A Roundup of the Month of February

WheelsHello Everyone! Welcome to the last post for the month of February! It has really been a ride. At certain times we stumbled but somehow we made it to the end. Even this post is proof of that fact! I was trying to preview it but by accident I clicked on publish. Not funny! I sincerely apologise! As February comes to a close, this article is a rundown of upcoming events in the rest of the quarter.

First off, I read  this great post on Gamasutra about Adobe Flash. I think the insights provided are deep and worth a look. My choice of HTML5 for game development is something I will touch on next week.

Mozilla Gameon will be closing tomorrow. So if you have a game idea, do endeavour to submit it today! You need to first make a video of your game. This can be done using Screen-O-Matic. If you decide to go this route, do experiment with your first video. You require bandwidth to use the service but it is free.

Udacity is organising a game contest based on their course on HTML5 Game Development. It is meant to cover lessons from the course. If you are really serious about HTML5 Game Development, I suggest that you take the course and build a game for the competition. The deadline is March 31st.

Game Developers Conference will be holding from March 25th – March 29th in San Francisco. The oldest startup in the West African gaming space Leti Games will be at the event. They will be talking on Game Localization.

The month ends with gratitude to everyone reading this post. Your coming here makes it all worth it!

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HTML5 as the One Ring

Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne

In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves – and each other. The have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlighted, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives and destroyed them.

One series of books that have had an impact on my life are the Lord of the Rings. For me its kind of cool to use it to illustrate the way I feel the technology industry is going. I love the characterization of the book and even its epic ending.

Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky

These for me would be the languages of Ruby, PHP and Python. Currently they seem to power the backend of websites today. They are all open source. Meaning that they are essentially managed by volunteers. The code base for these languages are collectively maintained. They do control the skies

Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone

These for me would be the languages of Objective C, C++, Java, C#, Visual Basic, Perl, Delphi. Why do I refer to them as dwarfs? For me they as languages tried to conquer the web but had limited success. Their halls of stones are the companies that backed them up. They are still in use by some organisations.

Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die

These are the languages of Assembly, B, BCPL, C, Basic, Fortran, Ada, Cobol, Pascal. If you have not heard of any of this languages, I don’t blame you. They represent the old guard. That set of programming languages that set the stage for the modern era.

One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne

Here we come to the crux of the matter HTML5. Who is the dark lord? For me the dark lord is the individual hacker out there writing code to put on the web. What is the dark throne? The dark throne is the collective servers that make all this possible. They are out of the views of “Mere Mortals”.

It is important to state why I feel HTML5 is the one ring. With a core of HTML, CSS and JavaScript we are looking at a way of programming without the use of plugins on a wide variety of platforms. HTML5 fulfills the promise of “Write Once Run Anywhere”.

Heard of Node? This is a JavaScript on the server side. With the frontend already covered, having JavaScript on the backend means that there is no need to change your code base. You can use HTML5 to totally develop an application.

These post covers the gamut on my opinions on HTML5. So where does the future lead to? Time will tell but you are welcome to give a forecast.

Programmers as Stay at Home Dads

Home Developer Workstation

This week I will be writing from the heart. As a programmer, in recent years, I have started thinking about the future: strange but true! And part of that future somehow involves getting married and having children. And looking over my schedule in the last couple of weeks, I have come to realise that programmers would make great stay at home dads.

This week was a really busy week. The election held in America and Obama was re-elected. Windows 8 officially launched on November 8 in Ghana so that is something to look forward to and today the WBA International Lightweight Championship will be holding. Angry Birds Star Wars launched this week. You can get the gist here. Did I mention that they added a lightsaber to the birds? This link talks about that.

So where was I… O I was talking about programmers as stay at home dads. To start with, I would have to setup the home office. That is easily done! Give me electricity and bandwidth and I have an office. So with that setup, I would choose a time to wake up.

With kids around, this would have to be 5 am. So once I got up, wife and kids would awaken to also start the day. I would then take my kids to school to be in before 8 am and I would dash back home by 9 am. From 9 am to 12 noon, I would work on a pressing project, read up on a programming language or a new skill I wanted to learn.

Once its 12 noon, I would take a break and go for lunch. I while back I stopped eating breakfast so 12 noon is a good time to eat for me. In this future, I am married so I would have to cook proper food and not eat Indomie or Bread. Would be back at 2 pm and work for 2 hours. 4 pm would be time to pick the children up from school.

Once the kids are back home, I would make sure they had their baths first and then ate lunch. Let give them 2 hours. So at 6 pm I would be done with the kids. Once done, I would ensure that they did their homework and read till 8 pm while I got busy preparing dinner.

8 pm dinner would be ready so I would ensure that kids got to eat a good dinner. After dinner, I would prepare the kids for bed. Somewhere around that time, madam would be back and I would spend time discussing her day. Soon, it would be 10 pm and kids would be in bed. 10 pm to 11 pm I would spend time getting to review the most critical project at hand. It helps because the subconscious mind has a way of solving problems.

I tap myself to reality! I haven’t written a line of code! I have been fully domesticated! I don’t think a programmer can live like this! Give me an office anyday. But for a while, it was good to dream about a life other than codes. Maybe someday… maybe.

Straight Talk

Happy new month everyone! This post is my 14th on this blog and my we have indeed come a long way! I look forward to next week when I will be posting the 15th post. From then on, things get interesting as we basically count down to the end of the year.

Been really busy as the year rounds up, I feel it necessary to write straight from my heart. No fluff, no bluff! Since 2011, I have been visible in the tech space and I seem to notice that a year is divided into 4 quarters based on the following criteria:

1st Quarter :-  Wrap up of the previous year

2nd Quarter :- Start of projects

3rd Quarter :- End of 2nd quarter projects

4th Quarter :- Product Launch, competitions and fund raising events

We are now in the 4th quarter of the year. With lots of competitions going round, its hard for programmers to focus. My advice is Focus! Concentrate on a project you want to see succeed regardless of outcome. If you decide to compete, then use that product(s) to compete.

If you say which competitions, then my advice is that you bookmark this link it contains a calendar of all the happenings in the start up space in Nigeria. For other West African countries, I am yet to see any products like this. We did cover Wetin Dey Shele a write up by the programmer himself Oge Nnadi.

Of special interest to me is the Create UNAOC Challenge closing in 54 days! To be exact November 30. I think I might dust off a project on my computer and enter… What for me is interesting is that all apps/games submitted will be featured on their website. Talk about publicity!

The tech space is slowly becoming an arms race. Bootstraps are becoming startups, and startups are growing up to become companies. As this happens, venture capitalist will becoming into the scene. The death of innocence begins! In the next three years, there will be a gold rush. After that winners and losers will emerge. Lead, follow or get out of the way!

Perhaps the most exciting thing in October is the launch of Windows 8. Coming in on Friday 26th of this month, it will be a closing of ranks of the Microsoft Platform. As a standalone product, it will not have a chance in gaining ground but leveraging on the strength of the already existing eco-system, it will go on to do wonders. For the tech space, the next 3 years promise to be really exciting!

Please check out this link for startups its really loaded. If there is one link you click on this post, I will recommend it. I contains a real wealth of information. If you do find the link useful, share!

What a difference the next 3 years will make. On the tech side will be Windows 8. In politics, Nigeria should hopefully have her elections. In football, Brazil should host the world cup. With the coming years there is the need to upgrade your weaponry to deal with the coming waves. Find the funding! Find a lawyer! Develop products for defence!

Most important in all of this is a personal understanding and acceptance of individual realities. There is the need for everyone who wants to remain in the tech space to be sensible. There was a time when you could consider a fellow tech a friend. For me those days are gone. But I do have graphics designers as friends.

Will this trend continue? The answer is yes! Will the good old days ever come back, the answer is no! It is important to remember to be discreet. Everyday, when I wake up, I remind myself that I am not surrounded by my friends! But I am one of the lucky ones. Even though they are not my friends, they are good people.

We are all identified by the company we keep. I have earned the right to do business with people I trust. I believe now more in human greed than goodness. The concept of chivalry is something I was brought up with. But the world I live in is one of avarice.

The gaming space will change. It will be cool to see contenders become champions in this space. The next three years will be the proving ground. I am still standing. When this year ends, I hope I am still standing. History will be made in the next three years.

I sincerely hope this blog is here in that time. I hope we face the onslaught of the coming years and are still standing when it ends. I hope to be able to write the history of this period and chronicle it for those who come after us. History is written by winners!