Easter Trading

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 9-Apr-2007 09:22

Well another Easter has come (and almost gone) and yet again NZ is caught in in the debate over our retail trading laws. Something needs to be done to address the inconsistancies that exist with our laws so that it's a level playing field for everybody.

I personally don't have an issue with stores being closed on Easter Friday and Sunday however when we have exemptions for "tourist" towns that have no logic behind them you realise things are an absolute shambles. Why should Queenstown be exempt and not Wanaka? Why should Parnell shops be allowed to open but not Newmarket?

To add to the dramas most people don't actually realise that Easter Sunday is *not* a Public Holiday, it's merely a day that most retailers are not allowed to open their doors. As a result of this staff who do normally work on Sundays either have the choice of receiving no pay at all or taking a day's annual leave if they do wish to be paid, an issue that the National Distribution Union obviously forgot to mention when they critisised Bunnings for opening yesterday. Bunnings also paid staff members who did work time and a half as well as giving them an extra day in lieu, again something they didn't need to do.

With several private members bills before Parliament at present lets hope somebody can at least do something to sort out the mess. The most obvious decision would be to keep Easter Friday as a Public Holiday (with no exemptions as there are now) and let all retailers open on Sunday. Failing this Easter Sunday should be legislated as a Public Holiday and all retailers forced with close with no exemptions.

Let just hope somebody does something to sort things out..

Petrol Prices ... Yet again

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 5-Apr-2007 15:57

Jama blogged about Wednesday's price increase here but today petrol prices just happened to fall again because Gull (who started the price war in Auckland) didn't raise their prices. As a result petrol prices are now cheaper across the entire country than they were earlier in the week with prices hovering around 151.9 for a litre of 91 unleaded.

Surely questions have to be asked how on Wednesday petrol prices had to increase but suddenly fall? If the increase was truely justifed then the backdown shouldn't have happened.

Fuel companies are the world's biggest cartel and seems to make a mockery of anti competition laws in virtually every western country. Why?

TCL cable problems.. yet again

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 2-Apr-2007 20:48

So after a few evenings last week suffering with international HTTP running at slower than dialup speeds (if at all) for hours on end the problem is back again.

How about some compensation TCL? I pay good money for a service that has performed like rubbish. How about even being able to get basics right like updating your status page to indicate there are problems?

Telecom Yellow Pages have been sold

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 26-Mar-2007 12:02

It's just been announced.. $2.24 billion to CCMP Capital Asia & Teachers' Private Capital.

$2.24 billion should give Telecom enough money to build a WCDMA network! :-)

More details here on the Telecom Media site

Shocking QA in modern consumer electronics devices.

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 24-Mar-2007 16:19

I played with a new Vodafone Motorola RAZR V3x today and couldn't believe that the firmware could say "Mutilmedia" when you scroll over the icons instead of "multimedia".. Surely somebody in the Vodafone group gets paid big $$ to do QA on new handsets? With such an obvious basic mistake present in the phone it's no wonder complex features often don't work correctly!

Telecom Broadband on Sunday

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 18-Mar-2007 19:51

So we have yet another TV show investigating why broadband in NZ is so shocking.. It's a shame Internet NZ head Colin Jackson can't even tell the difference between a TCL cabinet and a Telecom one. I'm sure TCL will love you pulling the top off a roadside cabinet, interfering with their network and saying it's unused Telecom fibre.

Telecom's First Media network was rolled out in some Wgtn suburbs including Northland, Mt Victoria, Wadestown and Thorndon. It was also rolled out in Whitby, Lower Hutt CBD and Silverstream. The HFC network in Whitby and the Hutt CBD was all underground and is unused. The HFC network in the Wgtn suburbs and Silverstream was pulled down after protests from the residents associations who disagree with the overhead cables. It's a shame that somebody who considers himself an expert on the matter can't even get basic facts correct.

UPDATE: I've got a picture below of a TCL cabinet (left) and Telecom cabinet used for their First Media network which are still in a lot of places around Lower Hutt and Whitby

Breaking News - Mt Ruapehu crater lake has burst

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 18-Mar-2007 12:10

It's finally happened..visual sightings of lahar currently heading down the Whangaehu Valley.

Telecom's WCDMA switch

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 15-Mar-2007 08:07

Juha scooped the story yesterday and if things go as reported Telecom will go ahead with the worst kept secret of all time - a switch to GSM/WCDMA based technology. Ever since they were forced to give up their ETACS spectrum 15 years ago (the ETACS analogue spectrum was the European analogue system and the frequency bands were used by GSM) they have had no option of going down the GSM path simply because they didn't have the required spectrum. They spent big $$ buying 2100MHz UMTS frequencies but we all know how hopeless 2100Mhz networks are (look at Vodafone 3G). Telecom's shutdown of their 800MHz AMPS/DAMPS network gives them valuable spectrum which can now be used for 850MHz WCDMA, the new ratified band that is being used by Telstra's Next G network in Australia and by American carriers who have gone down the AMPS->GSM/WCDMA path.

The big question is who Telecom's partner will be. I've put money on it for years that the 3 brand would appear in NZ with a joint Telecom NZ/Hutchinson deal. Pour a little bit of Telstra in the bucket as well and mix it all up and you never know what could come out.. Telcos see no problem now with building networks as a joint effort and it makes sence. Vodafone could finally see some very serious competition.

This is certainly going to be an interesting next 12 months in the NZ markerplace.

Vodafone NZ on Campbell Live

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 9-Mar-2007 19:39

We all know Vodafone's website should be a complete embarrassment  to the company due to the huge numbers of mistakes and inaccuracies on the site but after Vodafone featuring on Cambell Live tonight in regards to yet another premium rate SMS scam I thought it might be worth mentioning this URL on Vodafone's site.

"Receiving a TXT is always free."

The famous words from a particular brewery could be worth mentioning about now.

Do something about your website Vodafone, it's a disgrace. I'll even offer to proof read it and point out every mistake (around 20 or so that need correcting) for a month's free service and that's cheap considering my bill is always under $100..

BP raises fuel prices by 5c

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 7-Mar-2007 17:59

BP have yet again lead the way by raising fuel prices for Kiwi motorists. The 5c per litre increase in the price of petrol and 4c for diesel occured earlier this afternoon.

Yet again BP have lead the way with a price increase like they have on almost all occasions over the past two years. Regardless of whether the price increase is justified or not BP's world class marketing department can yet again be congratulated for doing their best to exploit kiwi customers, it must be hard knowing that you lead the way in only one thing - ripping off your customers. I'd encourage every BP customer to thank their staff next time you're in a BP store. Unfortunately I won't be doing so as I wouldn't even buy a packet of gum from an organisation such as BP let alone buy my petrol there.

sbiddle's profile

Steve Biddle
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)

  -xDSL deployments

*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