A Network Implementation Gone South

We were at the outset of entering the market, providing IT consulting and system integration services, when we were approached by this start-up incubator, claiming that they were having issues with internet connectivity at their premises, and that they had future plans which they wanted to be ready for when the time comes.

This start-up incubator hosts a wide array of workshops and events in support of the local entrepreneurship efforts. Upon first being exposed to the institution’s network topology, how they got there, and where they planned to go, we definitely had our work cut out for us. The client, at the time, had a number of internet connections, from a number of sources, each of varying throughputs, latency, and overall performance (sounds promising already, right???).

Unfortunately though, and as is the case with most clients today (and probably always) funds were limited, so we had to make do with as little expenditure as possible. So we began to scavenge the premise for whatever hardware we could get our hands on. We finally came out with a single half-decent PC, and a wired network infrastructure that seemed sufficient for the time-being.

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Why We Don’t Necessarily Need LTE

There are those who are pure enthusiasts, and there are others who get excited about technology but are still somewhat cautious. I admit that at one point in my life I was a pure enthusiast, however over the years I have come to learn that newer, and faster doesn’t necessarily mean better. With wireless technologies such as LTE, and LTE Advanced, making their way into the spotlight nowadays on mobile networks worldwide, I can’t help but question whether we really do need these new “faster” standards or not.

Industry standard LTE & LTE-Advanced trademarked logos.
Industry standard LTE & LTE-Advanced trademarked logos.

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#Twitter was Never About Tweeting… Apparently!

If you happen to be a Twitter user, or rather a “tweep”, then it’s very likely that you may have, at some point, come across posts giving advice about how to increase your number of followers… advice such as:

  • “Follow everyone who follows you.”
  • “Follow people who autofollow.”
  • “Make a good avatar.”
  • “Write up a good bio.”
  • “Tweet well and tweet often.”
  • “Post interesting links.”
  • etc.

This would all seem pretty logical, and then masses of Twitter users would (and actually do) follow such advice, day in and day out, tweeting at the oddest hours, racing to have the most creative tweet. But then comes a Twitter phenomenon such as Larry Ellison (@larryellison), the CEO of Oracle, who decides to go against all the norms and rules, by doing his own thing… and here it is:

A phenomenal tweep, @larryellison

I first found out about Larry from this post, “Shhhh, Larry Ellison’s about to tweet!” by GigaOM, which was posted just 20 hours ago. At that time, he had 0 tweets, 0 following and just 8,066 followers. Now, 20 hours later, he’s bordering on 24,000 followers, with ONLY ONE tweet!

So I guess the question is, do you really need to tweet in order to get followers?

From iPhone 3GS to iPhone 3GS+ [Part 1]

I’m going to be writing this series of posts “From iPhone 3GS to iPhone 3GS+” as a walk-through of my experiences of taking my current iPhone 3GS from its stock (Apple-imposed) settings to what I hope to be a better more powerful and less power consuming smartphone.

While I may have attempted to make some enhancements in the past for the battery life of my phone as I highlighted in my previous post, “Performance and Battery Tweaking Your iOS 5“, the differences were still not visible enough. Eventually I just got the feeling that this device that I pretty much have attached as an extension of my body is acting sub-optimally because its creators have decided to limit the use of its still very powerful hardware; not to mention that there are some annoyances in the UI/UX that I still cannot for the life of me figure out why they haven’t been removed/fixed. In spite of all this, I finally came to the decision to go ahead and jailbreak my iPhone, or as I like to call it now, myPhone.


Since I haven’t kept up with the “jailbreak scene” for almost a year+ now, my very first step was to go ahead and run over to find the latest version of redsn0w that’s available for the current iOS version (5.1.1). So I visited the one most trustworthy site regarding this info, iClarified, where I found a link to the latest version available for redsn0w. I finally find it and BAM! I read that this jailbreak for iOS 5.1.1 is still a tethered jailbreak (explanation here, for tethered vs. untethered jailbreaks). Lucky for me though, my iPhone is still running the old Boot ROM, which pretty much means that I don’t have to worry about tethered and untethered jailbreaks and so I went ahead and went through the steps to get my iPhone out of “jail”.

Step-by-Step Procedure to Jailbreak (courtesy of iClarified)

Step One
Create a folder on your desktop called Pwnage

Download the latest version of RedSn0w from here and place it in the Pwnage folder. Likewise, download the 5.1.1 firmware from here and place it in the Pwnage folder. (Note: you do not need to download the 5.1.1 firmware if you are already on iOS 5.1.1)

Extract the RedSn0w zip file by double clicking it.

Step Two: (Skip this step if you’re on iOS 5.1.1 already)
Connect your iPhone to the computer and launch iTunes.

Select your iPhone from the list of devices on the left. Now hold down Option and click the Restore button. Restore is preferred as it won’t create any wasted space on your iPhone.

Navigate to the Pwnage folder on your desktop and select the 5.1.1 firmware ipsw. Click the Choose button to continue.

iTunes will now update your iPhone to the new firmware.

Step Three
Launch the redsn0w application from the redsn0w folder we extracted earlier.

Step Four
Once RedSn0w opens click the Jailbreak button

Step Five
Plug your iPhone into the computer and make sure its OFF then click the Next button

Step Six
RedSn0w will now guide you through the steps to get into DFU mode. You can find more help with DFU mode here

Hold down both the Home button and the Power button for 10 seconds.

Release the Power button and continue holding the Home button until RedSn0w detects the device.

Step Seven
Your iPhone will now reboot

Step Eight
RedSn0w will prepare the jailbreak data.

Step Nine
Select Cydia from the list of options and click Next.

Step Ten
Your iPhone will now be rebooted again and RedSn0w will begin uploading the new RAM Disk and Kernel.

Step Eleven
Once this is complete you will be notified that RedSn0w is done. When your iPhone finishes rebooting (5 minutes or so) it will be jailbroken with Cydia on the SpringBoard.

A big thanks to the iPhone Dev-Team and Geohot for their hard work and contribution to the iPhone community and to iClarified for providing such a detailed step-by-step procedure for the jailbreak.


What’s Next?

In the upcoming posts of this series I will be writing about the various deficiencies that I’ve found in Apple’s iOS and how I was able to overcome them through some tweak(s) available in the augmented world of a jailbroken iOS.


Extra Note

When I successfully booted my very first Mac OS X installation (which evidently was on a Hackintosh and not a Mac) for the very first time, I was presented with a menu that every user who has booted a first-time install of a present-day Mac has seen; a very fitting and personal question querying what type of user you are in order to find out how to set up the system for you. This was mainly so that the OS X installer would know if it should go as far as installing the Xcode IDE or not, since if you’re not a dev, then you pretty much have no use for it. I personally like this approach, where a company takes the time to cater to it different user-base types. Unfortunately though, Apple do not do this for their other devices, such as the iPhone, iPad or any other device; interestingly enough though, Cydia does ask you this question to know what types of tweaks and packages to present to you, and that’s something I respect a lot.

Kingston SSD Revives a Frankenputer

Imagine you had a really old PC; one that you forgot even existed, and are pretty much afraid to even try and turn on, because you’re worried that it might just blow up or something. For a lot of us this isn’t much of an imagination, but rather more of a reality, as it was for me only until recently. A few months back, I got my hands on one of Kingston’s SSDNow V+200 drives, and decided I want to put it up to the test, first to make a point, and second to see what this bad boy is really made of and let’s just say that I was not disappointed… not in the least bit.

If you’ve been to my blog before, then you may have stumbled on a couple of my older posts “All for One and One for All” and “You Don’t Need All That Speed!“, which mainly cover the topic of how a lot of the times, when people invest in increasing the performance of certain systems they tend to be misguided and often lead to unsatisfactory results, when they could have spent less in other places and got a much bigger bang for their buck. So I set up a little challenge experiment, putting up a workstation that comes in at a hefty price, up against what I’ve come to refer to as my Frankenputer; here are the specs for each:

The Workstation (HP Z200 Workstation) Frankenputer (DIY PC)
Processor Intel® Xeon® X3460 Intel® Pentium® D Processor 820
Memory 8GB DDR3-1333 2GB DDR2-667
Main Disk Western Digital VelociRaptor SATA-II 10,000RPM (WD3000HLFS-60G6U2) 300GB 16MB Cache Kingston SSDNow V+200 90GB (SVP200S3/90G) SATA-III
Chipset Intel® 3450 Chipset Intel® 945G Chipset
Operating System Microsoft Windows 7 Enterprise 64-bit SP1 Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit SP1
Graphics NVIDIA Quadro FX 1800 ATI Radeon HD 2600 Pro
Estimated Retail Price $1,000 – $1,500 $330 – $350

It is worth noting that the Pentium D 820 from the Frankenputer is a first generation dual-core processor (the first of its kind) based on the NetBurst microarchitecture and does not really hold up to a present-day dual-core processor after the newly refined Core microarchitecture took over the processor market Also, the motherboard being used in the Frankenputer, based on the Intel 945G chipset uses an ICH7 Southbridge as a controller hub, which only supports up to SATA-II speeds, so the speeds of the Kingston SSD were actually limited by the SATA data channel that it was using for communication.

Anyways, enough tech spec talk, the main point’s that the Frankenputer is an archaic grandfather when compared to the HP Z200, but now with the addition of the Kingston SSDNow V+200, the Frankenputer may have just found its fountain of youth.

First Impressions

I currently work on the Z200 workstation on a daily basis, and as you can see from the specs above, it’s quite an impressive machine, relatively snappy and quick to respond and of course things look “pretty” with the slick Windows 7 UI. Not to forget mentioning that it’s all running on a quad-core processor and an ocean of 8 full gigabytes of RAM as well as a BLAZING fast 10,000 RPM hard drive… so I don’t see any reason for it to fall back on regular desktop performance, right? Makes the Frankenputer appear rather puny, wouldn’t you agree?

Well you’re WRONG!!!

Having sat and worked on both machines extensively over the past couple of months, I must say that the Frankenputer, which previously had trouble running Windows XP smoothly approximately half a decade ago, actually feels snappier now with its new guns.

As far as boot up times are concerned, the Frankenputer’s been on par with the Z200, but then you have yourself some applications such as Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, AutoCAD, as well as a hand-full of Adobe CS5.5 applications that load up to 20% to 30% faster on the Frankenputer. And just to make a note that when I say an application starts, I mean that it starts up and is ready to go, and not that its interface loaded up while it’s still loading modules in the background and is unresponsive for the first few seconds.

The Numbers

How is this possible you ask? Well let the numbers speak for themselves.

I ran HD Tune on both systems, a number of times and behold the mind blowing results below:

Disk Transfer Rates (Higher is better, much higher is kick ass)
Data Access Times (Less is better, much less is kick ass)

Not only are these numbers absolutely insane, but when you compare to your real-life experience on the machine you will sense the differences, because there’s nothing I can say that these numbers don’t say for themselves.

Moral of the Story

Think smart before your next investment decision. 😉

If you have any mind blowing performance stories like this one, feel free to share them as well. 🙂

P.S. imagine what this machine would be capable of if I were to run Ubuntu on it.