Wed, 22 Feb 2017 18:43:00 PSTChorus did better than expected during in its first-half. The network operator saw net profit rise to $66 million up from $33 million a year earlier. Revenues and profits lifted thanks to an increase in the regulated copper price. At the same time fixed wireless broadband made inroads into Chorus’ connection numbers. Revenue is up […](image)
Wed, 22 Feb 2017 14:31:00 PSTThe Commerce Commission declined the proposed Vodafone-Sky merger on it would decrease competition in telecommunications. That seems right1. The important thing is that Sky has all the important rights tied up. It owns or sub-licenses all the popular sporting codes. Most of all it has the rights to Rugby. At the moment Sky has a deal […](image)
Sun, 19 Feb 2017 21:09:00 PSTFishpond WorldFront has launched a Valet service that takes care of the end to end listing of items for sale on eBay.com.au.(image)
Sun, 19 Feb 2017 21:06:00 PSTHalf of Kiwis in the workforce admit they need to acquire more digital skills in order to guarantee their future employability.(image)
Sun, 19 Feb 2017 20:58:00 PSTLookSee Wellington, a new global talent search initiative that aims to address the city's IT skills shortage and position the industry for further growth, is now accepting registrations from talented tech professionals from around the globe.(image)
Sun, 19 Feb 2017 19:00:00 PSTIMS Electronics, a New Zealand based manufacturer of audio products has just announced their 'Desktop Valve Amplifier', a compact hybrid valve amplifier with head turning good looks.
Fri, 17 Feb 2017 12:22:00 PSTThis week I'm on the NZ Tech Podcast with Paul Spain and Brett Roberts. We're talking about US Homeland Security, the stoush between Australian Banks and Apple, PayPal account risks, Logitech's 4K webcam, Intel Coffee Lake and near invisible malware. It's a special edition for three reasons. First, the NZ Tech Podcast hit one million [...](image)
Thu, 16 Feb 2017 17:34:00 PSTApple edged out Samsung to take the phone sales top spot for the fourth quarter of 2016. The real winners are Huawei, Oppo and BBK. Although Apple and Samsung get the most attention, the rise of the Chinese phone makers is the big story of the last 18 months. Oppo was started by BBK, but […](image)
Wed, 15 Feb 2017 21:03:00 PSTWhangarei-based fibre provider Northpower says it has demonstrated 10Gbps network speeds. A press release from Northpower partner Calix says this is the world’s first live test of its NG-Pon2 technology. Northpower’s test served 10Gbps to both a business and to a residential home. NG-Pon2 is a standard developed by the International Telecommunications Union. It is […](image)
Wed, 15 Feb 2017 16:27:00 PSTApple insists banks don’t pass on Apple Pay charges to customers. Banks accept this in most countries. But not in Australia and, by extension, New Zealand.1 Wrangling over the issue slowed Apple Pay’s progress in both countries. Three of Australia’s four big banks asked that country’s regulator for permission to negotiate with Apple as a […](image)
Tue, 14 Feb 2017 16:58:00 PSTOppo R9s: Galaxy-like phone at half the price Oppo delivers nine-tenths the function of a Samsung Galaxy S7 for half the dollars. Oppo R9s XZ at a glance For: Value 16 megapixel cameras front and rear Battery life Against: Rough edges Clumsy software overlay No NFC chip Maybe: Performance Verdict: Lots of phone for less […](image)
Mon, 13 Feb 2017 21:41:00 PSTThe new solution, called IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) brings Spark's core networks together into a modern and unified platform, providing more diversity, reliability and scalability.(image)
Mon, 13 Feb 2017 16:43:00 PSTAccording to IBM research, security teams sift through more than 200,000 security events per day on average, leading to over 20,000 hours per year wasted chasing false positives. The need to introduce cognitive technologies into security operations centers will be critical to keep up with the anticipated doubling of security incidents over the next five years and increased regulation globally.(image)
Wed, 08 Feb 2017 14:46:00 PSTNew channel partner to broaden market for Unisys Stealth software to help organisations deal with growing cybersecurity threats.(image)
Wed, 08 Feb 2017 13:05:00 PSTIntergen, one of Wellington's first ICT companies, kicks off a new chapter in its 15-year growth, moving this week into the historic new Press Hall development, site of The Evening Post's original printing hall opened in 1923.
Thu, 23 Feb 2017 02:07:00 PSTI had the good fortune to be allowed to attend Webstock 2017 this year, held in Wellington New Zealand from 13-17 February. This quirky event is growing in popularity and attendance, and this year featured a whole host of presenters covering many topics, from the origin of Emoji�s to empathetic design for the elderly. Nearly all the presenters were from the US, and there were two overwhelming themes that kept repeating and being referenced throughout the event: 1. �We are sorry about what is happening is US Politics. This isn�t who we are�2. �We need to think of everyone � old, young, able bodied, disabled, sight and mobility impaired, rich and poor � when creating for people Resonating in the back of my mind was the phrase �He Tangata, He Tangata, He Tangata�. It is the people, It is the people, It is the people. I may not be using the phrase in it�s correct setting, but it speaks to what I heard repeatedly throughout the days � by the people, about the people, and for the people. I observed an audience of old and young, multiple races and all genders, and was enthused by the sheer size and participation. This thing is big. REALLY BIG. And it continues to get bigger, which is great for Wellington and great for the design sector in New Zealand. So what were my takeaways from the time? Knowing your audience and being present to what they want to here is crucially important. I heard a few jokes fall flat, and some that were absolutely wrong to be used � a quick websearch if you are interested will reveal my abstract reference. A highlight was Marcin Wichary, a polish chap from Google, who covered topics from charles babbage to the work he did creating the Google Doodle that was Pacman in 2010, and the journey of discovery he went on to recreate this classic game. Warm, enthusiastic about his topic and a genuinely engaging fellow, he touched on a couple of rueful points about never assuming and not bothering to question �why� � as well as not being satisfied until he was, and not giving up until the task was done. It�s a small item, but seeing through any commitment to completion in the modern world takes focus, and I often see failure because people just gave up or lost interest� because they just did. Significant reference was made to Apple�s design aesthetics and their efforts in designing for humans, by many of the presenters. Love or loathe that company, they have made their mark on the western world and continue to set a tone for modern digital experiences that we all live with and don�t appreciate we are. I met with Janine Gianfredi on Thursday night after the show, and caught her presentation on the Friday, about designing US Government services from a startup with the Executive (The White House under President Obama), and taking things to market. Born out of the chaos that was the introduction of the Affordable Care Act (�Obamacare�), Janine referred to the �mission� of getting healthcare for people who historically could�nt. The Federal government set up the national exchange, but required insurance companies in every state to cooperate in creating products and offering to customers � not trivial, and a service that was born from a big government project (many contractors, little focus on end to end experience, and a desire to just ship software even if it sucked) had to be refactored by a smaller team who thought about the users, what they had to do, and how they could improve services. Again. It is the people. The presentation resonated with me, and in a separate session run earlier in the week, was well attended by representatives from our government agencies[...]
Wed, 15 Feb 2017 20:37:00 PSTOn NZ Tech Podcast's 6th anniversary we celebrate over a million downloads of the podcast. Topics included Homeland Security vs Travellers, Australian Banks vs Apple, PayPal account risks, Logitech's 4K webcam, Intel Coffee Lake, near Invisible Ma... (more in the full post)(image)
Wed, 14 Dec 2016 21:40:00 PSTThis week on NZ Tech Podcast, Hollywood's Erik Pence discusses Quickflix v2 and Jeremy O'Hanlon shares an update on Homes.co.nz. Also featured - new Ransomware which rewards you for sharing it, Netflix Virtual Reality on Google Daydream, Sky TV/Du... (more in the full post)(image)
Fri, 09 Dec 2016 15:37:00 PSTThis week on NZ Tech Podcast we discussed Amazon Go – the new bricks & mortar supermarket with checkouts. In studio guest James MacAvoy shared about NZ startup Goodnest and how it provides discount access to cleaners, electricians and ... (more in the full post)(image)
Sat, 29 Oct 2016 22:25:00 PDTEarlier this week I had the chance to attend this year's Microsoft Ignite New Zealand. This was the ninth year I attended the event, previously known as Microsoft TechEd.
Many, many things changed over the years and while Microsoft Ignite is still a technology event at heart, things changed, just the same as Microsoft did over the years.
If you were one of the couple of thousands of attendees you had the chance to learn not only from technical sessions but also from personal development sessions, ones created to let people progress in their careers not only by their geeky prowess but by being better at how these are used in the context of relating to yourself, other people in your job and your life.
If you attended the keynote session you'd have heard from local Microsoft people and international guests who showed how to use technology to "empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more."
The message was powerful and easy to understand: technology for technology sake was hot. Today's technology is used to make lives better. From using Internet of Things and Big Data to make better, intelligent wheelchairs to solving global water challenges with cloud technology.
I had the chance to talk to Microsoft experts from different areas, from Donna Sarkar (MIcrosoft Windows 10 and Windows Insider) to Donovan Brown (on how Microsoft is making DevOps an integral part of its stack) and all of these had the passion make this mission come to life.
During the same week Microsoft announced its new Surface device. A long term project, which goes back to the first Surface concept (remember the Surface table?) this all-in-one computer integrates design and functionality, plus extra accessories that can help developers create new interfaces and experiences, making it a dream - one that will be here in early 2017.
Watch the video below and tell me it's not a work of art?
src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/BzMLA8YIgG0" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0">(image)
Wed, 12 Oct 2016 16:33:00 PDT
From Stuff this morning:
Auckland train commuters were over-charged due to a fault with HOP card machines, but Auckland Transport says it won't issue refunds unless passengers complain.
Commuters at Takanini train station on Wednesday found both tag-on machines on the platform were out of order.
Everyone who caught a train during the outage was charged a penalty fee when they hopped off because they hadn't tagged on.
My mind really boggles with this.
Firstly, why are both tag-on machines down in one location? They should be independent of each other (different network circuits, power feeds etc), so if one goes down, the other can still operate happily? Also, surely someone is notified when both go down, so a contingency plan can be put in place?
Secondly, why isn�t AT crediting penalties for passengers who didn�t do anything wrong? The fact that you have to contact them to get a refund is pretty poor customer service. Not the best way to build any confidence in their systems.
I have no idea how their internal database is structured, but to help them out, something along this line should get them started:
SELECT * FROM RailTrip
WHERE TagOffLocation = �Newmarket� AND TaggedOn = False
AND TaggedOffDate BETWEEN �2016-10-13 7:00:00� AND �2016-10-13 9:00:00�
Grab all the rows from the above, loop through em and credit back anyone who is within that criteria.
You�re welcome AT.(image)
Tue, 20 Sep 2016 00:29:00 PDTSmartphone batteries have been in the news recently, in case you haven't been keeping up. On this mornings Jetstar flight the attendant took extra care to call out that Galaxy Note7 users would have to keep their device off - personally if I had one of these mobiles I would be utterly livid. Just not acceptable in 2016. I've used iPhones in my line of work for the last few years as my primary device, and androids only as secondary units. The battery life on Apple phones is enough to drive you to despair at times, and as these things get bigger and pack more in, I can't the situation improving much. I'm not a fan of the bigger screen devices like the 6 and 7 - I think Apple hit the mark perfectly with the iPhone 5 screen size - but you have to use what is reasonably available, and for me that is an iPhone 6. Over the last year or so, the battery life on this device has become steadily more atrocious, but when I asked ServicePlus to have a look (Apple's agent in NZ), the diagnostics were that things were.... ok.... but perhaps remove the facebook app, which is a notorious hog. I did but that didn't really help..... and my experience continued to reflect that my battery must be munted. In the weekend I read an article in Forbes, and the author opined that users should skip the iPhone 7 and just replace the battery in their existing iPhones, waiting for 2018 when the iPhone 8 is released (2017 will bring the iPhone 7S). Forbes article The application Battery Life was mentioned... so I downloaded it and what an interesting app to use. Even though IOS9/10 locked out many of the statistics about the battery that could be read, some elements are still discoverable. Here's what says about my phone tonight: When new, the phone had a battery capacity of 1750Mah. All rechargeable batteries degrade over time, but what is interesting is where mine is at - maximum capacity is now 1100Mah, 37% less than as new. Of course, the iPhone battery meter tells me how much charge is remaining - OF THE DECREASED CAPACITY - meaning the more I use this phone, the faster it appears my battery is draining, when in fact it has degraded seriously to the point of being nearly unusable. I double checked these readings using a Mac app called CoconutBattery, and it's reports are consistent with the above display. The battery has lost a lot of capacity. So, tricky. Technically the iPhone battery reading is correct - 396/1100 = 36% charge. But without an app on the iPhone telling me "your battery is screwed bro", I am left wondering. I don't think it should have degraded this rapidly - I used my other devices which are older, and they havent got anywhere near this level of degradation, some of them are 6 years old and constantly being used. I don't know if it's better to be told I only have 396/1750, given I can never recharge the battery back up to 1750.... but it would have been nice to know. The device is 2 years old. Arguing over reasonable life of a battery under CGA feels quite the uphill battle. I do wish Apple did make better tools available that acknowledge the limits of technology and help better manage - although if they did, I expect they would a truckload coming back at the 12 month mark as 'not fit'. Battery Life. CoconutBattery. You wouldn't think batteries are that interesting.... but it's amazing what you can discover. UPDATE: 6.10.16 Serviceplus replaced the battery for me under warranty, as a precaution against imminent fail. Great outcome in the end, and [...]
Tue, 13 Sep 2016 05:07:00 PDTThere’s a competition on Geekzone to win this review unit. Click here to enter. Dashcams are not normally a product that I’d review, however when the opportunity came up to do some stunt driving, including a ridiculously tight parallel park, an attempt to jump the car over a ramp, then the actual jump (footage here from outside the car as another perspective), the inner boy-racer in me couldn’t resist. I think dashcams are going to become more standard in cars as the technology matures. If you’ve ever been involved in an accident, having the actual video footage to help with the police investigation and inevitable insurance claim is gold. Witness evidence can be debated and argued with; you can’t really dispute the facts when you have the video. The MiVUE680 is a small unit with a 2.7 inch screen on the back (not touch screen) and a wide angle lens capable of 2K full HD video (the MiVUE698 Dual Cam comes with a rear camera as well). Anyone who’s had a Navman GPS unit will already be familiar with the suction cup mount; the stiff design makes for a secure mount, and not for regular removal of the unit. It is small enough to mount up behind the rear view mirror, and is supplied with a very long cable for charging via the car’s 12V supply (aka cigarette lighter). Recordings are saved to a microSD card (not supplied). The most important thing is how do the recordings look? Below are samples from both day and night driving in Auckland. src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/x2cBdaJDOdA" width="580" height="326" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/uj1N7He-brg" width="580" height="326" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> As you drive, the dashcam is constantly recording. Each file lasts around 3 minutes and is 320MB – with the 8GB microSD card I was provided, that’s around an hour and 15 minutes worth of continuous recording time in total. Event recording is triggered when there’s a sudden impact, or you’re driving at high speed, make an aggressive turn or something else that triggers the G sensor. While the constant recording can be overwritten as you keep driving, the event recording is moved to it’s own separate folder on the SD card. You can also trigger this manually by pushing a button on the side. The dashcam has lots of other safety features other than video recording which include: Warns you when you are near a fixed speed camera Lane detection warnings Reminders to turn your headlights on if you haven’t Reminders to take regular breaks when driving for long periods of time Warning if you get too close to the car ahead Warning if the car in front of you has moved off and you are still stopped It’s a great little unit which you could easily install then forget about it. My two issues with it are minor: it should be touch screen, and I felt the buttons down the right hand side were too far away from the indications on the screen, making them hard to match up. My thanks again to Navman for hosting me and providing a unit for review.[...]
Wed, 22 Jun 2016 16:52:00 PDTThis is my review of the Panasonic DMR-HWT260. When I went to buy one, there weren't any reviews so I hope this might fill a gap if you're looking to buy one. Keep in mind when reading this that I've already bought one, and people who own something ... (more in the full post)(image)
Thu, 09 Jun 2016 16:27:00 PDTAnother year, another nice Huawei phone. Am I becoming a Huawei fanboy? Seems so. The P9, the successor to last year�s P8 which I reviewed, is a gorgeous phone. It�s a smidgen smaller (I had to look up the specs to just to confirm), and thankfully the power and volume buttons are still in the same place. Gone is the separate memory card/second SIM slot; this is now integrated into one, and is now on the top left of the phone. P8 on the left; P9 on the right. Headphone socket is now on the bottom (not a fan), taking over what was the second speaker grill. As a user of the Nexus 6P, it�s nice to see this phone inherit the USB Type-C charging/data port and the fingerprint reader located centrally on the rear of the phone. Once you get used to unlocking a phone with your fingerprint, everything else seems so antiquated. A lot of the online reviews really don�t like the Emotion UI (EMUI) that Huawei ships with their phones, but I�ve always liked it. It�s strict around allowing apps to run when the screen is off, and you can force close all apps with just a few taps. Android is not known for amazing battery life, however with these features, you can extend your time online greatly. You do need to allow a few apps, such as Google Maps, otherwise it resets everytime the screen switches off. The phone is responsive and quick, and common complaints about the low res screen (when compared to the other similar phones, such as the Samsung S7) weren�t an issue for me. I think it�s because I�m not after ultra high res on such a small screen (again, compared to my ginormous 6P). The biggest change in hardware is the camera, or cameras (which sit flush with the back of the phone). Huawei have partnered with Leica, and the phone features two 12 megapixel lenses. The camera app also has a myriad of different camera settings, which are well above the skillset of this simple user. For me, the best phones will take the best photos in low light, and man, does the P9 take some cracker low light photos: The last photo, for me, shows how good the camera is. On my street at home, at night, with no flash on. Very impressive. Another great offering from Huawei, and a nice upgrade from last year�s model.[...]
Sat, 28 May 2016 21:30:00 PDTHome automation using a common platform such as the Philip�s Hue bulbs or the Wemo switchable plugs and bulbs is reasonably straight forawrd. I�ve got a mix of Limitless LED light bulbs and Wemo switches, which makes it more complicated, but can be achieved using some custom software. My goal was simple. My outdoor light, main hallway light and kitchen light are all Limitless bulbs. The lights in my lounge and behind my main computer are on Wemo switches. I wanted a solution whereas all these lights would switch on based on sunset, and then switch off again at a specific time. The reason for the switch off, is if I�m away on holiday, the lights need to turn off on their own; if they are already off, the system would just exit. Since it�s rare for me to be out really late, I picked 2am as the switch off time. I like this solution because I�m often home after dark, plus if the wife and I are out at a function, we don�t have to fumble around in the dark looking for our house keys. The added benefit is the security of it looking as though someone is home. The solution I came up with was all reasonable straight forward, but did take a lot of trial and error. Firstly, I needed a machine that was always on at my place. My newly installed HTPC running Windows 10 would be the perfect candidate. I could�ve easily achieved this with a low powered PC such as a Raspberry Pi, but I needed a programming language (.net) and platform I was already familiar with. To ease deployment and maintenance, I opted for a console application. If I was going after always on and super reliable, it would�ve been a Windows service. The process works simply, as follows: At 4pm everyday, using Windows Scheduler, my console app boots up and queries the Sunrise-Sunset API. This takes a lat/lng parameter, giving me the exact sunset time at my place. There�s lots of extra info it provides (such as sunrise) but these aren�t required for my application.The reason I like this is it will automatically change the time in summer and winter, meaning no configuring at different times of the year. The console app sleeps until it�s time to run. When it wakes up, it fires off a UDP packet which the light bridge is listening for to turn the lights on. For the Wemo switches, it connects to each one and fires a SOAP request to switch them on. I was using the library from Barnacules which uses UPNP to find the Wemo switches, but for some reason, it just doesn�t work on Windows 10. Since I only have the two switches, I set them to reserved IPs in DHCP, so I always know where to send the on/off commands. Once the lights have been switched on, the console app goes to sleep until 2am, where it fires off commands to switch the lights and Wemos off. I log everything to a basic txt file for diagnostic reasons. If I was being super diligent I�d store this to database. Happy to share the source code with anyone who wants it, just fire me an email, nate at 3bit dot com.[...]
Tue, 24 May 2016 16:07:00 PDTTransferring cash overseas hasn�t really been something I�ve been interested in until recently. With my younger brother now doing the Kiwi right of passage OE, it was time to hunt down a way to quickly and easily send him money if he needed it. The first thing I did learn is that pounds vs dollars exchange rate is not doing us any favours. Ouch. An app, for me, is essential. With the first transfer being free, WorldRemit was my first point of call, and works all easily from my Nexus 6P. I reached out to them, and with a small amount of provided credit, I tried out my very first transfer. Firstly, I am not a big fan of an app being a heavily crippled version of the full website. A great app is one where I can accomplish just about everything I could, instead of using the website. To test WorldRemit out, I signed up using just the app. It all worked, and all the tasks I use are in the app � checking what a transfer will cost with the current exchange rates, initiating a transfer and then seeing a log of what�s been done. Receiving a transfer can be done in a variety of ways, and are really dependent on the destination. I tested sending money to Uganda (better than to a Nigeria prince, but barely) and was given these options: Picking a recipient is also quick: Once the recipient is selected, the final confirmation is shown which allows you to do the transfer: (I forgot to put in the promo code before taking the screenshot, there was no transfer fee). On the next screen, I loaded in my credit card and the money transferred almost immediately. Easy. My only gripe with the process was a lack of communication when a security issue comes up. While doing this review, and not long after this transfer, my account was locked. It seemed that my transfer from my new account to a user in Uganda had raised red flags, and their automated security processes had locked me out. While it is impressive that WorldRemit do take security seriously, a quick email to me as the customer would�ve saved a few days of head scratching. Other than that it was all quick, easy and painless. Everything you need from a money transfer app. Disclaimer: WorldRemit provided me with $20 credit to try out the transfer process, which I transferred to one of their employees. This review was not paid for.[...]
Sun, 01 May 2016 21:29:00 PDT
Anyone who has used the eWay payment gateway for processing credit cards, will have come across this. If there is an issue, rather than alert you with what the issue is, the eWay API will give you a five digit response code, which you then have to decipher. Not helpful.
Chatting to their helpdesk today, they don�t provide all 235 different codes as a simple download (too easy I know), so using some regex magic from their documentation, I�ve dropped them all into one easy to import CSV file.
Import into your database of choice, and more meaningful eWay error codes are only a query away!(image)
Mon, 11 Apr 2016 01:39:00 PDT
When you see these headlines on Stuff you know they�ve reached peak low-quality (peak/low?). It almost looks like their daily meetings go like �Hey we don�t have stories for today, is that ok if I post a video plucked from YouTube with a �[something] goes viral� in the headline?�
Yes, these are real headlines. From a major newspaper.(image)
Sat, 02 Apr 2016 17:49:00 PDTIn the past I have looked at Geekzone data to find trends, influentials and other information. This data was used to support decisions such as �should we create a new forum for this subject� or �should we close this sub-forum?� and so on. We also used it for marketing, answering questions such as �Where are the discussions around [insert subject here] and who are the participants�. Lately I have been using a lot of Microsoft Power BI at Intergen. It is a great tool to create dashboards that tell a story, or for people to find and work on trends that data reveal. So I decided to use Power BI on Geekzone as well and make some of this information public. Basically I created a Geekzone Power BI dashboard which visitors can use to check some of the data we have � answering questions such as �What sub-forums have the most discussions?� or �How many participants reply on an average discussion in the [insert sub-forum here]�. It is even fun to see how big jumps caused sub-forum to come up � for example looking at when Freeview was launched in New Zealand or the months when a new iPhone or Samsung device came out you can clear see a trend growing on each related sub-forum. Around 2013 we created a +1 feature on Geekzone. This allows people to support a reply by giving an �approval� without having to post �I like this�. The user who posted the replies can see who voted for his post. But when you look at the data you start seeing different things. For example you can see who gets more votes in different sub-forums and where their interests lie. Every year, around March, I post a Geekzone State of the Browser based on Google Analytics data. Last night I decide to add this data to Power BI. This means that instead of having an annual report based on the last 30 days of data anyone can have a look at reports updated to the previous day, with data covering any period from a month to all the data we ever had � just clicking on filters. This data covers the entire period we have Google Analytics on Geekzone � since December 2005. You can clearly see when smartphones as we know now came to the market � the small presence of this technology appearing for the first time in 2010. You can also see the decline of Internet Explorer and the rise of Google Chrome. I have been fine tuning these charts as we go � and there�s more to come. Data is updated twice daily so you know it is always the freshest dataset around. Go have a play: Geekzone Power BI dashboard.[...]