My window to the world


FlashThemes on Palm Treo Windows Mobile

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 4-May-2007 22:04

I've installed FlashThemes in two of my Pocket PCs to try it and see what it's all about. Shame the screen size on Palm Treo devices is so small (240 x 240 pixels) because more space would make this really cool. FlashThemes uses Flash to insert animated backgrounds into your Today screen. Note that you can't have this running in the entire background, but only on the space reserved for the plug-in. In the following recording I've disabled all Today plug-ins just to capture the animation in full screen:
Neat? You bet. Also, note I am running Flash Player 6, not the Flash Player 7. I think it's a requirement, and this version works on Windows Mobile 5 anyway. And, yes, the Vodafone NZ signal here is appaling when compared with the Telecom NZ, as you can see in the video.



Do Not Call Me!

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 4-May-2007 20:30

When will New Zealand get a Do Not Call Register? There is a Do Not Call Register in the U.S. and now a Do Not Call Register in Australia. When are we going to have it here?

If you don't know, this is a list of numbers that are not to be called by telemarketers.

Do you think this is needed here in New Zealand? How many times a week do you have a call from someone trying to sell a phone share scam, or trying to make you change ISPs, or trying to sell you life insurance?




Sonopia: the virtual MVNO

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 4-May-2007 19:51

Around the world we read about Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO), companies that provide a mobile service to its customers but does not have an allocation of spectrum.

One example of MVNO is Virgin Mobile UK, launched back in 1999 and with over 4 million customers in the UK alone.


We are now seeing a new approach coming out. Like those Affinity Credit Cards, an association, company or group can create a virtual MVNO through a new service called Sonopia.

Once you create your virtual MVNO you then proceed to create plans and select what mobile phones will be available from your "company".

You can then promote this through a web site, or any other means. And like the Affinity Credit Cards, your association, company or group will receive a percentage of the revenue.

The service is provided by Verizon Wireless in the U.S., and all handsets are CDMA (of course, since Verizon uses this standard).

It looks like an interesting idea - and I have registered myself to see how it worked, but being outside the U.S. I can't actually create the group, etc. I mean I can - but the forms all request State and ZIP Code, so obviously I am out.

Sonopia's CEO is Juha Christensen, ex-Symbian, ex-Microsoft, ex-Action Engine, ex-Macromedia. Juha co-founded the Symbian Ltd, the joint venture between Nokia, Ericsson, Sony-Ericsson, Matsushita, Samsung, Siemens, and Psion responsible by the Symbian OS now in use in million of mobile ghones. At Microsoft he was the VP for Mobile Devices Marketing Group.

Today I received an e-mail from Sonopia inviting some of the early Sonopians for dinner in San Francisco, to discuss the service and provide suggestions. It's a shame I won't be there though. I would be interested to find out more about this idea - and perhaps even suggest they allow us, aliens, to create our virtual MVNOs as well.

Do you think this would work here in New Zealand where we had two dominant players in the mobile market and knowing the mobile rates are ones of the highest in the OECD?






The mini MEDC NZ is happening in Christchurch

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 4-May-2007 19:40

Darryl has just announced we will have a mini MEDC here in New Zealand. For some of us not lucky enough to go to the nearest MEDC (Sydney, Australia) Microsoft will bring two of their Mobile and Embedded guys to New Zealand for a session.

So it's not the full MEDC, but we will have two "insiders" presenting during the event:

Mike Hall (Senior Technical Product Manager Windows Embedded)
Derek Snyder (Product Manager Windows Mobile)

If you develop solutions for the Embedded or Mobile market place then join the crowd for the first Microsoft Windows Embedded & Windows Mobile Seminar to be held in Christchurch.

This seminar will show you how to get the most from the latest Windows Embedded & Windows Mobile updates to get maximum advantage for your business. This includes information on the latest platforms & updates: Windows Mobile 6, Windows Embedded CE 6.0, Windows Embedded XP SP2 Feature Pack 2007. Also development updates, futures and roadmap information.

The mini MEDC will be on Thursday 17 May 2007, 4pm till 8pm at the Christchurch Convention Centre, Meeting Room 3 (Level 1).







I am going to the Convergence Oceania 2007... Meet me there

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 4-May-2007 10:21

Next week (8 May) is the Convergence Oceania 2007, at Te Papa here in Wellington. I will be there the whole day (or better part of it), and I am also attending the Positively Wellington cocktail afterwards.


Running at the same time as the exhibition there's a series of discussions:


8.45 - 9.00am David Cunliffe - Conference Opening

9.00 - 9.45am Andrew Seybold
The big picture: Where the industry is today and where it is headed

10.00 - 11.00am MORNING PANEL (Sponsored by Kordia)
Content is King to drive broadband usage- so what is NZ doing?
Damien Toman (Gen-i),Jeremy Hope (Ericsson), Maurice Stilwell (NZTE), Hyperfactory, Susie Stone (Kordia), Mantosh Malhotra (Qualcomm)

11.15 - 12.00pm Mike Iandolo - Alcatel Lucent - International Speaker
Wireless Public Safety Today and in the future

12.15 - 12.45pm Damien Toman - Gen-i
Discussion around wireless, broadband and convergence for business - with Michael Gregg

1.00 - 1.20pm Darian Bird - IDC
Wimax around the world: Where do we fit in?

1.30 - 2.15pm Wireless & Broadband PANEL (Sponsored by Telecom)
Wimax and Wifi - what do these technologies mean to you?
Martyn Levy (RoamAD), Steve Simms (Tomizone), Mike Landolo (Alcatel-Lucent), Telecom, Darian Bird (IDC)

2.30 - 3.15pm Mantosh Malhotra - Qualcomm - International Speaker
Next Evolution of Wireless Applications

3.30 - 4.15pm Steve Roberts - Kordia
The Beauties of Datacasting

4.30 - 5.30pm FINAL PANEL (Sponsored by Citylink and Cafe Net)
Wellington Wireless Broadband Wonderland - Myth or Reality
Rod Drury, Jamie Baddeley (InternetNZ), David Cunliffe, Duncan Turnbull (Citylink), Andrew Seybold



I hear Telecom New Zealand will at last unveil their CDMA EV-DO Rev A USB modem device at that event.



Microsoft and mobile advertising: ScreenTonic

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 3-May-2007 22:47

I just saw this in my RSS feeds, but the page is not up at Microsoft PressPass yet:


Microsoft Acquires Mobile Advertising Pioneer ScreenTonic

ScreenTonic’s mobile ad serving and management expertise increase advertiser opportunity across Microsoft Digital Advertising Solutions


Interesting to see more details when the press release actually comes out.

UPDATE: Some details emerged, but not much.



How much bandwidth does Joost use?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 3-May-2007 14:08

I am receiving lots of requests for Joost invites, which is cool. Keep them coming in the other post please!


But I wanted to point out this entry in their FAQ:


How much bandwidth does the application use?

IMPORTANT NOTICE for users with limits on their internet usage

You need to read this carefully if:

- you have an upper limit on your monthly internet usage, or
- you pay for internet usage as you go (i.e. you pay per megabyte you download, instead of a flat fee).

Joost is a streaming video application, and so uses a relatively high amount of bandwidth per hour. In one hour of viewing, approximately 320MB data will be downloaded and 105MB uploaded, which means that it will exhaust a 1GB cap in 10 hours.

Windows users should note that the application continues to run in the background after you close the main window. For this reason, if you pay for your bandwidth usage per megabyte or have your usage capped by your ISP, you should be careful to always exit Joost client completely when you are finished watching it.

To stop using bandwidth, you need to exit the application entirely...



This is particularly sad for New Zealand users, because there are no true unlimited plan with decent bandwidth available in this country...

So, beware of the usage when running Joost.

UPDATE: Please note these figures are Mb (megabit) not MB (megabyte), Gb (gigabit) not GB (gigabyte). Therefore 1Gb (gigabit) = 128 MB (megabytes). So Joost should use about 128 MB (megabytes) every ten hours.

UPDATE: I've contacted the Joost support through their forums and the Joost FAQ is incorrect. It's actually supposed to be MB (megabytes) and GB (gigabytes). I am updating the blog to reflect this. Note then that you will burn about 435 MB/hour with Joost!









Make sure you backup your data - now

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 3-May-2007 08:36

People know things will fail. They know computers will stop working, or worst, hard drives will crash. Work will be lost, content will be lost. Memories will be lost.

And that's what happened to Busines 2.0, one of the few magazines I actually buy (the others are Fast Company and Wired). According to some news Business 2.0 lost its main content server with all the material for the next issue.

They did backups. But apparently didn't test the backup lately - and the process failed to restore the so needed content.

Lucky for them most of the material was sent to lawyers for review and approval - but all the art work needed to be redone.

How are you doing today? Here are some tips:

If you are running Windows Vista, the Backup and Restore Center offers a handy basic file backup and restore, and in some versions (Business, Ultimate, Enterprise) a Complete PC Backup and restore option. It will copy the entire hard drive to an external drive and you will be able to restore your digital life to the exact image of that backup. It will do incremental backups, meaning you will be able to do faster backups over time.

Try an on-line service. There are free ones (up to 5GB) such as Xdrive, and some inexpensive options such as Carbonite. These are set and forget things, and they will copy your data to servers over the Internet. Of course you will need some fast broadband and an unlimited account or at least a large allowance for all the data backup. In New Zealand you can also try local solution NZDrive.

Try a backup to another computer. You could use Memeo and forget about this. Set it to backup your files to another computer on your network, and forget it. It's all automatic. And Memeo works on Windows and Mac OS.

Get into the home network server space. Try Windows Home Server. This might need a bit more knowledge, and more hardware, but it's getting to a point where some households have more than one computer, and this is an automated solution for backup nightmares. It will store automatic backups from all PCs in your network, and allow for restores over the LAN.

And of course test the restore to see if it all works. After all storing the data away but not being able to retrieve is not fun.

Most importantly: practice safe computing.




Windows Live Messenger chats OSD

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 3-May-2007 08:31

I found this today and it's kind of a cool concept, so I decided to post a short note: a free plugin to enable Windows Live Messenger chats to be shown on-screen:


The software is free and available here.



Measuring the perceived risks of SMS in the youth culture

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 2-May-2007 10:01

A friend is running a survey to measure the perceived risks of SMS, mainly when it comes to underage users being harassed with bullying messages or other sexual content.


We are a small independant software company interested in the effects of bullying and harassment through text messaging on the youth culture.

The purpose of this survey is two fold - to find out how undesirable messaging is perceived in society and to understand if technology is able to help mitigate some of the issues we suspect are out there.

The questions in the first section will be shared with the general public in an aggregated summary format to help the New Zealand community understand how text harassment is affecting society. The remainder of the information including any personal information will not be shared with anyone and will be used to help us understand whether technology is an appropriate way to deal with this issue.


If you can help, please visit www.txtsurvey.co.nz and fill in the questions. It will only take a couple of your minutes! It would be better if you had kids of your own, to make it more focused.

You can do it even if you are not in New Zealand.




freitasm's profile

Mauricio Freitas
Wellington
New Zealand


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

I work for Intergen and I'm also 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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