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What's the problem with Stuff?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 19-Jun-2006 06:41

What's the problem with Stuff, the on-line presence of Fairfax's Dominion Post, the Wellington based newspaper? Why don't they link to the source of information when it's available on-line and it is clearly not a press release?

According to online news groups, some small businesses have continued to pay several hundred dollars a month for full speed ADSL plans from Telecom because they were unaware it slashed the cost of business broadband in April – if customers moved to plans that capped download speeds at 3.5 megabits per second.

The price of business plans offering 512 kilobit per second upstream connection speeds and 10 gigabyte data caps was slashed from more than $900 per month to $71, excluding gst, but higher-priced full-speed plans that offer download speeds of up to 8 megabits per second have not yet been withdrawn.


This quote is taken from this article on Stuff (and from the newspaper).

I am pretty sure they are talking about this discussion here on Geekzone: "Telecom Overcharging ADSL by $400 a month!".

This is not nice - but we can't expect niceties from the mainstream media. But overseas the more traditional newspapers, including The New York Times, link to bloggers and other websites.

I also think this is disrespectful to the original poster on this thread, because his findings are being used by someone else, without attribution.



Microsoft Windows Vista Beta 2 and Microsoft Office 2007 Beta 2 on eBay

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 19-Jun-2006 04:28

A search on eBay reveals these gems: lots of Microsoft Office 2007 Beta 2 software, apparently "niceware". And it comes with screenshots:

Looking the listing that is currently going for US$92.42, the seller says:

Microsoft Office 2007!!! (Beta 2)

Access, Excel, InfoPath, Outlook, PowerPoint, Publisher, Word, along with 10 great tools (Including Picture Manager and Application Recovery)

You will ALSO recieve (along with your Office '07) a FREE 130 page guide on how to make over £3000 a week!!!

Microsoft have just released the new Microsoft Office 2007 Beta 2 version and it's here to buy for an amazing starting price of only £50.00!!!

With its amazing new interface and suberb assistance tools this has to be the best Office version ever.

This is by no means the final version of the new Microsoft Office 2007 as it is the Beta 2 version, but it is the FULL VERSION of the software and NOT a 30-day trial or any other trial.

You could wait until the final release of the Office (in 2007!) and pay a rediculously high price for it.....OR.....you can buy the Beta 2 FULL VERSION of the software for a starting price of only £50.00 and just keep this version as it WON'T run out as it is NOT a trial.

Also note that there are a few people on eBay trying to sell 'links' to Microsoft Office 2007. These 'links' often don't work so you would have then been robbed of your money. I sell the actual product which will be posted to you, so you have nothing to worry about!


Wow. What a bargain, and it's not a link, so people are not being robbed of their money. [sarcasm] Really? [/sarcasm]

People are being ripped off on eBay, and they are happy to pay for beta software, with no warranties at all - and paying high price for that.

Oh, sure. The seller warns this is not the final version, but says that it's ok to buy it now instead of the real thing later.

The seller in one of the items will also teach the buyer how to make 3000 British Pounds a week. Which amazes me, because if anyone knows the secret to make  £3000 the secret must be... selling it or selling illegal copies of unreleased software - and why would anyone want to sell a secret, unless the secret makes less money than promised?

Consumers have no idea of what a BETA version means and what it implicates. Thanks to ICQ, Google (a company which seems to keep all their service as BETA forever) and others, the concept of BETA testing is probably so diluted that no one understands that this is not commercial grade software, and that it may actually cause loss of data.

BETA testing actually requires users to provide feedback and submit bugs for corrections that will be released in the final version. But this is a foreign concept these days.

My impression is that users think of BETA software as being "FREE". News for you: it's not!

Of course you can't take full advantage of Microsoft Office 2007 if you are not running the latest OS:


That explains a lot how come eBay had all those billions of US$ available around to buy Skype and other companies. C'mon folks, not nice to help pirates!

On a side note, Microsoft lawyers were fast to send a Cease and Desist letter to Vistatorrent.com, a site which was only seeding unadultered Torrents for the new OS, trying to make it easier for people to download the huge software. Vistatorrent.com was not selling or distributing the registration key, which are needed to install Microsoft Windows Vista. They were not doing anything like those ripoffs on eBay.






Globalsat BT359W Bluetooth GPS is here!

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 16-Jun-2006 12:00

Nice... FedEx has just delivered a Globalsat BT359W Bluetooth GPS receiver and I couldn't wait to pair it with my desktop for testing.

This GPS will be reviewed later, but for now it's sitting in my window sill. And even with the bad positioning and awful sky (it's really overcast here in Wellington today), it manage to get five, sometimes six satellites over our heads.


This is my first experience with a SiRF Start III chipset GPS, since the other Globalsat devices here were tested by other reviewers, and so far it's been much better than an old generation GPS I had around (an old Pharos GPS).

I will pair with my Windows Mobile Pocket PC later and use it with the Navman software to navigate around town.




Digg, here comes your competitor

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 15-Jun-2006 16:30

AOL is putting its weight behind the idea of crowd voting for stories, and changing the Netscape portal into a kind of Digg site. The new site will run on http://www.beta.netscape.com/

The change's been managed by Jason Calacanis, who created the Weblogs Inc. empire (owner of Engadget between others), and joined AOL when he sold his company to the big cheese.

Like Digg, users will vote on stories, and the most voted ones will make to the frontpage.
 
Techcrunch thinks that the effects on a small website could be even more devastating than a frontpage on Slashdot or Digg itself.

Unlike Digg though, the new site will also have an editor in each section, promoting specific stories.

More infomation and screenshot on Techcrunch.

UPDATE: The service is probably being hammered, because it loads very slowly for me, when it loads. I can't even login because the login page times out.

UPDATE: The service is now live on the main Netscape site: http://www.netscape.com.



The cost of SMS

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 15-Jun-2006 14:11

SMS (the Short Message Service) or text message, the service that allows anyone with a (compatible) mobile phone to send short messages, usually 160 bytes in lenght is certainly here to stay.

I was reading a discussion in the Geekzone forums about the usage of this as a tool for communication, and how mobile operators make it easy for people to get hooked on this service, so that in the future, when they get older, they keep using the more expensive services, eg. voice and data.

But is SMS cheaper, really? At NZ$0.20 each (if you don't have a plan with an allowance) the cost per megabyte (as in 1024 KBytes, as in 1024 Bytes) of data transferred over SMS is... NZ$1310.72, or the equivalent to 6553 short messages.  

So, to transfer 1MB of information through SMS it costs $1310.72 and you have to type (using those little fiddly keypads with flimsy T9 predicitve text recognition) about 6553 SMS.

Right... For me it's much cheaper to get a Pocket PC and send e-mails, which should cost about US$49/GB on some plans currently available.

Note that I am using megabytes as in 1024 kilobytes, kilobytes as in 1024 bytes, the standard binary notation, not the decimal one.




Your Money Tax at Work (TM)

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 15-Jun-2006 12:06

This is the kind of headline that makes you think twice before jumping into action to help victims of natural disaters:

[US]$200 bottle of champagne from Hooters and [US]$300 worth of "Girls Gone Wild" videos were among items bought with debit cards handed out by FEMA to help hurricane victims, auditors probing [US]$1 billion in potential waste and fraud have found.

The cards -- given to people displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita -- also bought diamond jewelry and a vacation in the Dominican Republic, according to the Government Accountability Office audit.


More and full (gory) details at CNN.com's "FEMA hurricane cards bought jewelry, erotica".

We arranged with i-mate to have a Windows Mobile Smartphone sent to us for an on-line auction, with full proceedings going to the US Red Cross. I know, this is not the same, but it makes you think about how governments spend the money they collect from you through taxes.

What's the New Zealand equivalent to this?

The New Zealand government is currently sitting on a US$8.5 billion surplus. Are we paying too much tax?



PassBuilder: On-line password generator

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 15-Jun-2006 10:37

Are you like many others and use the same password for every service, web site, ATM card you own?

The folks at Ilium Software have released a simple to use on-line password generator called PassBuilder, where you specify parameters and a new password will be created specially for your use.

And once you have lots of different password, do yourself a favour and use eWallet (for Windows Mobile Pocket PC or Windows Mobile Smartphone, with desktop versions included) so you have all those different passwords handy.








Live UK TV: FIFA World Cup 2006 Germany

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 13-Jun-2006 23:01

Just found out about http://www.liveuktv.com/ and subscribed to it - at least during the FIFA World Cup 2006.

The service streams live UK TV over the Internet, including BBC1, BBC2, itv and Channel 4. This costs US$45/month.

Not cheap, but I can watch the matches from my PC at home while working on Geekzone. And cheaper than having a new channel installed just for this month. Oh, and I can watch anywhere where I have a laptop with me.

I also have to test this with the Pocket PC - although something tells me that the DRM license acquisition may be a problem on those devices. And Wi-Fi would probably suck the device's battery if used during the 90 minutes match.





Managing Microsoft Windows Vista UAC in restricted environments

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 11-Jun-2006 19:10

The following tip is only to be applied in restricted environments, where the user knows exactly what's installed on a machine and knows exactly what has to be done.

Anyone else using this will feel the Wrath of Khan.

If you are running Microsoft Windows Vista and you keep seeing those dialogs requesting for privilege elevation or authentication, run SECPOL.MSC, and under security options change both User Account Control: Behavior of the elevation prompt for Administrators in Admin Approval Mode and User Account Control: Behavior of the elevation prompt for standard users to "No Prompt":


Again, this is very important to note: there is a reason why these settings are like they are and request your confirmation. I understand that after a while the default settings (with prompts) will not prevent people installing malware, simply because people will start clicking [OK] for any prompt to get their work done.

But I also understand these prompts are annoying, when you are trying to empty the Recycle Bin, or simply start Windows Vista with an antivirus (Avast anti-virus is an example of program that cause Windows Vista to prompt for elevation on every boot).

If you want to know exactly what each option is, how an why they are set the way they are by default, check these two MSDN blog entries:

- Reducing Elevation Prompts in RC1
- User Account Control Windows Vista Policies



Windows Vista: order the DVD

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 10-Jun-2006 21:12

From The Hive, a Microsoft-sponsored forum for website owner and community leaders:

Due the HUGE number of people who are trying to download the Vista beta, Microsoft is now highly recommending that you order the DVD. 

It looks like Vista has generated the most download requests for one file in history.  This is a limited beta, so if that limit is reached before you get the download and key, you might not get it.

1) We are hitting a legitimate threshold as to how fast we can serve up the bits without affecting the rest of the Net.
2)  People should consider ordering the DVD. While we are excited to see the huge demand, this is more about being good citizens and helping users who are waiting know they can order the DVD.



You can register, order the DVD or download Microsoft Windows Vista Beta 2 here.




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.

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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.

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