For example, it was a big surprise when I found out about readwriteweb.com, since I have a huge list of feeds on my RSS reader and this blog wasn't there - yet. It's now subscribed.
It was also big surprise to actually find that its author, Richard MacManus, is based just around the corner (well, almost) from me, in Lower Hutt - I am in Johnsonville, both are suburbs of Wellington, New Zealand's capital.
His blog is an interesting read, bringing lots of information on all things related to web technologies and services (some call this web 2.0, I think it's a bit too much, but this is another discussion). If you read and follow his blog you will notice that things appear on readwriteweb.com first.
Richard also writes a blog for ZDNet, called web2explorer.
I met Richard for the first time during the Geekzone 2006 (and yes, we'll have Geekzone 2007). I think his blog is better known overseas than here in New Zealand, so that's why I am writing about it here. Check it out: readwriteweb is one of the top blogs on Technorati!
I really recommend you subscribe to his feed and read the blog if you have any interest in web technologies, new media, etc... It will be worth your while.
In short: bring your PC, have Microsoft Windows Vista installed and get a free copy of Microsoft Windows Vista when it is released to the public.
Upgrade Windows XP SP2 (Home, Professional, Tablet PC and Media Center Edition) PC’s or Laptops with unfamiliar applications, configurations and devices to the latest pre-release version of Windows Vista Ultimate Edition.
Acquire valuable feedback about the Windows Vista Upgrade experience from the broader community to ensure that Windows Vista will be the most rock solid release of Microsoft Windows ever.
Can we make some pressure and have Microsoft New Zealand moving to do something similar here?
Check this picture of the new Apple iPod nano open:
The site also sells repair parts for all those models. Interesting DIY kind of stuff and certainly interesting for those "hard to find" parts.
All I can say is... Hmmm, not much. In the last few months Vodafone New Zealand has been in a transformation cycle, and what I know is that's been really hard to get to try some of their new smart devices.
While I have met with two people showing me new mobile devices, I could not get any for a review - not even the ones already in stores nationwide.
Take for example the i-mate Smartflip. It's been in stores for a while now, and I asked, begged, implored for a review unit, with no luck so far. Then there is the i-mate JasJAM, the i-mate SP6 (pictured) and the Palm Treo 750v. I've seen these devices, but so far I have had no luck in arranging any for review.
Then check the article on Dominion Post with myself showing off a tablet PC connected to the Vodafone HSDPA. I know some IT jounalists (at least one person from Computerworld and another from the Dominion Post) did not get a chance to review the new service before launch. I only got to try the HSDPA network thanks to a friend who arranged me a Sierra Wireless card to use.
What's up at Vodafone these days?
UPDATE: To be fair, Vodafone is not the only one. HP does the same. I don't even bother asking HP anymore, and I simply ignore them.
I now blame this on the fact that I was downloading the installer at the same time the Microsoft team was updating their page, because after downloading the installer again (and removing the WinFX component) I got all working flawlessly. I noticed the new installer was 305KBytes, while the first download was only 105KBytes.
Now that I have all working, I also had time to try the new feature on Microsoft Codename Max: RSS feeds! The program can now consume RSS and ATOM feeds, and it with the same technology used to create the slideshows with the "mantle" style. That means that when you read the feed you actually see a page that looks like a newspaper, instead of simple list of articles.
This is pretty cool, have a look on the Geekzone Blog RSS feed:
Images are resized to fit the columns, and each page lists the articles in different position, making it fun to read.
If you are looking for a no frills RSS reader (yes, not many options there, so don't think of "Mark As Read", "Refresh Interval", etc) then this one looks an interesting option. I still recommend Newsgator for some serious RSS reading though, because of the ability to read the feeds on your web browser, or read on your Microsoft Outlook or mobile device and having the read status synchronised in all locations.
Remember the Microsoft Codename Max is a beta, a "showcase". I actually see that some of the user interface design from Windows Vista are now coming to Windows XP (think Microsoft Codename Max, Windows Live Mail Desktop, Windows Live Messenger, and Microsoft Office 2007).
That's because this morning I saw in some MSDN Blogs that Microsoft Codename Max has been updated, to incorporate .Net Framework 3.0 instead of the original WinFX Beta 2.
Great! I can install this now. Wrong. Pain settles in. After downloading the small (150 KBytes) installer it proceeded to download and install WinFX Beta 2!
The installer did that, and then placed the Microsoft Codename Max on my server. But this was the wrong one. As soon as I started it the program notified me of an update. No problem, I understood their advice to visit the site and download it. But I have just downloaded it from there!
Running the install again this time it complained about not having .Net Framework 3.0 on my machine. Of course not. This is what written on Microsoft Max page:
Max updates itself. Max uses Microsoft Update to make sure you have the most up-to-date version running. Which means you can try the new features—or get the latest fixes—with each release.
Max installs Microsoft .NET Framework for you. Max installs the version of Microsoft .NET Framework required to work properly, so you don't have to.
Ok, off to remove WinFX, reboot, download .Net Framework 3.0 manually, because now I don't trust this installer.
Why am I ranting? Because this is supposed to be easy. I wanted something my mum, and the grandparents could install on their computers by themselves. This is not it!
UPDATE: Manually removed WinFX Beta 2, and downloaded the installer again. This time it's installing the Microsoft .Net Framework 3.0 RC1. Let's see how it goes. Interestingly, I couldn't find a .Net Framework 3.0 download on MSDN - the download link is only for the v2.0
Anyway, all seems to be working now (not without a couple of reboots), and let's start sharing the pictures!
UPDATE: It seems Microsoft Codename Max shares the full size pictures. On my Nikon D50, at high resolution it means each picture is about 2.5MB! I can see my inlaws getting really angry at some long albums. What about an option to automatically resize pictures before sharing and placing those in a cache?
UPDATE: It is now working here without a problem. Looking good. I have to test the new RSS feed feature.
Prime Minister Helen Clark said yesterday that the Cabinet had agreed to lend Right Hemisphere up to $US8m ($NZ12.2m) over three years to keep the joint-venture company and its staff in New Zealand.
The loan follows the departure of several other New Zealand-based companies overseas and is being made against the advice of Treasury, which says it is unfair to others and not a good investment.
Right Hemisphere, a computer graphics company, was founded in New Zealand but now has a significant part of its business based in Los Angeles. The company had warned it would have to completely relocate overseas if it could not find new investors.
The company designs software for several US military suppliers, including Black Hawk helicopter manufacturer Sikorsky Aircraft, Bell Helicopter, Halliburton, the principal supplier to US armed forces in Iraq, and Lockheed Martin, the world's largest defence contractor.
In a surprise move, the Government has agreed to an interest-free loan on the basis the company stays in New Zealand for three more years. If it does not, it will have to pay 25 per cent interest on the money. The Government believes the investment will pay off in downstream benefits.
The move has infuriated the founder of regional airline Origin Pacific, which folded this year under intense competition from majority Government-owned Air New Zealand after the Government refused to help bail it out.
Robert Inglis said his company had asked for half as much money as Right Hemisphere, and on a fully commercial loan basis.
Dunedin-based computer graphics company Taylor Made said the Government loan was highly unusual.
With 10% of that money I think we could take Geekzone to the next step. I'd love to get an interest free loan, and we would be creating job positions!
The news come down in a handheld-compatible format. It renders well on Internet Explorer Mobile, and correctly identifies the mobile browser. You just have to point the browser to http://mobile.nytimes.com/ and you will have something like this:
Very nice layout, fits extremely well on a mobile device. Note that "Windows Mobile" branding. Like the MSNBC smart client (which I am using on my Pocket PC and is quite cool, I should post about it later), this seems to be a marketing exercise to move the brand forward into the public view.
I wonder if any New Zealand newspapers would do this? I know the NZ Herald offers PDA client, but it requires 1.5MB memory on your device, and the system requirements link goes to a "page not found". It should really be just a mobile version of their pages, visible through a web browser though, so people wouldn't have to fiddle around with downloading installers, installing new applications using precious memory on the device, etc. On these days almost all PDA sold is connected to a cellular data network, so why not use this infrastructure?
I have some invites available for this Windows Live Beta, and you just have to post a request here for me to send it. I will post a reply when I run out of invitations. There is no need to publish your e-mail address, I will send it to the e-mail in the comment authentication.
Make sure you use your hotmail.com address and that you are already using Windows Live Mail. If you are using the old Hotmail service this will not work, and it will be a waste of your time and my time.
The program brings together an e-mail client supporting POP3, IMAP, GMail and Windows Live Mail (previously known as Hotmail), newsgroup reader (NNTP), RSS Feed Reader (but you must have Internet Explorer 7 installed for this feature to work), contacts (synchronised with your Windows Live Mail and Windows Live Messenger account) and Calendar.
By the way, if you have a Windows Live Mail account then you also have 2GB storage (less than the current Lycos Mail 3GB option or the GMail ever increasing 2GB and counting option). But still a considerable mailbox size.
It has some interesting features, such as Windows Live Mail client (even if you don't have the premium hotmail service!), Active Search, which brings results related to the topic in the e-mail or newsgroup, and a most requested feature: automatic bottom reply in newsgroups!
When receiving the invitation it may look like an empty message. My suggestion is to forward this message without any changes to another e-mail address where you can see the source code (send to another e-mail address and save the message as HTML, then open on notepad). You will be able to find the invitation URL, something like http://ideas.live.com/AcceptInvitation.aspx?[long_code_here]. Simply copy and paste the entire URL (including the code) and login to your Live account when requested.
Complicated? Well, if you are reading this and want it badly, then that's how to do it (until Microsoft fixes the invitations).