Logical Flowchart of “Hey Jude”

Tumblr blogger “Love All This” (http://loveallthis.tumblr.com) has created a logical flowchart for the lyrics of the Beatles classic, “Hey Jude”.

It’s quite amazing how the lyrics for a whole song can fit into such a compact and intuitive flowchart.

But then again, it looks undeniably geeky… which maybe is the whole point? :)

hey_jude_flowchart

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TCP Connection Finally Available for SK Telecom

By default, a BlackBerry smartphone does not connect directly to the internet. Instead, it connects to the BES (BlackBerry Enterprise Service) or BIS (BlackBerry Internet Service) server, which in turn serves as a “proxy” through which the BlackBerry connects to the internet.

Apparently, it’s quite painful for a software developer to write up his/her program so that it utilizes the BES/BIS connection, so by far the most popular method for BlackBerry programs to go “online” is by using TCP/IP. The catch is that this is not enabled by default.

In order for a BlackBerry to use TCP/IP, the carrier needs to provide an APN (Access Point Name), which the end-user needs to enter into the BlackBerry smartphone. So if your carrier does not provide an APN, you’re pretty much screwed.

This was my case for a good number of months since the BlackBerry was released in Korea for non-enterprise customers, as SK Telecom (the one and only carrier for BlackBerry) did not support APN. Last I heard, they had some plans to support it “sometime in the future”, but you know how such plans tend to be forgotten.

To my absolute surprise, I’ve discovered today that SK Telecom has finally started supporting this!

Their APN is: web.sktelecom.com

Now, I can finally use SSH, browse my e-book library from Mobipocket, view Youtube, and much much more!

The Kindle Giveaway!

My friends would know that I’ve been seriously contemplating the purchase of an Amazon Kindle for a few weeks now.

Imagine my surprise when I stumbled across news that this blog called Bibliofreak is GIVING AWAY a total of 15 Kindles in a lucky draw!

Just blogging about this “Great Kindle Giveaway” is supposed to increase my chances of winning, so that’s what I’m doing here. :P

Anyway, if any of you are interested in joining up for this lucky draw, follow this link!

http://bibliofreakblog.com/great-kindle-giveaway/?ref=0640ccb8ba

This link contains my unique “reference number”, and if any of you subscribe to Bibliofreak’s mailing list after visiting the site through this link, it earns me another chance at the draw. :)

To Blog, or to Micro-Blog?

To blog, or to micro-blog? That is the question.

With the advent of Twitter, micro-blogging has seemingly taken the world by storm. Heck, even President Obama is known to do it.

While you need to sit down and focus in order to write a blog post (or at least I do), Twitter lowers that “preparatory barrier” by forcing you to write your micro-post (which they call a “tweet”) in 140 characters or less. Mind you, that’s 140 LETTERS, not words.

That sounds fine in theory, and even I “tweet” every now and then. (http://twitter.com/maxahn)

But that 140-character limit is a double-edged sword, and it often grates on me.

The thing is that I actually like writing, though I seldom manage to gather up enough drive to write a long post. But on the other hand, I honestly don’t think that I can write anything meaningful within a mere 140 letters.

I find that my tweets often degenerate into banal blurts of day-to-day happenings, devoid of any flavor. (“I’m going on a vacation, yay!”)

From what I can see from others, they seem to share my problem too, even though they may not see it as such.

I think that’s what causing me to tweet less and less.

But that’s not making me write more posts on my blog either, so I’m just ending up writing less.

Or maybe I’m just getting lazier with age?

BeeJive – The Multi-Protocol IM Client for BlackBerry

Although I only have a handful of friends I chat (through Instant Messaging) with on a regular basis, they each have their own “favorite” IM client and refuse to use others.

I’ve tried time and again to “unify” them under a single IM protocol, but in vain.

That’s why I use Multi-Protocol IM clients like Digsby when I’m on a PC.

But ever since getting my BlackBerry Bold, this became a problem for me again.

Now, RIM (Research In Motion, the makers of BlackBerry) does provide serviceable clients for the major IM protocols (GTalk, AIM, Y!, MSN) for free. And there are a number of free clients that provide multi-protocol support, such as Instango and Palringo.

The problem with the former is that having each client running will take up precious device memory. Since the BlackBerry Bold is notoriously short of device memory, this can become a major problem.

The problem with the latter is that… well, while they do support multi-protocol, the support seemed rather flaky from my experiences with them.

Enter BeeJive, formerly known as JiveTalk.

This is also a multi-protocol client, but the beauty of it is that they have a dedicated server sitting in the middle, between my BlackBerry and the actual IM servers. This way, BeeJive provides a more stable experience.

Come to think of it, Instango and Palringo use a similar approach too, but through the Jabber(XMPP) protocol. The BlackBerry connects to their server using the XMPP protocol, which in turns routes the connection to the respective IM servers through XMPP transports.

Maybe it’s just me, but connection through XMPP transports are often fickle. I’ve had connections dropping at random interval, and sometimes the transport just won’t let me log into the IM server.

I don’t know what protocol BeeJive uses, but I suspect that they’ve developed a proprietary one for their use. In any case, it works really well for me.

But BeeJive comes with a caveat, which can be a real biggie for some people.

It’s not free.

You have to dish out US$19.95 for a one-device license, meaning that you have to purchase the license again if you ever lose your phone, or upgrade to a new one.
If you want to be protected against such changes, you’ll need to pay US$29.95.

BeeJive does offer a 30-day free trial, so you have a full month to test it out before deciding whether it’s worth the money.

In my case, the answer was a resounding “yes”.

But BeeJive isn’t all perfect, though; I’ve had it crashing on me with some “unhandled java exception” errors 3 times in a month of usage.
It also locked up my phone once when I tried to use its feature of grabbing a phone number from chat, adding it directly to Contacts.

That doesn’t change the fact that it’s still the most stable Multi-Protocol IM available for the BlackBerry at the moment, and that’s enough reason for me to be worth $19.95.

WordPress for BlackBerry is No-Go for SK Telecom

Oh, for god’s sake.
Not *another* BB app that cannot connect through BIS (BlackBerry Internet Service)… and SK Telecom has no concrete plans yet to support Direct TCP connections on their BlackBerry devices. To make things worse, the folks working on WordPress for BlackBerry don’t have any ETA on the availability of BIS connection either.

This makes the app practically unusable for me, because the only place where I have free WiFi access is my home, and I won’t have any real reason to use WordPress for BlackBerry over other full-blown weblog clients (or even a web browser).

Oh, well.