My window to the world


Bill Gates presents the Windows Home Server

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 20-Jan-2007 20:40

This is the clip introducing the Microsoft Windows Home Server, shown by Bill Gates during his keynote at the 2007 International CES:



Rip your CDs the lazy way

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 19-Jan-2007 18:47

This is an interesting service I found while visiting the Lunch at Piero's event during the 200 International CES: Riptopia.

You can purchase a pack of "rip CD" services, with prices between US$1.49 and US$1.99 per disc. Riptopia will send you a UPS (sorry only available in the U.S.) pack and a spindle to hold your discs. After a few days you receive the discs back with mp3 versions of your digital media. They even throw in a free external HDD if you have a collection of more than 300 CDs.

Standard Service is ideal for iPods and wireless transmission of music with digital music libraries in form of MP3 192 kbps. The Premium Service is ideal for high-end media centers/music servers and returns digital music libraries in the form of MP3 320, WMA Lossless, FLAC.

They won't rip DVDs or home made copies - only originals.

How's that for lazy rip?



iPhone Mojo for you

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 19-Jan-2007 13:13

A friend of mine has launched a blog called iPhone Mojo to keep track of all things related to the Apple iPhone device.

Anthony Caruana promised to keep it up to date with such interesting bits of information as the rumours of Australian operator Telstra running some tests with an Apple iPhone down under.





And the BlackBerry Pearl leaves the house

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 19-Jan-2007 12:15

Today I am sending back the Vodafone BlackBerry Pearl. It was an interesting month testing the device, and I have to say my opinion regarding the whole user experience hasn't changed. In summary, I still think the BlackBerry sucks...

There is no question though about its design. The phone looks really nice, and the details and black finish are beautiful. The "pearl" is easy to use for scrolling and clicking, but I didn't like the SureType keyboard that much.
The built-in digital camera is quite good and the pictures are nice and crisp, while the screen is very easy to read, even outdoors.

Everyone loves the BlackBerry because of its e-mail capabilities, and that's where I think it has really performed badly.

First I wanted to install the BES (BlackBerry Enterprise Server), which is now free for one licensed user, with up to 15 users per server (the additional licenses are not too costly). But after reviewing the 28 page installation manual I decided not to mess with my Exchange Server, which is running perfectly well, thanks... Instead I decided to use IMAP.

IMAP simply is not good with the BlackBerry solution. The way it works it will only synchronise the Inbox, and since I have server rules moving incoming e-mails to different folders, I lost the ability to see those messages. Then whatever I read on the BlackBerry wasn't marked as read on the server. Neither deletion synchronised between the device and the IMAP server. I couldn't move messages from the Inbox to any other folder, and other problems.

In summary, the e-mail functionality was completely broken for me. There was no way to organise my constant flow of messages with that e-mail client and (lack of) synchronisation.

So, I guess the BES experience could be better, but if folder support is not there, then I will pass... I would just want a BlackBerry Pearl design with a Windows Mobile engine and Exchange Server MSFP under the hood.




Gone 100% Windows Vista here, still want some drivers

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 19-Jan-2007 11:51

As of today I have gone 100% Windows Vista for my personal computing needs (note that we still have my wife's Apple iMac around the house though).

You see, I have decided to adopt a laptop as my work machine, thus making way for my current desktop to assume the server role in the house, and the old server box now being sold.

The "old" box is based on an AMD Athlon 2100 XP+ 1.7GHz with 60GB HDD. That box was running Windows XP Pro SP2 as a host, and with Virtual Server 2005 R2 I had two Windows Server 2003 virtual machines (for my Exchange Server and for my Microsoft SQL 2005 testing). This machine is being replaced with my desktop, an Intel P4 HT 3GHz with 160 GB SATA HDD and already running Windows Vista Ultimate RTM. I am also using a 1GB SD card for ReadyBoost.

Virtual Server 2005 R2 runs perfectly well on Windows Vista RTM, and booting the Exchange server is now mere two minutes instead of the previous nine minutes required to have the server fully operational. Also browsing some of the menus and options on the Exchange Server is much faster.

The new Acer Ferrari 5000 (AMD Turion 64 bit dual core 2GHz, 160GB SATA HDD, 2GB RAM and Windows Vista Ultimate) is replacing the Toshiba M200 Tablet PC (Intel Pentium Centrino, 1.5GHz, 60GB HDD, 1GB RAM with Windows XP Tablet PC Edition) and it too has a 1GB SD card for ReadyBoost.

The Acer Ferrari 5000 outperforms my desktop (now the server), with a Windows Experience Index of 4.8 compared with the desktop's 3.8.

The main reason for this change is because I wanted a solution that would provide me full mobility. While I used the Tablet PC a lot while out and about, I always had to synhronise its contents with my deskop, and the laptop wasn't powerful enough to be my main work machine. But the Acer Ferrari is grunty enough to replace the desktop and provide me with the mobility I need.

A couple of things regarding drivers for Windows Vista though... While most (not all) existing drivers may work on Windows Vista 32 bit, it is really hard to find signed drivers for Windows Vista 64 bit. Things are looking good though, with the release of Hamachi's new version with proper signed drivers - this is one of the most important applications for me, allowing secure private access to my LAN at home and to the Geekzone server, which is hosted somewhere else in the cloud.

I am still waiting for proper signed drivers from Vodafone for its Merlin XU870 HSDPA card (so far I've seen the new VMC release, but drivers are not ready for Windows Vista 64 bit) and I am worried about the Disc Stakka not working even with Windows Vista 32 bit.

Another annoying problem is a compatibility problem between Skype 3.0 and the 64 bit OS. I was told this was already reported, but I haven't seen any update yet.





The Ferrari 5000 Windows Experience Index

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 18-Jan-2007 21:13

A couple of people have asked me to post the Windows Experience Index for my Acer Ferrari 5000 running Microsoft Windows Vista RTM, to compare with the Acer Ferrari 1000. Here it is:


Not too bad, and as pointed out by NotGartner, the Processor index might not be optmised for 64 bit.




My choice for the best of mobility at the 2007 International CES

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 15-Jan-2007 20:26

The 2007 International CES was a great showcase of old stuff. HDDVD, BluRay, HDTV. All shown in 2006, but now bigger, better. You couldn't walk a few steps without going over digital photo frames and USB memory keys.

So here is my pick for the best mobility technologies in the show:

The Qool Labs SkyQube2 gets the top prize. It's a Skype GSM gateway and has the potential to save you lots of money. Just before you go out travelling you remove the SIM card from your mobile and insert into the SkyQube2. You then configure it to use SkypeOut to redirect any incoming calls to your mobile number to a another mobile number (hopefully a prepay SIM card in the country you are visiting) through cheap SkypeOut calls.

This will save you the roaming call costs. And you can plug the SkyQube2 into a landline and have your fixed line calls redirect as well. Sweeeeet!


The next item I liked most was Agere's BluOnyx. This is a credit card-sized device that works as media storage, media distribution, media server, media manager, media everything. You can connect to the BluOnyx through Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and USB.

My last meeting during the 2007 International CES with with Agere's product managers and engineers, and they put an extra effort to show a good product. I am really looking forward to have one to play with sometime in the future.


Then we have the fabric interfaces... Eleksen manufactures the fabric and the platform for these. Two examples are shown here: the messenger back compatible with Microsoft Windows Vista SideShow technology, and a UMPC bag that doubles as a keyboard:



Next in the list would be the S-Xgen, a Windows Mobile Pocket PC device with a fully foldable QWERTY keyboard. Unlike other Pocket PC the S-Xgen comes with ethernet, USB client, USB host, and dedicated media player keys.







A couple of cool cases and pictures from the 2007 International CES

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 15-Jan-2007 20:12

Intel had one of the most interesting "hands on" exhibit during the 2007 International CES. Check it out, this is a life size F1 car simulator, with two cars and massive CPUs running the show:





Visiting the AMD stand also revealed some interesting cases:




And just so that we don't forget game consoles, this "Xbox 360 flower" is pretty cool too:









No third party applications on the iPhone feature phone

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 15-Jan-2007 12:55

If you have any doubts about how Apple wants to control their users' experience when it comes to the Apple iPhone, here are a couple of examples. This is a quote from Macworld:

Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of worldwide iPod marketing, has confirmed that while the company is encouraging third parties to design peripherals for the iPhone, as is the case with the iPod, “There is no opportunity right now for third party development”. He told Macworld: “Right now the opportunities are limited to the accessory market.”

This does not mean that companies are exempt from approaching Apple with ideas for applications for the iPhone. Joswiak emphasized that Apple has already worked in partnership with both Google and Yahoo on such applications, but essentially it will always be Apple who releases the software.


Steve Jobs told MSNBC the iPhone won't have third party applications because...

“You don’t want your phone to be an open platform,” meaning that anyone can write applications for it and potentially gum up the provider's network, says Jobs. “You need it to work when you need it to work. Cingular doesn’t want to see their West Coast network go down because some application messed up.”


What about all those Symbian, Palm and Windows Mobile devices out there already? Are they actually a threat to networks?

The market will obviously dictate where this design is heading. There are no doubts the device looks good, and it joins the iPod functionality all users love, with the base feature set expected from a smartphone. So why not go ahead and make it a full fledged smart device, with the possibility of application install, and user management?

We already know that operators are keen to customise devices to suit their brands. We have seen this happening before with Windows Mobile and Symbian devices. In addition to the very cool voice mail interface provided by Apple, I'd expect a set of policy management tools, just to make enterprise and operators happy.

But if it doesn't happen, I want to see the Apple fans come out now and say the Mac OS is an open platform, when comparing with other proprietary mobile OS platforms.

Certainly the market in the U.S. and overseas are going crazy over a 2.5G (GPRS/EDGE) phone, with a non-replaceable battery, and a non-existent developer community. But only time will tell us if this will redefine mobile computing, or just add another competitor to the feature phone market.











Ask Vodafone's Russell Stanners

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 14-Jan-2007 13:55

Our editor Juha Saarinen managed to arrange a different kind of interview with Vodafone New Zealand. We have the opportunity to ask Vodafone New Zealand CEO Russell Stanners 10 questions.

Instructions on how to submit questions, which questions will be asked, and more are in this thread.

Let's ask some good questions folks!





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.

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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.

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