Seeping Bogs

I’ve just recently read a blog entry by JeffOoi (our blogger MP from Penang) about blogs. He refutes certain false claims made by Lim Si Pin (he must have gotten teased a lot when he was at school, with a name like that!), Gerakan Deputy Youth Chief, about blogs. You can go read his entry for more details.

Jeff is right to say that Lim Si Pin got it wrong when he said that the popular blogs mentioned, were only started 3 years ago. Assuming that he was not ‘misquoted’ (as oft happens to Malaysian politicians), this clearly shows that Lim Si Pin has no knowledge of the Internet. It took me less than 5 seconds to verify that Jeff’s and RPK’s domains go back to 2003 and 2004. So, Lim should be called out on making outrageous claims like that.

Since I’m trying to make my blog a little more educational, I will now teach everyone how to actually check the ‘age’ of a particular domain name. In this case, I will use Jeff’s own blog,, as an example. The key to doing it is to use the WHOIS service. If you use any *nix based platform, you can just open up the command line and type:

$ whois

This will return you a page of information and the most pertinent bits are here:

Updated Date: 25-apr-2007
Creation Date: 09-may-2003
Expiration Date: 09-may-2009

So, this is possibly a case of ‘lau peh bo kar kia’ (father not teaching his son — notice how concise the chinese phrase is). Being the son of our former Minister of Communications and Multimedia, it is rather sad that he knows nothing about the Internet. Considering the dynastic tendencies of politics in Malaysia, this is not a good start if he wishes to have any credibility, and inherit his father’s former post, one day.

Lim Si Pin is again wrong, in saying that blogs are a 10 year old technology. A quick check on wikipedia will show that blogs are much older than that. From wikipedia, the word ‘blog’ is generally accepted to have been coined in 1997, but blogging, in it’s various forms, existed far earlier than that. If you go through the article on the timeline, it brings you through several periods of it, pre-1990s. In fact, it is very difficult to pin down when the whole notion of blogging started, which brings me to my final point.

Jeff claims that Dato’ Shahrir Abdul Samad’s former personal website is not actually a blog (he presently blogs on blogger and judging from the number of votes he has on his poll, his readership is probably similar to mine). This is where I draw the line, or rather not draw one. It’s very difficult to define if a personal website is a blog or not. In fact, according to wikipedia, defining a personal homepage is difficult to begin with, and I tend to agree with that.

Defining a blog is also rather difficult. If you define a blog as a log and by the ‘regular updates’ it receives, I would ask you to define ‘regular’. Some blogs are updated regularly (like mine!) while others are never. If you define blog by the ‘type of content’ then it’s rather difficult in differentiating a personal blog from a personal website since all the content is personal by nature. If you define a blog by the ‘structure of the site’, then it’s again difficult because these sites are all just a collection of words and links anyway.

So, while I do agree that Lim Si Pin made a bunch of inaccurate comments, I do not really know if Jeff’s final claim is true or not.

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Shawn Tan

Chip Doctor, Chartered/Professional Engineer, Entrepreneur, Law Graduate.

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