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Maxtor OneTouch III Turbo: not so turbo anymore

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 31-Jan-2007 20:15

Last December my Maxtor OneTouch III Turbo 1TB drive died. It died on 26 December, so I was very surprised when I contacted the local retailer on 27 December and actually had a replacement unit here on the 28 December. Pretty decent service from Ascent, as usual.

No so fast on the "turbo" front though. I am not sure what's going on here, but the replacement drive is not as fast. I tried RAID 0 (as before) and RAID 1 and there's no way to copy files to this unit at high speed. A single 30GB file (a virtual HDD) is going to this Maxtor OneTouch III Turbo at about 4MB/sec and it will take hours to copy from the internal HDD to the Maxtor OneTouch III Turbo.
For comparison I have a second external Hitach 60GB HDD and it will receive the same file at speed of up to 30MB/sec. And using the same USB 2.0 port - yes I tested this to make sure it wasn't a port specific problem.

So what could be the problem? I mean, the Maxtor OneTouch III Turbo comes with 16MB cache, 7200RPM, and the option for OS cache is enabled on that drive. What else could be crippling this drive? A bad USB interface? I doubt, because I tried on firewire and it didn't work any better. Actually I tried this drive in three different PCs and it performed badly with all machines.

A pain, because the previous drive used to copy the same 30GB file in about 16 minutes instead of the 2 hours of this new one.

The only thing I can see different is that the old drive was an Maxtor OneTouch III Turbo, while the new one is a Maxtor OneTouch IIIs Turbo. No one knows the difference and there's no mention of this model.

I am going to ask Ascent for a second replacement and see if this is possible.

Video Games Live in Wellington

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 28-Jan-2007 21:28

I've never heard of this before, but found the leaflet on a cafe other day: Video Games Live... The show will be in Wellington, 24th February from 7:30pm. People know where to find tickets for this.

Video Games Live is an immersive concert event featuring music from the most popular video games of all time.  Top orchestras & choirs perform along with exclusive video footage and music arrangements, synchronized lighting, solo performers, electronic percussionists, live action and unique interactive segments to create an explosive entertainment experience!
This is a concert event put on by the video game industry to help encourage and support the culture and art that video games have become.  Video Games Live bridges a gap for entertainment by exposing new generations of music lovers and fans to the symphonic orchestral experience while also providing a completely new and unique experience for families and/or non-gamers.  The show is heralded and enjoyed by the entire family.  It's the power & emotion of a symphony orchestra mixed with the excitement and energy of a rock concert and the technology and interactivity of a video game all completely synchronized to amazing cutting edge video screen visuals, state-of-the-art lighting and special on-stage interactive segments with the audience.

Video Games Live features the best music and exclusive synchronized video clips from the most popular games from the beginning of video gaming to the present.  Games include:

Mario, Zelda, Halo, Metal Gear Solid, Warcraft, Myst, Final Fantasy, God of War,  Kingdom Hearts, Castlevania, Medal of Honor, Sonic, Tron, Tomb Raider, Advent Rising, Headhunter, Beyond Good & Evil, Splinter Cell, Ghost Recon, Rainbow Six, EverQuest II and a special retro Classic Arcade Medley featuring over 20+ games from Pong to Donkey Kong including such classics as Dragon's Lair, Tetris, Frogger, Gauntlet, Space Invaders & Outrun!

The event also includes costume contest and prizes. Very interesting...

How to get lost with help of Google Maps

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 23-Jan-2007 19:14

Every day (not really) we read about someone silly/fool/idiot enough to follow driving directions from a GPS device and run into a motorway the wrong way, or perform a u-turn where one is not allowed or even possible.

I hope you are not driving from Philadelphia to North Brunswick while following driving directions from Google Maps, or you will get lost:

Go, on try it now...

The Warehouse goes with Vodafone

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 23-Jan-2007 15:11

I just received some interesting piece of news... It goes like this:

... The Warehouse teams up with Vodafone

The company where everyone gets a bargain is set to offer even better service to its customers, thanks to a new 550-connection Wireless Office deal with Vodafone. By using Vodafone New Zealand to mobilise its business, The Warehouse will significantly reduce its overall telecommunication costs. At the same time, customer service can be further improved thanks to staff being contactable first time every time. 

The four-year Wireless Office deal, signed in January 2006, follows an in-depth 45-day mobility pilot and covers both The Warehouse and Warehouse Stationery. Vodafone won the account in a hotly-contested RFP, involving an independent consultant and a 10-month evaluation process.

The Warehouse CIO Owen McCall says duplicated infrastructure such as fixed lines and desk phones, and an oversupply of extensions, was costing The Warehouse a substantial amount of money. “Vodafone has worked really closely with us to understand what mobile solutions will help us improve customer service, improve internal communication and pass on even greater deals to our customers.

“During the mobility trial we ran prior to choosing Vodafone, we identified that mobilising our staff could save us money, purely in time saved, as well as improving efficiency and productivity by providing the right information at the right time and in the right place to our staff.”

Vodafone’s Wireless Office call plan securely connects The Warehouse’s existing internal phone system to its mobiles at low rates. This means it can ditch surplus landlines, and staff can be reached first time – no matter where they are.  The Warehouse’s 550 connections includes 60 3G Vodafone Mobile Connect cards and 30 Windows-based i-mate handheld business devices, as well as more than 200 3G mobiles, to ensure  staff are equipped with the tool that best suits their working style.

Thanks to Wireless Office, The Warehouse staff are able to talk much more, which facilitates improved internal communications, at lower cost to the company. The number of calls made within the Warehouse network has more than doubled from 18 to 40%, while the average bill cost has steadily decreased, going down 16% in the quarter to June 30. All this while the average user is speaking 15 minutes more a month!

Seamless global roaming is also a huge plus for The Warehouse. “We have buyers based internationally and in New Zealand. For our staff to secure the best deals for our customers, they need to be contactable 24/7. With Vodafone, our staff can travel the world and concentrate on doing their jobs – without having to worry whether the technology will work,” says McCall.

Very interesting. Creating virtual locations for their workers, access to on-line resources, extending communications to wherever they are. I know there are some success stories in this area, but not many get out for the public to read about.

Let's just wait for Number Portability to be in full effect in New Zealand from April 2007 to see things changing rapidly. This, with initiatives such as Vodafone At Home will change the telecommunications landscape in this country. If you don't know, Vodafone's At Home service allows customers to have a local calling area prefix that is routed to their cellular handsets within a specified area around their registered residence. Local calls will be free for customers, but outside the At Home area, normal mobile rates apply.

Microsoft Habu gaming mouse giveaway

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 21-Jan-2007 09:49

Every week during our Geekzone chat (#geekzone IRC channel on I try giving away something. Most of the times I have USB memory keys and some review units. But sometimes I also post some competitions in our forums.

This time I am giving awat a Microsoft Habu gaming mouse. This mouse rocks, and it's really a good addition to any gamer's arsenal of secret weapons...

To be in to win a Microsoft Habu you just need to post a reply on this discussion in our forums... Good luck!

Rip your CDs the lazy way

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 19-Jan-2007 18:47

This is an interesting service I found while visiting the Lunch at Piero's event during the 200 International CES: Riptopia.

You can purchase a pack of "rip CD" services, with prices between US$1.49 and US$1.99 per disc. Riptopia will send you a UPS (sorry only available in the U.S.) pack and a spindle to hold your discs. After a few days you receive the discs back with mp3 versions of your digital media. They even throw in a free external HDD if you have a collection of more than 300 CDs.

Standard Service is ideal for iPods and wireless transmission of music with digital music libraries in form of MP3 192 kbps. The Premium Service is ideal for high-end media centers/music servers and returns digital music libraries in the form of MP3 320, WMA Lossless, FLAC.

They won't rip DVDs or home made copies - only originals.

How's that for lazy rip?

iPhone Mojo for you

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 19-Jan-2007 13:13

A friend of mine has launched a blog called iPhone Mojo to keep track of all things related to the Apple iPhone device.

Anthony Caruana promised to keep it up to date with such interesting bits of information as the rumours of Australian operator Telstra running some tests with an Apple iPhone down under.

A couple of cool cases and pictures from the 2007 International CES

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 15-Jan-2007 20:12

Intel had one of the most interesting "hands on" exhibit during the 2007 International CES. Check it out, this is a life size F1 car simulator, with two cars and massive CPUs running the show:

Visiting the AMD stand also revealed some interesting cases:

And just so that we don't forget game consoles, this "Xbox 360 flower" is pretty cool too:

No third party applications on the iPhone feature phone

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 15-Jan-2007 12:55

If you have any doubts about how Apple wants to control their users' experience when it comes to the Apple iPhone, here are a couple of examples. This is a quote from Macworld:

Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of worldwide iPod marketing, has confirmed that while the company is encouraging third parties to design peripherals for the iPhone, as is the case with the iPod, “There is no opportunity right now for third party development”. He told Macworld: “Right now the opportunities are limited to the accessory market.”

This does not mean that companies are exempt from approaching Apple with ideas for applications for the iPhone. Joswiak emphasized that Apple has already worked in partnership with both Google and Yahoo on such applications, but essentially it will always be Apple who releases the software.

Steve Jobs told MSNBC the iPhone won't have third party applications because...

“You don’t want your phone to be an open platform,” meaning that anyone can write applications for it and potentially gum up the provider's network, says Jobs. “You need it to work when you need it to work. Cingular doesn’t want to see their West Coast network go down because some application messed up.”

What about all those Symbian, Palm and Windows Mobile devices out there already? Are they actually a threat to networks?

The market will obviously dictate where this design is heading. There are no doubts the device looks good, and it joins the iPod functionality all users love, with the base feature set expected from a smartphone. So why not go ahead and make it a full fledged smart device, with the possibility of application install, and user management?

We already know that operators are keen to customise devices to suit their brands. We have seen this happening before with Windows Mobile and Symbian devices. In addition to the very cool voice mail interface provided by Apple, I'd expect a set of policy management tools, just to make enterprise and operators happy.

But if it doesn't happen, I want to see the Apple fans come out now and say the Mac OS is an open platform, when comparing with other proprietary mobile OS platforms.

Certainly the market in the U.S. and overseas are going crazy over a 2.5G (GPRS/EDGE) phone, with a non-replaceable battery, and a non-existent developer community. But only time will tell us if this will redefine mobile computing, or just add another competitor to the feature phone market.

Ask Vodafone's Russell Stanners

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 14-Jan-2007 13:55

Our editor Juha Saarinen managed to arrange a different kind of interview with Vodafone New Zealand. We have the opportunity to ask Vodafone New Zealand CEO Russell Stanners 10 questions.

Instructions on how to submit questions, which questions will be asked, and more are in this thread.

Let's ask some good questions folks!

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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