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Blog tagged

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 29-Dec-2006 07:46

Right, so it seems it's my turn to enter the meme with five things you don't know about me, thanks to a post on Russ McGuire's  The Law of Mobility.

Here's the list:


- In 1985 I was attending a course on 4GL on Burroughs B Series mainframes. Being the only person there who had ever used an Apple II, TRS 80 or CP/M-based computer, I told the other attendees to keep an eye on dBASE, and we should think of replacing some of the green terminals with smaller computers for some tasks. Everyone looked at me like "good lord, he's only 18 - these things are toys and he doesn't know it yet". Time changed everything.

- I moved to New Zealand from Brazil, thanks to a job transfer. After working eight years for Unisys Brasil I joined Unisys New Zealand for another eight years, before leaving to work full time on Geekzone. I was with the Unisys Communications practice for about 10 years in total.

- The last two years before moving to New Zealand I spent flying between Londrina and Sao Paulo for a couple of projects, every week. One Friday evening I arrived back home and tried to start my motorcycle. It wouldn't start, because my Siberian Husky (yes, in Brazil!) ate all its cables (including brakes, accelerator) and lots of other bits, rendering it unusable for the next couple of weeks.

- I like good food. Brazilian food, in special feijoada or churrasco made with picanha is great, but Italian food will tip the balance too. And coffee.

- My first PDA was a US Robotics Pilot (the name Palm Pilot came after this first model), back in 1995. I've used all their models up to the Palm m515, then I switched to the Handspring Visor Prism. The reason for that was the Visorphone GSM Springboard module to transform the PDA into a PDA Phone. This was my last Palm OS handheld, because I switched to Windows Mobile soon after.


I am tagging Juha Saarinen, Russell Brown , Jason Dunn, Chris Leckness, and Long Zheng.




DHL delay

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 28-Dec-2006 16:56

Hmmm. One of the laptops everyone is talking about is not here yet. Almost:


DHL: Welcome to DHL Express, how may I help you?
Me: Hi, I am expecting a parcel coming from the US but it shows as on-hold, could you please check why?
DHL: Oh, it arrived without a manifest. Do you have the invoice?
Me: No, sorry, this is sent from another company, not mine.
DHL: Well, we have to find the box in the warehouse to grab a copy of the invoice. This may take a few more days.
Me: No chance of this being delivered tomorrow then?
DHL: No, sorry, we have to find the paper and send through customs then release to the courier for delivery.
Me: Hmmm, today is Thursday and with New Year this will be delivered next Thursday then?
DHL: If we find the box.
Me: Ok, so the box has been in New Zealand for three days but you don't have it?
DHL: We have to find the box to get the invoice and send through customs. Sorry for the delay.
Me: Riiiight... Thanks.


Well, I doubt DHL people reads blogs (I never heard of any DHL blogger or alike), but here it is. Three days in a bonded warehouse and they can't find a box!





The Google Christmas gift

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 15-Dec-2006 15:24

Wow... I've read posts about this years's Google Christmas Gift, but I thougt I wasn't going to receive one this time, since the first reports on Webmasterworld were from some weeks ago. But today the Fedex van dropped a box from Google with a card and the famous Digital Photo Frame:


It's not a simple Digital Photo Frame, but a complete media player. The GTA-316 actually accepts SD/MMC cards, and it can playback asf, mp4, wma, mp3, wav files and jpeg images. The display is a 3.6" LCD TFT with 960 x 240 pixels.

It comes with a USB cable and power adapter.

Last year's gift from Google was a travel pack with USB memory key, USB Hub, USB light and Skype/GTalk headset. The year before it was the mood radio (changing colours depending on music).

Very cool...






Cheap history at Whitcoulls

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 8-Dec-2006 19:36

As I do (almost) everyday, I waked to the locall shopping mall with my baby Isabella, for a coffee and a bit of time off for my wife. While there I decided to browse the books available at the local Whitcoulls.

I found this book ("100 Great Leaders") on the table outside the store:



I guess for only $3 you could only expect great educational stuff, such as an article about Augusts (Roman Emperor who "ended a century of civil wars and gave Rome an era of peace, prosperity, and imperial greatness, known as the Pax Romana") with a picture of Adolf instead (including the wrong caption). Yes, that Adolf whose "racial policies had culminated in a genocide of approximately eleven million people, including about six million Jews, in what is now known as the Holocaust":


I expected to be in a world where I wouldn't have to read the books before my kids do, to make sure it's not full of wrong stuff. But it looks like I do have to keep an eye out for this too...

I wonder if Whitcoulls wouldn't do better than sell this book by simply removing it from the tables. At $3 each, it would be a great service to culture. And really, what could you expect from a cheap book? Quality costs...

 













Too much PC (no, not Personal Computers) in our lives

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 28-Jul-2006 13:08

This is another non-technology post... I found this through fark.com (sometimes NSFW) which I think is hilarious most of the times (the summaries).

Cover of breastfeeding magazine shows baby nursing on a *gasp* bare breast. American Talibanarity ensues: "A breast is a breast - it's a sexual thing." In other news, a hundred simulated murders will be on network TV tonight.


Yes, that's right. Fark linked to a story on sfgate.com "'Breast' Cover Gets Mixed Reaction" which reports on a cover picture published on babytalk, a magazine for mothers. OMG! We are the 21st century folks. Just for your information, this is the "offensive" magazine cover:


And these are some of the comments:

"I shredded it," said Gayle Ash, of Belton, Texas, in a telephone interview. "A breast is a breast — it's a sexual thing. He didn't need to see that."

"I'm totally supportive of it — I just don't like the flashing," she says. "I don't want my son or husband to accidentally see a breast they didn't want to see."


Now, what is interesting here is that  the complaints came from a poll of more than 4,000 readers, a quarter of responses to the cover were negative, calling the photo — a baby and part of a woman's breast, in profile — inappropriate. Yes, these are the mothers, for goodness sake...

At the same time there is a move to help mothers feed their babies:

There have been other measures to promote breast-feeding: in December, for example, Massachusetts banned hospitals from giving new mothers gift bags with free infant formula, a practice opponents said swayed some women away from nursing.

Most states now have laws guaranteeing the right to breast-feed where one chooses, and when a store or restaurant employee denies a woman that right, it has often resulted in public protests known as "nurse-ins": at a Starbucks in Miami, at Victoria's Secret stores in Racine, Wis. and Boston, and, last year, outside ABC headquarters in New York, when Barbara Walters made comments on "The View" seen by some women to denigrate breast-feeding in public.


Well done for these states guaranteeing breast feeding!

We have a baby here and New Zealand must be a lot different to the USA in this sense. We have no problems with Isabella and mum doing what they have to do. Actually a few cafes we frequent have some very comfortable seats or sofas for mums and babies.

Fark is right...






Driving in New Zealand

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 2-Jul-2006 12:12

We can't place all the blame on the police patrols, all the time. If you drive in New Zealand, do yourself a favour and visit the following pages. And then send these links to your friends. And ask them to send to their friends.

- Using indicators on roundabouts;
- The give way rules;
- Passing another car;
- Turning;
- Using lanes correctly (including on turn).

The following is an interesting and tricky one. It's one of the items in the last item in the list, but most people I see driving around stop the traffic completely, waiting when in fact both vehicles should turn: two vehicles turning into the same road at a laned intersection.

It's incredible how many people in New Zealand do not indicate, or use the wrong indicators when entering roundabouts (no, you don't need to indicate if you are going straight, only when you are getting out of the roundabout, just look at the first picture on the link). Or drive slowly on the highways, just to accelerate when the passing lanes come. Or don't respect give way signs or marks on the streets. Or simply drive in front of cars coming on the main road, without full stop where required.









Is the Police running a quota system for speed violations or not?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 2-Jul-2006 07:17

This is the final question one can have after reading this piece on the New Zealand Herald, which documents a memo that tells police officers to increase the number of tickets issued:

A June 21 job sheet for police officers in the Central North Island area tells officers to set up road blocks so they can target high volumes of traffic to finish "top group" in their district before the end of the financial year.

Although police have argued for years that motorists were not subject to a quota, the memo was last night seized upon by opposition politicians to attack the Government's credibility.



National's law and order spokesman Simon Power said: "The Government have been telling the public targets do not exist, that this is not a revenue-gathering exercise - but that is obviously not the case."
 
Act leader Rodney Hide said it made the police look like "just another branch of Inland Revenue". "This just proves what [Prime Minister] Helen Clark and the police have strenuously denied for years - that highway patrols are about government revenue gathering, rather than safer roads."


It is the second case in a month of a memo urging police to issue tickets. In Marlborough, the acting area commander told officers they had to issue two tickets a shift.


Your opinion is important.





State: it's possible to travel to Australia and back in a single day

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 26-Jun-2006 15:33

Fancy that... I always purchase travel insurance with State Insurance. But for some unknown reason their on-line system doesn't understand that it's quite possible to leave New Zealand for a single day - that is fly to Australia and back within the same date...





Trademe and copyright, trademark infringement

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 21-Jun-2006 17:58

What's the problem with Fairfax on-line properties these days? Just hot after my rant of Stuff not giving credits to other on-line publications (What's the problem with Stuff?), I found myself mad at Trademe, the largest auction site in New Zealand, bought a few months back by Fairfax on a deal worth NZ$700+ million dollars.

The whole thing started when a Geekzone forum member pointed to a Telecom NZ Apache Pocket PC auction going on Trademe, using images taken from our on-line review. What really ticked me off is that the seller was showing one screenshot of an Incoming Call announcement dialog, with my photograph, name and the word "Geekzone".

Trademe and copyright, trademark infringement

Clearly there's reason to believe this image came from our site. I mean, just look at the second picture and you will see my name, company and photograph.

So I asked the seller to remove the images. And this was the reply:

Hi, do you mean the brown ones? Or the blue ones? I am a member of Geekzone. Sure, if it offends you that I've used photos publicly placed on geek zone which specify no copyright I can respect your wish to remove them despite any evidence to support this. Let me know which ones. :o)


What?

"Photos publicly placed" on a website doesn't mean no copyright. All pages on Geekzone have a copyright and trademark (Geekzone is a registered trademark) notice that covers the whole content. And then continue with "despite any evidence to support this"?

I asked this person to remove all pictures, but of course the pictures were still there a couple of days after...

I tried contacting Trademe to have this listing removed. The only way is through e-mail, and it can take up to "48 hours". And guess what? No reply at all from Trademe.

I then used the "Community Watch: report this listing" feature, which I believed would be an emergency hotline link to someone on Trademe that could take actions in case of illegal use of someone else's property. What a joke. Besides not having a confirmation that my request was received, and not having a reply from Trademe (again), nothing was done.

So, should I get a Cease and Desist letter sent to Trademe? Are they simply ignoring anyone that could be between the company and the auction's success fee?

I met a few people involved with Trademe before, and I believe they probably don't have anything to do with the current state of affairs on that company. They're good people.

Crap service.

UPDATE 1: A friend commented to me something about everyone using someone else's images on the Internet. I agree, it's really hard to control. But my main rant here is on Trademe not taking action after being notified. I hope this clarifies a bit my stance.

UPDATE 2: Would it be different if the auction had a link to the original review? Yes, of course. But the seller did not offer to update the auction and the service does not offer a way to easily link to other sites.

UPDATE 3: Something I just thought: perhaps Trademe is in need of an ombudsman?

FINAL UPDATE: Just checked the auction and the images, plus the Q&A with the seller are gone. Some think this could be turned into an opportunity to drive people to Geekzone to look at the review - and this is my point on Update 2. It must be easier for Trademe to allow people to link to reviews or articles about the goods on sale there.









The US$100 Burger

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 21-Jun-2006 10:34

I should really create a "Food" tag in this blog for this kind of things. No wonder people are overweight and obese these days... Look at this:


According to the press release (I don't know why the Technology beat got the burger PR in it):

"[This] new $100 Tri-Beef Burger, the Rolls Royce of burgers that combines the most expensive and decadent cuts of beef from three continents. Unveiled at a special media briefing and tasting event at the restaurant's newly opened location at the Boca Raton Resort & Club, the Old Homestead Tri-Beef Burger "tops" the restaurant's 2002 trademarked Kobe burger with a more decadent version.

Created to be what Old Homestead owners Greg and Marc Sherry refer to as the "Beluga Caviar of Sandwiches and Romeo & Juliet of Food," the hearty 20 oz. Tri-Beef Burger consists of the highest grade of corn-fed American Prime Beef, Japanese Wagyu aka Kobe from soybean-nourished, beer-fed, sake bathed and hand-massaged cattle, and Argentinean beef from cattle that roam and graze on the South American Pompas.


Hmmm. Only "[The new burger will be] served exclusively at Old Homestead's Boca Raton location", but available for mail order.

Hmmm... Burgers...



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'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 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.

A couple of blog posts you should read:

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