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.

Ballmer blames pirates for poor Vista sales

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 25-Feb-2007 09:18

Has he considered that maybe people just don't care about Vista?

Vodafone BestMate advertising ruled misleading

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 23-Feb-2007 14:14

Failing to mention that BestMate was only available to PrePay customers has got Vodafone in trouble.

Full details here on the ASA website.

New Wellington Bypass? What a joke!

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 19-Feb-2007 16:56

After spending yet more time stuck in traffic I'd love somebody from Transit NZ to explain why it now takes longer to get across town than it used to? Saying it's a settling in period just doesn't do it for me, there are serious flaws in the whole traffic plan which are causing bottlenecks.

* Why is Northbound traffic on Willis St and Taranaki St limited to turning into the bypass from the left lane only? Willis/Vivian and Tarakani/Vivian used to be 2 left turning lanes with the right lane a turn/straight thru. This worked fine before, why change it now?

* Pedestrians crossing the bypass at Taranaki St have their green cross light on the same phase as turning traffic from Taranki onto the bypass. The result being numerous near misses as (frustrated) motorists tear out of the lights to realise that pedestrians are crossing. Due to the large number of pedestrians who also use this crossing in the afternoon it's not uncommon to sit at lights when they do change to green and then watch 2 or 3 cars go through before the lights turn red. This is probably the prime cause of the usual afternoon bottleneck all the way up Taranaki St past Massey University that simply didn't occur as often prior to the bypass. The same problem also occurs on Willis St. Why can't pedestrians have their own cross phase?

The time it takes me to get from the John St lights to the Terrace Tunnel is now approximately 4 mins on average longer than before the bypass. I was never somebody who was anti the bypass but it certainly seems like a bit of a lemon if it's making the traffic worse not better..

Telstra aren't interested in the Apple iPhone

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 18-Feb-2007 16:23

Looks like Telstra aren't interested despite all the earlier talk of them trying to get the rights for the device in Aussie and people even saying they were currently even testing one.

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