Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Aggregate me, baby!

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  • Russell Brown,

    Sigh ... having marnused myself by forgetting to enable discussion - and wondering glumly why nobody wanted to talk - I figured I should kick this off here ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18957 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    It need to be said that at a time when Warners are releasing a mighty Flying Nun (tm) box set, that Mikee at Loop is Roger's natural heir. He is doing more for NZ muisc right now than virtually anyone. I might not like everything he releases but more power to him.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3208 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Fish,

    Regarding xtra - my connection dropped out (a common occurance) on monday evening. Normally I just re-boot the router and all is ok, but this time nothing.
    I rang the help line and got through in less than 3 minutes(!!) but unfortunately they couldn't help me - evidently my router was causing the problem (that seems to be their standard reply whenever I have problems - you see they don't support dynalink routers).
    When this has happened in the past I just unplug the router and take it over to a mates place to confirm it is still working ok - it always is.
    However when I went to unplug it 1/2 hour later everything was going again... and still going (touch wood)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    and as an interesting aside. I would imagine the addition of The Beatles catalogue to iTunes (something that was inevitable after the last court case) is probably taking more time at Apple HQ than iTunes NZ. Based on what I know about it (which is not much to be honest) I would imagine that Apple see it as a loss leader, a flagship act on which they make little. EMI regard the Love album as such...no money but simply market share.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3208 posts Report Reply

  • nzMM,

    Well as a youngster i just hope some more of the flying nun catalogue goes on-line, cultural disgrace that it isn't easily available. I think i would pay for more of my music, particularly those hard-to-find albums but DRM is, well, a major disincentive. FYI.

    Oh yea i changed from Orcon to Xtra, Xtra is foo compared to Orcon imo, also i couldnt even log into Steam to play some garrysmod. Oh the horror.

    Auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 14 posts Report Reply

  • jon_knox,

    What's up with the govt overruling the war crimes arrest?....something strikes me as a bit fishy, either that the govt has dipped it's oar into determining which laws are enforced when it's role I thought was to create legislation, or that there's some "funny" international politics taking place.

    Osterreich • Since Nov 2006 • 460 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    What does the aggregator actually do?
    Are they just a payment engine to save Apple from having to maintain accounts for thousands of people?
    Or do they do traditional record company functions like A&R, plying radio station people with gurls and drugs, etc?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4463 posts Report Reply

  • Damian White,

    . . . yeah, we unwittingly jumped on the Unleashed bandwagon at home, too. Initially we were hitting 400+kB/s PvP download, but as the weeks have progressed this has flattened off to something entirely unremarkable.

    Noted problems most of last weekend initially, with connection rolling back to 0kB/s . . . then blipping up to a few bits here n' there . . . then back to flat-lining. Things seemed to pick up on Monday morning -- we assumed someone at Xtra had pushed the Big, Shiny Red Reset Button -- but then dribbled off again . . . only to be back to average yesterday . . .

    . . . ah, the joys of 3rd-World broadband. ;)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17 posts Report Reply

  • Sarah Wedde,

    And Syd Barrett's things are being auctioned off.

    There's something very sad about seeing someone's things being sold off--particularly the handmade or customised furniture, and the scrapbooks and notebooks.

    I can only hope I go out in a fiery meteorite explosion so no-one gets to paw over my stuff.

    Lower Hutt • Since Nov 2006 • 66 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    A little story to warm the cockles of the heart:

    My business partner, a very successful software writer, managed to get Telecom to pay back $5000 to him due to pathetic service on one of their most expensive plans.

    We both changed our plans simultaneously - I went for the cheaper option with the higher data cap. He went for the faster option with a lesser data cap but much higher touted speeds, on the justification that he might need the speed some days, and he could afford it. That was about a year ago.

    Since then his broadband has been slightly worse than mine. He faithfully paid every cent Telecom billed him, and kept every email in which he complained about their pathetic service with constant outages and bandwidth well below promises. We were both network technicians in previous lives, and could readily diagnose where the faults in our networks were, so the constant Telecom attempts to blame local issues could usually be crushed in seconds, usually followed up with one of my partner's favourite lines "Can you please
    put me through to someone who has a clue?". We both got pretty good at cutting through Telecom helpdesk bs over the years of fixing up our customer's DSL problems.

    Finally he cracked, and demanded his money back, threatening legal action. After some perfunctory denials and half arsed attempts to really fix his issues, they have finally agreed to refund him the difference between his service and mine, and have fixed his service too.

    I hope this inspires others to hold them accountable too.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8584 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    A reader among the select band of us on Wired Country has pointed out that they've quietly reconfigured their service.

    It was 2Mbit/s synchronous, now it seems to be 3.5Mbit/s down (although I'm only getting 2.5 at the moment) and 850k up.

    They really are men of mystery at Wired Country. But my favourite P2P application is running nicely ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18957 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    What does the aggregator actually do?
    Are they just a payment engine to save Apple from having to maintain accounts for thousands of people?
    Or do they do traditional record company functions like A&R, plying radio station people with gurls and drugs, etc?

    They just interface with the iTunes people (and in Jiggy's case, The Orchard). Any marketing away from that is up to the label.

    But iTunes is a different business in every territory, and if the aggregator can establish good relationships with most or all of them, then it seems to me that the 20% of receipts is pretty good value. IANAL, but Loop's contract seems pretty straightforward.

    You'd have to ask Mikee about the gurls and drugs though ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18957 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Rowe,

    It need to be said that at a time when Warners are releasing a mighty Flying Nun (tm) box set

    Is there any word on said box set in the interweb? Anybody?

    Oh, and I have to point out to anybody who is interested that Paul at Fundypost has linked to the Dead C's only tv appearance. Brought a tear to the eye....

    Lake Roxburgh, Central Ot… • Since Nov 2006 • 563 posts Report Reply

  • Sarah Wedde,

    We're not with Telecom, but it annoys me no end that the standard helpdesk response to any broadband problems is, "Oh, it's at your end." No, we have two fairly computer-savvy people living here and it is not at our end. And no, re-entering the configuration data will not suddenly make our connection work when your service is down over the whole area.

    I'd respect them a whole lot more if they'd just tell the truth.

    Lower Hutt • Since Nov 2006 • 66 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Rowe,

    Disregard question about box set. Found it.

    Lake Roxburgh, Central Ot… • Since Nov 2006 • 563 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Stewart,

    Tell me, why should I be excited about the iTunes store? So I can pay money to get mp3s of the same music I can download for free anyway -- why bother? Ok, so it's more 'legal', whatever that might mean in a world of mass corporate media subversion of the purpose of copyright, but come on, show me a music lover who doesn't download mp3s via p2p and I'll show you a music lover who hasn't heard of p2p.

    Besides it's still the same crap. With iTunes you're merely replacing letting Sony/BMG/RadioWorks give you access to teh cool with letting Apple give you access to teh cool. For all their proficient design department, Apple are still in essence a giant multinational corporation, just like BMG or Warners.

    I get all my music needs freely and legally satisfied by netlabels, largely hosting Creative Commons content: Thinner/Autoplate for dubby electronics, 12rec for post-rock noodling, and one for idm/ambient stuff.

    Unlike the iTunes store, netlabels are actually a challenge to the status quo. Here's an interesting perspective on the whole thing. And here's some academic research looking at 'Netlabels and Open Content'.

    And finally, as a musician, the perceived value of the iTunes store to me is zero, while netlabels on the other hand offer a tantalising vision of post-material, post-commodity musicking.

    So I ask again: why should I be excited?

    --
    f r e y
    live music with machines
    http://www.frey.co.nz
    http://www.myspace.com/freyed

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 6 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    I can only hope I go out in a fiery meteorite explosion so no-one gets to paw over my stuff.

    I've dutifully ftp'd all your sites Sarah, they're up on Trademe the day after yout untimely demise, long time away may that be.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2074 posts Report Reply

  • jon_knox,

    There's an old but informative article from Wired about the Long Tail, which uses the CD and DVD biz as an example. It also ponders the economics of big music companies and raises some interesting points/questions about music pricing.

    Osterreich • Since Nov 2006 • 460 posts Report Reply

  • Compie,

    Aside note, or back to Flying NUN

    Robert Scott has penned a song about the iceburgs off Dunedin and the bats have recorded it?

    It was in the ODT today.

    Dunedin/Vancouver • Since Nov 2006 • 114 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    Oh, this is interesting.

    It looks like a certain long-running NZ-based online music seller is also in position to be an iTunes aggregator.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1861 posts Report Reply

  • Andre Alessi,

    We're not with Telecom, but it annoys me no end that the standard helpdesk response to any broadband problems is, "Oh, it's at your end." No, we have two fairly computer-savvy people living here and it is not at our end. And no, re-entering the configuration data will not suddenly make our connection work when your service is down over the whole area.

    I'd respect them a whole lot more if they'd just tell the truth.

    Generally, someone at the Xtra Broadband Helpdesk will never come out and say "It's your equipment." They'll go through a process of elimination and leave that judgment up to you. The reality is that upwards of two thirds of all calls to the helpdesk are eventually proved to CPE (customer premises equipment.)

    So while you might have tech savvy people on hand, a lot of people don't and it makes good business sense to prove problems out of private equipment first before going any further.

    There's also an issue around training-with the vast increase in broadband-related calls in the last two years they've had to train people from other departments to take "reception mode" broadband calls to prevent wait times lengthening out drastically. Reception mode is intentionally short on any technical info-the rep can perform basic checks, check for network outages in the area, and run through steps described in online helpfiles, but that's about it. Anything more complicated is escalated through various channels.

    That inevitably means that the reps taking these reception mode calls have no clue what they're doing half the time, because they have no need to know (as far as the ISP is concerned-this isn't specific to Xtra by the way.) Most will deal with that lack of information well, but inevitably human psychology kicks in when dealing with a particularly aggravated individual andthe rep will simply make stuff up to buy themselves some breathing space. That can obviously lead to further frustration on the part of the customer in the long run.

    On a tangent, I see that in the business section of the Herald today, Jenny Keown attempted to imply that Telecom had admitted that the problems with Slingshot and ihug's DSL services were partially its fault. I've spent the last two weeks sitting next to the people responsible for notifying Telecom (including Wholesale) of any and all system outages and coordinating the response, and they were flabbergasted. They are convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt those problems stem from a known issue with those ISPs' login systems.

    Anyway, it's going to be interesting moving from working for the Evil One to the competition (last day today!) I've had nothing but joy from my Xtra Pro plan-6MBps down/512kbps up and never a drop in an area with notoriously poorly maintained lines. It'll be interesting to see if I can be convinced to move to another ISP even when I'm no longer getting it for free.

    Oh, and one final note: LimeWire and Gnutella-related P2P applications no longer seem to work for me for downloads. They display "Connecting..." but never initiate the download. Uploads still work. I'm assuming it's a problem with the client specifically because other P2Papps (eMule and WinMX) still work fine. I know of at least one other person experiencing the same thing, anyone else?

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 862 posts Report Reply

  • Andre Alessi,

    Argh, sorry for the rant, I'm all hyper about seeing Dimmer and Jakob tonight.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 862 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    Argh, sorry for the rant

    Hey, I don't see anyone complaining! I thought it was a really interesting take on events from the perspective of a (soon-to-be-ex) insider.

    For what it's worth, all the problems I've experienced with Xtra broadband in the past have either been my fault or as soon as I've rung the helpdesk, a recorded message has told me of an outage.

    Having said that, there have been lots of mini-annoyances since I switched to Go Large about a month ago, but what's new there?

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1861 posts Report Reply

  • Sarah Wedde,

    Most will deal with that lack of information well, but inevitably human psychology kicks in when dealing with a particularly aggravated individual andthe rep will simply make stuff up to buy themselves some breathing space.

    Hey, no aggravation here, until we're quite obviously lied to (and as a first response). And even then it is expressed privately and not to a helpdesk worker.

    Again it comes down to the customer being in the wrong huh?

    Lower Hutt • Since Nov 2006 • 66 posts Report Reply

  • Mat Wiseman,

    Herald are confirming what Russell has been saying: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/6/story.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=10413471

    Since Dec 2006 • 8 posts Report Reply

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