My window to the world

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?

Opening the Apple iPod

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 14-Sep-2006 12:37

I just found a website with some interesting information on all technical things Apple iPod related: The guys there have guides for all Apple laptops and Apple iPod models, including the latest Apple iPod nano and Apple iPod 5G.

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.

Windows Mobile devices reviews

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 11-Sep-2006 10:15

Some of you asked me about upcoming Windows Mobile devices on Vodafone New Zealand, considering that tomorrow (12 September) we'll see the announcement of their new HSDPA offering, under the 3G Mobile Broadband badge (you can read some of my previous comments here and here), and considering that some of the new Windows Mobile devices will have the ability to connect to this new fast network.

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.

Microsoft Codename Max shows RSS feeds

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 10-Sep-2006 11:27

Yesterday I posted about the problems I found while trying to install Microsoft Codename Max, the image sharing program based on some new cool graphics technologies.
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:

Microsoft Codename Max RSS feeds

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).

Microsoft Codename Max update

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 9-Sep-2006 12:05

Yesterday I was thinking of adding Microsoft Codename Max to my server, so relatives could have a nice list of pictures of our baby Isabella. I didn't act on that because it was late - and I am glad I didn't.

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.

The NZ government can help businesses too...

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 9-Sep-2006 10:55

I run a small business. I work from home, and at the current stage I'd love to be able to hire a professional editor, a sales person, and one or two overseas-based writers. But I can't. Unless I manage to get an interest-free loan from the New Zealand governement, which is possible according to Stuff's article $12m hi-tech loan criticised (I am quoting here because Stuff removes the content after a month or so):

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!

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. Also worth visiting is TravelTalk NZ, a community for travelers!

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.

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