Life is about happiness

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 4.0/5 (4 votes cast)

As you know my posts are usually written on current matters of the Internet, however this’ll be an extraordinary one, as you won’t be reading about something related to IT or the web, instead I’ll be urging you to try to enjoy the wonders of our existence, nature or anything that’s part of our lives and can be perceived as genuinely good. I believe that our individual circumstances and the hi-tech world around us make us take in way too much information and create way too many problems to deal with, and we’re simply not able to enjoy life’s happy moments. We should take some time off, exit the system just for a few moments and be happy for what we’ve got.


I’m not just writing this, because the current period of my life may not be particularly enjoyable. Instead I recently came across a presentation about well-being and the quality of life, which I’d happily recommend you to watch. If you have approx. 18 minutes, please do so.

Nic Marks, nef (the new economics foundation) fellow and founder of the Centre for Well-being thinks that quality of life is measurable, and that true contentment comes not from the accumulation of material wealth, but from our connections with others, engagement with the world, and a sense of autonomy. Nic is particularly keen to promote a balance between sustainable development and quality of life and in order to investigate this, he devised the Happy Planet Index, a global index of human well-being and environmental impact. People in the world’s wealthiest countries, who consume the most of the planet’s resources, are not on the top of the list in terms of well-being, which raises the question: what purpose does unfettered economic growth serve? Check out the presentation below:


Facebook: The Empire Strikes Back

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 4.5/5 (2 votes cast)

Facebook announced three changes to their social networking app today.

They are:

1. Groups
2. New design (well, pretty much a better group chat)
3. Video calling

Now let’s look at the three main services Google+ offers to its (future) users:

1. Circles (erm, well they are Google+’s groups)
2. Huddle (group chat)
3. Hangouts (GROUP video chat)

Google vs. Facebook

So, the only difference is that Google+ already offers group video chat, however I’m 100% sure Facebook and Skype (sorry, I meant Microsoft) are working hard on this and it’s only a matter of time until they come up with their solution to the problem.

Coincidence? I don’t think so. The Facebook empire strikes back.

But will the jedi return?


“Filter bubbles” or who’s holding your hand?

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 3.7/5 (3 votes cast)

Facebook only displaying posts from your friends you interact with most? Google Search displaying different results for you and your mate in the same class?

Personalized search might be narrowing our world-view says pioneering online organizer Eli Pariser. He argues that as web companies strive to tailor their services (including news and search results) to our personal tastes, there’s a dangerous unintended consequence: we get trapped in a “filter bubble” and don’t get exposed to information that could challenge or broaden our worldview. Mr Pariser argues that this will ultimately prove to be bad for us and bad for democracy.

I think Mr Pariser’s absolutely right. Without any warning Facebook has started behaving very much like this and Google Search also works in a way that the results we get “make us happy”: often we only get to see what “we want” to see. “We want” equals to what the major online players think we want. So, essentially Google, Facebook, Microsoft, et al. can decide – to a certain extent – what is and what isn’t easily accessible for us. I have to agree with Eli Pariser that the consequences of this for an individual’s personal development is mostly negative. Similarly to how interpersonal debating works the Internet should let us get to know any kind of information that might upset us, make us sad, make us realise that we are wrong about something, or just be completely irrelevant to what we originally “wanted ” to see or read – the long-term experience will make us better developed intellectuals.

However, if we create a constant, linear online experience, the information on the Internet will just become dull and most users will end up being continuously brainwashed (unconsciously – of course!). And I’m sure this is not what we want. We DO NOT want this 21st-century-style censorship applied over OUR Internet.


A comparative investigation into web development frameworks

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 3.8/5 (4 votes cast)

So, it looks like my last post was updated more than half a year ago – no wonder, I’ve been very busy lately. There’s one thing that I’d planned to do after my graduation, but I’ve never actually done it. And this is what I’m doing now. Here is the online version of my honours project dissertation; those who have asked for it – enjoy.

You can also view it on the Issue website by clicking here.


Using the Ruby on Rails web framework – How to install Rails and create a simple blog (Part 2)

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 3.5/5 (6 votes cast)

This article is the follow up of “Using the Ruby on Rails web framework – How to install Rails and create a simple blog (Part 1)”.

In Part 1 of this tutorial (Step 1 to 8) you looked at how to install Rails on a Hostmonster web account, you set up the database, created and populated tables, and set basic authentication up.

This part of the tutorial will make user participation possible and will add security and styling to the application.

9. Adding comments to the blog

You’ll have to use SSH and scaffolding again (explained in Part 1 of the tutorial)…

cd ~/myrails/myblog

./script/generate scaffold Comment entry_id:integer
text:text author:string

… and as usual, the next thing is to run the migration process…

rake db:migrate

… and this will create the “comments” table in the database…
phpMyAdmin - Comments table… and an “entry.rb” model file (… plus many more files we don’t need to care about now). Let’s edit the “entry.rb” model file and add some validation and state that an entry can have many comments…

Continue reading »