ThimphuTech was the first technology blog in Bhutan. We started writing it in 2009, just as broadband and mobile internet started to take off. (Although internet in Bhutan was launched in 1999, it was either super-slow or super-expensive, and was only used by a selected few).

In the blog, we wrote about technology and food, but also about plenty of other stuff. The blog became popular and influential in Bhutan. A companion bi-weekly column -- Ask Boaz -- was published for many years in the Kuensel, Bhutan's national newspaper. (The complete Kuensel columns are available as an ebook, Blogging with Dragons).

We stopped updating the blog when we left Bhutan in 2014, but the information within the posts can still prove useful, and thus we decided to keep it online.

We thank all our readers.
Tashi Delek,
Boaz & Galit.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Searching for Information (K2 #18)

Question of the Week
I was searching for the 2010 cordyceps auction results on the MoAF website but to no avail. I know it's there. Why can't I find it?
-- P. Y., Bhumthang

Dear P.Y.,
Finding information is sometimes harder than finding cordyceps... I went in search of your lost page and eventually found it ( How did I find it? I first tried navigating the website (, but that was too complicated. I then searched for cordyceps auction 2010 using the site's own search function, but I got back a "No posts found" message. The websites of the various government agencies host plenty of useful and interesting content, but the information often resides in PDF, Excel and Word files. Unfortunately, the website's own search function does not search these files. My solution is to resort to a good old friend: Google. When you search using Google (, it searches for your keywords also within files. If you’d like to restrict your search to a particular website, say, MoAF, you can use the special keyword "site". You do this by adding to your search query. I entered cordyceps auction 2010 in the Google search bar and found the PDF file that contained the auction results. You can of course replace with any other website. You can also try replacing with to search in all of Bhutan's government websites, or even site:bt to search all websites ending in .bt.

Tip of the Week
Have you ever received emails from friends who lost their wallet while travelling in Bangkok or London (or some other exotic destination), and are pleading to send them money by wire transfer? Before you run to the bank, give your friend a call, and you'll most likely discover that s/he's still here in Bhutan. Here's what happened: A hacker broke into your friend's account and sent the fraud email to the entire contact list, hoping to get rich by all these wire transfers.
To prevent someone from hacking into your own account, the single most important defence is selecting a password which will be hard for the hacker to guess. There are a few ways to choose passwords that are both strong and easy to remember. Here is one:
  • Choose a name or phrase that is least 8 characters long. You can choose a village name, your favourite football team, or any other phrase that will be easy for you to remember.
  • Now take the phrase and substitute some of the letters with symbols. It makes sense to substitute "i" with "!", "s" with "quot;, the letter "o" with the digit "0" etc. 
That's it! Here an example: If I start with the phrase, after substitution it will become th!mphutech.c0m, which will be my password. This password is virtually impossible to break (unless I foolishly publish it in a national newspaper...)