2008/05/23

Up to 40 minutes of delay...

Some of the emails I received on XL BB service yesterday was delayed up to 40 minutes. I can now understand comments I've got from friends about how XL BB service is pretty much crap. I'm still constantly getting only GSM signal instead of GPRS with my XL, which may contribute to the delay receiving emails. I wonder how the corporate customers of XL feels. Do they have better experience?

I'm done comparing the two, XL and Telkomsel. As much as I hate Telkomsel on their gauging prices, they are in my opinion the superior against XL. Now all I have to do is wait until the end of my XL billing cycle to disconnect BB service. I've made up my mind to suck up the premium price of Rp 150.000/month with 20MB quota (compared to XL's Rp 200.000/month unlimited ) on my Telkomsel postpaid mobile number. My friend in Telkomsel have told me, yet again, that the new price for BB service for Telkomsel postpaid will be revised next month.

Sad to say I have to ditch Telkomsel's prepaid Rp 180.000/month unlimited, that I've been testing, cause I can't see myself carrying 3 mobile phones. I still need my XL for my work, since all the clients contact me through that number and I have a sentimental attachment to my Telkomsel number.

I think it's fair to say that if you are currently looking for a BB service and you are not a postpaid customer yet, you should go with Telkomsel prepaid BB service. If you are already a postpaid customer of XL, seriously consider Telkomsel's prepaid offering. If you are already an Indosat's postpaid customer, get their offering for BB service it's still a whole lot better than XL and it's unlimited. If you are on Telkomsel postpaid, well, just suck it up right now or you can go prepaid with them (if you haven't already carrying so many phones :).

2008/05/21

Telkomsel prepaid BB service first impression (against XL BB service)

Borrowed a BB Pearl from a friend yesterday and switched my Curve to Telkomsel SIM and Pearl to XL SIM, updated the service books and voila! Now I can compare the level of service when I'm using BB Messenger.

My initial impression, right of the bat I can see the difference when I send a message from Telkomsel BB service compared to XL BB service. Using Telkomsel, it feels instantaneous while using XL, there's like a few seconds lag just to get the check mark (notification that the message has gone through the BB infrastructure but haven't been delivered to the recipient end).

I sent a message to my wife (she uses XL), who was sitting next to me, from my Telkomsel BB. The message has a check mark right away, yet it took 15 minutes for my wife to received it. Something is really wrong with XL's infrastructure.

Gonna use 2 BB devices for the next two days and do more comparison. For now I'm pretty satisfied with Telkomsel and it warrants my consideration for my next BB service provider.

By the way, none of comparisons I made is by any means scientific, so don't take my experience as the word of truth in settling down and choosing your BB service provider in Indonesia.

2008/05/19

Signed up for pre-paid BB service by Telkomsel...

Last week, Telkomsel, the largest GSM provider in Indonesia launched a new service for pre-paid customer. What an innovative service! The first in Asia they said. Now, wait a minute... pre-paid BB? What happen to all the hassle signing up for post-paid service to have BB service. Again post-paid customers in Indonesia got screwed!

I've been contemplating to move to Indosat's BB offering of unlimited monthly plan for around Rp 190.000/month. But in order to move to Indosat, I need to get a post-paid service and that takes a while to do, plus I'm kinda in waiting list for a "cantik" number (my own vanity phone number).

Moving to Telkomsel has been my last choice to get out of my XL misery since I have a post-paid service with Telkomsel still going as my second semi-private line. I've been thinking really hard wether to swallow the 20MB quota for Rp 150.000/month. Plus my friend has been telling me that Telkomsel will give better offering for price for their post-paid BB service. That hasn't happened yet.

So when Telkomsel introduced pre-paid BB service, I thought I give it a try. Especially since my friend who works for Telkomsel has been bragging about their BB service. I bought a pre-paid card last night and decide to give it a try. Took me a day to register, but it finally it's active as of late afternoon.

Haven't have much comment yet. I'm using my old trusty Nokia E61 with BB Connect for now. Going to borrow a BB Pearl tomorrow because I really need to compare the service head-to-head using a BB device to know the difference. My complaint with XL has been about their unstable GPRS connection that makes my IM through BB Messenger impaired. BB Messenger was one of the selling point for me to get a BB device instead of using BB Connect when I activated XL BB service. Using BB Messenger has lowered my bill significantly.

So stay tuned for my experience with the service...

A few things that has got me thinking really hard 


2008/05/16

Help! My ISP blocked privilleged ports, I can't sync to ntp time servers...

I've been having problems syncing my local linux server time to a public internet server in ntp.org.

After doing tcpdump on my internet connected interface on my firewall, I found out that my isp, fast.net.id, blocked any reply to privilleged ports, 1-1024. Since ntpd uses udp port 123 as source and destination port, replies from ntp.org public servers got cut off from my isp's router.

What's interesting is ntpd on Mac OS X uses unprivilleged ports. Another utility in linux, ntpdate has an optional argument, -u, which make the request source port uses unprivilleged port. It puzzles me why ntpd doesn't have that option as well. Nevertheless, I have this problem in my hand.

I kinda figured out a workaround (short of calling my isp and ask them not to block udp port 123). I have to put a little disclaimer here, this workaround that is by no means recommended (from what I can gather) so use it at your own risk.

What I did was setup a cron job to run ntpdate every 15 minutes to sync system time with ntp.org public servers using unprivilleged port.

15 * * * * /usr/sbin/ntpdate -s -u -B pool.ntp.org

-s option tells ntpdate to print output to syslog; -u tells it to use unprivilleged port; -B tell it to adjust the time incrementally as oppose to instantly.

Then I setup ntpd as a local ntp server for internal use. This ntpd uses it's localtime as the source instead of syncing from another ntp.org public server.