My window to the world


Windows XP for Asus Eee PC and others: guaranteed until 2010

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 4-Apr-2008 19:56

Asus has just announced the Eee PC with pre-installed Windows XP and th big question came up: what's going to happen to these little machines, since Windows XP is supposedly being retired from this year?

Microsoft has just announced something that will help this new class of small computer keep running for a few more years - Microsoft has announced that it will extend the availability of Windows XP Home edition for this emerging type of computer referred to as an ultra-low-cost PCs (ULCPC).

The extension will run until either 30 June 2010 or one year after general availability of the next version of Windows – whichever is later.

Of course people will ask "what about Windows Vista?". It all come down to requirements it appears. According to David Rayner, Microsoft NZ Windows Platform Marketing Manager:


While Windows Vista provides many benefits, including an easier and more secure user experience, Windows XP Home edition provides an effective solution on these emerging devices from a performance and cost perspective.


ULCPCs are a new and growing class of mobile computers designed for customers interested in complementing their primary Windows-based PCs with additional, lower spec’d computers. These machines vary, but typically have smaller screen sizes and lower-powered processors than more expensive mobile PCs.



Is Telecom New Zealand going to release Windows Mobile 6.1 for its devices?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 2-Apr-2008 16:16

Microsoft has announced Windows Mobile 6.1 and I was curious to find out if Telecom New Zealand has any plans to release this updated mobile OS for its devices - the HTC Titan, the Okta Touch and the upcoming Samsung Ace.

All these devices have equivalents on Sprint (Mogul by HTC, Touch by HTC and Samsung Ace respectively) and will be getting upgrades according to the U.S. release.

So I contacted the helpful folks there and here is the official information I received from Telecom New Zealand:


The Windows 6.1 Phone client has been released into the market, and customers will have access to this - and be able to download the client.

In terms of TNZ devices, we have every intention to provide this updated platform to our customers.
 
We are awaiting the matching back-end functionality/server platform to be released from Microsoft.  This will enable us to test and approve a full end-to-end solution, that has been thoroughly tested on our devices.  Timeframe for this part of the solution, is around mid year, with an additional testing leadtime.
 
Up until that time, customers who do choose to download the upgrade - without it being officially supported or tested by TNZ, may face operating issues, bugs or in some extreme cases - a loss of functionality on their device. This situation is not new, as many applications, software updates, and patches are released by Microsoft & OEM's currently - and should be downloaded or applied by customers at their own risk.


Very nice, providing a tested solution to the market. But it sounds like Telecom's system integrator Gen-i is running the show. I am sure IT Pros will be happy. 

But what about the consumer market, those users who just want the latest OS to take advantage of all the new features and enhancements that do not require Microsoft Exchange Server or System Center Device Manager?

I have already heard of people running "cooked" Windows Mobile 6.1 ROMs in some TNZ Titan devices around the country. So this is a great opportunity to bring the official one earlier for consumer users.



Microsoft MVP Mobile Devices for another year!

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 2-Apr-2008 08:38

Thanks Microsoft, for giving me a Microsoft MVP Mobile Devices award for this year:


We [Microsoft] present the MVP Award to thank individuals for their exceptional contributions to technical communities worldwide. When a community participant sees an MVP in a technical community, whether in a newsgroup, as a user group host, a conference speaker, or a respondent in forums, that community participant can be confident that the information shared by the MVP will be of the highest caliber and will help every user make the most of the technology.


Microsoft
also benefits from engaging with MVPs through conferences, user groups, code camps, the MVP Global Summit, and other events. MVPs share their independent, real-world feedback with us, thereby helping Microsoft better understand users' needs, improve current products, and develop future technology.


Customers and technology users
who work with Microsoft technologies are encouraged to visit user groups, conferences, and training sessions that are led by MVPs. MVPs are objective technology experts who are eager to share their knowledge. They have no obligation to Microsoft and freely share their expert opinions and experience, earning users' respect and trust.


Here is my MVP profile.



Internet Explorer Mobile 6 screenshots

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 2-Apr-2008 08:12

Here are a few screenshots of the upcoming Internet Explorer Mobile 6, announced today and coming to Windows Mobile devices later in the year. The pictures show how the engine renders some web sites:





And below you can see the new Zoom features in the updated Internet Explorer Mobile released today with Windows Mobile 6.1:






These screenshots come courtesy of the Mobius conference, of which I am one of the participants. Thank you guys!



What is new on Windows Mobile 6.1

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 2-Apr-2008 05:30

Now that Windows Mobile 6.1 has been announced you must be thinking "what's in new?"... So here is a list of things you will find in Windows Mobile 6.1:

A new Getting Started center (pictured below) provides a way of helping people perform the primary tasks the phone is used for during the first 10 days. Those setup tasks include date and time, personal and work e-mail, security passwords, Bluetooth headsets, backgrounds and ring tones, as well as the ability to transfer music from the PC.



One of the first changes users will notice in Windows Mobile 6.1 is the new home screen user interface, shown on the right. The Sliding Panel plug-in offers quick, at-a-glance information of the clock, notifications (including voice mail, missed calls and text messages), e-mail, appointments, music and, optionally, Windows Live for Windows Mobile.



Nice - but only for Windows Mobile Standard handsets  - not for the touch screen devices, a.k.a. Windows Mobile Classic and Windows Mobile Professional.

In addition, once the Start menu button is pressed, people will notice it is now reordered to display the most recently used programs and applications at the top, enabling quicker access. The Most Recently Used Applications view can be turned off from the home screen settings panel.

For people who communicate through SMS, Windows Mobile 6.1 allows people to view a series of short message service threads in one view, cutting down on search time and providing one view of a conversation’s history.

Entries also show that contact details and contact names are hyperlinked, allowing people to respond immediately via text, phone or e-mail.

In Messaging, people will now be able to select multiple e-mail or text messages from the List view and enable various bulk actions: delete, move, mark read or unread, and flag messages. In the Contacts view, people can select or select all to delete multiple contacts at once.



Microsoft also says the over-the-air synchronization process in Windows Mobile 6.1-based devices has been improved further with Exchange Server 2007 Service Pack 1 (SP1). The synchronization architecture has been redesigned to reduce bandwidth by up to 60 percent and improve battery life by up to 33 percent, according to Microsoft.

Windows Mobile 6.1 adds a Task Manager to help people better manage their device’s memory and battery life by allowing them to shut down and switch applications and programs. Users are also able to view general performance data regarding device memory and CPU use.

Live Search is an optional in-ROM application for device-makers to include in Windows Mobile 6.1-based devices. Live Search for Windows Mobile helps people search for and find destinations and content. Examples include finding restaurants and movie times, checking traffic, getting directions and finding the cheapest gas prices in a city.

Internet Explorer Mobile now allows zoom in and out, so you can select particular sections of the page. Don't expect the new Internet Explorer Mobile based on the Internet Explorer desktop code to be out until Q3 2008 though.

For Enterprise users there's now the ability to associate the device with a domain, and remotely manage the devices through the new System Center Mobile Device Manager.

And what existing devices will get an updated OS? Here is the list:


• Mobile operators:
– Alltel Wireless: HTC PPC6800, HTC Touch
– AT&T: Samsung BlackJack II, MOTO Q 9h global, Pantech duo, AT&T Tilt by HTC
– Sprint: A new Palm Treo and updates for the Mogul by HTC, Touch by HTC, MOTO Q 9c, Samsung ACE
– T-Mobile International: T-Mobile MDA Ameo 16 GB, T-Mobile MDA compact IV

• Device-makers:
– ASUS: New phones including the P320, ZX1, P560, M536 and updates for the P527, P750, M930
– HTC: A new Touch Dual for the U.S. and updates for the AT&T Tilt, Touch by HTC, Mogul by HTC from Sprint, TyTN II
– i-mate: 8502, 9502, 8150, 6150
– Intermec: CN3
– Motorola: MOTO Q 9c, MOTO Q 9h global, MC70, MC9000
– Pantech: Pantech duo
– Samsung: BlackJack II
– Toshiba: Portégé G810,Portégé G910



Leaving Vodafone behind

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 1-Apr-2008 18:21

Today I walked into a Telecom New Zealand store and started the process to port the mobile number I've been using for the last ten years from Vodafone to Telecom.

This decision didn't come lightly. There are lots of things to consider - international roaming, handset availability, etc.

But seeing that Telecom is working on deploying their WCDMA network, which should be here by the end of the year, and since you can get a Telecom SIM card now to use it on any GSM phone while going overseas, I didn't see a reason good enough to keep me on Vodafone.

The Telecom store manager was really good - even when he told me I couldn't just put the 021 (Vodafone prefix) numberon my Okta Touch without losing the account settings I have with Telecom. After a few moments he came up with a good idea: just grab any old phone from the recycle bin and use its ESN number to hold my 027 (Telecom prefix) number for when I have another handset for that account.

This way he freed up my Okta Touch so I could port in.

If all is ok in about three days I should have all calls on this number going through Telecom New Zealand.

And no, I don't feel bad for leaving Vodafone behind. For a few months I've been contemplating doing it, but this week something happened that tipped me over to the other side.



Vodafone prepay porting woes

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 1-Apr-2008 12:23

A source tells me Vodafone NZ systems are down and any attempts to port a Telecom number into its prepay services can't be serviced at the moment.

The deadline for this service to be implemented is today. Will it work?



Opportunities in Next Generation Networks

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 28-Mar-2008 17:19

I have got an invitation to attend the 2nd Annual Opportunities in Next Generation Networks, which I am not able to attend due to some conflicts.

Here is part of the description:


Telecommunication carriers are not the only ones racing to build, deploy and launch a variety of access infrastructures for NGNs. In today’s digital and telecommunications world, industries which have up until now sat on the fringes of the industry are poised to enter the world of network owners and operators.

» New and old media firms
» Internet giants
» Utility and infrastructure providers
» Government, health and educational institutes

All of them have necessarily become stakeholders in the broadband end-game.

Some look to benefit from synergies, whilst others see new revenue and business streams.

There are even those for which high speed broadband has become a necessity, making NGNs the logical vertical extension of their businesses. And as for New Zealand, our digital ambition cannot be realised without a strong foundation (infrastructure) for which to deliver our next generation (children) into the global marketplace – on an equal fitting with their global cousins.

The Inaugural Opportunities in Next Generation Networks Summit 2007 argued strongly that the “generation of tomorrow” has become a redundant cliché. That generation arrived yesterday.

Was LLU too late? How fast can we move on it? Where will investment come from? What options do we have?


The agenda looks good. It is a shame I won't be attending.



Geekzone pizza evening

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 28-Mar-2008 08:53

In case you don't participate in the Geekzone forums, here is a tip: we are planning a Geekzone Pizza evening for the 16th April, here in Wellington.

Within minutes of posting it we got confirmation that some people managed to get some cheap flights to Wellington for those dates, thanks to Grabaseat.

We have a venue in mind, but it may change depending on the number of people who RSVP on the thread.

Once we have that confirmed I will post in the Geekzone Pizza evening discussion.

If you want to help this happen - YES WE ARE LOOKING FOR SPONSORS.

UPDATE: Our first sponsor is WorldxChange.



Look at your tummy button or what's wrong with the blogosphere

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 28-Mar-2008 08:07

Ed Bott's rant about Techmeme, echo chambers and more is a great read - in my case because I completely agree with this part:


Uh, no. I look at Techmeme once or twice a month, just to remind myself what a waste of time it is, and then I go read stuff that matters. I have more than 100 technology-related websites and RSS feeds in my reading list. Very few of them ever talk about whatever is hot on Techmeme right now. Which suits me just fine.

And please, don’t get me started on Digg.


I guess for some people Techmeme and Digg are a great way to be found. Evey day I remove a blog from my RSS reader - it hppens when I see a post that is just a repost of something that happened two weeks ago as something "new". I've seen people writing about "new" things that actually happened months before!



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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