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Andrew Seybold, Wireless and Broadband Forum

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 9-May-2007 20:05

I am just back from the Wireless Wednesday, a monthly event promoted by New Zealand Wireless and Broadband Forum, and had the chance to talk to Andrew Seybold, who was speaking at this meeting.

His talk was an overview of current mobility trends and technologies, including the rise of WiMax, the new 2.5GHz spectrum, Qualcomm's mediaFLO mobile TV and more.

We were introduced before the main event, and spent the better part of half an hour talking about mobile technologies, mobility and other topics related, even sailing (really).

Andrew told me he's just started his own blog, and it's worth checking it if you are interested in anything related to mobile technologies.

He's here in Wellington for a week, and today's meeting was a follow up from yesterday's full day Convergence Oceania 2007, where he was the keynote speaker.

Sierra Wireless Aircard 580 CDMA EVDO support for Windows Vista

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 9-May-2007 19:56

If you are connected to Telecom New Zealand (or other operators) and using a Sierra Wireless Aircard 580 to plug into its CDMA EVDO network, here is good news: you can now download Windows Vista drivers for Aircard 580 with support for 32 bit and 64 bit.

The perfect credit card for Geeks: World of Warcraft Visa

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 9-May-2007 10:08

This what a bunch of geeks were waiting for: The World of Warcraft Visa Rewards Card. How's that for a "captive" audience?

According to the press release, credit card reward points can be redeemed for game time. Not only this, but they are also offering a promotional free month of World of Warcraft time to cardholders upon their first use of the card.

And no annual fees. Of course. No time to pay fees. People are too busy eating pizza, drinking beer and playing WoW...

Only available in the U.S. though.

The big CIO smart phone review

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 9-May-2007 08:57

I've just found out about a (long) review on comparing four smart devices (two Windows Mobile, one Symbian and one RIM BlackBerry). It's an interesting read

There are important differences between selecting phones as a business handheld and choosing a consumer device. Most consumers need only basic phone and messaging functionality; everything else is just frosting on the cake. Not so for business users. CIOs and their staff depend on smartphones to stay connected; in some cases, mobile devices keep their companies up and running. Depending on the organization, specific features beyond phone calls and e-mail are a necessary part of business.

Even when CIOs are willing to upgrade their architecture or buy new hardware, it pays to know the implications of launching a new device across the enterprise. Some devices don't support corporate e-mail services without specific mail servers. Some are designed to function with specific servers, so they work better with one than another.

If you're researching corporate smartphone deployment, the first thing you should do is assess the organization's needs, and thus create a sort of informal criteria for selecting a phone. Purchasing business phones without a clear idea of how the company will use them is like hosting a dinner party and offering only chopsticks as utensils, even though you're unsure if the main dish will be a porterhouse steak, fried chicken or sushi.

Second, assess your current IT architecture to identify the mail servers your organization uses (and the version thereof), as well as corporate mail clients, firewalls and other existing systems that may be affected by a smartphone deployment.

The comparison includes Research In Motion's BlackBerry Pearl 8100, Nokia's E62, Palm's Treo 750, and T-Mobile's Dash, through the eyes of four IT executives: Paul Roche, Network Services CIO; Stephen Ramsey, principal with Brulant; Hugh Scott, Direct Energy VP of IS; and Stacey Morrison, an aerospace industry deputy CIO.

So it's real world thing guys... And the results?

... if we had to vote with our own checkbooks for a business-class smartphone, the Treo 750 is our winner, with the Nokia E62 just a notch behind. Typing functionality, voice quality and Web features are arguably a smartphone's most important features. For us, what sets the Treo 750 apart from the others are its touch screen and stylus, high voice quality and 3G capabilities.

ATM Payphones

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 8-May-2007 23:38

Well, I am sorry but this is probably the strangest idea I've ever heard of in mobile banking... Actually fixed banking: Telecom New Zealand is installing an ATM Payphone:

TSB Bank and Telecom have teamed up to trial New Zealand's first ATM Payphone kiosk. The kiosk will allow people "on the move" to do their banking and make phone calls from the same handy location.

Telecom National Payphone Manager Lisa Hope said "Telecom operates approximately 4,300 payphones in New Zealand and like payphone operators worldwide is seeking new ways to deliver value to customers."

"There are payphone operators internationally that operate ATM Payphone sites and there is evidence that these sites are popular with customers," Mrs Hope said.

Well perhaps somewhere else... But in New Zealand, where there is a huge penetration of cellular technology?

I can imagine someone going to the ATM to withdrawal some cash, and by the way "I will make a phone call here while a line is forming behind me".

But most importantly:

The ATM service features all current services provided via standard ATM's (sic) and has the most secure ATM technology available. Features include 3DES encryption, anti-skimming facia and card insertion and removal jitter.

Standard Telecom Payphone charges will apply for phone calls made from the ATM Payphone.

I feel safe already...

UPDATE: Added a picture as requested by sbiddle, and got a quote from Telecom New Zealand:

If you're wondering about the reasoning behind sticking an ATM on a payphone.... It enables TSB to get access to pre-existing high profile sites around NZ allowing them to expand their network easily, and the advantage for Telecom Payphones is that they get to share the site rental.

Another difference between Palm Treo 700wx and Treo 750v

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 8-May-2007 22:14

A few weeks ago I posted a review comparison of two Palm Treo devices available here in New Zealand. I am talking about the Palm Treo 700wx (left, CDMA, Telecom New Zealand) and the Palm Treo 750v (right, GSM/WCDMA, Vodafone New Zealand).

I just found another difference today. Can you spot it?

Easy: the Palm Treo 750v will have a Windows Mobile 6 update sometime later this year. The Palm Treo 700wx will not have a Windows Mobile 6 update. This is according to sources from Vodafone New Zealand and Telecom New zealand.

Chat with RoamAD

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 8-May-2007 15:52

While here at Convergence Oceania 2007 I had a chance to meet Martin Levy, CEO of RoamAD. The company "... supplies a wireless networking platform for converged wireless networks including citywide Wi-Fi networks, public safety networks, highway Wi-Fi corridors, surveillance / CCTV networks as well as general use networks". In other others metro wi-fi networks.

I've spoken to Martin once over Skype and met him briefly in Auckland before, but today I was given the full rundown on their services, including a demo of the remote administration tool used in the platform - including monitoring network nodes around the world.

This is very impressive technology, and I wonder why the Wellington City Council doesn't use some kind of mesh wireless network as part of their broadband plans for the region - I mean, we can't just have fiber, taking in consideration the local geography, access, etc.

Convergence Oceania 2007 in Wellington

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 8-May-2007 12:47

The Convergence Oceania in Wellington is in full motion... Hon David Cunliffe, Minister for Communications and Information Technology opened the conference, quickly followed by a session with Andrew Seybold talking about current trends in wireless technologies.

Quite a few old faces around, and new people too. Met Gary Rogers and Pat Kelly from APT who showed me some of the new CDMA EVDO Wireless Routers, and Telecom New Zealand as expected is showing the CDMA EVDO Rev A USB modem - and surprise an ExpressCard version. The first should be coming in June, and the ExpressCard late in July.

Tomizone is here and I got to connect to their service using a day pass. Also got to look at the user interface when accessing the servce and managing your account. If you don't know Tomizone is a "broadband" sharing service, and recently announced a deal with ISP Orcon and D-Link which will see Tomizone-enabled routers getting to the streets. This is a huge step, because most ISPs had T&Cs that prevented the sharing of a service, but this seems to be changing here in New Zealand.

Other interesting thing I saw was the Neo Digital guys with their home media server and home control units.
Coffee is good, and as in last year's it is courtesy of Aangel (thanks Willian). Aangel is a mobile service that transcribe short notes, appointments and contact information over the phone and send this to your mobile as a SMS with the appropriate vcal, vnote and vcard formats so you can quickly have these entered into your handset.

Other displays were Citylink, Vantex, InternetNZ, Spirit Wireless, Nutshell (hello Ian) and more.

Subway: share your $4 drink and go to prison

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 7-May-2007 08:33

I don't like Subway anyway. The food doesn't taste great. And now they go around calling the police when one of their employees share a cup of soda:

About two weeks after she was fired, police charged her with the theft of two cups of Coke valued at $4. She will appear in Dunedin District Court this month.

Security video footage of the incident shows Lang sharing the drink with her friend, then refilling the cup and leaving it on the table when she returned to work.

"Most people wouldn't be fired and put in a police cell for two hours for sharing a drink."

In a letter addressed to Lang, the directors said she had given the drink to a friend without payment and that was considered "serious misconduct" and a breach of their "trust and fidelity".

Fidelity? Way to go to destroy employee fidelity, Subway.

I am sure the $4 cup of soda impacted your business in New Zealand a lot. Couldn't the company just charge the $4 to the employee's account?

And when we need police action in so many more important cases, I appreciate the time and effort you asked the New Zealand police to put into this "investigation".

Talk about target shooting and be fired

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 6-May-2007 11:26

Paranoids of the world, unite! First, target a boy for writing an essay. Then suspend a boy for creating a Counter Strike map. Next fire an IT professional for talking about target shooting, just because, well, just because the co-workers are paranoid about anything and everything, thanks to the media and the current state of affairs.

Oh, and make sure the guy is also accused of terrorism for drawing a comic reporting the incident. And plenty of links on Slashdot.

When are these people coming to their sense? I mean, classifying people on hearsay? Are we going back to the Middle Ages?

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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