My window to the world


Some thoughts on Geekzone Blogs and pre-announcing the Geekzone Event 2006

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 3-Apr-2006 18:13

Since the introduction of our Geekzone Blog feature we had some interesting posts from our users. We have a range of people writing their personal weblogs, with their interests in the foreground, most of them tech-related topics.

We can see some people writing about the current state of IT in New Zealand, mobility and new concepts, CDMA topics, electronics stuff, gadget related posts, general IT information, consumer electronics, and general tech stuff.

We found out early on that Google loves us (and we hope to keep this way), and lots of the personal posts in the Geekzone Blogs ended up very quickly in Google News and in the main Google Index.

Seeing this happening is great, because it exposes people's opinions to a larger audience, bringing more interaction with new people, enhancing the conversation.

Of course this brings some more responsibilities. For example making the posts credible, showing experience, common sense, correctness in the language. This is all to make sure each everyone here shows the best face we have to the world (and I don't mean only the picture in the blog heading).

For example, during the whole Optus B1 Satellite problem impacting on Sky TV broadcasting in New Zealand I found one source of information being actively read: Geekzone Blogs. I am pretty sure we were the first on-line publication to report a problem, after being alerted by some users in the forums, with have early updates, and more commentary during the whole thing (in the Geekzone Blogs and forums).

I am pretty sure some of our Geekzone Blogs saw a cool increase in the page view numbers during a couple of days, thanks to all links from other sites, such as Google, Digg and more. And I am pretty sure this will give everyone here some boost to keep writing about their passion.

For the future, I am thinking of promoting an event, a bit different from our first Geekzone Dinner in Wellington, with a couple of sessions on mobile devices, community, blogging and other tech topics. Stay tunned for more information later this year. For now, save the month: October Wink!



What's the White House Staff looking for on Google?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 2-Apr-2006 11:29

One of the Google Circles used as example on the new Google Circle service I wrote about before is the White House IP range.

It looks like the White House Staff is looking for some WMD on Craigslist?

While on that page it is worth looking at other circles. Search for "Apple" and you'll see they are looking for information on "Intel", "anti-trust law music industry", and "cheap cell phone components"... Yeah, right.

Or of course it could just be an April Fools' joke... Check the copyright notice at the bottom of the page (it's not Google) and check the FAQ...


Google Circle White House



Google Circles: finding what others are searching

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 2-Apr-2006 11:23

Google has introduced an interesting new feature, called Google Circles. The FAQ says:
[Google Circles] lets you explore the interests of groups of people around the world, in your hometown, at your workplace, and at your alma mater. For example, check out the Google Circles for Brookline, MA, whitehouse.gov, and Apple Computer.

Google Circles works by aggregating information from a variety of sources. For example, we record the Internet Protocol (IP) address for every search performed on our servers. While the IP address does not uniquely identify your location, there is a strong relationship between address and a geographic region. From this relationship, trends can be inferred. Similarly, your IP address often identifies you as being affiliated with a particular Internet domain (e.g., rcn.com). This information allows us to provide highly specialized clusters of search behavior which are interesting and useful.

This is a screenshot: Apparently there are only limited "circles" available because I couldn't find anything from "Wellington" or "New Zealand" yet.

Of course it could just be another April Fools joke: check the copyright notice at the bottom of the page (it's not Google) and check the explanation...





What is location these days? Or e-mail, reviews rant

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 1-Apr-2006 11:21

I really try to understand the reasoning behind some companies not replying to e-mails (if you read my rants before you already know I can't)...

Reading comments posted on Tony Hughes's Geekzone Blog, I see some people believe companies do not have to reply to e-mails. For example, this is Bert's opinion on the comments:
I too hate it when companies don't reply to e-mails, but on the other hand: why should they?
I'm listed in the phonebook. Does that mean that everybody should call me?

As an owner of a company I get many letters from people who seek a job. Although I think it's great they actively trying to get a job, I don't have the time to answer those letters. Should I, just because I publish my address?

I also publish my e-mail address so potentional customers can reach me. The number of e-mails I get that are not of interest for me is minimal, so I can answer those too. But the moment answering those e-mails takes to much time, I will probably only answer a selection too.


Ok, this is Bert's take on this case, but in my view companies that are "selling" their product should have the dignity of at least reply to valid inquiries (of course excluding the clearly stupid questions), mainly if these are directed to the media relations department, through their "Contact Us" page.

Come on, why they would call it a "Contact Us" page, and post the link in the media relations page if they have no intention of replying?

Example of companies who have a contact link in the PR page and never replied: the Orange UK; ZVUE Handheld; Slingmedia (ok, this one replied, but only after I found a VP's e-mail address on his personal blog).

Example of local (Australia, NZ) people that even after receiving an e-mail from the USA office (which I received a copy of) asking them to help us with reviews never came back: d-link, frogpad.

So, really, do they deserve to appear in any page if they can't be bothered replying to e-mails?

Some of the companies even replied to me saying "Sorry, you are based in New Zealand and we don't do business there".

Hello! These are the days when where I am located has no influence on a trusted relationship created with the readers: our readers are everywhere. 50% of people reading Geekzone are based in the USA, 35% in New Zealand. Bummer, if a .co.nz TLD makes a difference. I could just as well have a .COM TLD and still be based whatever I wanted to be, even enjoying a year-long stay in some Pacific Island (guess what? New Zealand is a Pacific Island).

On the other hand some companies contact us for reviews. But as soon as they find out they have to actually send a product, every communication goes silent. What's that? Do these companies think we will publish a review of their products based on the PDF catalogue and a couple of pictures, without actually using their products? Oh my, they are probably used to some low-life publications then...

I still think some companies don't get it.




Geekzone users on the ball with Sky TV

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 30-Mar-2006 20:47

You gotta love the Geekzone community. Users reported in our forums about the Sky TV outage across New Zealand, with some updated reports:

http://www.geekzone.co.nz/forums.asp?ForumId=48&TopicId=7237

Very good folks, great job finding these things...

Update: a Geekzone Blog is also coming, courtesy of cokemaster: http://www.geekzone.co.nz/cokemaster/244

Update II: a more complete report is now available: http://www.geekzone.co.nz/content.asp?contentid=6102



UMPC ready for ordering in Australia/New Zealand

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 30-Mar-2006 12:20

Just received an e-mail from a friend who has already ordered his UMPC from Tegatech, based in Australia. The devices are the eo UMPC v7110 256/30 and eo UMPC v7110 512/40 with options of Black or White. The main difference seems to be the memory (256MB x 512MB) and hard drive (30GB x 40GB).



The question now is: shall I buy now, or later?

By the way, Darryl is going to be one of the first 300 people in the world to receive their UMPC!




Naked Conversations?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 30-Mar-2006 08:00

While Dave Sifry (Technorati founder) place phone calls to Scoble, the Technorati help desk doesn't bother replying to support requests (which they sure received because I got one of those automatic e-mails with a case number).

I see the Naked Conversations are really going ahead... Small companies seem to be getting infected with the problems that plague the big companies.



Internet Explorer Vulnerability does not affect Internet Explorer 7 Beta 2 Preview

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 29-Mar-2006 10:50

The Microsoft Security Advisory 917077 details a vulnerability recently found on Microsoft Internet Explorer, in the way HTML Objects handle unexpected method calls. It appears that a few exploits are already in the open, and these could allow remote code execution.

Of course this code would be executed on the security context of the logged-on user - so if you don't use your Windows computer as an Administrator the risks are minimised - but still there.

This means that an attacker could create a website with some special code, and without warning, just by visiting the page, a series of commands could be executed on the user's computer. This obviously include things such as deleting files, changing configuration even installing malware such as keyloggers or trojan and bot clients.

On its advisory Microsoft says it is completing development of a cumulative security update for Internet Explorer that addresses the “createTextRange” vulnerability. The security update is now being finalized through testing to ensure quality and application compatibility and is on schedule to be released as part of the April security updates on 11 April 2006, or sooner.

Really I hope this is sooner than later. Can you imagine an entire army of password stealling, spam bots and other malware, installed without the owner's knowledge?

According to Microsoft, customers who use the Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 Beta 2 Preview that was released on 20 March 2006 are not affected by the public reported vulnerability. also users of other browsers such as Firefox are not being affected by this.

This can not be exploited automatically through e-mail or while viewing e-mail in the preview pane while using Outlook or Outlook Express. Customers would have to click on a link that would take them to a malicious Web site, or open an attachment that could exploit the vulnerability to be at risk.

While Microsoft is working on the fix, security firm eEye has released a patch that will secure things for now, but should be removed before installing the permanent fix coming from Microsoft.



.Net Code Camp NZ 2006 details - when I am speaking

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 29-Mar-2006 07:33

The agenda for the .Net Code Camp NZ 2006, happening 22-23 April, in the Whitireia Community Polytechnic Campus (Porirua) is almost done, but our session description is complete and up.

Our sessions is entitled From Spare Room to Board Room: Making great ideas into a successful business.

"In this discussion Chris Auld, Mauricio Freitas (that's me) & Rod Drury will discuss their successes and learning experiences with their businesses, their plans for the future and where they see IT and software development going. This is an essential session for any budding business leaders wanting to start or grow a business from their passion in software."

You want to know why? Well, I think the session covers the whole gamut of experiences from the spare bedroom (me, with my decision to leave a large IT organisation to run Geekzone, Microsoft MVP Mobile Devices), Office (Chris Auld, CEO of Kognition, developer of mobility software and processes, Microsoft MVP Mobile Devices), and Boardroom (Rod Drury, entrepeneur, CEO of Aftermail, now part of Quest, Independent Director at Trademe, ex-Microsoft Regional Director and MVP).

If you are interested in .Net in general, and some other Microsoft technologies, check the .Net Code Camp page, check the agenda and join the weekend fun of coding.




Official Google Blog: Hacked?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 28-Mar-2006 18:24

There you go... An Austin, TX, student (or so he identified himslef) decided to visit the official Google Blog, and received a 404. Thinking that this message means "no user here with this name", he registered "googleblog", and next thing you know... A new Google Blog owner!

I noticed this when reading through my Newsgator subscription and found this:



Of course since then Google has fixed this - the original "hacked" page is now a screenshot on flickr.

By the time I found about this I noticed a few entries on popular link sites, such as Digg.

The Google Blog is now back, and a notice posted by the administrators says "[it] was unavailable for a short time tonight. We quickly learned from our initial investigation that there was no systemwide vulnerability for Blogger. We'll let you know more about what did happen once we finish looking into it."

The blog was mistakenly deleted, which allowed the blog address to be temporarily claimed by another user. The official Google Blog says this was not a hack, and nobody guessed their password. Simply bad operations.



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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