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ReadyBoost and SD cards:

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 7-Apr-2007 13:26

You might be aware of my previous posts about Windows Vista ReadyBoost working inconsistently on my Acer laptop. It seems to work fine with a USB memory key, but I tried two different brands of high speed SD cards with the internal SD card reader and both stop working after a while.

Just now I found this KB article about "Availability of the Windows Vista Secure Digital (SD) hotfix rollup package".

The following issues are fixed in this hotfix package. These issues have not been previously documented in a Microsoft Knowledge Base article.

• When you try to remove an SD card driver or when you try to disable it, a Windows Vista-based computer stops responding. When this problem occurs, you receive a Stop error message that resembles the following: Stop 0x000000C4 (0x00000062,parameter2,parameter3,parameter4)

• When you insert an SD card into a card reader on a Windows Vista-based computer, Windows Vista does not detect the SD card. This issue occurs if the following conditions are true: 

The SD card does not support 1.8 volts. Typically, most SD cards use 3.3 volts. 
The SD host controller uses 1.8 volts.
• When you insert an SD card into the card reader on a Toshiba M500 portable computer that is running Windows Vista, Windows Vista does not detect the SD card. This issue occurs because of a timing issue with the SD host controller.

• When you copy more than 4 gigabytes (GB) of files to a Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) card, some files are corrupted. You do not experience this issue if you copy less than 4 GB of files to the SDHC card. This problem occurs because the Windows Vista SD driver does not correctly process more than 4 GB of addressing.

• An SD card stops responding after a Windows Vista-based computer resumes from sleep (S3) or from hibernation (S4) two times. For example, you experience this issue after you follow these steps:

1. You put the computer to sleep or into hibernation.
2. You start the computer from sleep or from hibernation.
3. You copy files to the SD card or from the SD card.
4. You put the computer to sleep or into hibernation
5. You start the computer from sleep or from hibernation.
• You try to use the Safely Remove Hardware feature to remove an SD card from a Windows Vista-based computer while the card is being used. As expected, the card is not removed from the computer because the card is being used. However, when you try to access the SD card, you receive the following error message: SD media cannot be accessed. Media is not accessible, access denied

• On a Toshiba M500 portable computer that is running Windows Vista, you use Device Manager to disable the "Bluetooth RFBUS from Toshiba" driver. However, when you re-enable the driver, Device Manager stops responding.

I am installing the hotfix now and will test it through the week to see if it really solves the problem.

Free SMS from your Windows desktop and Google homepage

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 6-Apr-2007 10:14

I have just received a press release of an interesting service providing SMS from your desktop in the form of Windows Vista Gadget, Google Homepage Gadget, Yahoo Widget andd even Apple Widget. I am talking about the CallWave SMS product.

I have it now installed in my Windows Vista Sidebar. What it does is allows you to send unlimited SMS to the U.S. and Canada, and during this test phase up to five SMS to other countries, per day.

The press release says you can receive replies, but I couldn't find anywhere in the account to configure this:

For mobile phone users who also use the web each day, the CallWave Free Text Messaging gadget (also known as a widget) delivers invaluable ease and efficiency making the PC a natural companion to the mobile phone. It allows users to send text messages to virtually anyone, anywhere, right from their desktop whether their handset is nearby or not. During the beta, subscribers can send unlimited text messages from the United States and Canada.

The Google Desktop enables consumers to create their own personal homepage on Google. Gadgets can be added from the add stuff link. The CallWave Free Text Messaging gadget can be found in the Communication section or by simply typing in CallWave in the search field. With the gadget running on the Google Desktop, users can view a list of contacts and select who to text.

Replies to the message can be routed to either the subscribers handset or email, depending on their personal settings. Subscribers will eventually be given access to their messages stored in a permanent, searchable archive, accessible from a personal web page.

To get the Google Desktop Gadget, go to or Google

Anyway, the press release is all about the Google Desktop, but if you go to the linked widgets page you will find the other gadgets. There is also a Google Homepage gadget, and you can find it directly on your Google Personalised page instead of using these links.

CallWave also has a gadget you can embed in your website or blog.

An alternative is the Free Gizmo SMS website... It promises to send free SMS around the world, unlimited... But none of the test SMS I sent to my mobile phone ever arrived. So I will stick with the CallWave service for now.

Testing the Sony Ericsson M600i

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 5-Apr-2007 19:10

You might remember a few months ago I posted about the last Symbian UIQ device leaving this home (due to a fall). That Sony Ericsson P800 did a great job, but it was a bit tired, and the software obsolete.

Thanks to a Geekzone reader working at First Mobile, I managed to get in contact with Sony Ericsson New Zealand and I have just received a Sony Ericsson M600i for testing.

I plan to have it running for a month, in parallel with my usual Windows Mobile devices. So far the experience has been good. The Symbian UIQ has been updated lots, but still not that different from the old Sony Ericsson P800 so still easy to use. I do think it's a bit confusing though, but not that much.

The keypad is easy to use after a couple of hours working through it, and having a free copy of DataViz RoadSync with the handset doesn't hurt either.

With DataViz RoadSync it's possible to enable Direct Push ActiveSync on this handset, and it synchronising over the air with my Exchange mailbox (e-mail, calendar, contacts), including push e-mail.

Installing my self-signed certificate was a breeze, unlike the Windows Mobile Smartphone experience, where devices are so locked down that it's impossible to install a self-signed certificate without hacking the device or a firmware update.

The e-mail client only shows a limited set of folders though. It may not be enough for my needs (I have rules on the server moving messages automatically) but I am sure the other users here at home won't complain.

Acer support website

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 5-Apr-2007 18:42

I am looking for  an updated driver for my Acer Ferrari 5000 SD card reader. The Acer website is a mess, there's no way to contact support and one downloading is coming down at 2 kilobytes per second on my 10Mbps connection - while I can download from other sites at 1 megabyte/second.

I need to contact the Acer support to track down the Windows Vista ReadyBoost problems I've seen on this laptop. So far I tested three different SD cards, all high speed and none worked well. It comes down to the SD card reader drivers not returning from a hibernation or sleep state. This obviously requires Acer to fix the drivers for Windows Vista. But how confirm this?

The page entitled "Download Acer drivers, BIOS and applications for Windows Vista" does not have any download link. You actually need to visit a page in our country and try to find your way around. I found this page with Acer drivers for Windows Vista, but some drivers provided through Microsoft's automatic update are newer than the ones provided by Acer.

I've managed to submit a support request now. Let's see how long before getting a reply (I hope it's not like Novatel, who never replied to any of my queries about Windows Vista drivers for their HSDPA cards).

UPDATE: More than ten days and no answer from Acer. I can only say their support is non-existent, even though this is their flagship and most expensive laptop model. Shame on you, Acer.

Windows Vista customisation: desktop for Corvette enthusiasts

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 4-Apr-2007 16:00

This is really interesting. I didn't know you could replace EVERYTHING in the Windows Vista interface, including the Vista Orb. Check out the screenshot of this Corvette Theme for Windows Vista, created by Stardock for General Motors:

The theme includes:

- A complete Corvette visual style that will change the entire user interface
- Icons and buttons focused on the Corvette brand
- An animated Corvette Media Player
- Corvette weather gadget that delivers user-customized information directly to you
- Handy Corvette clock and calendar gadgets for the ultimate customization experience
- Corvette engine “rev” sound lets you know when you have email and plays at startup
- Two Corvette wallpapers to choose from at launch, with additional downloadable wallpaper content updates

This theme (and a lot more) are avaialble from Stardocks. I was just browsing their catalogue and some of those themes are really nice.

The New Zealand on-line market under the microscope II

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 3-Apr-2007 14:35

This is just a follow up in my previous post The New Zealand on-line market under the microscope. I have received an update with an interesting image showing in what segment New Zealanders spend their money on-line:

I can see auction sites such as Trademe involved in #2, #5, #7, #8, #10... But with its move into the tourism segment I bet "Airline Tickets" will just go up and up...

CafeNET in Auckland

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 3-Apr-2007 11:02

I have just received some information about a new CafeNET deployment - this time in Auckland.

If you must have wireless connectivity try the CafeNET services. They have a page listing the CafeNET locations in Auckland. The company started as an offspring of CityLink here in Wellington, and they have some good services (including some free content on-net).

They also expect to have CafeNET live at the Vector Arena in the next few weeks.

I admit I also use the Telecom New Zealand Hotspot service, since it's free until end of 2007 for users with a Mobile Broadband data plan. But sometimes you can only find one or another - sometimes none, but then you have mobile data from either Vodafone or Telecom, right?

Microsoft MVP Award Mobile Devices

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 2-Apr-2007 17:08

Just got an e-mail from Microsoft with the confirmation that my Microsoft MVP Award (Mobile Devices) was renewed for another year. If you don't know, "[The] Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award is an annual award that is given to outstanding members of Microsoft's technical communities, and that is based on contributions made during the previous year to offline and online technical communities.".

There's a good FAQ here.

This is an annual award. You can check my MVP Public Profile for some more information.

Old memories: Burroughs Corporation

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 30-Mar-2007 21:27

Some time ago I found there was an old Burroughs Corporation building in Birch StreetLower Hutt. Probably an old warehouse, or some regional offices?

Walking around Lower Hutt last week I managed to get a picture with my Pocket PC. The interesting thing is this building looks exactly like a training centre we had in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Perhaps Burroughs used a single design for all its buildings?

Burroughs is a good old memory. My first job, back in 1984 was in development on a couple of B6900 mainframes (6 MB RAM each), and my first LINC training was on a B1714 (64 KB RAM, dual CPU). The B6900, follow up to the B6500 series was ahead of its time...

I kid you not the two B6900 had about 120 terminals (Poll Select) connected, some via satellite at 1200 bps.

In 1986 Burroughs bought Sperry Corporation and created Unisys. Incredible, a company with more than 120,000 employees, the number two in the computer industry, and today it's unusual to meet someone that knows about Unisys. The company has since reduced in size a lot. I joined Unisys in 1989 (Unisys Brasil, Unisys New Zealand), and left in 2005, to run Geekzone full time.

Of course, by the time I left Unisys we talked about mainframes running multiple OSes, including Windows Server and Linux in the same hardware, and more. But this is another story.

If you know about this building, of have some memories from Burroughs, Sperry, Unisys (good or bad), post a comment here.

UPDATE: I have posted some Burroughs and Unisys videos in a new blog post.

Age of Empires III, gaming

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 30-Mar-2007 20:22

After moving from using a desktop to using the laptop full time I might need some relaxation - in the form of some games... I have been using this laptop for almost four months, and only now I am installing some games.

I have installed Day of Defeat, Counter-Strike, and I am now installing Age of Empiress III, plus the WarChiefs expansion pack (pictured). Next will be Diablo II: Lord of Destruction. I wonder if it runs ok on Windows Vista.

But Hadley tells me I have to invest on Supreme Commander.

Time for some fun and games...

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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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.

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