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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.



Microsoft looking for developer feedback

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 23-Oct-2008 13:58

I got a message today from a friend at Microsoft pointing out an initiative to collect feedback from the vast developer community we have here in New Zealand.

The idea is to have about 60 developers across the country spread through six focus group meetings. These meetings will be happening in Christchurch (11th November), Wellington (13th November) and Auckland (19th November).

Scott Wylie, the Director of the Developer and Platform Strategy Team for Microsoft NZ, will be facilitating these sessions. Scott’s role is to listen and understand your feedback which will enable his team to provide better support and resources for NZ developers.

You can find a lot more details on Scott's blog. And if you would like to participate, please email your interest to nzeditor@microsoft.com with your contact details and preferred focus group (by session number as listed in his blog) you would like to attend.




Follow Armageddon 08 live on Clearnet

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 23-Oct-2008 13:42

New Zealand fans of all things fantasy and sci-fi are well aware of Armageddon Expo. It's a long weekend expo with an exhibition floor, parallel events and more. Movie and TV starts, authors, gamers - everyone will be there.

But I also found out that if you are not there you can have the next best thing by following the CleanNet live streaming of this awesome weekend. And if you are on TelstraClear the traffic is unmetered - so even better.

To check the Armageddon Expo 08 live hit the ClearNet Armageddon 08 website and look for the schedule.



What is phishing and how to protect yourself - in plain English

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 23-Oct-2008 08:13

This is an interesting video explaining phishing in plain English. Show it to your parents, relatives and anyone else who is not a geek:





Made From New Zealand launches

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 21-Oct-2008 13:38

I was in Auckland for our server upgrade, and had the chance to attend the launch event for a new on-line business networking-support-directory service, Made From New Zealand.

The service launched with a big splash, including a three minute TV ad in all three free to air national channels.

According to the official word "Made from New Zealand is New Zealand's global online business community, designed to connect and promote businesses and entrepreneurs with the 'Kiwi DNA'."

The Made from New Zealand concept was launched last year on Waitangi Day by entrepreneur Steve Adams, who organised more than 1,000 Kiwis to build a 100 meter long silver fern sand sculpture on Santa Monica beach, Los Angeles. You can see a video clip with this project on the Made From New Zealand channel on You Tube.

Part research project, part television commercial shoot, the fern attracted the interest of New Zealanders in businesses all over the world who were keen to connect with each other as Kiwis to help grow their businesses.

With the concept tested and the Made from New Zealand brand name launched, Tim Norton, John Clegg  and Pat Macfie partnered with Adams to build an online community to connect Kiwi businesses in New Zealand and around the world

The main partner is Telecom New Zealand - I met Alan Gourdie, CEO Telecom Retail, during the launch and he seemed pretty excited about the project.



Welcome to Yahoo!Xtra Australian edition

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 19-Oct-2008 12:37

When I moved to New Zealand in 1997 my first ISP was Xtra. I bought a PC, collected a CD with the dial-up configuration and I was up and running in no time. I still have that @xtra.co.nz e-mail address, but only to login to the Xtra services offered to users, such as a Flickr Pro account.

Then Telecom decided to ditch the Xtra branding and go totally "Telecom" in its ISP offering. As part of all this a partnership with Yahoo!7 was put in place and the Xtra homepage was replaced with something provided by Yahoo!7, an Australian company.

Telecom handed a lot of power to Yahoo!7. If you read our Geekzone forums there are lots of reports of e-mail problems (domain blacklisting for example) and how hard it is to get someone at Yahoo!7 to actually look on these.

Now come a redesigned Yahoo!Xtra front page - and look at this beauty:


Telecom, why you decided to devalue your Xtra brand even more is beyond understanding...



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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