Balloon Internet from Google

It seems NewZealand has an unusual Stratospheric wind pattern.
On Saturday Google Scientists from the technology giant released up to 30 helium-filled test balloons flying 20 kilometres (12.4 miles) above Christchurch in New Zealand Saturday, carrying antennae linked to ground base stations.
While still in the early stages, Project Loon hopes eventually to launch thousands of balloons to provide Internet to remote parts of the world, allowing the more than four billion people with no access to get online.
It could also be used to help after natural disasters, when existing communication infrastructure is affected.
“Project Loon is an experimental technology for balloon-powered Internet access,” the company said on its latest project from its clandestine Google (x), “where we work on radical, sci-fi-sounding technology solutions to solve really big world problems”.
“Balloons, carried by the wind at altitudes twice as high as commercial planes, can beam Internet access to the ground at speeds similar to today’s 3G networks or faster,” it added.
“It is very early days, but we think a ring of balloons, flying around the globe on the stratospheric winds, might be a way to provide affordable Internet access to rural, remote, and underserved areas down on earth below, or help after disasters, when existing communication infrastructure is affected.”
It works by ground stations connecting to the local Internet infrastructure and beaming signals to the balloons, which are self-powered by solar panels.
The balloons, which once in the stratosphere will be twice as high as commercial airliners and barely visible to the naked eye, are then able to communicate with each other, forming a mesh network in the sky.
Users below have an Internet antennae they attach the side of their house which can send and receive data signals from the balloons passing overhead.
Some 50 people were chosen to take part in the trial and were able to link to the Internet.
The first person to get Google Balloon Internet access was Charles Nimmo, a farmer and entrepreneur in the small town of Leeston who signed up for the experiment.
He told the New Zealand Herald he received Internet access for about 15 minutes before the transmitting balloon he was relying on floated out of range.
“It’s been weird,” he told the newspaper. “But it’s been exciting to be part of something new.”
Google’s ultimate goal is to have a ring of balloons — each the length of a small light aircraft when fully inflated — circling the Earth, ensuring there is no part of the globe that cannot access the web.
It did not say how much it was investing in the project.
“The idea may sound a bit crazy – and that’s part of the reason we’re calling it Project Loon – but there’s solid science behind it,” Google said, but added: “This is still highly experimental technology and we have a long way to go.”
Project leader Mike Cassidy told reporters that if successful, the technology might allow countries to leapfrog the expense of installing fibre-optic cable.
“It’s a huge moonshot, a really big goal to go after,” he said.
“The power of the Internet is probably one of the most transformative technologies of our time.”
Google said that over time it wanted to set up other pilot projects in countries at the same latitude as New Zealand, including Australia and Argentina, due to the stratospheric conditions.

Tourism Numbers still Up.

Winter is here in New Zealand. The drought has truly broken with more than enough rain falling. I have managed to get the house painted at Eden Park Bed and Breakfast. I made the mistake of replacing the Finnial Pole on top of the gable. What a nightmare that was with all the rain falling . Am trying to get the final bit done this weekend and remove the scaffold on Monday. OH JOY !

INBOUND travel
International Visitor Arrivals
Total visitor arrivals are up 14.7% compared to the same four week period last year.

Up: China 40%, Australia 20%, Germany 17%, USA 11%, Singapore 7%, UK 3%

Down: Malaysia -38%, Korea -4%, Canada -2%, Japan -2%

20130524-190106.jpg

Are the Blues on a Roll

The BLUES win again.
In-front of a bumper 31,014 home crowd, this 34-15 victory was a step up from last week’s upset of the Hurricanes in Wellington. While Auckland’s population are a bit slack in passion towards sports teams it is obvious that they want to believe in this rugby team. I remember the poor attendance last year to their games. Last night there was an atmosphere in the crowds walking past Eden Park Bed and Breakfast that I haven’t seen since the RWC 2011.
And 5 try’s to zip says it all….
While it’s too early to say these rejuvenated Blues are the real deal – there is no doubt Sir John Kirwan, Graham Henry and co have modelled a unified, passionate group.Long may it continue. I am a great believer that a strong Auckland Rugby presence offers great value to New Zealand Rugby.
International Visitor Arrivals to 17th Feb 2013
Total visitor arrivals are up 6.3% compared to the same four week period last year.

Ups: Japan 11%, China 63%, Singapore 35%, Australia 1%, USA 8%, Canada 1%

Downs: UK -6%, Malaysia -24%, Korea -32%

Unchanged: Germany

20130302-080139.jpg

Our New Boat NZL05

This is the NZL05. This is the second boat from Team New Zealand that will go to San Francisco to challenge for the right to sail against Oracle Racing for the Americas Cup.
Bring it home Kiwis…Tony at Eden Park Bed and Breakfast will follow you the whole way from his armchair….

20130224-111214.jpg

China Tourism

The Chinese Tourist Market keeps getting displayed under the microscope
Tourist organisations are still looking at ways to reform the tightly controlled Chinese visitor market that is failing to deliver the benefits it should to the wider tourism market
Just under 200,000 Chinese visited New Zealand last year but many are on short trips added on to visits to Australia. These tightly controlled “shopping trips” were not benefiting New Zealand tourism operators or the visitors themselves. Most of the revenue is siphoned off before the visitor gets to New Zealand.
The visitor is told where they’re going, where they’re going to stay, how they’re going to be transported and where they’re going to shop. The agents that organise this totally control the visit.
Allthough these arrivals are good for visitor numbers ,it does nothing to allow the Chinese to experience New Zealanders .
At Eden Park Bed and Breakfast we see a small percentage to Chinese travellers and these are normally FIT from Hong Kong.

International Visitor Arrivals to 3rd Feb 2013
Total visitor arrivals are down 4.5% compared to the same four week period last year.
Ups: Japan 11%, USA 3%, Korea 1%,

Downs: UK -11%, Malaysia -57%, Germany -7%, China -16%, Singapore -6%, Canada -5%

20130216-075336.jpg

Eden Park Sporting Events

Here’s what’s happening at Eden Park this year…..
With Eden Park Bed and Breakfast in such close proximity to the stadium, we urge all those interested in attending the games to make a reservation sooner than later.
We do not like saying, ‘sorry we are full’

Rugby Union 2013
International Rugby:

Saturday 8th June
All Blacks v France at Eden Park
Kickoff 1935 hrs

Saturday 14th September
All Blacks v South Africa
Kickoff 1935 hrs

Super Rugby:

Friday 1st March
Blues v Crusaders(NZ)
Kickoff 1935 hrs

Sunday 10th March
Blues v Bulls(SA)
Kickoff 1605 hrs

Friday 5th April
Blues v Highlanders(NZ)
Kickoff 1935 hrs

Saturday 13th April
Blues v Hurricanes(NZ)
Kickoff 1935 hrs

Saturday 11th May
Blues v Rebels (Aust)
Kickoff 1935 hrs

Saturday 25th May
Blues v Brumbies(Aust)
Kickoff 1935 hrs

Saturday 13th July
Blues v Chiefs(NZ)
Kickoff 1935 hrs

Rugby League 2013

Saturday 16th March
Vodafone Warriors v Sydney Roosters
Kickoff 1730 hrs

International Cricket 2013
New Zealand v England

Saturday 9th February 2013
First twenty20 at Eden Park
Start 1900 hrs

Saturday 23rd February 2013
Third ODI at Eden Park
Start 1400 hrs

Friday 22nd-26th March 2013
Third Test at Eden Park
Start 1030 hrs

20130131-092814.jpg

Auckland's top Restaurants offer Terrific food, served with great charm and efficiency in a smart but probably somewhat informal atmosphere.

Brief overview of upcoming events in Auckland City

A short walk from Eden Park makes us the perfect destination for all their sporting fixtures.