My window to the world


Things to check before buying cheap PCs

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 17-Apr-2009 12:24

When you buy a PC and the price is too low, it might be time to think "Is this too good to be true?"... I've just posted on Geekzone how Microsoft is leading the charge against New Zealand companies that sell hardware with counterfeit copies of their OS.


Three Auckland-area companies found to be selling unlicensed software have settled with Microsoft as part of the company’s ongoing commitment to protect local resellers and consumers by reducing software piracy.

The three companies that entered into settlement agreements are: TDM Technology Limited, operated by Ayman Franso and Nicholas Jansen; Pars TV, operated by Al-Huseiny Ibrahim; and PCTown, run by Linjiang Yu.  Two other companies did not settle with Microsoft, and the matters are before the Auckland District Court.

These latest settlements follow two High Court proceedings filed in November 2008 against Auckland-based traders charged with selling counterfeit Microsoft software likely sourced from China."


Illegal copies might be loaded with all sorts of malware - virus, trojans, keyloggers, etc. When buying a PC you should ask yourself:

• Am I buying from a reputable reseller?
• What is their return policy, and do I have contact details in case I have problems with this product?
• Are they giving a strange explanation for why the price is so low?
• Is a Certificate of Authenticity included?
• Is a hologram CD, DVD, or recovery media included?
• Are the product packaging and documentation of high quality?
• Is an End-user License Agreement included?



Geekzone Jobs forum updates

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 16-Apr-2009 18:35

Just a quick note about a couple of updates in our Geekzone Jobs forum... Until now most of the posts in that forum came from other Geekzone users looking for or offering a position.

But because of the current conditions we thought it would be cool to provide a bit more to our readers. So we partnered with CVB to automatically load their job listings into the Jobs forum.

I have also created a special Geekzone Jobs RSS feed that you can subscribe and see all the latest jobs openings.

Of course our users can continue to post in the forums as usual.



Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 1 available for download

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 16-Apr-2009 12:29

Last week Microsoft announced the Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 1. Since Geekzone runs on SQL Server 2008 I worked on our test server to deploy this update - which worked out to be quick and painless - and no server reboot required! Mind you, the database will be out of action for a few minutes while the code is changed, but that's pretty much it (I've tested this in both 32 bit and 64 bit environments we have here).

According to their blog announcement:


With this Service pack, Microsoft is introducing 80% fewer changes to customer configurations compared to previous SQL Server Service Pack releases. 

With this service pack, Microsoft has made investments to ease deployment and make management of service packs more efficient. Key improvements in SP1 include Slipstream, Service Pack Uninstall and Report Builder 2.0 click-once deployment.

o   Slipstream allows administrators to install SQL Server 2008 and Service Pack 1 in a single instance. This decreases the total time for an installation, including a fewer number of reboots thereby increasing productivity and deployment availability.

o    Service Pack Uninstall allows administrators to uninstall the service pack separately from the database release.  This feature also improves DBA productivity, reduces the cost of deployment and improves overall supportability

o   Report Builder 2.0 Click Once improves the existing SQL Server end-user report authoring application by easing deployment to business users.


It seems this is mainly a rollup of previous cumulative updates and minor fixes. No new features are being released. If you are running Microsoft SQL Server 2008 you should start planning (or implementing) for it now. Download the Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 1 to start working.



 



Microsoft Office Service Pack 2 coming 28th April

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 15-Apr-2009 18:21

Later this month Microsoft will introduce the Microsoft Office Service Pack 2. Here is a list of changes for this version:


Changes that impact desktop applications

· Service Pack 2 adds the ability to open, edit and save documents in version 1.1 of the OpenDocument Format for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. These applications now let users save, open, and edit files as OpenDocument Text (*.odt), OpenDocument Spreadsheet (*.ods), and OpenDocument Presentations (*.odp).

· The 2007 Microsoft Office Service Pack 2 is the first service pack to support uninstall of client updates through the Microsoft Service Pack Uninstall Tool for the 2007 Microsoft Office Suite as well as via Windows Installer command line. The Service Pack Uninstall Tool will be available as a separate download.

· Save As PDF/XPS support has been built into the SP2 of these Office applications. Users no longer have to download the add-in separately.

· When many graphic objects are present performance has been improved.

· In many scenarios, expect increased print fidelity of graphical objects.

· Improved interoperability using standard DrawingML markup to describe the visual properties of the SmartArt graphic.

The 2007 Office Suite SP2 has been tested and is supported for Internet Explorer 8. Windows Vista SP2, Windows Server 2008 SP2, Windows 7 and Windows Server R2 will all be supported upon their release.

Access
· The ability to export reports to Excel has been added.

· Fixes for issues with the import data wizards, report printing and previewing, macros, Excel integration, and date filters.

· Updates to Access Developer Extensions are now included in SP2.

Excel
· The charting mechanism has improved robustness and targeted performance improvements.

· A chart object model has been added to Word and PowerPoint.

· Improved printing of graphical content, especially on PCL printers.

Groove
· Improved form tools.

· Synchronization reliability has been improved.

InfoPath
· Increased compatibility between InfoPath forms and other Microsoft products, such as Groove and Outlook.

OneNote
· SharePoint synchronization has been improved which helps reduce the load on SharePoint servers and produce fewer errors.

Outlook
· Performance in startup, shutdown, view rendering, and folder switch has been improved.

· Calendar updates, search, and RSS are more reliable.

· The object model has been improved.

PowerPoint
· Resaving of files is faster.

· Several printer-specific problems have been fixed.

· The Microsoft Office Excel Chart Object Model has been more fully integrated.

Project
· The scheduling engine, Active Cache, and Gantt charts all have improvements.

· There is additional reliability with earlier versions of the .mpp format.

Publisher
· Fixes have been made in the following areas: print preview, compatibility with Internet Explorer 8, e-mail on Windows Vista, and saving to the Content library. 

Visio
· Improved compatibility with other Microsoft products in several key scenarios, such as inserting Visio drawings as linked objects in PowerPoint or Word, exporting reports to Excel, and saving drawings as Web pages for browsing in Internet Explorer 8.

Word
· Fidelity of PDF and XPS output has been enhanced.

· Fuller integration of the Microsoft Office Excel Chart Object Model.




There are also changes to server products in the making.



What does it take to be an I.T. Rockstar 2009?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 15-Apr-2009 15:34

So, you think you are an I.T. Rockstar? Or do you know one? (Warning: some NSFW images around)



PS. I am one of the judges in this year's I.T. Rockstar competition. Bribes, tips,bottles accepted. You know how to find me ;)



AT&T Pantech Matrix Pro smartphone giveaway roster

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 13-Apr-2009 08:45

Very soon we here at Geekzone will be participating with another 25 websites to give away an AT&T Pantech Matrix Pro smartphone - each, to our U.S.-based readers.

That's right, it will be 26 of those AT&T Pantech Matrix Pro, plus a US$100 gift card that you can use to top up your account.

To make it clear: we have 26 websites in this promotion, and each will give away one of these smartphones. Each site will run its own competition, so you can enter in as many of those sites you want, following their own rules.

What's so cool about this handset? Besides being a super fast 3G/HSDPA device, connected to the AT&T network in the U.S., it's a smartphone running Windows Mobile 6.1, with a bright screen, sliding keypad and keyboard:



You can see more about this smartphone here and here.

But even if you don't win in the competitions we are able to give you a special deal from AT&T exclusive to this promotion: buy an AT&T Pantech Matrix Pro and receive a free Jabra BT4051 Bluetooth headset.

I suggest you bookmark this page and come back here often to find which sites are running their promotion in which date. Better still, subscribe to each site's RSS feed so you can keep an eye for when the competition post comes live:

Tools for Thought (15-Apr 19-Apr)
ChipChick (16-Apr 20-Apr)
VivirLatino (17-Apr 21-Apr)
slashgear.com (18-Apr 22-Apr)
www.modaco.com (19-Apr 23-Apr)
Gadgetell (20-Apr 24-Apr)
GeeksRoom (21-Apr 25-Apr)
OSNN (22-Apr 26-Apr)
Techmamas (23-Apr 27-Apr)
Clintonfitch (24-Apr 28-Apr)
Justanothermobilemonday (25-Apr 29-Apr)
Geek.com (26-Apr 30-Apr)
MediaBlab (27-Apr 01-May)
Smartphonethoughts (28-Apr 02-May)
Mobilityminded (29-Apr 03-May)
The Gadgeteer (30-Apr 04-May)
Geekzone (01-May 05-May)
Techie Diva (02-May 06-May)
Bostonpocketpc (03-May 07-May)
GearDiary (04-May 08-May)
MobilitySite (05-May 09-May)
AbsoluteWindows (06-May 10-May)
Mobilejaw (07-May 11-May)
Experiencemobility (08-May 12-May)
HackCollege (09-May 13-May)
Gear Live (10-May 14-May)

PS: Make sure to check back frequently just in case the schedule changes...



Apple iPhone scam: buying fakes in New Zealand

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 12-Apr-2009 10:06

Last week I received an email from Tracey Forward (her story is now also showing up on Computerworld). Here are her words:


I am writing to warn your readers about the latest internet scam.  There is a website called buymore.co.nz  that sells well known branded mobile phones for discount/sale prices. I ordered an Apple 8G 8GB IPhone for the reduced price of $599.40. 

When it arrived a few days later I was surprised to see the shipping note in Chinese when it was a NZ website although this thought was quickly replaced with the excitement of my new phone.  However there was a significant part missing which made it impossible to insert a SIM card. 

I sent the website dozens of emails without any response.  There is no physical address or phone numbers available on the website.

Because of the delay, I took the phone to an Authorised Apple repairer only to be told that the phone was a fake.  Because of this, they nor any other repairer would be legally allowed to attempt repair. I am trying to channel my anger (towards myself and the situation) into preventing this from happening to anyone else.  I have informed the Police, Commerce Commission, Dept of Consumer Affairs, Consumer Institute, Chinese Embassy, Target and Fair Go.
 
I would be very grateful if you could publish this letter in order to prevent anyone else being stung for this enormous amount of money and disappointment. Regards
 
Tracey Forward


Be warned folks...



Behind the scenes: Introducing HP ProLiant G6 servers

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 9-Apr-2009 15:58

During the visit to HP's Houston offices we had the chance to attend a couple of deep dive sessions into the new HP servers. Here are a few pictures from those meetings and some HP videos with background information on each model:

















You can check the HP ProLiant G6 announcement here and HP Pod pictures here.



Behind the scenes: Inside the HP Pod massive storage truck

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 8-Apr-2009 03:27

During the visit to HP Houston our group had the chance to see one of the HP Pod massive scale out "computing truck" - in short a datacentre in a container.

This HP Pod has storage racks, with each individual drive in these pictures a 1TB drive:












Behind the scenes: HP Factory Express

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 8-Apr-2009 03:05

During our visit to HP Houston the group also had the chance to visit the production line responsible for manufacturing HP ProLiant and Blade servers.

HP c ustomers can take advantage of HP Factory Express, a portfolio of flexible, pre-priced, configured, customized and integrated factory solutions and deployment services – supporting HP products from the desktop to the data center with Windows, Linux, and HP-UX.







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:

Social networks presence

View Mauricio Freitas's profile on LinkedIn


My Blog by tags...

Blog...
Entrepreneurship...
Media...
Personal...
Technology...
Viral Marketing...
Web Performance Optimization...
Windows...
Windows Phone...

Other recent posts in my blog

Windows Phone and Android apps...
Minister for Economic Developm...
Your NAS and the Bash vulnerab...
Going to Microsoft TechEd New ...
State of Browsers Geekzone Mar...
Free speech...
Testing the Kingston DataTrave...
Telecom enforces SSL email, us...
Windows XP end of support: 8 A...
Take a bit of time to cleanup ...

New posts on Geekzone