My window to the world

Vodafone and Palm

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 27-Oct-2006 13:02

The Wellington Mobility User Group meeting last night was very interesting, with Vodafone New Zealand showing new Windows Mobile devices coming in the next three to four months. I am sorry if you missed the meeting, but I can't provide you details of these devices, but keep an eye on Vodafone next week (1st November) and in December.

After the event I had a meeting with Vodafone New Zealand and Palm. Dion Knill (Vodafone, Business Terminals) and Geoff Anson (Palm, Sales Director) gave me details on some of the work the companies are doing together. All will be revealed soon, but until then, here are some interesting facts I gathered from the meeting:

- Vodafone New Zealand is bringing 16 new "Handheld Business Devices" (HBD) soon, 8 of these being Windows Mobile devices, the rest are Symbian devices. All come with Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync capabilities.

- Palm commisioned a study which showed the uptake of some common activities, before and after users moved to a Treo smartphone: 93% of users browse the Internet on the handheld device, against only 20% who used to do it with their previous device. SMS usage also increased from 52% to 87% and e-mail utilisation grew from 15% to 93%.

- Vodafone New Zealand is offering an one hour "Mobile Mentor" session when companies purchase any of the HBD with a business plan. Dion told me this helped improve the understanding on how these devices work, why use them and how to do it better.

- Vodafone New Zealand is running a "try and buy" programme for qualified customers. You use one of the HBD for a few weeks and then decide to keep it or return it. Apparently the "keep" rates are as high as 85%. How do you know if you are a "qualified" customer? Your account manager will let you know.

There you go. Some interesting mobility facts. More on this later.

Age of Empires III: The WarChiefs and Flight Simulator X

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 27-Oct-2006 12:13

The WarChiefs is an expansion pack for one of my favourite games: Age of Empires III. A friend of mine introduced me to the Age of Empires Series years ago, and I have had all titles since then.

One of most interesting things in all those series was the soundtrack. I recommend you visit the official website for Age of Empires III and check the soundtrack accompanying The WarChiefs. It's really cool music. The visual is great, and if you visit the site you can watch the video trailer. As usual great production!

This time gamers will engage in epic warfare in the Americas where they will lead native American civilizations (Sioux, Iriquois and Aztecs) to expand their empire and fight for control of the Americas.

Age of Empires III: The WarChiefs

Other game just released here in New Zealand is the Microsoft Flight Simulator X. For you guys who like fliying, this is a must. Check this screenshot:

Microsoft Flight Simulator X

By the way, if you want some good posts about gaming in general, check geekpulp.


Convergence Oceania 2006 and Connectivity 06

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 27-Oct-2006 11:41

I will be in Auckland on the 7 November, attending the Convergence Oceania 2006, an event organised by the New Zealand Wireless and Broadband Forum.

My plan is to fly in and out the same day. Unfortunately I will be arriving about 9:30am in Auckland, so I am going to miss the keynote speaker, Hon David Cunliffe, Minister for Communications and Information Technology, and the session with Andrew Seybold.

I am just looking at the stands layout, and noticed that both Telecom New Zealand and Vodafone New Zealand are not listed. Does it mean they won't be there at all?

Also since the organisation has changed from "New Zealand Wireless Forum" to "New Zealand Wireless and Broadband Forum" I am intrigued for the lack of presence of our local ISPs. The main appearance is from technology providers and service integrators.

Where are the broadband (wired and wireless) providers?

If you are planning to attend the Convergence Oceania 2006 event in Auckland, please ping me, and let's have a chat.

I also just received an e-mail invitation to the Connectivity 06, happening 21 - 22 November 2006 in the Christchurch Convention Centre.

This is its third year and the organisation claims it is one of New Zealand’s top trade shows for electronics and software companies. The schedule of events includes trade exhibits from 50 companies from thoughout Australasia, product demonstrations, industry cocktail function, keynote speaker presentations, and lots of networking opportunities.

Registration for business visitors to the trade show are now being taken through the event’s website at

It's a shame I won't be there - great opportunity but my monthly travel budget is not that large, and I have already commited with the tickets to the Auckland show. And I going to miss meeting Chiefie, one of the Geekzone moderators once again.

MSN Soapbox invitations available

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 25-Oct-2006 19:08

If you have visited the MSN Soapbox site and are curious to know what's behind the signin button, wait no more!

MSN Soapbox

I have 10 invitations for the MSN Soapbox beta program. If you want to join the fun, leave a comment here. Make sure to use a valid Live ID (Passport account) as your e-mail when posting the comment. No need to post the e-mail, just use it in the appropriate field in the comment section below.

Developers test your applications with Windows Vista, it is coming!

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 24-Oct-2006 11:04

Since I've installed Microsoft Windows Vista RC2 on my desktop, completely replacing Windows XP Pro, I have had good and bad moments.

I can say that the majority of bad moments came courtesy of developers, who are not working to have their software updated to run under the new Windows Vista model.

Windows Vista

Before I continue, I will go straight to self-proclaimed "pundits" and "zealots": yes, there are changes in the way the software is supposed to work under Windows Vista. No, don't blame Microsoft. Remember, Apple does it all the time. Mac OS 9 versus Mac OS X. Even Mac OS 10.2 versus Mac OS 10.4. Or PowerPC versus Intel.

Now that we have this clear, let's go back to the topic. Windows Vista Beta has been around for a while now. It's almost being launched. Some say it will be announced in Canada no later than 23 November. Still some companies rather cry than fix their products.

One company I contact via e-mail replied with "We haven't installed Windows Vista to test our product yet". Another company told me when asked about their software conflicting with UAC "It should be something we can work out when Microsoft signs off on the OS and ships it to the public in a non-beta format".

As for Windows Vista faults, I have been doing my part as a beta tester, and reported whatever I find. And I do get feedback on my posts. And I've seen fixes and changes due to user input and requests.

The OS is almost here. Are you ready?

Windows Vista ReadyBoost with a Nikon D50 digital camera

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 24-Oct-2006 10:05

Do you remember my previous post about using my internal SD card reader with a high-speed SD card as a ReadyBoost for my Windows Vista desktop?

Today I plugged in my Nikon D50 digital SLR camera to my desktop running Windows Vista, and it showed the dialog to select what action to take. As usual the options to see images, open folder were there, but the last "General option" was a surprise:

Nikon D50 as Windows Vista ReadyBoost

Yes, Windows Vista recognised the (also high speed) SD card in use with this camera and offered to use it as a ReadyBoost device. Neat.

Dress up your Vodafone vodem

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 24-Oct-2006 10:00

Have you received your Unlimited magazine yet? Inserted in the current issue (November 2006) you will find a gift to Vodafone vodem users:

Dress up your Vodafone vodem

This is a set of stickers to dress up your vodem. Check it out. I will apply to my vodem soon.

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, 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.

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.

Here's is my full disclosure post.

A couple of blog posts you should read:

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