But the post is not about this new feature. It's about the Playstation 3 launch. I read somewhere that in Australia camera crews went to some places to capture the excitment of this launch, but were greeted by about fourty people, not enough to create a great picture as expected.
In London, though, things were nicer according to the BBC. Everyone in line got a free Sony Bravia 46" HDTV and a taxi home. Yes, way to go!
I didn't hear much about Sony New Zealand doing anything really. I only noticed a few boxes at the door in our local EB. By the number of boxes stacked there, and looking at the price, I am not sure they are flying out like hot cakes.
Back to the Xbox 360 front, the Playstation 3 was launched in New Zealand exactly one year (to the date) after the local Xbox 360 launch. To celebrate, the Xbox 360 PR company sent out to some influencers (yay!) a mysterious green box wrapped in "Xbox 360" tape. I opened it to find a mini chocolate cake with the Xbox 360 logo and one candle.
But still, I was surprised today when I stopped at my local mall's McDonalds to get a coke (regular, no ice please, but who cares? Not the cashier, who sometimes brings with ice anyway) and noticed that, at last, they have replaced the PC running Windows 95 with a new Dell machine running Windows XP.
Then, walking back to the carpark I've noticed through a window that the local ANZ branch is still running Windows 2000 Professional on their desktops.
The large projects are getting even larger as time goes by...
The dull and dimly lit Australian Pavilion, funded primarily by the Victorian State Government, was squeezed into 81 square metres of floor space in the corner of one of CeBIT's massive exhibit halls. It was dwarfed by New Zealand's 200-square-metre, federally funded installation next door.
Most of the 30 Australian companies represented at the national pavilion were disappointed at being "out-blinged" by the Kiwis.
Jaques Blandin, president of Firmware Technologies, [agreed.] "There's a severe lack of funds in Australia for technology and I don't think the Federal Government really knows what's going on," he said.
The exhibitors praised the Victorian Government for subsidising the installation. Space on the stand cost about $10,000 for non-Victorian exhibitors and less for Victorians, Next was told.
According to The Age, the New Zealand Government also had immigration officers at the installation to attract German IT workers.
Way to go!
Meet the Man With the Fastest Internet Speed in the Country
ROSEVILLE, Calif., March 19 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- To the amazement of those watching, Jim Husman zipped around his computer like a Cheetah on the Serengeti as he completely dominated a Quake 3 video game versus other online gamers. The remarkable part was that he did this while simultaneously streaming a high definition movie trailer of Batman Begins, listening to an online radio music stream, checking his e-mail and uploading a massive graphic design file to one of his clients.
How was he able to do this? Husman was the first person to sign up for the fastest residential Internet speed in the country -- SureWest Communications' (NASDAQ: SURW) Internet product of up to 50 megabits per second (Mbps) of synchronous hyper-speed. Launched in December 2006 over SureWest's fiber-to-the-premise (FTTP) platform, which reaches nearly 100,000 marketable homes in the greater Sacramento, CA region, it is the only service in the United States that delivers 50 Mbps of residential Internet speed both uploading and downloading.
SureWest is able to offer this unmatched Internet speed by delivering 100 Mbps of bi-directional bandwidth to each customer's home on its FTTP platform, leaving room to bundle video and voice services as well. With over 190,000 total marketable homes over its combined copper and fiber Broadband networks, SureWest can offer the 50-meg product to 52 percent of its Broadband service territory.
Great stuff! And it is 50 Mbps DOWN and UP... While I can't complain about my (now really small) 10 Mbps/2Mbps cable service from TelstraClear, I can only hear the people on Telecom's ADSL service crying...
I really hope TelstraClear comes with a 25 Mbps offering soon... Tomorrow is not soon enough now!
Users can access the shows in two ways: by streaming the content (which is always free), or downloading the content (which attracts a cost).
Downloaded content is paid for with PlayPoints, which can be purchased in batches of $10, $20, $50 or $100. A 30 minute programme will cost 4 PlayPoints, or about $2. When you register you get 20 bonus PlayPoints (the site says 10 bonus PlayPoints but my experience was different).
The file played on Windows Vista and WMP 11 with no problems at all. The quality was really good even on full screen, and with no artifacts I could see.
To be fair, all streaming shows are free though.
The website is quite nice, and they are going to make some money with advertising I see... Not a problem seeing that somehow they need to pay for the free streaming. But they could put a bit of effort and make that welcome e-mail better looking.
All in all, a great initiative. A shame Telecom New Zealand's plans for IPTV haven't come true yet, even after a couple of years of work on their part. And I do hope the Internet infrastructure in this country is well looked after, because this kind of service will no doubt stress the networks even more...
UPDATE: There is a good discussion about TVNZ On Demand on Geekzone.
If you haven't followed, ReadyBoost works on my laptop (AMD Turion 64 x2) but for no apparent reason (and not logged) ReadyBoost stops working. It could be the card, so I am replacing it to test. If not, then I will have a larger fast new card for my Nikon D50 DSLR.
UPDATE: Doom... The new card fails, like the Transcend I used previously. It could either be the laptop (strange, since it's Windows Vista Premium Ready) or the operating system. I bet it is the operating system.
No, I don't have one here for testing, but if you visit their website you will be able to listen to some of the "wake up call" messages, recorded by Stephen Fry.
You will hear gems such as these:
I'm so sorry to disturb you sir, but it appears to be morning. Very inconvenient, I agree, sir. I believe it is the rotation of the earth which is to blame, sir.
I'm delighted you have survived another night. May I add my own congratulations to the roar of the world's approval? Thank you, sir.
I'm afraid the staff has absconded, sir. And it is my day off. I trust it will not be too onerous to make your own esquisitely sliced toast and perfectly cooked breakfast?
Come come, sir. Let us not be defeated. Let seize the day, and take it roughly from behind. As the Colonel used to say in his unfortunate manner.
The world has been very anxious to hear from you for the last eight hours. Shall I inform the news agencies you are about to rise, sir?
The rising and the shining cannot be postponed indefinetely. Though shining isn't compulsory in this world, the rising eventually is.
Worth a read...
- Microsoft Outlook 2007 is the only software that still shows "... stopped responding. Closing program" when I click File | Exit. Can't they work together in peace?
- Wireless LAN is still a bugger. I found more networks that it won't connect to, with the same driver errors. I've posted in this blog and reported to some Microsoft folks. But this is still happening and no word on fix for this behaviour.
- ReadyBoost stops working without any message. Sometimes I right-click a SD card and find ReadyBoost is no longer available. I know this is the case when I notice my HDD thrashing away. Couldn't they at least give a visual indication, now that the UI is so fancy? I am going to buy a new SD card from another brand, to test the hardware.
- Windows Mobile Device Center (WMDC) is a piece of software. Devices will connect or not, at will. Lucky I sync the PIM with my Exchange Server, because this is the most unreliable piece of software ever.
If these things don't go away pretty soon I am sure going to install Windows XP SP2 on this laptop. I am pretty sure some would even suggest Ubuntu. But I am still not ready to spend time learning something new now. Perhaps later.
No, they are not coming to the summit. It just happened that they were disembarking a plane from Madison (Wisconsin), for a short stay in San Francisco before heading to New Zealand. Pure coincidence in time and location. A few seconds before or after we would miss each other...
Another coincidence? Tonight Nick Randolph joined us for dinner in Seattle. He told me his flight from Perth to Los Angeles had a stop in Auckland (New Zealand) and I found he was on that loooong queue I saw in front of the QANTAS gate! We were in the Auckland airport at the same time, unbeknown to each other. I probably walked past him just a few meters away!
I had a few hours in San Francisco, so I met an old Brazilian friend for brunch. Great weather, nice food. Flying out of San Francisco to Seattle though and everything changed. Snowy caps in Oregon, and clouds over Seattle. Raining here (no news), but not colder than Wellington on a rainy day.
Also, what's the problem with Air New Zealand? I bought my tickets to Seattle three months ago, and my profile says "aisle seats". When I checked in (and I did so in Wellington, which means a good four hours before the Auckland crowd) they didn't have any aisle seats available anymore.
The food was good though (in Premium Economy), and the wine too. The service was great (unlike the Trans-Tasman routes).