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Place phone calls from your browser with Gizmocall

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 16-Dec-2008 20:02 is launching a browser-based service that allows VoIP (voice over IP) calls though Gizmo5.

This is the browser-based dialer - go ahead login with your Gizmo5 account or create a new one): The service also allows incoming calls from other users, free calls to other Gizmo5 users, 800 numbers (USA) and SIP services. You can even setup a caller ID so that when you call out to a landline or mobile it shows your own number.

Congratulations to ITECH for winning the Symantec Zero G Flight competition

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 16-Dec-2008 16:22

One long standing Geekzone reader, ITECH, is the winner of our Blast Off with Norton competition, sponsored by Symantec.

Early in 2009 ITECH will be flying to the USA where he will enjoy a Zero Gravity Flight experience. Click on my picture to have an idea of how cool is this prize...

Well done and thanks to everyone who entered the competition!

The little astronaut

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 15-Dec-2008 21:47

Tell me in the comments what is this... The comment closest to the exact description wins it.

At some time tomorrow (16 December NZ time) I will close the comments here and go through your creative comments... If more than one gives the same correct description then I will draw it.

UPDATE: Thanks everyone who posted a comment. I've selected a winner - please check my last comment.

Everything you wanted to know about Google but were afraid to ask

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 8-Dec-2008 19:35

This is a very interesting slideshow from faberNovel:

All about Google
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: google strategy)

850MHz or 900MHz? What is coming next to New Zealand

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 4-Dec-2008 11:08

Since Telecom New Zealand announced plans to release a WCDMA network operating in the 850MHz band in New Zealand I've seen lots of wrong ideas floating around.

I won't post here technical definitions of 3G services, neither go into the debate of merits of one technology or another.

However I feel it's a good time to clarify something related to the path Telecom New Zealand is following. Mainly because a lot of people still don't make a couple of important distinctions:

"GSM is not 3G and 3G is not GSM"
"Not all GSM handsets work on 3G but all (most) 3G handsets work on GSM"

A GSM network is quite different from a 3G network (regardless of it being based on WCDMA, HSDPA and CDMA EVDO).

For this post, let's talk about 3G based on WCDMA/HSDPA/HSPA, which is what Vodafone New Zealand currently offers and what Telecom New Zealand is going to deploy.

In short a GSM-only handset won't work on a 3G network. Not all GSM handsets available in store are 3G handsets.

First some of the network-side components are different. Second GSM operates in some bands (900MHz, 1800MHz, and 1900MHz) while WCDMA operates in different bands (2100MHz, 900MHz, 850MHz).

Vodafone is deploying a 900MHz WCDMA network to cover the spots where its current 2100MHz WCDMA network is not available (or replacing it and some). Again, a GSM 900MHz handset won't connect to WCDMA 900MHz network because these are different technologies.

Telecom is deploying a WCDMA 850MHz network - it is actually live in some areas of Auckland, already accepting incoming roaming from Australia and Pacific Islands.

So what works now?

First you will need a 3G 850MHz handset to connect to Telecom New Zealand's new network. Where would you get those? Telecom has said they will supply handsets free to customers on a valid contract when the new network comes live.

Of course you could also bring your own handset. Other operators using WCDMA 850MHz include Telstra in Australia and American operators such as AT&T Wireless and T-Mobile.

For roaming you will need a handset that supports 850MHz (AU/USA/Canada) and 2100MHz (Europe).

What if you are porting from Vodafone New Zealand to Telecom New Zealand? The same applies. GSM-only handsets won't work. 3G handsets may work if they support 850MHz - a good example is your Apple iPhone.

The Apple iPhone is an interesting thing - it should work well on Telecom New Zealand's new network because it is originally designed for WCDMA 850MHz in the USA. It also works on Vodafone New Zealand's existing WCDMA 2100MHz network. But the current Apple iPhone 3G won't work on Vodafone's new WCDMA 900MHz network.

Does it make sense now?

The HP Magic Giveaway competition schedule

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 28-Nov-2008 21:00

These are the dates for each competition in the HP Magic Giveaway promotion I've announced earlier today. You should visit each site on those dates to find their own competition rules.

You can also refer to the official HP Magic Giveaway page for more information.

Remeber, you can enter in all those contests!

URLContest LaunchAward Announcement
Bleeping Computer28-Nov04-Dec
Gear Live
Windows Connected
Morningside Mom29-Nov05-Dec
Thoughts on poetics & tech
The Gadgeteer02-Dec08-Dec
Gotta Be Mobile
I Started Something
Down-to-Earth Mama03-Dec09-Dec
moosh in indy.
La Bitácora de Erwin Ried
Carlos Alberto
Geeks To Go!04-Dec10-Dec
One Day, One Job05-Dec11-Dec
Techie Diva06-Dec12-Dec
merlot mom
Noticias Tech
Planet x6408-Dec14-Dec
Barb's Connected World
Student Bloggers09-Dec15-Dec
Slashdot Review10-Dec16-Dec
Stop, Drop & Blog11-Dec17-Dec
Living - In Theory
Digital Home Thoughts
Study Hacks - Demystifying College Success13-Dec19-Dec
Digital Inspiration14-Dec20-Dec
The Digital Lifestyle
Unión de Bloggers Hispanos
Last 10016-Dec22-Dec
JK On the Run
Geek News Central

The HP Magic Giveaway competition is coming

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 25-Nov-2008 09:00

If you've seen the 31 Days of the Dragon earlier this year then you know HP is serious about their hardware. They are getting even more serious with an even bigger competition going around the world.

We here at Geekzone are participating with another 49 blogs in the HP Magic Giveaway competition sponsored by HP and Microsoft.

Each of the 50 websites have a prize pack to giveaway - and this is some hardcore package:

- HP TouchSmart IQ816 PC (specs pdf)
- HP HDX 18 series Premium Notebook PC  (specs pdf)
- HP MediaSmart Connect (specs pdf)
- HP Pavilion dv4 series Entertainment Notebook PC (specs pdf)
- HP Mini 1000 (specs pdf)  

- HP Photosmart C6380 Wireless AIO (printer)
- HP 564 Photo Value Pak 

- Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate/Home Premium or Microsoft Windows XP pre-installed on all units (Mini 1000 runs XP)
- Microsoft Office Home and Student Edition 2007 (Student-Teacher Edition) – 1 DVD with 3 licenses  
- Microsoft Windows Live
- Corel VideoStudio X2

- Kung Fu Panda (2 widescreen DVDs; 1 widescreen Blu-ray disc)

The winner in each site gets one whole package. To read more about each product visit the HP Magic Giveaway competition website where you will find full specifications and links to all sites.

Each site will run its own competition with different rules and dates. You can enter in as many competitions you want, to increase your chances to win.

UPDATE: The Geekzone competition is now running - click here for details. 

This is the list of other participating sites:

Gotta Be Mobile
Barb's Connected World
Bleeping Computer
Carlos Alberto
Digital Home Thoughts
Digital Inspiration
Down-to-Earth Mama
Gear Live
Geek News Central
Geeks To Go!
I Started Something
JK On the Run
La Bitácora de Erwin Ried
Last 100
Living - In Theory
merlot mom
moosh in indy.
Morningside Mom
Noticias Tech
One Day, One Job
Planet x64
Slashdot Review
Stop, Drop & Blog
Student Bloggers
Study Hacks - Demystifying College Success
Techie Diva
The Digital Lifestyle
The Gadgeteer
Thoughts on poetics & tech
Unión de Bloggers Hispanos
Windows Connected

Air New Zealand self-service terminal in Auckland (video)

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 1-Nov-2008 19:33

There's a good discussion going on my previous post about changes Air New Zealand is introducing to its check in and boarding process. On that blog post you can find some pictures of the new check-in kiosks, boarding stations and the new mPass mobile application.

Below is a video that shows how the new terminals will look like. Note the self-service kiosks and the bag drop belt in the back of the area.

Air New Zealand improving flight experience

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 28-Oct-2008 14:02

I was invited by Air New Zealand to attend a press event in Auckland where they showed their vision of an update airport check-in area, with self-service kiosks, bag drops, electronic boading passes and more. This also involve some changes to their Airpoints program.

In the check-in front they are introducing some cool stuff such as mPass, a J2ME application that runs on most modern mobile phones. You will be able to downlod all boarding passes related to your Airpoints account, or individual boarding passes based on booking reference and name. The application show this information on a 2D barcode that you can use to scan directy from your phone and board the aircraft.

Also new is the RFID tag, a sticker that will be sent to Airpoints Gold Elite, Gold and Silver members. You can attach that to the back of your mobile phone, or wallet and use it to board directly - unless you have to get a bag tag.

At last a full self-service boarding experience, including new special bag tags printed directly at the kiosk, incuding a Priority label if you are entitled to it.

And speaking of kiosks and airports, the main centres will have a new area for check-in - look the artist's idea and the picture I took at the Auckland airport this morning.

If you are a Airpoints member you will be happy to know ALL flights now count towards your points. Even the cheap ones. And the company is introducing, a website full of widget goodness for the frequent traveller.

Check the pictures I took during the event in their training area:

Geekzone server update: the day after

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 23-Oct-2008 17:18

This is not exactly the day after - more like three days after. And since you are reading this it's obvious our Geekzone server update went well.

Geekzone was running on an Intel Xeon "Nocona" dual-core 3GHz box with 3GB RAM and two 70GB SCSI discs. The software platform was based on Microsoft Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Edition and Microsoft SQL Server 2008. We use NOD32 for antivirus protection.

A new HP DL360 server was installed. This new box is based on an Intel 5400 quad-core 3GHz with 10GB RAM, four 146GB HDD and ILO2 for remote management.

This is the host box running Micosoft Hyper-V. I installed a virtual machine for Geekzone, keeping the same software platform but in 64 bit. Geekzone is running on a quad core, 6GB RAM virtual machine.

Also on the same box we have an Exchange server running on a dual core 2GB RAM virtual machine, an ad server running on a dual core 2GB RAM, and a single core 512MB RAM virtual machine running Windows XP SP3 and hosting an IRC script that monitors our chatroom.

The old server is still in place, with a mirror of our SQL 2008 database, and Adventnet Applicatins Manager. This server will also be used for development.

Thanks to HP New Zealand and Microsoft New Zealand for their support - we couldn't do this upgrade without their help. also thanks to ICONZ for arranging the installation and network configuration so that everything could have been done within the time we had available.

By the way, how many SQL 2008 servers in New Zealand are running in a virtual environment?

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.

Here's is my full disclosure post.

A couple of blog posts you should read:

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