Mon, 05 Dec 2016 14:08:00 PSTOriginally posted on Mac NZ: My now venerable 15-inch MacBook pro of 2012, which has an SSD inside instead of a traditional hard drive, starts up in 21 seconds (when it was new, the startup time was 13 seconds, but there's a lot more software on it now and it's been through several major Mac…(image)
Mon, 05 Dec 2016 11:02:00 PSTChorus says it will upgrade the 85,000 residential customers on a 30Mbps plan to 50Mbps at no extra charge. It means 50Mbps will become the new entry-level plan for customers on the Chorus fibre network.(image)
Sun, 04 Dec 2016 23:21:00 PSTMicrosoft New Zealand and Netsafe are today renewing their call for New Zealand internet users to be aware of a fresh wave of scammers who are targeting this country with warnings about fake viruses on their computers.(image)
Sun, 04 Dec 2016 22:32:00 PSTDimension Data, a global ICT solutions and services provider, today published its top IT predictions for 2017, and the focus on digital is set to remain the key trend in the industry for the next 12 months.(image)
Sun, 04 Dec 2016 22:27:00 PSTTravel Booking Services 2016 LP has purchased Trade Me's accommodation website, Travelbug, and online booking engine, BookIt.(image)
Sun, 04 Dec 2016 22:22:00 PSTAccenture employees pledge more than 10,000 hours to participate in Hour of Code tutorials, teach computer programming to students, promote access to computer science education.(image)
Sun, 04 Dec 2016 22:22:00 PSTEquipped with a quad-core Intel Xeon-D 2.2 GHz CPU that bursts up to 2.7 GHz, DS3617xs delivers stunning performance at over 2,358 MB/s sequential throughput reading and 406,760 IOPS reading under a RAID 5 configuration with 10GbE Link Aggregation enabled.
Sun, 04 Dec 2016 22:18:00 PSTFoodco New Zealand have announced a new self-service checkout kiosk at Auckland City Hospital at Jamaica Blue.
Sun, 04 Dec 2016 15:27:00 PSTApple introduced its butterfly laptop keyboard design for the 2015 12-inch MacBook. It is shallower than previous keyboards. The key action is less positive than on older Apple laptops like the MacBook Air or earlier MacBook Pros. The 2016 12-inch MacBook uses the same keyboard. Put aside for one moment the Touch Bar that appears on […](image)
Thu, 01 Dec 2016 21:20:00 PSTIngram Micro had an outstanding night, picking up the highly contested Distributor of the Year Award for the teamâ€™s dedication to creating engagement not only with HP, but also throughout the wider Reseller community.(image)
Thu, 01 Dec 2016 21:12:00 PSTPeter Gutmann, Computer Scientist at the University of Auckland, will deliver the keynote while other speakers confirmed to date for the inaugural 31c0n event include Bryan K. Fite (UK), Rodrigo Branco (Brazil) and Craig Smith (USA).(image)
Wed, 30 Nov 2016 16:52:00 PSTSpark has extended its streamlined street-in-a-week fibre installation trial to include Chorus UFB coverage areas. The goal is to spend a week focusing on fibre installations for residents of a single street. This means fast-tracking connections and giving customers a specific day for their installation. Last month Spark began a similar project with Ultrafast Fibre. […](image)
Wed, 30 Nov 2016 04:23:00 PSTIBM announced today a strategic partnership with American Airlines, the world's largest airline, naming IBM as its cloud provider for greater enterprise flexibility, scalability and reliability.(image)
Wed, 30 Nov 2016 04:05:00 PSTThe agreement includes HPE naming SUSE as its preferred open source partner for Linux, OpenStack and Cloud Foundry solutions.(image)
Tue, 29 Nov 2016 04:59:00 PSTHewlett Packard Enterprise has successfully demonstrated Memory-Driven Computing, a concept that puts memory, not processing, at the center of the computing platform to realize performance and efficiency gains not possible today.(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 excellent service from the wonderful Hilary![...]
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 PDT
In 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.(image)
Sat, 02 Apr 2016 02:09:00 PDT
It is time for the annual report on browser usage around Geekzone. At the bottom of this post you will find links to previous years so you can compare these numbers with previous years.
These charts are based on Google Analytics data collected during the 31 day period ending 31th March 2016. I realise part of our audience is more technically inclined, so our numbers are different from those presented by other more mainstream websites (such as Trade Me and news sites) but we have a huge number of non-tech visitors landing in our pages from search results seeking solutions for their problems.
This data is for desktop visitors only.
Overall Google Chrome continues to grow, going from 53% one year ago to 57% now. Both Internet Explorer and Firefox had a small decline in numbers, with the difference mainly going to the new Microsoft Edge browser.
New Zealand numbers are again very close to the worldwide numbers:
Here is the split for New Zealand users between business and after hours. This year Safari is taking the lead over Internet Explorer usage at home, with the difference again going to the new Microsoft Edge browser:
Internet Explorer 8 and Internet Explorer 9 are now on the way out and at last Internet Explorer 6 disappears from our stats:
In terms of operating systems it pretty much remains unchanged from last year.
And at last Windows Vista disappears from the Microsoft Windows chart:
Previous posts for comparison:
Wed, 30 Mar 2016 16:29:00 PDTThis morning Microsoft Build kicked off in San Francisco and I'm there and will be sharing some of my impressions – both here on my blog, and also via twitter (You can follow my updates @paulspain). Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella started the keyn... (more in the full post)(image)
Fri, 11 Mar 2016 13:42:00 PST
Enough to say we aren�t happy with 2Cheap Cars.(image)
Tue, 09 Feb 2016 21:26:00 PST
The first international podcast conference in the region hits Auckland this Fri/Sat. Features an incredible lineup of speakers representing podcasting, radio, TV, marketing and communications. Do you know anyone who should be there?
With a massive line up of 12 speakers from all sides of the podcasting world, it�ll be a very informative two days. If you are interested in podcast, or run your own, this will be a great investment.
(Even if you can�t make it, you can buy tickets to stream it online� perfect!)(image)