Month: August 2008

ANZ Bank on iPhone

Probably not the first bank in the world to get a nice iPhone interface released for their mobile banking services but certainly one of the first and one of the neatest and most complete from what we can see.

Well done ANZ. Feature list –

View account balances;
View transaction history up to 30 days;
Locate ANZ ATM’s, Branches, Business Centres and Night Safes;
Contact ANZ; and
Transfer between accounts (coming soon)
Complete Pay Anyone transactions (coming soon)

Google Apps SLA Credit

Nice to see the professional way in which Google are starting to handle gmail and docs outages with 2 weeks credit delivered automatically to all premier customers.

They aren’t promising this all the time nor are they promising this level of reimbursement (14 days credits for 3 part day outages) but it is a good start. Well done google.

They are promising better ongoing communication with a permanent dashboard which is excellent.

Full text follows –

We’re committed to making Google Apps Premier Edition a service on which your organization can depend. During the first half of August, we didn’t do this as well as we should have. We had three outages – on August 6, August 11, and August 15. The August 11 outage was experienced by nearly all Google Apps Premier users while the August 6 and 15 outages were minor and affected a very small number of Google Apps Premier users. As is typical of things associated with Google, these outages were the subject of much public commentary.

Through this note, we want to assure you that system reliability is a top priority at Google. When outages occur, Google engineers around the world are immediately mobilized to resolve the issue. We made mistakes in August, and we’re sorry. While we’re passionate about excellence, we can’t promise you a future that’s completely free of system interruptions. Instead, we promise you rapid resolution of any production problem; and more importantly, we promise you focused discipline on preventing recurrence of the same problem.

Given the production incidents that occurred in August, we’ll be extending the full SLA credit to all Google Apps Premier customers for the month of August, which represents a 15-day extension of your service. SLA credits will be applied to the new service term for accounts with a renewal order pending. This credit will be applied to your account automatically so there’s no action needed on your part.

We’ve also heard your guidance around the need for better communication when outages occur. Here are three things that we’re doing to make things better:

1. We’re building a dashboard to provide you with system status information. This dashboard, which we aim to make available in a few months, will enable us to share the following information during an outage:

1. A description of the problem, with emphasis on user impact. Our belief is during the course of an outage, we should be singularly focused on solving the problem. Solving production problems involves an investigative process that’s iterative. Until the problem is solved, we don’t have accurate information around root cause, much less corrective action, that will be particularly useful to you. Given this practical reality, we believe that informing you that a problem exists and assuring you that we’re working on resolving it is the useful thing to do.
2. A continuously updated estimated time-to-resolution. Many of you have told us that it’s important to let you know when the problem will be solved. Once again, the answer is not always immediately known. In this case, we’ll provide regular updates to you as we progress through the troubleshooting process.

2. In cases where your business requires more detailed information, we’ll provide a formal incident report within 48 hours of problem resolution. This incident report will contain the following information:

a. business description of the problem, with emphasis on user impact;
b. technical description of the problem, with emphasis on root cause;
c. actions taken to solve the problem;
d. actions taken or to be taken to prevent recurrence of the problem; and
e. time line of the outage.

3. In cases where your business requires an in-depth dialogue about the outage, we’ll support your internal communication process through participation in post-mortem calls with you and your management team.

Once again, thanks for you continued support and understanding.

The Google Apps Team

Paraplegics rewalk and more

Some great progress for the less mobile amongst us.

Argo medical technologies have launched rewalk which reuters video profiled excellently. An external set of robotics takes the person from being wheelchair bound to being upright walking with arm crutches. A huge boost in height, mobility (e.g. steps) and esteem. Nice one.

Less fun (or maybe more depending on your personal preferences) but certainly equally powerful in helping improve lives is the new grain of rice sized magnetic tongue implant for controlling a computer and communicating which was also launched recently.

My uncle was a paraplegic and later a quadraplegic, Phillip would have loved the great progress technology is making. Message to manufacturers – don’t stop – keep up the great work.

True Medal Tally

OK, enough of the boring medal count from the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Lets get serious.

What are the rankings once you take population into account (per capita) and income (Gross Domestic Product or GDP)?

This took a while and doesn’t update automatically yet (but I’ll work on that).

Here are the REAL tallies with meaningful rankings. Who succeeds despite challenges of low income or a small population pool to draw from?

True Medal Tally for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Draw your own conclusions.

With thanks to the official site and google for the raw stats and document hosting plus of course to cooper for their domain expertise in SaaS spreadsheets and feeds plus a special thankyou to for their easy online accounting support.

Visual representation in real time

Those of you who know we well know this is one of my fav topics. Seeing very large amounts of data represented instantly in a visual way so you can see outlying events and trends and themes and subtle nuances easily.

The BBC has just released a nice little video on how they are using this, very impressive. If this is what your media have, imagine what your government and military are doing. Reminds me of all the fun stuff we did in financial markets too catching insider traders and monitoring trade flows.

Rotary Dialing for the iPhone

This is one of the funniest and silliest things I have seen in a while. Hot on the heels of the iPhone metronome and the iPhone spirit level we now have rotary dialing, yes just like the original ones. All the billions of dollars in R&D have been well spent. Welcome to the 50s. It is very well implemented from a visual and realistic user experience poiint of view. Check it out at – well done guys!

Now if we could just dial back to the same cost of living we had in the 50s (I wasn’t born then but I heard it was goood).