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CafeNET in Auckland

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 3-Apr-2007 11:02

I have just received some information about a new CafeNET deployment - this time in Auckland.

If you must have wireless connectivity try the CafeNET services. They have a page listing the CafeNET locations in Auckland. The company started as an offspring of CityLink here in Wellington, and they have some good services (including some free content on-net).

They also expect to have CafeNET live at the Vector Arena in the next few weeks.

I admit I also use the Telecom New Zealand Hotspot service, since it's free until end of 2007 for users with a Mobile Broadband data plan. But sometimes you can only find one or another - sometimes none, but then you have mobile data from either Vodafone or Telecom, right?

Old memories: Burroughs Corporation

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 30-Mar-2007 21:27

Some time ago I found there was an old Burroughs Corporation building in Birch StreetLower Hutt. Probably an old warehouse, or some regional offices?

Walking around Lower Hutt last week I managed to get a picture with my Pocket PC. The interesting thing is this building looks exactly like a training centre we had in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Perhaps Burroughs used a single design for all its buildings?

Burroughs is a good old memory. My first job, back in 1984 was in development on a couple of B6900 mainframes (6 MB RAM each), and my first LINC training was on a B1714 (64 KB RAM, dual CPU). The B6900, follow up to the B6500 series was ahead of its time...

I kid you not the two B6900 had about 120 terminals (Poll Select) connected, some via satellite at 1200 bps.

In 1986 Burroughs bought Sperry Corporation and created Unisys. Incredible, a company with more than 120,000 employees, the number two in the computer industry, and today it's unusual to meet someone that knows about Unisys. The company has since reduced in size a lot. I joined Unisys in 1989 (Unisys Brasil, Unisys New Zealand), and left in 2005, to run Geekzone full time.

Of course, by the time I left Unisys we talked about mainframes running multiple OSes, including Windows Server and Linux in the same hardware, and more. But this is another story.

If you know about this building, of have some memories from Burroughs, Sperry, Unisys (good or bad), post a comment here.

UPDATE: I have posted some Burroughs and Unisys videos in a new blog post.

Age of Empires III, gaming

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 30-Mar-2007 20:22

After moving from using a desktop to using the laptop full time I might need some relaxation - in the form of some games... I have been using this laptop for almost four months, and only now I am installing some games.

I have installed Day of Defeat, Counter-Strike, and I am now installing Age of Empiress III, plus the WarChiefs expansion pack (pictured). Next will be Diablo II: Lord of Destruction. I wonder if it runs ok on Windows Vista.

But Hadley tells me I have to invest on Supreme Commander.

Time for some fun and games...

PC World lists 101 Fantastic Freebies for the Internet age

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 29-Mar-2007 10:06

Interesting list put out by PC World (no, not the New Zealand one, the other one). PC World's 101 Fantastic Freebies article includes a wide range of free services, downloads, web sites, and more.

Here is the 101 Fantastic Freebies, broken out into 23 categories:

Desktop Search

Google Desktop (winner)
Copernic Desktop Search
Windows Desktop Search
Yahoo! Desktop Search

Windows XP Tweaks
Fresh UI (winner)
Microsoft PowerToys for Windows XP
Tweak and Tune

Windows Vista Tweaks
TweakVI Basic (winner)
Easy BCD

Instant Messaging, Voice, and Video
Meebo (winner)
Yahoo! Messenger
Windows GAIM
Google Talk

Avast (winner)
AVG Anti-Virus Free
Microsoft Windows Defender
Spybot Search & Destroy

VLC Media Player (winner)

Image Editing
Google Picasa (winner)
StudioLine Photo Basic
Microsoft Photo Info
FastStone MaxView
Media Purveyor
GIMP-GNU Image Manipulation Program

Email for Free
Gmail (winner)
Yahoo! Mail
Microsoft Windows Live Mail

File Sharing
AllPeers (winner)

Backup and File Synchronization
Mozy (winner)
Microsoft SyncToy
Everyday Auto Backup
Microsoft Foldershare

Office Productivity Software & Services
Zoho (winner)
Portable Apps
Google Docs and Spreadsheets
Num Sum
Ajax 13

Time Management
Backpack (winner)
Google Notebook
Sticky Notes
Easy To-Do

Registry Cleaner
TweakNow RegCleaner Standard (winner)
Clean My Registry

Hardware Utility
Belarc Advisor (winner)
M2 Information

Personal Web
Pageflakes (winner)
Google Personalized Home
Windows Live

Google Blogger (winner)
Microsoft Windows Live Spaces
AOL People Connection
Yahoo! 360

RSS Reader-Online
Bloglines (winner)
NewsGator Online
Google Reader

RSS Reader-Software
Sage (winner)
Active Web Reader
Tristana RSS Reader
MCE RSS Reader

Web Video Site
YouTube (winner)
Yahoo! Video
Google Video

Notepad Replacement
NoteTab Light (winner)
Crimson Editor
EditPad Lite

Multimedia Tools and Toys
Audacity (winner)
Free iPod Video Converter
PSP Video 9
DVD Shrink

Business Productivity
Google Apps for Your Domain (winner)
Microsoft Office Live

Google Earth

Scary: satellite debris on path of airliner flying Santiago to Auckland

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 29-Mar-2007 09:17

According to this story, "flaming space junk narrowly misses jet". The Russians provided the wrong time of reentry, and threfore wrong location. The Auckland Oceanic Centre, in charge of that part of air space gave airlines the option of not flying, but since the time was wrong... You get it:

The pilot of a Lan Chile Airbus A340, which was travelling between Santiago, Chile, and Auckland, New Zealand, notified air traffic controllers at Auckland Oceanic Centre after seeing flaming space junk hurtling across the sky just five nautical miles in front of and behind his plane about 10pm last night.

"Auckland is talking to (an) Aerolineas Argentinas (pilot) who is travelling (in the) opposite direction at 10 degrees further south asking if they wish to turn back to Auckland.

"They have elected to carry on at the moment.

A spokesman for Airways New Zealand, which provides air navigation services across airspace known as the Auckland Flight Information Region, confirmed the incident this morning.

He said it occurred about 10 minutes after the Lan Chile flight had entered the Auckland Flight Information Region.

Airways New Zealand had been warned by Russian authorities almost two weeks ago that a satellite would be entering the earth's atmosphere sometime today between 10.30am and midday NZ time (6.30-8am WA time).

That is scary. But it also makes me think... With all the current paranoia, if a disaster happened because of this, wouldn't people be quick to start rumours?

BlackBox M14 Noise Cancellation headphones giveaway...

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 27-Mar-2007 19:48

That's right: I got a pair of those incredibly cool BlackBox M14 Noise Cancellation headphones for review, and the manufacturers asked me to give those away instead of returning them.

Go ahead, read our review on Geekzone, and then enter the competition. It's open to everyone, in New Zealand or not.

AOL is not moving fast enough to remove spyware from their ad network

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 27-Mar-2007 09:27

A few days ago I posted about a series of spyware ads being served by AOL. The story comes originally from Spywaresucks.

This kind of spyware/adware is the same one found in the Microsoft's MSN network a few weeks ago. But at least Microsoft moved quickly and withdraw the ads as soon as they were notified of this.

But it looks like AOL either doesn't believe in external reports, or doesn't care about the security of their network. AOL is stil serving infected ads.

When is AOL going to clean their ad network?

If discussion forums were like Star Trek

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 27-Mar-2007 08:51

We all know it's a fact that the longer a discussion on any forum, easier it will be to distance the discussion from the original subject, going off-topic. This happens saometimes in our Geekzone forums.

But today I read a funny Star Trek inspired sketch related to off-topic discussions in on-line forums:

Spock: Captain, the ship is about to enter a region of space noted for its intense Hyperbole Storms.

Kirk: Raise Tangent Shields. Ahead full, Mr. Sulu.

Spock: We are entering a Hyperbole Storm, Captain!

Kirk: How did it come up so quickly?

Sulu: Captain! Helm is sluggish! We are having trouble staying on topic!

Kirk: Scotty! Divert warp power to the Tangent Shields!

Spock: Tangent Shields failing!

Scotty: Cap'n! Mah engines cannae take much more of this!

McCoy: Sickbay to Bridge: Jim, we've got dozens of crewmen down here babbling incoherently! You've got to do something about it!

Kirk: We'll do what we can Doctor. Try to get them singing or something. Kirk out.

Spock: Captain, the only possible way out of this storm will involve a cold restart of the topic.

Kirk: Isn't that incredibly dangerous, Spock?

Spock: It is the only logical course for us to take, Captain.

The TelstraClear non-news of the day: Pegasus Town

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 26-Mar-2007 17:30

Today I've got three e-mails with a press release from TelstraClear. Interesting piece of non-news here, and here's why I think so:

Pegasus Town today announced TelstraClear has won an exclusive contract to install telecommunications services.

TelstraClear Chief Executive Dr Allan Freeth says Pegasus Town is an exciting, uniquely innovative concept that will benefit from the company’s triple-play services.

“We’ll deliver a unique InHome triple play TV, Internet and phone line package, working to future proof Pegasus Town homes, business and its community,” says Dr Freeth.

Ok, so there's a private suburban development who will benefit 5,000 residents (about 2,000 residencies) and TelstraClear will be the sole provider there. That limits the choices to the buyer, and we all know what happens when there's no competition, right?

Buit let's hope TelstraClear will deliver something fantastic, so let's keep reading:

Pegasus Town will get free local calling to Christchurch, a dedicated contact centre service and a unique phone number range. A one-off connection fee will provide customers with a broadband modem, TV set top box, boundary and premise cabling and a telephone line connection.

“Pegasus Town businesses will be broadband hungry, needing fast speeds to move large data and image files. With speeds of up to 10 mbps downstream and up to 2 mbps upstream, Pegasus Town will be a fast town. What’s more there’s capacity to increase speeds in the future,” says Infinity Investment Group Chief Executive Bob Robertson.

Oh. I think we should have a dedicated call centre for Wellington, and another one for Christchurch. This would reduce the 45 minute wait when we have to call TelstraClear to report a fault. But let's not be jealous.

And 10Mbps down/2Mbps up? Goodness sake, TelstraClear, I have 10Mbps/2Mbps here in Wellington and have had it for a couple of years already. I am waiting for 25 Mbps here and for a new development I would expect you guys to lay fiber to each one of the houses, and provide 50 Mbps fiber to the premises services

“Another part of the Pegasus Town concept, is its philosophy to live where you play. We didn’t want unsightly satellite dishes and streets being continuously dug up. TelstraClear’s solution fits with this vision,” he says.

So the developers want to micro manage like some towns in the U.S. where residents have to ask the council what colour they can paint their houses, and what style to build?

Sorry, TelstraClear. This is a non-news and you should not be proud of it. You should have really stepped up to the challenge and created the first real broadband heaven in New Zealand. Instead...

Driving and SMS

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 25-Mar-2007 08:45

Last Friday I walked the Wellington CBD up and down, since I had to leave the Geek Mobile for a service at the Chrysler shop here.

This gave me an excellent opportunity to realise something: New Zealand lawmakers should worry less about the anti-smacking bill (hey, it's already illegal to smack someone!) and look at all those mad, stupid, dumb drivers who are behind the steering wheel and sending SMS at the same time, while driving.

I counted many cases of people talking on their mobile phones while driving, but worst of all is to see someone that is looking down to their laps because they are writing a SMS, instead of having the eyes up and on the road ahead.

One of the people I saw yesterday looked like sleeping, because the eyes were looking down... He was at the same time slowing down because there were two cars in front of him... And a red light. I saw at least three people doing the same, in two blocks.

I wonder how many car crashes we have in the heavy morning or evening traffic, thanks to idiots who can't take the time to put their mobile phones away.

The New Zealand Police should worry less about someone doing 10 KM/h over the limit on an empty highway, and pay attention to those idiots in heavy traffic. Oh, and perhaps also look at stupid people who don't stop on STOP and don't indicate either. I think those are more dangerous things than the speed on the open road.

And since we touched the anti-smacking bill... As I said, it's already illegal to use more than reasonable force when disciplining children. This new bill is there to prevent those child abusive parents to use the "reasonable force" defence. But clearly this is already covered. Worst, it will make even moving a children to a timeout place an offence. What's next? Timeout corners will be illegal because some MP will deem those a form of torture?

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!

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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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