We tend to give our ISPs a lot more flak than compliments. Malaysia’s Streamyx has received more than its fair share of brickbats but their services have improved greatly. I’ve been using their 2MBps package for some time now and recently they called me up and gave me an incentive to upgrade to the 4MBps package for just an additional $10 a month. To top it off the technician came to my apartment the very next day and I received a D-Link modem/router combo absolutely free of charge (I’m keeping it as a backup since I already have my existing D-Link modem and Linksys router) I was a little disappointed when the guy said the 4MBps speed would only be activated in a few days. However, an hour after she left my fingers grew twitchy and I went to the Speedtest site. I expected the download speed to be hovering around 2MBps but was pleasantly surprised to see the results above. Thank you very much, Streamyx!
Yup, that’s the title of a Pet Shop Boy’s song (and very nice it is too) and that’s precisely what I did today—I just slipped into a state of vegetation. Well I still had to log on the Net (this is like oxygen to me), I folded my clothes (but did absolutely no ironing—I am not permitting that sordid torture on myself today), I did my usual morning walk and swim, cooked the rice and leftovers…but aside from that, did nothing else. And I don’t feel a single strand of guilt coursing through my veins. Nope, in fact I feel good, hee hee.
The only bit of work I did was thinking (only thinking, mind you) about moving or consolidating my website into a brand new blog. Nothing concrete yet, just throwing some ideas back and forth; thinking, thinking. This was a day where my mind just flatly refused to do anything much. It always happens like that to me on Mondays, and the reason is because on Sundays I do some intense teaching. Don’t believe me? Go ask the victims, LOL I mean my students. Lest anybody thinks that teaching piano is kid’s stuff, it is most definitely not!! Perhaps I’ll expound about this further in my new blog.
Typing this out on my Dell laptop as usual Love Windows 7, it’s working great so far. Maybe I’ll upgrade my desktop after the New Year…OK, that’s enough work on this blog post, let me go bore myself—only 4 more hours before Monday ends and then it’s back to a normal state for me.
P/S Just stumbled on this article in realage.com: Happy and Healthy: Go Ahead, Goof Off Today. I feel even better now!
This has never happened to me before, since going online about 12 years ago. I’m referring to an Internet outage which occurred locally in Malaysia yesterday. It affected thousands of users in four states—Perlis, Kedah, Perak, and Penang. I’ve learnt through experience that if my Internet conks out unexpectedly, the fault is usually at the ISP’s end, unless I forgot to pay my broadband bill (I have that on auto payment anyway). It went south about 4:30 PM local time yesterday, and dang—it was hard for me! To be cut off from the rest of the world, yikes! No email, no Windows Live Messenger, no browsing, ugh.
So I did the most reasonable thing. Called up the ISP, of course I had to wait—I guess they were deluged with calls from thousands of irate and frustrated Net users. I suppose it’s no point for me to vent my anger on them—when I finally spoke to someone they told me to wait it out. I go to bed, awake today, and boot up the computer. Any Internet? Nope, no luck. Still out. Called them again, they gave me the stock reply that their technicians were hard at work on it. Patience, patience. Alright, let me see—I’ll go do a mundane chore like ironing clothes. I pop in a Mahler CD into my computer—ah bliss. Bernard Haitink conducting Mahler’s 6th with the Berlin Philharmonic (what a fantastic performance). Soon I’m engrossed (yeah, believe it or not) with my ironing, until Network Magic beeps and that’s the sweetest sound I’ve ever heard—the Internet’s back! Yay!
What with the damaged undersea cables earlier this month and now this, I figured TM Net (my blessed ISP) should give a rebate or refund of this month’s bill to me. Yeah, dream on. As if they would be so gracious.
The Internet here in Penang, Malaysia has been slow as molasses since the beginning of April. The cause? A damaged undersea cable linking Penang and Singapore. TM Net informed users in their website that restoration work should be completed by April 9, 2009. Today I checked their website and was angry to find this notice:
UPDATE – INTERNET SERVICES RESTORATION
Dear Valued Customers,
Telekom Malaysia Berhad (TM) is pleased to inform its customers that the restoration works on the Asia Pacific Cable Network 2 (APCN2) near Chongming, China connecting Malaysia to the United States has been completed.
Meanwhile, there is a delay in the restoration date for the Southeast Asia-Middle East-Western Europe 3 (SMW3) cable network between Tuas, Singapore and Penang linking Malaysia due to technical problems at the repairing stages. Due to the delay, full recovery of SMW3 cable network is now expected to be on 17 April 2009.
However, to date, TM has already recovered 97% bandwidth capacity for its Internet traffic to Hong Kong and North America.
TM Internet and IP services as well as other critical business applications linked to the US and Hong Kong has resumed normal operations since 10 April 2009.
We would like to thank our customers for their patience during the affected period. Customers can call TM at 100 and select “Internet Services” or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org for any Internet related problems.
WTF, now they say that full recovery of the SMW3 cable is now pushed forward to April 17? And they have the audacity to say that they have recovered 97% bandwidth? What a load of BS, it feels more like 9.7%! It’s late now but I plan to call them up tomorrow and give them a piece of my mind. And I’d like a refund if you don’t mind, you stupid morons.
The past week or two presented some challenges in my life. Here are the highlights:
First off, I noticed that for no apparent reason, the text color turned black whenever I switched to a dark theme in WordPress. It’s the same like trying to find a dark object in a dark room. I tried uploading WP’s original php files to my site, I tried deleting and installing those affected themes, I tried disabling all my plug-ins, I even had the audacity to mess with the themes’ CSS files (well just a little, I know next to nothing about CSS)—nothing worked. Did a successful automatic upgrade to WP 2.7.1, still no luck. So I racked my brains trying to recall what was it that I did in the past? Ah yes, I did do a widget for my ebook and inserted it in my blog sidebar. Could that be the cause? Only one way to find out. I took that widget out and presto! I could see the text in my dark themes again! Damn satisfying, if you know what I mean. I would also like to thank my friend in the UK, Lisa Crunkhorn, for tidying up the HTML mess in the widget. I’ve now inserted it back into my sidebar with Lisa’s edits and it works correctly without messing up the text color.
Next, I’m having my usual quiet dinner in the hotel on a Friday night. Enjoying a morsel of garlic bread and the next minute, crack! This occurred inside my mouth, and I knew what it was—one of my back molars had cracked. Ugh, this would mean another trip to the dentist. After that root canal treatment in the not-so-distant past, the last thing I wanted was this. But I knew that I couldn’t afford to ignore this mishap—it would certainly make things worse for my tooth. So off I go to see my dentist, Dr. Lim. Now this man’s a genius. He took one look inside and told me that yes, one of my back lower molars had succumbed to my hard biting. He figured that he could do some bonding work on it, give it a new filling, and would I be more careful in the future? Sure thing, doc. After a 30-minute treatment (quite painless) my tooth was restored—yay! Unfortunately I was $16 USD poorer, but the important thing was that my tooth was saved.
What happens next? I’m getting into my car to send back my boss’ computer after servicing it. I start the car, and nadda. Dead battery, dude. Fortunately, this happened at my apartment, so all I had to do was call up my mechanic and a new battery was sent in a couple of minutes. If this had happened elsewhere, it would have been more inconvenient. And oh—I am now $42 USD poorer.
And finally, the straw to break the camel’s back (yeah, a lot of stuff got broken here)—sluggish Internet, due to damaged undersea cables—again!! UGH!
Well look on the bright side. Mr. Ameer from California bought my ebook Learn to Play the Piano in 12 Lessons—thank you for that bright spark in my week, sir. I hope you enjoy reading my ebook and learning to play the piano!
Till my next post, this is Philip, signing off.
So, having bought the Linksys WRT54G2 router together with a USB adapter, I opened the package up a few days ago and proceeded to setup. Nothing could have prepared me for what was about to come. I’m fortunate I’ve acquired patience for computer troubleshooting all these years. Little did I know that this wireless setup would be testing my patience to its limits.
OK, I open up the box, and there’s the black Linksys router, together with a setup CD, Ethernet cable, a brief installation guide, a power cable and adapter. I look at the CD; it has a bold sticker saying Run CD first before connecting cables. Well, who am I to argue with that, so I pop the CD into my DVD-ROM drive, and it does a couple of diagnostics, tells me to connect the Ethernet cables, plug in the router’s power supply, and here I go on the home stretch—at least that’s what I thought. Remember Murphy’s Law—“If something can go wrong, it will…” And it did—up pops an error message at the end: Error 322: Your router could not be configured correctly. Please check the cables, blah blah blah. I exit the setup, and repeat the whole process again, and again. Error 322 keeps popping up! At this point, ordinary mortals would probably have picked up the router and thrown it out of the nearest window. But remember—we’re dealing with a computer geek here, and us geeks never give up!
The number one rule of computer troubleshooting is—if it fails, try something else. Alright, enough of that darn CD. I take out the router and test my Internet with my existing D-Link DSL500G ADSL modem. The Internet works—good. Connect the Linksys into the picture, ensuring the cables are properly connected, and—Internet fails. OK, I’m getting somewhere now. Remembering that my D-Link was configured with a static IP address, I go into the Linksys web configuration page (using Internet Explorer) and enter a few settings. Then I test—no Internet. Change this—test. Change that—test. The internet was dead as a door knob.
What do I do when things don’t work out? I go swimming. Or make some strong coffee. It’s important to take a step back and not get so caught up that you could really throw the stuff out the window—besides, I could hurt somebody, right? And end up paying for more stuff. Anyway, here come my two good friends online for some friendly banter and chat: Doris and Uncle Ian. It’s nice to chat with fellow geeks, exchanging our failures and successes. Not only that, I called the shop up, where I bought the router from. They gave some advice regarding the router settings, but unfortunately that didn’t work.
At this juncture, I’m like taking two steps back. I re-evaluate my current settings:
- My D-Link router was configured for a static IP address, and worked when the Linksys was taken out of the system. In other words, I could access the Internet.
- I did a factory reset of the Linksys. Opened up the Linksys web configuration page, and configured it to have a static IP address, together with a subnet mask, gateway, and my ISP’s DNS addresses.
- In Vista, I opened up the Network and Sharing Center > View status > Properties. Opened up Internet Protocol Version 4. In the General tab, I chose Obtain an IP address automatically and Obtain DNS server address automatically. Previously I had specified the IP address and DNS addresses (which did not succeed in allowing me to connect to the Internet). I just had to try every option.
- Click on OK and close all those windows. And what do you know—it works! The Internet is accessible once more, wonder of wonders.
Now please, don’t ask me why it works—I’m just glad it does! Which goes to show, perseverance and patience does pay off, even if it is a little delayed. Now excuse me while I go configure that USB adapter for my male offspring. That’s another story for another post.
It’s New Year’s Eve. The last day of 2008. I’m getting ready to go to the hotel. Hmm—what CD should I play in the car for this special occasion? I scan through my collection and settle on Sir Colin Davis’ extremely fine performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony (Choral) with the Staatskapelle Dresden. Universal brotherhood and all that stuff…it does make me feel good all over.
Come to think of it, I believe that the Internet has actually helped to create a sense of brotherhood in us humans. True, there’s some bad stuff in it, but certainly the good stuff triumphs. For instance, if you’re having a problem with your computer, one of the first steps would probably be to do a Google search and see whether other people have experienced the same thing and whether or not a solution has been found. Or perhaps you’d look it up in one of the thousands of forums (most of them are free to view and to sign up). Or failing that, IM (Instant Message) a friend to ask for help. Or use email (teenagers consider email old-fashioned nowadays).
The fact is, the Internet has become a godsend. Which is why I’ve become a little annoyed as the Internet has been sluggish since before Christmas. Seems that some undersea cables were severed near Italy, causing Internet services to be disrupted. It’s odd that Malaysia would be affected since you’d think our traffic would be re-routed via the Pacific. Now comes the big bummer—our traffic to North America is disrupted as well! Grr—but patience, patience. At first my ISP mentioned that everything would be back to normal by December 31, 2008. Now they’re saying it’ll take a few more days—hopefully by January 4, 2009. I can hardly wait.
Fortunately I can still access my blog and web sites, although they are hosted in the States. If not—!@#%!! The last time Internet services were disrupted was about two years back, when an undersea earthquake off the coast of Taiwan caused havoc. That created an immense slowdown in Internet services here. That was an unpleasant experience, to say the least.
Yes, call me an Internet junkie—millions of other people belong to this club as well. And I almost forgot—Happy New Year!