Thursday, August 27, 2009

Apple talk August 2009

Is unavoidable to talk about Apple this year (actually for all these years). First Steve Jobs, the important man behind (and in-front) of Apple Corp., take six months "leave of absence" to fight with his recurrence cancer illness. Is so important to the public, investors and board of directors complain that Steve Jobs shouldn't hide his health condition, which is not just a bug bites or "hormone problem" that causes Steve Jobs' slim down.

(steve jobs looks thin, flickr )

Steve Jobs just came back from his medical leave, but still not shown his face in the public, especially not on WWDC event last June, which he usually give the opening keynotes.

Apple iPhone has a new version, it runs faster and with more features, like the missing "copy and paste" function which was asked by most of the users. This is the 3rd version since iPhone launched 2 years ago, the second iPhone was named 3G, so they name this iPhone 3GS, 'S' should be means of speed.

What's next? Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard is going to be released on this Friday 28 August. The upgrade price from Leopard is just USD29, but a new version could cost more. Upgrade with iLife is is USD169, family pack is USD229. You can pre-order online now. As I know many of the developers and tester already running the new Snow Leopard (developer version) on their Mac.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Problematic Honda CVT gearbox

I did noticed, there are more Toyota Vios than Honda City on the road these days, even though people keep criticize the ugly Vios outlook. I am just comparing Toyota Vios and Honda City here because these two companies have a lot of supporters here.

I have heard from some peole telling me, don't buy the Honda City, because the problematic gearbox will cause your wallet to bleed a lot. The gearbox will give you problems within few years time, it cost about RM20k to change the gearbox, which is about 25 percent cost of the car. This is ridiculious. Most people choose to sell the car than just replacing the gearbox.

The Honda CVT gearbox problem refer to the blog and forum here, here, detail description of the problem here and here

The problematic gearbox is refering to the Honda CVT gearbox. What is CVT gearbox? A Continuously Variable Transmission gearbox, in simple words it smoothly change the gear, so you don't really feel it. Handa use CVT gearbox (not just) in their Honda City 2003-2005 model, which is a 7-speed gearbox.

Not all CVT gear box will have problem. Nissan is another car manufacturer who use CVT gearbox, but their CVT is a different technology call x-CVT, which has good comment on Internet. Honda gearbox have more problems probably because the technogy is not matured enough.

There are people complain on the Internet, why use a unmatured technology? Because time to the market is important. May be the top management under estimate the problem, obviously who ever make the decision has made a mistake.

While I was doing software development, it happen many times that even we know there are some improvements that we can do to the code, but we still need to release the software earlier? Why? Simply because time to the market is important.

Surprisingly some big IT company will do the same thing like Honda did, push an unmatured product to the market. I have used a batch of HP netserver during year 2001 which give me a lot of problems, the engineer take weeks to solve it. Imagine you are paying 20k to 100k for such an unmatured product.

Apple and SUN are the two companies who selling good and reliable products, including both hardware and software. Even you pay a higher price for it, you fell worth paying it, it does not mean all other products are not good. I just share my experience here.

I heard Honda City has used a new gearbox to replace the CVT gearbox, which is 5-speed automatic, the old one is 7-speed. You better check if you plan to buy a Honda City.

Friday, August 14, 2009

I like P2 than P1

Is a painful process to talk with P1, the WiMax provider.

Before you sign up, they can promise you anything, but after you sign up, and you have problem with the network, you can't even get through their help line. It could be the same and common to all broadband providers here.

Before you sign up with P1, they allow you to trial for two weeks time, for a fee of $50, this is reasonable as for the $99 per month package. I heard from friends and Internet forum, the first two weeks trial will always fast and stable. After the trial period, is not always the case.

For my case, network problem (line drop) only happen after four months time. I call to the help line, they promise to give me some rebate for the few days that I was not able to connect to the Internet. The line drop problems still happen very frequently.

I decided to hold on my payment till P1 solve the network problem. The collection department call me personally, ask me for the late payment. I told them I am having network problem, they say network problem is the responsibility of the other department, they just call me to remind my late payment, but they will forward my problem to the responsible department. I received a dead line notice after this, but my broadband problem remain unsolved.

I just go to their HQ in a Saturday morning, and told their customer service that I am having network problem. First they check that I have reach the 20G usage quota (What! I don't even know that there is a 20G quota), so my bandwidth will be limited. The problem is I can't even connect at all! Later they found out that my line has been suspended, because I didn't made my payment. That's is one day before the payment dead line!

I keep complaining to the customer service, I didn't get a good service from P1, and P1 want to collect the full payment without solving my network problem. I encounter line drop very frequent and sometimes can't even connect to the internet. Seems like the earlier complain through the phone call doesn't seems to appear in their report system!

I still experience line drop and connection problem, after I clear my payment. I go to the HQ customer service for the second time, and inform them my problem. Their reply is, I have reach the 20G usage quota. After talk talk talk for a while, they told me that P1 network at my area is congested (Wow! New excuse). I look at the slogan that they put on the wall, "we are here to listen". Yes, I think they just listen and no action. I request for a rebate, and they agree. This is the second time they have agreed to give me rebate.

The network support give me a call, few days later. They told me that my problem is caused by the congested network in my area (Yes! I already know the problem), it will take them about one week time to solve the problem (they did solved it). My complain is, I can not use my Internet and I still have to pay for it. They agree (again) to give me rebate, this is the third time in my record.

Is already two months time after P1 offer me the first rebate, but I still don't see any rebate on my bill. I really feel very tired talking to P1. The holding company of P1, Green Packet just reported a higher net loss of RM27.9 million for the secod quater of 2009, compare with the net loss of RM4.9 million of the same quater last year.

Green Packet posted a higher net loss of RM27.9 million for its second quarter ended June 30, 2009 compared to the same quarter last year of a net loss of RM4.9 million.

In contrast, revenue grew 151.5% to RM56.5 million in the quarter.

The company said the net loss in the quarter was mainly attributed to heavy promotional activities and subscriber acquisition costs for the broadband business.

Is a heavy investment in telecommunication and broadband business, I can understand their loss, but they still need to improve their service. I really prefer P2 than P1, at lease P2 have the sexy Rachel Nichols.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Facebook acquired FriendFeed

Facebook just acquired FriendFeed, the announcement was made on Monday, news are everywhere over the Internet. Since Facebook and FriendFeed are both privately held company, the acquisition amount was not reveal. According to TechCrunch, the acquisition cost about 50 million in cash and stock. (please refer to Wall Street Journal, photos from Paul)

Before Facebook acquired FriendFeed, there are rumors about Facebook offer 500 million to buy Twitter (mainly in stock, refer here). FriendFeed is providing streaming status data, similar with what Twitter does.

I always like to emphasize that Facebook and Twitter are both community website, but they are different. Observation is Facebook becomes more and more Twitter-like website, or may be FriendFeed-like website.

FriendFeed is a successful startup, it was co-founded by former Google employees. I doesn't know what will happen after Facebook acquired FriendFeed, but is a good move for Facebook, and a good time for FriendFeed to pull out as a standalone feed aggregator.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Honda Advanced Technology Roadshow

Honda is running a roadshow to promote their car technology (eg. i-VTEC, Hybrid) at 1 Utama Shopping Centre (new wing) - ground floor. It started today, the event will be on all day (10am to 10pm), from 5th to 9th (Sunday).

Personally I like the Civic hybrid and the new Honda City. The Civic hybrid is an environmental friendly car, combine combustion engine and electric power system. In simple word, it uses both petrol and electric to power the car, so it consume less petrol.

The Honda Civic Hybrid is a hybrid electric car like the Toyota Pruis. Both Google founders - Larry Page and Sergey Brin drive Prius (not sure they are still driving now). Prius is not selling in Malaysia here just launch this week (update: price around RM175k).

Here are some photos:

Honda Accord, now came with 3.5-litre version.

honda city
New City has 2 model, S and E
This is E model with better spec

honda city rear
Rear view looks nice

civic hybrid
Civic Hybrid selling at RM129,980.00

If you don't like the Honda cars, may be you will like the Honda girls.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Day 2 of PC Fair 2009 August

Just for fun. Came back from (day 2) of PC Fair at KL Cenvention Center. It is crowded as usual. I saw few people wearing mask, if you are not buying anything and you aware of the flu, may be you should think twice.

Everything in the exhibition is almost the same as before, but they have a hall for online game. Audio device move to the last hall. Notebook is everywhere, from Acer, HP to Sony. Broadband promoters are crowded at the last hall. What else? Oh! I saw the HTC Android phone, selling at RM26xx.

Online game cosplay.

Feel like going? Tomorrow will be the last day.