Business and Government have had a long time to get used to the Australian Privacy Act. It’s one of those things that at the very essence of it – is not too difficult to grasp. If you are capturing information for a specific purpose, and the person giving you that information hasn’t given you express permission to use it in any other way – don’t.
There are many companies who get around this, the major banks, Telstra, Optus… pretty much any major institution has a clause in their contracts requiring you to forgo any protection offered to you by the Privacy Act 1988, if you want to do business with them. This particular undertaking by these institutions is of interest because, you can never sign a contract waiving your rights afforded to you by law – it’s just not possible. So – how these companies get away with it, confuses me.
One particular point of annoyance for me comes from the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsmen. The TIO does a fantastic job, and I applaud their work. One thing they don’t do well, is protect the privacy of their members. Several times (most recently this week) emails have been sent out to every TIO member, listing the email address of every other TIO member. Once is forgivable, but repeated breaches of privacy should be dealt with. The TIO has displayed an inability to deal with it themselvs, so perhaps somebody external needs to come in and facilitate some process changes.
[EDIT] The original leaking of all member details was not direclty via the TIO. It was an email from ACMA to all members of the TIO.
FREE Domain and Mail Server Health Check
The Domain Name System (DNS) is without a doubt one of the most important components of a funcitoning internet. Without it, we would have to remember IP addresses (like phone numbers) to bring up web sites, email wouldn’t exist as it is now, and life would just be plain difficult.
For years I have been using many tools to test and verify validity of domain’s and domain servers for our own internal use and for our clients.
It’s amazed me the number of times that I have found moderate to major faults with the way some domains are set up in their DNS servers.
One of my favorite tools is DNSReport from DNSstuff.com. It is a very thorough look at how a domain name is configured in the DNS, and it will raise issues from core setup, to mail (MX), to web configuration.
There are a heap of other tools including Realtime Blacklist (RBL) monitoring, whois lookups etc etc
I consider their yearly fee’s somewhat expensive, but I can atest to their value.
SlideME Android App Store
It has frustrated me no end that Optus has continually insisted to not permit the Android App Store to operate on Google Android handsets that have an Optus SIM inserted.
The fix is simple, turn off the phone, remove Optus SIM, insert Telstra SIM, turn on the phone, select and purchase software, turn off the phone, replace Optus SIM… but that gets tedious.
To that end the SlideME application store was a welcome alternative to Google’s Android Market. It’s not locked down to carrier, you can pay via credit card or pre-authorised Amazon payment, and it was simple and easy to use.
Until a week ago.
Since then the SlideME market has been offline. It’s just returning a blank page. There’s no mention of it on their site, explaining why they are offline, or when they expect to return. The only indicator that they even have an idea is their most recent twitter post…
@eggenstein yes we are aware of the search and apps view issue. Working on a new approach and fix.
That wording gives the impression that there is something seriously wrong with the store, given it needs a whole new “approach”…
I do hope to see the SlideME back up and delivering applications soon. I hope at least for the devlopers using their sevice that if they have decided to shut down, there is money available to pay the people who put the apps online…
Those who know me, know my rule about NEVER hiring fresh university graduates to work for me on theatrical projects. Especially from a particular university, where most of the technical theatre lecturers have never worked even a single day in “the real world”.
I have been spending a bit of time at my old high school recently, working with the stage crew students there. It has been a really rewarding experience, seeing their crew work hard on projects, eager to learn and ready to listen.
After discussions with a few other great technicians that I know and respect, I have decided to spend some time and energy offering real technical theatre training to students in schools by a great team of people. I’ve decided to call it Theatre Training Australia.
The goal is to provide a mentoring type program for students who have a keen interest in the production side of theatre. Lighting, Sound, Mechanics, Audio Visual, Costumes, Venue Management, the list is nearly endless. I have already whipped up a fantastic group of trainers who are keen to impart their knowledge and can’t wait to start the program next year.
If you run an educational institudtion, or know somebody who might be interested, please make sure to let them know about our training program.
Finally a new 3G version supporting Google’s Android OS is available.
With so many false starts with the Motorola Droid and the HTC Droid Eris being only CDMA (and thus useless here in Australia) I have been dying to get my hands on a newer piece of hardware.
It is a true quad band phone operating on 850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz and supporting W-CDMA (UMTS).
Sadly the phone still appears to have the same 3MP camera as the ADP1, which would have been a welcome improvement had it been replaced.
Developer (ADPn) phones are only available to Android developers, more information is available here.
Not surprisingly my Gold Velocity Rewards frequent flyer card has not arrived, especially given that the most recent email asked me to kindly disregard it and pretend like it never happened.
Velocity Rewards by Virgin Blue
What is also not surprising is that I also haven’t heard from the contact center in regards to my inquiry.
When I spoke with them minutes after the email went out on the 13th, I said I wanted to discuss it in more detail, given that I can’t see any disclaimer in the email that they could use to retract the offer. And that at the very least, I think the office of fair trade should investigate their practices.
When I mentioned the OFT, I was assured that somebody would be in contact shortly
I called the call center today and spoke with Dave, who has informed me that the Velocity Rewards program would not honor the offer – and that as the legal department at Velocity Rewards has decided to not honor the offer – there was nothing more he could do.
Dave agreed that the next step should be to raise the complaint with the relevant office of fair trade.
Given the very nature of government departments, the more complaints they receive about this offer – the more action that may be taken. So, if you have received this offer – please first contact Velocity Rewards and give them an opportunity to honor it. If they don’t – raise your complaint with the office of fair trade in your state.
New South Wales | Queensland | Australian Capitol Territory | Tasmania | Victoria | South Australia
I haven’t forgotten about WA and NT – but I can’t locate links for their OFT
Velocity Rewards Gold Card
Virgin Blue and their associated Velocity Rewards program are in for a wild few weeks.
We’ve got a treat for you – a free upgrade to Velocity Gold! Given you came so close to making it on your own, we wanted to say thanks so much for your ongoing commitment to the Virgin Blue Group, we really love having you around.A golden year on us!
To find out what’s in store for you over the next 12 months, please keep reading.
This afternoon an email congratulating every single Velocity Rewards member on their upgraded status was sent out their Australia and New Zealand customers.
Attempts to access the Velocity Rewards site were met with error messages and outages.
The Velocity Rewards contact centre is telling recipients to simply disregard the message. But I don’t think it’s going to be that simple. Velocity Rewards have admitted sending the email. And there is no caveat contained within the email advising that it may be withdrawn.
I have added Google Friend Connect to the site. According to the site stat’s – there are quite a few regular visitors to the site (about 50% of the site traffic are “regulars”), so I am keen to see who is reading and what your thoughts are. Just click join in the friend connect thing in the side bar.
I recently discovered that it wasn’t all of Australia that is blocked from the Android Market. Of the major carriers it is just Optus. Sadly, that is who provides me with my SIM and occasionally network coverage.
I can only assume that it’s greed that has led Optus to prohibit the purchasing of App’s from the Market when users have an Optus SIM in their phone. There was a way around it using this app, which until recent versions of the Android OS worked just perfectly on rooted phones.
My solution at the moment is to swap SIM’s between my two phones (to a Telstra SIM) when I wish to purchase app’s, and then swap back. If you don’t have a Telstra SIM of your own, get a prepaid (it doesn’t need to have credit if you have a WiFi connection) or borrow a friends.
I have asked Google for comment on the issue with the Android Market and Optus, and will update the comments here when I get a response.
Bank of Queensland Logo
Given my recent customer service experience with Bank of Queensland, I thought it important to publish their Customer Relations Group’s direct number. The bank will not allow you to cold call directly in to this group should you wish to make a complaint. The number is online, but is very hard to find (it is embedded in a PDF on the BoQ site).
To call the Bank of Queensland Complaint / Customer Relations Group – (07) 3212 3206