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Brislen on Tech this week

Paul Brislen, Editor. 16 September 2016, 11:06 am

Spark ditches Yahoo

Altogether now: Finally!

Spark has decided to do away with the madness that was its email service hosted on Yahoo.

The company-formerly-known-as-Telecom-but-also-as-Xtra will bring all those juicy email accounts back in-house after many years of outsourced madness.

We've seen outages, complaints, delays, threats, tears, cajoling, bleating and copious other emotional responses and that's just from the media covering the situation.

Some folk have asked why even bother offering email as a service in this day and age. Surely everyone who wants to use email (suckers!) will have access to work email, Gmail or their own domain name by now?

The answer is obvious really. For the vast bulk of middle New Zealand the Xtra email address they were issued with at birth is the only email address they've ever had and the idea of changing to something else fills them with dread and uncertainty. So they don't change their email address and by extension, they don't swap ISPs.

This incredible stickiness has led to conversations about email address portability (very tricky to do) as well anti-competitive behavior (very difficult to prove) but in the end just boils down to a bulk of people who don't really care about such things staying with one provider no matter what.

That's OK by me. I've given up trying to tell people "No but it's really easy. You just buy a domain name, give it to Google, email everyone in one shot and tell them your new email address and then…" because they stopped listening at "buy a domain name" and there's nothing more you can do.

At least this way they're likely to continue getting those email newsletters they signed up for in 2004.

NBR - Spark finally ditches Yahoo, moves Xtra mail to New Zealand company SMX

Spark - So your email is changing but it isn't


Analysis of Government ICT spend

A website created by Wellington-based IT consultant Andrew Brice allows anyone to view an analysis of Government ICT spend, broken down by total running costs, ICT spend, spend per FTE, capex, spend on people, software, hardware, outsourcing and more.

As iStart reports, what motivated Brice to go to the effort of providing analysis is when he viewed the raw data he realised that it was no good to man nor beast. "I looked at it and went 'that hurts'. One wet day, I thought, hang on, let's poke at this."

And so he did.

The results are stunning - a graphical breakdown of spend and a great example of converting "data" to "information". Nice one.

iStart - Enthusiast's analysis lifts lid on government ICT spend per employee

Zyan Bass Analysis - Analysis of ICT Spend by Agency


Commerce Commission sees red

And while we're talking about telcos, Vodafone is in the dog box again for its advertising.

In the past five years it's been pinged four times by the Commerce Commission for advertising breaches and this time round has copped a fine of $165,000 bringing its total bill to around the $2 million mark.

This time Vodafone offered a reduced rate for a product but didn't actually reduce the price the customer paid. Vodafone pleaded guilty and the Commerce Commission says it is vital companies make sure they have "strong compliance processes that can support these types of promotional offers," which seems fair enough.

Telcos all seem to have a problem with adhering to the letter of the law. All the major players have had some kind of complaint or other about matters ranging from advertising to unfair contracts to slamming (that is, moving customers to a new provider without their explicit permission). It's high time the industry took a hard look at itself before someone further up the food chain does it for them. Perhaps that time has already been and gone.

Computerworld - Vodafone cops $165k fine for misleading advertising


Total Recall

I'm writing this sitting in a café waiting for my Suzuki Swift to get its brakes fixed.

There's nothing wrong with them that I can see. I push the pedal and the car stops. That's pretty much it. But Suzuki has issued a recall because there's some possibility of the brakes not working and they'd rather not get sued by my estate in the event of a fiery crash.

Cue the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, which has also been recalled and which will be renamed either as the Galaxy Combustion or perhaps the Zeppelin in a future life.

Samsung has done the right thing by ceasing production and recalling the million devices in circulation because a problem with the battery pack may lead to the device spontaneously bursting into flames and that's probably not ideal. Various airlines have told travelers with them not to switch them on at all during a flight and the number of exploding phones varies depending on the story you're reading but is not insignificant.

This isn't the first phone to get its flame on (a Fantastic Four reference for you there) but it is the most highly visible and Samsung has taken a bath as a result: having to recall your flagship product when the other guys are launching their flagship product makes for many a closed-door meeting I suspect. KPIs will be discussed, albeit briefly, before your escort arrives with your personal items in a box.

The good news is, it means a new device will be along shortly for those of you who haven't already reached Peak Device.

WSJ - Samsung Plans Software Update to Cut Galaxy Note 7 Fire Risk

CNET - Here's why Samsung Note 7 phones are catching fire


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