My window to the world


Ojo videophone: can you see me now?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 7-Feb-2008 16:41

If you are one of the people who bought an Ojo videophone from Telecom New Zealand (announced down here back in November 2006) then start worrying.

It seems Worldgate is in the path to bankruptcy:


Accordingly, on January 30, 2008, the Company shut down its operations as a first step to winding down its business, which will occur if the Company is not able to secure payment of the monies believed to be owed and/or new financing. The Company continues to explore potential financing opportunities and is also pursuing legal recourse against the customer. Thus, bankruptcy may be coming shortly, which would be another black eye for the VoIP industry...



And just minutes ago I read on Engadget that the service has gone dark.

Is anyone here in New Zealand still using the Ojo through Telecom New Zealand?



Finding Chuck Norris

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 7-Feb-2008 16:29

I just got this on an e-mail, worth trying:

1. Open Google

2. Type "find chuck norris"

3.Click on "I'm feeling lucky"

Enjoy...



You should follow Polar Bear Farm

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 7-Feb-2008 13:07

During the Kiwi Foo Camp 2008 I had a chance to meet Layton Duncan. He's quite active on Geekzone, mainly in the Mac OS X Mobile forum, helping others with their iPhone and iPod touch questions and comments.

He is also involved with Polar Bear Farm and I think you should follow the company.

Why you should follow Polar Bear Farm? Because it's a New Zealand company creating application software for the Apple iPhone and iPod touch.

They are the guys behind the PBF Search and PBF ShowTime - this one brings video recording to the Apple iPhone.

I just wanted the guys added more posts to their blog - I know they were shoing off their stuff during the MacWorld but it would b good to hear more of their experience of going to that big show.



Opera 9.5 demo video

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 6-Feb-2008 09:16

Opera Software has announced Opera 9.5, its new web browser version for smartphones. The software is not available yet, but it will be hosted at Opera Mobile sometime after the Mobile World Congress 2008.

In the meantime, there's a demo video available and shared below.



I am looking forward to having this installed on my Windows Mobile device.

Is just me or does it show all the features Internet Explorer Mobile should have had for the last few years already?



Microsoft Windows Server 2008

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 5-Feb-2008 17:29

I've just finished downloading Windows Server 2008 RTM from Connect. You will notice that MSDN and Technet only have the 64 bit version, while Connect lists all versions but only for the next 30 days.

It took only 29 minutes to download Windows Server 2008 32 bit. I am now going to use this to upgrade the test environment on a virtual machine. This is in preparation for the migration of our Geekzone production server from Windows Server 2008 RC1 to RTM.

We have been running Windows Server 2008 RC1 on Geekzone for almost three months now as part of an early adopters programme with Microsoft. The experience couldn't have been better.

During this time we had only a couple of updates installed, only one restart because of this and installed a second drive to mirror the system. Modifying the drive to a dynamic partition and creating the mirror did not require a restart (as I remember it needed on Windows Server 2003) and all completed ok.

I have heard comments from Geekzone users on how they feel the site has been more responsive in the last few month - and I've noticed this too.

If you want to find out more about Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008 check the Summer Road Trip.

As for Windows Vista SP1... I am waiting for it to be available for download, ready to install on my laptop.



TheFreeNet - mesh wi-fi in Wellington metropolitan areas

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 4-Feb-2008 15:30

During the last weekend at Kiwi Foo Camp I came across a very interesting project called The Free Net. Rod Drury went as far as saying this was one of the Best of Foo.

The whole idea is to use accessible wireless mesh repeaters to extend a wireless LAN (wi-fi) network and cover Wellington with free wi-fi. The Meraki solution was adopted by the project because they manufacture a few hardware options including an indoor version (pictured), an outdoor version and an upcoming solar battery-powered outdoor version.

Individuals and companies would "donate" part of their bandwidth to the project. Companies could subsidise this through advertising shown in a narrow bar on top of the webpages visited (I saw that and it's really not a problem).

The project is being initially sponsored by Webstock 2008 and Govis, who are creating a fund with their donations of NZ$5,000 and $9,000 respectively to purchase those devices and donate to individuals and companies who want to start sharing their networks.

This will be a lot of devices, since the Meraki indoors costs only US$49 and the Meraki outdoor costs US$99.

The whole thing is based on a "pay forward" concept where you don't charge others to use your bandwidth while you can use someone else's bandwidth for free.

The project established a 1 GB limit that any MAC address can use during the month which is a lot in a shared model aimed to be used only when you are away from your own network.

Hopefully with more people joining in all the traffic won't be going throug a handful of companies and individuals.

You don't need to donate your bandwidth though. You can donate the space and power required for these devices to run. Providing they are in range to another device then the network will be extended and Internet access will be provided through the shared gateways in the system.

At the end of the day you will be hard pressed to find individuals who can afford sharing their bandwidth in th current New Zealand broadband landscape. In this country there's no concept of "unlimited" bandwidth. People are still being charged in plans that go from a minimum of 1GB (yes, believe me), going through 5GB, 10GB and so on.

We are here on a 80 GB plan, for example, and only use about 60 GB a month. I would be happy to share the other 20 GB but there is currently no way to limit this on the project. You can limit the bandwidth throughput (to say 512 Kbps instead of the native 10 Mbps on my cable conneciton) but you can't limit the number of users.

There are other projects and products that allow people to share their Internet connections around, but none incorporate the mesh aspect of this project which means it does not require every single node to be directly connected to the Internet. You can have a look at FON (not available in New Zealand), Tomizone or Zenbu (both New Zealand-based businesses).

FON allows you to share your connection for free, while using other people's connections for free as well. Or to make it available for free to other people who share their connections, while charging "visitors" that do not share their own connections.

Tomizone and Zenbu both work on the same commercial view. You purchase a router with a modified firmware and can then establish your own hotspot service, charging people for access.

I would be much more inclined to use the FON model for example, to cover the basic connection cost, but wouldn't mind going completely commercial to cover all the costs.

What do you think?



Wikipedia on Vodafone live!

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 4-Feb-2008 13:07

If you are in New Zealand and use Vodafone live! services, check the Mobile Wikipedia, developed by Instinct.

The service is a WAP interface to Wikipedia and can be accessed from Vodafone live! > Communities > The Answer Is Here.

A few comments though:

- I tried it using a Palm Treo 500v (screenshot) which is the first Windows Mobile Vodafone live! compatible handset. It all worked ok but the articles themselves were not showing any formatting If you test this with other handsets (Nokia, Sony Ericcson, etc) please leave a comment how the experience goes.

- Why didn't Vodafone use something like "Mobile Wikipedia" in the link, instead of "The Answer Is Here"? It would probably attract more attention.

Good luck with the new service.



New Geekzone Blogs Windows Vista Sidebar gadget

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 3-Feb-2008 10:44

Thanks to Chaks, who developed a Geekzone Blogs Gadget for Windows Vista Sidebar. He was inpired by our Geekzone Forums Gadget for Windows Vista Sidebar, originally developed for us by Provoke.

If you follow the Geekzone blogs or forums and use Windows Vista make sure you download those gadgets.

If you are using Mac OS X or Konfabulator and would like to develop similar gadgets for these other platforms, please contact me.



At Kiwi Foo Camp 2008

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 2-Feb-2008 10:50

I am in Warkworth (New Zealand) with other 150 technologists, developers, thinkers, writers, entrepreneurs participating in the second Kiwi Foo Camp, organised by O'Reilly's Nat Torkington and his crew.

It is an amazing mix of people and knowledge around here. Radio NZ is broadcasting live from the premises, discussions are going on almost around the clock - and this time we didn't get lost on the way here thanks to... technology (gotta love GPS, Google Maps Mobile and cellular data).

Talking about wireless data we have wireless LAN here, but you can imagine how a crowd of 150 technologists can quickly overload the tubes. So I am using my Telecom data card. I noticed that Telecom New Zealand has upgraded this site to CDMA EVDO since the same time last year, but Vodafone New Zealand still provides the same non-usable GPRS service around here.

The conversations around here are not NDA, but it's a matter of principle to only disclose things if you ask and receive a positive response.

I gotta go now for one of my sessions. Here are a few pictures from the opening:










Microsoft Mobile Notebook Initiative Solutions

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 2-Feb-2008 09:42

A couple of days ago I received a press release from one of the companies exhibiting at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona... In the middle of the text there was this:

"Including Microsoft's new mobile notebook initiative solutions."



Believe me or not, I haven no idea what they are talking about - and I haven't got a reply through my channels.

So exactly what is this new thing?


Any ideas?



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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