Monthly Archives: October 2009

iPhone App Review – Upside Down

I was just surfing the app store and chanced upon this free app, “Upside Down”.

It’s a rather simple app, but does something really fun! You simply type in any message you like, it will automatically flip the text upside down, click on the “copy” button, and go to your SMS and paste it there.

Send out your message, and your recipient will get the message upside down! It’s a fun annoyance :)

Be warned though, this will work if your recipient is using an iPhone. I sent it to a Nokia N82, and only jibberish showed up. I wonder if it will work with Androids, Blackberry or Windows mobile recipients. If anyone gets to try it out, drop me a comment and let me know.

PPTP over cellular network with iPhone 3GS

ever since I upgraded my iPhone to OS3.0, I’ve been having trouble trying to get PPTP VPN to work. Never had the time to seriously look at it until now.

My VPN end point is a Linksys WRT54GL running with DD-WRT. I know that PPTP service works there as I can connect with my notebook, even with my 3G dongle.

Initial findings pointed towards the support for encryption on the DD-WRT implementation, and it has to be forced to “none” on the iPhone. Even that didn’t work.

With the release of OS 3.1, I started to tether my notebook to the iPhone, and through that, the PPTP will fail. That stumped me! Initially I thought could be due to the NAT implementation to enable tethering.

With trial and errors, I found out that over a WIFI connection, PPTP connection will work. Did I forget to mention that CISCO based IPSEC VPN to my office network works nicely over cellular and WIFI? That really baffled me. So, there’s something that’s in place that only works for IPSEC over cellular.

Finally, I came across some forum postings that lead me to the solution. There are many other people with similar issues in Canada and USA, and for some, they are able to tweak their APN on the phone to a different one and it worked for them. Of course they needed to be on different data subscription etc… for that to work.

I’m in Singapore, and my cellular provider is SingTel. I whipped out my iPhone 3GS and compared it’s APN settings to my 3G dongle for my notebook. Wallah! they are different, even though they are both with SingTel. I swapped in the new APN settings on to the iPhone, and PPTP started to work.

So, for all those in Singapore and on SingTel with similar needs and issues, the solution is to change the APN from “e-ideas” to “internet”. And here’s SingTel’s official instructions. BTW, these instructions are generic for all data devices.

For everyone else, what I realize from this is that some services/ports are controlled by the service provider. So, just by changing the APN won’t work if you don’t have access to the relevant APN.

If you need some guide on how to set your APN on your iPhone, the official Apple guide is found here.

*update 2009 Oct 09* after changing the APN, the “tethering” feature disappears. But if I reset the “Cellular Network” settings, “tethering” comes back. Got to figure out how to enable both.

how to make your Windows PC run faster?

I don’t know anyone who has a Windows computer that doesn’t come to a crawl after using it for about a year. The computer takes 5-10 mins, and in worse cases 20mins to boot up to a usable state.

This happens for several reasons, and one of the biggest reason is due to file fragmentation. The performance hit gets worse if your paging file (swap file) is fragmented as well.

Since nearly 2 years ago, I found a nice, free defragmentation utility on the web. Back then, it was known as JKDefrag. The idea was good and it worked by calling native Windows APIs. This means that the programmer leveraged a lot on Microsoft’s native functions to do the work. His utility just provided the brain and coordinate the whole activity.

This is a good design that the utility will not do anything out of Microsoft’s comfort zone. Meaning, all moving of the bits and pieces of the file is executed as safe as it gets. JKDefrag did not have to re-invent anything.

Now, a newer version has been released and I’ve used it. The utility has been renamed as MyDefrag (mydefrag.com) and it has a new feature. This introduces a new dimension to what JKDefrag did. MyDefrag will now optimize the files, in addition to just defragmentation.

The new optimization idea is great! It basically re-orders the files on the harddisk into zones, and depending on the type of the file, the frequency of access of the file, the files are organized into each zone. I will not go into the specifics here, so if you like to understand in greater details what is done, you may read up from the website.

I’ve installed and optimized on my desktop and 2 netbooks. The end result is phenomenal! I can actually feel that the boot up time of these computers are shorter, and general usage experience of the computers have improved.

For anyone who wants to squeeze more out of their computers, I would recommend trying this utility out.

This utility is free, and you have the freedom to make a donation to the author of the utility if you wish to. I’m in no way affiliated to this author, and I’m writing this just to share with you out there this great utility I’ve discovered.

So, if you do try out the utility, what you need to do after installation is to run “slow optimize” the very first time you use it. That basically does the initial job to re-order the entire harddisk. Be warned though, this can take a very very long time… on one of my netbooks, it took 2 days, and the other took only 3 hours. So it depends how much work needs to be done.

So, go forth and unleash some renewed performance to your computer :)