Contemporary History of Self-Expression on the Net

By , October 30, 2007 2:03 am

Evolution of self-expression on the net

Source: Problogger, Why Twitter Isn’t a Waste of Time

Microsoft Office Live Online goes Beta

By , October 30, 2007 12:35 am

Microsoft Office Live LogoMicrosoft Office Live Logo

Waiting for my workspace to be setup…


Facebook vs Orkut vs Yahoo! Mash vs MySpace, and some other Social Networking sites

By , October 29, 2007 11:08 pm

Social Network Sites


Facebook logo

73.5 million users and growing fastest

What I like about it

  1. Mini-Feed is useful in seeing a quick snapshot on the latest happenings within your network without going to several sites to check.
  2. The ability to supply how you know a person.
  3. Nice applications. Approximately 10% of Facebook applications I’ve tried are interesting and useful while others are not as good.

I think these can be improved

  1. Fixed 600 width and non-resizable
  2. Non-customizable design
  3. No blogging functionality
  4. Tight security: profile only viewable by friends. How do you determine if a profile is your friend or not just by looking at the screen name which can be different from the real name?
  5. One account can only join no more than 200 groups. Unlimited is preferred.


Glossy Orkut logo

24.6 million users

What I like about it

  1. Simple design, Google philosophy after all
  2. Extensible width
  3. Ad-free

I think these can be improved

  1. Name. Honestly speaking, the Turkish name “Orkut” is very unfamiliar. Just a remark, as the brand name is not supposed to change
  2. Very few, if any, extensions

Yahoo! Mash

Yahoo! Mash Logo

What I like about it

  1. Wider width
  2. Larger font
  3. Allows profiles to be updated by friends
  4. Mini-feed is also supplied

I think these can be improved

  1. Check boxes to select friends to add should be provided
  2. More group levels
  3. Informal language. I am especially not easy with the word “fugly”
  4. Profile with non-removable fields such as “What’s most likely playing on my iPod”… Excuse me, can I NOT have an iPod?


MySpace logo

107 million users. The currently largest site

What I like about it

  1. Integrated all-in-one solution that includes social networking, blogging, mail, favorites, forum, movies, events, media

I think these can be improved

  1. Inconsistent design
  2. Music landing page
  3. Spam, including spam invitations, protection
  4. Tons of ads

Other notable networking sites

Name Focus Number of users (in million) Comments
Windows Live Spaces Blogging 120 Really eye-catching glossy design. Powerful blogging support. Try new Microsoft experience!
hi5 General 50 An issue: the letter ‘5’ creates this word “hị” in Vietnamese. hi5 is still nice anyway
bebo Schools & alumni 34 Nice and neat
friendster General 50 Friendster is getting old. It needs more innovation.
imeem Media: Music, Video 16 Possibly the best media site currently. Nice design and convenient upload process. Support tagging
LinkedIn Business 15 Very professional for business networking purpose Music 15 Attractive design, especially the logo. However, radio alone is not that fascinating. They could use more of music sharing
Xanga Blogging 40 The ad on top is a huge barrier to this site’s design. Usability is a little messy

Read more

Wikipedia, List of social networking websites

Mashable, Facebook Hammers MySpace on Almost All Key Features

Techcrunch, Facebook platform

American Class Divisions

Nerdlifestyle, Media restrictions

My choice

Facebook to keep in touch with international friends and English-speaking communities

Yahoo! Mash. Many young Vietnamese users rely on Yahoo! services

Tai Tran on iMeem for socially musical networking

How about you?

Share your experience here…

Which site do you like best? What you wish your site had offered?

Does Safari have what Firefox doesn't?

By , October 20, 2007 2:24 am

I’m going to Safari on Mac looking for what Firefox 2.0 doesn’t offer.


Safari is even simpler and cleaner than Firefox. It give much space to the webpage.

Safari screenshot

Bold font display is good for the eyes.

It is more stable and less frequently crashes on heavy sites.

Easy popup-blocker switch: Command+K

Not so good

Apple advertises that Safari’s performance is 1.5 as much as that of Firefox. Unfortunately, on my PC Safari is about 15% faster.

There aren’t many extensions, which make Firefox famous, for Safari yet.

Security settings of Safari are so basic: no password control, certificate authentication, encryption.

Security Settings of Safari

Anti-Virus a Basic Guide

By , October 20, 2007 1:57 am


Setup the environment

Install and Turn on an many Anti-Virus, Anti-Spyware software

Some free software may include:

  • ZoneAlarm free version
  • Avast
  • Comodo Firewall

ZoneAlarm Screenshot

This is a screenshot of ZoneAlarm with Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware turned on. Your software may look different but dig for similar options.

Set security in your browsers

Click here to see the illustration

Develop Defensive Habits

  • Scan for virus from external storage: flash drives, hard disks
  • Scan for virus/spyware at least weekly
  • If some program prompts you to install, don’t if you are suspicious. However, some ActiveX from trusted websites such as can be safe
  • Don’t open attachments from someone you don’t know. Scammers and virus spreaders can even fake their email address to something familiar to you, so just don’t.
  • Don’t visit sites that look suspicious
    • Check your browser’s status bar left corner (the bar at the bottom of the window) for the URL while hovering your mouse over the link
    • If the domain name is from a source you know well, it is safe. Example of domain name: is this site’s domain name
    • If the URL is hidden then it is suspicious
    • If the URL contains commercial words such as “refer”, “bill”, “cash” in its domain name then it is suspicious
    • If a message sent to you via Instant Messages contains links and a message that looks like mass-sending and is ambiguous (come here and check), it may be auto-generated by a virus. It also applies for IM statuses
    • The recent virus spreading in Vietnam is Vietnamese without accent. We can assume that messages with accent might be safer, but this is not guaranteed.
  • Confirm with the sender if they sent suspicious-looking messages. If they don’t know, the message contains virus.
  • Resist temptation (!) to click on tempting links

How to send messages that contain safe links to people who have already been cautious

  • Sign your message with your name
  • Address the receiver by name or group name (dear RMIT alumni)
  • Write in Vietnamese with accent

Write "Hello User" Facebook Application using PHP

By , October 20, 2007 12:55 am

1. Install Facebook Developer Application

Add The Facebook Developer Application

2. Install PHP Facebook API Client Library

Facebook API

Unzip the library into a web folder that is accessible by your PHP scripts.

3. Creating Your Application Profile And API Key

  1. Go to the developer panel, click “Set Up New Application”.
  2. Input application name
  3. Go to “Optional Fields”, input “Callback Url” with the location of your script. This is the public URL on your webserver where the Facebook application will be.
  4. Input “Canvas Page URL”. This is your application URL within Facebook. The application named “Hello World” would make the full URL
  5. “Can your application be added on Facebook?” => “Yes”
  6. Check “Developer Mode” checkbox until you have completed the application.
  7. Under “Integration Points” fill out “Side Nav URL” with the full “Canvas Page URL” This allows users to add your application to their Facebook left side bar navigation.
  8. Obtain the API Key and Secrete

4. Hello Facebook!

require_once('facebook/client/facebook.php');/* initialize the facebook API with your application API Key and Secrete */
$facebook = new Facebook(YOUR_API_KEY,YOUR_SECRETE_CODE);?>
Hello <fb:name uid='<?php echo $fb_user; ?>' useyou='false' possessive='true' />! Welcome to Facebook application!

And there, we’re done!

Gmail Lifecycle

By , October 14, 2007 8:10 pm

Gmail glossy icon

Gmail in real life – a symbolic video of life collaboration.

[gv data=””][/gv]

Source: Official Gmail Blog

Why use Google Documents

By , October 14, 2007 7:30 pm

Email Pressure

Tired of managing versions, comments, feedbacks, emails, attachments of a single document?

Tired of “sorry, I forgot to attach the document in the previous email!”?

Going out to a workplace where they don’t have Microsoft Office installed?

Google Documents solves these problems for you!

Documents, spreadsheets, presentations are served.

You don’t even have to learn, just lie back a watch…

[gv data=””][/gv]

Source: Google Official Blog

The Clients of a Business/System Analyst

By , October 13, 2007 4:36 pm

Business Analyst changing role

Role What they expect How to satisfy them
Customer Side
Users A system that solves their problems, is easy to use and attractive Create requirements that meet their needs, is user-friendly and matches GUI Design Guidelines
Project Champion Business goals are satisfied. Project meets deadline, within budget Manage scope of the project. Review Vision regularly
Development Side
Software Engineers Feasible and unambiguous Requirements Disambiguate Requirements. Select feasible approach
Quality Side
Quality Control Testable Requirement Disambiguate Requirements
Quality Assurance Comply with Process Follow Process
Management Side
Project Manager Requirements managed, traceable, extensible, scalable Manage Requirements. Maintain traceability
Business Analysis Manager Develop competencies Work, learn, contribute and grow
Other Business Analysts Knowledge sharing Share knowledge in logical and meaningful way
Coachees Coaching & guidance Evaluate performance. Provide feedbacks in a constructive manner. Give advice on development
Trainees Useful, practical and interactive trainings Conduct trainings that combine theory foundation and practical experience

So great! We have the chance to meet, work with and learn from a lot of interesting and talented people.

The job of a Business/System Analyst is so fascinating and challenging. I am not, at all, surprised to see the growing interest in this position.

WordPress publishing tips – 2

By , October 12, 2007 5:39 pm

WordPress white T-shirt

Manual Highlight Posts

There are benefits to manage your highlight posts manually.

First, automated widgets that display popular posts base on certain criteria and may not cover all your needs. For example, you may want to attract traffic to a post with lower pageviews that it doesn’t appear when using plugins.

Next, if you do it by hand and announce so, readers will appreciate your hard works and the intimate readership is enhanced.

Lastly, you control everything about the list.

Use Images for posts

One tip is to use images for posts to create visual clues instead of all text links.

Manual Related Posts

“Related Posts” plugin works well. However, it works by detecting similar posts by using keywords including tags. It is not intelligent enough to understand that some story should continue the article you’re writing.

For instance, you’d written an article about Management and never once mentioned Leadership. Then, you write about Leadership to prove the differences and the supplementing between Leadership and Management and want to link to the previous Management article. The plugin then only displays related Leadership articles after the new article, without knowing your preference. Manually doing so may improve the reading flow of your blog.

Tell your readers exactly what they should be doing

Click here

Compare these 2 paragraphs:

1. My summary of the Enneagram, for example, summarizes my knowledge after reading most celebrated books on the topic.

2. My summary of the Enneagram, for example, summarizes my knowledge after reading most celebrated books on the topic. Click here to read the summary.

What have you noticed? Which do you think is more of a temptation of clicking?

Statistics has that clear instruction such as “Click here” increases clicking rate by roughly 8%. Do give internet users explicit and specific commands.

“Related Posts” vs. a Selling statement

Compare these 2 invitations:

1. Related Posts

Principles of leadership
Leadership today
The theory of leadership

2. Interested in this topic? You might enjoy another article I’d written named The differences between Leadership and Management and how they supplement each other. It further explores the points covered in this post.

Since it’s an invitation, make it an invitation.


Show-off the date of your post. This gives reader more hints on the context of the story so comprehending the article can be easier.

For example, some readers may be surprised to read your post that praises Sony Walkman as the state-of-the-art portable music player while Apple’s iPod was dominating in 2006. If the date “1/2/1990” is included in the post, such confusion is avoidable.


Interested in this topic? You might enjoy other WordPress publishing tips. Click here to read the previous article.

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