Avee's Place

Simple thoughts in a complex life

Keanehan Speedy : Speed That You Can Trust

Speed That You Can TrustHampir satu tahun yang lalu kantor kami mengganti provider koneksi internet kami dengan TelkomSpeedy. Alasan utamanya adalah biaya. Dulu waktu kami menggunakan dedicated line dari salah satu provider ternama, biaya yang harus kami keluarkan adalah sekitar 3,5 juta rupiah per bulannya. Padahal, kecepatan up/down speednya hanya 128 kbps. Dengan menggunakan Speedy, kami dapat memangkas biaya tersebut lebih dari 50% dan kami mendapatkan kecepatan yang jauh lebih cepat. Kami menggunakan 2 buah line masing-masing 1 Mbps.

Namun seperti kata pepatah bule, “you get what you pay for”, ternyata menggunakan Speedy banyak masalahnya. Misalnya saja kami tidak dapat meng-upgrade ke paket langganan kami ke paket 2 Mbps karena menurut pihak Telkom, line telpon di daerah kantor kami tidak bagus kualitasnya, selain itu ada juga masalah kecepatan koneksi yang tidak stabil, juga gangguan koneksi yang respon penanganannya tidak secepat dedicated line provider. Tapi ya memang semua itu sudah kami perhitungkan sewaktu kami memutuskan untuk pindah.

Dari seluruh permasalahan yang muncul, ada satu permasalahan yang betul-betul menarik bagi saya. Semenjak kami menggunakan Speedy, kami sering mengalami gangguan koneksi putus-nyambung, terutama pada saat Maghrib dan ketika hujan turun. Berbagai usaha kami lakukan untuk mencari penyebabnya, kami memperbaiki perkabelan telpon di dalam kantor kami, kami panggil pihak Telkom beberapa kali untuk diagnosa, kami coba konfigurasi ulang modem, tapi problem koneksi selalu berulang.

Petunjuk yang kami temukan dari proses yang melelahkan tersebut adalah bahwa Line Attenuation di tempat kami cukup besar, sehingga sinyal yang diterima oleh modem tidak bagus. Hal ini berakibat kepada modem selalu mengalami lock-loss. Dari proses tersebut juga satu-satunya hal yang berhubungan dengan hal tersebut yang kami belum benahi adalah modemnya. Namun waktu itu kami tidak memperhitungkan kemungkinan justru modemlah penyebabnya. Hal ini karena ketika kami waktu itu menggunakan dua merk modem yang terbaik yaitu Linksys dan D-Link yang harganya lebih dari 700 ribu satunya, model termahal yang ada di toko tempat kami belanja. Tentu saja dengan asumsi termahal == terbaik.

Hingga suatu saat salah satu modem kami bermasalah dan kami coba tukar dengan modem TP-Link standar yang didapat ketika pendaftaran, ternyata hasilnya koneksi stabil! Tidak terjadi lock-loss. Di saat-saat koneksi Linksys seharusnya sudah putus, modem TP-Link tetap terkoneksi, hanya pingnya saja yang menjadi sangat besar, bisa mencapai 10,000 ms!

Setelah mengetahui hal itu saya segera membuat pengajuan kepada kantor untuk membeli satu buah lagi modem TP-Link untuk mengganti modem di line lainnya. Sampai sekarang koneksi internet di kantor kami relatif stabil, meskipun koneksinya sering menjadi lambat ketika ada gangguan. FYI, harga modem TP-Link hanya sekitar 250rb.

Hal ini mengingatkan saya pada seorang kenalan dari Australia yang kena penyakit perut (saya lupa penyakit apa, disentri atau tipus ya) ketika makan bala-bala. Memang hidup di Indonesia ada seninya tersendiri.

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Snow Leopard Unibody MBP Battery Life Test #1 : Real-World

I’ve finished the first of four items planned on the battery life test, the real-world usage test.

I do the test while working in the office. Since I am a developer working in Windows platform, I used the notebook to remotely connect to my development machine and see how long it would last.

I started with 100% battery, programs running were Firefox, Apple Mail, Adium, iTunes, TextEdit, and Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection. I didn’t check the display brightness level, but I assume that it was at 100% all the time because I have a big glass window behind my desk and I live in the tropics. I was using AirPort to connect to the network, and Bluetooth was disabled.

I did all the browsing, emailing, chatting, listening to music in OS X, and only coding on the remote Windows machine. I also did some downloading in iTunes. At lunch break, I streamed a movie for about twenty to thirty minutes to watch while eating. The machine went to sleep several times while I was briefly away from the desk.

I think this test could be described as “moderate wireless usage”. The Remote Desktop Connection constantly streamed some data during the test period, occasionally wireless usage went high when I downloaded something or when I streamed a movie. The CPU usage were not intensive.

The result, I got to work for 3 hours and 58 minutes, before the battery was completely drained (0%) and the machine went to hibernate by itself.

Next up is the Apple Environment test.

Snow Leopard Unibody MacBook Pro Battery Life Test

up to 7 hrs of wireless productivityApparently, my post about my suggestion on fixing the battery life problem in Snow Leopard has been generating enough traffic to make me feel compelled to do a battery life test. So here goes.

First, a short description of my machine :

  • It is a 13″ MacBook Pro, with 2.26 GHz processor and 2 GB of RAM. Logically, faster processor would consume more power for a given time and the same applies to larger amount of RAM.
  • I upgraded to Snow Leopard via the upgrade path, as advised by Apple (I read this on gizmodo.com).
  • It had all sorts of programs installed, the Applications folder had 70+ items and I also installed programs that runs as a service like SynergyKM, Growl.

I think this machine qualifies for a real world test machine.

The target of this experiment is to try to verify Apple’s claim about the notebook’s battery life, and to compare it to real-world usage scenarios. Apple claims that the battery would last up to 7 hours of “wireless productivity” (8 in 17″ MBPs). As usual, in every claim there’s the fine print. You can see in this page, in the fine print, 7 hours is achieved in a specific working condition. The keywords are in bold.

13-inch MacBook Pro testing conducted by Apple in May 2009 using preproduction 2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo-based MacBook Pro units. 15-inch MacBook Pro testing conducted by Apple in May 2009 using preproduction 2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo-based MacBook Pro units with a Better Battery Life setting. 17-inch MacBook Pro testing conducted by Apple in May 2009 using preproduction 2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo-based MacBook Pro units with a Better Battery Life setting. Battery life depends on configuration and use. See www.apple.com/batteries for more information. The wireless productivity test measures battery life by wirelessly browsing various websites and editing text in a word processing document with display brightness set to 50%.

There are several experiments that I plan to do. In order :

  1. Real-world usage test.
  2. The Apple Environment test.
  3. Format and do a clean install of Snow Leopard.
  4. Repeat item #1.
  5. Repeat item #2.
  6. Write a conclusion.

For anyone interested, I will update this post with links to each item, and I will try to do at least one test in a week.

Fixing Snow Leopard Unibody MacBook Pro Battery Life Problems

mac-batteryEver since I upgraded the OS of my Early 2009 13″ MBP to Snow Leopard, I have a problem with the notebook’s battery life. When I was using Leopard, the battery could last very long, so long that I was used to working without connecting the notebook with a power source. I also remember that the Time indicator for the battery used to estimate about 7 hours or so of battery life at 100%, although it occasionally fell to 3 or 4 hours on heavy usage. But now, at 100% it would only show about 5 hours max.

For some time I used to think that this was probably due to 64-bit architecture change that caused the notebook to use more power. But the longer I used the notebook in this condition, the more I worry about the battery. According to Apple, the new battery technology in unibody Macs are supposed to last for 1000 charge cycles, about 3 years of normal usage. The battery problem means that I am using more cycles than it is supposed to be for a given time, which increases the possibility of the battery having degraded performance before the 3-years mark.

So I googled around a bit, and found out that other people are also experiencing the same problem. The solution to this problem is to do the following :

  1. Reset the PRAM.
  2. Reset the SMC.
  3. Recalibrate the battery.

I did all three and the problem is now fixed, I can now see the 6+ hours battery life indicator on 99% again :).

~7 hrs on 99%

Horray!

EDIT : I am conducting a battery test to see the actual performance of the MBP’s battery here.

My Apple Experience

I have recently switched to using an Apple MacBook Pro as my main means of computing. This is my impression of owning an Apple product so far.

My Background

I had never been a fan of Apple product. Although I really liked the nice interface, I don’t like Apple products for several reasons. Firstly, it’s expensive, Apple products are known for their high price. Secondly, I can’t use it for work, I am a software developer who writes mostly for Windows. Third, I can’t use it for serious gaming. Fourth, Apple fans/product owners have this particular attitude that I don’t really like much. Apple seems like some kind of religion for some people.

Although I was not a fan of Apple, I admitted that Apple makes high quality products. And I even recommended buying Apple to some of my family where it was relevant for them.

When Apple recently introduced the 13-inch MacBook Pro to its product line while also lowering the price, and also being encouraged by a post by a fellow developer, I thought that it was probably the best time to try to own an Apple product. Nowadays Macs can run Windows through Boot Camp anyway. So I went ahead, I sold my relatively new ASUS laptop for a MacBook Pro.

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Batik Day!

Yesterday was Batik Day in Indonesia, a day where Indonesians are encouraged to use their UNESCO approved world heritage, the Batik. So we at the office wore Batik and took a photo.

Guys at the Office

I think in the future we will wear them to work more often.

Radeon HD 5870 Launched!

While catching up with news from the digital world, I found out that the Radeon HD 5870 is finally launched! Oh what joy it is to see the reviews and benchmark on this one with me being an ATi fanboy and all. 🙂

On many of the benchmarks its performance surpasses the current king of the crop, the GTX 285. The raw power comes with a low electric consumption, much lower than the HD 4890. What’s very interesting is that it can drive up to 6 monitors on some special cards, this feature is definitely handy for me at work. It is priced quite high at $399, but that is to be expected with a new king of the hill, hehe.

You can read the reviews in my favorite sites, here or here, and also here and here for the CrossFire configuration and share the joy with me.

Interesting Books : The Can Do Leadership

The Can Do Leadership CoverI spent this Lebaran vacation reading a good book my father bought a few days ago. It is a book about the leadership of the sixth president of Indonesia, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. It is written by his Presidential Spokesperson, Dr. Dino Patti Djalal in a diary / work notes format. The complete title is : The Can Do Leadership, Inspiring Stories from SBY Presidency. The book also has an Indonesian version, entitled : Harus Bisa, Seni Kepemimpinan SBY. The books tells us stories about things that happened behind the scene during President SBY’s leadership in 2004-2008.

There are some particular interesting points that attracted my attention. One of them is how complex managing Indonesia is. One example mentioned in the book is the selection of Governor of Central Bank of Indonesia in March 2008 . The President had to do a lengthy political maneuver to finally be able to complete it due to the rejection of the first candidates by the House of Representatives. The book said it was probably due to vested interest in the bureaucracy. Another example is about the Electrolux story, when a group of people tried to help the people of Aceh by supplying thousands of Electrolux gas stoves. The stoves end up held in Indonesian Customs for almost nine months. The president had to intervene directly for this matter to be resolved. An example of how corrupt the bureaucracy was at that time.

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