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It is here: enter to have a chance to win a Zero Gravity flight experience, and more!

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 24-Nov-2008 12:00

Wow! Since my own Zero Gravity flight experience a few months ago I have been waiting to announce this competition coming to Geekzone. And it's here at last.

It's huge: Symantec is taking the winner from this and other similar competitions from around the world on a business class flight to the USA and once there they will experience a Zero Gravity flight - about 90 minutes of excitment with 15 Zero Gravity sequences.

And that's not all. The winners gets a chance to enter a second draw with a suborbital flight as a prize.

How big is that?

Check all you need to know (sorry, long T&Cs, talk to the lawyers!) in our Zero G competition page.



Strange Windows Mobile fault: Phone application shows wrong name... Or not?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 12-Nov-2008 19:20

I had a very interesting phone call today - not because of the call itself, but because it unearthed a very strange fault in the Windows Mobile Phone application.

I have a friend in Wellington, New Zealand, let's call her L.E. with phone number +64 4 555-1234. I have a commercial contact in Auckland, let's call her R.M. with phone number +64 9 555-1234. Yes, same country code and phone number, just different area codes.

An interesting coincidence.

Today R.M. called me. I answer saying "Hello L.E."... But of course it wasn't L.E calling me, but that's what the Phone application tells me.

It seems the Windows Mobile Phone application searches only the phone number (not including the area code). It also seems the index use is probably something like (Phone + Name), therefore a search with Phone = 555-1234 brings L.E.'s record first - and stops there without checking area code to make sure it's really who the caller is.

Freaky how this happened. How big a coincidence to have two people you know with the same phone number just different area codes? I would say it is harder to happen in the USA, but in a small country like New Zealand...



Samsung Omnia Windows Mobile UI

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 11-Nov-2008 17:54

I just got a Samsung Omnia for review here, and before I post the full article I want to let you see what cool user interface Samsung created for this device.

Thy have replaced the standard Windows Mobile Today screen with a "desktop". You have a scrollable sidebar on the left side and you can move it up and down with your finger. You can also move widgets from this bar to the desktop - and back.

Watch the video capture to see how it works (and when you see the widgets moving imagine it's my finger):



Geekzone integrated with your Twitter...

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 10-Nov-2008 12:25

I am very excited about a new service we have just rolled out here on Geekzone... In short, if you are a Geekzone user and have a Twitter account we now provide the means for you to update your Twitter status from Geekzone - and vice-versa.

This is how it looks on one's Geekzone account:



You can read all about this feature in my forum post about it. Big thanks to Phil at RedJungle (@redjungle on Twitter) for implementing the service for us.



Air New Zealand self-service terminal in Auckland (video)

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 1-Nov-2008 19:33

There's a good discussion going on my previous post about changes Air New Zealand is introducing to its check in and boarding process. On that blog post you can find some pictures of the new check-in kiosks, boarding stations and the new mPass mobile application.

Below is a video that shows how the new terminals will look like. Note the self-service kiosks and the bag drop belt in the back of the area.






Air New Zealand improving flight experience

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 28-Oct-2008 14:02

I was invited by Air New Zealand to attend a press event in Auckland where they showed their vision of an update airport check-in area, with self-service kiosks, bag drops, electronic boading passes and more. This also involve some changes to their Airpoints program.

In the check-in front they are introducing some cool stuff such as mPass, a J2ME application that runs on most modern mobile phones. You will be able to downlod all boarding passes related to your Airpoints account, or individual boarding passes based on booking reference and name. The application show this information on a 2D barcode that you can use to scan directy from your phone and board the aircraft.

Also new is the RFID tag, a sticker that will be sent to Airpoints Gold Elite, Gold and Silver members. You can attach that to the back of your mobile phone, or wallet and use it to board directly - unless you have to get a bag tag.

At last a full self-service boarding experience, including new special bag tags printed directly at the kiosk, incuding a Priority label if you are entitled to it.

And speaking of kiosks and airports, the main centres will have a new area for check-in - look the artist's idea and the picture I took at the Auckland airport this morning.

If you are a Airpoints member you will be happy to know ALL flights now count towards your points. Even the cheap ones. And the company is introducing www.myairnz.com, a website full of widget goodness for the frequent traveller.

Check the pictures I took during the event in their training area:
















Is Hyper-V on Windows Vista coming?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 26-Oct-2008 08:21

This is an interesting bit of information I found on a Microsoft Knowledge Base article "Error message when you try to start a Hyper-V virtual machine on a Windows Server 2008-based or Windows Vista-based computer that uses the NUMA architecture: "An error occurred while attempting to change the state of virtual machine VMNAME""


To apply this hotfix, the computer must run one of the following operating systems:
Windows Vista SP1
Windows Server 2008


Wait there. I thought Hyper-V was only available for Windows Server 2008? You can say "Yes, but you can run Hyper-V remote administration on Windows Vista" - but why a remote administration tool would require a kernel update and none of the remote admin tool file being updated?

Is Microsoft going to replace Virtual PC 2007 with Hyper-V on consumer PCs?

I have asked around but haven't heard from some Microsoft people about this yet... Do you know anything else?



Windows Vista Sevice Pack 2 beta test announced

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 26-Oct-2008 08:09

Last week I received an invitation to the Windows Vista SP2 and Windows Server 2008 SP2 beta program. This came as a surprise since I had heard nothing about it.

The confirmation came later in the week, when the Windows Vista Blog posted the official announcement of Windows Vista SP2.

This is a list of things coming out in this new release:


  • Windows Vista SP2 adds Windows Search 4.0 for faster and improved relevancy in searches.
  • Windows Vista SP2 contains the Bluetooth 2.1 Feature Pack supporting the most recent specification for Bluetooth Technology.
  • Ability to record data on to Blu-Ray media natively in Windows Vista.
  • Adds Windows Connect Now (WCN) to simplify Wi-Fi Configuration.
  • Windows Vista SP2 enables the exFAT file system to support UTC timestamps, which allows correct file synchronization across time zones. 


The Bluetooth 2.1 Feature Pack is interesting because it is actually part of a bigger update, the Windows Vista Feature Pack for Wireless, which is only released to OEM so far.

Another important piece of information is that this service pack will also be available to Windows Server 2008.

Testing doesn't start until next week, so I don't expect to see this officialy released until the end of the year or earlier next year. Of course all depends on how the testing go.



Geekzone server update: the day after

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 23-Oct-2008 17:18

This is not exactly the day after - more like three days after. And since you are reading this it's obvious our Geekzone server update went well.

Geekzone was running on an Intel Xeon "Nocona" dual-core 3GHz box with 3GB RAM and two 70GB SCSI discs. The software platform was based on Microsoft Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Edition and Microsoft SQL Server 2008. We use NOD32 for antivirus protection.

A new HP DL360 server was installed. This new box is based on an Intel 5400 quad-core 3GHz with 10GB RAM, four 146GB HDD and ILO2 for remote management.

This is the host box running Micosoft Hyper-V. I installed a virtual machine for Geekzone, keeping the same software platform but in 64 bit. Geekzone is running on a quad core, 6GB RAM virtual machine.

Also on the same box we have an Exchange server running on a dual core 2GB RAM virtual machine, an ad server running on a dual core 2GB RAM, and a single core 512MB RAM virtual machine running Windows XP SP3 and hosting an IRC script that monitors our chatroom.

The old server is still in place, with a mirror of our SQL 2008 database, and Adventnet Applicatins Manager. This server will also be used for development.

Thanks to HP New Zealand and Microsoft New Zealand for their support - we couldn't do this upgrade without their help. also thanks to ICONZ for arranging the installation and network configuration so that everything could have been done within the time we had available.

By the way, how many SQL 2008 servers in New Zealand are running in a virtual environment?



Android Software now available

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 23-Oct-2008 14:15

The first Android-based smartphone, the T-Mobile G1 is out now, and more handsets will be coming out no doubt.

There are lots of developers porting the operating system to other hardware platforms - even more now that it was released as an open source project.

Lots of applications for this device are being released, and we already have quite a few Android applications listed in our Geekzone Software Store. We also have a special Android applications RSS feed listing all new applications for this platform. You can even access the store directly from your mobile.

You can actually find RSS feeds for other mobile platforms (Windows Mobile, Symbian, BlackBerry) in our RSS feeds page.



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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