My window to the world

Vodafone BlackBerry Storm FAIL: Apple iPhone UI

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 8-Oct-2008 19:36

Thanks to Ben and his Twitter, I had time to grab a PDF of a page on the Vodafone UK website with the new BlackBerry Storm details.

Note the Apple iPhone UI in this bad photoshop work by someone at Vodafone... And not only that but one screenshot shows "Cingular" as the operator and the other shows "AT&T".

Well done folks...

AnimfxNZ 2008 in Wellington

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 8-Oct-2008 11:44

I received today an e-mail from a friend who is part of the trust organising the AnimfxNZ in Wellington.

Very cool - and I didn't know we had such an event here in the city.

The AnimfxNZ brings together a conference and exhibition covering all things in  the Game, Animation and Film, Music TV, and Sporting Stereoscopic fields.

AnimfxNZ 2008 is happening 14th - 16th November, here in Wellington.

More information on the Location Innovation Awards

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 6-Oct-2008 10:46

I've just posted on Geekzone about the GeoSmart Location Innovation Awards.

Great opportunity if you are involved in the mapping space, or if you have an idea for a killer application using location based information and want to get it out there.

There are four categories you can enter: Social Networking, Proximy-based Marketing, Location-based Games, AA Maps Widget.

All the information you need is available in the Location Innovation Award FAQ.

Read more about the competition on its Location Innovation Awards website, and if you are planning to enter participate in the Geekzone forum created exclusively for this.

TelecomOne un-conference day 2 and wrap-up

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 6-Oct-2008 10:01

I am back home in Wellington now, after the TelecomOne un-conference. On the second day (day 0, day 1) I attended half of a session moderated by Nat Torkington about children education and technology, and then Peter Gutman's session about cybercrime - variants, free market of information, why security forces are not doing enough, etc.

About 12pm we did a wrap-up session where we all had the opportunity to review what went right, what went wrong, how it worked for everyone and what is next.

TelecomOne was an interesting un-conference. First because it was mainly an internal event, with a few "externals" being invited. This caused a bit of friction in the wiki pages where invited atendees discussed the upcoming meetup during the weeks leading up to the actual event.

Some Telecom people were worried about an open discussion about their vision, directions, services, network in the presence of "externals". We actually even had a person from the legal department on site - but I can guarantee that everyone understood very well the implications and the rules of separation. All discussions were open and clear, with a very good deal of understanding, criticism, suggestions and discovery.

Add to this the rounds of werewolf games (on Friday and Saturday evenings), plus the late night talks and it was a very enjoyable weekend - you can see my Flickr TelecomOne set here, or search for Flickr TNZ1 tag. Also available is a series of #TNZ1 Twitters. The special touch was the "Innovation Red" wine served there...

During the wrap-up we had comments from some "externals" that were a surprise. For example one of them even said something like "... amazed to find out so many bright Telecom and Gen-i people together and certainly changed my view of the company".

Also worth noting is the presence of some high up people there - if not the whole weekend, at least attending a couple of important sessions - like Alan Gourdie (Chief Executive, Telecom Retail) who attended the session about communicating to customers and public in general where we discussed public blogging, social media, regulations and other topics.

On the way back home, all out-of-town people managed to band together again at the Air New Zealand Koru Lounge and we almost had another session there, in the corner.

Also is worth noting that Telecom provided meals and a bus from Auckland CBD to Warkworth, but "externals" (such as myself) did not receive any contribution towards the expense to attend this camp. I paid my own travel, accommodation, and car to drive to Warkworth. Actually very interesting to see a group of "externals" such as the one the organisers put together coming on their own to participate on a private camp.

Also interesting is to see the Foo Camp concept can be applied really well to private organisations.

Well done the organisers and facilitators. Well done to Telecom for being brave and accepting that people from outside your organisation can help too, by providing real criticism and constructive feedback.

Special thanks to the Mahurangi College and staff, location of Foo Camps, and now TelecomOne. On to the next one.

TelecomOne un-conference day 1

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 4-Oct-2008 15:27

Today is day 1 of the first TelecomOne unconference event and it was full of interesting - and surprisingly open sessions.

For me the day started with an interesting session led by Brenda, who guided us through discussions on open source mobile platforms. At some point an interesting idea came from the participants: why not create a non-prod enviroment for people that are interested in playing with new mobile technologies to do it safely on a sandbox?

The idea is not as crazy as it sounds - and got lots of support from the audience.

I led one of the following sessions, talking about community feedback - how does Telecom capture feedback, and how does the company respond to it. This include public and internal processes, on-line community participation.

The third session was a very interesting discussion about the missing bits on the network - what people think should be there to better serve the community, developers - and ultimately their customers. And the first thing was "love". All you need is love!... Seriously though the discussion touched on lots of technical topics, processes and ideas.

I then attended the "Listen to me" session - all about Telecom employees participating in social media: what to do, what to expect, how to behave, who does it, all things related to establishing a successful employee presence on the Internet.

Introducing CloudAve

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 4-Oct-2008 14:51

SaaS, Software plus Services, Cloud Computing... You (or your organisation) are looking for more information on these ideas - either to validate directions, learn more or simply have some common topic for tonight's dinner with your geek friends.

Then I suggest you visit CloudAve, a new blog edited by Ben Kepes and Zoli Erdos.

I am actually attending the TelecomcomOne un-conference with New Zealander Ben Kepes (Ben's Twitter is here) this weekend.

CloudAve is initially sponsored by all things cloud company Zoho but committed to an independent, vendor-neutral position in its coverage of the vendors, products, services, and trends in the online business application market. There is even a CloudAve Sponsor Statement affirming this editorial independence.

TelecomOne un-conference day 0

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 3-Oct-2008 21:56

And I am in Warkworth again, for another un-conference. Warkworth is home to Kiwi Foo, the New Zealanda version of Foo Camps, organised by Nat Torkington.

It is also home to the first TelecomOne unconference event.

Today we had the introductions, long conversations, dinner and the first sessions. I decided to attend the session "What is the broadband problem?"... Very interesting getting to konw the point of view from Telecom employees and other users in general.

I am right now checking my e-mails and RSS feeds, while some people are playing werefolf, drinking single malt and talking. Next to me is Ben Kepes, who writes a blog about SaaS and is an editor at CloudAve. also here is PlanHQ's Tim Norton. Lots to learn and share...

Small ISPs should work in niches - and differentiate themselves

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 2-Oct-2008 00:01

After reading pages and pages of rants about users being affected by heavy downloaders in another small ISP, I've posted this reply:

Folks, reading these pages again made me think of one solution: increase the prices.

Seriously, while I'd love to have cheaper Internet access (believe me I don't) money is still a natural way of filtering customers.

Small ISPs should differentiate their services by quality and value added services. For example Telecom offers Flickr Pro (US$24.95/year) and McAfee Internet Security (NZ$95/year) free with their services. WorldxChange offers a good VoIP service and it seems it had good services.

Why I am saying that? It has become clear that smaller ISPs can't compete with large ISPs in terms of price because of scale. When they offer good price they sacrifice something - and most of the times this goes into quality of service. which for many (if not everyone here) is speed.

The reality is that the price charged seems not to accommodate plans for expansion and those are very slow and spaced in between.

For a small ISP the solution would be to work in "niches". Either offer services only for high download users (or have separate "circuits" just for those) or charge more and offer a premium service for "normal" users.

By charging more they would obviously scare away heavy downloaders that would move to "Go Large" type of plans where there are no limits, but speeds are not so great - two things that don't worry that many heavy trafficers.

On the other hand users paying more would do so in the knowledge that this extra price is the guarantee they get a speedy service.

Why do you think large ISPs have small allowances like 40GB/month? Because then they start charging dearly, making sure heavy downloaders go somewhere else.

Seriously, how many of you would pay $150/month for a fast service? And that's exactly how much it costs for 10Mbps services on TelstraClear's cable modem service, with a 80 GB allowanc. On the other hand "slow" episodes on this network are mostly due to some fault and not because of contention.

I guess this post is more of an observation on small ISPs practices than agreeing with the rants in this thread.

We are talking about managing a scarce resource. Some large ISPs could even have different resource pools for each niche. That's what Telecom did with Go Large.

When Go Large was "unleashed" people were attracted by the "unlimited", which in PR speak meant "no caps". Even people who really didn't need the "unlimited" and would comfortably be served by plans with 20GB or 40GB caps decided to go for Go Large - just in case.

Telecom created a niche plan, with its own pool of resources. The only problem was that it was badly implemented and the solution adopted to "prioritise" packets was broken. Since no one seemed to be able to fix it Telecom decided to gandfather the plan - it's no longer available and whoever is in it could change to another plan, etc, etc.

So while the implementation was bad, the idea was good. If you are a heavy downloader get into a "no caps" plan, but share with others. On the other hand they offered a range of more expensive plans more suitable to "normal" users.

But those "normal" users decided to use the Go Large plan, because it was cheaper, not because they needed the "unlimited" - so the idea of using price as a filter didn't quite work right?

Well, perhaps because Telecom came up with plans such 1GB, 5GB and 10GB as "premium". Who in their right mind would get a 1GB plan? Only newcomers to the Internet, that  soon realise that 1GB or even 5GB is nothing really these days and afraid of paying too much in overuse decided to go for the unlimited plan -even though they didn't need it.

And a lot have changed in the last two or three years since. We can easily see Apple releasing 400MB updates for their OS. If you have a couple of iMacs at home then there goes your month's cap.

People are using Apple iTunes to download legal movies now. TVNZ launched TVNZ OnDemand. TV3 released their news on the web. People watch Campbell live on the Internet after the program finishes because it's a more convenient time.

People even download - gasp - one or two "illegal" movies a month. Nothing like the heavy downloaders, but certainly now the 10GB plan is not a good thing.

People started migrating from ISP to ISP. The ISP of the day was the fast one. The news of a fast ISP spread quickly, and soon it was overloaded, and the cycle starts again. Like grasshoppers.

Then we have the WorldxChange experience. It's not done yet, but they decided to create a "soft niche". I don't know exactly the technical side of it, but the idea was to create a "virtual resource pool". They've done that by creating a plan that charged a bit more for day traffic, but made evening traffic free.

So people flocked to WorldxChange. But we then found out that heavy downloaders really don't give a damn to other user's access to resources.

And now people move from this to the next ISP.

Perhaps WorldxChange should have created a complete different pool, including different network access and routes?

What do you think?

Ensure your kids are safe on the Internet

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 1-Oct-2008 16:29

Today I had my weekly lunch with Microsoft's Darryl Burling and we talked about kids' computing. He tells me his oldest daughter just got a laptop - and her own e-mail account as well as a Live Messenger account.

We then moved the conversation to the dangers of having kids on-line without proper supervision.

TelstraClear provides an interesting website with information about cybverbulying and tips on how to prevent your kids being victims on-line.

One of the tips is to have a family computer, in a shared location so you can be aware of what's going on. But since you can't be there all the time, and most of these new computers are highly mobile, what can you do?

Enters Windows Live OneCare Family Safety. Add this to the Windows Vista Parental Controls and you have a solution to manage your kids' activities on-line.

It is actually really cool. You can filter the web sites they visit, provide safer e-mail, IM, and blogging with contact management - including built-in contact approval so you know who your kids are talking to on IM, e-mail, or their blogs. You can even approve or reject each new contact for their Windows Live Messenger,

The best thing? Windows Live OneCare Family Safety is free and works on Windows XP SP2 and Windows Vista.

And yes, this came up today, and soon after I found out the Apple New Zealand newsletter touches exactly this subject. It looks like Mac OS X implements some Parental Control, but it's not as extensive as the OneCare Family Safety package.

XBOX Live planned downtime

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 27-Sep-2008 16:18

I just got this in my Inbox, and decided it was interesting to spread:

The Xbox team is hard at work getting ready for the launch of the New Xbox Experience, coming to Xbox 360s around the world later this Spring. In order to prepare to bring you new features, games and experiences the team is going to need to take Xbox LIVE offline for a short time. On September 29 Xbox LIVE will be unavailable from 8.01 PM and will restart at 7:59 PM on September 30.

These are New Zealand times, please adjust accordingly...

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!

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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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