My window to the world

Fring is a somewhat decent VoIP and IM for Windows Mobile

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 10-Jul-2007 14:03

I've installed Fring on my Palm Treo 750v (WCDMA, Vodafone New Zealand) - and even though it is not listed it also works well on my Treo 700wx (CDMA EVDO, Telecom New Zealand).

In shor this is an IM and VoIP client. It works with Skype, MSN Messenger, Twitter, GoogleTalk and SIP services, all logged in at the same time. The only problem here is that you don't have a way to logoff from each service individually.

Installation is very easy: you enter your mobile number in their website, and you will receive a SMS with a download link. No need for cables, or a PC - simply download over the air.

The Services Configuration is a bit strange, but I guess you only really need to change those things when adding or removing a service, really. SIP works ok, with a bit of delay on WCDMA, which I was expecting really.

It also works well with Skype, which is great, since the original Skype client will simply crash on my Palm Treo devices.

I had a problem with my password, which had a "+" somewhere in it and was ok with the original software, but stopped working after an update. There's no login at Fring, so I submitted a support ticket, and the good folks at Fring changed my password after proper credentials were established.

I also just realised the Fring account is your phone number plus user name, so I now need the password reset for my second device (the Treo 700wx).

This is the first SIP client that works on my Palm Treo devices. The X-Lite software is great on Pocket PCs, but it doesn't like the 240 x 240 pixels square screen on the Palm handhelds.

The software runs on Windows Mobile and Symbian devices.

Microsoft Windows Vista SP1 coming soon

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 10-Jul-2007 08:46

There are lots of rumours around the Internet about an upcoming Windows Vista Sevice Pack 1. I can only say that it will be welcome - there are lots of small things that could work much better on Windows Vista - including some ReadyBoost problems, SD card support, slow shutdown and other minor annoyances.

Mary Jo Foley lists on her blog fixes we could expect to see:

* Performance tweaks lessening the amount of time it takes to copy files and shut down Vista machines (Yeah, I know Microsoft said Viista shutdown speed wasn’t an issue. Guess users weren’t so crazy, after all.)
* Improved transfer performance and decreased CPU utilization via support for SD Advanced Direct Memory Access (DMA)
* Support for ExFat, the Windows file format for flash memory storage and other consumer devices
* Improvements to BitLocker Drive Encryption to allow not just encryption of the whole Vista volume, but also locally created data volumes
* The ability to boot Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) on an x64 machine
* Improved success rate for firewalled MeetingSpace and Remote Assistance connections

No RSS feeds on Pownce?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 10-Jul-2007 08:33

Very strange... There are no private RSS feeds on Pownce? It's almost useless if I am pestered with those e-mail notifications every now and then.

I just want a RSS feed so I can check things on my own time, without being overloaded with e-mails.

Also, their client (based on Adobe's AIR) won't minimise to the system tray - it's either open or living in the taskbar. I don't need clutter in the taskbar!

UPDATE: I am also using Facebook. I have to say they have very different approaches, but they are the same in one thing: e-mail overload! I don't want e-mails, I want a RSS feed. I want to manage my time, not hand it to the site owners.

UPDATE: And Facebook is ahead because they have a mobile website, which works really well from my Pocket PC Phone...

Pownce invites available

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 9-Jul-2007 17:03

I have six invites to Pownce now. If you want one, please leave a comment - don't post your e-mail publicly in the comment, to prevent spam - I will see it in the moderation page.

UPDATE: I have now given all the invites I had, plus some invites offered by friends. I will reopen comments here when more invites are available.

Joost pixelation

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 8-Jul-2007 18:34

I have been using Joost for a while. If there's something that prevents me of enjoying it is the horrible pixelation.

I think the company needs to think again about the quality of the content delivered. I've seen better results on competitor Babelgum.

What are your experiences with these services?

At Superhappydevhouse Aotearoa

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 7-Jul-2007 10:30

The Superhappydevhouse Aotearoa is on now. I got here early to start plugging power cables, help set up the bar tab and other admin tasks.

It's 10:30am now and about 30 people are here now, laptops, gadgets, coders, designers and more...  Everyone got free Internet thanks to Cafenet.

Look for pictures at Flickr (tag shdhnz).

Again, thanks to our sponsors Actrix, Cafenet, Google, Microsoft, Mindscape.

Cisco launches VoIP solution, the iPhone in Wellington, a hummer limo and more

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 6-Jul-2007 16:51

Today I attended the Ingran Micro Showcase in Wellington. I was invited by Cisco to attend the show, and they sent a Hummer Limo to collect me at home, which included the "on the road" drinks of course.

The show had the presence of all big IT names in the industry, but I spent a lot of the time with Cisco - because I was actually interested in their new product, a VoIP solution for companies up to ten employees, which is quite a large market, and because I finally met the WorldxChange GM Busines Development & Marketing, Mike Purchase.

If you haven't read my previous blog post, WorldxChange is the provider I've selected to port my landline to a VoIP solution. This is the first time I met him, although we have exchanged e-mails before. It was good to hear about their plans for the near future, ideas for when naked DSL is available in New Zealand, scalability of their platform and more.

On the show floor I met Mike Gregg (Amplify, Wellingtonista), Director at Clemenger BBDO and we soon had the presence of Steve Simms, Tomizone CEO, who was showing off his Apple iPhone. And yes, the user interface experience is as good as people say it is. But more on this later.

Here are some pictures (sorry for the low quality, I didn't have my DSLR on me today):

Linkblog update - now with RSS feed

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 6-Jul-2007 10:27

When I first announced my linkblog some of you asked for a RSS feed. Thanks to the folks at Newsgator I now managed to get my Shared Clips available without a password (public), making it easier to "burn" it through FeedBurner.

So, if you want to get a piece of my RSS action, check my linkblog and subscribe to its RSS feed.

It's disappointing: no HSDPA for Vodafone Treo 750v

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 5-Jul-2007 19:12

A week or so ago I posted about the never coming release of the Windows Mobile 6 for the Palm Treo 750v.

When the device was released I had a meeting with the then Vodafone New Zealand Product Manager (who left Vodafone now) and by the Palm Australia Sales Manager that we should expect a ROM update for the Palm Treo 750v enabling the faster HSDPA 3G standard. The expected date was around January 2007. I even wrote this in my Treo 750v review with their blessings.

Then January came and I was told instead of having a ROM update to enable HSDPA and then another update for Windows Mobile 6, Vodafone was planning to do a single update for both.

Now the product manager has left the company, and when I asked about this missing update I am told that an update for Windows Mobile 6 is coming, but there are no plans to enable HSDPA on this device anymore.

Frustrating. Our friends on Telstra can use their Palm Treo 750 with HSDPA, but Vodafone don't think it's for us.

I've gone VoIP and have no more landline

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 5-Jul-2007 19:00

This month I've decided to migrate our phone line to a full VoIP (voice over IP) service. The idea was to benefit from savings in toll calls and line rental, plus other services - including voice mail, caller id, last calling number and others that were charged by my previous provider.

With this in mind I had to find a VoIP provider in New Zealand, and wouldn't need to look for long - we have a Xnet VFX forum here on Geekzone, and seeing that they actually have an active participation running betas, answering people's questions, I thought it would be a good fit.

This also came along because of new Number Portability rules in New Zealand, allowing users to change their providers whilst keeping the phone numbers.

So my next step was to sign up for Xnet VFX,  and select a VoIP device. I wanted a VoIP gateway that would allow me to plug a conventional phone, to reduce costs. Xnet helped with my decision by pointing out that a Linksys SPA2102 (pictured) would be ideal - and even support two lines! What this means is that after having ported my number from TelstraClear to Xnet VFX I could simply unplug the phone from the wall and plug into the SPA2102.

This little device is also a full router with built-in VoIP capabilities, meaning once it's plugged into your broadband modem it can provide Internet access to more than one PC in addition to the two VoIP numbers. Since I already have a router, I just plugged the SPA2102 to my existing hadrware, and it was ready to use.

For some background information, I was already one of the few people in New Zealand that didn't have a Telecom New Zealand line rental at home, since we here use the TelstraClear cable modem service. I was able to cancel my phone line service, while keeping the cable TV and cable broadband.

We scheduled the porting to happen on a Wednesday at 3pm, and on that time I got a phone call from Xnet support asking me to switch the phone from the wall to the SPA2102. A test call was placed in a few minutes, meaning I was able to place calls over my broadband connection from that moment, but still had to wait another half hour for all the changes to happen on TelstraClear so that incoming calls would be routed through that channel as well.

As suggested by sbiddle, I then logged into and subscribed to their Megasaver plan, which gives me an Australian phone number, plus 100 free calls per month, all for AU$9/month - handy since we have relatives living there.

So now I have this SPA2102 with two handsets (we could opt to have a cordless handset with two lines but wanted to have independence to use both at the same time).

Also I bought a second UPS for home. You must remember that in case of power cut, a standard phone line will still work because the power is not supplied by the energy company, but by the telco, down the phone line. When using a VoIP device there's no power on your broadband line, so I wanted to be able to place calls even if the lights went out.

Voice quality is really good, and can't really differentiate from a standard landline call. Other services are free, including a cool voice mail portal that allows me to upload my own greeting messages from WAV files on my PC, and to configure all services - even receiving emails when a call is missed and reaches the voice mail.

Of course there's a long way to go in New Zealand for VoIP to become a mainstream product. I doubt you would get a meaningful answer from many people on the street if you asked "Do you know what VoIP is?".

Important to point out that from September 2007 New Zealanders will be able to get naked DSL, so there won't be the need to pay Telecom New Zealand for a landline, making this an even more viable option to many others. Also worth pointing out is that almost 50% of the Internet population in New Zealand now have broadband service, making this an even more interesting solution.

Full disclosure required: I was given the SPA2102 by Xnet VFX, after I decided to sign up with them.

freitasm's profile

Mauricio Freitas
New Zealand

I live in New Zealand and my interests include mobile devices, good books, movies and food of course! 

I'm the Geekzone admin. On Geekzone we publish news, reviews and articles on technology topics. The site also has some busy forums. Also worth visiting is TravelTalk NZ, a community for travelers!

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 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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