Est. 2007

Posts Tagged ‘New Zealand’

All Blacks Jersey Cheaper Overseas

In Life on August 8, 2011 at 10:09 pm

The higher pricing of jerseys in NZ has sparked some criticism in the media of late.

I am totally with those that decided to import theirs from overseas. Importing is a really good idea right now as our dollar is still pretty strong against the US dollar. You will get that instant saving right there if the rate is in our favor. I think it should teach Adidas that we live in a globalized world and you can’t try to charge different prices in different regions all the time.

I can understand the reason for doing so. It is basically to do with demand. Hardly anyone is going to buy an All Blacks jersey in the UK or other countries like that. The most All Blacks jerseys are going to be sold in New Zealand. New Zealanders are willing to pay that high price to get it.

There is a theory called prospect theory. The basic idea is that of framing the prospect. The media is publicizing it as if we are paying more, but it can equally be framed such that the price we are paying is the normal price and there is a discount for the other countries due to lower demand. If we framed it like a discount, it wouldn’t sound so bad. Let’s face it though, this publicity has to be good for us, retailers will lower prices at some point.

Here’s to media pressure!

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Slow Download of iTunes Movie Rental

In Life, Tech on June 3, 2010 at 10:02 pm

It’s the usual story. I got a little bored and decided that I wanted to watch a movie. Of course I’m not so inclined to rent one from a video library because I then have to go return it the day after. With the added bonus of my larger data cap this month I decided that I would purchase a rental on itunes and then watch it on my T.V using a mini DVI to HDMi cable and adapter.

I managed to download it and watch it in fact on my T.V. Sure, the picture wasn’t very good; even a DVD would quickly outclass it. It was nonetheless an exciting experience; I did manage to use my ipod touch as a remote as well.

My main concern is not how cumbersome it is to watch a rented movie unless you opt for the Apple TV option with HD video from Itunes or how poor the quality of the video is. I wouldn’t even complain about the fact that it still counts towards the data cap. I will complain about the fact that it took me a god awful long time to download it. I calculated at the time based on estimated time of completion and the file size that I was being restricted to downloading the movie to a meager 512kbps. This is pretty shocking because I believe it took well over 7 hours to download it. what I want to know is why? I know for certain that this is not the first time it has happened. I know that the last time it happened, I was on a different ISP altogether. I know it was a similar time to download, so the 512kbps restriction was the same. I know that on both occasions my international bandwidth was capable of a lot more than 512kbps.

It only leads me to the conclusion that somewhere and somehow there is an artificial restriction on the download speed for movies on itunes in New Zealand unless already on the local cache.

The Spray Can

Telecom ditches “Big Time”: Orcon bumps up data caps

In Tech on May 20, 2010 at 9:08 pm

Ok, so Telecom has ditched its Big time broadband plan. The plan that gave users an all you can eat plan, but with the caveat that their traffic would be shaped.

It is obvious that this was going to be a failure right from the start. This is one of the largest ISPs in New Zealand and it would attract a great number of users to the service. Some more enthusiastic large downloaders included. At some point in time the number of users sharing the bandwidth would just be ridiculous and some even found workarounds to the shaping and this put more strain on the system.

There is of course a better way to this all. In my opinion, there is a better approach to this all. Firstly, instead of offering maximum speeds to users all the time and then capping their data, they could turn the whole thing around. Instead offer a fixed speed and then no data cap. Possibly having say a 512kbs plan for most and this way everyone would be happy because your bill would be fixed and you still got a decent speed. There would then be speed packages higher than that.

The alternative solution is to have every single user on one plan i.e everyone is on the big time plan and all data is always shaped. This idea may work in theory because a lot of users are always going to be light users and only a minority are excessive users and this basically has the effect of balancing things out. The other obvious reason to do this is because access to the internet infrastructure inherently doesn’t have data caps and instead is always based on speed, hence with this system, that pipeline is always in full use.

I also have an opinion against building this new local broadband networks; it is a real waste of money. The international network, specifically, the Southern cross network isn’t up to it. The local speed already exceeds international bandwidth and thus making a network with 100mbps won’t make anything faster or better for us. It would be best to put that money into improving that infrastructure instead.

In an unrelated story, orcon has also today bumped up my data cap by 10gb for free. Hopefully, they will show up on the website soon enough. I was pondering a switch to slingshot, but I no longer have a reason to anymore. Personally, although I like slingshot, they had refused to give me a new line and had asked me to set one up via telecom. Orcon, on the other had signed me up with their new network. Obviously, I have some loyalty to them in this respect, but only as long as they take good care of me.

The Spray Can

Macbook Setup

In Life, Tech on May 16, 2010 at 3:17 pm

OK, very sorry for the poor image there, but its been taken from my less then stellar mobile phone camera. Anyway, as you can see its pretty basic in all respects.

I basically got a Maxtor basics HDD; the one with mac sticker on it. There is a belkin 7 port powered usb hub in there as well. You may be able to see the yellow/white Kingston thumb drive sticking up from the top as well. There is the iPod touch. Obviously, the computer you see sitting there is a Macbook (early 2009). It’s been propped up on a book. It also runs Win 7 for all those Info-sys assignments.

Now the main thing here is kinda my take on the usb hub. I believe it’s probably the best thing I ever bought. It is powered so I know that every thing is going to work well and it has so far. It also has those top mounted ports and that makes it easy to plug in USB drives and my iPod for syncing. It’s also got a cable conduit so that all my cables that need to be on the desk stay that way. The hub practically lets me have a docking station. At the moment its got a printer, HDD and a tuner card hooked up to it along with that flash drive. I really do think Belkin make the best usb hubs by far. Some of the others are just so ugly that they can’t be put on the desk comfortably, especially if you are conscious of aesthetics.

I’m still pondering if I should get a stand and separate keyboard and mouse and possibly even a separate monitor. I can’t seem to bring myself to shell out the extra cash for the lot. Perhaps later this year or even the next. There really isn’t much choice if you want to get a mac specific keyboard; you either have to buy the Apple versions or a logitech diNovo. Otherwise, it’s just going to have to be a PC version if you want a cheap one. With stands, there is a dime a dozen. It’s easy to find a custom made one as well that could be made out of wood or plastic or even aluminum and steel. Mice are dime a dozen as well, logitech make some really nice ones and of course there is the magic mouse by Apple. Anyway you cut it, there is a fair price to pay for a decent ergonomic setup.

The Spray Can

Tomizone

In Tech on September 23, 2009 at 6:49 pm

So, you want to make money from selling your wifi? Not to worry, now you can. Before, setting up a hotspot where users would pay was very difficult and something that only those who had the time and money would do. Today, it isn’t so had to do at all. In fact, there are a few ways that you can.

Firstly, if you are still a little bit more tech savvy, you could set up a linux server and a capture web portal so that you can bring your clients to a splash page for them to pay you. Most probably and the easiest way would be to get them to buy vouchers from you or alternatively by using paypal. This is the hardest of all the solutions

Secondly, you could tone it down and buy a linux based router, some of the linksys ones come to mind, and install DD-wrt or openWRT and then chillispot. Basically, this solution is no different from the last apart from the fact that you don’t have to have a full computer running all the time.

The third method would be to use something like FON or Tomizone. Tomizone allows paid users while FON doesn’t. Tomizone is also available preinstalled on some routers in NZ and Orcon has some sort of partnership with them too. The D-link 300 router is probably the most popular router that comes with Tomizone. Tomizone is also based on Chillispot and the associated customized firmware; however, you don’t have to worry about the billing, marketing or the pricing. It is all done for you. You get put on a map of all the hotspots Tomizone has and mind you they also do the hotspots in all the Esquires and Starbucks coffee shops in NZ. The price is set to $3 an hour or 60mb, $6.5o a day or 160mb or $30 a week for 1.2GB. It’s either data or time whichever comes first. The hotspot provider gets 50% of that amount and tomizone keeps 50% for itself, but at least they save you all the trouble of setting up and managing your own and not to mention handling the billing. You are allowed to give guest access to people you know. The D-Link 300 also has dual SSID, so you can use one of them while the other is for the hotspot.

I have an unlimited data plan, so I have no data cap. My traffic is shaped and prioritized, so VOIP then HTTP and the like then other things and then P2P. So any thing I sell won’t affect won’t really affect me. Plus, you can set a maximum bandwidth for the hotspot side. So far in the last 1.5 weeks I have made $45. This is not bad considering that the connection only costs me $50 a month. I think the reason for my success is that an AUT building is right behind my apartment and someone buys a pass every now and then.

Overall, very good. At least I got some income going. I wish I thought of this earlier. The money from the first two weeks will practically pay for the router.

The Spray Can

The Power of Ebay

In Life on August 16, 2009 at 10:04 pm

Ho Ho Ho.

Merry Christmas.

Yea, Christmas came early for me. I have found the power of ebay.

It is so easy to buy from sellers in Hong Kong who often have some of the coolest gadget and small items on the cheap. The often have pretty good feedback ratings and their items are typically good quality. The whole Ebay system is quite tight nit with Paypal and you are pretty much gonna be protected that way. Buying an item is just a few clicks after the first time where you have to register.

So farI have bought:

  • A case for my ipod touch.
  • A screen protector
  • A keyboard silicone skin
  • A charger for my ipod
  • A case for PSP
  • A charger for PSP
  • A case for psp games
  • Replacement game cases
  • Headset for ipod
  • Replacement joystick for psp
  • A VOIP adapter

And there are so many other things to buy. Most items cost between $1 and $6 USD around $1.50 – $9NZD.

Items typically arrived with 8 days to NZ.

I would recommend looking on ebay before buying anything now cause you can save a fortune as long as you are willing to wait a week or so.

The Spray Can

Windows 7 – Free for UoA Students

In Tech on August 16, 2009 at 9:53 pm

Well well folks. Windows 7 has gone to manufacturing some time this month and has already become available for subscribers to MSDN and to volume license customers. It will be released publically on 22nd October.  Obviously people buying computers with Vista Home premium and above will be eligible to upgrade for free if they purchase a computer after Some time in June.

Why have I said all this?

Well. I have got a copy of the final release and have installed it on my Macbook. Basically, dual booted it.

How have I got a copy?

I got a copy from my university: the university of Auckland. All students doing any of the information systems and operations management courses can get a copy for free along with other software as well. This is the reward for going to one of the leading universities in New Zealand and a top 50 university in the world.

Review

Windows 7 is quite an improvement over its predecessor in quite a few ways. Firstly, it looks and feels slightly better and is move responsive and has a decent boot up speed. It jams well with my mac and all the drivers that Apple included for Windows. I managed to install some games that were meant for XP and Vista without too much trouble and they worked fine. I must say that the annoying UAC thing is much better and overall the system feels much more lightweight and faster.

I really haven’t done much with it yet, but the system is looking hopeful. Commercially, Windows 7 will probably the success that Vista never was. It is good enough to run on a netbook and hat means Buh bye XP. Expect prices of Netbooks to rise as many of them will start to ship with windows 7.

Overall, very pleasing indeed, especially for free!

The Spray Can

Kathmandu Neoprene Sleeve for Macbook

In Uncategorized on April 16, 2009 at 10:16 am

With my purchase of a new MacBook I have had to look for something to carry it around in. Most folks like neoprene sleeves as they are able to slip it into their bags which they already have; I would prefer to have a backpack, but most people would like a satchel or messenger type. Basically, if you have a Mac the likely choice would be one of the ones offered at the Apple store. STM, Incase and a few others are available. STM is quite nice with it’s bags but those for the 13″ computers are kinda small in size and won’t carry much around apart from the computer itself. I quite like the Alley because it is vertical and doesn’t give that feeling that you are carrying a notebook computer.

Due to the fact that those bags were too small, I went out and had a look at what else was available. Belkin and Targus make quite nice bags, but it is difficult to find one that’ll carry a 13″ notebook. Most are for 15″ and the MacBook would just float around in there. Also, note that messengers start around $70 while backpacks around $130. Sleeves around $40-$60.

So Easter came about and I saw an ad for Kathmandu, they were having their Easter sale, no surprises there. What was a surprise was that they sold bags that could carry laptops. They have a backpack and a messenger and one of those business oldschool type ones as well. The disadvantage is that they take 15″ computers. They were basically half price so around $60-$65 each. I still don’t know whether they are a good deal or not as the sale hasn’t ended and I haven’t bought one yet. I have bought a neoprene sleeve though which might give a bit more protection and bulk so that it is more slug.

The deal with the neoprene is that, it is versatile and can be used with any bag and it is quite popular. However, I would never buy one for $40. I got this one for just $21.54. That’s a bargain and plus the computer fits really snug, not loosely like some of the cases. It has a very basic print on the front of some mountain ranges which is not too intrusive. Also good to note is that the old styles are available all year  round when they have the stock at $25. That’s still pretty good, cause it means you can spend a bit more on the bag if you want one.

All in all, a good buy indeed.

The Spray Can

2Talk Max

In Life on April 15, 2009 at 3:49 pm

Well, there are a few things that nobody can live without. One of them is obviously the internet. Ever wondered what you would do with out it, or what you do when there is an outage.

Anyway, I have chosen 2Talk max to be my ISP and VOIP provider. Beamed wirelessly from the sky tower not too far from my apartment, it gives a similar experience to that of Kidanet in Fiji. The fact that it is Wimax by Alvarion is understood but the Consumer premises equipment is more like that of Unwired- self install, indoor variety. I personally have the $65 a month plan which gives me unlimited traffic on the internet; something that nobody else will rival. They also give a phone line with two local numbers and 500 minutes of calling to landlines in most popular destinations, though this does not include Fiji. Other providers give a 5GB capped connection and landline with local calling only for $80 a month.

The service is excellent for the most part with close to 6 mbit downstream and around 3 mbit upstream speed. Something hard to find in most DSL services. On the other hand, I have had a few outages in the past few days for which I’m not all too pleased about. On the whole though, the service is quite good and cost effective.

The Spray Can

Cell Phones- Cheap like chips; Cheap on quality

In Life on April 10, 2009 at 1:10 pm

Having moved back over to New Zealand I had to buy my self a new phone. The one that I had from Fiji was obviously locked and wouldn’t work here. I got one of the starter packs for prepay from Vodafone like most folks do; it cost me $35! I then slowly looked for a handset.

There were many models, but my observation was that the market mostly liked phones from over $200 to about $1000. I just wanted something that texts and calls and none of the fancy stuff, but I suppose it was hard but I finally managed to buy the cheapest at the time. I got myself an LG flip phone that cost my $99 and also included a starter pack. The starter pack was basically put aside. I liked the phone, it wasn’t bad though it wasn’t like my old (more like my other) Nokia 1680c.

There is just one problem. After about a week or two, the sound quality deteriorated and finally I would not be able to hear the phone ring or hear the other person over the phone if I called someone. So naturally, I went over to have it sent away to be fixed. I had to use Vodafone so that I would have a loan phone in between, since the store I bought it from wouldn’t give me one. The phone came back after about two weeks.

Here’s the bad news, the same problem occurs again after it is fixed. This time I’m furious. If it happens once, it is ok just a faulty part. When it happens a second time, that just means that the phone is just no good and it is likely to occur over and over again. I took it back to vodafone and thought that I wold have to accept that they would send it over to the repairing folk again, but I was so furious at the time that I took it over to Dick Smith and had a great big fuss with the manager. He finally agreed that if he had one in stock, he would swap the handset only. He apparently had none. He checked if I had everything from the box and lucky for me I had not used up the starter pack. I inevitably, ended up choosing to go with a Samsung slide phone which was $109. It is dearer by more than $10 since I lose out on that additional starter pack, but at least I have a working phone now with two more years of warranty.

At the end of the day, the moral of the story is that everything is cheap these days but it is also cheap quality. Though, even the best of them are just as bad (or as good). You just have to be assertive about standards.

The Spray Can