Sunday, December 10, 2006

PLDT WeROAM - Rough around the EDGEs

PLDT’s WeROAM provides Internet access to computers fitted with the Sierra Wireless PC Card. PLDT provided me with a Aircard® 775 PC Card which is capable of connecting to EDGE and GSM/GPRS networks of Smart Communications. Unlike its newer cousins (Aircard 850/860), the Aircard 775 model does not support HSPDA. According to Sierra Wireless..

The quad-band AirCard 775 offers wireless access to the Internet and corporate networks at speeds up to three times faster than on GPRS networks (typical 100-130 kbps, maximum at 216 kbps).

Installation was a breeze… just run the setup program contained in the CD before inserting your PC Card. After inserting the AirCard, the newly installed Watcher program pops up and prompts you to connect to the Smart network.

Connecting was another matter… I was unable to connect to the network or if I did, I was disconnected right away. I did this for an hour or so until I started to doubt that the software did not install properly at all. So what I did was to remove the software and install it all over again. And guess what, still the same. Maybe I have a defective card.. hmmmm.

Not too fast… I popped up the laptop the next day and pushed the CONNECT button. Goodness gracious.. I got the much-anticipated network icon in my taskbar. EDGE connectivity, at last! And a very strong signal at that! 5 green bars all the way!

Well, I rejoiced too soon…

Although the SpeakEasy bandwidth meter clocked around 110 kbps download speed, the upload speed was a dismal 15 kbps at best. The bandwidth tester from gave erratic readings from a low of 29.2 kbps to a high of 123.3 kbps download speed (no upload metric). Lastly, connection quality as measured by VisualWare is not adequate enough to support VOIP applications, giving it a Mean Opinion Score of 1.2 and 1.6 (a VoIP simulation that drops below 3.5 is considered poor quality, a measure of 4.2-4.5 is considered good quality).

When the PLDT-Smart tandem leaves us with so much to hope for, I’m starting to believe that convergence is much farther down the road.

Friday, November 17, 2006

SDHC is SD with High Capacity

SDHC® is the new designation for Secure Digital cards exceeding 2GB in size. The HC series adheres to the SD Specification Version 2 which allows the cards to reach 32GB in size.

Aside from the larger storage capacity, SDHC cards offer optimized recording performance with support for FAT32 file formats. The SD Association has defined 3 speed classes in order to identify speed and performance capabilities of the SD/SDHC cards and the host products. The SD speed Class Ratings specify the minimum sustained write speed for SDHC cards, as follows:

Class 2 : 2 MB/s
Class 4 : 4 MB/s
Class 6 : 6 MB/s*

SDHC-compliant cards have both the SDHC and Speed Class logo in their packaging.

Though SDHC cards are identical in size with the standard SD card, only SDHC-compatible products will be able to accept the newer SDHC cards. SDHC host products can use both SD and SDHC memory cards, while SD host products can use only SD memory cards of 2GB or lesser size.

*1 megabyte (MB) = 1 million bytes
Note: SDHC, the SDHC logo and SD are trademarks

Sunday, March 5, 2006

Samsung / Motorola phones - microSD / Transflash Compatibility

Except for the names, the microSD and Transflash are identical. On 26 February 2004, Transflash (or T-flash) was introduced by Sandisk as the world’s smallest removable flash storage module for mobile phones.

The exceptionally small size of TransFlash (11mm x 15mm x1mm) represents approximately one quarter of the volume of the smallest removable flash cards available on the market today and allows handset manufacturers to incorporate significant amounts of removable storage capacity into their progressively smaller handsets without changing the physical size of the phone.

On 14 March 2005, the SD Card Association announced plans to finalize specifications for a new, super-compact memory card called the microSD, the third form factor in the SD family after SD Memory Card and miniSD. The microSD will be completely compatible with SanDisk’s TransFlash format.

Here are mobile phones that use the microSD:

ManufacturerPhone Model
MotorolaA630 • A780 • A840 • A860 • A1000 • A1010 • C975 • E398 • E815 • E895 • E1000 • E1060 • E1120 • i930 • MPX300 • ROKR • RAZR • SLVR •V635 • V710 • V850 • V975 • V980 • V1000 • V1050 • V1150
SamsungA800 • A920 • A940 • A950 • A970 • D510 • D600 • i300 • X700 • X810 • Z300 • Z500 • Z700

Sunday, February 12, 2006

SE Phone - MS Duo Compatibility

Phone ModelCard
P800 · P900 · S700i · S710a · SO505i · SO505iS · Z1010MS Duo
A5404S · K750i · P910i · P990i · SO506iC · W800i · W900i · V800MS Pro Duo

Wednesday, February 1, 2006

Nokia - MMC Compatibility

Phone ModelCard
3300 • 3600 • 3620 • 3650 • 3660MMC
6225i • 6230 • 6230i • 6255i • 6260 • 6600 • 6620MMC
7710 • 9000 • 9110 • 9210 • 9500 • 9210i • 9500MMC
Ngage • Ngage QDMMC
3230 • 6670 • 7610RSMMC
6630 • 6680 • 6681 • N70 • N72 • N90DV RSMMC
6270 • 6280 • N71 • N73 • N80 • N92 • N93 • E61miniSD
3250 • 6131microSD

Monday, January 30, 2006

TenderSystem : Open-Source Procurement

Somebody was interested in a procurement system that exploits the Internet to reach business partners in a cost-effective and timely manner. So off I went to sourceforge and searched for procurement. I have been a regular visitor of so most of the entries look familiar … except … for … TenderSystem!

According to its author …

TenderSystem is an Internet based electronic tendering system to source, award and manage the total procurement process.

This tried and tested technology leverages the age-old principle of supply and demand, through reverse auction, ensuring that products are purchased at the best possible price, at a lower administration and management cost, than any other method.

You can run the demo here.

Or you can build your own site. I decided to do both.

I installed the application on my Windows XP desktop successfully but with a lot of side-installs and much tweaking. Since this is a web-based application, one has to install other support apps to deploy it. All in all, I installed four different packages, namely: Apache 2.054, PHP 5.1.2, MySQL 5.0.18 (server and client), and TenderSystem Beta 0.8

PHP Installation Download the zip package from Do not use the installer package as this does not include the PHP extensions required by TenderSystem. Modify PHP.INI to activate the following directives:

short_open_tag = On
extension_dir = “/php/ext”

Modify your Windows PATH to include the PHP installation directory (c:\php) otherwise the dlls included with the PHP package will not be available to Windows and the extensions will not be loaded.

Apache Installation Download apache2.054 from and install the package. To activate php support, modify the configuration file (httpd.conf) to contain the following directives:

# Allows Apache to serve these files if a directory was invoked.
DirectoryIndex index.html index.html.var index.php
# Load PHP as a module
LoadModule php5_module “C:/php/php5apache2.dll”
PHPIniDir “C:/php”
# Add-type entries
AddType application/x-httpd-php .php
AddType application/x-httpd-php-source .phps

TenderSystem Installation Download the package and extract it under apache’s htdocs directory.

If you don’t set (or can’t, since you don’t control your server) short_open_tag on, you’ll be greeted with a code dump when you open your browser to http://localhost/tendersystem. A little sleuthing uncovered three (so far) php scripts which use the PHP short tags:


Take a test drive and give me your comments.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

MMCplus : MMC on steroids

The MMC specification up to version 3.x stipulated a clock frequency of 0-20 MHz and a 1-bit data bus. Since the original version of SD was already supporting 4-bit data bus at 25 MHz, the best MMC performance was nowhere near that of SD. The adoption of the MMC Version 4.x standard has addressed these limitations and gave birth to a new breed of cards called the MMCplus.

MMCplus are designed to operate at a clock rate of up to 52 MHz and an 8-bit data bus. To support the wider bus width, the MMCplus was fitted with 13 pins, 6 more than that of the original MMC. To maintain backward-compatibility with the earlier devices, the 13 pins are so laid out so that a pin coincides with each of the 7 pins of the original MMC.

Based on the specifications, the maximum theoretical data transfer rate of MMCplus is 416Mbps or 52MBps or 347X.

Pin layout of MMC (left) and MMCplus (right)

SD Ver 1.1 : The faster SD

Whereas the SD 1.01 standard specifies a maximum clock rate of 25 MHz, the newer SD 1.1 version doubles the clock rate to 50 MHz. Using 4-bit mode data transfer, this increases the theoretical data transfer rate of the newer SDs to 25MBps or 166X.

There are sites which state that the SD 1.1 standard allows for an optional 8-bit data bus width. If this is so, this can only be possible by adding more pin connectors like what was done with the 13-pin MMCplus (original MMC had only 7). The current 9-pin SD bus currently uses 4 pins for data, 3 for power/ground and a line each for clock and command/response signals.

As of this writing, the fastest SD card available is 133X~150X and comes in a 9-pin package.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Measuring MMC Speed

Multimedia Card (MMC) is the type of flash card popularly used in Nokia phones. As of this writing, aside from the Nokia 6270 which uses mini-SD, the rest can accept only MMC or its variants (reduced-size, dual-voltage).

I use Sisoftware’s Sandra (System ANalyser, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) to measure the speed of my flash cards. You can download Sandra here.

You would need a USB card reader to make the flash card accessible to your computer. Once plugged in, Windows XP should automatically load the required driver and show your flash card as one of the available drives.

Select the module Removable Storage/Flash Benchmark and indicate the drive corresponding to the flash card. Sandra will measure the read, write and delete performance of your card using file sizes of 512B, 32kB, 256kB, 2MB, and 64MB. Performance ratings are expressed in operations per minute and kB per second.

Whereas most vendors use the equivalence of 1X=150kBps, take note that Sandra uses 176kBps. To get the standard benchmark rating, multiply the Sandra X-rating by 176/150 or 1.17.

Flash Card Speed Rating - The X-factor

You may have noticed that some flash cards, notably Compact Flash and Secure Digital, have X-ratings emblazoned on their packaging. Just like in the optical drive industry, the X-ratings give a measure of how fast the device can handle data.

So how fast really is a 133x SD card? A 1x speed rating corresponds to a transfer rate of 150 kilobytes (KB) per second, so a flash card rated at 133x can attain speeds of around 20 megabytes (MB) per second.

Some vendors use different names for their high-speed flash cards. Kingston labels their higher speed SD as Elite Pro SD (45x-50x) and SD Ultimate (120x-133x). On the other hand, Sandisk has their Ultra II SD (10MBps read/9MBps write) and Extreme III series (20MBps).

Now, tell me, what is the equivalent X-rating of a Sandisk Ultra II SD?