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New Zealand Broadband: priority is Australia

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 18-Jun-2007 12:07

Well said by Peter:

While multi-billion dollar proposals are on the table across the Tasman for the construction of a national fibre-to-the-node network, with our own Telecom joining the G9 proposal for an A$3.6 billion ($NZ4.1 billion) build-out, moves are also afoot to improve Australia's international capacity.

But as Juha at Geekzone points out, Telstra's planned 9000km fibre link between Australia and the US, which is to be built by French equipment maker Alcatel, won't link up New Zealand.

So here we have our largest telco chipping in to fibre Australia while its creaking infrastructure back home struggles to serve up broadband for our existing needs and our second-ranked telco TelstraClear is bypassing a fantastic opportunity to improve international bandwidth capacity for the country.

Telstra seemed like the ideal contender when it came to the prospect of a second cable crossing the Tasman. Now that looks like it is out of the question, are there any other players who would see a business case for laying a new cable?

Unlikely. It's yet another sign, the ditching of its Tauranga mobile network being the other, that Telstra isn't fully committed to the New Zealand market.

Disabling Windows Vista 64 bit Signed Drivers requirement

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 16-Jun-2007 21:40

There are two ways of disabling the requirement for Signed Drivers on Microsoft Windows Vista 64 bit. One is through a command line issuing the command bcdedit /set loadoptions DDISABLE_INTEGRITY_CHECKS.

The other way (which can be dangerous because it's so easy), is by using the VistaBootPro software. This software is a GUI for the bcdedit command. In their latest version there's a checkbox that performs the same as the command listed before:

Windows Server Event ID: Baby #01

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 14-Jun-2007 10:14

It happens, if you have a 14 month old baby around the house, a home office and the door is open:

I might have to start planning to move my home server to the cupboard...

Check backgroundmotion and share Windows Vista DreamScene content

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 14-Jun-2007 08:00

The guys at mindscape have been busy bringing Backgroundmotion to life, a community website for users of Microsoft Windows Vista Dreamscene with a twist for developers in general.

Windows DreamScene is a feature of Windows Vista Ultimate that allows users to set a movie as their desktop background.

Backgroundmotion users will be able to upload their Windows Media Video files to share, while other users can download the media. As a technology showcase the preview functionality uses the new Microsoft Silverlight to stream the content so people can watch the movies before downloading.

Other usual social features are there, including rating and tags.

Originally the concept was created by two of the Microsoft New Zealand staff, who envisioned a community resource as well as a fully functioning site which could be used for learning. And that's why the entire Backgroundmotion source code is available for download from the Codeplex, so developers can learn how to utilise the technology platform.

Mindscape built the site over 3 weeks, following it up with a series of technical presentations around New Zealand.

Microsoft Windows Home Server RC available now

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 13-Jun-2007 07:32

The Microsoft Windows Home Server Release Candidate is available now. It's a great software, based on the Windows Server platform and providing peace of mind for home users with multiple Window-based computers in your network. It also allows lots of Add-ins.

The platform provides automatic backup, shared space for media (pictures, video, music), streaming services and more, including remote access gateway to all computers in your home network.

Partners such as HP will release turn key server solutions ready to install at home. If you are a DYI type of person you only need a keyboard, mouse and monitor to install the software and after that it will run without these peripherals - everything can be remotely managed.

I tried running Hamachi on my test server and it worked really well, so you can even use it for some home networking over the Internet.

All good. That is if you don't have 64 bit OS running at home. In many post in the official Windows Home Server forum, Microsoft employees have announced that Windows Vista 64 bit support could be something in v1, but don't expect this to be actually released until v2.

What a shame. During the International CES 2007 Bill Gates told us (a small private group of website owners) how Microsoft wanted to make a "transparent" transition to 64 bit computing platforms. I think some in the Windows Home Server forgot to read the memo.

Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1 released

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 12-Jun-2007 16:40

If you are running Virtual Server, good news: Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1 has just been released. Download it now.

You will need to shutdown any running virtual machines, and stop the current virtual server in the Services applet. The upgrade is quick and you can then restart your server.

New Zealand Coffee Festival and the Battles of the Baristas

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 12-Jun-2007 15:07

This is not technology related, but since I am really fan of a good espresso coffee, here it goes... I received this press release today:

The New Zealand Coffee Festival and the Battles of the Baristas

The 4th annual New Zealand Coffee Festival ( gets underway at the Alinghi Base on the Viaduct Harbour from August 17-19 with the biggest battles of the baristas the country has ever seen.

Baristas from throughout the country will be seeking to become the inaugural winner of the EQUAL New Zealand Latte Art Championships, plus take away a prize of $2,000.

Plus the Australian barista team, The Baristaroos will be back to take on The Black Cups in the Da Vinci Trans Tasman Barista Challenge with a $4000 prize to the winning three-person team. The final challenge of this annual event will be held at the AHA Hospitality Fair in Adelaide in October when the winning team will be announced. Captain of the New Zealand team is Christchurch barista Carl Sara (pic centre) who is New Zealand barista champion and who is competing in the World Barista Championships in Tokyo this year. Other members are Luciano Marcolino (pic left), also of Christchurch, and David Huang of Auckland (pic at right) with Black Cups Manager Chris White of Auckland, an accredited World Barista Championships judge.

Coffee lovers will be able to enjoy three days of coffee tasting at many of the nearly 50 stands set up at the Alinghi Base featuring New Zealand coffee roasters and coffee companies. There is also food, wine, music, and the latest coffee machines and coffee-related products for sale.

In the EQUAL New Zealand Latte Art Championships, the festival's feature event, 30 of the country's best baristas will compete before a team of judges to make the best coffee-to-go based on taste, speed of preparation and latte art. 

According to Festival Director Michael Guy, this year's Latte Art Championships would be a test run before an application is made to the World Latte Art Championships, run by the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe, for New Zealand to include a competitor.

Also judged at the festival will be freshly roasted coffees from New Zealand's coffee roasters. A team of New Zealand and international judges taste the roasted coffees and award Gold, Silver and Bronze medals, plus a Supreme Award for the highest-scoring individual coffee blend. Last year's big winners were Orb Coffee which won the Supreme Award, while boutique roastery Altezano based in Mt Eden was also a big medal winner.

"The support for this year's festival has been terrific," says Festival Director Michael Guy. "After two years in Taupo and then last year's festival at North Harbour Stadium it's great to bring this event into the heart of Auckland."

Picture from the Coffee Festival website...

GPUGems 3

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 12-Jun-2007 12:21

A friend of mine, Hubert Nguyen, has just pinged on Messenger to let me know about his latest work, GPUGems 3 - and it looks cool:

We are pleased to unveil the cover of the upcoming “GPU Gems 3” book. This image has been rendered in NVIDIA’s “Human Head” demo, which features Doug Jones, who recently starred as the Silver Surfer in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.

The book will be in full color, hard cover, and will contain 41 chapters, including “Advanced Skin Rendering”, which explains how to render ultra-realistic characters. GPU Gems 3 will be released at SIGGRAPH 2007 but can already be pre-ordered.

According to Hubert, "... the book basically contains 41 GPU-related techniques - there's some rendering stuff, image processing, general purpose computing, physics."

Dance, Monkeys. Dance

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 10-Jun-2007 12:03

If you think "what are we doing here", this video is a must see...

Have a good Sunday!

Apple iPhone does not support MMS

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 10-Jun-2007 10:42

So people are going crazy on a mainly media-based phone that does not support MMS? Or no support for any IM?

From Mac Rumors:

Revolutionary Mobile Phone

- Dial any telephone number with the touch of a finger
- Create and manage a list of telephone numbers you call most
- If you choose to answer the call, the video will pause and resume once the call ends
- iPhone syncs contact information from the computer to iPhone (from Address Book on a Mac or Outlook or Outlook Express on a Windows PC).
- Built-in speakerphone
- iPhone lets you carry on a phone conversation while you simultaneously browse the Internet or send an email.
- There is a vibrate mode.


- Sync photos from Mac or PC

SMS Text Messaging

- SMS text message button shows how many new messages are waiting
- Threaded conversations
- Hear an audio alert for new messages
- Error correction and prevention in the keyboard. Only displayed when you need it.
- iPhone users will not be able to conduct IM conversations with instant messaging users
- Does not support MMS messaging for photos or videos

Music and Video

- All videos play in landscape mode
- If you prefer your widescreen content to take up the entire screen, you can double tap the video and iPhone will automatically scale the video to take up the entire screen
- Sync music with iTunes just like any other iPod
- Select how to display music: by playlist, artist, songs or more.
- Media Net, MobiTV, or Cellular Video are not available on iPhone


- Rich formatting
- Support for IMAP and POP3
- Yahoo! Push Mail
- Automatic address completion


- Double tap an object to make it fill the screen, and double tap to zoom out
- Can have multiple websites open at once and switch between them
- Websites you have bookmarked on your computer will be transfered to your iPhone from your Mac or PC


Google Maps

- iPhone will not support the TeleNav solutions currently offered by other AT&T devices
- GPS is not part of the iPhone feature set.

Yawn... It is interesting how some people get all excited and list vibrate mode as a "revolutionary" thing. I thought vibrate mode was standard in most "smarter" devices anyway?

People, let's be realistic. All those features (and more) are present on Palm OS, Symbian and Windows Mobile devices. And those devices do not use proprietary voice mail services that chain you to a specific mobile operator.

That's the thing in marketing. It seems the key is to make any feature sound as it is only available on that specific product.

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.

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If you want to contact me, please use this page or email me Note this email is not for technical support. I don't give technical support. You can use our Geekzone Forums for community discussions on technical issues.

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