On Buying a New Laptop

This laptop is the one I am using now , which is  named Compaq Presario V3803.  At the first time I saw it in store I thought it was just perfect, classy, glossy, it seemed to have everything it took to be my eternal gadget friend. As time went by, however, I realized how heavy the laptop for my  somewhat petite back and shoulders has become ( it weighs 2,4 kgs or so). Sometimes I’ve got to go somewhere with the laptop on my back and later end up having a backache. And that’s enough to give me sound reason to consider purchasing a new, much lighter laptop, which is more unlikely to hurt my back and shoulders ever again.
Thanks to HP official site, I found this simple guidance containing 10 points that potential laptop buyers must pay attention to:
  1. Portability: There’re 3 groups of laptop: the ultraportables, mainstream, and desktop replacement. Ultraportables are very light and have 10-12 inch screen but lack optical drive, large and fast hard drives and extra ports (netbooks may be the typical example of this). Mainstream ones are suitable for ordinary, everyday tasks but their performance is  quite ordinary as well. Mainstream usually comes in 14′-screen-sized laptops. Desktop replacement is the biggest in terms of size and weight and the best in terms of performance as they can handle a bunch of tasks at the same time really well.
  2. Processor: Intel’s Pentium so far has always been considered the best and the fastest but please don’t whine about the price. If cheaper cost is the priority, AMD’s mobile processors could be a great option to choose.
  3. Screen size: The thumb rule is the wider the better.  Your eyes will be spoiled by  better images offered by a wide-screen notebook. However, always keep this in mind, folks: the wider the heavier!
  4. Memory: The more memory a notebook has, the better its system performance becomes. Plan to get a bigger memory (RAM) if you do graphics work, big-sized content editing, and 3D gaming. Luckily I’m not a game freak or content editor.
  5. Typing and mousing: With a smaller notebook, come tinier keyboards.  Knowing well how big your hands and your typing style might be advantegous to decide which laptop to buy. Don’t forget to check how well a laptop’s touch pad/ pointing stick works.
  6. Graphic chipset: Graphics work and 3D games require extra memory. 64MB is the advised minimum memory of RAM.
  7. Slot: PC card/ PCMCIA offers us a better chance to expand. It is classified into 3 categories. The first is usually for memory, the second is for input/output devices, and the last is for mass storage and firewalls.
  8. Wired connectivity: USB and FireWire ports are compulsory. Make sure you buy a laptop having at least 2 USB ports. The point is make sure your favorite or frequently used gadgets/ peripherals (such as printer, cell phone, digital camera, iPod, etc) can be connected through the available ports unless you want to get frustrated in the future.
  9. Wireless connectivity: WiFi (wireless fidelity) is the integrated wireless networking everyone has to have on their laptop these days. Thank God, nearly all of the latest laptops have WiFi.
  10. Power: The last but not the least, check how many the cells are and how big the battery capacity is. The higher the better!
The 10th point concludes this post and if you plan to buy a brand new laptop just like me, please tell me what type of laptop you always dream about to have. Maybe your choice is my choice, too. See you around!

Open Source: Some Basics to Know

The first decade of twentieth century is just about to end next year and let’s take a look at how much technology has changed  human civilization. 
The Internet always makes amazingly rapid progress even when we are shutting our eyelids. New inventions pop out, novel ideas run amazingly fast and inconceivable breakthrough is continually made. Really, there seems nothing able to impress us like the virtual world.
And now, along comes the term ‘open source’. It is not new at all   if you are a computer geek or programmer or fervent enthusiast of the Internet. To me and many other laymen, however, the phrase sounds relatively new. I myself have always heard the buzz of open source but never knew what it was precisely like, all I knew was that Linux is one of the examples. That’s it. Not more. But now it’s time to educate me and you, dear readers, about what open source is concerned about.

  • Definition: Open source is an approach to the design, development, and distribution of software, offering practical accessibility to a software’s source code (wikipedia).
  • Why people love Open Source: Open source is much safer than licensed softwares like Windows. You can enjoy surfing the Internet with peace of mind as it is less likely for your operating system to get attacked by those diabolical viruses. It also provides  a new alternative to eradicate piracy once and for good. Say goodbye to those cracked operating systems and pirated illegal softwares!
  • Why people despise Open Source: There are some risks though if you have open source operating system on your computer. The most frequently heard downside is that open source softwares have some incompatibility issues with other hardwares and softwares.
  • Open source products: Probably GNU/ Linux operating system is the most celebrated open source product we know but you might need to know that there are many others such as Apache HTTP server, osCommerce (e-commerce platform), Mozilla Firefox.

And do you know that Indonesian government has started to migrate from proprietary softwares (for example Windows) to open source? But you may ask, why should we migrate to open source? Well, according to Richard M. Stallman ( a prominent figure in open source realm), an endeavor to be free from proprietary softwares could lessen dependency on licensed softwares that giant foreign multinational corporates produce. To rephrase, why must we pay if we can get it free?? It would be much better to allocate the part of  state budget (coming from taxes we pay) which is normally spent to  purchase closed source softwares/ proprietary softwares to something more worthwhile.

I suppose mr. Gates doesn’t really mind relinquishing his innumerable  number of his loyal Windows costumers who plan to or have turned to open source. After all he is already too affluent with his properties and bank accounts worth billion dollars. Right, mr. Gates?

(This post is written for Lomba Blog Open Source P2I-LIPI and Seminar Open Source P2I-LIPI 2009)

 Click this LIPI link for further information on the seminar.

81st Youth Pledge Commemoration: What is the Essence?

Today is Oct 28, which means this is our 81st commemoration of Youth Pledge (Sumpah Pemuda). Seeing on Metro TV some Indonesian girls and boys being asked by the reporter “Can you mention correctly three points of Youth Pledge?”. Most of them were giving the wrong answer, showing their teeth while grinning in front of camera. But is memorizing the Youth Pledge points enough to show how profound and thorough our nationalism and respect to what our late heroes had done for the nation are??
My answer is  NO. I think memorizing perfectly the whole content of YP verbatim is just a bridge leading us to a better understanding of the nation’s founding fathers’ struggle. It does not necessarily guarantee that someone is a real nationalist or a confirmed patriot. Maybe I have to admit, I myself have completely forgotten the entire three Youth Pledge points, which I used to be able to mention easily years ago when I was going to school. Now after a long time not taking any Pancasila-related classes (such as PKn or Tata Negara), the memory got wiped out gradually. 
The point I am trying to emphasize here is that we – Indonesian- take theoretical stuffs too seriously and at the same time neglecting the significance of putting our theoretical knowledge into real action! I suppose it is homework for our National Education Minister, Muhammad Nuh, to internalize the noble values of Pancasila and Youth Pledge (Sumpah Pemuda)to the minds of young people (=Indonesian students). There is no reason to be happy when our kids can memorize Pancasila so well but s/he cannot behave politely towards his/her parents, right people??

TrueColor Blog Competition 2009

I opened my twitter account and somehow I discovered Raditya Dika’s twitter page and spotted one of his tweets saying:

Nyambung sama Hari Blogger Nasional, ada kompetisi blog berhadiah 50 juta rupiah. Gw salah satu jurinya. Hoho. Here: http://bit.ly/6g2Pe.

 For anyone interested in taking part in the contest, try to browse this page. You can get various prizes like netbooks, iPod, and other gadgets. So why hesitate? Join now, people!

National Bloggers Day + My Birthday = October 27th

Hello guys, regardless of being blogger or not, don’t you know that today (Oct 27) is Indonesian National Bloggers Day??! Never knew before? Well, now you know. And what makes it more exciting and thrilling is the fact that I celebrate my birthday on the exactly similar day
when the Indonesian blogggers are celebrating their national day
. But why should it be on Oct 27th? Any reason why that date was chosen?

There’s no particular reason, in fact. It was such a godly coincidence when two years ago on October 27, 2007 , without warning, our former minister of communication and informatics – Mohammad Nuh – proudly declared that that date is Indonesian Bloggers Day. On that day, he was invited to Pesta Blogger Nasional 2007 by Enda Nasution, our accomplished fellow Indonesian blogger.

Menteri Komunikasi dan Informatika (Menkominfo) Mohammad Nuh tanpa basa-basi mendeklarasikan tanggal 27 Oktober sebagai Hari Blogger Nasional. Momentumnya dibuat seiring Pesta Blogger 2007. Hal itu dicetuskannya saat memberikan sambutan dalam Pesta Blogger 2007 (PB2007), sebuah acara gathering blogger nasional yang diadakan di Blitz Megaplex, Jakarta, Sabtu (27/10/2007). “Hari ini saya nyatakan sebagai Hari Blogger Nasional!” tukasnya disambut tepuk tangan meriah para penulis blog. (detiknet.com)

I’ve become an active blogger for about 2 months (I started blogging earlier but I never took it seriously until two months ago) but truthfully I’ve known this since the middle of 2008 after I visited Blogger Indonesia, Fatih Syuhud’s well-known blog. From that moment on, I just knew that I simply had to start writing a blog. But one thing hindering my ambition was the facilities and infrastructure. I had no decent laptop (my desktop PC was starting to crumble and my laptop at that time was a remnant of ancient time) and there was no internet connection at home. Going out to an internet cafe only to post my article to my blog seemed energy-wasting and so impossible to do regularly. Now, however, everything’s different. I’ve got a more sophisticated laptop and a pretty good internet connection (it’s not fast, but at the very least it’s usable anytime and almost anywhere I want).

Pornography Filter

Having kids with overflowing curiosity is fun as it means your kids are keen to learn anything s/he hasn’t known. And it may mean your kids are geniuses. Read some famous scientists and well-known figures who confessed to be  quite naughty, experimental and ‘annoying’ly curious when they were kids. But what if your kids are experimenting with the web, viewing web pages full of porn images they mustn’t see for example? I’m absolutely convinced you’ll never want such a degrading disaster to happen to your kids.
I, and I’m sure most of you, have ever heard about parental control feature in Windows Vista. It can set specific time limits on our kids’ computer use, prevent our kids from playing games we don’t want them to play, set limits for how our kids use the web, and keep them from running specific programs.
Now, though porn sites and contents filter is not really new, it’s still relevant as it offers alternatives to keep your beloved children away from the dirty contents. 
These are some links redirecting to webpages where careful parents can download the anti-pornography softwares that can filter the dirty contents.

Or try the download packages that our Indonesian Ministry of Communication and Informatics  has prepared for us:

Pesta Blogger 2009

I dedicate this writing to Pesta Blogger 2009, an event I just missed. It took place yesterday (Oct 24, 2009) and sadly it was in Jakarta, which is much too far away from where I live. However, my absence in the event doesn’t stop me writing something about this lovely festivity.
I browsed the web with mind full of curiosity what was happening at SMESCO building Jakarta where it happened, and stumbled upon news about Tifatul Sembiring.  

If I may remind you all, he was the top leader of PKS (Partai Keadilan Sejahtera) who is now appointed the minister of communication and informatics in the new cabinet formed by the commander in chief SBY.
First impression generally lasts longer and should print a great unforgettable image in people’s mind about us in the future. And maybe that was one of the things that Mr. Sembiring was thinking of before he entered a room full of bloggers and journalists. Regardless of the motive, he just took an admirable step to start his career as a minister. His sudden appearance in the national event truly printed great images of him in Indonesian bloggers’ mind. He mentioned in a jovial manner that he owns a twitter account; @tifsembiring.
Coming from a political party claiming itself as ‘clean, careful and professional’, this newly appointed minister (as new as 3 days, he got the minister post officially on Oct 22, 2009) brings us some new hopes, especially in Indonesian thriving IT world. We’ve got myriad potentials and I’m sure we can transform into a bigger and more developed nation by improving our IT condition. Hope our new minister doesn’t give us false hopes and lets us down in the next five years. So far, you’ve taken a good preliminary action, mr. Sembiring. There’s nothing better than having a public official who is familiar with ordinary people and knows what the people want and of course knows what to do to accomodate the diverse opinions and expectations. Long live indonesian IT world!!! Bravo!

(image taken from http://www.detik.com)

Surfing the Internet = Sharper Brain

It’s such good news for those who are really into the virtual world to solve their problems. This morning I opened my email inbox to discover an email alert redirecting to this article.
It was explained that  surfing the web is beneficial for our grey cells. But how?
These two simple points may serve as a summary for that:
  • Internet searching stimulates our brain to work harder than usual. And it’s good for us as it’s proven to be effective to trigger more brain activity in a scientific study involving a bunch of older adults (I have no idea how old the subjects here were exactly). Take this quiz to learn how old your brain actually is. Who knows you’re chronologically 20 years old, but cerebrally 25?
  • Looking for answers in the Internet energizes our brain. After clicking the ‘find’ button and get some links to read through, our brain must filter the flood of information it gets from the web. It should decide which information is relevant or irrelevant, useful or unuseful, worthsaving or not. Making all those decisions isn’t easy and takes a relatively sharp and healthy mind.

And the most shocking piece of info I got from the same site (www.realage.com) is that we can enlarge our brain and train it to function better ONLY by WALKING! 

True, there’s no home-gym equipment designed to build up your brain muscle. But a simple walk will do.
A new study shows that regular cardiovascular exercise can enlarge the hippocampus — a brain structure vital to memory function.
Does it sound great, people? So let’s surf and walk to sharpen your brain.

Anies Baswedan: A Young Rector with Liberated Mind (part1)

If this is the first time you hear the name ‘Anies Baswedan’, it might be assumed that you’re not quite familiar with Indonesian academic world. This very man is absolutely one of the remarkable figures in the country. 
Farhan the famous TV presenter got him on the show  “Tatap Muka” and interviewed him on his campus, the University of Paramadina. They were talking about some worthnoting issues this nation is dealing with now.

Baswedan made a good point when he was asked about the best resources the nation has now. He explicated that we start to think that our best resources are not natural resources which someday will be totally used up. Rather, he stated the best resources Indonesia has are its people, citizens, inhabitants! Indonesian people must be more educated in years to come. With that said, he expected Indonesian young generation take more responsibility for their own future  by setting their goals to the future, and of course never waste their overflowing energy for something not worth it like doing drugs, free sex, etc.
But what I love most is the phrase he uttered :

Focus on how significant our contribution is to this nation, not on what role we can grab and play

To elaborate the phrase, he took an actor as an example. It’s not a big deal what kind of character or cast an actor is playing, but what matters most is how well an actor can play just any characters  the director has given without causing the audience bored or uninterested. Good point, touche!

The Art of Waiting

Nothing can be more annoying than waiting. Don’t you realize even life is waiting? Life is waiting for death, basically. When your waiting for something good seems hopeless and endless and fruitless, perhaps what you can just do is waiting, and definitely praying for divine help. Any miracle will happen. Who knows? Things are just getting worse when you get impatient. You get drained physically, emotionally, and the problem remains unsolved. What a waste! So when things just get out of hand then what you eventually can do is facing the problem with smile, and waiting again. Life doesn’t got the way we want at times, and it’s normal. As life isn’t our slave. Stay positive and hope things swim back to normalcy!
(image taken from http://www.worldofstock.com)

Award: What It Means to Me

It has been more than a week since the day when my fellow blogger (blogger ingusan) gave me the award. I still have no idea what to do with the award given to me. I am completely blind to what an award is, and most importantly, how to share the award I got. Because it’s an award based on friendship among bloggers, I give it to some fellow bloggers whose blog I once visited or  who ever visited my blog and left some words on my comment box.

Here they are:

  1. Blogger ingusan 
  2. Zippy 
  3. Puarambe 
  4. Abid Famasya 
  5. Indrow 
  6. Iklangratis 
  7. Pancallok 
  8. Mas Doyok 
  9. Scholarshipinternational 
  10. Genial

Thank you pals, the award means a lot to me! And today my Alexa rank is turning 6 digits (936,520) after two months writing this blog. 

Google Wave: One More Breakthrough of Real-Time Communication

Just like a real tsunami wave, Google Wave is now ready to sweep the world. This is new to some, oh no, most of internet users I guess. Don’t know what Google Wave is?  Or you heard it once but never knew what it is actually for? This quotation I got from the official site of Google Wave might be useful to lighten up our mind a bit, perhaps.

Google Wave is an online tool for real-time communication and collaboration. A wave can be both a conversation
and a document where people can discuss and work together using richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more.

So now it’s time to sign up for this effing hot application! Click here and then locate ‘request an invitation’, fill out the e-form and send it. Wait for the reply. Yeah, that easy.
Keep in mind that this is beta version, meaning that the current Google Wave is preliminary version or at testing stage. It’s not final, which means there may be bugs or inconvenience found when using the app.
And these are what you can do with your partner(s) via Google Wave as:
  • Chat online: you can even know what word is your partner is trying to type (You can see everything your partner sees and vice versa). Like a conference call, you can have a chat with more than one person.
  • Chat in real time in different languages: Get rid of your dictionary! Google Wave does the direct translation for you. Your partner can see the translation of what you say in real time in the language s/he uses. Isn’t it marvelous?
  • Share documents, photos, videos, and other contents with your partner(s) in real time and comment about them too
  • Create and edit documents with your partners online in real time!
  • Update your Twitter status (or Facebook status, anything with an API, said Stephanie- the product manager) without having to leave Google Wave.
  • Take notes and email them to friends who happen to miss the class you’re attending, just like what Miguel Wickert (a fellow blogger) does in his class.
  • …… (Why don’t you fill in by yourself after you try to use Google Wave?)
If you think video can help you understand this more, simply view and click this link to watch two product managers of Google Wave (named Stephanie and Greg) exhaustively elaborating on how to use Google Wave. If English isn’t your first language, you may need to download the video because they speak really fast!
This picture is the one I got from the official site of Google Wave. Looks like it’s going to be a trend for years to come! Let’s see. But one question I have in mind, can it provide us with free video call just like what Skype does?
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