Tag Archives: Website

Own blog Vs Facebook

Social networking sites like Facebook are such commanding, in terms of their ability to capture eyeballs. Their appeal seems to lie in many Facebook users, and their friends, visit Facebook frequently, and religiously “contributing” posts as well, say everyday? It is definitely more “rewarding” for them to visit a portal like Facebook where they can find out what their friends are thinking/doing, than to visit their friends’ blogs or websites individually. Too time consuming, perhaps. For the owner of a blog like myself, it is definitely much easier to put in a one-liner on my Facebook’s wall than to blog, which requires more thoughts. It is a shame really. However what I write on my blog is more far reaching than what I put onto my Facebook. For example, people who are not my “friends” in Facebook will not be able to see what I wrote in Facebook, for privacy reason. At least search engines are not allowed to crawl Facebook’s contents. But anyone can search for what I’ve written on here. So it is rewarding to see what I’ve written can be of some use to anyone who finds it. I think that alone will keep me going, at least for the time being… 🙂

Thoughts about my travel business

I’m really pleased to receive the positive feedbacks on the website for my small travel business venture to Malaysia. They mean a lot to me, as I have spent just so much time on the website. I don’t claim to have created the website from scratch, but it is so much work to get the website to look the way I want. It is such a relief to know that these effort has not gone wasted.I think the content for the website is quite important. I remember when I initially showed to some people their remarks were just so so only. After working on the content, it seems that people are now starting to appreciate the business we are working on. I guess the passion and confidence in my own business does help too. And I genuinely believe that tourism is the best way forward for Borneo if we want to keep the rainforest and the biodiversity there. You probably have no idea that there are many people out there who want to turn these forest into oil palm plantation for biodiesel. In fact one of my close friends has some land in Sabah that has just been turned into an oil palm plantation recently! It was an act my friend is not particularly proud of, even though the land he bought used to be secondary forest, rather than primary. Bio-fuel cannot be a direct replacement of natural fuel source. People really should conciously cut down energy wastage. There’s no excuse for not doing that and people should be ridiculed for being ignorant. People need to start realising the consequences of their actions.Circumstances change from time to time. What was acceptable years ago is now frowned upon. Seems a bit strange sometimes but nothing new. Guess we just need to keep updating ourselves so that what we now know as mistakes are not repeated again.

Transfer to a web hosting service

Couldn’t help but to buy myself a two year web hosting service with hostmonster for less than $120. It gives me all I’m looking for, ssh access, mysql database, hosting unlimited domains etc, and I’m also given a free domain name during this period! Have to say goodbye to using my old home PC to host this blog, as switching on this machine 24/7 mainly just to do that is not very environmentally friendly 🙂 And if I continue to do this it won’t be long before I’ll kill PC. In fact recently the PC switched off itself and had problem booting back up again . I initially thought it was about time to dispose of the PC. But turns out that the power supply unit (PSU) was just clogged with dust, no ventilation, overheated and then switched off itself. I gave the PSU a good vacuum and it’s now back up running again. Anyway, I still need the PC to work as a wireless router as well as a file storage system, so don’t really want to f**k that up.The process to transfer this blog to the hosting server was easier than I thought. I only need to copy the whole web directory to the hosting server, set up a new mysql database (user name, password and database name), modify the corresponding mysql parameters in wp-config.php, change the domain name server and that’s it. Easy peasy.

Online + high street

Ordered a rug 2 days ago at Next, a high street fashion clothing chain that recently also starts selling home furnishings. Paid �3.75 for delivery charge, because we don’t really want to be carrying that heavy thing home. Anyway, they don’t have stocks in their shop. The home furnishings stuff are there only for display. Their stocks are kept in the warehouse, which makes good sense, as these stuff take too much real estate to be stored in the shop.The concept is good. Next are leveraging their shops in the prime location of the high street, to augment their online retailing arm. This gives online shoppers a chance to touch and feel the products should they have doubts after browsing through their online catalogue. And by shopping with them, online, you know that you have the option of returning unsatisfactory goods by visiting their high street shop, rather than having to go through the tedious process of sending the items back by post, as offered by most online retailers.After having a look at their website, actually they are offering a lot more products than I initially thought! So it is very likely that they want to become a major online shopping portal too, taking on the likes of Argos, Tesco and Amazon (UK). Interesting. But Next is definitely behind the game when it comes to goods tracking and delivery. I was told by the sales girl that day at Next that the rug will be delivered to me in a week’s time (mind you that she was unable to tell me the exact date and time of delivery). But the rug was already on my doorstep when I got home today. I was pleasantly surprised, to be honest, to have received today. But I wasn’t happy the fact that they just dump my package outside my house. Argos had never done this to me before. They allow me to specify the date of delivery (am/pm), and I make sure I’m at home. When things didn’t work out, due to my fault, there’s a system for me to rearrange the delivery relatively easily.Anyway, it’s still early stage for Next. We’ll see if they can really be a worthy player in this competitve market.

Web hosting service

I always have this question in my mind on whether hosting this blog on my home machine is such a good idea afterall. My web server is slow, because the uplink speed of my ADSL connection is only 256Kbps. I have no backup power supply, and my server is not secured from denial of service attack.I recently bought a two-year service with IX web hosting for my travel business project. It’s cheap but the service plan is surprisingly very generous. I get 1,000GBytes allowance for data transfer every month, which should be more than sufficient although I have lots of pictures on my website, and 100GBytes of webspace! When I did my research on which web hosting service to go for, I found that many of them have very limited allowance for data transfer. They may be very cheap, but they charge a lot when the allowance is exceeded (so look carefully at the small prints!). Another thing to watch out for is the customer support. Some web hosting companies have appalling customer support. And some are just resellers. For example they bought a dedicated server service from a web hosting company, and then resell spare capacity to other people. So although their service may be cheap, it’s probably difficult to expect much from them.The only consideration for me when I signup with IX web hosting was that they do not provide secure shell (ssh) access to the web server. But I’m glad it turns out that their web shell service is user-friendly enough. And I can still run scripts using crontab.So looks like maybe I should transfer this blog to IX web hosting as well. BUT, the challenge of administering my own web server is too hard to let go, afterall 🙂

Blocking Google ads

I’m still wondering what have I done, accidentally, to my Firefox browser such that no Google ads are displayed. I know that at one point I’ve installed the CustomizeGoogle extension to my Firefox. But it does not seem that it is the one that is blocking the Google ads. It should not be the firewall installed on my machine, as the ads are displayed correctly on my Internet Explorer browser.Anyway, should you find that Google ads are getting a bit too annoying, here’s a pretty neat way of blocking them out of your sight:Linux users, edit your /etc/hosts file and add127.0.0.1 pagead2.googlesyndication.comWindows XP users, edit c:WINDOWSsystem32driversetchostsOR you can install Adblock extension to your Firefox browser, and follow the instructions detailed on Jotsheet.

Cron jobs

For those of you who don’t know, a cron is a unix command normally used to schedule a job that is executed periodically. Yeah, I know, but I’m excited because I finally know how to schedule tasks to run on my server, and it is so easy! “crontab -e” is the key. I can now schedule google sitemap generator to generate Sitemap at 00:00 everday and output it to the root directory of my site. I am happy 🙂

Finally up and running

What should normally take 5 minutes to set up ended up taking me days! To be fair to wordpress, if you are using a third party web hosting service, it shouldn’t really take you much time to get wordpress installed and there you can start blogging. I know I should shoulder some blame as well, as I tried to host this website on my home machine, which wasn’t equipped with php and mysql initially. But to later find out that it was actually a simple mistake in the wordpress package that was preventing me from getting this done sooner was absolutely deflating. That closing php tag, which was one short in the install script, was costly because it confused me into thinking, for days, that my web server wasn’t configured to work as required by wordpress, which uses php and mysql. But on a positive note, much was learnt during the process, as is always the case when you play with Linux. Avoid using pre-compiled binaries if you have multiple packages that you want to link together. Compile from source always gives you control over what you want and don’t want.