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The IBM Forum 07

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 5-Jul-2007 15:12

Just got an e-mail telling me the registrations for the IBM Forum 07 are now open. If you are in business and deal with technology then you should look at attenting the event in your city.

Join with IBM experts, business partners and strategists to discover how technology can be used to transform your business, in an inspirational one-day event.

With a combination of live, interactive demonstrations, real customer stories and relevant educational sessions IBM Forum 07 has something for every business - regardless of size, budget or industry.

Just to give you an idea, this is a list of sessions I attended last year at the IBM Forum 06.

CNET interview with Fake Steve Jobs

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 4-Jul-2007 10:48

The CNET interview with Fake Steve Jobs is a must read. One of the funniest pieces in technology reporting in the last few months I'd say.

If you don't know, Fake Steve Jobs is a blogger that writes an anonymous blog as if he was indeed Apple's CEO Steve Jobs. He fires at everyone and everything. Really good reading.

And Business 2.0 has listed him as one of the most influential people in current business technology.

The iPhone strategy

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 3-Jul-2007 09:38

Alex has posted an article on Read/WriteWeb about the iPhone strategy... Worth reading, and I agree 100%.

The iPhone is not an innovation per se - a lot of other smart devices already do what it does (c'mon, claiming "vibrating alerts" as innovative is stretching a bit).

But the iPhone is a completely new concept in terms of mobility. Using the Safari browser as the platform to distribute and run applications, is one of the best moves I've seen.

Whoever ever tried Pocket Internet Explorer knows that Safari can be only better. But Opera for Mobile is not a bad competitor. They just don't have the traction in the market to pull this off.

Telecom and Vodafone take note: 50% of iPhone buyers switched network

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 2-Jul-2007 22:08

This is seriously something any mobile operator would drool over: according to an article on more than 500,000 700,000 Apple iPhone were sold from Friday 6pm through end of business Sunday.

Now, selling 500,000 units of any new product on its first weekend is some serious business. But what is even more interesting is that 50% of buyers were switching from other mobile operator to AT&T, the company with the exclusive deal with Apple for the launch. And this is for a two year contract.

Apple iPhone

Both Vodafone and Telecom New Zealand should look into this as something to work on for the next six months. I am not sure if Telecom New Zealand would have a chance though, even with their plans to launch a WCDMA network here, seeing that rumours are flying that Vodafone Group PLC is working with Apple to launch the iPhone in Europe - which I believe would of course include the Vodafone New Zealand operation sometime later.

lolcat iphone

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 2-Jul-2007 18:32

Found this lolcat image at I CAN HAS CHEEZBURGER today:

web apps? oh, stevez, ya killz me.

If you don't know, this lolcat thing is so big, there's even a LOLCODE programming language:


Or this more complex loop:

  UP VAR!!1

Or this one implementing a complex IF condition:

                     BTW this is true
                     VISIBLE "BIG NUMBER!"
                     BTW this is false
                     VISIBLE "LITTLE NUMBER!"

i-pond: Telstra joins the personal homepage war, attract Apple lawyers?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 2-Jul-2007 17:45

Australian telco Telstra has launched a "personal homepage" service called i-pond (yes, probably attracting the fury of Apple's lawyers over the similar iPod trademark).

The service is just another one in a sea of "personal homepages", such as Microsoft Windows Live, iGoogle, Netvibes and others.

You can move boxes around, add new widgets, create boxes based on RSS feeds and even create your own personalised homepage, like mine at i-pond. The trick here is that only BigPond customers are supposed to be able to register, but anyone can register and grab a personalised page, really (untill they lock the registration page).

They even offer a widget called "Virtual Puppy", a Flash-based animation of a dog walking around the widget and pouncing at balls and bones you throw at it...

Their press release comes with all the buzzwords for this decade, including "user generated content", "Web 2.0", "Second Life" and more:

BigPond Group Managing Director Justin Milne said: "I-Pond is BigPond's latest innovation as we spearhead the charge towards Web 2.0, the user-generated internet experience of the future."

I-Pond is the latest Web 2.0 initiative to be launched by BigPond, following launches of BigPond's islands in Second Life, interactive BigBlogs and Australia's leading online games community BigPond GameArena.

Mr Milne continued: "As internet users become increasingly sophisticated they're demanding new ways of organising and engaging with information online. Our Web 2.0 products tap into this desire for personalised internet experiences and explore the new ways of communicating that Web 2.0 enables.

"Today we're launching I-Pond, the ideal way to personalise and prioritise the huge amount of information available online."

I-Pond is a new, personalised way of organising information. It enables customers to keep an eye on the weather, have the latest headlines from their favourite news sites updating in real time via RSS feeds, see their diary and have one-click links to web videos or the latest sports results only a glance away.

The look is good, the widgets are fun. But do we need another personalised homepage service? I guess BigPond is trying to introduce the concept to people who would visit their ISP's page, but not tech savvy enough to find this kind of services on the big Internet.

I wonder if any of the New Zealand ISPs are working on this? Xtra, IHUG, Slingshot, Paradise? They all have very boring pages. Both Paradise and Slingshot have pages coming out of the 90s. Xtra diverts to its Yahoo!Xtra partnership, which seems to have been engineered and designed in 1997.

Anything else brewing here in New Zealand?

IPv6 PoP in New Zealand

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 2-Jul-2007 16:11

Today I got an e-mail bringing to my attention that SixXS has opened an IPv6 PoP in New Zealand, with the help of Advanced Computer Solutions.

More information on this IP6 New Zealand PoP page.

I was told that for this month SixXS we will be giving new users from New Zealand bonus credits so that they can directly request a tunnel + subnet from this PoP.

I am using a UMPC

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 30-Jun-2007 21:25

For my benefit (carrying a rather large laptop is not good for your back), I decided to give a try to Ultra Mobile PCs (UMPC).

I am thinking it can be quite useful when going to my weekly meeting, or simply away for a weekend, where I don't expect to have to work 100% of the time, but would like to keep in contact via e-mail or even catch up with my RSS feeds.

So I got the TabletKiosk EO v7110 off Darryl, who is now going around with a Samsung Q1. I have Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate installed on this UMPC (instructions to install Windows Vista on UMPC here), plus Avast, Microsoft Office Ultimate 2007, Skype, FeedDemonHamachi and BeInSync to keep my UMPC always synchronised to my laptop. I have just downloaded and installed Ilium Software's InScribe, a free software keyboard for UMPC and Tablet PCs.

I also tried the Vodafone vodem (HSDPA) and it's working well so I have cellular data connectivity if I can't connect to a Wi-Fi network. I am using the vodem because it's a USB device - this UMPC does not have Express Card or PC Card interfaces so I can't use the better performing Vodafone Merlin XU870 (HSDPA) or the much faster Telecom AirCard 595 (CDMA EVDO).

So far so good, the user interface is similar to the Tablet PC, which I am used to, so no big learning curve.

I recommend installing a remote control software such as GoToMyPC (or the free LogMein) so that you can use your bigger laptop or desktop sometimes - I am configuring this device, updating stuff, copying files and instead of using the much smaller screen I just have to connect to it and remote control the device:

Bummer is the smallish hard drive. I have only 10 GB free now, which is going to be a problem if I wanted to have a bigger media library loaded into it.

Just for kicks, below is the Windows Vista Performance Index:

For comparison, this is the Windows Vista Performance Index for my current laptop:


Let's see how it goes.

UPDATE: It works well, and it is synchronising to my laptop with no problems. I only wish that TabletKiosk would make the drivers compatible with Vista. The touchscreen doesn't work until you login, and don't try downloading any drivers from Windows Update, because this will most likely make you have to return to a previous Restore Point, as it happened to me. It also has problems coming back from Sleep, which is a bummer because this is one of the main functions for a UMPC, right?

Vodafone Simple Tariff for data roaming - here but not for us

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 30-Jun-2007 09:26

Vodafone Group PLC has announced its Vodafone Connect Abroad plan, which will see laptop users accessing the Internet while roaming to other Vodafone networks for about EUR 12/day. The company says "almost unlimited" but in the fineprint it reveal that "unlimited" really means 50 MB per day, and the standard per megabyte charges after this.

Better than nothing anyway. This will be available for customer of European subsidiaries while roaming in some of the Vodafone networks around the world, including Vodafone Australia and Vodafone New Zealand.

With 'Vodafone Connect Abroad' customers will be able to use their laptops when overseas to surf the internet, check emails and access their company intranet, whether they are sitting in a hotel room, in a cafe or on the beach. The new tariff ensures the comfort of straightforward pricing combined with a familiar and reliable service. In countries where there is an HSDPA network, Vodafone Connect Abroad customers using a Vodafone Mobile Connect USB modem or a Vodafone Mobile Connect 3G broadband data card will be able to connect just as they do in their home country and benefit from download speeds of up to 3.6Mbps.

Any Vodafone customer who uses a wireless data product, uses their mobile handset as a modem or has a laptop with an embedded SIM card, can sign-up for Vodafone Connect Abroad free of charge. Customers will pay nothing until they choose to connect abroad for a 24hr session. They can access the internet, emails or business network as many times as they choose for e12 (excl. VAT) in the same 24 hr period on any Vodafone or partner network included in the offer.

The move to introduce Vodafone Connect Abroad, which was first announced in March 2007, builds on the success of the company's innovative voice roaming tariff, Vodafone Passport, which since June 2005 has brought lower, reassuring prices to over 12 million European customers' mobile phone bills when travelling

Meanwhile, we at Vodafone New Zealand still pay NZ$10 from the word GO! while roaming to other Vodafone networks. Granted 50 MB is not "unlimited", but it would be a great start of a service.

When is Vodafone New Zealand going to "unleash" Vodafone Passport services and tariffs here? Perhaps now that their billing system has been migrated (not without pain to users) we could expect to see some improvement in the offerings to Vodafone customers?

AT&T EDGE, Vodafone HSDPA and business practices

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 30-Jun-2007 08:27

If the stories coming out (RCR NewsGizmodo, Gizmodo) that AT&T has beefed up its EDGE network because of the Apple iPhone launch are correct, I can only think of one question: why networks won't offer the best service these days, being happy with sending customers awya the "best effort" excuse?

An AT&T employee who works on Operations tells us that the carrier ordered a last-minute beefing up of its EDGE throughput, latency and coverage in anticipation of the iPhone. The operation, internally referenced as "Fine Edge" will continue until June 15th, and has been going on for as many as 6 weeks.

EDGE is slow, but at least at AT&T, the implementation isn't limited by the protocol itself. Rather, the limiting factor is, according to our source, the data backend and the way the towers are configured to allocate bandwidth to data and calls. And according to an internal doc, they're dropping in more T-1s in their poorest performing towers, hoping to get that paltry 40kbps performance to a new minimum of 80kpbs. (EDGE's real world max is about 200kbps.) That's still painfully slow, but we're not ones to look a gift WWAN upgrade in the mouth.

Hmmm. Isn't this the same problem that Vodafone New Zealand is facing? Good HSDPA infrastructure (up to 7.2 Mbps in some places), but a backhaul providing poor performance overall? Or are these just the rumours I hear?

UPDATE: Verizon Wireless (which Vodafone PLC is one of the major shareholders) has upgraded 100% of its U.S. network to CDMA EV-DO Rev A - which leaves any EDGE network in the dust, by a factor of ten. Competition is good...

freitasm's profile

Mauricio Freitas
New Zealand

I live in New Zealand and my interests include mobile devices, good books, movies and food of course! 

I'm the Geekzone admin. On Geekzone we publish news, reviews and articles on technology topics. The site also has some busy forums. Also worth visiting is TravelTalk NZ, a community for travelers!

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