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

Country prepares for chaos on roads – Tomorrow!

Friday, 4 July 2008 05:04 by Nick MacKechnie

Police are urging motorists and commuters across the country to either get to work early tomorrow morning or take the day off work to avoid getting caught up in planned action by truckies over increases in road charges.


Police have advised motorists to arrive at work before 7.30am or to avoid travelling on the region's motorways and streets altogether, so as not to get caught up in what will likely be hours of gridlock.

Police have been advised that up to 2,000 heavy trucks will converge on Auckland's CBD after travelling along northern, southern, eastern and western feeder motorways from about 7.30am.

police have predicted that even if the truck numbers are significantly less, there will be heavy congestion around the CBD until midday.

Acting Inspector Ross Endicott-Davies of the Auckland City Police District said police will be doing their best to manage the event and work with the trucking industry.

"Traffic movements within the city will be controlled by SCATS (Sydney Controlled Automated Traffic System) but traffic flows are not expected to get back to normal for several hours after the protest has finished."

He advised people travelling to the airport for early morning flights, to get there well in advance or to consider staying overnight in a hotel, or similar accommodation, near the airport.


Wellington police have also advised commuters to avoid motorways and the CBD.

More than 100 trucks were expected to travel in convoy on State Highways 1 and 2, leaving McKays Crossing and Seaview, near Petone, from 7am.

Inspector Simon Perry said the volume of trucks would cause huge delays on the motorway systems, and gridlock the central city.

"This protest is happening in peak time and the convoys may merge as they approach the CBD.

"We expect motorists will need to factor an extra 90 minutes delay into their travel time."


Christchurch police said to expect delays in the north and south of Christchurch.

The truckers are planning to approach the city in convoy from Kaiapoi in the north, via Main North Rd and Papanui Rd.

In the south truckies will protest along Sockburn Rd and Blenheim Rd.

Inspector Derek Erasmus of Christchurch police said the Road Transport Forum had assured police that all truckies would be following rules, they would comply with traffic signs and road rules.

Motorists should take the obvious precautions of allowing extra time, avoiding the main two routes where possible and to be patient.

In town motorists should expect extra trucks on the road. It is believed they will mostly circle the city center and leave via Victoria Street.

Inspector Erasmus says he is unsure how many will be involved but is expecting up to 200 extra trucks on Christchurch roads.

"Obviously depending on their size there will be delays at intersections in Christchurch. Convoys will become broken as they progress through intersections."

"We expect drivers will behave responsibly and comply with law," said Erasmus. "The main issue will be congestion."


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Work/Life Balance..

Wednesday, 18 June 2008 00:49 by Nick MacKechnie

Hi All,

I thought I’d share a bit of a perspective on working for a company I enjoy working for, in a city I enjoy living in. I’m working for a large US multinational, we make some cool stuff, have the ability to solve business problems through smart adoption and deployment of technology, we innovate and invest heavily in R&D and I’m living in Christchurch, New Zealand – sound terrible so far?

We lived in Auckland for 9 years and our intention was always to come back and settle with family and friends, the challenge we had was that I love working for Microsoft and I wasn’t ready to close that book. Microsoft as an employer invests heavily in training, soft skills, has a great culture and provides a wealth of opportunities to employees in New Zealand as well as around the globe. So I wanted the best of all worlds – and I managed to get it.

If I look back at the decision making process of moving back down to Christchurch, and some of the conversations I had with my management, One of the questions that stands out for me, was “How effective do you think you can be down South?” – My response is simple – Microsoft is a technology company, we have designed, built, tested and released a wealth of solutions that enable people to work from pretty much anywhere in the world. I’m not a person who gives up easily, and distance will be no barrier to me being able to do my job based in Christchurch, as well as contributing to the New Zealand business and beyond.

So rather than preaching, I thought I’d flip it around and ask some questions -

Where else can you work for a company that:

· Has a strong focus on helping the greater good of people through giving programmes for Health and Education as well as enabling staff to do payed volunteer work

· Wants to retain great staff and enables them to live and work from most locations around the world

· Make it right – If we do fall over our feet, will stand up, we are accountable and ensure the customer is looked after appropriately

· Has changed the way we live our lives though self belief, hard work, great people, technology, and research and development

· Drives employee behaviour heavily by customer satisfaction – the reality is that happy customers buy more

· Has a very long term view of research and development – Out of failures comes an opportunity to learn and grow and ability to re-use learnings

· If at first we don’t succeed, we try, try again

· Has produced some kick-arse software and hardware

· Has a flat management structure and promotes the ability to escalate and communicate when appropriate

· Has nice finishing touches to make your working week easier – fresh fruit to all floors, an acceptance that we all work hard, and therefore also need to play hard, recognises that people may have different work styles and measures on output rather than legacy work patterns

Why am I bleating on about this? Since moving back down in Christchurch, I’ve come across a lot of old friends, who are happy-ish with their job, and see this as it. I find myself very fortunate to be paid to do my hobby, work for an organisation that I enjoy working for, and living in a great city that offers what we are looking for as a family, and to be apart of something bigger than Christchurch and New Zealand. Moral of the Story – If you are going to spend a large amount of you’re life doing something, why the hell not do something you enjoy doing!


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Unbundled Broadband in New Zealand...

Saturday, 7 June 2008 10:16 by Nick MacKechnie

Well the second Internet Service Provider (ISP) Vodafone/IHug in New Zealand has completed rollouts of their own equipment in 19 Auckland exchanges as part of unbundling of the local loop and they plan to continue doing so to other areas of New Zealand.

The ADSL2+ technology used offers a theoretical speed of up to 24 megabits per second, although this drops off the further away the customer is from the exchange. The more interesting thing to understand is the speed of the backhaul from the exchange to the ISP. ie: you may have an excellent sync speed to the DSLAM/exchange, however your throughput/performance may still be very average - I wonder when more focus and investment on the backhaul's will happen?

So below is my Sync speeds to the DSLAM, and the throughput test from home to Wellington - Citylink (via

We have come a long way since the days of dial-up, however broadband is still IMHO overpriced and the speed/datacap offered to standard New Zealanders is very average.

Update - 09 June 2008

Speed test from work is _slightly_ better :-)

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