The dawning of the new age

With on the onset of the latest trends happening in the internet, borders are actually being teared down. Compared to 5 years ago the type of sites I am now building for clients is a totally different breed.

Back then, clients were all asking for sites that look sleek, cool and standalone. When I first built an ERP system for my second company Frontiera Group that was integrated with the EBay API, none of the other companies in Singapore were doing.

Nowadays instead of looking sleek and cool, clients are actually demanding for sites that are CONNECTED!

Yes! connectedness. This is the new buzz word with this web 2.0 trend that has dawned upon us. By connected it means the ability to populate multiple strategic places with our intended content with just the click of a button.

A simple illustration could be that of ThingsToDoSingapore.com, a single entry on ThingstodoSingapore.com results in a post on the Facebook Fan Page, your own facebook profile page as well as a post on the Twitter Page. Plus and update on Ping.Sg

At the same time, it aggregates contents from YouTube.com and other blogs too.

Not to say the other mirror sites:

blog.thingstodosingapore.com
thingstodonear.info
thingsfuntodo.com

Companies are starting to demand for increased ability to put contents in front the face of their target audience with less effort. That is the expectation that an IT company has to meet in the Web2.0 age.

Thankfully all hope is not lost, no single programmer has to spend long hours in front of the computer just to create those functions. We have the open source community to back us up. All we have to do is to just fill up the gap when we do find one. What we fill up, we give back to the open source.

In this web 2.0 day and age, power is no longer held in the hands of the few but divided amongst the mass.

Then again on the other side of things. while this utopian view is what most observe, conforming to social norms, a few tends to rise to the top. This commonly is called the black swan.

It is indeed worrying. Consider these black swans as the hubs and the rest of us as spooks. Suppose if someone does cripple the hub, the rest of us the spooks will definitely get affected.

Such a scenario was experienced on ThingsToDoSingapore.com when the Russians decided to do a denial of service attack facebook one day due to some renegade Russian expressing one radical view too much over the internet and harnessing too much support.

Due to the connectedness ThingsToDoSingapore has with the facebook connect API, it experienced slow loading times for the period until the facebook team fixed the Russian problem.

While it seems connected is a good option, it does have its pros and cons like all systems.

Domain names as the new landed property

During a conversation with Jim, a few weeks ago, he mentioned how sub domains could actually be captilized and subsequently monetized. Having thought long and hard about it, this idea suddenly occurred to me.

The most important about domain names is not really how cool it sounds but rather how closely it matches a set of keywords very commonly searched but not much competed for.

I think ThingsToDoSingapore.Com was such a case. Just yesterday, while researching on google keyword tool, I chanced upon another new set of keywords Things Fun To Do, and hence I created a new site. ThingsFunToDo.com.

So why spawn all these site, think of it as investing in real estates. While most physical real estates are very expensive and allows you an ROI of in best case scenarios 100%, domain names are difference, costing as little as just $20 per year, it is like buying a vacant lot. What you do on this lot really determines its selling price after. Even a subsequent selling price of $2000 would mean an ROI of 1000%.

So why not go for it? The game plan thus is to generate content that reinforces the positioning of the domain name, thus over time, increases the ranking of the site on major search engines.

Once thus done, you would then have on your hand a cash cow which you could start milking. The easiest way is to put up the lot for sales at a premium price. However another even better way is to actually, sublet out tiny plots of that virtual lot and become a land lord. Why not? This will really ensure a nice and comfy income in the long run.

Updating facebook fan page externally without the use of the Facebook API

Recently I managed to find time and hence decided once again to start work on my Things to Do Singapore!

One of the new features I had in mind of implementing was this auto updating of new sites to the Things to Do Singapore facebook fan page. The other thing I had in mind to do was to decrease the loading time experience for the site. The third thing I attempted to do was to improve the usability of the site. The second and third issue I believe is a constant task to work upon.

So back to the first feature. I researched for a long time on the facebook api site on how to update the facebook fan page automatically. Apparently apart from using the Open Streams API there was no other way around it. I further read that this was a tedious and complicated process. Hence I thought rather than have waste too much effort in the process of recreating the wheel, I researched for readily available solution.

This was when i chanced upon this page that talks in details on how to do auto import entries from a blog to a facebook fan page. Thus I did. I am glad he wrote what he wrote. There are so many features on facebook that sometimes i don’t even know if one exist when it actually does.

Working on photography.name1price.com

After talking with Peter the other apparently it seems I need a chunk of code which I could use to list out the sub categories in my wordpress photography system over at photography.name1price.com

I found this chunk of code over here

if (is_category()) {
  $this_category = get_category($cat);
  if (get_category_children($this_category->cat_ID) != "") {
    echo "<h1>Subcategories</h1>";
    echo "<ul>";
    wp_list_categories('orderby=id&show_count=0&title_li=
&use_desc_for_title=1&child_of='.$this_category->cat_ID);
    echo "</ul>";
  }
}

This is from Yoast

Let’s see if it is what I am looking for.

chains chains and more chains…

What a night! Alena who sat beside me on the bench was once again in tears. I watched her, not knowing what to feel. She seemed totally agreeable with the first two terms I set for our relationship but not the third.

Term 1 : We will never ever have kids
Secretly still I think she is coveting that I will have a change of hearts 5 to 6 years down the road. Seriously though I have no intentions at all of bring another child to this world only to be imprisoned by life immediately. Memories of my childhood behind locked doors and grilled bars and afternoon stuck bored brainless in school are still vivid in my mind.

Term 2 : We will never ever commit to the purchase of houses
Was out with Madelyn the other day, heard from her she and her husband just got themselves in a 30 year mortgage. I guess they should be old and immobile by the time they finish paying off their loans. My life out of prison has just started, I am a freeman!!! I don’t really feel any motivations to head back in again for another 30 years of my life.

Term 3 : I will need to wander off alone for months
A life of wandering is the ultimate symbolism of freedom in its purest essence. Being restricted from such would be no different from a life of imprisonment, such a life is no life at all!

I wonder how she would not come to see of it this way? What is the point of keeping me around always, when I will only get more grouchy and restless, causing more annoyance than good to those around me with my presence. My feet is begging for the taste of hitherto unwalked paths and the horizon beckons.

It seems like I have over the past few months dug out all the most unlikely haunts there are to be found on this tiny red dot and am almost to the extent of being able to memorize all the places like the back of my palm. It was so torturous. I just need some new playgrounds to get lost in.

Truth is recently, the sight of my family and Alena only reminds me of the invisible chains they have in their hands. Chains they unknowingly but inevitably will use on me. Chain which Alena aims to build using her tears and quarrels and my parents their constant nagging. Instinctly I felt threatened, very threatened. Even my visit to my relatives yesterday didn’t help.

Oh yeah, this relative of mine was out with serious intent to do some brain washing. “????” The fruit thus fallen soon becomes the root. That was the four lettered gift she bestowed before I left. Prior to my departure, I agreed to have those four words written in my diary but nothing more. Quietly, I actually thought to myself she could go screw herself with that four word of hers. No offence but who is she to dictate how I should live my life. Just the thought of it left an extremely foul and pungent taste in my mouth.

Debts owing should be coming in over the next few weeks. I have finally put a curb to the two most massive drainage to my capital over the past 12 months, Alena and my parents.

I have paid my dues to my parents for the year at least and Alena is on the brink of starting her job in Singapore. Not that the pressure I exterted on her didn’t help. One could look at it as cruel but I don’t really feel the incentive to provide the fish forever. I don’t run a charity organization. There is no such thing as a free lunch, or in my case a constant free lunch. She has been feeling stressed recently from her job search. Hey tough life! too bad. Time for her to seriously get her kick together and move along.

Chains chains chains… All these chains, the time will soon come to drop them all. Lucky on the commercial side there are not much new bondages coming in. Good keep it that way. It will facilitate my shifting. Perhaps I am selfish, perhaps I am heartless. If such is the case, so be it. I only live once and I aim to live it!

Next destination perhaps…

Of late, it seems like I am beginning to experience a growing sense of claustrophobia. On occasions when I was unfortunate enough to land up in the CBD area due to some business issues, I do see myself only reaching home in the wee hours of the night, just as so to avoid all traffic and crowd.

It seemed this place is getting so overcrowded recently. I can’t help but feel totally drained each time I set into to the train stuffed with people. This sardine tin can syndrome seem more and more the norm instead of the exception.

Thankfully Alena is finally settled in Singapore properly. She would be starting work soon. One battle, or I would rather call it a campaign, done and over with. In a sense I do really have to thank my lucky stars. We managed to pull through the past 1 year together without me eventually forced into some full time position, and thereby dragged inevitably into the rat race. Once more I managed to avoid being dragged into the mill where all souls get crushed to smithereens.

In retrospection, I just wondered how it all managed to happen and come together of its own accord. All these deals I managed to close and deliver these past few months. It was like suddenly hopping onto an express lane I previously didn’t know exist. Crossing path with Satheesh and then Peter through Justin.

Oh well, life always have its own store of surprises.

One thing though that was made very clear during these entire few months and further reaffirmed what one of the external consultant lecturers from my Technopreneurship classes as well as my cousin Johnson said is that people will always be willing to part with a large chunk of cash, if they can avoid a high level of pain as a result.

Scams and get rich quick methods don’t really work in the long run, as opposed to common beliefs. The only true way to survive and prosper is really to constantly seek out better and more efficient solutions to relieve the pain felt by other businesses.

Come to think of it, now that Alena is finally settling in, there suddenly is no longer any need for my presence. I don’t see any visible big battles nor conquest ahead of me on this path I am travelling along.

I told Alena that day about my need to drift along. I was surprised with her over reactions. I wonder why? We had our arguments. It is good that she finally come to terms with the fact that she is fighting a losing battle of attempting to tie down a drifter.

Attempt to tie me up and before you know it. I will be long gone. Recently I have been hearing the waves crashing on the shores of the Indian Continent. Perhaps that should be the next place I get myself lost..

Facebook connect performance issue

Last night I was sitting with Satheesh and Jim working on SingaporeRental.com. We happened to talked about ThingsToDoSingapore.com during our conversation in my living room.

Satheesh said that the site was experiencing very very slow loading time. I knew that the site was slow in loading since before I stopped touching it in terms of coding. I have been getting rather busy with my own IT projects recently.

Today finally finding some time for myself I decided to do some tweaking to my favorite pet project. The coding was familiar. I have yet to port it to any content management system. I actually have two systems in mind which I could do the porting to. One is WordPress the other is Joomla.

Given the choice between the two I rather like WordPress better. First off, it is lighter more agile and has this well established PingBack System which could be easily used for generating more Traffic on the world wide web.

Once again on that hosthi server I experienced very slow loading time. Nothing knowing which was really causing this problem I decided to do some split testing. I suspected that it could either be the server running low of bandwidht or that google friends connect was unstable again. So I pointed ThingsToDoSingapore.com to my local testing web server and ran the scripts.

Much to my surprise, the stage when I was experiencing the bottle neck was at ak.connect.facebook.com. So apparently it was the part where Things To Do Singapore gathers content from the facebook server that things start to really slow down.

From my experience, Facebook has been experiencing very bad performance issues the past few weeks. If you went to the site and tried to login, half the time the images do not load properly. Suspecting that it would only affect facebook.com, I was wrongly, apparently it does affect other sites which uses facebook connect as well.

Searching on the web for the possible reason, I identified the denial of service attack on facebook as a possible contributing factor. It is crazy actually that things nowadays are so interconnected that when a hub goes down the spooks get affected too.

I believe somewhere along the way, with all the interconnectedness as well as cloud computing, it will really be easy to bring down the whole world wide web with a touch of the button. Another possible black swan is in the making

More References on the Black Swan

http://samdavidson.blogspot.com/2009/01/black-swan.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_swan_theory

Too much 7s for a birthday!

A few days ago I came across a guy with 3 number 7s in his nric card that jumped. Just before the 7th Lunar month.

And so officially today is my birthday. I have turned 27. Ironically today while walking along the streets there were so many people on the streets making offerings of josh sticks, chicken, incense and josh paper.

Wow.. what a big occasion! Even the gates to hell opened and my brethen ghosts comes forth to celebrate the date of my birth. Mom always joked that I was so Big Hungry Ghost that happened to step wrongly into her womb got given birth into this world while foraging for food during the hungry ghost festival.

Perhaps I am. I must say I have not been really up to any good since the day I was born 😛

Turning 27, what a dark one.

The midnight of August 18th 2009 came and went. Thus I arrived at the age of 27. It was a least impressionable way to age. I sat in front of my computer typing away on my keyboard working on a few projects I have been contracted to complete.

Danger was put at bay for a while. There was a moment of breather. Till I finish these batch of projects, I could put off project hunting as well as the ever dwindling cash flow problem. Come November if all went well Alena should be working in some restaurants and my financial pressure would have greatly eased. Meanwhile the only thing I could do was thread with care with all my financial dealings.

All at home was a sleep. I decided to step out for some fresh air which I did. My cat sat on the ledge just outside my apartment. Seeing the way he acknowledges my presences almost leads me to believe he was somewhat sentient.

Suddenyl I recalled my conversation with Pasha the other night. It was popular in Russia during medieval times for all to gather to witness the execution of prisioners. When the knife went down, the head and body would be separated. Both would be alife for a while before life drips away from them.

I wonder what it feels like to have your head decapitated from your body, your demise definitely assured, with no way for you to negotiate your way out of this deal. Perhaps Fear, perhaps anger, perhaps regret and then perhaps prior to the very last moments before the curtain draws to a close and darkness descends resignation. Perhaps then nothing.

Then what about the body, what thoughts actually go through it during the period it is separated from the head? That we will never understand as well.

Suppose the body does indeed have thoughts of its own during the period of separation, it does raise for me this very very disturbing question. Which part of our body is really an essential core to ourself then?

Suppose we define that which is our absolute core as the part with which we could feel with our nerves. Then in the case whereby the nerves gets servered would not that part seize to be part of our property then?

If you cut yourself and start to bleed, is the blood that escapes from your wound still yours.

Worse yet what about you being in a deep state of sleep? It is obvious you will not feel your body while you are in the ERM stage isn’t it?

What then about life science? Suppose you lost a drop of blood and it got cloned into a whole new you, one which you could not feel naturally as an extension of yourself. Is that still you?

It cant be you, it is a him. So perhaps when you have lost control of your own body through death, then isnt that body a him as well?

What then is the definition of a you?

It was some very dark thoughts indeed for a 27, right before the start of the 7th Lunar month too. The infamous Ghost Festival

Revisit to the bridge

The other day while out wandering the streets in the evening, I hopped off some random bus and took a walk this time east wards. Strangely, I arrived with real intentions finally in the hearts of Tanjung Rhu.

I filled up my water bottle in the condomium area. Strangely I felt drawn to that bridge again. Thus I climbed up that secret stairway as I did before. It was Sunday. I felt goosebumps all over. I needed to face it. I walked along the length of the bridge. There was no longer any sight of that pair of shoes. It has been delivered to where it should belong. I sat along the walkway facing the sea. The breeze was strong.

In place of the pair of shoes was a string of flowers. It was white intermixed with purple. Someone else before me had paid this place a visit. I sat rolling my cigarettes feeling the breeze upon me. Long have I came to associate the wind with freedom. It goes where it will with regards neither for territorial boundaries nor rules. It fears nothing nor needs anything. It is been free fr a long long time.

I finally lit my cigarette and took a puff. What could his last moment have been like, I pondered long and hard. I related the incidant to Pasha the night before. He said it must have been very very dark. I wonder.

I sat there imagining in my mind, trying to see through his eyes the very last moments prior to his departure for the next step of his journey. I drew a blank as the stage of his arrival on the surface of the water.

It was hard to truly understand the intensity of his emotions and the flow of his thoughts from the period he left this sitting position I was in. Goosebumps once again broke out.

I finished smoking my cigarette and left the pack beside the flowers as offerings for him.