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Learning iPhone Programming

Learning iPhone Programming

Learning iPhone Programming, by Alasdair Allan: a definitive book to learn native iPhone programming. Recommended for those who understand Apple, C, OOP, and wish to create high-performance full-featured applications for iPhone.

I’m an old-school coder and I would not claim myself mastering a platform before writing my own application in that platform. But there are different approaches to write our code in iPhone. The easy (and old) way is using web application with HTML-CSS-JavaScript suite. But to make the apps integrated with iPhone’s feature (camera, GPS, compass, accelerometer), we have to choose the native code: with Cocoa and Objective C. This Learning iPhone Programming book, published by O’Reilly, is a definitive book that guide us in designing such apps.

This book explores in detail the steps to take in design real iPhone apps. First it guides us to enroll in the iPhone Developer Program, to make sure our codes will be approved to run on a real device (instead of a simulator). The development environment (the Xcode) and iPhone SDK must be installed. Then, while preparing and designing our first iPhone app, we would learn the terms and tools in iPhone apps designing.

The following chapters will dig deeper in Objective-C language, design aspects, and essential features to be mastered; including network connection, data handling, sensor, geolocation and mapping, and the integration of the applications. We would also learn the distribution of our application in Appstore. The last chapter mentions the other aspects to learn further to enrich our app.

I consider this is one of the best books available to guide us designing a full featured iPhone app. I found it easy to learn (partially because I knew a bit about C, OOP, and Xcode — but you don’t really need to master them to start learning this book). I like how fast we can learn iPhone programming, guided by this compact book.

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Head First WordPress

Head First WordPress

Head First WordPress, by Jeff Siarto: An excellent book to explore the important features of WordPress as blogging platform and CMS, and to manage a well organized blog.

A couple years ago I wrote a booklet about WordPress, aimed to educate teachers and students to start blogging. The book was almost purely for novice, to use WordPress.com, to install WordPress.org, and to understand blogging world (feed, aggregator, communities, etc). This year I found that O’Reilly has published a book discussing WordPress: Head First WordPress.

As other Head First books from O’Reilly, it is rich with illustration, and clever metaphors to make it easy to understand the concept of WordPress. This is an O’Reilly, not a “For Dummies” book, so you could not expect a verbose explanation here. In brief but clear language and illustration, it discusses the concept of website and blogging, the installation of WordPress from the scratch, changing the blog’s look and feel, editing the themes. Things like webhosting selection, cloud computing, and Google Analytics are also explored. Then it explores some relatively advanced topics, including the use of plugins, multimedia services (podcast, video, etc), organizing, optimizing, and securing the site.

However, as the name implied, this is a book for starter: it does not review all features of WordPress. Features of WordPress Multiuser and Buddypress are out-of-scope. For seasoned WordPress users (or plugin developers), there are not so many new ideas to dig here. I will suggest this book for a new blogger or web designer who want to boost his/her blogging experience in short time.

One other thing: I think O’Reilly must publish the Kindle version. The current e-Book version is only in PDF format, and less enjoyable to read in Kindle.

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Hongkong: Carrier Ethernet World

Hongkong: Carrier Ethernet World

This week I got a request to give another presentation at an international forum. The event was titled Carrier Ethernet World, which is the official conference of the Metro Ethernet Forum. It took place in Hong Kong from 1-3 December 2010.

Carrier Ethernet is a family of network technology, developed for telecommunication operators and Internet providers to transport higher bandwidth traffic. Since the network convergence implemented more than 10 years ago, various information networks (telephony, data communication, media and TV) have switched to IP. At the user level, Ethernet (IEEE 802.3 family of standards) has become general standard for wired communications networks. At the carrier level, it is considered more effective to deploy the networks that are high-speed packet-based; instead of the old TDM systems (such as SDH / SONET and ATM). Some examples include MPLS and CET. And beyond the core network, we should also talk about access network, the Metro Ethernet network.

The conference presents major forerunners in this technology. Its main sponsor are Juniper — which is known as an old player in the field of high-speed packet data transport, Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson. So of course I was not expected to compete with them telling those cutting-edge technology developments.

I delivered my on the afternoon session of the First Day. It was at the stream A, which discusses innovation. My presentation was directed to discuss innovations that will support business development and the technology of Carrier Ethernet, including the regulatory side. Imagine how many layers I should dig.

I started with simple things: introducing the telematics world in Indonesia, the user-centric approach to system architecture, the comparison between the vertical architecture and the horizontal one. Since we are still in migration period, the transition between the architectures has not found the final form. Then I compare several schemes, including the SDP, and how various types of applications (network-domains, IT-domain, Internet 2.0) will be placed in it. With NGN fortified with SDP, the network is expected to be a platform not only to meet the necessity of information infrastructure, but also as the platform for developing technology, application, content, and the business in those fields. These things are aggressively growing in Indonesia. Approach to the regulator, thus, should not start from the classical things like tariffs, and the easily biased desire for liberalization; but instead about common interest to foster the economic development of the digital ecosystem, which includes innovation, production, commercialisation, and lifestyle. It would create the contexts to develop NGN with a more optimal architecture.

After my presentation, I was asked to be involved in a panel session. Here, we discussed widely about the projected necessities of innovations in the next 5 years, related to the opportunities of business development and network expansion. There were quite a lot of interests here about the ideas of Indonesia. I did not feel in vain to come to Hong Kong then :).

This was, however, my premier visit to Hong Kong. But last July I gave another presentation in 4G (Mobile) International Forum in Taipei. Enchanting that I could convey ideas in two major forums in both wired and wireless technology. Weird, wired, and wireless :). Hong Kong greeted me with a comfortable weather for walks. Hilly landscape with a fairly spectacular views, contrasted with the strait, bay, seaside, and skyscrapers. Unluckily, an unending thin fog made it difficult to take landscape photographs.

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Corp Approaches to Social Media

Quite a lot of articles, or even books, have been discussing various strategies for corporate approaches to social media. I will not call myself an expert in this field. I observe social networks as an engineer who needs to prove some interesting natural laws, haha. But let’s skip this part. Let’s spend a couple minutes for a discussion about social media for corporates.

First, about Web 2.0, or Internet 2.0, or even Culture 2.0. The stories about this always start from a shift in the role of previously assumed passive users that now become active contributors. I prefer to simply call it a shift, from information and communication, to conversations. And an important aspect in the conversations, of course, is equality. The role of info centers should terminate. Now everyone is an equal member who shares. No more providers and customers, and no more terms such as ‘customer education’ ;). It has been replaced by lively discussions: to listen to each other, to enrich common discourses, and to help each other actualising the passions.

The corporates: the old companies live since the era of centralised power and information, and the new companies that are greedy to find revenue as fast as possible, often stuck to classical things: making social media as a mouthpiece of the campaign. Various channel are synergised, or more precisely conspired, to blow information and more information, that in the end only to point to dullness: products without uniqueness, an unattractive services, and an awareness of mediocre programs.

Now then. The communication problem is only secondary. The primary one is what we really want to communicate. Companies neglect their tasks to create create unique products, improved services, intriguing information, inspiring ideas, etc. The shallowness are then shouted, possibly effectively. Effective to show the shallowness. OK, this is the main problem, which should be resolved prior to any entry into social media. Or, OK, it could be solved with the support of social media, because: the primary advice to social media is this: start by listening, then conversation, then sharing :).

The other problem, coincidentally, is just exposed at the end of the previous paragraph. The order of entering the public forum is not (1) introduction, (2) hit the scene, then (3) shouting. Instead, it should start with listening and observing, then commencing a sympathetic conversation, continued by sharing. This applies not only to the individuals, but also for large companies.

Another essential thing to do is to use the corporate icons. Imagine a Mr Z who suddenly delivered an interesting info from Company X. Everyone will figure out: Ah, Z is just a cheap marketer, who sends his message as his job as an employee, and earn from it. No one would blame or get angry, but the communication remains ineffective. The more interesting way is to encourage our employees to engage actively in various forums and social media according to their own passions. They might be an expert in photography, a geek in cutting-edge science and technology, an avid music lover, a diva in game consultancy, etc. You can imagine it. Scattered, but not too far from the mid-term corporate strategy. And all should use their own real name and the identity as an employee of Company X. They would become the icons or the ambassadors of Company X. Then one day they would discuss about new music products, game distribution, e-commerce, the future of mobile technology, etc. Now the public would listen, because the same Mr Z now voices his passion, his acknowledged expertise, to his close friends or communities. No more marketing sound, but an intelligent and fair opinion of a friend, a respected member of communities, who discuss things that enrich our life better, because the passions.

I guess it would not be easy for any company to accomplish those simple things :). Many are still dizzily occupied by affairs such as revenue, opex, capex, and short-term targets. Though, there is a solution for that. But not now. I have to make some preparations for my presentation in Hong Kong this week.

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Taipei: 4G International Forum

Taipei: 4G International Forum

Still related to 4G Mobile Technology, this month I was invited to give a presentation in the 4G International Forum, held at the Sheraton Hotel, Taipei. I found it interesting and challenging: it is a rare opportunity for me to give presentations in the official forums abroad, in a cutting-edge topic that is still a mainstream conversations in the telecommunications technology and business world.

Taiwan does not have visa-free agreement with Indonesia. So first I had to apply for the visa. Luckily, it was not a complicated process. Indeed, there is no Taiwan embassy or consulate here in Jakarta. But there is a Taiwan trade office in Artha Graha Building, where we can apply for Taiwan visa. And there, we’d find very friendly officers serving our visa process. All it requires is a letter of recommendation from the organiser, another one from the office, a document called “Kartu Keluarga” :), two photos, and a fee of about US$ 50.

I had sent my paper at the end of June. Accommodation at the Sheraton Hotel is provided by the event organiser. For transportation, initially I chose Garuda Indonesia (GIA). But presently there is no Garuda flight from Cengkareng to Taoyuan. They offered their partner airlines, though: China Airlines. However, I found their schedule did not quite fit mine. Eventually I bought online tickets at Singapore Airlines (SIA).

I departed early morning on July 11, at 4:00 o’clock from home. SIA flew me at 6:00 (all in local time), and I arrived at 8:30 at Changi. Waited a few hours in a comfortable place, then SIA flew again at 12:00, and arrived at 17:00 at Taoyuan Airport. The Forum would be held 12-13 July 2010.

Monday, July 12, the Forum began. Speakers came from universities and research institutes, developers and manufacturers (Nokia Siemens Networks, Ericsson, Alcatel Lucent, Huawei), consultancy agencies, regulators, operators, etc. I learned a lot about various aspects of 4G Mobile viewed from various sides. Fairly balanced between those discussing LTE and those choosing WiMAX, with various issues of interoperability and applications. Very enriching :). We had almost no time for a break. Coffee time and lunch time were used for networking and other conversations. If I took some time for tweeting, Mr. Tan (the organiser) would introduce me to one of the important figures (he emphasized that) to chat with. Was a real fun :). Oh, I had the time for tweeting while listening to the presentations :).

The organiser did not prepare a program for the evening. So I spent my time to visit three points in Taipei: Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall, Taipei 101 Tower, and Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall. In Taipei 101, I misled myself to a bookshop (a mandatory mislead, indeed). I bought two editions of Le Petit Prince in Chinese language & letters.

Tuesday, July 13th, the forum continued. The second day was filled with a combination of presentations and panels. My turn was at 09:00 to perform my presentation, in 20 minutes. My presentation is classically titled “4G Mobile: opportunities & challenges in Indonesia” :). I began by telling the current conditions in Indonesia: how the public enthusiastically adopts the digital mobile lifestyle, proven by the rank this country get in term of Twitter, Facebook, and Opera Mini usages. Then the preparations Telkom Group has been taking for deploying 4G Mobile Network (LTE and WiMAX) through its subsidiary and divisions. Then how these issues could be matched with potentials and demands from the community developers, enthusiasts, and lifestylists (no, I did not really use such terms like these) throughout Indonesia. A bit about Indigo, IPTV, and the SDF / SDP. Then I discusses some LTE implementation model for the diverse regions and segments, with different migration models. Then to the regulation of WiMAX.

After the presentation, I had to wait another 20 minutes to listen to a presentation about the implementation of 4G, WiMAX in particular, in the Philippines. Then I had to go on stage again to join the panel discussion which took about half an hour. So I finished my tasks.

Done? Apparently not. Mr Tan told me to see a Professor from PRC (I would not write his name here, he could google it). He holds a position of considerable importance, and must be escorted by several people :). A serious discussion about regulations, about the IEEE, of the other conferences, etc. Then again another discussion with an officer from Taiwan ministry. Then I had to say goodbye to Mr Tan to leave earlier. My flight was scheduled at midday, so I could not attend the conference through to completion.

About an hour later with an orange juice at Taoyuan Airport. About seven hours later with a big mug of Chai Latte at Changi Airport. About ten hours later with a cup of Earl Grey at home. The week will be continued with IPTV implementation issues :).


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Internetworking Indonesia Vol 2 No 1

The Internetworking Indonesia Journal (IIJ) is a semi-annual electronic journal devoted to the timely study of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Internet development in Indonesia. It aims to become the foremost publication for practitioners, teachers, researchers and policy makers to share their knowledge and experience in the design, development, implementation, and the management of ICT and the Internet in Indonesia.

Last year two journals has been published. The inaugural issue, published in the spring of 2009, presented papers discussing many aspect of internet infrastructure: wired and wireless network (WiMAX and PLC), middle layers (cryptography), web-based applications, and netizen’s lifestyle. The second issue, published in the autumn of 2009, was focused on Data Mining. This issue was guest-edited by Dr Anto Satriyo Nugroho and M Arif Bijaksana.

This year’s first issue was just published. This is a special issue on Instrumentation, Automation, and Control. And the guest editors are Endra Joelianto and Estiyanti Ekawati. The papers presented in this IIJ Vol. 2 No. 1 are:

  • Construction and Operation of the MARS-CT Scanner, by R. Zainon, A.P.H. Butler, N. J. Cook, J. S. Butzer, N. Schleich, N. de Ruiter, L. Tlustos, M. J. Clark, R. Heinz & P.H. Butler (PDF)
  • Analysis Throughput Multi-code Multicarrier CDMA S-ALOHA, by Hoga Saragih (PDF)
  • Inteligent Learning Objects (LOs) Through Web Services Architecture, by Ahmad Luthfi (PDF)
  • Industrial Control Quality Improvement using Statistical Process Control: Tennessee Eastman Process Simulation Case, by Endra Joelianto & Linda Kadarusman (PDF)
  • FPGA Simulation of AD Converter by using Giga Hertz Speed Data Acquisition for Partial Discharge Detection, by Emilliano, Chandan Kumar Chakrabarty, Ahmad Basri, Agileswari K. Ramasamy & Lee Chia Ping (PDF)

The IIJ provides open access to all of its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge. This follows the philosophy of the Open Journal Systems. The journals are published electronically and there are no subscription fees. Such access is associated with increased readership and increased citation of an author’s work.

The next edition of IIJ will be published in the autumn of 2010. It will be a special issue on IP Networking and Services. The guest editors are Dr. Bernardi Pranggono (Dept of Electronics & Electrical Engineering, The University of Leeds, UK) and Dr. Setiadi Yazid (Computer Science Department, University of Indonesia (UI), Indonesia). For more information, please visit internetworkingindonesia.org.

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Les Ecureuils

Three times the squirrels messed up our journeys: in Leamington Spa, in York, and at Greenwich. In Leam, we met them in the late afternoon, after we finished having our meal in the city park. Walking for a while, we saw some small grey squirrels playing on the grass. We were so engrossed in playing and chasing them, forgetting that we should instead chase a coach from Coventry to Leeds. Finally we got to Coventry before it was too late. But we must draw our luggages at high speed into the Pool Meadow coach station.

In York we were deliberately looking for the squirrels. Nine years before, I found a park where I could easily spot tame squirrels. But the park was not easily found. I forgot the name of the park, and I didn’t want to ask about “the park with squirrels” to the citizen :). At last I found it when I compared the photos I took 9 years ago with tho location of the York Minster. When we managed to find it, we spent some time to play with them, until almost too late to pursue the coach to Thirsk. In the late afternoon after returning to York, the squirrels there were already reluctant to play. Seems that they have more confidence in the clock in their nests than the sun that was still shining at 19:00.

In Greenwich, again we encountered the squirrels, wkwkwk. This was not a part of our plan as well. I didn’t even know that there are so many squirrels like to live in a city as big as London. Indeed at that time we were not chasing the bus, coach, or train schedule. However I think the squirrels were making our time at the Royal Greenwich Observatory became much reduced. Naughty squirrels.

I’ve read that peanuts are not good for squirrels. Peanut consumption make the squirrels get deficient of certain essential proteins, which ultimately makes them susceptible to disease, and their growth is also affected. Luckily we have always brought some nuts and seeds. Hey, we also like seeds :). There were many kinds of  seeds, which we purchased everywhere: from a traditional market in Cardiff, from Tesco Supermarket in Coventry, and from Sainsbury in York. Chris, our friend who we visited in London, commented that we gave too expensive foods for the squirrels. I had no other choice. I could not possibly give them peanuts.

Here are some nuts that we gave them:

You can judge how we pampered those naughty squirrels. Never mind — it’s not for every day. And the way they greatly cheered our journeys had given more value than the price those nuts.

Well, unfortunately, we could not also meet the red squirrels, which are actually the native squirrels of the British isles.

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Darrowby

Darrowby

For some reasons the bus was suddenly shocked. I found myself awaking among the grassy hills of the Yorkshire Dales that were almost entirely green, spreading to the distant blue swell of the hills. There were various green tones of the meadows and those trees. From the windows, I could see the cultivated lands and solid grey-stone farmhouses among them. Farms with horses, cows, and sheeps. Sunlight still tried to sneak into the gray clouds when the bus passed along narrow streets of a small town. Less than a minute, the bus had stopped next to a small clock tower. It must be the market place, with the gravel streets. The market place was functioned as parking area for the cars. It was surrounded  by various colours of shops, and narrow streets. A “Co-operative Shop” sign over a grocer shop caught my attention, and made me smile. We stepped down, and set foot on Darrowby.

I often blog this town in both my Indonesian and English blogs. Thirsk, a small town in Yorkshire. A veterinarian who was also a powerful writer, with a pseudonym James Herriot, has introduced this city in his books to the world as Darrowby. It is his first book — If They Could Talk — which led me to this city. A photographer from The Darlington and Stockton Times, Richard, had waited for me just beside the clock tower. While I admired the clarity in the air, he took some pictures of me with Herriot’s book. Then we just walked, following Herriot’s steps. Kirkgate was a quiet street leading off the square and I had my first sight of the Skeldale House. Richard left us there.

Unlike James Herriot when he first saw this house, I did not feel breathless. I came with a smile, to a house I wanted to see since my childhood. I knew it was the right place even before Richard told me, I knew by the ivy which climbed untidily over the mellow brick to the topmost windows. It was like Herriot mentioned – the only house with ivy. It was Georgian with a red door and white-painted windows.

Also unlike Herriot, I didn’t need to press the bell and heard those five dogs barking loudly. Margaret had been in front of the house and a welcomed us friendlily. We shared a crunchy and fun chat, until finally she told us to buy the tickets in the house next door. “Follow me, Luv,” she said. Then with her Yorkshire accent (it was much better than West Midlands accent, btw), she told us what had happened after those books. James’ children are still living in Thirsk: Jim as a vet and Rosie as a medicine doctor. The historical house has been converted into a museum since 1995. Margaret also asked, how someone from the other end of the earth could find Skeldale House. Haha. It is surely the magic of the Internet.

Finally I was allowed to enter the house. First I read the name “D.V. Sinclair MRCVS” on the brass plate, and the name “J.A. Wight MRCVS” on the other plate, white over black. I rang the bell. Rrrrrring. Still no dogs barking. We had to open the door by ourselves. Inside the house, the rooms are maintained as the original: the formal dining room, family room, medicine room, surgery room, breakfast room, and the hallway to the living-room behind. I could imagine Tristan riding his bike in that little alley. Everything seemed like a dream that manifested itself out of the books I read and read again for many years. I might even drive James’ old Austin, but not exceeding the speed of 0 mph.

Behind the garage, a room was prepared to get to know James more personally. I have blogged this too often too. James Herriot’s original name was James Alfred Wight. He was called Alf, born in Sunderland but grew up in Glasgow. His parents chose Glasgow to build families and raise children with good culture. Alf loved classical music and liked to write a diary. I was amazed and fascinated to read the diary of young Alf, written almost every day.

But a professor came to his school and made him suddenly want to explore science and become a veterinarian. He enrolled at Glasgow, where the students attending college not seriously. But eventually he graduated. He worked in the Northern part of England, then moved to Yorkshire, for a veterinarian named Donald Sinclair in the town of Thirsk. Yorkshire, its environment, the citizen, and the challenges, had made Alf felt at home in this city. He got married and and raised his children here. Herriot book series are guaranteed to make you understand why he did not want to go from here.

He enjoyed his life. Enjoying classical music, journal writing, educating the children. But hard work did not always make money. His savings was only £ 20. He got the idea to rewrite his diary into a book. Joan, his wife, commented that none could begin to write at the age like this. But he started writing, and after several years of rejection, the book was finally published and became a great success on both sides of the Atlantic, then translated into various languages, including Indonesian.

Entering the next room, which is already part of a neighboring house, a black telephone rang. I felt as is the old Donald a.k.a. Siegfried instructed: “Pick up the phone!” I picked up the phone. A farmer’s voice was at the other end, in a dialect I could not recognise, complained about the condition of his livestock, and then he immediately slammed his phone. I put the phone slowly.

We walked around Thirsk. The marketplace is surrounded by a crowded store: bookshops, café, sweet shops (hey, maybe this was where Alfred the cat lived — a cat that required surgery because it has hair balls inside his stomach), the banks. Continue to the outside, a bridge stretching over a creek, etc. Darrow river, wrote James in his book. On the alleys: the houses of red brick; and behind: the hills and valleys livestock animals were released on the vast grassland.

Life did not seem complicated here. I walked slowly in the city that for years has always been inspiring me to be optimistic, to see all aspects of life as a bless, to face the world with love but also with tough endeavour, to admire the heterogeneity of human kind and thought. A city that in its way has constructed me the way I am now.

“Jump in,” shouted the coach driver. We jumped into. Back to York.

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Coventry Revisited

Coventry Revisited

Coventry welcomed me with a familiar aroma of frozen air. Quite startling, presenting the illusion as if I’ve just left this town only a few months ago. Many things were seemingly frozen by the time: the buildings with the same labels, the same texts, the same smells, and the same tones. Even the the sun that has not been set at 20:00 was so Coventry :).

But actually many things have changed too. The lower precinct had been renovated, and now become a neat mall, which is linked to the upper precinct that is not changed. I read somewhere that this is the first pedestrian precinct in England of this kind. It was then copied in many other cities. The new millennium arc has also been completed, adding an attractive area around Pool Meadow and the Museum of Transportation.

We started exploring my Coventry from none other than Coventry University. We stayed for two nights in Ibis Hotel, which is just behind the Technocentre of the University. This campus shares a phoenix as its mascot as the city, as the symbol of reawakening after a catastrophe. The phoenix always re-creates itself from its ashes, and presents a new shining life to fulfill its purpose to safeguard the world. The university itself becomes another symbol of the city, that reawakens and reshapes itself by the capabilities and pioneering in technology. We started exploring the technocentre, the Lanchester library, the Jaguar building (where I got my lectures nine years ago), and also the headquarter. The new logo (i.e. the old logo that is mirrored) now adorns almost every buildings on campus.

Herbert Museum, the cultural and historical centre of Coventry, was the next target. Coincidentally there was an exhibition about the origins of Coventry here; from its prehistoric times, the formation of the city, the story of Lady Godiva, the civil war, the industrial revolution, and the reborn of Coventry after being were destroyed by the world war.

We spent the time also to visit Waterstone’s bookshop, to walk around the city centre and the famous precincts, and other areas around the city. Seeing the sight of the city, one would understand another pun of Coventry. “Coventry inspires” as I blogged earlier, does not refer only to the phoenix and the high spirit of the city :), but also to the fact that this city has three spires as its landmarks. Yes, Coventry in spires :).

We spent the second days in some cities around the old county of Coventry and Warwickshire. Stratford-upon-Avon with dozens of large white swans on the river Avon. Hey, you know that in Welsh (Cymraeg), the word Avon or Afon itself means river :). We also took a sight to the magnificent Warwick Castle. The last city we visited in the old county was Leamington, where we had a rest in a green park. Also we spent the time to played with the cute squirrels.

But I had to leave my city. Again. I had to visit another city that marked my history: Thirsk :).

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British Customer Services

Being stranded in Kualalumpur, the most uncomfortable thing was the very-very limited access to the Internet. I could not easily contact the hotels, train & coach operators, and others to rearrange my plan. Somehow I could partially do it. I contacted the hotels; Chris Prakoso (@mahadewa) helped me contacting the National Express; and at last I could also contact the train operators. The results varied. Hotels were accommodating (pun intended). National Express expressly and positively responded. Train operators chose to be the parties to gain the benefits from the catastrophe (I mean it).

Here’s their responses to my requests of rescheduling:

Hotel Bowen:

Hi Koen
It is certainly an unusual situation and we will endeavour to accommodate you when you are on the move again.
Please let us know any information as soon as you can.
Regards
Diane and Peter Ford


Ibis Coventry:

Dear Mr. Wastuwibowo,
We would be happy to amend the reservations to a future date, i have temporarily changed the dates of the reservation to beginning of May till you could provide us with a new date. Please let us know when you would require these reservations and we would make alterations depending on our availability.
I look forwards in hearing from you.
Best Regards,
Ranuka De Fonseka

Ibis Cardiff:

Dear Mr Kuncoro,
Thank you for your email.
I have changed the booking for next sunday the 25th. Once you know the date let me know and I will change it for the correct day.
Kind regards.
Jane Hanuskova

National Express:

Dear Kuncoro Wastuwibowo,
Thank you for getting in touch with us.
If you are rearranging your flight and need to reschedule your coach travel, we will be happy to amend your ticket, even if your original departure time has passed. All amendments will be subject to our normal amendment fees. However, if you are cancelling your ticket we will not be able to offer you a refund. We appreciate your patience at this time and ask that you refrain from calling us until your new flight details are confirmed. Amendments can not be made via email, please call us on 08717 818181 (0044 8717 818181 from overseas). I hope this information is helpful. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you require any further information.
Yours sincerely, National Express

Cross Country:

Dear Mr Wastuwibowo,
Thank you for taking the time to contact us.
I’m sorry to read that your flight has been cancelled due to the recent volcanic activity in Iceland. Unfortunately, I can advise that the advance ticket you have purchased is non refundable and we are unable to amend the date or time of travel. I am sorry that I can’t be of more help in this case and hope you are able to travel despite of these disruptions.
Kind regards,
Chris Dade

First Great Western:

Dear Kuncoro,
Thank you for contacting First Great Western.
Unfortunately, we have been experiencing a high volume of contacts recently and although we are working hard to reduce our response time, we are still experiencing delays. I understand that you wish to get the refund on the booking. You have booked an Advance ticket for the journey. Having reviewed the terms and conditions of your ticket, I can confirm that this is a non-refundable ticket. To view the terms and conditions of this and all other bookings made in the last 90 days please log on to ‘My Account’ then click on ‘order status and refund applications’ on our website. If you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Kind regards,
Harold

Thumbs up for those, who in the greatest post-war European transportation catastrophe still have clear and great minds to make exception policies for their customers who get stranded in other part of the earth. For Cross Country & First Great Western, congratulation for your great revenue taken without using too much brainware. Even in a great country, not all things are perfect 🙂

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