NZ Herald mistakes yet again

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 29-Jul-2006 07:17

Can somebody with some knowledge please offer to become an IT/Business writer for The herald or at least offer some editorial advice to their current journos? I realise not everybody understands the geek world and mistakes do happen but these are now occuring way too frequently.'

"Woosh - whose chief executive Bob Smith resigned yesterday - said it had secured rights for more than 2.3 gigahertz of spectrum owned by Sky, which would enable the provision of internet television on its wireless network throughout the country."

For the record the spectrum Woosh have secured is in the 2.3GHz band. I believe sky owned around 10 or 15MHz of 2.3GHz spectrum therefore the story should say "10MHz of 2.3GHz spectrum owned by Sky"

Tex Edwards needs to get a life

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 28-Jul-2006 20:36

Tex Edwards seems to be taking every chance be can at present to point out what many of have known for years - that Vodafone own all of the 900MHz GSM spectrum in NZ. Funny how he didn't also point out that telecom own 100% of the 800MHz spectrum in NZ as well but maybe he didn't know that.

Around 1990 NZ decided to auction off 3 TACS bands (the analogue system used in the UK) and the 2nd AMPS band (Telecom already owned the AMPS A band). The TACS spectrum was available for GSM use and spectrum was purchased by Telecom Australia, Telecom NZ and BellSouth. Telecom also purchased the 2nd AMPS band however the commerce commission ruled this was anti competitive and they had to either give up the AMPS B band or their TACS spectrum and Telecom chose the TACS spectrum, possibly because of the influence of Bell Atlantic who did not believe the proposed GSM standard would ever take off and that the AMPS spectrum offered the best option. This 3rd TACS band was then retained by the Crown and remained unused. 

BellSouth then went on to build their GSM network while the other 2 TACS/GSM bands were unused until Vodafone formed an alliance with TelstraSaturn and proceeded to buy the Telstra 900MHz GSM spectrum, with commerce commission approval. Roll on 2002 and the Ministry of Economic Development were feeling happy with themselves after rolling in the big $$ in 2001 for their 2100MHz 3G spectrum so decided to sell the 900MHz spectrum because not a single other carrier was interested except for Vodafone.

Tex Edwards was obviously so heavily focussed on rolling out a 3G network because GSM was "old technology" that he didn't even lodge an objection with the commerce commission (neither did anybody else) over the sale and therefore the spectrum was sold to Vodafone which gave them 3x25MHz bands of spectrum and will potentially offer them an amazing opportunity in the coming years to roll out a 900MHz WCDMA/HSDPA network which will offer far greater coverage and capacity than a 2100MHz WCDMA network.

I only have one thing to say Tex - we're sick of your continual moaning. If you put as much effort into building a network over the past 5 years as you done talking about it and complaining about the regulatory environment in NZ then you could have stood a real chance of being a significant player in the mobile market in NZ. You need Vodafone and they don't care about you.

Bob Smith leaves Woosh

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 28-Jul-2006 15:00

Yet more dramas for the company.. Is this an attempt by the current owners (who you have to feel a bit sorry for continually bailing out a lame duck) to change the direction of the company with the purchase this week of a ADSL provider?

Bad webpage design

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 26-Jul-2006 11:31

I've got a Brother 1820C fax machine which has a dreaded "machine error 41 message"

Basically brother have built lots of faulty printers and faxes that bring this error up and a quick Google search shows this is a fairly large scale problem!

I've just tried to contact Brother NZ to see what they will do about it. Thanks but no thanks, I don't want to pay $1.99 per minute for an 0900 number.

Their other means of contact is a web form

This has to be the worst piece of web design anywhere. Only alphanumeric characters and numbers are permitted. This means you cannot use any non alphanumeric characters including simply full stops, commas or anything else that are common in English , . ' that is not an alphanumeric character. This resulted in me taking over 10 minutes submitting my enquiry until it would finally work since I tend to use punctuation in my writing and not try and write a letter in txt speak!

NZ Herald inaccuracies

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 25-Jul-2006 10:39

As a NZ Herald reader I am concerned about how quickly accurate reporting seems to have got in the way of a good story. Yet again today there are mistakes in an IT story, apparently Woosh now operate a WiMax network!

Come on guys, get your facts right..

How long until this is pulled from YouTube?

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 24-Jul-2006 18:43

Make sure you watch the whole ad

PS: I can't seem to get imbedded YouTube videos to work.. Can somebody let me know how to fix this? Pasting the embed by itself obviously doesn't work..

Bob Smith the used car salesman?

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 20-Jul-2006 09:57

Surely this has to be the quote of the day

(discussing TelstraClear's new 3G rollout)

"Woosh chief executive Bob Smith said he was comfortable with the capabilities of its network compared with the TelstraClear proposal"

Way to go... your crippled TDD-CDMA network is no match for a HSDPA/HSUPA enabled WCDMA network that will offer a truely mobile phone service and nationwide roaming. But if you feel your network is on par then good for you! :-)

Why do BP always increase petrol prices first?

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 18-Jul-2006 08:46

Hardly a geek topic today but I'm sure I'm not the only person out there who has observed the small fact that virtually every petrol price increase in the past 12 months has been lead by BP? How can a company have such a brain dead marketing policy that has now created this perception in the market place? Shell have very carefully positioned themselves as the exact opposite who have lead the way in reductions.

Don't get me wrong - I know petrol (probably) has to increase in price. This doesn't hide the fact however that out of out four main fuel companies BP is continually the first to increase prices. I'd suggest everybody boycott BP or at least make sure you make their staff very aware that you strongly dislike their current pricing strategy.

TCL cable users

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 15-Jul-2006 16:21

Any TCL cable users in Wgtn & Chch on older plans should be receiving by snailmail a letter detailing IP and plan changes that will take effect over the next month or so. I have known this was coming since before Xmas and it is to move the remaining users on old plans that are on an ancient Saturn billing system over to the new plans which are on the newer billing system.

TCL are automatically moving you to what they consider the most appropiate plan, however those who have been users for some time will know that national traffic is charged at 1/10th of the rate of international traffic on these old plans so for example on my old 5GB plan I use around 20GB of traffic per month - typically around 1.5GB - 2GB per month of national traffic (which equates to 15GB-20GB of total traffic) and the remainder of my 5GB is international traffic. Because TCL think peering is evil and no longer peer domestic traffic billing national traffic seperately can now be very difficult as you may end up leaving NZ and then coming back to view a NZ based site. Originally all traffic between cable modems was also zero rated so you could also xfer files or play games with a friend on cable for free however recent IP ranges have charged this as national traffic.

TCL want to move me to their HighSpeed 10GB plan. Their letter tells me "You'll be pleased to know that on this new plan you will no longer be charged for cable modem rental and you will benefit from 10GB of traffic, a speed increase and a reduced cost". Thanks but no thanks TCL. Moving me to the 10GB plan will give me 1/2 my current data usage which means I'll have to upgrade to the 20GB plan which costs more than I currently pay so I won't be saving anything.

There is also no mention at all that the national/international data split will be removed so this change is going to annoy a *lot* of people, especially those people who have purposely not upgraded because they would lose this.

So TCL, what compensation are you going to offer users who now have to pay more for the same service? You have the best residential high speed internet service in the country but changing the terms & conditions of accounts is not a way to make friends. At least when Vodafone removed my unlimited offpeak calling they paid me $500 compensation!

The Google Corporate Jet (aka Party Plane)

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 8-Jul-2006 10:58

So Larry & Sergey can't quite decide what beds to install in their corporate jet! :-)

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