My window to the world


Install Google Chrome advertising...

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 30-Jan-2009 11:35

This is quite a clever ad for Google Chrome, Google's own web browser:





Running out of IPv4 space? IPv6 training in Auckland and Wellington

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 29-Jan-2009 19:49

Conferenz will be running the training sessions "IPv6 for Business" in Auckland (20 & 21 April 2009), and Wellington (27 & 28 April 2009).


"IPv4 (IP) addresses are running out around the world. A daily updated trend based prediction currently suggests late 2011, however industry experts are picking the day to be much sooner. Either way, this is well within the lifetime of current equipment and IT solutions within your business.

The IPv6 protocol was designed 10 years ago to eventually replace IPv4 in a gradual adoption, with the two co-existing side by side for several years. This adoption has started to pick up pace significantly in the past year, with most major operating systems and many network equipment vendors now supporting IPv6.

IPv6 for Business will teach you the skills to begin experimenting with IPv6, and planning the adoption of this new protocol in your organisation’s network.

Learning Objectives
• Learn about the history of the Internet and IPv6, its advantages, and the motivation for deploying it in your network
• Gain exposure to the IPv6 protocol, and the IPv6 addressing architecture
• Learn how IPv6 works in the wider Internet, and how to work with your ISP to achieve good IPv6 connectivity
• Understand popular IPv6 tunnelling mechanisms, and how these may already be impacting your network today
• Be able to identify and resolve common IPv6 problems that may already exist in your network today
• Learn how servers and desktop computers interact with each other, and with network equipment such as routers and firewalls.
• Learn how network services such as DNS operate in the IPv6 network.
• Learn about IPv6 support in common software and operating systems.
• Find out what to look for and ask for when considering future proof software and hardware solutions from your vendors.

Who Should Attend?
Anyone who is likely to be affected by the adoption of IPv6 from organisations such as:
• Government departments
• Educational facilities
• Large corporate organisations
• Any organisation involved in the design and maintenance of computer software, components, systems or networks.
Including roles such as:
• CIO
• IT Managers
• Network engineers
• Network designers
• Network consultants

Training Methodology
This two-day course will use case study examples and group exercises, as well as tutorial sessions. All attendees will be provided with a workbook and supporting slides. It is expected that attendees will have some level of networking experience and a basic understanding of IPv4. Laptops and equipment will be provided, but feel free to bring your own laptop as well.  



Measurement Lab network tests ISP performance, traffic shapping

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 29-Jan-2009 09:48

Measurement Lab was announced as a partnership between the New America Foundation's Open Technology Institute, the PlanetLab Consortium, Google Inc. and academic researchers. It offers tools for consumers and researchers.

"Measurement Lab (M-Lab) is an open, distributed server platform for researchers to deploy Internet measurement tools. The goal of M-Lab is to advance network research and empower the public with useful information about their broadband connections. By enhancing Internet transparency, M-Lab helps sustain a healthy, innovative Internet."

You can check their network tools now (Java required):

"Network Diagnostic Tool (NDT) provides a sophisticated speed and diagnostic test. An NDT test reports more than just the upload and download speeds -- it also attempts to determine what, if any, problems limited these speeds, differentiating between computer configuration and network infrastructure problems. While the diagnostic messages are most useful for expert users, they can also help novice users by allowing them to provide detailed trouble reports to their network administrator."

"Glasnost attempts to detect whether your Internet access provider is performing application-specific traffic shaping. Currently, you can test if your ISP is throttling or blocking BitTorrent. Tests for other applications will follow soon."

"NPAD diagnoses some of the common problems effecting the last network mile and end-users' systems. These are the most common causes of all performance problems on wide area network paths."

All very useful...



What really goes behind the scenes with cheap airlines...

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 28-Jan-2009 22:38

See what really goes on at the call centre of a low cost airline...



Anyone who has ever flown with a low cost airline will have experienced something similar to this short little clip that pokes fun at all the little tricks used to sell you a seat. How many times have you fallen for the cheap airfare that ended up costing you more than you thought?

And yes, this is an Air New Zealand ad...



Waiting for the HP Mini Mi Edition with Linux

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 28-Jan-2009 11:28

Just today I got an email from FedEx with the confirmation a HP Mini Mi Edition is coming my way for review... I don't know the configuration yet It is coming with a 60GB HDD, but the most interesting thing on this new model is that HP distributes the device with a Linux-based OS, with apparently very fast boot times and some other uber-connected software features.

You can see a lot more pictures in the official HP Mini Mi Edition page, and check more about the OS and features on this FAQ (PDF link).

Now to keep refreshing the FedEx tracking page...



Booting Windows 7 to desktop in less than 30 seconds with SSD

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 27-Jan-2009 10:33

I have finally come around to installing Windows 7 Beta in all my PCs around the house, replacing Windows Vista Ultimate.

We now have a (finally) working Windows-based Media Center. It is great being able to actually watch HD broadcast using the native Windows Media Center application. Until now we were only able to watch Freeview HD with third party software, because of lack of H.264 support on Windows Vista.

Windows 7 changes this with built-in H.264 support and the experience is very pleasant. You can check some screenshots in my previous blog post about Windows 7 Media Center.

I have also replaced Windows Vista Ultimate with Windows 7 Ultimate Beta on my main laptop. At the same time I've swapped the original 160GB HDD with an Intel 80GB SSD. A lot of talk has been around about Windows 7 support for SSD technologies so I decided to try it myself.

You can see below the Windows Experience Index results for my laptop, an AMD Turion 64 x2-based Acer Ferrari 5000 with 4GB RAM and ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 video graphics:

Intel SSD and Windows 7 performance index

The interesting thing is that this same Intel 80GB SSD showed a 7.9 index on another PC. Perhaps because of differences in controllers or drivers?

Anyway, with this laptop I am able to boot (after BIOS) into the Windows desktop in less than 30 seconds. And this is with Microsoft Office 2007, Live Messenger, Avast AV being loaded at boot time - real life experience.

Overall I am feeling a great improvement over previous Windows versions. Small UI things such as the ability to see previews of multiple windows for an application when hovering the mouse cusor over it in the Taskbar, and the automatic hiding of all othe windows so you can see it directly on the desktop make much easier to work:



Are you testing the Windows 7 beta? Just for curiosity, as a developer or IT administrator? What are your impressions?



A fix for Windows Update install crashes on Windows 7 Beta

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 26-Jan-2009 07:57

There have been reports of some Windows 7 beta testers experiencing installation errors with Windows Update and third party applications like Java and Flash (crashes of Explorer and MSI-based installers).

This may be an issue related to the Customer Experience Improvement Program client (CEIP also known as SQM). If you are experiencing this try the fix outlined below. Any machine that’s currently not affected by this problem does not need this fix, nor will future installations or upgrades.

What happened? Microsoft deployed a configuration change which exposed this problem. The following instructions will remove those changes (registry keys) to prevent further CEIP related crashes. 

1.Select and copy the following to your clipboard:

reg delete HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\SQMClient\Windows\DisabledSessions /va /f

2.Click on "Start", then "All Programs", then "Accessories"

3.Right click on "Command Prompt", then click on "Run as administrator"

4.In the UAC prompt, verify that the program’s name is "Windows Command Processor" and then click "Yes"

5.Right click on the "Administrator: Command Prompt" window’s black area, then select "Paste"

6.Press "Enter", you should see “The operation completed successfully”.

7.If you see “ERROR: Access is denied”, please make sure you followed Step 3. 

8.Close the "Administrator: Command Prompt window"



Windows 7 Media Center screenshots

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 21-Jan-2009 10:05

I first came in contact with Windows 7 when Microsoft released the M3 build to a select group of private testers on Connect, back in December.

Windows 7 M3 made its way to my HP tablet PC and it is running on it - solid and fast for a few weeks now. It will be replaced this weekend with the new Windows 7 Build 7000 though.

But Windows 7 Build 7000 is already installed on my Windows Media Center in the lounge. I run an Apple Mac mini as a Media Center PC, booting into Windows via Bootcamp. It's a machine small and silent enough to be in the lounge.

Until now I had been using dvbviewer to watch Freeview (DVB-T) with good results. The receiver is a Hauppagge HVR-900, and while the whole setup struggles a bit with very high definitions channels (such as TV3) it does well on the other HD channels.

My main objective on upgrading this setup to Windows 7 Build 7000 was to test the built-in H.264 support, that would allow us in New Zealand to have Freeview HD terrestrial programs directly on the Media Center experience, without having to use a third party program.

And did Windows 7 deliver! The upgrade over the existing Windows Vista installation was smooth and quick. The Apple Bootcamp drivers all worked ok, and even the drivers for the USB DVB-T receiver worked fine.

Tunning worked well - but there are still problems with the EPG (Electronic Programming Guide).

Another thing I feel it misses is the - long lasting - lack of support for ISO files. The Media Center won't play a DVD backup in ISO format without third party software.

Other than these two points, it's a very interesting release so far. The PC itself boots much faster than before, channel switching is smooth and the picture is almost perfect.

Here are some screenshots for your pleasure:



















Microsoft Certification Exam discounts (New Zealand only)

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 7-Jan-2009 14:47

Are you on the Microsoft Certification path? I will help you get some discounts then. You need only to visit the Microsoft Learning special site and request a voucher by entering a special MVP Certification code NZADDEB4.

This code will give you a 10% discount voucher and free retake if needed to.

Note this is valid for exams taken in New Zealand only by 31st May 2009, and valid for Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS), Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP) and Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (MCPD) exams.

What are you waiting for?

Thanks to the Microsoft MVP Program for arranging this so I could distribue to you folks...




ESTA required to travel to the USA from January 2009

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 6-Jan-2009 17:08

The Department of Homeland Security Attache to the European Union Jacquelyn Bednarz overviews the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) which will be required by all visa waiver travelers to the U.S. as of January 12, 2009.

This is important because it affects New Zealanders travelling to the U.S. under the visa waiver program - I guess a lot of the people involved in technology here do so.





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.

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