homestead Tri-Beef Burger "tops" the restaurant's 2002 trademarked Kobe burger with a more decadent version.

Created to be what Old Homestead owners Greg and Marc Sherry refer to as the "Beluga Caviar of Sandwiches and Romeo & Juliet of Food," the hearty 20 oz. Tri-Beef Burger consists of the highest grade of corn-fed American Prime Beef, Japanese Wagyu aka Kobe from soybean-nourished, beer-fed, sake bathed and hand-massaged cattle, and Argentinean beef from cattle that roam and graze on the South American Pompas.

Hmmm. Only "[The new burger will be] served exclusively at Old Homestead's Boca Raton location", but available for mail order.

Hmmm... Burgers...

What's the problem with Stuff?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 19-Jun-2006 06:41

What's the problem with Stuff, the on-line presence of Fairfax's Dominion Post, the Wellington based newspaper? Why don't they link to the source of information when it's available on-line and it is clearly not a press release?

According to online news groups, some small businesses have continued to pay several hundred dollars a month for full speed ADSL plans from Telecom because they were unaware it slashed the cost of business broadband in April – if customers moved to plans that capped download speeds at 3.5 megabits per second.

The price of business plans offering 512 kilobit per second upstream connection speeds and 10 gigabyte data caps was slashed from more than $900 per month to $71, excluding gst, but higher-priced full-speed plans that offer download speeds of up to 8 megabits per second have not yet been withdrawn.

This quote is taken from this article on Stuff (and from the newspaper).

I am pretty sure they are talking about this discussion here on Geekzone: "Telecom Overcharging ADSL by $400 a month!".

This is not nice - but we can't expect niceties from the mainstream media. But overseas the more traditional newspapers, including The New York Times, link to bloggers and other websites.

I also think this is disrespectful to the original poster on this thread, because his findings are being used by someone else, without attribution.

Microsoft Windows Vista Beta 2 and Microsoft Office 2007 Beta 2 on eBay

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 19-Jun-2006 04:28

A search on eBay reveals these gems: lots of Microsoft Office 2007 Beta 2 software, apparently "niceware". And it comes with screenshots:

Looking the listing that is currently going for US$92.42, the seller says:

Microsoft Office 2007!!! (Beta 2)

Access, Excel, InfoPath, Outlook, PowerPoint, Publisher, Word, along with 10 great tools (Including Picture Manager and Application Recovery)

You will ALSO recieve (along with your Office '07) a FREE 130 page guide on how to make over £3000 a week!!!

Microsoft have just released the new Microsoft Office 2007 Beta 2 version and it's here to buy for an amazing starting price of only £50.00!!!

With its amazing new interface and suberb assistance tools this has to be the best Office version ever.

This is by no means the final version of the new Microsoft Office 2007 as it is the Beta 2 version, but it is the FULL VERSION of the software and NOT a 30-day trial or any other trial.

You could wait until the final release of the Office (in 2007!) and pay a rediculously high price for can buy the Beta 2 FULL VERSION of the software for a starting price of only £50.00 and just keep this version as it WON'T run out as it is NOT a trial.

Also note that there are a few people on eBay trying to sell 'links' to Microsoft Office 2007. These 'links' often don't work so you would have then been robbed of your money. I sell the actual product which will be posted to you, so you have nothing to worry about!

Wow. What a bargain, and it's not a link, so people are not being robbed of their money. [sarcasm] Really? [/sarcasm]

People are being ripped off on eBay, and they are happy to pay for beta software, with no warranties at all - and paying high price for that.

Oh, sure. The seller warns this is not the final version, but says that it's ok to buy it now instead of the real thing later.

The seller in one of the items will also teach the buyer how to make 3000 British Pounds a week. Which amazes me, because if anyone knows the secret to make  £3000 the secret must be... selling it or selling illegal copies of unreleased software - and why would anyone want to sell a secret, unless the secret makes less money than promised?

Consumers have no idea of what a BETA version means and what it implicates. Thanks to ICQ, Google (a company which seems to keep all their service as BETA forever) and others, the concept of BETA testing is probably so diluted that no one understands that this is not commercial grade software, and that it may actually cause loss of data.

BETA testing actually requires users to provide feedback and submit bugs for corrections that will be released in the final version. But this is a foreign concept these days.

My impression is that users think of BETA software as being "FREE". News for you: it's not!

Of course you can't take full advantage of Microsoft Office 2007 if you are not running the latest OS:

That explains a lot how come eBay had all those billions of US$ available around to buy Skype and other companies. C'mon folks, not nice to help pirates!

On a side note, Microsoft lawyers were fast to send a Cease and Desist letter to, a site which was only seeding unadultered Torrents for the new OS, trying to make it easier for people to download the huge software. was not selling or distributing the registration key, which are needed to install Microsoft Windows Vista. They were not doing anything like those ripoffs on eBay.

Globalsat BT359W Bluetooth GPS is here!

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 16-Jun-2006 12:00

Nice... FedEx has just delivered a Globalsat BT359W Bluetooth GPS receiver and I couldn't wait to pair it with my desktop for testing.

This GPS will be reviewed later, but for now it's sitting in my window sill. And even with the bad positioning and awful sky (it's really overcast here in Wellington today), it manage to get five, sometimes six satellites over our heads.

This is my first experience with a SiRF Start III chipset GPS, since the other Globalsat devices here were tested by other reviewers, and so far it's been much better than an old generation GPS I had around (an old Pharos GPS).

I will pair with my Windows Mobile Pocket PC later and use it with the Navman software to navigate around town.

Digg, here comes your competitor

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 15-Jun-2006 16:30

AOL is putting its weight behind the idea of crowd voting for stories, and changing the Netscape portal into a kind of Digg site. The new site will run on

The change's been managed by Jason Calacanis, who created the Weblogs Inc. empire (owner of Engadget between others), and joined AOL when he sold his company to the big cheese.

Like Digg, users will vote on stories, and the most voted ones will make to the frontpage.
Techcrunch thinks that the effects on a small website could be even more devastating than a frontpage on Slashdot or Digg itself.

Unlike Digg though, the new site will also have an editor in each section, promoting specific stories.

More infomation and screenshot on Techcrunch.

UPDATE: The service is probably being hammered, because it loads very slowly for me, when it loads. I can't even login because the login page times out.

UPDATE: The service is now live on the main Netscape site:

The cost of SMS

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 15-Jun-2006 14:11

SMS (the Short Message Service) or text message, the service that allows anyone with a (compatible) mobile phone to send short messages, usually 160 bytes in lenght is certainly here to stay.

I was reading a discussion in the Geekzone forums about the usage of this as a tool for communication, and how mobile operators make it easy for people to get hooked on this service, so that in the future, when they get older, they keep using the more expensive services, eg. voice and data.

But is SMS cheaper, really? At NZ$0.20 each (if you don't have a plan with an allowance) the cost per megabyte (as in 1024 KBytes, as in 1024 Bytes) of data transferred over SMS is... NZ$1310.72, or the equivalent to 6553 short messages.  

So, to transfer 1MB of information through SMS it costs $1310.72 and you have to type (using those little fiddly keypads with flimsy T9 predicitve text recognition) about 6553 SMS.

Right... For me it's much cheaper to get a Pocket PC and send e-mails, which should cost about US$49/GB on some plans currently available.

Note that I am using megabytes as in 1024 kilobytes, kilobytes as in 1024 bytes, the standard binary notation, not the decimal one.

Your Money Tax at Work (TM)

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 15-Jun-2006 12:06

This is the kind of headline that makes you think twice before jumping into action to help victims of natural disaters:

[US]$200 bottle of champagne from Hooters and [US]$300 worth of "Girls Gone Wild" videos were among items bought with debit cards handed out by FEMA to help hurricane victims, auditors probing [US]$1 billion in potential waste and fraud have found.

The cards -- given to people displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita -- also bought diamond jewelry and a vacation in the Dominican Republic, according to the Government Accountability Office audit.

More and full (gory) details at's "FEMA hurricane cards bought jewelry, erotica".

We arranged with i-mate to have a Windows Mobile Smartphone sent to us for an on-line auction, with full proceedings going to the US Red Cross. I know, this is not the same, but it makes you think about how governments spend the money they collect from you through taxes.

What's the New Zealand equivalent to this?

The New Zealand government is currently sitting on a US$8.5 billion surplus. Are we paying too much tax?

PassBuilder: On-line password generator

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 15-Jun-2006 10:37

Are you like many others and use the same password for every service, web site, ATM card you own?

The folks at Ilium Software have released a simple to use on-line password generator called PassBuilder, where you specify parameters and a new password will be created specially for your use.

And once you have lots of different password, do yourself a favour and use eWallet (for Windows Mobile Pocket PC or Windows Mobile Smartphone, with desktop versions included) so you have all those different passwords handy.

Live UK TV: FIFA World Cup 2006 Germany

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 13-Jun-2006 23:01

Just found out about and subscribed to it - at least during the FIFA World Cup 2006.

The service streams live UK TV over the Internet, including BBC1, BBC2, itv and Channel 4. This costs US$45/month.

Not cheap, but I can watch the matches from my PC at home while working on Geekzone. And cheaper than having a new channel installed just for this month. Oh, and I can watch anywhere where I have a laptop with me.

I also have to test this with the Pocket PC - although something tells me that the DRM license acquisition may be a problem on those devices. And Wi-Fi would probably suck the device's battery if used during the 90 minutes match.

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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