My window to the world

The Day the Routers Died

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 11-Oct-2010 13:12

Just excuse the American British pronunciation of "routers"...

HP Networking Executive Seminar - Wellington 26 Nov 2010

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 11-Oct-2010 10:13

HP Networking will be hosting an Executive Seminar over breakfast with Gartner vice president and distinguished analyst, Mark Fabbi, who will discuss emerging technology trends and how these trends can affect an organisation's network infrastructure.

The HP Networking Executive Seminar will address the evolving networking landscape, market trends and challenges faced by organisations.

In addition, HP will discuss how its networking solutions provide simplified, more flexible and secured networks, as well as how it reduces network complexity, improves IT delivery, and lowers overall costs.

Where: Intercontinental Hotel, 2 Grey Street, Wellington
When: Friday, 26th November, 2010 8:00am - 11:00am
Who should attend: IT and business leaders and HP channel partners
Cost: Free

The story of New Zealand's Internet, one chapter a day

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 11-Oct-2010 09:41

A couple of months ago I was invited to record a sessions about my personal impressions, memories and other bits of New Zealand's Internet history from my point of view. The end resulting website Down to the Wire, created by Heyday, launched today and tells the story from 1989 through now, a page for each year, a page released every day.

Each page comes with a couple of video interviews, recordings, "track of the year" (free downlod!), quotes, a bit of history, and links to more reading. And of course the required Like and Tweet buttons.

I have no idea if my video contribution will be used, and if it is I don't know which year it will show up, but if you see me say hello!

But it doesn't stop there. You can contribute your personal experiences too, but clicking the "Add your story" button and entering your own memories to the list. I've done that already, so now it's your turn - visit Down to the Wire now.

UPDATE: Actually I visited the 1989 page directly, before and didn't notice my mugshot is already being used in the frontpage:

What is missing in the Windows Media Center puzzle?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 23-Sep-2010 14:09

Today we have a variety of sources for digital home entertainment (in New Zealand)... We can just walk to the local video rental store and get a DVD (a few weeks after the movie's been to the silver screens). Or you can get free-to-air high definition TV over Freeview|HD (including the option of using some interesting recorders like the Magic TV and TiVO). You can subscribe to Sky and get your TV programs over satellite. Or even wait for the TelstraClear HD PVR coming soon (after months of delay).

Or you can get an Apple TV and use the iTunes service to rent movies (albeit from a limited selection when compared to the list of titles available overseas). You can also use iTunes on your PC if you don't have an Apple TV.

You can also source your digital home entertainment from dubious sources, such as torrenting those TV programs that have not been released in the country yet - not even through the iTunes service.

Here at home we use a Windows Media Center. It's a very flexible setup, basically a Windows PC with an appropriate video graphics card and a TV source (in our case a HDHomeRun). It brings together HD TV (we have very good Freeview|HD signal here), music, DVD, photos, even some web content (including YouTube), at the point of a single remote control. All this in a very small Dell Zino HD PC that hides inside the cabinet.

Windows Media Center

Windows Media Center

Windows Media Center

There are other media centre software, both for Windows and Mac PCs, but after trying a few, I still like the Windows Media Center big screen interface.

However this very flexible setup is, it still won't allow me to rent movies directly from the Internet. If we want to buy or rent an iTunes movie then we need to grab the keyboard, close Media Center and use the keyboard to navigate the iTunes software to complete the action, download the movie and watch it.

Apple iTunes

An alternative, you'd have thought, would be for Microsoft to have a Zune Marketplace add-in for Windows Media Center. Because they already have Zune Marketplace for Xbox 360, and it's even available in New Zealand (with less titles than the iTunes service I am told). But no. Microsoft didn't put much effort into that, and although a new Zune application for PC is coming, nothing seems to be planned for Media Center.

Of course one could hope Apple would tap into this market - and seeing they already have an Windows version of iTunes, then it could be just a hop to have a native add-in that would allow access to your iTunes account from inside Media Center. Alas this is not out there either. And no, I don't think the new generation Apple TV beats the Media Center - it doesn't even accommodate a real TV receiver.

So these are the features I want to see most in Windows Media Center: either a Zune Marketplace or an Apple iTunes add-in.

What would you want to see in your digital entertainment hub?

Hello world of magic, and reality distortion...

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 22-Sep-2010 10:02

When the Apple iPad was launched, users were thrilled to find out their iPhone apps would run on the iPad, no changes required. In the odd case an application would not scale and would appear on the screen inside a frame, in its original size. And people were fine with that.

Enters the failed marketing at Samsung. Their Android-base Galaxy Tab have the same thing happening:

"If you download Android Market apps to the Galaxy Tab, you will find that many of those applications are fully scalable," a Samsung spokeswoman said via e-mail in response to an inquiry from Computerworld. "Those applications that are not scalable are framed in the display at 800-by-400 [pixel] resolution." The full 7-in. screen offers a larger 1024-by-600 pixel resolution.

Samsung obviously don't have the same magical powers and reality distortion field controls, so Computerworld declares it a problem, and Samsung can't get out of it:

"The problem appears to be limited to apps downloaded from the Android Market. The spokeswoman said that Samsung did work with Google on the Galaxy Tab to make certain that Google's "entire suite of mobile services, including Google Maps, are fully scalable to fit the Galaxy Tab's 7-in. screen at 1024-by-600 resolution."

Read the article and you will see that nowhere Samsung says it's a fault or problem, only the way it works. Computerworld makes it a problem, and a big one at that.

So, let's make it clear: if it's on an Apple product, it's a feature. On anything else, it's a problem.

And no, I am not blaming Apple. I am blaming the person writing that article.

The Intel Bass Jump

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 18-Sep-2010 07:45

It seems Intel engineers have too much time to compete between them too... As did the Romanians trying to recreate the iconic Intel sound with the "Intel Bass Jump": Bass Jump focuses on the promotion of the Intel brand, rather than a processor product, to show the brand in a new and creative light. It follows in the footsteps of last year’s Cannonbells viral, which saw Intel staff being fired from five cannon at giant wind chimes, to create the Intel audio signature You can see the full version of this at Intel Bass Jump page.

Is the Windows Phone 7 Revolution coming soon enough?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 7-Sep-2010 16:06

This was an ad Microsoft pushed before a VIP screening of Lawrence of Arabia in London:

Companies offering IT help for firms affected by the Christchurch earthquake

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 6-Sep-2010 14:56

Keep Calm and Carry On A few technology providers and individuals are offering to help companies affected by the Christchurch earthquake (September 2010). If you need any help with IT (infrastructure, servers, email, etc) here is a list of companies willing to help you:

Amanzi (HP hardware at cost and managed monitoring service)

Catalyst IT (office and server space in Wellington)

Chris Claridge (office space in Christchurch)

Gorilla Technology (IT in general, infrastructure)

Esri (GIS assistance to government agencies and private organisations in response to disasters)

Memia (Google Apps and email setup)

Responsive IT (Microsoft Server, Small Business Server)

Snap (Internet connectivity)

Unleash Data Centre (server colocation)

VendHQ (free web-based Point of Sale for three months)

Wave Adept (Google Apps and email setup)

Where's My Server (server virtualisation)

A more complex situation is for those using Microsoft software and services. The Microsoft New Zealand issued a statement today clarifying:

. For consumers (typically with 1 or 2 standalone PCs) experiencing software issues related to Microsoft products, as they restart their PCs, or have to reload software on new PCs, please call our support line for free Telephone based support on 0800 800 004.

. For small businesses affected by the earthquake (typically with 1 or more PCs and Servers, and not actively managed by a Microsoft Customer or Partner Account Manager), Microsoft is making available Telephone based service incident support calls free of charge by calling 0800 800 004.

. In addition to the above, Microsoft Managed Partners and Enterprise Managed Customers (defined as the Customers and Partners that have Microsoft Account Manager) also have the ability to receive free priority telephone based technical support subject to availability.

Microsoft is also making available to affected Microsoft Managed Partners and Enterprise Managed Customers, on a case-by-case basis, access to assistance and advice from our Consulting and Premier Support personnel, and access to Microsoft Online Services (Microsoft Cloud based Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Office Communications Online and Office Live Meeting) for situations where their infrastructure is damaged to the point where they require an alternative messaging & collaboration suite on a temporary basis until such times as they can rebuild. 

If your company relies on its IT infrastructure being in place to continue to operate, and you are having problems, contact one of these companies.

Make sure you visit the Civil Defence website for up to date information. The Department of Labour also issued some advice to employers and employees affected but this earthquake.

Datacom is our new home

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 2-Sep-2010 15:20

For the last seven years we have been hosting Geekzone with Auckland-based ISP and hosting provider ICONZ, but since our two year contract was coming to an end it would be only good business practice to investigate alternatives in terms of cost, bandwidth, location.

And with that in mind, a few weeks ago we started talking to some colocation providers. We had very few requirements - we are not the largest online publisher in New Zealand, but Geekzone does sit regularly on the top 50 New Zealand-based websites in unique visitors, according to Nielsen.

According to our analytics data, 75% of our New Zealand visitors come from Auckland, with the majority of these using Telecom New Zealand, followed by (in order) Callplus/Slingshot, Orcon, WorldxChange, Vodafone and TelstraClear.

Since site speed is something that I consider one of the most important things for a good user experience, it made sense to us to consider Auckland-based service providers, with good Internet access and peering.

Also, when deciding location we had to consider that while New Zealand readers make up 70% of our page views, in absolute number of users it's only 40% - so we still needed to be located somewhere with good international connectivity, close to the submarine cables leaving the country.

Of course we also considered physical security access, power source, etc.

We managed to get into a great conversation with Datacom, through an introduction from Ben Gracewood. After considering services, infrastructure and prices I think we managed to agree on a deal that will allow us to continue running Geekzone with more "space" to grow, thanks to the savings we will be making.

After we have the server up and runnng, me and Nate (one of our moderators who helped me move the gear) were given a tour of the Datacom Orbit Data Centre. What an impressive building.

You will see this new box at the bottom of all our pages in the main site:

These logos represent the companies or services that help Geekzone run as fast as possible, serving more than 600,000 unique visits every month. Huge thanks to Datacom, RedJungle, Aptimize, HP ProLiant DL servers and Microsoft SQL Server. Also thanks to ICONZ, whose skilled technical people helped us grow to where we are today.

PriceSpy app for Android now out

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 2-Sep-2010 08:16

Just a heads up that PriceSpy has officially announced their Android app supporting New Zealand. Here's a screenshot:

With this app you can:

• Check the best prices for a product.
• Check PriceSpy user reviews for a product.
• See stores selling a certain product laid out on Google maps.
• Get directions to stores selling a product.

It should complement the PriceSpy website nicely...

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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