Business, Innovation & Tech Blog

Updates from Paul Spain

The two faces of Social Media: It’s changing how we interact and not always in a good way

Let’s talk about Facebook and other forms of social media. Look how good they are for keeping in touch. Friends, families, especially when people are travelling but so many users. And great is you don’t have to spend all those hours on the phone like we used to be. When you have issues, nowadays, you can do most of that online. And of course, businesses love social media for connecting with people too. But is there a dark side? Is there an underbelly to social media? Well, we’ve heard recently, people are getting hit with fines for what they post to social media. So, can you get in trouble? Should you be worried? What about online addictions? How should we address these matters?

My Thoughts

So, we definitely have some issues with social media. Very easy to fall into negative or bad practices with social media.

Maybe sharing stuff that really isn’t so positive or getting tied up in, when you got lots of likes. Lots of shares and re-shares, tweets and re-tweets.

And of course, there’s that temptation to share information that maybe isn’t quite right, isn’t quite accurate.

Recently, we heard of an individual in the UK, who, across boarders from the US was fined over a quarter of a million dollars for doing what they thought were doing anonymously which was sharing a terror threat against an airline that were maybe disgruntled with and of course, they weren’t going to carry this out.

But ultimately, it’s going to put them in a pretty difficult spot with such a big fine. In New Zealand, there was a case, around a million dollars was in question.

Now, this was settled out of court but one of the results of it was that we now believe, that people could be held liable for just simply liking a Facebook post.

A Facebook post maybe that’s libelers are wrong. So, we need to be really cautious around what we do online.

And then we have businesses that are spending huge amounts of money to protect their reputations online, to promote themselves online and sometimes shoving junk down our throats, quite frankly.

So, what should we do? Well for individuals, I think it’s really important within our homes, within our families, we think about how do we get the best out of social media, and how do we leave the negative side effects behind?

Some families, that means putting in place some formal constraints about where and when devices and gadgets and social media are getting used, where they don’t get used. In some homes, that means no devices at the dinner table, in bedrooms and you know, certain times only for doing the social media.

And then there’s thinking about what do you post online and you know, I guess my thought there is I would encourage positive use of social media.

Think of a social media interaction just like an interaction with an individual in person. Bring your best to the table.

Bring something positive and uplifting. Be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

We see way too much where people are being bullied and hurt online from horrible comments. That’s just not needed.

Now, for businesses, what should you be doing? Well, think of how you can help, how you can serve your customers.

What can you share that’s going to help them? Put that before your thoughts about how you promote and sell. Serve your customers through social media first and foremost. If you get that right, then the sales, they will come.

Hey, that’s it for me this week. I’m Paul Spain. You can find my updates – paulspain.com/updates.

AI (Artificial Intelligence): Who’s doing it, and how can you take advantage of it?

Artificial Intelligence or AI. It’s a term that we hear actually, a lot today. Particularly in reference to new things that are merging or coming through, like autonomous vehicles. But what is it? What’s it all about and why have Microsoft, Google, and even Obama, being in the news, about recently?

My Thoughts

So, it’s just been in the news, that there’s fake footage of Obama.

This was generated, using Artificial Intelligence technology that took his real voice, took some footage of him and then adjusted that footage to say what was said in the recording.

Obama: Symbolizes some progress at least within the small confines of the legal community….

But this could’ve just easily been somebody faking him, his voice and then, by putting his lips, and motions and movements to those words. So, Artificial Intelligence is very powerful.

Microsoft has just announced that their Microsoft Research Division is putting one-tenth of their staff to focus on artificial intelligence. This is a massive area for the future. And we looked at who the companies are, that is, really, heavily investing in this.

It’s Facebook, it’s Google, it’s IBM, it’s Microsoft. Really, the big technology players are investing heavily in this. What’s exciting though, is that their investments don’t lock everyday individuals and businesses out because most of them are making those advances available.

So, anybody can draw on their technologies. So, we have some exciting things ahead. What sort of things can you expect?

Well, autonomous cars are already mentioned. They’re very much reliant on this Artificial Intelligence technology.

We are already starting to see now personalized tutors. So, these are tutors that would be smarter than an individual person to gauge where you are and how you are progressing with your learning.

That’s coming through right now, from a company here in New Zealand, where I’m based. So, really, there is a huge amount of development where you see, of course, things like facial recognition.

Right now, we now utilize something like Siri on your smartphone or the competitive products from Google, Microsoft, Amazon.

Well, these are using Artificial Intelligence on their background, to figure out what you’re saying and to understand that even if there’s another noise or if you’ve got an unusual accent.

All of that is being dealt with by Artificial Intelligence and the reason that this is moving forward so quickly right now is because of the massive increasing computing power.

If we look back just a few years, we have an absolute fraction of the amount of processing power that we have today that continues to grow at a somewhat exponential rate.

So, we can expect to see Artificial Intelligence just become a normal, everyday thing over the next few years ahead. And some of those things, well, we’re already used to living with right now.

So, what’s next? What do you need to be prepared for? Well, my suggestion is to keep a lookout on what is happening in Artificial Intelligence.

If you’re an individual, then play around with those things like the little assistant that’s on your smartphone. Get a feel for how Artificial Intelligence can work to help you.

I personally use that technology when I’m in my car and I’m driving, so that I can be safe but still communicating with people, have messages read to me and I transcribe messages back to them. And I’ve been using that technology for five years or so, so very helpful.

In businesses, well, there are lots of opportunities. And businesses should be looking to tap into the power of the leaders in that space.

Tap into what IBM, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and so on are doing and be inspired by watching what the top players are doing, how people are invading and think about how could this apply to your organization.

Hey, thanks for joining me. This has been Paul Spain. You can track me down for further updates – paulspain.com/updates.

Amazon vs Retail – what does their supermarket purchase mean?

Amazon has announced that they are buying Whole Foods Market. Now, Whole Foods is one of the biggest supermarket chains in the U.S. Now, Amazon, is huge. They are a behemoth. They’re worth nearly half a trillion U.S. dollars. So, this move is certainly something that shakes up the retail world especially those that are running supermarkets around the world. In fact, stock prices, some of these are already plummeting. So, what does this mean for you? As a consumer, or somebody in business?

My Thoughts

Let’s look back. Last year, Amazon showed off a new concept in retail where you would walk into a store, just scan your phone and then grab whatever you wanted off the store shelves and walk out again. No cashier, no checkout.

AmazonGo is the name of the first version of this concept. And it’s something that sounds quite transformative in terms of retail. We, of course, know that Amazon will be working on lots of other things to change the buying experience for consumers.

For instance, you have the ability of Amazon to ship goods for free, some things delivered within one hour. Groceries, books, electronics, all sorts of products.

So, they’re really are stirring things up. Add in the sorts of technologies that they’ve been experimenting with and using a new practical basis for a number of years like robotics, drones, of course, comes into that experimental feel for them.

They’re really leading the charge in terms of change in the area of retail, both in the U.S and around the world. Leading to massive disruption over the years.

Uniquely, Amazon tend to be quite comfortable to operate without making a profit. So, this is another thing, obviously scares some other retailers who are already dealing with thin margins, finding it hard to make a profit, competing to a company that doesn’t seem too interested in making profits.

What’s happening now is, this is a thirteen-billion-dollar acquisition for Amazon, not too much money for them to have acquired Whole Food in the scheme of it. What it means is that, we will see probably an acceleration of what Amazon have been doing in terms of trying to turn the retail world upside-down within a direct online selling.

This really put’s them squarely into people’s neighborhood, certainly in the U.S where people will see those stores.

Now, we don’t know exactly what they’re going to do and of course, in the past, Amazon have taken some different approaches.

Zappos, purchased quite a number of years ago, they’ve let that operate fairly independently from the Amazon as their peer on. So, there’s no guarantee on what they’re going to do, but I think certainly, there will be a number of organizations that are feeling a little bit uneasy.

So, what’s my recommendation for you? Well, as an individual, I think, look, it’s important that we keep an eye on what’s going on out there.

We utilize the best of technology that’s coming through. Don’t be scared about the changes that are taking place.

Sure, if you’re working in the supermarket and the retail world, well, think about how you can add more value on what you do so that you’re a valuable player regardless of what happens in terms of disruption to that industry so that you’re super valuable wherever you’re working and will be valuable in another industry too. So, that’s important.

If you’re not working in that space, well, you get to kind of watch and enjoy the ride of wave where the technology is taking us. If you’re in business, well, if you’re in the retail space, then you want to do what I recommend for all businesses just to stay in the forefront of technology, utilizing what’s happening, know what’s coming, what changes are happening in your industry and work on how you can differentiate your business, how can you deliver something that’s unique and better and really serves your customers in a fantastic way.

If you’re doing that, you minimize what the impact is of these big, global players as they start coming in and try to eat your lunch which is not something you probably want.

Alright, well, that’s it for me this week. So, thank you for joining me on the video. You can of course follow me on social media and you can find my updates by registering at paulspain.com/updates.

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Apple’s new HomePod, Macs and iPad Pro – are they for you?

So, this week in San Jose, California, Apple have been holding their worldwide Developer’s Conference. Lots and lots of announcements, the highlights are around new Apple Mac’s refreshers with the iPad Pro and also, the HomePod.

My Thoughts

So, it’s clear to say that some Mac fans’ been losing a bit of faith in Apple because a lot of the Macs just hadn’t been refreshed for a long time.

Well, this week, Apple’s gone a long way to putting that right. We’ve seen a refresh with the iMac and with all of the MacBooks to a degree at least. So, that’s certainly going to help.

We’ve also had announcements around the upcoming iMac Pro, an incredibly powerful new Mac that will start at 5,000 USD.

So, this is really focused on the professional market but it’s great to see Apple committed to those professionals again.

Also coming through in the future is the new Mac Pro, also, very much a professional end product. We’ve got a refresh with the iPad Pro and the software changes there.

They’re going to make the iPad Pro, I think, a whole lot more useful for those that are wanting to ditch their Mac, ditch their laptop and actually just operate from a tablet so this is great news.

The other thing that Apple have announced, it’s still someway off, it’s going to be December before it launches but it’s the HomePod.

Now, the HomePod, I guess competes with things like the Sonos, speakers, that people have around their homes and also with other speaker-assistant products such as the Amazon Echo launching at 350 USD in December in three countries.

This is looking pretty interesting, Apple certainly bringing the unique take to this space.

So, what does it all mean for you? Well, I think for individuals, who are using a Mac, and you’ve been waiting for that refresh, now might be the right time.

Unfortunately, we haven’t seen any refresh on the Mac Mini so that’s one that’s being left out and only a very minor update to the MacBook Air so that’s not a product I would recommend anyone buying at the moment. But if you need to refresh what you’ve got, have a look at what’s available.

Now, there’s all sorts of benefits of keeping your technology up-to-date and you know, organizations are making sure they get great outcomes with technology.

They want their staff to be productive, and they people want to enjoy what they’re working on and certainly don’t want interruptions from old, failing technology.

So, lots of benefits for keeping up-to-date and in terms of the new speaker from Apple, well, that’s a pretty interesting one. I’m looking forward to getting hands-on it but that’s still a way off. If you can’t wait, well, go out and get something that serves your needs now.

Hey, that’s it for me this week. Thank you very much for joining me. You can keep up-to-date with my videos, newsletters by visiting – paulspain.com/updates. Alright, I’ll see you again for my video, this time, next week.

Intel Compute Card

Guess what we have? The next thing in computing has just arrived from Intel, it is the compute card. We used to have big computers, smaller computers, varying sizes but this takes this down a notch further, to a little credit card-sized computer, 5 millimeters thick.

My Thoughts

So we’ve got used to having a whole range of computers available to us and since the A.D’s, the personal computers’ been pretty common.

The Mac, it is very popular devices in varying forms, laptops, tablets and of course smartphones.

They’re in just about every pocket and the most recent smartphones from Microsoft and from Samsung if carried, a sort of a PC type capability where you can plug them into a screen, a keyboard and, and mouse which has been interesting. But you couldn’t run all your, traditional software and it just really didn’t have the full computing power of a standard PC.

Well, that’s changed, the compute card from Intel puts an Intel I-7 chip onto this credit-card sized computer.
Now, you might be wondering, “What can I do with a credit-card sized computer?”

Well, it’s got no screen, doesn’t have any of that. What you do is it will plug into a screen and then the future I can imagine, plugged into a laptop that doesn’t have its own power, plug into a tablet.

So, that’s really what this is about but imagine a next wave will be much like those smartphones that can link into a full-blown computer but then taking it the next level where you would just keep it in your pocket and it would wirelessly connect to whatever computing device.

Maybe you walk up to a wall with a projector and it connects to that, so you will be able to have that full computing power, full-blown computer but it just disappears into the device you’ll carry, smartphone or whatever the next great innovation is that we carry with us.

That’s where we’re hitting, and we’re here today with the launch of this compute card.

So, what does it mean for us? Well, what I recommend is, don’t wait for the next wave of technology, always be keeping current.

The benefit of that for you is if you’re on something a little bit older, it’s going to be holding you back. So jumping on board with what’s current right now will probably help you out in your business, in whatever you’re doing on a computer, so don’t be left behind.

Of course, be thinking about what this next wave of innovation might enable you to do and there’s probably some great benefits that we will see in time.

Well folks, thanks very much for joining me. Now, I am here every week with an update on technology, so don’t miss out on those updates. Join me by following here or go to – paulspain.com/updates and you can sign up for my regular email updates. Alright, thanks! Catch you later.

Future Tech Changes – Get Positioned Accordingly

Last Thursday, I was privileged to have the opportunity to keynote at CBAFF, a conference communicating with those in the customs broking and freight forwarding industry, so let’s dive in and look at some of those things that I discussed that are actually relevant to all of us about where technology is taking our lives.

My Thoughts

So where are we ten years ago, smartphones were unusual, not many people have them but now they’re just the norm. So, what do the next few years ahead of us hold?

Well, autonomous vehicles’ one thing right now used in a few places, they used to truck things around in the mining industry in Western Australia. We see them do it millions of miles around the world and test companies like Waymo, Uber, Ford and so on.

These companies are out on the roads with their vehicles but still unusual, in five years won’t be uncommon for us to be seeing and maneuvering around within autonomous vehicles as it will be for the trucking industry and for the freight industry.

The Internet, well we get a pretty reasonable internet in a lot of the parts of the world at the moment, other parts, not so much. Well, that’s all changing. We’re seeing governments rolling out really fast internet through mobile networks, fibre optics.

We have companies like Alphabet and SpaceX who are working on new ways to deliver the internet everywhere so the internet will become much more accessible right across our population, much lower costs, faster.

So, they’ve changed it, what else? Well, we’ve really got all sorts of changes that are going to flip things on its head.

Things like artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, the blockchain, there are all sorts of pieces that will change our worlds and be looking ahead ten years, it’s going to be dramatically different for all of us in our workplaces and our normal day-to-day lives.

What does that mean for you? Well, as individuals, we need to embrace the technologies and work out how we make sure we’re positioned both ourselves, our families, our children.

How do we make sure that in the next ten years that we’re in a good place that we don’t see the technology changes displacing our work and leaving us stuck?

What else, well, businesses, they’re going to have to deal with some interesting challenges, as well governments because there will be some employment that will disappear but there are all sorts of new opportunities, there will be new jobs, but employers and organizations need to be thinking around, “how do we embrace these new technologies to ensure that our organizations are still around and the years to come that they’re not displaced, they’re not bumped out?”

So, important now within your own organization to make sure you’re thinking five, ten years out, what should the organization look like, and when you establish that strategy, realize that you just can’t sit on a strategy.

Now, organizations need to keep adjusting, updating and reworking what they do because the disruption will be continuous.

So, there are good possibilities ahead, it’s just a matter of making sure that we position ourselves, governments will have some challenges ahead, but I think those that are forward-thinking will navigate this well and will have great results.

Well, that’s it for me this week. You can catch my updates, paulspain.com/updates and of course you can follow me on social media. Alright, thanks!

UberEats Auckland NZ Review (and up to $20 promo code)

Tip: Just want a discount on UberEats? Get up to $20 discount with Ubereats NZ promo code: eats-ubernz

In 2016 I had a chance to try our Uber Eats before it launched in New Zealand – whilst I was in Canada and the USA. Needless to say UberEats was a really easy to use method of ordering food for delivery. Now it has launched in Auckland so I tried it out by putting in an order for my team at Gorilla Technology in central Auckland.

 

My video review of UberEats Auckland New Zealand

 

In short UberEats has the following benefits:

  • Easy ordering from the UberEats app
  • UberEats is linked to your existing Uber account so they already have your payment details and address if you use Uber today
  • There is a good selection of local eateries – including Pizza, Thai, Indian and Mexican food – amongst others
  • The app provides an estimated arrival time of the food, and shows where your delivery is once it leaves the restaurant
  • With so many drivers to draw on, many UberEats orders arrive in 25-40 minutes from an order being placed
  • Prices are reasonable being the same as takeaway prices plus a $5.99 delivery fee

What’s not to like? Well, Uber have been in the media recently for a number of mistakes with some promoting users to delete the Uber app. To start with UberEats in NZ is limited to just Central Auckland. Also, I was told be one local restaurant that Uber take 35% of the transaction and they said that is too much to leave them with any profit. With such a good variety of local eateries offering food via UberEats it seems some restaurants and takeaways disagree and seem able to make it work.

How do you try UberEats? Just install the iPhone or Android app – then use my discount code: eats-ubernz

The code above not only gives you a discount, but I get a discount too on my next order. So, if UberEats sounds like the method you’d like to use for you next meal, give it a try.

So what’s next in the world of Uber? It seems likely they’ll offer a formal courier deliver service of sorts. Though today many people already use Uber to move packages around for them. In terms of competition, word has it that competitor Lyft could be launching soon Internationally with New Zealand on their radar.

Tesla Model S arrives in New Zealand

Today Tesla have arrived in New Zealand, delivering eight Telsa Model S vehicles to customers at their official launch event in Auckland.

The initial Telsa retail store and service centre opens mid 2017 at 501 Karangahape Road, Auckland.

The Supercharger Network build starts in Hamilton with Superchargers at Turangi and Sanson also expected this year with Auckland and the South Island to be launched in the future.  In addition, over 100 ‘Destination Chargers’ are planned up and down New Zealand at locations such as locations resorts, hotels, shopping centres and public parking complexes.

Lots more details on the next NZ Tech Podcast episode.

Attached video is my first look at the Tesla Model S today.

 

Paul Spain discusses end of 3D TV producion

Paul Spain chatted with TV3’s Newshub about the demise of 3D Television. It was supposed to hail a new era for home entertainment, but the last two remaining major TV manufacturers have discontinued making 3D Televisions. LG and Sony followed Samsung by dumping production due to a lack of demand.

For more – visit TV3’s Newshub

Microsoft Build – Windows 10 now installed on 270+ million PCs

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This morning Microsoft Build kicks off in San Francisco at 8.30am (4.30am NZ time). I’m in San Francisco and will be sharing some of my impressions here on my blog.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella started his keynote asking many questions – such as whether technology helps our hinders our values, whether technology is helping or hindering privacy. And he answered those questions positively highlighting Microsofts mission to “Empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more”.

“We live in a mobile first and cloud first world” states Satya – it’s about the mobility of people across all their devices. Cloud is a new form of computing that enables this mobility.”

Nadella highlighted numbers – such as Microsoft Azure Active Directory being used by over 5-million businesses and Windows 10 now being installed on over 270-million users.

Terry Myerson showed off numerous improvements in ‘inking’ (drawing and writing on a tablet with a stylus) that are coming with the upcoming ‘Anniversary Update’ coming to Windows 10 as a free update in Winter (Summer in the US). Demonstrations should improved inking in Word, PowerPoint, Adobe Illustrator.

Other areas that have so far attracted attention:

  • Linux components such as the Bash shell is coming to Windows 10 (via Ubuntu) – and more shells coming soon
  • A converter to bring existing Windows applications and their installers to world of Universal Windows apps
  • The Universal Windows Platform means developers writing games can have the same code run on both Windows and Xbox One
  • Developers can convert their retail Xbox to a dev machine so they can test and run Universal Windows apps they are developing on their Xbox
  • Cortana and background music are amongst features coming to Xbox One in the upcoming Anniversary Update
  • Bots are becoming the new apps – and chat bots like the new browser
  • Cortana is the personal digital assist that is focussed on the user – not about a device – so it will work any device (Windows, iOS, Android)
  • The Windows 10 Anniversary Update improves Cortana – for instance developers can produce proactive ’Experts for Cortana’
  • Skype now has 300-million users and over 3-billions minutes of calls per month – and integration with external services and bots is now coming up – including integrations with Cortana, Slack, video text transcription (using the tech from Skype Translator), and things such as automated proactive suggestions (offer to add an event you’ve discussed into your calendar, offer to book you a hotel for a trip and automating the process, and offer to connect you with a close friend in a city you’re visiting).
  • Skype video bots will be coming with the new Skype Bot Software Developers Kit (SDK)
  • Skype for Hololens has been announced
  • Microsoft is launching ‘Cortana Intelligence Suite’ – a bot framework offering cognitives services and machine learning – to integrate with Cortana, Skype, Slack, Line
  • Microsoft has announced the Microsoft Bot framework – setup to integrate with integrate with systems such as Slack and Skype – and with Node.js or C#
  • Microsoft are making Cognitive Services available to developers – for instance advanced image recognition and voice recognition capabilities

(This blog will update – please refresh for further updates and also follow me on Twitter: @paulspain)

Speaking Dates

In February I gave the opening keynote at the Asia Pacific Podcast Conference with a talk about the Future of Podcasting. As organiser of the event it was great to be able to also share my views and interact with our guests from around New Zealand, Australia and the United States – including the Podcast Answerman Cliff Ravenscraft and broadcasters Kaitlyn Sawrey (ABC – Sydney), Megan Whelan (Radio NZ – Wellington), Jono Hutchison (TV3/Mediaworks) and Hugh Sundae (General Manager – 95bFM).

Coming up March 4 I’ll be at the Media Tech Pacific Conference hosting the closing panel discussion, and 11 April I keynote the Tech Soup New Zealand Conference in Auckland.

You can also hear me every week on NZ Tech Podcast and Radio Live’s ‘Your Technology’ with Karyn Hay. And of course you’ll regularly find me commentating on tech and business topics on TV and radio.

 

Boxing Day Sales 2014 – Tech Specials

It’s become a bit of tradition here to build a list of Boxing Day consumer tech specials each year. Here’s some of the best of Boxing Day 2014. Be sure to listen in to the NZ Tech Podcast to catch our opinions on some of tech below and keep up-to-date with what’s happening in the technology world.

Laptops, Tablets

– Acer Aspire 15″ Intel DualCore Celeron (Atom) laptop – The Warehouse – $279 (limited qty)
– HP 14″ Intel DualCore Celeron (Atom) laptop bundle  – Noel Leeming – $349 (instore only – limited quantity)
– Apple MacBook Pro (also iMac) – Dick Smith – 10% across the range
– Samsung Galaxy Lite 7.0 8GB Wi-Fi – Dick Smith – $129
– Nextbook 7″ Android 4.4 Tablet – The Warehouse – $79

 

Smartphones

– Galaxy S5 (Vodafone, 2degrees, Spark) – Harvey Norman – $692
– ZTE/Skinny V811 Android 4.4 DualCore Smartphone (locked to Skinny Network, $30 to unlock)– Noel Leeming – $34.99 (online/instore – limited quantity)
– Lumia 530 Windows Smartphone (locked to Vodafone Network, $30 to unlock) – Harvey Norman – $65 (instore only – limited quantity)
– LG G3 – Harvey Norman – $688
– Vodafone Smart4 Android Smartphone – The Warehouse – $35
– Huawei Ascend Y600 5″ Smartphone w/ 5MP camera (2degrees) – The Warehouse – $149

 

Gaming Consoles

– PlayStation 4 500GB, Little Big Planet 3 Console Bundle – Noel Leeming – $499 (instore only – limited quantity)
– PlayStation 4 500GB, Driveclub Console Bundle – The Warehouse – $499 (online/instore limited quantity)
– Xbox 360 4GB – The Warehouse – $148

TVs

– Panasonic 48″ UltraHD 4K 3D Smart TV – Harvey Norman – $1088 (online/instore – limited quantity, but raincheck available)
– LG 55″ Ultra HD 4K Smart LED-LCD TV- Harvey Norman – $1497 (online/instore)
– Sony 55″ UltraHD 4K Smart TV – Noel Leeming – $1499 (instore only – limited quantity)
– LG 42″ UltraHD 4K Smart TV – Noel Leeming – $849 (instore only – limited quantity)
– Sony 40″ FullHD Smart TV – The Warehouse – $489
– Veon 50″ Full HD TV – The Warehouse – $500

Other

– Canon Pixma MG2960 Multifunction Colour Printer – Noel Leeming – $25 (instore only – limited quantity)
– LexarJumpDrive S50 8GB USB Flashdrive – Noel Leeming – $1.49 (instore only – limited quantity)
– Garmin Vivofit – Harvey Norman – $77
– Logitech UE Boom  – Harvey Norman – $188
– Breville Nespresso ‘U’ Espresso Machine – Harvey Norman – $123 after cash back (pay $198)
– Sony 7.2 AV Receive STRDH750 – JB Hi-Fi – $291
– Dyson DC37C Origin Barrel Vacuum – JB Hi-Fi – $498

 

Wonder how this year’s Boxing Day specials compare with 2013 and 2012? See below:

2013 Box Day Tech Specials

Laptops, Hybrids, Tablets:
– Acer Aspire 11.6″ Notebook V5-132 – The Warehouse – $389
– Toshiba Satellite C50D/A00L Notebook – Dick Smith – $423 (sold out)
– HP 14″ AMD Laptop – The Warehouse – $449
– HP 14″ Laptop – Harvey Norman – $397
– Acer 15.6″ Intel Celeron Laptop – Noel Leeming – $478
– HP 15.6″ Intel i5 Laptop – Noel Leeming – $589
– Microsoft Surface RT 64GB Tablet With Touch Cover (Black) – JB Hi-Fi – $569
– Microsoft Surface RT 32GB Tablet – Harvey Norman – $297
– Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1″ – Noel Leeming – $399
– Apple MacBook Air 11″ – Harvey Norman – $1148

Smartphones:
– Samsung Galaxy S4 Blue – Harvey Norman – $686
– Samsung Galaxy S3 – Harvey Norman – $386
– Nokia Lumia 520 (Windows Phone 8) – Harvey Norman – $122
– Samsung Ativ S (Windows Phone 8) – Warehouse Stationery – $349
– LG/Google Nexus 5 – Warehouse Stationery – $649

Gaming Consoles:
– Xbox 360 E 4GB – The Warehouse – $188
– PlayStation 3 Super Slim 12GB Console – Noel Leeming $149

TVs:
– Samsung 60″ Full HD Plasma – Dick Smith – $1299
– Panasonic 50″ Full HD LED – Noel Leeming – $699
– Samsung 32″ Full HD – Noel Leeming – $299
– Veon 32″ Full HD  LED – The Warehouse – $249
– Veon 58″ Full HD LED – The Warehouse – $999

Other:
– Sony STR-DH740 7.2 Surround Sound Receiver – JB Hi-Fi – $296
– Logitech/Ultimate Ears Boom (Bluebooth Speaker) – Noel Leeming – $210
– Sony Noise Cancelling Headphones – Noel Leeming – $35
– Garmin 42LM GPS 4.3″ screen (lifetime maps) – The Good Guys – $79

2012 Box Day Tech Specials

Laptops:
– Apple MacBook Pro 13″ – Harvey Norman – $1578 (usually $1899)
– HP Pavilion 14-B006AU – Harvey Norman – $348

Smartphones:
– Samsung Galaxy SIII – Bond and Bond – $679.20
– iPhone 4S – Bond and Bond – $849 (actually not a special, price dropped recently)
– Nokia Lumia 920 (with Windows Phone 8) – Warehouse Stationery – $799
– LG/Google Nexus 4 – Bond and Bond – $639.20
– HTC Windows Phone 8S  – Warehouse Stationery – $399.20

Gaming Consoles:
– Xbox 4GB Kinect Bundle w/ 2 games – The Warehouse – $245 (stock left only in stores)
– Xbox 4GB Kinect Bundle w/ 3 games – JB Hi Fi – $249
– PlayStation 3 Super Slim 12GB Console – The Warehouse $225

TVs:
– LG 60″ Full HD Plasma – Harvey Norman – $1293
– Vivo 40″ Full HD LCD – Dick Smith – $399
– Samsung 50″ 6000 series Full HD LCD – Dick Smith – $1249

Cameras:
– Canon EOS1100D Twin Lens Kit – Dick Smith- $598
– Samsung 14 megapixel, 5 x optical zoom – JB Hi Fi – $47
– Fujifilm 14 megapixel, 24 x optical zoom – JB Hi Fi – $247
– Olympus TG-320 underwater/shockproof 14 megapixel – Harvey Norman – $165

Other:
– LG Blu-ray Player – Harvey Norman – $66
– 40L Haier Bar Fridge – Harvey Norman – $99
– D-Link, Cisco, Belkin, Logitech – Harvey Norman – 40% off

NZ Tech Podcast 211: North Korean Internet KO’d, NZ Broadband speeds ramp up, Tasman Global Access Cable

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To wrap up 2014 we discuss a strong increase in New Zealand’s broadband speeds, the Tasman Global Access Cable to link NZ and Australia from Spark/Vodafone/Telstra in mid-2016, Symantec security predictions for 2015, new tablet keyboards from Logitech, Sky TV’s Neon video-on-demand and Oculus new acquisition amongst other topics.

This episode of NZ Tech Podcast was hosted by Paul Spain (@paulspain) with guests Ross McDougall and Wal Reid. Supported by Vector Communications and published by NZ’s Podcast network – Podcasts NZ.

Get the Podcast here:

You can keep current with our latest NZ Tech Podcast updates via Twitter @NZTechPodcast, the NZTechPodcast.com website and facebook page.

Uber is in Wellington – and its free for now

I wrote about San Francisco’s Uber arriving in Auckland back in March – and already the service has expanded to Wellington. Currently operating on a similar trial basis as Uber did ahead of it’s full Auckland launch – a stage which the company call’s “Uber Secret”.

There’s a difference however. Rather than just a credit Uber launched with in Auckland they’re offering up to two free rides per person each week until 21 September. If you can get one that is – because there are not many Uber cars on the road in Wellington just yet. When I’ve checked it’s been about 50/50 whether or not one is available. And so far not much chance of getting an Uber ride from the airport.

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And best not to expect a free ride to Palmerston North or similar – the free rides are limited to the Wellington metro area only. It’s worth noting that at signup or after installing the app you can use a promo code/voucher for free credit. The UberNZ promo code currently puts up to $25 credit into new accounts – click through for $25 Uber credit code (Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch)

The code UberNZ not only gives you up to $25 credit but also puts credit in my Uber account (thanks). With Auckland and Wellington now part of the Uber family, one has to wonder how far off a Christchurch Uber launch might be?

Update July 2015: Uber Christchurch is about to launch.

Topics I discussed on The Paul Henry Show, NZ Tech Podcast, Newstalk ZB

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This week was packed with a number exciting projects with the Gorilla Technology team and our clients. I also slotted in some media activities. That included my usual NZ Tech Podcast episode, along with a live interview on The Paul Henry Show with Rebecca Wright and an afternoon interview with Rachel Smalley on Newstalk ZB’s Larry Williams Drive show.

I start next week with a Monday morning (8.15am) chat on TV3’s breakfast news show ‘Firstline’ with Sacha McNeil and Michael Wilson. Tuesday sees another episode of the NZ Tech Podcast – in this case with digital innovator Mitch Olson.

Later in the month I’m speaking at Media Tech Pacific Conference in Auckland – an event for those involved in the Broadcasting, Cinema/TV Production, and Digital Media industries across New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific Islands. The title for my presentation is ‘Internet Trends’ which gives plenty of scope to talk about past, present and future changes in the industry and my take on where things are headed.

NZ Tech Podcast 183: Computex Special – plus Apple WWDC and Microsoft Surface Pro 3 hands on

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This week I report back from Asia’s largest tech event – Computex Taipei. Featuring the latest news from Intel, Asus, Ford and NZ’s own Power by Proxi. Added to that is a first hands on experience of the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 and an update on Apple WWDC.

This NZ Tech Podcast hosted by Paul Spain (@paulspain) with guests from Intel, Asus, Ford, Power by Proxi and Microsoft. Published by NZ’s Podcast specialists – Global Voice Media.

Get the Podcast here:

You can keep current with our latest NZ Tech Podcast updates via Twitter @NZTechPodcast, the NZTechPodcast.com website and facebook page.

San Francisco’s Uber is trialling in Auckland (and here’s how you get $10 of free rides)

San Francisco’s cool next-generation taxi service Uber has started trialling its service in Auckland late March. They call this start-up stage of their activities ‘Uber Secret’.

Uber was introduced to me in San Francisco by Steve Simms last year. At that stage I signed up but didn’t get time to try the service. However now Uber is in Auckland I’m already enjoying having a new way of getting about that’s smarter and more cost effective than traditional taxis.

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Based around an app (or a mobile website that’s nearly identical to the app if you don’t use iOS or Android), Uber ensures a more refined experience than that of a typical taxi thanks to good use of technology:

  • Customers book a ride from an app that shows you where nearby vehicles are, how long it will take to pick you up, and an estimate of what the fare will be
  • When you’ve placed a booking you can see a photo of the driver who will collect you, the type of car that is coming (and it’s license plate number), a rating of the driver and a live map showing where the car is currently
  • The driver will pick you up from the GPS location of your phone – though you can adjust this if you want picking up at a slightly different location
  • You can have direct contact with the driver as the app provides an option to call or SMS the driver direct to their mobile. Handy for instance if you’re at a hard to find location, or if you need to check when they’ll arrive.
  • Upon reaching your destination, you don’t have to spend your time arranging payment – this happens automatically via the app
  • The app also emails you an invoice which includes a map of exactly where the driver took you. If you felt the drive didn’t take you the best route, you can alert Uber (and potentially obtain a credit).
  • After completion of the journey you can rate driver based on their politeness, safe driving skills and the route they took you, etc. And I believe the driver can rate you, the passenger.

Already launched in 33 countries globally, Uber has been growing quickly in the Asia-Pacific region with services in Australia, China, India, Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Taiwan.

Initially there aren’t a large number of Uber vehicles on the road, but if you’d like to try the service now or once they’re in full service click through and get $20 $10 credit to try it out (I also get a $20 $10 credit if you sign up and take a ride). You can also enter this Uber Promo Code inside the app or on the Uber website: ubernz

Time to start an IT Support career? Or ready for a more senior IT role?

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This year I’m expanding my team at Gorilla Technology and right now am looking to fill two roles in Auckland city:

  1. Senior Systems Engineer / Senior IT Support Engineer
  2. Entry Level IT Support

I’m particularly looking for people who both learn technical things very quickly and have great people skills.

If you’re just looking for ‘another job’ then this probably isn’t the role for you. At Gorilla we work differently from other companies and we’re looking for people who stand out.

  • There is much to Gorilla’s special sauce (we call it ‘The Gorilla Way’) that differentiates us. From an employee perspective you’ll benefit from:
    Being part of a tight knit and friendly team who work closely together – supporting and learning from each other while sharing knowledge and ideas
  • Working with the newest and best technologies available. As part of ‘The Gorilla Way’ we leverage fresh technology to make ourselves and our customers more successful. It’s not uncommon for us to be testing and reviewing the latest smartphones, tablets or laptops before the hit the market.
  • Huge growth potential – most people move ahead faster than the industry standard for career development whilst at Gorilla
  • Direct access to coaching and support from the owners of Gorilla Technology

At Gorilla though, we don’t believe in technology for technology’s sake – using it has to make business sense so we teach all our staff about business and communication so we can relate the technologies benefits to our clients and meet or exceed their expectations.

Skills that would be beneficial for you to bring to the table include:

  • Great people skills and an ability to communicate with people at all levels
  • Technical skills: Windows 7 – Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2008 – 2012 R2, Mac OS X, Exchange Server 2010-2013, Office 365, Google Apps, Amazon, Cisco, Firewalls

Attributes you must have:

  • Permit to work in NZ
  • Great spoken and written English
  • Ability to start promptly
  • Experience in the Auckland arena
  • A drivers licence and your own vehicle

To apply, please send a CV and covering letter to Paul Spain at: careersblog@gorillatechnology.com