Tech Encounters

WOT probes my web access history

I loaded a private web address using Chromium with the extension WOT v2.6.0 (by www [dot] mywot [dot] com).

Hours later, some unknown IP probed my private address.

I repeated the same test with another unique private URL, and hours later, the same ec2 IP loaded that private URL again.

Then I disabled the WOT extension in Chromium and repeated the same test with a new unique private URL. No more probes.

Bad WOT! You should just be checking whether a link has bad reputation instead of loading the web addresses I’ve visited.


Tech Encounters

Linux and Open Source Applications Support Vendors in Singapore

Many companies try very hard to avoid using open source solutions in Singapore because the general impression is that support is poor.

A quick googling suggests that these vendors do provide professional support in Singapore:

Do you know of other vendors in this business? Let me know so that I can grow this list. When it’s substantial, maybe more Singapore companies will be willing to try open source solutions. 🙂

Tech Encounters

WhatsApp group chat on steroids

Google+ Events 🙂

Tech Encounters Tech Tips

Some design considerations for tablet devices

I’ve got a chance to play with the old iPad and the newer Motorola Xoom. Here’s a list of some of my observations comparing the two in terms of hardware/form factor. It’s just a personal list and by no means comprehensive.

  1. iPad battery lasts longer when in sleep mode. Shorter battery life makes using the tablet tiring because I have to keep thinking about conserving the battery, e.g. by shutting it down but that means if I need to quickly google something, I’ll have to wait for it to power up first.
  2. iPad power button is on the top edge, while Xoom is at the back of the tablet, making it unreachable when it’s lying flat on the table. You are forced to leave it up when you want to access the button just to wake it from sleep mode, which is a very frequent action. This one gets on my nerves very quickly.
  3. iPad’s volume buttons are at the right edge and protruding high enough for ease of pressing. The Xoom’s are also by the side by it’s difficult to press because it’s too thin and flat.
  4. iPad’s speaker sounds a lot better than Xoom’s, at least to my untrained ears. Furthermore, iPad’s speaker is at the lower-right edge, i.e. it’s able to project the sound out to the front, especially if you hold it such that the body channels the sound upwards to your ears. The Xoom’s speakers are at the back! Why will anyone want to project the sound away from the user’s ears? It sounds a lot softer, feels further away and hollow!

So, in terms of design, iPad beats Xoom on many points. However, I’ll definitely prefer the open Android over Apple’s closed iOS. If any manufacturer can combine Apple’s design/hardware with Android without being hit by patent trolls, consumers will be very happy.

Do you know of any Android tablets with superb design?

Misc Quotes Our Society Tech Encounters

The only ideology I really despise and dislike is the kind that is about exclusion of other ones

In an interview with Argentina’s La Pagina, Linux founder Linus Torvalds shares his view of Linux ideology.

Q: What ideology has Linux?

A: I don’t think there is an ideology, and I don’t think there *should* be an ideology. And the important part of that is the “an” – I think there can be *many* ideologies.  I do it for my own reasons, other people do it for _their_ own reasons. I think the world is a complicated place, and people are interesting and complicated animals that do things for complex reasons. And that’s why I don’t think there should be “an ideology”. I think it’s really refreshing to see people working on Linux because they believe they can make the world a better place by spreading technology and making it available to people more widely – and they think that open source is a good way to do that. That’s _one_ ideology. I think it’s a great one. It isn’t really why I started doing Linux myself, but it warms my heart to see Linux used that way. But I _also_ think that it’s great to see all the commercial companies that use open source simply because it’s good for business. That’s a totally different ideology, and I think that’s a perfectly good ideology too. The world would be a _much_ worse place if we didn’t have companies doing things for money. So the only ideology I really despise and dislike is the kind that is about exclusion of other ones. I despise people whose ideology is about “the one true ideology”, and not following that particular set of moral guidelines is “evil” or “wrong”. That’s just small-minded and stupid, to me. So the important part about open source is not the ideology – it’s just that everybody can use it for their own needs and for their own reasons. The copyright license is there to keep that openness alive, and to make sure that the project doesn’t fragment into people who hide their improvements from each other and then have to re-implement each others changes – but it’s not there to enforce some ideology.

Tech Encounters

1-way social media?

Don’t use social media if you don’t want to listen or connect with your target audience. It’ll backfire.

Facebook Fanpage Fail (FFF): HTC Singapore Fans Revolt

Tech Encounters

Why is Drupal “Contact Form” not sending any email?

PROBLEM : My “Contact Form” in Drupal (v6.14) was not delivering any email to my mailbox. No error was indicated in Drupal logs.

SOLUTION : Turned out my web hosting company had to move my domain name record from /etc/localdomains to /etc/remotedomains.

Here’s a php script to test the sending of email:

$to = "[email protected]";
$subject = "Test mail";
$message = "Hello! This is a test message.";
$from = "<name>@<your domain>";
$headers = "From: $from";
echo "Mail Sent.";