It’s a long way to Kyrgyzstan, especially if you’re going via New Zealand. But in the global financial system, anywhere to anywhere is just a click away.
Earlier this year, an investigation by international NGO Global Witness uncovered suspicious transactions worth billions of dollars flowing through Kyrgyzstan’s largest bank. Most of these transactions involve shell companies in Britain, Belize and New Zealand that have little or no real business activities.
In one case, money from a Kyrgyz bank account held by a New Zealand company was used to pay a German vendor on behalf of a Russian company. Why? Through the use of shell companies and a web of transactions around the world, it’s almost impossible to track down the real people and the real purpose behind these transactions. They could be avoiding taxes, laundering the proceeds of corruption or organized crime, or funding terrorism. Read more »
By Trent Mankelow
The first time we conducted usability testing on a mobile device was in 2005 for Vodafone. The technology we used to run the testing was primitive, complicated and fragile. Here are a couple of photos to show you what the setup was like.
These days, our approach to mobile usability testing is very different. The whole process is much more guerrilla and lightweight, and we rarely test indoors. Given our recent growth in mobile testing projects, we thought we’d take a step back and share with you some of the lessons we’ve learnt. Read more »
I was out doing some errands this evening, and had a sudden thought. I should grab the ingredients to make my chickpea coconut curry tomorrow. The trouble was that, out and about as I was, I had no way to get access to the recipe.
Recently Nintendo released Shaberu! DS Oryouri Navi in Japan on it’s Nintendo DS portable gaming device. Translated literally it means “Talk! DS Cuisine Navigator” and it offers 200 recipes in an interactive cookbook. It allows you to select the number of people you are cooking for and it automatically changes the ingredients.
So I’m not dreaming.
Computers are becoming more and more ubiquituious.
Several weeks ago we purchased the Blackberry 7230. This calculator-sized device is popular in the States, but has only recently become available in New Zealand. In a nutshell, it is a mobile device that allows you to read and reply to emails wherever you are – in a taxi, an airport, a meeting (guilty). Given that I’ve had 9 trips to Auckland and Christchurch in the last three months the killer application for me was having access to email while travelling.
It didn’t take long for dependence to kick in. The trouble is that the “quirks” of any interface just become plain annoying when you use something all day, everyday. (Usability practitioners are forever cursed. We’re like a musician who goes to a gig and can’t help but notice every off note, slightly too early high hat). There are a number of problems at different interaction levels. Read more »
“Understanding human needs is half the job of meeting them.” Adlaid Stevenson
If asked to summarise what I got from the three days I spent at the mobile commerce conference in Melbourne, the quote above would be it. In three days of listening to speakers talk on topics ranging from how they’ve successfully made mobile technology work for their business, wireless standards and uptake of mobile services in South East Asia; there was one consistent message in all their stories – if it’s not useful, it won’t be used.
It was a fantastic time to get an understanding for what is happening in the mobile world in Australia, New Zealand and in certain parts of South East Asia. Consideration for usability in mobile devices, services and applications will be an area to watch very closely as ‘next generation’ services and handsets hit the market. Read more »
I happened to be in Singapore a couple of years ago. If you’ve ever gone to Singapore you will know about the amazing electronic gadgets that are cheap as chips compared to what we pay here in New Zealand. Reciting some seemingly important work related reasons why I needed the (then) latest Visor Prism PDA, I convinced myself that I needed to buy one. I think I used it solidly for about 3 months.
Today, I’m using a trusty $10.99 paper diary from Whitcoulls while my Visor Prism sits relegated in a box at home. If we talk return on investment, I think my diary has outperformed my Visor by a magnitude of a thousand. Read more »