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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Working in Australia, Pt 2

Last week I posted Working in Australia Pt 1, this is the second part of that post.

It's been two weeks since we arrived; the first week were spent planning all the project details while the second week were spent on learning the frameworks and designing the database. This coming week we plan release some ass kicking codes. However all work and no play... isn't the IT way -- so we went for a little city tour today and below are the videos and pictures we got.

We took a train to Flinders St then roam the nearby stores.

We passed by the Melbourne's Museum for a quick shot.

We visited the street market at Burkes to shop for souvenirs.

On the train way home

Oh-oh, we're lost.

Back on track at last.

We're home!

This is a bonus video: During our stop over HK airport.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

PSP jumps into Mobile 2.0 with VOIP

Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) and BT have formed a four-year agreement to enable PSP owners to add wireless broadband functionality to their hand held consoles.

This will allow PSP owners to access high quality voice calls, internet browsing and messaging after installing a BT developed software. PSP will also release clip-on webcam and microphone called Go-Cam for a complete multimedia communication. Although this service is initially available only to Europe, BT plans to distribute the software to more than 100 operators world wide.

Many blogs has already jumped to speculation that PSP is after iPhone's market which is not surprising since PSP already has most of iPod's features but less the sleek body.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Working in Australia, Pt 1

Its been a week since I left Philippines for Melbourne along with my colleague Chris, we flew via Cathay passing HongKong and Adelaide.

On board our first flight we enjoyed talking to other Filipino passengers and watching TV, then half way the flight we got our dinner served -- braised chicken with mushrooms!! Sadly, we didn't have much time to eat coz 15 minutes later were already preparing for landing.

Our stop at HongKong got us confused; we followed signs saying our transfer area is on the other end but half way there an airport official pointed us a detour through a temporary security checkpoint which saved us a lot of time.

The HongKong airport is huge and spacious; it will take time to get where your going by just walking! You either take the airport buggy or ride the conveyors, its that huge! -- and it should be since most connecting flights pass here. We waited at the transfer area where we were joined by other passengers bound to Adelaide; most of them are talking to their laptops, huh? -- because HK airport has free ultra-fast WIFI!! Too bad we didn't have laptops with us but we will surely have that chance again on our way back since we already received our company issued IBM ThinkPads.

We caught the urge to call home while looking at other passengers casually use VOIP via the WIFI so we tried to place a call but our roaming didn't work. I checked the settings -- there were too many service providers at HK, our phones couldn't just find the right one to use (note: ask your service provider what's their partner network on the country you are traveling to before leaving!). After an hour we boarded our plane for a n8-hour flight to Adelaide.

On our second flight we got another dinner! -- I have chosen the same meal and savoured it this time, another perk when flying via Cathay air. The entire flight went well for 8 hours but we could get ourselves to really sleep due to slight turbulence that occurs randomly.

We reached our 2nd stop early morning still very sleepy -- just had 2 hours sleep, we got our breakfast 30 minutes before landing so I chose egg omelet and mashed potato for a quick munch. We landed Adelaide for another transfer, the airport is a just big enough unlike HK. Security is very strict, aside from the imposed limit for carrying liquids and aerosols (gels, water, perfumes, etc) customs has forbidden us to bring any kind of food -- even chocolates! Chris was even got randomly picked for a voluntary "pat search" as added security precaution which surprised us at first.

We stayed at the transfer lounge for 2 hours before finally taking off for Melbourne. The flight lasted about 50 minutes, at arrivals section we presented our passport to the immigration which gave us an all clear. Welcome to Australia at last!

We waited a bit at the airport lounge area until David Pleasance arrived to pick us up, David gave as a ride to our new home away from home and and first thing we notice about Melbourne is.. right hand drive cars! On the way we passed the office then dropped by a local supermart to buy a few things before finally proceeding to our new place.

Our new home is a typical US type suburban house; it has 4 rooms, kitchen, sala, and appliances -- just like the Google motto '..developers will just want to work if you take care of their needs'. Anyway we got so tired that we decided to sleep thru the rest of the day.

The next day we started out on our job, there are around 190 developers on our section alone -- coming from all corners of the globe while others work from home or other country thanks to the fast VPN access.

Right now were really enjoying our work, its a lifestyle far from what were used to. Everyday we cook breakfast and dinner, im no cook but I'm starting get the hang on it. The only main difficulty is finding where to buy the food were used to like bagoong ang tuyo but the usual ones are available at the supermarket -- they even have a section dedicated to Asian food!

We haven't had the time to tour the city yet so I'll post all about the place next time as soon as we had explored enough. For now I'll post a map of our office, you can drop me an email if you're near!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Trip to "down under" Australia

We will be finally leaving for Melbourne Australia tomorrow around 8pm, for a 20-day something meeting in preparation for the upcoming expansion project.

It's a mind numbing 11-12 hour trip via 3 connecting flights; there were no available direct flights and that's usually fully booked anyway -- what a memorable way to start my first down under trip. I'll post updates on this sky adventures when I arrive at Melbourne.

Bye! ^_^

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Globelines Vs PLDT myDSL bandwith test: Which is better?

Tonight were switching from PLDT myDSL to Globelines after 3 weeks of horrific intermittent connection. To those who experienced the same problem then let me share you why we finally decide to change ISP after 4 years of being a loyal PLDT subscriber.

I made a speed test of both connection, it's a rare opportunity since both ADSL routers will be tested with almost zero load (web browser only, with fully loaded flash UI) from the same location using the same machine, and with the same bandwidth plan. My target machine is located on Melbourne Australia, a place I will visit soon so I thought It would be nice if can connection to my office PC here in Manila, here is the unbiased and uncensored:

Surprisingly it's a close race but this result doesn't show some facts that differentiate the two.

PLDT (at least the JrBiz plan) has a committed bit rate around which means there is no bandwidth shaping so I got 309kbps all the way during the test while Globelines has an unspecified bit rate so the actual speed started at 128kbps then rose until the 303kbps limit.

Notice the difference between the upload speed, on PLDT I can only max up to 117kbps, lower than my CBR which was indicated on my plan! Hmmm, not nice since I paid specifically for 128 and up CBR for that -- and Melbourne ain't too far nor the network is congested on that area (unlike US East Cost). Compared to the Globelines I maxed at 154kbps which fits my plan's CBR at 128kbps.

So what does these means, surely PLDT with its constant 309kbps is the winner?

Well it depends.

If you're connected to a single machine using PLDT, downloads will be faster, but that's not how real Internet works. When surfing a website, there are multiple connections to multiple servers which means more requests. That's where the upload speed is important, the faster It is means the faster the sites receives your request to download pages and images. It will also be useful for users who download a lot via *ahem* P2P since seeders will prioritize users with faster uploads too (the ratio is like 1:10 in favor of the user).

I'm not totally putting PLDT down, a large fixed bandwidth means the connection is best suited for server type connections like VOIP or gateways (in our case we have mobile gateways running 100% via PLDT).

To sum it all up.

I would recommend Globelines for surfing use, yes your office slacker will definitely be able to surf favorite social sites like Myspace, Friendster, YouTube and Dailymotion at top speed while I would recommend PLDT for server use like what most call centers have.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Hotmail takes on Gmail, hopeless.

Hotmail has joined the MSN Live band wagon at last -- an effort to regain traction of it's user base. Stepping up to face Gmail's challenge, it now has a 2Gigabyte mail space as well but unlike Yahoo Mail with its laggy, screen resolution dependent, and CPU hogging all out Flash interface; Hotmail beefed up it's service with Ajax.

It's pretty descent but with nothing new except its another MS Outlook clone wannabe; it won't be winning any applauses soon enough.

PLDT Sucked Again

myDSL Plan 999? I don't think so, I'm using a Jr Biz Account with a CBR of 128kbps -- yes it;s fast but it doesn't mean its useful. The connection is intermittent especially when connecting to US based server's like Google.

For an average user, this may be acceptable for we're power users -- multiple VPN connections and Remote Desktop Access is a must. We just wasn't what we're paying for. Don't you?

PHPUGPH Grand EB Wrap up.

Wow, I have been so busy this past weeks after the PHPUGPH EB that I missed the final post.

Anyway the guys have made a gallery that sums up all the fun, looking at the group picture, it's amazing how the PHP developer community have united since our 1st humble meet-ups 3 years ago -- there were 5-6 of us at that time.

Congrats to the community, may the force continue to grow!

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