Archive for January, 2005

Fellow Baylor Computer Science alumnus, Keith Ray, frequently writes on Agile Programming and Test-Driven Developmment.

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GSM is the cellular phone technology used in most countries outside the US and is now being adopted in the US by Cingular/AT&T and T-Mobile. US GSM phones use frequencies in either the 800/850MHz or 1900MHz range. Most other countries use 900MHz or 1800MHz. ?World phones? usually support 900MHz and one or more additional bands.

My new Motorola V551 phone and the V220 phones I purchased for wife and son are quad-band phones that support the 800/900/1800/1900 frequencies. Indonesia used the 900MHz and 1900MHz frequencies. GSM World provides a nice service that will list the GSM carriers in the country to which you are travelling and even lets you view coverage maps for the carriers so that you can find the right carrier for the area you plan to visit or work.

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My first meeting with the prospective client was planned for Thursday after my Wednesday afternoon arrival in Jakarta. In my jetlagged state, I was up early and walked across the street to the Plaza Indonesia mall.

Nothing was open at that hour except the Starbucks. That was my first of several good experiences with Starbucks employees in Indonesia. All were exceptionally friendly and spoke very good English. They were also great sources of information about where to go and what to see.

While visiting my friend who was working with tsunami refugees in Medan on the island of Sumatra, we hit a Starbucks while looking for a good place to eat. They again were very friendly and were excellent sources of information about local restaurants and shops. We helped them practice their English and they helped teach us some basic phrases in Bahasa Indonesia.

When I stopped by that store again the next day while running errands, they remembered my name and asked how we had liked the restaurant they recommended.

Chain stores like Starbucks get a bad rap as examples of exported American culture. While Starbucks is certainly not the place to go for authentic Indonesian culture, the people there were absolutely fantastic ambassadors for their country.

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Frequent WM Users poster, Mark Griffin has a blog that covers webMethods and quite a few other topics.

Take a look!

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Now that I’m no longer in Indonesia my blog site is accessible again. Unfortunately, my hosting provider, GoDaddy.Com, blocks access to sites hosted there from several countries including Indonesia. An inquiry to their support desk did nothing to help the situation. Basically, if I want readers in Indonesia and other countries to be able to access my site (or for me to get to my email when travelling) I need to switch to a new hosting provider.

While working on the Conneva site redesign, Stacy Tabb of Sekimori was lobbying heavily for me to switch to Hosting Matters. Now maybe, I’ll have to follow her advice.

The trip was productive from a business point of view and I enjoyed the people and places in Jakarta and Medan very much. I don’t think the timing will work out for this webMethods project, but I look forward to spending more time there in the future.

The day before leaving I found out my good friend, Dan, would be in Sumatra helping children who suffered intense trauma from the tsunami to deal with their fears. Dan was involved in doing similar things for both Columbine and Beslan in Russia. I hopped a flight to Medan in Sumatra to catch up with him (he lives in Moscow at present).

While there we met with one family who had relatives staying with them from Banda Aceh. A thirteen year old girl and seven year old boy were the only surviving members of a family of eight. The girl watched her mother drown and the boy remembers his dad not being able to hold onto him. Both appeared to be normal kids, but undoubtedly will be scarred emotionally for a very long time. Their story is just one of thousands of ones like it.

Just a couple of hours more here in the transit lounge in Taipei’s airport then on to San Francisco and home to Denver.

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My trip to Jakarta from Denver was uneventful, but long. All my bags including a trunk of medical supplies for a medical team coming in early February made it with no problems although it appears that TSA did cut my TSA-approved lock somewhere in the process.

My quad-band GSM phone (Motorola V551 – http://www.phonescoop.com/phones/phone.php?p=591) worked well in Taipei and in Jakarta. It was supposed to be locked to Cingular, but I was able to confirm that that was not the case before leaving the States. I picked up an Indonesian SIM card for about $15 with some prepaid minutes and am now able to make cheap local calls.

I can call the US, but not much cheaper than with my Cingular service. The cheapest way for me to check in with the home front is for my wife to call me at the hotel (land line numbers are cheaper than cell calls) using our Pinzoo (www.pinzoo.com) calling card.

I knew SMS was a big deal in Europe, but was surprised at how prevalent it is here. You can call a taxi by sending an SMS to a certain number and specifying your name and pickup location. My contacts here also send SMS for business communication and do so with impressive speed.

Yesterday was a national holiday so not much happened. Today’s plan includes checking out several apartment complexes that cater to expats. Overall the cost of living here seems quite low with the exception of housing close to the Central Business District (CBD). The site Living in Indonesia (http://www.expat.or.id) has been very helpful in identifying good prospects.

Sorry for the pasted in URLs today. For some reason I can’t get to my blog’s new entry page from here and am having to use Anonymizer which blocks java script.

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I’m heading to Jakarta, Indonesia early next week to explore a webMethods project opportunity. I had a great day of snow skiing in the Colorado Rockies yesterday with some good friends from webMethods. It’s hard to imagine a more dramatic climate and cultural change.

Mark

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I had a little trouble getting the new release of webMethods Portal installed and running. After a few false starts, I completely uninstalled Portal 6.1.5, renamed the remaining “Portal” folder and reinstalled successfully.

The very next morning a collegue forwarded a link to this webMethods Advantage article that provides a few hints for making the Portal 6.2 installation process go more smoothly.

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