Tuesday, December 06, 2005

FOSS Adoption

Im preparing for a presentation Im giving for
FMM (Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers) soon.
Currently Im gathering some data which will help
the case for FOSS adoption in the case for
local manufacturing companies, in terms of
cost savings, features and of-course freedom.

I found this by chance:
Why not go for 100% OSS Adoption? by Robert Adkins of Technetra,
and it was quite interesting as he tries to extrapolate some figures.

If you have any other interesting links, please add them on.
  • stats on piracy
  • costs of upgrades
  • training costs
  • and any other info


Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Mike Cox

I was reading some posts at ZDNet
and found this very funny
post by this guy named 'Mike Cox'

He's supposed to be renowned for his satire.

Read his blog.

My rep iis taking me to Yarrow's today to celebrate our new Microsoft Security Services contract. I signed up for a total of 9 years and promised to funnel the money to Microsoft as soon as I could. My rep is giving me bogus invoices today at lunch so I can submit expenses to help add to the war chest to pay for these fine services.

Unfortunately its not updated as frequently as his posts on zdnet.


Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Converting PAL DVD to NTSC

I needed to convert a small video from PAL to NTSC.
Supposedly the dvd players in Canada is not multi-region
and wont support PAL. bah.

Fortunately the video is already on a DVD so I dont have
to worry about getting the hardware to capture it...

So Im trying out ffmpeg.

This is the command which I figured should work:

ffmpeg -i video_ts/vts_01_1.vob -target ntsc-dvd -r '30000/1001' -acodec copy ntsc.mpg

The .vob file is the original video,
the -target ntsc-dvd hopefully uses the NTSC resolution (720x480).
-r changes the frames per second from 25fps to 29.999 fps
and the -acodec copy is suppose to just copy over the audio.

The process took about 10minutes or so for a 11minute video
with alot of strange messages.

After it was done, xine played the video perfectly,
but the audio was just white noise.

Anyway, dvdauthor was next, and since I just need something simple,
Im just using the command line to generate the DVD structure:

dvdauthor ntsc.mpg -o ntsc-dvd

which will have the AUDIO_TS and VIDEO_TS structures within the ntsc-dvd directory.

So now Ill try to figure out the audio problem...


TMNet Horror 1.14.4 - Zety

After a recommendation by Anonymous,
I emailed Jeff Ooi to get a contact from tmnet
to respond to my 'query'.

Its been abit more than a month, and Im still not getting anywhere...

=== Sept 30th 2005 ===
Hi Jeff,

I have read your post:

with interest, and would like to know if its possible for me
to get in contact with someone from TMNet who can help
me out with a very long standing problem w.r.t overcharging and billing.
Come november, I will be 'celebrating' my 1st Anniversary!

Anyway, I wont bore you with details, but I certainly
would like to give some senior management at tmnet an earful.


Any help would be appreciated!
Within 15 minutes, I got this reply from the man himself!

==== Sept 30th 2005
Dear Zety

Could you please take care of this issue brought by my reader?


Great, I thought, progress!

Surprisingly, only 2 hours later, I got a response from Zety herself.
It sure beats the 1 month waiting time I usually have to endure.

Dear Mr Jeff,

Please be informed that our CRM (Customer Relationship Management) Unit has
already received Mr Yoon Kit's complaint pertaining the aforementioned
matter on the 27th September 2005 via e-mail (report reference no: 316805)
and is currently awaiting feedback from the relevent departments.

Should there be any updates, our TM Net personnel will contact Mr Yoon Kit

Mr Yoon Kit's kind patience on this matter is highly appreciated.

Thank You.
Best Regards,

Zety Kamal

PATIENCE! I have alot of that!

to that I responded:

Hello Zety,

> Please be informed that our CRM
> (Customer Relationship Management) Unit has
> already received Mr Yoon Kit's complaint pertaining the aforementioned
> matter on the 27th September 2005 via e-mail
> (report reference no: 316805)
> and is currently awaiting feedback from the relevent departments.

That is the problem I am facing.

The CRM Unit has been shown to be ineffective
for the past 10 months since my first complaint!
Do you expect me to wait yet another 1-2 months for another
meaningless response? (as I have experiend throughout this episode)
Do I have to speak to yet another unempowered CRM Representative?

Zety, Show me Im not just another 'number' (316805)!

I really would like to deal with some person who actually
wants to solve this issue instead of passing it around,
or hoping it would go away with the passage of time...

> Mr Yoon Kit's kind patience on this matter is highly appreciated.

Your CRM Unit had my patience for the past 10 months.
It is infinitesimally thin now.

Even though I am paying my monthly fee of RM44,
I dont have internet access at home now because of this issue.

I hope you understand my frustrations,
I would really appreciate it if you can help me, Zety.


Yoon Kit.

[Jeff, to prevent your mailbox from getting cluttered,
this will be the last email I will CC you.]

And then I waited .... and waited....

===== 3rd Oct 2005
Hi Zety,

Any progress?
From whom should I be expecting a response, and when?


And waited ....

==== 7th Oct 2005
Hi Zety,

I have waited patiently for a week,
and there has been no response
either from you nor your CRM department.

Do you need any more information from me to help
expedite this inquiry?

Can you at least re-enable my streamyx account
while your team is working on this so that I
can have internet access at home?


... and waited ....

==== 11th Oct 2005
Hi Zety,

Any progress?

A little acknowledgement would be appreciated.


Finally I got a response!!

==== 11th Oct 2005
Dear Mr. Yoon Kit,

Please be informed that I have constantly been in contact with the CRM
department in following the progress of your case.

However, kindly note that we need to refer to various departments (systems,
billing,etc) in order to resolve your case.

Therefore, we need some time before we can revert on your case and your
outmost patient is highly appreciated.

Please note that you will be informed immediately of any updates received.

Thank you,

That was helpful!
I didnt know that it would take almost a year to solve this problem.

But anyway, I responded cordially:

==== 11th Oct 2005
Hi Zety,

Im glad that you and your team are working on this,
but I have been sending them emails, and I havent
got any response yet, nor a date which they can come
back to me on.

Do you know when this issue can be completely resolved?
Does your team need another week? another month?

Im just hoping that it can be done within the year !

I can be patient, but I need to know when this can be resolved:
a deadline of somesorts.


And with that, I have been waiting for almost a month now...

sigh... I dont want to resort to calling in Jeff again,
but what does it take to get some service here?


Tuesday, September 27, 2005

TMNet Horror 1.14.3 - 2 Months and counting ....

The frustration...


Hello TMNet,

What is the status of this complaint?
I have been waiting for over 2 months and no reply now.

My Account has been disabled for 2 weeks now,
because of the extra charges you have wrongly charged me!
I have paid my subscription for this month,
and am appalled that I have to endure more downtime
just because of this issue.

BTW, November is coming up, and I wonder if
it can actually take 1 year to resolve this problem.

1) Please re-enable my account
2) Please rebate the other charges
3) Please respond to this within 1 day.
4) Please escalate this problem to your manager, if you cannot help me.
5) Please solve this problem soon.



Anybody got contacts in TMNet who can help me?!


TMNet Horror

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


Been trying to figure out why my MySQL server kept dying on me. Ive written an internal application which all employees use. After about an hour of running, the server just stops accepting any more connections and dies.

Totally unacceptable!

So I tried changing this:
# The maximum amount of concurrent sessions the MySQL server will
# allow. One of these connections will be reserved for a user with
# SUPER privileges to allow the administrator to login even if the
# connection limit has been reached.


Unfortunately as I tried adding more and more connections, and the server refused anything more than 105 connections, for some strange reason.

I noticed that the webapp left some 'sleeping' processes which will eventually timeout, freeing up the connection. So instead of the infinite time of 1000000 seconds, Ive put it to a more reasonable 3600s (1 hour) and now things are behaving abit better.


I hate tweaking database servers.


Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Public Service Announcement Brought To You By SPAMIS

I just got this spam in my inbox,
and its probably the funniest Ive seen!
[Yes, it beats fallen nigerian / korean / iraqi dictator aides emails]

However its still spam, and the last paragraph is rather ominous.


Subject: BREAKING NEWS: Microsoft CEO Vows to "KILL" Google

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer Vowed to "KILL" Google

News Published: September 2, 2005, 1:07 PM PDT
Reprinted From CNET News.com - Written by Ina Fried

----- ---- --- -- - -
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer vowed to "kill" Google in an
expletitive-laced, chair-throwing tirade when a senior
engineer told him he was leaving the company to go work
for Google, the engineer claimed in court documents made
public on Friday.

In a sworn statement made public Friday, Mark Lucovsky,
another Microsoft senior engineer who left for Google in
November 2004, recounted Ballmer's angry reaction when
Lucovsky told Ballmer he was going to work for the search
engine company.

"At some point in the conversation, Mr. Ballmer said:
'Just tell me it's not Google,'"Lucovosky said in his
statement. Lucovosky replied that he was joining Google.

"At that point, Mr. Ballmer picked up a chair and threw it
across the room hitting a table in his office," Lucovosky
recounted, adding that Ballmer then launched into a tirade
about Google CEO Eric Schmidt. "I'm going to f***ing bury
that guy, I have done it before, and I will do it again.
I'm going to f***ing kill Google." Schmidt previously
worked for Sun Microsystems and was the CEO of Novell.



Do you trust a company with "your computer" security/privacy
and support a company with a CEO that acts in this manner?

----- ---- --- -- - -
MICROSOFT: Self-Admitted World's Largest & Greatest Spammer
----- ---- --- -- - -

" I'm with one of the greatest, most hated institutional
"spammers" around. We are a spamhouse. Doesn't matter
that we're Microsoft. Our legitimate, unsolicited email
is still just spam. "

- Mike Lyman

1. Under Search for type: "We are a spamhaus."
2. Under Search for type: "most hated institutional"

----- ---- --- -- - -

" Businesses ought to be able to send unsolicited e-mail to
people even if they are unsure if they have a pre-existing
business relationship with them. "

- Ryan Hamlin
- MICROSOFT CHIEF COUNSEL - August 22nd, 2005


----- ---- --- -- - -
- [ Public Service Announcement Brought To You By SPAMIS ]
- [ Strategic Partnership Against Microsoft Illegal Spam ]

Fully "READY" to Begin Increasing Public Service Announcement
Emails to 20 Times the Amount of Internet Users by 25 Times the
Current Sending Rate & Speed When a Certain Activity Transpires.

Monday, September 12, 2005


I read this off Suanie's blog, and decided to myself, why not just send the darn email.

Basically Afdlin Shauki is having a hard time getting distributors to sell his album, as they consider him not mainstream enough, and I guess people know him more as a funny man than a serious musician.

Many moons ago he performed at the Actors Studio in Bangsar with Haze and I was mighty impressed. They didnt have any CDs to sell, and I had been looking out for it ever since.

Little did I know about Afdlin's drama of getting distributed.

"One station manager actually said to me that my album is to NICHE. Kepala Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu..... dia. So nak dengar lagu yang macam meleleh aje sampai mampus, sampai bila negara kita ni nak maju. Bagilah people the choice to choose. I knoow it may not be for everyone, but what about those people who want to hear afdlin shauki's song or even are waiting for something different / NICHE setan gondollll?"

Anyway, so he's giving away his album. He'll pay for the shipping anywhere in the world. If you like it enough, send him the money. If you dont like it, destroy it.

I emailed in, and last week I received it. I listened to it, and I liked it. It wasnt perfect, he could have left out the comedic elements to it, cos after the 3rd listening, it got old. But its a great album. Ive already sent my RM35 for it via Maybank2U. [OMG, that was conflusing! Beneficiary ID?! Payment Ref No?! TAC?! How difficult does maybank want it to be?]

Anyway, it seems to be working:

"Gua macam tak percaya siut!! in one day we have outsold the number of CDs that my @#$%* DITRIBUTOR has sold in a month."

It was very courageous attempting to distribute music by himself, and his efforts should be rewarded. Good on him!


Friday, September 02, 2005

In Word or text format please...

I received some questions from an online journalist yesterday regarding some Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) deployments in my company and I responded to them in an OpenOffice document. A few minutes later, I got this response:

Dear Yoon Kit,

Could you kindly resend document in either Word or text format?


Now, normally in business dealings, I would. However this was after all queries regarding FOSS, and it seems so hypocritical to discuss FOSS and yet send it back either in a proprietary format, or text which is good, but loses the pretty formatting.

Here was my response.

just download from openoffice.org: its free.


Now if need be, there is the standard lengthy response one can use from the FSF, and also why its important that we use freely viewable files.

Hopefully the journalist takes the opportunity to test drive some FOSS applications so as to be an informed reporter on the state of the quality of the very software being written about.


Tuesday, August 30, 2005

rms talk at um

Richard Stallman was over at UM to talk about 'The Dangers of Software Patents' last weekend (27th August 2005), organized by Asix. Turn out wasnt as large as I thought it would be, it certainly felt like it was less than his visit last year. Perhaps because it was held at UM on a Saturday afternoon.

It started off with Aizat's presentation on the MyOSS communities activities, which has been very active these past few months. Then of course we had the same ol' drivel from a MAMPU spokesperson. They could have at least gotten the title of the seminar right:

General Patten in da house!

She should also make sure that she avoids the blatant use of "Open Source" infront of Stallman. In fact it was rather interesting seeing how rms dealt with it, because at the end of the talk he actually gave her a book on his and Lessig's essays. He said that it was for someone of influence to the government. So I guess thats why he was so much more 'forgiving' to her inaccuracies. Another one was during her speech she said something to the effect of: "The Government is looking into Open Source because it gives them freedom: Freedom of Choice!" rms had a fit in his chair, and she had to quickly correct herself.

When directly asked if the Govt is for or against Software Patents, the standard MAMPU answer seems to be: "there is No Official Position." The reason being, they have not come to the 'problem' yet. Now this is funny because its conveniently avoiding the issue.

Bill from Asix then gave a really good talk about the development of his company and how it could not have acheived what it has done until today if software patents were in place, hindering the startup ISVs. I wish we could have heard more from him instead.

Then rms took the stage, and gave his talk. The first part of his talk was on the "Dangers of Software Patents", and it was to me quite new. But after listening to it, and doing some quick googling, Ive found that he uses this talk quite a few times and here are some transcriptions.

University of Dublin, Ireland
Model Engineering College, India

He covers most of the material to the dot. For the second half, he said he was going to talk about something more controversial. Thats the talk he gave last here in in KL, on the differences of Free and Open Source software and why its important now.

The closes prior speech I can google is probably this one:
National Institute of Technology, India.

He covers the history of FSF, Hurd, Community, Hurd, Lesser of two evils, 4 freedoms, education, government, affect on jobs... amongst the main points.

Its amazing that he has the motivation to re-deliver 2-3 hour speeches all over the world. I guess its the same with rock stars: doing the same material over and over again ;-)

After all the serious stuff was delivered, rms transformed himself into Saint Ignucious of the Church of Emacs and gave us his blessings.

I guess its definitely a "you had to be there" kinda experience to appreciate what happened, cos just looking at this its quite eerie. But rms had a huge smile on his face while doing this and he obviously loves a good laugh.

He then proceeded to sell his GNU merchandise and I got myself a keychain (RM50) and also got him to sign my copy of his book: "Free as in Freedom".



Thanks to Colin, there are some audio files available of the talk here, split to about an hour each:

Monday, August 29, 2005


This morning I received over 10 comments on my post on Astro. Now for a blog which doesnt really have much traffic I was surprised. Unfortunately they were all spam. Its funny because they always start off with 'Your blog is great!' or 'Nice job, I will bookmark..' and then proceed to sell their warez.

Very annoying, I have deleted them since, and just found out that blogger.com has three options to deal with this problem.
1) allow only registered users to post or
2) use Word Verification so that a human has to read some wierd fonts and type in stuff. Like so:

3) disable comments -:d'oh:-

I hate registering myself on websites, so Im not too keen on option 1, so I guess option 2 is the least intrusive. If the problem persists however I will have to chose both.

Anyway, so what do you call Blog Spam? Blam?


Friday, August 26, 2005

Astro the Prude

What is happening on Astro? Why are they bleeping out relatively harmless words on the programmes? Its so darn unnecessary.

I was watching Scrubs last night and every other friggin scene had some words dissapeared into the nether regions of the sensitive censorship room. Its like watching RTM 20 years ago when 'dangerous' words like 'Damn' or 'Shit' were removed from our malaysian vocabulary. Even the slap on Elliots rear was censored.

Then there was 'House', a scene where Dr House was asking what a baby was eating. The proud mother said "He's having nothing but ..... milk".
The funny thing is, for the trailers for House, we actually get to hear what she says, and the censored word is: 'breast'!!
Thats right, all she was saying was "He's having nothing but breast milk".
Nothing naughty about that at all!

He also comments on an off duty nurses dress, and says something like
"Nice outfit, you .... .... . ........"
What? He was trying to say that she looked like a prostitute. How do I know? The darn Malay subtitles were NOT censored. Oh NO! Its NOT alright to hear it in English, but its OK to read it in Malay? What gives? They cant be bothered to censor the subtitles too? Or the person doing the subtitles dont know what the criteria words are?

What the .... ?? Whats happening? Why the sudden need to be so prudish? Now I have to treat Astro programmes like some foreign films where I have to constantly read the subtitles to make sense of the show? C'mon guys, its like five years into the 21st century already.

How frustrating. I might as well get the DVDs.

They should take the Prude Test


Thursday, August 25, 2005

Junction Link Magic

I have problems synching directories with some of my ASP.NET projects with my fellow developers. Ive got some libraries in different locations. So whenever we synch up, we need to manually change the locations of these files. Usually its just a drive name change, but sometimes its an entire path.

Did a search on google, and found this rather interesting utility for NTFS. Its called Junction Link Magic and basically does the same as a 'symbolic link' in Linux. The difference is that instead of a built in tool, in the Windows world, we need to run an App to find the same functionality. Fortunately its free.


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Google Talk

Just added google onto GAIM for yet another IM channel. It was really easy, just select Jabber as the protocol, set the server to talk.google.com, and its done. Follow this instructions for GAIM and ur done!

Im glad I use GAIM, otherwise its gonna be yet another client to download.


Monday, August 22, 2005

Fedora Core 4

Ive finally gotten round to installing Fedora Core 4 over the weekend. I used my partitions as the reason for my procrastinations. I needed to free up some space to properly assign a /home partition so that it can be shared with my other installations.

I 'optimized' my 25GB FAT32 partition so that the files packed towards the beginning of the partition and then using Ultimate Boot CD, I ran Ranish Partition Manager to modify the parameters to shrink the size of the partition. It wasnt particularly obvious because there were two entries to modify, one the cylinders and the other the reported accessible size. Strange. But it worked.

FC4 installation was rather painless after that, I installed most of the stuff available. Heres what worked 'out-of-the-box' and what needed tweaking...

Synaptic Touch Pad.
Not to be confused with the synaptic apt package manager, this driver worked immediately. It feels even better than the implementation on WinXP. Reason is that when I use the 'scroll-up/down' feature, the mouse doesnt dart to the scrollbar like mad. So its alot more polished.

ipw2100 for Wifi.
This Intel® PRO/Wireless 2100 Driver for Linux comes built into the kernel nowadays, so that was a plus. However the firmwares need to be downloaded and installed into /lib/firmware

Winbond SD Card Reader.
As previously blogged, this is now also built into the kernel. I could not get my script to work immediately. I guess Ill have to figure it out later when I have some time to burn.

Sound: Mute, Volume Up and Down
Somehow my root account binds these buttons properly. But my user account doesnt. Will have to investigate. I think its gotta be something to do with the way X and GNOME handles these bindings. At least I know it can be done.

Crossover Office/Wine
Works well. Lotus Notes and Internet Explorer 6.0 are OK.

Tree view and the new windows are killing me. At least when you open Nautilus in Applications/System Tools/File Browser, the saner version works.
nautilus --no-desktop --browser %U
I dont know how to make this the default behaviour, but at least I have docked this shortcut on my Panel.

OpenOffice 2.0 (beta)
Works better than the Windows version, a whole lot more stable and faster. I cant wait for the release version to be out.

Portable harddisk plugged ito USB was automatically detected and mounted as a USB Media device. Very nice. Unmounts works well too.

I have one partition in NTFS for my WinXP Pro. Got this to work by installing the kernel-module for ntfs. Works for read only.

Applets on the Panel:
Battery Charge Monitor - wonderful detailed info on Battery and Charging status
Weather Report - Ive noticed now KL is finally included!
Network Monitor - Shows the 'flashing monitors' to indicate network activity...
Sticky Notes - No vertical scrollbars. So sticky notes get very large. quite primitive.

Applates on the Bottom Panel:
CPU Frequency Scaling Monitor - It shows how fast the processor is running at and dynamically changes as more stress is applied.
System Monitor - CPU Utilization, etc...

Software Suspend 2
I havent got Hibernate to work yet.

Synaptic (apt-get UI)
I just did a 'yum install synaptic' and now using synaptic to manage my packages. I really like this app. It works very well.

MP3 Support
I guess licensing issues means that FC cannot include MP3 support. But since I have synaptic installed, it was quite easy to make sure that rhythmbox could play my mp3s. Just check most of the gstreamer related packages like plugins, and mp3s will be playable.

A good reference I picked up along the way:
FC4 Installation Notes


Friday, August 19, 2005

postNuke got Nuked

Got a fright when I found that my project site on sourceforge was down. Some cryptic message about Smarty.class.php not able to write to a directory. I checked the dir which postNuke uses to confirm that it was chmodded 777.

I then did some googling, and I read that some guys from postNuke have found some exploits namely xmlrpc.php etc, etc...

So I became paranoid and jumped to the conclusion that the site was down because of some flaw. So since it was working before Monday, I asked support at sourceforge.net to rollback my site to then, and hopefully I can patch things up.
So I sent in an issue, and today I got this response:

(2005-08-15 10:53:57 - Project Web Service)
Inquiries regarding Internal Service Errors should be directed to the administrator for the project managing that project web site; some web-based applications (maintained by individual projects) will malfunction due to the read-only remount of the project group directories; data needs to be moved to the project MySQL database, or the /tmp/persistent directory
structure as per http://sourceforge.net/docman/display_doc.php?docid=4297&group_id=1#permissions

So that was all to it! They remounted the drives to be read only, which means my temp drive for postNuke had to be redirected to /tmp/persistent/...
So I changed the config.php settings, and voila, it worked.


Friday, August 12, 2005

Earth on Fire

An interesting website, called MODIS, lists all the areas in the world which has fires. This image is telling.

If we thought that Msia has it bad with the fires in Sumatera, just look at Africa! Jeez.

The Gallery section is especially helpful as it has realtime satellite images of the areas affected. Here is are the results of a search for Indonesia however the images are NOT uptodate. 25th June only, which is ancient!

Click on the image above, and you can test out a really cool app which has the ability to zoom in... like Google Earth. Otherwise see the big version.

I dont get it, but Indonesia/Malaysia seems to be left out of these 'subsets'. How annoying.


Wednesday, August 10, 2005

I should have taken up smoking

The air quality in KL now is horrible. The Haze is so think even inside airconditioned buildings are slightly hazy. Walking around the corporate campus makes my eyes water, and my throat is starting to feel irritated.

Haze is caused by Sumatra fires, not local ones

This is hard to imagine as I can actually smell the burning smoke. The haze a few years ago did not have that, unless I forget, or this time 'round, we've been hit harder.

I was just wondering how this affects us Malaysians, i.e. how many cigarettes is breathing this air equivalent to?

Perhaps we should have at airports:
"Malaysia seriously harms you and the others around you"

Otherwise its probably a good time to pick up smoking as a habit. That way, I get to see whats so great about it, and yet live as long as my fellow Malaysians. Also I would probably think that the haze is a bonus! a very lite cigarette, but for FREE!

Help Us!


The Air Pollution Index (API - how appropriate) is coming back! from screenshots.

0 - 50 - Good
51 - 100 - Moderate
101 - 200 - Unhealthy
201 - 300 - Very unhealthy
301 - 500 - Dangerous

Its seems today at KL it was only 181! Jeez, and I thought it was bad.
Wonder how Port Klang is doing at 410?!


Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Pandu Cermat

Ah Finally!

We can now make good use of these fancy cameraphone gizmos to show how horrible malaysian drivers can be.

This new website called Pandu Cermat has got an interesting area where users can upload their images online and comment on the driving prowess of malaysian road bullies, speed demons and parking idiots.

Hall of Shame

Emergency Lane Abuser

Speeding Tanker

Whats great is that users are encouraged to publish the offending car registration numbers. Now if only those are entered in a database for easy access for JPJ to summons.


Monday, July 18, 2005


Ah, after finding time for over a month, my wife and I finally got to watch Firefly, the 'complete' series. Its complete because there is only 1 series, as the show got cancelled midway through its run. Unjustly so.

The first episode started of slow, and theres alot of confusion in what the show is about. The pace picks up from episode 3 onwards as it explores the 9 characters lives set in space and outer worlds. The premise is that mankind does not meet any aliens after exploring space for over 500 years, and have set up colonies in other worlds. However, the further they travel away from the hi-tech core worlds, the lower the technology is available to people, and thus the 'back-in-time' effect of these civilisations. Thus the space opera spaghetti western genre.

I thought it was stupid at first, and this concept is stretched in the series abit, but the idea kind of grows on you, and after a while it gives the show a rather unique feel. So it works out quite well.

The stories were exceptionally well told, clever editing, good flashbacks as necessary and highly detailed sets. It was a fantastic production. Unfortunately Fox Networks cut the series midway, so so far, theres no indication of a second season. There was a huge fanbase which wrote in to urge Fox to continue, but ...

However there is a movie coming up (September 30th 2005 or so), which I will definitely be watching! Serenity...

The best episode for me was the last one, Objects in Space which featured a character who was both scary and interesting. He was Jubal Early, a bounty hunter. Good stuff.

Jubal Early

Here is the fansite which would explain this phenomenon better:
Firefly Fans


Thursday, July 07, 2005

Software Patents in the EU

Looks like the guys at the EU arent stupid at all. An overwhelming majority (648 - 14) voted against software patents yesterday, and I think many people WORLDWIDE breathed a sigh of relief. This means that just because software patents are legal in the US, it doesnt mean that the entire world has to follow suite.

I think that software patents are so easily open to abuse, and software is adequately protected as Intellectual Property under copyright. As it has done so since the first bit of source code was written.

The strange thing is, the abuse seems to be hitting the big boys first, and ironically its the big boys who want software patents to be legal worldwide.
I guess they just think its a small price to pay to weather the initial gold diggers aiming for the big targets, for future world domination or something.

Unfortunately I have a feeling that more and more people in the US (or places where software patents are legal) would jump on the IP litigation bandwagon for the big payback by patenting something and hitting the big boys for a fast buck. It will be relentless.

Here are some, just on Microsoft (best target: big payoff, good precedent)
Excel Access converison
Dynamic TCP Offload
Forgent JPEG

and the list just goes on....

Its real scary because once these people win their patent fights, they get to sue other companies to "exploit and maximise their returns on their investments in intellectual property," so that eventually everyone in the world who touches a computer pays them something.

Not completely unrelated I was just reading this article called Art and Computer Programming which interviews the best and brightest programmers on this planet to get their views on their craft. I too feel that programming is not just a process of churning out code; there's far more to it than that.

And interestingly enough, all Artists are happy to protect their work with copyright.


Tuesday, July 05, 2005

TMNet Horror 1.14.2 - Egads! Its Vads!

OK, Ive just took some time to do abit of research on why my customer experience has been so BAD with TMNet. I found this press release:

Bernama: 21st July 2004
TM Net Continues Investments To Improve Customer Service With VADS

I couldnt help but shake my head when I read these words:
In a statement Wednesday, TM Net chief executive officer (CEO), Datuk Baharum Salleh said, outsourcing the contact centre was one of the company's ongoing efforts to enhance customer support and increase customer satisfaction.

"We believe that by better understanding customer needs and maximising on the capabilities of the contact entre, TM Net will be in a better position to enhance the quality of customer service and ultimately giving greater value for service to customers," he added.

Enhance Quality? 7 month ordeal? bwahaha.
It gets better:
VADS' acting CEO, Dennis Koh said over 150 customer service representatives (CSRs) are employed to handle Tmnet Streamyx subscriber calls.

The service is supported by internationally recognised customer management processes which involve a combination of progressive methods and strategic planning.

"We have a dedicated quality team listening in on calls to ensure quality assurance guidelines are being practised and processes being followed. All CSRs are progressively trained in-house to ensure their performance meets the ever changing customer expectations", he added.

Supported by the latest multi-channel communication technology solution, VADS can now enhance TM Net's support by providing its front-liners with real-time information which in turn equals better customer service.

150 Service Reps!!! No wonder there is a never ending change in reps I deal with. Dont they know that Rule #3 of Customer Service states that "Customer wants to deal with one person only and HATES being passed around"? So much for 'QA guidelines' being practised.

Why would the front liners need 'real-time' information when they react in 'bullet-time'? 2days => 2 months!
The multi-channel communication technology solution does not show itself when I call and email them, its always the same... 'Who are you? What do you want?'

Its so sad its almost funny.

Can anyone help me by providing the emails of either CEOs (TMNet or VADS)?
Cos they really need to work on what they preach.


More tmnet gripes here:
complaints.com.my - too many to count.
screenshots: tmnet broadband - read the comments
screenshots: Streamyx has more customer focus - good review - looks like I will CC these guys in the future!

TMNet Horror 1.14 - Explanation again?

And Here's my reply to them. This is getting very tedious.
I wonder why they can't fix the Service Rep?
After All, they append a Siebel Cust Reference to each email....

From: Yoon Kit Yong
To: TM Net Customer Care Support
Cc: yoonkit@streamyx.com, shahrir@cfm.org.my, fomca@fomca.org.my, suganthi@cfm.org.my
Date: Jul 5, 2005 12:04 PM
Subject: Re: Streamyx

Hello Noor Aziean,

Yet another Customer Service Rep?
Can I please deal with just one person so that I can hold someone accountable?
Where are your supervisors email CC'ed as requested in my previous email?

> We refer to query on adjustment dispute and upon checking in our systems,
> we found that the adjustment of RM422.71 are valid.
> Please note that, there are system errors on your adjustment
> that doubled your adjustment amount (RM845.42).
> However, we already deducted the adjustment amount of RM422.71
> and the actual amount now becomes RM422.71.

Sigh... And I thought that you guys have come to your
senses and realised the inconvenience you have put me through
by rebating me an appropriate amount.

Its not a nice thing to remove the rebates.

> Kindly note that, on your first dispute,
> your have disputed for amount of RM422.71 and we have
> did the adjustment for that amount.

My dispute is not just the RM 422.71. If you were to see my original
complaint at

TMNet Horrors 1.0 - Saga Begins

It was just for the month of December.
I could not view the usage for November,
as I kept getting errors from your system.
Neither could/can I view the usage for January.

Your billing system still has some 'integrity' errors,
and that does not inspire any confidence in the
amounts your esteemed company is charging its clients!

Fortunately I have documented all your unecessary charges,
so you cannot change the figures as what you have done so far.

I have already explained to your colleagues in 'Customer Care'
about the overcharging amount, back in Feb05:

TMNet Horrors 1.4 - Its like reasoning with imbeciles

Here is why you need to rebate the amount:

TMNet Horrors 1.8 - Victory has a bitter aftertaste

>> 1) The 422.71 which you are reimbursing me is only the December bill.
>> 2) In November 2004, there is an overcharge of RM30.13
>> 3) In January 2005 there is also an overcharge of RM177.21
>> 4) although I paid for March access for RM44,
>> I could not log in because my account was suspended over no fault of mine.
>> 5) There seems to be a RM63 extra charge in September,
>> but I cannot confirm because your accounts
>> at tmbill.tm.net.my doesnt go back that far.
>> Can you please check that its because I didnt pay my 44 subscription
>> or because of aditional charges?
>> 6) Please let us not mention the inconvenience caused over the past 4 months.

Change (6) To 7 months now!
There has been no response for (5); the charges for September.
Add April RM44 for service interruption.

>> So can you consider rebating me a total of at least RM674.05
>> as that is the total amount of money demanded by your
>> accounting system which you have identified with a system error?

Its obvious that there is a system error, as your colleagues have indicated:

"upon further checking with the related department,
we found that there was a system error."
Fathihatul Diyana
Customer Care Support, CRM
TMNet Horrors 1.7 - Victory?

> To view the details of this adjustment,
> kindly visit our on-line billing website at https://tmbill.tm.net.my.
> Please note that, the username and password to login this website
> is same as your Streamyx account.

Yes, Im aware of that facility as it is because of this I managed
to catch the extreme usage in December. Unfortunately not so for
November nor January as this *DOES NOT WORK!*
Your system is down! It States:

The System has encountered some data integrity errors

Please contact the System Administrator and pass this Exception Message:

Indeed, your system sure has some integrity errors.
1) The amount charged to me is incorrect,
2) Your company doesnt have the integrity to service their customers properly.

> We apologise for the inconvenience caused you have encountered.

You and your colleagues have been apologizing insincerely for over
7 months. Please stop apologizing and start getting things solved!

> We hope the above reverts to your query.
> Should you require any further assistance,
> please feel free to contact us at streamyx@tm.net.my
> or call us at 1-300-88-9515 (from 8:00 am to 12:00 am ~ daily).
> Thank you for being our valued customer.

It obviously doesnt 'revert' my query yet again.
I have stated my 'queries' over and over again.
This is the 8th correspondance I am making over a
7 months period! You would have thought that this
matter would have been settled by now!!!

Please make it so.


===== Appendix ====

Here are my usage over the months in question,
Please indicate to me the usage for the months of Sept, Nov and Jan
for my records.
With this we can figure out the true quantum of my 'dispute',
and settle this matter once and for all.

September 2004: *Unknown Usage* (Please detail)

November 2004: *Unknown Usage* (was billed) RM 30.13

December 2004: 768hrs @ RM442.41

January 2005: *Unknown Usage* (was billed) RM 177.21

March 2005 Usage: 7hrs * Service interrupted !! * (Even with
subscription paid)
25-Feb-2005 01:02:08 , Fri erxklj02-home 01:12:58 RM 0.00
25-Feb-2005 02:15:17 , Fri erxklj02-home 00:00:21 RM 0.00
26-Feb-2005 02:11:40 , Sat erxklj02-home 00:19:18 RM 0.00
27-Feb-2005 01:03:02 , Sun erxklj02-home 00:21:10 RM 0.00
27-Feb-2005 01:31:29 , Sun erxklj02-home 00:57:11 RM 0.00
01-Mar-2005 22:12:24 , Tue erxklj02-home 00:44:23 RM 0.00
02-Mar-2005 00:35:23 , Wed erxklj02-home 00:44:59 RM 0.00
05-Mar-2005 12:43:23 , Sat erxklj02-home 00:11:19 RM 0.00
05-Mar-2005 12:57:50 , Sat erxklj02-home 00:00:47 RM 0.00
05-Mar-2005 12:58:49 , Sat erxklj02-home 00:01:27 RM 0.00
08-Mar-2005 01:02:32 , Tue erxklj02-home 00:20:14 RM 0.00
08-Mar-2005 01:22:57 , Tue erxklj02-home 00:21:10 RM 0.00
08-Mar-2005 03:14:40 , Tue erxklj02-home 00:13:41 RM 0.00
08-Mar-2005 03:28:51 , Tue erxklj02-home 00:09:53 RM 0.00
09-Mar-2005 00:10:32 , Wed erxklj02-home 00:42:00 RM 0.00
09-Mar-2005 01:01:17 , Wed erxklj02-home 00:05:07 RM 0.00
09-Mar-2005 01:07:32 , Wed erxklj02-home 00:07:52 RM 0.00
10-Mar-2005 01:12:05 , Thu erxklj02-home 00:15:23 RM 0.00
10-Mar-2005 01:28:15 , Thu erxklj02-home 00:03:46 RM 0.00
12-Mar-2005 15:23:13 , Sat erxklj02-home 00:26:32 RM 0.00
12-Mar-2005 15:50:40 , Sat erxklj02-home 00:01:35 RM 0.00
- Total 07:21:06 RM 0.00

April Usage: 9hrs * Service Interrupted * (Even with subscription paid)
07-Apr-2005 01:48:40 , Thu erxklj02-home 01:02:06 RM 0.00
07-Apr-2005 03:01:01 , Thu erxklj02-home 00:00:11 RM 0.00
10-Apr-2005 01:43:41 , Sun erxklj02-home 01:13:29 RM 0.00
10-Apr-2005 02:57:33 , Sun erxklj02-home 00:03:35 RM 0.00
10-Apr-2005 17:42:12 , Sun erxklj02-home 00:08:49 RM 0.00
10-Apr-2005 18:06:29 , Sun erxklj02-home 00:05:26 RM 0.00
10-Apr-2005 18:36:59 , Sun erxklj02-home 00:05:15 RM 0.00
10-Apr-2005 18:42:29 , Sun erxklj02-home 00:05:27 RM 0.00
15-Apr-2005 20:28:09 , Fri erxklj02-home 01:58:37 RM 0.00
15-Apr-2005 22:47:41 , Fri erxklj02-home 00:20:14 RM 0.00
15-Apr-2005 23:10:45 , Fri erxklj02-home 00:14:07 RM 0.00
15-Apr-2005 23:25:35 , Fri erxklj02-home 02:12:21 RM 0.00
16-Apr-2005 12:54:27 , Sat erxklj02-home 01:18:52 RM 0.00
19-Apr-2005 02:04:24 , Tue erxklj02-home 00:51:29 RM 0.00
- Total 09:39:58 RM 0.00
==== End of Appendix =====


Sunday, July 03, 2005

TMNet Horror 1.13 - No rebate for you!

Hey, a reply! Less than a month! Im impressed!
Maybe now 2 days == 2 weeks!

From: TM Net Customer Care Support
To: yoonkit@gmail.com, yoonkit@streamyx.com
Cc: shahrir@cfm.org.my, fomca@fomca.org.my, suganthi@cfm.org.my
Date: Jul 3, 2005 9:05 AM
Subject: Re: Streamyx

Dear Mr. Yong,

Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.

We refer to query on adjustment dispute and upon checking in our systems,
we found that the adjustment of RM422.71 are valid.
Please note that, there are system errors on your adjustment
that doubled your adjustment amount (RM845.42).
However, we already deducted the adjustment amount of RM422.71
and the actual amount now becomes RM422.71.

Kindly note that, on your first dispute,
your have disputed for amount of RM422.71 and we have
did the adjustment for that amount.
To view the details of this adjustment,
kindly visit our on-line billing website at https://tmbill.tm.net.my.
Please note that, the username and password to login this website
is same as your Streamyx account.
We apologise for the inconvenience caused you have encountered.

We hope the above reverts to your query.
Should you require any further assistance,
please feel free to contact us at streamyx@tm.net.my
or call us at 1-300-88-9515 (from 8:00 am to 12:00 am ~ daily).
Thank you for being our valued customer.

Noor Aziean
Customer Care Support, CRM
TM Net Sdn. Bhd.

Ah, yet another change in staff...
the attrition rate must be quite high.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Nokia 7710 Annoyances

I have been using the 7710 for over 2 months now, and am generally happy with it. However time after time, there are several annoyances keep popping up and really needs Nokia's attention to fix. Here are some of them:
  1. Response is slow between windows.
    Clicking between windows, Opening SMSs, Documents and File Browsing, it just takes time. like 5-10seconds. Which is really annoying, especially when you just want to reply a quick one word sms.
    More of this in subsequent points!
  2. SMS app (Messaging) is underfeatured
    Perhaps its because SMS or Text Messaging as they call it in the West is not popular, but here we use it alot. And Nokia needs to work on their SMS app, because its just too plain.

    • Replying SMSs - It lists the SMSs, time and the sender, but on the fast keys it just has 'New text message', 'New E-mail' and 'Delete'.
      I find that I use 'Reply' a whole lot more than 'New E-mail' or even 'Delete'. Yes, you can actually customize the side buttons, but 'Reply' is not an option. Duh.
      So now Ive to either call the menu, click 'Message' then click 'Reply' or Double click the message, wait 5 secs for the message to appear, then click 'Reply'.
    • To: - The default key input for the SMS To: field is set to number input. That is correct, if we were using this like 10 years ago. Now we dont need to know about numbers, most of our contacts are in the SIM already. I would like it to be alphabet input by default.
    • Slow slow slow - As in the first point, after entering the text, sending, where the phone resolves the numbers is slow... about 3 seconds for each contact.
    • No threaded view - I saw someone using the Treo 650, and was impressed at the way it handles messages: it threads the conversation ala an Instant Message app. This means meaningful conversations can be stored in context and threaded away. So nice. I wish Nokia can do the same.

    What I like about it is that its easy to chain up multiple recipients to the SMS. Also the Delete is good: just multiselect and clear the trash.
  3. Needs a reboot once in a while
    Its true. To make sure that this phone works, it needs to be rebooted in like once every other week. Not just a Power Down and Up again... nooooo, you will have to remove the back cover, take out the battery, pray to the Norwegian Gods and replace the components. It doesnt help that the plastic pieces are manufactured to such high precision that its impossible not to cringe at the creaking sounds as I pry open the parts. Its a scary thing.

    Things which recover after a hard cold reboot are:
    • No ring tone when someone calls. Yes, a day went by when all my calls were missed because the ringer didnt work! No, its not because I put the Profile to Silent or something, I made sure that it was set to 'General' and even tested the music which played OK (with vibration)! Bizarre.
    • Images refused to load. After a while, especially when you are showing off some pictures you took, the Image Viewer app will refuse to load up the JPEGS. It will say something useful like 'Image Format not supported'. WTF? It worked before! You want this to work? Reboooot!

  4. Alarm Clock Interface
    The Alarm Clock is really nice. Ive chosen a nice tune which is melodic, and gets louder if you dont turn it off. The problem is that to turn of the alarm, you will need to press 'Off' on the touch screen. And guess what, overnight, the screensaver will be enabled, and you will need to disable it by pressing a two key combo which can only be done with two hands.
    This sux especially when you are groggy and bleary eyed. Who came up with this UI Design?
    Heres what Nokia can do: Disable the screensaver. In large buttons, have 'Snooze' taking up 50% of the screen, then 'Stop' (40%) and finally the smallest button of them all 'Mute' (10%)

    (That being said about the screensaver, SOMETIMES it gets disabled. Other times the it doesnt, and thats when things gets frustrating)
  5. Laggy Picture Taking
    It takes ages to take a picture. The time between pressing the 'Capture' button and the actual picture taking is very variable, sometimes 1second, other times 10 seconds! So dont think of using this camera to take action shots. Frustration!
  6. fullstops Always become backspaces
    The Handwriting recognition applet is cool, it works for me 90% of the time, but the other 10% is pure hell. The worst is when I need to write a fullstop: '.' This is done by tapping the screen to draw the dot. However if you dash it out, it will be a space. Thats fine. But in my efforts to write a dot, the stylus tends to go backwards, and that signifies a 'backspace' which deletes the previous character! argh.
    Something like Palms multi alpha-numeric-case-symbol input pad would be great.
  7. No Wifi
    This was the single most reason why I didnt get this device earlier. If it wasnt for the great deal, I would have waited out another year or so. Yes, I wish Nokia would have a wifi module for this phone.
  8. Size
    Yes, of course.. its big. Slightly thinner would make this perfect.

The Firmware can be retrieved by sending '*#0000#' to the dialer, and mine is "V.03.26.0 15-02-05 RM-12 (c)Nokia"
I just hope there is a new firmware out there soon, cos this is driving me bananas.

Otherwise its a darn good phone! Seriously:
  1. The Pictures are really clear (for still pics),
  2. the sound is great, especially when playing back MP3s via the loudspeaker,
  3. the internet browser (Opera) is great at scaling the fonts,
  4. picodrive works OK! (NBA Jam woohoo!)
  5. Fullhand casino. the blackjack is good.

Here's a blog just on the 7710: French Fanblog on 7710 (translated)

Monday, June 27, 2005

Planet MYOSS - feed me!

Hello Planet MYOSS!
Colin was kind enough to add me as a citizen of the MYOSS planet.

However I had several problems with the formatting of my feed, for some strange reason, the html went awry and basically mutilated the tags. This had an unfortunate side effect on the planet as it 'corrupted' other peoples posts with the <pre> tag. Sorry guys, downtime was only 2 days :-[.

This was using the atom.xml directly via:


I did a google on atom and rss and found this online converter,
and I passed it on to Colin:


So what this does is that it converts the atom type feeds into rss, which I thought was great until it got plugged in:
  1. Its not 'free', so the first post would be an advertisement, and thats not so appealing (especially for an FOSS site ;-)
  2. Still some formatting problems from items from blogspot. I suspect is when I swap between the straight html code to the 'composer'/wysiwyg editor.

I inspected the output of the atom.xml in the webbrowser, and it did suggest to use Feedburner, so I made an account, and set it up to do the conversion between atom to rss. This provided better results:


All the formatting came out right, its relatively fast and so far it looks like its a 'free beer' service.

So for those of you out there using blogspot/blogger.com, if you need to feed off simple rss, I'd recommend feedburner. If you have the dosh, you can pay them and get statistics of your feed, etc. but I dont find it useful...


Friday, June 24, 2005

Microsoft and Mono

Very interesting. I had the opportunity to speak to a Microsoftie yesterday and he happened to be one of a PhD researcher for Mercury of which generics was one of the features which was absorbed into C# and only now available for general use.

Discussion was good, and I naively asked him what he thought of Mono. He became uneasy, but then brushed off their efforts as "they are too busy copying everything Microsoft develops and wont have enough time to innovate".

I pursued and suggested that for the sake of PhD research, how does he feel in contributing to their project just for feedback on their implementations? He said no, he probably will not do that, and added that he doesnt trust the maintainability of the mono project as after all it is based on volunteers who need to scratch an itch and after the itch has been scratched, it will not be maintained well.

I left it at that, and eventually during the course of the meal, I then understood why my questions were "inappropriate". I was actually speaking to the new Manager incharge of MS Developers tools. So its in his entire interest to downplay the mono project. Ah well, I live and learn I guess. Sorry, Tyson, for bringing it up.

On a relevant note, eweek has just reported that Microsoft Puts Roadblock in Front of Open-Sourcing Avalon and Indigo. Basically it says that for the mono project to (re)implement Avalon and Indigo, they will need licenses from MS. All for the sake of 'Intellectual Property'. They are not really clear on what aspect of intellectual property, because its not copyright (code will be written from scratch), software patents (maybe, but which ones?) or ...
"Intellectual property is something any cloner needs to think about,"
said a Microsoft spokesperson.

Which is very similar to Tyson's concept of what the mono project is. They think its a one to one carbon copy. Unfortunately its not really, as many intersting things are being done in mono. For example an entire opensource stack for developing apps based on Gtk. Interesting apps like beagle and others.

So is mono still a patent landmine for Novell? Probably, but given enough effort, prior art and geographical locations, the patents might just dissapear. Plus its still a very good platform to develop in.


Wednesday, June 22, 2005

TMNet Horror 1.12 - How to make a good thing bad.

Oh boy, what a ride... Heres my response to them.

From: Yoon Kit Yong
Reply-To: Yoon Kit Yong

To: TM Net Customer Care Support

Cc: yoonkit@streamyx.com, shahrir@cfm.org.my, fomca@fomca.org.my, suganthi@cfm.org.my
Date: Jun 22, 2005 11:48 AM
Subject: Re: Streamyx

Hello Rafidah,

Please check your records regarding the status of this query,
and discuss the matter with your colleague G Pragash,
as I have already indicated my dismay on the small rebate sum
you have indicated.

You can read the discussion here online, as I have blogged it.

TMNet Horror 1.9 - Other rebates denied.

I then asked for your justification here:

TMNet Horror 1.10 - Gimme Gimme Gimme

I did not receive any reply,
but I was pleasantly surprised when I
received my May bill,
and there was a deduction of over RM800! You can see the bill in its
entirety here:

TMNet Horror 1.11 - Redeemed!

I was elated, and I considered the matter closed,
giving kudos to your team for finally coming to your senses.
I was even thinking of upgrading to the RM66 package!

Now with your latest email, I really pity the state of your company.

The worst is your lame "Firstly, we apologise for the late reply."
What do you actually mean by this?
Do you really feel sorry that it takes you 2 whole months
to reply my simple request of just acknowledging receipt?

I requested:
>> Can you at least acknowledge receipt of the emails I have been sending you?
>> At least within 2 working days, Im sure thats not too unreasonable?

So it looks like 2 working days in some inefficient companies are equivalent to
2 actual months in real life!

You are getting an earful here because I consider your email
rude, unprofessional and totally unecessary. I think its totally
justified. Here's why:

> Referring to your email , we would like to informed you that your rebate had been
> reflected on your Streamyx bills was dated 24th of May 2005 ( RM 422.71 ) .
> Your outstanding till to date are RM 131.22 please refer to our website at
> https://tmbill.tm.net.my for further information .

I did receive my May bill, and I did see the rebate. But what is puzzling is
HOW did you get the value of RM422.71? because the bill clearly states,
and Im looking at both the online and printed versions of them, RM845.42!
I can still see the figure on the online version, and it has passed 1 month
as there has been no changes on your end.

I feel that that is the appropriate amount to deduct considering the unecessary
overcharge, the months which I had downtime and had to pay for them, and
this ridiculous level of customer service!

Here's why I think RM845.42 is justified:
TMNet Horror 1.8 - Victory has a bitter aftertaste.

> We hope the above reverts to your query.
> Should you require any further assistance,

> please feel free to contact us at streamyx@tm.net.my or call us at 1-300-88-9515
> (from 8:00 am to 12:00 am ~ daily).

No, the above does not 'reverts my query' and you should amend the line to say:
"Should you require any further assistance, feel free to contact us at
streamyx@tm.net.my and be prepared to wait 2 months for more abuse"

> Thank you for being our valued customer.

It is obvious that your company does not value its customers.
The fact that you treat us so badly and do not respond to them
in a timely manner is proof that this statement is insincere!

Please Rafidah, solve this problem, and lets get on with our own seperate lives.
You have managed to convert a "somewhat satisfied" customer back into a
"VERY dissatisfied and angry" customer who would rather NOT be your
customer if he could.

Please acknowledge this email that you have received it IMMEDIATELY.
Please forward it to your superiors, all the way up to the CEO.
I want your top guys to look into this, and see if they have the
same concept of customer service as the people I have been dealing with.

So I expect at least 2 superiors CC'ed in the next response I receive.


Yong Yoon Kit.
- Dissatisfied and getting angrier.

As you can see their customer service levels is totally non existent, their billing system is completely haywire and basically their product is substandard. What can I say?


ps. I've changed back the description of this blog to this:
A Simple blog. Currently just to gripe about stuff, namely TMNet, Malaysia's premier ISP

TMNet Horror 1.11.2 - It rises... again!

OMG, just when I thought it was all over (TMNet Horror 1.11 - Redeemed),
I got a new email from them today:

From: TM Net Customer Care Support 
To: yoonkit@gmail.com
Cc: yoonkit@streamyx.com, shahrir@cfm.org.my, fomca@fomca.org.my, suganthi@cfm.org.my
Date: Jun 22, 2005 9:58 AM
Subject: Re: Streamyx
Dear Mr Yong ,

Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.
Firstly, we apologise for the late reply.

Referring to your email , we would like to informed you that your rebate had been
reflected on your Streamyx bills was dated 24th of May 2005 ( RM 422.71 ).
Your outstanding till to date are RM 131.22 please refer to our website at
https://tmbill.tm.net.my for further information .

We hope the above reverts to your query. Should you require any further assistance,
please feel free to contact us at streamyx@tm.net.my or call us at 1-300-88-9515
(from 8:00 am to 12:00 am ~ daily).
Thank you for being our valued customer.

Customer Care Support, CRM
TM Net Sdn. Bhd.
Website: http://www.tm.net.my

In response to the email I sent them on the 27th of April 2005. (TMNet Horror 1.8.1 - Oh Boy, Here we go again...)
2 months! its a new record!

I dont understand it... what is WRONG with them?!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

getting Sendmail to send fast

Just incase I forget again, Id better document this down.

Configuring sendmail can be quite convoluted. We had to redirect some emails and we just hacked up a linux box with sendmail on it to do the redirection. Unfortunately for some strange reason, mail delivery was really slow, so the web-app which sent the emails started timing-out.

On further investigation, an email will go through, but each time it logs onto the mail server it takes ages (10secs) to start the communication.
telnet smtpserver 25

First thing of course was to make sure that the server was Queueing the emails, and sending them in the background. I used webmin to check that this particular Sendmail Option was set.
That was set; no problem. Then I did a telnet to the host, and sure enough the ESMTP prompt only appeared 10 seconds later.

Googling brought about several pages on identd which we should set to 0s, as the timeout for identifying was by default 90seconds. However I noticed that the FEATURE for this sendmail option was set to 0secs. So that wasnt this problem.

I checked and double checked the host file so that the server was correctly defined with the appropriate IPs, but this shouldnt matter, as when I 'telnet localhost 25', the SMTP prompt appears instantaneously.

Then there was something about bypassing DNS lookups with this 'feature':

I plugged it in, recompiled the sendmail.cf, and true enough, remote sending was real quick. However its not acceptable for this servers configuration, as spammers can use my server to relay junk. So the way around it is to make sure that the remote sender is resolvable. And that is to make sure that they are listed in the host file, or better yet, in the local DNS.

And thats all to it! Add an entry of the sending machine in the local DNS server, which your sendmail server looks up and the IP can be resolved to a domain pronto, which means fast email sending...

What a roundabout way of configuring emails... but darn satisfying when done right.

Monday, June 20, 2005

I Harth Darth

What a great site!
Nicely drawn comics spoofing Star Wars.


operation baby drop.

read them all here:


losing my MIND

The past few months, MIND, the Malaysian Independant dotNet Developers Community Forums, have been quiet. This is a pity, because this time last year it was a thriving commune for like minded people to exchange thoughts and hang out.

Here are my reasons for why it has been losing its appeal over the past 6 months
  1. Loss of knowledgable and regular members
  2. Antiquated Forum engine
  3. MS Trolls are tolerated by the moderators
  4. People move on

1. Loss of Knowledgable and regular members
Gone are the days where we can exchange code snippets and discuss the details of the CLI, with a healthy mixture of jokes in between. Kahfui seems to be preoccupied with his new job, and Tim seems to be galavanting the region. Derek is still around, but his one liners are to few and far between nowadays. Firedancer has decided to do her dance down south.
Of course it takes an interesting topic to stir things up, but what is more important is a stable of reliable posters who would respond to things. The newbie posts are tolerable but really, we should have better quality questions, puhlease.

2. Antiquated Forum engine
The Forum engine looks old and feels old.
- There are no 'Edit Posts' feature which is not a problem for me, but evidently quite a problem for other users.
- It doesnt scale. After a while, the forum slows down to a crawl and refuses to work, until the admins have to lob off old posts to let it return to an acceptable performance level.
This is a good workaround, but its terrible as a forum, because we would want to have a more permanent record of posts, otherwise issues would be raised again and again. Having a track record is quite important. Currently it goes back to 2003.
There has been much talk on converting the server over to Community Server, but I heard that a year ago. People say, give 'em some slack, since its a volunteer effort. ... Fine, but isnt Microsoft paying for something? (MS sponsors MIND in a way, as they provide the meeting space, and they fund INETA which MIND is part of)

3. MS Trolls are tolerated by the moderators
Couple of months ago, some members decided upon themselves to post up attention grabbing, controversial but totally misunderstood posts. Because these persons was suppose to be 'well respected' in the community, and the posts were very pro-Microsoft (MIND sponsors), moderators found themselves caught in whether to moderate the posts or not. In the end, they didnt, they allowed a subset of posts to go through, which brought alot of antagonistic feelings in the community.
I'd be the first to admit it that I was involved in a few heated exchanges, as I felt that misinformation is best left to mainstream newspapers and government controlled TV stations. However I kept discussions open and tried not to sink below bridge level.
The MS Trolls have since been quiet but since their departure, they left a rank stench on where they've trodden. Their acceptance by the moderators mean that certain thoughts would be condoned, no matter how illogical they may be, just because of the 'politics' with the sponsors. As an engineer, merits on logic and reasoning should be the determining factor on whether a post is moderated or not.

4. People move on
Peoples interests and job requirements change over the months and years, and ultimately their communities change. We cant expect the same cast of people to remain at the forums; greater and better things are always attracting their attentions. Its the community which should make contributers feel that they get much more out than what each puts in.
Lately Im hanging out at #myoss, the Malaysian Open Source community via the IRC, and there is an exciting buzz to it. I dunno, but perhaps thats where I should help develop instead. People there are knowlegable, friendly, openminded and helpful. Just like the old MIND I used to know ...


Thursday, June 16, 2005

Wacky Warning Labels.

This is funny.

Wacky Warning Labels.

Some good ones:

In the manual of a chainsaw:
Do not attempt to stop the blade with your hand.

On a box or rat poison:
Warning: Has been found to cause cancer in laboratory mice.


Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Im Listed in MyOSS

Just realised that Im listed in the United Nations Development Programme's International Open Source Network for Malaysian FOSS Contributors! kewl.

Thanks to Ditesh (from asix)

Arrr, Ye Maties (cont)

Hah, like I said a few weeks back, the BSA report was seriously flawed. The strange logic has been picked up by the Economist in this article: Dodgy Software Piracy Data (it was originally known as "BSA or just BS?; Software piracy", but I guess the Economist had since toned it down).

And there was a comment by someone from the BSA in London as well. Actually I wouldnt bet it's the real "Beth Scott" who commented, because the complaint is too ironic to be true:

SIR – Your article on software piracy was extreme, misleading and irresponsible (“BSA or just BS?”, May 21st). The headline was particularly offensive. The implication that an industry would purposely inflate the rate of piracy and its impact to suit its political aims is ridiculous. The problem is real and needs no exaggeration.

Beth Scott
Business Software Alliance
Anyway, Jason Shultz of Corante commented: The Economist Rails on Flawed BSA Piracy StudyEmail This Entry and all the feedback suggests that common sense is alive and well, when it comes to reports like this.

Everyone has problems with BSA's flawed methodology / maths of deriving the amount of piracy.


[Update - 20th June]

Found these great cartoons from userfriendly:

Monday, June 13, 2005

Nicely formatted code.

Ah, instead of just using the vanilla <pre> tags, Ill take the extra effort and beautify my code with a code formatter.
I found a really good one here: Manoli C# Code Formatter
where all I do is just cut and paste the code.
It has some great features like alternating the colour of the lines, adding the line numbers and embedding the style sheet. Also formats for vb (yux), and xml/html.


[Update - 4:00pm]

Gah! the formats dont appear on blogspot! what a waste!

[Update - 6:30pm]

Ah, fixed it by placing the css code in blogspot's template....

Friday, June 10, 2005

I Aint Fat, Im Undertall.

Went to the pediatrician and when asked if its normal for a baby not to eat for over 6hrs at night, the doc said "Yes its normal, and its also probably a good idea, because ... ," he points to his chart " ... your baby has maxed out in weight and yet his height is only average!"

Images of Garfield jumps into mind.

Anyway, he's not obese, just plump. More Marshmallow Man than Michelin Man. Anyway, its just baby fat, he'll lose it eventually. He's a growing boy! ...

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

csopf v0.4.0 Finally out!

Heheh... for a long time I havent updated the csopf project, not because development on that project was stagnant (it wasnt! check the changelog!) but mainly because we have been working on it to make it production quality for one of our internal projects. Now that the project is live for almost 2 months +, Ive decided to release v0.4.0. [should be more like 1.0!!]

And what a big release it is!

There is a whole load of features, and I tried to list them all here.

It was really fun implementing for ASP.NET, and the features we built into the framework would hopefully be easier for developers to pick up. Now I just have to come up with some documentation and tutorials to illustrate how easy it is to create websites!