Posts about purehype.org

It’s been a while…

Wow! I can’t believe that the last time I have posted on this website was a year ago! To my loyal readers out there (if any still exist) – thank you for the endless support. No, I have not abandon this blog like many others and migrated entirely to social media like Facebook and Twitter. The original intent of this blog was to allow me to voice my opinions and record my life journey along the way. Unfortunately, other important priorities appeared in my life and this resulted in the lack of time and energy to write and maintain the blog.

As I was reading past entries, I was amused by the sentence structure and grammatical errors. I thought of tidying each entry but that would be a daunting task. Perhaps, this would motivate me enough to embrace on a redesign of this site and at the same time, make corrections to the poorly written entries.

For now, I am trying to stay focus and concentrate on clearing my modules in the university for this semester. Hopefully, I will be able to find some extra time and work on this blog during the upcoming school vacation.

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The forth incarnation

After what seems to be an extended vacation and busy tag line if you have been wondering what I’ve been up to lately, I’m pleased to announce the forth incarnation of this site. If you are reading this from a newsreader, you should visit the site on your browser. This is one of the biggest projects I’ve been working on for the last few months, juggling between work and packing for relocation to the states. What inspired me to code a fresh design and embarked on rebranding was mainly due to inactive updates and existing posts that churns out paragraphs of text, which I thought was monotonous and unappealing. In short, I believe the new direction for this site is set to feature encounters in a photo log concept as well as interesting links and short articles.

What’s new
To start off, the forth incarnation features a wide view design layout for the increasing number of widescreen users. Most of the photos can be expanded for a larger view when you click on the photo itself. This is an experimental feature and I’m still working on fine-tuning it for a better experience. Each article published now comes with relevant keyword tagging and this process helps to keep the contents within this site properly organized. To search for articles, you may choose to browse through the archives or through the search form. These are just a few examples of enhancements done to the site in the sprit of better browsing experience within the site.

What’s gone
I have decided to drop support for Internet Explorer 6 users. If you are still using internet explorer 6, you ought to upgrade to a better browser since you will be missing all the good stuff on this site and many other good designs on the internet. Movie ratings, book review and photo gallery has been removed until I’m able to figure out a better way to publish the content. However, I will be posting most of my photos to flickr, which is being featured at the bottom of this site.

A redirector is in place to capture non-existing links request. Should you experience any difficulties while browsing the site, feel free to drop me a note. I would also love to hear your feedback on the re-launch of this site.

Update: Due to some technical difficulties, I’ve recently changed hosts. I suppose the DNS propagation should be completed by now and you should be viewing the latest design and contents.

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What's up

I’ve been procrastinating and neglecting this site for some time now even though there’s so much I want to whine and comment. Somehow, I get bored of the interface and the amount of trackback spam within the system that I’ve taken a blind eye and chose to ignore it.

Whenever time permits which hardly exist nowadays, I try to tidy things up a little and work on something better that’ll give a refreshing touch to this little space on the internet. Still, there’s this unknown hindrance within me that cause the procrastination.

Things should get better when the refresh kicks in with a complete new backend.

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Unsettled

Lately, I have been neglecting this blog not because I have lost interest in blogging but the energy state and time is simply not enough as I have been so pre-occupied with other priorities in life! There’s so much that I want to pen down, not to mention the draft entries awaiting to be published since my return from Australia.

In short, I’m currently into the last phase of my flying training and I have been posted for helicopters flying. I guess it should be fun since it’s totally different from fixed wings flying. For the past week, I’ve been occupied with ground school – studying rotary aerodynamics and aircraft systems. This only translates to less personal time, more notes to read and preparing for exams! Not to mention that I am trying to get back in shape after gaining that extra pound back in Australia!

I hope to get back in action as soon as I’ve sorted out the other priorities. For now, things will be a little quiet here with occasional post whenever possible!

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Box is moving home

Just a heads up that my host will be moving the box to a new data center this coming Saturday, March 22 midnight The downtime is estimated to be about 12 hours though I think it’ll probably take some time for the site to come live. Don’t be alarm if you are unable to access the site. Meanwhile, go have fun or check out this list of 10 sites for finding wonderful things.

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Spring cleaning

In case you have not notice, I’ve finally got around and made some minor changes to the site. A few categories have been renamed and some removed. The site has received a fresh update to the about page together with an updated write up and a few other miscellaneous stuff. I’m still in the process of tying up other loose ends and things might break along the way. Should this be the case, do let me know.

Unable to view the changes mentioned? Try reloading the site (Ctrl+F5) and the browser should pick up and download the changes.

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Photo Galleries

Over the last two years, I’ve managed to travel quite a fair bit. Be it to the United States for my intern-ship program or to Australia for my flying training, there are many fond and precious memories. So when one travels, meets people and visit places of interest, one would be busy snapping on the camera and eventually upload these photos to the internet — either for sharing or safekeeping.

With hundreds of photos currently stored in my computer and only available for off-line viewing, I’ve decided to create photo galleries and upload these photos for viewing on the internet. However, I’ve not been able to find a photo gallery service that satisfied my needs. Thus, I decided to hunt for one that hopefully can be integrated with the Movable Type weblog that I’ve been using. It didn’t take too long before I chanced upon Doug Bowman’s photo gallery templates which he has since made available for download.

Great, now that I’ve downloaded the templates, it’s time to get my hands dirty. I read through the well documented documentation and after spending endless hours customizing and changing a few template codes to my needs, I’m finally ready to launch the photo galleries section. For the moment, I’ve only managed to feature three albums though there’s more to come:

Note that each gallery page is limited to 25 photos display. You may change this setting by using the dropdown menu at the side of the gallery page. Also, you will need a standard compliant browser to view the photos though it known to work on Internet Explorer 7 as well.

For those who are still hungry for the technical details, you may want to continue reading. As I’m not using a Mac, what I’ve done is to import all my photos into Google’s Picasa, which I use it to manage my photos. Unfortunately, Picasa does not really live up to iPhoto’s features as described in the documentation and I had to switch between a few applications. I used Adobe’s Bridge to batch rename the file names in the form of YYYY-MM-DD-HHMMSS so that there’ll be no duplicates. Then, I exported the albums using Brett Discoll’s picasa export templates for movable type. As Picasa currently lacks a few features such as titles labelling for individual photos and date/time formatting, I had to manually edit the text file before importing it into movable type. This is indeed a tedious process and I hope that either Picasa would be able to add the missing features that I’ve mentioned or I’m able to get hold of a MacBook.

Guess this should be about it on the gallery. Feel free to leave comments or thoughts pertaining to the photo gallery.

Update: Photo gallery is no longer available on the main site due to redesign of the site. However, you can still view the archives.

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Overdue refresh

I’ve been working on some long overdue refresh to the site and have rolled out some of the updates today. To start off, the search feature on this site is now being powered by Google instead of an internal search engine that was previously being utilized. I realized that Google was able to return close to 90% of the search results accurately and thus the changes.

Next refresh affects the webscan section. I’ve added a permalink for each entry and it can be accessed either on the sidebar on the front page (by clicking on the date of the entry) or through the webscan front page and monthly archives. This should resolve the issue of users not being referred to the specific page that was searched.

I’m still working on a few more tweaks that will provide a better user experience. As usual, if you encounter any problems/bugs or even constructive suggestions, do drop me a line.

PS: Not seeing the changes that I’ve mentioned? Hit CTRL+F5 (PC) or CMD+F5 (Mac) to update the style sheets.

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Real-time update of twits and playlist

This was what I’ve been up to for the last few days and it also explains the infrequent updates. I’ve been trying to find the most viable method to synchronize my last.fm recently played tracks on my blog without any third-party plug-ins. In the past, the tracks were updated only when I played the music using WinAmp on my desktop computer. Furthermore, I’m constantly switching between iTunes and WinAmp and there isn’t any free visualization for iTunes to achieve the same desire results. Hence, I came up with a PHP script to parse the RSS file, cache it locally and display it. With the script, I’m now able to use last.fm’s audioscrobble on any media player and my recently listened tracks will be updated accurately.

Next, I’ve also added my twitter recent posts on the sidebar. I came to know about twitter after reading Vanessa’s SXSW 2007 entry on how twitter was used during the conference and I thought it was an interesting and alternative means of communication. I use twitter mainly for short posts that doesn’t exactly qualify as an entry and the 140 characters limit makes things short and sweet.

Alright, this should sum up what I’ve been up to lately.

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Re-Branded

After close to 3 weeks of coding and development, I’m pleased to present to you version 3.0 of PureHype. I have been tempting to give this site a full re-brand as I kind of got tired viewing the previous version. What finally inspired me to get down to work was when I saw Dan Cederholm’s neat design and decided to use his site’s structure as a point of reference in creating this site.

So, what are the new additions and changes since the previous version? For one, just like what Jason Kottke has done, I’ve decided to be bold and try out the concept of multiple content, single place. What this basically means is that I’ve consolidated and streamlined the contents into a single page — be it a review on books, movies or even interesting links, the most up-to-date content will always be presented on the front page. However, I’ve decided to keep the webscan portion on the sidebar as I’m not too comfortable with the idea of presenting it together with the main content.

Besides this, I’ve finally launched both the read and watch section after several months of delay. Both sections will contain reviews of books I’ve read as well as movies I’ve watched, thought I’ll try to write a book review whenever possible. For those who use a newsreader to read this site, there are new RSS feeds available and the default feed now contains both the main entries as well as the webscan links. What’s more, for the joy of it, the sidebar now features a list of songs I’ve heard recently though it might need more work on it.

Finally, you may have noticed that I’ve increased the font size on the main content area. Believe if or not, I no longer want both my readers and myself to strain the eye reading those small little words even though they might look beautiful. However, the font size for the sidebar remains unchanged as I figured that those are bits and pieces of information.

As usual, I’m still in the process tweaking the site for a better user experience. Although I try to tie up all loose ends, there’s bound to have certain corners that I’ve missed and things may be broken. In any case, please drop me a line and I’ll try to get fix.

Update: Since the design refresh as of 25/09, the books and movies section has been removed. Webscan has been merged with main contents. Thanks!

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rm -rf failed

I’m trying to remove a directory on my UNIX machine but the system says otherwise. Normally, rm -rf directory_name/ would do the job of removing directories recursively, ignoring any files in it.

This time, it simply refused my input. The system grumbled and returned a permission denied. I’ve tried various directory permissions and returned nothing positive thus far.

Any help appreciated!

Update: I just realized that I’ve enabled htpasswd for the directory previously and that’s why I got permission denied. Let’s try to remove the htpasswd protection and see if it works.

Update 2: Nope… things are still broken despite removing the directory protection. I’ve contacted my webhost and they have resolved it by using the root account to remove the directory. Somehow, even though I’m the owner of the directory, unix refused to let me touch the directory.

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2 years and beyond

Two years ago this day, my interest for blogging sparked off and after the many research and read up on blogs, PureHype came into existence on the World Wide Web. Although the domain was registered way back in 2004, I did not really meddle with it until I figured out what can be done with it.

I must say that throughout these 2 years, this blog is still relatively new and quiet. Till date, I’ve only posted a mere 138 entries with 9 comments. One reason could be the inconsistent updates as well as the dull contents. Still, there have been positive comments from strangers who happened to come across this blog. In particular, my air grading experience has helped generated a number of email messages.

My colleague once asked what’s the point of blogging and sharing your private life with the world? I thought about it and have managed to come to a conclusion. Firstly, this is my life project that keeps me occupied when I have time to spare. I enjoy tweaking and messing with the codes behind the scene. Next, this blog provides an avenue for me to voice my opinions on issues and at the same time, improve my language of command through writing. I’ve not written anything too personal or inflammatory (hopefully I’ll never) thus far. Finally, it serves as a way to reach out to millions of people out there who might share a common interest.

I’m not sure if there is any avid reader who reads my blog but thank you for the support! I’ve had fun and I hope you have too.

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Meddling around

I’ve been tweaking around with a few of the templates and have changed the way how certain contents are being presented. The database have also been messed around though the logs says that changes have been reflected and things are working fine.

If you happen to stumble across anything that’s broken, please let me know and I’ll come round to fix it.

Update: Fixed the broken rss feed for webscan.

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Contact form is back

A few weeks ago, I decided to completely take down the contact form due to the numerous spam I receive daily and mainly because I couldn’t find the time to resolve the issue. Yesterday, I decided to get my brains working by poking around with the script I coded few months ago to fix the issue. So far, all seems to go well and I’ve not received a single spam emails (keeping my fingers crossed).

Now that I’ve crossed out one critical item on the long list of features and additions which were suppose to be implemented for this site months ago, I’m able to concentrate my efforts on other portion of the site which I think may need some fine-tuning.

As the list goes on, I hope I’ll be able to roll out most of the updates by the end of October 2006 or before I’m occupied with another project, whichever comes first.

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Contact form disabled

Due to the sudden increase in the amount of spam I’ve received recently, I’ve decided to investigate the root of the cause. It turns out that my contact form is vulnerable and is one of avenues that caused the increase in spam. Thus, I’ve decided to temporarily disable the contact form until I manage to fix it.

Meanwhile, if you need to contact me urgently, you may drop me an email at plexus [at] purehype [dot] org. Sorry for any inconvenience caused.

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MovableType 3.3

Few days ago, Six Apart released Movable Type 3.3, a web log content management system that I use. Normally, I would install a copy immediately without hesitation but this time, I’ve decided to stay put and not rush into making any drastic change to my current configuration without first finding out which codes and/or plug-in will break.

Earlier today, I decided to download a copy and try it out on my local development machine based on my existing configurations. So far, things are working well except for a few errors which I encounter while trying to rebuild the entire site. Though I’ve yet to explore all the new features in this version, one of the most welcoming sights is the ability to increase the size of the text field while creating/editing entries as well as the larger fonts for easier view. However, it is disappointing to see that Six Apart has yet to implement WYSIWYG on the entry editor itself.

Some of the new features includes tagging, widgets, activity feeds and many others. Till this date, I have no idea what widgets is all about. I guess it’s time to update myself on this particular item.

If only I have more time to familiarize myself on the new features and how I can implement it into this existing web log…

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Minor site updates

Since the redesign of PureHype almost a month ago, I’ve made quite some changes which include tweaking and optimizing certain files as well as to keep this site trimmed and meets the W3C web standards. If you have been visiting the site, you would have noticed that the about section has been completed though I’m still in the process of adding bits and pieces to the author biography portion.

What’s more! I’ve also added a site disclaimer for various reasons but I thought it was necessary just in case… The contact form was previously broken and I was receiving tons of spam but it has now been fixed. However, the cc feature is no longer working due to changes on my service provider end.

I’ve been busy working on the books section. Hopefully, I will be able to get it up real soon. The long awaited search feature is still out of service for now as I’ve yet to figure out the best design and how to implement it on this site. Other than that, things should be running fine without much interruption!

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Site reloaded

Welcome back to the newly re-designed homepage. If you are using a newsreader, you wouldn’t have noticed any difference as I’ve redirected the old feed address to the new one. However, do check out the new site and what it has to offer. In short, here’s a list of what has changed since the last redesign.

What’s new

  • The web log has been renamed from “A Bright Spark” back to its original name, “PureHype”. This was done as I wanted a consistency between the domain name registered and the site name.
  • A new web host! The existing provider still exist but I’ve something in mind on how to make use of that limited space
  • Minor changes to the contents and navigation system. The About section is almost complete
  • A brand new contact page. Those who wish to correspond with me can now use this form, specify a subject and even carbon-copy yourself a copy of the message.

What’s in mind (sorted according to priorities)

  1. Complete the author section Completed as of June 05, 2006
  2. Implement the new search system. The old one works fine but it needs to be refined
  3. Implement the books section which will contain books I’ve read, currently reading, reviews and recommended books
  4. A photo gallery, memories and moments

Looks like there’s still a lot more work to be done! I’m still trying to catch up with the outstanding entries that were drafted but yet to be published. Hope all can be sorted out within the next week!

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Housekeeping

Things are getting a little messy around here as I’ve been meddling with the contents and doing some housekeeping. Pardon me if you get weird errors or missing pages during this period of transition.

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New site design

I’ve been working on a new design for this site and I’m proud to say that it is 90% completed. Initially, my intentions was to launch the new design before my enlistment for military service but it seems that I will only be able to launch it when I return home after the first two weeks of my physical training in the military.

Nonetheless, for those who are eager (I wonder if anyone actually reads what I wrote or even know this web log exist) here is a preview of the features that’ll be available:

  • Dynamic search engine
  • Revamp of the archives section
  • Contact form
  • More content besides web log entries

And much more…

I am still working on the contact form and other content sections but since I will only be able to continue working on the site after I have return from training, I may go ahead and launch the new design without completing certain sections.

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Growing links

The ever-growing links under “Fellow Bloggers” on the right side of this page site will soon force me to take some action before it gets out of control. I intend to fine tune certain portion (or even new colors) of the site when inspiration strikes or time permits — whichever comes first.

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An Introduction

It started when I got sick and tired of the design limitations I was experiencing while hosting my weblog with blogger (the free blogging tool). Being unable to do much customization, especially the lack of a good commenting system led to the search for a free web hosting service that enables me to install a more powerful blogging tool and customise my own layout without restrictions.

After 2 weeks of intensive template and style editing, I am proud to announce the launch of my new weblog — The revolution of A Bright Spark. This, as compared to my previous weblog has revolve from a simple and dull color website into a more eye-catching design. The layout has changed and this site is now feature the use of CSS. I have tried to ensure that the design caters for most of the common browsers that is on the market now. At this moment, this site seems to display properly on IE6, FireFox 1.0 & Opera 7. Should this site not display properly on your screen, do drop me a note.

I have wild ideas of further developing this site by completing certain links, tidying my design files and adding more content. However, due to time constraint, I may not be able to finish them anytime soon. With this in mind, it’s time for me to stop tweaking and get back to more important issues in life.

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