My window to the world

CafeNET in Auckland

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 3-Apr-2007 11:02

I have just received some information about a new CafeNET deployment - this time in Auckland.

If you must have wireless connectivity try the CafeNET services. They have a page listing the CafeNET locations in Auckland. The company started as an offspring of CityLink here in Wellington, and they have some good services (including some free content on-net).

They also expect to have CafeNET live at the Vector Arena in the next few weeks.

I admit I also use the Telecom New Zealand Hotspot service, since it's free until end of 2007 for users with a Mobile Broadband data plan. But sometimes you can only find one or another - sometimes none, but then you have mobile data from either Vodafone or Telecom, right?

Microsoft MVP Award Mobile Devices

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 2-Apr-2007 17:08

Just got an e-mail from Microsoft with the confirmation that my Microsoft MVP Award (Mobile Devices) was renewed for another year. If you don't know, "[The] Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award is an annual award that is given to outstanding members of Microsoft's technical communities, and that is based on contributions made during the previous year to offline and online technical communities.".

There's a good FAQ here.

This is an annual award. You can check my MVP Public Profile for some more information.

Old memories: Burroughs Corporation

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 30-Mar-2007 21:27

Some time ago I found there was an old Burroughs Corporation building in Birch StreetLower Hutt. Probably an old warehouse, or some regional offices?

Walking around Lower Hutt last week I managed to get a picture with my Pocket PC. The interesting thing is this building looks exactly like a training centre we had in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Perhaps Burroughs used a single design for all its buildings?

Burroughs is a good old memory. My first job, back in 1984 was in development on a couple of B6900 mainframes (6 MB RAM each), and my first LINC training was on a B1714 (64 KB RAM, dual CPU). The B6900, follow up to the B6500 series was ahead of its time...

I kid you not the two B6900 had about 120 terminals (Poll Select) connected, some via satellite at 1200 bps.

In 1986 Burroughs bought Sperry Corporation and created Unisys. Incredible, a company with more than 120,000 employees, the number two in the computer industry, and today it's unusual to meet someone that knows about Unisys. The company has since reduced in size a lot. I joined Unisys in 1989 (Unisys Brasil, Unisys New Zealand), and left in 2005, to run Geekzone full time.

Of course, by the time I left Unisys we talked about mainframes running multiple OSes, including Windows Server and Linux in the same hardware, and more. But this is another story.

If you know about this building, of have some memories from Burroughs, Sperry, Unisys (good or bad), post a comment here.

UPDATE: I have posted some Burroughs and Unisys videos in a new blog post.

Age of Empires III, gaming

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 30-Mar-2007 20:22

After moving from using a desktop to using the laptop full time I might need some relaxation - in the form of some games... I have been using this laptop for almost four months, and only now I am installing some games.

I have installed Day of Defeat, Counter-Strike, and I am now installing Age of Empiress III, plus the WarChiefs expansion pack (pictured). Next will be Diablo II: Lord of Destruction. I wonder if it runs ok on Windows Vista.

But Hadley tells me I have to invest on Supreme Commander.

Time for some fun and games...

Video: Microsoft Deepfish for Windows Mobile

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 30-Mar-2007 08:48

The Microsoft Live Labs are at it again... They have just announced a new paradigm for mobile browsing called Microsoft Deepfish. Is seems it works in a similar fashion as not much different from some other solutions, in which a server-side engine fetches and render pages, transferring an image of this page...

The following short movie shows how a page is rendered first in a completely zoomed out state. When you press the Action button the grey area will help you focus what area to zoom in and clicking the Action button again will enlarge that area.

Notice how the content is blurry after zooming in. Like some mapping technologies only the content needed to fill the screen is downloaded and cached, so the blur will go after a couple of seconds after you move to a new area in the page, giving way for a much better picture.

The product is currently on a semi-open beta. IT appears all the allocated slots for beta testers are taken, but you can register your interest on the research site.

Video: Microsoft Deepfish on Palm Treo 750v

The New Zealand on-line market under the microscope

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 29-Mar-2007 13:56

Even with all complaints about the current state of affairs when it comes to New Zealand broadband services and infrastructure, it seems the kiwis love to buy on-line.

Reaserch firm Nielsen//NetRatings has just released the results of a its new "Online Retail Monitor", a continuous study of New Zealand's on-line market. The results show just strong the New Zealand market is for online shopping.

According to the press release sent out today, in a month-long period over December 2006 to January 2007, 66% of adult New Zealand internet users made a purchase online and 95% researched goods or services via the internet.

These are very high numbers when taken in comparison with a similar study conducted in Australia where 54% made a purchase online in the lead up to Christmas, and 87% researched goods or services online,.

It seems New Zealanders are also spending on-line a lot more than . The average amount spent online was NZ$774 for the measured period, whilst in Australia the December figure was NZ$649.

When asked if these dollars figures included on-line auction transactions, Tony Boyte, Senior Analyst for Nielsen//NetRatings, confirmed that yes, this activity is included.

What would be interest to see is how much of this dollar figure is generated from Trademe alone. In January 2007 the auction web site alone was responsible for attracting 26% of unique users browsing the Internet in New Zealand, while generating 62% of the number of page impressions for all sites monitored by Nielsen//NetRatings.

The study tells us the most popular single item of purchase was tickets for flights. Mr Boyte explained: “Purchasing online is being more and more encouraged by airlines and booking agencies, and the results are very evident. The popularity of online flight bookings at this time may also be a result of people starting to plan their year ahead, including of course their holidays”.

It would be interesting to see if you have numbers for comparison with other countries, not only Australia.

PC World lists 101 Fantastic Freebies for the Internet age

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 29-Mar-2007 10:06

Interesting list put out by PC World (no, not the New Zealand one, the other one). PC World's 101 Fantastic Freebies article includes a wide range of free services, downloads, web sites, and more.

Here is the 101 Fantastic Freebies, broken out into 23 categories:

Desktop Search

Google Desktop (winner)
Copernic Desktop Search
Windows Desktop Search
Yahoo! Desktop Search

Windows XP Tweaks
Fresh UI (winner)
Microsoft PowerToys for Windows XP
Tweak and Tune

Windows Vista Tweaks
TweakVI Basic (winner)
Easy BCD

Instant Messaging, Voice, and Video
Meebo (winner)
Yahoo! Messenger
Windows GAIM
Google Talk

Avast (winner)
AVG Anti-Virus Free
Microsoft Windows Defender
Spybot Search & Destroy

VLC Media Player (winner)

Image Editing
Google Picasa (winner)
StudioLine Photo Basic
Microsoft Photo Info
FastStone MaxView
Media Purveyor
GIMP-GNU Image Manipulation Program

Email for Free
Gmail (winner)
Yahoo! Mail
Microsoft Windows Live Mail

File Sharing
AllPeers (winner)

Backup and File Synchronization
Mozy (winner)
Microsoft SyncToy
Everyday Auto Backup
Microsoft Foldershare

Office Productivity Software & Services
Zoho (winner)
Portable Apps
Google Docs and Spreadsheets
Num Sum
Ajax 13

Time Management
Backpack (winner)
Google Notebook
Sticky Notes
Easy To-Do

Registry Cleaner
TweakNow RegCleaner Standard (winner)
Clean My Registry

Hardware Utility
Belarc Advisor (winner)
M2 Information

Personal Web
Pageflakes (winner)
Google Personalized Home
Windows Live

Google Blogger (winner)
Microsoft Windows Live Spaces
AOL People Connection
Yahoo! 360

RSS Reader-Online
Bloglines (winner)
NewsGator Online
Google Reader

RSS Reader-Software
Sage (winner)
Active Web Reader
Tristana RSS Reader
MCE RSS Reader

Web Video Site
YouTube (winner)
Yahoo! Video
Google Video

Notepad Replacement
NoteTab Light (winner)
Crimson Editor
EditPad Lite

Multimedia Tools and Toys
Audacity (winner)
Free iPod Video Converter
PSP Video 9
DVD Shrink

Business Productivity
Google Apps for Your Domain (winner)
Microsoft Office Live

Google Earth

Scary: satellite debris on path of airliner flying Santiago to Auckland

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 29-Mar-2007 09:17

According to this story, "flaming space junk narrowly misses jet". The Russians provided the wrong time of reentry, and threfore wrong location. The Auckland Oceanic Centre, in charge of that part of air space gave airlines the option of not flying, but since the time was wrong... You get it:

The pilot of a Lan Chile Airbus A340, which was travelling between Santiago, Chile, and Auckland, New Zealand, notified air traffic controllers at Auckland Oceanic Centre after seeing flaming space junk hurtling across the sky just five nautical miles in front of and behind his plane about 10pm last night.

"Auckland is talking to (an) Aerolineas Argentinas (pilot) who is travelling (in the) opposite direction at 10 degrees further south asking if they wish to turn back to Auckland.

"They have elected to carry on at the moment.

A spokesman for Airways New Zealand, which provides air navigation services across airspace known as the Auckland Flight Information Region, confirmed the incident this morning.

He said it occurred about 10 minutes after the Lan Chile flight had entered the Auckland Flight Information Region.

Airways New Zealand had been warned by Russian authorities almost two weeks ago that a satellite would be entering the earth's atmosphere sometime today between 10.30am and midday NZ time (6.30-8am WA time).

That is scary. But it also makes me think... With all the current paranoia, if a disaster happened because of this, wouldn't people be quick to start rumours?

BlackBox M14 Noise Cancellation headphones giveaway...

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 27-Mar-2007 19:48

That's right: I got a pair of those incredibly cool BlackBox M14 Noise Cancellation headphones for review, and the manufacturers asked me to give those away instead of returning them.

Go ahead, read our review on Geekzone, and then enter the competition. It's open to everyone, in New Zealand or not.

Terrorized by war on terror

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 27-Mar-2007 19:06

The non-technology post of the day... A very interesting article by Zbigniew Brzezinski, national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter:  "Terrorized by 'War on Terror'" (Washington Post).

It should be a lesson to all leaders. A must read to all lawmakers.

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.

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