great slideshow to check out

Brilliant presentation from 9 months ago. Looking at how Twitter handles the ridiculous volumes of data the deal with, and how they analyse it efficiently.
WordPress won’t let me embed it, so check it out here. Dives head-on into Hapood, Pig, and Twitter’s own expansions on them.

I don’t have an iPhone4 yet

This morning I was up and at it early. With all the rumours overnight about the iPhone4 not making it to release in NZ today after all, I thought I’d be clever and be a the shop anyway. urns out 9am resulted in a no-show for the phone. Did some more research, and managed to view an internal Noel Leemings document which acknowledged that there would be a release through a limited number of Vodafone outlets. Just after this, as I headed back to the Queen Street Vodafone store, it was made public by the big V themselves.

Got there and got in the queue, about 20 people back, so no big dramas. They were going around handing out the sign-up forms which was when I hit a little snag (and this is my grumble too).

product-hero-iphone4Vodafone New Zealand management in their wisdom, decided that for the initial launch of the iPhone4 in New Zealand not only would they would only sell it on contract (no problems) but that, additionally, they would not allow subscribers paying break-fees to re-sign and get the iPhone4!! This I thought was a bit on the nose really, essentially existing Vodafone customers who wanted the iPhone4 were given the big proverbial finger. I did think about just signing for a new plan, and then just cancelling my existing one afterwards. The break-fees would be the same, but I didn’t want to be that much of an a$$ about it.

The very minor silver lining to this cloud is that I am on the list for the 2nd batch of phones to arrive in NZ, which should be mid-way through this coming week. I am going in to have a chat with them on Monday though, as I really was a bit grumpy that as a loyal Vodafone customer I was given the shaft.

Anyways, so I will actually be an Apple user of some description soon. iPad no, iPhone4 yes.

[Update – ahmad posts a more detailed breakdown of the woes we were struck by in How not to treat your customers – the Apple and Vodafone NZ example]


iPhone4 not in NZ yet afterall??

So, from the looks of things, the iPhone4 is not to be revealed to New Zealand shores today (Friday) afterall! At around 4pm today, the Vodafone iPhone landing page stopped being a “register your interest” page, and instead returned to being a 3G[S] information page. Meanwhile, the Apple NZ store iPhone page is still showing a “coming soon” message for the iPhone4.  The New Zealand Herald is reporting that the iPhone4 launch is off, as are Twitter reports (@SparkyNZ, @AhmadNZ) and other tech blogs.

Dreams are that Vodafone NZ could have done something like Vodafone Australia did, and actually do a launch worth being there for. A, well, dreams are free, eh??

I was all set and keen to be grabbing one in the AM, but it looks like my nearly move to almost fan-boi has been stymied by Apple themselves this time.

More news as it comes to hand.

my new spectacles

Still crook, but had to venture out briefly to pick up my new spectacles. Here they are:

Image0013                    Image0017

I am looking a bit grim, as I’m still stuffed up and not really able to talk at all.

I did walk into the shop next door to the optometrist and glance at the iPad as I was running early. I do like it, but I am not inspired to desperately grab one. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking it. I would definitely love to have one to play with, but for me it is definitely a luxury bit of tech, not an essential. Guess I’m still not a fan-boi yet. iPhone4 has me interested still though.

Ah well, back to bed now.

easy graphical dice generator in PHP

Just a simple little script which displays two die on screen. The faces are generated randomly, and are text-based, so no images required.





//Required code: This defines the dice array









//End required code



<font face='Lucida Console'>


<table border='1'>



<?php echo $dice[array_rand($dice)]; ?>



<?php echo $dice[array_rand($dice)]; ?>








quick update – Leroy Anderson, The Typewriter

php function to calculate the distance between co-ordinates

Just a little PHP function to calculate the distance between two coordinates. You can specify the units to be returned also.

function distance($lat1, $lon1, $lat2, $lon2, $unit) { 
  $theta = $lon1 - $lon2; 
  $dist = sin(deg2rad($lat1)) * sin(deg2rad($lat2)) +  cos(deg2rad($lat1)) * 
    cos(deg2rad($lat2)) * cos(deg2rad($theta)); 
  $dist = acos($dist); 
  $dist = rad2deg($dist); 
  $miles = $dist * 60 * 1.1515;

  $unit = strtoupper($unit);

  if ($unit == "K") {

    return ($miles * 1.609344); 

  } else if ($unit == "N") {
      return ($miles * 0.8684);
  } else {
        return $miles;

Usage is:

echo distance(32.9697, -96.80322, 29.46786, -98.53506, "m") . " miles";

Hope that’s of some use to someone. You can co-ordinate it with a function to get the lat-long of a pair of zip codes, and then calculate shipping distance for example.