Tim's Blog

29 January

So far so good
Looks like there's no disruption while nameservers switch.

But comments now don't work. I need to re-upload in ASCII.
12:31:22 PM - timyang - No comments

27 January

Going offline
This blog will go offline for a couple of days starting tomorrow. I'll be changing the nameservers to use my own DNS server before I accept customers en masse.

Haha! En masse! That's a good one! As if anyone would actually pay a guy who doesn't even know the difference between Linux and Red Hat to host their websites!
10:16:28 PM - timyang - No comments

26 January

Interview tips
If you're going for an interview as a web designer, here's some handy tips for you.

It doesn't take any education to be a web designer. A lot of reading and practice should suffice. But if you've got a degree in Computer Science and you're applying for the post, don't do like this one guy who sent an resume with a listing of his "Skills" that read:

Java, C, C++, Vbscript, SQL, HTML, Photoshop, Dreamweaver

He was 23 years old and I had to assume that he had spent more time reading C++ Developer's Guide than he did Typeface Design and Application. That kind of web designer I don't need.

Now if I want you as a designer, then I'm paying you for your intuitive sense of typeface and layout and not your ability to create apps. I know it's quite unfair, but if you've got extra training in programming but are very competent in web design, I suggest you hide the programming bits and create a tailored resume for the exact function you're applying for, otherwise I'm going to think you're over-qualified. All you need is a good portfolio to make a good impression. (Think of your extra skills as "easter eggs".)

Speaking of portfolios, if you're bringing a CD with your web design portfolio on it, for Christ's sake create an interface to access the websites and Flash animations you want to show. I had this one girl spend several minutes hunting around the folders of her CD to show me her work. Very bad impression.
09:32:43 PM - timyang - No comments

Dammit, someone needs to write a book about this
I've been interviewing people for web designer positions for the past few days. The level of knowledge of web designers in Malaysia is appalling.

Everyone just uses short-cut software like Dreamweaver without understanding its short-comings. And they overuse software like Photoshop and Flash without realising that half the world is still on dial-up. As far as they're concerned, it's about the look of the site, not what it does or who it's for.

For inspiration, they use reference books featuring other websites so their websites end up looking like someone else's. Not one of them has heard of cross-pollination techniques of seeking inspiration from other media like brochures or other sources like architecture.

From today onward, I'm going to write a book in my spare time called "20 Things The Pros Know" which covers HTML and CSS strategies. I'm already planning classes on the same topic to teach the local designers how to improve their websites.

So if you're thinking of visiting Asia, or if you're somewhere nearby like Thailand, Indonesia or Singapore, drop by Malaysia. I could use guest lecturers. I'll put you up, I'll show you around, all you meals are on me. The only thing is I can't fly you in but you'll get the lecture fees.

We need help here. Big time.
05:34:15 PM - timyang - No comments

25 January

Busy busy
We got a new designer and he's doing up the company's website as well as the site of a couple of new clients we have. He's proficient with Dreamweaver and Photoshop and he has design-sense, but he's slow. This is his first designer job so I have to coach him and hurry him along. Until his repertoire of design increases in size, he won't be able to go into design-autopilot and I need to get him there as soon as he can.

I've also been quite busy chasing the server guys to simplify the server interface. They've selected a free software interface for Apache called Webmin but it's the most complex system I have ever seen. They might understand it (not likely) but no one else can. Now the idiots have to write hacks to simplify new account opening and configuration.
09:22:31 AM - timyang - No comments

18 January

I think this was how Harrison Ford got started
I was putting together some cheap fix-it-yourself tables and chairs for my office today.

It's arguable whether I can credibly add "carpenter" or "furniture-maker" to my resume, but I did get a badly-bruised thumb out of it.

I don't know how or when it happened. I only realised the injury when I picked a hammer and felt a throb where an ink-coloured blot was expanding. Now I can't grip things too well.

I can still type with both hands. However, the real tragedy of this incident belongs to Mrs Thumb's four lovely daughters.

For the next few days, you bet they ain't going dancing.
09:24:52 PM - timyang - No comments

Tell the Truth
The real Frank William Abagnale Jnr who is now a secure document consultant and lectures on cheque fraud.
04:55:31 AM - timyang - No comments

16 January

Chick joint
For those who know Skoob Books in Kuala Lumpur, I've been using it to case out (a 1980s turn-of-phrase that actually has nothing to do with bookcases, except perhaps to an eventual court case) chicks.

Urm, if you didn't get that last sentence, I said I use a bookstore to case out chicks.

If you do know Skoob Books then you'll realise how odd it is that a pick up joint could also typically displays books on analysing Chaucer and books that critically compare the 1889 edition and the 1890 edition of the Encylopaedia Britannica.

Ah but you see, only smart chicks go there. And I likes smart chicks.

They're smart enough to quickly bail out of relationships with me.

But always dumb enough to fall for me first.
08:16:48 AM - timyang - No comments

15 January

Someone got fired today. Ha ha, oh no, it wasn't me. *dab* *dab* *dab*
Today David had to let go one of the designer girls.

And when I say "let go", I mean "organisationally readjusted".

Which is to say "reconstructed outwards".

In other words, "walked heels front".

In short, "using another loo".

(By the way, I made that last one up.)

She hadn't been with David's company that long. She was a mousy little girl with huge glasses and buck-teeth who would sometimes wear suede skirts to the office. And even though I've worked with her occasionally over the last few months, I can't say I'll miss her. And I do have a good reason. (No, the suede skirts aren't it.)

a) It's because she and I a torrid, bra-ripping affair after-hours and we used the company's light-box table to flip the light-switch off and on. Which put in another way, would mean OH YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN!

b) Because she's a lousy-ass designer. Just today she actually showed me a website design in which she had a bright GREEN logo against a bright RED background. Shortly after which, I experienced temporary blindness.

There is no right or wrong answer, folks.

It depends entirely on which you'd rather believe.
10:37:14 PM - timyang - No comments

12 January

My anti-spammer site Spamerang.net has now been recognised by Dmoz.org.
10:40:40 PM - timyang - No comments

Metatags are dead, long live metatags
Google is now officially not recognising metatags.

I've been using the noindex,nofollow robots metatag for well over a month already because Google had been displaying my site for the most ridiculous search terms. It was wasting my bandwidth and the searchers' time. But as you can see from my referrals log, I still keep getting hits from Google.

Google reminds me of one of those ex-girlfriends who just don't get it.
10:37:34 PM - timyang - No comments

08 January

Need to learn French
I've been fantasising about four skinny French girls who've rented an apartment in a building across from mine.

These days I get home and look out the window hoping to catch a glimpse of them on their balcony.

Hmmm. Say, what's the French word for voyeur?

Oh yeah, it's voyeur.
08:44:00 PM - timyang - No comments

07 January

I must be in hell part 2
My server still isn't set up. The server guy went home one day, citing "personal problems" and hasn't been back. He's probably crying in his sleep over some chick who dumped him while several of my customers are chewing me out, waiting for the hosting to start.

I'm being uncharitable, of course. His mother could be dying of cancer right now. And it's not all his fault since I don't even have a bank account for the company to send a check to the domain registrars so I can get a reseller account. Neither do I have a phone line which I can't get unless I have said bank account.

The local banks are real fuckers. They don't even want to look at you unless you've been running your company for at least a year and stayed solvent. Who in world thought that that was a good policy? I want to nail his two peanut-sized balls to the wall right now.

I have to go see the bank tomorrow. The only other way for me to get a company bank account is to get a recommendation from another customer which I have to beg for.

Then I have to work on the website. Geezus, that isn't even up yet and I have twenty webpages to get through.
10:32:46 PM - timyang - No comments

06 January

I must be in hell
Don't you hate it when you come back from vacation and everything is completely fucked over?


While I was away, nothing proceeded in the work department. The server wasn't even set up, the website was not worked on, the phone line was not installed. Everything stalled.

And the office looks like a mess. It's fairly large, but David, my partner has merged his small advertising business with a printer/film-maker business and their computers have moved in. The merger makes strategic sense, but it also makes a big fat mess. There are bits of paper supplies, tools and printer parts everywhere.
12:40:57 PM - timyang - No comments

05 January

Toto, I don't think we're in Waterloo Station anymore
I just had to blog this.

At midnight on Saturday morning, I was waiting at Surat Thani station for the 1am train to Malaysia. Surat Thani is a small town train station on the long southeast coast of Thailand and it has only two tracks in use (one for each direction) and 12 trains a day passing in either direction (on the average, once an hour).

But I overheard no less than eight tourists (all British) wondering in utter confusion.

Which track will it come down?
What time is it now?
What if we miss it?
Have we missed it?
Don't fall asleep, we might miss it.
Is that clock right?
What time is it?

I really wanted to slap one of them back to their senses.


Oh yeah, I'm also back in town.
12:40:55 PM - timyang - No comments