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Vodafone New Zealand buys IHUG

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 9-Oct-2006 18:52

Not many details yet, but I just got an email about this: Vodafone New Zealand will hold a conference call tomorrow (10 October 2006) to explain in more details the communication sent to the ASX (Australian Stock Exchange) about the purchase of New Zealand ISP IHUG.

Vodafone Merlin XU870 Express Card in the house

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 9-Oct-2006 16:45

I have just unpacked the Vodafone Mobile Connect HSDPA/3G/EDGE/GPRS ExpressCard. This is the Vodafone branded Merlin XU870 HSDPA 7.2Mbps card. Yes, that's right - 7.2Mbps.

Vodafone HSDPA XU870 ExpressCard

The Merlin XU870 HSDPA 7.2 ExpressCard offers the flexibility of both HSDPA and UMTS in tri-band 2100/1900/850 MHz and in quad-band EDGE/GPRS 850/900/1800/1900 MHz capability.  The XU870 ExpressCard provides high-speed connectivity to HSDPA networks with data speeds up to 3.6 Mbps and ultimately 7.2 Mbps, with a software upgrade. It has an integrated antenna system design that incorporates an external flip antenna, maximizing data speed performance and allows for stronger network signal reception.

Of course we only have 3.6Mbps and 1.8Mbps HSDPA here in New Zealand, but Vodafone promised an upgrade to 7.2Mbps for 2007. Let's just wait and see!

In the meantime, I will take this card to the mall where I tested the AirCard 850 and the vodem before, to compare speeds.

UPDATE: You should check my XU870 speed test...

IBM Forum 06: what I am attending

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 8-Oct-2006 19:19

As posted here before I will be attending the IBM Forum 06, here in Wellington on the 9 October. I will be around all day, but here are the sessions that caught my interest and you are most likely to see me attending:

8.30amIntroduction & KeynoteIntro by Katrina Troughton (Managing Director, IBM New Zealand). Keynote by David Skilling (Chief Executive, New Zealand Institute)Keynote will focus on the challenges and opportunities to achieving a much stronger New Zealand - and how New Zealand leaders should respond.
9.45amThe Global Innovation OutlookSteve Bonnici (Managing Director, Urgent Couriers) who attended a GIO series in New Delhi.At GIO 2.0, IBM brought together 248 thought leaders from 33 countries, representing 178 organisations, at five locations across four continents to discuss key emerging trends, challenges and opportunities in business and society. Hear what these conferences uncovered about the future of your World, from one of New Zealand's participants.
10.30amThe evolution of digital communitiesRizwan Khaliq, Global Business Executive for IBM’s Digital Communities initiative.The exploding growth of wireless access and the convergence of wireless voice, data and video are transforming the operations of local governments.   Local and regional government agencies can leverage this new technology--and the solutions provided by it--to not only improve existing services but to also launch social and public safety services never before capable.  Discover how major cities worldwide are deploying applications and community services over wireless broadband networks to help promote social, economic and educational development. 
11.30amSecurity in the digital age - in the public and private sectors, and in the communityManeesh Tripathi  (Service Product Line Executive Global Technology Services, IBM Asia Pacific)The digital age has fundamentally changed the meaning of security. Identity, authenticity, intrusion, theft, refutability, surveillance - all take on new meanings and bring new complications. To businesses, to individuals, and to society. Maneesh will talk about the social and economical (as well as technical) implications of security violations and identity fraud, the blurring lines between information and physical security (i.e. someone stealing a swipe card and then using it to break into a building), new threats created by our increasingly mobile environment, and also highlight some more sophisticated nature security breaches, which he says are increasingly originated by organised crime.
1.45pmCanterbury District Health Board (CDHB) improves patient safety with wireless voice communicationsPaul Gee (Emergency Physician, CDHB), Barb Nelson and Tracey Williams (Senior Nurses, Voicera Team, CDHB)Effective communication between Christchurch Emergency Department's 150 employees was a huge challenge - putting significant pressure on nursing and medical staff. A voice-activated, wireless communication system has helped doctors locate the medical skills they need, improving work-flow and efficiency, decreasing delays and speeding delivery of care.
3.30pmUnified Communications - Driving the Customer ExperienceRoy Newbury (Manager, Unified Communications, Cisco Asia Pacific) and Alan Register (Enterprise Account Manager, Cisco New Zealand)True innovation through converged communications improves agility and responsiveness to new challenges and opportunities. It unifies all of an organisation’s communications solutions, devices, resources, and aligns with business processes to make interaction with customers, partners, vendors, and employees smarter, more personal, and more effective.  Learn how these innovations have become today's reality.  
4.15pmSametime 7.5, the future of real-time collaborationChris Sparshott (Software Specialist, IBM NZ) and Kathy Staples (System Engineer,  IBM Australia)Instant Messaging, integrated audio-web conferencing, location awareness, social networking, integration with Microsoft® Outlook/Office and mobile devices, open standards-based for ease of integration - Lotus Sametime 7.5 is the future of real-time collaboration.

Microsoft Windows Vista RC2 Build 5744-16384 available now

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 7-Oct-2006 10:30

Time to do it again: a new Microsoft Windows Vista build is available on Connect now. I am currently downloading it (should be done in a few hours):

Microsoft Windows Vista Beta build

Apparently Windows Vista (v5744-16384) for X86 and X64 (English) is the last build available for testing (but don't quote me on this). You should use your current product keys when installing this software.

Microsfot Platforms and Services Co-President Jim Allchin has just posted a special announcement letter of Windows Vista RC2 to Microsoft Connect for the Windows Vista Technical Beta Testers:

People asked for it, and here it is, Windows Vista RC2! We wanted you to be the first to get these bits; next week they’ll be available to a broader set of customers via MSDN and TechNet.

All your great feedback has helped us focus on nothing but bug fixes over the past month since RC 1 — each and every day. There are thousands of quality improvements since Windows Vista RC1. You’ll probably notice improvements in performance, application compatibility, as well as fit and finish work. We will continue improving quality until RTM. If you are an ISV, please use this build (certainly at least RC1 or later) to get certified. Visit for more information on logo certification.

You are integral to this creation and refinement process. We are just around the corner from RTM and shipping this great product to the world. This will be the last build made available prior to RTM, so please keep the feedback coming so we can hit the finish line. Thanks for your help in finishing the job!


The downloads are:

- vista_5744.16384.061003-1945_x86fre_client-LRMCFRE_EN_DVD.iso, 2,552.57 MB
- vista_5744.16384.061003-1945_x64fre_client-LRMCxFRE_EN_DVD.iso, 3,609.21 MB

Also found out that they now have drivers for the Microsoft Fingerprint scanner. Nice! I have one of those and couldn't make it work under Windows Vista. It's a rebadged Digital Persona device. Very handy (no pun intended).

Palm Treo 750v coming to Australia through Telstra?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 6-Oct-2006 12:54

This just in: Telstra has switched on their HSDPA network. The first HSDPA-enabled Windows Mobile device available through them is the i-mate JASJAM:

i-mate JASJAM

But down in its press release, Telstra also promised a device from Palm joining the network next month. I know Vodafone New Zealand is launching the Treo 750v 1st November. I wonder if Vodafone Australia will be behind Telstra on this one?

Palm Treo 750v

Clearification: A Rare Condition

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 6-Oct-2006 11:19

Hmmm. Interesting. Funny. Intriguing. It's all that - and more. Or less. This is a series of short episodes, where this guy narrates things like he was Jerry Macguire. The whole site's got some strange weird thing going on. Check it out: And this is the first episode (1 of 7):
I am subscribing to the RSS feed, just to find out what's the story all about (obviously something to do with Microsoft Windows Vista, but we really need to watch the whole series). You can download episodes, embed, download wallpapers, and the soundtrack. The thoughts part of the site is, well... deep.

Wikipedia on your Pocket: 7val

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

There is another wikipedia for mobile devices, at, 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: is a non-NAT, Optimiser enabled APN is a non-NAT, Optimiser enabled APN 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: 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?

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.

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