Monday, December 27, 2010

Is Google Making Me Lazy?


Is Google turning me into a Lazy programmer? Something tells me no, that it is just a tool that aid my productivity. There is no way having at your finger tips, the access to almost the entire index of the web, make you lazy; it is a good reference I can fall back on when my memory fails me. Right?

Right. It should not be a problem only that I just feel as if my memory now fails me more often than before. Not that I am getting amnesic, I sure do remember stuffs, the general concept of things, the procedures, but when it comes to stacking in my memory the exact syntax or steps of an algorithm or a procedure...well I sort of outsourced that functionality off to Google.

I don’t even make the effort of remembering the idiosyncrasies of frameworks or tools I use, since I know with a Google Search, the docs come up.

Is this in itself a bad thing? In fact has my productivity not increased with the help of Google? And wasn’t Albert Einstein credited to have said he does not know the numerical value of the speed of light; that why should he stack up such information in his head, when he can quickly retrieve it from an encyclopaedia.

So is the question warranted? Is Google making me Lazy? I would have to say no. My heavy reliance on Google's Index of the web, I would say aids my productivity. There are tons of things I have been able to achieve and achieve in a shorter amount of time because I was able to make a Google search.

So I guess my fears are just unwarranted.Right? But something tells me “what if I get thrown into a civilization where I have no access to the internet”? Well again, I think that thought, that very thought itself is unwarranted. :)

So why then did i write this post? I guess am not convinced :(

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Looking for The Next Cool Thing After Twitter


I have stopped tweeting. Ok not totally stopped, but the frequency in which I tweet now has drastically reduced. And it is not as if I would be deleting my twitter account soon to never tweet again, it is just that...well...Twitter to me doesn’t feel cool anymore...like it used to be in those early days.

This is my present sentiment or Phase, regarding twitter.

And to appreciate my sentiment you might need to understand where I am coming from and how I got started with twitter and the prior phases I have gone through.

I got on twitter 2007. Sure, i was an early adopter. Back then the user base of twitter was still in the thousands. It was around 400,000 to 500,000. Compared to the whopping 145 Million plus user base the service now enjoys. It was Tim Akinbo that brought twitter to my attention and the reason why I got on board was simple: It was just the latest geeky thing to play around with. It was fun and elitist in a sort of way.

So here i am now, some couple of years down the line, and twitter is feeling noisy. But before getting to this present state, I have actually gone through other phases in time past, using twitter. Let me outline:

The WOW Phase. The Really Really WOW Phase:
In the early days of twitter, If you are following someone and they tweet, you get their tweet sent, free of charge, to your phone as SMS. Yeah right. That was back then. A lot of folks do not know this, but that made twitter really really cool for me. I remembered vividly, taking a bike from INTECU to Fajuyi Hall and my phone was abuzz with SMS all from tweets I was getting from following CNN, BBC etc on twitter. I felt connected to the world. But then twitter started growing; growing to that level where sending free SMS was not sustainable. So they pull the plugged on it and all of a sudden it became...well a little less useful. Because having to browse to twitter.com every time to read my tweets felt unnatural. So I eased off twitter.

The Third Party Application Phase
Then I discovered the Firefox pluggin: Twitterfox, which has since been renamed to Echofon. It marked a twitter revival for me.  Like I said in my previous post, the very nature of twitter makes accessing it via the website a little awkward and unnatural. Consuming twitter requires a non intrusive user notification paradigm. and that was exactly what the Firefox Plugin provided.

With this firefox plugin, my usage of twitter soared. But then again, this particular phase had it own limitations: which was the fact that I had to be seated by my PC, connected to the internet before I can use Twitter.

Mobile Internet Phase
Then I got on mobile internet and my usage of twitter just sky rocketed; It just went off the roof. Having twitter right there in my palms made it possible for me to consume and create tweets just anywhere and at anytime. I was abreast of all happening in the tech community. I had access to useful tips and pointers to resources thanks to the community of twitter following I had. It was cool, really cool. But it did not last forever. I was pushed unto the next phase:

The Crowded and Noisy Phase
Then all of a sudden twitter became noisy and crowded. I think this was due to the fact that a lot of regular Joe started getting bored with facebook and unfortunately twitter was getting a lot of mention in mainstream media, so the natural thing started happening: folks started flocking to twitter.

The other thing that happened, i think, that led to twitter growing to become crowded was that “Who to  Follow” feature twitter incorporated. It was just like the “Suggested friends” feature in facebook. All of a sudden a lot of folks I know started following me...and I started following back...and before I knew it, my timeline...well... became unrecognizable!

I hardly get to catch @takinbo or @dfasoro’s tweets. Or @budzeg tips on security. I follow @jeresig and @gvanrossum but I can’t remember the last time I caught their tweets.

Why? Because all of these useful tweets are now getting swamped and buried in the slew of RT’s RETWEETS and mentions of folks who have taken the liberty to use my timeline as the medium for their conversation; conversations I have no iota of interest in.

O! how I missed the useful tips and pointers to useful resources on mobile dev and UI design @barbietunnie shares. How I missed Guy kawasaki funny and sometimes out rightly useless tweets via @alltop not to talk about @jason. @mashable used to be one of my favorite pointers to interesting articles and resources, but not anymore.

So right now am in that phase where I spend little time on twitter because it just feels too noisy. I have been thinking of things I could do:

  1. Create another account which would solely be used to consume tweets I consider useful. But then again, I don’t really like the idea of managing multiple accounts so I really don’t see myself going down that lane.
  2. Start unfollowing people.
  3. Create a list of followers whose tweets am interested in.
  4. Or just go find/create the next cool and geeky thing to play with.
One of my girlfriends commented on the fact that I am no longer active on tweeter: my response? I told her it stopped being fun. That it feels as if every tom dick and harry is now on twitter, and that it has stopped being cool and geeky, like it used to be.

Or well, maybe it’s because I’ve just got geek coy? Whatever!  Twitter just feels *arrrghh* right now, and i am just on the look out for that next cool thing to play with, together with my techhead pals.

My Presentation at WordCamp Nigeria 2010

I am pro wordpress but not the kind to consider the usage of any other content management system as sacrilegious. If I have to handle a project in say Joomla, Plone or Drupal I would gladly dig into it. In fact I have had some couple of dint with Drupal and I think it is very powerful, but all the same wordpress still remain my personal favourite.

And the reason is not farfetched. I personal find wordpress fun to work with, it is intuitive, it is simple yet powerful and it is easy to tweak, bend over, and extend.

And these were the exact things I talked about during my presentation at the first ever wordcamp that held in Lagos a couple of months back. Apart from introducing wordpress and the concept of wordpress being more than a blogging system, my talk also did a great deal in communicating the fact that wordpress is quite powerful, yet simple and a joy to work with.

Here is my presentation



And if you are considering digging into wordpress, there is no other resource I can recommend than the official wordpress codex. It is an exhaustive resource, and a very handy reference. And it is just as simple to use: but then again am not surprised: it is wordpress!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Setting Up Code Completion on Komodo Edit for Google App Engine

I have been using Komodo Edit as my main code editor for over 2 years now. And it works for me! :) It gives me just want I need in a code editor. Basic Debugging, Project management, intellisense etc.

In fact the code-completion was one of the sterling features that made me pick Komodo Edit and drop my previous editor. That and the facts that it is free and Open Source.

As regards Code Completion, it supports a varied number of languages. From C#, Matlab, C++ to haskel, ada, lisp, tcl and Django, Ruby...Just name it! Even our dear fortran is supported.And adding support for languages that don’t come by default is a breeze.

So recently, when I started working with Google App Engine, one of the first things I did was to configure Code Completion for GAE on Komodo Edit. And it was very easy getting Komodo Edit to provide just the code completion I need to get comfortable with the WEBAPP framework.

Find below the simple procedures to follow to set up Komodo Edit to work with GAE.

Click Edit > Preference
From the dialog box that pops up on the left collapse the Language link and Click on Python:


Under the Additional Python Import Directories you can add additional path you would want Komodo Edit to pass to the Python Interpreter.


To Integrate Google App Engine, browse to the directory where the GAE SDK is installed and add the PATH.


And that is all! You are done! It is as simple as that. Code Completion should now work.


So there you have it. And if you are interested in trying out Komodo Edit, you can read more and download it from the official site