Who"s davidlian?

My photo
davidlian is an ultra-geeky chinese dude that works for a technology PR agency. He loves fiddling with techno-toys, plays Warhammer 40K, and shoots pictures wherever he goes. Here, he rants about PR, Technology and anything else. Don't expect balance and un-biased, he ain't no journalist. Anything said on this blog are solely davidlian's personal views. Don't confuse them with company mantra, client's views or views of any organisation he may be part of.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

davidlian's primer about using 3G in Malaysia

Okay, you've just gone out and bought yourself a swanky new mobile phone. Chances are, the device in your hand is probably just 20% phone and the back of the box boasts cool internet stuff like"Web Browsing", "Search the Internet", "Upload your pictures" and my favourite - "Podcasts!" Problem is, with your old black & white screen phone, you've never actually considered what you're considering now - "should I 3G?"

The reason I'm writing this is because so many of my friends have asked me about whether they should subscribe to 3G or not. The answer is always the same: "Well, what are you going to use it for?"

So, in the best interests of saving time and staying consistent to what I'm going to say again and again, I'm going to put it here so I can tell my pals "Go read my blog." :) Oh, and this may help you to.

Mobile Internet?

I've always dreamed of having the internet with me wherever I go ever since TMNet launched its Hotspots (back in 2000), and I owned a Palm T3. With a Wi-Fi card, I imagined myself sitting daily by Starbucks and casually browsing the internet. And having people stare at me in envy as they walked past. That didn't happen.

Today, the scenario has been much improved. Even your local Ah-Beng coffee shop might have Wi-Fi, you'll never know. But IMHO, Wi-fi spots still just aren't ubiquitous enough.

My opinion is that in Malaysia, if you want to really enjoy having Internet wherever you go, you'll need to plonk down that RM 99 or whatever for unlimited 3G or EDGE. And don't try to go for the pay-as-you-go package, the amount of data needed to be downloaded even via simple surfing will burn a hole in your pocket at the end of the month.

I've only ever used Maxis 3G, and I've found it decent, except in my own house in Bangsar where I have extremely spotty coverage. Reports I've read say Celcom has better coverage and transfer rates for 3G, but I can't verify how good that is. Maybe when DiGi launches a 3G service we'll see better service? Who knows?

Either way, I don't think there's really a need to switch lines over 3G service, so stick to whichever mobile operator you're on and just subscribe to the unlimited data package, which is actually a good deal IMHO.

Five Things I do on the Internet

Now here's the crunch. How useful or worth it your investment into unlimited data is going to be really depends on your needs and what your device can do. Your needs will probably vary, so maybe I'll just share you mine.

For the sake of reference, I use a Nokia N95 to do all this stuff down here.

1. Catch up on my Forums reading
I follow a lot of forums, either for Warhammer 40k or just random technology forums. I may not post a lot of replies, but I love reading these forums off my N95 in between wait-periods. When I'm waiting for my next meeting outside. When I'm waiting for Lydia whilst she's shopping. When I go visit some relatives house and found that I have nothing to do.


2. Podcasts

I think I've posted somewhere that I love podcasts and listen to about 2 - 3 a day. What I personally do is I'll download the podcasts throughout the day onto my N95, and turn them on to listen to them whilst I'm out driving. As I spend an average of 1.5 hours in my car everyday, that's about 1.5 hours filled with listening to the content I like - again, Technology news and geek news. Actually, that's how I stay updated.


3. Post my pictures up and comment on other people's pictures
Since Share Online 3.0 was released, I've just been having a lot of fun with Flickr on my N95 that I haven't had before. I love taking pictures (either with my Canon 300D or N95) but hate taking the time to slowly load them to Flickr one by one. So it's really a boon for me to post up pictures directly from my N95 (plus it takes decent pictures too). Also, when I have spare time and I see KY or Suan posting some silly pictures, I'll just go leave a silly comment lah.


4. Watching silly YouTube clips - (I KILL YOU!)
A while back, YouTube launched their video app that allows Flash Lite 3 enabled mobile devices to watch ANY YouTube video (yeah, not just the crappy "selected" mobile videos). I downloaded the one for Nokia S60 devices, but there's other versions for selected Sony Ericsson, Samsung, Motorola and LG phones too. Err...I use this to kill long periods of time or when I want to show some people a funny clip I found but don't have a laptop or internet connection handy. Case in point, this was how I and a few friends watched that Achmed, the Dead Terrorist clip. I KILL YOU!


5. Connecting my Laptop to the internet.
Yeaps, you can get really broadband like speeds through your 3G connection and it doesn't have to be just enjoyed by your mobile. I find that when I'm out and about at work, I'll use my N95 to connect my Thinkpad to the internet and download mails via VPN or just update my blog. It's pretty straightforward, and if you are a Maxis user, you can find out how to configure it here. If you're Nokia user, like me, then you could just use PC Suite's One Touch Access app like below:

Nokia Internet Connection

6. Twitter-ing!
Not too long ago I discovered a mobile app that allows me to send Twitter updates to my Twitter account. It's called Twibble! and can be found here. This is probably why you see more Twitter updates from me nowadays.


7. Email
The old faithful. I check my company mail and also gmail on my account. This is especially useful when you're ebaying for stuff like me and I want instant email updates as the bids draw to a close.


Okay, this is just the tip of the ice-berg of what you could do with a 3G connection, and the best part of it is...they're all free (save the RM 99 monthly fee for the package). Yeaps, no extra charges needed for extra services.

And there's much more to do - buy stuff off Amazon via a dedicated app, use eBay mobile to place bids, download and install new apps via MOSH - the list goes on.

But just to conclude before I get too long-winded. If you have the urge to do any of the above, and do it frequently, then I'd say go for it! 3G, I mean. The technology in Malaysia is ripe for the picking. :)


suanie said...

1124 inbox mail wtf

davidlian said...

Hahaha....malas lah. I have darn a lot of unread mails.

David Cheong said...

lol if I'm not mistaken there really isn't any point in using 3G in our country as our current technology does not support it.

So we're using 3G on a 2.5G tech so the maximum speed will still be 2.5G speed haha! I laugh every time they introduce a new tech especially the so called 4G =p

Kitkat said...

3G coverage no good in Malaysia.

Kimberlycun said...

3g saved my career!

DC said...

@ David Cheong - Actually, Msian networks do support 3G. 2.5G you're referring to comes closest to describing Digi's EDGE, though 2.5G isnt an official standard; only 2G, 3G and above. In a way, EDGE is technically 3G, as official data rates are above 144kbps. Unfortunately though, not all areas support maximum throughput.

@ David Lian - I tried Celcom 3G using Nigel's mobile awhile back to surf on the Nokia N800 while waiting for my bus back to Sg. Lets just say, slow as molases didnt begin to describe the service. Oh, not to mention frequent disconnections. This was on a weekend right next to KLCC though.

davidlian said...

@david cheong: We do have 3G. It's the right specs.
@kitkat: coverage is spotty and not perfect. But it's way better than the US folks are getting. And when it works, it's a charm.
@kim: Whoa...
@dc: Erm...right. Like I said, it's not perfect. And Maxis gives me the same treatment at home. :D

Kimberlycun said...

yeah..i may have a few problems with maxis but i managed to get online for many work mails (at a decent pace too) during a "vacation" in the middle of a jungle! in fact i'm online with 3g now because my stimnut screwed up again -____-

davidlian said...

Nuts. I only wish that the 3G coverage in my house was better. Still, I LOVE 3G!