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New Zealand is no Fiji - Media Center that is

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 20-May-2008 11:19

It looks like the Windows Vista Media Center beta, known as Fiji is now on. But it is not available to New Zealand users.

Here is some of the features that we expect to see in this update, according to the discussion on Geekzone:

1.  Get rid of all the registry mods needed for Vista Media Center Editio in New Zealand
2.  Tune Freeview DVB-S natively in Media Center Edition
3.  Tune Freeview DVB-T natively in Media Center Edition, including our dodgy AAC sound codecs
4.  Get the guide over the air, rather than having to use Bladerunner/Reven/ or others
5.  Have native muiti tuner support, which is easy to setup

Also is worth noting that New Zealand is one of the only countries in the world using the H.264 standard for their DVB-T HD broadcast. The other country is Norway.

And since this is not going to be tested here you can imagine how well this well end up...

Oh yes. Windows Vista Media Center was never officially supported in New Zealand anyway. So you can stop buying Windows Vista Ultimate and Windows Vista Home Premium.

Go get GB-PVR or Media Portal and run on any cheaper version of Windows instead.

And check our Freeview forum to see how to configure these to run in New Zealand.

Microsoft 2.0 is out

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 7-May-2008 16:02

I haven't read the book yet - and no this is not an affiliate link drop. Microsoft 2.0, by Mary Jo Foley is out now. I might have to use some of my Amazon gift vouchers and grab a copy.

On July 1, 2008, a new chapter begins for tech-industry giant Microsoft. On that day, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates will no longer be involved with the daily goings-on of the company he founded more than 30 years ago. Microsoft's official message is that nothing will change; it will be business as usual. But as anyone who has studied Microsoft knows, a Microsoft without Gates participating in product reviews and articulating Microsoft's strategies and priorities is going to be a very different company.

This is a book about Microsoft's future, not its past. The coming years will be challenging ones for the Redmond software kingpin. Many of the executives currently leading the Microsoft charge are likely to go their own way. Technology will continue to advance at a breakneck pace. Microsoft will forge deals of the size and scope it previously never envisioned in order to keep pace. Foley doesn't claim to possess a crystal ball, allowing her to predict flawlessly what Microsoft plans to do in the next few years … or even few months.

No viruses in your future...

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 7-May-2008 12:13

What a clever piece of marketing - so cool I had to post it here, with the appropriate link love of course.

Today I found this plastic bag in my letterbox:

These are the instructions:

i. Do not open
ii. Place in warm loctions for 2-3 days
iii.visit to find the cure (fill the blank with the letters that appear in the petri dish).

So, yes you have to visit to find out what this all about.

No, ths is not a bacterial culture. It's just cheese mould according to the instructions in the back. But very clever.

Microsoft Internet Explorer 8: make your voice heard

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 10-Apr-2008 09:27

Many of you might know Internet Explorer 8 is being released in full standards mode.

I have an opportunity to provide your feedback to the Microsoft team - but only a couple of days so this need to be quick.

I am looking for your feedback in those topics:

- what do you think of this decision?
- what is the impact you think this will have on your customer or developer experience?
- any recommendations on how to make developers aware of this?

I understand Microsoft is planning to contact some tech websites around the world, to distribute information about these changes, FAQs and other material. This is related to the third question above. Do you see this as an effective way of doing it?

Anything else I forgot? Post in the comments here or contact me.

Imagine Cup 2008 New Zealand results are in

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 8-Apr-2008 09:18

I spent Thursday last week at the Microsoft offices in Auckland, judging the Imagine Cup 2008. This year's topic is "environment" and we had very good entries in the contest.

The judges were instructed to select three teams to go to the New Zealand finals, but we couldn't select only three - so at the end we agreed to select four teams to go through. You can get more updated information on the competition on the Microsoft NZ Student blog.

The teams are pictured below, in no particular order:

Do you have any questions about OOXML? Ask the team

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 5-Apr-2008 08:03

I have the chance to post some questions ot the Microsoft Office team in Redmond about the OOXML standard, its approval and more.

If you have a question for the team please contact me and I will relay it. I post the answers here in my blog.

Windows XP for Asus Eee PC and others: guaranteed until 2010

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 4-Apr-2008 19:56

Asus has just announced the Eee PC with pre-installed Windows XP and th big question came up: what's going to happen to these little machines, since Windows XP is supposedly being retired from this year?

Microsoft has just announced something that will help this new class of small computer keep running for a few more years - Microsoft has announced that it will extend the availability of Windows XP Home edition for this emerging type of computer referred to as an ultra-low-cost PCs (ULCPC).

The extension will run until either 30 June 2010 or one year after general availability of the next version of Windows – whichever is later.

Of course people will ask "what about Windows Vista?". It all come down to requirements it appears. According to David Rayner, Microsoft NZ Windows Platform Marketing Manager:

While Windows Vista provides many benefits, including an easier and more secure user experience, Windows XP Home edition provides an effective solution on these emerging devices from a performance and cost perspective.

ULCPCs are a new and growing class of mobile computers designed for customers interested in complementing their primary Windows-based PCs with additional, lower spec’d computers. These machines vary, but typically have smaller screen sizes and lower-powered processors than more expensive mobile PCs.

Where is the Windows Home Server love in New Zealand?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 22-Mar-2008 08:01

The Windows Home Server team has posted an update to their Home Server World Cup - and New Zealand is still #2 in terms of relative uptake for this smart server for domestic use.

Also interesting to note is Windows Home Server was first released in New Zealand - I actually bought a license as soon as it was released here and have been using it since.

But despite the fact kiwis love technology and are in general very early adopters, the big players are not coming to this market. I contacted HP asking if their MediaSmart Home Server would be coming down here and I was told that no plans existed for the moment.

A few local companies will put a very good machine together to host your home server if you need. But we don't see here the number of brands and options the European market is seeing. I'd like to see at least the HP option around!

By the way, this is an old screenshot, our Windows Home Server is now up to 2 TB and 80% full - and the crappy 1 TB Maxtor drive was replaced with two 500 GB Seagate FreeAgent, which are much more reliable.

Windows Server 2008: the banner

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 19-Mar-2008 22:38

This is me with one of the banners showing my quote during the Microsoft Windows Server 2008 launch in Wellington:

Microsoft is using those banners around the country. I think I am in good company.

Vote on Imagine Cup New Zealand and be in to win

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 19-Mar-2008 13:34

Today I am attending the Microsoft Launch Wave 2008 (Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008) at Te Papa Museum of New Zealand. Really cool to see one of my quotes about running Geekzone on Windows Server 2008 in one of the banners around here.

Also cool was to be invited to judge the entries in the Imagine Cup New Zealand. I also found out you can vote for your favourite team and be in to win an Xbox 360, Windows Vista or Microsoft Office. Keep the votes coming!

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.

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