Category Archives: Technology

MalaysiaParadise.com

Purchased an additional domain for our travel business. Not entirely convinced that it will drive more trafic to our website, but since it is freed up recently, and it costs peanuts to buy, why not 🙂 Bought the domain from godaddy.com, because I have seen them everywhere, and they sell domains a fraction cheaper than any other domain sellers I can find. But I must say that buying a domain is getting more confusing nowadays. They have a price for the domain, and then they have a host of add ons that cost money, like domain privary, business registration, autorenewal etc. And there are at least 5 or 6 checkboxes that I need to tick or untick to save my mail box from being spammed by email newsletters, promotions etc, both from them and third parties. I have bought from Yahoo and 123-reg before, and the process as I remember was a little more hassle free.After purchasing the domain, I proceed to transfer the domain to my hosting provider. Gosh goodness I am back to something I am back to an interface I am more familiar with. Now I am just waiting for the domain transfer to complete which can take up to 48 hours.

Setting up Google Wave (FedOne) server for federation

There are already plenty of tutorials which will show you how to set up FedOne Google Wave server to federate with Google’s sandbox version of wave server for developers. I’m not going repeat them here. However I will highlight this one which I found most useful, follow by some of my own observations, during my endeavour.In a nutshell, you first need to set up an XMPP server, as the FedOne wave reference server is implemented as an external component to the XMPP server. The XMPP server you should be looking to install needs to be XEP-0114 compatible (with Jabber Component Protocol). I’m using OpenFire, but there are others that you can use too like ejabberd.Before you install the XMPP server, perhaps it is worth knowing beforehand which platform you are planning to run your servers on (e.g. Windows or Linux), and whether you want both the XMPP and FedOne wave servers to run on the same machine. Personal experience told me that it is very slow running servers or clients from Windows command prompt. And you need to run the FedOne wave server using the Windows command prompt. Just to give you an idea, compiling FedOne wave server on Windows command prompt took me more than 5 mins compared to less than 1 min on Linux terminal. If you are interested in looking at screen dumps from the FedOne wave server real-time, then that will slow down the performance of your wave client too. I have run text-based wave console client on Windows command prompt as well and again it is very slow. I almost see no live character transmission coming from the wavesandbox! It is that bad. I guess if you are not playing with the console client then you are probably okay. But in any case for development purposes I would not recommend installing the FedOne wave server on Windows.Next you set up the FedOne wave server. As far as I can remember this is pretty straightforward. I set mine up on a separate machine from the OpenFire XMPP server. But you can run both on the same machine. After setting up the FedOne wave server, you can test your wave server using the console client that comes with the server package.Your FedOne wave server is not ready for federation yet. You need to first add some DNS records to your DNS server, as is explained in this wiki. Basically you want external users or servers to be able to find your Fedone wave server via DNS. Note that this exercise is more straightforward if your DNS is maintained by third party DNS service provider like DynDNS. Otherwise it can be a pain hosting your own DNS server, particularly if you don’t have full access to or own everything like your domain, firewall, gateway, and requiring authorisations from IT staff etc. If that is the case, it will be wise that you also understand the requirements of the wave server for federation before proceeding with the DNS set up, as that might save you some time.Once you have set up the DNS records, you can check if they are working correctly by using dig, a command line tool for querying DNS name servers for desired DNS records. For example here is how to check if the SRV records for your XMPP service has been set up.# dig +short -t SRV _xmpp-server._tcp.example.comAnd the response for my case is:10 0 5269 wave.example.comIf your FedOne wave server is on a private network and needs to use Network Address Translation (NAT) to communicate with the outside world, you will need to set up port forwarding for port 5269 from your gateway to your FedOnewave server, and of course, open a hole on the firewall of the gateway for that port 5269 too. You can check if all these are working by initiating a telnet session to your wave server:# telnet wave.example.com 5269When you are connected, key in something and press enter, you will be informed that the connection is now closed by the foreign host, which is what you would expect.Finally you have the CA certificates to sort out before you are allowed to federate with Google Wave sandbox server. Note that the sandbox server does not accept self-certified certificates so you will have to get one from a third party. Certificates issued by StartSLL are accepted by the sandbox server and it is free, for up to 1 year. It works well for me, apart from the inconvenience of applying for a certificate too soon (one day after I bought a domain). They require that your domain to be active for at least a couple of days (for my case I got mine when I applied 2 days later). If you don’t own the domain, you need to find out who has access to these emails accounts: postmaster@example.com, hostmaster@example.com and webmaster@example.com. Because StartSSL will only send authentication code to one of the above three email addresses, to confirm that you own the domain. If your service provider owns these addresses, then you may be in for a tough time. Quicker to just buy your own domain for a few quid a year if you are only planning to try out FedOne wave server or do development work for federation. Here is a wiki on how to get CA-issued certificate and how to check if the certs are all ready to go.That’s it, you should be able to fire up your FedOne wave console client and add users/developers with Google Wave sandbox account. If you don’t already have a sandbox account, it may be a good time to apply now, while you are setting up the rest of the stuff, as who knows how long it takes before you are given one.Hope you all find this blog useful.

I’m hooked to the Internet

Bar in Heathrow Terminal 1, by arctanck

It’s incredible to think about it now that we can get access to the information almost anytime anywhere. Before iPhone it was still a pain in the arse. And iPhone has really exceeded my expectations. Today I was still able to use MSN to keep in touch with W while I was waiting for a coach to the airport. And I can make free phone calls using Skype via the free wifi service provided by the coach. Now as I am waiting at the airport for my flight, I made another free call to my brother in Malaysia, who is incidentally using iPhone too. Then of course I’m blogging here in the meantime too. On top of that I can check my Facebook to see what my friends are currently doing on Christmas eve. Enough said, and I think I can spend a lot of time on my iPhone! Merry Christmas all!

Own blog Vs Facebook

Social networking sites like Facebook are such commanding, in terms of their ability to capture eyeballs. Their appeal seems to lie in many Facebook users, and their friends, visit Facebook frequently, and religiously “contributing” posts as well, say everyday? It is definitely more “rewarding” for them to visit a portal like Facebook where they can find out what their friends are thinking/doing, than to visit their friends’ blogs or websites individually. Too time consuming, perhaps. For the owner of a blog like myself, it is definitely much easier to put in a one-liner on my Facebook’s wall than to blog, which requires more thoughts. It is a shame really. However what I write on my blog is more far reaching than what I put onto my Facebook. For example, people who are not my “friends” in Facebook will not be able to see what I wrote in Facebook, for privacy reason. At least search engines are not allowed to crawl Facebook’s contents. But anyone can search for what I’ve written on here. So it is rewarding to see what I’ve written can be of some use to anyone who finds it. I think that alone will keep me going, at least for the time being… 🙂

£2 a minute call using 3 network

How 3, a UK mobile operator, can justify charging its customers £2 a minute when they are overseas is beyond me. Even many years ago, it used to only cost us the price of a local call when we make a call using our mobile phones while in Malaysia. After many years of lobbying and pressures from the regulator to reduce mobile phone operators’ roaming charges, overseas call charges etc, I would have thought that call charges when overseas have reduced by a great deal. What a ripped off! To be honest everyone knows that their network coverage in the UK has been dismal, most likely the worst among the five mobile network operators. The reason one of our phones is contracted to them is because the price plan we are offered is comparatively cheaper than the cheapest offered by other operators. And we do know very well “you get what you pay for”. But what we don’t know is they are also in the business of ripping off customers! Making a phone call in Malaysia using O2 instead costed us half of what is charged by 3. Unbelievable. So my advice for you is remember to read all the small prints and their price guides before trying to use your mobile phones overseas.

iPhone 3GS

Wow, what can I say. I don’t think I’ve ever bought anything that makes me feel like a smug 🙂 The user-friendliness of this Apple product is beyond my belief. Perhaps it is also to do with me not having owned any Apple product before. I mean I have played with the previous generations of iPhone before in phone shop. But still, I’m in awe. I used to worry that I might not feel comfortable using the phone because my fingers can sweat a lot. I thought about buying a Blackberry before. But when I know that they now have landscape keyboard, like the one shown on the picture, it becomes very clear that I have to go for the iPhone. I must say that typing is easier for me on the iPhone than on the Blackberry. When I’m used to touch typing I’m confident that I can type very fast on the landscape keyboard.

I always like the idea of being able to check emails and Internet information on the go. And I like to be able to easily type in web address or reply an email. So I’m really satisfied that it can allow me to do that, and surprisingly effortlessly. And an important added feature for me is the GPS map. The other day we drove down to London and we haven’t got maps with us. It was really useful to be able to locate ourselves and navigate around in London using Google maps on the phone. Amazing.When I have chosen the white colour iPhone, I was somewhat worried that my phone may really get cooked and gives me yellowish ring on white casing. But after using it for about a week, I think overheating is a rather exaggerated issue. I guess unless you absolutely run everything at the same time, i.e. 3g, Wi-Fi, ipod, GPS together. Otherwise I don’t see based on my usage it is going to get that hot.Battery seems to be a real issue though. As the battery energy is drained rather quickly on this iPhone that I have to charge it once a day. Unless I’ve not been using the net at all, and just for phone calls. But this defeats the whole purpose of owning the phone and getting that all inclusive unlimited data usage plan doesn’t it? :)I’ve had a look at how to optimise the lifespan of the battery from the Apple website and it seems that the best thing to do is to switch off the Wi-Fi interface when not in use and stop it from fetching emails too frequently or being pushed emails automatically. Allowing the Wi-Fi to listen all the time can drain as much energy as transmitting. So remember to switch that off.I’m a new Apple convert and by the look of it there will be many more following soon 🙂

Home broadband with O2

Connecting our home to the O2 ADSL broadband service seems unbelievably easy! After we had a fresh BT line installed to our premise, we placed an order with O2 to become their home broadband customer, as it is much cheaper to use their service when we are already their existing customer through their mobile phone service, at about £9 a month for their Premium service. We then received a couple of text messages, telling us that our line will be activated in six days time, and we will receive the broadband modem cum wireless router package two days before the activation date.As promised, the package arrived in the evening of the delivery date (hence not with Royal Mail). Three days later, when I finally got the time to install everything, it was painless, almost perfect, and everything just works. Amazing. Including setting up our laptop to connect to the wireless router. This is how home products or services should be, user friendly. And we are also entitled a copy of the McAfee security software!On the broadband speed, we should be getting up to 20Mbps for the downlink. Tried peer-to-peer and FTP downloads, but seems that we are not even close to that “magic” number. Think we can at most hit 8Mbps. Anyway it does not feel that normal web browsing is that much quicker either than my previous 2Mbps connection, although it IS quicker. To be honest we are not too fussed on this as we are not hard core users of broadband, and we seldom download large movie files etc 🙂 But had it not been the initial 3 months free offer, I think we probably would have phoned in to “downgrade” from their Premium service, as their Standard service can provide up to 8Mbps too.All in all, we are very pleased with O2’s service so far. And we are also using their mobile broadband service, for our laptop, when we are on the move. Hope they are able to keep this up.

Problem playing blu-ray discs from LOVEFiLM

LOVEFiLM is a British DVD rental company which provides online DVD rentals in the UK. By right they should only own DVDs with region codes suitable for playback in the UK or Western Europe. But annoyingly it happened to me twice already that I received Blu-ray discs that I couldn’t play. It cannot be the problem of my player, say it has been set to play only DVDs from a certain region, because I can play most of the Blu-ray discs from LOVEFiLM! Anyway the conclusion is they don’t know why I’m facing this problem, as they also thought they only have DVDs that are suitable for UK playback. Not helpful. If this keeps happening I’m afraid that I’ll have to quit subscribing to LOVEFiLM, as being able to rent Blu-ray movies is the biggest reason I’m paying for their service.

New HP laptop with blu-ray drive

Got myself a new laptop few days ago. HP Pavillion DV6920 with blu-ray drive. Am so far very pleased with it, apart from Windows Vista which is still a let down despite having little expectation after reading rave of poor reviews about the OS. I’m still in the process of getting used to the keyboard, particularly the right-shift-key.Just tried the blu-ray drive, playing a blu-ray DVD, “Spiderwick Chronicles”, displayed on my HDTV, via HDMI connection. Such refined resolution, and no more blockiness even when watching from close distance. Gosh, I am so going to rent only Blu-ray DVDs from LOVEFiLM from now on 🙂