Tech 'n Chips Takeaway: Technews, the way I like it..., the way I like it...enYour joke wasn't funny!, 21 Jul 2010 03:15:00 PDTJokes are funny, but even it has its limit.<br /> <br /> I had my fair share of practical jokes, either giving them or be given them. But they don't go out to strangers and people you don't know!<br /> <br /> This morning, we got woken up at 5am by a "looking for xyz" call, which seconds after answering it we knew it's a prank call. The number was recorded as "private". Then second after hanging the last call up, it rang again, and this time I let Dean answered it and he got the same "looking for opq" then the caller on the other end gave racial comment.<br /> <br /> The caller(s) must be cruelless as well as Dean's a Kiwi, so telling him to umm... "go home"?? Secondly, they must really enjoy the kick out of it and in that excitement, they forgot to block their outgoing caller ID.<br /> <br /> So I recorded the time of occurrence, and I have the caller's ID.<br /> <br /> Instead of calling up to file a nuisance call complaint at 5-ish in the morning, I decided to call TelstraClear up in the morning.<br /> <br /> Once freshen for the day, I tweeted to Twitterverse seeking for help and was advised to call my landline provider (TelstraClear), and if severe and life-threatening, call NZ Police.<br /> <br /> So I got to work, called TelstraClear, and I got my first experience of being answered by TelstraClear's Manila Call Centre. Well at that moment of time I was not impressed with how my call is being dealt and requsted to be transferred to speak to someone locally in NZ. However TelstraClear has servers issue, and was not able to be transferred.<br /> <br /> I got fed up and blood was boiling, so I called NZ Police (non-emergency number). Lodged a complaint and slightly satisfied.<br /> <br /> Later on, back on Twitterverse, I got contacted by @ChrisPPH and he offered to help, soon after @TelstraClearNZ DMed me and offered to help... I followed through their requested procedure, and wait.<br /> <br /> I finally got a call back from TelstraClear and pretty much was advised that there need to be 4 recorded occurrence in the 7-days timeframe before they can action on it. However since I have filed a complaint with the NZ Police, there may be different avenue to get this issue sorted through the NZ Police.<br /> <br /> Either way, I am glad my situation is being looked at. I would like to thank @Aaroona, @VodafoneNZ, @TelecomNZ, @AkiaNZ, @Alikat2k, @ChrismsNZ, @Muzza299, @ChrisPPH, @TelstraClearNZ and finally NZ Police.<br /> <br /> No one should be subjected to racial abuse in this day and age. I don't tolerate such behaviour and I certainly don't dish it out to anyone.<br /> <br /> I do (however) has use racial comment myself, as a fun-and-joke of myself and among close friends. I don't dish it out on total stranger.<br /> <br /> <br /> <strong>Useful information:</strong><br /> <ul> <li>Contact your line provider (either mobile or landline) if you received any prank call. (At least) with TelstraClear, they need at least 4 occurrence in the 7-days timeframe before they can action a phone trace.</li> <br /> <li>Contact Police (either 111 if it is immediate life threatening, or non-emergency 03-363-7400 for Christchurch Police Central Station).</li> <br /> <li>If you're a student in Christchurch, and you have been harrassed or witnessed an harrassment, visit <a href="">Report It website</a> for help and you can report it anonymously.</li> <br /> </ul><div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div>End of first half of 2010!, 29 Jun 2010 14:57:00 PDT<p>So well… we’re at the last day of the first six month of 2010. Amazingly how the year has moved so fast!</p><div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div>Telecom XT Pricing Plans Announced, 27 May 2009 06:58:00 PDTWell... It's not a big surprise but certainly much simpler to understand and easier to use pricing plans. The good thing is sharing the minutes with a small group of people, great for small team. Calls are per second, and to ANY national network (i.e. NZ numbers). TXT and Data plans are acceptable and reasonable, nothing too stellar however it would certainly encourage people to use mobile data more, now that it's priced competitively similar to Vodafone NZ. TXT plans are somewhat disappointment to some vivid Boost users or $10 TXT users, however it is pretty ok for average users. Below is the list of pricing plans: <img src="/images/news/XTLaunchPlans.jpg" /><div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div>Critical MS Windows Patch - MS08-067, 23 Oct 2008 01:19:00 PDTThis is fresh off from my work network alert announcement! There's a critical security hazard that was found today by Microsoft that could allow remote code execution in Server Service. <a href="" target="_blank">Microsoft Security Bulletin MS08-067</a> Affected Softwares are Windows 2000 SP4*, Windows XP SP2*, Windows XP SP3, Windows XP Pro x64*, Windows XP Pro x64 SP2, Windows Server 2003 SP1*, Windows Server 2003 SP2, Windows Server 2003 x64*, Windows Server 2003 x64 SP2, Windows Server 2003 SP1 Itanium*, Windows Server 2003 SP2 Itanium, Windows Vista RTM and SP1, Windows Vista x64 RTM and SP1, Windows Server 2008 32-bit, Windows Server 2008 x64 and Windows Server 2008 Itanium. Those with * denoted that, the new bulletin will replace the MS06-040. All Windows prior to Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 are marked CRITICAL, and IMPORTANT for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008. Windows Server 2008 server core installation affected.<div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div>Diablo III is coming!, 27 Jun 2008 16:26:00 PDTThe splash screen that many have seen on Blizzard's site has finally been revealed! Yes! It's official! <a href="" target="_blank">Diablo III</a> is coming! Woohoo!<div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div>Nintendo in NZ is in jeopardy - Softprint Interactive in receivership, 02 Jun 2008 07:24:00 PDTAs the blog title mentioned... All Nintendo activities in NZ will severely be affected due to the key and only distributor in NZ for Nintendo (as well as Activision) is under receivership with all stocks currently being held up in the process. This is the key reason why NZ hasn't got Mario Kart for Wii officially through other channels and retails other than EB stores. This could also mean all future Nintento Wii and DS titles are in big shakeup until Nintendo can find a new distributor or set up their presence in NZ (or, have an Nintendo Australia set up an office in NZ). The titles that I am/was looking forward to are Mario Kart for Wii, Super Smashing Brawl, Guitar Hero On Tour etc...<div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div>NZHerald tech writer needs to get clued up!, 27 May 2008 03:00:00 PDTI was just browsing NZ Herald website, and spotted this news article about <a href="" target="_blank">Adobe releases Creative Suite betas</a> and thought it is interesting for a read. However I spotted this paragraph and had to think twice about what product the author was referring to: "The company, which began selling its CS3 group of design programs in the spring of 2007, has released beta versions of its <strong><em>Dreamworks</em></strong> website creation software, Fireworks graphics program and Soundbooth audio editing program on its Adobe Labs site." Only later I realised the author had it mixed with "Dreamweaver" and "Fireworks" and created a new product called "Dreamworks" - which initially, I thought it was Dreamworks for <a href="" target="_blank">Dreamworks LLC SKG</a>. And for the "Kodak moment"... here's a screenshot of the NZ Herald's embarrassing moment. <img src="" /><div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div>Underperforming XBLA games to be delisted!, 27 May 2008 02:22:00 PDTSeems like some of those retro or rare XBLA (Xbox Live Arcard) games will be <a href="" target="_blank">delisted</a> if they're not performing to what Microsoft felt the level of good performance be. [<a href="" target="_blank">Google search</a>] I don't understand this approach and certainly don't like this decision. XBLA has games that one may not able to find anywhere else, and the high price tag certainly isn't making them more appealling to new/first time buyer. It seems like, for these games, they're priced at 800 MS points which to my understanding, they're quite dear for something that is unknown to buyer. The information about each game is quite limited or near uselessness. My proposal: Reduce the price tag, to real minimal. Based on <a href="" target="_blank">Long-Tail economy</a> [<a href="" target="_blank">Wiki</a>] any small market is still potentially good market as it is providing those small but big quantity and opportunity of niche and specialty products and services. Archive the titles but don't remove them. Some new Xbox 360 (or XBLA) customers have never been on the XBLA, and by removing the older titles from these new customers, it potentially cut of the opportunity for them to try them out. From what I read, all the delisted titles are not accessible for new/first hand player, but they are accessible to redownload for those who had previously downloaded the demo or have purchased it before. BUT WHAT ABOUT ALL NEW PLAYERS?! Better way to organise the navigation. I have not been on XBLA marketplace at all, heck I don't even have an Xbox 360 yet... BUT most players suggested that the navigation should be made easier. Instead of scolling to find 80+ odds of games, organising them alphabetically in menu to access them in much organised method will help players to buy games they would want. Add menu like "Today's hottest", "Most popular of all time", "Newest" or "Highly recommended by players" etc. Nintendo Wii's VC has similar issue with accessing all their back VC titles, it's lengthy and still somewhat slow, so hopefully Nintendo will update their navigation a bit too. Now, I said I haven't got an Xbox360 yet, so all above points do seem very important for me for being a potential XBLA player, in fact, I'd get Xbox360 mainly for XBLA titles. For me to get on XBLA, I would like to see all the XBLA titles, not just those doing well and get cut short of all the underperforming titles - to me, that's stupid! Like local video stores, they only have the most popular ones available for rental, but there are some niche and rare or odd videos that I would still like to rent and view. But they're becoming harder and harder to find... Good thing we have <a href="" target="_blank">Alice in Videoland</a> to satisfy few of those craving from time to time, not all videos are there but it's better than none at all... So I hope Microsoft could reconsider their decision, any small sale is better than none. Removing options to potential customers, would just feed the frustration for better usage of your service. Beside, how bad will those "tiny" XBLA titles be "wasted" on your file server storage anyway? They're gonna be on there for years to come for the existing players to redownload, so why remove the visibility to new players then? SILLY!<div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div>Apple new MacBook and MacBook Pro, 25 Feb 2008 21:56:00 PSTNow they come with Penryn core. With MacBook speed bumped to 2.4GHz on the "Better" and "Best", and not just that... they too come with 2GB memory as standard (about time!) The MacBook Pro has got the speed bumped up to 2.5GHz on 17" with option to CTO to 2.6GHz. And they all will have multitouch pad built in, so they can be as cool as their sister Air. I have hold off trying/wanting to get a MacBook/Pro because the imminent upgrade was due very very soon and it did! I spot check my <a href="" target="_blank">Mac Buyer's Guide</a> and was "adviced" to wait for new products to come... I'm quite glad for the wait and the best part is... if you order from Apple NZ Store online, you'll get the new products! Skip those retails and go straight to Apple NZ Store as you'd be sure the latest products are available - and they'll ship it immediately within 24-hours. Looks like the MacBook Black of 2.4GHz and 2GB with 250GB HDD is yelling my name... mmm... And it's only NZ$2399 AND with free shipping. Though, it'll cost $39 for an Apple Remote...<div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div>[Update] Logitech Harmony 880 Review, 20 Feb 2008 09:40:00 PSTRecently I just got a Logitech Harmony 880 after many months of consideration, and to replace a handful of remote controls. So head over <a href="">here</a> and have a read. It is also my first proper review... hope it is worth the read. Cheers. Update: I've added a link to the <a href="" target="_blank">Harmony Remote member site</a>. From here you can create an account and check out the (poor) web version of the application you use for Harmony Remotes. If you're a new buy, this can be useful to check and see if your devices at home are supported, and/or what you need to do to configure them. For existing user, you can configure your remote from here too, without having to launch/install the Harmony Remote software. AND IF you use Internet Explorer, you can update/synchronise the remote firmware straight from the browser (through ActiveX) - at least that used to be.<div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div>Vista virtualisation ban lifted, 22 Jan 2008 00:16:00 PSTJust spotted this newsbit over at Ars Technica that Microsoft has lifted the ban on running consumer edition of Windows Vista on any virtual environment. So rejoice all virtual pc users! You can now run your Vista Home Basic and Vista Home Premium in any virtual environment. And if I read it right - understanding the whole ban on virtualisation - that you may run a virtualised Vista in your Home Basic/Premium too perhaps? The approval still require you to have a license for each instances of Windows Vista running in virtual environment.<div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div>Be a Guitar Hero!!!, 21 Jan 2008 11:41:00 PSTOver the weekend, my partner and I went to the mall for a short browse at some shops and we stopped by a EB Games. When we were there, there was a guy playing Guitar Hero III for Xbox 360. I have seen other playing it before but didn't think it was that fun at all... So standing back a bit with my partner, we were observing and analyse how does the gadget work while this other guy was playing. When he done with it, I thought I'd give it a try (just as there wasn't many people around too) and played one track. WOW My good! It wasn't too bad with the game, a bit more coordination and tempo-needed but everyone will get their groove on. The controller was alright to hold and pretty light, yet the buttons feel sturdy enough for prolong abuse of your guitar hero career. Without a doubt, we're hooked and was thinking of getting a couple to add to out Wii. So today, we spotted a better deal at Dick Smith Electronics and they have Guitar Hero III bundle for $158, $12 cheaper than EB Games. We got home, got it all set up and started getting to it! First off, what's the difference with Wii version compare to Xbox360 (or PS3 even)... Well first it has built in rumble, and extra speaker for additional sound effect from your "guitar". And when you have enough Star Power, you can tilt your "guitar" and it will do special thing. Also additionally, with Nintendo WFC (WiFi Connection) you can play online and challenge other players around the world - you don't need a Friend code for this. This mark the first multiplayer game for Wii, which will equate them along with Xbox360 and PS3, although it's not as full experience compare to Xbox Live or PSN's offering, but it certainly is a right direction for Nintendo. Well we had great fun for the last 3 hours with our Guitar Hero III on Wii and I recommend this to anyone with Wii, it's so much better than Xbox360/PS3 version. I'll be looking to get another wireless "guitar" for Co-Op and Multiplayer mode... I'm hook on this game now!<div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div>64-bit Windows support in Boot Camp, 20 Jan 2008 23:49:00 PSTJust spotted this over at <a href="" target="_blank">Mac Rumors</a>, that there's few cases reported any Mac Pro users can boot into their 64-bit Windows Vista (no confirmation for XP-64 however). From the manual, Page 4, the message said: <blockquote>Important: You must use a single full-install Windows installation disc (Service Pack 2 is required for Windows XP installations). Do not use an upgrade version of Windows and do not install an earlier version of Windows XP and attempt to update it later to SP2 or later. Use only 32-bit versions of Windows. If you have a Mac Pro introduced in late 2007 or later, you can use a 64-bit version of Windows Vista.</blockquote> Also, from your Mac Pro restore disk (on newer shipped models, apparently), you should be able to find a file "BookCamp64.exe" under "Drivers\Apple\", under Windows. There a spread/file sharing of this file on the internet whom a forum member has kindly shared with other Mac Pro user. As I have never used Boot Camp and don't have a Mac at all, I can't say if this "BootCamp64" will work with all other 64-bits processors used by Mac. It in understand that all Mac Pro are 64-bit capable. So if you have Mac Pro, or 64-bit Mac, a copy of Windows Vista 64-bit, and why not treat yourself to the most complete and stable 64-bit Windows installation ever? I think, this seriously does put Apple on the field of Windows 64-bit playground. (Spotted on <a href="" target="_blank">Gizmodo</a>)<div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div>Faulty RAM sparked a reborn for SBS@home, 19 Jan 2008 01:43:00 PSTOn the third week of 2008 (14-18 January 2008), my once honky-dory SBS 2003 R2 was running happily and quietly on our dresser drawer, doing its job with sorting out incoming and outgoging emails without worries. However during this particular week, Mohican has been running quite erratically and BSoD few times during the week. It's not just a "Oops! Did I do that?" of BSoD and restart, it is a "BOOM! SURPRISE!" BSoD and restart. On Friday morning, as I checked on it remotely through LogMeIn from work to check the event log and noticed that it has more red X than ever and which is causing quite a few concern. I had to act fast as from the feel of it, it seems like Mohican hasn't got much left before it self implode. A backup strategy was formulated and it's a good thing that we don't have a huge number of users. The general idea was: * do a last sync between all mobile devices Exchange via Exchange ActiveSync. * do an OST/PST archive backups for all users. * run memory diagnostic test to find if any of the RAM was faulty (suspected it is the hardware fault). * reinstall SBS2003R2 from fresh. * major Windows update. * configure SBS2003R2 and re-enter all settings to what it was before. * test out a dummy account to see if Exchange is working as expected (send and receive). * test out mobile synching (OWA, OMA, Exchange ActiveSync). * populate the user accounts and settings. * restore archived PSTs back to their rightful mailboxes. * reconfigure each Outlook to ensure it works fine. * repartner each mobile devices with Exchange. * testing out backup. * monitor the new installation over the next 24-hours. * fix any possible errors. <b>Process</b> To make sure that all records on the mobile devices are synced one last time before all mailboxes be backed up. Luckily the Exchange ActiveSync (or largely the whole Exchange) is working fine. Once the last sync was completed, I proceed on archiving mailboxes to PST. I set the archive setting to one day into the future so it will archive all Outlook items. Few things aren't archived like, Contacts and future/recurrence Calendar items. For those items, I had to manually copy them over to the archive PST. With the calendar items, I change the view to "Active Appointments" and change the view to no filter (save as new view - All Appointments). With all appointments on display, I do CTRL-A (select all) and just copy them over to archive PST. Now that I have all mailboxes archived, I went out to check out the SBS itself to see what's causing all the fault. I have reinstalled it twice as during the post-installation, the system exhibit random crashes. First it was few fault with certain .DLL and nothing that can pinpoint a pattern of what had caused the BSoD. Later, as after searching through the internet to find any possible link to event ID from the event logs. In short, I stumbled on to Microsoft's website on using a memory diagnostic program to check the memory integrity. So downloaded the ISO and burnt onto a blank CD-RW (note to Microsoft: time to build a bootable USB version as well). While during the memory test, it definitely showed that either one of the pair memory was at fault, or possible both (which was my worst nightmare). Just to be sure which memory was at fault, I took one out and test, then swap and test and sure enough, the guilty part was found - A-Data 1GB DDR333 CL2.5. When I took it out from the system and everything seems to be working away well. Did the major Windows update, and when that completed, I proceed on to SBS installation. Configure SBS2003R2 and re-enter all settings. Created a test user account and tried out the system configuration for OWA, OMA and Exchange ActiveSync. The test was acceptable and proceed on populating user accounts. Configure an Outlook with multiple profiles to use as a medium to repopulate the archived PST back onto the Exchange mailboxes. Then did the standard configuration on all Outlooks to make sure the settings are fine and seeing the rightful mailbox for each user. Synchronised all mobiles with Exchange again. Then went on to work on post-installation on the SBS, configured and testing out the backup. Though during this stage, I found that the backup did not complete and had error in regards to Exchange Public folder EDB has bad checksum. Took me a while to find a solution and in the end a ESEUTIL with /MF, and /D and /P to determine multiple investigation stage and fixes. Long story short, the EDBs are compacted, defragged and repaired. I also had other few errors and managed to find solution to workaround problem and fixed it. But I don't understand where all these errors come from but I have got them tamed and all working fine now (according to the event logs). <b>Recommendation</b> When I first had SBS2003R2 installed, it was never configured correctly, but strangely, it was working alright for a whole year. I have been putting off reinstalling it as I was looking for an easier way to clone/export settings without too much reconfiguration. I had a look at other commercial DIY solution like SBS Migration but I cannot justify the cost of just getting it and do a simple reinstall. From this lesson, luckily with just a small group of users, it isn't too hard make quick and simple mailbox archive PSTs. I have made a few mental notes for next rebuild (should it require one), this practise gave me a good general idea on what steps to take and how better to carry out. I do hope that I may able to just get a petite system with sufficient hard drive space for Exchange operation, running quietly in a corner. And have a WHS to handle all other everyday in-home stuff, like media sharing, central file storage, central backup hub.<div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div>TCL digital tv decoder died!!!, 12 Jan 2008 00:33:00 PSTJust this morning, our digital tv decoder decided to die and never to return to power up, after numerous on and off... So... off I went and called TCL helpdesk, reported the fault and will be greeted by a technician tomorrow morning. Dang! One whole day without Sky Movies or C.I. ... life is hard... guess I'll have to do some real work then...<div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div>Creative Zen Stone Plus 2GB [Black], 10 Dec 2007 06:36:00 PSTMmm... I have never thought I'll get a digital audio player with small capacity like 2GB... but Creative Zen Stone Plus is small and petite and very very nice to hold and operate. It's slightly larger than Apple Ipod Suffle Gen-2, but it has more functions than that - FM radio, OLED 64x64 display, Date/Time, Equaliser, Microphone/Recorder. I got mine from DSE for $129.95, which I reckon is a good buy. 2GB is amble for most audio satisfaction. I have loaded 233 songs, which occupy roughly around 1GB (of WMA 160kbps). The packaging is very small and basic, it comes with a short USB A-mini USB, a basic Creative stereo headbud, tidily-tightly-folded instruction guide and documentation/warranty cards. The audio file/device management software - Creative Media Lite - can be downloaded from Creative's support site for ripping CD and copy/delete/manage files between PC and Zen Stone Plus. It also display the battery charge, the firmware, and have the ability to sync the date/time between PC and Zen Stone Plus. From the software, you can also set the maximum volume level of audio playback. From the software, you can also managing data files. If you don't want to use the Creative Media Lite, you can just simply plug the Zen Stone Plus to your PC and drag-and-drop files as with a Flash drive - as it is USB Flash drive anyway. The device itself is stone-like (excuse the pun), light and well constructed. I have spotted a few accessories that I would like to get for it, one being wristband which you can wear it on your wrist as if it is like a watch. Which is good for me as I don't wear watch since the battery died and with this, I get DAP and watch! Woohoo. However I can only find it from C1 computer (Auckland) for $45!! A bit ripped off I reckon. I will talk about its device function a bit later on the next update, you can easily find the photos of Zen Stone Plus laying around on the Internet by searching for it. However, if you have specific curiosity about it, just fire the questions to me and I will attempt to answer it from first-hand view. Oh few cons to this wonderful small device though... 1) You can't operate the device when it's connected to USB (to PC). 2) You can copy/cut/move files in/between folders from Creative Media Lite software. However, if you use Windows Explorer to perform the usual copy/paste/move operation, it will work just well. Note: When I was on Creative Singapore website... it seems like a <a href="" target="_blank">4GB</a> is readying pretty soon. So if you want a bigger capacity-wee device, hold out a bit longer...<div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div>TelstraClear back on mobile again!, 10 Nov 2007 22:01:00 PSTThis is something that I have been waiting for since TelstraClear and Vodafone NZ announced their business separation a few months ago, with the sudden unplug of their Unplugged project. And since then, TCL has been keeping mum on their planned effort using Telecom NZ's network for their mobile launch. Well today is the new day for TCL's mobile network, piggy-backing on Telecom NZ's network. But what's different with TCL-TNZ's business venture compare with TCL-VNZ's, is TCL will be able to set their own products and services, instead of reselling Vodafone NZ's deal, TCL will sell services which will differentiate themselves from Telecom NZ's offering. So far from what I read from Stuff's website: <ol><li>BizMobile Starter plan costs $30 a month with all domestic calls to landlines and mobile at 40c/minute.</li> <li>BizMobile Plus costs $99.95 a month which include 400 minutes to any NZ landline or mobile, with 40c/minute for overage.</li> <li>International calling to Britain, US, Australia, Canada and Ireland cost 44c/minute and to other international destinations cost $1.07/minute.</li> <li>SMS cost 18c each.</li> <li>3GB mobile data plan cost $75/month.</li></ol> The plans seem easy to understand and provide "simplicity and transparency" to customers, which this can give customers peace of mind and not worrying who/what network they can call without incurring extra charges. All calls are to NZ's numbers, without the fear of whether to Vodafone/Telecom/TelstraClear. This certainly can minimise the confusion of the <a href="" target="_blank">late 021-021 calling when two parties are of different carrier network</a>, 021 is no longer a just-VodafoneNZ prefix since the April 2007 Number Portability came into effect. Realistically, when someone is making a call, the last thing in the back of their mind is SMS 300 to find who in their contact list are on/off network. You just want to pick the contact, and press "Call" and talk... simple as that! What happened to the day you just pick up the phone and dial and talk, let alone concerning who is on what network!!! I don't know if I will make the switch or not, but certainly worth looking into for single-bill-simplicity-and-transparency. Perhaps, if TCL can even port my existing 021 numbers and one of my 029 over, then we'll talk the options. p/s: is Okta Touch available for TCL mobile?<div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div>"There" or "Their"?!, 29 Oct 2007 09:35:00 PDTContinue from my <a href="" target="_blank">previous rant</a> about grammatic error in a sentence, a <a href="" target="_blank">mainstream news media</a> fell shamelessly into this trap of unprofessional journalism. <img src="" /><div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div>Verizon's Limited Unlimited BroadbandAccess, 24 Oct 2007 00:18:00 PDTJust as I was doing my morning ritual of reading my blog sites... spotted this on jkOnTheRun on about <a href="" target="_blank">New York to Verizon- unlimited does not mean 5 GB</a>. In short, Verizon's marketing advertisement was misleading customers, and those that were affected (i.e. used more then 5GB in their "unlimited" plan) were terminated, rendered them a useless broadband wireless modem. New York state found Verizon's malpractice and misleading conduct and told Verizon to reimburse US$1M to the mistreated 1,3000 customers, and ordered to pay US$150,000 fine. So there you go... there is no such a nice thing called unlimited, everything has a cost and many carriers still mask this "unlimited" jargon in their pricing. Personally, I don't believe an unlimited-promotion of any deal, there is such a thing call fair-use and works on case-by-case scenario. For what we have in NZ with Vodafone's 3GB+3GB <a href="" target="_blank">3G Broadband Pro plan</a>, it's probably more than average usage for most people, all for NZ$79.95+NZ$10 (of 6GB data). <img src="" /><div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div>[Update] Windows Live ID Linked Account, 22 Oct 2007 23:14:00 PDTI was browsing around my usual blog sites and came across this cool new feature brought out by Microsoft for their Windows Live ID. <img src="" title="Windows Live Account main page" /> What it does is by allowing you to link all your Windows Live IDs that you may have been using for different sites or different reasons (like the <a href="" target="_blank">GeekzoneMail</a> - which is Windows Live enabled), allowing you to switch between different IDs without signing-out-signing-in again. One ID to rule them all. <img src="" title="Windows Live ID switch" /> Though this will bring two problems - Security and Annoyance: 1) reduces the security - since with single password, which gives you access to other linked IDs - to add/remove. So the security is as strong as the weakest password in one of your IDs; 2) some sites may enforces strong password requirement which may not work until you change password to match the same level of complexity. Which some sites reported that, it may trigger password change in all IDs. Changing an ID's password will not affect the password for other ID as they all are individual, yet linked for convenient reason. <img src="" title="Windows Live ID: Manage Linked IDs" /> How does it work? Imagine you have linked your ID to your other Windows Live ID, and you sign in to Hotmail using your normal ID, then decided to switch over to account to see what email you've got. All you go to do is look at the top right corner of the page (where the account/user info may be displayed) click on the dropdown arrow and select the other ID and switch. So far I've tried with IE7<del>, there are some reporting that there's no Firefox supports yet</del>. <strong>Update</strong> I had a check with Firefox and the Windows Live IDs are available in the dropdown box when logged in to Windows Live services. <strong>Update 2</strong> Added some screenshots. Screenshots are taken from Firefox (using <a href="" target="_blank">Cropper</a>) <strong>Update 3</strong> Linked IDs can be added/removed from <a href="" target="_blank">Windows Live Account (</a><div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div>Imate Ultimate 9502 Announced, 22 Oct 2007 12:21:00 PDTThis may ultimately be my next WinMo device. Just announced in USA the latest Imate WinMo6 Pro device with so far the best features any WinMo users have been asking for. Imagine a VGA screen, HS*PA 3.5G Quad Band GSM and TriBand UMTS. XGA output, slidescreen reveal-thumbboard. 256MB ROM and 128MB RAM. with integrated GPS and WIFI and Bluetooth. All packed into a case same as a Jasjam. That's an impressive device! And I want one! Head over to Imate's website and check out the new <a href="" target="_blank">Ultimate 9502</a>.<div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div>Windows Vista Memory Hungry? SuperFetch?, 18 Oct 2007 00:29:00 PDTI just came across this interesting and useful article regarding Windows Vista's memory usage, and why it is using almost all of your available memory, and perhaps the reason why they are a lot of people complained about Windows Vista's super-memory-feast, which says why more RAM is great for Windows Vista too. SuperFetch, it understands your everyday usage while you're on Windows Vista. It anticipates what program you use, and how often you use it (or depend on it) and load them all into the System Cache (yes, think of your RAM as Level 3 system cache, remember, there's Level 1 - CPU , Level 2 - CPU). From this article (at <a href="" target="_blank">Coding Horror: Why Does Vista Use All My Memory?</a>), it said that your RAM will hold all the necessary bits and bobs of what you may be using and doing, Vista takes a more aggressive and more effective method of predicting what you will want to do next and load them all up in the system RAM. Hence you'll see your system is short of "free" memory. Check out the article, which has a few images and a detailed explanation of Vista's new memory management. In short, after reading it, it makes sense to me especially I do noticed my UMPC is working quite fast and efficiently although it only have 1GB memory but all applications that I frequently use works great and fast. This is SuperFetch!<div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div>[Update] Got Vista? Got VMC? But no go?, 11 Oct 2007 01:00:00 PDTGot Vista? Got VMC? But no go?<br /><br />Well if you are one of a few that are using Vista (any build) and a Vodafone Mobile connect card (Novatel Merlin U630), you would probably figured out that the VMC software does not install properly, even on elevated privilege. What happened is that, due to the enhanced security built into Vista, the VMC software cannot run properly (Why? Don't ask me).<br /><br />As usual when things doesn't work the way I expected, you go search online (or google for it). Which brought me to this cool application called MWConn. It is in German but with version above 1.0, it has English dialog too. The application can essentially replace the VMC software for basic UMTS/GPRS data connection. And also from this.Pose() as Expert with some help on how to set it up. [<a href=""></a>]<br /><br />So how do you use it?<br /><br />Assuming you have just installed Vista successfully, and you're ready to get your VMC card going. You will need the driver files for the Novatel Merlin U630. This is easy to get if you already had it installed on Windows XP. Otherwise you will need to figure out how to extract the VMC installer to get the INF Files. I had to hunt it down from my Windows XP's installation. While in the Windows XP, copy this folder [\Program Files\Vodafone\Vodafone Mobile Connect\ICS\INF\8000000200012012\05000000FFFFFFFF00000000FFFFFFFF] and keep it safe so you have a copy for next time.<br /><br />So you got the driver folder saved somewhere, then back on Vista, plug in your VMC/Merlin/U630, vista will find/recognise it as Generic Multipurpose card and it will ask for drivers for two other multipurpose devices. Cancel that if you can as we don't need that. Go to Device Manager, and look for "Generic Multipurpose card" and update the driver with the driver from VMC. Magically, the other devices will be found not long after that. The process will take about 5 mins. So let it does its thing and don't disturb it, except doing confirmation etc.<br /><br />After the installation, you do however need to take note of two importants ports. Look for "Novatel Wireless UMTS Modem Primary" under "Modems" and "Novatel Wireless UMTS Modem Secondary" under "Ports (COM & LPT). Looks for the COM port from its Properties. In my case, they're COM4 and COM5.<br /><br />Next you will need to get hold of MWConn (currently version 1.4) from <a href=""></a>.<br /><br />You should be able to follow the instruction from Chris's site [<a href=""></a>]. I will just do a brief summary on how to get it rolling.<br /><br />Important thing is to make sure you run the MWConn as Administrator, you will be presented with a German dialog, click "NO" for English. MWConn will then create some .EXE files and .INI. And you will be presented with another dialog to create a DUN "Internet" for automated connection upon running the .EXE. I recommend "YES".<br /><br />Next, run either UMTS.exe, UMTSGPRS.exe or GPRS.exe (gulp) depending what mode you would want to operate in. It will asked you for language, and this time it will create .INI. You will need to modify few parts on MWConn.INI.<br /><br />Below is part of what my <strong>MWConn.ini</strong> looks like:<br /><strong>08 COM=COM4;Com5</strong> {The COM ports that I told you to record down from the earlier step}<br /><strong>09 PIN=</strong>{SIM PIN, will be encrypted after running the .EXE}<br /><strong>10 NET=Vodafone</strong> {My guess this is for Network ID, so if you know what Vodafone NZ's network is, please let me know}<br /><strong>11</strong> { is to bypass Vodafone NZ's optimizer proxy, default is}<br /><br />Once the .INI has been modified, run the .EXE again (as Administrator) then you're done. It will establish Internet connection using DUN "Internet" -- it has to be named as "Internet" otherwise, autoconnect will not work. To disconnect, just close the MWConn. <strong>Update</strong> Recently a forum member posted a question on how to get Novatel Merlin U630 working with Vista, and I came back to have a revisit of my blog post, did a bit of surf around and noticed that MWConn is now updated to version 3.8. And looks like it has GUI for most settings (I can't verify as I don't use my then laptop with Vista anymore - my laptop is now our home Windows Server 2003 SBS R2). Anyhow, give the new <a href="" target="_blank">MWConn 3.8</a> a try. <strong>Update 2</strong> Thanks Mark (BigFella): <a href="" target="_blank">V9.1.2.5766 of the Dashboard</a> is supposed to support the U630 on Vista (32 bit at least).<div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div>[Update] PS3 40GB Backward Compatibility goes AWOL, 08 Oct 2007 02:24:00 PDTI'm sure this has been mentioned in few other tech and games sites, and I feel contented to voice my opinion with this Sony's move. It's bad enough to have an overpriced game console (or is it an affordable Blu-Ray player?). Despite it is potentially be used as Digital TV PVR in the coming months (perhaps?), a good <a href="" target="_blank">DLNA</a> (Digital Living Network Alliance) device. The new 40GB model will be totally stripped of any backward compatibility with PS2 titles, previously PAL systems only get software emulation for PS2 Emotion Engine, and retaining PS2's graphics synthesiser. However, to cut cost, Sony decided that the 40GB should have no PS2 component, something that will not immediately give you the pleasure to play your recently bought PS2 titles when you decided to trade your PS2 for PS3 at your nearest EB Store. In addition, you'll lose another 2 USB ports, and the memory slots be taken away from you. Essentially you are getting a PS3-lite, with many original promises by Sony, withdrawn. Sony was so proud to deliver full PS1/PS2 supports when it first announced, however, seems like Sony is doing a bit of U-turning on their promise, starting with crippled-PAL PS3, and further with 40GB PS3. Those who wants just PS3 console/Blu-Ray player, this may be your answer when it becomes available, as it will be cheaper! Those who wants to upgrade their PS2 to PS3, perhaps time to get those value pack now as soon you may not able to play your favourite PS2 titles - unless Sony decided to make more use of their Cell processors for PS2 total emulation. Another speculation that I read from a game site is that, perhaps, Sony has been using early adopter to push for more Blu-Ray sales using PS3 as their method to spread Blu-Ray player. Tell me, how many Blu-Ray game titles have been released so far, compare to how many Blu-Ray movie titles? Chances are there's almost/at least 3 Blu-Ray movie titles to every PS3 Blu-Ray game title. Still feel the desire to get PS3 and set your one-eye view on Sony's promises? For me, I never been too fond with Sony's marketing lie-tactic to sell their PS3. I may get PS3 when it is very cheap enough and when Sony could deliver BC via Cell without any performance hit... Or I can just totally skip PS3 et al. We got Wii at home and we're happy with the system, we have recently got Nintendo DS Lite for each of us, I have yet able to get XBox360 despite it is cheaper and been on market for a year... I may get XBox360 next year or much later, who knows... it will primarily used as Media Connect Extender, and to play XBLA games and HDMI to our LCD tv. <ul><li><a href="" target="_blank">Google Search: Sony PS3 40GB Backward Compatibility gets the boot</a></li><li><a href="" target="_blank">Google news on Sony PS3 40GB</a></li><li><a href="" target="_blank">Sony's 40GB PlayStation 3 Drops Key Feature</a></li><li><a href="" target="_blank">It's "Natural" For Early PS3 Adopters To Feel Cheated</a></li></ul> <strong>Update</strong> <a href="" target="_blank"></a> has a new post about Sony's 40GB PS3 Backward Compatibility, in short Sony could support PS2 BC in 40GB but they don't want to.<div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div>[Update] Windows Live Hotmail 5GB is on its way..., 11 Sep 2007 02:20:00 PDTNot long ago, Microsoft announced the expansion of their free and paid email storage size. Free Windows Live Hotmail accounts will get 5GB, which beats Google <del>and Yahoo's</del> offering. Well, just today, checking my WLHotmail accounts, I get a nice surprise... although I have no idea how long ago this had been but I'm pleased. However, <del>two</del> all of my <del>other</del> accounts <del>still pending for</del> have gotten the 5GB upgrade... <img src="" /> [Update] <del>Just one left pending for the upgrade.</del> All Windows Live Mail accounts I have are now 5GB! YAY!<div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div>