My window to the world

The New York Times Reader

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 23-Sep-2006 11:12

During Geekzone 2006 Microsoft's Nathan Mercer showed us the new The New York Times Reader (download), which was first seen on a post on

Times Reader is built on WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation), which is Microsoft's advanced UI technology for applications. To check out the WPF features in Times Reader, try some of these things:
  • Resize the window or change the font size - WPF automatically reflows the content and adjusts the number of columns.
  • Browse around the content itself - notice that the ads are themselves WPF (i.e. reflowable).
  • If you’re running on Windows Vista RC1, try a search from the Windows search bar – you’ll see NY Times news articles appear as files in the search.
  • Try the search link (just under the back/forward arrows). The articles are arranged in a heat map tile panel view, with the size denoting the importance of the article. This seems to be a work in progress, as some searches don't have many results at this point (e.g. a search for "microsoft").
  • Click the Topic Explorer (right-click > Topics, select a topic, then click the "Topic Explorer" radio button in the search results) and see an interconnected web of related articles.

  • All very interesting, as you can see on these screenshots below:

    The cool stuff is that this technology is the same used to create Microsoft Codename Max, which I commented about before.

    Where are you Microsoft Connect Beta Tester?

    By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 22-Sep-2006 18:04

    This is quite cool. The guys at the Windows Vista Team Blog have taken their time to produce maps from all regions of the world, showing where Windows Vista Beta testers are:

    Microsoft Windows Vista Beta Testers in New Zealand

    We have approximately 30,000 Vista Beta testers in this program now.
    There are Windows Vista beta testers in 125 countries.
    We have testers in all 50 U.S. States, Puerto Rico, Guam and several other U.S. locations.
    Exactly 50% of our testers are somewhere other than the U.S.
    The northernmost person appears to be in Fairbanks, Alaska at 64.85 degrees N. latitude though it's a close call with a person in Iceland.
    The southernmost person appears to be in the Kerguelen Islands at 49.56 degrees S latitude.
    We have 1 person on the island of Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands.
    We also have a person in the Tuamoto archipelago which is almost exactly half-way between South America and Australia.
    If we had someone in the Yukon and someone in Labrador/Newfoundland we would have all Canadian provinces and territories represented.
    In the U.S. we have testers in over 6,000 zip codes, or well over 10% of all zip codes in the U.S

    The pushpins are only for the Windows Vista beta testers registered on Connect, the oficial beta test site for Microsoft. Go have a look at their blog post for other maps.

    If you are in New Zealand, registered on Connect and think you can see yourself in the map, leave a comment here!

    Microsoft Windows Vista and Windows Mobile Device Center (WMDC)

    By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 20-Sep-2006 22:36

    If you are like me and is trying to use your Windows Mobile device with Windows Vista through the new Windows Mobile Device Center (WMDC) then you might be asking "Where is WMDC?" and "Why wasn’t it included with the last Vista refresh?"

    Well, I got an answer from Microsoft, and I will just pass it on:

    The Windows Mobile Device Center (WMDC) Application is a separate component from Windows Vista. Windows Vista RC1 includes the WMDC Driver which enables you to sync music, acquire pictures and browse the contents of your device. The full WMDC application enabling you to synchronize email, contacts, calendar appointments and more ships separately. We’re looking forward to being able to release the first RC soon.

    Testing the i-mate Smartflip: security stop

    By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 20-Sep-2006 17:17

    I just got hold of a Windows Mobile-based i-mate Smartflip for a review. As I feared, it is indeed locked in a way that I am not able to install a self-signed Root Certificate:

    Why, oh why, i-mate you do this? Installing a Root Certificate is an easy task on a Windows Mobile Pocket PC, but on a Smartphone it is a pain. Why i-mate ships these phones with this security policy preventing people of installing Root Certificates? Don't tell me it's "dangerous". It is needed for business, and it's allowed on Pocket PCs, which are connected to the same network, and run the same OS. This is just...

    I need a self-signed Root Certificate installed so that I can enable Microsoft Exchange synchronisation on this device.

    So I decided to go Club i-mate and ask their on-line support about this. My session has timed out and I couldn't connect to anyone there. They probably set a cookie in my system and now I can't initiate another session unless I clear my cookies, which I don't want to do because I have some automatic login settings stored here.

    I then tried to read the FAQs for the i-mate Smartflip. I have an i-mate Jasjar, i-mate Pocket PC and i-mate SP2 registered with Club i-mate, but they won't show me the FAQs for any other product other than the ones I have registered:

    I need access to the FAQ, even if I don't have a Smartflip. If I register this one and return it the next user won't be able to register it.

    And yes, I know there are ways to unlock these devices. But I want the official word. A non-expert user won't go around trying to find ways to hack his phone security system.

    UPDATE: it looks like there's a program to install certificates on this device, but only available to registered members. I have finally managed to contact the i-mate live support and talked to Duncan. I explained that I can't register this device, because it belongs to Vodafone NZ and I am using it for a review (he could see my domain). So he is forwarding the installer directly to me. Let's see how it goes. One less bump in the ride.

    UPDATE: As promised, I got the e-mail with the certificate installer and this i-mate Smartflip is synchronising with my Microsoft Exchange Server as I write this update... Way to go now!

    UPDATE: Two days with the Samrtflip and all working well so far. The review will come up sometime soon...

    I love GPRS

    By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 19-Sep-2006 18:47

    Yes, no kidding. The title is correct. Seriously though, I have two 3G Pocket PCs: an i-mate Jasjar connected to Vodafone NZ WCDMA network, and a TNZ Apache connected to Telecom New Zealand's CDMA 1xEV-DO network.

    My main phone is the Jasjar, because of my old phone number (which I've been using for the last, what, seven years?). It's not the smallest Pocket PC in the world, and obviously you need to have a Bluetooth headset, otherwise you look like a dork with such a huge device hanging from your face during a phone call.

    But you can't beat Telecom New Zealand's CDMA EVDO (for now) data speeds. The Apache is great and I use it frequently as a modem for my tablet PC. I can get speeds between 500Kbps and 800Kpbs (while on the Jasjar it won't pass the 250Kbps mark).

    Of course everyone wants more and more speed. Vodafone has introduced their HSDPA offering, with speeds of up to 1.4Mbps (although the official words is that some centres will have up to 3.6Mbps available, but this is the max theoretical). But that was before devices to access the network were available, and I was probably the only user on a specific cell site.

    Back to the point: GPRS. An ancient packet switched technology, which most companies promised to be "always-on, fast" Internet. Reality sunk in after GPRS became popular. It wasn't always on, because devices would disconnect the data session when an incoming voice call was announced to the handset. It wasn't fast because of its dial-up speed and high latency. And the only applications were WAP portals with almost no content and badly designed applications.

    Moving forward to 2006. We have WCDMA (which some try to call UMTS, but let's have its name here) with max theoretical speeds of up to 384Kbps, CDMA 1xEV-DO with max speeds of 2Mbps but going up to 100+Mbps in a few years, and HSDPA with speeds of 14Mbps in a couple of years. And we still have GPRS, with speeds of up to 42Kbps.

    Why I love it? I just sent my i-mate Jasjar for a special place for a special surgery. In the meantime, I moved its SIM card to my old i-mate Pocket PC Phone (the first i-mate device around here) and I am surprised how fast the device is in comparison to the newer Pocket PCs, even though the newer CPUs are faster, and the devices have more memory.

    I am also surprise on how responsive the GPRS data is flowing. Seriously you can't connect your laptop through this Pocket PC and expect fast speeds. But I have some specific requirements, such as push e-mail and single connection to a server, and for that it serves me well.

    I am using this Pocket PC to connect to my Microsoft Exchange Server for e-mail, calendar and contacts synchronisation. It performs thesse actions while in my Pocket PC, so I really don't care if it takes 20 seconds or 60 seconds. And it does it fast because it is a single connection to a single server.

    Another example of single connection application I am using and surprised me today was RSS feed reading. I run my own Newsgator Enterprise Server, and it serves me with a PDA friendly webpage. Since this is a single connection, basically text only, to a single server, it is actually extremely fast. And that's not WAP, but full HTML. I actually haven't been to a WAP page in years.

    It is like the RIM BlackBerry devices. Most of them are still connected to the GPRS network. And do you notice it? No, because you only know about the e-mails arriving. You probably don't even notice the e-mails flowing to the device. But they are still coming on the slow GPRS network (of course, except on the new latest BlackBerry models coming out now).

    So, yes. I am using GPRS these days on my Pocket PC, and I am enjoying it. Of course when I need to do some serious work, here comes the Apache for some broadband speeds (or some HSDPA in the near future?)

    Horses for courses, as they say...

    Symantec Norton Team is blogging

    By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 19-Sep-2006 10:52

    Last time I posted about Symantec here in this blog was to let you know that their Security Response Team was blogging.

    I was just visiting the Symantec website to check some product information, and found that there's a new blog up now: the Norton Protection Blog.

    It looks like it's the product team bloging, by the looks of the blogger profiles, which includes VP and managers of products, services and engineering.

    Worth a read, to keep up-to-date with security for your loved computing devices...

    100 Years of Press Releases

    By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 19-Sep-2006 10:32

    It looks like 2006 marks the 100th anniversary of Ivy Lee's first press release. He is known as the father of public relations, and his first press release is considered the birth of the public relations industry as we know it today.

    The NUK lists more insights on Ivy Lee's teachings and techniques.

    What a long journey. Media outlets still receive press releases, and even bloggers receive them. But how this information goes to the readers is another story.

    Congratulations to all professionals working in this area! I hope you all embrace the new times and changes we have ahead, with all this new media available to communicate to customers.

    Weird Al: White and Nerdy

    By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 19-Sep-2006 08:21

    Weird Al is great, and this is, well... Nerdy: Or from Google Video: New Zealand made

    By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 18-Sep-2006 19:09

    I am used to say that part of my job (which is running Geekzone full time) is to read and collect data to crunch into information I can use or share. And everyday I find something interesting.

    For example, it was a big surprise when I found out about, 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 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.

    Windows Vista Install Fair

    By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 18-Sep-2006 11:18

    As commented during the Geekzone 2006 (which was a really cool event, you should pencil some time to attend Geekzone 2007!), Microsoft is running a series of "Windows Vista Install Fair" events in the USA.

    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?

    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:

    Social networks presence

    View Mauricio Freitas's profile on LinkedIn

    My Blog by tags...

    Viral Marketing...
    Web Performance Optimization...
    Windows Phone...

    Other recent posts in my blog

    Now with more fibre...
    Unlimited is not unlimited: Vo...
    How bad is Vodafone cable at t...
    Frustrated with Microsoft Fami...
    State of browsers Geekzone Mar...
    You are still a pirate accordi...
    2015 New Zealand Hi-Tech Award...
    Trackers - How technology is h...
    Geekzone is a ESET NetGuide We...
    Windows Phone and Android apps...

    New posts on Geekzone