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CTP for Windows Home Server beta hits the streets

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 19-Apr-2007 08:59

The Windows Home Server beta has hit the stage where a CTP (Community Technology Preview) is widely available to the public. The announcement came after a leak of the CTP build, a witch hunt, allegations that a MVP was responsible for the leak (no MVP was involved in that leak) and general high antecipation.

You can apply to be a Windows Home Server beta tester now.

A word of warning though: even with the push in the direction of 64 bit OS for the desktop, Windows Home Server CTP still does not support Windows Vista 64 bit clients. I tested this last week (I had an early access to the CTP build) and can conrfirm this feature is still not present.

I've heard from Bill Gates himself how important is the 64 bit push into the desktop... But Microsoft is still working around this.

The Windows Home Server is a great concept - and you can tweak lots. Power Users will notice that WHS can run almost everything you'd run on a SBS box. Be careful though and read the documentation. Some programs are known to break the new special file management system in place. This new system is really cool and allows almost transparent management of storage on your server. For lots of more information, check the Windows Home Server blog.

Did anyone see a massive RIM BlackBerry failure?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 18-Apr-2007 21:20

I just found out a story from WNBC, Massive System Failure Affecting Blackberry Users. Apparently BlackBerry users in the Western hemisphere were not able to use their device for e-mail:

NewsChannel4 has learned of a massive system failure affecting all blackberry users in the western hemisphere.
The RIM Company, which stands for Research In Motion, developed blackberry technology and said its infrastructure failed around 8 p.m. Tuesday and has been down ever since.

E-mails are not being pushed to portable blackberry devices.

Officials with RIM said they are trying to reset the system and told NewsChannel4 that they are concerned that the backlog of data, which will rush through when it comes back on line, could cause a bigger problem.

17 April 8pm (EDT) would be 18 April 12 noon in (NZ). I wonder if this affected New Zealand or Australia. I will be contacting Vodafone New Zealand (or they can comment here) to find out more.

Geekzone and Nielsen//NetRatings stats

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 18-Apr-2007 20:31

Back in September 2006 I decided to contract to the Nielsen//NetRatings service and track Geekzone data with Market Intelligence and Site Census.

As a result we get an overview of the on-line media industry in New Zealand, plus we get onto "the radar" for advertisers, press relation and players in the tech industry.

Every week Nielsen//NetRatings sends out a chart with the top ten sites in different categories, and this week Technology was again the focus. The last Technology chart was six months ago, just after we joined the service.

The great news is that Geekzone is still the top technology New Zealand site (Unique Browsers and Page Impressions). I sent a copy of the chart to some PR companies, telcos and other tech companies - some even replied to me with "I didn't know you guys have this reach".

So thanks to all the readers and contributors to Geekzone, its forums and blogs - you help make the site what it is.

I keep an eye on numbers because the service is available on-line 24/7 for publishers, but these charts are great snippets of information for the public.

But enough said. Looking at some of my ego feeds I found Neil Anderson's comments on this chart, comparing with the same one from six months ago. Neil is the former editor of the New Zealand Herald on-line and says:

If you’re on top of technology news in New Zealand, then you’re probably a frequent visitor to, the unflashy but highly credible site run by Mauricio Freitas from Wellington.

Geekzone offers its readers tech news and reviews, chats and discussion forums [don’t geeks love those!], plus blogs such as Juha Saarinen’s popular Techsploder.

The site is quite a success story too, with the latest Nielsen NetRatings showing the site drew almost 122,000 unique visitors last week [see first table above].

By comparison, the tech sections of the major newspaper-based websites [ and] each drew less than a third that number.

I dug out the corresponding chart from last November [see above], and you can see that Geekzone’s latest results are no fluke.

Neil, thank you for the kind words. It is really a great feeling to be able to do this job and I enjoy it - a lot.

Interesting development for on-line security: pictorial secure sign on technology

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 18-Apr-2007 10:16

This is an interesting development for security: a pictorial-based one-time password system, developed by Vidoop. The company describes the system this way:

Without requiring any additional hardware, the Vidoop login system provides the user with a method of receiving a one-time access code at the last moment, just in time for login.

The innovative system draws the user’s eye to the secret based on a personal selection made during the enrollment process. Instead of a password, each user chooses from a number of “categories,” like “airplanes,” “cars” or “keys.” At time of login, Vidoop displays an array of images including an airplane, a car, or a key, and several other unrelated images. Without knowledge of the secret, the display appears completely random to other observers.

The user spots the secret categories known only to him and notices a series of digits that act as the one-time access code. Since other observers do not know the user’s categories, they do not know which of the displayed access codes to use as the key. Only the user can interpret the one-time access code from the display.

What's more interesting is the company's beta site,, which provides integration with OpenID. The company also hosts a video showing how the solution works.

Google Presentations

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 18-Apr-2007 08:10

This is very different from everything we've seen before: Google is announcing in advance they are working on Presentations, a natural follow-up to the Google documents and spreadsheet offerings on-line, currently complemented by Google Calendar (pictured) and Google Mail (GMAIL).

The technology is being developed by Tonic Systems, a company based in San Francisco and Melbourne, recently acquired by Google.

And to think that "Microsoft Office Live" is not the Microsoft Office package being offered on-line. What a bad branding decision. In the meantime Google is eating the pourridge from the edges.

Geeks make better lovers

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 17-Apr-2007 13:11

Microsoft Athens: Forums, Blogs, Tags

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 17-Apr-2007 12:41

Microsoft has just announced an update to its project "Athens", the Microsoft Community Beta. "Athens" is a collection of tools for companies, communities and individuals to create their own space.

The tools include Forums, Blogs, and Tagspace. Currently these are not available to use outside Microsoft, except the Forums which accepts posts from anyone signed in with a Live ID. But the company has opened the doors for the IT community in general to have a look in the feature, suggest new services and more.

The main site for the project Athens is here. You can access each individual tool directly through the following links: Forums, Blogs, Tagspace.

According to the team, "The functional scope of the Athens beta applications and services is limited by design to the fundamentals, such as posting to a forum, commenting on a blog, or bookmarking a resource. Our purpose is to provide the foundations and essential framework for rapid iteration using customer feedback as our main development touchstone."

Also it is important to note the target for this release:

Our target audience for this release is Microsoft technology professionals — IT pros and devs, mainly — who are actively engaged in online communities and are willing to try out some new concepts and tools. We also intend this release as a way to further the internal discussion with our stakeholders and partners about how “Web 2.0” and social networking technologies should fit into Microsoft product development, marketing, and evangelism.

One interesting question is "Are you trying to compete with Community Server?"... The answer according to their FAQ is "Are you trying to compete with Community Server?

While there are clearly areas of overlap between our (fully envisioned) community platform services and Community Server, we don't really see ourselves in direct competition with that solution. Rather, we hope to provide the "plumbing" that Web sites and other applications—including community sites built on Community Server technology—can use to complement and extend their online community services and user experiences. In fact, as far as we're concerned, communitarians far and wide should use whatever platform suits them best; we aim to provide the glue that can connect them to one another, and help them discover whole new communities of shared interest, wherever they may be on the Web.

You will find feedback forums links fro the Microsoft Community Beta page. If you want more information, there's a Microsoft Community FAQ page up now.

Why Windows Vista on your PC with 4GB RAM can only see 3GB - or less...

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 16-Apr-2007 13:48

Many times I've seen people asking "I have 4GB RAM on my PC but Windows Vista can only see 3GB. What's going on?"...

I know. It even happened to me. I installed 4GB on my desktop and Windows Vista reported only 3GB total. I thought something was wrong with the memory, shuffled it around, ran memory tests, but nothing worked.

Then I read this: The 3GB not 4GB RAM problem. The author explains why and how. First we find out that there's a limit of memory a 32 bit system can address. But even so, the actuall memory is less than the addressable limit, because of reserved memory imposed by chipsets.

Even though Windows Vista 64 bit has a much higher limit (128GB RAM), it may still be limited, depending on the chipset!

If you are running 32-bit Windows, you must live with it. You will not ever see all 4GB of RAM you've paid for.

If you are running 64-bit Windows, you may have to live with it. Depending on your motherboard's chipset, your system may support memory remapping. If so, you will be able to use all 4GB of RAM.

Interesting read.

Windows Mobility User Group - Wellington

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 16-Apr-2007 13:17

This week (19 April 2007 6pm) we are having another WMUG meeting. This time we will focus on Windows Vista and mobile experiences. We also have ten copies of Microsoft Windows Vista Business edition to give away, plus other goodies, including two Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Evaluation Kit.

The meeting will be hosted by Toshiba, in their offices at Wakefield St.

Some things to mention: we don't have a WMUG website at the moment, because the old domain lapsed and the domain holder did not renew it (he missed all the notiifications). Darryl has got another domain and we haven't decided what to do yet. Most likely we will use SharePoint Services to host the content. We need the website so that you can read about the group meetings and to get notices such as O'Reilly discounts for the group and more.

In the meantime, if you want to get notifications via e-mail, we have a (low volume) mailing list. You can subscribe to the WMUG list (and lots of other NZ .Net User Group lists) in the official NZ .Net User Group site.

Other news involve Craig Pringle. He's accepted a position with Gen-i in Sydney, Australia, and therefore will not be able to commit his time to help the user group with his Tablet PC and mobility knowledge. So we are looking for other people to help. If you have a passion for mobile stuff, is based in Wellington, and want to help (low volume again) please contact me.

Microsoft Outlook 2007 update for performance (KB933493)

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 16-Apr-2007 10:52

Last week Microsoft released a 8.4MB update fixing performance problems found in Microsoft Outlook 2007. I've already installed the update on my Windows Vista 64 bit laptop and used it for a few days before posting the link here.

This update fixes a problem in which a calendar item that is marked as private is opened if it is found by using the Search Desktop feature.

The update also fixes performance issues that occur when you work with items in a large .pst file or .ost file.

The Knowledge Base article 933493 has more details. Make sure you read it because there are some problems when running Outlook with the Business Contact Manager.

It seems the performance issues affect large .pst and .ost files only... I have a rather large .ost (Exchange account) file, but I don't use the integrated RSS feed feature, so I guess performance improvements would be more easily perceived for users with this feature turned on.

Worth updating though, it looks like my copy of Outlook is quicker to start now. But could be just my perception (a placebo effect?) since it wasn't that slow before anyway.

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.

A couple of blog posts you should read:

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