Thursday, August 12, 2010

Nepal In - PHP Arrays

What is Nepal in PHP Arrays - Project ?
 
Are you a PHP developer in Nepal ? or do you use MySQL in your projects. How many of you have easier access to the places & cities of Nepal in simpler arrays, that can be taken for reference and used.

I am currently involved in a project named Gharbeti.com (get updates here ) and got in situation where i need to use the places in Kathmandu to implement the site theme. Gharbeti.com – The Rentals Solutions In Kathmandu.

I was searching through web, searching for some arrays of places, cities, districts headquarters etc. But i was not lucky enough to find them. Instead i thought i would search for places and list them as PHP Arrays or MySQL tables. This wiki page was handy though.

There is a project named PHP Arrays in Github -  I was solely inspired by this project. But, limiting myself to my country i decided to list resources related to Nepal in PHP arrays. This was how all it begun.

What is included in this project till now:

1. Places In Kathmandu - PHP Array & MySQL table
-> listing of most popular places in Kathmandu.
    -places_in_kathmandu.php
    -places_in_kathmandu.sql   


2. 14 Zones & 75 districts of Nepal
    -> 14 Zones (Anchals), 75 (Districts/Headquarters)
     -14_zones_75_districts_of_nepal.php


3. 75 Districts of Nepal and their Latitude & Longitude values.
    -> 75_districts_latitude_longitude.php
    -> If you want to calculate Latitude Longitude values by yourself: here's a little snippet using Google Maps API that we can loop through by yourself.

        $country = "Nepal";
        $city = "Kathmandu";
        $addEncoded = urlencode($country).",+".urlencode($city);
        $geoCode = file_get_contents("http://maps.google.com/maps/api/geocode/json?address=".$addEncoded."&sensor=false");                   
        $response = json_decode($geoCode);
        $lat = $response->results[0]->geometry->location->lat;
        $lng = $response->results[0]->geometry->location->lng;


    -> Pick up any latitude, longitude pair and try browsing in the following link format:
        This link should bring out Map for Chitwan district

 

Do you want to contribute to this Project?

Use the github repo url, clone a local copy or fork it, add files and push the changes.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

7 + 1 twitter tips : my experience !

1. What is on the twitter profile picture link?

When we go on someone’s twitter profile we see – small profile pic, twitter username, numbers of following & followers, profile bio,  indication of you following the user or not and their tweets. Have you ever clicked on that small profile image? try clicking it and you’ll see there’s a big image (originally uploaded by the user). You get some feelings when you get to see someone’s big picture. Or let’s say the real picture is behind the small one :P

Smaller one:

profile-pic

Larger one:

profile-pic-big

just  to mention, this picture is from my India tour, we were on the way to Water Kingdom in a boat :)

2. Write the 160 character bio and profile url

Whenever i have to know something more about a twitter follower or the person i am following i quick scan their bio and profile url.

Twitter always wanted to save their server space they provide to their user that’s why they don’t allow more information on the profile page. And never mind, it was a joke. I think the idea is to shift focus to tweets and updates. what you tweet conveys you and your persona. The more you tweet the more of you shows up in your tweets list.

That’s a plus for sure, still i think the 160 character bio and the url you provide their in your profile information is equally important to mark your identity. Use it to convey the message why you are in twitter. It will result in more like minded followers and hence more fun.

Have a quick bio setup, have a personal url (your site, your portfolio, your business, your blog anything). This increases your twitter and other search visibility, lets your follower be in more touch. Your twitter follower will travel along with the url you provide and will interact with your business or say blog. That’s again a plus.

3. It’s not that bad to start conversation first :)

Is their any special reason for the one who starts conversation has to be someone other than you?

The fun begins when you start conversations with your following/followers. Cheers them on their success stories. Suggest to their confusion. Give review of their blog posts. The idea is, don’t wait for others to begin talk with you. Go with your, “just to mention kind of expression” and say : “ hello @billgates how are you doing? Here’s a handshake for your good day :) “

provided :
tweets = original content (stories, feelings, blog posts by the twitter user)
and the receiver is not a BOT!
(look into the tweet’s source, if there is From API, it is more likely a bot)

You can use service like Twitoaster : The Twitter Conversations Service, to get threaded version of your twitter conversations.

4. How to find who is tweeting near your location? (use twitter search)

nearktm

I never expected that twitter will ever add Kathmandu city in the Location Wise Trending List. But ain’t there a way to find twitter friends near your location?

You can always opt to use advanced search operators or advanced search page to search for tweets and users you want.

The search operator near with syntax near:location as search query will result in the result page containing tweets from that specific location. The location string has to match the address provided in the twitter users profile page.

For eg. If you use twitter near kathmandu, try near:kathmandu as search string. The result will show you real time tweets coming from around kathmandu.

search-results

Don’t forget to click on the Save This Search link so that the search query will be saved for future use. Now its the right time to use the Tip number 3 above.

newtweets-search

You’ll never miss the tweets near your location onwards, there is no other as easy as this way to find people near you to be friended with, sitting just in front of twitter interface.

 

5. Do you use Lists?

Twitter list gives you place to organize the tweet feeds you receive. Create a list, name it the way you want and add related friends to lists. How tangled your following/followers ratio gets, you now have a list that will always keep you up and front  with updates from the users in the list. This is very effective way to never miss tweets from the people you like.

Twitter lists will show you recent updates and you can even have a office meeting or organizational discussion adding related users in the list. This would be more useful.

I have a list web-lovers-entrepreneurs, i follow @photomatt one who initiated wordpress @jwage who created doctrine @codinghorror – i don’t want to miss this blog, @philsturgeon codeigniter and stuffs, @fabpot  - he is the one who thought symfony, @tylerhallhe is engineer in yahoo @jeresig – i wonder why he thought $  in jQuery, @biz, @ev – they gave us this twitter thing and few more profiles in this list. I always like to read their tweets. This list is very handy, i even have bookmarked it.

Since twitter list are visible in user profiles now, the listing gives one more chance to get visible to the person you follow. The description you add to the list can actually add a lasting impression on the users you have in it. Better you make the list name and description taking in account the users you intent to have in it.  Further, the list you created is visible to everyone, and they too can follow the list to get updates without actually following the people (without increasing the number of following in their profile)

Here are some list i created:

Singers Bands I like : http://twitter.com/bhu1st/singers-bands-ilike
Twitter Friends Near Kathmandu : http://twitter.com/bhu1st/twitter-friends-near-ktm
Follow Back List: http://twitter.com/bhu1st/follow-me-i-will-follow-u

What with the private list:

Private list are visible to only you. If you would like to follow some users privately, without letting them know you follow them, include them in the private list. This comes useful sometimes ;)

There are services like Listorius which maintains directory of popular twitter lists. You can use it to find some useful lists to follow. 

6. And Favorites??

How often you favorite tweets? One feature i don’t like about twitter is - it is very hard to traverse through your own and others twitter timeline. What if you wanted to check once the link your friend shared back some weeks? This is where the favorites feature comes handy. If you like a tweet, favorite it (that little star link attached in tweet box ), its like you are going to check that favorited tweet later. Try it, it saves a lot time.

favr

Favorites list is public and you can check on others profile what they have favorited. 

Here is a service called Favstar to help with popular and your own favorites.

7. Why care the : Retweets Link

links

There are three tabs under Retweets Link Retweets By Others, Retweets By You and Your Tweets Retweeted.

Retweets By Others

What your followers are retweeting? This tabs gives some space to the retweets in your twitter connection (following/followers). You can get insights about what is popular within your connections. It is more like getting to know your follower, what type of content they like and got popular. Check this tab frequently and if you find the info useful retweet it.

Retweets By You

What you retweet will be listed here. The advantage of this tab is more like the Favorites Link.

 Your Tweets Retweeted

Does what you share got retweeted? This tabs lists all the info about your tweets that got retweets.

And here’s a bonus REMINDER:

7+1 :  Beware! You are in public place

Twitter is public place, like the one we live outside of twitter,  unless explicitly you have set your profile to private from the settings option.

By public i mean, let us discuss

- our tweets are visible to everyone, to each and every search engine, to each search bot or crawler that are constantly indexing our tweets

- we never know where our tweet ends up and what it would be used for.

- would you share your email address in tweets, so that few bots with regular expression searches will list your email address in their index and you will end up getting spams in your mailbox.

- do we talk about what is the color of our underwear in public place?

- some things are better be said to a closest pals then be sent as tweet.

Then,

I think we should at least follow some public etiquettes before clicking on the publish button.

Happy Tweeting!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Few nepalese sites to mention and the possibilities

I have been wondering about some Nepalese products that exists online, created by Nepalese and Serving us. The list may go longer but i have selected few site that i noticed are mention worthy.

I personally feel that popular sites like Google, Facebook (which killed the hi5 commity of Nepal and of the world altogether) , Twitter, eBay, Amazon they hold some share on bringing the Nepalese community online. We are shifting, yes the shift is becoming more visible these days. The demand for Nepal Telecom's ADSL Service, ISPs like Wordlink, Merchantile is increasing day by day.

Here’s a graph from Google Public Data, which clearly shows the increasing internet users in Nepal.

nepal

I use Twitter actively, and its been more than a year since i have been tweeting, i noticed that the tweets status in TPM (Tweets Per Minute) around Kathmandu is increasing, it was around 1-2 Tweets/Minute a year ago and now ~ 25 TPM. It's amazing. People sitting on the Facebook wall may too have noticed that they suddenly get friend’s request from a old friend whom they never thought would have an online profile.

The facts are interesting. We are staying more online. Searching for the reason why we are accepting internet as a medium to be in  – i concluded that the web is becoming more essential to connect, to share and to communicate. I hardly remember any SMS reaching my mobile inbox since all my friends gathered around in Facebook. They send me message in facebook and i receive it at my Gmail inbox. Wow!

My point about these discussion is, on one hand we have the number of internet users increasing but on the other hand look at our own Nepalese products online, how many of us use Nepali web service to communicate or say to do business/shopping? To find an answer to this question i searched for some products/services we use online which are actively maintained by Nepalese. The way these  sites in the list below serving is praiseworthy. These websites may have their own business motives but equally they are providing/promising quality web services.

Nepali News Sites

 

bbcBBC Nepal Service

 

nagariknews

Do you remember when Nagarik News started their publication? Now, look at the online issues, and all the active news community we have around.

tht

THT – The Himalayan Times, this is my personal favorite national English daily.

ekantipur

Kantipur Publication has done very good service bringing their publications online.

 

Nepali Money Beginning to flow - Online

nibl

I think no other bank in Nepal is so open to web implementations. Whenever i heard of some online business service launch, NIBL is there to support them. Either you pay your online bills, or buy a recharge card for you NTC mobile.

esewa

eSewa Nepal is the product of F1 Soft International. It is a Payment Gateway, for those of us familiar with Paypal (but has been of no use in Nepal), eSewa is the similar kind of product. Look at the services they offer with eSewa: here. The online transaction status from the site says: It’s  671510 Total transaction through eSsewa. This is quite impressive.


payway

Pay Way, the product of Young Minds,  is an online payment gateway. I have not tried it yet but it promises to bridge the gap we have with our Paypal account. We can send and receive money from Paypal to our Payway account or directly to our bank account with Payway.

muncha

Muncha was buzz in my school days, and is still a good service provider, though i can’t say why they still are not planning to change the web site look. I still remember the day when people were saying, “now we can do shopping online”. The site is active, and accepts many of the ATM cards we have in Nepal, Credit cards and bank account payments.

We see, with more crowd coming online, Nepalese money too is travelling online, but are we ready get maximum benefit from this changes?? What i have to say is before we allow our money online we need  1000 more munchas, shops & services online – that would serve for us, serve our product. 

 

Find Jobs In Nepal Online


It was after my graduation, i started searching for a job through the internet. Would you believe me, i applied for the job through one of these sites and got hired.

 

jobsnepal 

Jobs Nepal lists all the current Open Jobs, the organization, full time – part time status & number of days remaining to apply for the job. How many of us are searching for jobs through these sites?? Ain’t this service useful?

merojob

Merojob too is a Job Board Site, looks promising. i think its neat and clean interface will surely make user experience better.

dmslist

dmslist, build on wordpress free cms,  is a product of Digital Max Solution, simple look but with live job openings. Cheers to DMS for this product and hosting.

 

Nepali Forum

Blog & Community

 

Here are some places where Neplese gather to share, argue and discuss with each other online.

mazzako

The Mazzako forum status itself speaks more about its existence.

mysansar

Mero Sansar, its not a news site, its blog. I personally like the site slogan, and now and then visit the site to get some views about current issues in country. There’s a difference between a News portal (see Nagarik News Site) & a blog. The blog is free expression, no bounds to the expression of the authors, follow language etiquettes and respect your readers and present the idea in your fantasy. I admire the way Mero Sansar bloggers are contributing.

 fossnepal

 

So you may wonder why FOSS Nepal got listed here! This is the only community in Nepal which does that offline what it says online. I myself was/am active in the FOSS Nepal community. We planned, discussed about events, messages, trainings everything online and gathered on the spot to make it happen real. The days we celebrate Software Freedom Day, every year, the training program we provide every once in a while, we needs such community to be multiplied in Number if  we want to see changes in Nepalese technology sector.  You can join FOSS – Nepal Google Group here.

 

Nepali Social Network

 

thulo

We have Thulo Social Network here - a Nepalese Social Network. The site looks promising in the technology used, and in providing social network functionality to its users. Before suggesting you to try the thulo network, i think we should first understand the essence of social network. Be it Facebook or Twitter or anything else if it has to be a social network – it needs to have users. We are the users, and our networks travels wherever we move. Invite some of your closest network to thulo network, lets enjoy social networking in our own style, with our own product.

 

Nepali Telephone/Mobile Service
Providers

I have listed two sites below, and hope this two sites co-operative with each other and allow NTC users to send web message to NCELL users and NCELL users could send web SMSes to NTC users. For the stuffs to happen, the organization behind them needs co-work, i think.

ntc

There is not a single day we do not curse NTC for its bad service, but look at the changes it brought in the country. Our last decade is know as the communication decade. Lots of things have changed, the land lines to mobile switch, the mobile to ADSL switch. NTC has always been there as back bone of the communication sector in the country. The NTC web site is quite functional. How many of you use the web sms service daily? 

ncell

I can’t forget the organization that promises international standard services in our price. Be it bringing GPRS to country or excellent schemes for student to business persons, i always admired the ideas NCELL have for the country.  It was always NCELL which did the initiation for the VAS Mobile services.  Look at the site, and check how they changed their brand in just 3 days.

Completing this list i remembered something i heard back in my school days. It was like, Nepalese will never invest on products other than noodles ( नेपालीहरु चाउचाउ बाहेक अरु कुरामा लगानी गर्दैनन ). Technology is changing, things will change and we need to change the way we look at things to invest upon. Have you ever thought supporting a project like Thulo network to give a front space in country web social networking ? Have you ever had an idea to invest on a project like eSewa or Payway. Have you ever thought bringing your organization business online? or bringing your shopping center to provide online service?

Time has come now to stop thinking and start investing.