Saw Antonio Forcione at the International Festival of the Arts tonight. Playing again the next few nights. Well worth heading along.
Hailed as the Jimi Hendrix of the acoustic guitar, Italian-born Antonio Forcione pushes the boundaries of modern guitar playing styles, whether it be jazz, Spanish, African or Brazilian. His albums have hit the top of the international jazz charts, and he is considered one of the most inventive performers to come out of Europe in recent years.Blackberry PIN Messaging
I just discovered the Blackberry has a feature called PIN Messaging.
Essentially it’s like SMS for Blackberry’s, where the traffic stays inside
the Blackberry network and doesn’t cross to email. So you can Message
directly between devices. It is quite nice as it is richer than SMS and
has a graphical delivery receipt, so you know when the user has received your
To use PIN Messaging you need to swap PIN’s with other users. Much the
same as a phone number.
What is interesting is that PIN Messaging is not charged a Telco
transaction fee (like an SMS Message of 20 cents), it is just data. So the
true cost of the message is charged. Each PIN Message might be a few
bytes, so the incremental cost to the users is minimal.
Some quick calculations showed that SMS messages are charged at over
$600 per MB. As SMS has no real cost to the carrier,
CARRIERS ♥ SMS.
So the Blackberry is giving us much cheaper SMS to frequent contacts (on
Blackberry also has software you can download called Blackberry Messenger. This
uses PIN Messaging to provide a conversational Messenger experience.
Lots of noise at the moment about Broadband, but in the articles there are few examples of why we actually need Broadband connectivity.
Here are two examples. One business, one personal.
At AfterMail we signed up for a US phone service called Packet8. For $US35 per month per extension we have a US phone number and free calling anywhere in North America. Now on top of the cost savings, this helped our business as when we dialed sales prospects we appeared to be calling from the US, even though we were in Wellington. US people contacting us felt we were closer because of our phone numbers. This is important not just for sales but for support as well.
We soon discovered that the VOIP calls from NZ were not of sufficient quality that we could use it for sales calls. Our suspicion is VOIP is deliberately throttled. The impact of that is we have to call using a New Zealand PSTN number which immediately causes an objection for our prospects. A simple example of where the lack of broadband connectivity to the outside world stifles our opportunity.
The personal example.
The most valuable things in my house are photos and videos of the family. Everything else is replaceable. Major pain but all replaceable. Video’s are not. I want that data backed up and off site. Burning it to a DVD is slow and requires a manual process. I might forget to do it for a month and also I need to get it off site still. An hour of video might be 13GB of raw data. ADSL over copper is not enough. We need massive bandwidth to the home, just for the most basic application of backing up your personal memories.
Bandwidth, from home and work, to the outside world is infrastructure that provides a huge opportunity for New Zealand to combat our significant traditional barrier of distance. Phone calls, Conferencing, IM, Web Demo’s, Video Conferencing can/could work now with bandwidth. Next generation collaboration applications will allow richer interaction.
I’m about to do another couple of weeks in Europe. I’m slightly nervous that there is a chance that bird flu hype in Europe might escalate and I get trapped there for a while. In this climate I really want to travel less, not more. Suddenly our isolated nature becomes and advantage, if we can communicate richly.
Bandwidth allows us to quickly develop businesses that operate around the globe, forge relationships outside of our borders and enriches our lives. Investments in Bandwidth and creating a regulatory environment that encourages investment in this infrastructure is much better than reallocating resources. It gives us an opportunity to fundamentally grow the pie so everyone wins.
Is Theresa doing the best for Telecom Shareholders. Probably, in the short term. But it’s short sighted management to devote so much energy to maintaining the flawed status quo. It’s too important for New Zealand. Telecom should have the balls to embrace the new economy, change the rules. Their relatively size and cash gives them the best chance to innovate. They are better equipped than anyone else to benefit from any new model.TimeZone hell
I’m just about to enter my itinerary for my next road trip and thought I’d look around to see if there was a free solution to the problem so well described here …
Best solution still appears to be Trip Tracker, but as I’ve used my free shot it’s now a $US29.95 investment. TT does far more than what I need. Simply being able to target a timezone when entering in an appointment would solve the problem.Trade 2.0
I had a fascinating dinner last night with the British High Commissioner Richard Fell, who returns back to the UK shortly after over 4 years in New Zealand.
There was an exceptional group of people at the dinner with a long history as diplomats and in the Foreign Service for both New Zealand and the UK. Some of the people had over 40 years experience in international trade and I got a sense of what was required for commerce with physical goods without the modern communications network. It gave me a benchmark to realize how fast global business is changing.
In the taxi home I was thinking about how low the barriers to trade are now with technology. That morning I’d spent 15 minutes IM’ing a person I know in the UK, made a probably 5 international phone calls and helped out on sales presentations all over the globe.
We demonstrate globally from our office in Wellington, install our products remotely and receive funds electronically. We have US phone numbers in our office. The barriers to global commerce are minimal. We don’t really even think about, we just do it.
Further, Trade is happening at the desktop. Not through a chain of contacts, passing messages to each other. We talk directly to end customers in many cases, and build relationships with them even though they are geographically and timezone dispersed. Our distance disadvantage is becoming much less of an issue.
Spending time with people who were at the pioneering edge of international trade before the internet renewed my appreciation of the opportunity we have in our generation.Post Bose, Shure
About a year ago, with all the travel I’ve been doing, I justified to myself (and the home CFO) a pair of Bose Noise Cancelling headphones. These are the true road warrior headphones. When you whip these bad boys down the back in economy the world knows your a serious traveller.
The downside is they are big and take up valuable brief case space
On my last trip the Quest boys all had something new. Whipping out my Bose’s left a smirk on their faces as they counter-whipped their Shure Sound Isolating Earphones. A bit pricey ( I managed to sell my Bose ones) but very cool and fit into a tiny custom case so you can just leave them in your travel bag. You can also sleep with them in.
You an buy Shure gear online in NZ at store.apple.co.nz.Tech Openings at TradeMe
TradeMe, NZ’s largest eCommerce site, is looking for a number of technical staff as we grow the dev team.
Check out www.trademe.co.nz/Careers/The Team
Just poached this photo from Jon.
p-series, Rod, Simmsy, Hayden, Rodney, Rosco and TippyWoz
Steve Wozniak founded Apple Computers with Steve Jobs.
Woz has been one of my hero’s for almost 25 years. Back when I was 15 at Napier Boys High School, Bob McCaw established a computing class. Computers were new to schools then and we had Apple II’s. The school couldn’t afford many computers so Bob created a club where parents would buy a $100 share in a computer, which came into the classroom and the computer could be taken home in the weekends. I think each Apple II was about $1200 then. (I got a chance to take Bob out for lunch a year or so ago and say thank you which was very cool).
I was hooked and used to often take an Apple II home, put it on the dining room table and program. It seemed to me to be completely cool that you could bring a computer home. As the Mac, MacPlus, MacSE and Lisa came out I was all over it.
I learnt to program in Basic on the Apple II, skills not forgotten even when I didn’t do much programming at University. I remember loosing months to Hypercard which really was precursor to how we work with web based applications now.
Later working for Ernst & Young I picked up Visual Basic and Access, really only using those programming skills learnt at school.
So Woz’s wonderful Apple machines were what created my passion for computing and programming and indirectly led to the creation of many new jobs, lots of export revenue but most importantly a career I absolutely love.
The IT world is completely crazy, hugely fun and creates amazing experiences. If anyone had said even a few months ago that I would meet Woz and have him IN MY CAR, I would have said “what are you smoking” but here he is!
The technology world sometimes is just ridiculous.Hard Disk Camcorders
George from the AfterShocks had a very cool HardDisk camcorder from JVC.
It has 30GB disk that provided 7 hours of very high quality recording.
It is so much more convenient not having to muck around with tapes. This is one of the first models out and he noted a couple of issues.
- It might need more flash RAM as when it was bumpy on the boat it hung a few times.
- The software to pull the files off is still a bit clunky as each push of the record button results in a different file. There are obvious improvements that will make the importing of video much easier, but that will come.
So hopefully by the end of the year there will be a heaps of choice and this type of camcorder will be standard.
The size of video is still an issue. What do you do with it once you pull it off the camera? Time for the home NAS (Network Attached Storage) like what Jay has.Breaking out of the Inbox
A week into BlackBerrying and I’m still enjoying what a much better mobile email experience the BB is.
Here are some examples.
1. The BlackBerry UI does not separate the Inbox and Sent Items. Everything - in and out - is in the single message list.
We saw the power of this model with ArchiveManager (AfterMail). When we do a search the results come back with out separating Sent and Received items. This is a much more natural interface.
The alternative (in Outlook) is that to see a conversation you need to flip between sent items and your Inbox, looking up and remembering dates.
This could be further enhanced with a quick filter for (all, sent only and received only). That would allow you to restrict the results but still see conversations in-line when required.
2. The BB places all messages (email and SMS) into the same Message List. It is an artificial distinction on Windows Mobile to have to navigate the tree between each email account. A further extension could be ‘filter by account’ similar to request above.
The work we’ve done with Phil has given me an appreciation for the importance of interaction design. Both of these examples show that MS hasn’t really thought about what the user is trying to achieve. The experience is dictated by the hierarchical data structure of both folders and user accounts.
The BB is a great example of how a little design and a different mindset can deliver a vastly superior end user experience.Competition day
Well the final result was 2-2 after a tie breaking 5th Chukka. A good result given our new friendships with the AfterShocks. Photo’s from Saturday and Competition day (tag: SegPoloNZ).
We played at the NZ Polo Championship at Karaka. The venue was spectacular and the crowd really got into it.
There were numerous spills and plenty of goals. Can’t wait until next year.Practice day
Arrived in Auckland and meet up with the rest of the team and the AfterShocks from Silicon Valley. You can follow their trip on the AfterShocks Blog.
It’s really cool to spend 3 days with people working in the middle of Silicon Valley, really the center of computing. A number of the team work for Apple, so hearing a bit about what’s going on there is fascinating. Also computer geeks that ride Segway’s is a fairly well qualified peer group so it’s good to spend time with people who can speak geek and have very similar senses of humour.
We did a quick photo shoot that made the Herald this morning.
|Steve Wozniak (left) shows his strokes to “Pole Blacks” Rod Drury (centre) and Rodney Prescott. Picture / Brett Phibbs|
Steve Simms is the organisational master. The event put on last night for the Americans last night was fantastic. Today had a practice game at Western Springs, bungy jumping off the Sky Tower, Boat Trip to Waiheke, Vineyard Trip and Dinner.
Photo’s of today coming. The big game is Sunday afternoon.The Web will be Huge
Microsoft finally is engaged on Web Applications or ‘hey we might not win with winforms’.
Video: Seventeen Minutes With Bill
IE7 marks the restart of Browser innovation. This is cool.Comments on Blackberry move
Mauricio on GeekZone is still pumped on Windows Mobile.
… there are two ways to use a Crackberry â€“ they way you are using it. Which is by far the best.
The other is through a service provider. It works â€“ but less that satisfactory â€“ the long and short is their email client aggregates all your email and then the Crackberry sucks it down. The sync/delete function is lousy which means if you have high-volume traffic you need to find a PC every couple of days and delete all your email.
I really miss the camera on my little Sony phoneâ€¦ They should have that by nowâ€¦Silicon Valley AfterShocks
Our competition at the international Segway Polo event this weekend.
1st International Segway HT Polo Tournament
It’s on this weekend!! Woz (founder of Apple Computers) is coming down and Steve Simms has put together a very full program.
- Friday 7pm, Gala Dinner at Spencer on Byron Hotel (Black Tie)
- Saturday 10:30, Practice at St Helliers
- Sunday 2pm, “Woz Challenge Cup” at the NZ Polo Open, Karaka.
Great opportunity to meet one of the fathers of the industry. Still seats for the Friday night event. Contact me if you want tickets.BlackBerried
So after numerous shipping and customs hurdles my BlackBerry 7730 has finally arrived.
I wanted the big screen model that is not available in NZ, so had to source out of Oz.
I was concerned that an Australian sourced BB may not work. Vodafone thought it wouldn’t and there was talk of it having to be reflashed for NZ.
Thankfully I just went through the process. It took about 6 hours to fully sync so I thought it had died but about 11:00 at night email started coming through in near real time.
Anyone that knows me would know that I’ve been very pro Microsoft in the past. And I’ve paid. I had a Philips Nino when they first came out and have had almost every generation since of what is now Windows Mobile 5.
It is staggering to me in all those version MS has just not got it right. My latest phone was the K-Jam. While still an OK phone relatively it is probably the worst phone I’ve had. The hardware was cool, but the software was slow and buggy. It would frequently hang, the touch screen would go out of alignment, poor battery life.
Compared to the Blackberry, the PocketPC is a swiss army knife with it’s small and fiddly interface not suited to a phone. It’s a classic case of lack of real interaction design. The BB just works and without a touch screen. The Palm Treo works with a multifunction joystick. A pen/menu based UI doesn’t work for a phone. It’s hard to text in the car with a pen (not that I would ever do that).
The biggest feature is push email, which has still not been delivered in the MS world, though it’s ‘real close now.
There is some good innovation on the BB as well. Threads on SMS converations being one. The UI is not as pretty as MS but I can live with that.
The BB only works for me as we have the Enterprise Server. For small business’s it may not be doable.
It’s taken 5 years. I tried to stay loyal, but they finally got me.Gmail for Domains?
Geekzone reports Google is testing GMail for Domains!
So they can host your personalized email address. Now that would be cool.
I mentioned earlier that IE7 Rocks, and noted that my Google search preferences were maintained in the upgrade. I thought that was very polite.
This article Search in IE7 gives a bit more background on Search and Search Standards.