Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Akash / Ubislate Tablet vs BSNL Penta vs iPAD vs Galaxy Tab

I believe India is obsecced with 'cheap' these days and you may have heard the news from India on the 'cheapest' tablet which is called Akash. As usual the tablet launch is delayed and when it was available few weeks back students/people didn't even use it as a paper weight. Ofcourse the ministries and the 'experts' are working on improving the situation.

Just now BSNL announced they are launching a new 'cheap' tablet. So I thought of having a look at the specs and most importantly do a spec comparison with more successful tablets. I am still not used to HTML so below is the JPG file instead of table.

Missing items from Websites of Ubislate & BSNL are the most important items. "Dimensions & Weight" are not mentioned anywhere in the press release or websites. As you can see from below table,

  • Penta IS701R is much better than original Akash. But Ubislate I'd say a close call based on individual preferences. For me I don't even consider a tablet without 3G in India.
  • If you intend to use Tablet as a replacement of Notebook then don't even look at any of these. Tablets can't be used to replace Notebooks. There is no way you can edit in Excel or Powerpoint or send long emails. This is only for "look" only. Means you read the mail and reply simple stuff. But for actual work you got to open your laptop. Still if you need a tab then go for iPad or Galaxy or Xoom. They are worth the money.
  • If you need a entertainment device then you may give "Penta Tpad WS802C" a try. 
  • The deal breaker for Penta Tpad WS704c is the memory & no back camera. I don't mind paying 2,500 for added performance playing movies or playing games.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

IDA asks OpenNet to wire Singapore quickly..

Source: CNA

Basically IDA is asking OpenNet to improve its performance. I could recall our (myself + colleagues) when we first heard about  OpenNet  plans to wire the nation by 2013.

Lets me share with a quick example. If OpenNet were to install 2,050 connections/weak then they can only do 106,600 connections in an year.

In 2010 we've close to 82% penetration in residential sector as per IDA.
In 2008 we've close to 78% penetration in Commercial sector as per IDA.

We've 1 million house holds + 381,000 registered entities in Singapore (ACRA Website).

If the target is to migrate 60% of residential market & 80% commercial sector to NBN then the target number is ~ 900,000 connections. You may ask why 60% to Fiber or 80% to commercial. My rationale of giving high % to commercial is due to the existing exorbitant charges for Business broadband connections and I believe most of the SME's migrate to NBN.

At the rate of 106,000/year it takes nine years to reach the target

You may ask why 60% to Fiber or 80% to commercial. My rationale of giving high % to commercial is due to the existing exorbitant charges for Business broadband connections and I believe most of the SME's migrate to NBN.

OpenNet not only need to do it quick but they need to ensure that the connections are 'working' & Nucleus connect need to make sure that they do activation as per schedule. Not based on their schedule but based on what was promised to Customer.

The biggest issue I've seen & experienced is the end to end synchronization.

RSP promises a date of installation but Nucleus Connect folks failed to visit. When N.C installer comes to home, then he says OpenNet fiber is dead. Pointing fingers at each other.. Delaying the installation & duplication of work.

Skype - Windows 7 64 bit problem (Solved)

I've been using Skype for almost 8 years and I was never frustrated this much. For the last 10 days I couldn't sign in to Skype on my laptop at all. I tried all the options and communicated in Skype forums but the solutions couldn't solve my problem.

Then finally I looked in to one simple 'engineer' troubleshooting. Backtrack my steps and try to see what'd have caused the problem. So I started disabling/uninstalling any programs I installed/updated.

Violaaa.. It did worked. The culprit is a small software called " FileBox eXtender"  which simplifies the windows 7 explorer actions by adding favorites & tools.

Somehow this caused the problem and the moment I disabled things're back to normal :)

In case if you are using Skype on Win 7 and have some problems the recommended steps are below.

1. Remove "shared.xml" file
  • First go to explorer and make sure you are not hiding any files. 
For this you need to open My Computer or Control Panel. Go to Folder options and Check the button "show hidden folers and files" as shown in the screen shot right next.
  • Go to your Skype install folder
In explorer go to the Skype installed folder. Which means C\users\'your user id'\appdata\roaming\skype. If your windows is not installed in C then you need to go to that specific Drive.

Delete "shared.xml" file. If you are running Skype then you need to exit Skype first. Don't worry the xml file be recreated when you start Skype
  • Restart Skype
2. Change "Port" number

I don't suggest this unless Solution 1 didn't solve the problem. Open Skype and when it's signing in quickly open the "Options". You can only see "connection settings".

There if you don't see any port (problem with Skype 64bit version 5.8) then enter any random port which is higher than 30,000. Theoretically you can use any port higher than 1024 but keep it high.
Also select the "use 80 & 443 option".

Selecting the UnPn is optional and up to individual. My case I do select that..

Restart Skype.

Above solutions did solved my problems on 2 of my Win 7 laptops and the recent being with 5.8
Skype Version:
OS: Win 7 Ultimate 64bit
Browser: IE9
Event Viewer Errors - None

Sunday, February 26, 2012

India's humiliating defeat in Australia (cricket)

Now after successfully (?) losing both test & one-day series in Australia, I'm sure there will be lots of discussion in media about 'seniors' and their perceived control over the team India.
I do not doubt their contribution to team India or the Cricket game. But what I am concerned is the lack of action. When they loose few games the media & public start to demand non performing player departure and with a single century the same media & people start to treat them like demi gods.
Be it in Cricket or business or education what India is lacking is discipline. We are good at waffling while the world is expecting a more disciplined India. Hope we'll learn that soon.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Fiber Internet aka NGN in Singapore

Recently I got a call from Myrepublic a new entrant in to the NGN market. They claim that they are quite different from existing players and also they do not cap international bandwidth. Even the local news papers published their stories and blogs/forums were abuzz with this claims.

Though I am not against them I still believe the 'value' of Infrastructure lies with the  organization rather than pure technical play. I am happy with my existing Fiber plan (SGD 29/50Mbps from M1).

Faq from Myrepublic

Now my feedback about these claims,

1. How is MyRepublic’s Network different from other major consumer ISPs in Singapore
All major ISPs in Singapore provide both consumer and large corporate Internet services. They tend to prioritize large corporates over consumer and small business users

My View: Not entirely accurate. Both SingTel + SH maintains separate networks for Corporate & Consumers from access to core. While any operator/SP prefer business customers the claim that they prefer at the cost of residential is not quite accurate.

2. What kind of international experience can I expect?
We DO NOT discriminatively cap/rate-limit/shape/throttle per subscriber for international bandwidth, unlike other ISPs.

My View: First, I see they are offering their services to SME's which makes this claim a bit dubious.Still, the problem is not 'cap/rate-limit/shape' but in essence the "over subscription" model. Today the international bandwidth (so called connectivity with content in US) costs ~ SGD 60/Mbps/Month. So if you are getting the impression that with MyRepublic you can get full speed from Youtube/NetFlix you'll be wrong. There is no way they can pay SGD 6000 to international bandwidth and charge you SGD 60 :).

The business model is very simple. Operator buy 100Mbps @ SGD 6000. They sell to 200 people (example only. In reality some operators sell to 150 or some to 300 or 500. Typically is 1:20-40) and get SGD 12,000 in revenue. So the profit is 6000. As simple as that.

For example if you see the entire Singapore international bandwidth is 24 Gbps in 2005 (source: nationmaster). This figure includes consumer+corporate+educational. I couldn't get the breakdown and take this as the residential number.

Assuming a 500% growth it'll be 120 Gbps in 2011.Although mMy experience with the local ISP's tells me a much lower number, we'll stick to this number.

Now we've 1.235 million residential connections as per IDA. Assuming the average subscription plan is 5 Mbps we should ideally have 6,175 Gbps bandwidth or ~ 6 Tbps bandwidth.

ISP sold local bandwidth = 6,175 Gbps
ISP actual international bandwidth = 120 Gbps.
Oversubscription = 50x.

The problem with MyRepublic claim" no capping of international bandwidth" doesn't really helps as it all in the actual international bandwidth they have and the number of lines sold locally.
The best part I like from MyRepublic is "no contract". Personally this is what I hate the most with existing players and I wish I can get it in the future from these operators.

Anyway, in conclusion, I still prefer to stick with the existing operators due to the

* Service/Support
* Bundling/Ease of managing my entire communication lines
* Reliability

For the actual speeds and performance you may refer to IDA published information.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Skype Impact on my international call costs

Within few years Skype went on to become the largest international telecom player with marketshare of over 20%. It also helped a lot of folks like me who is working overseas to be in touch with family & friends back home. But I still have to make international calls for those folks without access to a PC or Internet connection.

Now I just got a mail from Skype on their unlimited calling plans and I thought of subscribing it but before that I wanted to see how much money I am spending on these days. Ofcourse that brought me to take a look in to historical spending too :)

So based on my spending finally I decided not to go for the monthly plan which costs me ~ USD20/month. My spending is around a third of it per month. But if this was available few years back I'd have jumped to it :)

Baby milestones - Telugu celebrations

I tried to find the milestones and celebrations which we used to hear from our grand parents but couldn't find anywhere in the web. So thought of speaking to the parents & below is the list

The names are written in anglicized Telugu & Telugu script. If not sure just drop me a note :)

English Version

Approx ageMilestoneCelebrate with
Around 2nd month Smiling Nuvvula Vunda
Around 3rd monthCooing Undrallu
Around 4th/5th month Flipping/Turning Boorelu
Around 10th/18th month First steps Ariselu
Around 1st/2nd year Crossing door/short steps Garelu
Around 1st/2nd year First phrases/words Panchadara Chilakalu

Telugu Version

రమారమి వయసు వృద్ధి పండుగ 
2 మాసము చిరునవ్వులు  నువ్వుల ఉండ
3 మాసము ఊలు కొట్టుట  ఉండ్రాళ్ళు
4 /5 మాసము   బోర్ల పడుట బూరెలు
10 / 18 మాసము  తప్పటడుగులు  అరిసెలు
1 / 2 సంవత్సరము గడప దాటుట గారెలు
1 / 2 సంవత్సరము చిలక పలుకులు పంచదార చిలకలు