Even Fair Go last night had an article about spam but a current frustration is a phonecall I had from the Department of Internal Affairs Antispam Unit which explained that the unsolicited email I've received from 'Celia for Mayor' (a Mayoral Candidate in Wellington) is not actually illegal.

Here's the email I received subsequent to our conversation:

The Department of Internal Affairs is responsible for enforcing the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007 ('the Act'). Please note that any information provided in this communication is not legal advice and is given without prejudice.

After reviewing the received message from the address [redacted from the web] sent on the 10th August 2010, the Department has found that the message is not considered a commercial message under Section 6 of the Act in that it does not promote goods or services:
6 - Meaning of commercial electronic message
• For the purposes of this Act, commercial electronic message—
o (a) means an electronic message that—
? (i) markets or promotes—
? (A) goods; or
? (B) services; or
? (C) land; or
? (D) an interest in land; or
? (E) a business or investment opportunity; or
? (ii) assists or enables a person to obtain dishonestly a financial advantage or gain from another person; or
? (iii) provides a link, or directs a recipient, to a message that does 1 or more of the things listed in subparagraphs (i) and (ii).
Please also note that Section 6 states exceptions to messages that — provides the recipient with information about goods or services offered or supplied by—
• (A) a government body
As per our discussion, this is somewhat of a grey area in that Celia is sending the message as a candidate for a local government body. Previously the Department stance has been to contact the likes of MP's and advise that their campaign messages would be in the best interest to include an unsubscribe facility and contact details so recipients can remove themselves from such messages. The Department understands that there can be frustration in receiving such messages, however you may wish to remove yourself from the mailing list by clicking on the unsubscribe facility. Or you may wish to contact the administration team by using the email address [redacted from the web].

The Department will also contact Celia's administration team and request how they are obtaining recipient email addresses for their campaign and advise accordingly. In regards to using an address from a unpublished source, you may wish to make a complaint with the Domain Name Commission.

The latter is a response to the suggestion I made that my email address had been harvested out of 'whois' data. I had another look, and the email address being used is unlikely to have come from this source.

However am dissapointed that the law in NZ (which I initially thought to be fairly well written) seems to have such a grey area around political advertising. I wonder if a mayoral candidate's advertising could be construed an advertisement of services that is not (yet) a government body...

I do appreciate the DIA attempting to educate Celia's administration team, and I wish them well. In any case, I would never vote for a spammer, so the advertising that I received from this candidate did the exact opposite of what was intended. And I remain dissapointed that the laws about spam have a gaping hole in them...

Noticed the server lost international connectivity for a brief period late this afternoon.
An enquiry with the colo provider I use has resulted in advice that they're having router troubles at the moment, and the guilty party is to be swapped-out at sometime between Midnight and 1am tomorrow.

So there'll be a little more pain before it's sorted. Sorry bout that folks.. :) Impact should be minimal as you should be doing something else after Midnight on a Friday! :)

As the sign says....

Credit to one of the guys at work who pointed out how appropriate the sign is when we wear our IT security hats. :-)

Oh, come ON...


Er.. yeah.. thanks for that kitty! Still havn't gotten the feathers out of every blimming corner of the rumpus room...

Up until recently i've been a stalwart supporter of Dick Smith Electronics - yes, I'm a former employee. That was 10 years ago, however.

Sadly though they've seen fit over the last few years to drop out of a lot of their 'specialist' electronics stuff and focus instead on the consumerware that is otherwise found in places like Harvey Norman and Noel Leemings. DSE have the advantage of being far more numerous, and thus, more accessible. I used to also believe their staff were sharper, but this remains to be proven in the current climate.

Of course, DSE still carry more 'eclectic' stuff (they're a hybrid Harvey Norman -> Jaycar bridge, now, really) but there's one thing you need to be very careful of with DSE; check the pricing on what you're after and make sure it's infact sane.

Here's an example.
End of last year I picked up a Bluetooth Handsfree Kit (aided by the law change requiring their use).
The unit I picked based on cost:benefit was the DSE EA0054.

Here's their photo ripped from their website:

This retails at $79.95. Pretty sure that's about what I paid for it nearly a year ago, too.

Then I spied this at the local supermarket the other day:

It's the same damn unit with a different brand name printed on the front. And it's $49.95. Or 62% of the price.

Frustrating, really. I'm seeing no significant advantage to having the DSE brand name on my handsfree unit. Not enough to translate to nearly half-price at my even more ubiquitous supermarket.

So, DSE; what's your markup on EA0054? Can you justify being that much more expensive?

Server was subjected to some updates over the weekend and a reboot to place these fully into effect today. Sorry for any impact, and let me know if any troubles persist...

I have to give a lot of credit to David Millar (and others) for giving those of us in the NZFIRE group a steady stream of updates from Christchurch in the aftermath of one of NZ's most significant natural disasters. The affects of the magnitude 7.1 quake which hit last weekend will be felt for years.

One interesting point of note is the value the new Hazmat-Command Units NZFS has recently fielded have brought into play, with their integrated communications systems, etc. Here's some photos taken by David and posted to NZFIRE today:

Larger versions can be found in my South Island Album.

A couple of years ago wifey and I formed a home business as the New Zealand distributors for CardMemories. The business we formed was Jazzed Solutions Ltd and we just relaunched it's website after running a very flat, very basic HTML page for a while.

Due to our changes in personal circumstance the business has been wound right back until recently, but now it's time to get out there again with our Greeting Card Albums. They really are a neat product and are an awesome gift (Christmas is coming y'know!).

So check us out. What can I say, it's our lil thing and it deserves the odd plug. :)


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