Brunei Car Prices and #fixBruneiWebsites

Summary

  • You can currently find the latest of Brunei Price Controlled Car Prices at
  • #fixBruneiWebsites
    • Let us the community highlight Brunei website issues and tag them on your social media platform of choice
      • Suggest a solution if possible
      • If not, people curious to learn / offer a solution can reply to the post with an answer 🙂
    • Let’s use this as an opportunity to learn and give back to the companies that do have an online presence and let’s make the Brunei web great 🚀

 

The story

Did a Google search for “brunei car prices” which brought up a couple interesting results of actual approved prices for cars

Google search for "brunei car prices".png

 

It showed that the most recent one was June 2018 but curious as what is the latest version if any. As the results are coming from www.depd.gov.bn, did a search for “brunei car prices depd” and found the Motor Vehicles pagedepd old page.png

Which doesn’t seem updated since 2016Depd old motor vechicles page.png

Dead ends

As the PDFs show that there were more recent ones they had to be somewhere, so digging we go

Home was not useful.png

Sitemap does not help.png

Success!

More digging around and found the Competition and Consumer Affairs Department page that has the latest list on the right along with other price controlled items such as Cooking Oil and Formulated Powered Milk

Found on Competition and Consumer Affairs Department page.png

There is also the Price Control Goods page which has links to Clay Bricks and OthersPrice Controlled Goods page.png

And as it turns out it was under “Consumer Affairs” on the Department of Economic Planning and Development home page. In hind site, it makes some sense but isn’t too obvious

Consumer Affairs link on home page.png

 

What can we learn?

So from this I wondered what we could do to learn from this but instead of just complaining, what are the steps we can do to improve this. I have seen a couple websites and in Brunei that don’t seem to emphasise their web presence or just have things set up weirdly and thought it would be great to use these as learning opportunities for the local tech community in general so I’m going try a #fixBruneiWebsites journey

  • Let us the people of Brunei highlight website issues and tag them on your social media platform
    • If you can, try to offer possible solutions
    • If you can’t that is ok too 🙂
  • Then anybody who’s keen or interested could look up posts with the hashtag and could offer and answer and reply back to the original post
  • Take a look at the hashtag on
  • We can have sessions at BruneiGeekMeet for any new #fixBruneiWebsite issues and discussions

Learning takeaways / solutions for Brunei Car Prices listing

  • Have a strategy that allows you to scale
    • While I don’t know the full reasoning why the old page didn’t get updated, it could be that the way it was set up didn’t allow them to make changes easily or locked them into a certain format
    • The old Motor Vehicles page had individual pricing based on car brand. Perhaps it was too much work to break things down and upload individual files
    • There is no current Motor Vehicles page but now it is just a single PDF which helps consolidation and provides simplicity of uploading a single file which is great
  • Don’t be afraid to change things up
    • If things didn’t scale well initially, I feel that modifying the old existing page could have been something they did and not just let it go untouched
  • Update old pages
    • It could be something as simple as a link to the new current page to allow people to get the latest information
    • Or they could do a permanent 301 redirect or a temporary 302 redirect on the old page so that it automatically redirects to the new one
  • If you have a Sitemap make use of it / update it
    • This would be similar to the point above but Sitemaps are even more important compared to regular pages as they are used in SEO and help your page be found by search engines. While this Sitemap was an HTML page and not a XML Sitemap: HTML Sitemaps are still useful with the added bonus that it helps visitors to your site discover more things
  • Detail features of sections on a website
    • The “Consumer Affairs” link on the homepage isn’t a super obvious choice that it would lead to prices
    • Perhaps a shot

 

So I hope you come and join me on this #fixBruneiWebsites journey!

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Brunei Geek Meet : Hacktoberfest Open Hack Night

 

 

It is the month of October and Hacktoberfest returns yet again. If you’re not aware of what Hacktoberfest is, it is month-long celebration of open source software run by DigitalOcean in partnership with GitHub and Twilio.

  • It is open to anybody and everybody all over the world
  • It runs for the entire month of July
  • And it aims to give back to open source
  • One way they do this is to encourage people to create 5 quality pull requests to any public Github repository and this year they will be giving away free T-shirts for all those who have completed it 🎉 (This year they have 50,000 compared to 30,000 last year)

We ran a Brunei Geek Meet last night where we covered an overview of making a Github pull request and shared some tips to look for issues

I managed to continue to work on Insomnia

Dev Tools Electron.png

This being the second year of participating in Hacktoberfest, I’m going to try look at tools I use or projects/people that have added value to me in some form over the many years of the Internet. So I’ll be continuing my hunt 👀 and hope you guys have a great Hactoberfest!

 

 

 

BGM Hacktoberfest 2018 slides

 

 

 

Hacktoberfest Open Hack Night: Celebrating Open Source and Giving Back

Friday, Oct 12, 2018, 6:00 PM

D & T Building
Spg 32-27, Kb Anggerek Desa Bandar Seri Begawan, BN

7 Geeks Went

It’s Hacktoberfest 2018 so let’s get together and celebrate open source over food, drinks, learning, and great company! What’s Hacktoberfest? ——————————– Hacktoberfest — brought to you by DigitalOcean in partnership with GitHub and Twilio — is a month-long celebration of open source software. Maintainers are invited to guide wo…

Check out this Meetup →

APIs and API/REST Clients

An API is essentially a programmatic way for you to interact with a system. When online services provide an API it can allow for a huge opportunity of customisation and extendability.

  • Practically all social media tools like Buffer, Sprout Social, Hootsuite would be utilising APIs provided by Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc in order to build their app.
  • Features of these apps would be limited to what the API allows: this is why you probably don’t see any Google+ integration as Google hasn’t release any API that lets you post updates!

But whenever starting to play with an API you’d probably start looking at the docs to understand how to make calls or if they have any sample code/libraries to get you going. Sometimes setting up a test environment can be time consuming so this is where raw API requests that utilise cURL are great! You can run the requests straight from the command line: see an example below from Intercom’s API to list users

curl https://api.intercom.io/users \
-H 'Authorization:Bearer <Your access token>' \
-H 'Accept: application/json'

I started off using cURL but after a while I needed something that

  • was less prone to breakage (e.g. missing out a \ or a ' causing malformed/incorrect requests)
  • was easy to switch between different requests
  • provided extra features for extensibility (e.g. if I wanted to switch access tokens to connect to a different environment, I would have to change the request to use the correct token)

Meeting Postman

That is when I met Postman. Their tagline of “Postman Makes API Development Simple.” did certainly ring true to me.

Postman annotated.png

Postman provided

  • Folders for categorisation of requests
  • Different environments and variables: so that I can quickly switch credentials between different development/test/production environments
  • Multiple tabs: enabled me to make a request in one tab and switch to the next tab to see any related changes

The came Insomnia (of the good kind)

After a while, I got a bit tiresome of seeing Postman’s loading/splash screen and it felt like it took quite long to start up. While it has so many features (such as being able to use it for testing), I didn’t really need all of them so I was on the look out for something simpler and quicker.

Then I found Insomnia with its lovely https://insomnia.rest/ URL

Insomnia Annotated.png

It has almost all the features I need and is even open source! My two main issues are

  • No tabs: so switching between requests can be a bit tiresome but workable (I still utilise Postman when I do need to do more efficient switches)
  • It auto saves requests: I have a template request which I modify and it automatically saves it: so that means my template is gone and I could have lost documentation on how to make the request and thus relying on going back to the API docs to find the full details. Postman only saves the template request when you actually request to save it. Perhaps since Insomnia is open source I could bring this up as a feature request or even implement it myself
Postman Template.png
Postman with my request template
Insomnia Template Gone.png
Insomnia with my request template overridden by last request

Insomnia & Postman

  • Free
  • Cross platform (Windows/Mac/Linux)
  • Folders for categorisation
  • Environment variables and switching
  • Import/Export function
  • Keyboard shortcuts
  • Online account/sync option
  • Proxy Support
  • Themes

Insomnia

  • Pros
    • Cleaner interface
    • Quicker startup
    • Open source
  • Cons
    • No tabs
    • Requests auto save
    • Online sync requires a paid subscription

Postman

  • Pros
    • Multiple Tabs
    • Requests do not auto save
    • Free online sync
    • More features
  • Cons
    • Slower startup
    • Cluttered interface

API/REST clients such as Postman and Insomnia will definitely be something I’ll keep in my toolkit and it has helped me so many times from being able to debug Firebase Cloud Messaging, TelegramSlack and more

So the next time you find yourself looking into APIs, perhaps look for a Postman collection to see if that can help you get things started up and running quicker

B-Code: Brunei’s 1st National ICT Hackathon – Launch and Info session

So, B{CODE} – Brunei’s 1st National ICT Hackathon kicked off on Tuesday with essentially an info session with the subject matter experts, SMEs (yeah I know that is a pretty bad acronym when the news uses it in the context of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises) of the 9 projects that was available

bcode.jpg

I went to it with an open mind and tried to make the most of it but felt that some titles and descriptions pitched on the website was at odds with what was said during the session. I’ll detail each project with the synopsis/description provided on the website and what I gathered from the panel session

Brunei Communication Hub – Empowering communication between public and government agencies

Website synopsis: The government has provided several different platforms by which the public can communicate with various agencies. For example, the E-Darussalam Portal presents users with a forum for individuals to express their opinions and concerns. Several government agencies are also actively making use of social media to interact with the public. To further improve communication, the government needs to increase the visibility, responsiveness, and cohesiveness of the different mediums so as to better interact with the general public.

From the panel session:

communication hub.jpg

  • They mentioned about using customer satisfaction survey as a standard for measures like KPIs
  • Had trouble with past survey participation despite “aggressive” push
  • They would like real time reports from the surveys
  • Ideally to cover all government agencies
  • Mentioned distrust in usage of social media due to possible bias
    • Need more official communication platform
    • After Q&A they seemed open to using social media but they didn’t want 3rd parties like Facebook to read the data
  • Key take aways:
    • Mainly wanting to use it for taking surveys and needing an official platform that 3rd parties don’t have access to the data
    • Discussion felt at odds with the synopsis which mentioned the use of social media but hesitation to use it as mentioned in the panel?

Interactive / Dynamic Open Data Platform

Website Synopsis: Data.gov.bn portal site was developed and launched in 2014 to promote Open Data. The portal was developed with the intention to facilitate and help the public, business entrepreneurs and researchers to obtain data that are general data that are collected by government agencies, through the portal. To improve the effectiveness and accessiblity of the website, the portal needs to be further developed to enable automation (API access), as well as incorporating dynamic and interactive interfaces to aid in better understanding and interpretation of data by the general public.

From the panel session:

  • Looking for tools on top of the current portal to bring some interactivity to the data
  • And possibly even tools for making data more machine readable

Intelligent emergency response

Website synopsis: The government has provided four (4) separate hotline to receive the emergency calls from the public; ambulance (991), police (993), fire & rescue (995), as well as search & rescue (998). With the availability of the latest technology, the delivery of this emergency information can be further improved so as to allow the proper emergency authority to provide quick & accurate response and reach the emergency location faster.

From the panel session:

  • Currently every authority (police/ambulance/fire/search & rescue) have their own control centre
  • Wants as easy way for end user to get in touch with the correct authority (e.g. an app with icons for each one). And also an easy way to share location
  • Possibly even have emergency contacts with family instead of call centres if lesser emergency
  • Possible modes of communication: call / email / text
  • Possible extension to use for dispatching to other non emergency agencies with extra features like ability to take photo with  locations so can complaint or sent to appropriate agency

Crowdfunding on community and charity – Social empowerment through public funding

Website synopsis: Through the Ministry of Religious Affairs, the government has recently successfully implemented the Mosque Fund, and may soon see development of its first mosque from the fund. It would be beneficial to explore the expansion of such activities primarily to support the development of social communities and potentially fund national scale projects that benefit the country as a whole. Challenges in this domain include having solution that have the necessary transparency and accountability built in, while enabling funds from various different mediums.

From the panel session:

  • Wasn’t too clear what the existing problems were and what an ideal solution would be
  • Mentioned of wanting an integrated system to be able to select which funds to donate to
  • Moderator shared examples of related online sites like: GoFundMe / Kickstarter

Brunei Fitness – Tackling the obesity by engaging the community and encouraging the healthy lifestyle

Website synopsis: The scale of the obesity epidemic in Brunei Darussalam is staggering. Recent surveys indicate that 33.5% of the adult population in Brunei are overweight and 27.1% are obese. The implications of this for the development of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer and stroke are highly significant and the social and economic consequences are potentially devastating. Without a change, Brunei Darussalam will fail to meet its Wawasan 2035 goal of becoming a top 10 nation for quality of life.

Evidence suggests that to combat the obesity epidemic we need to engage individuals and the wider community to take responsibility for their own health. Individual behaviour has to change such that eating healthily, with moderate portion sizes, and doing 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week to maintain health becomes the social norm. Unfortunately, it is not enough just to raise awareness and educate individuals. We have to move beyond “awareness raising”. Our behaviour is strongly influenced by our environment and the culture around us. In Brunei there is a ready availability and affordability of high calories, nutrient poor foods, alongside a mindset that views over-eating as normal. The task therefore is, how we engage the community, and create a social movement towards healthy living? How do we make healthy lifestyles the new normal and push the message that ‘Health is Everyone’s Business’?

From the panel session:

fitness.jpg

  • Wants a “very very local” kind of app that “has to be as unique as our Bruneians” that caters to help people lose weight especially the obese and overweight
  • Mentioned a good example app was “FitnessPal” (perhaps referring to https://www.myfitnesspal.com/)
  • Mention of calories counts of things like ambuyat

Talent Search Centre

Website synopsis: In recent years, a number of talented locals have turned to social media  to attract customers and showcase their talents. In order to ensure that this talent can be marketed and has greater visibility, a platform for a talent management and matching may prove beneficial.

From the panel session:

talent search.jpg

  • They mentioned that they have issues with the current JobCentre site (didn’t give exact details but that they are some)
  • Would like to have resources related to job finding such as personality tests, best practises on how to apply for jobs and job readiness assessments
  • Mentioned https://www.jobsbank.gov.sg/ & https://www.onetonline.org/ as good examples
  • During Q&A was asked about how would we patch into the current system and if we would have access to the data. No data access would be given but structure would be possible but no direct access to current system which essentially makes it requiring a complete overhaul of an existing system
  • Take aways
    • Felt this was pretty confusing to me especially with the synopsis. I interpreted “talent” as coming from the creative industry of things like graphic design / arts / performances / e.t.c. but seemed like asking for a new JobCentre site

Public Transportation

Website synopsis: Efficient public transportation can form a crucial part of the solution to the nation’s economic, energy, and environmental challenges – helping to bring a better quality of life to those who rely on it. The government is continuously committed to improving its public transportation. Challenges here include improved access to service times for public transportation and routes, and information about delays and official information.

From the panel session:

public transport.jpg

  • Mentioned about having access to data like
    • location of stops because sometimes it may not be where you think it is
    • real time data to know when the next mode of transportation is coming
    • fare estimators
  • To watch out for complaints for things like unfair prices

Local Tourism – Kenali Negara Kitani

Website synopsis: Statistics of tourists visit to Brunei Darussalam has increased from year to year. Last year alone, a total of 218,000 tourists visited Brunei Darussalam which was an increase of 8.57% compared to the previous year. With the increase in this statistic, it can also help Brunei in boosting the national economy. Challenges here is how to ensure that the tourists feel comfortable and safe, while increasing their enjoyment and ease in the country.

From the panel session:

local tourism.jpg

  • Wanting to make data available to both foreign and local tourists
  • Having listing such as like historical tours / heritage trails / tour packages
  • Being able to cater for foreign delegations like visitors from China

Property Guide

Website synopsis: The real estate market in Brunei Darussalam continues to grow with several types of housing, property and shops being developed in different locations. To further increase and attract more investors (both local and foreign) a tool that enables them to analyse the market trends based on the data may serve to better decision making and development in areas of demand.

From the panel session:

property guide.jpg

  • Mention of knowing of things like prices of houses in different locations, gathering market trends and knowing things like who’s responsible for grass cutting

Summary

Truth be told I got pretty weary after the first 2 sessions (i.e. first 6 themes mentioned above) and these were my key take aways in the overall day

  • They faced the typical issue with events in Brunei: running it during work hours. Not everybody would be able to attend due to work commitments and not everybody would have the luxury of taking time off
  • They missed the opportunity for the subject matter experts to be available to the participants. Preliminary schedule mentioned that there would be a session in the morning where they would have booths for participants to ask them questions before the afternoon panel discussion. But this was not the case: there was no subject matter experts from each project available in the morning.
  • Theme description on website and what was discussed during the panel session can be different. Not the case for all but from what was emphasized during the discussion, it seemed to diverge from the theme synopsis.
    Felt that the “Communication Hub” and “Talent Search” projects were the main ones for me here: “Communication Hub” synopsis mentioned of the government utilising social media, but panelist mentioned not wanting to use social media. As mentioned previously the “Talent Search” synopsis made me think along the lines of the creative arts industry.
    As I believe there were some people who couldn’t make the event, feels that they are “flying blind” not having access the possible more relevant things discussed in the panel session.
  • Some of these have ready made solutions out there (particularly the “Property Guide” and “Talent Search”). Thus it feels that having them as a theme without focus particular unique situations as to why current solutions don’t work, will just be like reinventing the wheel (while a good learning process for people, it wouldn’t really bring anything unique to the table).
  • Some solutions don’t really need a full app like solution and having just an updated website or central source of information is sufficient.
  • Some solutions feel that they should just be government tenders as opposed to hackathon projects
  • Perhaps I missed it but not all panelist had a summary slide (the ones that I took a picture of and showed above in each section)
  • Some panelist kept things vague as to what problems they were facing and while I understand that they would want to keep things open in terms of flexibility and creativity, but I feel for a better success rate in terms of a project, it would best to highlight key issues they are having with their current systems. While being creative is great, if it doesn’t solve core issues, I don’t think it would be as effective
  • No Q&A with the organisers directly and no direct means of communication with the subject matters experts post event (will probably have to email in the organisers to get these details)

Feels that I’m rambling on a bit on this but I do hope for the best of this hackathon and that the projects do see actual real world use. Just from my feeling of the day itself, it felt a bit confusing and I needed to decompress the info out a bit. I fully commend the organisers in getting this out the door and all the best to the contestants!

Brunei Petrol Station Map / Minyak Mana?

GDG held their DevFest Season 2016 and I was helping to facilitate the hackathon that they had. We tried to focus on some social good apps and the winner was one trying to map open burning areas with crowd soured reporting while the runner up had to do with image processing via a phone to recognise sign language gestures.

I also managed to squeak some time to pull off a hack of my own by mapping the Shell Petrol/Gas stations in Brunei

mana-minyak-petrol-gas-station-map-for-brunei

Steps detailed here

GDG DevFest Season 2016

Saturday, Nov 19, 2016, 8:30 AM

D & T Building
Spg 32-27, Kb Anggerek Desa Bandar Seri Begawan, BN

4 Geeks Went

This mont we’re partnering with GDG Brunei to help bring GDG DevFest Season 2016 for 2 days of talks, code labs/workshops and a hackathon.Hope to see you guys there!P.S. the main registration page is at bn-devfest2016.eventbrite.com and not on this Meetup page itselfSchedule is 8:30am – 5pm each for each day and we’ll update as soon as we can wi…

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Pull Requests for Orientation

Yet another Brunei Geek Meet hack night on October 15th and this time I worked on specs for a pull request for Orientation (an open source wiki/knowledgebase catered more for internal teams)

Hack/Hangout Night

Saturday, Oct 15, 2016, 7:00 PM

Starbucks, Mabohai Shopping Complex
Kebangsaan Road Bandar Seri Begawan, BN

2 Geeks Went

Life has been busy but we can still get together for a night for hacking and hanging out! 😄We’ll be back in Starbucks and as always feel free to drop by an any time if you’re free or just happen to be in the area!These hack sessions serve as a place to:• Hack on a project 💻 ⚒• Learn something new  📚  🤓• Ask questions / discussion topics ❔ 🗣• …

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Building Telegram bots

As part of the Brunei Geek Meet Hack Day on Sept 17th I built a Telegram bot that retrieves

  • PSI readings to indicate the haze levels
  • News (initially from Brunei Times but later moved to Borneo Bulletin due to Brunei Time’s closure)
  • Weather

Telegram bot: https://telegram.me/apibn_bot

telegram_bot_haze
telegram_bot_news

Updates post event:

telegram_bot_updated

 

Utilises

Hack Day / Get Together

Saturday, Sep 17, 2016, 1:00 PM

It’s A Grind Coffee House
G20, Citis Square Jalan Komersil Bandar Seri Begawan, BN

3 Geeks Went

Our next hack session returns! We’re open to suggestions as to the meeting location: ideally a place with power and Wi-Fi =) Thought it would be nice of it could get any suggestions from you guys.As always, feel free to come early/late/stay as long as you wish.These sessions serve as a place to:• Hack on a project• Learn something new• Ask us …

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