Author Archives: ahmedriyazi

About ahmedriyazi

gadget freak, internet and caffeine addict, food lover, apple fanatic, android dabbler and self labeled geek

My thoughts on Amazon Kindle Unlimited

kindle unlimtied

So i signed up just a few days back for the kindle unlimited trial account. I’d like to share my thoughts on the experience. first off i am a paying amazon prime customer, and by having that  i do get access to ‘borrow’ one book a month from their significant library. but its kind of restricted to my kindle device, yes..an actual kindle, prime customers cant use the prime libarary to borrow on an app on lets say the iPad or an Android device.

Kindle unlimited by comparison allows you to borrow up to 10 books at a time from their library of what looks pretty similar to the prime lending library, i don’t know if its the same or not.. Amazon does say 600,000 + titles but yeah 10 books at a time. and it does not have the limitation on the iPad or Android as Prime does. It also does not seem to restrict checking out books you already read or restricting how many books per month etc. Not that i’ve noticed anyway.

Borrowing a book seems pretty straightforward enough, Store on website, iPad and kindle itself seems easy enough..

screenshot_2014_07_21T21_26_03+0500

 

screenshot_2014_07_21T21_17_01+0500

Photo Jul 21, 21 36 45

 

Whispersync for Voice

This is also an ‘unlimited’ option and included as part of your kindle unlimited subscription, i imagine the voice enabled titles do count towards your 10 book at once limit, but really its no big deal, its just easy to switch between reading and listening if you like audiobooks. the good thing about this option is that this is a proper narration. not the robotic dictation in previous kindles. Amazon does say its audible narration so no complaints there. Only problem is a minority by comparision (7000+) of the books are enabled for voice so don’t have too high an expectation

 

Audible Trial

You do get a 3 month trial to full audible services, which is basically 1 book credit per month for 3 months. this in itself is not a bad deal at all, there are no restrictions on any books that you can purchase using these credits and i assume they are yours to keep in your audible account. Audible may be owned by Amazon but it’s a different account separate from the kindle unlimited subscription. My audiobook choice for this month “Seriously…I’m Kidding” by Ellen DeGeneres, she narrates it and it’s hilarious! and yes i do love audiobooks.

 

Screenshots_2014-07-21-21-31-27

 

So.. is it worth it?

Personally for me … a resounding YES!, and YES even though currently the major publishers may not be on board, that doesn’t negate the fact that it still does offer some really good books in the library. and $ 9.99 a month is really just a coffee or a price of a single book that you give up to get access to a lot more of good books at your fingertips. If you do read, and love to read i don’t see how you can go wrong with this.

Yes i do wish this was included in my prime subscription which i already pay to amazon, but really this still is a great value.

And if you are someone who loves dead trees, move on, it’s time, i tried to hold on to that, but nothing can beat the convenience of ebooks.

 

 

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Hello WordPress!

Posterous Shutdown

After  while away from blogging.. (again)…  and since posterous decided they had to dissapear. i decided it was time to move… well forced to…. 🙂

so yes. hello wordpress. i hope i can blog once in a while…

iPhone 4S I’ve got a confession to make…I’m thinking of leaving you for Galaxy Note.

Inline image 1

I’ve decided it’s time to move to a new platform… specifically the samsung galaxy note why?I currently have the latest and greatest phone from Apple. the iPhone 4S… so why the move… the iphone has a better camera, it’s got siri, its got an awesome app store and lets not forget the investment in apps over the years. i have been using iPhones since the 3G faithfully through 3GS, 4 and 4S now… why?

I’m in love with the huge screen of the samsung galaxy note. i know this is the very reason why a lot of people hate this device. like its clearly ridiculous to hold up such a huge device up to your ear… and lets not forget how hard it would be to put it into your pockets… but for me the screen is the sole reason why i would consider moving…  i’m not really drawn towards the smaller screen siblings of the note such as the Galaxy S II or other HTC android devices…

i had a lot of hands on time with the device as a few friends of mine are using it now… and they have a lot of praise for the device… granted that they are mostly techy ppl who know how to handle a device and they do less talking and more browsing, email, chatting and other tabletty stuff (for lack of a better word) than phone stuff on the device.. and i’m kinda one of them..

anyways.. will have the ‘phablet’ in my hands in a few days… should be able to see if i can bend the device to my will… with android should be easier…… will keep the blog updated with my thoughts… my first real android device… but i’m no stranger to android in my line of work 🙂

Testing out Netflix Streaming on 1mbps ROL connection

Follows on from my previous post which covers my new ROL connection…

 

been wanting to test out netflix from Maldives for a while but i was hesitant to pay for an account before i knew it would work.. as luck would have it Fizan (@fizaen) was wanting to see if it work out as well and was kind enough to let me test out on his account. thanks for that!

 

points of note:
1- you do need to have VPN access to a US server or another country where netflix has services..otherwise it wont work. .. i used a US account.
2- could not try out HD.. as HD requires a higher bandwidth than what i have… i could only test out SD.

 

 

 

as you can see it works generally good, i did a lot of intentional seeking and that does require some buffer time but once it starts its smooth and does not stop for buffering… Netflix is decent enough to use here. sorry about no audio and not so awesome quality video.. was in a rush and didn’t have time to get a good capture software.. but i’m sure you get the idea…

 

Netflix

 

Bandwidth requirement generally hovered around 1.3mbps to 1.9mbps for SD video’s…. but i’m not sure u can manage with a fixed 1mbps package.. the bursting on this package sure does help.

ROL new packages 1mpbs / 2mbps… thoughts!

I recently signed up for the new 1mbps limited package offered by ROL. this package will set you back 950/- per month and gives an allowance of 60GB international traffic… they also offer a 2mbps package with 80GB international allowance for 1450/-. oh yeah.. it works over your cable modem.. fiber not required.

I’ve been testing it for a bit an i’m really impressed with the package… 

Previously i was on their home Mega Pipe 1M home package which is basically a 1mbps unlimited package for 1200/-. now this package usually gave me around 80% of the promised bandwidth most of the time which isnt really bad for a shared connection… but what made me switch, especially with the limited allowances ?

  1. I’ve been told this package has a contention of 1:2 which although basically means i usually get the promised speeds almost all the time. and in my testing it has never gone below 1mbps.
  2. Local bandwidth is free, and by local i mean ROL and by ROL i mean video2home. it’s not counted against the package quota and if you do use it.. well that’s great news for you. sorry.. dhiraagu traffic is still considered international traffic (where’s the darn interconnect??)
  3. My imagination or just feel latency is better… 110ms to google.. but for most sites i get around 200-320 i’m undecided on this one.
  4. The kicker… it bursts… all the way to 2mbps down… i’m assuming the extra 1mbps isn’t guaranteed by any means but i do get it consistently for now and im also assuming its kinda gonna be consistent at least for video2home. this is HUGE considering that you are getting more bandwidth which is always good! one can never have enough bandwidth.

i do monitor my internet connectivity, and so i know i burn through 50-70 gigs a month including any video2home. so i will be able to get away with 60 gigs of international bandwidth. i know there are higher speed packages out there but the allowances on those are so flimsy… this seemed to be a good deal. Dhiraagu’s 50GB and 75GB package does not include video2home and goodness of bursty-ness…

Although as of today they have a strange policy for these packages when u reach the limit.. they apparently disconnect you for the rest of the month??? for now they don’t even offer the option of topping up or squeezing ur pipe like dhiraagu does… strange…. if you are the type to accidentally go over your limit i’d advice you to hold off upgrading till they figure something out for that problem.. which is in my opinion a major issue for most ppl. as they wont login to dashboard that often.. 

Dear ROL, why not just squeeze to 128kbps or 64kbps till end of the month? i’m sure it would be better than a customer getting pissed that they can’t even pay their way to connectivity?

But hey…since the package is still not announced publicly they might even do something about it before they announce it properly.. i would suggest they do so… it’s gonna be a question on everyone’s mind.. but if you really want it now you can sign up for it at their counters…but be aware of this… or ask.. if it has changed?

to the test stuff.. keep in mind.. this is just my experience.. not a controlled environment and not a benchmark.. just plain old daadi’s thoughts…

Speedtestrol

Speedtest.net to ROL Servers

Speedtestuk

Speedtest.net to a UK Server

Video2home

Video2home.net download speeds

Youtube

youtube 720p and 480p tests… 480p has no issues can stream without any hiccups… 720p does stutter occasionally so buffering is required.

As you can see it does perform consistently as promised.. and more… if it’s worth for you?.. i can’t tell you that 🙂

UPDATE: 10/03
apperantly you can buy extra allowance if you exceed your limits… multiple blocks from 2GB all the way upto 50GB.. that makes so much more sense.

@Dhiraagu price increases

“Effective 1st Jan 2012, calls to Free Numbers will be subject to a monthly fair use allowance of 5000 mins for Platinum, 4000 mins for Diamond, 3000 mins for Gold, 2000 mins for Silver, 1000 mins for Bronze & Flex. Excess minutes will be charged at published call rates for the respective package. To check your free minutes balance, send a blank SMS to 727.”

well ain’t that peachy!!!! F**k you Dhiraagu an I think it’s not the extent of the changes!

sincerely

me!

Male’ Wifi Access Points Geo-tagged!

And it looks a bit like this…..

Wifimale

Some points of note:

– i did not cover a lot of roads and goalhi’s…
– GPS accuracy will be around 10-50m on average.. some areas might be a bit wider(as the point was logged where it was first seen, and not the strongest signal)
– i did not collect supported data rates (ie, did not differentiate between b/g/n)
– 2.4 Ghz only… no 5ghz
– speed of the driving could have had an impact on number of identified points.. had i lingered longer at some spots…
– no high gain equipment…
– observations made were made on the samples collected, i believe its a good representation of the whole.

Interesting Observations:

– Below Chart shows the encryption type in use. it’s nice to know 92.5 use some form of encryption still 308 is still a large number of points without any type of encryption, but Considering you really should be using WPA or WPA2 these days it’s still troubling that 40.06% use none or WEP encryption which is weak and easily breakable.

Encryption

-large number of access points have repeated SSID’s, i’ve selected the top 10… of those there are a lot which are the manufacturer default or ISP default.. .which really shouldn’t be the case. it is very likely that these points are extremely vulnerable with default passwords or most used passwords as well.

Top10ssid

-using the data it is also possible to identify which access points have which type of encryption to identify the most vulnerable. i’ve highlighted just a few as shown below where there are multiple SSID’s under same name and where no encryption is setup. 

Repeatedssid_noenc

-channel distribution is as expected, non overlapping 1, 6 and 11 make up 88.23%. which is good,

Channel_distribution

EDIIT : for non-techies : 2.4 Ghz is the frequency where wifi lives.. to be precise 2.401-2.495 Ghz depending on where you are(2.4Ghz b/g/n)… (it is unlicenced meaning you dont need a specific authority or permission to use italthough CAM has setup some guidelines for maximum power output… thats another story).. this range is split up to 14 channels 1 through to 14..  most routers don’t come with channel 14 enabled as it is not allowed in most countries… regulation wise… so the most common channels are 1-13.Thing is each channel takes a chunk of the whole 2.401-2.495 Ghz range… BUT…adjesant channels overlap.. lets put it into visual context here.. say channel 1 = 2.401–2.423 GHz and channel 2… 2.406–2.428 GHz, as you can see there is an overlap where 1 ends and 2 starts… this overlap results in interference which results in bad quality connection in general.

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image: Wikimedia
the diagram does a good job of explaining how channels overlap.. and as you can see the actual non-ovelapping channel ranges are 1, 6, 11.
Channel_distribution
above is the actual results of the site survey done near my wifi router… on channel 1 you can see my router.. routers around me are on the remaing channels with lower peaks.. but as you can see channel one is the cleanest channel around for me so i have set it up there which will result in me getting the best quality wifi signal possible.but the actual channel you choose depends on the channel usage at the location where you setup you access point.. which means a site survey is in order..
more info on channels? head over to wikipedia

i am providing the files for download below i am also providing with a link for google maps overlay for you to play around with. i dont mind anyone using it for personal or educational purposes, but not for commercial work or profit…. i would appreciate a link back / attribution. do let me know if you use it for any of your projects.

View in Google Maps overlay:

*Microsoft Excel format