Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Internet Blackout Success

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

We at ZoomIn joined the internet blackout last week, along with many others.

The recent news of the delay of Section 92A is good news. We have now removed our “dark maps” as the black out has ended. Thank you all for your comments as well as participation in the blackout.

The National Broadband Map

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

Today’s Digital Future Summit 2.0 saw the launch of The National Broadband Map, built with ProjectX technology. Its purpose is to help improve access to broadband, especially in the regions, through “demand aggregation”: pooling the demand for telecommunications services in a specific geographic location.

The National Broadband Map - screenshot

Individual users might find it hard to convince a telco to roll out services in their area, but when those users combine, they can often reach the critical mass required to attract investment in the provision of new services. For instance, if you’re a graphic design business in a small provincial town, you might struggle to convince a provider to extend their infrastructure to reach you; but if there is also a school, medical centre and library down your street, plus several other businesses and private residents who are also interested, then the telcos might sit up and take notice.

To this end, the map shows existing state sector locations, as well as allowing businesses and private residences to enter their own locations and describe their level of demand. It also shows existing network infrastructure, and includes all the address search, autocomplete, zooming and panning functionality that is familiar to ZoomIn users.

The National Broadband Map - Digital Strategy website

The system was developed by ProjectX together with the State Services Commission, and involved the collation, geocoding and checking of thousands of state sector locations, and the conversion of network data from all sorts of formats and projections, as well as building on existing ZoomIn Mapping System API functionality. For instance, the ZMS has always had the ability to display vector layers (polylines and polygons) as overlays on the maps, but the size and complexity of the network infrastructures required some hard work from our developers to optimise the performance of these layers, as well as dealing with the inevitable curly cross-browser compatibility issues.

In keeping with the Web 2.0 theme, the Map is labelled “Beta”, and it will evolve over time. Partly that will be due to the growing information base, from user-added places and as we receive more state sector locations and existing network data. There will also be functionality and usability improvements over time, and we encourage user feedback so that we can make this as comprehensive and easy-to-use as possible.

Special thanks for the Open source awards

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

Open Source Awards for ProjectX and Summer of Code

I just want to say thank you to New Zealand Open Source Awards for the two awards for Summer of Code in the education awards and ZoomIn / ProjectX for open source in business. I heard the news walking off the plane in Calcutta after my ‘amazing race’ adventure. I was pleasantly surprised and proud of all the people that have been involved with ProjectX and Summer of Code.

Here are some belated special thanks to a few people…

Summer of Code

I just want explain a little bit about the Summer of Code before I say thank to some special people who have helped make it happen.

Last year, I was talking to a friend who’s an IT manager at a big company in Wellington about Summer of Code. After explaining what the Summer of Code was about and all the events we had planned etc, he said to me. “What are you nuts?!?! How can you have time for this ??? You’re running a start up , you’ve got enough on your plate? “

I told him that we had to create Summer of Code. Like every company, our company needed to find good people and in the current job market its really hard to find good people. I had a brain wave to fast track the knowledge of the next generation of talent. Provide students with real experience in emerging and startup companies. This is what the Summer of Code is really all about. We’re providing accelerated learning environments for students. We differ from the Google Summer of Code in that the participanting companies directly mentor students and help accelerate their learning. We see this as an investment in the medium term to help create a smarter graduate job market in 2-3 years time by provide our students with a head start!

The Summer of Code has been a team effort, and I could have done anything without the help from a large number of people. I want to give special thanks to two people and their support team.

First, I want to say a big thank you to Peter Torr Smith. We has been the right hand man for Summer of Code and I’m glad that he was able to accept the award on my behalf. Peter has always been there to help do the hard yards in organising the Summer of Code. Recently he stepped up again when I was off in India during a major crunch time of the Summer of Code 2.0 organisation. Thanks Peter, you’ve been an inspiration and you re-inforce one of the reasons why I love Summer of Code in that I get to work with good people!

The second person I would like to thank is Joseph Stuart and his support team from Foundation of Research, Science and Technology (FRST). Without the support of Joseph and FRST, Summer of Code would have been another idea that never saw the light of day. Joseph has been a tireless supporter of the programme since its inception in late 2006. He and his team have managed to haul ass and process our applications in a timely fashion and thus make SoC a reality. A big thank you to all the effort thats going in now for Summer of Code 2.0

I would like to add that I would like to personally thank FRST on behalf of Summer of Code, our participating and all of our students for actively supporting Summer of Code. The Govt gets a lot of flack for a lot of its funding initiatives and I would like to commend FRST for funding. You’ve been integral to the success of Summer of Code and everyone at FRST should take a bow for helping make this happen!

Finally I want to thank to the Summer of Code team that have been making Summer of Code 2.0 a reality – Peter, Paul Gold, Thong Kuah, Daniel Wang and Kat Price. They have been real stars in helping make Summer of Code 2.0 happen.

ZoomIn and ProjectX

(It seems we’re making a habit of accepting awards from Rod, this is the 2nd award from Rod in the last few months. Thanks to Paul for accepting the award)

We’re big users and supporters of the open source in GIS and especially rails. I would like to dedicate this award to the person who has done a lot for helping build an open source technology community here in Wellington. This person formed Wellrailed – the Wellington Rails Community group, he has been active in organising monthly meetings and answering people questions on the newsgroup. He is of course my friend, Tomek Piatek.

Thanks Tomek, you’re an inspiration for us in making sure that technology isn’t just about writing code, its about getting people together to exchange ideas and help each other.

Also I would like to send a big thank you to Koz – another open source award winner. Koz is active contributor to the Wellrailed group and has helped so many people. Koz and the rest of the core contributors in Wellrailed are the reason why we have a strong rails community in Wellington. Thanks everyone!


Monday, October 29th, 2007

I’m back from my adventures in India…

Here’s a rough summary of what might have happened

A) Got engaged to Lulu in a traditional Mizo ceremony

B) Experienced the true reality of using the internet at 9.6K modem speed

C) Experience excellent customer service from local shops

D) Had an amazing race style adventure driving to the airport through jungles of Mizoram overtaking random obstacles (insert any of kittens, dogs, goats, cows, cars, people or pot holes, rivers) only arrive at the airport with 10 minutes to spare and experience a monsoon shower walking out to the plane!

E) All of the above.

I chose E) All of the above :-). I had a great time, youtube videos & flickr photos to come and I’ll be posting soon about my learnings from India.

We also have a client site due for launch very soon. More news on that later…

Oh and of course, Summer of Code 2.0 is coming…

ps. Slowly catching on all the blog news… Congrats to Tim from PlanHQ for a kick presentation at demo conf !


Thursday, October 18th, 2007

This came as a very pleasant surprise: In last night’s NZ Open Source Awards, ProjectX won the “Open Source Use in Business” category, and NZ Summer of Code took out the “Open Source Use in Education” award.

Open Source Awards for ProjectX and Summer of Code

We’ll write some more soon about the advantages we’ve found to using open source, and some specific software that we can’t do without; but for the moment we’re all just rather stunned!

ZoomIn and Summer of Code Open Source Awards finalists

Wednesday, September 26th, 2007

We’ve just been notified that ZoomIn has been nominated in the Open source in Business category and Summer of Code has been nominated in the Open source in Education. Woo Hoo ! Thanks to the NZ Open Source Association

Thanks for the recognition for ZoomIn and Summer of Code. We’re not resting with what’ve got. We’re working really hard on some major  improvements to ZoomIn and launching Summer of Code 2.0.

Kudo’s to our CHQ cousins Silverstripe in making the final selection also!

A couple changes to the blog

Tuesday, September 11th, 2007

bookshelf.png tumblr.png

We’ve added a couple extra sections to the ProjectX blog this morning.

  • Project Bookshelf -What books are on our bookshelf and what we’re reading and thinking about buying.
  • Xlinks – We’ve added a tumblr log to post all of the links and snippets that we have found in our travels around the internet. We’ll be posting links more regularly rather than bundling them up in links posts. (Thanks to Hayden and Nat for the inspiration to give Tumblr a go.)


Happy Birthday ProjectX!

Wednesday, August 1st, 2007


ProjectX is two years old today!

Que the music or the video (Gotta love Survivor!)


Smaps – 1 year old today

Friday, July 27th, 2007


A rewarding experience

Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

At the Creative HQ graduation, I was presented with Creative HQ Community award by my friend and fellow entrepreneur Rod Drury. The award was in recognition of my contribution of Wellington entrepreneurial community and development of the Summer of Code programme.

I want to say thanks for the award on behalf of myself and rest of the team how helped make Summer of Code. We had a lot of people help with Summer of Code, my thanks especially goes to …

Peter Torr Smith, who stepped in and got things done things done when I had to do real work. Sarah Wattie – Summer of Code organiser extraordinaire, who ran everything smoothly. The team at Creative HQ and PWB, who on hearing about the Summer of Code, got behind the programme and said yes to our crazy ideas. And finally, Joseph Stuart and his team at FRST. Without Joseph and the support of FRST, Summer of Code never would have happened. Thanks Joseph, for all your support and help to make Summer of Code a reality.

Honestly, the Summer of Code was a blast. It was a lot fun and its been great to have so many people involved. Summer of Code in essense is about people ie How we get smart students into smart companies!

For those of you that don’t know what happened on last years Summer of Code, here’s a run down.

Summer of Code Key numbers:

· 44 students applied (36 from Victoria University, 8 from Massey University)

· 32 students were tested across software development fundamentals, web development and database skills

· 19 students were interviewed

· 14 students hired by 6 companies

· 2 students exited the programme to take full time jobs

· 3 students are now working full time for their companies, 6 students are now working part time for their companies.


We ran seminars to increase our students knowledge from some of the best mind’s in the world.

  • Rod Drury of Xero on “Software Development in NZ” and Nat Torkington of O’Reilly on “Start-up culture”
  • Microsoft presentation of Xpressions platform
  • Hayden Vink of Hansel on “Interaction design” and Sam Ng on “Usability”
  • Paul Gold of Trade Me on “Running High volume databases”
  • Milton Ngan of Weta Digital on “Distributed systems”
  • Stephen Cheng of Innaworks on “Mobile phone Development”
  • Rowan Simpson of Trade Me on “What I learnt from Trade Me”
  • Tomek Piatek of ProjectX on “Code Management”
  • Michael Koziarski, Rails guru on “Ruby on Rails”
  • Mark Robotham from Creative HQ on “Incubators”
  • John Clegg of ProjectX on “Writing better resumes”
  • Chris Di Bona of Google on “Open Source and Google”

Here’s some quotes from CEO’s of the companies involved.

Summer of Code’s been a huge success, look forward to more of the same next year, this is set to become a key recruitment channel for us, and I’m certain that this is raising the bar on young IT talent in NZ and providing clear incentives for that talent to stay in Wellington and New Zealand and make it happen.” Tim Norton, CEO of PlanHQ

“We had two awesome students working with us over the summer break, and I’m proud to say I think we gave them a good dunking in the deep-end of the life of a web 2.0 start-up (the rough and the green!). They formed a core part of our team over for 3 months and brought a lot of energy, enthusiasm, insight, and innovation with them.”

Peter Torr Smith, CEO of


“Absolutely fantastic effort all round. I honestly think it was one of the most impressive efforts toward massive productivity I have ever had the personal pleasure to witness being coordinated.”

Andrew Mayfield, CEO of Spikefin


“When you put smart students and smart companies together, amazing things happen. It’s been a fantastic experience to see the students develop and the companies prosper during the Summer of Code. All of the companies involved have benefited tremendously by the input of their students.”

– John Clegg, CEO of ProjectX

“The Creative HQ Summer of Code was a fantastic success for SilverStripe. We found two excellent students, Andrew O’Neil and Jeremy Shipman, who fitted naturally into our working environment. Their skilled contributions (programming, testing and documentation ) have noticeably improved our CMS product and adoption by our open source community. They are now working with us through their University year, and based on this success, we look forward to supporting Summer of
Code next year.” — Sigurd Magnusson, SilverStripe.


Thanks everyone, and one last plug for Summer of Code 2.0 from Rowan Simpson

If you’re a smart Comp. Sci. student you should be all over Summer of Code 2.0!”

More info on