How Well Do You Know Your Watch?

If you wear a watch, don’t look at it while reading this!

Now answer this question: Does your watch have numeric, roman numerics or no numeric indicators on its face?

I have asked that question to many people and believe it or not, less than 20% of them got the answer right! Yes, only one out of five people really know the answer to that question eventhough they’ve been wearing the same watch for years!

So did you get it right?

Personally, I never wear a watch. I think that watches nowadays are really jewellery instead of timepieces. I’m already surrounded by watches and clocks everywhere I go anyway, so why burden my wrist with a redundant device?

  • There’s a clock on my computer desktop
  • There’s a clock on my car’s dashboard
  • Even the car radio has a built in clock function (although I haven’t figured out how to set it correctly after 5 years)
  • When watching TV, my Astro satellite unit displays the time along with the channel information
  • There’s a clock in every room in my house (except the bathrooms, where I think it’s needed the most… maybe I’ll put up some)

We’re surrounded by devices that tells us the time… so do you really need a watch?

If I were to ever get a watch for myself, I’d probably get a Technomarine watch. Not that I’m a frequent sea-traveler or a diver, but just because it looks pretty darn solid. It’s still not too late to get me a Christmas gift, you know 😉

By the way, when you checked your watch earlier, what was the time? I bet you didn’t remember, right?

It’s not surprising. Most people check their watch not to tell the time, but to calculate the remaining time to their next event. For example, if you’re in a meeting that’s scheduled for one hour, you won’t actually look at the time per se, but counting down how many minutes are remaining for the meeting.

Unbelievable? Believe it.

Well, I got my first AdSense payment via Western Union on Friday and I must say that it’s incredibly convenient! Very fast and the exchange rate is pretty decent. I received about half a grand in Malaysian Ringgit and that’s pretty substantial.

So substantial in fact, that I’m going to go furniture shopping with my family later in the morning. I do have some items in mind, which includes:

  • Dressing table (hopefully one with adjustable and lighted makeup mirrors) for my SO
  • Coffee table for my living room
  • Cupboard for my son’s room

In JB, one of the best place to go furniture shopping would be Taman Molek. They have all sorts of furniture shop to fit virtually any tastes and budget.

What’s your favourite furniture shopping area? I’d love to get some recommendations!

 

I decided to revisit one of my older posts; Setting Up Multiple Apache Local Web Sites On Your Computer; which was written as a guideline for Apache 1.3.x for both Linux and Windows machines.

I’ve always used Apache 1.3.x for my web development needs (yeah, I’m old school), but this time around though, I need to get some testing done Apache 2.0.x because it’s what one of the server I’m developing for runs.

After downloading the necessary Windows installer for Apache 2.0.x (yes, I’m assigned a Windows XP notebook at work) one thing I discovered almost immediately is that the tips I’ve mentioned in my earlier post doesn’t work on Apache 2.0.x right off the bat.

After reading some of the comments in my original post, as well as reading through the Apache 2.0 manual, and bouts of experimenting I found out that the following changes are necessary for VirtualHosts to work properly:

  1. Define the NameVirtualHost 127.0.0.1:* directive: If this line is commented or non-existant in httpd.conf, your local VirtualHosts won’t work
  2. Include the hostname in the VirtualHost container. For example: <VirtualHost localtest>. If you want the VirtualHost to listen to other ports, use this example (of listening to port 8080)<VirtualHost localtest:8080>

That’s pretty much it. Migrating my Apache 1.3.x sites to Apache 2.0.x was a breeze.

If you do web development on WAMP or LAMP, but not really adept in general network configurations, your typical local development web content might have URLs similar to as follows:

  • http://localhost/projecta
  • http://localhost/projectb
  • http://localhost/projectc
  • http://localhost/projectc-beta2

Wouldn’t it be nicer if those projects have URLs such as:

  • http://projecta
  • http://projectb
  • http://projectc
  • http://projectc-beta2

Continue reading on if you’re interested to find out how this can be achieved on both Windows and Linux computers. This writeup will cover setting up the hosts as well as configuring Apache (versions 1.3.x) to support the hosts.

This tutorial is designed for those who have administrative priviledges on the development computer (under Administrators group on Windows, or have root access for Linux). More often than not, if you’re not using a shared computer, you’ll most likely have such access.

Setting Up the Fake Hostnames

A Primer on Hostnames: Hostnames are names for computers connected on a network. For HTNet, its hostname is www.heritage-tech.net (and also heritage-tech.net). For the nitty-gritty details, please refer to Hostname on Wikipedia.

The fake hostnames such as projecta, projectb, projectc and projectc-beta2 can be set in either of these hosts configuration files (also referred to as hosts files) depending on your operating system:

  • For Windows: C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\DRIVERS\ETC\HOSTS (assuming your Windows installation is in C:\WINDOWS).
  • For Linux: /etc/hosts

If you were to open these files in a text editor, you’ll see content similar to the following:

127.0.0.1        localhost
192.168.1.18     testhost.testdomain.com testhost

All hosts files will have the localhost entry which resolves to 127.0.0.1, also known as the loopback address. Basically, what the first line in the host file illustrated above tells us is to route all network packets addressed to localhost to the computer you’re using.

So to get our fake hostnames working, they each should have an entry resolving to 127.0.0.1 in your hosts file. Example as follows:

127.0.0.1        localhost
127.0.0.1        projecta
127.0.0.1        projectb
127.0.0.1        projectc
127.0.0.1        projectc-beta2
192.168.1.18     testhost.testdomain.com testhost

To test the configuration, you should ping the fake hosts and if you had followed the steps above correctly, you should get a response from 127.0.0.1 for the projectaprojectbprojectcand projectc-beta2 hosts. This concludes the host resolving section of this tutorial.

Configuring Apache

The next step involves configuring Apache to handle requests to the hosts defined above. To do this, you’ll need to edit your Apache installation’s configuration file; httpd.conf. On a default Apache for Windows installation, this file will be in C:\Program Files\Apache Group\Apache\conf\. For Linux, the location of the httpd.conf file usually depends on the distribution. On Slackware Linux, it’s in /etc/apache/.

Open the httpd.conf file in your favourite text editor and look for a line that starts with DocumentRoot. This line sets the location for the files that will be served as your default web site.

On Linux, it will look something like the following (Note that the actual location may differ on your setup):

DocumentRoot "/var/www/htdocs"

Whereas on Windows, it will be similar to (Note that the actual location may differ on your setup):

DocumentRoot "C:/Program Files/Apache Group/Apache2/htdocs"

Also note that for Windows, Apache can also use a normal slash (/) instead of the typical backslash (\) in the directory path. You should also enclose directory paths in quotes. From now on, we’ll refer to these directories as DocumentRoot.

If the directories where you want to serve content for the hosts created earlier reside within the DocumentRootdirectory, you merely need to define a VirtualHost declaration for each of them. Let’s assume that the files for http://projecta will be in the directory named projecta under the DocumentRoot directory (which will be /var/www/htdocs/projecta/ for Linux or C:\Program Files\Apache Group\Apache2\htdocs\projecta\ for Windows).

Therefore, at the end of your httpd.conf file, append the following lines to create the projecta virtual host:

For Linux:

<VirtualHost *>
DocumentRoot /var/www/htdocs/projecta
ServerName slackbox
</VirtualHost>

For Windows:

<VirtualHost *>
DocumentRoot "C:/Program Files/Apache Group/Apache/htdocs/projecta"
ServerName slackbox
</VirtualHost>

If the files are served from a directory outside of the DocumentRoot, you need to create a Directory declaration for each of the directories in addition to the VirtualHost declaration.

For example, let’s assume that files from projectb will be served from /web/projectb (for Linux) or C:\web\projectb (for Windows). Therefore, the following lines should be appended to your httpd.conf file:

For Linux:

<Directory "/web/projectb">
Options Indexes FollowSymLinks MultiViews
AllowOverride All
Order allow,deny
Allow from all
</Directory>

<VirtualHost *>
DocumentRoot /web/projectb
ServerName projectb
</VirtualHost>

For Windows:

<Directory "C:\web\projectb">
Options Indexes FollowSymLinks MultiViews
AllowOverride All
Order allow,deny
Allow from all
</Directory>

<VirtualHost *>
DocumentRoot "C:\web\projectb"
ServerName projectb
</VirtualHost>

Testing the Setup

Once all of the above is done, you can now test your configuration. However, you need to restart the Apache service in order to apply the changes made above. Here’s how to do it if you’ve installed Apache as a service (9 times out of time, this is how it’s normally installed):

For Linux (distros using BSD-style init like Slackware):

/etc/rc.d/rc.httpd restart

For Linux (distros using sysv-style init like Red Hat):

service httpd restart

For Windows:

  1. Run: services.msc
  2. Look for Apache in the services list and select it
  3. Click the Restart Service button

If you’ve followed through this guide closely, you should now have a working Apache installation with multiple named local sites.

Was this guide useful for you? Please digg it or drop me a comment or two.

Update: This guide is for Apache 1.3.x. To get local VirtualHosts to work with Apache 2.0.x, please click here.

Everyone can speak. Yet, there are some who do it better than others. Some are so good at it, that their listeners are moved to actually achieve something as a result of listening to the speech. That’s the difference between a normal speech as compared to a motivational speech. Believe it or not, you can also become an effective motivational speaker.

What is Motivational Speaking?

If you thought that motivational speaking is one where somebody rants on and on about doing something, you’re part of a huge majority that thinks so. And you’re right! Although not totally accurate about the whole concept.

Whether you believe it or not, the ability to deliver an effective motivational speech is not just a useful tool for public speakers. It’s also useful to business leaders, middle management, executives, fresh graduates and even children! A motivational talk should affect the audience’s emotions and state of mind positively. They have got to believe that the message you’re trying to get across to them is not just a concept, but a reality.

They have to see the vision that you are trying to draw in their mind so clearly that they can almost reach out and grab it! They have to be so induldged in the message that they are no longer listening to you, but virtually experience what you’re narrating to them.

And contrary to popular belief, motivational speaking is not a tool specifically useful only in the realms of business and politics. It’s a useful tool for everyone. Here are examples where being a good motivational speaker can have a positive impact in your life:

  • Gaining confidence of your friends, family members and spouses
  • Securing credibility in your industry of profession
  • Improving public perception of yourself and the organisation you represent
  • Obtaining trust and companionship of those around you
  • Providing the feeling of comfort and joy to those who had the honour to communicate with you

Understanding Motivation

The first definition of motivation as described by dictionary.com is:

The act or process of motivating.

The key word being: process. Like all processes, there are specific steps to follow. Each step leads towards an outcome that has to be defined in advance, so that the speaker can identify a milestone that he/she is setting out to achieve.

Motivation is not easy to achieve, especially if you are out to motivate somebody, as opposed to yourself. However, the key ingredients of motivational communications remain the same, regardless of who the intended audience is.

If you’ve read The Power of Self Talk, you’d know that motivating yourself to achieve something is already very challenging. Multiply this by a few hundred times, then you’ll get an idea on how it’s like to motivate others.

Next on the agenda, understanding the key ingredients of delivering an effective motivational speech.

Ingredients of an Effective Motivational Speech

Like all things, there are always criterias that need to be fulfilled before an effective motivational speech can reach its objective. The key ingredients are:

  • Earn the right to give the speech
  • You must want to give the speech
  • You must have a strong opinion regarding the topic at hand
  • Suit the content of the speech to your audience

Earning the right to give a motivational speech is of the utmost importance. Imagine giving a speech about Earning Millions Through The Internet, when you yourself haven’t even earned $100 from your online endeavours. Who would seriously listen to you?

Just as important is the drive you put into delivering your motivational speech. You must really want to give the speech. It should be very passionate! Deliver the speech as if it’s the last speech you’ll ever give. Engulf yourself in the scenes described in your talk. Cry during the sad parts, laugh during the funny sections, growl at parts which arouse anger. Don’t just recite your speech… live it!

Your opinion regarding the topic of your speech will decide its outcome even before the speech starts. Giving a motivational speech on something that you’re obviously bored of will reflect on to the audience. And believe me, they can tell how you really feel about the topic even when you give a performance worthy of an Oscar. Probably not during the speech itself, but sooner or later, they will know.

A major problem with most public speakers is that they don’t know how to tailor their motivational speech for the audience. This requires meticulous planning even before the speech starts. Speakers should always do their homework by identifying the audiencedemographics, level of understanding of the topic and not to mention cultural and/or geograpical centric examples that can be used in the speech. Achieving the right balance of informativeness while reducing usage of jargon requires experience. Therefore, never shy away from the opportunity to give a motivational speech even if you don’t feel confident delivering it. Practise makes perfect!