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!

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

Mapping Brunei

A talk I gave at Brunei Geek Meet on the 29th April 2016 as a follow up to our Data Hackathon about my journey of creating a Brunei map and and bus routes

Mapping Brunei Slidedeck Screenshot.png

slides.com/thewheat/mapping-brunei

Links from the talk

Mapping Brunei, Hackathons and Beyond

Friday, Apr 29, 2016, 7:00 PM

Fantasea (formerly Au Lait)
Ground Floor, Seri Q-Lap Mall, Kg Kiulap Bandar Seri Begawan, BN

4 Geeks Went

Following up from a data hackathon and a community outreach program, there are things to tell and discuss!Agenda• 7pm: Event Kick off• 7:05pm: Mapping Brunei: The Journey and some Tools and Tricks for your Mapping needsTim will recount the arduous gathering data process from the previous data hackathon http://www.meetup.com/BruneiGeekMeet/event…

Check out this Meetup →

“EmberJS” and “Hardware Hacking”

As part of Brunei Geek Meet on 4th March, 2016

ember_slides

https://slides.com/thewheat/emberjs

 

hardware_hacking_slides

Link to “Hardware Hacking” slides

EmberJS and Lightning Talks

Friday, Mar 4, 2016, 7:00 PM

Au Lait
Ground Floor Seri Q-Lap Mall, Kg Kiulap Bandar Seri Begawan, BN

5 Geeks Went

We start off this year with more Javascript and a new segment catered to lightning talks. These lightning talks are aimed to be short (under 5 minutes) and will give you an opportunity to share something you’ve done or learned.You can also suggest lightning talk topics in the comments and we’ll try cover them if there is time 😄(P.S. If you have s…

Check out this Meetup →

Is Brunei Mobile Data Really that Expensive?

I’ve heard complaints that DST, one of the Brunei mobile telcos, rip people off with regards to charging for data. Let’s see if that’s true.

So I compared Brunei’s cellular data from DST and Progresif Cellular to different telcos in 4 countries

And I’ve come up with this spreadsheet.

On a cursory glance, it seems that

  • UK has pretty good prices in all data tiers
  • we have one of the worst excess data charges
  • DST pricing isn’t that great when data usage is under 5GB
  • with plans using more than 5GB of data (and especially > 10GB data), DST is actually very good so long as you stay within the quota amount

Hope to do more in-depth look soon

Technology is hard

So Hootsuite seems to be acting up on me. I thought I’ve been sending status updates and all but apparently Hootsuite got messed up and things were not getting posted. I first noticed it on Facebook. Easy enough I thought, so I removed Facebook from the Android app and tried adding it back. Sounds simple… until you get a "Failed adding Account" message. Strangely it still shows up in the Hootsuite interface but I still couldn’t post to it.

Then I find that Twitter seems to have also stopped working on the Android app but works in the desktop browser. Since Facebook posting didn’t work on mobile either, I logged out of the Hootsuite Android app, deleted Facebook from Hootsuite via the browser and tested Hootsuite in the browser. It all worked. Out of the woods I though. Until I tried it on the Android app. It still fails to post on both Twitter and Facebook

To top things off, I tried to send that screenshot to my laptop in order to share it on the Hootsuite that works in my browser but not on the phone. Then I run into Gmail not sending the emails

Fine sure.. I’ll Dropbox it to myself! Uploaded fine from the phone and now the laptop Dropbox client is still stuck "Downloading file list…"

I even tried Bluetooth file transfer to no avail!

Finally Google did come through though… via Hangouts

Man that took way too much effort just so that I could tweet and Facebook post my dissatisfaction about Hootsuite which led to a weird technology failing experience that ends this Monday.

Well here’s hoping to a better week ahead of technology that works!

We have the right to remain silent… Or do we? Please check the EULA

I was in the heart of Gadong yesterday having lunch with a couple of friends at the only McDonald’s in Brunei and after a quick trip to The Mall we found out they were distributing flags which would seem like a nice thing but their tactics get me a bit wound up. Let me say first that I do believe in patriotism and I will celebrate my country’s upcoming 25th National Day but I believe in asking permission when handling other people’s property. The methods used in distributing some of these flags in the Gadong area was that the people in charge would stick the flag onto your parked vehicle without your prior knowledge. Would some lawyer care to help me to explain to me the legality of this or whether we have the right to protest it? They have done this last year as well and I’m not too sure about the previous years but I take offence to the fact that an unauthorized person is leaving their mark on somebody else’s property. Isn’t that similar to defacing public property or graffiti?

And it was just a day after that incident that I read the new issue about Facebook’s New Terms of Service. Each time we install software we agreed to a EULA (end user license agreement) which dictates how we are supposed to use the piece of software. With online services like Facebook there are the “Terms of Service” / “Terms of Use” by which we inherently agree to when we use the service, whether we bother to read the terms or not. The following is what Facebook has to say about your (/their?) content:

You are solely responsible for the User Content that you Post on or through the Facebook Service. You hereby grant Facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to (a) use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain, publicly perform or display, transmit, scan, reformat, modify, edit, frame, translate, excerpt, adapt, create derivative works and distribute (through multiple tiers), any User Content you (i) Post on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof subject only to your privacy settings or (ii) enable a user to Post, including by offering a Share Link on your website and (b) to use your name, likeness and image for any purpose, including commercial or advertising, each of (a) and (b) on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof. You represent and warrant that you have all rights and permissions to grant the foregoing licenses.

Facebook basically states that they have the rights to use any content of yours for any purpose they like without asking you for permission. This problem has been around for quite a long time and was noticed by Jan Shim. For all content creators out there I hope this is a wake up call to all of your and for non-content creators there is still something else to worry about with online services and especially social sites such as Facebook, and that is privacy / identity issues. LSM’s take on this is dealt out in his article entitled “My identity in the hands of strangers”. On top of that I will add Andy ITGuy’s post on “25 Random Reasons I Won’t Tell You 25 Random Things About Me”.

So before you go on registering for that website offering you some great deals or just so you can read an article, perhaps you should reconsider your actions of signing away a bit of your personal information…. Or just check BugMeNot to see if you can just sign in using readily available credentials.

**Update 18th Feb 2009: It seems that Facebook has reverted back to the previous Terms of Service as told by founder, Mark Zuckerberg after the user uproar. A good sign that at least they are listening to users feedback and possibly taking a little page out of Google’s book with Google’s “Don’t be evil” motto

26

Wow… The guys from 20+ CG just celebrated my upcoming 26th birthday just now. And as they all left and I was clearing up and I thought. I was thinking that 26 seems so much older than 25 and that 26 years of life should account to something. I guess it’s like an epiphany, maybe not a huge one but an epiphany nonetheless. I remember I used to talk with NTT and how we would joke something like:

“So we’ve/I’ve lived X many of years and what have we/I achieved? ‘Nothing!'”.

(fill X with your age)

That ‘Nothing’ is a lie that we tell ourselves trying to belittle ourselves and yes we shouldn’t think that way, but I guess from tonight I want my life to mean something. I want the answer to the question to be ‘something’. I want to make a change. I want my life to mean something, but not just to me, because what is a life if a person changes only themselves and not touching the lives of others? They say no man is an island so let us not be islands. For those who know me, I’ve had my hermit island days and even the sit-at-the-back-of-church-and-play-with-my-PDA-you-better-not-bug-me days. But I think as I turn 26 I’m trying to be a link in a chain, a node in a mesh network, a seeder in torrents. Let us be a people that will not say “What have I done? Nothing!” but let us strive to be a people of change. I’m sure we’ve all heard of inspirational stories where they usually end the story with something like, “go chase your dreams” or “don’t let anybody tell you, you can’t make it”, so I kind of feel obligated to end off with a phrase. But I guess all I can say is, let your life not be nothing, make a difference. So wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, make a difference. As cliché as it may sound, it has so much more meaning to me right now.

Take care all and God bless!

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