Noise Margin (AKA Signal to Noise Margin or Signal to Noise Ratio)
Relative strength of the DSL signal to Noise ratio. The higher the number the better for this measurement. In some instances interleaving can help raise the noise margin to an acceptable level.

6dB or below is bad and will experience no synch or intermittent synch problems
7dB-10dB is fair but does not leave much room for variances in conditions
11dB-20dB is good with little or no synch problems* (but see note below)
20dB-28dB is excellent
29dB or above is outstanding

* Note that there may be short term bursts of noise that may drop the margin, but due to the sampling time of the management utility in your modem, will not show up in the figures.

Line Attenuation
Measure of how much the signal has degraded between the DSLAM and the modem. This is largely a function of the distance from the exchange. The lower the dB the better for this measurement.

20dB and below is outstanding
20dB-30dB is excellent
30dB-40dB is very good
40dB-50dB is good
50dB-60dB is poor and may experience connectivity issues
60dB or above is bad and will experience connectivity issues

Ron's sister, Winnie brought me, her daughter Charmaine and her mother out for breakfast. Sarawak style.

She said kolomee is definitely not enough for me. Apart from putting Charmaine's portion onto mine,

She ordered another bowl of laksa.


Yummy, especially the laksa. Its samba is special too - it's not really spicy, but instead, it's more like herbs or something.

I felt really full that morning. End up I crawled to her car because I couldn't walk.

Thanks Winnie :D


1) You have a lot of money to spend
2) You are comfortable with the call charges in your country
3) You don't have broadband
4) You don't really make a lot of long distance/international call

I don't see the reason why you should not embrace VOIP.

VOIP = Voice Over Internet Protocol. It's the technology that allows you to make call at a very competitive rate.

One of the most famous VOIP is Skype. People have been using it to make free PC-to-PC call, and its voice quality is crystal clear.

I've been using three VOIP providers to make paid call, I'll write my review below:

I've been using Skype to make oversea call. It's one of the most expensive VOIP service in the market (if you could refer to other service like VoipStunt, they'd compare how competitive they are with Skype - you get what I mean?)

But I've been using it, because of its good voice quality - apart from occasion unsuccessful connected call, the rest - people can't really differentiate between call from landline or from computer.

Skype offers other service like:
SMS (expensive though, rate: SMS to Malaysia - USD 0.097)
VoiceMail: USD 20 for 12 months
SkypeIn: it lets you buy a "local landline number"(choosing from one of the countries: USA, UK, France, Germany, HongKong/China, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Australia, Brazil, Japan, Poland, Switzerland).

Which means, if you buy a Switzerland number, when the people from Switzerland call that number, call will be routed to your Skype. And they'll be charged at local rate. (Yes, because it's treated as Switzerland local call)

SkypeIn is USD 38 for 12 months, it comes with a free voicemail service.

However, the reason why I started finding alternative is due to its "disruptive price plan". Starting from 18th Jan 2007, a connection fee of USD 0.039 will be charged for every successful SkypeOut call you make.

Pros: Good call quality with a range of service available
Cons: Expensive charges, unreasonable connection fee for the normal user of Skype (Skype introduced the connection fee in the name of SkypePro, which is not available in many countries yet)

Rating: 3.5/5
Summary: While I'm disgusted with the introduction of the connection fee, I'm pleased with the overall call quality and the range of service they have.

Yahoo! Voice
I found Yahoo Voice when it advertised about its cheap rate.

To purchase the credit is a bit painful - it needs credit card verification, which will put a small charges on your credit card, and need you to call to credit card company to check what are the charges in USD, then write in the registration page, before you could proceed to buy the USD 10 credit.

Call quality: Bad. I've been making test call and found that it's lagging, and the line is even breaking.

I actually searched for some review before I purchase. It seems that those positive testimonial are from those who resides in USA.

Poor me, right now I still have USD 8.54 that is yet to be used.

Pros: Cheap call rate, if you are a YM user, you'll find it handy to make call
Cons: Poor call quality in my country, there's no successful good call made YET

Rating: 1.5/5
Summary: I can't even make a proper call, I should have given 1/5 actually :)

Then I found PennyTel in late January 2007. I found it because a Skype forumer mentioned about this alternative.

Registration is a bit troublesome - just like Yahoo Voice, they need credit card verification.

Furthermore, you'll have to ask the credit card company (just call the credit card company in next 2 days) for the amount in Aussie currency.

It doesn't directly offer the traditional landline number like SkypeIn does, but rather, it's packaged with the Untimed package of which I'm not discussing it here. (Skype has a similar package called SkypePro)

However, PennyTel does offer some little 'surprise' frequently. For example, rebate on the call made to certain destination, occasionally.

And I like its group SMS feature and not to forget, Web Call Back as well as ANI call back.

The Web Call Back functions similar like Jajah, which you can use its web interface to connect two phones (either mobile or landline)

To understand how it works, you can go to and try out the service as shown below (for FREE, of course)

What will happen is, after you press "CALL", your phone will ring. After you answer it, Jajah will connect to the second phone et voila, that's how you make calls! (that applies the same with PennyTel's web call back ;) )

ANI callback is the latest add-on since 1st Mac 2007, it's even handy that you do not need internet connection at all to make an oversea call. What you'll do is:

1) Set your phone number into your PennyTel account profile (this is the only step that needs internet connection)
2) You use the phone to call the access number
3) Your phone will be disconnected
4) PennyTel will call you back (as set in the profile)
5) You'll then key in the number you wish to call

Take note that, both Web Callback and ANI callback will charge both the phone calls, which is, the first phone(your phone) and also the destination call.

But well, after all, it's still cheaper than IDD call in most occasion ;)

I introduced Amy about this service, since she makes a lot of oversea calls with SkypeOut.

Surprisingly, she said the call quality is better than SkypeOut! (reason is because, her housemate is a heavy bittorrent user, you get what I mean?!)

Pros: Super cheap call rate, good call quality, innovative features, per-second block charges(!!), occasional bonus/surprise ;)
Cons: The first time purchase is a bit painful(but it's better than Yahoo's), i got the softphone provided by PennyTel not working (but it works with the X-Lite) but hey, that's it.

Rating: 4.8/5
Summary: PennyTel is the One! I really hope they'll continue to provide this good service. Keep it up!

I've put a price comparison table below and yes, PennyTel has the cheapest call plan!
The price is good as of 4/3/2007

Note that, I didn't compare the SkypePro and PennyTel's Untimed call plan because
1) SkypePro is not yet available in Malaysia
2) I'm not a heavy user of overseas call, after all

Bought this earlier on at Tower Records, it's kinda love at the first sight. (actually I was looking for Yo Yo Ma's)

Then when I DSK this CD's info, found that

1) He recorded it at the age of 70
2) This is his fifth recording of the same suites
3) It earned him a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Soloist Performance (without orchestra) in 1998
4) This imported CD is selling cheaper here than!
5) The reviews in are mostly positive, with some say it's better than Yo Yo Ma's!

I agreed with some of them. Yo Yo Ma's edition in 1983 sounds flatter than Janos (in another words, Janos' is livelier)

While my sister said this music is dull (Cello solo), I enjoyed listening it, giving it a 5/5 rating

Listen one of the track: BWV 1007: Prelude, HERE

So after complaining to them, "amazingly" my line doesn't disconnect at all.

Been running very well since that day.


Means what? My problem or their problem or...?

By the way, got the magic number to report.

Next time, i'm just gonna act that I've done manual connection, and I've got this 678 error code.

I just hope that they don't read my blog (who reads my blog, anyway?)