“Intro to Dart” @ Dart Flight School, Brunei 2014

On the 15th of February the Google Developer Group (GDG) Brunei held a Dart Flight School at DST’s Signature Store.

Dart is a new language that learns from Javascript and adds features that are missing in Javascript such as classes and optional static typing. It aims to provide a better developer workflow and efficiency, better performance vs Javascript and can compile to Javascript in order to be deployed anywhere.

I prerecorded an “Intro to Dart” video just in case as with all things, technology can be troublesome at times =)  There is also a 4 hour long Hangouts on Air recording of the entire event

Intro to Dart slide deck

Dart Flight School

The code labs served as a way to learn Dart and it is even deployable on Heroku. We also covered a bit of Angular JS with a work in progress AngularJS intro project on GitHub.

All in all, Dart seems compelling that it is more performant compared to Javascript, can be compiled to Javascript so you reap the development benefit while still maintaining deployability via Javascript, having a single language for both client and server and adding ‘modern’ features added to Javascript make it easier to develop in. Certainly an alternative to Javascript+Node and perhaps something to use in a future project.

USB Modem Lock-in: The Reason to buy a 3rd party 3G USB modem

What happens when you put a DST SIM card into a b-mobiled branded TechFaith Flying Angel 46 USB 3G modem as shown below?

You get a bunch of fail as the modem is locked. This is a reason to buy a 3rd party 3G USB modem as it should support any SIM card and thus will be useful for bringing overseas as well. I contacted b-mobile who told me to contact the manufacturer. I tried to email but did not get any response from them. Perhaps it’s round 2 for trying to contact them or try to learn the inner workings for locking and unlocking modems.

DST APN for Android: Set your Internet and MMS APNs easily

Ever have trouble setting up APN settings (or just being too lazy to type in all the configurations) for your Android device, especially for MMS? The DST APN app will help you out. Just install it, click a button and your APN settings are set and you should be able to surf via the mobile network as well as receive MMS’s.

Download links:

  • DST APN on the Android Market (web version for computers) (seems WordPress.com won’t let me put a link to the Android Market app link for Android devices, so you’re going to have to use this or just search the Market manually)
  • Direct APK download

EasiDial on the Android Market

So after much time and effort (mostly making the graphics and trying to read the guidelines) my first Android app, EasiDial, is on the Android Market (or download the apk file). For more into abut EasiDial check out my original post about it. I hope to release more apps as I progress with Android development so stay tuned.

Brunei’s Mobile Network Code

This stems from a comment by faye. Seems that the phone usually detects the values from the SIM card as my Android phone auto populates the MCC and MNC fields but for some non-mainstream phones these values may need to be manually entered

A Mobile Network Code (MNC) is used in combination with a Mobile Country Code (MCC) (also known as a “MCC / MNC tuple”) to uniquely identify a mobile phone operator/carrier using the GSM, CDMA, iDEN, TETRA and UMTS public land mobile networks and some satellite mobile networks. The ITU-T Recommendation E.212 defines mobile country codes.
The following tables contain the complete list of mobile phone operators. Country information is provided for completeness, though this information is best obtained from theList of mobile country codes page, where ISO 3166-1 country codes are also cross referenced.
The MNC and MCC values within the table are decimal numbers.

Source: Wikipedia

Getting Android to play nice with DST’s Internet and MMS APNs (and bmobile too)

It all started off with a tweet from @marul69:

@thewheat do you have DST mms settings working for Android OS?

and so begun the quest to get MMS settings working on Android. Several months ago I tried configuring it on my sister’s HTC Desire, but unfortunately that fight was lost many a times. But today, triumphantly and after some fussing around I managed to get it working. Finally. Settings are below

b-mobile users refer here but I can’t guarantee that it works as I’m not in Brunei and don’t have a bmobile line to test

Internet APN:

  • Name: dst.internet
  • APN: dst.internet
  • Proxy: <Not set>
  • Port: <Not set>
  • Username: <Not set>
  • Password: <Not set>
  • Server: <Not set>
  • MMSC: <Not set>
  • MMS proxy: <Not set>
  • MMS port: <Not set>
  • MCC: 528 (for other carriers this should be different. this value was automatically set by the phone)
  • MNC: 11 (for other carriers this should be different. this value was automatically set by the phone)
  • Authentication Type: <Not set>
  • APN Type: default

MMS APN:

  • Name: dst.mms
  • APN: dst.mms
  • Proxy: <Not set>
  • Port: <Not set>
  • Username: mms
  • Password: mms
  • Server: <Not set>
  • MMSC: http://mms.dst.com.bn/mmsc
  • MMS proxy: 10.100.6.101
  • MMS port: 3130
  • MCC: 528 (for other carriers this should be different. this value was automatically set by the phone)
  • MNC: 11 (for other carriers this should be different. this value was automatically set by the phone)
  • Authentication Type: <Not set>
  • APN Type: mms

If all goes well, the APN screen will be as shown below, with only the dst.internet APN being selectable with the radio button on the right. This signifies that when mobile data is enabled, it will use dst.internet for Internet access. If APN Type of “mms” is not specified, there will be a radio button next to the dst.mms configuration which needs to be selected in order to send and receive MMSs. The problem with that is, the dst.mms does not provide Internet access so you will not be able to access the Internet unless you manually select dst.internet as the APN which is very inconvenient. This led me to find out the importance of the APN Type value that was found after trying some Googling and landing on Ausdroid’s APN page. So thanks to Ausdroid and hopefully this will help all those having trouble with their Android phone and MMS.

Full screenshot reference of APN configurations:

DST Internet Settings

DST Internet Settings

DST MMS Settings

DST MMS Settings

ICS settings

Android 4.x DST Internet Settings

dstAPNICS2

Android 4.x DST MMS Settings

bmobile

I can’t guarantee these values work as I’m not in Brunei, so please test and let me know in the comments.

Internet APN:

  • Name: bmobilewap
  • APN: bmobilewap
  • Proxy: <Not set>
  • Port: <Not set>
  • Username: <Not set>
  • Password: <Not set>
  • Server: <Not set>
  • MMSC: <Not set>
  • MMS proxy: <Not set>
  • MMS port: <Not set>
  • Authentication Type: <Not set>
  • APN Type: default

MMS APN:

  • Name: bmobilemms
  • APN: bmobilemms
  • Proxy: <Not set>
  • Port: <Not set>
  • Username: mms
  • Password: mms
  • Server: <Not set>
  • MMSC: http://mms.bmobile.com.bn/was
  • MMS proxy: 129.9.10.20
  • MMS port: 6500
  • Authentication Type: <Not set>
  • APN Type: mms

EasiDial for DST Easi Card Users

So yesterday I decided to do some Android development. I wanted to learn the basics of creating and app to be used for the SMARTER app that will be developed shortly. This idea for the app has been in my mind for quite a while and was spurred on when my brother who went on holiday outside Brunei asked me how to make phone calls using Easi when roaming. I knew that you couldn’t just do a normal call but had to dial a special USSD code to dial (the code being *101*Mobile Number#). Now, it’s not a hard thing to do, to jot the short code down but having a dedicated app lets you have some piece of mind knowing that it has what you need to make the call.

It’s not much: basically all that it is, is a graphical representation of all the *100# code functionality. Note that this is a beta application so there may be some issues. I have yet to try “1. Call Back”, “3. Recharge”, “5. Credit Transfer” and “7. Top up any Easi” but will try do so, in the next coming days to make sure they work. You can downoad the apk file here or get it on the Android Market (computer link)

DST and bmobile’s Revised Mobile Plans

Posting this up because I couldn’t find the DST revised plans on their website. All I can say is that this is what competition is all about: in the end the customers win. Now lets just hope Telbru gets competition for eSpeed

DST Revised Prima Plans

$35
Essential Voice Plan
$55
Extra Voice Plan
$55
Extra Text Plan
$85
Executive Voice Plan
$85
Executive Text Plan
$165
Elite Voice Plan
Free Voice (minutes) 300 2000 500 4000 2000 Unlimited
Free SMS 100 200 600 400 1200 Unlimited
Free MMS 20 55 55 85 85 Unlimited
Free Data 1.5GB 5GB 5GB 10GB 10GB 20GB

Source: Brunei Times E-Paper (view newspaper promo advert)

For good measure I’ve throw in bmobile‘s revised rates too

Bmobile’s Revised Plans

Smart $35 Smart $45 Smart $55 Smart $65
Free Voice (minutes) 300 500 1000 1200
Free SMS 100 200 300 500
Free MMS 20 30 40 40
Free Data 1.5GB 3GB 10GB Unlimited

Source: bmobile website (view screenshot)

DST Go! + Netbook promotion

After stumbling across this complaint on DST’s promotion of bundling an Acer Aspire One with Go! subscription I went down to DST to find out whether the complaint was valid. The promotion banner is shown below

DST's Go!   Netbook Promotion

The complaint basically says that the $543 up-front payment advertised is for the laptop + modem and not the 6 month subscription which would add up to the same amount. If this was the case it would have been a real scam and after my findings that Concepts is not recycling and also Sheraton pizza issue makes me wonder if we need a consumer rights / better business bureau in Brunei to monitor and catch any businesses doing any sleight of hand tactics or wordings that will misled customers.

So I went to DST in Delima and asked if the promotion was still valid. I was told that it was no longer valid so my hopes were dashed to find out if the complaint was valid. So a few weeks later I went to pay my mom’s DST bill and thought I would ask if there were any laptop promotions for the Go! subscription as previously had and I was in luck. The lady at the counter told me the offer of the Acer netbook was still valid, though low on stock (about 6 units left). So after she explained things to me I found out that the complaint that $543 was to pay for the laptop and modem is not true for the current promotion. Now things could be different now than what was previously told to the customer when they made this complaint. It could have also just been a staff member who did not understand the promotion or was simply trying to personally scam the customer or it could even be DST changing the promotion. But that aside, according to her the lady basically you are just paying $78 x 21 months for the regular non-student Unlimited plan and that the only extra charges is for the deposit ($50 for locals, $100 otherwise) and license fee ($25). The $543 is an advance for the last 6 months of the subscription meaning you pay ($543 + deposit + license fee) up-front and 15 months of $78 (or 24 months of $58), starting from the month after purchase. This means locals will pay in total $1713 ($543 + 15 * 78) for the regular package or $1815 ($423 + 24 * 58) for the student package (foreigners add $50 due deposit of $100 instead of $50)

So in essence you are signing up for a 21 (or 30) month contract and you pay a flat rate of $78 (or $58) a month and you get a free netbook and modem which is a pretty darn good deal. As with all contracts you are tied down to the provider and in this case it’s for 21 (or 30) months which may seem long but you could easily get a 3G wireless router (eg. Prolink 3.5 mobile broadband router) to connect the modem to and use it for Internet at the office or at home. A very viable option for office use without having to pay commercial prices for an E-Speed line.

So DST has this offer going for their mobile broadband while bmobile has their iPhone promotion. Being somebody who is looking for an unlimited 3G broadband plan both these offers seem enticing and will be something I cover in a future post as I decided which one to take, if any at all.

bmobile Zoom! (+ E-Speed, DST Go!) Findings

Ever since bmobile and DST launched their mobile broadband offerings (Zoom! and Go!)I was interested to see which one offered the best deal. I’ve had a few weeks with the bmobile’s Zoom! service using the older modem with 3.6Mbps max speeds and did some speed tests and real world tests. In the real world tests it got frustrating at times with quite a few timeouts and YouTube videos loading only to stop loading half way. Real world download tests weren’t fantastic, typically under 512kbps which is even slower than the lowest tier E-Speed plan. My regular locations were at home in Jalan Kebangsaan Lama, and at the old airport road which is basically just across Telbru Headquarters. After a while I found out that doing a regular speed test at Speedtest.net was not giving optimal results, I would get less than 300kbps (~40KB/s) download speeds but in actual fact when I download podcasts I would get over 500kbps (~60KB/s) easily.

I found that if I do multiple downloads/connections I would be able to get faster speeds. I was able to roughly max out the modem to the full 3.6Mbps connection (but that was close to Telbru, not at home). At home torrenting some music off Jamendo managed to get up to 100KB/s but it was not consistent. Below shows a torrent downloading at over 200KB/s.

Jollicloud torrent getting over 300KB/s download on bmobile's Zoom!

I know location and people/connection saturation are important factors for any mobile broadband connections and honestly I’m pretty jealous of David Cheok’s reports on his Go! getting good speeds in Subok

“actually.. have been getting avg 500KB daily.. last night was good coz it broke 700KB..”  (via Twitter)

He also went on to say the following statement which I totally agree with:

“if downloading is your thing, Go for GO. If good response time/less lag, Zoom. Even better, espd.” (via Twitter)

That also brings me to another important fact that Go! seems to have pretty bad upload speeds (up to 20x less than Zoom!). If you’re planning on uploading photos or doing some streaming video from your webcam or even Skype, Go! may not be the answer you’re looking for. For anything to do with uploads, stick to E-Speed or Zoom!

Zoom! speedtests: Behind MOE (Old Airport), Jalan Kebangsaan Lama, Desa Cafe (Delima), Aman Complex, MOF

Go! speedtestsBehind MOE (Old Airport), Jalan Kebangsaan Lama, Giant