My window to the world


Wikipedia on your Pocket: 7val

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 5-Oct-2006 10:49

There is another wikipedia for mobile devices, at http://wikipedia.7val.com, found through Micro Persuasion. I've seen some Wikipedia content in mobile devices, but other projects were taken down due to traffic and other problems. Let's see if this project stays up.

It looks great on a Windows Mobile Pocket PC:







Playing with OPML: Grazr

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 3-Oct-2006 22:16

This is very interesting: an on-line OPML browser with RSS feed presentation. I am talking about Grazr:
It is very cool. You can enter an URL pointing to an OPML, RSS or even a website address and if there's a feed declaration on the page Grzr will show it here. Think of publishing - documents, manuals, etc. Or simply using as a new feature on your site.



Vodafone: optimise or not?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 3-Oct-2006 20:27

If you connect to Vodafone NZ GPRS network (what, no EDGE?) you know (or have an idea) that its traffic be default goes though the Vodafone Optimiser, a proxy that will compress certain types of traffic - and make images you're trying to download look very, well, ugly.

There are actually some APNs used to direct traffic depending on your needs:

www.vodafone.net.nz is a non-NAT, Optimiser enabled APN
web.vodafone.net.nz is a non-NAT, Optimiser enabled APN
direct.vodafone.net.nz is a NAT, non-Optimiser APN
internet is a non-NAT, non-Optimiser APN (just for testing!)


But what's most interesting is that 3G and HSDPA traffic is no longer sent through the Vodafone Optimiser by default, regardless of APN.

If you really want to use the Vodafone Optimiser, perhaps to squeeze even more out of your $49/GB plan, then you can use a new APN: opt.vodafone.net.nz.

opt.vodafone.net.nz is a non-NAT, Optimiser enabled APN for 3G and HSDPA users






UPDATE: As noted by comments, www and web are the same.



Yet another Personal Area Network technology: Wibree

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 3-Oct-2006 18:45

Thanks, Nokia, that's all we needed. Yet another PAN (Personal Area Network) wireless technology, Wibree, is coming our way.

This what the press release says:

Nokia today introduced Wibree technology as an open industry initiative extending local connectivity to small devices. This new radio technology developed by Nokia Research Center complements other local connectivity technologies, consuming only a fraction of the power compared to other such radio technologies, enabling smaller and less costly implementations and being easy to integrate with Bluetooth solutions. Wibree is the first open technology offering connectivity between mobile devices or Personal Computers, and small, button cell battery power devices such as watches, wireless keyboards, toys and sports sensors. By extending the role mobile devices can play in consumers' lives, this technology increases the growth potential in these market segments.
 
The goal being to have the new technology available to the market as fast as possible, Nokia is defining the Wibree interoperability specification together with a group of leading companies representing semiconductor manufacturers, device vendors and qualification service providers. The technology will be made broadly available to the industry through an open and preferably existing forum enabling wide adoption of the technology. The forum solution is under evaluation and will be defined by the time the specification is finalized. According to the current estimate the first commercial version of the interoperability specification will be available during second quarter of 2007. 
 
Wibree technology complements close range communication with Bluetooth like performance within 0-10 m range and data rate of 1 Mbps. Wibree is optimized for applications requiring extremely low power consumption, small size and low cost. Wibree is implemented either as stand-alone chip or as Bluetooth-Wibree dual-mode chip. The small devices like watches and sports sensors will be based on stand-alone chip whereas Bluetooth devices will take benefit of the dual-mode solution, extending Bluetooth device connectivity to new range of smallest devices.


Whatever happened to Zigbee or Bluetooth? Oh, that's right, Zigbee is supported by Motorola, Bluetooth by Ericsson, so Nokia had to come up with their own standard.

The Wibree website lists "use cases", but at least in one page it refers to these as "profiles", exactly like Bluetooth. Nothing to see here, move along.

Are we going to see another Bluetooth, with its shortcomings in configuration and ease of use, or are we going to see another technology to cause interference with the existing wireless instruments? Yes, Wibree is yet another technology using the unregulated 2.4GHz ISM band (Industrial, Scientific and Medical), like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, microwave ovens and many others.

Is just me, or it looks like a lot of wasted development cycle that could be used in some cool project instead?




Developing for mobile devices

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 3-Oct-2006 12:00

Nick Randolph has just released a podcast show with Jeff Arnett about building mobility applications that work across different platforms:

This year we have not only seen a whole variety of Windows Mobile 5 devices hit the market, we have also seen the first UMPC devices being released. With the launch of Vista just around the corner (are you “ready for a new day“?) we will see operating system convergence such that Tablet PCs, laptops, UMPCs and desktop machines will all be running the same OS.

With coming versions of Windows Mobile we are also likely to see a further convergence between the smartphone and pocketPC operating systems. In this show Jeff Arnett joins me to talk about how we can optimise our development process for building applications that work across different mobile platforms.







Microsoft Exchange Server Unified Messaging + NewsGator Enterprise Server = DIY podcast?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 30-Sep-2006 10:23

Ok, it looks like I am not going to have much luck trying to get one of these Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Unified Messaging Kit here in New Zealand to create a proof of concept (well, not unless paying big bucks just to import this by myself), so I am posting here what I wanted to do, and perhaps someone in the USA can get one of these devices to test.

I run my own NewsGator Enterprise Server (NGES), and I have it integrated with my Microsoft Exchange Server 2003. I am able to create a "location" and have RSS feeds I subscribe to automatically entered into my Exchange mailbox. This way I can also read the feeds through Microsoft Outlook or the OWA.

When an item is read on the Exchange mailbox this status is synchronised back to the NewsGator Enterprise Server and the item is marked read in the database. NGES keeps all in sync, regardless of using the web interface, FeedDemon, or Outlook, very cool.

Now, this is the Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 feature that caught my attention:

Outlook Voice Access: Users can access their Exchange mailbox using a standard telephone, available anywhere. Through touch tone or speech-enabled menus, they can hear and act on their calendar, listen to e-mail messages (translated from text to speech), listen to voice mail messages, call their contacts, or call users listed in the directory.



The whole process would be something like subscribe to feed with NewsGator, have the feed items deposited into Exchange mailbox, have items read to you through the phone.

I am not sure if this can be done with items other than Inbox only, but it could be possible at least with some coding required.

The whole thing looks like a personal podcast programming service to me. It could be something people listen while driving to work, instead of a radio show or a standard podcast download. The user would be creating their own programme based on whatever feeds they subscribe and synchronise to the Exchange mailbox, and each programme would be very personal. And it could be accesible from anywhere through a landline or mobile phone - even over VoIP of course. It could stream to a client ona PC

Some operators (Telecom New Zealand comes to mind) offer flat fee plans when calling a specified phone number, for example, and this would be handy.

Alas, can't test thing here for lack of hardware support, so the idea is up to someone else to try. If you do it, please post a comment and link here.






The Microsoft Developer Show Podcast

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 28-Sep-2006 12:30

If you are a developer using Microsoft technologies in general, or just interested, then I am offering a shameless plug to the Microsoft Developer Show podcast show, now being hosted by Nick Randolph:

What better way to announce a new host for The Microsoft Developer Show than to use the defacto standard for testing any new technology - writing Hello World!  As you might guess this post has a number of purposes:

Before I go I suppose that I should give a brief introduction about who I am.  Well firstly my name is Nick Randolph and I currently work for Intilecta based initially here in NZ, but returning to Perth at the end of the year.  Secondly, I’m a Microsoft MVP - Device Application Development (ie .NET Compact Framework) on which you can find more information here. My most recent achievment is that I am officially published with a book titled Professional Visual Studio 2005. Lastly, with whatever free time I have, I do some other activities through SoftTeq, such as helping run the Perth .NET Community of Practice.

Well, that’s enough about me. Join me over the coming weeks as we get down and dirty with all things Developer about Microsoft.


Nick is one of the tech guys I meet every Wednesday for coffee, chat and general geek stuff at Astoria Cafe, here in town. He's here in New Zealand for a few more months, before going back to Perth, Australia.




IBM Forum 06

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 27-Sep-2006 21:42

Today I got an invitation to attend the IBM Forum 06, a roadshow that (here's the official pitch):

Come to where business strategists, technology experts and industry leaders collaborate to innovate. IBM Forum is back for 2006. It aims to provide the inspiration, connections and solutions most relevant to organisations today.

  • Keynote speaker, David Skilling from the NZ Institute, talks about improving New Zealand's future economic performance.
  • Meet with leading business professionals, technical experts and IBM Business Partners.
  • Hear real-life case studies.
  • Attend sessions relevant to your interest, including Security in the Digital Age, Ageing Workforce and Corporate Compliance.
  • See interactive demonstrations, including RFID technology, IP Communications, Collaboration and Information Management.


  • This is a full day event with sessions in Christchurch (5 October), Wellington (9 October) and Auckland (12 October). Parallel to these sessions there is a Demonstration Showcase with interesting technologies on the floor.

    I hope they have some wireless LAN there so I can write about things I see, or at least my Vodafone vodem arrives in time for that. Otherwise I am sure my trusty Telecom NZ Apache will connect me to the world.





    Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Unified Messaging kit

    By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 27-Sep-2006 09:39

    Some of you know my background in telephony applications. For the last 10 years before moving full time to Geekzone, I worked  as an Integration Architect and Developer at Unisys, on the Communications practice.

    The duties obviously included all sorts of work in the telco area, including design and development of voice-based systems (think voice mail, unified messaging, etc).

    So, when I heard of new Microsoft Exchange Unified Messaging applictions, including voice access to Outlook and more, I got all excited.

    ... server-based tools that integrate with desktop and mobile clients to give information workers access to voice, fax, and e-mail data from wherever they are and allows users to use the telephone to manage their email, calendar, and personal contacts.


    I love the idea of mobile clients, and I wonder how well this integrates with Communicator.

    There are now some evaluation kits available to test this functionality. The kit includes an AudioCodes MediaPack 114 FXO VoIP gateway, so you can plug the server to the telephony system - your PBX or other line.



    I'd love to try these here, but they are not listing any APAC distributor and this thing costs US$1000... Microsoft NZ?






    I am a guest on Mobility Guys podcast

    By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 27-Sep-2006 08:02

    While I am not a guy who would produce a podcast, I have to take my hat off to the guys at mobilityguys.com. They put on a good show and always have interesting guests. Like the mobilityguys.com podcast #9, just out, with Mauricio Freitas, (er, that's me)...

    In our 9th episode we talk with fellow Mobile Device MVP from Wellington, New Zealand, Mauricio Freitas who runs and operates the Geekzone, about some of features of Windows Mobile that you may or may not know about. Like the benefits of using Exchange 2003 SP2 in combination with latest updates of MSFP and AKU2 and what it means to you the end user. As always, we also talk about a few gadgets as well, like some bluetooth stereo headphones and headsets, U3 drives, and more.

    The mobilityguys.com are Jack Cook, Steven Hughes, Chris Leckness, Don Sorcinelli. They run their own mobility focused sites such as www.aximsite.com, www.bostonpocketpc.com, www.experiencemobility.com and have in common a Microsoft MVP Mobile Devices award (click on their names or mine to see our Microsoft MVP Profile). 

    Download podcast #9 to hear about Windows Mobile MSFP (Messaging and Security Feature Pack), how it integrates with Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 SP2 and with the upcoming Microsoft Exchange Server 2007. Learn about neat things like Direct Push e-mail, remote wipe, closer integration of Windows Mobile and Exchange features, and more.

    You will notice my voice sounds funny (yes, it's funny), but remember my part was recorded over a Skype VoIP call, with added latency and distortion (I know, all excuses for my funny accent).

    And if you are curious about what a Microsoft MVP is, you can check the mobilityguys.com podcast #8 with Tyler Welch (Microsoft MVP Lead) or visit www.microsoft.com/mvp.





    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.

    Here's is my full disclosure post.

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