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T-Mobile Web n Walk - flat rate mobile data

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 24-Mar-2006 12:32

This is great news, for British users: "open mobile Internet service option for £7.50 a month and now with unlimited browsing and e-mail".

That's right. T-Mobile UK is now providing unlimited browsing and e-mail for just £7.50 a month, on a contract. 

The web ‘n’ walk service offers access to the Internet instead of “walled garden” WAP services (such as Vodafone live!).

I doubt we will see this kind of plan in New Zealand or Australia any time soon...



Ubuntu Linux is pushed back too

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 23-Mar-2006 09:51

It is not only Microsoft that delays their latest OS. It looks like Ubuntu Linux is having to delay its latest release:

"The next version of Ubuntu Linux, "Dapper Drake" has been pushed back six weeks to June 1 to permit better quality, Linux Standard Base certification and improved international language support."

It looks like it's not ready for prime time, that's what it looks like... Even hardcore Linux users like Taniwha have problems installing this beta.



On10.net

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 20-Mar-2006 09:16

Today I visited 10, the wannabe on-line tech tv show, with two cute-looking hostesses that seem to be always screaming to the camera and microphone. And run by Microsoft.

The idea is that every weekday at 10:00 am (PST) the site is updated with a new video that highlights people, their passions and often the technology they are using. At the end of each week these videos are compiled into a full length show with some extras.

There are also some blogs, such as Education and Health. Hmmm, very interesting (not).

The shows are conducted by Laura and Tina, the two hostesses I mentioned before. They seem to be always reporting things in a "cool", "fun" way - annoying most of the times, and did I say they are always screaming?

Think podcasts turn videocasts, with a funky design and silly "Hello from China" comments in the threads associated with each video.

At least it's a good example of open application (on Windows OS): it works with Internet Explorer (with Windows Media player streaming) and Firefox (with Apple Quicktime player streaming). It won't work on Apple OS X though, either on Safari or Internet Explorer. And the Profile page is not working, returning a funny message that I would translate into either a 404 or 500 error (this is real tech talk).

Topics go like this:
  • "Jon Bach, of Puget Custom Computers, impresses Tina with a monster gaming machine kept cool by a custom designed liquid cooling system."
  • "Danny James and Dillin Quent of Theory in Motion stop by the studio to drop the beat.  Very nice.  Recognize the song from somewhere?"
  • "Technology News as presented by Laura and Tina, news desk, blazers, smart-looking glasses and all.  Ok, well maybe not the blazers or the news desk...or even the smart-looking glasses.  But the news, yes, we've got news."
Ok, great Digg material, and wonderful stuff for Scoble to hype. Boring. Next?



How a Zeeland-based company launched the cubicle and created the office space

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 19-Mar-2006 10:43

Office cubicle

A very interesting article on Fortune will make office workers, Dilbert readers, and Office Space fans shiver when thinking of the time spent in cubicles at work.

The article tells us the cubicle was the brainchild of Bob Propst, who had joined a furniture and office company called Herman Miller, based in Zeeland, Mich (not to be confused with good old New Zealand folks!). 

Originally dubbed Action Office, Propst's system was designed to increase productivity. Productivity would rise if people could see more of their work spread out in front of them, not just stacked in an in-box. The new system included plenty of work surfaces and display shelves; partitions were a part of it, intended to provide privacy and places to pin up works in process. The Action Office even included varying desk levels to enable employees to work part of the time standing up, thereby encouraging blood flow and staving off exhaustion.

"The Action Office wasn't conceived to cram a lot of people into little space," says Joe Schwartz, Herman Miller's former marketing chief, who helped launch the system in 1968. "It was driven that way by economics."

Check the full article on Fortune, and read about the move from cubicle to work mobility. And a good slideshow of office cubicles across the years.

PS. Did I say I have an autographed book from Scott Adams? Years ago I bought an electronic copy of one of his books and it didn't work on the Palm device I had back then. I sent him an e-mail saying what was wrong, and a few days later I got a hardcopy of this book, with a Dogbert cartoon and an autograph. Cool!

Image: © Photographer: Dennis Cox | Agency: Dreamstime.com 



Alternative text input methods for the UMPC

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 14-Mar-2006 16:05

There's a very good (and long, full of screenshots) article on jkontherun.com about Alternative text input methods for the UMPC. Interesting enough you will see that most solutions are already out there, simply because the UMPC is actually running Windows XP Tablet PC Edition. So whatever you read on that article should apply to Tablet PCs as well. But you will also find out some text input alternatives that are not quite well known, and some that are also present in the Windows Mobile Pocket PC world. I personally use RitePen (pictured and in the article) on my Tablet PC and it's great - you can write anywhere on the screen and it's very good recognition.



Google Mars Launched

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 14-Mar-2006 10:19

For all of you Mars Explorers, Google has released Google Mars. Go have a look in what land is available in the other planet, before real estate agents cut all the pie!



Memory, memory

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 7-Mar-2006 11:18

Ah... That's it. The easiest upgrade that can greatly speed up any computer is memory. Here in the Geekzone HQ I work on my desktop (Pentium 4 HT with 2GB RAM) and sometimes on my Tablet PC (a Toshiba M205 with 1GB RAM). But the machine servicing Windows Server 2003, Exchange Server 2003 SP2,SQL Server and Newsgator Enterprise Server was running on a very limited 1GB RAM. But don't worry this is not the Geekzone live server, only the development and testing environment. I went to town and purchased 2x 1GB DDR400 RAM for this desktop, replacing 2x 512MB DDR333 RAM in the process. It is now running with 2.5GB RAM and it's so much happier... Not so much because of the Exchange Server - this is not a big deal, since it's only servicing 3 or 4 accounts, mainly for testing. But the Newsgator Enterprise Server manages a few hundred RSS feeds (about 600), dumping everything into a SQL Server database. And this is the same development server we use to test all the new Geekzone features, including this Geekzone Blog tool, so you can understand why I was really in need of speed on this box.



My LCD monitor is dead! Long live the LCD monitor

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 4-Mar-2006 19:22

I bought a Viewsonic LCD monitor seven years ago (about 1999). It cost back then a small fortune, something like NZ$2500! The Viewsonic lasted for some good long time. It worked almost 24/7 (I leave my desktop on all the time) during these seven years. But I noticed the backlight flickering in the last few weeks, and this morning it died. Great... just when I am busy posting things on Geekzone, in the middle of a chat on MSN, trying to do some more testing on the Geekzone Blog tool, and on top of that, Saturday morning. My wife saw the old Viewsonic going away, so I immediately got an Ok for a new monitor. And off we went to check prices. I called a couple of friends and asked what brands they use. We then headed to a few tech stores to check prices. First stop was Harvey Norman. We saw a couple of LCD monitors there, some widescreen, with DVI and speakers, but the price were actually higher than expected. Next was a walk to Dick Smith. While testing a LCD monitor there (VMC brand, never heard of it before) I typed www.geekz... into the browser's address bar, and to my surprise it auto-completed to www.geekzone.co.nz! Nice to see someone visited Geekzone in that store, using the same PC I was testing the monitor. I also noticed a link to Nic Wise's blog while looking at the browser's history. Anyway, since I couldn't find information on pixel warranty for a specific model, we headed to Noel Leeming to get another view on this monitor market. While there I almost signed the cheque for a HP f2105 Wide Flat Panel Monitor at NZ$1500. Now if you haven't seen this one yet, look for it next time you are in a tech store. It's huge, at 21" widescreen, and beautiful. With a 1000:1 contrast ratio, 8ms, two speakers and two USB 2.0 port it's a cool looking monitor. But, it wouldn't fit on my desk! The space here is at premium rates, so that would be overkill, even though my wife told me to get it. I actually called a friend to check the prices direct from the distributor, but even so... At the end we settled on an AOC LM928 LCD monitor. It's a 19" LCD, with a 550:1 contrast ratio, and 8ms response time. Maximum resolution is 1280x1024, so it's quite bigger than my old 15" Viewsonic. And it's also DVI and VGA inputs. All this for NZ$560 (I got a discount when I showed the price for the same monitor through ascent.co.nz on my Telecom Apache. Ok, now that I have a monitor again, back to coding the Geekzone Blog features we have in the roadmap...



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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