Great service from online retailers

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 14-Nov-2006 09:48

We tend to hear and read a lot of complaints from people who have received poor service from online retailers so I thought it was time I congratulated a few stores that I have received excellent service from


www.flashcards.co.nz

These guys have to set the benchmark when it comes to providing service - a great website, great customer service and overnight delivery in most cases. If you're after any flash media you have to be stupid to go elsewhere (and they sponsored Geekzone 06!)

www.aquilatech.co.nz

I've purchased various items of hardware from Aquilatech recently and they are another example of how to keep customers happy - provide great service & great pricing.


Plenty of other retailers could learn a lot from the retailers above!




Vodafone really are smart

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 3-Nov-2006 07:43

My last few posts have knocked Vodafone so I thought it was time to say something nice about them.


Supa PrePay & BestMate is a *very* smart move by Vodafone.

The mobile market these days is all about making money. Unlike the past where it was all about growing customer numbers, the fact all the mobile operators paid far too much for their 3G licences means they now need to recoup the cost!

Both Vodafone & Telecom have a PrePay APRU (average revenue per user) of ~ $25 per month. So how does Supa PrePay affect this? As we all know the cost of voice calls and SMS's these days is very minimal, especially for on network traffic. With $10 TXT2000 Vodafone are now getting a guaranteed $10 upfront from their customers and BestMate gives them $6 revenue upfront. From what I've heard in the past 24 hours the uptake rate of Supa Prepay & BestMate has been better than expected which is great news for Vodafone - they are effectively getting $16 per month upfront from a growing number of PrePay users whereas before their guaranteed revenue was $0. With calls now rounded up to the nearest minute it's logical that the APRU for an average Supa PrePay user with BestMate & TXT2000 will now exceed that $25 average. That's what I call being smart.

All Vodafone need to do now is start the same way of thinking when it comes to on account plans. It's not about exploiting users, it's about making them feel like they are receiving value for money while setting monthly plan pricing that will grow your ARPU. Offering people compelling plans for around $60 per month which gives them maybe 300 mins of anytime calls/video calls and a large number of SMS's and some included data would be perfect for a large number of users. Offer the plan and the customers will come..

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Vodafone Supa Prepay & Vodafone You Lose (oops You Choose)

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 31-Oct-2006 18:09

Today Vodafone NZ launched Supa prepay. With their new billing system upgrade that allows monthly charging features to be added to a Pre Pay account it's now possible to have addons on your Pre Pay account.

From today Vodafone's base Supa PrePay account has call charges of 89c per minute 24/7 with topups required every 3 months and also features $2 capped calls for up to w hours. Two monthy addons are also available - $6 per month for BestMate offering you the ability to nominate a single Vodafone number that you can voice call/video call/txt all you want in a month, and $10 for 2000 Vodafone->Vodafone SMS.

While this account is good news for many PrePay customers it's not suitable for all, and some people will be better off on their existing accounts which offer 49c calling 24/7 and per second billing after the first minute until Supa PrePay which is rounded up to the nearest minute.

What Vodafone have done yet again however is shafted customers on their You Choose plans. Yet again PrePay customers who have a substancially lower ARPU are being treated as special customers yet those customers who choose to enter into a contract with Vodafone are yet again being completely and utterly shafted by a company who obviously has very little idea on how to maintain customer happiness & loyalty.
If you're a customer on You Choose 20 you're currently paying $19.95 per month for 20 minutes of airtime with excess airtime charged at 99c per minute and can choose an AddOn and pay $9.95 per month for 1000 Vodafone->Vodafone SMS's.

If you're on this You Choose plan I would suggest you make contact with Vodafone and personally thank them for shafting you once again. You're currently trapped in a minimum 12 month term contract and your mates on PrePay are now getting a far better deal. 


  You Choose? More like You Lose.



If Vodafone has a single person in their marketing department right now with a brain they would would currently be offering some sort of sweetener to all their on account customers. We know that the above scenario will change early next year once on account customers are moved to the new billing platform but to be ripping your existing customers off while new customers get a better deal is just plain dumb.






IE7 Spoofing Trick

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 27-Oct-2006 20:55

So what appears to be the first "security flaw" in Microsoft's newly released browser has appeared.


Description:
A weakness has been discovered in Internet Explorer, which can be exploited by malicious people to conduct phishing attacks.

The problem is that it's possible to display a popup with a somewhat spoofed address bar where a number of special characters have been appended to the URL. This makes it possible to only display a part of the address bar, which may trick users into performing certain unintended actions.

http://secunia.com/advisories/22542/


An example of the spoof is here:

http://secunia.com/internet_explorer_7_popup_address_bar_spoofing_test/


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My New Toy - A Microsoft Laser Mouse 5000

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 23-Oct-2006 20:44

I splashed out today and got myself a new mouse. Having always purchased cheap mice I decided I wanted something that actually feels nice and spent some of my hard earned cash at Harvey Norman who where nice and gave me a 10% discount off the $99 pricetag (only after I asked though for it despite the big sign saying keyboards & mice were all less 10%, their hopeless checkout system didn't automatically give the discount).

After a few hours of use all I can say is that it's well worth the money. Considering how much use my mouse gets I certainly almost wish I'd upgraded earlier!


Wireless Laser Mouse 5000
http://www.microsoft.com/hardware/mouseandkeyboard/productdetails.aspx?pid=068



Econet

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 11-Oct-2006 14:00

After reading portege's recent blog post (http://www.geekzone.co.nz/portege/1542)I found this pdf on the Econet site

http://www.econetwireless.co.nz/html/pdf/presoliesdamnedlies160806.pdf#search=%22econet%20north%20island%20cellsites%22

It makes quite amusing reading particularly the last summary page

Econet’s Journey

•Econet traveled over 4,000km to visit every one of these sites.
•We drove over 1,000km on unsealed, gravel and dirt roads.
•We hit ice several times.
•We walked through driving rain and snowy fields to take these pictures.
•Our car got stuck in the mud several times when driving over muddy access tracks.

•We would much prefer to have been:

•Building a competitive new network
•Bringing competitive new products and services to market
•Fighting Vodafone and Telecom for new customers
•Instead, 5-years after the 2001 Telecommunications Act, we are still fighting for a fair go. We are still fighting just for the right to get started.





Heeellllllloooooo anybody home?

There is nothing stopping you building a network! Get of your ass, stop moaning and actually do something about it. Co-location is a good idea and should be encouraged however Econet's belief that it's their god given right to have access to every single site in the country so they don't have to build a single mast of their own is just one big hazy dream.

How about showing us a photo of some of the gear you had to airfright into NZ because you were in such a hurry to build a trial network? Oops maybe it doesn't exist. How about showing us some of your lease agreements for land or RMA lodgements for sites? Oops maybe they don't exist either.


Econet Vaporware - your next generation mobile network (tm)






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UK 3G data rates

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 1-Oct-2006 09:42

Wouldn't it be great to see this sort of pricing in NZ?

£22.50 for 10GB of data per month on T-Mobile. They are also removing the limitation on using VoIP over their networks (previously T-Mobile had actually blocked VoIP traffic).

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/09/29/tmobile_voip_tariff/

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New must have toy- Hipi2200

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 24-Sep-2006 16:55

Worlds's first dual GSM/WLAN phone with built in SIP and Windows Mobile 5

http://www.parawireless.com/hipi-2200-launch.htm


There have been prototypes of similair devices but this appears to be the first that is actually commercially available. Use VoIP when you're in WLAN coverage and GSM when you're outside the coverage area. That's what I call seriously cool!

More details here http://www.parawireless.com/hipi-2200.htm



RIP Peter Brock

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 8-Sep-2006 17:20

Australia is not having a good week.

Reports are just coming in that racing legend Peter brock has been killed in a motor vehicle accident in Western Australia.

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Congratulations Vodafone

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 8-Sep-2006 16:59

Well congratulations to Vodafone - my previous blog post http://www.geekzone.co.nz/sbiddle/1256 obviously attracted somebody's attention at Vodafone and is obvious proof how powerful blogs are! Just looking at the Vodafone website now the two promo links have been removed and the Plan details section has been rehashed! The Motormouth PDF still exists however but it's certainly a start!


PS: You might also want to fix up your Promos page however

http://www.vodafone.co.nz/promos/index.jsp


This says Take 10 finishes on the 31st August. If you would like some more help checking the rest of your site my services come cheaply..:-)






sbiddle's profile

Steve Biddle
Wellington
New Zealand


I'm an engineer who loves building solutions to solve problems.


I also love sharing my views and analysis of the tech world on this blog, along with the odd story about aviation and the travel industry.

My interests and skillset include:

*VoIP (Voice over IP). I work with various brands of hardware and PBX's on a daily basis
  -Asterisk (incl PiaF, FreePBX, Elastix)
  -Polycom
  -Cisco
  -Linksys
  -Patton
  -Zyxel
  -Snom
  -Sangoma
  -Audiocodes

*Telecommunications/Broadband
  -xDSL deployments
  -WiMAX
  -GSM/WCDMA
  -WiFi

*Structured cabling
  -Home/office cabling
  -Phone & Data

*Computer networking
  -Mikrotik hardware
  -WAN/LAN solutions

*Wireless solutions
  -Motel/Hotel hotspot deployments
  -Outdoor wireless deployments, both small and large scale
  -Temporary wireless deployments
   
*CCTV solutions
  -Analogue and IP

I'm an #avgeek who loves to travel the world (preferably in seat 1A) and stay in nice hotels.


+My views do no represent my employer. I'm sure they'll be happy to give their own if you ask them.


You can contact me here or by email at stevenbiddle@gmail.com

twitter.com/stevebiddle