Archive for November, 2007

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.

The power of facebook – the real numbers

Saturday, November 24th, 2007

Techcrunch have posted about some of the user numbers behind facebook. Paul Francis compiled a spreadsheet of the numbers.

NZ has 250,760 users – 71,600 male (28.55%) and 179,160 female (71.45%) ! Women outnumber men more than 2 to 1!

Looking at those numbers I would guess that we have a lot of ex-pats still calling NZ home. That’s a lot of people using face book! If what they say is true that more than 50% of facebookers log on once a day. That should put it squarely behind Trade me in terms of visits (althought bebo is more popular in NZ than facebook).

So if you’re looking for a captive NZ audience, then launching a facebook app to that audience is very very appealing. I’m not convinced that people pay any attention to the advertising!

Captcha is failing! Is there another way

Friday, November 23rd, 2007

We installed a forum for Summer of Code . Unfortunately, we been receiving a constant stream of fake registration advertising chinese and russian porn sites. 🙁  I would if we’re been hit by beating captcha by using porn.

We’re using phpbb and its been great, I suppose we’re suffering from its popularity. We’ve had to turn more security which mean every registration has to be manually approved.  The interface in phpbb is not that to deal with bulk spam.

Is there a better way, or are we going to succumb to 3rd world spammers????

Summer of Code Seminar 3 – Has NZ got game ?

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

Summer of Code rolls on with a monster line up speakers.

This week Sidhe, coming soon Weta Digital and Trade Me.

Title: Has New Zealand Got Game?
hosted by Tyrone McAuley of Sidhe

When: 27th November 2007
Time: 12:00pm
Place: MY632 Kelburn Campus -Murphy Building
Map: ZoomIn

Topic: Has New Zealand got game? by Tyrone McAuley.

The videogame industry has grown and evolved immensely over the last decade. It is no longer a world of small developers building niche games played by geeks and nerds. It’s a big, global business with an appeal firmly entrenched in pop culture. It is beginning to rival the film industry as an entertainment medium and it continues to grow and evolve at a cracking pace. So where does New Zealand fit into this behemoth? Share an intimate view of the New Zealand industry through the growth and development of Sidhe Interactive and the challenges it faces in the gaming world. Find out how to get into the industry, what it means and what it takes to be a good game developer.

RSVP on the forum

Summer of Code Seminar 2: Design for the future with Nathan Torkington

Friday, November 16th, 2007

(I once worked for a company _this_ big – Nat Torkington)

Nathan Torkington, the reknown foo master, open source advocate, internet strategist, fisherman and banjo player will be delivering a seminar called “Design for the future” for the Summer of Code seminar series. Nathan will be talking about future software trends and what does it mean for open source software writers.

The talk is open to public. Please RSVP on the Summer of Code forum.

Title: Design for the future by Nathan Torkington
When: 20th November 2007
Time: 12:00pm
Place: MY632 Kelburn Campus -Murphy Building
Map: ZoomIn

We have more students looking for summer work

Friday, November 16th, 2007

Due to tightening of government funding, we have a couple of talented students who are looking for work over the Summer.

If you have any full-time / part-time work for programmers over the summer send me an email and I’ll send through their contact details.

If you’re interested email me!

So what are you actually doing about the skills shortage problem – Gen-i ?

Monday, November 12th, 2007

There’s an article in today’s info-tech that the current skills shortage is going to effect the economy.

Gen-i general manager Chris Quin has warned that the shortage of ICT staff in New Zealand has reached the point where it may prevent companies from taking advantage of new technologies and could dent economic growth.

“You can’t solve it just by recruiting harder. This is an industry problem, and it is not a problem that can be solved in New Zealand alone or by one player.”
Part of the solution may be making careers in the industry more attractive to “Generation Y” and recruiting from overseas, he says.


Well, hello! Sorry if I seem a little cyncial to the article. We’ve had a skills shortage for the past 2-3 years. We live in a global market. If you have the right skills there are massive opportunities internationally. Kiwi’s have a fantastic reputation overseas, so its only a matter of time before more raiding occurs. As more people work overseas, they’ll draw a lot of their friends oversea. Its only going to get worse! Unfortunately one of main draw cards is the pay!

We created the Summer of Code as a way to attract the latest students into tech careers. We’re accelerating the learning of the students to help create a more experienced graduate workforce in years to come. There is plenty of amazing tech happening within NZ. Our problem is we’re not so good at letting everyone know! We’ve want to open the eyes to all of our students that there are other opportunites to working in a cubile farm or heading off overseas to find more intersting work.

Like a lot of other companies that I have heard talk about the recruitment shortages, they’re not actually doing a lot about it. Everything they do is is short term. Summer of Code is a long term commitment to accelerate talent and showcase where the real innovation and creativity of the country lies – our start-up and emerging companies. We want to showcase our heroes like Sam Morgan and Rod Drury as example of where NZ is heading.

So my big question to Gen-i is what are they doing about the skills shortage? Recruiting from Britain or investing or our future ? What are you doing for our tomorrow ?


Right brain vs left brain

Sunday, November 11th, 2007

Here’s a simple test to see if you use more of your right brain than your left brain….

It’s a little freaky when it changes direction!

Cool Inventions…

Thursday, November 8th, 2007

Time magazine has announced their inventions of the year with iPhone taking top award.

Here are two amazing products….

1) Wireless charging

2) Alarm clock pillow

We’re entering an exciting era of technology…. What will we see next year????

First Summer of Code seminar announced – Mobile Chaos….

Wednesday, November 7th, 2007

The first Summer of Code 2.0 seminar has been announced. Stephen Cheng from Innaworks is giving a talk on “Mobile Chaos – a survey of the mobile market, technologies and opportunities”. It should be an interesting talk given all the happenings in the last 12 months, iPhone and now Android.

The talk is open to the public, places are limited (Summer of Code students, companies and VIP’s have priority)
Title: Mobile Chaos – a survey of the mobile market, technologies and opportunities

When: 13th November 2007
Time: 12:00pm – 1pm
Place: Rutherford House Lecture Theatre 3
Map: ZoomIn
RSVP on the Summer of Code 2.0 forum (Sign-up is required)