My window to the world

Temporarily solving the disk space problem at home

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 7-Apr-2006 17:11

Here at home I run quite a network: a Windows XP desktop, a Windows XP desktop running Virtual Server 2005 R2, a Windows Server 2003 as a guest OS on that Virtual Server instance, a Tablet PC, an iMac and a few Pocket PC.

We do have two external firewire HDD (250GB and 60GB). But this disk space is not enough for backups!

You see, I tend to do a full image of the Windows XP running Virtual Server, using Norton Ghost. But I wanted to do a full image of the guest OS as well, and for this I got a review (time bombed though) copy of Symantec LiveState Recovery Advanced Server.

I also have a backup routine on my desktop every night copying My Documents and other important folders to the large external HDD.

But it's not only copying: these routines run every night and keep the last 4 copies on disk, so if I need to recover anything I have at least the last four versions of any file here.

My wife's iMac has a 40GB HDD and we keep two copies of her documents, which uses about 20GB.

We add to this a daily FTP transfer from the whole database and files from the Geekzone server down here (hey, there's a reason why I use TelstraClear's 10Mbps Cable-Modem connection at home) which is about 800MB, keeping the last week plus a monthly copy.

And you can see why I need more disk space here...

So, today I bought a Maxtor Onetouch III G31W010 (1TB, 7200rpm, 16384KB cache, external, USB 2, Firewire 400/800), to plug into my Windows Server. We will use this as our main backup storage.

I thought of a NAS solution, perhaps using a Netgear WGT634U router with built-in USB adapter for storage, but why purchase a router if our server here is perfectly capable of doing this? Also, it would be limited by the network speed, while at least on the server side of the things backup would be at Firewire speeds.

A friend tried to push me to purchase a RAID solution though, but I am not ready to spend that much money - yet.

Next thing is wait a month or so to have enough to purchase a full copy of that Symantec LiveState Recovery Advanced Server software. It looks and acts exactly like Norton Ghost, but costs 15 times more. The difference is that is runs on Windows Server, supports Volume Shadow Copy, keeps tabs on Microsoft SQL and Exchange Server stores (which I use here) and other tricks.

It really surprises me how companies price these "server" software. I mean, it's ok to have a price for enterprise, but some small and medium sized companies also run more robust configurations, for development and testing purposes. Alas, the price is the same.

Let's find out where Vodafone New Zealand is heading

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 7-Apr-2006 16:43

I have confirmed a chat session with Vodafone New Zealand's Director for Business Markets, Phil Patel.

It will be exciting to find out where Vodafone NZ is heading now that the financial year is closed. We will talk about the directions for the year, some embedded solutions and apparently some Windows Mobile 5.0 applications (I wonder if this is some Direct Push solution with bundled data traffic?)

I will be flying to Auckland 20 April for this meeting and will report later.

Step-by-step Direct Push Deployment for Windows Mobile and Exchange Server 2003

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 7-Apr-2006 08:57

Now your organisation is running Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 and after much study the IT Gods agreed that deploying Windows Mobile devices makes sense because a push e-mail solution is available without the need of third-party platforms.

Cool. But where do you start then?

A great place to start is by visiting the "Step-by-Step Guide to Deploying Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 SP2 Mobile Messaging with Windows Mobile 5.0-based Devices", downloading the document and start planning from there.
This document is designed primarily for Information Technology (IT) professionals who are responsible for planning and deploying mobile messaging systems that use Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 with Service Pack 2 (SP2) and Microsoft Windows Mobile-based devices that have the Messaging and Security Feature Pack.

This document is divided into two main sections that describe the following:

• The essential elements of a mobile messaging system, including requirements; a summary of deployment procedures; an overview of the features of the Messaging and Security Feature Pack; and best practices for networking, security, and device management.
• The guidelines and resources for the deployment of a mobile messaging system, including updating Exchange Server 2003 SP2, setting up Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync for mobile access, creating a protected communications environment, and procedures for setting up and managing mobile devices.

Cheers to Tim Haines

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 6-Apr-2006 11:09

Last month (April 2006), Tim Haines moved to Wellington. He is heavily involved in the .Net community in New Zealand, and we had exchanged some e-mails before.

After his move here we met for lunch one day, with other bloggers and .Net developers and finally got to meet each other in person. We might even make this a monthly thing to do in the Capital (I will probably start organising this, and if you want to join us drop a comment below).

We met in another opportunity, one Wednesday just before a .Net User Group meeting. As you probably know, every Wednesday I come to Cafe Astoria and work from there, meeting people, discussing things with Darryl, Peter Torr Smith, Antonios and sometimes Vodafone folks (Microsoft and Vodafone are located on the building above Cafe Astoria). Don't feel bad Telecom, I sometimes walk to your side of town too, your guys know it.

The good news is that Tim Haines is now a Microsoft MVP (ASP .Net) awardee. Congratulations Tim, and thanks for mentioning us on your blog.

By the way, I will probably slow down the Wednesday things in town for the next two or three weeks. Our first baby is due this Tuesday (11 April), so I will be a bit busy on the first two weeks. Then we are shiftting homes, and I will be busy on the other week. I will probably be back to the normal programme late May.

Working with technology: Bill Gates

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 5-Apr-2006 09:19

There's an interesting article on Fortune magazine (CNN Money) this week, written by Bill Gates, explaining how is his work routine.

What technologies does he use? E-mail. I already knew e-mail is the tool of choice for a lot of Microsofties, and this article is just a confirmation.
The screen on the left has my list of e-mails. On the center screen is usually the specific e-mail I'm reading and responding to. And my browser is on the right-hand screen. This setup gives me the ability to glance and see what new has come in while I'm working on something, and to bring up a link that's related to an e-mail and look at it while the e-mail is still in front of me.

At Microsoft, e-mail is the medium of choice, more than phone calls, documents, blogs, bulletin boards, or even meetings (voicemails and faxes are actually integrated into our e-mail in-boxes).

I get about 100 e-mails a day. We apply filtering to keep it to that level—e-mail comes straight to me from anyone I've ever corresponded with, anyone from Microsoft, Intel, HP, and all the other partner companies, and anyone I know. And I always see a write-up from my assistant of any other e-mail, from companies that aren't on my permission list or individuals I don't know. That way I know what people are praising us for, what they are complaining about, and what they are asking.

We're at the point now where the challenge isn't how to communicate effectively with e-mail, it's ensuring that you spend your time on the e-mail that matters most. I use tools like "in-box rules" and search folders to mark and group messages based on their content and importance.

I also read somewhere today (sorry, missed the link, and it's now gone) that the most used collaboration tool is... e-mail. And collaboration, Bill Gates has to say:
Staying focused is one issue; that's the problem of information overload. The other problem is information underload. Being flooded with information doesn't mean we have the right information or that we're in touch with the right people.

And last, but not least, a very important piece of the whole technology-at-work puzzle:
Another digital tool that has had a big effect on my productivity is desktop search. It has transformed the way I access information on my PC, on servers, and on the Internet. With larger hard drives and increasing bandwidth, I now have gigabytes of information on my PC and servers in the form of e-mails, documents, media files, contact databases, and so on.

Paper is no longer a big part of my day. I get 90% of my news online, and when I go to a meeting and want to jot things down, I bring my Tablet PC. It's fully synchronized with my office machine so I have all the files I need. It also has a note-taking piece of software called OneNote, so all my notes are in digital form.

Microsoft MVP (Mobile Devices) for another year

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 5-Apr-2006 07:17

I have just received the e-mail with the confirmation of my Microsoft MVP Award (Mobile Devices).
Microsoft’s Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs) are recognized, credible, and accessible individuals with expertise in one or more Microsoft products who actively participate in online and offline communities to share their knowledge and expertise with other Microsoft customers.
Customers want an enriched pool of knowledge and real-life experience to tap for advice and feedback. MVPs are helping to satisfy this need by independently enabling customers in both online and offline technical communities. Customer feedback is vital to product development and R&D. The MVPs represent an important part of this feedback loop by providing another link for Microsoft to listen to the customer.

The Most Valuable Professional Program is the way that Microsoft formally acknowledges the accomplishments of these individuals for their contributions to community. It is focused on fostering a vibrant global community where Microsoft and customers learn about each other through valued ongoing relationships.

The MVP Program, in existence for over eleven years, is represented by over 2,600 MVPs in 81 countries."
This is an annual award, with our activities with communities being evaluated every 12 months. I have received this in the 2004-2005, 2005-2006 periods, and again for 2006-2007. Very cool!

There are some benefits in the program, but a lot of the things are covered by a NDA. One of the most important benefits (besides the access to a great group of other MVPs, product developers, product managers) is the MVP Summit, where all Microsoft MVPs are invited to a conference in Seattle.

In my previous MVP Summit (October 2005) we had a keynote from Steve Balmer's. We have the confirmation that Bill Gates will be keynote speaker for the next MVP Summit (March 2007). During the last MVP Summit we had about 2000 MVPs from all over the world meeting in Seattle (actually a bit of a logistics nightmare), with some program wide sessions, and sessions specifically related to the product group we have the award.

If you are in Wellington, look for the information on how to join the local Windows Mobile User Group. Or check through Geekzone for news about our meetings.

Interested in participating on a quick test for Telecom New Zealand?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 4-Apr-2006 09:36

I've received an e-mail from Telecom New Zealand, asking for people interested in participating on a usability test of some new parts of the Telecom website.

The test would consist of spending no more than 1 hour going through areas on the mobile internet site that are pre-chosen by 'observers' and then filling in a questionnaire at the end.

This will be held in Welllington on Wednesday 5 April 2006 and has sessions running on the hour from 10am until 4pm. A "thank you" for your help will be a NZ$30 credit on a Telecom mobile or landline of choice.
If anyone here are interested in participating, then please post a comment here and I will e-mail you the the telephone number for contact and confirmation.

Some thoughts on Geekzone Blogs and pre-announcing the Geekzone Event 2006

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 3-Apr-2006 18:13

Since the introduction of our Geekzone Blog feature we had some interesting posts from our users. We have a range of people writing their personal weblogs, with their interests in the foreground, most of them tech-related topics.

We can see some people writing about the current state of IT in New Zealand, mobility and new concepts, CDMA topics, electronics stuff, gadget related posts, general IT information, consumer electronics, and general tech stuff.

We found out early on that Google loves us (and we hope to keep this way), and lots of the personal posts in the Geekzone Blogs ended up very quickly in Google News and in the main Google Index.

Seeing this happening is great, because it exposes people's opinions to a larger audience, bringing more interaction with new people, enhancing the conversation.

Of course this brings some more responsibilities. For example making the posts credible, showing experience, common sense, correctness in the language. This is all to make sure each everyone here shows the best face we have to the world (and I don't mean only the picture in the blog heading).

For example, during the whole Optus B1 Satellite problem impacting on Sky TV broadcasting in New Zealand I found one source of information being actively read: Geekzone Blogs. I am pretty sure we were the first on-line publication to report a problem, after being alerted by some users in the forums, with have early updates, and more commentary during the whole thing (in the Geekzone Blogs and forums).

I am pretty sure some of our Geekzone Blogs saw a cool increase in the page view numbers during a couple of days, thanks to all links from other sites, such as Google, Digg and more. And I am pretty sure this will give everyone here some boost to keep writing about their passion.

For the future, I am thinking of promoting an event, a bit different from our first Geekzone Dinner in Wellington, with a couple of sessions on mobile devices, community, blogging and other tech topics. Stay tunned for more information later this year. For now, save the month: October Wink!

What's the White House Staff looking for on Google?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 2-Apr-2006 11:29

One of the Google Circles used as example on the new Google Circle service I wrote about before is the White House IP range.

It looks like the White House Staff is looking for some WMD on Craigslist?

While on that page it is worth looking at other circles. Search for "Apple" and you'll see they are looking for information on "Intel", "anti-trust law music industry", and "cheap cell phone components"... Yeah, right.

Or of course it could just be an April Fools' joke... Check the copyright notice at the bottom of the page (it's not Google) and check the FAQ...

Google Circle White House

Google Circles: finding what others are searching

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 2-Apr-2006 11:23

Google has introduced an interesting new feature, called Google Circles. The FAQ says:
[Google Circles] lets you explore the interests of groups of people around the world, in your hometown, at your workplace, and at your alma mater. For example, check out the Google Circles for Brookline, MA,, and Apple Computer.

Google Circles works by aggregating information from a variety of sources. For example, we record the Internet Protocol (IP) address for every search performed on our servers. While the IP address does not uniquely identify your location, there is a strong relationship between address and a geographic region. From this relationship, trends can be inferred. Similarly, your IP address often identifies you as being affiliated with a particular Internet domain (e.g., This information allows us to provide highly specialized clusters of search behavior which are interesting and useful.

This is a screenshot: Apparently there are only limited "circles" available because I couldn't find anything from "Wellington" or "New Zealand" yet.

Of course it could just be another April Fools joke: check the copyright notice at the bottom of the page (it's not Google) and check the explanation...

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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