Hamilton pair fuming over TV text rip-off

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 11-Jan-2007 12:45

From stuff today

"A Hamilton woman who entered a television text competition is fuming that her mobile phone provider refuses to do anything to stop money being taken from her. "


Hellooooo..Welcome to the real world.

I personally think premium rate SMS competitions should be banned in NZ but the simple fact is they aren't. Why is this woman bleating to the media however that Vodafone are some how to blame? If you want to be unsubscribed from the service pay your $3 to send in a TXT which will stop the service.

For once I want to defend Vodafone. I'll be annoyed if you refund this customer due to her stupidity. Compare it to another real world scenario - should Holden be responsible for your speeding tickets if you get caught speeding in one of their cars?

Apple iPhone - The Ultimate Geek Gadget?

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 10-Jan-2007 08:52

Well it's now been announced - the Apple iPhone (not be confused with the Linksys iPhone and the minor issue that Linksys own the TM to the word 'iPhone' in many countries!)

Is this going to be the ultimate must have gadget? Looking at the presentation and specs you really have to wonder whether Apple can do anything wrong. IMHO it's the first device that could be considered to be an iPod killer! As we all know however specs and glossy brochures don't cut it in the real world and we'll have to see how this product compares when it's available.



Vodafone 3G Broadband latency

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 9-Jan-2007 19:07

I've just spent the last hour or so playing with some various settings and it's interesting to see the differences between Vodafone APN's. Traffic is even being routed differently depending on the APN which explains the ping times.

The ping times of under 100ms are sensational but aren't constant, I received ping times in the low 100's on average testing the Vodem on several occasions. Traffic using www.vodafone.net.nz however is being routed differently as the tracert results show and the latency suffers big time.

Obviously if you are a Vodafone 3G data customer and lower latency is an issue for you then changing APN's may be a wise move.

Details of Vodafone NZ's APN's are here

Using APN direct.vodafone.net.nz

Tracing route to wlg.italk.co.nz []
over a maximum of 30 hops:

  1   114 ms    99 ms    99 ms
  2   106 ms   119 ms    99 ms
  3   104 ms    99 ms    99 ms
  4    98 ms    99 ms    99 ms
  5   107 ms    98 ms    99 ms
  6   127 ms    99 ms   109 ms
  7    97 ms    99 ms    99 ms
  8    97 ms    99 ms    99 ms  g9-927.u12.brh.telstraclear.net []
  9   115 ms   109 ms   109 ms  g1-926.u11.pnr.telstraclear.net []

 10   106 ms   109 ms   109 ms  ggis-gige-v906.telstraclear.net []
 11   107 ms   109 ms   109 ms  g0-1-0-4.akcr8.global-gateway.net.nz [210.55.202
 12   106 ms   129 ms   109 ms  attica-dom.akcr8.global-gateway.net.nz [202.50.1
 13   126 ms   109 ms   109 ms  f0-0.5.cpiak1-r1.tranzpeer.net []
 14   106 ms    99 ms   119 ms  vip1.italk.co.nz []

Trace complete.

Pinging geekzone.co.nz [] with 32 bytes of data:

Reply from bytes=32 time=103ms TTL=112
Reply from bytes=32 time=101ms TTL=112
Reply from bytes=32 time=89ms TTL=112
Reply from bytes=32 time=88ms TTL=112

Ping statistics for
    Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
    Minimum = 88ms, Maximum = 103ms, Average = 95ms

Using APN www.vodafone.net.nz

Pinging geekzone.co.nz [] with 32 bytes of data:

Reply from bytes=32 time=242ms TTL=102
Reply from bytes=32 time=250ms TTL=102
Reply from bytes=32 time=229ms TTL=102
Reply from bytes=32 time=247ms TTL=102

Ping statistics for
    Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
    Minimum = 229ms, Maximum = 250ms, Average = 242ms

Tracing route to wlg.italk.co.nz []
over a maximum of 30 hops:

  1   124 ms   169 ms   139 ms
  2   128 ms   149 ms   139 ms
  3   147 ms   149 ms   119 ms
  4   157 ms   149 ms   159 ms
  5   148 ms   139 ms   158 ms
  6   146 ms   149 ms   149 ms
  7   147 ms   148 ms   150 ms  vodafone-customer.gw2.akl1.alter.net [203.110.9.
  8   137 ms   139 ms   119 ms  so-3-0-0.XR2.AKL1.ALTER.NET []
  9   136 ms   159 ms   159 ms  so-3-0-0.BR1.AKL1.ALTER.NET []
 10   317 ms   298 ms   299 ms  atm3-1-0-2.sn1.optus.net.au []
 11   317 ms   310 ms   289 ms  AsiaNetcom.sn1.optus.net.au []
 12   316 ms   310 ms   308 ms  so-2-0-3-0.gw4.akl1.asianetcom.net [
 13   326 ms   288 ms   329 ms  ip-202-147-46-234.asianetcom.net [
 14   296 ms   310 ms   309 ms  vip1.italk.co.nz []

Trace complete.

How to rescan your iTunes music folder

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 5-Jan-2007 11:21

If you're an iTunes user you'll realise one of the biggest gripes is that if you add music to your music folder manually (ie copy the file) rather than downloading the software from ITMS you have no way of easily forcing iTunes to rescan the folder and add files to the music catalogue. Since I don't use iTunes it's never really worried me but I was trying to fix iTunes for my girlfriend last night and came across this brilliant app which will rescan your music folder and add the songs to the iTunes database.


Very cool indeed..I just can't understand why Apple don't add this feature to the software!

Open letter to Russell Stanners - why Vodafone NZ sucks

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 1-Jan-2007 03:56

Well it's happened yet again, Vodafone's UMTS network has crapped itself and appears to have taken the core IP network with it meaning that no 3G user in NZ has been able to send SMS's on one of the busiest nights of the year and data and MMS services have been unavailable for all customer since late last night.

Since you seem to be such a media savvy person and we know that so many Vodafone staff read Geekzone (so you're sure to get this message) maybe you'd like to add your comments to this post and give us your thoughts on how you will improve Vodafone NZ since it's the start of a new year. Since the buck stops at the top of any organisation are you up to it or are you scared to face those who openly criticise you?

So far in the past 2 weeks your UMTS network has suffered 3 major outages. Your customer service sucks. Your loyalty to long term customers is non existant. You are getting your arse whipped by Telecom because you simply can't bring products to the market that users want. You don't give a crap about on account customers who deliver the bulk of your ARPU and you're failing to actually get new customers. Vodafone used to be a brand that brought innovation to the NZ mobile market and was a company and brand that I truely believed in and would have been proud to work for. Now the brand represents nothing but a failure in the NZ mobile market. If it wasn't for the fact your network is such a cash cow you would have been gone long ago and replaced by somebody who knew how to run a business.

I've just got home after celebrating New Years and had a mate so annoyed by the response he got from customer service he's told them where to stick his $400 a month contract and is going out to sign up with Telecom tomorrow. The least you can do after these ongoing network failures is to compensate your customers but I'll put money on the fact you won't because you honestly don't care.

Bring back Graham Maher. At least he knew how to run a network. Even Larry did better job running an underfunded and under resourced BellSouth.

Happy new year.

vodafone 3g network crashes yet again

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 31-Dec-2006 22:05

vodafone 3g users are currently unable to send sms messages. switching your phone to gsm mode will allow you to send messages. sort your crap network out vodafone!

*Breaking News* Saddam Hussein has just been executed

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 30-Dec-2006 16:39

Watching it on CNN now

Petrol Price Conspiracy?

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 29-Dec-2006 16:56

There have been quite a few people comment over the past few weeks that petrol pricing in NZ has become inflated as a result of the supermarket vouchers that are now common place and that it the companies can afford to offer discount vouchers then petrol should just be cheaper fullstop.

The Foodstuffs & Progressive vouchers are a split cost between the retailer and the fuel company with both paying a % of the total amount so it kind of proves the above point wrong - a 10c discount at the pump isn't sustainable because the fuel company isn't funding the whole 10c discount.

Because Caltex and Mobil have both lost out to BP & Shell who are participating in the fuel voucher scheme they have both introduced their own marketing campaigns to stop the churn of customers. Mobil have come up with the most braindead idea of all time - spend $4 in your shop and we'll give you 4c per litre off. Hello?? Is anybody home? Why would I want to spend $4 in your shop just to save $3 on petrol? Caltex on the other hand have offered to accept any supermarket fuel vouchers and offer up to a maximum of 4c per litre off fuel.

It did make me wonder today however driving past the Caltex Fuelstop on Hutt Rd in Wellington. This is a self service card only stop and normally has their petrol priced around 1-2c cheaper than other Caltex stations. Their currently price for 91 Unleaded is 137.5 and 142.5 for Premium. This represents a 5.4c discount over the 142.9 price for 91 at other stations.

To me this seems a fairly obvious case that we are paying maybe 4c per litre too much for fuel at the pump. For those of you in Wellington I suggest topping up at Caltex Hutt Rd if you don't have a discount voucher to use elsewhere!

**WARNING** Subway Subcards Privacy Issues.

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 28-Dec-2006 11:03

I've been a Subway fan since they first opened in NZ so was a little disappointed when their sticker program ended earlier in the year but was quite excited when a friend who works there told me it was being replaced by a new swipe card system that would offer a lot of extra benefits.

Sunway launched these cards a few weeks ago but I only got around to picking mine up yesterday and the concept is cool - you buy your goods and card is scanned which credits your card/account with money for every sub you purchase and these can be used towards the purchase of a product once you have a minimum of $3. You will also be able to top this card up over the internet in the new year so it will end up being a prepaid card and there will apparently be lots of bonus points features occuring over time.

You can log into the subway website to view your card balance. The first time you log on you are prompted to enter your personal details including name, date of birth, gender, address, contact numbers and email address.

The scary part? Access to the website is by entering the 16 digit card number and 4 digit security code that is printed ON THE BACK of your Subcard for anybody to see! http://thor.evolution.co.nz/Subway-Customer/Login.html

If you lose your card anybody who finds it now has access to your personal details and can change them instantly online to be their own and also has access to any credit you have loaded onto the card.

Subway say they can replace registered cards

You must notify us immediately by calling [0800 78 222 73] if your SUBCARDTM is lost, stolen or destroyed.  Provided your old SUBCARDTM was registered, we will issue you with a replacement SUBCARDTM and freeze the remaining SUBWAY® Reward Dollars and cash balance on your old SUBCARDTM from the time that you report to us that your SUBCARDTM is lost, stolen or destroyed.

To credit a replacement SUBCARDTM with previously earned SUBWAY® Reward Dollars or a previously loaded cash balance we will require proof of your identity (including photo identification).  The crediting of a replacement SUBCARDTM is at our sole discretion.

But if somebody gets hold of my card and changes my details before I notify them the card is no longer mine because it will have somebody else's details on it so I have absolutely no hope of getting my credit back.

Sorry Subway I think you've blown it big time with your customer privacy this time. Like Pago who fail to impliment security procedures to stop accounts being hijacked you're now exposing your customers private details to anybody who wants to see them. This is simply not good enough. To access the web page users should have been requested to enter an account password which would have been so simple to add at the time the project was developed. Whoever worked as a Business Analyst for this project should go back to school and retrain as something else.

Why is upgrading Windows Defender so hard?

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 7-Dec-2006 14:10

Like any Windows user who uses Windows Defender you would have had an upgrade message appear over the past 24 hours because a new version of this software is available. What intrigues me is why Microsoft have made upgrading this software such a big hassle, particularly for Windows users who may not be computer experts. I thought things were supposed to be getting easier, not more complicated!

Step 1:
Click on download box inside Windows Defender, this redirects you to the website.

Click on the button to proceed with Windows Genuine Advantage check.
Install WGA ActiveX toolbar by right clicking and allowing it to run. WGA congratulates me for having a licenced copy of XP. What a waste of time - any h8cker out there knows how to get around this anyway.

Download Windows Defender

Run the downloaded file

Manually close down Windows Defender because installation says it's already running

Read complex licence that basically says our software could send back your private info to MS from your PC but don't worry we won't be identifying you.

Download latest updates

Reauthorise existing apps that I want to keep running that it has identified as security issues.

You've got me MS - I don't think you could make the upgrade process more complex if you tried. No novice computer user will really be able to easily follow these steps and you wonder why Spyware is everywhere..

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