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Air New Zealand charity auctions closing next week

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 12-Dec-2007 18:12

A quick note to let you know that the Kids at Christmas charity auctions at sellmefree.co.nz and sponsored by Air New Zealand, are running until 19 December 2007.

There are more than 80 auctions including "Behind the scenes Tour of Weta workshop", a couple of Big Day out tickets, "Auckland Engineering Base Tour" and "Fly a Boeing 777 simulator".  More items are coming soon.

What about two months of unlimited business class travel around the world for two people? Or Air New Zealand CEO Rob Fyfe cooking dinner at your place?

All money raised goes to Make-A-Wish, StarJam and the Starship Foundation, helping children all over New Zealand.



Microsoft Office 2007 Service Pack 1: download now

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 12-Dec-2007 08:46

Microsoft has released the Office 2007 Service Pack 1 for download now. I am downloading the main file plus the Vision 2007 update - a total of 320 MB.

This is an excerpt from a Q&A with Microsoft Office Product Manager Reed Shaffner:


PressPass: What are you announcing today and what does it mean for customers?
Shaffner: We’re announcing the availability of Service Pack 1 (SP1) for the 2007 Microsoft Office system, which delivers significant stability, performance and security improvements. These enhancements span the software applications and servers that home and office workers use each day and will make the 2007 Office system an even more robust and effective productivity tool. In essence, SP1 targets the issues that customers told us mattered to them most.


PressPass: What are the main improvements that customers will notice with SP1 for the 2007 Office system?
Shaffner: SP1 provides stability and performance improvements across the 2007 Office system, keying in on customers’ leading productivity concerns, and beefs up security precautions to stay ahead of the latest threats from malicious software and other risks.


Crashes are one of the most frustrating experiences customers have, and the team worked hard with SP1 to make our products more stable. We’ve also included most of the previously-released hotfixes that also help reduce the incidence of crashes in Office applications.


SP1 also provides key fixes and enhancements to make the 2007 Office system more reliable and easier to use. For example, SP1 addresses problems customers have experienced in Outlook 2007 when opening large mail files. It also delivers more accurate presence information in Microsoft Office Communicator to help improve collaboration and communication for customers.


We also did a lot of work to improve the reliability of the 2007 Office system’s server components with SP1.

We know that search is really important to our enterprise customers using Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, so we spent a lot of time improving indexing to help make documents and information easier to find. SP1 includes support for AJAX deployments, which should help developers create custom Web Parts for their customers. Finally, SP1 bolsters the robust security standards built into Office 2007 by incorporating the very latest advances in security technology to deliver even greater protection against malware, privacy intrusions and other threats.


SharePoint Server 2007 and other server products are also now compatible with Microsoft Windows Server 2008, giving customers the peace of mind they need to proceed with upgrade plans.


PressPass: How can customers get SP1?
Shaffner: Customers can download SP1 immediately from http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/downloads/default.aspx. They can also place an order for a CD at http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/default.aspx. At a later date, we also will provide SP1 through automatic update.



TelstraClear, it is the end of the year - where is the 25 Mbps upgrade?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 11-Dec-2007 16:37

Unless TelstraClear is hiding something, and seeing that they are giving $10 and $20 monthly credits to customers, I don't think we are going to see the promised 25 Mbps upgrade available this side of Christmas.

Shame. I was really looking forward to playing with that... How long we will have to wait now, with network brownout during the holiday?



More giveaways on Geekzone

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 11-Dec-2007 15:28

A couple of weeks ago I posted a review of all the giveaways on Geekzone during 2007 - and it is an impressive list. But it just keep going!

Last week we gave away a copy of Microsoft Office Ultimate 2007. This week we are giving away a bundle of Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate and Microsoft Office Ultimate 2007 - a BIG prize.

In the coming weeks we have Microsoft Lifecam for laptops, laptop speakers, Xbox 360 games, CoPilot 7 for Windows Mobile, AVG Anti-virus and much more.

Also, one of our Geekzone readers is giving away until Christmas copies of his SpeakMediaASR software. Just check the forum post for this.

Make sure to stop by our Geekzone competition page to see if we have any competition running.



Microsoft New Zealand 2008 Summer Roadtrip

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 11-Dec-2007 15:06

As many of you know we are already running Geekzone on Microsoft Windows Server 2008 (RC0) as part of an early adopter programme.

Microsoft New Zealand has started planning the launch activites for Microsoft Windows Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008 and Microsoft SQL Server 2008. These activities include a "2008 Summer Roadtrip".

Chris Auld and Jeremy Boyd are going to be touring the country showing off all the stuff in Windows Server (Virtualisation, IIS, etc), SQL Server (File Stream, Spatial data types & queries, etc) and Visual Studio (LINQ, CSS designers, etc).  In each location they will be joined by a local speaker.

These are the dates:

  • Auckland – Feb 4
  • Tauranga – Feb 5
  • Hamilton – Feb 7
  • New Plymouth – Feb 8
  • Hawkes Bay – Feb 11
  • Palmerston North – Feb 12
  • Wellington – Feb 13
  • Nelson – Feb 14
  • Christchurch – Feb 15
  • Dunedin – Feb 18
  • Invercargill - Feb 19

    If you are available in any of these dates, come in for more information on these platforms and tools. Darryl's got more information on his MSDN blog.

  • PS. When you register you enter the draw to win one of two server hardware, Windows Home Server software and more. And you get another entry in the draw if you invite a friend.



    If you have a contact form, answer it...

    By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 11-Dec-2007 11:33

    Sometimes I hear people comments such as "but I filled their contact form"... It really doesn't surprise me how companies have "contact us" forms but don't bother answering questions.

    A lot of companies (and for some time I had a list of those) have nicely designed websites with beautiful description of their services, brilliant pictures of their products - but they simply don't have anyone who cares to answer questions posted by web visitors that fill the "contact us" forms.

    My latest experience? ALK Technologies gave everyone of us attending the Mobius 2007 in Amsterdam a copy of CoPilot 7 for Windows Mobile. It works really well, and I installed it on my Pocket PC to find my way around the city.

    But when it comes to answer a simple question I posted through their support contact form... The whole "great software" thing comes down to pretty bad service - and still no answer to a simple question.

    When I started Geekzone I sent an e-mail to a technology company with offices in Australia. The e-mail had a Delivery Notification request. I received twenty five notifications - and no reply. That's right. I had the entire office structure, with e-mail addresses of twenty five different people who read my e-mail, and not a single person replied to it.

    Because of this -and previous bad experiences with this company's products - I never used them again. And if you read the Geekzone forums you will see that I actively tell people to stay away from them.

    Another example of how spending money in technology still looks like an after thought and people still don't take ownership? Take BP New Zealand for example. A few years ago I had some questions regarding their products (at the time their new Ultimate fuel) and filled a "contact us" form.

    I instantly received a non-delivery notification because the form script was sending the information to webmaster@sytec.co.nz, a non-existing e-mail address.

    So BP invested in creating a website, but the outsourced team at Sytec time didn't test it and didn't bother using correct contacts in the form? I wonder if the BP team ever thought how strange people never contacted them through that old website.

    Note that this was some years ago. Sytec is now TelstraClear, and the BP website is completely different. But the example stands.




    Help test Sprite Archie for Windows Mobile

    By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 11-Dec-2007 09:46

    In the last couple of weeks I have been using Sprite Archie for Windows Mobile, the new software coming out of the Sprint Software labs - and now they are looking for more beta testers.

    Sprite Archie is a SMS and call log archiver - and it's really good at that, yet very simple.

    After you install it you set Sprite Archie to monitor your communications (SMS, voice calls) and the software will log every incoming and outgoing activity as an e-mail sent to a nominated account with timestamp information and the message (for SMS). You can set Sprite Archie to send out a message for every activity or a daily digest.

    Mind you this is not a SMS backup solution, but a communications archiver - it will not copy your SMS, although the message is sent as part of the e-mail.

    If you are interested, check the Sprite beta tester discussion to download the software.



    The transistor is 60 years old

    By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 11-Dec-2007 09:31

    During the weekend I received an e-mail from Intel with some interesting tidbits about the Transistor (pictured, Wikipedia, GNU FDL), the building blocks of all sorts of electronic gadgetry.

    Transistors are semiconductor devices, used as an amplifier or an electrically controlled switch, invented 60 years ago and some say it is the most important invention of the 20th century.

    Transistors have found their way into many devices, but most importantly they are the building blocks of computer chips.

    My Intel source tells that as transistors become smaller, we run against some fundamental problems: the smallest parts in a transistor today are only five atoms thick.

    So here I list some of the facts:

    - Intel’s first chip was the 4004 which came to the market in 1971 – about the same time as the Boeing 747 made its first flight from New York to London. Compared with the 4004, Intel’s new 45nm (nanometer) chips have seen a 200 time  improvement and have become 1.000 time more energy efficient.

    - The original transistor built by Bell Labs in 1947 could be held in your hand, while hundreds of the new 45nm transistor can fit on the surface of a single red blood cell.

    - The price of a transistor in one of Intel’s new next-generation processors -- codenamed Penryn -- is about 1 millionth the average price of a transistor in 1968.

    - It is estimated that about 10,000,000,000,000,000,000 transistors are shipped each year.

    - You could fit more than 2,000 45nm transistors across the width of a human hair.

    - You could fit more than 30 million 45nm transistors onto the head of a pin, which measures approximately 1.5 million nm (1.5 mm) in diametre.

    - A 45nm transistor can switch on and off approximately 300 billion times a second. A beam of light travels less than a tenth of an inch during the time it takes a 45nm transistor to switch on and off.

    And here is a timeline:

     - 16 December 1947: William Shockley, John Bardeen and Walter Brattain successfully build the first transistor at Bell Labs.
     
    - 1950: William Shockley develops the bipolar junction transistor, the device most commonly referred to as a transistor by today’s standard.

    - 1953: The first commercial device to make use of the transistor is put on the market – the hearing aid. 

    - 18 October 1954: The first transistor radio was put on the market and contained just four transistors.

    - 1965: Moore’s Law is born when Intel’s Gordon Moore predicts that the number of transistors on a chip will double roughly every year (a decade later, revised to every 2 years) in the future, as stated in an article in Electronics Magazine.

    - 1971: Intel launches its first microprocessor – the 4004. The 4004 was 1/8 of an inch by 1/16 of an inch, contained just more than 2,000 transistors and was manufactured with Intel’s 10micron PMOS technology.

    - July 18 2006: The Dual-Core Intel Itanium 2 processor launches with the world’s most intricate product design to date, utilising more than 1.72 billion transistors.



    Sandy 1 vs 0 Flintstone boy

    By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 9-Dec-2007 19:35

    Always interesting to read a good IT tale, as told by Sandy:


    ...Slightly annoyed I asked a more technical question: I was interested in what database they were running as he had just told me (i.e. Eduard) he was doing a data migration. Answer to this: "I'm moving data from one database to another using scripts. Oh, is that too technical for you? Do you understand this?"

    So I patted his shoulder and told him in the most patronizing way I could muster (I did kind of enjoy calling him little boy) that he had just made a very career limiting move and that it was always a huge mistake to assume women wouldn't understand IT.

    I also told him I held an Oracle certification and could code 10 times better than him and if he ever talked down to a woman in IT again I'd kill his career before it had even started (not that I have to power to do that but little Flintstone boy wouldn't know ;-)


    Way to go Sandy!



    Geekzone on Facebook

    By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 8-Dec-2007 12:20

    Last night I released a Geekzone application for Facebook that lists all the latest Geekzone news, reviews and select blog posts.

    And if you are active in our forums, then the Geekzone Forums application for Facebook is for you - keep an eye on all the latest discussions in our forums.

    If you have Facebook always open on your browser, this is another way to keep up to update on what is coming out of Geekzone.



    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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