A Closer look at HyppTV for Streamyx & Mobile Devices

I was fortunate enough to be invited to TM’s exclusive preview for bloggers on their next big thing – which was HyppTV for Streamyx and for Mobile Devices. I am not going to bore you with the details , but what I am here is to share few nifty things on HyppTV for STB
TM is conducting trial runs for 8Mbps Streamyx users as we speak. The new STB (Setup box) has a WiFi card built in and as well supports regular ethernet connection . The setup box is much smaller compared to last time , but what attracted me is that the new box runs on Android
Yep , that’s right. I was amazed that TM decided to go with Android or linux instead of using some proprietary software . They have got this right – kudos. I’ll explain further on how probably TM (hope if they are reading this) can improve this new HyppTV and take it to the next level
The box itself has USB ports (you are able to connect USB drives , keyboard  and mouse and it works) , you have SPDIF/Out , HDMI , Ethernet connection and as well as WiFi
It also allows you to playback various different file formats. Yes 3GP is included and you know what that means right *wink* *wink* . It also supports mkv up to 1080p. So it doubles as a media entertainment box for you to playback movies. I am not sure if it supports DLNA that allows you stream content from your PC to the STB.
The device itself has 1GB of flash space , this is used for the OS and for TM to push new updates to the device.
Yes they have a few applications installed – mainly Calculator , E-mail and Internet Browser
The Internet Browser is the default browser (Chrome) that you get with Android phones .
Now I am not going to go much on HyppTV for mobile , but they have done a pretty amazing job that allows you to change channels on the fly without needing to go back and change. I’ll try to review it later if I get the chance
Now if folks from TM are reading this , there are few suggestions from me in order to make HyppTV the next-big-thing
1. Open up the market – kudos on using Android. Now get local developers (I mean Malaysian)  to develop applications. I think developing for Android is pretty easy thus allowing them to easily port it to HyppTV. This means that people can enjoy apps that they use in the phone as well. If possible get Google Play Store or probably come up with your own play store . Another example is would be for Muslims whereby it would send out push notification on prayer times which maybe handy dandy – i know such app exists in Android eco-system , bring it to the big screen 🙂  [UPDATE – Looks like HyppTV is hacked – Read more about it here ]
2. With Android it opens up a potential , now with a web camera + wireless keyboard and mouse , entire TV + HyppTV would be a skype box. It would be easier for kids who are overseas to easily communicate with their parents. Who wouldn’t mind seeing it in the big screen ? Instagram anyone ? Put these two in it and you have it
3. Make it accessible for hackers (like myself :P). We want to explore what this little device could do – probably we would root it , install Jelly Bean and tweak it. Please do this
I see that HyppTV is heading towards the right direction – combine that with content and ASTRO would have a serious competitor . What it means for me and you – more choices , more content , lesser price. We are the winner at the end of the day when there are lot of choices for consumers

A giant leap for TM !

Last Friday , TM invited me to a blogger and Twitteratti briefing and feedback session by TM where a selected people who TM considers influencers in the social media space were invited to share their feedback and to get our thoughts as well on certain issues , which I’ll be discussing in segments , so if it does not interest   you , just skip the to the part which interests you.
more after the jump and bear in mind its a very long post  !
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Changing Nameservers to OpenDNS

Lately I’ve noticed that Streamyxs DNS Server is over crowded and poorly maintained. This is the reason why it takes such a long time for the DNS servers to lookup the proper IP address for my domain and such. This is why it takes couple of minutes to load the page. The problem lies within their DNS Server. You may be thinking what is this DNS server that you keep on hearing. To translate it , it simply a yellow pages of the Internet. The concept is similar on how you would lookup for phone numbers in white pages or yellow pages. That’s how DNS works (you can take a look at this video to get the idea on how actually it works) 
Firstly when you key-in a web address , your Web Browser would send to the DNS server to be ‘translated’ into IP address so that it can connect to the server directly and fetch the content of the site for you. This is what DNS Server does , generally it translates domain names into IP Address. Now imagine this , what if its overloaded. Suppose if a DNS Server is able to handle 100 requests a day and all of a sudden surge in number of users who are using Internet – Bam the DNS server tears itself apart. That is why you have 2 DNS servers (one is a backup) and suppose if both fails . Then my friend , you’re in big trouble. This is what exactly happened to TM’s DNS Server couple of days ago. The server just wasn’t able to handle large number of requests and not to mention poor maintenance  by TM folks. Anyhow , the best remedy that I can think is by changing DNS Server. This usually solves the issue of not able to connect to a certain site , as generally some DNS servers only keep track of 1-2 IP address for a server whereas the server could have to 5 IPs . This is where OpenDNS comes into play. Its a way better managed DNS Server by people who do know how to manage. 

How Pharming Works (Credits : plynt.com) - Generally this is how users are "tricked' thinking that they are actually accessing a genuine banking website whereas he is actually accessing a fake/trap site

Not to mention that it has additional features that allows you to block certain sites (i.e pornographic , gambling sites) for free as opposed to using ISP’s filtering services which they charge you (In Malaysia , TM rips its customer by offering this service for a “nominal fee”) and not to mention OpenDNS  also alerts if the site is potentially dangerous or a fake site (i.e fake banking site) as we all do know that scammers and losers are on the lose trying to bait people to click sites which can potentially harm your PC or to collect your personal information. 
So what’s the catch you ask – If you’re Malaysia – chances are it takes a bit longer for you to load a site. However its a fair trade off , to speed , stability and not to mention additional things that OpenDNS has to offer. Setting up OpenDNS is fairly straight forward and their web-site offers on how to set it up for all platforms including mobile phones such as Windows Mobile powered phones , iPhone and even on how to set it up in your router !

TM's new package discrimination policy

Well it seems that TM is offering “good IPs” to its premium users (which is good news for me as I am a 4Mbps streamyx user) which is 218.111.x.x. For the first time in my life , I am getting 218.111.x.x IP. It was impossible for me to get this IP before , trust me – all I would be getting is 118.100.x.x , 115,.x.x.x, 124.13,x,x . Now all of a sudden I am getting good IP with good speeds for most of the International links such as to US ! It seems that TM is now practicing , price/service discrimination , the more you pay , the better the service would be. As in if you upgrade to 4Mbps/2Mbps , they would serve you better , as in giving you a new and better IP range. This issue was brought up by a MP in Parliament , if you want to take a look at it , then click on this link (it takes you to YouTube anyway). But again , this question remained unanswered.
So what concerns me most is that why TM is doing such a thing to 1Mbps/512Kbps/384Kbps users ? Is it because that they pay less so that they deserve to get a not-so good IP address or is it simply because that these class of users are commonly using the Internet to download copyrighted material via peer-to-peer networks such as Bit-Torrent. Only TM knows the truth. If you take a look for 4Mbps/2Mbps users , such as myself – limiting IP address allocation is kind of dangerous as in now your IP address allocation are limited.  There is an on-going discussion over here in lowyat.net . As for the speed of this newly allocated IP address , it seems to be pretty goof for US links as I am finally able to get 80%-90% of the subscribed speed for US sites
If you take a look , its amazing that I can 4Mbps for US sites. This shows that TM does indeed have the potential of giving good speeds to its customers. Unfortunately , due to the fact that they monopolize landlines , we would just have to accept whatever that they throw to us (You may want to talk about change and other alternative ISPs , but the only so-far which seems to be good is P1 – however that its wireless and the speed isn’t consistent at all)

Streamyx's New TOS

Firstly let me quote on the latest Streamyx’s Terms & Condition and later we will do the analysis (a.k.a “The Talking)

xv. Streamyx download and upload speed is guaranteed for local content access only. TM is not responsible for the low speed of either download or upload of international content access.
Source : http://www.streamyx.com.my/get_streamyx/get_streamyx.php?id=getstreamyx_package_Details 

So there you go folks. TM is not responsible if your download speeds are very slow when you access International links. In other words , you’ll be enjoying fast local link speeds ONLY. Your cries are in vain  – This is because lets face it. You’ll be calling their toll free number , ranting to them on how slow is their International link speed and you were unable to play your World of Warcraft with your US buddies or you got kicked out of your guild because of your crappy connection. Chances are , TM would just simply ignore it or just give you a standardized answer saying that their International links do have problems. Its the typical same ol’ excuse that we have been hearing for a very long time. Beating around the bushes , and giving the same excuse
What is it for us consumers ? Well we can’t really exercise our rights as TM monopolizes the whole landline broadband industry. They have the rights to adjust the price and the quality of broadband which they would like to supply. They could either over-sell it and still make a profit out of it or they could just simply increase the price and still make a profit out of it. Either way , they gain and we consumers , do lose out. I do agree that there are some advantages of monopoly such as helping the poor and needy (for instance , TM offers RM 20/44 package for those who can’t afford to fork out a lot of money for Internet as opposed to other providers (i.e P1 , Maxis) whereby their monthly commitment fees start from RM 60+) . But it does have a lot of disadvantages , I am sure you could list down all the disadvantages.
Basically , we’re pretty much screwed as there is no law in Malaysia that protects us (basically MCMC states that you must at least get 80% of the advertised speed for local links)  , the only way that we could express our thoughts is by visiting our Prime Minister’s blog and maybe give some suggestions or make our cries heard. Who knows – Our broadband might improve after that as I do see that our Prime Minister responds to some of our cries and trying his best along with his cabinet to form a better Malaysia ! I do think improving broadband connectivity here in Malaysia also should be one of his agenda – I’m sure it would make Malaysia proud !

Circuit fault caused the Slowdown – TM

First let me copy and paste the news from The Star. Read down for my comment and views. I am sure you do know my blogging style by now already !

PETALING JAYA: Streamyx broadband users will have to bear with sluggish surfing speeds until March 5 due to technical problems, according to a statement by Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM).
The statement said there has been a disruption of TM’s Internet services since Feb 18 due to circuit faults on the Asia Pacific Cable Network 2 (APCN2) between Malaysia and the United States.
Due to this, customers using Internet services may now experience slow browsing while accessing content hosted in the United States, said the statement.
Additionally, customers using Internet Protocol services such as Virtual Private Network (VPN) and other critical business applications linked to the United States may also experience some service degradation.
To alleviate the problem and ease the congestion, some links have been rerouted, TM said.
Source : The Star

Woah – Wait a second – since 18th February 2009 and now only they wrote it in the newspaper (as of in 25th February 2009). Well , I understand that it takes time for you to publish in a newspaper but how about at least keeping customers informed like JARING on their main web-site.  Anyway , two days I go I sent a letter to TM on this issue and asking politely a rebate from them as pretty much Internet is slow and they called me yesterday to verify my details and so on. I’ll let you know the outcome anyway don’t keep your hopes high as I think that they wouldn’t be giving the rebate streamyx users at all – but then you may never know !
Oh wait , I totally forgot. Im unable to access our own ISP page at all – TM’s net page (as of today – the 25th February 2009 at 5.59 pm)
Edit : Well its back up and finally they put a message about it !
Lastly , I urge you (if you’re having any sort of issues) to step forward and send a letter to MCMC , FOMCA and other organisations in order for them to investigate and at least give us a rebate. For me principal is important – as in how you take care your customers. Giving them this sort of information at the 11th hour wouldn’t be solving any kind of issues.  I feel pity those who use the Internet for assigmenets or for their business !

Its about time….

Its about time for us to take action and bring this matter to the hands of those who can rectify this issue. Lately as we all do know that ,their so-called International link problem is killing us and I think it has been a week already that we are facing this issue. Our cries are left unheard and all we can do and sit and vent our anger to the “knowledgeable” customer care representative of TM. I do know that most of us are students or business-oriented people who would seriously need the Internet to do their things and unfortunately it has hindered our progress to becoming someone great (Okay , that’s too much – think of it as a metaphor . I mean it did hinder our daily routine)

Basically this picture sums it up for us. Streamyx is slow as hell these days and if we don't do anything solid there is no point of us having broadband in the first place || (C) firedauz @ belachan

I do have couple of plans in my mind ,on which I am asking for your help to make it into a  success. If we , Malaysians (the rakyats) team up together and report this issue to MCMC and to other authorities  or even bringing it into the newspaper. What I am asking here is for TM to give us a rebate for the issues caused by them , which I think it is reasonable for us consumers as we are unable to access the Internet (basically only local sites do load fast)  , which again defeats the purpose of the Internet. So , what you can do is at least fire up an e-mail to the following people and report to them about this issue and ask them to give us all streamyx users a rebate . If we team up together as one team , we can certainly make an impact. But If  its only you and me , its nothing. I doubt they even entertain our requests.
Anyway here are the e-mail addresses that you should send this letter to :-

ceo[at]tmnet.com.my, gmmarketing[at]tmnet.com.my , aduan[at]cfm.org.my , aduanskmm[at]cmc.gov.my , fomca[at]fomca.org.my

If you want to take a look at a sample letter on how to write a formal e-mail to the folks over at TM , CFM and CMC. I would recommend you to head over to HeHeHunter’s site to get a rough idea on how to write a letter. Feel free to write as how you like – but keep in mind that it has to be formal !

Alternatively you may write in to newspapers such as The Star to voice out your anger and at the same time request TM to give us (its subscribers a rebate for their problem) . I do hope that you spread this message to your friends and family members and let us together make an impact for the better future of broadband here in Malaysia !
Feel free to vent our your anger here over at your suggestion or link to your site if you ever mention about this. Oh , yes I forget to mention you may copy and paste my message and the e-mail addresses provided here to your site to spread the message. I don’t even mind if you don’t give me a credit. Basically , all we want as a Malaysian is that a better Internet service just like our neighboring countries – Singapore  and Thailand !

TmNet 2Mbps/4Mbps Package is Now Nationwide

It seems that TmNet has finally launched their expensive and overpriced 2Mbps and 4Mbps service nationwide in West Malaysia. Well that means for those of you who are carving for 2Mbps or 4Mbps package. Now you have a choice. This is the official announcement which I am cutting and pasting it from here

Kindly be informed that Streamyx 2Mbps & 4Mbps (HSI) is available NATIONWIDE. The HSI packages will be available in selected location (where IPDSLAM resides). Service also will be provisioned based on outcome from technical testing at the point of installation. Packages that available in the system are as per below:
· Streamyx 2.0M (Streamyx Combo) – RM140
· Streamyx 4.0M (Streamyx Combo) – RM160

Firstly , we all do know that streamyx is overpriced and its congested as in a sense that bandwidth is being shared. TMNet also thorttles large bulk traffic such as BitTorrent and even YouTube traffic. From what I’ve heard from a guy who is with TM is that , this packages aren’t capped per username and at DSLAM (like your 512Kbps/1Mbps) , whereby its capped in DSLAM (aka the port) itself. This would be an advantage if you could get persuade the technician to cap at a higher speed. I was told that for 2Mbps package (if the line is good) , you could get capped at 2-3.5 Mbps – meaning that you’ll enjoy a faster speed and as for 4Mbps , you can get it capped up to 8Mbps. It depends how you deal with it
As for are there any differences and is it worth to upgrade. I’l lleave that up to you , read my first part of how to troubleshoot your connection here to check if your line is okay and then ask yourself if you’re sharing the connection with a lot of people or are you a heavy downloader. Most importantly , are you willing to pay for it. The quality of the service is remarkably questionable .
Nevertheless , I’ve signed up for 4Mbps and I’ll let you know the outcome if I am sucessful or not and if possible to see if I can get capped at a higher speed (and if the hypothesis holds true) !

Troubleshooting your ADSL Connection : Part 1

Every day , whenever I surf the Internet. I do see people complaining that their ADSL connection isn’t stable. They face the blinking DSL Light syndrome problem , frequent disconnection and other funny stuff. Now , if we take a look regionally (in Malaysia), people would just start to blame how bad is streamyx (our ADSL Service). They would just start to scream and call help desk which makes their blood pressure to raise and this could lead to other health problems. Trust me , there is no point of arguing how bad is their line when you don’t have the facts. In this section/part , I’ll be teaching you on how to diagnose your ADSL Connection and what the numbers do mean.
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Speeding up YouTube Videos

youtube-logoLately we all do know that sometimes YouTube video takes ages to buffer , as it could be the fact that its being throttled by your ISP , you’re having a slow connection or simply it could mean that you’re doing other stuff or you’re bandwidth is being shared by other application or reasons. Whatever your reasons can be , fear not there is a way of speeding up YouTube videos.
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