Monday, November 17, 2008

More records fall by the wayside

Hi everyone,

It's been a while since the last update but there are a few things we think are worth mentioning.

First, each of the last 3 months has been an improvement on the previous record for customers using the Zenbu wireless network. In October we paid out a record total of $4000.61 to our zone operators. That's up from only $2396.68 in July. It's very satisfying to have so many people using the system. The current maximum number of simultaneous users that we've seen online is 94, which is certainly quite a crowd!

This growth means we'll be adding more servers over the coming months to provide an even more reliable service and allow for continued expansion. We already have quite a collection of servers, that can comfortably handle the current load, but we're very happy to have plenty of redundancy and capacity so the Zenbu service will continue to be as robust as possible. If we are making any changes that might impact service we will post the information on our website.

Some of you may have noticed already but we have recently added a Live Chat option to our contact page. This allows people to contact us without having to call and without needing to be able to check their email. Hopefully it will be accessible to everyone, even those not able to login to use the internet, but if you experience any problems using the service please let us know. If the trial goes well Live Chat should become a permanent feature.

I'd also like to mention the new Zenbu search application which runs on the Apple iPhone. For details please see It's great to have all that info in your pocket with no need to pay data charges. A Windows Mobile version should be available sometime in the future. Good job developing it Sammy!

Well, we welcome all the new zone operators who have signed up to provide Zenbu wireless service over the last couple of months. It is very nice to continually see new zones popping up on the map!

Until next time thanks for using Zenbu.


The Zenbu Team

Friday, August 1, 2008

A record month of payments to zone operators

Hi everyone,

Well the horrible weather throughout most of the country for most of July apparently kept people inside using the internet. We made record payments to our zone operators of $2396.68 in July. On top of this, many more people used access vouchers obtained from the operators of our wireless zones for access. So there was certainly a lot of internet use in July! It is very satisfying to see so many people happily using our wireless system.

During July we also reached the mini-milestone of 200 zones deployed and online. We are still growing very quickly with much of the growth due to the very positive word of mouth we receive from our customers. Thanks to everyone who uses the Zenbu system and especially to those of you who have told others about it. It's nice to see the map of New Zealand so well covered with Zenbu markers.

On the developmental side of things, you may have noticed some new functions we have added to the zone administration page. You can now provide free access to certain websites and can also use your own website as the page people see once they've connected to the internet. It is also possible to 'hide' your zone. This will remove it from the map and list of our zones. These functions are listed as 'Premium' services on the administration page. In the future there may be an additional charge for using some or all of these functions, but for now they are available free of charge.

A new payment option has also been added. People can now use American Express credit cards when purchasing credit online.

Well that's about it from Zenbu HQ. Hopefully we'll see the sun again sometime in August!


The Zenbu Team

Thursday, April 17, 2008

PDF list of zones and a bit more search

Hi everyone,

Another function has just been added to our website.

People often want a list of our zone locations which they can take with them. Well, now you can easily create and download a PDF list directly from our website. This is great for printing and giving to people and for people to save to their own computers so they can look up our zone locations when they are away from an internet connection.

Both the address and the GPS coordinates of zones are provided, so high-tech travelers carrying GPS devices can find the zone by coordinates (if they think our New Zealand addresses are a bit difficult to work with). Other contact details for the zone are also provided.

You can also search for zones in a particular location and save this sub-list. If you're going on holiday to Paihia (for example), just display the zones in Paihia, then save the PDF list to your computer or print it out and take your pick from the list when you get there.

The lists are updated daily, so will always be up to date.

You can try this new function on our zones list page.


The Zenbu Team

Friday, April 11, 2008

Adding access codes as friends

Hello everyone,

Another quick update on happenings here at Zenbu HQ.

Well, it seems that every month we are setting records for payments to zone operators. Last month we paid a total of $1746.04 and on top of this zone operators sold a lot of their own access vouchers! It is very satisfying to see lots of payments being made to our zone operators as it means more and more people are using the Zenbu Wireless Network. And we're still growing very quickly. In just the last month we have added another dozen zones. This time last year we only had a dozen zones in total!

A minor function which has been added recently is the ability to add access codes as friends of a zone. This means the access code will have free internet access. This may be useful for venues wanting to provide unlimited internet access for a limited time (conferences, special customers etc). Just create the access code as always, then add it as a friend on your zone administration page and give it to the person you want to have unlimited internet access. When you want to stop the unrestricted internet access, simply delete the access code from the system or remove it as a friend. We hope at least some of you find this function helpful. (Thank you Simon for the suggestion.)

As always, if you have any requests for new functions please let us know. We listen closely to feedback and requests from customers and most requests make it onto the ever-expanding planning board.


The Zenbu Team

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Zenbu stickers and instructions for connecting...

Hello everyone,

Just a quick note to let all zone operators know that we now have waterproof outdoor stickers available. These are designed to be added to your existing signage to help advertise your Zenbu wireless internet system.

There are two sizes available, the larger is 25.5cm x 14cm and the smaller is 9.1cm square. Both are printed on UV resistant, waterproof vinyl suitable for being displayed outdoors.

[ 255mm x 140mm ]

[ 91mm x 91mm ]

If you would like some of these stickers to use at your zone, please send us an email and we will post some out to you.

We have also been asked by several zone operators whether there are any instructions available that they can put in their rooms to help people connect to the internet. Connection instructions have been available on our website for some time, but were obviously too well-hidden for many people to find. There is now a more prominent link to the connection instructions on the zone administration page.

Please let us know if you'd like some stickers or still have difficulty finding or printing the instructions for connecting to the internet.


The Zenbu Team

Monday, February 25, 2008

A taxing change to payments...

Hello everyone,

As of February 15th 2008 all prices advertised on the Zenbu website include GST. This means that rather than 10 cents per MB being received from customers who use the Zenbu wireless system, we now receive only 8.89 cents (10 cents less GST). As a consequence, 50% of the payment we receive is now 4.44 cents per megabyte. Usage and payments to zone operators occurring after February 15th 2008 will reflect this change.

If you operate a Zenbu wireless zone and you are registered for GST, please save your GST number on your zone administration page and you will continue to receive payments from us which include the GST component of payments we receive from customers.

Prior to February 15th 2008 Zenbu Networks Limited was not GST registered. Hence no GST was collected on payments we received, and the full amount (5 cents per MB) was passed on to all of our zone operators.

We look forward to our new role as unpaid tax collectors for New Zealand's Inland Revenue Department and hope the government spends the money we diligently collect for them wisely. 8-)

At least this change is due to the popularity of the Zenbu wireless network and it is very satisfying to see both our turnover and the number of satisfied customers increasing so rapidly. Thank you everyone for helping make the Zenbu concept a success.


The Zenbu Team

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A minor (but often requested) new development...

Hello everyone,

Just a quick post to let you know that we have added an often requested new function. That is, the ability to delete existing access vouchers. This function was initially removed to stop people accidentally deleting access vouchers which had already been given to customers (and the ensuing problems that caused!) but we have since received numerous requests for this capability so it is back by popular demand, albeit in a slightly different format.

On your voucher administration page, click on the voucher you would like to delete to bring up the voucher's details. On the voucher's details page click the delete voucher link. This will delete the voucher from the system and it will no longer be visible to you or usable by customers.

Please just make sure that you don't delete vouchers which customers are still trying to use!


The Zenbu Team

Monday, February 4, 2008

Server upgrade complete (and some nice feedback)

Hello everyone,

As you may be aware, on Wednesday 23rd January we upgraded our servers and increased capacity in our data centre. We should now be able to expand the size of our network significantly (an estimated 50-100 times its current size) before we need to further increase capacity.

Everything went relatively smoothly during the upgrade, but there were some issues with one of our new switches which slowed our website and interrupted service for many people on the night of the 23rd. We apologize for any inconvenience this caused.

The Zenbu network was back online at full speed on Thursday 24th January and is now working better than ever.

Today we received an email from a customer who has traveled around New Zealand and has loved using the Zenbu wireless network to access the internet throughout his trip. Here is an excerpt:

"... We're off now until we get to the Law Courts Hotel in Dunedin, as they also advertise Zenbu, and confirm that it is working. As you may have guessed, Zenbu access is the main reason for shortlisting an accommodation as we tour NZ. Pity you don't have it in OZ, as we fly there from NZ on 27th Feb. Still, we can look forward to a few more days of painless internet..."

Thanks very much for the email and thanks everyone for the great feedback. It is very encouraging to know that our efforts are indeed being appreciated by so many people, both those providing wireless internet access and their customers using it.


The Zenbu Team

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Scheduled server maintenance and upgrade

Hello everyone,

Later this afternoon (Wednesday January 23rd, 2008) we will be upgrading our servers and moving them into a bigger cabinet in the Maxnet data centre.

During this upgrade, which is scheduled for between 12:00 and 14:00, there will be periods during which the Zenbu wireless service is unavailable. All going to plan, these interruptions will be very brief and will hopefully not even be noticed. However, please be aware that it is likely there will be disruptions to the service during this time. Full service should be restored by 14:00.

Why are we making these changes? After the upgrade, we will have more space to expand in the future, increased physical server security, a faster connection between our own servers and increased reliability of the Zenbu service overall. You may not notice these improvements, but the already super reliable Zenbu service will have become even more robust.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and thank you for using the Zenbu wireless service.


The Zenbu Team

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Happy new year!

Hello everyone and happy 2008 to you all.

2007 was a year of rapid growth during which Zenbu went from near-zero to being the single most popular wireless system available at accommodation providers in New Zealand. Our network now stretches from Kaitaia in the north to Invercargill in the south and is available at many places in between. Thanks very much to all our zone operators and happy customers who love the ease-of-use and affordability of the Zenbu Wireless System.

We intend to continue growing rapidly during 2008 and have many new features and developments already filling our drawing board.

All the best for 2008.

The Zenbu Team.