WiMAX Delayed In Malaysia

It has been a while since I last heard anything about WiMAX plans for Malaysia. Well, from the news in The Star I gather that this problem is not specific to Malaysia.

The WiMAX Forum who provide standards and certification is now focusing on the US roll out. While some expert argues that the number of equipment needed for Malaysia is not as many as in the US, we still have to wait for them if we want best interoperability between providers.

My take is that I am willing to wait for it to become close to perfect. I want something reliable, and cost does not matter much. I’ll pay as much as RM500 per month for a stable and reliable service with good coverage. Currently, 3G or “wireless broadband” services provided by local telcos are not reliable. Not that it’s anyone’s fault – it’s the technology itself.

How much would you pay for a good WiMAX service?

As usual, click on Continue reading for the original news just in case the original source has been removed.

Continue reading WiMAX Delayed In Malaysia

Eclipse PDT, Zend Framework, PHPUnit

I am currently in love and coding some personal projects using Eclipse PDT with the Zend Framework as foundation. Unit testing is accomplished using PHPUnit.

I love the ability of Eclipse to be extended with plugins so that I can have intelligent code completion and integrated subversion client. To my surprise, Eclipse runs very well on my seasoned 4 years old notebook.

I am a learner by practice so late last year I tried to penetrate the Ruby team at my company. However I didn’t make it because of company re-organization so requisitions were suspended (or something like that). I guess Ruby and I was just not meant to be together.

Eclipse PDT

Zend Framework really helps a lot in building applications really quick minus the bells and whistles of nice graphics. I am incompetent when it comes to creating nice graphics with Photoshop. 🙁

I am relatively very new to the MVC concept but I am very comfortable with it. It was just recently that I realize the importance of unit testing.

I must grab the unit testing concepts very quickly because I have just moved into a new role as a release engineer for a week. 🙂

On another development, I was also doing some Flash ActionScript 2.0 a couple of weeks ago and experimented on the XMLSocket object. The Flash movie connects to a server, and since I needed threading I decided to use Java. Eclipse is also superb with Java codes since I think it was originally meant to be a Java IDE.

Signing off.

Shutdown Day!

I was casually cruising at a friend’s blog when I saw his post about the Shutdown Day. It’s just a simple experiment to see how many people in this world can live a day without their PC.

I joined the site, and will definitely turn off all of my notebooks on that day. My servers will remain online, of course 😉 but I will not be accessing them.

Interested? Please go to http://shutdownday.org

Oh yes, on that day I have not much problem because I will be celebrating my birthday! I have also received two early birthday present from my better half. One in the news contained in the previous post, and the other one is a secret I will only reveal when I am better at playing it.

MacBook Air Is Too Expensive For Me

Hey hey hey… looks like MacBook Air’s price has been released in Malaysia. However when I took a glance at Machines Sunway Pyramid last weekend I didn’t see any hint (not even a flier) about MacBook Air.

The least expensive model is priced at RM6,299.00 (~US$1,949.25) – which is actually logical for an Apple notebook. However, analyzing the tech specs, I can get a very high-end x86 machines with that kind of money! Unless I have a never-ending flow of money, or am very rich, I don’t think I will get one of those. The most expensive model is RM10,899.00 (~US$3,372.74) which is jaw-dropping. 🙁

In the States, the prices are US$1,799.00 (~RM5,813.46) and US$3,098.00 (~RM10,011.19) respectively.

Sure, the physical design is extremely beautiful. But if I really want to use Mac OS X I guess I can try installing it on a normal x86 machine. I guess we can’t expect a good balance between physical beauty and excellent tech spec!

I guess I’ll just have to forget about self-adjusting keyboard backlight and multi-touch trackpad. Michael Dell, I’m coming your way!

Apple MacBook Air, Anyone?

MacBook Air

I can’t believe my eyes when I saw this notebook. It’s as thin as air hence the perfect name is given. At 1.94cm, it is as thick as two foolscap binders stacked on top of each other. The weight of 1.36kg is simply acceptable.

It looks like I made the right decision not to get myself a MacBook Pro late last year. Of course, we still don’t know how much it’ll cost and when will it arrive in Malaysia. It has just been launched in the States.

At that thickness I would never though this machine would be able to have the “almost” normal configuration. It comes with either 1.6GHz or 1.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, standard 2GB RAM, 13.3″ screen, the latest 802.11n Wi-Fi, built-in Micro-DVI output (VGA & DVI with provided adapters, S-Video & Composite with optional adapters), the cool backlit keyboard with ambient light sensor, and a battery that lasts for 5 hours.

Did I mention about storage? It comes standard with a traditional 4200RPM IDE (aka parallel ATA) or optionally a 64GB solid-state drive. The SSD is cool, and would be very invulnerable to shocks caused by moving round.

Well, that’s my summary. Go here for a detailed spec. Now, let me spend some time to watch the guided tour. 🙂

To Be Or Not To Be

I wish I had found the site “Joel on Software” by Joel Spolsky earlier in my life. It contains a lot of precious insights and good points in the area of software development.

Being a partial developer myself, I would have never thought of doing programming as a full day job anymore in this lifetime. However, reading on how Fog Creek values their programmers made me realize that there just might be a light at the end of the tunnel.

I’ve also been reading Joel’s book: Smart and Gets Things Done. Although his style might not be suited for many people especially the typical management, I see it as a very good way to get good technical staff and to retain them in an organization.

Programmers are human too, and for everyone there’s a price. Just keep them happy and they’ll do a good job.

The book is an interesting read for those who can keep an open mind; programmers and management alike. Just don’t bother to get it if you already have a firm way of managing people and not willing to change. Trust me, this is no conventional way of managing technical people. Conventional managers will only scoop some of the points that are advantageous to them, not for everyone.

As for me I don’t think I’ll have any chance to work in the States, perhaps one day I can create such company myself. Who knows…

GMail Labels Now With Color

This morning when I logged on to GMail, it was still the same.

However about half an hour ago I was surprised with some weird boxes around the label list. Clicking on them gave me the option to do only one thing: change the colors of my labels. Yay!

As an email organizing freak, I really welcome this feature as it makes my life easier by letting me spot my emails quickly.

Gmail Labels with Color

Have you logged into GMail today?

Firebug and Gmail

When I log on to my Gmail today, I received an error bounded by a red box that says “Firebug is known to make Gmail slow unless it is configured correctly”. I didn’t know that!

And as always, Gmail is nice enough to provide a simple workaround.

Firebug is an excellent add-on normally used by web developers so most people will not see this warning at all.

By the way did you notice that there’s a very big improvement in Gmail in terms of UI and also speed?

Why I Set Up VPN On DD-WRT On My Router

Everyday I receive a massive number of emails from many sources and half of them are valid (i.e. not spams). And at certain times I receive huge attachments from friends with pictures or other things. With a normal Streamyx ADSL connection this is fine, but when it gets hiccups my email retrieval process normally gets interrupted in the middle (timed out). 90% of the time my Thunderbird go nuts and corrupted its own “state” database. This means that it “forgets” which message it has downloaded and which has not.

This will not be a big problem if I set my email client to “delete from server” each time but I set it to “leave on server” as an online backup. I know I know I am a freak. Because of this, the next time it retrieves, my email client will download every message from my Inbox (which is in the thousands because I still keep my emails since 1997). This is insane.

I needed a more robust solution and as a Linux geek I used fetchmail to download my emails to a local server and set it to “leave on server”. From my observation, it does not have the same corrupting effect as Thunderbird when a timeout occurs. Good, one problem solved. Next, I set my Thunderbird to retrieve email from the local server which is faster than a speeding bullet. OK, I exaggerated. I set it to “delete from server” where the server is the local server. Good, another problem solved.

Now I have my emails intact regardless of what the connection condition is.

But… when I am on the road I have a problem to retrieve my emails. I heard someone is shouting, “why the hell don’t you just use the webmail?”. When it comes to email, I think I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Except for GMail, I will need my Thunderbird to compose my emails.

This is when I realized that I can do something about it. I enabled a simple VPN server on my Linksys WRT54G router which I have flashed with DD-WRT. Here’s a complete guide that I followed: http://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/PPTP_Server_Configuration.

I have never regretted since, but I do have to make sure that the connection to my home is stable enough. But please be warned that this will only work if the connection you are using allows PPTP pass through.

There you go, a story of someone having email OCD. What’s your excuse?

Oh BTW I also have a PAC (Proxy Auto Configuration) setting on my browsers so when there is a connection to the Squid box at home (the VPN is connected), it’ll utilize the cache. 😛

Do You Own An MP3 Player?

MP3 players today are as common as a discman or walkman used to be. Back then we have to carry a bigger pouch to pack in our CDs or cassettes, and each of them usually can carry only about 17 songs – and that was already considered many.

Today, with a device the size of a cigarette lighter and sometimes smaller you can pack hundreds of song and you can barely feel the weight. It’s the miraculous mp3 player. They come in all sort of shapes and colors a confused toddler just might think it is candy 😉

I have been toying with the idea of owning a good one (maybe an iPod?), with gigabytes of space to store my songs but until today even after spending much more on other devices I still never bought one myself. I only own a 512MB Creative Zen Neeon that I got for free last year.

What about you, what mp3 player do you currently use and what’s your dream device?

Pidgin 2.1.1 Released

The official Pidgin 2.1.1 has been released, and the official Pidgin Portable 2.1.0 Released.

So since John T. Haller of PortableApps has packaged this, I will stop packaging Pidgin Portable for the public. This is the end of My Version of Pidgin Portable. Hope all who have used it found it useful. I guess the guy who have always accused me of embedding keyloggers will be extremely happy now. LOL.

Nuffnang Error

Today the site loads very slow, and as I was about to blame the network when I saw this:

Nuffnang Error

It seems that Nuffnang may be currently experiencing some difficulties. Since the ad block loads inline, the whole site waits for it. Oh by the way visitors from outside of Malaysia & Singapore will not see this as it is a geo-targeted block (AdSense is there instead).

And Nuffang site is down as well, with these errors:

Warning: mysql_pconnect() [function.mysql-pconnect]: Lost connection to MySQL server during query in /home/nuffmy/public_html/Connections/nuffnang.php on line 9

Fatal error: Lost connection to MySQL server during query in /home/nuffmy/public_html/Connections/nuffnang.php on line 9

Quick guys! Fix it! 🙂

Surf The Internet Faster with OpenDNS

OpenDNS logo

So you want to surf the Internet faster? Ever heard of OpenDNS? I have been using OpenDNS for a week now to test its performance. So far it has not let me down, and the name resolving rate is satisfactory.

What is DNS?

DNS stands for Domain Name System. As you might already seen before, the Internet is made up of numbers called IP numbers that looks like XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX. The responsibility of DNS is to resolve the domain names you insert into the address bar into these numbers so that your computer can connect to the server hosting the contents you are looking for.

Every ISP has their own DNS to serve their customers. For example TMNET in Malaysia has two most common DNS servers: and These IP numbers are sent to your PC or your modem-router when you connect to the Internet. It works the same for any other ISP on the face of the world.

DNS eliminates the need for you to remember IP numbers which can be very long, especially when IPv6 is just around the corner.

DNS by Example

To arrive at this page, your address bar will contain https://blog.adyromantika.com/…. At this moment your PC will query the default DNS server and looks for the IP. The DNS server, looks at it cache and sees whether it already knows the IP and if found it will send the IP to your PC immediately. If not, the DNS server will ask the authoritative DNS server for the domain where in this case it will be NS5.SECURESERVER.NET and NS6.SECURESERVER.NET, then returns the number to you. This is where this site is hosted.

What is OpenDNS?

OpenDNS is a free service, where millions of users around the globe requests names to be resolved. Be aware, however that your ISP might block DNS queries from individual PCs to any other DNS servers than their own. It is dumb but some of the ISP do it.

Can OpenDNS Speed Up My Internet Connection?

It can’t. The only thing that OpenDNS will speed up is the initial connection when your PC is trying to resolve numbers from any given domain names. What happen is that since OpenDNS is used by many and it have a huge cache, queries made are returned immediately so your PC does not have to wait. Also it helps if your ISP DNS is slow. Using OpenDNS speeds up the initial query so you’ll notice a difference in loading time.

How to Set Up OpenDNS on a PC?

You can see what DNS servers your machine is using by going to Control Panel > Network Connections > Select your default connection > Select the support tab > Click on button Details…. You should see the DNS Server.

To change it to use OpenDNS, Control Panel > Network Connections > Select your default connection > Click the Properties button > In the list select Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) > Click the Properties button > Select Use the following DNS server addresses > Enter the DNS server addresses and

Please be aware however that you need administrative privilege to make these changes, and the firewall at your location allows queries to external DNS servers. If in doubt you may ask your system administrator, or better still if they have a local DNS server set up ask them to use OpenDNS as the master DNS servers.

Other Interesting Facts

OpenDNS has a database of bad sites consisting of phishing sites (by default) and adult sites (free registration required). If your PC is set up to use OpenDNS all of these can be blocked without any effort at your end. All that is needed is for you to be sure no one but you can bypass the settings and use other DNS servers. For example I set up my router to use OpenDNS in its local DNS server, and blocks any other DNS queries to the Internet. This way I am sure that my local network is safe from any malicious contents. This is an advanced (and technical) topic so I am not going to write it in here unless there’s any request.

OpenDNS does have instructions on how to use OpenDNS for many devices here. However you need to be smarter than your users to totally block other DNS queries except to OpenDNS servers.


OpenDNS is a good effort to provide quality DNS services to the masses. In the beginning of this article I mentioned that it has provided me good speed, not great mainly because the servers are located in the US and one in UK. International speed from TMNET is generally unpredictable so until OpenDNS setup a server in Asia, we get good speed, not great 😉

Here are the current servers:

  • New York, New York, USA
  • Palo Alto, California, USA
  • Seattle, Washington, USA
  • Washington, DC, USA
  • London, England, UK

Give it a try and let me know what you think.

PHP 4 End Of Life

PHP Logo

PHP 4 will finally reached its end of life on December 31, 2007. However critical security fixes will be made available until August 8, 2008.

This is a good time to revise your codes, to see whether they will run without any glitches in PHP 5. That first, then when doing any code upgrades or improvements do consider PHP 5 features and functions for your code. This page lists all changes that are not backward compatible in PHP 5.

As you can see, your code styling and implementation greatly effects the outcome of your code. For example the function array_merge in PHP 4 is loose and accepts any variable to be merged into an array, but in PHP 5 if the supplied variable is not an array PHP will throw you a warning (E_WARNING). It is strict. If you have always made sure that your code is strict, that is to always provide an array to be merged, then you can sit back and relax.

That is one example of a changed function, and there are some additions to the available functions as well. Be very careful to observe the changes to object handling in PHP 5.

If you are managing a server, do consider installing PHP 5 as a side, and test your existing systems thoroughly. If you use managed hosting, consider pushing your server provider to install PHP 5 for the same reason. Also make sure that if your provider wants to totally migrate to PHP 5 you are well informed. However, from my tests most of the systems that were developed in the PHP 4 era can still function well in PHP 5… but it is better to be safe than sorry.