My window to the world


New Zealand is actually a good place to do business

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 1-Aug-2006 22:24

I am just reading one of Guy Kawasaki's blog posts ("Doing business in 2006"):

Doing Business in 2006: Creating Jobs is the third in a series of annual reports investigating the regulations that enhance business activity and those that constrain it. New quantitative indicators on business regulations and their enforcement can be compared across 155 countries—from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe—and over time...The indicators are used to analyze economic outcomes and identify what reforms have worked, where, and why.

These are the top thirty economies based on the ease of doing business:

1 New Zealand
2 Singapore
3 United States
4 Canada
5 Norway
6 Australia
7 Hong Kong, China
8 Denmark
9 United Kingdom
10 Japan


Great stuff. I just hope people realise not everything in the world is "cheaper, faster broadband", but less bureaucracy helps too. At least we are doing well here.





New Zealand in the map: Windows Live Local

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 1-Aug-2006 16:00

There are quite a few map sites for New Zealand, if you are interested... A few here (probably not a complete list):

- http://www.zoomin.co.nz/
- http://www.wises.co.nz/
- http://www.smaps.co.nz/

While not New Zealand only, Google Maps also lists Godzone's addresses and maps. And I don't know if I should count smaps and zoomin as separate things, since both come from the same roots, at http://www.projectxtech.com/.

Of those, I like Zoomin better because I can use it to insert a map snippet into a blog post (see our entry with venue directions for Geekzone 2006).

There is even a PDA-friendly New Zealand map, available on http://www.mapzone.co.nz/pdaMap. This is so far the only PDA-friendly site here. Wises used to work on Pocket PCs, but they've changed something there and it's now broken.

But the big news is that Microsoft's Windows Live Local has been updated, and now the service includes New Zealand. But not only this, it also provide driving directions. While not the first one to offer this service (Wises does it as well), it's the first one to use AJAX technologies to do so, and also throwing satellite images for a kick (although not yet at street level).

Below is a screen capture of driving directions and sample map:



And below is a map:



UPDATE: Oh, I found a problem: where the instructions say (3) turn right (South), you can't actually do it, because the ramp is only going North and there's no way to turn right. No access at all. Hmmm. Bugger that. If we turn left instead it will be another 2.5 Km before a return is possible. More work to do here, Microsoft Live team. Better get an updated set of map data.















Zune Thoughts...

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 1-Aug-2006 14:35

by now everyone on this planet, and some of our aliens visitors know what Zune is. If you do not know yet, check the link or just wait a few more days to get lots of coverage on a new site coming soon: Zune Thoughts.

Yes, this is another one of the "Thoughts Media" sites, created by fellow Microsoft MVP Mobile Devices, Jason Dunn...





I have a few Windows Live QnA Beta invites available: ask and you shall receive

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 28-Jul-2006 17:11

As the subject says, I have a few Windows Live QnA Beta invites available.

This new Microsoft service allows you to ask questions and have other members of the community to answer those.

How do you know the answers are good? The community can vote for answers and people get points. People with more points are more "trusted" and more likely to provide a good answer. Interesting community system.

If you want an invite, please post in the comments with your MSN Passort e-mail (the service only works with Passport accounts, so please don't ask if you don't have one).

There is no need to make your e-mail public, don't post it in the comment. I will send an invitation to the e-mail address you use for confirmation.

When my invites finish I will close comments.







Too much PC (no, not Personal Computers) in our lives

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 28-Jul-2006 13:08

This is another non-technology post... I found this through fark.com (sometimes NSFW) which I think is hilarious most of the times (the summaries).

Cover of breastfeeding magazine shows baby nursing on a *gasp* bare breast. American Talibanarity ensues: "A breast is a breast - it's a sexual thing." In other news, a hundred simulated murders will be on network TV tonight.


Yes, that's right. Fark linked to a story on sfgate.com "'Breast' Cover Gets Mixed Reaction" which reports on a cover picture published on babytalk, a magazine for mothers. OMG! We are the 21st century folks. Just for your information, this is the "offensive" magazine cover:


And these are some of the comments:

"I shredded it," said Gayle Ash, of Belton, Texas, in a telephone interview. "A breast is a breast — it's a sexual thing. He didn't need to see that."

"I'm totally supportive of it — I just don't like the flashing," she says. "I don't want my son or husband to accidentally see a breast they didn't want to see."


Now, what is interesting here is that  the complaints came from a poll of more than 4,000 readers, a quarter of responses to the cover were negative, calling the photo — a baby and part of a woman's breast, in profile — inappropriate. Yes, these are the mothers, for goodness sake...

At the same time there is a move to help mothers feed their babies:

There have been other measures to promote breast-feeding: in December, for example, Massachusetts banned hospitals from giving new mothers gift bags with free infant formula, a practice opponents said swayed some women away from nursing.

Most states now have laws guaranteeing the right to breast-feed where one chooses, and when a store or restaurant employee denies a woman that right, it has often resulted in public protests known as "nurse-ins": at a Starbucks in Miami, at Victoria's Secret stores in Racine, Wis. and Boston, and, last year, outside ABC headquarters in New York, when Barbara Walters made comments on "The View" seen by some women to denigrate breast-feeding in public.


Well done for these states guaranteeing breast feeding!

We have a baby here and New Zealand must be a lot different to the USA in this sense. We have no problems with Isabella and mum doing what they have to do. Actually a few cafes we frequent have some very comfortable seats or sofas for mums and babies.

Fark is right...






Caption the Ilium Software team and get some prizes

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 27-Jul-2006 09:38

Here is an opportunity for some fun and games: the Ilium Software team is running a caption contest over on their company blog.


Go over there and enter the caption in the comments and be in to win some software for your Windows Mobile or Palm device.

Just to make it clear, comments are disabled on this entry here, so you have to visit their blog to enter the competition.







Hooters Swimsuit Pageant in Las Vegas

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 26-Jul-2006 23:08

This post has absolutely nothing to do with technology. Or perhaps it has a lot, after all we are all geeks, right?

Michelle Nunes, representing the Hooters Hotel and Casino, was selected out of over 120 Hooters Girls from around the world to represent Hooters for the next year, as Miss Hooters International 2006. Among the many prizes and opportunities that accompany the crown, this Hooters Girl from Las Vegas will take home the first place prize of US$50,000 cash as well as be featured in Hooters Magazine, national marketing campaigns and TV commercials.

This year's Pageant was held at the Aladdin Casino's Theater of Performing Arts in Las Vegas. The judges included television personality Brooke Burke; Leeann Tweeden of "The Best Damn Sports Show," NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.; NBA Player and Sportscaster, John Salley; Rob Dibble from Fox Sports News "The Best Damn Sports Show"; Jerry Buss, owner of the LA Lakers; and Nick Valvano, CEO of The V Foundation for Cancer Research.


Michelle Nunes, Miss Hooters International 2006

The top five winners included: 1st Runner Up, Stacie Burns (representing Hooters.com), 2nd Runner Up Randi Jackson (representing Jacksonville, FL), 3rd Runner Up, Kat Longa (representing Miss September in the Hooters Calendar), and 4th Runner Up, Sarah Coggin (representing the Southwest). Rounding out the top ten finalists in no particular order are Ambar Martinez (representing Venezuela); Beverly Mullins (representing Brandon, FL); Natalie Pandorf (representing the Original Hooters in Clearwater, FL); Nicole Del Valle (representing Las Vegas) and Linsey Toole (representing Miss December in the Hooters Calendar).


The top 5 finalists from the 10th Annual Hooters International Swimsuit Pageant


Contestants from Australia, Taiwan, Germany, Canada, Venezuela, Mexico, Costa Rica and Guatemala traveled to Las Vegas to compete for over US$150,000 in cash and prizes. Trisha Gledhill, representing Calgary, Canada was selected from the international contestants to represent Miss Hooters World.

Ok, perhaps the only thing in common with technology is that Las Vegas is where the International CES 2007 (Consumer Electronics Show) is located? Back to the technology blogging now...




More impressive numbers: Windows Server 2003 for authentication in Korea

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 26-Jul-2006 20:31

I received a press release today which I wasn't going to post in the main Geekzone news section, but the numbers are just staggering, so I decided to quote it here in my personal blog:

Microsoft Corp. today announced that CJ Internet has successfully implemented Microsoft Windows Server 2003 64-bit edition to power its integrated user authentication system.  CJ Internet provides a leading online game portal in Korea and is one of the country’s top search portals.  The online game portal, called NetMarble, offers approximately 50 games to over 23 million members.  The new integrated user authentication system had to be able to scale easily and accommodate more than 25 million members.  It also had to be robust enough to handle concurrent access of up to 400,000 users.

CJ Internet embarked on the upgrade of the 32-bit integrated authentication system to a 64-bit based system after the number of users and traffic surpassed the company's projections last year and the capacity of the existing system.  As of March 2006, there were 270,000 concurrent users to NetMarble, a sharp increase of 35% from that of only three years ago.  With the upgrade of the server operating system, CJ Internet has transferred its integrated authentication service which operated based on pre-existing three servers to two 64-bit based machines, while changing the storage environment from Direct Access Storage (DAS) to Storage Area Network (SAN).

Microsoft's successful implementation of the 32-bit integrated authentication system in 2004 strongly influenced CJ Internet's decision to align their system upgrade with Microsoft's product release.  Not only did the Microsoft Windows Server 2003-based solution reduce excessive server downtime from 3 to 1.13 percent, it was also estimated that the previous system would save CJ Internet US$3.1 million per year. 

Korea leads in Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan) and accounts for more than 45 percent of the online game market according to IDC.


Just read the numbers again: 23 million members and more than 270,000 concurrent users on-line!






The Net Neutrality explained

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 24-Jul-2006 17:57

Here it is, the easiest way to understand the whole Net Neutrality debate, with John Hodgman, the guy that plays "Hi, I am a PC" in a series of Apple Mac ads: Some language may offend, but not much...



Vodafone brings Dr James Cantor to New Zealand

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 24-Jul-2006 15:40

The guys at Vodafone New Zealand brought into the country Dr. James Cantor (www.futureguru.com). The main event was a lunch here in Wellington, where Dr Cantor presented his views on future trends to an audience comprising mainly government officials involved in IT projects, and a minority of IT managers involved in other areas.

I am happy to have been invited to the main event (which was attended by about 120 people, I’d say), and also for a one on one chat with Dr Cantor, before the lunch.

Dr Cantor and I talked about our earlier experiences with Technology. He was, for example, part of the initial Apple’s Mac team, as part of the corporate marketing group. We had a bit of geek talk, about how technology changed in all these years since the initial Apple Mac project, how technology is so prevalent these days that it’s not a surprise to us (or anyone else) what possibilities it brings to life. How people accepts technology as a enabler of knowledge and wealth.

Dr Cantor being a futurist, of course I had to ask him about what trends are related to telecommunications, and mobility in general.

He made a point that currently the global economy is a non-location economy, and 2/3 of US and EU economy is driven by IT, nano, neuro, bio technologies. The wireless broadband can and should be used as an accelerator for the ubiquitous and innovative enterprise, helping it touch clients.

In terms of acceptance he commented that government (which seemed to be the main Vodafone focus during the whole event) is the slowest one to adopt the idea of non-location, followed by large enterprise, with SME being the quickest segment to start using wireless technologies.

So, what’s the wireless paradigm? Better solutions, wealth, new business models and market opportunities, a global market space, all facilitate by this non-location economy.

Of big impact on this is the organisational culture. Companies and government should be able to risks and experiment, posing low resistance to changes and opportunities.

What customer relationship areas companies should work on first? According to Dr Cantor, CRM (Client Relationship Management) is the first area that can benefit of a wireless paradigm. The main benefits would customer intimacy, responsiveness and business intelligence. Other areas that can benefit are supply chain and logistics. And government, of course.

You should think of this as “don’t sell me things, know me better and suggest things I might need”.

Dr Cantor goes as far to say that 25% of jobs should be redesigned on a wireless platform to be more effective.


The main event was a full of energy presentation, with Dr Cantor going through concepts, explanations, and some interesting ideas on how to use all this in the wireless field. Of course most of the examples were targeted at government in general, because this was the majority of the audience.

It was actually a very interesting chat, and I can't complain about the food served during the lunch afterwards either. I think it was (the whole thing) appreciated by everyone there.





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.

If you'd like to help me keep Geekzone going, please use this Geekzone Amazon affiliate link when placing any orders on Amazon.



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