Blogs is back and all is right with the world. Sorry for the inconvenience of a longer-than-planned power outage this morning - power was restored at around 1030.

Howdy folks - have just had a headsup that there's a need to do some maintenance on the power feed my machine is plugged into. I'll be downing the server at about 8am tomorrow morning and expect everything to be back up and running within an hour or so.

Sorry for any inconvenience.... (again!)

The family and I attended the Birkenhead Santa Parade this year as our 'local'. They put on a good show!

I have Photos and also a brief video - it only shows the Birkenhead VFB Appliances... one camera couldn't do everything at once! :)

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Sorry for the inconvenience, things should be stable for a while now. :-)

[EDIT: Scheduled Outage to move the server will now occur tomorrow (Friday) between 0815 and 1000hrs]

Hi Folks - sorry for a couple of unscheduled outages this morning and the further outage yet to occur later this afternoon.
The people I host with are moving between premesis in Wellington and in the prep for this managed to drop the power to my server a couple of times this morning (!) - a bit later today there will be a 30-to-40 minute outage while the server is deliberately downed, physically moved between addresses and the network is stood up at the new site. Hopefully that'll be the end of it for a while. ;-)

Moving premesis and keeping things operational is a problematic evolution at the best of times, so whilst I have assurances impact will be kept to a minimum, we also know that patience is going to be needed until things are stable at the new site.

Sorry for any inconvenience - please note i knew nothing of this until an hour ago! :)

I came across via Twitter yesterday. I've met Sam Vilain, though I don't know him well - but I know him by reputation as a clever guy. That, and this being an issue I have strong interest in, had me keeping my ear to ground for the outcome of events.

In short, Sam was taking Vodafone to the Disputes Tribunal over the cost of international roaming on his Vodafone cellphone.
For anyone who travels frequently, you'll be aware of the facts involved - that roaming is horrendously expensive and that there's no way that the end-user costs associated with roaming data are in any way proportional to the actual operating costs of the service. Indeed there's plenty of media coverage about the insane costs of roaming (despite Vodafone making such a big deal about it's worldwide service).

A simple Google Search reveals headlines like:

So I share in Sam's dissapointment at the ruling but will also be interested in the followup. From my perspective:

- Vodafone have been far too inspecific about the costs of data use in their billing system; if a customer wants by-session information they should be able to have it!! Landline broadband can already do this.
- The rates are expensive; the fact it's cheaper to buy a local sim card than use your own number is actually a bit of a joke when it's usually pretty obvious that at a network level, costs are barely above local data costs. The host networks own local charging rates should sent the benchmark for a roaming guest. This case is serving to give yet more exposure to what many consider is a rort.

I've been dreaming about setting up a dash-cam for ages, as I get to see this sorta crap daily. Motorists, seriously, wtf?


Skype is a useful little tool. I'm sure it needs no introduction.
And for those who don't use Internet Explorer, this article probably means little...

I use Firefox as my primary browser on all platforms (Windows, Linux) that I use on a daily basis.
However I do still have Internet Explorer on all my Microsoft systems - it's shipped by default, it's not worth the drama of uninstallation, and it still has its place on the shelf.
For example, at work I use IE for a lot of my internal-use stuff as it's a) Microsoft driven and b) a useful segregation between external and internal content.
(I also have Google Chrome, as a third option, as I seriously avoid using IE to browse anything on the Internet-at-large).

Anycase. Within IE when you install Skype, you by default get the plugin which does clever things like turning phone-numbers (or things it thinks are phone numbers) into clickable links that'll encourage you to use Skype to dial them. Or even (as I discovered today), linking a name that appears on Sharepoint with a name thatappears in Skype, incase you wish to directly instant message the person you're reading about!

Fed up, I googled.
And found This very useful article.

Ultimately the 'right' way to turn off the plugin for me (IE8 on Windows 7) was to navigate to Tools -> Manage Add Ons, Find 'Skype Technologies SA' and select 'Skype Add-on for IE', and disable this. It then disabled a related plugin, 'Skype Add-on for Internet Explorer'.

Restarted IE and bang, back to normal browsing. Thank God for that.'s been having some oddball reachability issues from some parts of the NZ Internet for the last week or so.
Having sent details to my hosting provider they've been able to simulate the problem and escalate with their ISP; seems that Citylink (who're involved at some layer) made some changes in their building infrastructure recently and this coincides with the window of the fault, and a Layer 2 issue appears to have shown itself...

I'm just waiting to hear that it's finally resolved but hopefully there should be no more dramas!

Quoting from the Fire Service Act 1975 before it gets amended:

Section 33: Volunteer fire police


(1) With the consent of the senior constable in the district, any Chief Fire Officer, in accordance with the policy of the Commission, may establish a volunteer fire police unit and enrol any person as a member thereof and may in like manner disestablish such a unit or for just cause remove any person from the roll.

(2) Every person enrolled under this section shall be sworn in before a Justice of the Peace, and during the period of his service as a member of the fire police and while so acting shall be deemed to be, and shall have all the power and authority and responsibility of, a constable.

(3) In the performance of their duties at any fire or other incident to which a fire brigade is called, volunteer fire police shall carry out their duties under the direction of the person in charge of the fire brigade.

Compare: 1972 No 119 s 44

Section 33(1): amended, on 1 October 2008, pursuant to section 116(a)(v) of the Policing Act 2008 (2008 No 72).

(emphasis added)

The NZFS have circulated an internal policy that as the Policing Act apparently makes the Fire Service Act invalid.

Yet the Policing Act includes phrases like

(Section 49) (1) A person commits an offence who, without reasonable excuse, carries on an activity under an operating name that includes the word "“Police”" or the words "“New Zealand Police”", in a manner likely to lead a person to believe that the activity is endorsed or authorised by the Police or any part of the Police.

(Emphasis Added)

You've also got Section 116:

Terms relating to Police in other enactments


Unless the context otherwise requires,—

(a) a reference in an enactment other than this Act to any of the following terms must be read as a reference to a constable:

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