My window to the world


Air New Zealand: your partner airline takes the prize

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 4-Dec-2007 01:53

Blogging from a mobile is bad but not as bad as Air New Zealand and Star Alliance partner BMI. Even though the booking is on the same code they refuse to check in my suitcase all the way back home. Instead they tell me I must clear customs in London, and go through passport control twice (in and out), denying me the transit. The fact that all flights are in the same booking and with the same code does not matter. They are just unhelpful. And seeing I had no problems coming in with Air New Zealand, I can only think it's BMI's fault being an unhelpful bunch.



Mobius 2007: The swag

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 30-Nov-2007 06:06

The first day of Mobius 2007 is almost finished: no more sessions now, only dinner ahead. We received a few goodies and for full disclosure I will list them here:

- A Sandisk 8GB Micro SDHC
- A Scooba backpack
- A Qualcomm 1GB USB memory key
- and at the end of the last session we all received a HTC Touch Dual

Thanks to all sponsors who provided this to the group!



Mobius 2007: HTC Magic Labs

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 30-Nov-2007 04:25

Probably the most interesting session today at Mobius 2007 was the presentation by John Wang, HTC Chief Innovation Wizard - this is the title on his business card - who came to this event with no PowerPoint slides... Actually he walked around the room and asked us what we would like to hear. After getting a few suggestions, he started talking about the HTC Magic Labs, the R&D arm of the handset manufacturer. The magic labs have a chief innovation wizard, software magicians and mechanical wizards - working together to create the next big thing in smart device handsets. A very entertaining session, where the group was presented with a series of prototypes - some that will never be released, and may not be seen outside again - and for this we were not allowed to take pictures.



Mobius 2007: Windows Mobile update coming soon

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 30-Nov-2007 00:19

Just hot out of one of the Mobius 2007 sessions: Microsoft has shown us an update for the current Windows Mobile 6 software platform. We saw a demo of an early version, running on current hardware, planned for release to manufacturers by Q1 2008. As usual we don't have specifics such as which devices will be receiving this update, or which manufacturers will be releasing it. But it certainly run on hardware currently available to consumers. More details will come at a later time - but it is not Windows Mobile 7.



Mobius 2007: reception and atendee list

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 29-Nov-2007 23:18

Last night we had the official welcome to the Mobius 2007 conference. Here is a list of atendees with their respective sites:

Rafe Blandford www.allaboutsymbian.com
Paul O’Brien www.modaco.com
Nghia Nguyen www.pdafrance.com
Arne Hess www.theunwired.net
Guido Bonati www.solopalmari.com
Remo Knops www.pocketinfo.nl
Eldar Murtazin www.mobile-review.com/index-en.shtml
Philip Berne www.infosyncworld.no
Shane Chiang www.ppcsg.com
Paul Matt www.phonedaily.com
Jenneth Orantia www.geardiary.com
Andrew Shuttleworth www.windowsmobileinjapan.com
Atushi Koyanagi www.htc-fan.jp
Mauricio Freitas www.geekzone.co.nz
Matt Miller blogs.zdnet.com/mobile-gadgeteer/
Ryan Block www.engadget.com
Jason Dunn www.pocketpcthoughts.com
Michael Oryl www.mobileburn.com
Judie Lipsett Hughes www.geardiary.com
Eric Lin www.phonescoop.com
Vincent Nguyen www.slashphone.com
Dieter Bohn www.treocentral.com

Below you see Arne Hess (the::unwired) , myself and Ryan Block (Engadget):



The complete set of pictures is on SlashGear (where I got the list from too).



Mobius 2007: Samsung SGH-i620 in the flesh

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 29-Nov-2007 22:48

The Mobius conference has started here in Amsterdam and we had an opportunity to introduce ourselves and talk about the devices of choice, why we prefer those, etc.

Now we are listening to Jason Langridge who is talking about some new Windows Mobile applications and devices.

The Samsung SGH-i620 is a device I've seen before when it was being tested by Vodafone New Zealand but I wasn't allowed to talk about it. So here it is now:



It is a very small slider device, running Windows Mobile 6 Standar (Smartphone, no touch screen). It is HSDPA-enabled and really a good looking device.

I don't have information on when Vodafone New Zealand will be selling these, but I understand they are available in Europe now.

The Samsung SGH-i620 is using the same "carrousel" user interface you find in the Palm Treo 500v, which will be a standard for all Vodafone handhelds soon.

Also, Jason pointed out that the highly expected Office Mobile 6.1 is now available. It is a free upgrade for users that already have Office Mobile on their devices, and it will be available for purchase from Handango sometime soon if you don't this in your device.



Mobius 2007: In Amsterdam - the flight here

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 28-Nov-2007 18:15

And I am here in Amsterdam now, in my first visit to this city, to attend the Mobius conference (also a first).

So what was good and not so on this trip so far?

First I managed to get upgraded to the Air New Zealand business class all the way from Auckland to London. This is great because Auckland to Los Angeles is a twelve hour overnight flight, and Los Angeles to London is another nine hour flight. The good thing about the Air New Zealand business class is the individual pods with flat beds.

The stop in Los Angeles is only a couple of hours, and you are supposed to be in the transit lounge. But for the business class passengers there's the option to clear the U.S. immigration, walk back to the terminal and visit the Koru Lounge.

I immediatelty left the aeroplane, walked through immigration and customs in less than 15 minutes total - and was stopped in my tracks by the TSA.

When you travel to and through the U.S. you will be in contact with at least three government agencies: immigration, customs and TSA.

I never had problems with the first two. But the TSA... Be prepared for long queues and employees who will look at you with a blank stare and simply "not think".

When I was reentering the terminal I showed my original boarding pass and photo ID (passport). He asked where is my boarding pass. I told him "that's it - it says London Heathrow with today's date". But he wanted one issued in LAX.

So I walked back to an Air New Zealand counter, asked for a new boarding pass and the person behind the counter was amused "they should not ask for a new one".

Well, explain this to the TSA - the Air New Zealand agreement works well with immigration and customs, but not the TSA.

Anyway, I had 90 minutes to have a shower, walk and eat something more substantial in the lounge - but at the boarding time Air New Zealand warned the departure would be delayed for technical reasons.

I think I made the right decision going through directly to the lounge, because everyone else in business class started pouring into the lounge - by then I had at least two hours ahead of the crowd and was able to relax instead of rushing around trying to get to the showers, food, drinks, arm chairs, etc...

The flight to London arrived a few hours late, but by the time I had deplaned in Heathrow Air New Zealand had me booked into another flight to Amsterdam.

London Heathrow is just a mess - hundreds of people waiting for a bus to change terminals, but not enough busses going around. And lots of work in progress. And it looks old. But the pizza was good.

Arriving in Amsterdam was refreshing. The airport is modern and nice. The immigration and customs must be the totalitarian governments worst nightmare: the immigration officer looked at my passport and applied a stamp - no scanning, no fingerprinting, no digital photo, no forms to fill. The same with customs.

Another thing was the impressive size of this airport. Not even in LAX or MIA I've seen this: the aeroplane landed exactly on time and it took 15 minutes rolling on the tarmac to reach the terminal. I've been 60 minutes in an aeroplane in MIA, but not moving, just waiting in the line for the terminal to be ready.

It is cold here, but not worse than back in Wellington at the moment though. Let's see how the next week goes.



Telecom fibre plans no surprise, says Paul Budde

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 26-Nov-2007 12:23

When I wrote about Telecom New Zealand's cabinetisation plans I got a few comments as in "you are being paid by Telecom" and so on.

My point was simply that LLU is too late, and with wrong focus, Telecom is doing what they said two years ago and the competitors simply don't understand - or don't want to - the telco market that well.

There is a long discussion on Geekzone already, and quite a few people actually agreed with this view.

And now from Paul Budde:


Telecom Cabinets Analysis - Shortsighted Industry

However, I was very critical about the industry whose total focus was to get some quick fixes to the wholesale regime in relation to local loop unbundling. Telecom had made it very clear that it would take until 2008 before new wholesale products would become available.

BuddeComm consistently warned that New Zealand was fighting battles which occurred in Europe in the early 00s and in Australia in the mid 00s and that in the meantime the world had moved on and that by 2008, also in New Zealand, the discussion would have moved on to fibre networks. Unfortunately nobody at that time wanted to seriously discuss that issue and started to beaver away in what we called old-world wholesale issues.

Telecom fibre plans are no surprise

Based on our analyses of Telecom NGN plans, going back to the early 00s, we were certain that Telecom did have a plan which would see them moving deeper into fibre networks, as a matter of fact we had mentioned the company at several occasions in our global research reports as being one of the early adopters of this new concept and their GEN-I initiative also made it very clear to us where their future thinking was. It therefore didn’t come as a surprise to us that they announced their new fibre plans in the way they did it, making 2,000 copper based exchanges obsolete in this process.

However, we are very disappointed that Telecom at the same didn’t indicate how they are going to take the rest of the industry with them on this exiting new path. This is certainly against the sentiment that I first encountered in May 2006 and that we have quite publicly supported over the last 18 month.

As a matter of fact the lack of a visionary national approach could potentially set the country back many years, basically throwing it back into the dark days of the monopoly. Surely the new structural separation legislation will eventually assist the industry. However, without Telecom’s support that could take many years.


More and more I see people agreeing with the view I and some others here share...



Provider botches e-mail migration

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 26-Nov-2007 07:13

Let's say your ISP decided to migrate its rather large user base from their own e-mail servers to a third party provider.

And imagine that in the process people receive mixed instructions, conflicting results, and seemingly loss of e-mails happens?

Are we talking about the Telecom New Zealand's Yahoo!Xtra Bubble problems?

Nope. we are actually talking about the British ISP Sky migration of its one million users to Google Apps.

Users' e-mails were migrated to the Google Apps platform. No e-mails were actually reported lost, but instead of having the POP e-mail option automatically enabled on Google Mail (it is off by default), people had to manually do it. If you didn't then no e-mail for you.

Of course changing the e-mail provider meant changing some settings in the e-mail client. For example users now need to add @sky.com to their login, which they didn't need before, and other minor changes. All in a ten pages PDF!

If you think that ten pages of instructions is not enough, then check the e-mail users received announcing the migration (supposing you actually got the e-mail before the migration, because otherwise you wouldn't be able to receive any without knowing something has changed).

I know there are no reports of terrible things so far, such as the bad spam filtering experience Xtra users felt - when legitimate e-mails were never delivered, being trapped in the spam folders that users didn't even know existed. But  I can only imagine how many of those one million users will have no access to their e-mails for days and week to come while trying to reach overloaded help desk people.



New Zealand Connections wiki

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 24-Nov-2007 19:24

A few Geekzone users got together some time ago and started an ambitious project: to create a repository with signifcant information on New Zealand broadband.

Visitors to New Zealand Connections will find a lot of information about Internet service providers, mobile service providers and landline service providers.

For each of the areas the site covers lists all providers, plans and price comparisons, troubleshooting information, configuration settings, technology in use, detailed write ups of each provider and link to providers and references.

The New Zealand Connections (NZ Connections) was created in a wiki style, so others can join and help adding information to the site.

Contributions are welcome and needed as there is plenty to be added yet... You can discuss, suggest and give opinion in our forums.








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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