My window to the world

Alan Turing receives royal pardon

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 24-Dec-2013 15:58

From The Guardian: Enigma codebreaker Alan Turing receives royal pardon:

Alan Turing, the second world war codebreaker who took his own life after undergoing chemical castration following a conviction for homosexual activity, has been granted a posthumous royal pardon 59 years after his death.

The brilliant mathematician, who played a major role in breaking the Enigma code – which arguably shortened the war by at least two years – has been granted a pardon under the Royal Prerogative of Mercy by the Queen, following a request from the justice secretary, Chris Grayling.

Turing was considered to be the father of modern computer science and was most famous for his work in helping to create the "bombe" that cracked messages enciphered with the German Enigma machines. He was convicted of gross indecency in 1952 after admitting a sexual relationship with a man.

About time I say. I believe he was one of the most important men in WWII and obviously the man who created the modern computer science.

Speedtest results, Vodafone cable, late 2013

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 8-Dec-2013 15:55

Today I decided to download a movie from Amazon Instant Video, and it came down quite fast. so I decided to go on a round of speedtests*. I am on a Vodafone cable plan (HFC network, 130 Mbps down/10 Mbps up).

Something must have changed because… just look at these numbers:

To Sydney:

To Los Angeles:

To Amsterdam:

And this is to Auckland:

Pretty impressive and well done Vodafone. Now we just need some larger caps at so we can use more of those speeds.

* Yes, I know speedtests aren’t conclusive. External networks have bottlenecks, servers may not have large enough capacity, etc. But it’s a reference as good as any and for what’s worth some of that do reflect in how fast your browsing, streaming and downloading work.

More passwords stolen. Rinse, repeat

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 5-Dec-2013 15:35

A server was found with two million passwords to social network sites, web-based email and other services, including Facebook (318,000), Yahoo! (60,000), Google (54,000), Twitter (21,000) and LinkedIn (8,000).

Passwords seem to come computers in the Netherlands, Thailand, Germany, Singapore and Indonesia.

Those passwords were collected by a network of zombies (botnet) infected with a keylogger, a small program that records whatever a user types into a computer.

This is just another batch of passwords in the public hands. During the last year we’ve seen account information (including encrypted passwords) leaked from Adobe (152 million!), Gawker (532,000), Yahoo! (453,000) and Sony (37,000).

Even if the service you use encrypt passwords there still ways of finding what these are (including statistical analysis and plain brute force). Just look at this blog post “Adobe credentials and the serious insecurity of password hints” to see how easy it can be for someone to find passwords when millions of records are available.

You should change passwords every few weeks or months, and to be on the safe side you should always use different password in each service. Also if your service offers a second form of authentication (a security token, code via SMS or email), then use it.

Troy Hunt has just created a new site called ‘;—have I been pwned? where you can enter your email address to check if it shows up in any of these “treasure chests”.

Windows 8 Mail app not hyperlinking emails

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 27-Nov-2013 13:15

I have been having a bad time getting the Windows 8 Mail app to hyperlink URLs in some text emails I receive. I have heard the “it’s a known issue” since the Windows 8 launch. Since most of these email come from Geekzone I’ve also heard the “you should send HTML emails” suggestion too. But I’m not alone, with other people reporting similar issues (1, 2 and 3) with most of the MVP and Microsoft support engineers responding with a “cannot reproduce” (where is the “known issue” then”"?)

For me this happens with Geekzone notifications emails, which are plain text only. Imagine my surprise when someone said “it works fine for me…”

I started digging a bit and found this other person was using an account. So for testing I changed my Geekzone account email to my Hotmail address. The change confirmation email arrived on my Windows 8.1 Mail app with correct hyperlink and all emails from Geekzone showed up with correct hyperlink inside the Windows 8 Mail app.

I then changed the email address in my Geekzone account back to my Office 365-hosted domain. And windows 8 Mail app went back to not showing hyperlinks.

Note Windows Phone Mail app hyperlinks these same emails just fine in both cases.

It seems there’s something strange happening between the Windows 8 Mail app and Office 365.

One of the seven HP Microservers arrived, are you in to win?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 15-Nov-2013 18:55

Just received the prizes for our HP Microserver Gen8 giveaway (including the HP PS1810-8G switch and Windows Server Essentials 2012) and will forward to the winner early next week. Remember there is still time to enter the other competitions listed in this topic here

To our winner Noviota, congratulations!

Google Chrome cache performance

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 9-Nov-2013 10:40

This is a very interesting read about Google Chromium cache performance.

For example: "How long do you think it takes for an average Windows Chrome user to fill up the browser cache? Well, for those users who filled up their cache , 25% of them fill it up in 4 hours. 50% of them fill it up within 20 hours. 75% of them fill it up within 48 hours. Now, that's just wall clock time...but how many hours of "active" browsing does it take to fill the cache? 25% in 1 hour, 50% in 4 hours, and 75% in 10 hours. Wow. That seems really quick to me. Remember though, every resource goes into the cache, in order to support back-forward navigation."

Now this part is frightening: "So, a quickly filled up cache is a one reason why servers perceive a lower than expected cache hit rate. While chatting with Ricardo, he drew my attention to a few other anomalies in our metrics. First, a surprisingly high number of users like to clear their cache. Around 7% of users will clear their cache (via chrome://settings) at least once per week. Furthermore, 19% of users will experience fatal cache corruption at least once per week, thus requiring nuking the whole cache. Wow, the cache gets wiped, either explicitly by the user, or due to corruption, for a large chunk of our user base. We definitely need to investigate what's up with all this cache corruption."

I just looked back at the annual State of Browsers on Geekzone March 2013 and comparing to current stats I found that Google Chrome just went up to 44%, Firefox went down to 22% and Internet Explorer went down to 18%, in only seven months. That’s a huge shift towards Google Chrome.

How do you folks think this impact in someone using Chrome in terms of perceived performance? Have you ever noticed any performance change over the course of weeks when using Chrome? And with Internet Explorer 11 for Windows 7 available now (which includes performance improvements, compatibility, SPDY support and more) how is this going to affect things?

HP Microserver competition coming soon

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 8-Oct-2013 18:39

Some more information about the HP Microserver Gen8 competition I hinted in my previous blog post: I will soon post a review on Geekzone and we will have one of those to giveaway to our readers.

More importantly, as in previous HP competitions we have MORE THAN one blog giving those away over three weeks - and you will be able to enter in any or all of them for more chances. From the week of 27th October we will start the competition on Geekzone, with other blogs following (two or three per week). Keep an eye on this topic because I will update the schedule later.

In the mean time, here are the participating blogs/forums so you can bookmark them:

Vodafone increases prices on cable plans, adds new tier

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 4-Oct-2013 19:04

Vodafone has increased prices in its cable plans, going up an unbelievable $43.06 (44.88%) in the 150GB plan (130/10 Mbps speeds). They also added a $149 version of the plan with 250GB allowance:

And this is a “naked” service. No phone, no IPTV, or anything else. Compare this $139 for 150GB package to what I’m currently paying for the same service:


Why is this hard to swallow? Because Vodafone owns the cable network. It’s an asset, and it’s been deployed since the late 90s. It’s not like they have to pay UFB to a provider such as Chorus. This makes it more bizarre that they push these prices up.

This comes just after the company announced their new “Ultra Fast Broadband TV service”, a bundle of Internet, IPTV and VoIP. Notice though that UFB includes a $30 discount if you have a mobile with the company.

Disappointing that Vodafone has pushed the cable prices up for the 150GB tier, just months after bringing it down from the old TelstraClear prices. Also disappointing that the service has been lately plagued with slowdowns and outages and it took the company two weeks to get things fixed. Also disappointing that Vodafone seems to have a continuous problem with the way their traffic goes to Australia (Australia is becoming a very important CDN and content hub, so we should really push our ISPs to have great connectivity to our neighbours).

As for the new prices, compared to the Orcon $99 unlimited plan, those prices are too damn high.

HP Microserver Gen8 in the house

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 25-Sep-2013 19:18

Exciting. Just got an HP Microserver Gen8 delivered here today plus an 8-port HP PS1810-8G switch. The Microserver Gen8 comes with four USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, two ethernet ports, ILO and four 3.5” bays.

This weekend I will be installing an OS on this box and playing with options and then posting the review on Geekzone. For the time being here are a few photos:

Oh, did I say I will have one of these to giveaway soon on Geekzone, plus other bloggers from around the world will be running their own competitions? Stay tuned…

HP Tech @ Work Day experience

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 17-Sep-2013 16:20

I was recently invited by HP and Ivy Worldwide to attend the HP Tech @ Work Day in Sydney, Australia. This wasn’t my first experience with Ivy as an enabler of relationships between bloggers and the tech industry, and as usual the team delivered an exceptional value to myself and my audience.

First there was the planning stage. I was contacted with some basic information about the event, who it is aimed at, who from HP would be available on site for us to talk to, and other pieces of relevant information.

Based on this initial contact I was able to ascertain this event was a good fit to both myself and my audience. 

Then comes the support provided by the Ivy Worldwide team, including travel arrangements, accommodation, transportation and other bits and pieces.

The HP Tech @ Work Day in Sydney was an event in a conference format, with a keynote covering the topics of the moment: cloud and big data. From our front row seats we heard insights from David Caspari (Managing Director HP South Pacific), Paul Muller (VP Software Marketing, HP Software) and we had the chance to learn from the experience of people such as Tom Quinn (Chief Technology Officer, News Corp) and Tam Lee (Neuroscientist, Human Technology). 

After the keynote we could chose from three streams of speakers covering infrastructure topics, before we could get everyone in the Bloggers' Lounge for Coffee Talks. Those are small session of 45 minutes to one hour where our group had the opportunity to talk candidly to some of the speakers, going deeper into topics of interest. That's where I found more about things such as the Orion Health and HP Cloud deal announced earlier that same day and what made the company decide to use cloud services, how they plan to use it and more.

At one of these Coffee Talks we had the opportunity to give HP some feedback in how we perceive the HP Cloud message, what our group of bloggers (which included professionals in the IT infrastructure sector) thought could be clearer and how HP could improve their relationship with markets. 

During  these events Ivy Worldwide also arrange for some even more informal meeting time, such as the group dinner arrangement, where all of us including bloggers, HP and Ivy have an opportunity to continue our conversations about the events of the day over a meal that (in some cases) extends for some quite time into the night, all for a good exchange.

freitasm's profile

Mauricio Freitas
New Zealand

I live in New Zealand and my interests include mobile devices, good books, movies and food of course! 

I'm the Geekzone admin. On Geekzone we publish news, reviews and articles on technology topics. The site also has some busy forums. Also worth visiting is TravelTalk NZ, a community for travelers!

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 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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