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Microsoft Athens: Forums, Blogs, Tags

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 17-Apr-2007 12:41

Microsoft has just announced an update to its project "Athens", the Microsoft Community Beta. "Athens" is a collection of tools for companies, communities and individuals to create their own space.

The tools include Forums, Blogs, and Tagspace. Currently these are not available to use outside Microsoft, except the Forums which accepts posts from anyone signed in with a Live ID. But the company has opened the doors for the IT community in general to have a look in the feature, suggest new services and more.

The main site for the project Athens is here. You can access each individual tool directly through the following links: Forums, Blogs, Tagspace.

According to the team, "The functional scope of the Athens beta applications and services is limited by design to the fundamentals, such as posting to a forum, commenting on a blog, or bookmarking a resource. Our purpose is to provide the foundations and essential framework for rapid iteration using customer feedback as our main development touchstone."

Also it is important to note the target for this release:

Our target audience for this release is Microsoft technology professionals — IT pros and devs, mainly — who are actively engaged in online communities and are willing to try out some new concepts and tools. We also intend this release as a way to further the internal discussion with our stakeholders and partners about how “Web 2.0” and social networking technologies should fit into Microsoft product development, marketing, and evangelism.

One interesting question is "Are you trying to compete with Community Server?"... The answer according to their FAQ is "Are you trying to compete with Community Server?

While there are clearly areas of overlap between our (fully envisioned) community platform services and Community Server, we don't really see ourselves in direct competition with that solution. Rather, we hope to provide the "plumbing" that Web sites and other applications—including community sites built on Community Server technology—can use to complement and extend their online community services and user experiences. In fact, as far as we're concerned, communitarians far and wide should use whatever platform suits them best; we aim to provide the glue that can connect them to one another, and help them discover whole new communities of shared interest, wherever they may be on the Web.

You will find feedback forums links fro the Microsoft Community Beta page. If you want more information, there's a Microsoft Community FAQ page up now.

Why Windows Vista on your PC with 4GB RAM can only see 3GB - or less...

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 16-Apr-2007 13:48

Many times I've seen people asking "I have 4GB RAM on my PC but Windows Vista can only see 3GB. What's going on?"...

I know. It even happened to me. I installed 4GB on my desktop and Windows Vista reported only 3GB total. I thought something was wrong with the memory, shuffled it around, ran memory tests, but nothing worked.

Then I read this: The 3GB not 4GB RAM problem. The author explains why and how. First we find out that there's a limit of memory a 32 bit system can address. But even so, the actuall memory is less than the addressable limit, because of reserved memory imposed by chipsets.

Even though Windows Vista 64 bit has a much higher limit (128GB RAM), it may still be limited, depending on the chipset!

If you are running 32-bit Windows, you must live with it. You will not ever see all 4GB of RAM you've paid for.

If you are running 64-bit Windows, you may have to live with it. Depending on your motherboard's chipset, your system may support memory remapping. If so, you will be able to use all 4GB of RAM.

Interesting read.

Windows Mobility User Group - Wellington

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 16-Apr-2007 13:17

This week (19 April 2007 6pm) we are having another WMUG meeting. This time we will focus on Windows Vista and mobile experiences. We also have ten copies of Microsoft Windows Vista Business edition to give away, plus other goodies, including two Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Evaluation Kit.

The meeting will be hosted by Toshiba, in their offices at Wakefield St.

Some things to mention: we don't have a WMUG website at the moment, because the old domain lapsed and the domain holder did not renew it (he missed all the notiifications). Darryl has got another domain and we haven't decided what to do yet. Most likely we will use SharePoint Services to host the content. We need the website so that you can read about the group meetings and to get notices such as O'Reilly discounts for the group and more.

In the meantime, if you want to get notifications via e-mail, we have a (low volume) mailing list. You can subscribe to the WMUG list (and lots of other NZ .Net User Group lists) in the official NZ .Net User Group site.

Other news involve Craig Pringle. He's accepted a position with Gen-i in Sydney, Australia, and therefore will not be able to commit his time to help the user group with his Tablet PC and mobility knowledge. So we are looking for other people to help. If you have a passion for mobile stuff, is based in Wellington, and want to help (low volume again) please contact me.

Microsoft Outlook 2007 update for performance (KB933493)

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 16-Apr-2007 10:52

Last week Microsoft released a 8.4MB update fixing performance problems found in Microsoft Outlook 2007. I've already installed the update on my Windows Vista 64 bit laptop and used it for a few days before posting the link here.

This update fixes a problem in which a calendar item that is marked as private is opened if it is found by using the Search Desktop feature.

The update also fixes performance issues that occur when you work with items in a large .pst file or .ost file.

The Knowledge Base article 933493 has more details. Make sure you read it because there are some problems when running Outlook with the Business Contact Manager.

It seems the performance issues affect large .pst and .ost files only... I have a rather large .ost (Exchange account) file, but I don't use the integrated RSS feed feature, so I guess performance improvements would be more easily perceived for users with this feature turned on.

Worth updating though, it looks like my copy of Outlook is quicker to start now. But could be just my perception (a placebo effect?) since it wasn't that slow before anyway.

The Power of Mobility

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 15-Apr-2007 09:41

One of the blogs I follow through my RSS feeds is Russ McGuire's The Law of Mobility. He collects snippets of information and lists these on a daily basis with links to interesting things, all related to mobility technologies, trends, and resources.

Russ is also director of corporate strategy for Sprint, responsible for developing the strategic vision and strategic framework for that telecommunications company. It shows he knows the business, right?

Now I've found out he's working on a book called The Power of Mobility, due September 2007:

This book’s value will be measured by how well it helps readers look forward, to envision the Power of Mobility in their business, and to implement the steps required to turn vision into reality. What in any business today is stationary that, if it were mobile, would create tremendous value for customers?  What steps must be taken to deliver that value and win customers' hearts and wallets? 

These questions and more will be addressed in the core of the book, The Seven Steps to the Power of Mobility.  This section will clearly define the specific thought processes and actions required for businesses determined to win in the new Mobility Age.  Additionally, the book closes with specific examples of how companies have successfully followed these seven steps to redefine the rules of competition in their industries.

Google to acquire DoubleClick

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 14-Apr-2007 10:01

Google has announced that it will be acquiring DoubleClick. This comes after lots of rumours that involved even Microsoft planning to buy DoubleClick, and Google trying to snatch the company before the Redmond giant could move into the big advertiser game...

Microsoft's own on-line advertising service called Microsoft AdCenter seems to never leave a closed beta, and it's only targeting U.S. market at the moment anyway.

Now it will be even harder for on-line advertising networks to catch up with Google's AdSense.

The official press release says Google is paying US$3.1 billion for DoubleClick Inc., a company with 1200 employees and interests in digital marketing technology and services.

The acquisition will combine DoubleClick’s expertise in ad management technology for media buyers and sellers with Google’s leading advertising platform and publisher monetization services.

The combination of Google and DoubleClick will offer superior tools for targeting, serving and analyzing online ads of all types, significantly benefiting customers and consumers:

For users, the combined company will deliver an improved experience on the web, by increasing the relevancy and the quality of the ads they see.

For online publishers, the combination provides access to new advertisers, which creates a powerful opportunity to monetize their inventory more efficiently.

For agencies and advertisers, Google and DoubleClick will provide an easy and efficient way to manage both search and display ads in one place. They will be able to optimize their ad spending across different online media using a common set of metrics.

DoubleClick is headquartered in New York, and counts 17 offices and development hubs and 15 data centers worldwide.

Interestingly in the last few days I've seem a few banner ads being served by Google AdSense, and the images were being hosted by Doubleclick. Was that an indication or was it always possible to do?

A complete FAQ is available (pdf) from Google.

What 3G was supposed to be (part III) or Intel new Ultra Mobile PC vision

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 14-Apr-2007 09:00

You might remember a couple of posts here (Part I and Part II) in this blog with marketing movies used by mobile and infrastructure manufacturers (Nokia, Ericsson, British Telecom) from around 2000 and 2001, when those companies were trying to sell the idea of an ultra mobile future, based on 3G mobile data technologies, PDAs and smartphones. You should see those movies to compare with Intel's vision of the ultra mobile future below. Intel seems to be set to bring this future to us, well, in the future. According to Josh Bancroft at TinyScreenfuls, Intel will show its idea of a 2nd generation of Ultra Mobile PC (UMPC) devices during the IDF in Beijing, next week. This is what Intel thinks the ultra mobile future could be:
What is really interesting is that this movie doesn't show anything more than what mobile manufacturers were proposing several years ago. Just the technology now has evolved to a point where this could be closer. But not too close. Remember when the first UMPC waves came out on the Internet, and people were promised US$500 devices with great battery life? We wound up getting US$2000 devices with poor battery life instead... By the way, if you watch my other posts (in special Part II) you will see the scenario is almost exactly the same.

Windows Mobile 6 Product Reference Guide

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 13-Apr-2007 10:50

If you are planning to deploy Windows Mobile devices in your organisation, or jut curious about the technology changes in the latest Windows Mobile 6 release, then download the Windows Mobile 6 Product Reference Guide (pdf).

The document lists all enhancements added to this new version. You will be surprised to find lots of interesting things in there. Go have a read.

Found through Jason Langridge's blog.

Trade Me eight years

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 13-Apr-2007 10:05

Last night my wife and I had the opportunity to attend the Trade Me 8th Anniversary party. The event was held at the Paramount Cinemas here in Wellington, and we were all treated to drinks, finger food, good music and a movie (including free jaffas).

The movie was the New Zealand made Black Sheep, a tale of horror and comedy, about some genetically modified sheep spreading terror in a New Zealand farm. Strange? You bet. But with some good New Zealand humour in that...

We had the chance to quickly chat with Trade Me's Rowan Simpson, who introduced us to Wayne Campbell, Managing Director of VIANET International, the company working with Trade Me to help the auction website enter the tourism space. Wayne and his business partner Vaughan explained a lot of the Trade Me deal, but nothing that isn't publicly available yet.

It is going to be interesting... Trade Me dominates the New Zealand Internet with almost 60% of the entire Internet traffic in this country, and they have virtually no competitors in auction, online car sales and now entering the online tourism space, the top area of interest for kiwis buying goods and services on-line.

When companies don't participate in conversations, or why Vodafone is locked out of Geekzone today

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 12-Apr-2007 12:36

If you are inside Vodafone New Zealand's network today you will notice your access to Geekzone has been blocked.

So, how it happens that a large mobile operator such as Vodafone is locked out of the largest technology website in New Zealand?

Easy... Trolls. It seems some people inside that organisation don't understand criticism, and instead of engaging in a conversation decide that using a computer to anonymously post a comment calling someone "retard" is fine.

No, it's not fine. It's the corporate image that's hurt. You think you are anonymous, but now the entire organisation has an image problem.

Vodafone New Zealand has two ways of fixing things... One is bad, another is good:

1.Teach people inside the organisation to respect other people's opinions, and that what you say in public reflect on peoples' perception of the company, or

2.Tell everyone inside the company to never access Geekzone again, hurting the company's image even more, as one that's not interested in engaging with customers.

It sure shows that some people inside the organisation couldn't be smart enough to think of the consequences of trolling?

People love branding, but every one inside an organisation is part of the branding. And this is not the first time the Vodafone proxy server was blocked. The first time it was a surprise and I didn't know it was the company's main Internet access. But this time it wasn't a surprise.

UPDATE: Access has now been restored.

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.

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 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.

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