My window to the world


Apple iTunes shows how New Zealand ISPs are not providing Internet Service

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 20-Aug-2008 11:01

Apple has released its iTunes Movies service in New Zealand last week, and this has shown us how badly the ISPs are performing.



First we have the problem with "data caps". Most people I know are on 10GB or 20GB plans, which means that they either pay a premium for any excess traffic during the billing period, or have their connection throttled down to dial-up speeds. yes, dial-up speeds!

Take for example this comment from someone with Vodafone:


Going to take me about 3 hrs. Its 2 Gb which will be over my d/l cap for day !! ( Ihug) so Ive stopped for today and continue tomorrow to complete


Two gigabytes a day? Two days to download the movie?

I am using TelstraClear cable-modem service and downloaded a 1 GB movie in 20 minutes. But not even TelstraClear is free of problems as we can see in the same discussion:


... [I] bought groundhog day just to test the waters and the download speed was soooo slow, 3 hours nearly! 


Three hours on a 10 Mbps cable-modem connection?

I hope the launch of Apple iTunes will show ISPs three things:

1. Not every heavy downloaded is a pirate downloading copyright material being illegaly distributed;

2. There's demand for a service with a bigger monthly data allowance, and

3. Their concept of "fast" is off.



MID (Mobile Internet Devices) around the Intel Developer Forum 2008

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 20-Aug-2008 05:48

Even before the official exhibition opens at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco we can see the big them of mobility going around. Below are just a sample of the devices I could see when entering the main event centre hall.

All those devices are based on Intel Atom:





Lenovo Ideapad U8 (above), running Linux, 512 MB RAM, 8 GB SSD



Asus R50A (above), running Microsoft Windows Vista, 1 GB RAM, 32 GB SSD



Clarion MiND (above), running Linux, 512 MB RAM, 8 GB SSD



Aigo P8880 (above), running Linux, 512 MB RAM, 4 GB SSD



USI MID-150 (above), running Linux, 512 MB, 8 GB SSD

Below you see a video with Ultra Mobility Group Uday Keshavdas showing three Intel Atom-powered devices that will be on hand this week at IDF San Francisco, including the special Oylmpic edition Lenovo ideapad.






Intel Developer Forum San Francisco 2008 Day 1

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 20-Aug-2008 05:14

This week I am attending the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco. The activities started yesterday with a "Day 0" series of keynotes for media and bloggers. This was followed by an exclusive Asia Pacific dinner where our group had the opportunity to meet some Intel execs and talk about their respective areas. In our table (four Australian journalists and myself) we had the pleasure of having Steve Smith (Director intel Digital Enterprise) and John Skinner (Director, Eco Technology and one of the Intel guys at the Climate Savers initiative) in our table.

A valuable talk, mostly about computer power usage at home and enterprise. The main thing we took away is how small changes in computer manufacturing (a more efficient PSU for example) or just using appropriate Power Settings on your PC can make a big difference in your power bill - and the environment.

According to Skinner there is a reason for all those free power configuration applications going around - mostly because users are affraid of going into Control Panel and deal with cryptic configurations to get the best configuration for their needs. Those applications provide easy management and encourage people to act on that.

IDF Day 1 is in progress now. The official vision is "[IDF] brings together top Intel technical experts, Intel Fellows, industry thought leaders and leading technology companies. A strong slate of Intel keynotes is one source for insights and inspiration."

The first keynote was delivered by Craig Barrett, Intel chairman. “Technology is a tool to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges related to health care, education, economic development and the environment,” said Barrett, who also chairs a United Nations initiative on technology in the developing world. “No nations or individuals are untouched by these issues. Get involved. Be part of the solution.”
Barrett announced that Intel will award four $100,000 prizes to the most innovative ideas for applying technology to meet unmet needs related to education, health care, economic development and the environment. Ideas will be evaluated primarily for sustainability and innovativeness of the solution. More details on the INSPIRE•EMPOWER Challenge are available at http://www.intelchallenge.com/.

I am really interested on Day 2, which will be all about Mobile Internet devices (pictured below). Day 3 is about "crossing the chasm between Humans and Machines" and we will see Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak on stage.



There's also an exhibition with more than 180 companies from around the world where atendees will have hands-on demonstrations of their newest innovations and future technologies - no access for us until the end of Day 1, and other attendees will get to see this on Day 2.

For developers IDF is offering more than 170 hours of technical training. All technical sessions are led by Intel and industry experts. New this year is an Industry Insights Panel themed "Using Information Technology to Meet 21st Century Challenges and Opportunities." Two Technology Insights, both presented by Intel Fellows, will cover "Next Generation Intel Core Microarchitecture Family of Processors: Screaming Performance, Efficient Power" and "Splitting the Atom: A Peek into the Intel Atom Processor."



Google Street View car in Wellington

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 19-Aug-2008 12:44

I was told today the Google Street View car is going around Wellington. here are some pictures, taken on the move, showing the camera on top of the car, and a couple of side shots showing the Google logo:







Thanks to Evan for sending in the pictures!



Xero is going international

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 15-Aug-2008 20:02

Wellington-based Xero is going international, according to a release in the NZSX and a blog post. Xero is a listed company in the NZX and this is from the official announcement:


Xero wishes to advise that by early 2009 it will release a global version of its award-winning online accounting software.

Xero is choosing to disclose this part of its strategy now in order to openly respond to growing international sales enquiries.

Earlier this week Xero was named as one of the world's Top Ten Best Application User Interfaces of 2008 by Nielsen Norman Group, the US-based analysts and experts in software design.

'King of usability' and award judge Jakob Nielsen commented about Xero: "Making accounting fun? That's an award-winning design."

The award has led to a surge in interest from small businesses internationally asking when Xero will be available in countries outside its initial target markets of New Zealand, the UK and Australia.




Xero is a web-based accounting software-as-a-service platform. Sounds boring, but they managed to create an easy to use, good looking software that works for the company owner and for the accountant.



Microsoft lost the plot on Media Center...

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 14-Aug-2008 15:20

We waited so long for Microsoft Fiji, er, TV Pack - to find out it may only be released to OEM and don't event have the HD h.264 support.

Then a few months ago I posted here how the Apple iTunes movie store would kill the media center - when it was released to UK, France and Canada.

And now Apple has announced the Apple iTunes movies for Australia and New Zealand.

Yes, for the first time I am downloading iTunes as we speak. I am going to install in our media center in the lounge.




The iTunes Store in Australia and New Zealand feature over 700 films for rent or purchase, with new release titles available for purchase on the same day as their DVD release, including favorites such as “National Treasure 2,” “Jumper,” “27 Dresses,” “Cloverfield,” “Vantage Point” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.”

iTunes movies in New Zealand start at NZ$9.99 for catalog title purchases, NZ$17.99 for recent releases and NZ$24.99 for new releases. iTunes Movie Rentals are NZ$4.99 for library title rentals and NZ$6.99 for new releases, and high definition versions are priced at just one dollar more. Movie rentals can be previewed, purchased and watched on iPod classic, iPod nano with video, iPod touch, iPhone and on a widescreen TV with Apple TV.


Enough said. Microsoft lost the battle in the consumer entertainment media space.

Now we just need those New Zealand ISPs to stop selling plans with 10 GB cap and offer real stuff - let's start with 200 GB?



Attending the Intel Developer Forum (with video)

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 14-Aug-2008 10:31

I was invited by Intel to attend the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, 19th - 21st August 2008. I also received a list of sessions and people available for meetings and round tables - I am looking forward to meeting Anand Chandrasekher (below), Intel Ultra Mobility Group Senior Vice President, in a round table.
Other topics of interest are of course the technology showcase, anything about mobile computing, and the keynotes - Steve Wozniak will be the guest speaker on the 21st August.



IBM Forum 2008 in Wellington: a Twitter timeline

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 11-Aug-2008 17:28



Another SQL injection on the loose

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 10-Aug-2008 20:09

From the Project X blog comes the alert about a new SQL injection attack spreading around. This is a local view on the problem, and that's what makes it more interesting:


A quick assessment of the NZ landscape shows that over a sample of 100 of the latest attack signatures (specifically looking at the result of the successful SQL Injection) indicates that there are 68 distinct infections over some 18 “NZ” sites…  all IIS5/6 sites.  Not good news for some and given that a couple of these sites are in NZ’s “top 100” and would service a not-so-insignificant number of unique browsers.
Note: I’ve performed this assessment out of the google cache so I’d expect that this would be somewhat worse, given SEO (in general) and the timing of google spider visits.


Plenty of details on the dedicated SANS page.



Geekzone subscribers private forums

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 10-Aug-2008 15:34

A few days ago over on Twitter there was a discussion about "free" services and one of the topics was about selling features that are valuable to users.

So here is something we don't promote much but is available: Geekzone Subscriptions. In summary Geekzone subscribers have the ability to upload images (handy for forums and blogs), the option to browse Geekzone without advertising and the ability to create and manage their own "by invitation only" private forums on Geekzone.

To make things a bit more interesting we have just changed the private forum limit from one to 15. That's it: each Geekzone Subscriber can create and manage up to 15 private forums, each with its own access list, only visible to those allowed to access the private discussions.

We also have our own e-mail domain available to our users, free of charge. Geekzonemail gives users a Windows Live ID that can be used wherever Windows Live ID are accepted - including Windows Live access, Windows Live Messenger (MSN) and more. It provides Windows Mobile users with push e-mail and you can access your email with Microsoft Outlook Connector or Windows Live Mail Desktop.



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

Trackers - How technology is h...
Geekzone is a ESET NetGuide We...
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...

New posts on Geekzone