Tuesday, January 31, 2012

New Lossless Color Image Compression: ImageZero

A new lossless color image compression algorithm called ImageZero is being developed after the author has been dissapointed with the current algorithm available on the market.

By simply looking at the benchmarks results, it is quite remarkable:

Method File Size Compression Decompression
uncompressed 46380 KB - -
JLS 14984 KB 6.6 s 7.3 s
PNG 16256 KB 42.4 s 2.4 s
IZ 15496 KB 1.2 s 1.3 s   
I think this algorithm has a good chance to be further developed as it's now released as an open source project on gitorious.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Wasitup is Down

Was It Up, an online server status checker is now taken offline due to increased burden of keeping it to stay online. It was a good service and i believe everyone who uses this service will also think the same way.

It's a shame that this great service has to go offline until there's a new investor who can fund this project in the future. As for now, i'm using SiteUptime to monitor my server. It's not a real time though since it's a free service. If i choose the pro version, they will have a shorter time interval between each check.

Another service that i use is Pingdom Panel which is more customizable than SiteUptime. It also offers free service where users may add 1 domain and free 20 sms alerts.

Leap Year

Time does flies so fast. It's like that i have just started this semester and suddenly, i have come to third week out of 14 weeks for this semester. And it is the end of January. In the next two days, we will be coming to February.

What interesting thing in February? Well, we have Valentine days and there's a special event that happened generally once in four years, which is the Leap Year.

According to this article, women can propose to men. It was considered that as the day also had no legal status, it was reasonable to assume that tradition had no status, so women took advantage of this and proposed to the man they wanted to marry. This tradition is applicable for countries who forbids women to propose man during normal days, such as in Scotland

Sunday, January 29, 2012

DNSCrypt to from OpenDNS

OpenDNS has been known for years due to their service the public by giving a safe DNS service. So far, they have done a great job of protecting the DNS service and also ease parent's job to protect their children by avoiding unappropriate content to be seen by children under age.

They are now working to further enhance their service by introducing DNSCrypt, a new service which will solve the last mile problem that exists between user's computer and the ISP. Somewhere between this line, there can be a man-in-the-middle and DNS Spoofing attack. DNSCrypt solve this problem by securing your DNS request using cryptography so that it's secured by these kind of attack.

They have release the project's source on GitHub and you can start downloading it (only for Mac at the moment).

Have a look on the project's announcement to find out more about this project

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Wine 1.4 is Near

Wine, the project that enables users to run Windows application on Linux platform is now reaching a big milestone with 1.4 is getting frozen and the first RC version is out for public. The last major release was 1.2 and it was more than one year ago and since then, the developer has released a developer snapshot every two weeks and the last snapshot was 1.3.37 and now it has been replaced by 1.4-RC1.

We will have a final 1.4 release this year and i hope that it will be another great release as more and more Windows application is running on Linux, makes it easier for user to switch to Linux.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Mempodipper Bug

For those who's using Linux Kernel 3.x, there's a serious bug in the Linux Kernel which can be misued to have a local privilege escalation via suid which is well explained on this site.

The solution is quite easy: all you need is to upgrade to the latest Linux Kernel 3.2.2 and you should be safe.

Here's what you will get when you are running a vulnerable kernel:
bash-4.1$ ./mempodipper
=          Mempodipper        =
=           by zx2c4          =
=         Jan 21, 2012        =

[+] Opening socketpair.
[+] Waiting for transferred fd in parent.
[+] Executing child from child fork.
[+] Opening parent mem /proc/3765/mem in child.
[+] Sending fd 5 to parent.
[+] Received fd at 5.
[+] Assigning fd 5 to stderr.
[+] Ptracing su to find next instruction without reading binary.
[+] Resolved exit@plt to 0x80499e8.
[+] Calculating su padding.
[+] Seeking to offset 0x80499dc.
[+] Executing su with shellcode.
sh-4.1# id
uid=0(root) gid=0(root)

Quite nasty huh? So what are you waiting for? Go to the kernel site and grab the latest version (3.2.2 at minimum)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

KDe 4.8.0 is Out

KDE 4.8.0 is now released by the KDE developers and it's dubbed as a major release, no longer a maintenance update like the previous release. This new release brings a major improvements to all components, such as Plasma Workspaces, Applications, and as a Platform.

I have been running KDE 4.8.0 for few hours as i have just upgraded using AlienBOB's package on Slackware-Current and it feels so good. It's faster than previous release and i'm happy with it.

KDE 4.8.0 will shortly be landing in your Linux distribution, so just wait and see to feel it. With this release, KDE 4.8.x branch will start it's monthly-release journey starting on February where they will deliver a maintenance release.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Alsa 1.0.25 is Out

ALSA (Advanced Linux Sound Architecture) has just released a new major version after around one year without any update. This new major release brings a lot of changes to users along with many new drivers to extend support for new hardwares.

This package is also builds against the newer Linux 3.x kernels which is likely to be the default kernel being used in many Linux distributions released this year.

For those who wanted to see more detailed changes, please visit the changelog

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Absinthe Updated to Support Linux

Afte releasing Absinthe for Mac and Windows, the developer didn't stop at that point. They released an update for this tool and they even release this version that support Linux platform as well. So, basically from this moment, you can use Linux to jailbreak your A5 devices and no longer dependent on Windows/Mac.

Unfortunately, iTunes for Linux is not going to be available as Apple willy only support Windows and Mac for the time being (and probably forever).

File Hosting Status Updates

After Megaupload is taken down by the FBI, the rest of the file hosting services are just as anxious as the prior because they could be the next victim of this process.

Here's the status updates from the rest of the file hosting i got from Fiohnel Fiver on Google+:

  • MegaUpload - Closed.
  • FileServe - Closing does not sell premium.
  • FileJungle - Deleting files. Locked in the U.S.
  • UploadStation - Locked in the U.S.
  • FileSonic - The news is arbitrary (under FBI investigation).
  • VideoBB - Closed! would disappear soon.
  • Uploaded - Banned U.S. and the FBI went after the owners who are gone.
  • FilePost - Deleting all material (so will leave executables, pdfs, txts)
  • Videoz - closed and locked in the countries affiliated with the USA.
  • 4shared - Deleting files with copyright and waits in line at the FBI.
  • MediaFire - Called to testify in the next 90 days and it will open doors pro FBI
  • Org torrent - could vanish with everything within 30 days "he is under criminal investigation"
  • Network Share mIRC - awaiting the decision of the case to continue or terminate Torrent everything.
  • Koshiki - operating 100% Japan will not join the SOPA / PIPA.
  • Shienko Box - 100% working china / korea will not join the SOPA / PIPA
  • ShareX BR - group UOL / BOL / iG say they will join the SOPA / PIPA
Japan, China and Korea have a say NO to the FBI and that even if laws are passed in the USA will not have any value within the sovereignty of their countries!

P/S: mediafire has start deleting copyright protected files. Only left is the personal files.

Back to Normal Activities

It's Tuesday and it's now time to move on to normal activities after a long weekend and of course a Chinese New Year celebration yesterday where i spent the whole day with my wife visiting our relatives to greet them.

As always, Tuesday is one of my two bussiest day in a week, so i should get prepared for anything that could happened today. One positive thought i have is that i will be teaching my favorite courses, so there's nothing to worry about it.

For those who live in the Western area, enjoy your Chinese New Year celebration with your family

Monday, January 23, 2012

New Feature

I have just added a new feature in Indonesian Linux Forum which is RSS feed that can be customized based on each account. This feature was requested by Walecha on his Twitter posts (here and here) to me and i find quite a nice mod called SmartFeed which is available for phpBB3 engine and it's quite customizable, suited for my need.

I downloaded the mod and upload it to the server and start installing it. The installation is very straightforward, but there are a lot of steps to be done in order to complete this process. Don't worry, everything is well written on the documentation file, so don't be lazy to read it.

After completing all the steps, the final step must be done manually, which is to refresh all the templates, stylesheets, and imagesets for the current theme. Basically this will delete all cache entries and force every users to get a copy of the latest file from the server again so that they will see the new feature.

This feature is very customizable and it's based on user preferences. Meaning that every users might choose their's preferences. For example, i might be interested to see only posts from Slackware section and not the rest. It's also possible to set the time intervals between updates or the display method of the RSS. Try it for yourself and let me know if you have any problems with this new feature

Let's just say this is my gift for this Chinese New Year event. I hope all of the members enjoy this feature and happy holiday

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Absinthe for Windows Platform

Oh my... less than 24 hours and Absinthe for Windows has been released by p0sixninja and the Chronic DevTeam and it's ready to make your dream come true: having an A5 devices jailbroken with untethered mode.

Using Absinthe is way easier than Redsn0w or any other jailbreaking tools, since you only need to plug the devices and hit the button once (yes, once). It will do it's magic automatically and when it's done, you can safely reboot your devices and got the untethered.

Small warning, taken from FreakGeeks
Important notice for those who are wishing to get the iPhone 4S unlock, don’t update your device to the latest iOS 5.0.1 because the iPhone DevTeam has announced that they got a exploit for the iPhone 4S unlock. So stay on the iOS 5.0 with the very first buggy baseband. The iOS 5.0.1 Absinthe also works on the iOS 5.0, that means you can jailbreak your device while staying at iOS 5.0.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Performing Untethered Jailbreak on Windows

For Windows users that have been waiting for the untethered jailbreak on A5 devices, the wait is not over yet, since the developers only released Mac version of Absinthe, the tool that can jailbreak A5 devices (iPhone 4S and iPad 2).

Well, few hours later, the developer has released a CLI-only tool that also works for Windows, but it requires more technical skill than the GUI version. Head over to FreakGeeks for the tutorial on how to jailbreak using CLI in Windows.

Please always remind yourself to perform the backup before proceeding with this process

Untethered Jailbreak for A5 Devices

Finally, the untethered jailbreak for A5 devices (iPhone 4S and iPad 2) is out after pod2g find his dream team (iOS hacker teams, the iPhone DevTeam and Chronic Dev Team) were joining in to get this jailbreak come true. The combination team released a new tool called Absinthe.

FreakGeeks has posted a short tutorial in order to have your iDevices jailbreaked along with a video tutorial just in case it's your first time jailbreaking an iDevice.

Along with this release, new version of Cydia is also released (1.1.4) with supports for the new A5 untethered jailbreak devices.

As always, first try is not always a perfect one, so FreakGeeks has mentioned some known problem when you try to perform this actions and how to fix it. The developers has released an updated version of Absinthe to fix this problem.

My suggestion is that for few days until it has calm down a bit and then start performing your upgrade. There are too many people who have waited for this jailbreak and they will cripple the servers in no time. Just update to iOS 5.0.1 first and then you can start your upgrade process later. Be sure to make a backup of your data first, because everything can go wrong and you can't blame the developers for that kind of problems.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Megaupload is Down

One of the biggest file sharing, Megaupload has been taken down by FBI because they take financial advantage from illegal files that are being shared by their users and also from advertising (up to $175 million). Even though they have signed up DMCA agent with the US government, provide an abuse tool, and given rightsholders access, they are still taken down by the FBI.

This event doesn't stop like that. While most users that have Megaupload premium account can't do anything about it, Anonymous group launched a retaliation attack to several US sites, such as DoD and Universal Music Group. They will launch another attack on MPAA and also on White House, and probably many US sites in the future.

If Megaupload can be taken down so easy, what about the others? There are still a lot of file sharing services out there that have the same (or similar) business process with Megaupload, but they are still operating at this moment.

Online Again

Some websites has came back to operational after they shut down their services for 24 hours due to anti-SOPA campaign. The campaign itself demonstrated what would happened if those websites are taken down due to intellectual or patent infringement just because one of their users post an information on that site.

It's really frightening to imagine what would happened about Internet's future if this bill is approved by the Congress? Innovation will start to decrease and Internet will not be the same as it is right now.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Many web sites are closing their operations due to SOPA that are now being reviewed by the US Congress, including Wordpress and Wikipedia. They are two of many web sites that disagrees with SOPA along with many other organizations around the world.

It seems that if this bill is passed, the US government will have an ultimate power to control many web sites and behave like China's great firewall. We will have to wait until the review process is done and see the results.

For those who wanted to prepare for the worst, please have a look on DeSopa (DNS Evasion to Stop Oppressive Policy in America) plugins for Firefox

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Fedora Packages Announced

Fedora users will soon be able to find Fedora packages easier as their engineer, Máirín Duffy has introduced Fedora Packages website, a place where you can find the source of a package, including all patches and RPM spec files which can be used to build the package. It also contains all the changelog has been made to the repository so users can track what has been changed in the latest build.

Another new website that was introduced along with Fedora Packages is Fedora Tagger, which can be used to add tags to packages. The developers hope that lots of packages will be tagged, thus making it easier for developers and users to find specific software.

Read the detailed information along with the official announcement and photos here.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Three Sessions in a Row

Tuesday and Wednesday will be my busiest day in a week since i have three classes in a row and i will skip my lunch. Luckily, i have taught that classes before, so i don't really need to prepare too much a night before.

The only new class for me for this semester is the Information Technology Architecture in which i will discuss a variety of computer system architecture out there in the Internet.

New ISOs: pcBSD 9.0

As promised, i finally finished downloading pcBSD 9.0 ISOs and i have put them on my ISO Server. You will not get the complete ISOs on the server, but i only downloaded the DVD and also full USB ISOs. The only reason for this is lack of space and also people like the full edition much better than the slim edition.

Enjoy the pcBSD 9.0 ISO and feel the power of FreeBSD on your desktop

ReFS, new File System from Microsoft

Microsoft has introduced ReFS (Resilient File System), a new filesystem built on top of NTFS, which will be part of Windows Servers 8 that focuses on storage only.

Taken from TheVerge:
The main advantages of the new file system include the ability for Windows 8 to detect all forms of disk corruption, data striping support for performance, and an allocate on write model known as copy-on-write. Microsoft has used copy-on-write (COW) concepts in its SQL Server products and Volume Shadow Copy Service previously, enabling quick snapshots of large data sets.
ReFS cannot be used on removable media, nor can it be used to boot an operating system — it's simply for storage right now. Microsoft says the new file system will only be introduced as part of Windows Server 8, but Windows 8 client will be able to access and read ReFS volumes until it's fully supported in client operating systems in the future. 
I wonder when will this filesystem be available on Linux kernel as well. In the past, Linux communities has managed to work with FAT32 and NTFS very well and they are now considered stable and mature enough to be used in production machines.

I believe Windows 8 will be a hot topic when it came out later. Not only they will use new filesystems, new design, but also new controversial policy of UEFI which will force vendors to lock their product to Windows product only, disabling users to install another operating system.

SE Android

Once upon a time, we had SELinux, and now, we have SE Android, a security enhanced version of Google's Android operating system. It came from USA's NSA which deals with this kind of area.

By enabling SELinux functionality on Android, they hoped to isolate and prevent privilege escalation by applications, but it still can't help users against kernel vulnerabilities and misconfiguration of the security policy.

SEAndroid is only available as source and is built by cloning the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) git repository, and then applying the SE Android modifications from the project's git repository.

Please have a look on the presentation by Stephen Smalley of the NSA in 2011 Linux Security Summit for more detail.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Keeping Plugins Up To Date

Plugins in browser is like a double-edged sword. In other side, it can enhance your browser's capabilities, but in the other hand, it could be a gateway to attack your system. The only solution is to use the latest version and stay up to date.

Mozilla Firefox has been quite nice to have a Plugin Check service which allows us to check our plugins. All you need is to visit the site and it will list all the plugins you have on your system. Another service that you can use and it's very easy to use is Browser Check from Qualys. Both are working in Linux platform as well (and probably Mac OS X too, but i don't have Mac-based machine, so i will leave it to anyone who can confirm this).

New ISOs: FreeBSD 9.0

FreeBSD 9.0 has been released and last night, i started to download the ISOs via torrent and they are now completed and has been placed in the proper place in our ISO Server. Please enjoy the ISO collection if you are a FreeBSD users.

You might want to see the release announcement to see what changes has been included in this release. Please note that i only provide the MD5SUM checksum, which i think is enough. No one would tamper the ISOs that big just to inject small malicious code. It's not worthed i guess.

My next target will be PC-BSD 9.0, which is also based on FreeBSD 9.0. I hope to complete this download by tonight and it will be ready by tomorrow. For now, please enjoy the FreeBSD 9.0

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Arrived in Jogja

I have just arrived in Jogja few hours ago after i spent three days in Jakarta with my wife and my mother-in-law visiting my first nephew (my sister's first son). We took Lion Air airways for this trip and it was my first Lion Air flight without any delays. Just because there were a group got late, our flight got postponed for a few minutes.

The trip to Jogja was quite nice, except that there were some bumps due to cloudy weather. The pilot said that we might be redirected to Surabaya due to bad weather in Jogja, but he would make an approach first. Finally, the weather was cooperating and we could land in Jogja safely.

It's my last day of holiday and as of tomorrow, i will start working again and with a new semester (and also new students), i guess it would be a perfect timing to have a fresh start again.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Power Consumption Fixes in Linux Kernel 3.3

Since 2011, Linux users has been suffering from power consumption in most Linux distribution (most likely Ubuntu-based) that were released using previous version of Linux Kernel prior to Linux Kernel 3.2. This problem has been spotted by Michael Larabel from Phoronix and it was traced down to ASPM bad handling on Linux that are not the same as in Windows.

Since then, so many efforts has been spent on fixing this problem, and Matthew Garrett is one of the developer who is working on this problem. He finished the rework of the ASPM code, but then the merge window for Linux Kernel 3.2 had been closed by Linus and he was strict about it. So the work must be postponed for the next release and here we are. Since the merge window for Linux Kernel 3.3 is now open, Jesse Barnes had asked Linus to pull his work which contain the ASPM reworked code by Matthew.

Since many Linux distribution that will be released this year will be based on Linux Kernel 3.2 (Ubuntu and Fedora for example), this feature will not be included unless the developer back-ported this patch into their kernel stock.

It's good to know that this problem is finally resolved and only a matter of time before the kernel gets released by Linus and users may enjoy the benefit of this work.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Linux Mint 12 KDE RC

Linux Mint 12 was a phenomenal release and the lead developer wanted to continue his work by working on KDE-based Linux Mint release. He has just released the Release Candidate version for the upcoming Linux Mint 12 KDE which is based on Kubuntu 11.10, but with the latest KDE version available, KDE 4.7.4.

This version comes as a Hybrid ISO, which means you can simply use the "dd" command or a graphical frontend to make a bootable USB stick with no efforts which acts exactly like a liveDVD.

There are some known issues on this release which are mentioned on the release notes. Please read them to know the solution for those problems.

Linux Kernel 3.2.1

If you are having problems with USB-based flash drives after upgrading to Linux Kernel 3.2, then you are not alone. My workstation would ended up kernel panic when i insterted my flash drive, works with it, and then unmount it.

There's a new stable kernel released by Greg which happened to have a lot of usb fixes. Hopefully this update works like charm to fix my problem (and yours). Strange thing is that it didn't happen on my desktop. All flash drives are working just fine.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

PHP 5.3.9 Released

PHP 5.3.9 is now released by PHP Team and it includes security fixes and other numerous changes to improve the overal quality of PHP. There are two security enhancements in PHP 5.3.9:
  • Added max_input_vars directive to prevent attacks based on hash collisions. (CVE-2011-4885)
  • Fixed bug #60150 (Integer overflow during the parsing of invalid exif header). (CVE-2011-4566)
For those who wanted to stay up to date with security update, please update to this version as soon as possible. For those who wanted to try the major update will have to wait until PHP 5.4 comes out later on.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

More Variants on LTS Release

The Ubuntu Technical Board has approved the proposal of adding more variant to the LTS release on next release (12.04). Those variants includes Kubuntu, Edubuntu, and Xubuntu. The new LTS support will last for five years for both desktop and server, enabling organizations to have longer support on their workstations.

The release schedule for Precise Pangolin has been written on their Wiki pages and people still have high expectation on this release because it's a LTS release and Canonical has a tradition to bring alot of improvements on each release of Ubuntu. Meanwhile, they also have a track record of introducing technologies that are not yet ready for prime time or confuses their users. Let's hope Canonical will not commit the same mistakes again for this LTS release.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Upgrading to Linux Kernel 3.2

Last night, i compiled Linux Kernel 3.2 on my desktop at home and after i confirmed it's working on my desktop and make sure everything is OK, i tried to reproduce the same configuration to my workstation which was currently still running Linux Kernel due to kernel panic if i tried to upgrade to higher kernel version up to Linux Kernel 3.1. What a weird bug. I suspect there's a problem with RTC back then.

I used the same configuration i used at home with slight changes into the ethernet driver and that's all. Everything else is the same and i left my machine compiling while i went to bed. Today, i went to the office and reboot the machine and what a suprise. It didn't give me a kernel panic anymore. It works flawlessly. All i need was to reinstall VirtualBox and apply the patch in order for VMWare to work (see my previous post for this).

Thanks for Linus to bring this release so that i can now let go of the old Linux Kernel on my machine. I have been trying to get rid of this kernel for some time, but it ended with a kernel everytime.

Linux Kernel 3.2 Released

After spending for about 2,5 months in development tree, finally the final version of the next Linux kernel is released by Linux Torvalds in January 2012. As usual, there has been a lot of new exciting stuffs in this new kernel after being cooked by thousands of developers for the last 2.5 months around the world. Here are some of them (Taken from KernelNewbies):
For those who would like to see if their new hardware can be detected by this version, have a look on the Driver page.

Monday, January 09, 2012

VMWare Workstation 8 and Linux Kernel 3.2

I have just completed compiling Linux Kernel 3.2, the latest release of Linux Kernel which was released early this month. Like always, new major release brings a lot of improvements which can be seen in KernelNewbies.

For those who would like to compile Linux Kernel 3.2, please pay attention when it comes to ethernet drivers. You must make sure that you have written down your ethernet card vendor as the configuration will ask you again and if you failed to answer (by typing no or picking the wrong vendor), you will end up with no ethernet driver loaded and if you are connected to the Internet using a wire, then you are out of connection. Luckily it can be solved by just recompiling the kernel and load the new module.

New kernel means new patch for VMWare and i have confirmed that a patch from Weltal's Blog is working like charm. All you need is to apply the patch included and it should go just fine. Please change the version according to the VMWare Workstation or VMWare Player version installed on your machine.

In case you find this error:
/tmp/vmware-root/modules/vmmon-only/linux/iommu.c: In function ‘IOMMU_AdjustMappings’:
/tmp/vmware-root/modules/vmmon-only/linux/iommu.c:180:4: error: implicit declaration of
function ‘iommu_found’ [-Werror=implicit-function-declaration]
/tmp/vmware-root/modules/vmmon-only/linux/iommu.c: In function ‘IOMMU_RegisterDevice’:
/tmp/vmware-root/modules/vmmon-only/linux/iommu.c:415:7: error: too few arguments to 
function ‘iommu_domain_alloc’
include/linux/iommu.h:68:29: note: declared here
Then, you can fix this problem by :
cd /usr/lib/vmware/modules/source
tar -xvf vmmon.tar
cd vmmon-only/linux/
vi iommu.c
add this in top part of the file
#include <linux/pci.h>
#define iommu_found() iommu_present(&pci_bus_type)
#define iommu_domain_alloc() iommu_domain_alloc(&pci_bus_type)
then finish it by saving it and then:
cd /usr/lib/vmware/modules/
rm vmmon.tar
tar -cvf vmmon.tar vmmon-only/
vmware-modconfig --console --install-all
That's it. You can start your VMWare and voila... it's working again.

MU Advanced in FA Cup

Manchester United got their revenge to their rival, Manchester City after crushing them at their home base, Etihad Stadium in Manchester, in the third round of FA Cup, the oldest competition in England.

The game was likely to be an easy win for United as they managed to get 0-3 in the half time, but City struck back with 2 goals in early second half and few minutes later. After the two goals, City couldn't add more goals and United won the game to advance to the next round where they will meet another EPL club, Liverpool.

In the EPL title, MU is 3 points behind City and the race will continue next week. We surely hope for the best for our club, be it Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, or any other EPL clubs out there.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Integrated Parking System

During my trip to Singapore, i noticed that in Singapore, you can see how many empty parking spaces in several famous places on the streets because they put the information on a digital panels. The information is updated everytime there's a new car entering or leaving the place, so it's a real time update.

The concept is simple, but the visitors who are planning to go there can take the benefit of this features and decide whether it's a good option to go there or not. Why waste your time and money if there aren't any empty space for you to park your car (unless if you want to use public transportation such as buses or trains).

Since cars are not that much in Singapore due to strict car life cycle regulation, the numbers displayed is always over 500 and sometimes it even reach 1000 for big places, such as Suntec.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Traffic Jam and Regulation

We all know that Singapore is very strict with it's regulation. One of them is car life cycle policy. If i'm not mistaken, private cars are only allowed to be used for five years. After that, they should pay higher taxes which is only payable and feasible for rich people.

By doing this, they basically control the number of cars available in Singapore so that there are no traffic jam everywhere,just like in Jakarta. From my previous two visits in Singapore, i never saw any crodwded street at all, but guess what? I experienced it today. The reason? It's clear.

In the next few weeks, there will be Chinese New Year celebration and Singapore is one of those countries where most of it's population were Chinese. During Chinese New Year, most shops closed down, so most tourist go to Singapore before the main day to buy many items sold nowadays. There are a lot of promotions during these days just before the big day.

So, even with those strict regulation, traffic jam is still unavoidable. What about Indonesia which doesn't have those kind of regulations? No wonder traffic jam is everywhere....

Apple's New Products?

There are a lot of rumors speculating about iPad 3 and iPhone 5 since the last few months. It's quite normal since Apple usually release a new product on January. Apple is known to held a press release on late January (source: PCWorld) and many people believe that they will announce a new product at that moment. Meanwhile, other report stated that Apple will announce a new product on February 24 at Steve Jobs' birthdate.

The rumors are getting hotter and hotter each day as the prime time is getting closer and closer. As usual, Apple's spokeperson never give any spoilers to anyone. Only time can tell what news will Apple bring to it's loyal customers.

You can see some of the features that might be included in iPad 3 and iPhone 5. Remember that this is only speculations, based on many sources, but it's not 100% accurate until Apple announced it officially.

Chrome 17 Enters Beta

Google Chrome 17 has entered Beta channel, which means we're one step closer to released version. On this version, the developer are aiming for something that they have done well in the past: speed and security.

Google are doing a great job in enhancing the speed of Chrome. This time, they take one step further by pre-render the URL that was typed within the address bar. Chrome did this by (probably) fetching URLs that you visited most in the past. For example, you used GMail and when you type G, it would try to read ahead gmail's web page and render it to you, so when you completed gmail.com and press the ENTER key, the rendered page gets displayed instantly. Although it's a good technique, but it must also be supported by the Internet connection. What good is it if the connection is poor? Everything get wasted.

As for the security part, Google Chrome enhanced it by adding more extensions to it's Safe Browsing watch list: .exe and .msi. If Chrome encounters those two extensions supplied by the web site to the users (for example a fake anti virus), it will shows a warning to it's users.

We should expect Google Chrome 17 gets released in late January or early February.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Second Visit to Universal Studio

Joy, excitement, and new experiences. These are the three things i got during my second visit to Universal Studio in Singapore today. My first trip to UVS was in October with my wife. At that time, we didn't have any experience on visiting UVS, but luckily, we got almost all of the big shows during our visit.

Today, we went there again with my mother-in-law, my sister-in-law, her husband, and her 20-months daughter. We didn't complete all of the places, because there were more people coming with us, so we got delayed for some time, but since we have seen most of the shows, we skipped some of the attractions which we though it wasn't too interesting to see.

We had some new photos with the movie characters that we didn't get in our first trip, such as Po (Kungfu Panda), Frankenstein, Betty Boop, and Joker. I also played Battle of Galactica and Return of the Mummy, two jet-costers attractions which i didn't play previously. It was a fun and thrilling experience. It's not for everyone. It's for those who have good health and brave enough to pump their adrenalin to the maximum level. Honestly, i didn't brave enough to take the blue ride (Cyclon) as it's more aggressive and includes many twist in the air.

I also enjoyed Transformer The Ride, one of the new attractions that were opened last December 2011. It wasn't available when was coming in October. It was a magnificent attractions and i loved the show very much.

All the great experienced was closed by a wonderful water attractions in Waterfront, called Crane Dance. Different with Songs of the Sea, this attraction is free of charge.

In overall, i'm impressed with RWS. One ticket for all (excluding your own expenses on food, drinks, and gifts). I would recommend you to have express ticket to save more time queuing. SGD 30 is worth spent to save you from frustration and time.

One last interesting thing from my second visit was that there was a wedding celebration held in UVS at 7 PM and the couple has booked the whole New York are for their wedding took place. Guess what? They have the same initials as me and wife do, W&M. We took a picture for that.

Ads on Installous

If you used a jailbroken iOS devices, such as iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch, and you are using Installous 4 to install "free" apps, you might notice that there's a new CAPTCHA form before the redirector sent you to the download page.

The reason why there's a new CAPTCHA is because Apple was sending a takedown notice to AppTrackr (where most people send their cracked iOS apps and publish it to other people whose devices are already jailbroken) and therefore, the developer had to move the servers outside US so that Apple can't sue them for copyright issues. The problem came along with the funding as moving to another server means more cost to spend and they needed some money to do that. So, they put a safe ads on the CAPTCHA form to raise some money and hopefully it can cover their expenses of providing those services to most users.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Low Cost PC in 2012

Last year (2011), a new computer project called Rasberry Pi started to rise in the community news and it's gaining a big momentum as the economy crisis strucked everywhere, forcing people to tighten their expenses.

It's a tiny computer with ARM architecture which should cost you not more than USD 25 each. So cheap compared to any other vendor-based PC out there. They performed an auction for 10 boards at the end of last year and it has been sold out. Seems the antusiasm was quite high.

Even though it's a low-spec PC, it can handle such quite heavy game as well. Business Insider reported that a man is playing Quake 3 in 20 frames per second at a 1920 by 1080 pixel resolution

Several Linux distributions are looking forward to support ARM architecture, including Slackware. Slackware has it's own official ARM port called ARMedslack. Eric Hameleers and Stuart Winter (the maintainer of ARMedslack) is willing to tweak this port in order to be able to install on Rasberry Pi devices. Eric is now working to add Java support on ARM architecture by sending OpenJDK SlackBuild script which should be installable on ARM architecture as well.

For those interested about Rasberry Pi, please have a look on the video below

Untethered Jailbreak for A5 Devices

Good news for you who owns iPhone 4S and iPad 2 devices, as Pod2g has mentioned on his Twitter account that he made some progress on bringing untethered jailbreak for this devices and he will likely release the results within one or two weeks from now.

He's testing it on more devices to make sure they are working as intended. Let's hope for the good news from them

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Scribus Major Release

Scribus, one of the most famous open source application for desktop publishing is now releasing a major release after several years of development. Every users that have been using Scribus 1.3.x series will be happy with this good news since it has more than 2000 feature requests and bugs fixed since the development of this new version started.

I would like to mention some of the major highlight on Scribus 1.4 taken from it's Release page :

  • 1.4.0 is based on the Qt4 application framework, thus Scribus now runs equally reliable on all supported platforms.
  • Scribus now provides install files for Mac OS X 10.5 or later (DMG or pkg format), as well as a native version for OS/2 Warp 4 and eComStation.
  • Feature enhancements to object handling (e.g. transform tools like in advanced drawing programs), with improvements to existing features like the Scrapbook and the Image Manager.
  • Many advanced options for text and typography, like character styles, optical margins, or glyph extension. Undo/Redo is finally available for almost all text-related actions, and a new script enables replacing straight quotes with typographical quotation marks based on language settings. Usability improvements include better cursor placement and movement, faster layout on canvas and interaction between linked frames.
  • New features for vector objects, like Boolean path operations, vector effects or a line style editor.
  • Major improvements to the handling of fills, like pattern fill, more gradient types, support for external color palette formats (AI, EPS, GPL, PostScript, SOC), and many new color palettes, including those from commercial vendors like Resene and dtp studio, as well as national/government standards.
  • A new frame type called "Render Frame" allows for rendering (and subsequently export) the output of every program that can create PostScript, PDF or PNG files via the command line (e.g. LaTeX, Lilypond, POV-Ray) inside Scribus.
  • Vector import filters: Scribus 1.4.0 provides new import filters for the following file formats: Adobe Illustrator (both EPS and PDF-based), Macintosh Picture (PICT), Windows Metafile (WMF), Xfig (FIG), Calamus Vector Graphics (CVG), Kivio Stencils (SML), and DIA Shapes (SHAPE).
  • Handling of Photoshop files has seen many major improvements, like support of multiple clipping paths or PSD layers. The Image Manager has been rewritten, and new non-destructive image effects have been added. Moreover, Scribus 1.4.0 now supports EXIF data in images, and import of Windows and OS/2 bitmaps (BMP) has been re-enabled.
  • Among the major enhancements to Scribus's pre-press features, printing marks and the display of ink coverage in the Print Preview are the most important. In addition, Scribus now enables conversion of spot colors to process colors during PDF and PostScript export with a single click.
  • Scribus can now export to PDF 1.5, including PDF layers. Another new feature is the option to embed EPS and PDF files in exported PDFs as an alternative to rasterizing them.
  • Scribus 1.4.0 now supports both littleCMS version 1 and 2.
  • Scribus Team has added a feature to emulate color blindness on screen.
  • Hundreds of minor and major usability improvements have been added.
  • The included scripts have been updated, including the addition of the "Autoquote" script in the Script menu to convert straight quotes in a text frame to correct quotation marks for many languages.
  • Scribus 1.4.0 is being shipped with many more templates than previous versions.
If you plan to compile your own Scribus package on your Linux operating system, please take a look on the Compilation page as they now switch to CMake and leaving Makefile as they now are Qt-based. For Windows and Mac OS X, there's no need to worry as they ship the native format for those platforms.

    Tuesday, January 03, 2012

    Playing With JoliCloud

    Have you ever wanted to try Google Chromebook but you expected something cheaper than having to buy the whole hardware just to feel the experience of having cloud-based operating system?

    Well, you can try Joli OS from JoliCloud which is also free and it's available as a single, independent operating system or for you who can't be separated with Windows, you can try to use Joli OS which can be installed as dual boot option.

    One advantages that Joli OS has compared to Google Chromebook is that you can access your system via a browser (via MyJoliCloud) and basically you can get the similar settings in your laptop since every data and settings are synchronized to Joli's server.

    You can add apps into your system and it will be available on your dashboards as well (some apps only works locally, so you need to install them on your laptop/desktop).

    I wanted to use this operating system as one of the examples in my Operating System course this semester. I hope the students gets a new idea of using an operating system rather than the boring Windows/Linux/Mac thing.

    Monday, January 02, 2012

    Online Security Class

    Stanford and Berkeley university will hold an online Security Class next February with Professor Dan Boneh, John Mitchell, and Dawn Song as the instructors.

    In this class you will learn how to :
    • Design secure systems 
    • Write secure code
    • Find vulnerabilities in code 
    • Design software systems that limit the impact of security vulnerabilities
    • Building secure systems
    All of them will be added with several topics such as :
    • memory safety vulnerabilities
    • techniques and tools for vulnerability detection
    • sandboxing and isolation
    • web security
    • network security
    • malware detection and defense
    • mobile platform security
    More and more universities are offering accredited online college classes on specialized subjects. For those who's interested in Cryptography can also join the Cryptography class which will be hosted by Dan Boneh from Stanford. The class starts in January, so be quick to sign up.

    The online class is free!!

    Update (March 3, 2012): The class has been postponed until further notification from Stanford due to some technical problems.

    Sunday, January 01, 2012

    Migrate or Not

    Blogspot team has been kind to it's user by providing a lot of improvements over time, mostly related with themes by the addition of Template Designer, which allow users to change their layout using a simple and easy to use user interface. They introduced seven new themes in Dynamic Views and that has totally changed many user's opinion about Blogspot. Not even Wordpress would do that to it's users.

    I was interested with it and tried to have a look around Dynamic View, but then i reverted it back to the old interface. The only reason why i reverted back was because all of my customization will be lost once i upgrade to the new themes. My friend's blogroll, donation button, twitter's mini sidebar, my blog archive, etc. There were a lot of them and i can't loose them. That's the main reason i'm sticking with the old interface for now.

    I haven't played long enough with Dynamic View, so i'm not really sure whether it's customizable or not, but please let me know if it does, so i can try to migrate to the old interface and get my old information available on the new theme.

    Happy New Year

    It's a breeze Sunday morning and everything looks great here..

    Wait.. of course, it's New Year

    Please welcome 2012 and say good bye to 2011. It's been a wonderful year of 2011. Lots of joy and sorrow mixed last year, but that's already in the past and never regret anything you have done in the past. The only thing you should do now is look for the future which awaits us.

    Happy New Year to You All