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Telecom New Zealand CDMA EVDO Rev A

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 4-Dec-2006 10:48

Very short note: Telecom New Zealand is set to introduce their CDMA EVDO Rev A upgrade from the 12 December 2006...

Vodafone activities this week

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 2-Dec-2006 19:22

This coming week (4 December) is going to be interesting. I have received an invitation to attend the opening of Vodafone New Zealand's new flagship retail store, in Wellington (Lambton Quay) and will take some pictures to post in the Vodafone forum later.

I am also meeting with Dion Knill (Vodafone New Zealand) and Colin Hankins (RIM) to talk about the new BlackBerry handheld device to arrive in these islands: the BlackBerry Pearl.

RIM BlackBerry Pearl
The BlackBerry Pearl comes with digital camera, multimedia capabilities and an expandable memory slot for the first time. It measures just 4.2" x 1.97" x .57" and weighs only 3.1 ounces. The BlackBerry Pearl is a quad-band GSM/GPRS and EDGE-enabled mobile device. It comes with built-in 64MB flash memory, expandable with a MicroSD card.

With the BlackBerry Pearl users will be able to use Voice Activated Dialing (VAD) through a Speaker Independent Voice Recognition, support for polyphonic, mp3 and MIDI ring tones, and call management features such as smart dialing, conference calling, speed dialing and call forwarding. It also features a speakerphone and Bluetooth 2.0 for use with hands-free headsets, car kits and other Bluetooth peripherals such as a GPS receiver.

BlackBerry Desktop Software synchronization via Bluetooth is also supported.

The BlackBerry Pearl comes with a media player and stereo headset jack so users can enjoy their favorite music and videos on the go. Music and video clips are delivered with rich sound and vivid color. MP3 and ACC music files and MPEG4 and H.263 video files are supported.

Interesting that it's only GPRS/EDGE, not WCDMA/HSDPA, but for e-mail this can prove enough (unless you are in a touristic area with poor GPRS coverage).

I don't know yet all the availability details, but will post more information Tuesday afternoon, after the meeting. 

Here's a quick run on the BlackBerry Pearl. I haven't seen one yet, so I can't confirm any of these comments.


Do you want to sponsor us to CES 2007?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 2-Dec-2006 11:54

I have the confirmation of my trip to attend the Windows Vista RTM Lab and CES 2007, both events happening early January 2007 in Las Vegas.

This will be my second trip to attend the CES (Consumer Electronics Show), and my fourth (or fifth?) trip attending a Microsoft Featured Community site event.

From past experience I know that it's almost impossible for a single person to attend the events and cover the whole show, find new stuff, take pictures and write about this.

I am thinking of having a second Geekzone person with me during the event, and I am currently looking for a sponsor for his trip. What kind of sponsorship? Tickets for the second Geekzone person, accomodation, cellular data for our on-line real-time postings, anything on these lines are welcome...

Full disclosure: Microsoft Corp is currently sponsoring my own trip, but if you want to be added to the list and have your company acknowledged in our posts, please contact me for this opportunity.

Security gates on your OS

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 23-Nov-2006 11:17

After posting about Vodafone's VMC Lite not being compatible with non-Admin modes on Windows, and going into a bit of discussion on why this is not good, I've found this image:

I think the picture shows pretty much the current situation in terms of security and why people should work towards a better, safer system.

I know a temporary privilege elevation feature is already in place in some platforms. For example the Mac OS nags you for authentication when you want to install a software or update. And even if you are an administrator you are not "root" (which is disabled by default on Mac OS).

The same type of security is coming from Microsoft with Windows Vista enhanced security features, which includes an extended User Account Control (UAC step-by-step guide).

Why is this important to note here? Because there are no doubts that Windows is the platform of choice for the majority of companies, and the default platform for many users who purchase they systems from OEM manufacturers.

Vodafone VMC Lite and security

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 22-Nov-2006 22:48

In those days when companies limit user accounts in their PCs to have no or only minimum administrator rights, and Microsoft is pushing Windows Vista enhanced security features, including an extended User Account Control (here is a UAC step-by-step guide), it is unacceptable that companies release software that requires administrator rights to run.

Following a friend's request to test the vodem on a non-Admin account, I was surprised with this dialog box:

Vodafone vodem requires administrator level to run

While Windows XP would require Administrator rights to install software, with Windows Vista UAC provides ways around this, by temporarily elevating privileges:

User Account Control (UAC) is a new security component Windows Vista. UAC enables users to perform common tasks as non-administrators, called standard users in Windows Vista, and as administrators without having to switch users, log off, or use Run As. A standard user account is synonymous with a user account in Windows XP. User accounts that are members of the local Administrators group will run most applications as a standard user. By separating user and administrator functions while enabling productivity, UAC is an important enhancement for Windows Vista.

The primary difference between a standard user and an administrator in Windows Vista is the level of access the user has over core, protected areas of the computer. Administrators can change system state, turn off the firewall, configure security policy, install a service or a driver that affects every user on the computer, and install software for the entire computer. Standard users cannot perform these tasks and can only install per-user software.

You can see how important is to run as user, instead of Administrator. And even Administrators still need elevation in some cases.

Vodafone has released some updated Mac OS drivers for Intel-based Mac computers, so they are working on vodem support for new OS versions. Based on some Geekzone forum posts it seems Vodafone is working on a vodem driver for Windows Vista. Let's see if they release a new VMC Lite that does not require Administrator privileges to run.

I wonder what's the situation with Telecom New Zealand's dialer for their range of 3G cards?

Windows Vista RTM Lab, CES 2007

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 22-Nov-2006 11:24

It's confirmed now, I got an invitation from Microsoft to attend the Windows Vista RTM Lab in Las Vegas, happening just a couple of days before the 2007 International CES (Consumer Electronics Show), which I will be also attending.

"Time for us to get together for a final review of the exciting developments that you’ll be using with Windows Vista.  This time, we’re offering you the opportunity to learn even more about how the technology included for the release of Windows Vista will affect other products. This will give you more knowledge and insight that you’ll need before the worldwide release of Windows Vista.

We’re inviting you to come to this event prior to the Consumers Electronics Show (CES) to be held January 8th-12th , with the opening keynote by Bill Gates on the evening of January 7th.  Our Lab will be held on January 6th and 7th  with a special event on Saturday evening.  This schedule will allow you to attend the Bill Gates’ keynote after our Lab as well as give you as much time at CES as you’d like."

As in previous years we will be walking around the CES show floor and looking for interesting stuff to post on Geekzone, attend a few parallel technology events and once again meet the Windows Vista team and other website owners.

I am looking for a company willing to sponsor a trip for a second person to the CES - if you want to help us, contact me directly.

The long TelstraClear outage

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 22-Nov-2006 06:08

I understand things happen. But an ISP outage that lasts for 8 hours (and counting)?

TelstraClear exceeded its record this time. Last night during the Geekzone Weekly Chat we had a TesltraClear person between us. A shame he left minutes before my connection died at 8:46pm. Since then I have to thank Vodafone NZ for its service in the area I live.

I called the TelstraClear help desk and was greeted with a message saying something about a power outage causing Internet and cable TV outages in Kapiti, and thought this could be related.

However it's now 6:15am and the service is not back yet.

I am preparing myself to call TelstraClear and endure the 45 minutes wait, their endless requests to power cycle the cable modem (I've done this already multiple times without success) and at the end something like "We will have to send a technician".

If it is something like previous small outages, the service will be restored like magic and I will have to call again, wait 45 minutes and cancel the visit.

But it's not only me. There are other people reporting the same in this area.

Is this going to be the longest TelstraClear outage in Wellington in 2006? We still have another 6 weeks to go you know?

UPDATE: This connection came back between 7am and 8am - about 11 hours outage.

UPDATE: I have posted an update on an on-going discussion in our Geekzone Forums.

CDMA EV-DO versus WCDMA in the U.S.

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 20-Nov-2006 21:12

This is an interesting topic. It may not be something our Europeans readers worry about, but it is certainly an interesting topic for New Zealanders, Australians and North Americans (U.S mainly)-based users of mobile technologies.

I am talking about the CDMA EV-DO versus WCDMA debate. While GSM (and its evolutionary path GPRS, EDGE, WCDMA (a.k.a UMTS), HSDPA) is the dominant mobile technology in Europe, other regions see a balance of forces between GSM and CDMA technologies (here represented by CDMA 1xRTT, 1xEV-DO Rev 0, 1xEV-DO Rev A).

In New Zealand for example, the situation is almost a 50/50 split in number of users of each of those two technologies, although in terms of 3G coverage CDMA (Telecom New Zealand) has a bit more than GSM (Vodafone New Zealand).

I just finished reading a guest post by Chetan Sharma, on Om Malik's blog about EV-DO vs WCDMA in the U.S. and here is an interesting bit:

In terms of network coverage, even though Cingular (then AT&T Wireless) got a head start with its ceremonial UMTS deployment in four markets, Verizon and Sprint Nextel have jumped much further ahead in terms of national coverage. While Cingular has only covered 52 major markets in 28 states (just over 50% market) thus far, both Verizon and Sprint are nearing complete nation-wide coverage. T-Mobile won’t get into the picture until well into 2007. Alltel, the number 5 carrier in the US has been spreading its EV-DO coverage as well.

In the critical area of handsets, EV-DO is ahead by a mile. As of Sept 2006, there were 15 3G handsets available in the market (representing approximately 20% of the available handsets from big four), Fourteen of those handsets were for EV-DO (10 from Verizon, 4 from Sprint Nextel) vs. five UMTS/HSDPA 6handsets from Cingular.

Wow... How different from down under. Here in good old New Zealand is the opposite in terms of handsets. Everyone I know (or post in our Geekzone forums), complain that Telecom New Zealand's handsets are not "sexy" enough to attract the youger crowd, and not interesting enough to attract the older people.

By the way, a current joke on Geekzone is about a MSM journalist who wrote an article about Telecom New Zealand (a CDMA operator) planning to migrate to "Wireless CDMA" (his version of WCDMA). As if there would be any other type of CDMA...

Adobe Download Manager

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 20-Nov-2006 18:11

Is there anyway to download Adobe Reader without using their Adobe Download Manager?
How hard is for a company to understand that I don't need another download manager, and that I don't want another download manager?

I don't want software being installed on my computer just so that I have the ability to download another piece of software?

Is there are anything more intrusive than this, short of being an unwanted spyware or adware software?

UberGizmo Mobile Site

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 16-Nov-2006 09:59

I've followed the UberGizmo blog and exchanged IM with the guys behind it for a while (even though we didn't manage to meet last time I was in the Silicon Valley), and it's always an interesting read.

They are working hard on the site, with versions in French, German, Spanish, Chinese - and have just annoucned an UberGizmo mobile version of the site, working on all sorts of mobile devices, including Windows Mobile Pocket PC, Palm, Symbian S60 and PSP.

UberGizmo Mobile

I've done a couple of early testing for them on my Pocket PCs to see how the site worked, titles, etc. Worth checking it out at

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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