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Get the Beta from Microsoft New Zealand

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 1-Jun-2006 11:42

Just brought to my attention... If you want to find out more, register, or download the beta versions of Microsoft Office 2007, Microsoft Windows Vista, Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, then try the new Microsoft New Zealand's "Get The Beta" website.

In this site you can opt to download the beta for these products (some available now, some coming soon), or choose to have a DVD posted to you.

You need a Live account (formerly known as "Passport"). The postage is not included and costs NZ$7.50 for standard mail or NZ$17.50 for courier servce.



See Windows Vista

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 1-Jun-2006 09:57

You probably know Microsoft Windows Vista is the next iteration of Microsoft's operating system for personal computers. What you probably don't know is how it can be used by partners and customers to develop applications and services using Windows Vista as a platform, not an OS.



On http://www.seewindowsvista.com/ you will have a guided tour of the OS with more information. Really cool production, with sound, captions and other stuff.

The visual is based on Windows Vista UI and it looks good. I guess the site is under heavy load at the moment, because it can be choppy at times - but keep trying later.



Telecom New Zealand Apache Pocket PC gets AKU2.2

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 30-May-2006 15:23

It is official now: the Windows Mobile 5.0 AKU 2.2 update for the Telecom New Zealand Apache Pocket PC Phone Edition (a.k.a. Audiovox PPC6700, Verizon XV6700) is coming to the public very soon.

I don't know the details yet (date and URL for download), but it should be out very soon, since I just got an e-mail with links to the final version and a document with all the information about this new release.

I have been using a previous beta version for about 45 days now, and it comes with lots of features and fixes. It's hard to categorise these, but I will list in the same order they are in the document:

1.Today screen: an updated today screen now brings a "Lock Device" plugin so you can lock the device while not in use.

2.Connection Manager (image below): You can now turn on/off all the wireless features from a single program: CDMA cellular data, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth. You can also turn on/off ActiveSync, Direct Push (more on this later) and disconnect from the CDMA data session:


3.Network Time Sync: the Apache now offers an option to synchronise its internal clock with the cellular network.

4.Smart Dial: entering a few numbers in the dialpad (Phone Application) will lookup contact information using predictive input.

5.Voice Speed Dial and ZIP Manager: you can train the Apache to dial with voice commands, and it also comes with a ZIP program so you can zip/unzip downloaded files and e-mail attachments.

6.MSFP: If your organisation runs Microsoft Exchange 2003 Service Pack 2 then the MSFP (Messaging Security Feature Pack) built-in this AKU2.2 release will allow many new functions:

a) Direct Push E-mail: e-mails can be sent to your Apache Pocket PC automatically, without the need of manually initiating an e-mail checking;

b) Global Address Lookup: find a contact on-line in the Exchange GAL (Global Address List);

c) E-mail security: you can now sign, encrypt, decrypt e-mails directly on the Pocket PC, when using Digital Certificates;

Not listed in the document is the Security Policies: through the Exchange administration interface it is possible to force the Pocket PC to require PIN, specify a limit of failed attempts, and even remotely erase the contents of the main memory in case the device is lost.

You can read a lot more about the AKU2 in this article.

Not all is fixed though: a problem I found existed in the original Apache release (the device sometimes fails to turn on when there's a miniSD card in the slot) is recognised by HTC (the manufacturer) as a fault, but the fix is not scheduled until the next release.







Windows Vista Beta 2 Problems

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 29-May-2006 23:25

As you may remember I decided not to install Microsoft Windows Vista Beta 2 on my Tablet PC (a Toshiba M205) last week because I was heading to the Microsoft Window Vista Lab, in Singapore, and I needed my tablet PC working.

Oh, that was a great decision. I am now back home in New Zealand and tried installing Windows Vista Beta 2. Confirming what I read in some other blogs, it looks like this beta build is not as good/reliable as previous ones.

The last Windows Vista Beta 1 (build 5381) installed without a hitch on this tablet PC, but Windows Vista Beta 2 refuses to install. It shows "No device drivers were found. Make sure that the installation media contains the correct drivers, and then click OK".

What device? Who knows. The only button available is [OK] and clicking it doesn't do anything, except show the same message again.

Bummer, it looks like I have to reinstall Windows XP Tablet PC Edition on this hardware now.

UPDATE: Found the culprit. The M205 has only an external DVD drive, and I noticed upon reboot and start of the old Windows Vista that it complained "This device can perform faster", typical of USB 2.0 devices connected to a USB 1.0 port. Since I am sure both the device and port are USB 2.0, I thought of replacing the USB cable - and it actually worked: the install copied the files and found the corresponding drive drivers after the cable change.





Antivirus for Windows Vista Beta

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 29-May-2006 16:13

I am currently using the free Avast antivirus, which is free for home use and works with Windows Vista.

It just came to my attention though that you can download a one year free subscription of CA eTrust EZ Antivirus for Windows Vista.

You should not need an antyspyware since Windows Vista already comes with Windows Defender.

Go on, download either Avast or CA, but make sure your Windows Vista beta is protected...

UPDATE: Trend Micro has announced a beta version of its AV software, but no URL for download available. The press information says it will be available from Microsoft.



Did unbundling work in Australia?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 24-May-2006 11:50

Many discussions on the Geekzone forums were centered on the unbundling issue. Arguments were that New Zealand broadband uptake was impacted by Telecom's performance, that Telecom provides bad services, low speeds and capped plans.

Some of the pro-unbundling posted as argument that we should mirror New Zealand's ULL on the Australian experience, which they said "was a success".

But, this is a quote from the executive chairman of Publishing & Broadcasting Ltd in Australia, James Packer, taken from a report on Stuff:

"We need faster broadband speeds in order to stay competitive to the rest of the world and that is starting to be understood, I believe, by all stakeholders.


And he says more:

"Most Australians are not only on slow [broadband] plans but also plans that have download caps.

"This is very unusual compared to other countries all over the world. Australia needs government policy and regulatory certainty to encourage the provision of unmetered fast broadband by the [telecommunications] incumbent [Telstra] and/or other providers."


Ok, so where is the "Australian success" now?






Downloading Vista Beta 2 and Office Beta 2

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 24-May-2006 11:34

After the Windows Vista Beta 2 announcement, I am downloading the Microsoft Windows Vista Beta 2 from MSDN. I have already finished downloading the 2007 Microsoft Office System Beta 2, but it looks like the Windows Vista download is still going to take another 5 hours to complete (downloaded 1GB so far).

At this pace it is going to be fully downloaded by 4pm (NZ time), and I could possibly burn the ISO image to a DVD and do a fresh install on my Tablet PC as I did with previous builds.

Or not, seeing that tomorrow morning I have to show up early in the airport for my flight to Singapore, where I am attending the Microsoft Windows Vista Lab 2. I don't want to arrive there with a dead Tablet PC, if anything goes wrong...

I will wait... Work first, then when I am back I will have time to install both beta.



Who is Mini-Microsoft?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 22-May-2006 17:08

This mysterious character who blogs Microsoft stuff away, launched a dare:

PS: while I toy with the very unlikely idea of coming out from the realm of anonymity and scheme about how to turn Mini-Microsoft into an internal dialogue for honestly improving from within, maybe you've gone and figured out who Mini is. I can't imagine it's that hard. After you get over the quizzical bit of "Who?" why don't you drop on by my office location and we can talk over some espresso.


I think Bill Gates is Mini-Microsoft, and he posts on this blog to help the company move forward.

Ok, enough conspiracy theories...



Registering a .mobi domain: check prices

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 22-May-2006 13:01

As posted before, we are now in the "industry sunrise" registration period for .mobi domains. During this brief period, companies with telecommunications industry affiliations (including the New Zealand Wireless Data Forum) can register their trademarks as [trademark].mobi.

As part of the NZWDF and as a registered trademark holder (Geekzone®), I decided to take advantage of this offer.

The AsiaPacific company managing registrations is MelbournetIT, which in New Zealand runs Domainz. I was quoted AU$450 (US$340) for a 2-year registration. I found that I am not required to use MelbourneIT though, and since I already have a GoDaddy account, I went there to check the price.

Not surprising, the GoDaddy registration is US$200, which is a lot cheaper.

Go figure: the source of TLD is the same, the number of people registering during the period is limited and the same, so why this huge price difference?

Needless to say which one I used to register the domain. Here is a list of .mobi registrars available you can check.



Sixth Annual Smartphone & Pocket PC Magazine Best Software Awards

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 21-May-2006 18:17

Once again I am one of the judges in the Sixth Annual Smartphone & Pocket PC Magazine Best Software Awards.

Smartphone & Pocket PC magazine’s Annual Best Software Awards helps users select software that best suit their Windows Mobile Pocket PC and Smartphone needs by honoring companies that produce outstanding software. In 2005, 90 Smartphone & Pocket PC magazine Board of Experts judges nominated 768 Windows Mobile products in 130 Pocket PC, Smartphone, and Developer categories to determine finalists and winners.



You can check a brief summary for each one of the judges on this page:

Windows Mobile Pocket PC and Smartphone experts from throughout the world have agreed to judge and select winners for each software category. These experts are authors of Pocket PC books, Pocket PC magazine contributors, Microsoft Pocket PC MVPs, Pocket PC magazine Support Forum helpers, and associates of top Pocket PC Web sites.


The list is being updated as more judges confirm their participation.



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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