Stories by Comptuerworld Staff

Microsoft launches Rugby World Cup contest

Microsoft New Zealand has launched a competition that will allow the winner and 14 of their friends to see the Rugby World Cup Final on October 23 from the Microsoft Corporate Box at Eden Park.

Microsoft appoints legal counsel

Microsoft New Zealand has announced that Natasha Crampton has been appointed as legal counsel. She will initally be based in Auckland, but will move to Australia later this year to be part of a regional legal team across New Zealand and Australia.

Finzsoft doubles profit in 2011 financial year, reverses 2009 loss

Financial services provider Finzsoft has reported an after-tax profit of $545,000 for the financial year ended March 31, a 101 percent increase on last year.
In a report released to the NZX yesterday, Finzsoft announced a $545,151 post-tax profit, compared with $271,558 last year.
The result is a substantial turnaround from two years ago, when the company recorded a $750,000 loss.

Mobile health IT specialist gets govt funding boost

Auckland mobile health IT vendor Vensa Health has been granted $252,000 by the recently-formed Ministy of Science and Innovation to carry out further research and development relating to its technology that enables interactive mobile communications between health providers and patients.
The ministry was formed in June last year, from the merger of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology and the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology.
Vensa Health flagship product is the Txt2Remind practice-patient messaging system, which enables healthcare providers to send mobile text message health appointment reminders and health promotion messages for breast and cervical screening, diabetes and cardiac checks, immunisations, medication reminders, and more, directly to patients.
The company's chief executive, Ahmad Jubbawey, says in a statement announcing the grant: "Currently around one in ten appointments are missed, and each missed appointment represents a lost opportunity for early intervention. Our system can be used in a very targeted way to more effectively deliver on the government's priority health targets such as immunisations for under 2's, better diabetes and cardiovascular services, and improved access to elective surgery. "
According to Jubbawey, a recent 'Global Mobile Health Market Report', published by mobile research firm research2guidance, predicts around five hundred million people will be using mobile health apps by 2015.
"The mobile revolution in healthcare that everyone has been talking about is happening. Our new technology will help us be part of that as governments and health providers look for innovative ways to achieve the best health outcomes and consumers demand better access," he says.
Vensa Health's General Manager of ICT Anossis Oliveira says, "Vensa is now recognised as a key player in the mobile health sector (mHealth). Our new generation scalable SOA platform interfaces easily with all major patient management systems, and is compliant to all key national and international health message formats and standards. We have multi-lingual message capabilities, and a complete end-to-end audit trail of all outgoing and incoming messages. We also have close to real-time message delivery capabilities through leveraging established relationships with major Telco gateways."
The $252,000 grant builds on an earlier one of $30,000 from the MinistryVensa Health received an earlier investment of $30,000 from the Ministry.

Police issue warning on Sony PlayStation hack

New Zealand Police has issued a warning to parents to be vigliant about children using Sony's PlayStation in the wake of the hacking incident that has seen up to 77 million PlayStation accounts breached.
The Anonymous hacker group has denied any involvement, despite earlier hinting that it may act against Sony in retaliation for a lawsuit Sony has taken against a hacker who released code making it possible to run homemade games on the PlayStation platform.
The hack has resulted in data, including users' names, addresses, email address, birthdates, usernames, passwords, logins, and other details, being compromised.
The information reportedly stolen also includes accounts parents set up for their children, the NZ Police statement notes.
Detective Senior Sergeant John Michael of Police National Headquarters, says in the statement: "Parents of children who have accounts should talk with their kids and alert them to the possible risks following the mass hacking.
“We don’t want to create unnecessary fear, but the sad fact is that by being too free with personal information on the net, children in particular can become vulnerable unless their computer use is supervised.
"We always encourage people to be vigilant in computer use, now more than ever. Think first and be very wary of approaches by telephone, email or social networks, especially if it relates to personal information, including login and credit card details."

Movac moves to make more IT investments

Wellington investment firm Movac is teaming up with the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund to invest in young IT companies.
Movac partners, a group of former early-stage Trade Me investors, will contribute $10 million, while the NZ Venture Investment Fund will put in between $10 million and $20 million.
The move represents a shift in focus for Movac, which has previously funded start-ups at an angel level, but will now also target firms that are ready for a further round of funding.
In a statement announcing the launch of the fund, Movac managing partner Phil McCaw says start-ups that have had angel funding, but are ready for a further round of investment, will be targeted.
“The new fund represents a shift in focus for MOVAC from start-up angel investment to early expansion," Movac managing partner Phil McCaw says.
"There is a considerable pipeline of very promising companies which have had angel investment capital over the past few years and have proven their proposition," McCaw says.
"We aim to invest with eight to 10 young technology companies and connect them internationally to drive offshore expansion. We expect to make these investments in the first four or five years of the fund."
McCaw cites the example of PowerbyProxi, which Movac has invested in as an angel, as the kind of company the new fund will be targeting.
PowerbyProxi provides wireless mechanisms for delivering electricity, and is the result of the commercialisation of technology developed at Auckland University. It is expanding into North America and Europe.
NZVIF chief executive Franceska Banga says NZVIF’s commitment to the new fund is up to $20 million and that NZVIF will invest up to $1 for every $1.50 Movac raises from private and institutional investors.
McCaw says MOVAC is now actively raising funding commitments from institutional and private investors. It aims to complete a first close of the Fund and start investing in late May.

Christchurch firms make NZ Hi-Tech Awards finals

Three IT companies from Christchurch are among the finalists in this year’s NZ Hi-Tech Awards, a feat NZ Hi-Tech Trust chair Wayne Norrie describes as a “testimony to the hi-tech sector continuing to be a dominant force for Canterbury.”

HP joins other printer vendors on Govt supplier panel

Hewlett-Packard has achieved supplier status for the All-of-Government printer contract, where it will sit alongside Canon, FujiXerox, KonicaMinolta and Ricoh in providing printing services to government departments and agencies.