My window to the world


Intel Ark launches

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 9-Nov-2007 11:09

I just got this tip on my e-mail and I haven't heard of it before, so here it goes: Intel is launching a website with a load of information that may be very useful for system integrators, enthusiasts, and IT professionals in general. You can visit the new service on Intel ARK (Automated Relational Knowledgebase).

You just browse the information presented there or search via keywords including the brand name, processor number, MM#, order code, SPEC code, code name, CPU Frequency, CPU Cache, or CPU FSB. Some AJAX coding behind the scenes so you have some nice visual effects too.

Information retrieved includes shipping status, price and more. For chipsets for example you get information on valid processors, max memory, bandwidth, packaging, etc.

Interesting tool, constantly updated directly from Intel's own databases.



Geekzone and TV3 news listings

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 7-Nov-2007 09:26

This is some exciting news for us here: as of today our Geekzone news and reviews are being listed in the TV3 News Technology section.

Also great news for you reading the Geekzone news, reviews and forums sections since now you will find links to the most recent TV3 technology news videos in all our news and forums pages.



Slingshot employees on Geekzone

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 6-Nov-2007 14:31

It appears Slingshot employees (or people claiming to be) decided to show up on Geekzone for the first time... And they don't accept criticism:


I would have to agree with bites on this one.. that article did indeed contain VERY little evidence.. If anything it would appear you are bad mouthing most of WXC's major compition is some sort of half arse attempt to help them get ahead?


Also the two people have very close IP addresses, both belonging to Slingshot. I am pretty sure these guys don't represent the company's views. But if they do, I pity the poor users...



Windows Home Server defragmentation with Diskeeper 2008

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 6-Nov-2007 13:09

I think there are lots of interest in the defragmentaion topic - my previous post on Windows Vista Defragmentation gets hundreds of reads every day.

Now that Microsoft Windows Home Server is readily available people will have to manage massive amounts of data - including file fragmentation on very large drives.

I have previously suggested people use Diskeeper on Windows Vista (I use it on my Windows Vista laptop, and on my Windows Server 2003 machine) - and now they have just released Diskeeper for Windows Home Server, a version of its disk defragmention software completely integrated with the Windows Home Server console as you can see in the screenshot:


I am running this now on my WHS box with about 1.7 TB and it seems to be doing a good job - the integration with the WHS console is the key thing, so you can manage it from any PC you have on your network.



Slingshot and Woosh woes... Xtra nominated worst ISP in New Zealand

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 5-Nov-2007 20:30

Interesting that Xtra received a mention in the latest Consumer survey (subscription required) as the worst ISP in the country.

Xtra had some problems, no doubt. The Go Large fiasco for example. To refresh your memory, Xtra promised "unleashed" broadband and one specific plan ("Go Large") was supposed to allow "unlimited" downloads with reduced speeds at certain times of the day.

What people found out is that the slow speeds were common at any time, and the service was unusable.

Telecom put it right though, by offering a refund to affected users.

Then the "bubble", the e-mail migration from Xtra servers to Yahoo! servers based in Australia, which caused (and still causes) headaches to users trying to get to their emails, or simply receive e-mails from friends.

Once again Telecom put it right, by offering an automatic compensation, plus an one million dollars donation to charities in New Zealand.

Now I read around the Geekzone forums that two ISPs are in similar trouble. The difference is that Telecom put it right, but the other ISPs don't see to be moving to make it right.

First is Woosh (see discussions 1, 2, and 3 in our Woosh forum). The ISP offered an "unlimited" plan but it sees the 1,000 users still in this plan are using more than Woosh predicted. So instead of a fix, Woosh moved all those users to a reduced speed pool, 24/7, providing speeds that are just below dial-up speeds, while charging the same as before.

But for the first time I am also seeing something I haven't come across much before: people that actually vote with their feet, close their accounts and move to another ISP - in this particular case it seems like a mass migration to Xnet. Xnet is wel known to Geekzone users, because their technical people are active in our forums and provide a great service (I use their VoIP service VFX over my TelstraClear cable modem connection).

Then there's Slingshot, which seems to provide less service than promised (and a discussion in our Broadband forum). In short, it seems that users who are restricted to dial-up speeds on Slingshot as part of contract, also have restrictions on services. Once you use your quote for the month you can access websites and e-mail but that is it. You can't connect to other Internet services such as IRC, Instant Messaging and so on.

The problem is that this restriction is not listed in their site, so when users ask why some services are not working, Slingshot help desk people tell them to "buy more data blocks", which will "unleash" the speeds - and unblock the services.

The discussion is going on, and a self-claimed Slingshot employee says this is not the case, most likely a CSR with wrong information at hand. So let's see how it ends.

Really, is there any limits in what users have to accept? And was Xtra "worst New Zealand ISP" deserved after all?

By the way, here's the list (best to worst):

Inspire
Actrix
Maxnet
Infogen
Orcon
ICONZ
Xnet
Farmside
Paradise
Clear
Slingshot
Kiwi Online
ihug
Woosh
Vodafone
Xtra



The fear of technology: is it illegal to use laptops in cafes?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 5-Nov-2007 17:18

Last weekend I had all Geekzone moderators in town for a weekend involving dinner, brunch, drinks (I hear a couple of them got back to the hotel at 6am) and of course some brainstorming session on what Geekzone will be in 2008.

Because of this full on weekend I couldn't commit to attend the SuperHappyDevHouse Mini, the sequel to the SHDH Pilot that started it all here in New Zealand.

But I did have time to briefly stop at the Southern Cross and meet Brenda and other developers who were happily coding, sharing knowledge and drinking coffee...

The event this time was smaller than the pilot, with about 20 developers working in a reserved area, with wireless access to the Internet (I counted two Windows laptops and all others were Mac OS - plus one Linux laptop).

The funniest comment from that event came from Brenda:


There was a family seated nearby giving us strange looks -- the adult ensuring the kids didnt' look at us for fear of something.

Eventually one of family walked over to the bar cashier, pointed at us, and said "Isn't that illegal?"

Not sure what he thought we were doing.


And this is in the country where we are pushing hard to have broadband to everyone, bringing down monopolies, unbundling the local loop and more...

Sigh...

UPDATE: If you are interested in joining SuperHappyDevHouse, it is now happening on the first Sunday of every month. Visit the SuperHappyDevHouse Aotearoa website to find out where is the next one.



Is Okta Mobile a reference to Aotearoa?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 5-Nov-2007 13:43

I was talking to a friend about the new Telecom New Zealand brand, Okta Mobile, and she pointed out an interesting relationship between "Okta" and "Aotearoa":

Aotearoa: "The land of the long white cloud", widely known and accepted Māori name for New Zealand.

Okta: In meteorology, an okta is a unit of measurement used to describe cloud cover.

I haven't heard anything during the launch about this relationship, but could it be intentional?

Thank to Brenda for the tip...

UPDATE: And Telecom New Zealand tells me this is not intentional... A coincidence?



Geekzone group on Facebook

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 3-Nov-2007 08:55

I have just created a Geekzone group on Facebook. Open membership so feel free to join - and while you join you should add me as friend as well.



Telecom Okta Mobile and HTC

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 2-Nov-2007 18:42

Telecom new brand for mobile handsets, Okta Mobile, will work to bring to the market new devices - possibly in a shorter cycle than we used to see from the CDMA-soon-to-be-HSDPA operator. This I was told, despite the fact that Okta Mobile is not a separate company, but only a name.

The official brand launch was yesterday, in Auckland with the presence of David Lee, Assistant Vice President of HTC Asia, Telecom people (of course) and an audience of journalists and other guests.

During his speech Mr Lee said "This union between HTC, the world's leading provider of Microsoft Windows Mobile smart handheld devices and Telecom New Zealand marks the beginning of a very exciting time for the mobile phone industry in New Zealand!".

This is interesting because two out of the three new Okta Mobile devices (Okta Boss, Okta Touch) are Windows Mobile handsets manufactured by HTC. The third (Okta Agent) is actually a Pantech device.

Telecom New Zealand have been working with HTC directly, including the last release under the Telecom brand, the Titan Windows Mobile.

The HTC Touch is surprisingly thin compared to other Windows Mobile devices, and looks good too. It sports a new user interface on top of the standard Windows Mobile UI we are used to.

It's only the first version, and it looks promising. You can access some of the functions through finger gestures, and small features were added such as scrolling lists and web pages with your finger.

Still it's not 100% integrated to the OS and applications, and the menus can not be customised. But it's a great start.

When asked if this user interface was a direct response to Apple iPhone's own, David Lee pointed out that TouchFlo (the official name for this technology) is the result of two years of research - and the iPhone and the Touch are in different market segments (even though you can manage your media with the Touch).

Everyone present at the launch was give an Okta Touch. I am using this now and will soon post a review on Geekzone.



More Windows Mobile devices coming from Okta Mobile

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 31-Oct-2007 09:18

I am in Auckland today doing an upgrade on the Geekzone server, and staying for the official launch of Telecom New Zealand's Okta Mobile brand tomorrow.

It just happens that someone dropped a URL to me, and it shows another two Windows Mobile devices being announced, in addition to the already available Okta Agent Windows Mobile Smartphone I reviewed before.

The page is here and shows this picture with a new Windows Mobile Smarphone called Okta Boss and a Windows Mobile Pocket PC Called Okta Touch:

Those are all CDMA devices. You should hit their page to check all the specifications. The Okta Touch seems to be the HTC Touch device and the Okta Boss looks like the HTC Vox CDMA edition.




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.

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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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