Life & much, much more

Hello SevenStrokes: Building websites … a little differently

A few months ago, Chris Paplinski, Nathan Charrois, Kaushal Inna, Andre Brokman, Kelsie Rose and I, Dion Moult, gathered to create a company. Today, we would like to present to the world: SevenStrokes.

Sevenstrokes web development

SevenStrokes is a web development company but with a few key differences.

  1. Firstly, we see websites as a service, not a product. We don’t just build a website, we treat it as part of your larger corporate strategy.
  2. We build systems that mirror your day-to-day domain issues. We use a combination of behavior-driven development and code architecture that employs the same daily language that you do. This ensures our system makes sense not just in the software world, but in real life, and thus always move a step towards achieving your corporate goals.
  3. We follow many aspects of the open-source business model, ensuring that we assign the most motivated staff that want your site to succeed just as much as you do, and that full inspection guarantees your system integrity.
  4. We push for the latest industry standards and keep on pushing, even after launch. Websites are usually short-lived, but we’re changing that with a system architecture that maximises long-term life.

So what are you waiting for? Do you need a website built? Do you need somebody to help spearhead your latest online initiative? Check out SevenStrokes: Building websites … a little differently

sevenstrokes unique web design

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How to solve the big Internet problem.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the Internet is full of trash.

When I say trash, I don’t just refer to websites and data, I mean people. The Internet has a startlingly similar effect to drugs – its addictive and makes people act like idiots. As you’ve probably already guessed from the title, these two are the “big internet problem(s)”.

Addiction is one that is easily fixed and is progressively being fixed. As we integrate technology and the Internet more and more into our daily lives addiction will be disguised as a lifestyle. If you can’t see the problem anymore, you don’t try to solve it. Not because it’s the right or wrong thing to do, it’s because most people are lazy arses (I once misspelt “lazy” as “lady” in a chat conversation, big mistake) and so the tackling the fundamental problem becomes quite futile.

The second is that people start acting like idiots. The reasons for this falls neatly into two categories: 1) they were idiots to begin with, and 2) they interacted too much with real idiots and so acculturated accordingly. Removing the first category kills two birds with one stone, which is what I shall accomplish in my lovely plan which I’ll write about in a bit.

In a bit.

Here’s the plan. You let evolution take its course. You simply remove the Internet. For a year or two. The issue lies with the fact that you can’t punch somebody through a computer screen. Once you remove the Internet, idiots cannot hide behind aliases and are forced to be idiots to real, live people.

These innocent people will be suddenly exposed to a huge influx of stupidity and will involuntarily resort to their instincts – to vent out their frustration in the most effective way possible. The most effective way is also normally proportional to the amount of pain the idiot experiences.

A year or two of this shock treatment should be enough to weed out the majority of this problem. We then put the Internet back up and purge any website that isn’t visited within the first couple of days. The people hosting these websites that get purged which represent more than 30% of the total amount of folks they host will be suspended for manual interrogation.

This one to two year absence of the internet will also remove Internet addiction. It should be ample time for people to redevelop a lifestyle that doesn’t revolve around the constant communication the Internet provides.

We’d also save on a crapload of energy costs for those two years. This has major environmental advantages. We’d also shutdown a good percentage of our industry with labourers with non-transferrable skills, not to mention seriously harm the backbone of many other businesses. However this will also allow us to look with a fresh vision on whatever stupid economic system we’ve got in place today. This is the jolt we all need to start restructuring our societies, not with visionaries spouting their optimism to closed ears but an actual realisable event.

Ok. I promise I’ll do a real post when I’m next due.

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The Euphemism Website – the failed idea.

One of the websites I always wanted to make was a Euphemism dictionary. It would be pretty similar to urbandictionary in terms of concept and allow user-defined euphemisms for common insulting phrases. This would thus prevent us racking our brains every single time we wanted to come up with another creative way of saying “my aunt’s maid’s son is better at computers than you“.

It’s also a great initiative to start putting literature to good use rather than the common application of analysing the themes and symbolic imagery behind fictional characters.

Another objective would be to disprove most of the web community do’s and don’ts through the context and artificially induced environment the website will create. For example, users will be insulted constantly, from the minute they enter the website, when they register, log in, or do anything that involves a mouse and a screen. Definitions and euphemisms will have a voting system, except it’s unidirectional – you are only allowed to vote down submissions. I don’t mean this in the rottentomatoes format where more tomatoes means its good, I mean this quite literally. You’re not allowed to say something is good, you say if something is crap, and then we’ll list the least crap and the most crap. Take your pick. User interaction will be minimal – you’re allowed submit and vote, nothing else, users with accounts will be given no option but to receive spam email from an entirely unrelated mailing list, all the time mocking you of your gullibility of registering to such a shady website.

We won’t only break community conventions, we’ll break design conventions too. There will be no clear header or footer. The title will be a randomly rotating insulting phrase (of your choice if you register an account). The content will be single column, left aligned, with a colourscheme worse than my dad’s tie, and a table will be used for everything. One huge table with colspans and rowspans that’ll make the folks in the #css channel choke.

With all that said, it’ll still be better than 95% of the websites on the internet.

Gosh the internet is so full of trash.

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Good riddance, Twitter.

Twitter has successfully put the “Twit” in “Twitter”. Some people realised that I apparently vanished off the face of the Earth on Twitter. I realised that I used Twitter in a way that was better served through other methods. I followed people/groups in order to keep up with tech news, and mainly “tweeted” in order to alert others of new updates on my various projects.

The first is obviously a crappy function duplication of the RSS aggregator – except for lazy people. The people that I were following that weren’t simply news corporations were, quite frankly, idiots. Well, idiots on Twitter.

No. I don’t want to hear about the weather, no matter how you choose to describe it. I don’t care for parrots who simply re-tweet everything. I especially don’t want to hear about your depressing thoughts described in the most enigmatic and bullshit words possible.

What I do like however is people who can readily distinguish between reality and their own little fantasy world and know which of those other people like to know about. Once that distinction is made I’d like further categorisation for time-wasters and useful information. Sad to say that I didn’t really see anything in the “useful information” column outside news companies – who reported real people doing real things that made real impacts.

As interesting as technology might be, the Internet is the nine-years consecutive winner of the “stupid content” award. If you don’t believe me, take a look at this blog post, which lists the most popular alphabetically listed search terms on Google after “I like to”, including my all-time favourites “I like to tape my thumbs to my hands to see what it would be like to be a dinosaur” and “I like to think of Jesus as a mischievous badger“. So-called Social Networks like Twitter are propagating this nonsense and it stands to reason that my Tweets were being read by similar idiots. Or not read at all.

Suffice to say that my account was better off being nonexistent. I wish to disassociate myself from this crowd and remain close to my ideals.

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Is your ISP causing slow Internet?

Note: this article refers to Malaysia but can be used for any ISP in any country.

Rightio. Malaysia. Truly Asia:
Country that brings together cultures from all around the world.
Country that is rising in development and other fancy shmatts.
Country that leeches all its internet from Singapore’s undersea cables.

untitled-2TM.net, TMNET, TMnet, Tm.net, tmnet or however the hell they spell it is the major ISP in Malaysia. It has a famous reputation … for being slow. I think some people have switched over to this new thing called “Celcom Broadband” but that’s still picking up pace – and not everybody is comfortable with Wifi yet in this country. The other alternative is “Jaring” – I hear they’re now offering broadband services, but I haven’t heard much about it. Anyways, back to TMnet. Slow, you say? Yes. By this I mean download speeds of 3-4kbps. By this I mean packet loss. By this I mean random disconnects. By this I mean a dumbass on the other end of the support line (Nah, some are decent). This has been generally accepted as the norm here – but don’t lose hope! There is nothing but salvation at hand.

So, my fellow Malaysian, I offer you some tests to check whether or not it’s your router that’s screwing up, your router to TMnet connection that’s screwing up, or of it’s TMnet that’s serving you those long hours of slow internet connections – if any at all.

Luckily when the internet is playing hide and seek, the one service I can still easily access is IRC chat. IRC chat is one of those things I believe a lot of people are missing out on. At the same time, I realise it weeds out a lot of the idiots on the Internet. Anyway – one day my Internet learned this awesome new trick called “play dead” … so I asked for some advice on IRC. Here’s what the overall plan was to debug the problem:

  1. Ping your router to check if the problem is the connection from your computer to your router.
  2. Do a traceroute to find out the IP of your ISP (TMnet).
  3. Ping your ISP (TMnet) to see if the connection problem is from your router to TMnet.

If you notice the problem at step 1), perhaps it’s a cable issue or get a new router. If it’s a step 3), you know it’s to do with however the cables are set up in your neighborhood. If you don’t notice a problem in those three steps, you know it’s your ISP that’s causing all the trouble.

So, how do I check?

If you are on Windows, the first thing you want to do is open up your command prompt. This can be done by going to Start -> Run, and typing in ‘cmd’ (no quotes) then pressing enter. Once done, start by doing a simple ping to see what’s going on. Type ‘ping google.com’ and leave it to run for a while. Once it’s gone on for a fair bit (30 seconds should be enough) stop it and check the packet loss and number of milliseconds it takes for each packet. If you see packet loss or if it takes a long time (over here, 300ms is average), you have problems.

Right, let’s start debugging it. Let’s first find your router IP. Type ‘ipconfig’ and look for your gateway IP. This probably looks something like 192.168.1.1. So, like before, ping it by typing ‘ping 192.168.1.1’ – obviously if your IP is different, change it. Leave it for a while, then check the results.

If you are experiencing packet loss here, you’d probably want to check your cables and router hardware. If not, move on.

Right, time for the traceroute. Type ‘tracert google.com’ and let it run. When it’s done, look through the results. The first IP should be your gateway IP (eg: 192.168.1.1). Look at the next IP that shows in the output. Ping that ip with ‘ping xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx’ – obviously replacing the IP with what it shows. Let it run, and check the results.

If you are experiencing packet loss here. Sucks to be you. Call the TMnet guy to try and sort things out.

If you didn’t experience any packet losses in those stages, and it all worked fine – welcome to the club. Let us all moan asynchronously (because we have no ability to coordinate – obviously) and suffer as one as this means it’s just your ISP causing the issue. Feel free to give them a phone call and shout at them for a while. It won’t really help (they probably won’t understand anyway – “Packet? Eh? You mean nasi lemak packet? We TMnet. We no sell nasi lemak”) but it’ll make you feel better.

Note: the style in which this article was written may not truthfully describe the situation of TMNet nor internet in Malaysia. Narration and description has been written in the attempt to arouse humour – with the author, Dion Moult, not liable to any effects due to the interpretation of the above text. Dion Moult will comply to any requests to remove or modify the above post given proper authorative position.

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History of the Internet

picture2A short note by Dion Moult: Hello there readers! Today I present to you a guest article by none other than a guest writer – namely Nathan from Inkweaver-review (link below). If you want your article to be published on thinkMoult, simply drop me an email and we’ll have a chat :)

Today the Internet is a seamless service that seems to fit into human life as it was always there, but the truth is that it is only about forty years old.  The Internet began in the 1960s when early packet switching networks were created.  Packet switching is the process of dividing data into chunks that are sent one at a time.  Prior to this concept it was very difficult to route data through a network.  For example, if the computer was to send a file it would be sent in a stream of data usually in analog format.  Computers would have a hard time trying to determine where the stream began and ended.  This makes it nearly impossible to route the stream through a network.  With packet switching, however, it becomes much easier to package data and then address it so that computers can tell where it should be sent.

In 1964 the advantages of digital packet switching were first explored with the purpose of creating a communications network that had wide connectivity and would be able to survive failure of any of its nodes.  This was visualized in a series of papers titled On Distributed Communications.  This communications idea was very attractive for military purposes as it promoted a network that could easily survive attack.  Messages could be forwarded around any computer or server that had failed or been destroyed.  The first internet application was therefore a military network called ARPANET, developed during the height of the Cold War to make communication possible in the case of a wide spread nuclear attack.

In the 1979 however, ARPANET became the backbone of a new network called USENET.  This network began as a system for connecting major universities so that they could share resources and data from experiments.  However, this network was also used for bulletin board systems and email.  College students found that they could use USENET  for their own purposes.  Although the ARPANET networks forbid the use of their servers for discussions on subjects such as drugs and sex, innovative students found ways to set up their own servers to host such discussions.  The development of personal computers made it possible for a much larger group of people to connect to the developing internet.  Hackers and computer buffs from around the world began setting up their own servers and chat systems.

The Internet as we know it today began at CERN with the innovation of Tim Berners-Lee.  He wanted to set up a network that would work well between different types of computers.  He also thought up hypertext, text documents that had links and other active content that paper documents could not have.  This protocol, called the World Wide Web, works on top of the infrastructure that is the internet.  Today it has absorbed such a large portion of internet use that most people confuse the World Wide Web with the Internet itself.

To summarize the Internet began as a military network to distribute information in the case of an enemy attack.  From there it expanded to include educational institutions that wanted a good way to share data.  Then college students began using the network for bulletin boards, chat, and other applications, paving the way for the internet that we know today.

For more information see:

Guest Post by NathanKP of Inkweaver Review.