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! :-)

Windows Genuine Advantage

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 4-Jul-2006 22:14

If you've been using XP over the last few months or following the news you're probably aware that MS deployed "trial" software called Windows Genuine Advantage in select countries which came as high priority windows update. This software checked your product ID and if it suspected you were running a pirated copy of XP displayed a nice logo on your log in srceen saying that your software may be counterfeit and a nag screen in your system tray. It also rang home to MS every time you rebooted your PC which was not disclosed by MS.

There have been numerous reports of this software causing incompatiblity issues and over the past couple of days there appears to have been a significant back down from MS as the anti WGA backlash started to gain momentum.

MS being sued over WGA Spyware

How to remove WGA from your system

And this candid interview with Microsoft's chief privacy strategist who essentially says "we stuffed up"

Telecom NZ dumping CDMA? ..Well at least according to NZ Herald

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 26-Jun-2006 15:11

Well the Herald would certainly want you to think that!

The Herald is going downhill big time, crap articles like this are further proof

How does Nokia stopping the manufacture of CDMA phones lead them to the conclusion that Telecom will have to dump CDMA? The fact Nokia make up such a small % of CDMA handset shipments is one of the reasons why they are focusing on GSM and WCDMA!

And the brainless journalist doesn't even realise that if Telecom where to move away from CDMA it to be to WCDMA and not GSM!

World's First WiMax/WiBro & CDMA Dual Phone

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 22-Jun-2006 17:02

Now this could be particularly interesting in light of the Woosh/Telecom tieup and some speculation around a few months ago of a possible WiBro/WiMax upgrade..

What's gone wrong at Vodafone?

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 12-Jun-2006 20:43

So how could a company that once aspired to be the global leader in mobile get it all so wrong?

Under the leadership of Chris Gent Vodafone went shopping with the simple goal of being the biggest mobile operator in the world. They only wanted to be the biggest, they also wanted to be the best. When you thought of a mobile phone they wanted you to think of the bright red Vodafone logo. On their way they also happened upon the term "Vodafone Experience", effectively Vodafone wanted their customers to live, sleep and breath the Vodafone Experience. There simply would be no other mobile network that could offer you the warm fuzzies like Vodafone was going to do. Vodafone wanted to help design the phones, run the network and deliver you content on your phone through a walled garden WAP based experience known simply as Vodafone Live!

This dream of word dominance continued under Gent who didn't really see any reason why Vodafone couldn't have a presence in every market in the world because afterall that's what great companies do. The problem was that there were significant stumbling blocks that Vodafone either ignored, or didn't see. Because Vodafone had built itself primarily on acquisitions they had a huge mix of radio gear, billing systems and networks from numerous different vendors and trying to roll out products and services across this network was damn near impossible. Around 18 months ago somebody inside Vodafone finally

realised this and the "One Vodafone" concept was launched. Vodafone was now going to take advantage of the economies of scale that should be being achieved in a company of their size with the ultimate goal of outperforming their peers. There were going to be standardised plans for cellsites, core networks moved to IP, and network planning and purchasing that is nogotiated on a global scale removing much of the decision making from individual networks. Phones were going to be heavily customised (because the walled garden of Live! was believed to attract people to the network) and heavily marketed because significant numbers of customers already know what model of handset they want before they go shopping for a phone. So with this big plan how could it all go wrong for Vodafone? Chris Gent stood down after taking Vodafone from a small startup in the UK to become the dominant player in the mobile world. His replacement Arun Sarin has been unpopular since his appointment and there have been plenty of fights inside the Vodafone boardroom, the most famous of which was Gent resigning as honorary life president earlier this year due to his disagreement of the direction Sarin was taking. A few weeks ago they posted the biggest loss in European history of a whopping £14.9bn, primarily caused by writedowns of European networks that they paid far too much money for during the dotcom boom and excessive prices paid for 3G spectrum. While this loss is significant and Vodafone has £20bn in debt on it books things surely things can only be looking up for them, can't they? After all isn't the future of communications totally mobile?

Many people think so. Afterall, do you really need a landline phone if you have a mobile phone that can do exactly the same thing but is also portable? The big buzzword at the moment if you are a PSTN operator is convergence - being able to make your landline your mobile and your mobile your landline. However if you don't have a PSTN phone then why do you need convergence? Vodafone NZ's concept of having a local PSTN number for your mobile phone is a great idea and Telecom are so scared they currently won't let Vodafone launch the product due to a disagreement over the definition of "local call" termination. The fact Telecom are breaking their own rules every time a Telecom customer diverts their PSTN number to a

mobile phone seems to escape them. The problem is that there is currently a bottleneck when it comes to delivering internet access at broadband speeds using wireless. Telecom's EV-DO network kicks ass over Vodafone's WCDMA network and future upgrades for EV-DO are only going to enhance this offering. HSDPA and HSUPA are going to be a viable upgrade path for existing WCDMA operators but to be completely honest I'll believe HSDPA can handle 14.4 Mbit/s when I see it. Remember GPRS was always going to offer 144kbps? Yeah right..

People are now demanding broadband speeds for their internet access and in NZ at least Telecom are well

positioned to slam dunk Vodafone with their future upgrade path for EV-DO which turns it into an IP based mobile network combined with a core Next Generation Network that is once again IP based. Suddenly your one device does everything everywhere. The future of calling is VoIP and calls are going to be free. Period. Where does this leave Vodafone? Just as traditional telcos laughed at Skype a couple of years ago they have since realised that Skype is no laughing matter.

Vodafone's walled garden is suddenly going to haunt them as people realise that Vodafone simply can't give them the products & services they want at the price they want to pay. Google News delivered by WAP is amazing to use and best of all you're not stuck paying Live! prices. Vodafone need to realise that these days the mobile market is no different to any other FMCG product and that customers are a lot smarter than they were several years ago which really makes you wonder why it's still cheaper to head to many foriegn countries and roam on another GSM network because the prices are cheaper than roaming on a Vodafone network. People are disliking their heavily customised phones and in NZ at least Vodafone are simply being out marketed by Telecom where Kevin Kenrick has done to Vodafone what Vodafone spent many years doing to Telecom which is making them eat dirt.

Now back to Vodafone as a group. The talk over the past few days has been of a revolt against Sarin and several other board members by some large institutional shareholders. Whether or not this happens is anybody's guess but there can now be no disputing that their is turmoil at the top and that somebody or something has to break. There are some interesting times ahead..

Telecom's Advertising

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 7-Jun-2006 07:46

You almost have to feel sorry for Telecom! :-)

Apparently telling people that they can win a trip to space as a prize and then not actually giving them that prize is breaking the law..,2106,3692038a1860,00.html

What sort of idiots do Saatchi & Saatchi employ that really thought they could get away with misleading advertising?

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