My window to the world


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.




Novatel Wireless sales and gross margins up

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 2-May-2007 09:18

Margins should be up for Novatel Wireless... It seems they have no support service, so no support costs... This is from their press release today:


Novatel Wireless Reports Record Results Driven by Strong Sales Across Multi-Pronged 3G Product Portfolio
First Quarter Revenue Increases 174% Year Over Year and 43% Sequentially

“Our first quarter performance was the best in Company history, with record sales, strong gross margins and impressive operating leverage,” commented Brad Weinert, Novatel Wireless’ acting Chief Executive Officer. “Sales were even higher than forecasted in our revised guidance due to strong end-of-the-quarter momentum for newly introduced ExpressCards and Ovation USB devices. During the quarter, shipments of the Company’s ExpressCards – the most successful new product introduction in our history – grew to almost $50 million in sales.


The product can be a success. It's actually quite good. But when you contact the Novatel support multiple times through their support forms but receive no replies, as it happened to me, then it really leaves a bad taste in your mouth.






Joost for all: ask for invites here

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 2-May-2007 08:39

According to GigaOM Joost is close to a public launch, perhaps available to everyone from end of May 2007... And the closer it gets the easier it is to get in.

Other reports tells us that from today every current Joost user can invite an unlimited number of friends to join the service (although my Joost status still says I can invite only five people).

So if you are thinking of joining Joost, post a comment here and I will send you an invite until it opens to the public or until I run out of time.

UPDATE: Joost has announced its commercial launch, and unlimited invites available for current beta testers. But the "unlimited" is not really available now, so I've sent invites to the first five people commenting here and will send more invites as soons as I have them.

UPDATE: Unlimited invites are now available so please comment away!








NewsGator Enterprise Server 2.0 is out

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 2-May-2007 00:30

Regular readers know I read a lot and most of it is from RSS feeds. I use the NewsGator Enterprise Server (NGES) here and I have access to my RSS feeds anytime, anywhere: in my web browser on the laptop, in the web browser on my Windows Mobile device, from my Microsoft Exchange account and (most of the times) on FeedDemon.


Even though my company is small, I run this software in-house because of the benefits, including the synchronisation between locations that allows me to read RSS feeds in one medium and have it marked as read everywhere else automatically. I love that I can go out and keep an eye on the feeds from my Windows Mobile Pocket PC, and when I am back using my laptop all those feeds are already marked and gone.

This is only one of the benefits. You should read my NGES review on Geekzone to see what it can bring to larger companies.

But the reason of this post is because I got the news that NGES 2.0 is out. This update includes support for the NewsGator Go! reader for Pocket PC. This is great because I will be able to synchronise my feeds with my Pocket PC instead of having to be on-line all the time to read it through the mobile browser. It means I can download the feeds and read on an aeroplane for example, since I won't need to have the cellular data on all the time.

Also included is a new Ajax-based Web interface, sorting of feeds and articles by relevance to the user, tagging support, enhanced reporting, and feed-reading add-ons to Microsoft SharePoint 2007 and Lotus Notes. 

Now to contact the NGES Support and arrange for an updated install to be sent to me...




SQL Server 2005 install woes on Windows Vista

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 1-May-2007 12:21

How many times do I have to reboot Windows Vista to install SQL Server Client? How many failed attempts are required? Why does the setup die? Is this a bad case of application still in beta?

So frustrating. I cringe every time I have to reboot now.

I am very tempted to go out and buy an Apple Mac.

UPDATE: Install worked, after four attempts. And this is not a machine with lots installed - and it's clean. There is no toolbars and loads of utilities. It's just plain stock Windows Vista. Lesson learned? Don't use the Sleep or Hibernation thing. Every time I use that something goes wrong. Reboot every day.

UPDATE: I can't believe it... After the install finished I clicked Windows Update. It downloaded 340MB for SQL 2005 SP2, and run for ten minutes. Then it return "Update failed to install". I clicked the link "Get Help" and as expect the error code wasn't there. I clicked the button "Try again" and it started downloading the 340MB SP2 again!

How bad a software can be? It's just the client, for goodness sake, it's not the SQL 2005 Server components. Another reboot coming.

UPDATE: Worst decision ever: installing the SQL 2005 Client on this Windows Vista machine. After installing SP2 I wanted to add another feature, but can't because the code files are newer than the installation DVD. And guess what? Uninstall is not working. What a piece of software.




Xbox LIVE Gold 12 Month Subscription Card giveaway

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 1-May-2007 09:11

Head over to the main Geekzone page and look for the Xbox LIVE Gold 12 Month Subscription Card giveaway (until 8 May)... The prize is a 12 month subscription plus 1000 Xbox LIVE points in the package, so the winner will have lots to spend in the Xbox Marketplace.








Vote for the Dell XPS design

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 30-Apr-2007 22:13

I just got an e-mail telling me about a new initiative from Dell: users can influence the design of Dell's next gaming desktop machine, the Dell XPS 710 H2C:


You can vote for a Dell XPS 710 H2C design of your choice. Two options are available now.

You can also comment on the designs and ideas and by the looks of it people are using that forum to provide feedback for all of Dell's products, not only this design process.






Xbox 360 Pac-Man World Championship

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 30-Apr-2007 15:20

Today I got a box with a note about the Xbox 360 Pac-Man World Championship... Yes, that Pac-Man:


Anyway, back to the competition. Read the press release find all about the Xbox 360 Pac-Man World Championship.


Drawn from the best players in the Xbox 360 regions of Australia/New Zealand, Asia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Europe and the United States, nine finalists will advance to the finals based upon the highest Xbox LIVE Arcade leaderboard scores and be flown to New York City for the finals on June 5.


I remember playing this in the arcardes, mid-80s. Good times. No worries. And Pac-Man, Space Invaders and Asteroids were the big thing back then. You can play these on-line (Asteroids, Space Invaders, Pac-Man, Donkey Kong) to find out what was cool back in the 80s.



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.

Subscribe now to my blog RSS feed or the Geekzone RSS feed.

If you want to contact me, please use this page or email me freitasm@geekzone.co.nz. 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.

Here's is my full disclosure post.

If you'd like to help me keep Geekzone going, please use this Geekzone Amazon affiliate link when placing any orders on Amazon.



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