WordPress Plugin: Basic Facebook Social Plugins

Today, I saw that Facebook introduced some new features, and one intriguing feature is called “Facebook Social Plugin“. It would be very interesting to have blog posts to be simply “liked”, and having information displayed about activities and recommendations related to your website.

So I decided to take 30 minutes of my break time and write this simple plugin. Since I don’t have much time I decided not to explore XFBML and the SDK as yet. That is why it’s called BASIC. With XFBML, shorter codes can be used, and deeper integration between Facebook and your website can be achieved. I am intrigued, really but I must be realistic.

This plugin is a very simple plugin to embed :

  1. “like” button at the end of your articles/blog posts
  2. activity feed as a widget
  3. recommendations as a widget
  4. Like box as a widget

You can add these cool features with minimal effort.

Most configuration parameters are self-explanatory, but Domain Override simply means you want to display information about another domain instead of where the widgets are hosted. By the way, the widget settings are combined in the Settings > Basic Facebook Social Plugins page.

At this moment this plugin is still waiting to be hosted at the official WordPress Plugin Directory so it can only be downloaded here.

  • Basic Facebook Social Plugins Version 1.0
  • Basic Facebook Social Plugins Version 1.1 * This version will wipe out previous widget settings as it introduces multiple instances of widgets.
  • Basic Facebook Social Plugins Version 1.2

Once available there, a link will be provided. When it’s there, It’s now in the official plugin directory (basic-facebook-social-plugins) so you should be able to install it using the automated, built-in plugin installer too.

You can see the sample for the like button at the end of this post, and the widgets live on this site.

The widgets does not conform to your theme (does not inherit your theme css) but simply bare boxes with Facebook feel. Take note that styling inside the boxes (and texts) are provided by facebook.

Those of you who are concerned about privacy, you’ll be glad to know that your name and profile picture will not just be displayed to anyone:

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(This also applies to recommendation and activity box. Only friends will be able to see that you like something.) Facebook has thought of everything.

Try it out and let me know how it works for you.

Shots from Facebook:

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Facebook has also written a nice post about social plugins in their blog: Answers to Your Questions on Personalized Web Tools.

Note:

  1. This WordPress plugin is written entirely by me, and is provided as-is with no guarantee. It is neither approved nor endorsed by Facebook.
  2. Yes, it is breakable by Facebook if they decide to change the iframe URL.

Kerengga @ Weaver Ants @ Ocoephylla smaradgina

I have no plans to change this blog to an insect blog or anything like that. I am just disappointed with people who are acting like Weaver Ants. The disappointment is greater since most of them are friends.

smaragdina
Image from Wikipedia, Tuancao1

These ants usually live in elevated spaces, most common on trees. Some orchard farmers also use them to protect fruits from predators or even other humans. This brings to the point that the ants themselves does not eat the fruits on trees. They mainly prey on small insects and supplement their diet with carbohydrate-rich honeydew excreted by small insects.

There is a type of human who likes to be nosy and meddle in conversations where they are not even interested in, just to make sure that they look good to others. Most of the time, 90% of what they are talking about are lies to make them look great. Weaver ants don’t eat fruits on trees but if you try to climb the tree or take the fruit they are sure to give you painful bites.

Painful bites = hurtful comments. Can you see the similarity?

Although we should avoid from being friends with these people, it’s difficult if they are already your friends, or even worst they are in your family.

So people, I hope you are not a Weaver ant and just keep quiet when people are talking about something you are not even interested in. Also, minimize those silly jokes while you’re at it. You might be hurting someone, especially the person who is enthusiastic about the topic and eager to share.

This happens to me when I was simply telling my first time experience in mountain biking, where there were many stupid jokes involved. There were also comments like “you will not get thin no matter how hard you cycle”, and “burn 1,000 calories, gain 10,000 calories”. Well, the only thing I get if others decide to join my activities is enjoyable company, and it’s good to have common interests in friends. I understand they are just making those jokes because they can’t afford a RM3,000.00 bicycle (or they keep money to bring along into their coffins when they are dead) and to compensate from being losers in life.

To think that I was not even attempting to recruit people for Network Marketing, made me realize that not all friends are real friends.

Signing off.

Forex Trading In Malaysia

It was an interesting morning today, when a friend told me that his brother received a job offer in a Forex trading company in Shah Alam. It was great news that he was able to get something after searching for opportunities for quite a while. However since my niece experienced this more than once, I am skeptical about such companies in Malaysia.

I asked him to check with the Securities Commission and whether or not the company presented an offer letter to his brother.

At first I thought that Forex is administered by the Securities Commission (SC) but I was wrong. When called, SC said that Forex is administered by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM).

BNM Foreign Exchange Administration said:

In Malaysia no company or individuals are given license to do forex trading except for registered merchant banks

Which corresponds to this List of Authorised Dealers of Foreign Currency. One thing that disappoints me the most is that BNM did not ask the company name, showing that they have no immediate interest in closing such fraudulent businesses.

Signs that a company might be working on something fraudulent:

  • They don’t really have a proper business sign at their office
  • They ask candidates to go to training first, before they provide an offer letter
  • They have options whether the employee would like to be paid based on commission or on a fixed rate

It is a great thing that my friend’s brother told him about it. My unfortunate niece did not share the news with me so she ended up wasting weeks without getting paid. And imagine if the office is raided by the authorities. I wouldn’t want to be a part of that, would you?

So the lesson to learn here is that you should always tell someone about your opportunities, and never immediately trust just any company no matter how desperate you are for a job.

And of course, always get an offer letter first before you start working. This is the most important thing of all, when getting a new job.

Review: The Picture Company @ One Utama

Due to the ranting nature of this post, reader discretion is advised. Some language may be offensive.

We found The Picture Company in One Utama some time ago and decided to try it out. We were out of time and unable to look for more options. We called the place to make an appointment and asked about the rates. The person at the other line told us since it’s a birthday the session fee is waived – that’s all, no more explanation. Not really exciting, but okay. Free stuff usually comes with strings attached.

When arrived, we were brought directly inside the studio for a 40-minutes session. The photographer doesn’t speak Malay but weird English. The studio is basic with thick white paper background and two soft boxes as lighting source. I personally was too busy trying to make our son laugh to look at the camera model but it was a Canon.

After the session the photographer took 30 minutes to select and crop the photos. It was when the photos are ready we learned that we have to select and purchase the photos we like for RM68 each, 8R size.

We were too excited to ask for the package details. There is a concept of pay only what you want (no package). The question is only why didn’t they explain to us the rates for the printouts.

They told us that they make money by printing, that’s why the RM150 photography session was free. The only soft copies they will give us are small “email size” – and the photographer even told us we shouldn’t print those as they will come out pixelated on paper. They also told us that they have copyright on those photos.

For RM68 per piece, I would expect we get the high resolution soft copies (at least for the ones we ordered for print) so that we can do anything with them (i.e. nice computer wallpapers, canvas prints). It’s not like we’ll order more prints afterwards anyway, and their retention period is only 3 weeks for non members. They don’t have canvas printing yet, and when available next year it’s gonna cost a fortune. This means, in order for us to get canvas prints we need to become member to make sure they will keep our files for a year. They are that greedy, yes. Heck, if they ask us to pay for the soft copies I would gladly pay.

So this is what I would call perniagaan yang hina dan keji. It’s despicable and dishonorable not to explain to customers beforehand, and it’s obvious that after spending a family session we would love the photos and will pay for them in the end. It’s a smart and dirty trick taking advantage of excited parents.

We ended up paying RM68 (each!) for all the photos we shortlisted (more than 10). It’s going to be ready in a week, I hope they will be high quality prints or I will definitely make a scene. Since they talked about copyright, if they make a mistake by using our photos commercially they will hear from our lawyer as we didn’t sign any model release or any agreement for that matter.

For RM68 each the photos are only bare printouts, inside a huge envelope. The colors are too soft, and the printouts are not sharp. It’s not worth the money.

If it wasn’t such a special day (and since we have spent precious time) I would have paid the RM150 session fee, and told Jo to delete the photos off the Mac and shove the CF card up her ass.

Next time we would consider going to those photographers who specializes in family photos. 90% of them provide soft copies and also photobooks.

I know, we are difficult customers. There will always be difficult customers like us. We’re hard to please, and we don’t take things lightly. Malaysian customers are too kind to businesses so they give crappy service and taking things for granted. Not us.

On a separate note, Cupcake Chic @ The Curve is nice. People are friendly and helpful, the cakes are nice. Highly recommended. They are too small to talk about much, but they are good in what they do – that deserves a good word.

DD-WRT as Wireless Client

There is something very wrong with the wireless module on the DELL Precision M4300 I am currently using – after a while files begin to get corrupted and Windows will fail to write the event log. I have just had the motherboard changed by DELL last Monday. In the office I did not have any problem for the whole week since I was using a wired connection. At home, I mainly use wireless because my access point is in the family hall.

Bummer! I can’t be wired at home, it’s simply not practical and I have no suitable surface to work on near the access point. It’s a Huawei E960, property of Maxis. It’s a HSDPA modem so where I place it is very important.

I have an antique Linksys WRT54G v2.2 with DD-WRT v24 on it so I decided to convert it to a wireless client. It acts as a wireless client to the main wireless router, and provides LAN connection via the wired ports. Perfect for a busted wireless module.

Steps on the WRT54G:

  1. Do a hard reset
  2. Connect to the router via wired port
  3. Open the Wireless » Basic Settings tab
    • Wireless Mode: Client Bridge
    • Wireless Network Mode: Match Primary Router
    • Wireless Network Name(SSID): Match Primary Router
    • Wireless Channel: Match Primary Router
    • Wireless SSID Broadcast: Enable
    • Network Configuration: Bridged
    • Save Settings
  4. Open the Wireless » Wireless Security tab
    • Set Encryption to match the primary router. I use WPA2 with TKIP+AES and it works fine.
    • Enter encryption key to match the Primary router
    • Save Settings
  5. Open the Setup » Basic Setup tab
    • Connection Type will show: Disabled
    • Set STP to Disabled
    • IP Address: 192.168.1.2 (Primary Router IP is 192.168.1.1)
    • Mask: Match Primary Router (mine is 255.255.255.248)
    • Gateway: 192.168.1.1 (Primary Router IP is 192.168.1.1)
    • DHCP Server: Disable
    • Save Settings
  6. Open the Setup » Advanced Routing tab
    • Change Type to: Router
    • Save Settings
  7. Open the Security » Firewall tab
    • Uncheck all boxes except “Filter Multicast” in “Block WAN Requests”
    • Disable SPI firewall
    • Save Settings
  8. Open the Administration tab
    • APPLY Settings
    • Click “Reboot” button

On the primary router I only had to add the MAC Address of the WRT54G to it so that it allows connection (I have MAC filtering enabled). To look for the MAC address I simply use the Administration » Commands tab to run ifconfig (or of course via SSH). I am not sure on how other hardware would work but I use my eth1 address.

This is good enough for now, although I am hoping that the notebook gets fixed. I am not going to pack the WRT54G along to Starbucks or any cafe just to get wireless connection.

Funny Phishing Attempt

I received an email with no text but contained just an image as attachment, and the whole image is a hyperlink to a phishing site:

Notice the casual language and a spelling mistake (find out where!), plus the Copyright year is 2009. The email was sent to someone without the Internet banking facility, and a dormant CIMB account.

But thankfully it has been reported and updated in Mozilla Phishing and Malware Protection.

cimbclicks-phishing

I am intrigued to know whether these phishers are using any targeting mechanism to send these emails because they seems to be sent to the correct people. For example this email is sent to a Malaysian living in Malaysia. Can anyone tell me whether you are not in Malaysia and/or not even Malaysian and receive this email?

I used to receive the Bank of America spam a lot but not anymore. Maybe they now have a geographical database of emails. Interesting.

Malaysian Twitter & Facebook Users Makes Fun of Rais Yatim

You can consider this as an honest and sincere opinion from me, as a Malaysian and a heavy Internet user. Maybe, if Rais reads this it will be much fun.

It’s all because of this news article: Malaysians advised against being immersed in Facebook, Twitter.

In twitter, the tag #yorais has been spreading like mad. The tweets are hysterically funny but too insensitive so I don’t think I should include them here.

In my own opinion, Rais should have not linked any of the online services with religion. In short, he should not have assumed when he has no idea himself.

From the text: “He chided some Malaysians who belittled those who were no savvy of the Facebook and Twitter culture.” it looks like Rais is offended by some people who might have said he’s left behind in technology. What I think he should do, is learn instead of condemning technology.

Admit it, everything has its own disadvantages and advantages. It’s not Facebook that Rais should condemn – it should be the users or more specific Malaysians. There exists fanatics and extremist in every single thing in this world and Facebook is not excluded.

It’s unfair to condemn services just because they were created by Westerners. Blame the users.

Facebook and Twitter has helped a lot of users even Malaysian to publicize their businesses and meet old friends, just to name a few. If you use something correctly it’ll be good, and vice versa.

As a matter of fact I just saw one of my respected businessman being bombarded with bad comments in a fan page named “I hate XXX” just because he made a bad comment about another related profession. Not cool.

I wish that Malaysian ministers would learn more instead of following the traditional way of thinking and assuming – what we all do in our beloved country. Don’t you?

The Star even published the outcome of Rais’ statement: Rais comment has Net users boiling, creates global sensation

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