The littleun’s don’t seem to understand the word sleep-in (in the Hawkes Bay the birds start at 4:45am [yikes] - but I can normally drag out getup time until 6am) so it can be a couple of hours with the chipmunks before the lady of the house arises.
We’ve almost worn out Bad Jelly the Witch and with another morning dad in the house this morning (though he made it to 7:15) we reminisced on the stories we used to listen to on Sunday mornings.
A bit of googling and found a site that has a good range as MP3 downloads and even album artwork you can drag into iTunes.
Sync with the Touch and plugged into the stereo and the nippers are listening to the same stories we used to listen to over 30 years ago. How’s that for a cool use of the Internet!
Such classics as Gerald McBoing Boing, Maxie the Taxi, Rumpelstiltskin, The Tar Baby and of course Sparky and the Talking Train.
I’m still trying to hunt down Toot the Tug and Flick the Fire Engine.Best gadget of 2007
Over the last couple of days I’ve been exposed to what is clearly the best tech gadget I’ve experienced in 2007.
It was a surprise, my favorite gadget. It had elements of many great designs. For example its simple oneÂ button interface had shades of Apple (now at $200 - woot!).Â The controls of this complex device distilled into a single red button with soft glowing light indicating its state of operation.
It has wireless technology, nothing new in itself, but incredibly useful for it’s specific application.
The best feature was it’s noise canceling design. I wondered if the designers had consulted with the team at Phitek as some deep science around sound management is in play. Every time we’ve used it someone comments “I can’t believe it’s so quiet.” It really is like magic.
Like great gadgets this is a tool.Â Its satisfaction not just in its use but in enjoying what you can make with this machine of convenience.
Great technology needs to be accessible and at a sale price of $74.90 it is affordable for all.All you can eat mobile data
2008 should be the year of mobile data. As I’ve posted several times this year mobile data is dead in New Zealand because crazy data prices.
So much so that a generation of mobile users are too scared to use mobile services.
There is a glaring absence of content and application providers building global businesses in the mobile applications space. Hyperfactory and DataSquirt are operating largely outside NZ, Run The Red have hung in there locally and are now doing things in Brazil but we should have 20 names of mobile data providers we could reel off.
We should see a PR release every month showing a local carrier incubating another yet another New Zealand mobile content provider that is now going global. Their on again, off again developer programs seem to be in off again mode. Just hire someone from Microsoft and grow a long term developer program. Give the good ones some handsets and free accounts and watch them innovate.
Peter made a great point yesterday that the iPhone and Google Android coming had flipped power back from the carriers back to those people who build great equipment and applications. We saw a glimpse of this in 2008 and it’s being delivered to the mass market in 2009.
New Zealand is going to be left behindunless we see two fundemental changes in carrier behavior here in New Zealand. And this chaneg should be very good for them.
1. Vodafone and Telecom need to allow mobile data providers to have a sustainable business model. Each customer pays a monthly fee to the carrier. For value added applications 60-90% needs to go to the application provider to encourage them to invest.
2. We need to flip around the fear of mobile data, quickly. That will require unlimited data plans. Sure put some reasonable fair-play clauses to manage the edges but basically any New Zealander should be able to feel like they can hit mobile data from their phone for under $30 per month.
Rowan asked me what my cause would be for 2008. This is it.Netsuite IPO
Of course I’ve been watching the Netsuite IPO.Â The IPO was ran as a dutch auction as Google did before it.MacWorld band announced
Looks who’s playing at the MacWorld blast event in January …
Album released in 1978. Scary.Cabinetisation
Telecom have really made an effort over the last few months to reach out to industry.Â I applaud that.Â Yesterday a couple of senior Telecomers working on cabinetisation took the time to walk me through what they are doing and why they are doing it.
An issue they face is explaining why cabinets go where. Especially when it seems that some customers close to an Exchange are already well served.Â The explanation is logical but will require more typing than I have time for right now and I expect there will be documents out in the public domain explaining that next year.
Cabinetisation is about taking fibre right out to the node.Â It provides the backbone of the New Zealand network and once in place will provide us with a world class internal infrastructure.
The issue has been clouded by LLU. I’m no expert on all of that but I did note the new cabinet design does have space for 3rd parties.
Cabinetisation really solves the back haul issue.Â A big performance bottleneck on your home or small business internet connection is not your copper to the cabinet or exchange, but the cabinet or exchange to the central network.
I thought a useful digram would be one that shows the difference in bandwidth from the home to the central network as it stands now and as it will be with fibre to the Cabinet.Â Gerard from Telecom agreed and drew up these two diagrams which lay out the benefit of cabinetisation..
This is the relative bandwidth of links pre-cabinetisation …
This is what the links look like with fibre to the cabinet …
So I think cabinetisation is a very good thing.Spock off
Like Nic I’m wondering why people are inviting me into yet another social networking site?
What’s so special about Spock?
Update: Read the comment from Nat
Thereâ€™s nothing special about Spock except that they spam using your Google Mail contacts list. Iâ€™ve heard reports that their UI likes to sneak in the â€œinvite everyoneâ€ option even after youâ€™ve selected only a few people to invite. Iâ€™ve had a dozen invites from people in the last week, almost all from this kind of mistake. Someone gets an invite, thinks â€œwonder what this is?â€, signs up and in the process ends up spamming their friends. Before anyone discovers â€œthereâ€™s no there thereâ€, a new wave of people are signing up to figure out whatâ€™s going on and are in turn spamming their friends. Avoid.
Anyone up on Knol?Phone bits
Two interesting phone/email bits today.
Probably via Active Sync. Wonder if Apple have licensed that yet? Though they could use WebDav ala Entourage.
I had heard that Voda had the NZ rights to BB (if there is such a thing) so I wonder if the ‘WorldMode’ wording is important.
If iPhone plays nicely with Exchange is BlackBerry moot anyway? With iPhone push email what happens to RIM?
Roll on 2008. It’s shaping up to be a big year.Entreprenuership event 8-9 Jan
This looks like a useful event early next year …
As part of PricewaterhouseCoopers Hi-Tech programme for 2007-2008, PwC is hosting Ken Morse, Managing Director of the MIT Entrepreneurship Centre.
Ken’s two day workshop will be held in Auckland on 08-09 January 2008 and is aimed at business leaders from hi growth, innovative NZ companies. The two day workshop is based on case studies, lectures, interactive discussions and hands on exercises and is focussed on assisting in the development of growth strategies - covering topics such as reaching global markets, building global networks, sales strategies, and capital raising.
Register here www.entrepreneurshipnewzealand.comEntourage and Time Machine
The problem: Entourage has one big store for it’s local mail cache (pst file). So how does that work with Time Machine?
Compatibility with Appleâ€™s Time Machine backup feature in Leopard is a database area that has received a lot of attention recently. Because Entourage uses a single file database, over time it can become large (sometimes really large). In those cases, Entourage data will not work optimally with Time Machine. Our recommendation is to exclude your Entourage Identity folder(s) in the Time Machine preferences
… we understand that our Exchange customers want â€œan Exchange client on the Mac with features, performance, documentation, and reliability on par with Outlook.â€ This is a goal that will be achieved in stages, through Entourage 2008, its updates, and beyond.
Hopefully not another 5 year wait.The Tutts
Being married now for almost 10kg’s and with the threat in a couple of weeks of greenpeace throwing water over me at the beach I’ve been loading up the iPod and hitting the Cybex machine.
I downloaded ‘The Tutts’ song ‘K’ last week from iTunes after following a playlist. I’d challenge anyone not to take your heartbeat up to 180 while powering along to K, especially when they crank up the drums two thirds in. I just saw the video on Juice TV and was amazed to see they are a New Zealand band. Woohoo! Pride!
Video here …
Another world class New Zealand song from 2007 now available on iTunes (video as well) is Atlas with Crawl.
I expect JohnB in San Fran to download the Tutts and Atlas from iTunes today please.
While on the subject of music I flicked passed alt.tv the other night and saw what seems to widely thought of as the best cover ever. Alice In Chains with Gretchen Wilson covering Hearts ‘Barracuda’.
They just nail it. What was interesting to me is that Gretchen Wilson is a Country and Western singer. Check out the ‘Redneck Woman’ howler in the related video links. If that’s not a case for changing genre’s.
And finally one of favourite vid’s loaded onto the iPod Touch is Perfect Circle’s (ex Tool) ‘Judith’ which includes what appears to be regarded in blogosphere as the sexist hair tie up maneuver ever.
So I’ve shown you mine. What’s on your iPod?Mail history and other excitement
Maybe there is one other person out there who is fascinated by the history of email clients (the most used, most completely broken applications ever). If you are reading this you’ll enjoy the back story here …
Also from Apple Insider more substance around an Apple NAND based sub notebook.
And it mentions that the MacBookPro range may also be extended down to a sub notebook which hopefully (and I may just burst here) means a tiny, all day, notebook with no moving parts, instant boot and when on the desk can drive a 30″ monitor.
Roll on January 15.Funding Separation
Looking back at the broadband debate over the last year itâ€™s amazing how we as an industry moved broadband from a technical issue to a business issue and now to a political one.
For me it started back at Foo Camp in February where a bunch of tech, political and media people got together. Following Foo, stimulated by meeting a bunch of people with big ideas I published a document entitled Securing Our Digital Trade Routes. It raised the option of state ownership of our national communications infrastructure. I was totally surprised by how far that went.
Two weeks ago it came together at the Digital Strategy 2.0 Summit. A lot of the ideas we as an industry have been pushing this year came out in David Cunliffeâ€™s speech and Pete Hodgson a few days later. Broadband is the number 1 initiative in Governments economic development program.
The government is now talking how important international connections are and raised the possibility of debt funding.
Looking back, my state ownership model was useful as a discussion starter but my thinking has certainly evolved since February this year.
First a couple of building blocks â€¦
The New Zealand Institute did the important work of developing the business case for Broadband. It made it quantitatively clear that there is a compelling business case for world class links within New Zealand and connecting New Zealand to the world.
Am I a socialist or a capitalist? Left or Right. This was a struggle. I like money. I think the environment is important. I believe we should have free health care and education. I think we need to grow the pie before slicing it up. I prefer small government, low tax. I think saving should be compulsory. Exporting is good. Thinking globally is better. The ‘Buy NZ Made’ campaign is dumb. I like Cunliffe, I like Key, I like Russell Brown. Maybe the term Digital Socialist is the best for me.
Did the market fail in the Telecommunications industry? No the market is always working â€“ but the free market will give you certain characteristics that may not balance out other objectives. So Iâ€™m reconciled that the government can regulate to set market conditions.
Operational Separation and Structural Separation I’ve never felt comfortable with. It seems to artificially fight the market.
I caught up with a very smart guy called Shaan Stevens this year and he influenced my thinking more than anyone else. We had a good debate on my state ownership ideas. Shaan got me thinking about how matching the investment models might make the market work and provide the characteristics we need as a country.
Iâ€™ve been calling this Funding Separation. It goes like this.
- There is a public benefit of having best of breed broadband connections between New Zealand and the rest of the world. No one company can monetize that. Certainly not a public company like Telecom who exist to earn a return for investors.
- The Internet provides an opportunity to nullify the tyranny of distance between ourselves and international markets - to leverage our real competitive advantage: the close networks that form in a small country.
- To exploit the power of the Internet we need to connect ourselves digitally to the rest of the world and treat the Internet as an abundant resource where we donâ€™t even think about cost. We need to build businesses on top of networks. We need to remove the network as a barrier - physically and costwise.
- Therefore what we need is an open access network that operates on a cost recovery basis between New Zealand cities and the rest of the world. (Incidentally I think the role of central Government is to connect the cities. Local bodies should pick it up from there). People expect to pay for the Internet. Cost plus is better than free.
- The cost of that network is probably between $2-3bn dollars. On a debt funded basis it would cost less than $300m per year to fund that. I am sure that even just the Government spend much more than that per year on the Internet.
- The Government could regulate that the infrastructure layer of this network can only be funded by debt and returns a maximum rate of return of say 8%. It could also commit that all Government traffic goes over this network. This is the Funding Separation bit.
- With the recent financial meltdown there is a flight to quality and strong demand for these types of investment products that return a safe long term return. Left just here the market may work to solve the problem. Telecom could also provide this network if they desired.
- With Kiwi-saver coming on stream there is a lack of large onshore investments the government could make. They could be a foundation investor.
So lets look at whoâ€™s impacted:
- New Zealand Business. Low cost connection to global markets. Winners.
- New Zealand Citizens. Boom times, we earn more, pay more tax ($’s not %), have better schools and hospitals. Winners.
- Telecom. Can play at both layers but no longer have to invest at the base network so can inject new services into the network as fast as they can market them. Winners.
- Government. Hasnâ€™t spent any cash, has lowered their costs, have transformed the economy. Winners.
- Southern Cross owners. Youâ€™ve held our country to ransom for years you pricks and get what you deserve. Probably just make normal money now. Less winners than before but well positioned in their retail businesses so not losers.
There you go. Problem solved. Now lets fix the environment.Dell partners
Just saw this on ResellerNews.
Dell who have been well know for a direct online sales model is announcing a partner program.
Dell are leading the way in a number of areas (like hiring Andy). Interesting that a key value prop is a simple and straight forward partnering model.The significance of Google’s Android
Excellent analysis of Google’s mobile play from Andreas Constantinou.
Every application on Android is a Web 2.0 citizen
Very interesting.Save the Fish
It’s last days for Wellington institution The Chocolate Fish.
Background article here … Wellington’s Chocolate Fish to wriggle off hook, though things aren’t as optimistic as that article reports.
The real story appears to be less about the council, more about a local spat and opportunism. Regardless it just needs to get sorted.
The Wrights and the Pennington’s have done a huge amount for Wellington.Â They have been open now for 10 years with only a few days off.Â The Fish is the first place I take overseas visitors, straight off the plane, to experience a stunning view, unpretentious surroundings, great coffee and friendly staff who go out of their way to make you feel at home. I’d argue the Fish is more important to business in Wellington than TePapa.
There is a deal underway to move the Fish further into Scorching Bay to the triathlonÂ club.Â The issue here is the land is on both Council and DOC land so you can imagine the bureaucracy in getting that sorted.
Council have been working hard but surely this is a case for a divine intervention.
The Chocolate Fish is too important to be down for even a month.Â Just get the Wrights/Pennington’s back doing what they do best, as fast as possible, and sort the paper work out later.Bye boats
Miramar residents will be happy to see that our wharf is finally cleared of the Szap8 and James Cook.
Here was the scene this morning as they were being led away.
Only the Venture to go. Though it looks like someone’s living on it at the moment.Your digital future is green
3 conversations came together for me last week.
Firstly at an excellent MED sponsored capital markets conference on Tuesday we heard that Asia, Australia and many other countries are having huge water issues. Places that have abundant water and can grow crops that use water (like trees) will have an increasingly valuable natural resource.
Next I heard that Google are investing in green energy.
Lastly Andy’s speech at the Digital Summit on Wednesday: Green digital generation the future, Lark tells Summit. A key point was an increasing projection of the amount of power required to run these big data centers. Andy said something like that for data center operators the cost of power will be much more than the cost of the hardware and other components.
So the reason Google in investing in green energy is that they have worked out that they need it. And will need it badly soon. It’s standard vertical integration.
So you look at what we have in New Zealand.Â Abundant water and the ability to make energy with it.
Maybe it really is time to think big again and design big hydro schemes that can catch and manage water for primary production and produce energy.
That and big glass pipes connecting us to the world and New Zealand just might be a compelling placeÂ - even for people like Google.
Also I would imagine that one of the issues with having your 767 flying bedroom is finding a handy location 12 hours from Moffat field so you can use it. Suddenly we have a few things in our favour.Tom Tom Club
One unexpected consequence of blogging is that people start sending you stuff. I like stuff so I guess that works out well.
The latest stuff to arrive is the new TomTom GPS navigation system. I think I got it after Mauricio as it was still bluetooth paired to his phone. That’s right it has a bluetooth hands free system in it.
Mauricio did an excellent review here. Geekzone: TomTom One XL review
Now I’m a loyal New Zealander so have found it hard to look at any other GPS unit but NavMan. The NavPix was my spousal christmas present last year. When I got it I was thinking I know everywhere I need to go in NZ so why would I need a GPS - but over this year I’ve used it every couple of months and found having my own GPS in the rental car very useful.
I have a couple of gripes with the NavMan. The keyboard was ABC and had no QWERTY option, I don’t need another camera (I know that you can put a camera on a car gps, but that doesn’t mean you should), and the unit is too big for it’s sucker mount so it droops. Drooping is bad.
I’m not sure who owns NavMan now so I felt a little less guilty about trying a new unit. TomTom is brand I’ve seen in countless London minicabs. Now it is in New Zealand.
The Tom Tom won me over quickly with some first impressions. USB Power, QWERTY by default, Mac Software and super quick location of satellites. So fast that I was relieved Mauricio had researched how it did it.
… the TomTom One XL has the fastest time to get a fix I have ever seen, thanks small data files you can download and transfer to unit, containing information on satellite ephemerides. With this data the GPS knows where to find the satellites in the sky given the current date and time, instead of having to scan the sky, like other GPS devices do.
My challenge today is now to work ephemerides into a conversation.
It’s a great size and the sucker mount works well. There is only one button and the user interface is natural. The graphics are not as pretty as the NavMan. The manuals are missing so Mauricio if you can remember the pairing code I’ll try to connect my phone
I tested it yesterday by myself and I realized I had not been driving the fastest way to work. This morning with the family we went to the opening of the new Giraffe House at the Zoo. I was willing to forgive that the Tom Tom tried to drive us up some stairs in Newtown but as my wife (in the car) bought the original NavMan last Christmas she wasn’t having any of it. “… a GPS is all about the maps …” she said.
So as long as you don’t use your Tom Tom to find the Wellington Zoo it’s an ideal spousal gift to receive this Christmas.