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

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 - 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 - 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.


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

To: Nick MacKechnie

Subject: Claim Update - Reference Number: IUG-SXXXXXXXXXX




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



2) Go to

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.


IUG Claims Department

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.


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

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


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
* 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
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.


IUG Claims Department
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.

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




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


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.


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.


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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 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 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!


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Pictionaire, a new Multitouch Table from Microsoft Research

Tuesday, 2 February 2010 01:14 by Nick MacKechnie


A joint project from Microsoft Research and the University of California brings us another touchscreen, mutitouch table-top computing experience. Like a larger version of Surface, the Pictionaire, as it’s called, is also operated via human touch using gestures made on the table’s surface. However, unlike Surface, the camera used features a higher resolution - and it’s positioned above the computer’s screen, via a mount on the ceiling. With this setup, the camera can “see” the items placed on the table and when the item is removed, it can be replaced with a digital version. For example, if you place a keyboard on the table, the Pictionaire will pull up a text-entry box. If you place a sketchbook on the table, a digital version of the page soon appears. You can even do this process in reverse – the Pictionaire can project a digitized image onto the real life object, like the digital sketchpad image projected onto a piece of paper so you can trace it back onto the physical page.

To see the Pictionaire in action, check out the videos posted over on Slashgear. The Pictionaire will be demonstrated at the Computer Supported Cooperative Work conference in Savannah, Georgia, this month.

(via New Scientist)

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