Hi. I was at TEDxChristchurch today. If you couldn’t make it, The Press was live streaming the day on their website, and videos will be up on TEDxChristchurch’s website soon. Coming to TEDx each year is like watching a child grow up because the quality of the event gets better every year – like design of the slides introducing speakers, audience participation methods, and the name tag/programme.
Here’s why you need to watch the videos of the talks when they go online… (And also because I’ve missed bits, I’ve misinterpreted and I’ve probably misquoted a little.)
Please provide details of the requirements you wish to be exempted from and why you wish to be exempt from them The new age of 17 and six months to get a full licence (w/ approved course) I understand that the exemption will apply from the [date I will have had my restricted licence for a year]
What have you done to mitigate the risks to road safety? As of [x] I will have help my restricted licence for 12 months. I have completed an approved course (cert attached) I have not committed any traffic offending (including speeding or breaching licence conditions)
Question 5: What events have been occurred to make the legislated requirements unnecessary or inappropriate in your case? Change of the age to get a full licence was not well publicized. If I had booked my licence test before the age changed, the new age wouldn’t have applied to me.
Their reply to “Random” Pak’nSave Bag Searches. No comment on women with handbags or what happens if I did have something in my bag that I had bought from another supermarket.
I can confirm that our bag policy is applicable regardless of a customer’s age and is simply designed to prevent an ongoing shoplifting issue which we are trying to manage. We have a prominent sign in-store which clearly states that ‘We reserve the right to check all bags and may require you to leave large bags with a staff member while shopping.’
While I do appreciate having your bag checked is an inconvenience, unfortunately due to the level of shoplifting we experience in-store, it is an unavoidable part of how we are forced to do business, we would certainly prefer to not check customer’s bags but sometimes even with cameras and other security measures we are left with no option. I apologise if you felt you were unfairly treated and I hope you will continue to shop at my store.
My staff remain committed to giving our customers the best possible shopping experience, and by endeavouring to keep shoplifting to a minimum we hope we can deliver the lowest everyday prices.
On 15 December I shopped at Riccarton Pak’nSave with a group of other young people.
After purchasing items at a self-checkout directly in front of one of your staff (really, she was right beside me), she requested to search my bag. I had not touched the bag during my visit so this request was not based on any actual evidence that I had attempted to steal something, like from a store detective or a camera.
It was extremely obvious that this was not a random search, as she called it. It was because of my age. Three other people from our group were selected for a “random” search. I wonder how many women with handbags were searched that day? I know my friend that came through the self-checkout after us wasn’t.
I declined the request.
I waited for the rest of our group and left the store. I was followed by a store manager who put his arm touching up against me, and tried to stop me from leaving. I declined again, which I have the right to do, no matter your signage, and walked away.
It’s disgusting to treat your paying customers like this.
Do you consider that bags contain personal possessions? That most people wouldn’t decline your request to search, because it makes them look and feel like a criminal? That searching personal possessions could reveal, say, a private medical condition?
I wonder what the purpose of these “random” searches are. Say I did consent to the search, I had items in my bag that I didn’t buy or steal from Pak’nSave, but that you sell. I didn’t have the receipt. What would happen then? Would you accuse me of stealing those items? Would you call the police on me? If not, why are you searching young people? Scare tactics? That isn’t the definition of a reasonable search.
If it is your policy to target young people or people with backpacks (read: young people), it needs to change. It is discriminatory and wrong.
If you weren’t the only supermarket at Westfield Riccarton, I wouldn’t shop with you again.
Update 28 September 2012: This post was written before I started working for a bank (who I love dearly), and at least some views expressed in this post have changed since then (eg. case-insensitive passwords (and ASB isn’t the only bank that does this) are irrelevant when users are locked out after three incorrect login attempts–Facebook does something similar to this, accepting the actual password, the password with the first letter capitalized (to account for automatic capitalization on mobile devices), and the password with the case of letters reversed (to account for the caps lock key being on), and that a charge for a bank cheque is not so unreasonable in the context of a lot of bank cheques being for a large amount). Also some bank policies have changed since this post was published (eg. ASB no longer charges $2 for automatic payments added/amended online–progress!) There is, however, no way of getting around ASB’s $0.20 fee for a Netcode over-$500-transfer-authorization if you don’t have a token–it is charged even if you call the 0800 number and ask them to release the payment. Except for a note regarding the previous sentence, this post hasn’t been edited from the original form.
And useful (see: next day bank transfers).
I’m with ASB and they are great, however no one is perfect. Here’s some things that I hate about banks in New Zealand. Many of these problems are shared by the entire industry.
Or the fact that ASB keeps trying to convert me to one even though I’m not allowed one.
Here’s mailer number one, received the week of my 17th birthday:
And mailer two, from today:
Irrelevant: check. Impersonal: check. You know how to make a guy feel special ASB. (Case in point: I’m not 18 so they couldn’t give me my own credit card even if they really really wanted to).
This is upsetting because I have a feeling tertiary accounts have less fees than youth accounts. At least, it isn’t emphasized that service fees apply to tertiary accounts like it is for youth accounts on ASB’s fee exemption page. Service fees apply for everyone, see comment from ASB below.
Stupid bank fees
ASB isn’t the only bank that charges stupid fees, but here are some examples of theirs:
$2 to set up or amend an automatic payment or add a person you might want to transfer money to again (like the power company, or mum). Online. On the internet. Changing an entry in a database. By yourself.
20 cents for each time you use Netcode, ASB’s text verification service, which you can choose to happen on login. Google, who isn’t even in New Zealand doesn’t charge for this (see below). Probably get charged 20 cents again by your mobile service provider for receiving the text. Some sort of verification is required for some transactions that take you over a $500 daily transfer limit, or if you’re sending money overseas. Alternatively, you can ring their call center to get transactions verified for [email protected]!! I wonder if the time of the person you speak to on the phone is worth less than 20 cents?See update at top of post–20 cents is charged even if you call the 0800 number.
Alternatively you can pay $12 a year for a physical Netcode token, which you’d need if you are regularly out of cellphone reception and probably if you travel overseas. RaboDirect provides these for free. BNZ provides the NetGuard card for free.
5 cents for each email alert. For the virtual stamp. Or the person who licks it. Or something.
20 cents for text alerts and text banking. I think they charge you when they receive a text banking message from you. Plus you probably get charged to send texts to them by your service provider. In contrast, Westpac provides a certain number of text alerts free per month as long as you log in to online banking that month.
$5 for bank cheques. Plus because you probably have an “electronic” account, and if you’re not a youth/student, a fee of $3 because that’s a manual transaction.
“Please note, your password must be eight characters long, and contain at least two letters (a-z) and at least two numbers (0-9). For example, redbus73 and 8cube224 are valid passwords.”
This is ASB’s. I assume other banks are as ridiculous. Would you like a nine character password? YOU CAN’T. MUST BE EIGHT.
Microsoft’s (now defunct) password checker says both of their examples are weak. ASB lets you use both of their examples as real passwords, because security.
Here’s an entry form I picked up from BNZ’s tent at The Show:
Note the classy clause at the bottom: “By providing your details, you consent to use contacting you about our products, services and promotions, from time to time (including via text message without an unsubscribe facility).”
Once you’re in, they have you.
I guess if you rang them they’d remove you from their text messaging scheme, but really, why not let people unsubscribe via text using common keywords like stop, or unsubscribe?
Visa Debit cards
And their annual fees. $10 a year for having the card. National Bank got half of the memo and isn’t charging the annual fee if you have their Freedom account. But you have to be earning $30k+ a year and pumping it into that account. Anyway, I like the image they’re using in their ads for it (see top image).
Sure, debit cards are great if you are under 18 or don’t trust yourself with a credit card. But really, if you can, you should just get a credit card.
Banks (looking at you Westpac and BNZ) seem to love converting people to these debit cards, even if the person already has a credit card with the bank. I don’t understand. Family members have received Visa Debit cards in the mail from Westpac, even though they have a credit card with Westpac. If you already have a Visa or credit card, why would you want a Visa Debit?
It’s a bit of a have, because people naturally think this is their replacement EFTPOS card and start using it, probably not realizing that once they start using it they’re going to be charged an annual fee. If they’re lucky, maybe the fee will be waived for a year or two!
When you go into BNZ to request an EFTPOS card, the tellers like to order you in a Visa Debit card instead*, because, you know, they know best.
*May have happened just once.
Lack of security
That’s Google’s 2-step verification programme.
There’s a number of ways to use it. I have the Google Authenticator application on a couple of devices (it works without needing an internet connection), I can get a code sent to me by text (for [email protected]@) if the application isn’t working, I can use the backup codes if I have to, and I can tell Google that it doesn’t need to ask me for a verification code on the computer I’m using for another 30 days if I trust it.
It works, it’s good, it’s free. And it’s not even protecting my money.
Side note: security has to actually be built-in by design and be compulsory for it to be useful. Kerry Thompson points out that security conscious people probably have limited use for 2-factor authentication systems, because they already take precautions. The people who aren’t security conscious are also the people who don’t think they need 2-factor authentication, they think they’ll be covered by the bank, or won’t use it because of the cost (hi ASB’s 20 cent per text charge).
See also: Google doesn’t have an eight character password policy and Google gives a detailed account of recent account activity (ASB shows the last time I logged in, but I rarely look at it, and out of context it’s kind of useless).
How about encouraging people to set up an automatic payment to a savings account every pay period and sign up for Kiwisaver?
Also, you would think an application that consists of one button would be easy to set up, but Westpac’s Impulse Saver requires you to apply to use it, and makes you wait for a callback from a customer service person.
Phone banking on mobiles
Westpac and BNZ seem to be the only two banks who try to ban calls from mobile phones to their phone banking numbers. It’s trivial to get around this with Westpac, just call their main 0800 number and press one to get to phone banking. On BNZ it seems like that works too, at least after their call center hours.
Visa and MasterCard undermining credit card PINs
Visa and MasterCard aren’t banks, but whatever.
McDonald’s, in association with Visa and MasterCard has the policy of not requiring a PIN or signature for credit card transactions under $35.
How they can guarantee security, I’m not sure, because they just took away the only security of a PIN or signature. I’m not sure why Visa and MasterCard don’t make this opt-in or opt-out.
Zero liability can’t apply if you don’t realize there’s a fraudulent charge on your statement, so good luck everyone.
Next day bank transfers
Or please stop relying on a cron job for transfers.
10 years after one-off payments were introduced, they still take up to the next business day to go through to accounts at other banks. I realize this might require some consultation with the People In Charge Of The Money, but can we please get rid of this? Thanks. Also, could we please do transfers on non-business days to accounts at other banks and get rid of the 10pm cut off for not-my-bank transfers?
Mine has been slowly breaking near the end that connects to the computer for the past month. I’ve now become skilled at what I have to do to get it to work after it’s plugged in (the very technical approach of jiggling) but touching anything in the vicinity the wrong way will cause the charger to stop working again.
It’s been about one and a half years after I bought the Mac, so it definitely shouldn’t be breaking so soon, but that also means that I’m outside of the one year warranty. I didn’t buy AppleCare, because, you know, I live life on the edge. And also because it’s freakishly expensive at $600. Laptops are probably the only thing that I’d consider buying an extended warranty for, but I wouldn’t have chosen a Mac if I thought it would need $600 worth of repairs before it was three years old. Also, we have the Consumer Guarantees Act.
The 15 minute call
So I called Apple. I’d read on an Instructables post that some people had good experiences calling up Apple and receiving a new charger even outside of their warranty period. Their reasoning being because Apple knows the chargers are poorly designed (but nice to look at) they will replace them.
I called Apple, and I think spoke to someone in Australia. Side note: outsourcing is fine by me if it doesn’t interfere with getting stuff done for the customer, which in Apple’s case it kind of does.
The second person I spoke to, in his defence I think he was foreign to Australia, didn’t know much about the geography of New Zealand.
Their list of Christchurch repairers was outdated and I was given Yoobee’s earthquaked Moorhouse Ave location, prompting a humorous response from the rep: “If they’re listed here they should be open. Otherwise it would defeat the purpose of my list.” I can’t imagine a list of Apple stores being outdated.
And according to an Instructables comment, if I was in the USA this could have all been done by courier, or according to Yoobee’s staff, if we actually had Apple stores here in New Zealand (which the international phone reps often assume) I could have just walked in and got a new charger straight away.
I tell the rep what’s wrong with the charger: it’s broken at the moment, when I plug it in sometimes it works but the majority of time it doesn’t and I have to play around with it to get it to work. We go through my serial number (which today I found out has SWAG in it), whether it’s the original charger, the purchase date, my lack of AppleCare and my email address. I get told it’s outside of warranty and some dubious information about incorrect watt adapters blowing up. I bring up the endless one star reviews, he says he’s read them the other day and most are because of blown up chargers. I drop four magic words: the Consumer Guarantees Act, get told I should contact the Ministry of Consumer Affairs and then talk to Apple’s legal team, which seems like it’s probably said to scare people away. I ask to be transferred to their legal team but get told that’s not possible.
[funky hold music]
His supervisor says that it would be inconsiderate (his words) if they provided an exception for me because it would be unfair for people who bought AppleCare (also his words). Guilt trip. He asks if I’m sure it’s the power adapter and when it started happening. He asks if I can bring it into one of their service providers so they can do a full diagnostic, which basically consists of plugging the charger into a computer and scanning the barcode the computer displays when the charger doesn’t work. Once it’s confirmed they’ll look into the possibility of giving me an exception, but he can’t promise me anything, because it would be unfair.
Scene change – Yoobee store
Apple makes them send in the broken charger before they will send out a new one, “That’s the rule they give us”. Apple won’t just take their word that the charger is broken. Having no charger is worse than having one that works intermittently. Yoobee checked if they had any ones they could loan me, but they didn’t. I didn’t ask why they couldn’t just give me one off the shelf, pick your battles and all, you know?
Unsurprisingly they say about broken chargers that “we do deal with these all the time.”
TO THE CAAAAARRRRR.
Scene change – the car park
I ring Apple from the car and get the same supervisor. We have a 36 minute conversation which basically consists of me complaining about the ridiculous policy (Apple says it’s Yoobee’s, Yoobee says it’s Apple’s. I side with Yoobee) of not being able to keep a semi-working charger while waiting for the new one and the rep trying to make me feel bad because he gave me an exception to the out of warranty policy for a charger that isn’t even properly broken (like giving away a charger is such a rare event, if the charger wasn’t so poorly designed I wouldn’t need a new one after 18 months, butbattles). Apparently the free charger was because their product lasted 12 months so I didn’t need to get anything fixed during my warranty, and not because of known product flaws.
The conversation ends with me inside the store again having a speakerphone conversation with the rep and a Yoobee Apple tech.
I kept the charger. A new one is coming in on Wednesday for me. Also, Yoobee texts you with updates on your case. Technology.
A week ago, Christchurchians braved the aftermath of the snow and met at the Bush Bar for the first TEDxEQChCh Salon*. Previous TED talks were shown, and people were invited to share what they were involved in post-quake, or something else the audience would be interested in. Someone I talked to summed up the difference between May’s TEDxEQChCh well: this was more about the people than the buildings.
Kunst Buzz‘s tweet cathedral, the ChristChurch Cathedral made of a random selection of almost 1000 #eqnz tweets (approximately 98,000 characters) which was on display in the TEDxEQChCh lobby, among other TEDxEQChCh memorabilia that has been given to Te Papa.
Brene Brown: The power of vulnerability
Brene Brown hacks into lives for a living. She talks about banana nut muffins, worthiness, being imperfect, her office supply addiction and human connection, which led her on a quest that sent her to therapy, but changed the way she lived.
Something she said seemed very relevant post-quake: “they had the compassion to be kind to themselves first and then to others.” Very similar to advice given in a pamphlet dropped in our letterbox yesterday.
Tony Robbins asks why we do what we do
Tony Robbins usually runs 50+ hour coaching seminars over weekends. He talks about patterns, resources, needs and describes what happened in one of his seminars of 2000 people from 45 different countries in Hawaii on the day of 9/11.
Mark Bezos: A life lesson from a volunteer firefighter
Mark Bezos usually fights poverty, but also volunteers as a firefighter. He talks about his first fire, and that we shouldn’t wait for something to happen before we try to make a difference.
Dave Meslin: The antidote to apathy
Dave Meslin tries to make local issues engaging. He talks about barriers that keep people from getting involved.
Tim Taylor talked about Project Regenerate a subsection on the Rebuild Christchurch site which shares visions for a future Christchurch in video form and lets people vote and comment on them.
Trent Hiles talked about the creation of a multi-purpose arts complex in Lyttelton and Lyttelton’s Act of Art, a Gap Filler project whose first installation, a tribute to James K Baxter and the town, is up.
Grace Duyndam talked about the 350.orgMoving Planet September 24th worldwide rally against fossil fuels.
* TEDx Salon’s are intended to engage the community between larger events through small recurring events, keeping the spirit of TED alive—ideas worth spreading.
I thought I recognized one of the photos in one of the presentations at TEDxEQChCh, and I was right. It turns out that I recognized it because it was my image. Kind of.
That’s my original photo on the left, which I posted on Flickr. The modified image on the right was used in the talk Tragedy Plus Distance (the other TEDxEQChCh talks are up on YouTube now too, and you should watch them). I’ve looked on Google, Flickr and Facebook and can’t find the modified image anywhere (if you see it let me know). Unfortunately free reverse image search engines like TinEye only index a relatively small number of images.
I don’t know if the site the modified image is on is making money or provided attribution to me. I’m not having a dig at the TEDx speaker—few if any speakers attributed the images used in their presentations and any attribution would likely point to the modified image, not my original one.
The stolen scream
Unlike mine, this is an extreme and interesting case of image plagiarism: Noam Galai‘s photo of himself screaming made it into 30+ countries, on book covers, in magazines and on t-shirts.
Watermarking photographs is an option. But an ugly one. The lesser evil of watermarking on the edge of an image rather than in the middle presents the option to someone who is determined of just cropping it off. Is a casual sharer going to go out of their way to crop an image? Unlikely. Let’s assume they would provide attribution either way. Are they going to want to share the image at all? Unlikely. The comments on this post about watermarking are worthwhile reading.
In a survey of professional photo buyers, PhotoShelter found that “an overwhelming majority of them stated that an image with a prominent watermark is less likely to be licensed than an image without any watermark at all.” Co-founder Grover Sanschagrin agrees that watermarks result in people being less likely to pass your images on to others and says that prominent watermarks send a subtle signal to buyers that you’re a difficult person to work with.
The Internet copyright conundrum
I think the interesting thing for me is that the person who modified and posted the image is probably a content creator too. They likely have at least some content they place usage restrictions on.
What does All Rights Reserved mean to an Internet user? Is personal and noncommercial use (like blogging, Tumblring etc.) of a reasonable amount of a person’s content with attribution accepted practice? Some Flickr users don’t want their photographs being shared at all. I disagree—the more people who see my photos the better. A large side goal of that is to promote my other content, which requires attribution.
Should I put my photos under a Creative Commons licence then? I’m hesitant. Among other things: some of my photos have made me money—would buyers be put off if the same photo was available for ‘free’ under a noncommercial licence? Creative Commons is essentially irrevocable and the format of the original content can be changed under any licence—attribution is not linkable offline.
I think I’m happy with the status quo. All Rights Reserved with the knowledge that because of the nature of the Internet the image will be shared noncommercially no matter the licence, but that hopefully a link back will be shared too.