My window to the world

TVNZ7 Internet Debate in association with InternetNZ

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 3-Sep-2008 16:20

The TVNZ7 Internet Debate (in association with InternetNZ) will be broadcasted live, 23rd September 2008 9:10pm on TVNZ7 (Freeview).

This will be an organised debate on ICT issues, streamed live to the official website and TVNZ7’s site, directly from Avalon Studios.

The debate involves four politicians quizzed on major areas of ICT policy with questions coming from you through the online chat, a studio audience, and experienced journalists.

The politicians are Labour’s Minister of Communications Hon David Cunliffe, National ICT Spokesperson Hon Maurice Williamson, ACT Leader Hon Rodney Hide and Greens ICT Spokesperson Metiria Turei.

You can participate live through an IRC channel or by posting your questions in our Geekzone forums - we have created a special ICT Policy and Regulation forum specially for this event. There you will find the discussions for each topic (direct links below) and you will be submit questions:

     * Broadband (includes infrastructure, productivity, sustainability)
     * Convergence (includes broadcasting and mobile)
     * Copyright (includes open source)
     * Cybersafety (includes privacy and security as well)
     * Digital Divide (includes rural and TSO as well)

You need to login to post in the Geekzone ICT Policy and Regulation forums or complete our quick registration to get started.

Xero goes more mobile...

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 2-Sep-2008 16:05

Web-based accounting just got more mobile than before - Xero has just announced they have added support for Windows Mobile (Internet Explorer Mobile) and BlackBerry (Opera Mobile), in addition to their previously announced Apple iPhone mobile site.

Point your mobile browser to see it in action.

Welcome to New Zealand, land of useless Internet

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 30-Aug-2008 07:57

Welcome to New Zealand Scott... You just found out what we have been complaining about all along. And don't even try using mobile data roaming on your iPhone or instead of sucking dry "the pipes" it will suck dry your wallet.

And another one:

And then:

Oh, and if you are staying at the Skycity Hotel, like me - be prepared. They have "unlimited" broadband in the rooms, capped at 50 MB/day. Disgusting.

Seriously people, that's what tech visitors see when they arrive here.

Telecom free mobile e-mail offer extended

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 28-Aug-2008 08:23

I was told yesterday that Telecom's Okta Agent Free Email plan - one year of free mobile data for e-mail usage - is now extended until 31st October.

I posted about this some time ago when it was originally launched. In short you get a free Okta Agent Windows Mobile smartphone when you sign up for 24 months with a Telecom to FLEXI Business or Team Builder mobile voice plans and get the new Okta Agent Free Email plan - one year of free mobile data for e-mail usage!

Basically it is one year of free data for POP/IMAP and Exchange ActiveSync - while you are in the 24 month contract and using the Okta Agent - you can check our Okta Agent review here.

You can also use this data for downloading attachments from your e-mail server and of course a bit of light browsing - perhaps a link you receive on an e-mail for example.

The device is not to be used as a modem for laptops, servers, etc - and a fair use policy applies. For what I've heard this will be monitored, but most people using POP/IMAP and Exchange ActiveSync would be pretty safe. This is from their FAQ:

Some examples of where your usage may be considered excessive and/or unreasonable are if you use your OKTA Agent:
  • For sending and receiving extremely large email attachments like TV shows
  • To watch TV programmes or download other streaming media - video or audio
  • As a modem to download email or surf the net on your home computer
  • For peer to peer data sharing (BitTorrent for example)

I see the FAQ page still says valid through 31st August, but it seems the stores got word yesterday that this promotion was being extended. I also got an e-mail from a Telecom contact when I asked about this plan, because I intend to talk about it during my Microsoft Tech Ed session.

Black + White preparing for beta test and launch

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 27-Aug-2008 16:15

A new mobile provider is getting ready to launch in the New Zealand market.

Black + White is an independent New Zealand business that will be be operating as a MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) on Vodafone’s network, accessed via the wholesale agreement signed by M2.

From Tony's blog we learn that Black + White and M2 will both use the mobile number prefix 02885 (+64 28 85).

I am told Black + White will provide an e-mail service powered by Microsoft Hosted Exchange 2007 matched with a range of Windows Mobile devices.

They are looking for participants in a beta programme which can be registered for at their website at The beta programme objective is to solicit feedback on all facets of the offering prior to launch. Nothing will be set in stone until the beta programme is completed.

The TelecomONE unconference

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 26-Aug-2008 18:14

After attending this year's Kiwi FOO (1, 2) a few of the Telecom folks there decided to work and put together an internal unconference event.

TelecomONE Innovation '08 is running for three days of October in Warkworth, in the same venue used for the Kiwi FOO events before. About 80 Telecom people, both technical and business types, will get together plus a number of invited external participants - including myself. Like the FOO camp attendance is by invitation only.

Invitees are all doing interesting work and are invited to network, share their works in progress, show off the latest tech toys, and tackle challenging problems together.                                     

I am told Telecom CEO Dr Paul Reynolds is directly supporting this initiative.

Also like the FOO camp discussions you will find there's a rule - what happens there stays there. You might find some reports about the topics, but won't see many direct quotes or references. This is the norm, to encourage an open debate, even when it involves proprietary or confidential information brought in by participants - some sessions have very interesting topics and the openess brings a lot of proprietary and private information to the room.

I think this is a great initiative and I am really looking forward to be present and contributing to the discussion.

SilverStripe supporting the Democratic National Convention

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 26-Aug-2008 08:38

Well done to the team at SilverStripe for being part of the technology behind this year's Democratic National Convention.

The DNC is using SilverStripe's open source content management system to power its website.

SilverStripe is based here in Wellington, New Zealand. The DNC used SilverStripe's software and services to create the website - which the company says may easily be the busiest website they have built to date.

Using Fedora Red Hat Enterprise? Check the security announcements

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 25-Aug-2008 11:03

From the Fedora announce list comes the information about unauthorised access to Fedora servers and the news that the unknown intruder was able to sign some packages related to Red Har Enterprise Linux 4.

"Last week we discovered that some Fedora servers were illegally accessed. The intrusion into the servers was quickly discovered, and the servers were taken offline.

Security specialists and administrators have been working since then to analyze the intrusion and the extent of the compromise as well as reinstall Fedora systems. We are using the requisite outages as an
opportunity to do other upgrades for the sake of functionality as well as security. Work is ongoing, so please be patient. Anyone with pertinent information relating to this event is asked to contact fedora-legal redhat com

One of the compromised Fedora servers was a system used for signing Fedora packages. However, based on our efforts, we have high confidence that the intruder was not able to capture the passphrase used to secure the Fedora package signing key. Based on our review to date, the passphrase was not used during the time of the intrusion on the system and the passphrase is not stored on any of the Fedora servers.

But then came an errata:

"In connection with the incident, the intruder was able to sign a small number of OpenSSH packages relating only to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 (i386 and x86_64 architectures only) and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 (x86_64 architecture only). As a precautionary measure, we are releasing an updated version of these packages, and have published a list of the tampered packages and how to detect them at

To reiterate, our processes and efforts to date indicate that packages obtained by Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscribers via Red Hat Network are not at risk. "

More information here and a commentary from the other side here.

If you are using Red Hat Enterprise Linux you should be reading through those notices. Now go and update your systems.

Xero going into PR mode - in the UK

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 23-Aug-2008 03:40

I see New Zealand company Xero is engaging traditional PR for its UK launch.
They also try to appeal to the Apple fan base with this press release I found today:

Xero set to make Mac users passionate about online accounting software

Mac users are generally more likely to rave about their computers’ great graphical capability than the business software they can use, but a new online accounting package called Xero ( is out to change all that.

Xero co-founder and UK MD Hamish Edwards says the business has committed Mac users on staff. So when it came to developing the software, making sure Xero worked on Safari was never going to be enough. Xero also had to deliver the intuitive, great looking experience Mac users are used to.

“We are big fans of the Mac experience so we realised there was huge scope to improve the experience small business owners were having inputting and analysing their financial information.”

Katie Lips, Mac-user and social media strategist and Director of Kisky Netmedia (, says Xero has more than delivered.

“We’re always on the lookout for cool new web apps and I find it quite funny that I am so excited about one that does accounting – but I am!

“What I also like about Xero is that it looks good. Not something that you immediately think of as necessary when doing your accounts, but for me it’s so obvious the designers have thought about how people work and what they want to be able to look at. All the ‘headline’ data is there for me to see easily, which is quite often all I want to know.”

As well as presenting key financial data in dashboard format, Edwards says Xero is intuitive in other important ways. It’s as simple to use as a computer game, but also has enough sophistication to prepare a business’ end of year financials.

Says Lips “The best way I can think to describe how happy I am with Xero is I use it all the time. From not even looking at the accounts side of the business I am now using Xero all the time to run invoices, look at the bank statements and all sorts of accounting things I never wanted to know about before. And I am enjoying it.”

As well as running on Safari, Xero also runs on Internet Explorer and Firefox, making collaboration with people using PC-based systems hassle free.

Xero recently expanded its offerings to Apple users with the introduction of Xero for iPhone and iPod Touch. This enables customers to access their accounts information wherever and whenever they need to and it’s available free to all Xero users.

Xero provides small businesses and their advisers with one, up to date, easy to use, instantly accessible set of accounts and business information.

Learn more about how Xero can help you
Test drive Xero
Contact our media and marketing team

While I haven't found this kind of press releases from Xero here in New Zealand, I understand the high profile of their executive team, plus the fact they are a New Zealand-based technology startup, and their proximity to the target user market made things easier - word of mouth spread quickly.

Starting something in another country is a different business though and the traditional PR machine still holds the keys to many doors.

But appealing to the Apple user base in its first reach? Is is a significant number of accountants and small companies using Apple products to run the business - in opposition to doing the business?

In any case, well done going there.

Free broadband for all...

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 22-Aug-2008 08:39

I read this on the paper (yes, I do read paper sometimes) and had to find this online to quote and link. But here it is at the USA Today:

High-speed Internet access is so important to the welfare of U.S. consumers that America can't afford not to offer it — free of charge — to anybody who wants it, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin says.

"There's a social obligation in making sure everybody can participate in the next generation of broadband services because, increasingly, that's what people want," he says.

Martin hopes to use a chunk of wireless airwaves due to hit the auction block next year to help turn his vision into reality. Some cellphone operators are objecting.

"Some cellphone operators are objecting". O'RLY?

We are not even close to this yet, here in New Zealand.

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

Social networks presence

View Mauricio Freitas's profile on LinkedIn

My Blog by tags...

State of Browsers...
Viral Marketing...
Web Performance Optimization...
Windows Phone...

Other recent posts in my blog

Google crawling Geekzone HTTPS...
Geekzone gone full HTTPS...
Microsoft Ignite New Zealand, ...
If the headlines indicate the ...
Geekzone data analytics with P...
State of browsers Geekzone Mar...
2Cheap Cars discussion...
Now with more fibre...
Unlimited is not unlimited: Vo...
How bad is Vodafone cable at t...

New posts on Geekzone