Monthly Archives: December 2005

Open Source CRM

Hari ini saya mengevaluasi berbagai CRM Open Source untuk salah satu client. Di luar dugaan saya, ada banyak kejutan yang saya temukan:

1. Compiere kini sudah bisa menggunakan database PostgreSQL. (dulu hanya bisa menggunakan Oracle)

2. Ada banyak software CRM dan ERP yang open source, dan kualitas mereka sudah jauh lebih bagus dibandingkan terakhir kali saya memantau bidang ini.

3. Yang terbaik (YMMV) adalah … vTiger CRM dan SugarCRM.
Satu kelebihan vTiger CRM adalah menyediakan modul untuk customer, sehingga customer service bisa nyaris 100% dipindahkan ke Internet.

Cukup mengesankan, CRM dengan kualitas setara bisa berharga ribuan dolar, namun kita bsia dapatkan cuma-cuma.

Catatan tambahan:
client saya tertarik dengan SFA (Sales Force Automation) yang mobile, dengan memanfaatkan PDA. Setelah saya periksa, hanya SugarCRM Professional yang bisa menghasilkan output khusus untuk PDA, sehingga aksesnya bisa lebih cepat. Namun, SugarCRM Professional harganya mencapai ribuan dolar.
Alternatifnya, bisa menggunakan solusi dari Software on Sail boats, kelihatannya mereka banyak mendapat rekomendasi karena kualitasnya. Dan harganya pun sangat terjangkau.

Kini, tidak ada alasan lagi untuk memberikan customer service yang buruk, karena sudah banyak CRM berkualitas dan free yang dapat membantu Anda untuk meningkatkan kualitas layanan pelanggan Anda.

Kuliah gratis

note: bagi yang mencari cara kuliah formal gratis, berikut ini adalah beberapa links yang bisa dicoba :

Informasi PMDK di berbagai universitas.
Info beasiswa dari ITS.
Info beasiswa dari

Info beasiswa dari blog Beasiswa

Kuliah D3 gratis.
Kuliah gratis dari Universita Hamfara.
Kuliah gratis di UI.

Kini ada banyak universitas luar negeri yang menyediakan materi kuliahnya secara cuma-cuma. Tapi untuk menemukan semuanya tentu akan memakan waktu dan cukup membingungkan.

Syukurlah dengan Open Course Ware finder, maka kini Anda bisa menemukan berbagai materi kuliah yang free dengan sangat mudah.

Selamat menikmati.

Net Tools

Bagi peminat masalah security / networking, Net Tools adalah satu koleksi utility yang bisa berguna bagi Anda.

Beberapa fitur Net Tools:

1) IP Address Scanner
2) IP Calculator
3) IP Converter
4) Port Listener
5) Port Scanner
6) Ping
7) NetStat (2 ways)
8) Trace Route (2 ways)
9) TCP/IP Configuration
10) Online – Offline Checker
11) Resolve Host & IP
12) Time Sync
13) Whois & MX Lookup
14) Connect0r
15) Connection Analysator and prtotector
16) Net Sender
17) E-mail seeker
18) Net Pager
19) Active and Passive port scanner
20) Spoofer
21) Hack Trapper
22) HTTP flooder (DoS)
23) Mass Website Visiter
24) Advanced Port Scanner
25) Trojan Hunter (Multi IP)
26) Port Connecter Tool
107) File Shredder
108) Local Access Enumerater
109) Steganographer (Art of hiding secret data in pictures)
110) Subnet Calculater

Dan terus bertambah setiap saat.

Memang ukuran downloadnya agak besar, tapi dari segi fitur cukup lengkap.

GNU Queue

This is another of my so-much-to-try-so-litle-time stuff : GNU Queue: clustering made easy.

Since computing performance are still increasing tremendously, clustering is still not a run of the mill stuff at the moment. Most of your work can still be done by a single PC in an acceptable amount of time, so there’s little incentive to make clustering more pervasive into our daily life.
But for those who needs it, GNU Queue seems to be a God-sent for its transparency and ease-of-use.

Now, if only there’s a consulting work coming, asking me to setup a Linux cluster, then I’ll be able to get myself to play with this thing, he he..

Gamespot Top 10 Game Of The Year (GOTY) and the new Falcon 4

The Gamespot’s GOTY for 2005 can be found here.

There are a few surprises there. For example, I expected Call of Duty 2 to show up, but instead it’s Battlefield 2.
It seems that Battlefield 2 is worth being a GOTY finalist though; for example, on how it makes online co op even better. For those who still remember, it was Return to the Castle Wolfenstein which first made online co op popular (previously, it was all deatchmatches). Battlefield 2 makes online co op FPS even better, by integrating voice chat capability; that’s it, for those who have enough bandwidth for it.
Also, squads is a great idea – if you’ve played RotCW, you’ll remember how sometimes it’s frustrating to get a single objective done. With squads, it’s now possible to tackle even multiple objectives at the same time. And while online co op brings a sense of solidarity for people on the same team; with squads, you and your team mates are like brothers.

The most surprising one is Resident Evil 4. I’ve played previous versions of it, but was not very much impressed.
But since this is the #1 game in this year’s GOTY, there must be something special about it. Alas, not much chance for me finding it out, since it’s on GameCube.

Anyway, I was just going to install Falcon 4 on my PC for my little brother – he’s very interested in planes and said he wants to become a pilot. With Free Falcon 3 and SuperPack 4, it should be good enough to let him experience how it is to become a pilot.
I almost became a pilot myself – passed all Merpati‘s pilot screening tests, and made it to the last test. I failed on that last test, however I later found out this is because I didn’t have any recommendation letter from a high ranking government officials (read: “katebelece”)- so I wasn’t too upset about it.

Back to Falcon 4 – with a good HOTAS (hands on throttle-and-stick), it seems that only a multimillion dollar, specialized, sim machines can rival a PC with Falcon 4 installed.
Stumbled upon a good news though – the next version of Falcon 4 has finally been released, after 7 years !!
It’s probably the magic number for it – after we got Falcon 3 on 1991, we also had to wait for 7 years to get Falcon 4. 🙂

Falcon 4: Allied Force is basically what Falcon4 was, minus the bugs, and with ability to utilize today’s 3D hardware — the original Falcon 4 was designed to run on plain VGA cards ! (later there were patches to let it uses 3D cards, but these are not built-in feature), and actually runs on DOS. Damn, we’ve been waiting for a LONG time indeed, but at least it’s here now.
Best of all, it’s VERY cheap – Falcon 4 costed me close to US$ 50, but this one costs only about US$ 19. This is probably because they made the manuals as PDF file (700+ pages) – I prefer the book, but I can always use the one from Falcon 4.

If you think yourself as hardcore sim player, you are not until you got this.
I’m very much looking forward to try this out with my little brother.

[ Gamespot’s 2005 GoTY ]
[ Falcon 4 HQ ]

Fuel battery

Saya memperkirakan bahwa fuel battery akan mulai tersedia di pasaran mulai dari tahun 2007, tapi ternyata saya salah: gadget yang menggunakan fuel battery sudah mulai dirilis !

Fuel battery tidak hanya memberikan baterai yang lebih tahan lama, namun juga memungkinkan munculnya gadget yang jauh lebih powerful daripada yang telah ada pada saat ini.

Semoga makin banyak gadget yang menggunakan fuel battery ini dalam waktu dekat ini.

Traffic shaper

I’ve been promoting Firehol to those who needs a good firewall. Firehol is actually not a firewall by itself, it’s a firewall scripting language, which is very easy to use even for newbies. Underneath, it uses Linux’s iptables to build the firewall.
I recommend Firehol to others because it’s really easy to script (and I mean it), therefore minimizing the chance for human error; but it still allows us to build a complex firewall should there’s a need to do so. And because everything is configured via a file (/etc/firehol.conf), I can easily manage firewall for servers all over the world via SSH connection.

But I still yet to find a good traffic shaper solution to accompany this. I’ve been asked by a client where I installed Firehol as part of my consulting work there, she needs a way to control bandwidth utilization of her Internet connection. So far, I couldn’t find anything suitable.
Some traffic shaper requires its own firewall, some needs dedicated server for itself, others just plain cumbersome to manage, and so on.

Luckily, today I read on firehol’s mailing list about [ CTshaper ].
It was based on Wondershaper, but has since developed extensively and no longer resembles it. What’s special about it is that CTshaper is similar to Firehol in terms of easy of use, and also it can work with our existing Firehol setup. It couldn’t be easier, just include “extras/shaper.conf” on top of Firehol’s config file, and that’s it. I like how simple this is.

Hopefully you’ll find it useful too.

GPRS versus CDMA 2000 (1x)

Selama beberapa minggu ini saya melakukan komparasi antara berbagai teknologi internet wireless, terutama dari GPRS dan CDMA 2000.

Kesimpulan singkatnya, CDMA 2000, bahkan yang 1x nya, mengalahkan GPRS secara cukup telak.
Sebagai contoh, koneksi Internet via Star One secara rutin mendapatkan kecepatan akses 10 KB/s. Terkadang bisa peak sampai 12-14 KB/s. Kecepatan teoritis maksimum adalah 18 KB/s.

Sebaliknya, kecepatan akses GPRS yang tercepat adalah sekitar 5.6 KB/s.
Ini walaupun sudah menggunakan handphone dengan GPRS Class 10 (Nokia 9500), lokasi cukup dekat dengan BTS.
Secara teoritis, kecepatan download maksimum HP GPRS class 10 adalah sekitar 10 KB/s, tapi, sama seperti pada CDMA 2000 1x, ini belum pernah terjadi.

Menggunakan alat GPRS tipe Class 12 (contoh: berupa card PCMCIA) tidak meningkatkan kecepatan download, tapi bisa meningkatkan kecepatan upload s/d 2 kali lipat.

Kecepatan akses ini sebetulnya masih bisa meningkat jauh lebih tinggi lagi.
Contoh; jika ada provider yang menyediakan fasilitas EDGE di BTS nya, maka Nokia 9500 (EDGE Class 10) bisa mengakses Internet dengan kecepatan maksimal sekitar 30 KB/s.
Untuk CDMA 2000 malah lebih seru lagi, dengan CDMA 2000 EV-DO, maka kita bisa mendapatkan kecepatan maksimal sekitar 387 KB/s ! (= 3.1 Mbps)

Kesimpulan ?
# Paket akses internet Star One 1GB/bln = Rp 200-ribu patut diperhitungkan oleh mereka yang membutuhkan akses Internet berkecepatan tinggi. Ponsel CDMA yang bisa saya rekomendasikan adalah Sanex SC-7090.
# Ada provider yang menyediakan EDGE atau tidak ya di Jakarta… ?

Pemilu Amerika – penuh penipuan ?

Mesin penghitung suara otomatis – Diebold – yang digunakan di Amerika, terbukti bisa di hack, dengan relatif mudah.

Ini sangat signifikan, sebagai contoh: jadi ada kemungkinan bahwa sebetulnya Kerry bisa menang di Pemilu sebelum ini. Jika Kerry menang, maka mungkin Amerika tidak akan sebrutal seperti pada saat ini ke negara-negara lainnya.

Yah, nasi sudah menjadi bubur, mudah2an Pemilu berikutnya di Amerika bisa berjalan dengan lebih baik 😛

Selesai sudah … (fingers crossed)

Pagi ini saya membaca Kompas, dan ada sebuah artikel yang mengabarkan bahwa SBY menerima gelar doktor ilmu politik dari Universitas Thammasat. Disitu dikatakan bahwa Universitas Thammasat memberikan gelar tersebut karena, “… dianggap sebagai seorang pemimpin hangat yang memiliki visi dan integritas serta dikenal karena komitmennya dalam memperjuangkan demokrasi dan perdamaian”.

Harapan saya sama seperti Eko, yaitu SBY bisa menyikapi kasus Herman/Priyadi dengan arif, begitu beliau mendapatkan informasi yang lengkap mengenai insiden ini. Membaca artikel tersebut, saya kembali berharap demikian.

Karena itu saya gembira mendapat email dari Carlos Patriawan di milis, yang memberitahukan bahwa SBY tidak marah karena hal ini / foto tersebut. Juga, “… Presiden menganggap tidak perlu dilakukan penyelesain hukum”.

Rasanya kalau demikian, kita bisa menganggap kasus ini selesai dengan baik ya 🙂
Mudah-mudahan saja para aparat pelaksana juga berpendapat demikian.

Congratulations to Herman & Priyadi. Semoga mereka dan keluarganya kini sudah bisa merasa tenang kembali.

Roy Suryo : pakar pemlesetan fakta ?

Karena kasus Herman Saksono baru-baru ini, tentu saja Roy Suryo jadi banyak berkomentar, sebagai salah satu pihak yang terlibat. Namun, sebagaimana biasanya, ada saja kesalahan yang dilakukannya :

1. Herman Saksono bukan lulusan University of Melbourne
2. Priyadi tidak pernah kuliah di jurusan Teknik Informatika ITB
3. Priyadi tidak diperiksa intensif oleh Polda dan Kominfo, melainkan hanya diundang diskusi oleh Judith MS.
4. Priyadi bukanlah pemilik domain name

Mudah-mudahan di masa depan, media massa bisa mengkutip dari pakar yang lebih teliti, dan tidak sedemikian banyak kesalahannya dalam menyampaikan fakta.

Roy Suryo versus Bloggers ?

Hari ini saya membuka Planet Terasi, cukup terkejut karena membaca bahwa ada seorang blogger Indonesia yang ditangkap polisi, karena dituduh menghina presiden (hukuman: beberapa tahun penjara atau denda maksimal 4500 rupiah — bayar denda saja deh 🙂 ).

Lebih kaget lagi ketika mengetahui dalangnya, yaitu “pakar” kita, Roy Suryo. (ref)

Ketika para blogger marah karena hal ini, saya justru melihat satu hal yang menarik — ternyata, akhirnya blogger Indonesia telah diakui sebagai sebuah potensi kekuatan massa !

Kalau Anda tidak percaya dengan statement tersebut, coba saja klik disini.

Nah, kini tentu Anda sudah sadar, mengapa Roy Suryo sampai merasa perlu untuk mengatur ini semua – hasil search namanya di Google menyebabkan berbagai kesalahannya terungkap secara telak.
Hal ini karena para blogger Indonesia, setelah melakukan publikasi selama bertahun-tahun di Internet, mendapat ekspos yang spesial di Google.

Ketika old media (koran, majalah, dll) menelan mentah-mentah semua statement dari Roy Suryo, new media (blogger Indonesia) justru mengupasnya dengan kritis; seringkali dengan kesimpulan yang sangat negatif.
Ini jelas sangat berbahaya bagi kredibilitasnya, terutama lagi setelah ybs menduduki jabatannya di Partai Demokrat.

Jadi ? Mungkin ini solusinya – para blogger Indonesia perlu bersatu untuk menghadapi ini, yaitu serempak melakukan:

1. Memasang banner solidaritas untuk para korban kasus ini
2. Banner tersebut me link ke suatu halaman yang menjelaskan kasus ini secara detil – namun tetap dengan bahasa yang mudah dimengerti, oleh pembaca yang sedang terburu-buru
3. JANGAN menghapus halaman yang berisi kritik-kritik kritis kepada Roy Suryo
4. Dan yang paling penting: Terus membahas kasus ini, tanpa henti, sampai kasus ini selesai dengan baik.

Dengan kekuatan yang telah dikuasai oleh blogger Indonesia pada saat ini, saya kira kans kita cukup besar untuk memenangkan kasus ini.

Mari bersatu kita teguh, bercerai kita runtuh.

Writing the fastest code, by hand, for fun

Amazing… I know that there are still people out there who optimize software down to the processor-level, but to actually read the story of one of them really brings back memories.

Back when PC-XT (Intel 8086 / compatible) still rule the world, every processor tick is precious. A tick saved in a loop can be very visible to the end user. Also, there were no drivers – most of us (programmers) access the hardware DIRECTLY.
Feeling the chill down your spine ? Yes, that’s how many of us code back then.

When others busy playing games, I was busy hacking the games. I think I even managed to package a few of those hacks and upload them to a local BBS.
When I coded a Sysinfo-like software for a competition, I found out that the screen benchmark routine was very slow. I changed it to access the video card directly, and it ran way faster afterwards. Also developed other stuff; hard disk auto park TSR (Terminate and Stay Resident), etc.

Let me tell you; it’s great joy to see your creation (software) performs excellently. Even though I was almost alone while doing all of those (no Internet yet at that time, not enough people with similar interest on local BBSs), I still managed to accomplish a few things.

It’s no easy task, however. A small mistake can send you in a goose chase for hours, while you’re trying to spot the error in the assembly language. Turbo Debugger was very helpful, but with limitations. A great help came later when a friend informed me of SoftIce. Way more powerful than Turbo Debugger, it’s also harder to use.
Sometimes I also had to resort to DEBUG, the built-in debugger from DOS. The ultimate pain 🙂 however, in certain situations, it can be quite handy; especially because we can script it in a batch file (.BAT) and it’s available in virtually all PCs (since it’s bundled with DOS).

Then I saw a software package, I forgot what it was called, which let us code by creating the flowchart on its GUI (Graphical User Interface) – instead of coding by hand. It came on 10 (ten) 360KB floppy disks. Took a long time to install, ran very slowly on my PC-XT, cost me a fortune, and ate up almost all available DOS memory.
But once it ran, I realize that this is the future of software development.

Years later, Visual Basic showed up, and pretty much revolutionize software development on PC.

It has been about 10 years since I created code that access the hardware directly. So I’m very touched that there are still people out there doing it, enjoying it, and actually profit from it. Simply amazing.

Regarding the software competition that I mentioned above – I was sent by Al-Azhar (AA) High School as their representative, along with my friend Isa (Istiqfar). Actually, we had to beg so AA will allow us to participate (not sponsoring, mind you) in the contest – the two of us were pretty much the only ones that can work with computer at the moment, and they didn’t have any interest on IT. AA were more interested to sponsoring students on things like basketball, bands, sports, etc.
We were very happy when they allow us to join in the competition (at Kanisius High School). On top of my head, we prepared everything ourselves, with our own money and equipments. AA just allowed us to list ourselves as AA student in the competition.

We were awed when we arrived in the event. Scores of students, mostly from Christian schools, showed up their projects. Most of them work in teams. Many of the projects were multimedia-related; this is amazing considering 8-bit SoundBlaster card costs an arm and a leg at the time, and it’s very hard to find the reference on how to access it (I finally managed to purchase a book on the topic several years later when I visited Singapore). Almost all of them were accompanied by their teachers, and their hardware provided by their school.
In contrast, we brought our own PCs there, no teacher, only 2 of us, and showing up a software (Sysinfo) with no multimedia capability.

I’ve lost my confidence at the time, and quite ashamed by our situation. Then the jury came. I showed the software, and tried to present it as best as I could. Alas, I’m not a good presenter (even now), and it doesn’t help when you’ve lost your confidence.
The presentation was soon over, and not much comment from the jury. Of course, bells and whistles considered, a Sysinfo software is plain uninteresting. It’s just not shiny enough.

However, then he spoke with me, encouraging me to keep on learning.
I was surprised, since I didn’t see him talking like that to the other kids. He wore a name tag, but I couldn’t remember his complete name though. I think it’s “Samaun” or something.

To this day, when I was feeling down, the memory of that event always cheers me up again. It’s because it was my inspiration to develop my career in IT. I’m forever thankful to the jury in that event.

btw; I sure hope AA now has (MUCH) better IT education programme.

Right, back to the topic – I wish I can do direct hardware coding again, but it’s just not feasible at the moment. Perhaps when I have more time, some time…

20 ways securing Apache

Jika Anda berurusan dengan Apache sehari-harinya, maka Anda perlu memperhatikan aspek security-nya. Apache memang lebih aman secara default dibandingkan dengan berbagai rivalnya, namun ini bukan berarti Apache 100% aman. Masih ada celah-celah yang bisa dimanfaatkan oleh hacker untuk menyusupinya.

Artikel [ 20 ways securing Apache ] akan memungkinkan Anda untuk meningkatkan security Apache secara signifikan, dalam waktu yang relatif singkat.

Selamat membaca.

Google Quick Reference

Ability to utilize Google effectively should be a requirement to any IT employee. This is because it will enable him/her to tap into the massive information/knowledge database, which we call Internet, efficiently.

I’ll let a secret out – in my previous job (at Birmingham City Council), people thought I know everything. The real truth is, I know some stuff, and I work harder that some people; but my ability to use Google helped me significantly to accomplish my missions on / before deadline.

Therefore, the following guide should not be ignored, since this will enable you to do things you may not realize possible .
Print it out, and put it next to your computer. You may just be able to impress your Boss with your sudden “enhanced skill & knowledge”.

[ Google Quick Reference ]

The best deals on dedicated servers

Note that this is not spam. This is simply the BEST deal on dedicated servers I ever found. now offers several dedicated servers packages, and I’m sure many would find the first one very attractive for several reasons:

1. It’s already fully loaded; webserver/database/DNS server/etc, already setup and running.
2. Very easy to use: you control everything listed above via a Control Panel
3. Flexible; you can also request root access should you need it. However, this will make the server to become unmanaged, because otherwise, 123-reg’s staff will take care of the server’s maintenance (updates / upgrades / patching / etc). This brings us to the next point:
4. Managed dedicated server at only 39.99 poundsterling per month is simply unheard of. If you need such kind of service, this is the best of such deal.
5. True unmetered bandwidth; where others said so but in reality have artificial limits and WILL kick you out if you use too much of their (unmetered) bandwidth, 123-reg is able to truly offer it because of their partnership with PIPEX. Also,
6. True unmetered bandwidth at only 39.99 poundsterling per month is simply unheard of. So if you need such service, you can’t go wrong with them.

I’m currently is weighing on whether to move from my current hoster to 123-reg. I don’t need the unmanaged service, in fact I’d rather have full control of the server, so I can learn the nitty-gritty details of maintaining a live server on the Internet.
However, the unmetered bandwidth is VERY tempting.

I’d probably ended up ordering one …

New mammals seen in Borneo woods

BBC reported that 2 new mammals have been found in Borneo (Kalimantan), Indonesia. They were spotted by automatic cameras, planted at Kayan Mentarang National Park.

According to Callum Rankine, head of the species programme at WWF-UK (the sponsor of this study), “You don’t find new mammals that often, and to do so must be extraordinary”.
Actually, not really.

My brother in law, Firman, said to me that he already discovered several new species, by himself. And they were in Java island (where human have almost fully populated it). Not in some virgin places like Borneo, or Irian (Papua). He’s a biologist working in a University in Jakarta, Indonesia; and sometimes goes around Indonesia in relation to his work.
Problem is, Indonesian institutions & governments lacks interests in these stuff. So this kind of discoveries tend to be done by foreign scientists, and they’ll get all the credit.

Indonesia, he said, is very rich in regard to this topic. We can use this to our own advantage, and it can raise Indonesia’s status in international academic societies. However, our government simply doesn’t have enough interest.

Maybe another day.
It might be too late by then, though.

How to get the best knowledge workers

From our favorite technology company, Goo gle, here comes 10 tips on how to get the best out of your skilled employees.

There are excellent ideas there, and managers would do well to consider them.
For example, “hire by committee” is the kind of ideas which would make people goes “why didn’t we think about it”. It just makes sense.

They seem to like Peter Drucker, and do exactly what Drucker said – “cater to their every need”. At their office, you’ll be able to find gyms, laundry, car wash, dry cleaning, shuttle bus, etc. Their staff, even the unmarried ones, can get all (literally) their jobs done at the office. A serious productivity boost, and something that a company as big as them can afford, considering the benefit out of it.
As an engineer myself, I know that sitting all day and pushing your brain to the limit tend to deteriorate your body. I visit a gym regularly to keep me healthy, but having the gym inside my office would really, really help indeed.

“Encourage creativity” – this may sound cliche, but their implementation of it certainly is far from it. It is, shall we say, very creative.

“Data drive decisions” however, might not always be possible. Certainly you’ll need to strive for this, but there WILL be situations when there just isn’t enough data available to make a fully informed decision. Make no mistake, as a manager, you WILL be in this situation.
There will be situations where, for example, there are several options available. To make things worse, taking the wrong decision may harm the company.

This is where another tip comes in – “strive to reach consensus”. You’ll need to involve your people on such important decision. Let them have their say heard.

However, when you fail to reach a consensus, it’s a manager’s job to decide. The buck stops at him, and so he must make the judgement, based on whatever data he has.
The employees must obey AND fully committed to make the decision a success, even if they disagree with it.
This is how a good team works.

This, however, would only be possible with a solid team, where each and every one trusts each other. To accomplish this, you’ll need to “communicate effectively”.
Team members need to be able to communicate freely to build trust. Don’t make it hard for them to do so.

Anyway, go now and read the article. You can’t afford to miss it.