My window to the world


AT&T LG eXpo Windows Mobile Phone with pico projector

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 30-Dec-2009 16:18

I have just received the pico projector for my AT&T LG eXpo Windows Mobile phone (previous post here), and is it a nice addon - it basically projects whatever is on the main screen up to 66 inch (diagonal size, from 2.66m), with a resolution of 480x320 pixels.

It's powered by the phone itself, so I guess for longer sessions we will need the phone plugged in for power. It can be used to project presentations from Powerpoint mobile, or training - or any video really, including movies you might have on your device. Any sound comes out of the speakerphone (or your Bluetooth speakers) - I will try and get some external speakers plugged in if possible.

It adds only 50g to the phone and has a manual focus. You slide the lens cover to turn the projector on, and use the camera button to switch between landscape and portrait.

Here are some first pictures of the phone with the pico projector attachment and some projections at daytime - I will try and get a picture of a night time performance later:











Both the AT&T LG eXpo Windows Phone and the pico projector were supplied by AT&T for my review.




AT&T LG eXpo Windows Mobile Phone first impressions

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 21-Dec-2009 16:50

The AT&T LG eXpo Windows Mobile phone was just launched in the U.S. and I already got one here, courtesy of AT&T. First impressions on opening the box: it's smaller than I thought it would be, and lighter too. I haven't tested the whole thing yet (waiting for its unlock code so I can use it on Telecom's XT network) but just using Windows Mobile to browse around the options and it seems to be a very responsive phone.
UPDATE: Very impressed! This is the first Windows Mobile phone I've used that actually shows Internet Explorer Mobile under a good light. Probably because of the fast processor, Internet Explorer mobile actually performs really well on this handset - unlike the HTC Touch Pro 2 which seemed too slow for Internet Explorer mobile.
It's now charging and I will then configure ActiveSync, the fingerprint scanner, and all other options. Some just-out-of-the-box pictures:





Not happy with the outcome of knee vs smartphone

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 21-Dec-2009 11:07

I put the HTC Touch Pro 2 smartphone down while trying to do something inside the car and after moving around I heard a "crack" noise.

Not happy with the outcome. But waiting for a couple of new smartphones to arrive here today (AT&T LG eXpo and HTC Snap) so in the meantime I am using an Acer F900 I have around.




Please fill the Victoria University of Wellington mobile survey

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 18-Dec-2009 08:34

I am told many of you filled the mobile data in business survey but the team at the Victoria University of Wellington still need some more answers to get to the 300 answers (or more) needed to make it statistically correct.

This is a survey on smartphones and mobile data usage and respondents will be in to win $200. It is part of  a Victoria University of Wellington research project on the use of mobile information systems in the workplace.

If you are currently using a mobile device enabled with data capability (e.g. mobile email, mobile Internet, mobile business applications etc) for work purposes, then we invite you to complete a survey questionnaire. It should take you approximately 12 minutes to complete the survey, which is anonymous and will be available until the 25th of December 2009.

By completing the questionnaire you will be entered in draw to win a prize of $200.  Please use the following link to access the survey:

http://vuw.qualtrics.com/SE?SID=SV_cBko9uZySNCz9Zi&SVID=Prod

Your participation is important and will help to improve the understanding of the adoption and use of mobile technology.  Should you require any further information about this project, please contact Eusebio Scornavacca at (04) 463 6697 or email eusebio.scornavacca@vuw.ac.nz  or Professor Sid Huff at (04) 463-5819 or email sid.huff@vuw.ac.nz.



New Zealand is in good company TUANZ

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 16-Dec-2009 17:48

Earlier this week Telecom XT network had extended outage, apparently the result of some software update gone rogue. People from all over commented on it (including myself) but one of the most strongly worded comments came from Ernie Newman who commented to NBR's Chris Keall:

Telecommunications Users Association (Tuanz) chief executive Ernie Newman said, "From here, it looks bizarre. Even third world countries don't experience outages of that magnitude and length.

I have news: New Zealand is not a third world country. Or perhaps the U.S. is one too:

- 3rd March 2009: Vodafone 3G returns after three hour Auckland outage;
- 12th December 2009: AT&T 3G service disruption in San Francisco, lasting for two hours and fifteen minutes;
- 13th December 2009: Verizon Network down in Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and California, with a six hour ETA for full services restoration;
- 14th December 2009: Telecom XT outage affects half of New Zealand;
- 17th December 2009: AT&T outage leaves Alaska without 2G service for most of the day.



Is TelstraClear sitting on its YouTube problem?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 15-Dec-2009 18:42

If you are a TelstraClear customer and try to watch to watch a YouTube video clip these days you will likely see the following routine: buffer five seconds, play three seconds, ad nauseam.
Using some "techniques" that work with other ISPs which cache YouTube content locally won't help - refreshing the page on your browser for example won't get a "local" version from your ISP, since TelstraClear doesn't seem to offer this kind of service.
This has been happening for about a month now, and it seems to affect both cable modem and DSL customers. I have seen reports of this on Geekzone (1, 2) and from people following me on Twitter who confirmed the same affecting them.
I've heard a rumour that TelstraClear is investigating this, but no official confirmation was received. I've tried contacting TelstraClear's spokesperson via email, but received no reply.
It seems only YouTube is being affected, and overall I am quite happy with how other services perform on TelstraClear's network (in my case the cable modem service).
Don't worry visiting their status page. This issue is not recognised by the company. And calling their help desk will get through someone that will imply the problem is on your side (and just forcing the customer to move away).

UPDATE: the official TelstraClear response to this issue is "We intend to speak with Google to try and improve the experience of our customers since their move to more HD content."

That's it. No problem acknowledgement, no explanation.



The Telecom XT network outage (14 Dec 2009 updated)

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 14-Dec-2009 14:45

I won't go into the gory details of today's XT network outage. There's enough "experts" around - and a lot of them seem to gather on this Geekzone discussion.

But here is just some background information you ought to know regarding the Telecom XT network.

There are two RNCs in the XT network. One in Auckland and one in Christchurch. These are Tier 0 sites - Tier 0 sites have the highest levels of availability (power, connectivity etc) and the strictest change control procedures.

A network of similar size to Telecom XT could quite easily have been built with one RNC but two RNC provide added resiliency into the network. A single event would not affect all customers.

And that's what happened.

A RNC is a platform made of multiple redundant components. You can imagine that a total RNC failure means quite a serious issue. It appears the issue cascaded to affect the way cell sites restart which is what happened during the day. It was the establishment of communications to each cell site turn took its time and delayed recovery for the part of New Zealand affected - those living south of Taupo it seems.

I am told this issue is being "analysed" at the highest levels of both Telecom New Zealand and Alcatel-Lucent, the technology provider.

There's only one thing I want to tell you:

blog85d0656287d8dabc09b7f13a70104ce2[1]

(For those of you who don't get it.)



Smartphone and mobile data survey: Victoria University needs your help

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 8-Dec-2009 09:06

I was contacted by a professor who is looking for help with getting 300 answers (or more) for a Victoria University of Wellington survey on smartphones and mobile data usage - respondents will be in to win $200.

This is a Victoria University of Wellington research project on the use of mobile information systems in the workplace.

If you are currently using a mobile device enabled with data capability (e.g. mobile email, mobile Internet, mobile business applications etc) for work purposes, then we invite you to complete a survey questionnaire. It should take you approximately 12 minutes to complete the survey, which is anonymous and will be available until the 25th of December 2009.

By completing the questionnaire you will be entered in draw to win a prize of $200.  Please use the following link to access the survey:

http://vuw.qualtrics.com/SE?SID=SV_cBko9uZySNCz9Zi&SVID=Prod

Your participation is important and will help to improve the understanding of the adoption and use of mobile technology.  Should you require any further information about this project, please contact Eusebio Scornavacca at (04) 463 6697 or email eusebio.scornavacca@vuw.ac.nz  or Professor Sid Huff at (04) 463-5819 or email sid.huff@vuw.ac.nz.



Can Google really hack it in business?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 7-Dec-2009 10:56

A couple of months ago I tried Google Apps Premiere, and found a series of problems mainly synchronisation to mobile devices.

I posted about those problems and was contact by a Google product manager who offered to monitor my account to try and find out why those problems happened. Nothing came out of it so I decided to move my account to Microsoft BPOS.

Bob Scheier conducted an email interview for Inforworkd and I explained why/how. The article was then syndicated and wound up on PC World, NetworldWorldComputerworld US,  and obviously Computerworld NZ.

One of the things I complained was that even though I was a paying customer, wait for email support reply was more than 48 hours and here is the comment from someone else:

"There's no one to really call if you're having a problem," says Greg Arnette, who as CTO of email archiving vendor Sonian is both a Google Apps user and a competitor to Google's Postini service. While phone support is included in Google Apps Premier Edition, "They do everything they can to direct you to the online forums," he says.

And their online forums don't seem to be really monitored by their support people... This is the paragraph from my interview:

New Zealander Mauricio Freitas, a blogger at the tech publishing site Geekzone, abandoned Google Apps for Microsoft's Business Productivity Online Suite after it took Google 48 hours to contact him about problems with Google Sync for Mobile.

And here is the quote from a Google PR person (probably in the UK):

Google says it steers customers to its online support when the company believes that will provide a faster and better answer. It also says the 24/7 phone support it offers in its paid version is aimed at administrators, and that it relies on resellers to provide phone support for users and to help companies with especially large or complex challenges using Google apps.

But isn't the whole idea of having priority access (including a PIN you must use to authenticate yourself to get the support request looked upon) to skip the forums where there is no Google presence?

Resellers can do some good phone support, but they probably won't do free work. And the fee paid to Google is not for reseller phone support - in other words no, thanks I don't want to pay for support I already paid for.

And finally, the problem I was experiencing was at the service level, nothing to do with using the service configurations. It wasn't something a reseller could fix for me, but something that required Google developers to look at. Which they didn't.

Disclosure: I still have Google Apps (the free version) for some personal domains. I am a keen user of Google Ad Manager, Google AdSense, and Google RelatedLinks. I am very happy with those other applications and Geekzone has been used as study case for Google AdSense, and as an example for Google RelatedLinks. So don't take this piece as a "I hate Google" post. It's a critical view of some parts of their services that just don't work as they should.



Why bother with Google DNS (or any other third party DNS resolver)?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 5-Dec-2009 18:07

The web is hot with news of a new, free DNS resolver service powered by Google. A DNS resolver will answer requests from your computer or router and translate names (such as www.geekzone.co.nz) into IP addresses such as 210.48.73.74 - the actual address servers are known by on the Internet.

This is not the first third party DNS resolver server around - other well known services include OpenDNS and DynDNS Internet Guide. These services already offer more feature than Google's free resolver - including automatic blocking of known malware sites, adult sites, custom configuration based on account and your network.

Most users will probably be interested in getting quicker replies to their DNS requests - after all a webpage may contain many invidual items and each will require access to a server, so ultimately just loading a single webpage may require many DNS requests. Obviously this applies to first visits to a domain - most OS or routers will cache DNS responses locally.

But are these third party DNS resolvers faster? I used the DNS Benchmark program to test my ISP's own DNS resolver (TelstraClear), an alternative TelstraClear DNS resolver (old Paradise servers), Telecom DNS resolver, WorldxChange DNS resolver, OpenDNS, DynDNS and Google DNS.

The results, from a New Zealand perspective, are below. As you can see Google DNS is certainly not the fastest of the bunch. Actually both Google DNS resolvers are slower than everything else, except for one of the DynDNS servers (the other DynDNS server is actually faster than Google's).

Another important thing to consider when using a third party DNS is how well your ISP work with services that use a CDN (Content Distribution Network). A CDN uses geographically distributed servers to bring content closer to users. This means when you access content from microsoft.com you might be accessing a server in Singapore, while people in London will access the same content from a server in Europe.

For this to work the DNS resolver will give your computer the DNS to the closest location. When you use a third party DNS resolver, one sitting in the U.S. for example, you will get the wrong "closest" location. On TelstraClear for example this will cause problems with their stateful firewall. Your computer will request some elements from Facebook for example targeting a server in the U.S. but the response comes from a server in Singapore. At this moment their firewall will block the connection - and your browser will be there waiting forever (or for a very long time).

So it's not always great to use a third party DNS resolver - unless you know exactly why and how.

image

  Final benchmark results, sorted by nameserver performance:
(average cached name retrieval speed, fastest to slowest)

  203. 96.152. 12 |  Min  |  Avg  |  Max  |Std.Dev|Reliab%|
  ----------------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+
  - Cached Name   | 0.010 | 0.012 | 0.020 | 0.002 | 100.0 |
  - Uncached Name | 0.154 | 0.198 | 0.325 | 0.043 | 100.0 |
  - DotCom Lookup | 0.156 | 0.226 | 0.334 | 0.062 | 100.0 |
  ----------------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+
                 kirsty.paradise.net.nz
                    TelstraClear Ltd

  203. 96.152.  4 |  Min  |  Avg  |  Max  |Std.Dev|Reliab%|
  ----------------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+
  - Cached Name   | 0.010 | 0.013 | 0.017 | 0.002 | 100.0 |
  - Uncached Name | 0.151 | 0.197 | 0.328 | 0.042 | 100.0 |
  - DotCom Lookup | 0.151 | 0.261 | 0.338 | 0.066 | 100.0 |
  ----------------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+
                 rachel.paradise.net.nz
                    TelstraClear Ltd

   58. 28.  6.  2 |  Min  |  Avg  |  Max  |Std.Dev|Reliab%|
  ----------------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+
  - Cached Name   | 0.019 | 0.021 | 0.025 | 0.001 | 100.0 |
  - Uncached Name | 0.019 | 0.021 | 0.026 | 0.001 | 100.0 |
  - DotCom Lookup | 0.019 | 0.022 | 0.027 | 0.002 | 100.0 |
  ----------------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+
                      ns2.wxnz.net
               WorldxChange Communications

  203. 97. 78. 43 |  Min  |  Avg  |  Max  |Std.Dev|Reliab%|
  ----------------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+
  + Cached Name   | 0.019 | 0.021 | 0.025 | 0.001 | 100.0 |
  + Uncached Name | 0.147 | 0.188 | 0.302 | 0.032 | 100.0 |
  + DotCom Lookup | 0.150 | 0.257 | 0.332 | 0.069 | 100.0 |
  ----------------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+
                  ns1.acld.clix.net.nz
                    TelstraClear Ltd

  203. 97. 78. 44 |  Min  |  Avg  |  Max  |Std.Dev|Reliab%|
  ----------------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+
  + Cached Name   | 0.019 | 0.022 | 0.028 | 0.002 | 100.0 |
  + Uncached Name | 0.148 | 0.191 | 0.319 | 0.040 | 100.0 |
  + DotCom Lookup | 0.148 | 0.230 | 0.338 | 0.061 | 100.0 |
  ----------------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+
                  ns2.acld.clix.net.nz
                    TelstraClear Ltd

  202. 27.158. 40 |  Min  |  Avg  |  Max  |Std.Dev|Reliab%|
  ----------------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+
  - Cached Name   | 0.019 | 0.022 | 0.028 | 0.002 | 100.0 |
  - Uncached Name | 0.153 | 0.209 | 0.332 | 0.046 | 100.0 |
  - DotCom Lookup | 0.147 | 0.168 | 0.208 | 0.019 | 100.0 |
  ----------------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+
                    dnsc1.xtra.co.nz
                    Telecom Xtra ISP.

  202. 27.156. 72 |  Min  |  Avg  |  Max  |Std.Dev|Reliab%|
  ----------------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+
  - Cached Name   | 0.018 | 0.026 | 0.186 | 0.024 | 100.0 |
  - Uncached Name | 0.150 | 0.209 | 0.327 | 0.045 | 100.0 |
  - DotCom Lookup | 0.146 | 0.172 | 0.209 | 0.021 | 100.0 |
  ----------------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+
                    dnsc2.xtra.co.nz
                    Telecom Xtra ISP.

  216.146. 35. 35 |  Min  |  Avg  |  Max  |Std.Dev|Reliab%|
  ----------------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+
  - Cached Name   | 0.146 | 0.149 | 0.154 | 0.002 | 100.0 |
  - Uncached Name | 0.150 | 0.210 | 0.322 | 0.056 | 100.0 |
  - DotCom Lookup | 0.151 | 0.225 | 0.312 | 0.055 | 100.0 |
  ----------------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+
            resolver1.dyndnsinternetguide.com
                Dynamic Network Services

  208. 67.222.222 |  Min  |  Avg  |  Max  |Std.Dev|Reliab%|
  ----------------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+
  - Cached Name   | 0.146 | 0.149 | 0.157 | 0.002 | 100.0 |
  - Uncached Name | 0.148 | 0.212 | 0.345 | 0.057 | 100.0 |
  - DotCom Lookup | 0.150 | 0.267 | 0.336 | 0.056 | 100.0 |
  ----------------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+
                  resolver1.opendns.com
                      OpenDNS, LLC

  208. 67.220.220 |  Min  |  Avg  |  Max  |Std.Dev|Reliab%|
  ----------------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+
  - Cached Name   | 0.146 | 0.149 | 0.158 | 0.003 | 100.0 |
  - Uncached Name | 0.148 | 0.230 | 0.588 | 0.091 | 100.0 |
  - DotCom Lookup | 0.149 | 0.248 | 0.321 | 0.060 | 100.0 |
  ----------------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+
                  resolver2.opendns.com
                      OpenDNS, LLC

    8.  8.  8.  8 |  Min  |  Avg  |  Max  |Std.Dev|Reliab%|
  ----------------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+
  - Cached Name   | 0.177 | 0.192 | 0.477 | 0.046 | 100.0 |
  - Uncached Name | 0.181 | 0.245 | 0.485 | 0.074 | 100.0 |
  - DotCom Lookup | 0.192 | 0.297 | 0.386 | 0.066 | 100.0 |
  ----------------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+
             google-public-dns-a.google.com
                 Level 3 Communications

    8.  8.  4.  4 |  Min  |  Avg  |  Max  |Std.Dev|Reliab%|
  ----------------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+
  - Cached Name   | 0.177 | 0.198 | 0.399 | 0.053 | 100.0 |
  - Uncached Name | 0.182 | 0.259 | 0.485 | 0.079 | 100.0 |
  - DotCom Lookup | 0.193 | 0.301 | 0.402 | 0.068 | 100.0 |
  ----------------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+
             google-public-dns-b.google.com
                 Level 3 Communications

  216.146. 36. 36 |  Min  |  Avg  |  Max  |Std.Dev|Reliab%|
  ----------------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+
  - Cached Name   | 0.212 | 0.214 | 0.219 | 0.002 | 100.0 |
  - Uncached Name | 0.214 | 0.282 | 0.492 | 0.062 | 100.0 |
  - DotCom Lookup | 0.231 | 0.277 | 0.335 | 0.034 | 100.0 |
  ----------------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+
            resolver2.dyndnsinternetguide.com
                Dynamic Network Services

   58. 28.  4.  2 | The DNS server at this IP address is
  actively refusing to answer queries made by this client.
  It should not be used for normal client-based resolution.
  ----------------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+
                      ns1.wxnz.net
               WorldxChange Communications

  UTC: 2009-12-05, from 04:51:33 to 04:52:26, for 00:52.613



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.

A couple of blog posts you should read:

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