My window to the world

Direct Push seems to be working on Telecom New Zealand again

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 27-Dec-2006 13:30

A few days ago I posted an item about Direct Push not working on Telecom New Zealand, causing push e-mail to Windows Mobile devices to fail, requiring a user to manually initiate ActiveSync on the device to have the e-mails, contacts, calendar synchronised to an Exchange Server.

At that time I decided not to post how this was broken, but it seems Telecom New Zealand has moved quickly to fix the fault, and push e-mail seems to be working again.

Quick recap, I've noticed push e-mail not working while testing my Palm Treo 700wx, and double-checked with my Apache - which used to work flawlessly. I got the same results - or lack of, while the Windows Mobile devices connected to Vodafone's network had no problems, receiving e-mails instantly.

After a couple of messages with Telecom, it appears that connections through the CDMA network use some of the Xtra's routers, and those were configured to close long http and https connections. Now, everyone who knows how Direct Push works will see that closing a http connection without letting the device know is going to cause problems.

Why Xtra was doing this? Who knows... It could be they were trying to reduce SYN flood attacks, or something else.

This issues was escalated, and it's been fixed over the holiday period. It's all working again.

Corporate customers synchronising to their Exchange Servers via the Private Office service (a VPN offering) weren't affected by this, probably because the service uses other routing? I am not sure.

So, all is good again in the land of push e-mail.

Please explain ReadyBoost testing?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 27-Dec-2006 11:11

I still don't have a good explanation why Windows Vista RTM intermittently recognises the SD card I use here as ReadyBoost capable.

ReadyBoost options on SD card

Sometimes I boot my desktop and the card is being used for ReadyBoost. It works fine for a couple of days. Out of the blue it stops working, and it goes like this until sometime later, after a few reboots, Windows Vista proclaims "You can speed up your system with this card".

The system is running with 2GB DDR2 800 RAM, so the improvement wouldn't be that great, but still there must be a reason.

I am using an internal USB 2.0 multi-card reader, the same one that worked 100% of the time as a ReadyBoost capable drive with Windows Vista RC1 and RC2 (with the same SD card).

Lucky this desktop will soon be moved to a "server" category within our network here, and I will try this feature on a new hardware.

You can read about the ReadyBoost in the ReadyBoost FAQ.

Maxtor OneTouch 1TB dead

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 27-Dec-2006 08:20

My Maxtor OneTouch III G31W010 (1TB, 7200rpm, 16384KB cache, external, USB 2, Firewire 400/800) seems to be dead.

I bought this drive in April 2006, it died in December 2006. It doesn't look good.

The product is no longer available on Ascent, so I am trying to find out about warranty repair or replacement now...

This leads to the question: what do we use as a backup of a backup? I want some on-line backup tools, but alas Carbonite (aff link) doesn't work with Windows Vista (yet) and it won't do what I need in terms of multiple copies of same item, use as a drive, etc.

I was talking to NZDrive's Bruce during coffee other day and their solution is based on sFTP with a browser interface, very easy to use. It doesn't have a client application though (yet) and needs a bit of coding for a good backup script, but the advantage is their use of a standard sFTP solution.

Still, I need something to store about 700GB. This is about 3 copies of a few Virtual Machines, the Save State for a couple of servers, the Norton Ghost image for a couple of PCs, my last ten backups. Not cheap for online storage...

I can just store this on a second drive, but the option is not safe enough since I really want something outside this house!

UPDATE: Very fast replies from Ascent, the on-line retailer for tech products... Maxtor is no longer in business (Seagate bought the company a few months ago) and this will be replaced with another drive - not sure about specs for the new one yet. But very quick service so far.

Using Vodafone live! on your Pocket PC

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 22-Dec-2006 08:33

Why someone would like to do it from a Pocket PC is each one's personal preference, but there's a way to access Vodafone live! pages on your Windows Mobile device... And the recipe is here.

Note that this trick requires registry changes and you would be more than likely need to revert changes if you want to access standard websites.

My guess is that this allows access to the content pages only, not including any DRM-material or the video clips, since those use special clients and DRM licensing software and keys.

I haven't tested this on Vodafone New Zealand yet, but if you try and it works, let us know, in the comments.

When Direct Push does not push

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 21-Dec-2006 08:32

Interesting... Telecom New Zealand must have turned something off or changed some parameter on their network (perhaps because of the CDMA EV-DO Rev A release)?

Anyway, I run a Microsoft Exchange Server and have Direct Push enabled for a series of devices here (my own Pocket PC Phone Edition, plus a few test ones). And it's not working on CDMA devices connected to Telecom New Zealand anymore!

Until recently all devices I have connected to a cellular network would get my e-mails even before Microsoft Outlook on my desktop notified me of a new message.

This was consistently working with devices connected to Vodafone New Zealand (i-mate Jasjar, Palm Treo 750v, and another test device) or Telecom New Zealand (Apache).

But this has now changed and I noticed this when testing the Palm Treo 700wx Telecom New Zealand sent: for some reason the devices connected to their CDMA EVDO network are not getting the push e-mails.

To test it I put a series of devices side-by-side and sent a few e-mails from gmail and other on-line services to my own account on the Exchange Server. And guess what? All UMTS devices received the e-mail almost instantly, while the CDMA devices sat there, doing nothing and eventually receiving the e-mails - up to 15 minutes later.

This feature used to work for sure, and I think something has changed on the Telecom network. 

What I've noticed is that those arrows indicating a data connection go grey on the CDMA devices and while in that state they won't receive e-mails - perhaps because in this state their connection to the Exchange Server cannot be used to transfer information?

Another piece of information, it appears that it works fine if using the Telecom private office offering (I can't remember the service name),

Anyway, I contacted someone at Telecom but I was told "nothing has changed" and he would look into this in 2007.

I will keep asking about it...

Telecom New Zealand Palm Treo 700wx

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 21-Dec-2006 08:30

A couple of weeks ago I posted a single line in a blog entry about not having any information about the Palm Treo 700wx on Telecom New Zealand, but to their credit this has been "fixed".

For the last two weeks I have been using a Treo 700wx their PR team sent me, and I have now received a device to use for testing and other stuff.

So, this is a public post to recognise the fact...

My 2007 International CES

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 20-Dec-2006 09:56

On 5 January I will be flying from Wellington, through Auckland, Los Angeles to arrive in Las Vegas where I will be attending two big events: the Microsoft Windows Vista RTM Lab and the 2007 International CES (Consumer Electronics Show).

The Microsoft Windows Vista RTM Lab is a two days event, with some public and some NDA material, on the state of Microsoft Windows Vista, ahead of its public availability on 31 January 2007. Microsoft Featured Communities websites were invited to attend the event which will be held on the two days before the CES.

The Featured Communities websites are those who are linked from Microsoft's main site, from a variety of pages, engagin with end users. Geekzone is currently linked from the MSDN and the main Windows Mobile Communities page. You will find lots of resources on these community sites.

The event includes a group reception (ok, a party) on Saturday evening, and culminating with our attendance to Bill Gates keynote at the CES.

I have lots of meetings to attend during the CES, and some exciting products to see. I also have plans to be present at some parallel events such as Lunch at Piero's and ShowStoppers, plus a couple of receptions (ok, parties) put on by HP, Dell and the good folks at the Blog Business Summit.
Unfortunatelly I have to say "no" to requests to meet people at Pepcom Digital Experience. Even though I participated in last year's Digital Experience, this time they looked at my old business card from two years ago (from their files) and shrieked on the sight of a "Consultant" there... Oh well, their rules and we play by them.

Full disclosure: my trip is being sponsored by Microsoft as part of the Feature Communities programme seeing I am participating in the Windows Vista RTM Lab.

I am still looking for a sponsor for my 3G access while on the CES show floor - otherwise I won't be able to post on the spot because my data roaming bill would be astronomically high, thanks to Vodafone NZ's $30/MB rates.

TelstraClear: great marketing move

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 19-Dec-2006 11:45

For a few months people have been discussing in our TelstraClear forum on Geekzone about network performance, mainly for those connected to the higher speed (10 Mbps) broadband plans.

We have received comments from TelstraClear pointing to a high contention rate, but also indicating this is known and being worked - mainly the replacement of some hardware to provide a lower number of users per point.

Just today I got this e-mail from TelstraClear:

Dear Customer,

Over the past year we have had staggering growth in broadband customer numbers on our Wellington InHome network. The rate of growth has exceeded even our most optimistic views of how popular our High Speed Internet services would become.

As a result of this growth, some Wellington and Kapiti customers on our 10 Mbps plans are receiving speeds that are lower than what we believe is acceptable.

We are working to implement new equipment that will address this issue, but this will not be resolved for all customers until late February.

To make up for this, we will automatically credit your account with $20 each month until the new equipment is installed. Until then you'll still get the same amount of traffic and your email won't be affected.

Thank you for your understanding - and thanks again for being a TelstraClear customer.

All the best for the holiday season.

The team at TelstraClear

As Juha suggested in the ongoing discussion, TelstraClear "gets the inaugural Geekzone Award for Best Public Relations Move".

Well done!

Windows Vista: couple of bugs

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 16-Dec-2006 12:44

It's Saturday morning here and I have just finished reinstalling Microsoft Windows Vista RTM on my desktop.

No, nothing wrong with Windows Vista before. I have never activated my previous installation and it would be running out this weekend, so I had to do it. I didn't activate Windows Vista before because I found lots of memory conflicts while running Windows Vista on my desktop, which were solved when I upgraded the machine's BIOS to the latest version, but I thought it would be better to have a fresh install after the BIOS upgrade.

I was delaying this reinstall because I am waiting for a new laptop to arrive from Microsoft, an Acer Ferrari 5000, ready to use and review with pre-installed Windows Vista. Alas, the laptop won't turn up here until a week from now, so I had to go through reinstalling everything.

I am glad I did because now Microsoft Hardware has some new drivers for Intellimouse and Intellipoint, as well as for its Fingerprint Reader. Realtek has also final drives for its HD Audio hardware, and NVIDIA has drivers for the Windows Vista RTM build. I am still waiting for imation to release an updated version of their software for the Disc Stakka though (in the meantime I am using it on my tablet PC).

There are only two things that weren't solved with this fresh install:

- Internet Explorer won't accept the trusted root certificate used on my internal server (Exchange, Newsgator), saying it's been revoked. No it hasn't, and it works fine on Firefox 2.0 and Internet Explorer 7.0 for Windows XP;

- The built-in SD card reader, which worked as ReadyBoost on Windows Vista RC2 100% of the time, and worked as ReadyBoost on Windows Vista RTM for a while, stopped working. After the reinstall it was recognised as a ReadyBoost device for a while, and again it stopped working. Why, oh why?

I can't log these as bugs anymore because the Windows Vista beta program is finished. The suggestion is to record any problems with standard Microsoft support. I will post here instead. Let's see if they read.

LG Chocolate coming to Telecom New Zealand?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 16-Dec-2006 10:28

Yesterday a mysterious "save the date" e-mail made the rounds. With words such as "...taste of new mobile phone for 2007", and "Technology has never been so delicious and decadent." on a rectangular brown box that reminds me of a chocolate bar I could only think of one thing:

LG Chocolate
Seeing that LG Chocolate is a 1.9 GHz CDMA PCS, 800 MHz CDMA (digital dual-band), I think this handset will be available through Telecom New Zealand.

Sink your teeth into the luxury and innovation of the Chocolate by LG – now available in black, white, red, and green. With its minimalist-inspired style and silky-smooth slide design, the Chocolate offers a rich array of features that include V CAST Music, a glowing, touch-sensitive keypad, superlative music/video player, luxurious 1.3 megapixel camera/camcorder, Bluetooth capabilities, and a microSD memory port for extra storage. Chocolate. LG’s newest mobile treat.

Any ideas?

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 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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