Nick MacKechnie
#8 wire kinda guy.....

Fight or flight – Christchurch #eqnz

Friday, 17 June 2011 07:02 by Nick MacKechnie

Hi All,

I suspect that many of us in the Canterbury region have been navel gazing and contemplating life since the aftershocks/quakes on Monday. It left me with a sense of anger and frustration more so than the previous events in September and February. Although things have been far from normal since February, an element of normality was there with those that could returning to work, roads being patched, water becoming safe to drink, many having working sewerage etc.

Our children are our future, and when these types of things occur, it encourages you to checkpoint and consider if I’m doing the right thing by them in terms of the present and future.

Here’s a few thoughts I have:

Children are resilient and their needs are simple – a roof over their head, food, drink, people around them that love, support and care for them. So long as these basic needs can be met, the kids will continue to be happy and deal with things as they come along. The opportunity for us as parents is to be as honest as we can about the changes, and install confidence in them that things will get better.

These kids I believe as they grow up will be something very special. They have had to deal with change, fear, uncertainty, disruption and adapt (some better than others of course).  I believe what this creates is a individual who becomes less fearful of the unknown who is better armed to deal with the present and through the journey we have ahead of us, sees possibility and opportunity - I look forward to them entering the workforce. The only barriers we have are the ones we put up, equally I think they will challenge decisions of old, validate or encourage and drive change.

I was listening to More FM this morning, the crew were driving around the eastern suburbs offering small gifts of cash to those so badly affected. The last gentleman visited was badly damaged in the September quake (and still hasn’t heard or seen anyone from EQC) as they drove up the driveway, all you could hear was pouring water. The water up the drive was over the wheels on the 4WD vehicle. Since Monday 60000 litres of water had been drained from this street with the aftershocks subsequently bringing it all back. It’s soul destroying hearing these types of stories, and I’m positive there are many more like this that have not yet been reported.

I know a few people that have left town since Monday. There is NO shame in this, if it’s the right thing to do for you and your family, take the break, collect your thoughts and do what’s best for your family. A home is something you go home to after work and want to enjoy on the weekends. The psychological damage of going home to a house that reminds you of the damage across the city has a huge impact on the headspace people are in, as well as your ability to relax. I also understand the sense of feeling trapped – People with damaged houses still have commitments in terms of mortgages which can make it harder to make decisions about staying or leaving Christchurch.

The road a head won’t be a short nor easy one, I’m optimistic and excited about the future for Christchurch and see a wealth of possibilities in terms of a new city with  world class infrastructure that offers opportunities for the young and old. It’s about making smart decisions now with the future in mind for not only Christchurch, but look at how we can leverage this for the greater good of New Zealand.

Nick.

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The New Adventure – Update 01

Wednesday, 8 June 2011 04:03 by Nick MacKechnie

So it’s been a few weeks now since work commenced on repairing my home. I’ve been extremely impressed with the speed at which progress is being made – In two weeks my possessions have been packed up, carpet, fireplace and gib removed in the lounge, hallway and three bedrooms, insulation installed in the walls (can’t wait), front deck removed, and the house lifted ~1.5 metres off the ground. WP_000557WP_000555

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Currently the team are removing the ring foundation, piles and concrete steps, replacing and then lowering the house down again. It’s quite surreal seeing your place lifted off the ground and realising the ‘home’ that once was will be quite different once it’s a home again. I’m using this opportunity to make some alterations to the house which I’m quite excited about, as well as re-cabling for cat6, fibre, satellite, UHF, home entertainment as well as for the front and soon to be new back deck.

While I find myself ‘homeless’ for a while, my mind tends to wander and consider a few things. Every time I travel out of the city and connect with peers and customers, people are always keen to check in to see how things are going. I really appreciate the questions and thoughts of the kind folk asking.

I would imagine that it’s quite difficult to get a sense of perspective as to how things are really going on the ground versus the snippets in the press. We all deal with things differently and are at different points in understanding the impact of these disasters on our friends, family, employers/employees and our own personal home situation.

The thing I’m cognisant of is focusing on moving forward – we can’t change the past, it is what it is, so let’s learn from these disasters as well as the good, bad and ugly in order to make well informed decisions for our future as well as the generations to come. I see this is an awesome opportunity to build a world class city with infrastructure that will enable us create new opportunities for not only Canterbury but New Zealand.

I was fortunate enough to attend TedxCHCH a few weeks ago and really enjoyed the presentation by Art Agnos, the former Mayor of San Francisco during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake – If you have a few moments, have a look.

People who know me, know that once I have a destination in mind, it takes a bit to deter or slow me down. My thoughts go out to those who are less persistent, don’t have the know-how, the elderly who may be simply waiting for *something* or don’t want to ask for help. If are looking for help, please checkout the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority website -  http://www.cera.govt.nz/support-and-assistance.

I’m really fortunate to be in the position that I’m in with repairs underway - there are many that have less clarity around what’s happening, or have seen little or no progress.  If I can be of help to anyone, feel free to reach out.

Nick.

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The New Adventure

Thursday, 26 May 2011 08:06 by Nick MacKechnie

So… it’s the first chapter of a new book! Liam, Lachlan and I spent our last weekend together at my place before repairs began from the September the 4th Christchurch earthquake. It’s somewhat of a surreal experience moving out of your own house, having your things packed up, possessions taken away and stored, then having your ‘home’ pulled to pieces. Smile It’s been a challenging road working through the minefield of talking to and dealing with the Earthquake Commission (EQC), Insurance Companies, Loss Adjustor, Construction companies etc., however the persistence has paid off.

On Tuesday this week I completed relocating to alternative living accommodation (thanks mum), moved the work/home office and Falcon Construction began work. The February quake rendered my work office inaccessible as it’s located in the CBD / No Access zone.

The construction work at home will take approximately 16 weeks and involves lifting the house up 1.5 metres in height, removing the old foundations and piles, replacing, before lowering the house back down and then the restoration starts. The house needs to be bought up to current building compliance/standards, which means removing all internal gib, relining, adding insulation where there isn’t etc. – Effectively gutting the place, and starting again.

The house was built in 1955, located rurally in the south west of Christchurch. I’m in the very fortunate position where I am one of the first cabs off the rank in terms of these types of repairs. I’m looking forward to adding things new front and back decking, new kitchen, new doors etc. as well as fully cabling the house for everything geeky Smile.

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POST Christchurch Earthquake–22nd of February 2011 #eqc #chch

Tuesday, 1 March 2011 00:19 by Nick MacKechnie

Firstly I wanted to pass on my sincere thanks to all of you for your kind words, emails, texts and phone calls.  It’s been a tough week and hearing some friendly voices has made things more ‘normal’, so thanks!  All family and friends are safe and accounted for so I feel very fortunate. Our Christchurch office survived surprisingly well, however most buildings around us are decimated – we were very lucky to come out relatively unscathed ->a third of the CBD is unlikely to survive.

I thought I’d share some of my experiences from the Christchurch quake that hit on the 22nd of February 2011. I was in our building catching up with friends who work at Exeed (HP Distributors) before heading to lunch when the quake occurred. Our building shook extensively, we headed for something to shelter under as we saw plumes of dust and fly debris out the office window. After making sure everyone was OK, and the aftershocks subsided, we headed for the ground floor and out into High Street. We were greeted with something I can only describe as a war zone.

Here are some photos of the devastation I saw as I walked out the door. There was carnage everywhere, people running, screaming, yelling, standing still, trapped, cars abandoned etc. I encouraged those standing under things to move along and follow the crowd, and checked on a number of people who were clearly not in a good space. Like many, my car wasn’t accessible (and won’t be for along time) so I started my journey home. Given the amount of debris and the aftershocks still happening, walking out of the city was a long process. It took me a good few hours to walk out of the city and arrive at home. Sights of people walking and stepping into liquefaction and sinking knee height weren’t uncommon. Traffic was banked up for hours with people trying to rescue those who were without transport.  80% of Christchurch was without power at this stage, cell sites overloaded/on battery, no water, sewage, queues of people filling up at gas stations etc. – It gives you appreciation of how reliant we’ve become on technology. I was unable to make phone calls, texts and tweets were flying in, however I was couldn’t respond as there clearly wasn’t the bandwidth available. I eventually made contact with mum and my kids so it was a huge relief to know they were safe – I put them on a flight to Auckland as soon as I could.

I have taken refuge at a friends place, they have been spectacular in looking after me, having an open home to the many friends that have dropped in who have needed food and power to charge gadgets.

Workwise we have kicked off our response team to assist customers, partners, small businesses and the government where we can add the most value. Microsoft New Zealand is making the following support offerings available to affected customers and business partners. We hope this will help our customers as they respond to the disaster and rebuild their IT capability in the coming weeks and months. This offer is available for customers in the Canterbury Region for an initial 90 day period – Microsoft will review the offer and the period as we learn more about the precise assistance most commonly needed. Go here for more information.

The sense of helplessness is felt by many across the country/globe, equally for those of us on the ground the sentiments are similar. It’s a time to pull together as a community/country and help each other out. I believe that out of these types of events, there’s more of an opportunity to learn, grow and achieve some great outcomes if we work together. Hope, determination, smart decisions and some kiwi-know-how will get us through this. We are down, but not out – Thanks all for your continuing thoughts, calls, texts, prayers and assistance – it means alot and is appreciated.

Here’s a view of the city after the earthquake.

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Please visit the Canterbury Response website for the latest information on the Earthquake.

Nick.

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Parking tickets at Malls - Priceless

Wednesday, 30 June 2010 02:42 by Nick MacKechnie

Hi All,

Malls in Christchurch over the past few months have started to impose time limits of parking at the mall e.g.: 120 minutes by means to deter people from using it as free parking spot for other activities. I’m not a big fan of going to the mall to look about, I typically research things to death online, then shoot in and out as quickly as possible. We’ve been caught a few times with $40 fines for exceeding the 2 hour limit (for legitimate shopping), and I was venting at a mate who told me this wonderful story.

A lady from NZ Bank shot into a Christchurch mall, and was greeted with a $40 fine upon returning to the vehicle for being there for 2.5 hours. Given the industry she worked in, she understood the costs incurred by businesses of depositing cheques, so rather than sending in a cheque for $40, decided to send in 40 x $1 cheques.

So here’s the maths:

Cost of parking fine for browsing and purchasing goods at the mall -$40

Cost to Mall Management of depositing a cheque0.65c (40 x 0.65)

$40 - $26 =$14

(fine) - (bank fees) = (satisfaction)

The individual received a letter with the 40 cheques in it stating that the fine was wiped – priceless.

Nick

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DIY Digital Photo Frame

Thursday, 25 March 2010 10:08 by Nick MacKechnie

HI All,

Over the past few months, I’ve searched about for a decent digital photo frame to display our photos on. In New Zealand we seem to be limited to frames that have photos stored on a USB Stick/Flash drive, and it’s difficult to find photo frames that can be connected to a network in order to pull photos from a chosen source. The issue with this can be the ease at updating photos, and regularity of doing so – So I wanted to automate this as much as possible, and remove the need to physically “plug” something in.

Below is an old Toshiba Tecra S1 which has become the ‘brains’ of my Digital Photo frame.

DSCF8515 

I did a fair about of searching to see how others had converted laptops – Most had simply pulled the screen off the laptop, twisted the connecting cable between the laptop and the base, and then mounted it into some sort of case, typically a shadow box frame. I decided I wanted to completely remove the laptop from its casing make it look ‘pretty’ :-)

So with this in mind, I measured the full size of the main board, and screen area and depth of all the components, and visited a local framer – The Frame Workshop. He was very obliging, and did a stunning job for the modest sum of NZ$90.

Below is the view of the front of the frame – the black inlay is perspex, surrounded by wooden framing.

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View of the frame looking from the inside –> out.

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I lined the lcd screen up with the edges of the perspex, and then hot glue was applied in large quantities to hold it in place. I then cut some square timber to place at the top and bottom of the screen (and glued with wood glue), to enable me to screw the 4mm hard wood on top.

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The next job was to attach the main board to the hard wood - the more challenging aspect was to find 2.5mm x 20 mm nuts and bolts. I finally managed to track them down, and secured the main board.

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View from underneath.

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Main board now mounted securely into the frame.

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And finally attached the back to the frame.

DSCF8538External Power re-routed to the back, and holes drilled for power on/off and venting

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Back of frame completed

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And Test – Yes.. still works, phew :-)

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I'm using Windows XP to drive the photo frame, and using the default ‘my pictures’ screensaver. The machine boots up and automatically kicks off the screensaver which selects a new photo every few seconds to display.

Here’s the batch file I use in Startup to kick it off.

@Echo off
%systemroot%\system32\ssmypics.scr /s

DSCF8528 DSCF8529

Now the useful part. As I mentioned in the beginning, one of the failings of most photo frames in my opinion, is the requirement to remember to grab the memory stick out of the side, and update the photos etc. What I wanted was the ability to update the photos from any machine I wanted, as well as while I travel via a mobile device (cellphone).  The frame has both a 10/100 network card and a wireless card and is always connected to the internet.

Enter Live Mesh. Mesh gives you the ability to add/remove photos (and files) from any Windows or Mac PC, as well as a Windows mobile cellphone.  So I simply created a mesh folder with my cellphone and a few of our machines and now when I add a new photo to one of the PC’s or my cellphone, it synchronised and updates the ‘photoframe’ – Job done!

 

Aben Samuel tweeted this on FB, so I decided to get a t-shirt printed :-)

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Noel Lemming - Extended Warranties Updated & Conclusion

Thursday, 4 February 2010 02:46 by Nick MacKechnie

Hi All,

I’ve always been the kind of person that prefers to buy higher end appliances, and purchase the extended warranty for piece of mind. I’ve never had to ‘claim’ before, however this week that changed, and the process to date has been very painful. We have a DVD Recorder which we use religiously for Home Theatre, recording a bit of TV etc and on Saturday it gave up the ghost. None of the buttons work, the remote was ignored, so it would seem that something has popped due to heat. So we’re 4.5 yrs into the 5 year warranty and it was time now to track down my invoice. I’m pretty particular about keeping such things, so before long I was happy to find it, and know I would be covered under the terms of the extended warranty. I popped down to the local Noel Lemming’s on Sunday, where I was told I had to contact the 0800 number during business hours (or I could do this online - www.nzclaim.com/noelleeming) in order to receive a valid claim number. I was told this could take up to 3 days before I receive one, and then I could take the unit to the appropriate repairer. I guess my bone of contention here is the fact that 1. I have to ‘wait’ to be approved for something under Warranty (This isn’t insurance is it?) and 2. I’m now into day three of waiting and I hadn’t heard anything back until I called again. I asked for a note to be added to the notes to say I had called yesterday and today and I will again today. Do they hope/assume that people mislay the paper work and never make a claim?

Has anyone else had this kind of experience?

I received this email after my phone call from them today – It’s from the Underwriter of the Warranty - International Underwriters Group - http://www.nzclaim.com/noelleeming. I guess it would be nice to know when purchasing the Warranty that it is ‘outsourced’, and when I asked how long it would take to have a resolution after reviewing the email, the answer was 3-5 business days. This seems a _long_ time for a company to do the right thing.

From: noreply@iugonline.com

Sent: Wednesday, 3 February 2010 2:23 p.m.

To: Nick MacKechnie

Subject: Claim Update - Reference Number: IUG-SXXXXXXXXXX

=====================================================

THIS IS AN AUTOMATED EMAIL – PLEASE DO NOT REPLY

=====================================================

Claim Reference Number: IUG-SXXXXXXXXXX

We have reviewed the information entered on the Contact Us and have the

following reply.

We are currently looking at all of our options first before making a decision

on your claim. We are currently awaiting for Noel Lemming to come back to us

to see what replacement they have available so we can make a decision, once

this has been made you will be notified of it. Thank you.

To contact us about any aspect of your claim

=============================================================================

1) PLEASE DO NOT REPLY TO THIS EMAIL

2) Go to www.nzclaim.com/noelleeming

3) Click the "Click here to enter" link

4) Click the "Existing Claim" link

5) Enter the Claim Reference number above together with your Last Name (this

must be the same name you entered when you first logged your claim).

6) Click on the "Contact Us" tab and complete the relevant sections

Thanks again and we look forward to assisting you further.

Regards

IUG Claims Department

www.nzclaim.com/noelleeming

0800 4 SUPERCOVER (478737)

I’ll update this post as things change... It seems like an awful process that doesn’t support customers who are loyal and I will most certainly think twice about purchasing goods from these guys again.

Update

Less than 30 minutes after posting this, and advising some key people in Sony and NLG/IUG, I received this:

From:    noreply@iugonline.com
Sent:    Wednesday, 3 February 2010 3:13 p.m.
To:    Nick MacKechnie
Subject:    Claim Repairer Details - Reference Number: IUG-SXXXXXXXXX

Follow Up Flag:    Follow up
Flag Status:    Flagged

================================================
THIS IS AN AUTOMATED EMAIL – PLEASE DO NOT REPLY
================================================

Claim Reference Number: IUG-SXXXXXXXXX

Repairer Details
================
Next Electronic Servicing Limited,
127 Antigua Street
, Addington, Christchurch 8002, New Zealand
Tel: 033662002

Return To Base Warranty Repairs
===============================
* Please deliver the faulty product to the repairer detailed above.
* Please attach details of your claim reference number to your faulty product.
To do this you can choose to print the summary page that appears when you have
completed logging your claim and attach it to the product.
* If you are sending by mail/courier you are responsible for all costs of
doing so and ensuring that it is suitably packaged to avoid damage during
transit.
* Please ensure that you quote the claim reference number provided when
discussing your claim with the repairer.

To check the current status or review your claim at any time
==============================================================
1) Go to www.nzclaim.com/noelleeming
2) Click the "Click here to enter" link
3) Click the "Existing Claim" link
4) Enter the Claim Reference number above together with your Last Name (this
must be the same name you entered when you first logged your claim).

Thanks again and we look forward to assisting you further.

Regards

IUG Claims Department
www.nzclaim.com/noelleeming
0800 4 SUPERCOVER (478737)

So I’ve now dropped the unit off for repair/diagnosis at Next Electronics, and I should know the status within 5 working days. Good progress, pity about the pain thus far! J

Final Update

Well yesterday, day 5, I received the following settlement offer from IUG for the DVD recorder I had purchased. The settlement price offered was the original purchase price in the form of a voucher at Noel Lemming.

From:    noreply@iugonline.com
Sent:    Wednesday, 10 February 2010 1:27 p.m.
To:    Nick MacKechnie
Subject:    Settlement Offer - Reference Number: IUG-SXM10341656

Follow Up Flag:    Follow up
Flag Status:    Flagged

=====================================================

  THIS IS AN AUTOMATED EMAIL – PLEASE DO NOT REPLY

=====================================================

Claim Reference Number: IUG-SXXXXXXXXX

Your faulty product is beyond economic repair, therefore we intend to offer
you a settlement in accordance with your extended service plan terms and
conditions.

=====================================================

Being happy with the settlement outcome, I drove down to the local Noel Lemming to have a look at the units available, so I could find a replacement unit. I was greeted by Ken (Sales consultant) in the Moorhouse Avenue branch and he showed me the options available.

The conversation led onto the challenges I had had in terms of getting to the point where I was today. Ken asked me if I would mind relaying my experience to the Sales Manager as this type of feedback was often heard second hand by him – so he introduced me to the Sales/Branch Manager (James Cuttance).

James was excellent, listened to my feedback and made it clear Noel Lemming took this type of thing seriously and would stand behind the Warranty in the event where the customer was unhappy with the outcome, or a party didn’t step up appropriately. He made a kind offer of me finding the unit I wanted and then making things right on the difference. I kindly thanked him for the offer, and explained that that wasn’t my intention of raising the issue – more so that if this would help others in a smother transaction over these types of claims in the future then this exercise would have been worthwhile.

For me as a consumer,  the experience of walking in with a proof of purchase to a Noel Lemming Store, having the unit accepted as being under warranty and then the rest of the process being hidden from me would have lead to a much better outcome from my perspective. There is nothing worse than felling like you’re being pulled from pillar to post, running around to various places, dealing with multiple people to drive aggravation. I understand the acceptance, approval, delivery to repairer, go/no go on repair etc has to happen, however I’m not so sure I have to be , or should be part of the process. From my perspective I bought the unit and Warranty from Noel Lemming, I don’t care about about the backend things that needed to happen.

Two other points that I’d like to mention –

1. Upon the approval of the settlement, IUG then send you a voucher in the post to the agreed value. This can take up to five days. From a customers perspective, why cant this be emailed to me and then presented to NL with an approval number or you are asked what your local NL branch is, and that they have been advised and your account has been credited (and they backend magic happens). Seems absurd that I have to wait 3 days for approval, another 5 potentially for repair/replacement/settlement and then potentially another 5 days to receive my voucher before most people will replace their purchase.

2.NL no longer sell 5 year extended Warranties – this has been reduced to 3 years. The cynic in me assumes that MTF (meantime between failures) is in the first x hours of use or after 3 years, and therefore the likelihood of a customer claiming is drastically reduced, therefore money for jam…

Right, on a more positive note, I ended up purchasing one of he Panasonic HD HD/DVD Recorders - Panasonic DMR-XW350.

Panasonic-DMR-XW350_1

Features & Benefits

Integrated Twin HD Digital Tuner

The DMR-XW350 features Twin HD Digital Tuners for your viewing & recording enjoyment. The integrated twin tuner allows for Digital broadcasting reception without the use of an external tuner incorporated into a set-top box. High quality digital television enjoyment has never been easier with a Panasonic Recorder. The hybrid digital tuner offers HD/SD recording.

VIErA Cast

The DMR-XW350 also supports the new Panasonic VIErA Cast, facilitating access to popular sites YouTube and Picasa through the DVD Recorder

7 Day EPG

The DMR-XW350 also supports 7 day Electronic Program Guide where transmitted by each broadcaster, 7 day EPG makes recording a breeze, simply select the program you wish to record by name rather than remembering days, dates and times.

HDMI Connection

With HDMI connection, recorded images are transmitted with no deterioration for high quality reproduction. Both video and audio signals are transmitted over a single cable, so connection is easier and there is less clutter in your home theatre cabinet or stand.

VIErA-Link for easy operation

With a single cable, HDMI enables transmission of not only A/V signals but also control signals. All you have to do to enjoy a new level of operation convenience is hook up to a VIErA or home theatre system with VIErA Link compatibility. When you want home theatre entertainment, for example, just press the VIErA-Link button on the remote. Power to all the components switches on, TV input and other settings are automatically adjusted, and the show's ready to begin. It's that easy.

New features include:
Auto Preset Download - Connect the Recorder to your VIErA TV via an HDMI cable, and the channel setting information is automatically downloaded to the Recorder as well as the aspect ratio of your TV.

Direct TV Record - If you want to record the program you're watching, you can start recording it quickly and easily by pressing the VIErA-Link button on the VIErA remote control and selecting "Direct TV Record" on the VIErA Link menu, recording starts almost instantly.

Pause Live TV - Pause Live TV lets you freeze TV  programs just like pausing a DVD, by selecting "Pause Live TV" on the VIErA Link Menu. The TV programs is temporarily save on the hard disk drive so you can watch the rest of the program , right from the stopped frame, at a later time. Alternatively you can press the "Pause" button on your Recorder remote and the channel you're watching is Paused for up to 8 hours.

250GB Hard Disk Drive

The built-in 250GB Hard Disk Drive lets you record an enormous amount of programming without using a DVD. With a massive 441 hours of capacity and editing capabilities, you can have the freedom to store a massive amount of your favourite programs. Should you wish to archive the information, you can easily record it to DVD.

2x Resolution in LP Mode

Our recorders provide exceptional recording quality. You can enjoy viewing extended recordings (4 hours, single-sided DVD-RAM/-R) with exceptionally detailed images and 2x the picture quality. The virtual multi encode system provides LP recording mode with 500 lines of horizontal resolution - twice the resolution of conventional LP recording mode.

500 Line Horizontal Resolution

4x Natural Gradation (12-bit Analogue to Digital Converter)

Greater natural gradation and amazingly rich pictures are delivered with 4096 steps of grey. The 12-bit analogue-to-digital converter has 4x the gradation found with a conventional 10-bit analogue-to-digital converter. Resulting in a faithful reproduction of details, so you can see for the first time, everything there is to see!

12 bit Analogue to Digital Converter

441 Hours Extended Recording Time with EP Mode

The innovative engine inside Panasonic Recorders assures long recording time combined with outstanding picture quality. Our  recorders offer the unique combination of outstanding picture quality and long recording time to either Hard Disk Drive or DVD. You can record up to 8 hours of material on a single-sided DVD or 14 hours 20 minutes onto a dual layer DVD.

Super Multi-Format Recording & Playback

Incredible recording versatility with Super Multi-Format recording and playback. You can enjoy recording of DVD-RAM, DVD-R, DVD-R DL, DV-RW, DVD+R, DVD+R DL, DVD+RW.

Digital Camera Linking through USB Terminal & SD Memory Card

DMR-XW350 is equipped with an SD Memory Card and USB terminal. This makes it easy to view photos from any digital camera that uses an SD memory Card or USB cable. Just slip the SD Memory Card into the card slot or use the cable to connect the camera to the DIGA recorder's USB terminal, and you're ready to enjoy a spectacular big-screen slide show with family or friends.

DV-Input for Easy Transfer from a Digital Video Camera

With the DMR-XW350 transferring material recorded on a Digital Video Camera is Quick & Easy. You can simply transfer digital recording to Hard Disk Drive or DVD while maintaining breaks in your recording. DV-Input is the ideal solution for those wishing to transfer material from a video camera while maintaining the high quality.

Direct Navigator for Easy and Quick Search

With Direct Navigator technology graphical user interface you  can find desired material on the hard drive quickly. Just press the direct navigator button to display thumbnails of all the programs on the hard disk drive or a DVD-RAM disc, then, select the one you want and press enter. It's that easy! and with "List Display" you can sort the programs by date or title.

Time Slip Function

Chasing Playback:

Set your Recorder to begin recording, then with Chasing Playback you can commence viewing the program at any stage during recording.

Simultaneous Recording & Playback:

Enjoy watching a pre-recorded program or DVD while recording two programs. You can conveniently catch up on the previous week's episode while recording this week's program.

16:9 Widescreen Recording

The DMR-XW350 will record 16:9 Aspect Ratio (Widescreen) when receiving Widescreen input from either HD or SD Digital broadcast transmission. Recording is performed as normal and you will be able to view full 16:9 format for playback.

Nick.

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8 Years down…and still loving it

Tuesday, 2 February 2010 04:25 by Nick MacKechnie

Hi All,

2010, Welcome! This Thursday marks my 8th year at Microsoft New Zealand (so I’ll be enjoying my day off!). I started back in 2002 in our old Auckland office on Fanshawe Street and remember my first day very well.

I turned up to work in a suit and tie and Warrick Smith (my manager at the time) politely suggested I take the jacket off, and offered me a few Microsoft branded polo’s to wear. For a young chap, walking into this new environment from the traditional corporate world was both an exciting and intimidating experience. I had dealt with many Microsoft people over the years, their knowledge was wide and deep on their technologies as well as their integration with other platforms. The silence of people beavering away was deafening and being surrounded by people who were enthusiastic, passionate and smart has become something I’m extremely thankful for and thrive on - I was handed my laptop and asked to set it up, which in a corporate environment seemed weird, but something I appreciate upon reflection. We operate in what I call an organised chaos desktop environment (OCDE – I think I’ll add that to Wikipedia.org J) – there’s the corporate computer image you can deploy (we didn’t really have one back in those days), or you can build your own machine as long as it has a few core applications deployed and it’s service packed/patched appropriately. This was a far cry from my previous roles at Fletchers, where we (IT) mandated the SOE and controlled the technology stack from top to bottom.

I remember Warrick handing me my login ID and temporary password, and seeing my email address... Wow, now that’s cool, a microsoft.com email address. As I look back over the years, I count myself as very fortunate and lucky to be working here. I’ve learnt so much, and continue to do so on a daily basis through my internal and external interactions and engagements.

Things have changed a lot in terms of our image, reputation, the way we interact with partners and customers, listen and take on feedback, our technologies and services we offer. We learn from our mistakes (sometimes not as quickly as we would like) and genuinely want to make a difference in our domestic and international markets.

I still enjoy coming to work every day with the hope and desire to make a difference, to learn new things and help people – We all have an opinion, view, and experience to guide us – we should challenge the decisions of yesterday and today to validate that we are doing things for the right reasons and working for the best possible outcome. Because we’ve been doing things this way for the last year/s, doesn’t ensure we will meet the needs of tomorrow and that we are aligned to business goals and strategy.

So thanks for the last 8 years, and I’m sure I’ll be here for another!

Nick.

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Exchange 2010 Active Sync Issue

Saturday, 21 November 2009 08:04 by Nick MacKechnie

Hi All,

I’ve spent the last few days migrating to Hyper-V, SQL 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2 and Exchange 2010 from 3 machines - Windows Server 2003, SQL 2005 and Exchange 2003. The last thing I had to turn on/get going was Active-Sync for syncing mail with home via a mobile device. This failed miserably, as per the below event log on my Exchange 2010 Server.

Log Name:      Application

Source:        MSExchange ActiveSync

Date:          11/20/2009 12:23:07 PM

Event ID:      1053

Task Category: Configuration

Level:         Error

Keywords:      Classic

User:          N/A

Computer:      <server>.thenet.gen.nz

Description:

Exchange ActiveSync doesn't have sufficient permissions to create the "CN=<name>,OU=<OU Name>,DC=thenet,DC=gen,DC=nz" container under Active Directory user "Active Directory operation failed on <server>.thenet.gen.nz. This error is not retriable. Additional information: Access is denied.

Active directory response: 00000005: SecErr: DSID-031521D0, problem 4003 (INSUFF_ACCESS_RIGHTS), data 0

".

Make sure the user has inherited permission granted to domain\Exchange Servers to allow List, Create child, Delete child of object type "msExchangeActiveSyncDevices" and doesn't have any deny permissions that block such operations.

Details:%3

Event Xml:

<Event xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/win/2004/08/events/event">

  <System>

    <Provider Name="MSExchange ActiveSync" />

    <EventID Qualifiers="49156">1053</EventID>

    <Level>2</Level>

    <Task>2</Task>

    <Keywords>0x80000000000000</Keywords>

    <TimeCreated SystemTime="2009-11-19T23:23:07.000000000Z" />

    <EventRecordID>9577</EventRecordID>

    <Channel>Application</Channel>

    <Computer><server>.thenet.gen.nz</Computer>

    <Security />

  </System>

  <EventData>

    <Data>CN=<name>,OU=<OU Name>,DC=thenet,DC=gen,DC=nz</Data>

    <Data>Active Directory operation failed on <server>.thenet.gen.nz. This error is not retriable. Additional information: Access is denied.

Active directory response: 00000005: SecErr: DSID-031521D0, problem 4003 (INSUFF_ACCESS_RIGHTS), data 0

</Data>

  </EventData>

</Event>

The work around was pretty simple, however took me some time trolling through external and internal Knowledge Base Articles. I came across this article, however it didn’t seem to address the issue.

Here’s how I managed to get it sorted -

On a Domain Controller, Click on Start/All Programs/Administrative Tools/Active Directory Users and Computers

Capture1

Click on View and Select Advanced Features

Select a mailbox that isn’t working with Active Sync, double click on the account, Select the Security Tab and then the Advanced Button.

Capture2

Select Exchange Servers, and tick the Include inheritable permissions toggle then Apply and OK.

Capture

This issue is currently bugged and is likely to be fixed with an update in the future – It seems to be a symptom of ‘upgrading’.

Nick.

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What is SkyDrive Explorer

Friday, 6 November 2009 23:23 by Nick MacKechnie

SkyDrive Explorer is a free, easy-to-use, but very powerful extension for Windows Explorer. With SkyDrive Explorer you can make any every-day operations with your documents from Microsoft Live SkyDrive™ service (read more...) using Windows Explorer, as if they were on your computer.

Moreover you don't need to install and configure any additional programs or ActiveX components. SkyDrive Explorer will organize the interaction with the online storage itself.

Features

Multifunctional
Multifunctional

With the current beta version you can enjoy the following functionality:

  • View the structure and contents of folders in SkyDrive™;
  • View files information (type, size, creation date in GMT format);
  • Create new root folders and subfolders;
  • Copy files into the storage;
  • Delete files and folders;
  • Copy files from the storage to the computer;
  • Copy folders and subfolders from the storage to the computer keeping their structure;
  • Use Drag & Drop for files operations;
  • Rename files and folders;
  • Create links to SkyDrive™ folders on your computer;
  • Copy URL of the selected object(s) to the Clipboard; New
  • Automatic check for the latest version;New
  • Bidirectional languages support.New
Fast
Perfomance

SkyDrive Explorer allows applying some operations for group of objects that is not possible in web browser. This increases performance of work with SkyDrive™.

Examples of multi-operations are:

  • Renaming objects;
  • Deleting group of objects;
  • Copying folders with subfolders and files from SkyDrive™.
Easy
Easy

You don't need to know how to work with the SkyDrive™ service in web browser. To work efficiently with your data in SkyDrive Explorer you just use base operations with files and folders in Windows Explorer.

Secure
Secure

SkyDrive Explorer uses the standard Microsoft library for work with Windows Live Id services. Your personal information does not leave this library and even is not passed to SkyDrive Explorer engine. Also, the traffic with online storage goes through HTTPS protocol that protects data from snoopers.

Cross-platform
32/64 bit OS support

SkyDrive Explorer works both in 32- and 64-bit Microsoft® Windows OS. Minimal required OS is Windows XP, and SkyDrive Explorer will successfully work in Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003 and 2008, and Windows 7.

SkyDrive Explorer 1.2 Beta has been released, download here.

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