My window to the world

Windows ReadyBoost is a pain

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 9-Mar-2007 10:05

One of the best features in Windows Vista is actually a pain... I am talking about that great feature that will cache the swapfile to a fast(er) flash memory, reducing the time needed to get applications back from the hard disc into main memory when paging is needed.

Here comes the thing: it works great, when it works. I complained before during Beta 2 about this feature being "faulty", that is it works after a boot, but if the screen saver shows up, or if the laptop goes to sleep, there goes the ReadyBoost. The way to reactivate it is to remove the SD card and insert it again.

This was happening on my Toshiba and now it is happening on this Acer. It could be the SD card though. I will have to buy a new one to test, even though this a very fast SD card, and works most of the times.

You can read about the ReadyBoost in the ReadyBoost FAQ.

Air New Zealand services

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 9-Mar-2007 09:25

Air New Zealand is always surprising us... You see, I am from a time when flying, even on a 45 minute domestic flight, involved some food and drinks (including soft drinks, alcoholic ones).

Some time ago, for almost two years I had to fly twice a week, every week, and I couldn't complain about the TAM service. The hot breakfast was great, attention was in the details. But I know they have changed ways from fifteen years ago.

Same with Air New Zealand. They used to have nice hot food on domestic flights. Lately they replaced food with a (single) choc chip and water. Wow... Great stuff. They could have left the coke. Even in the U.S. with all cost cuts the arilines at least continue serving free soft drink (and paid alcohol).

Now I read on NZ Herald that

The free biscuit - one of the great traditions of flying on Air New Zealand's main domestic routes - is on the way out.

The national carrier has decided to axe the free chocolate chip cookie in favour of charging for a range of costly inflight snacks.

From Monday, passengers must pay or go hungry on all 737 aircraft, which fly main routes between Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch and Dunedin.

The free biscuit is a "great tradition[s] of flying on Air New Zealand"? Please... And now they will be serving overpriced food, supplied by a Wellington catering company.

What happened to "tradition"? No, I am not talking about the biscuit, that was just a cheap replacement to some (decent) food.

Air New Zealand flights over the Tasman to Australia have on-board service, including the food and drinks we would expect. But the food in coach is horrible. The "gourmet hashbrown breakfast" is something that is far away from gourmet, from hashbrown and from breakfast. The best I could have in the last three weeks was a toasted foccacia with cheese and ham.

I was in coach class in the last three out of four flights, and the difference between the food (and service) on business and coach is very visible.

And what about the decision to keep using metal forks, but replacing the knives with plastic ones. Where this very intelligent decision came from? I mean, the metal table knives, with no sharp points is replaced with a plastic table knife with no sharp points, but they keep the metal forks. Do they really think forks are no more dangerous than those blunt knives? Too much paranoia.

UPDATE: You should go and read Lance's take on this. Quite good.

Best and Worst Services during Google AdSense roadshow

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 7-Mar-2007 13:25

During the last three weeks I have been flying up and down New Zealand and across to Australia to participate in the Google AdSense RoadShow panel.

During the panel publishers had a unique opportunity to interact with local Google AdSense and AdWords managers, ask questions to us publishers - myself representing Geekzone, and Australians Tim van Brugge representing (a wedding directory) and Paul Greenberg from (an Australian on-line retailer).

But I decided to write about some non-technical stuff in this post today. So without further ado, here are my Best and Worst Facilities Awards:

- Best coffee: the cafe downstairs from the Hilton Brisbane
- Best hotel location: Sheraton on the Park, Sydney and Crown Promenade, Melbourne
- Best hotel room: the Sheraton on the Park, Sydney
- Best hotel bathroom: the Crown Promenade, Melbourne
- Best breakfast: the Crown Promenade, Melbourne
- Best gadget to have in the plane: Blackbox M14 noise reduction headphones
- Best casino on-route: Crown Casino, Melbourne
- Best airport experience: customs through Brisbane
- Best car show: the Ferrari 60th Anniversary Exhibition, Crown Casino, Melbourne

- Worst in-flight food: breakfast on Air New Zealand
- Worst in-flight movie editing: Casino Royale on Air New Zealand (they cut the poison scene, but left the torture scene in place)
- Worst in-room Internet service: Hilton Brisbane
- Worst airport experience: spending 100 minutes through customs in Melbourne (passengers with better things to do were disrupted because TV program Border Patrol was filming on location)

Vodafone launches +64home concierge and assistance services for business users

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 5-Mar-2007 11:47

Just got an interesting box here at home, coming from Vodafone New Zealand. Outside it says "Novice travellers dream of foreign lands", and inside it says "Experienced travellers dream of home".

The box is the welcome kit to a new "by invitation only" exclusive service offered by Vodafone to business account holders.

The booklet explains that +64home cardholders can call two special numbers called "Roaming Priority Service" and "Rapid Response".

With Roaming Priority Service travellers are able to contact Vodafone customer services and get into a priority queue for quicker assistance. The number is only available to card holders while in overseas trips - while in New Zealand people should continue to use 777.

The "Rapid Response" service comes in two flavours. "Rapid Response Concierge Services" is similar to some offerings from American Express and other gold or platinum credit cards. In summary is a concierge service for travellers abroad, with 24/7 access to a help line with someone that will the user organise important things from hotel bookings, organising car hires, message relays and even arrange gifts to be sent to someone.

"Rapid Response Medical Information Services" can help the traveller talking to a doctor, arrage a doctor visit, or help with admission to hospital.

The box also comes with a small cologne spray "New Zealand", by Demeter.

UPDATE: I am now unsure of "launch" as it seems this is not a new offering, but just that only now I was "invited". Perhaps because I have a business account and have been all over the world in the last two months?

Windows Vista: wireless LAN troubles, again

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 4-Mar-2007 17:35

During the Kiwi Foo Camp my Windows Vista-based laptop was having troubles connecting to the wireless LAN routers available. Actually not "having troubles", because it simply wouldn't connect at all. I was very frustrated because that was a full geeky weekend, and I was the only one (about 120 people there) without an usable Internet connection.

Since then I've noticed three or four updates to my wireless LAN driver, all applied.

And then it happened again. During the Geekzone moderators meetup last weekend in Wellington we used the Xero offices, and two out of three Windows Vista-based laptops couldn't connect to the wireless LAN router - including mine.

The event records are bellow:

Wireless network association started.
Network Adapter: Atheros AR5006EXS Wireless Network Adapter
Interface GUID: {D87C0DBD-88FB-446B-8473-D7149528276B}
Local MAC Address: 00:16:CF:65:4D:14
Network SSID: A20
BSS Type: Infrastructure
Authentication: Open
Encryption: WEP
802.1X Enabled: Yes
Wireless network association failed.
Network Adapter: Atheros AR5006EXS Wireless Network Adapter
Interface GUID: {D87C0DBD-88FB-446B-8473-D7149528276B}
Local MAC Address: 00:16:CF:65:4D:14
Network SSID: A20
BSS Type: Infrastructure
Failure Reason: Driver disconnected while associating.
Reason Code: 229378
WLAN AutoConfig service failed to connect to a wireless network.
Network Adapter: Atheros AR5006EXS Wireless Network Adapter
Interface GUID: {D87C0DBD-88FB-446B-8473-D7149528276B}
Connection Mode: Connection to a secure network without a profile
Profile Name: A20
BSS Type: Infrastructure
Failure Reason:The specific network is not available.

Exactly the same errors I found during the Kiwi Foo Camp. I couldn't check any specific technical details on this configuration though, because the technical person wasn't there (it was Saturday).

Lucky this time I had an option, because I was using the Telecom New Zealand new CDMA EVDO card, with incredibly fast speeds.

Next week I am off to Seattle for seven days. If this thing fails again it will be time to seriously consider installing Windows XP on this machine.

UPDATE: A hotfix has been issued for some problems that may be related. Check the Microsoft KB "Several problems occur on a Windows Vista-based computer when you work in a wireless network environment".

Telecom CDMA EVDO Rev A speedtest

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 3-Mar-2007 12:41

Last week I got a Sierra Wireless Aircard 595 to connect to Telecom New Zealand's CDMA EVDO Rev A service here in Wellington... Only now I had a chance to use it, since I've been in Australia most of the week.

And here is my first speed test:

That's right! Download speeds of 2668 kb/second (kilobits per second) and uploads of 789 bk/second.

Previously I tested Vodafone New Zealand's HSDPA service with a Merlin XU870 HSDPA card, and got only download speeds of 1400 kb/second down and 80 kb/second up.

Telecom seems to be ahead on the mobile broadband game, again.

Geekzone moderators meeting...

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 3-Mar-2007 09:17

Today is going to be an interesting day: all Geekzone moderators (TonyHughes, cokemaster, chiefie, sbiddle, BradStewart) plus our editor Juha Saarinen are here in Wellington for a meeting to discuss all things related to the site.

We will be talking about moderation, editorial, new features, and even start planning sessions and other activities for the Geekzone 2007 event.

Thanks to Rod Drury who allowed us to use the Xero offices when I asked about office spaces for short term rent for our meeting.

MSN NZ versus Yahoo!Xtra

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 1-Mar-2007 10:19

Today is the day when Microsoft and Telecom New Zealand part ways in the on-line portal segment and start their own services.

If you visit the (now defunct) site you are greeted with a message and the option to visit either portal, or

Telecom partnered with Australian Yahoo7 to create their local presence, and is pushing hard on Yahoo! Messenger, Yahoo! Mail, and other tools. Microsoft partnered with Australia PBL and ACP Media to bring the information to the portal, with a small presence from New Zealand's TV3.

The MSN portal looks a bit "dry" at the moment and the Yahoo!Xtra seems more lively, but still has some dead links.

It ill be some time before things get in a position we can see the market share split, but until then I recommend you read a series of Lance's posts on his blog:

Balanced, but I think Yahoo!Xtra seems to have the lead for now...

Internet at Hilton Brisbane Hotel

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 26-Feb-2007 23:37

You would think a hotel charging AU$280/night would be able to offer decent Internet access. Think again. The Hilton here in Brisbane offers appaling Internet service. I am lucky if half of the images on a web page load at all - if the domain name resolution doesn't fail first.

Telecom New Zealand pathetic

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 24-Feb-2007 10:31

Wow... Lance Wiggs says a lot about the current state of telecommunications in New Zealand:

Telecom is to blame, although I do not know whether to point the finger at their lawyers for foot-dragging, their management for under investing, marketing department for over-promising (and over-spending), management for worrying about government regulation rather than customers, senior technical staff for general incompetence, management for not listening to senior technical staff/contractors or contractor Alcatel for under performing.

What do you think?

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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