Jan 04

Yes, this is one of “those” posts, where I announce the end of something that has been pretty cool.

It’s likely that close to no one will actually care, but pfft – here at freshbytes, we’ve had a good run. What originally started out as the front-end to a quasi-replacement of the BWS Online days of old has now evolved into a place where I post relective crap up, in the hopes that at least someone will read it and have their thoughts provoked. Syncing these posts to my Facebook profile has given them a new lease on life, even if the readers aren’t actually visiting the website.

That’s okay – we’ve had our fun. Freshbytes has been an immensely awesome learning experience for me especially, as webmaster, curator, and overseer of operations. Amongst other things, freshbytes has been the proving ground, the stable horse, and the trainer, all on the one webhosting account. It’s also been the home to many an education – in particular, a HUGE introduction to the blogosphere and especially WordPress, which is by far and away the most useful blogging platform that I’ve come across.

While I may be shutting down this WordPress front end in the near future, that doesn’t mean the complete end. We’ve (or maybe I should make that I, in absence of co-conspirator Chris) still got a couple of decent posts up our sleeves, and those should be written with an increased frequency over the next month. The plan from there is to move all existing content which I deem worthy across to my main, personal, blog. This’ll most likely include those awesome GarageBand compositions, the NoSpoon LAN details and pictures, as well as some of the better blog posts.

Behind the scenes, this blog will be kept intact – however, that doesn’t mean that it will be updated (and I’ll tell you right now – I don’t intend to update this website after January 2010). I’ve registered the domain name for an additional two years – just so everything has a chance to make the move to my other domain. Images which depend on the freshbytes domain will be trickier – while the files hav already been copied across, I’ll probably have to write a htaccess rule to make matching URL requests automatically find the right file in the new domain. It shouldn’t be too hard. ;)

So, here’s to what we had. Here’s to the education, learning, and experiences that freshbytes offered us. Here’s to the blog posts that provoked thoughts, made people think, and allowed them to work things out.

Most of all, here’s to you.

written by Benny Ling \\ tags: , ,

Feb 15

Thankfully, this isn’t a post about the abomination of a movie, All Quiet On The Western Front. I will gladly tip my hat to it for the title, though, and offer this advice: unless you’re a war-movie/history fanatic, stay away!

Phew. Now that that’s out of the way, we can get into some real business…

Right, so Calvin has, in the past, had some pretty wacky forums. For those of you that don’t know, forums are a place for people to share thoughts and ideas via posts, in things called threads, under headings of topics. (I’m using MacTalk Forums as my primary linkage for this post – they certainly don’t mind the extra attention, and it’s the only active forum I participate in these days… Whirlpool is better known for their alternate name, “Whingepool”, and OverClockers AUstralia have a funny registration system, and I just haven’t bothered. *sigh*)

Firstly, the one that started it all was the one and only, Calvin Spam. Started as somewhat of a joke by some geeky year 8’s at the time, (If you graduated Calvin in 2008, you would have been in year 7), it spread quickly due to the nature of the content that was on there. No porn or anything bad like that, just slightly dubious polls like “Do you prefer legs or breasts? And I’m not talking about chicken.” For some year 7s, it was all too much and the IT crowd from our grade were quickly sucked in…
Calvin Spam was open for all at Calvin to join – no exceptions. In hindsight, this probably wasn’t the best option considering the material that was posted there – but hey, I wasn’t the administrator of that particular forum.
From there, it was all downhill. Calvin Spam used to exist at calvinspam.tk – the island of tukelau is renowned for their free domain name service. Efforts to find this forum by our most experienced Google-users have proved unfruitful – for all we know, it could have been a website hosted at home…
Calvin Spam came and went, however. Due to the aforementioned nature of the content, it was quickly shut down.

Years passed. The same Year 7s when the original Calvin Spam were around were now in year 8, and their 1337 (leet, or elite) skills had greatly increased. It was definitely time for another forum, and thus, BWSonline was born. Originally standing for Blair, Weed and Smarty, it was formed by the then-IT contingent of the class of 2008.
Sporting a custom phpBB theme, in terms of popularity, BWS was quite exclusive – only a small, select group of students even knew it existed, and then, only several students were active participants in the discussions that happened there – everything ranging from the geekiest of geek-speak, to computer recommendations, the multiple *-FESK saga, epic posts by yours truly, huge Mac/PC flame wars, and more.
In terms of longevity, though – BWS lasted for quite a while. It wasn’t until one of the original creators fled the country to go to Indonesia that it well and truly died.
It still exists on the internet to this day – at the original address – bwsonline.awardspace.com. The orignal creators are massively thankful for awardspace for their free hosting, I’m sure. One of these days, I’ll make a copy of bwsonline and stick it on freshbytes – when I get around to it. Procrastination for the win.

BWSonline was the precursor to a couple of things… one of which was calvinspamII. By this time, the class of 2008 was in year 10, and calvinspamII, designed as the second iteration of the great Calvin Spam, was created by yours truly in an attempt to revive the forum fever at Calvin. By this time, BWS was dying a slow death – the number of posts per day were slowly dwindling, as was the number of active users.
By all accounts, calvinspamII was seen as a competitor to the exclusive BWSonline – like the original Calvin Spam, calvinspamII was open to pretty much everyone, although only full privileges were granted to registered members. Guests could only read parts of the forum – and the more controversial sections were sealed from prying eyes.
Also like the original Calvin Spam, calvinspamII was based of the free phpBB forum software, and if memory serves me correctly, was served by whoever was the first result in Google after I searched “free phpbb hosting”… Oh, the shame! One click was all it took to take down the infamous BWSonline, and within weeks, usage soared – in terms of popularity, calvinspamII eclipsed both the original Calvin Spam and BWSonline in a matter of weeks, thanks largely in part to threads with such names as “BLING & KV”, “Pick Up Lines”, and “BAG OUT ALL GINGERS HERE” – as well as the diverse range of other topics – school, subjects, sports, movies, music – calvinspamII had it all.
Thanks once again to the island of toukelau – their free domain name service made calvinspamii.tk far easier to type than calvinspamii.s1.bizhat.com – which now does not exist.
Unfortunately, by the time we reached metric forum fever had died at Calvin again – it was clear that the users had had enough. Even more unfortunately was the fact that I didn’t get a backup of the calvinspamII database for posterity – I would have loved to read that epic “BLING & KV” thread again… :P

Finally, finally, finally, came the Freshbytes Forum. It has been more than quiet over there – due in part to a lack of plugging. I haven’t been telling people about it enough. It’s not entirely my fault, though – I think that general forums have had their day. Unless you have a very specific target audience that are the kind of people that like to discuss their interests online, then you’re so outta luck if you think you’re going to make it big with a forum. Sure, when I was at school calvinspamII worked because in Computing, I would plug calvinspamII away, and people would log on, post some random images of ginger kids, and when Computing was over, they would log off again. No one bothers to go online and actually discuss stuff on calvinspamII when they’re not at school, and yeah – that’s pretty much how it died…

So, where to from here? I’ll leave Freshbytes Forum open over at forums.freshbytes.com.au in case you have a burning desire to discuss something, but you have no idea where to say it? Make a thread over at Freshbytes Forum, and give the link out to everyone you know.

For now, though – the message is loud and clear:

All quiet on the forum front.

written by Benny Ling \\ tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Feb 09


One year has passed since the introduction of freshbytes.

What a year it’s been: an absolutely huge learning curve for me, but I’ve loved every moment of it. The Web is a huge place, and I’ve just dipped my toes into it.

We’ve had our highs. We’ve had our lows (it’s all quiet on the forum front – more on that later). Most of all, though – it’s you, the readers that make this place what it is.

This isn’t just some place to come and read words on a webpage – hopefully, it’s a place where you’ll find moral guidance, some words of wisdom (speaking completely from experience counts as wisdom, no?), laughs, as well as food for thought. Hopefully, you’ve experienced all four from here this past year, but if you haven’t, drop me a line telling me what you think, and what could be improved, and I’ll endeavour to try and encompass your needs.

That goes for pretty much anything, by the way… If you think there should be more games, shoot me a line, or comment on the miscpage.

Speaking of games, some of you have noticed the lack of games on freshbytes. Previously, I would have said something like: “Never fear, the games are still there, you just need to look in the right places!”, but being far wiser than I was a year ago, I now realise that not all of you are geeks and look in the source code for links to obscure pages. No really – I’m kidding. There really is no secret – if you clicked on a particular paragraph of the post where I mentioned that the games where taking a leave of absence, then you would have got some funky pop-up saying “You step in the stream, but the water has moved on. The page you are looking for cannot be found”, or something to that effect.

I’ll stop blabbling now, and just give you the link to the games page: here. Oh, and it’s also at misc.freshbytes.com.au – so remember either one, because they both go to the same place.

Well, I hope you’re loving the new look freshbytes. Unless I find something horribly wrong with this theme, or I just don’t like it, it’ll probably stay this way for a while – and by that, I mean at least a month. If you think the new theme is cool, try dragging the sidebar widgets around. They move! Insane! The only thing they don’t do is drag from one sidebar to another – so you can’t move the Wall from the right to the left, for example. Yeah, I know. Some stuff is broken, or looks horrible. I’ll have to fix these over the coming days – mmm, more fun. /sarcasm.

Now even though I use a Mac, I’m not a designer person. While I can write CSS, I could never do as good a job as the people over at Blog-Oh-Blog! (for Limau Orange, the previous theme) have, or even the people at MangoOrange, for the current i3Theme. There are a whole host of awesome three-column themes that I’m currently experimenting with as well, so if you visit freshbytes and it the theme has changed or something has broken, don’t worry. I’m just messing about, which will happen late at night because apparently, that’s the best time to get things done!!

Right, so that’s about it, then.

Comments below.

written by Benny Ling \\ tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Jan 12

First post in a while now…might as well consolidate!

From the last few posts Benny did. This may look really ugly to some readers, but it ties up some loose ends and allows me to start from a ‘clean slate’. From here, ‘you’ is referred to as Benny himself.

Having a rough morning“-
As for Benny’s rough morning, well, I have a special post lined up for that (sooner rather than later).

What is Church?“-
Well, the way the Catholic Church is run is different again…but not as ’strict’ in the sense that you mention. It is really hard to explain, you really have to see it to understand, as its kind of a mix of things.

Bitter Disappointment“-
Seriously, I had nothing else to say on the matter of the CS award. Sure, I was disappointed to not get it, but I think you put in more ‘time & effort’ than myself and the rest of the ‘crew’. The writing was on the wall from last year’s awards ceremony (mind you, I blame Dicky for that, but I’m not bitter about it), and you had previously mentioned your internal results which were the best of the entire class, so the writing was well and truly on the wall.
Oh yeah, thanks for the praise too :)
Hmm you are also sounding like my mum. “You’ll never see them again”. Pfft. I’ve seen most of the crew and contacted a few others in the weeks following the end of school. Mind you, many would not have predicted that ;-)

My neutral responses that night (of the awards) were due to one thing (maybe another, the more I think about it). I had something planned for the very next day, which was far more important than a bloody award on a piece of paper. The very next day (at 10:20AM), I went for my driving test. The reaction after getting that was better than any other bloody award from a “dead-and-buried” (public opinion, folks) school! (Mind you, I was in complete denial for at least 3 days after I got my P’s anyway…). I still can’t believe I managed to keep it a secret for a majority of 7 months. I should work for the NSA (but I hate America, so the point is moot).

Anyway, a better guide of the situation was that I saw my letter from UTAS come in the mail, and it got tossed to the side for a few days. I was waiting on *the* letter: my license! It finally came after a week, and I was very happy that day. I opened the UTAS letter a few days afterwards. I think this best explains the situation for the time on and after the awards night.

TCE results 2008“-
Mine weren’t great, and sure there is an element of jealousy about other scores that I heard of (and some of utter disbelief), but I got into what I wanted, and that’s all that I needed to achieve.
I could say to you the classic saying “Have Faith!”, but I myself only even believed it in the lead up to my driving test…

Merry Christmas, All!“-
Apart from the 1TB HDD, and the splash of alcohol, seafood and meat, my day was spent getting sunburnt, installing Linux kernel 2.6.28 (which was released on Christmas day) and playing cricket in the backyard. Nothing out of the ordinary, but it does mark the first time I have used a kernel the day it was released…so go figure.

TCE Results Reflections“-
That’s not arrogance, that’s over-confidence. And that is a ‘mode’ that I kept telling myself to not ‘be in’ during the SWATVAC period. I knew that could be my undoing…and to a degree, it was (for the CS exam, that is). Mind you, we basically all got the same result from CS anyway…

Happy New Year“-
Yet again, on the laptop at the count of midnight Jan 1. 2009. This time, however, it was running on AC, as the battery in my laptop has shot itself to pieces. The Gnome power manager tells me that it is running at 3% of factory capacity all the time, and the HP battery tester tells me to replace it. Bugger. Oh well, it was a Happy New Year. I question whether or not it could beat the last (for me personally).

Alcohol and a bit of HDTV via MythTV. A nice night.

The Legend of Mr Peterson“-
I hate chain mail. But some can make it amusing (like a good buddy of ours, Shaun V). Insert character names into the ‘unknown’ characters, and it makes for interesting reading!

Freshbytes Fresh update“-
And now back to square 1. Officially.

Yes, Benny is/will be away, and I’m filling the chair for a while. I hope to bring some posts about things that are different to what has been uploaded here before. More cricket and more Linux are two such things on the cards. and a special post may be on the way too…

You’ll have to stick around to find out!


written by Chris Jacques \\ tags: , ,

Jan 11

It’s official – I’m out of ideas for posts this week. I have nothing to say that needs to be said, nothing that can be said that could be. Sure, I could be using one of the “backup” posts (things I have floating around in case of emergency), but I think it’s time for a break from the usual serious posts, (last week’s post was the exception to the rule), and time for a freshbytes fresh update…

So instead, I’ll just give you a rundown of what’s happening at freshbytes over the next few weeks.

As some of you may already know, I’m heading overseas for the next couple of weeks. During this time, I’ll be handing over the reins to my very capable (when he’s bothered to be) co-founder, Chris Jacques – which means you’ll still get your weekly dose of freshbytes-love.

As an added bonus, you might even see a post or two from me while I’m away, thanks to WordPress’ excellent publishing tools which allow me to publish a pre-written post on a specific date, at a specific time. Depending on how much writing I manage to get done before I fly out on Thursday.

Hopefully, Chris will provide you with some excellent posts in the traditional freshbytes fashion – either just before the stroke of midnight, or hastily written up and posted within 30 minutes. Otherwise, he might even break the trend and have some pre-mediated posts that are completely brilliant – but we’ll see. ;)

In case you missed it, freshbytes now integrates Facebook Connect. This means that you can sign into freshbytes without having to do the usual sign-up rigamarole – instead, just hit the “Login with Facebook” button on the top left hand corner, and BAM – any comments that you post on posts will automagically be published to your Facebook wall. For more info about this feature, hit this link.

Here at freshbytes, it’s been onwards and upwards ever since our launch back in Febuary of 2008. This is largely due to you, the reader, contributor, user, visitor – and we’d love to thank you for your continued support and everything that you’ve done – wether it be reading our posts, pimping freshbytes at other website, or whatever it is that you do that helps get freshbytes out there.
As a massive thank-you, we’re doing something special for our one-year birthday party – but you’ll have to wait to find out what. Fortunately for me, our birthday arrives just after I get back from overseas – so hopefully, everything should go as planned. The stage has already been set, and the balls have been put in motion – all that’s needed now is the green light from me, and we’re good to go.

Speaking of which – I’ll have plenty to talk about when I get back. Mainland Uni’s start sending out first-round offers for places this thursday, and while I won’t be here to recieve mine, it should also arrive by email or similar. I know I didn’t do well enough in the TCE results to warrant a first-round offer, though – so I’ll be hanging out for second round offers which are released a couple of days before I get back. My parents are pushing for me to accept engineering at UTAS (in case I’m not offered anything else) – but really, engineering just isn’t my thing.

As per our Google Analytics results – it’s been a moderate increase in growth this past month, we’re up 26% in terms of visits over last month. We’ll have to wait and see until the yearly results come out, though! Should make for some interesting reading… :D

Until I see you again, it’s comments below as usual… :)

written by Benny Ling \\ tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Jan 01

From all two of us here at freshbytes, we hope you have an awesome new year.

Don’t get too drunk, though – then again, you’ve got a full day to sober up, so go for it, I say!!

Heh, anyways… 2008 has been a great first year for freshbytes. I don’t think I could be any happier with how we have gone this year. I’ll release some results of reader count, number of hits and so on in the new year if you’re interested, but really, I couldn’t be happier with how my very first website has gone. Sure, more hits would be nice, but we’re just talking about Tasmania here, you know? ;)

So, drink, have a good one, but most of all, be safe, and well see you in 2009.

Oh wait. It is 2009. I suppose that’s what you get for blogging on an iPhone… :P

Catcha round.

Freshbytes Admin,
Benny Ling & Chris Jacques.

written by Benny Ling \\ tags: , , ,