Archive for the ‘Ideas’ Category

The Art Of Awareness, Or 12 Practical Ways To Not Completely Hate Yourself

August 17, 2014 Leave a comment

Beautiful tips on working on the Self…

Thought Catalog

All hatred is self-hatred. 

And everything is feedback.

I really hope you remember those two tiny sentences every time your chest is pretzeled up and you feel hopeless and helpless and as though you’re spiraling into a bottomless bucket of shit.

Everything is a reflection of you because all anything can ever be is what you take from it and all you can ever take from it, and all you will ever take from it, is what you are aware enough to perceive. The expanse of your experience is directly in line with your consciousness. Nothing is as it is, it is as you are. (That’s a play on an Anais Nin quote.)

Unless you are there to touch and smell and see a flower, it is nothing but random matter vibrating in a void. Your recognition gives it its beauty, and its presence. You are not in the world, the world…

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Categories: Ideas

Woody Norris: Birth of an Inventor

November 21, 2013 Leave a comment

Opening Lines

Woody Norris has a saying he likes to repeat to anyone who will listen. “Nothing has been invented yet,” he says, “we’re only just getting started.” Sure, more than 8 million patents have been issued by the U.S. Patent Office alone so far, but according to Norris, those were the easy inventions.

“The good, easy, teeny-weeny stuff is gone. Hula hoops, the flashlight, the wheelbarrow and the wheel, the ladder, they’re gone. The light bulb, a coil of wire in a vacuum, how lucky was that? Stuff is more complicated today,” Norris says before reverting back to his mantra. “I’ll say it again: almost nothing is invented yet.”

This kind of talk might sound ludicrous coming from anyone else, but Woody Norris has proven the point by doing what few can: inventing products that will change the world, over and over again.

Back in the 1960s, Norris designed one of his…

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Categories: Ideas

Jupiter and Venus in Planetary Conjunction

March 14, 2012 7 comments

Jupiter is back in the news. This time not for it’s proximity to earth, but for appearing very close to Venus in the night sky. I have been observing the two planets getting closer and closer together in the last couple of weeks, but hadn’t realized there was anything particularly special about it until I came across this article by National Geographic.

The coming together of these two planets is known as Planetary Conjunction and happens every thirteen months for the case of Jupiter and Venus. The occurrence itself isn’t that rare, but this year it appears spectacular due to the fact that the planets are visible for several hours after sunset. They can be observed in the western sky just after sunset and stay visible for about four hours after that. The climax of the conjunction is going to be on the 15th of March when they shall be just 3 degrees apart.



Jupiter and Venus are the brightest celestial bodies after the moon, which makes them quite easy to pick out in the night sky. However, there are two more planets that have been showing up closely behind and are easily visible to the naked eye. Mars has been appearing in the eastern sky about two hours after sunset followed shortly by Saturn.

Mars is easily distinguishable from other stars around it due to its yellow/orange color. Saturn is a lot harder to pick out if you don’t know where to look. It appears just below and to the left of Spica in the constellation Virgo.

Categories: Ideas

How to Add an Image Field to Buddypress Extended Profile Fields

March 10, 2012 142 comments

BuddyPress is a plugin that brings social networking capabilities to WordPress. It comes with features such as Friend connections, Activity streams (status posting), Private messaging, Groups and Forums. There is lot’s more you can do with it via BuddyPress Plugins. These are simply WordPress plugins that are compatible with BuddyPress. You can work with BuddyPress as just one component of your WordPress website’s functionality, or you can have it as your central component and completely hide the rest of WordPress. Just like WordPress, BuddyPress is completely open source and almost as flexible.

How BuddyPress Works

1.   Hooks

Being part of the WordPress ecosystem, BuddyPress employs hooks liberally in its implementation. These help theme and plugin developers greatly when it comes to interfacing with BuddyPress in a future-proof manner. When used correctly, the hooks allow developers to write code that doesn’t break on newer versions of BuddyPress.

Among the most important hooks in BuddyPress are:

–  bp_screens:  It processes functions that respond to user input with visual feedback. Basically this is the hook to use when you want to output a page in response to user input. A good example is displaying a list of friends in response to the clicking of the friends menu.

–  bp_actions:  This hook is similar to bp_screens, but does not give visual feedback. A good example of such is when accepting a friend request. This hook is called before bp_screens and we shall use this rule in implementing the image field.

2.   Components

Functionality in BuddyPress is delivered via components. Roughly, a component maps to a feature. For example the Groups feature is handled by the Group component. Components contain the various bp_screens and bp_actions hooks required to respond to user input. A fresh installation of BuddyPress has the following components:

–  Extended Profiles:  maintains user profile details such as name

–  Friend Connections:  allows users to make and accept friend requests

–  Private Messaging:  handles messaging between specific users. Only the users addressed in the messages can view them.

–  Activity Streams:  handles the posting of public statuses and generally tracking the actions of users.

–  Groups:  handles the creation and maintenance of user groups. Users can create groups, invite other users etc.

–  Forums:  this component allows topical discussions to be carried out among users either site-wide or within groups.

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The Last Human Death

August 7, 2011 15 comments

So this guy Ray Kurzweil  believes that we can achieve immortality through backup. Yep, that’s right. Walk into a phone booth, pick up the receiver, dial your private number and a backup of your mind is uploaded to Telkom (or any one of competing providers). There are all sorts of packages on offer – post-paid unlimited backup, pre-paid backup-as-much-as-you-can-afford-right-now, there’s a free annual backup which however has a hefty fee when you wish to restore, and so on.

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The Secret to Immortality

November 11, 2010 10 comments

Take a trip down memory lane. Think about the people you remember most vividly. Especially those you haven’t met in a long time – and probably never will for the rest of your days on earth. Chances are, most if not all of them taught you something. Something you value to this day.

When I think back, I recall Mr. Kimaru who taught me swimming, Mrs. Kago who taught me music, Mr. Ogalo (r.i.p) who was my choir master and Dr. Sevilla who taught me C++. There is one thing in common among all these. None of what they taught me was in the school curriculum yet I value it all to this day.

Now the people who teach you stuff are not found only in learning institutions, you meet them all over, but there does need to be extended contact for you to learn most things. Well back to the question of immortality. These people have achieved immortality by having their very vivid impressions etched forever in my memory. I remember them like I just met them yesterday. I can hear their voices with varied accents, see their gestures and most importantly recall every bit of what they instructed.

The secret to immortality is teaching. Teach someone something you don’t have to teach and they don’t have to learn. If you don’t have to teach it and they don’t have to learn it, then the only reason you are in contact is a shared passion for the subject at hand. You’ll always remember someone who taught you something you were both passionate about.

Categories: Ideas, teaching

The Turbocharged Calculator

August 28, 2010 Leave a comment

I once came across a document by Harold Thimbleby describing why conventional calculators suck and what should be done about them to make them more natural to use. I was completely sold on his perspective so I went about creating my own calculator that followed those guidelines. Two of the most important features were displaying the answer as you type and keeping the expression on screen so you could see how the answer was arrived at.

Convert km per litre to miles per gallon

Convert km per litre to miles per gallon

I implemented those bits, but soon got too distracted with work to go much further. However I still use that calculator exclusively – no more calc for me 🙂 . That is until now. I recently came across the instacalc . A calculator that takes Thimleby’s ideas and pushes them to another level. It not only shows the answer as you type, but you can create variables and reference them in subsequent calculations (sort of like a spreadsheet but way cooler). You can save your calculations, share them with other people and even embed a calculation on your blog!

The calculator also has conversions of all sorts (temperature, length, mass) and supports the use of English words such as ‘million’ so your formulas look even prettier. Sadly, this means I have to retire my beloved calculator project, Desk Calc 😦 .

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