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Help us donate server software to a New Zealand school or charity organisation: we accept suggestions

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 17-Apr-2006 08:40

Our Windows Mobile User Group is part of the Culminis, an organisation that brings together IT professionals from around the world and provide tools and resources to develop these people's abilities and skills.

As part of the worldwide launch of Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2, thanks to Microsoft and Culminis, I have been given a few copies of Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise Edition (25 Cals) for giveaway.

Since we have lots of companies already using this server software in our groups, I thought an interesting way to help others would be by donating two copies of this software to a couple of school or groups with direct actions and impact on the community (one copy each).

Schools could use this fo administrative purposes, or in a tech lab for teaching purposes. Non-profit organisations can use the software for administrative purposes.

The rules are simple: if you want to nominate a New Zealand-based school or non-profit organisation to receive a copy of this software on DVD (NFR), then post your suggestion as a comment on this blog entry.

We will draw two schools or non-profit organisation from all suggestions, contact them and arrange to have the software delivered.

Also, if your suggestion is the lucky one, I will send you a Windows Server water bottle.

We are not donating the hardware. This is the server software only, so you should be sure that the organisation you are suggesting can arrange proper hardware to be used - perhaps someone else reading this blog post can arrange some desktop to be donated to run this software?

I will close the suggestions on Monday 24 April 2006.

Note that we expect suggestions to point to active groups, not some Church of the Flying Spagetthi Monster, sect or political party.



Google Calendar is live

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 13-Apr-2006 17:21

Yes, Google has made its calendaring service live. Google Calendar allows users to have multiple calendars, send and receive invitations, publish free/busy times (with or without details) and even add other users with rights to read and/or write to one's calendar.



I am just playing around with it now, and I can see they have SMS notification for events, although the list of mobile operators seems to be limited to US-based carriers. It would be interesting if it would allow SMS address in the format [phone]@[operator.com] for example for those with e-mail-to-SMS gateways.

I've read on News.com that Google plans to launch synchronisation tools, including Exchange, Outlook, iCalendar, and even mobile devices, albeit no specific type is listed (no word if this would be with a Palm, Symbian, Windows Mobile or SyncML-compatible feature phones).

Each event can be individual, or with invited guests. Like other solutions, guests are notified through an e-mail, although I tried this using some of my test e-mail accounts and no e-mail was received. Perhaps they are only sending to GMAIL accounts, or having problems at the moment?

The service also sends a daily agenda, every morning at 5am, your local time.

If you want to start using Google Calendar now, it allows you to load a file with iCal or VCAL formatted events.

An interesting feature is the "Event Publisher". If a website mentions events, including shows, bookings, meetings, then an entry can be automatically added to the Google Calendar from an icon on the website. This is done through a specially formatted URL and an icon that looks like this:


Now, back to testing this new feature.

Update: the problem with the e-mail notifications not being received is probably due to overload. The notifications did arrive, some 4 hours after being sent. At the same time, other users report errors while trying to access Google Calendar. I would have thought that Google was going to make sure enough resources were available, after the load of problems experienced before with Google Pages and Google Analytics.



Application debug on Windows Mobile

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 13-Apr-2006 08:41

I am testing a new OS version in one of my Pocket PCs here and I found that after a few hours the Pocket PC would be unresponsive to the on/off button, only coming back to life with a poke into the reset hole.

I removed a couple of applications I thought could be causing this problem (task manager, battery meters, etc) but the behaviour was still there.

Next step was to remove all software - short of a hard reset, and the Pocket PC in question is working fine since then.

What is really annoying is that a second Pocket PC (another model though) works perfectly well with the same mix of software.

I am now going to reinstall one by one and see when the problem happens. It may be a slow process, since the lock up used to happen only two or three times a day.

Does anyone know of a better way of finding the culprit?



Is Vodafone PLC up for grabs now?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 12-Apr-2006 08:17

Telefonica of Spain is a giant. Not many people heard of them before, but they are a giant corporation. They have operations in Europe and South America. They put a bid and successfully bought O2. And now they could have Vodafone on their target.

According to an article published on thisismoney.co.uk (found through Engadget):
Documents circulating the City suggest that a consortium including US firm Verizon, Telefonica of Spain and private equity firm Blackstone hope to find funding for a 160p-a-share offer. That would value Vodafone at an eye-watering £96bn. JP Morgan Cazenove is thought to be masterminding the plan.

Sources say the bid, if successful, would lead to a complicated break-up. Verizon, with which Vodafone has a joint venture in America, would take control of the US and UK assets.

Telefonica, which paid £18bn for mobile firm O2 in November, is said to be interested in Vodafone's remaining European activities, including Italy and Germany.

Blackstone and other private equity firm would carve up the rest, including stakes in South Africa and China.



Almost 100 billion UK Pounds! That's NZ$300 billion, or US$167 billion.

Verizon Wireless, a CDMA operator in the USA, might be really interested in that. Apparently they have tried a few times in the recent past to buy Vodafone's participation on their American operations, and having a UK carrier would be an interesting side effect, except that it uses a completely different technlogy and this could have problems in adapting services, etc.

The whole thing leaves in the air what would happen with non-European operations. Vodafone Japan was sold to the SoftBank, leaving China, Australia and New Zealand for the grabs. I read somewhere that Vodafone could just close Vodafone Australia because it's not a leader in that market (not even close, really, with Telstra and Optus really leading the charge), but Vodafone New Zealand is another matter, since the company here shares the market with Telecom New Zealand almost on a 50/50 split.

Interesting times ahead, when the largest mobile operator in the world could be made into pieces. Is that what CEO Sarin has been working on all this time?



Welcome Isabella Maria

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 10-Apr-2006 07:51

On a very personal note, and as posted on the Geekzone forums (It is a girl!), our baby Isabella Maria was born this Sunday 9 April, early at 7:31am.

She arrived a couple of days earlier (great girl, already beating the weekday rush hours!), and I am pretty sure she will love coming to the Wednesday coffee talks at Astoria when she's a bit older (and I mean probably just a couple of months old).

She was 3.72Kg (8.3 pounds) and was great to see her, after all these months of scans and bet on hair colour (dark like the father, or blonde like mum).


All is going well, and I imagine she will someday post on Geekzone Cool.



It's been a long journey from the TRS-80 15MB HDD

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 8-Apr-2006 15:23

While I wait for my new Maxtor OneTouch III Turbo Edition (1TB external HDD, Firewire 400/USB2.0, 16MB cache, RAID 0/1) to format, I decided to post this picture of an external 15MB HDD for TRS-80. The price back then was almost 3x the price I paid for my new external drive. Yes this is a 15MB costing 3x the price of a 1TB drive with Firewire 400/USB 2.0 interface.



You can find some interesting information and links to TRS-80 websites from this (unofficial) TRS-80 Homepage.

The first computer I used was a TRS-80 model III. Good memories. After that I moved on to a CP/M and MP/M system, and mainframes (Burroughs, Unisys) for a while. It is incredible what you can do with mobile devices today, compared with those old personal computers. Wonderful times we live now!





Microsoft Windows Media HD Videos giveaway

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 8-Apr-2006 14:42

I have a couple of DVDs to giveaway here. These are original IMAX movies on DVD format. The really neat stuff is that each come with two discs: standard DVD (with DTS surround, Region 1) and a Microsoft Windows Media High Definition Video version.

These are the movies:

Coral Reef Adventure
To The Limit

If you don't know about Windows Media High Definition Video, then you should really see these videos. For the first time I watched a movie on a desktop PC and was surprised with the quality. It's not the same as having a DVD disc inserted and played with Windows Media (or any other player). The movies are crisp, smooth, high definition stuff (720p and 1080p videos).

I watched those movies on a P4 HT machine with 2GB RAM and LCD. It was much better than my widescreen 32" TV - no kidding.

I will give those two movies away. Just post a comment here and on 15 April I will draw one each between any unique comments here.


(Yes, you can be anywhere in the world, I will post these)



Temporarily solving the disk space problem at home

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 7-Apr-2006 17:11

Here at home I run quite a network: a Windows XP desktop, a Windows XP desktop running Virtual Server 2005 R2, a Windows Server 2003 as a guest OS on that Virtual Server instance, a Tablet PC, an iMac and a few Pocket PC.

We do have two external firewire HDD (250GB and 60GB). But this disk space is not enough for backups!

You see, I tend to do a full image of the Windows XP running Virtual Server, using Norton Ghost. But I wanted to do a full image of the guest OS as well, and for this I got a review (time bombed though) copy of Symantec LiveState Recovery Advanced Server.

I also have a backup routine on my desktop every night copying My Documents and other important folders to the large external HDD.

But it's not only copying: these routines run every night and keep the last 4 copies on disk, so if I need to recover anything I have at least the last four versions of any file here.

My wife's iMac has a 40GB HDD and we keep two copies of her documents, which uses about 20GB.

We add to this a daily FTP transfer from the whole database and files from the Geekzone server down here (hey, there's a reason why I use TelstraClear's 10Mbps Cable-Modem connection at home) which is about 800MB, keeping the last week plus a monthly copy.

And you can see why I need more disk space here...

So, today I bought a Maxtor Onetouch III G31W010 (1TB, 7200rpm, 16384KB cache, external, USB 2, Firewire 400/800), to plug into my Windows Server. We will use this as our main backup storage.

I thought of a NAS solution, perhaps using a Netgear WGT634U router with built-in USB adapter for storage, but why purchase a router if our server here is perfectly capable of doing this? Also, it would be limited by the network speed, while at least on the server side of the things backup would be at Firewire speeds.

A friend tried to push me to purchase a RAID solution though, but I am not ready to spend that much money - yet.

Next thing is wait a month or so to have enough to purchase a full copy of that Symantec LiveState Recovery Advanced Server software. It looks and acts exactly like Norton Ghost, but costs 15 times more. The difference is that is runs on Windows Server, supports Volume Shadow Copy, keeps tabs on Microsoft SQL and Exchange Server stores (which I use here) and other tricks.

It really surprises me how companies price these "server" software. I mean, it's ok to have a price for enterprise, but some small and medium sized companies also run more robust configurations, for development and testing purposes. Alas, the price is the same.





Let's find out where Vodafone New Zealand is heading

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 7-Apr-2006 16:43

I have confirmed a chat session with Vodafone New Zealand's Director for Business Markets, Phil Patel.

It will be exciting to find out where Vodafone NZ is heading now that the financial year is closed. We will talk about the directions for the year, some embedded solutions and apparently some Windows Mobile 5.0 applications (I wonder if this is some Direct Push solution with bundled data traffic?)

I will be flying to Auckland 20 April for this meeting and will report later.





Step-by-step Direct Push Deployment for Windows Mobile and Exchange Server 2003

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 7-Apr-2006 08:57

Now your organisation is running Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 and after much study the IT Gods agreed that deploying Windows Mobile devices makes sense because a push e-mail solution is available without the need of third-party platforms.

Cool. But where do you start then?

A great place to start is by visiting the "Step-by-Step Guide to Deploying Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 SP2 Mobile Messaging with Windows Mobile 5.0-based Devices", downloading the document and start planning from there.
This document is designed primarily for Information Technology (IT) professionals who are responsible for planning and deploying mobile messaging systems that use Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 with Service Pack 2 (SP2) and Microsoft Windows Mobile-based devices that have the Messaging and Security Feature Pack.

This document is divided into two main sections that describe the following:

• The essential elements of a mobile messaging system, including requirements; a summary of deployment procedures; an overview of the features of the Messaging and Security Feature Pack; and best practices for networking, security, and device management.
 
• The guidelines and resources for the deployment of a mobile messaging system, including updating Exchange Server 2003 SP2, setting up Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync for mobile access, creating a protected communications environment, and procedures for setting up and managing mobile devices.




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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