Friday, December 31, 2010

Free Telecom Reviewed

I guess that by now you've all heard about Free Telecom.

I've been using their SIP services for a while, and thought it would be nice to share my experience with it before things would change in 2011.

So first, I'm an Orange customer, so in order to get the Free Telecom client to work, I need to choose the "IL Orange Internet" access point, as the "3G Portal" access point uses a proxy which blocks non-HTTP traffic.

The client is a bit buggy, but works most of the time, and doesn't seem to drain the battery (compared to other VoIP clients which supports SIP, such as Fring). The SMS UI is nice, and even a bit more useful than the built-in client in my Nokia N95 8GB.

As for call quality: most of the time, when calls are done over WiFi or in places with good 3G reception, the quality is just fine. I'd say it's better than VoIP quality provided by other clients. But, when the 3G signal slightly drop, the call quality drops considerably.
I can't wait to discover whether the quality and service that could be achieved by Nokia's built-in client, outperforms FT's client quality.

The prices are great, and are far cheaper than my plan in Orange. But, keep in mind, it requires a data plan to work out of the range of a WiFi router. So when trying to calculate the total price of a call, one should also consider the price of the data plan.

I guess that things would indeed change in 2011, as Free Telecom got the license to provide MVNO, and this marks the beginning of a new era in mobile communication in Israel.

EDIT: While writing this post, it appears there's an outage with the FT service. I wasn't able to connect to it for a few hours. This isn't not the first time I see this happens, yet it is not very common.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A burnt fuse

Last week's storm has caused more than a few damages around the country. I saw in the news that some people's cars got smashed by trees, and other people's houses got flooded.

For me, the damage was smaller: My subwoofer died. Or so I thought.
Even though my important power outlets are protected with lightning (electricity peaks) protectors, my subwoofer got damaged after a few hours in which the electricity in my home was unstable.

So I thought "here goes an expensive subwoofer". But I was wrong. A few friends brought to my attention that it is most likely that the subwoofer has a burnt fuse, and insisted that I can replace it by myself. So I tried.

Want to know how? Simple. Have a look at this picture. You can see that straight under the power socket, there's a small plastic box which contains a fuse. It comes out easily, with the assistance of a screwdriver, and apparently contains a spare fuse. Would you believe it? A spare fuse?

Amazing. It was up and running in a minute.
For the next time there's gonna be a stormy weather in our little country, I'm going to disconnect that subwoofer.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Firefox Memory Consumption

Lately I read that people complain about Firefox consuming huge amounts of memory, a thing that supposedly happens due to memory leaks. Many such posts claims Chrome behaves much better with memory.

Well, my experience is a bit different. First, I'm a huge Chrome (and Chromium) fan. I like Chrome's interface, speed, ease of extensions development and its security features (soon, a sandbox for Adobe Flash). But, if there's one thing I don't like about it is memory consumption. Using the latest stable version, opening few tabs with Google's own applications (GMail, Reader, Docs) can easily get the browser to consume 500MB on my PC. Firefox, with only two add-ons installed: Firebug and AdBlock, uses less than 200MB for the same set of sites.

It is true that if one leaves Firefox opens for a few consecutive days, it'll eventually consume all of the RAM installed, but this is not the case for me, as I close the browser at least once a day.

Perhaps the fact that I use the 64bit version of the browsers makes the difference. Perhaps its the fact I have only two add-ons installed on Firefox. I don't know. But I don't complain about Firefox's memory consumption, as it is better for me.