My window to the world


The Silicon Welly

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 21-Oct-2006 11:44

A lot of talk is going on about our capital city, Wellington (New Zealand) and its relationship with the technology folks establish here - or moving here.

During the last year I've seen people moving here from other places in the country (Chris Auld, Tim Haines, Nic Wise) or from overseas (Nick Randolph), create new companies and sell it to big corporations (Rod Drury's AfterMail, Sam Morgan's Trademe), run startups in stealth mode (Peter Smith) or write about web technologies.

Write about web technologies? Richard MacManus, the guy behind ReadWriteWeb.com, is based here in the region. And he' posted an interesting short article about Silicon Welly, a nickname for Wellington in this age of high tech development.

Check it out. He even commented about Geekzone 2006.






Give your voice to Vodafone Voice

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 20-Oct-2006 18:07

A lot of people join the Geekzone forums to voice their opinion on matters related to all sorts of geek topics. I just found that there is another way to let your voice out if you are a Vodafone New Zealand customer: Vodafone Voice.

Vodafone Voice

The Vodafone Voice Panel is a group of Vodafone customers.  Panel members have the opportunity to share their opinions about, or their experiences with, Vodafone.

For each survey that you complete, you will be entered into the draw for that specific surveys prize. Prizes include mobile handsets, mobile accessories, cash, or air minutes.

You may be invited to attend focus groups or other special events.

You can propose topics for future surveys that are of interest to you.


I don't know how long this has been running, but it's an interesting initiative.





Internet Explorer 7 and RSS feeds

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 20-Oct-2006 13:54

With Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 for Windows XP just released, and soon to be pushed to everyone running Windows Update automatically, I thought it would be good to write a quick tutorial on RSS feed management under this new software.

If you visit Geekzone a lot you probably read about our Geekzone RSS feeds before. If not, go on, read the article. I also recommend you read How to explain RSS the Oprah way, a very easy-to-read article explaining RSS feeds.

Back to Internet Explorer 7, then... One of the new features on this browser is the built-in RSS feed client. It's very easy to use, and you can start using RSS feeds without a specific program (the so called feed readers). Internet Explorer 7 will do everything for you. Here's is how...

Most websites these days have a feature called feed discovery. It means that a web browser will automatically identify what RSS feeds are associated with that specific website. On Internet Explorer this is done through an orange icon in the toolbar. When a RSS feed is identified you will see a start on the top right corner of the icon, like this one:


Click the arrow next to this icon and you will see a list of feeds on that website:

Simply click any of these titles and Internet Explorer will show the RSS feed content, formatted for you (click to see a larger image):


Things to mention here:

- enter a text in the box on the top right side and a filter will apply to that RSS feed, showing only the feeds with that word or text;
- change the order the feed entries are shown, by selecting Date or Title;
- filter the RSS feed entries by category, by clicking on any of the categories present on the list.

If you like the content of the feed, you can Subscribe to it by clicking Subscribe to this feed. This will give you a dialog to add this RSS feed to a list that will be quickly accessible through Internet Explorer 7:


Once you have added one or more feeds to your watching list, you can keep an eye on new and update stories by looking at the Favorites Center, in the Feeds list. You access the Favorites Center by clicking the big yellow star on the left of the tabs on Internet Explorer 7:


Because some feeds are not frequently updated you can right-click each one and change their properties, fine-tuning the system, saving your bandwidth and getting the right mix of information:


Easy? Now that you have a collection of RSS feeds, you just need to keep an eye on their content, and when you see something interesting just click on the headline and your browser will open the page corresponding to that content.

What's more interesting here though is that Internet Explorer 7 uses the same RSS repository used by new programs coming out soon, such as Microsoft Outlook 2007 and Windows Live Mail Desktop. This means that RSS feeds you subscribe through Internet Explorer 7 are automatically available through those other programs. Neat, right?

Now go on, subscribe to some RSS feeds and be more efficient when collecting your daily dosis of information. Just that you know, I currently have about 300 feeds in my collection.






How many RSS feeds do you read?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 20-Oct-2006 13:26

I keep saying that my job is reading, more than writing. Some people don't believe me, so this is a screenshot that says it all... Check the number of articles read on my aggregator (NewsGator Enterprise Server) in the last 11 months:



Quite a number, isn't it? Currently I am on my all time low number of subscribed feeds, at 309. This number was up to 600 a few months back, but I have been trimming the subscriptions, removing stuff that is no longer interesting, or feeds that have not been updated in the last few months.

What about you? Do you subscribe to RSS feeds, or rather to visit each of your favourite sites, every day?





Palm Treo 700wx EV-DO launches in Canada

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 19-Oct-2006 13:39

I was wrong in my comments before. I thought the Telecom New Zealand, Palm and Microsoft announcement of the new Palm Treo 700wx on CDMA EV-DO would be the first one outside the U.S.

I just got a press release from Palm annoucing the launch of its Palm Treo 700wx Windows Mobile device in Canada, through Bell Canada. This is just a few hours before our local announcement.


The Treo 700wx provides the same great world-class Treo experience and ease of use that customers expect, as well as the following key features:
  • Support for Email on the Go: Windows Mobile Messaging and Security Feature Pack (MSFP), which includes Direct Push Technology, native S/MIME support, certificate-based authentication to all Exchange data, and remote and local device wipe, is available out-of-the-box giving smartphone users fast, automatic wireless updates of their email, calendar items, contacts and tasks. The Treo 700wx smartphone also supports Good Mobile Messaging and Good Mobile Defense for robust security and fleet management, giving users support for web-enabled enterprise systems, including sales force automation (SFA), customer relationship management (CRM) and corporate intranets.
  • Built-in Dial-up Networking (DUN) Capabilities: Treo 700wx smartphone users can take advantage of broadbandlike download speeds on their laptop computers by using the new smartphone as a wireless modem via USB technology. This out-of-the-box functionality offers an alternative to Wi-Fi, enabling users to access a high-speed connection in coffee shops, airports or hotels.

Additional Treo 700wx Features and Benefits

  • Device Users Guide -- customers can view the full Users Guide (located in the Quick Tour and My Treo sections) right from their device, providing convenient access to tips, troubleshooting techniques and how-to instructions;
  • 1.3-megapixel camera to shoot crisp, clear digital images and videos;
  • 64MB RAM for program execution;
  • Integrated Bluetooth(R) 1.2 wireless technology for communicating with compatible headsets, car kits, computers and printers equipped with Bluetooth technology;
  • Removable battery and non-volatile memory;
  • Expansion-card slot (SD, SDIO, and MultiMediaCard compatible); and
  • 240x240 transflective (TFT) screen


Let's see when this device is available here in New Zealand. I didn't get any other information from Palm, Telecom or Microsoft about this device, so I am still waiting for some data to work with.



Installing Microsoft Internet Explorer 7: best practices

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 19-Oct-2006 13:18

If you are about to download the new Microsoft Internet Explorer 7, it's best to follow some good advice.
Installing Internet Explorer 7
First and most important! Be aware of phishing scams. Microsoft is not sending an e-mail with links. The official Internet Explorer 7 download is hosted by Microsoft and you should download only from there. If you receive an e-mail with a link, delete it!

Next, visit the Spyware Sucks blog and read the post IE7 Gold has gone live. You will find a very good list of things to do before, during and after the install of this update.

Remember, you don't have to install it now, but it will be pushed to all Windows PCs through Windows Update sometime soon. Companies will be able to disable the automatic update, check with your IT departments.






Vodafone BestMate is out

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 19-Oct-2006 08:37

Vodafone is launching a teaser viral campaign called BestMate, live now. On the welcome page Vodafone tells the world about a new plan called "Supa Prepay" to be launched when the current "Free TXT Weekends" and "Prepay Take10" plans end, at beginning of November 2006.

I haven't seen the whole thing working yet, but it looks like you can nominate a friend and have a quiz invitation sent to his/her mobile via SMS. Your BestMate then visits the site to enter the answers.

You are then in the draw to win a $10,000 trip for two to one of the following destinations: New York, Paris, Rio De Janeiro or the Maldives. The promotion closes 12 November 2006:

Vodafone Bestmate

So, if you receive a SMS inviting you to go the site and answer the quiz, it's not a hoax!










Windows Vista ReadyBoost works with SD cards

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 18-Oct-2006 19:49

Since installing Microsoft Windows Vista RC2 my desktop has been very smooth. Almost everything have been working beautifully here - exceptions are of course the couple of software that I couldn't get an update from the developers.

Anyway, talking to Craig Pringle today during my weekly geek coffee meeting at Astoria, he asked if I was interested on a 2GB SD card for use with ReadyBoost. I was surprised, because I thought this new Windows Vista feature only worked with USB memory key devices. But nope, from RC1 ReadyBoost is also available for some SD cards providing you have an internal memory card reader (sorry, no external card reader option).

ReadyBoost options on SD card

Seeing that it just happens that my desktop does have an internal card reader I decided to go for it, and order a 2GB SD card.

Of course I had to try it as soon as possible, even before the new SD card arrived. So I just got home after the meetings and inserted a 1GB SD card (133x) into the drive - and it automatically detected the card and offered the option to turn on ReadyBoost. Nice!

I will be using this 1GB SD card until the other big one arrives.

You can read all about this feature in the ReadyBoost FAQ.



Telecom New Zealand mobile site update

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 18-Oct-2006 11:55

Right... Last night, after posting "Telecom New Zealand to enhance mobile content?", I reached for the 24/7 Telecom press people. After a quick chat they realised there was no information about the Telecom New Zealand and Volantis announcement, except from the press release I've received before.

This morning they called me back with an update, and here's the real deal:

The link with Volantis will provide a consistent format for the way content is presented on mobile products, it also stops new code needing to be written for different devices as it is already configured. It also allows us to better manage and support Java applications and future services – whatever they may be.

• Consistent format for presentation across all mobile products
• Improved device (handset layer) adaptation layer, implementation of handsets is now managed via configuration as apposed to code changes
• Caching is enabled closer to the customer which has resulted in pages are presenting more quickly to the customer
• Improved graphical content via a number of sources

It was launched on September 19.


So there you go. All you folks using Telecom New Zealand WAP services should not notice a difference, but the guys at Telecom will certainly have an easier life pushing those updates and content to your handset. I know because a few years back I participated in a project/demo with Volantis software in combination with ATG content management to deliver content over 3G to handsets - that was before 3G was launched down under.




Telecom New Zealand to enhance mobile content?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 17-Oct-2006 18:18

Until last week anyone in New Zealand (not using a proxy server) trying to reach mobile.msn.com would be automatically redirected to Telecom New Zealand's Xtra Mobile site. This was then.

I have just received a press release from Volantis, a U.S.-based company that specialises in delivering content to mobile devices, pointing out that Telecom New Zealand contracted their software and expertise to develop and deliver a Next-Generation Mobile site. The enhanced Xtra Mobile Services platform according to the release includes a selection of unique content for mobile devices.

The company supplied the New Zealand-based operator with its "Intelligent Content Adaptation solution, providing applications, tools and platforms that help delivering optimized services to mobile devices. Volantis extensive experience of serving content providers, mobile network operators, and enterprises, along with its standards leadership, enable a unique position for Volantis to create innovative technology for the Mobile Information Age that is more useful and more useable than the PC Internet of today."

I have just tried visiting mobile.msn.com and instead of reaching the local Xtra Mobile site I was redirected to the U.S. site - which I always expected to happen but wasn't the case in the last few months. And trying to reach the Xtra Mobile site manually just redirecs to the Xtra Games site, for now.

Perhaps the redirection is down until the new site comes alive? At the moment there is no information from the press contacts at Telecom New Zealand, but I expect to hear from them tomorrow about what exactly is being announced here.

By the way, Xtra PDA is a PDA-friendly website, perfect for use with Windows Mobile devices and other small screen devices.

UPDATE: The Xtra Mobile site is back again, no longer redirecting to Xtra Games.

Side note: In the last few weeks we've seen lots of rumours of Telecom parting ways with Microsoft in respect of the local XtraMSN partnership. We even heard of a possible association with Google. Which may or may not be the case.




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.

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 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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If you'd like to help me keep Geekzone going, please use this Geekzone Amazon affiliate link when placing any orders on Amazon.

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