Sunday, January 19, 2014

Windows XP end of life on April 2014

Microsoft has once again announced that they will terminate the technical support for Windows XP, with a firmed date on 8 April 2014.

This means that they will no longer release new bug fixes and security patches for Windows XP after the deadline. Technical assistances for Windows XP will also be ceased. They will also stop providing Microsoft Security Essentials for download on Windows XP on that date.

Anyhow, Microsoft will continue to provide updates to anti-malware signatures and engine for existing Microsoft Security Essentials running on Windows XP until 14 July 2015. This security support deadline also applies to System Center Endpoint Protection, Forefront Client Security, Forefront Endpoint Protection and Windows Intune running on Windows XP for enterprise users.

On 13 July 2010, Microsoft ended their support to Windows 2000, which was once widely used in enterprise as well as in banks' ATM machines, retailers' Point-of-Sale (POS) systems, etc. Since then, Windows XP has replaced Windows 2000 to become the de-facto standard for embedded operating system of those ATM machines, POS systems, etc.

The ATM machines, POS systems, etc. that use the stripped-down version of Windows XP known as Windows XP Embedded will still get support from Microsoft until 12 January 2016, two more years to go before the embedded OS reaches its end of life.

According to NetMarketShare website, Windows XP is still the world's 2nd mostly used desktop operation system in the world to date, commanding a market share of more than 28%. The top desktop operation system is Windows 7 with more than 47% market share.

If you still have any computer running on Windows XP, you can still continue to use it after 8 April 2014, but any new security vulnerability would not be fixed by Microsoft. There will still be 3rd party security and antivirus software continue to provide protection to your Windows XP computer.

If you plan for an upgrade, the most popular Windows 7 is a good choice and its end of life date is set to 14 January 2020, 6 more years to go. Of course, you can also consider the latest Windows 8 which received a lot of criticisms.

Alternatively, you might want to switch over to the Apple's world using Mac OS X as operating system. Apple iMac and MacBook has regained popularity upon the success of iPhone and iPad over the past few years.

For PC users, you can also switch over to Linux operating system. Ubuntu Desktop is a famous one and it is free. Ubuntu has a shorter end of life than Windows, whereby its Long Term Support (LTS) versions receive support from Canonical for 5 years only. However, you can always upgrade your PC to the latest version of Ubuntu for free.

For manufacturers and vendors of ATM machines, POS systems, they are most likely switching over to Linux or Android operating system, and say bye-bye to Microsoft. Android has gained its popularity as embedded system, particularly in TV boxes, car navigation systems, etc.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Lazada launches iOS app for iPhone / iPad with RM30 voucher given to downloaders

A good news for Apple mobile devices users!

Lazada, the e-commerce online shopping website in Southeast Asia (Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Phillipines) that is established by the famous German-based international online business incubator Rocket Internet GmbH, is going to launch their Lazada iOS app for iPhone/iPad on 16 January 2014.

Lazada online shopping website at was launched in Malaysia in April 2012. Initially, they faced quite a lot of hiccups and customer complaints, particularly in year 2012. My recent 2 purchases with them (one done in year 2013, one in 2014) convinced me that they have improved a lot, because I received my goods promptly with friendly email and SMS delivery status update, and the whole buying experience is good.

Lazada has already launched their Android app in June 2013. To date, the Lazada app for Android received more than 100k installs since August 2013, but yet to hit the 500k installs target.

In conjunction with the launching of Lazada iOS app, you will get a RM30 voucher if you download the app from Apple iTunes App Store and install it on your Apple mobile device.

Click the ads below to download the Lazada iOS app.

Note that the offer is valid for 3 days only for downloads between 16-18 January 2014. The RM30 voucher can only be used via the iOS app. The terms and conditions for this promo is available after you clicked on the ads above.

Lazada plans to surprise three lucky shoppers who have made a purchase through the new app by giving away three vouchers worth RM500. This lucky draw is eligible to shoppers purchasing using the app from 19 to 31 January 2014.

For Android users, you can also download the Lazada App for Android here.

If you want to shop using the Lazada e-commerce website, please click the Lazada ads on the right of this webpage.

The pros and cons of WiFi frequencies 2.4GHz and 5GHz

Nowadays all WiFi access points (APs) or wireless network routers work on the 2.4GHz band of wireless frequency, while the newer dual-band devices also support the 5GHz band.

The WiFi standards that work on 2.4GHz band are:

  • 802.11b (speed is up to 11Mbps)
  • 802.11g (speed is up to 54Mbps)
  • 802.11n (speed is up to 150Mbps for 20MHz channel width, 300Mbps for 40MHz channel width)
The WiFi standards that work on 5GHz band are:
  • 802.11a (speed is up to 54Mbps)
  • 802.11n (speed is up to 150Mbps for 20MHz channel width, 300Mbps for 40MHz channel width)
  • 802.11ac (speed can reach 6.8Gbps with 8 antennas running at 160Mhz channel width)
For the dual-band WiFi AP or router, you can turn on either one of the frequency bands, or turn on both of them at the same time.

The pros / advantages of 2.4GHz band:
  • Has a wider signal coverage area.
  • Better penetration through walls and physical barriers.
  • WiFi b/g/n supported by all wireless devices
The cons / disadvantages of 2.4GHz band:
  • As most of the WiFi devices are using this band, it could be congested with a lot of interference if there are a lot of WiFi devices nearby.
  • Out of its 13 available channels, only Channel 1, 6, 11 are not overlapping.
  • Might get interference from microwave ovens, Bluetooth devices, wireless keyboard/mouse, cordless phones, etc. which are also operate on 2.4GHz frequency band.
The pros / advantages of 5GHz band:
  • At the mean time, few WiFi devices are using this band, so it is less congested with much lesser interference.
  • Has 23 non-overlapping available channels.
  • Supports much higher network speed with 802.11ac standard.
The cons / disadvantages of 5GHz band:
  • Has smaller signal coverage area.
  • Poor penetration power through walls and physical barriers.
  • Older wireless devices might not be able to work on this band.
  • Might get interference from radar which also operates on 5GHz frequency band.

Below is the WiFi signals detected in a shopping mall. You can see how congested is the 2.4GHz band and how clear is the 5GHz band. Congestion and interference can cause wireless connection problems such as intermittent connection lost, slow speed, unable to establish connection with AP, etc.

I am sure you will get similar result at your office or in your residence when your neighbours are also using WiFi.

If you have mobile devices that can work on 5GHz band and you have a dual-band AP/router, you might probably want to turn on both of them to get the best of both worlds.

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