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Weekly geek meeting at Astoria

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 21-Jul-2006 12:05

This week's meeting at Astoria Cafe (Midland Park, Wellington) was quite an exciting one. I tend to meet people from all companies, sometimes back to back from 1pm through 5pm in my Wednesday stop at the Astoria Cafe.

You know the drill: I bring my tablet PC so I can work from there connected to Telecom NZ Hotspot (which is free for mobile broadband users until end of August 2006) or Cafenet (which is not giving a good signal lately). While I drink coffee or munch through some lunch a string of IT people will come and go, for a good chat and geek stuff all around.

But back to this week's meeting. We had to join two tables, to accomodate all the gadgets around and it actually looked like a Microsoft MVP meeting.

We had myself with my Toshiba M205 tablet PC and Windows Mobile Pocket PC Phone Edition (Mobile Devices MVP), Craig Pringle with his Motion LS800 tablet PC (MVP Tablet PC), Chris Auld with his Windows Moble Smartphone (MVP Mobile Devices), Nick Randolph with his Windows Mobile Pocket PC Phone Edition (Embedded MVP), and Darryl Burling with his spanking new eo UMPC (Microsoft New Zealand)!

We had a good talk about Darryl's new UMPC, compared sizes with the Motion LS800, talked about the next Windows Mobile User Group activities, the creation of an Auckland Windows Mobile User Group, apparently managed to convince Nick to install Vista on his laptop, and overall had some good time.

We also found out that my Victorinox man bag is the ideal size for the eo UMPC, and Darryl dashed to Kirk's afterwards to look for a Victorinox addition to his list of geek stuff.

I really enjoy these meetings, a lot of disconnected talk, people throwing different ideas, all good stuff. And we have to be quite loud sometimes because it's a busy cafe.

This week we missed Peter Torr Smith (I still owe him a cigar!).

Care to join us? Contact me or post a comment..

Crowd Source

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 21-Jul-2006 11:11

I've first visited Cambrian House a month or so ago, and didn't pay much more attention to it since then. At that time I read about Cambrian House because they were the crazy folks who sent pizza to the Googleplex.

I read about crowd source before, and other companies experiences, including some articles on Wired, etc.

Today I read a post on Ivan's blog "Now here's an interesting idea with good tips on raising starting capital for your idea" and his comments are good, and a list of tips, from... Cambrian House.

This made me visit it again, and I plan to have a look around it for some more insights. You never know when you will need this knowledge, or how you can apply some to your own business, right?

What I expect from a hosting provider

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 20-Jul-2006 18:05

C'mon guys. You can do better than this... I am talking about ICONZ, the company hosting Geekzone.

I have just made a payment to ICONZ, on a bill I really don't think is fair. I am not going to delve into the technical details on why and how.

But what's not fair is their "customer service". I asked my "account manager" about this invoice as soon as it arrived, 14 days before the due date.

He didn't return my calls, my voice mails, my e-mails. It took him 12 days to answer my questions, with basically a "talk to the boss".

Which I did, but with not much results. Except for the first e-mail received from her (which was just a foward of the e-mail I had already received from the account manager), I did not receive a reply to my questions, all very pertinent to the case in point.

We are talking about a NZ$6700 invoice here. It is not like John Doe asking about his hobby site. And this is not an old accumulated account. It is a single month bill.

I would expect a lot more consideration from a provider when dealing with a customer paying a bill this size. Actually any customer, regardless of size.

Vodafone Palm Treo 750v

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 20-Jul-2006 11:42

Vodafone UK has posted a Palm Treo 750v webpage up now, so users can register their interest in the new device.

This is one of the models I talked about in my previous blog post "Vodafone is getting some hot smart devices in New Zealand". I was actually shown the device but couldn't talk much about it, but there it is.

We all know it's not an exclusive offer for Vodafone UK users, right? But I am not sure when it will be available in New Zealand, although the model I was playing with had a "Network test" label stuck on it.

The tip came from Conchango Blog.

The Internet /dev/null redirector

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 19-Jul-2006 22:08

Not really, but since I was tired of some people, I decided to create a page to use as an "Internet Recycle Bin".

Simply point someone to with a parameter and the visitor will be redirected to the /dev/null device. Try's_name_here for example.

As I said, not really...

Attensa Feed Server

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 19-Jul-2006 10:00

This one looks interesting: Attensa has released a Web Feed Server. While it looks good, I wonder how much better it is than the Newsgator Enterprise Server we have installed here at Geekzone HQ (read our review).

The Attensa web feed server is an appliance, so it's basically plug it, turn it on, configure, use it. It is based on Linux and Java technologies, while the Newsgator Enterprise Server is based on .Net technologies and runs on a Windows Server platform.

The Newsgator Enterprise Server requires software installation, but I really like it. Having all my feeds automatically synchronised to my Microsoft Exchange account, web client, mobile lightweight-client is great.

I wonder if Attensa would send one of their new devices for us to review?

Symantec Security Response Team is blogging

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 19-Jul-2006 09:17

If you are into technology security of any kind, then you should check the new Symantec Security Response Weblog.

Writing in the blog is Symantec team of intrusion experts, security engineers, virus hunters, threat analysts, and technical support professionals. You can check who's who on this page.

The weblog has posts by categories (mobile and wireless, online fraud, malicious code, spam, vulnerabilities and exploits) and RSS feeds - both full feed or by category.

This is not the first security weblog from a major player in this area, but is a good addition to the ranks, which counts the also interesting F-Secure weblog.

The Chilibox Review is coming

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 18-Jul-2006 14:32

I've just received the Chilibox here for our review. If you don't know, the Chilibox is an Internet appliance, ready-to-use router/firewall/disc server/VPN/e-mail server/DHCP server/web proxy box running ChiliOS, a variant of Unix.

It supports wired and wireless networks and can be used at home or small office.

Apparently it's very easy to use. We will be putting it through some testing in the next couple of weeks to see if it's really a "family friendly" experience and will report in our Geekzone review section.

This review was arranged with the folks at Pillar Technotronics, in Singapore, whom I met during the CES 2006 in Las Vegas.

New spoof Mac ads

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 15-Jul-2006 10:26

You probably watched the new Apple ads comparing Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac OS X, but this spoof is very funny:

If you haven't seen the original ads, try these:

New Zealand Post, Postcodes and Courier Companies

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 15-Jul-2006 09:23

Well, I tried hard to find a contact form on NZ Post's website to submit a feedback. You see, I wasn't going to post about this here, but since I can't tell them what's the problem with their new Postcode system, I have to use this little soapbox.

Yes, NZ Post does have a support system, but I want to give feedback, not create an account and trouble ticket on those escalation systems everyone seems to be using now - incuding Air New Zealand, Nikon, etc. I think they are all supplied by the same company.

Anyway, back to the problem at hand (even though not having contact information on their site for feedback is a problem).

We here at Geekzone receive many parcels coming from overseas, with new gadgets and toys to test.

While the new NZ Post Postcode system seems to be a great step into the ease of sorting mail in the country (which no doubt was probably overloaded by the Trademe success story) it seems like even DHL, NZ Post's partner in the courier business, doesn't know about it.

Someone tried to send us a box with some new hardware, just to be advised by DHL in Singapore that "this address is unreachable in New Zealand". Oh, c'mon we are not outside civilisation. Actually, it's just a five minute walk to a rather large NZ Post Shop. And I receive DHL and Fedex parcels every second day here.

But, as soon as I gave them an old, now invalid Poscode - all was clear. The address and suburb was the same, but the person was happy to delivery to this Postcode.

DHL, please fix your systems, load up the new codes, quickly.

NZ Post, fix your systems, make sure your partners are as quick to adopt new technologies and procedures as the public is. Have you guys there thought notifying DHL of the changes? Because the clients are already using the new Postcodes!

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.

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