My window to the world

Dance, Monkeys. Dance

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 10-Jun-2007 12:03

If you think "what are we doing here", this video is a must see...

Have a good Sunday!

Apple iPhone does not support MMS

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 10-Jun-2007 10:42

So people are going crazy on a mainly media-based phone that does not support MMS? Or no support for any IM?

From Mac Rumors:

Revolutionary Mobile Phone

- Dial any telephone number with the touch of a finger
- Create and manage a list of telephone numbers you call most
- If you choose to answer the call, the video will pause and resume once the call ends
- iPhone syncs contact information from the computer to iPhone (from Address Book on a Mac or Outlook or Outlook Express on a Windows PC).
- Built-in speakerphone
- iPhone lets you carry on a phone conversation while you simultaneously browse the Internet or send an email.
- There is a vibrate mode.


- Sync photos from Mac or PC

SMS Text Messaging

- SMS text message button shows how many new messages are waiting
- Threaded conversations
- Hear an audio alert for new messages
- Error correction and prevention in the keyboard. Only displayed when you need it.
- iPhone users will not be able to conduct IM conversations with instant messaging users
- Does not support MMS messaging for photos or videos

Music and Video

- All videos play in landscape mode
- If you prefer your widescreen content to take up the entire screen, you can double tap the video and iPhone will automatically scale the video to take up the entire screen
- Sync music with iTunes just like any other iPod
- Select how to display music: by playlist, artist, songs or more.
- Media Net, MobiTV, or Cellular Video are not available on iPhone


- Rich formatting
- Support for IMAP and POP3
- Yahoo! Push Mail
- Automatic address completion


- Double tap an object to make it fill the screen, and double tap to zoom out
- Can have multiple websites open at once and switch between them
- Websites you have bookmarked on your computer will be transfered to your iPhone from your Mac or PC


Google Maps

- iPhone will not support the TeleNav solutions currently offered by other AT&T devices
- GPS is not part of the iPhone feature set.

Yawn... It is interesting how some people get all excited and list vibrate mode as a "revolutionary" thing. I thought vibrate mode was standard in most "smarter" devices anyway?

People, let's be realistic. All those features (and more) are present on Palm OS, Symbian and Windows Mobile devices. And those devices do not use proprietary voice mail services that chain you to a specific mobile operator.

That's the thing in marketing. It seems the key is to make any feature sound as it is only available on that specific product.

Ferrit prices...

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 9-Jun-2007 14:05

We were looking at prices for Dyson vacuum cleaners today. The LV Martin website shows one specific model at $549, while Telecom's Ferrit shows the same model, coming from LV Martin, at $599.

It looks like you shouldn't go and buy from Ferrit if you can go to the retailer's own website...

Auction snipers in New Zealand

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 8-Jun-2007 17:34

I didn't know about this until I saw a car on the streets around here, but there's a New Zealand company developing a "bid sniper" software called Snipeme.

"Auction sniping" is when users place bids in the last seconds of an auction, trying to buy the item, without revealing their intentions by placing bids early on the process.

It seems the software works with local on-line auction giant Trade Me and the American service eBay.

Actually, looking at their logo, even the colours are similar to Trade Me, so we know they are really after the local market for this kind of software. Have a peek:

I think the company might do well with the local New Zealand market, since I haven't seen similar software around. Of course trying to compete with other eBay auction sniper software is going to be tough: Google alone returns a million results for "auction snipe".

I have contacted Rowan Simpson, who's just left Trade Me, about this. He confirms that automated tools are not allowed and changes in the "auto extend" feature means that currently all auctions will automatically extend if there are bids in the last minutes - and this can not be turned off. This change alone makes any "sniper" tactics somehow innefective.

UPDATE: And this is the reply from Trade Me support, which surprisingly came during the weekend (I was actually expecting to receive a reply on a business day):

I have looked into this for you and can see that we do not support the use of third party software that interfaces with the website, due to corruptions that can occur.

If you aren't able to be at the computer when an auction is closing I would recommend setting up an auto bid.

If you have any further questions or if I can be of any further help please do not hesitate to contact me. Have a great weekend.

More on New Zealand Daylight Saving Time changes

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 7-Jun-2007 17:05

I wrote about the New Zealand Daylight Saving Time changes before, and today the Department of Internal Affairs sent out this press release:

The Department of Internal Affairs has written to key IT providers reminding them about this year's change to daylight saving.

The Minister of Internal Affairs, Rick Barker, announced in April that the period of daylight saving was being extended to 27 weeks.  From this year, daylight saving will start on the last Sunday in September and end on the first Sunday in April the following year.  Accordingly, the next period of daylight saving will start on Sunday 30 September 2007 (when 2:00am becomes 3:00am) and end on Sunday 6 April 2008 (when 3:00am becomes 2:00am). 

The only change is to the length of the period of daylight saving (daylight time).  Daylight time is still one hour in advance of New Zealand standard time, and in the Chatham Islands, daylight time is still one hour and 45 minutes in advance of New Zealand standard time. 

Deputy Secretary Keith Manch says IT providers will want to test their systems with the required changes before daylight saving commences on 30 September. 

"We will follow up with a reminder to the regulators of the key sectors affected by the change to daylight saving, such as health and banking, recommending that they contact their IT providers about changes to programmes and any testing needs they have," Keith Manch said.

So go on, please read my previous post about this issue. If you work in New Zealand, or your IT organisation is based here, or you have some IT infrastructure in this country you should be aware of this.

Windows Mobile Device Center 6.1 released for Windows Vista

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 7-Jun-2007 12:24

Just a few days after the Microsoft guys announcement of an upcoming WMDC release, you can now download WMDC 6.1 for Windows Vista machine - all versions (32 bit and 64 bit and languages available).

Some of the key updates:

Windows Mobile 6 feature support:
- Information Rights Management activation - Automatically configure the Windows Mobile 6 device to open IRM-protected documents and files
- HTML mail – Set up your Windows Mobile 6 device to sync HTML-formatted mail
- Certificate Enrollment - Acquire certificates through the PC the Windows Mobile 6 device is currently connected to
- Allow data connections on the Windows Mobile 6 device when connected to the PC
- File synchronization for smartphones – Synchronize files with your Windows Mobile 6 devices, including both touch screen and non-touch screen devices

Other features:
- Automatic device authentication - Connect the Windows Mobile device to the PC without the need to enter the device-lock PIN every time upon connect
- Product Registration - Register your Windows Mobile device and get connected to information and offers available for your device

Netscape is alive with a new version

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 7-Jun-2007 11:42

Who would have thought that Netscape Navigator is still alive? The browser that started it all is available in a new version, incorporating social features such as sharing and voting for webpages, friends links and RSS feed support.

Want to have an insight on Netscape? Just read this bit about Netscape Navigator on Wikipedia:

Netscape Navigator, also known as Netscape, was a proprietary web browser that was popular during the 1990s. Once the flagship product of Netscape Communications Corporation and the dominant browser in usage share, its user base had almost completely evaporated by 2002, partly due to the inclusion of Microsoft's Internet Explorer web browser with the Windows operating system, but also due to lack of significant innovation after the late 1990s.

Netscape wasn't the first browser, being inspired on Mosaic browser. But it was the one that made the world wide web popular.

Popular during the 90s! Back by popular demand? I don't think so. I remember using Netscape Navigator 1.0 (screenshot) on my Windows 3.11 for Workgroups install, back in 1995.

You can download old versions of Netscape as well on their archives, but only back to version 4.0.

My linkblog

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 5-Jun-2007 14:40

I have now create a page for my linkblog. I will share interesting posts I find through my RSS feeds, but I don't have the time to post a complete comment - so I will simply tag it and share with you.

I will be "feeding" it while working through my feeds (which is probably half of my work day). So bookmark it and keep coming back.

There's no RSS feed for that yet, since it's a single page listing all those interesting articles. I will create a feed for that later.

Enjoy the reading!

Orange thinks that 30 MB of mobile data is unlimited

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 5-Jun-2007 10:54

This is an early April's Fool joke, or what? Mobile operator Orange UK launched a new "flat rate" data package for "seasoned surfers who demand great value for all their mobile browsing". The flat rate costs only £8 (NZ$ 24).

Sounds too good to be true? It is. They fail to say this "flat rate" is limited to 30 MB/month!

That's right, 30 MB. This is  what Jean-Pascal Van Overbeke, Vice President Mobile & Convergence for Orange, says:

“Our new pricing structure makes it easy for our customers to understand exactly what they are getting and for how long when they access the mobile internet. Customers can get access to the web on the move, without the fear of being caught out by any hidden charges.”

What's more intreresting is that nowhere in the press release they say anything about the 30 MB limit, instead that's what it was distributed:

From June, five new bundles, starting from just £1, mean both Pay Monthly and Pay As You Go customers can browse safe in the knowledge they will know exactly how much they will pay. 

A joke? Customers know how much they pay for sure, but had no idea how much they were getting for their money.

True, nowhere they say "unlimited". But nowhere they place a limit. The way things are worded it sounded as it was unlimited. That's all.

No wonder people are already complaining. T-Mobile UK offers 1 GB/month for £7.50. Yes, 1 gigabyte for less than what Orange charges for 30 megabytes.

Welcome FTTH, Lithuania

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 4-Jun-2007 18:27

Let's see these numbers before jumping into the news:

Lithuania: ex-URSS satellite republic, obtained its indepedence of a communist state in 1990, population 3.6 million, GPD US$57 billion, per capita US$ 15,100.

Slovenia: independence from Youguslavia in 1991, population 2 million, GDP US$ 44 billion, per capita US$ 25,500.

New Zealand: independent since 1907, population 4.1 million, GDP US$ 102 billion, per capita US$ 25,500.

What do Lithuania and Slovenia have that we don't have in New Zealand? FTTH. According to a post I found on GigaOM, TEO LT is jumping the (non-) existent copper and going directly to fiber:

Countries with little copper legacy are doing their best to bypass the centuries old access methodology and going straight to fiber, stringing it right to their citizens’ doorsteps. This is especially true in the case of smaller nations – like Slovenia and now Lithuania, one of the former Soviet republics.

This is from the TEO LT press release:

“The Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) Project is one of the most important network modernisation projects of TEO. Over three years, we will invest more than LTL 100 million in the new optical access network. This strategic solution will enable us to meet the fast-growing customer needs for fast Internet access not only today, but also for many years to come“, - says Arūnas Šikšta, General Manager of TEO LT, AB.

The fiber-optic network, which is being installed by TEO, is a novelty both in Lithuania and in the majority of European countries. Usually, optical fibers are installed up to a multi-family apartment house’s inlet box, from which copper cables are installed to residential apartments. Due to their physical characteristics, such copper cables limit the speed of data communication. TEO will install optical fibers up to the user’s apartment (computer) – that will allow increasing the speed of services provided to the customer up to 1 Gbps.

Another advantage of the fiber-optic network is that, by using it, data can be both uploaded and downloaded at the same speed. It also ensures minimum delay, which is particularly important when using Internet chat applications, organizing video conferences or playing online network games.

TEO plans that the residents of the 5 biggest cities of Lithuania will be the first to use the advantages provided by the fiber-optic network, and in Vilnius the provision of fiber-optic Internet services will be launched already in June.

The LTL 100 million is equivalent to US$ 40 million, and they will roll out a network capable of 1 Gbps to home.

In the case of Slovenia, Telekom Slovenije, has launched a fiber to the home project that will get 50,000 Slovenian homes fiber-based broadband access by end of 2007.

I know the New Zealand terrain is very different from those other countries, but FTTH needs to start somewhere, and our population is concentrated in large citiies (Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton, Palmerston North). Why not FTTH in these places first?

I know the Wellington City Council is out seeking comments on a broadband strategy plan. But isn't it late?

While this is happening overseas, New Zealand still fights the monopoly in copper. As I wrote before, I don't believe local loop unbundling is the solution. Why share old technology, instead of providing incentives for network providers to invest in deploying new technologies?

The way it is going to be implemented here, I can see all those providers trying to use the old copper, without investing a cent in new technologies, waiting for the incumbent Telecom New Zealand to come with their own solution, and then try to get the government to force Telecom to share their network.

Where's the incentive to investments?

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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