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Chat with RoamAD

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 8-May-2007 15:52

While here at Convergence Oceania 2007 I had a chance to meet Martin Levy, CEO of RoamAD. The company "... supplies a wireless networking platform for converged wireless networks including citywide Wi-Fi networks, public safety networks, highway Wi-Fi corridors, surveillance / CCTV networks as well as general use networks". In other others metro wi-fi networks.

I've spoken to Martin once over Skype and met him briefly in Auckland before, but today I was given the full rundown on their services, including a demo of the remote administration tool used in the platform - including monitoring network nodes around the world.

This is very impressive technology, and I wonder why the Wellington City Council doesn't use some kind of mesh wireless network as part of their broadband plans for the region - I mean, we can't just have fiber, taking in consideration the local geography, access, etc.

Convergence Oceania 2007 in Wellington

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 8-May-2007 12:47

The Convergence Oceania in Wellington is in full motion... Hon David Cunliffe, Minister for Communications and Information Technology opened the conference, quickly followed by a session with Andrew Seybold talking about current trends in wireless technologies.

Quite a few old faces around, and new people too. Met Gary Rogers and Pat Kelly from APT who showed me some of the new CDMA EVDO Wireless Routers, and Telecom New Zealand as expected is showing the CDMA EVDO Rev A USB modem - and surprise an ExpressCard version. The first should be coming in June, and the ExpressCard late in July.

Tomizone is here and I got to connect to their service using a day pass. Also got to look at the user interface when accessing the servce and managing your account. If you don't know Tomizone is a "broadband" sharing service, and recently announced a deal with ISP Orcon and D-Link which will see Tomizone-enabled routers getting to the streets. This is a huge step, because most ISPs had T&Cs that prevented the sharing of a service, but this seems to be changing here in New Zealand.

Other interesting thing I saw was the Neo Digital guys with their home media server and home control units.
Coffee is good, and as in last year's it is courtesy of Aangel (thanks Willian). Aangel is a mobile service that transcribe short notes, appointments and contact information over the phone and send this to your mobile as a SMS with the appropriate vcal, vnote and vcard formats so you can quickly have these entered into your handset.

Other displays were Citylink, Vantex, InternetNZ, Spirit Wireless, Nutshell (hello Ian) and more.

Subway: share your $4 drink and go to prison

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 7-May-2007 08:33

I don't like Subway anyway. The food doesn't taste great. And now they go around calling the police when one of their employees share a cup of soda:

About two weeks after she was fired, police charged her with the theft of two cups of Coke valued at $4. She will appear in Dunedin District Court this month.

Security video footage of the incident shows Lang sharing the drink with her friend, then refilling the cup and leaving it on the table when she returned to work.

"Most people wouldn't be fired and put in a police cell for two hours for sharing a drink."

In a letter addressed to Lang, the directors said she had given the drink to a friend without payment and that was considered "serious misconduct" and a breach of their "trust and fidelity".

Fidelity? Way to go to destroy employee fidelity, Subway.

I am sure the $4 cup of soda impacted your business in New Zealand a lot. Couldn't the company just charge the $4 to the employee's account?

And when we need police action in so many more important cases, I appreciate the time and effort you asked the New Zealand police to put into this "investigation".

Talk about target shooting and be fired

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 6-May-2007 11:26

Paranoids of the world, unite! First, target a boy for writing an essay. Then suspend a boy for creating a Counter Strike map. Next fire an IT professional for talking about target shooting, just because, well, just because the co-workers are paranoid about anything and everything, thanks to the media and the current state of affairs.

Oh, and make sure the guy is also accused of terrorism for drawing a comic reporting the incident. And plenty of links on Slashdot.

When are these people coming to their sense? I mean, classifying people on hearsay? Are we going back to the Middle Ages?

Windows Vista and Microsoft SQL 2005: saga continues

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 5-May-2007 19:46

A few days ago I posted on how hard it is to install (and uninstall) Microsoft's own SQL 2005 on Windows Vista.

I need the SQL Server Management Studio so I can manage some of my databases. I do not have any Windows XP machine anymore and I must use this.

Of course it warns of problems with Windows Vista just before the installation, but the warning dialog also tells me to install Micorsoft SQL Server 2005 Service Pack 2 and all will be ok.

After a few days I managed to actually remove the previous failed install and have the correct things installed. But when I tried to apply the Service Pack 2, that's what I get:

That's right: Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Service Pack 2 failed to install exactly on the component I need most.

Incredible. Both Microsoft's flagship products in their categories won't work with each other. When are they going to learn, if ever? Are these products still in beta?

Closer to going out and getting that Apple Mac.

Don't activate your copy of Windows yet - read this first

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 5-May-2007 11:45

Scammers all over are making it harder for common people to identify social engineering tricks... Look at the latest phishing scam associated with a trojan for Windows... According to the Symantec Security Response Weblog:

Recently we came across an interesting Trojan sample, detected by Symantec as Trojan.Kardphisher. The Trojan is not very technical - it's really just another classic social-engineering attack. What makes it interesting is that the author has obviously taken great pains to make it appear legitimate.

How legitimate? Look at the screenshot:

The trojan runs on startup and pretend to be a Windows Activation dialog. Note how it asks for name, address, credit card number, expiry date and even ATM PIN!

So, beware. Windows Activation does not ask for this information. Also it offers the option to activate over the phone. If you are in doubt and the machine has been activated before, run an anti-virus!

Fairfax: stop your shonky telemarketer practices

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 5-May-2007 11:04

A few months back I attended a seminar here in Wellington. Fairfax, the owner of local newspaper Dominion Post plus local IDG titles such as PC World and Computerworld, were giving away a free three month subscription to The Independent Financial Review.

I got one. I received the newspaper for three months and decided it wasn't something I was reading from cover to cover.

So, when it came the time to renew the subscription (or actually subscribe to it since those three months were free) I got a phone call from someone in the subscription department asking if I wanted to change to a paid subscription. I replied, very clearly, that I wasn't interested.

Today I got a Tax Invoice/Statement in the mail, charging me $165.60 for a new subscription. And that's with a 50% savings!

I clearly said I DON'T WANT IT. Don't send me unwanted invoices. It smells like those domain name scams where people receive fake invoices for a domain name they don't own.

Is it hard to understand I DON'T WANT IT, Fairfax?

And no, I won't even link to their publications in this post. They don't deserve Google juice.

UPDATE: I've received an explanation for this and wrote about it.

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?

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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