Hello 2011!

I danced and drank my way into year 2011 by celebrating with friends and family. It was crowded here at Kota Kinabalu Water Front where people from around Borneo gathered to watch the world prepare to greet 2011. The sound of whistles and the party poppers starts filling the air just half an hour before midnight as it gets louder every minute. I drowned my thirst with a bottle of Heineken as I waited for the party to begin.

And then the countdown begins. Ten… nine… eight… seven….. Goodbye 2010, Hello 2011!! Bright little objects propelled into the sky and ended with a loud bang. It lit and sparkled beautifully in the dark sky with green, red and gold which lasted about 15 minutes. When the fireworks ended, the music from the pubs and clubs nearby can be heard even clearer.

Finally a brand New Year has begun and I knew I had plenty to be grateful for last year. For one I’ve graduated with a Degree and became a CISCO certified person. Now I will begin year 2011 with a new job and hopefully everything will go well. I will try to stick with my regular exercise and to live healthily even after climbing up Mount Kinabalu by the end of January. Here’s to a fabulous 2011! Cheers…

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Getting to Know Telecommunication

It has been almost 6 weeks already since my job attachment here in a mobile telecommunication company. As a CISCO certified person, I am appointed as an IT technician who troubleshoots pc and networks around Sabah region. During my stay, I started to speculate on the things they do here. How do they provide services to subscribers located around the region? What technologies do they use to provide these services? How do wireless broadband work? What is telecommunication? All these questions started to build up so I took the effort to conduct my own research on the subject.

Although telecommunication is a totally different field from my IT/networking background, there are still some similarities. For one which is the most obvious, the company I’m at uses CISCO devices for their interconnection too. This is because they also provide data transmission services other than voice transmission. So I am going to spend some time here to explain briefly what I have researched so far. Good stuff…

Today telecommunication is all about providing wireless connection to wide range of areas around the globe with great transmission speeds. Although fixed lines are still widely used, mobile communication has grown rapidly that led to the significant decline in fixed network subscriptions. This leads me to believe that being in the mobile industry is and will be secure for a very long time. But nevertheless, both fixed lines and mobile communication are both extension to the word telecommunication; transmission of messages over significant distances for the purpose of communication. So how did it all began?

Earlier signs of telecommunication started when the electrical telegraph was invented in the 1840s. A telegraph is used to communicate over long distance by using Morse code. Then came the conventional telephone in 1876 which is now in use worldwide. The invention of radio in the late 19th century and television in the early 20th century has played an important role in wireless communication. At that time, only voice was transmitted through the transmission medium. Now in the digital age, we have packet switching (transmission of data packets) which then made the Internet possible.

Mobile Telecommunication Company for example Maxis, Celcom and Digi provide communication services to mobile devices which may move around freely unlike Telekom who provides fixed line network. These services include wireless telephony and broadband internet services. To be able to provides these services, wireless standards have to be used. These standards are like GSM, CDMA, UMTS and WiMAX. More on these technologies in my next post.

Looking for a mobile-phone

For the past year or so, I’ve been wanting to buy myself a new mobile-phone. I have always been a fan of Sony-Ericsson’s product which I have been using for the past 5 years now. Now it is time to stop being a fan boy and search beyond the bounds of one manufacturer for a potential device I can have with me all the time.

One of the things about Sony-Ericsson’s product that gets me pulling my hair of my head is the Graphical User Interface. Most of their mobile-phones OS have more or less the same GUI which is starting to irritate me. GUI plays an important role for me since it shows how well I interact with the device. That is why I have taken special interest in smartphones with touchscreen capabilities.

For me, Operating System comes first before hardware but not to overlook the hardware capabilities since it will be useless to have a good working OS that runs extremely slow on a device. There are two OS that interest me; IPhone OS and Android. Everyone knows IPhone is one of the best smartphones in market yet. Android (not a mobile device) on the other hand gets less attention from the public most likely because it is still new and only limited mobile devices has Android as the OS. But Android seems to grow with its community and the release of Google’s new smartphone, Nexus One. Android is fully open source unlike IPhone (half open source) which makes it easier for developers to create new application on it.

For now, I am siding with Android since I love open source and Google. Until Apple comes up with a new jaw dropping device, I will stick with Android.

Football Manager 2009

I have to say that I’m really anticipating the release of the Football Manager 2009 later this year. It is said that the release date is on the 14th November. The video show you almost all the changes there have been made for Football Manager 2009. You can check out the website for more news and updates on Football Manager 2009. There would also be a demo available for download just a week before the official release. And so they say…

My Ubuntu experience

I have installed Linux: Ubuntu a month back on my laptop and to my astonishment, the open source operating system is astounding. It is something I have been wanting to do for the past decade but never had the guts to do so. I am a person who is constantly haunted by the hunger to try something new which most of the time ends up in a terrible disaster. I get bored easily and that is why I always need to seek something fresh to fulfill my satisfaction. So I got confident enough to take it one step further into the typical dual-boot setup.

Installing Linux on my system was a breeze. I’ve downloaded the Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn ISO file and burned it on a CD. It took around 40 minutes for Ubuntu to be fully installed but I am guessing that it would take even less if it was installed on a faster computer. Ubuntu 7.04 starts up with a login screen which I am required to insert my username and password. After getting through the login screen, I am presented with the GNOME desktop environment. GNOME is the graphical user interface which sits on top of a computer operating system. Most of Linux distribution are based on the GNOME.

The user interface is pretty similar to the one of Window’s, not that I know of any other operating systems other than Windows. Like Microsoft Windows, GNOME also have horizontal menu bars. But instead of just one horizontal bar at the bottom, GNOME has two. One at the top and one at the bottom of the desktop. The top menu bar shows the different application and function that you can interact with just like Microsoft Windows Start button. The date and time is also displayed on the top right menu bar. The bottom menu bar shows currently active programs which when clicked will maximize onto the desktop. The trash can is also displayed on the bottom right corner of the menu bar. I find It rather easy to navigate through the applications from the menu.

Although at first I had some difficulties with connecting to the internet, I still managed to solve the problem with a little bit of googling and configuring. I even managed to install the latest driver for my ATI graphic card by using Envy. Envy is an application that detects the model of your graphic card (only ATI and Nvidia cards are supported) and install the appropriate driver. After successfully installing the driver, I am able to add extra visual effects to my working environment using Compiz Fusion. The extra visual effects gives a wobble effect to windows when they are dragged. A really slick effect for a desktop environment I would say. I can actually have more effects on Ubuntu desktop by installing the Advance Desktop Effect such as the Desktop Cube, Viewport Switcher, ADD Helper and Motion Blur.

To play my mp3s I need to use the Rhythmbox Music Player. I had to install the appropriate codex package first so that I can play most of the common music formats. With the default installation of Ubuntu, I would not be able to play music with .mp3 file extension or play movies with .avi file extension because they are restricted formats. So I need to install the w32codecs package to play them.

Updating Ubuntu is also very easy as I can do it over the network. All I need to do is go to Systems -> Administration -> Update Manager and click install update. I can also Upgrade to the latest version of Ubuntu. For example I want to upgrade my Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn to Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon. All of that can be done in Update Manager.

Ubuntu is a new experience for me but I am starting to love every part of it. For a Ubuntu beginner, I would say that I am very pleased with it. Very easy installation and updates and user friendly. And the best part of all Ubuntu is FREE.

The very long tail

The Long Tail by Chris AndersonI’ve come across this term when I was first introduced to a book “The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More” written by Chris Anderson. The Long Tail, a phrase coined by Chris Anderson to describe the niche business strategies in the entertainment industry. A really interesting concept that focuses on niche products which is said to be the next big thing in the market. Niche products here meaning items that are non hits, unpopular and difficult to find. The long tail can be found in the many Terabytes of data found in the databases of giant companies such as Netflix, Amazon.com, ITunes and Rhapsody.

Chris Anderson is the editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine, which has won a National Magazine Award under his tenure. He started off with an acclaimed Wired article on the long tail that caught the attention of millions of people. He argues the Internet is encouraging an enormous amount of specialized creativity for specialized interests.

What I have discovered from reading The Long Tail is that people are shifting from a focus on a relatively small number of hits and moving towards a huge numbers of niches. With unlimited choices that the internet provides, we tend to want more than just hits. In the past we were so consumed by hits just because of the scarcity effect, the lack of distribution of content, because we didn’t have enough screens to show every movie that is available, because we didn’t have enough shelf space to display all the labels that exists, because we didn’t have enough radio waves to broadcast all the radio channels. The difference of the past and now is simply choices. With the internet we have unlimited screens, channels and shelf space. Giant companies such as Amazon.com and Netflix use this new culture to their advantage by setting up businesses on the internet where people can dig deeper into their catalog down the long, long list of available titles far past what’s available at Blockbuster Video and Tower Records.

Hits are still hits. They are great because if they weren’t, then they wouldn’t be called hits. They still amount as the majority of the total sales for these giant companies but we can see from their database that these markets of niche products are increasing every year. In other words, the fastest growing part of their businesses is sales of products that aren’t available in traditional, physical retail stores.

Long story short, The long tail is an entirely new economic model for the media and entertainment industries that is just beginning to show its power.

Back to blogging

It’s been so long since my last post. However I am still determined to continue writing. For 3 months I was unable to gain access to my blog from my university. One possible reason is that my university had filtered out websites with domain names with getenjoyment.org. So I had to look for another host which I hope would be more convenient. It would be easier if I just used one of the readymade CMS that blogspot or wordpress offers. But what’s the fun in that?

So now, I am hosting my blog on a different server which a friend of mine suggested. I really hope this would be the last time shifting to different free web hosts.