Archive for the ‘ Tech ’ Category

Telecom hasn’t changed. Vodafone 3G vs Telecom XT

I got a bit of heat for my criticism of Telecom’s ‘new’ 3G service. I contend that while it does show a bit of an improvement on Vodafones (and I’m just as critical of them), it’s really a slightly improved service many years too late – and anyway, Vodafone is about to release it’s ‘new improved’ service so customers will gain little by shifting.

Like some others I had noticed problems with Vodafones service for a while, I had put it down to the fact that despite these services being hyped as fantastic, actually they are just OK – a bit like running Windows on a PC, there is a gap between the level of service promised, and the actual service. I’m an IT expect by any means, using a Mac simply because you don’t need to understand much about how it works. Sometimes you have a gut feeling something is shonky with an IT service or product, but proving it is time consuming and requires you to become an expert, life’s too short for most of us!

Now it transpires that despite Paul Renyolds contorted spin of the latest clash with Vodafone over 3G, in fact Telecom’s service has been stuffing up Vodafones. It appears in their haste to get the product to market before Vodafone, Telecom cut some corners with filters to stop interference with Vodafone’s network.

Mr Reynolds somewhat disingenuously says he only became aware of the problem in the last 48 hours. This really means one of two things, that Telecom is completely disorganised and someone forgot to tell Mr Reynolds exactly how they were going to beat Vodafone to the start line, by cutting corners, and this means that Mr Reynolds isn’t really in control of the company at all, it just stumbles along. On the other hand if we are to assume that Mr Reynold’s is getting paid a huge salary because of his management skills, we could then draw the conclusion that he has miss-spoke and did indeed know about the problems all along.

Whatever the case, it looks like once again Telecom is behaving in a very traditional way – arrogant.

I maintain that in fact the corporate culture hasn’t changed from the State Owned days. Shaking such an ingrained culture probably takes generations of management changes, and maybe sometimes it’s just impossible.

Whatever has gone on consumers can be sure of something. That despite all the spin and posturing from both companies, the service, when it arrives will not be as good as they make out. It will be an opportunity to milk customers of more money for something that promises much, but will under delivers. The service to back it up will be average to poor, with staff in call centers not knowing whats going on and you will have to wait for ages to speak to someone, and when you do, chances are they won’t be in NZ and won’t be much help. Like you currently do, you’ll feel frustrated, but in the end you’ll accept it because that’s how thing have been with Telecom for years, many many years.

Telecom launches 3G… 6 years too late

I see Telecom are apparently going to launch their 3G service “early”… in May.

I don’t know how this can be described as early when Vodafone rolled out theirs way back in 2004.

That’s 6 years ago.

6 Years too late Telecom… well done… again!

I see they are also hyping their “exclusive” Samsung 3G handset with… wait for it…. drum roll…. a touch screen.

Whoopdeedoo! I can hear the cries of admiration at Telecoms stunning marketing victory!

So, they have a 3G service 6 years after Vodafone did, and they now have a touch screen phone almost 2 years after Vodafone launched the iphone, and I guess they will now be able to finally offer global roaming too.

In what seems to be a dig at Vodafone, Telecom  CEO Paul Reynolds said they would provide  “best genuine coverage across New Zealand”. Oh I see, yes, right. This is in contrast to the imaginary 3G network that Vodafone launched years ago, along with the imaginary touch screen phones?

You have to admire the cheek of Telecom’s CEO to stand up and spout marketing PR such as this with a straight face.

So folks, you now have a choice, you can join Telecom and get the same service Vodafone’s offered for years. I guess you’d probably pause for thought though and consider that you may get stuck with a lemon considering Telecom are likely to be light years behind Vodafone when the next change comes along, and that’s just around the corner.

Telecom New Zealand, ‘Connecting New Zealanders with yesterday’s technology’.

Why iphone leaves Blackberry for dust

I admit I was a bit gutted to give up my Blackberry. If it’s hadn’t been for Vodafone mucking around and delaying the release of the Bold and Storm (maybe Blackberries fault) I would never have switched to iphone. Despite being a home Mac user, I wasn’t thrilled at giving up my blackberry (I know how Obama feels).

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Windows 7… whoopdeedoo

So Microsoft have released a new operating system called Windows 7.

I thought maybe this was the fully working version of Vista, but actually it’s a completely new operating system.

Microsoft seem to be getting ahead of themselves with operating systems. I don’t know anyone who is using Vista, and this is being written on 6 month old laptop using XP as it’s operating system. This was recommended by a number of people and it appears that in business people are still using XP.

If business and many domestic users haven’t even bothered with Vista why would Microsoft launch a even newer operating system as clearly Vista isn’t accepted because it has too many problems.

The fact that there’s little hype about Windows 7 apart from dedicated Windows fans, demonstrates that Microsoft has diminished in importance. 

In a month when GM officially lost the top spot to Toyota, it’s interesting that Microsoft may well be losing it’s spot to Google.

Why bother with an operating system like Vista or Windows 7 when all you need is a stable platform to get on the net so you can use services like the ones Google offers.

An interesting comparison would be fixed line phone companies. Really I don’t need my fixed line telephone, it gets used a few times a month. I only keep it on because it give me Internet access. Microsoft’s operating system is only be used because it gives you a system on which you can access the net – and even then, you don’t really need Windows for that, it’s just that most computers still come with it installed.

Touch screens for Mac laptops?

If you don’t have an iPhone, this may not mean much. This evening I was reading an article on the ‘net and I tried to move it around the screen with my finger, it was almost reflex I guess, on the iPhone you can move things around and zoom in on pages and photos without a second thought.

This made me think, why haven’t Apple done this with their laptops?

Want to type an email, a full keyboard beats anything else hands down, but surf the ‘net? a touch screen is by far the best way to go.

Here’s hoping Apple pull their finger out and sort out the next lot of MacBook’s with touch screen!

Kindle vs Sony Reader

kindle

the Kindle (currently unavailable, anywhere)

Well, it’d be nice to be able to write about the Kindle and Sony Reader (for those who don’t know, these are devices that allow you to download and read a book) in terms of their availability in New Zealand, and the comparative advantages of each… unfortunately we can’t do that because neither are available here in New Zealand.

So why bother even posting an article?

Well, I was having a look at them on-line, sometimes it’s worth buying things like this from the USA because you get them cheaper and quicker than waiting for the respective companies to get their A into G here. 

The Kindle has been very successful for Amazon, in fact so successful they keep selling out. Clearly a demonstration that just because you can sell books and other stuff on-line, it doesn’t mean you’re any good manufacturing and selling a relatively simple electronic device. There’s a nice page with all the hype and is fine until you see that they don’t have them and you’ll go into a queue on a “first come first served basis”… WTF! is that any way to run a business?

Of course not, and Amazon’s sheer incompetence has allowed Sony to exploit the lack of Kindle’s and elbow their way into the market with their Sony Reader, a similar device without the wifi connection.

At least you can buy the Sony device, whereas the Kindle is not available unless you want to buy it second hand. The Kindle might be a bit cooler than the Sony, but if you can’t get it, and consumers are notoriously impatient, then you’ll over look a few possible disadvantages of the Sony device and get that – especially as now they’re the same price.

Sony Reader (available anywhere but here)

Anyway, back to New Zealand. Why the hell aren’t Sony selling this here (Amazon only ‘sell’ the Kindle in the USA, although you can’t sell anything if you haven’t got it to sell). The Sony Reader has been around for a few years now in various forms and I would have thought they could have slipped it into the range here.

I guess if they don’t it won’t be very long before they start showing up on trademe.

These devices are the sort of ‘cheap’ consumer electronics that could do well in a recession.

Blackberry Bold “later this year”

It now looks like my source was full of shit, and the Blackberry Bold aka 9000 is not coming to NZ until “later this year”. This could mean anything from next month to December.

I couldn’t wait any longer so I have made the switch to an iphone. There was no point getting a $900 phone that wasn’t on 3G.

Is the iphone better than the Blackberry?

Well I’ve only had it 12 hours so difficult to say. First impressions is that it is a very different phone. It does almost all the same things, but quite differently, but if you are a Mac user you will already know this. It’s a bit like comparing a PC to a Mac, at the end of the day they perform the same tasks with the same outcome, differently.

Having a Mac made it surprisingly easy to set up, it took about 5-10 minutes, I plugged the phone into my Macbook at home, it linked up with itunes and sucked in all my contacts, calendar, emails settings for my various accounts, music and video and an update and I was set.

I liked the Blackberry wheel, but then Blackberry have ditched this. The on screen navigation is clever on the iphone and will take a bit of getting used to. I don’t think the key board is as good as a tactile one, but then again, I was used to a full QWERTY keyboard and this is a big change.

I think I will miss push email, but then again, did I really need all that email? I usually ended up deleting a lot unread. Having lost the Blackberry Enterprise Server when I left my corporate job the seamless synchronisation that the Enterprise Server provided with Outlook has gone, so I was going to be plugging a Blackberry in to synchronise it anyway so some of the advantages of the Blackberry have diminished.

It works nicely on the home WIFI network and the web browsing is very cool with a crystal clear screen (apart from my sticky fingerprints) and it’s only a bit smaller than the PSP screen.

I confess that despite being a long term Mac user I would have got the Blackberry Bold if it has been available, but so far the switch won’t be quite as painful as I thought it might be. It will be how it interfaces with my work PC laptop that will be interesting. 

It’s a sexy package and as usual it has got the style you’d expect from any Apple product.