Archive for the 'Life' Category

YouTube popularity of my IDE videos

Nov 29 2013 Published by under Life

The recent video I made for Python Fiddle didn’t prove to be a hit with on 60 views so far, but the one for the JavaScript IDE has been on the top or second place in referrals for Fiddle Salad. One explanation would be YouTube’s video ranking algorithm takes into account community factors such as subscribed channels and the videos in your channel.
The number of visitors to my site for Wijmo Books is also disappointing but almost to be expected. At least the site was a lot of fun to build and still looks spiff.

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Wijmo UI Book – the Right Timing

Nov 04 2013 Published by under Coincidences

Finally with help and support from my hosting service setting up a newer version of Django to run with a newer version of Python, Building UIs with Wijmo’s official site has been launched. It is just in time for the lucky winners of free copies of the book to join in the party. I spent the last Saturday writing the site and the ideas over the last month just came together.
Building UIs with Wijmo site

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Building UIs with Wijmo

Oct 11 2013 Published by under Coincidences,Life,Programming,Uncategorized

Right after I finished my classes at Waterloo, I started writing my book on Wijmo. Wijmo is an advanced widget library based on jQuery UI, which is the most popular UI toolkit in the community. The preface to my book explains what the book is about:

Wijmo is a new JavaScript library focusing on user interface widgets. It builds on jQuery UI, enhancing existing widgets, and adding new ones. In this book we examine the Wijmo widgets essential for web development. The useful configuration options for 15 widgets are covered along with their usage scenarios. Most of the chapters take a code recipe approach for tasks that occur often in web development. Whenever you come across a widget or user interface component that you’ve implemented before, chances are that Wijmo widgets have you covered. The chapters in this book are designed to get you started using the widgets in no time. On the other hand, Chapter 6, Dashboard with Wijmo Grid, takes a different approach in building an application and explaining how it works.

I would recommend buying this book if you’ve already purchased a license for Wijmo or you plan to be using Wijmo for development. On my project at work and while writing this book, I have used Wijmo in combination with Knockout to put together UIs.
Wijmo book cover
Building UIs With Wijmo was just published last month. I was originally contacted by the publisher to write the book because I had used Wijmo on one of my Github projects. The best thing is one favourite pet project leads to another. I will save that for another post, but for now there is a contest running on Fiddle Salad if you want a free copy.

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Planning For the Next Version of Fiddle Salad: How I Nearly Jumped to My Next Project

The work done on Fiddle Salad this month would not have been possible without last month’s planning. Furthermore, Fiddle Salad would not have been my idea if I did not invest time in building Python Fiddle. Python Fiddle was really the end product of 9 years of dreams of running a high performance computer and the result of my experience using Gentoo Linux. So I bought a computer to build Python Fiddle, which also turned out to be necessary to run the latest IDE and development tools to build Fiddle Salad.  When I started working with the Python interpreter in JavaScript,  it was horrendously slow. It took about 20 seconds to load and took up almost 1GB of memory. Any text editor except Vim without syntax highlighting was quick enough to edit the 12MB source code file.

Fiddle Salad is an evolution of both the original idea and code base that belonged to Python Fiddle. Now it is really Fiddle Salad that’s driving the development of Python Fiddle, because they share much of the code base. 

So this is the third major milestone, which I almost gave up on before I embarked on it. Before I started work on this milestone, actually a day or two before I planned, I suddenly noticed huge, discouraging signs. They came as shocking surprises. For example, I discovered a hidden option in an application I have used often before that had some of the functionality I was going to build. If that wasn’t enough, it was actually quite popular and many people probably knew that feature. As another example, I discovered another application that was more innovative in certain aspects than the application I planned to build. I got still more examples, but they aren’t worth repeating here.

As a habit, I reached for my next plan and the best tools I have available. I then realized that I would be throwing away about 8 months of work and the plans for this month, which worked out so well. Although I had no reason and no incentive at all to work on Fiddle Salad, I did so only because I enjoyed every moment of it. I believe that’s what we are all here for, the very drumbeat of the universe.

In the end, those serious signs got swallowed up by my project, as I managed to either include their ideas or integrate them right into it. Fiddle Salad is really the culmination and peak of all live web development environments, having the best features in all of them and in my imagination.

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Recycle Bin Alias on Windows

Feb 11 2012 Published by under Coincidences,Religion and Mythology

While working with the command line and SQL, I accidentally discovered a shortcut for the recycle bin on Windows. That is, the $  Recycle Bin(ary).

Yes, that means everything resides in the recycle bin. Literally, /* means everything under the root. All things under the root are being continually recycled. Coincidentally, I am recycling lots old code. Throwing stuff away and putting the new parts in.

The other observation is that */ is here. Everything leads here.

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Do you remember grade 7?

May 27 2011 Published by under Life,Singularitarian

I still remember grade 7, better than grade 1 or grade 12. Grade 1 is somewhere out on the ocean, on a foggy island. Grade 12 seems to be covered by a layer of snow. All I see is white, among the trees and bushes. I can’t name ten significant events there, compared to fifty from grade 7. Let’s not forget, I loved school (in grade 7)! Now grade 12 is a different issue. After learning much math and a lot of science & societal issues, grade 12 just fit into the fabric of our modern society. It’s just one step in the production. But I still love the idea of grade 7, like a grassy knoll frozen in crystal clear ice. What is so memorable and what do I remember about it?

  1. Missing school for about a month in Canada. Cool!
  2. Getting brand new chairs during Christmas (school chairs were replaced)
  3. The math teacher taught the wrong lesson at the start of September which showed up as the last lesson
  4. Humans have evolved from monkeys (specifically referencing Geography teacher, who had more body hair)
  5. Geography teacher plays catch against the wall
  6. Someone wore a loose shirt while picking up a book
  7. Spelling Islam as “I slam” during spelling test
  8. Not to boast about knowledge that other people can’t understand after discussing biorythms in English class
  9. Math teacher mentions the Kenedies
  10. Math teacher talks about spanking in schools
  11. Kelley showed me a drawing which he thought was funny
  12. Having a starred conversation sitting in front of two people on the bus
  13. The road beside the bus station getting a ditch
  14. Walking home across town after missing the bus
  15. Getting whiplashed by long hair standing behind the lines of someone turning
  16. Oh yuck! Found a piece of black paper in the corn in the cafe
  17. Making an airplane that flew straight and never sank (paper airplane)
  18. Summer nights playing games on the grass
  19. The hat as it flew off while I was running
  20. Watching comedy with a man named Josh, who had the same name as my other friend Josh, who had the same name as my old best friend Josh
  21. Maybe Joshua means “one Jesus”, as I thought, reading the Bible
  22. Reading an encyclopedic book of short stories for children
  23. At the end of the year, various animals as a collection of books each day
  24. Exhaustion, after not sleeping well and taking a test during the summer
  25. Clarity, reading a poetry book of experiences on the sea
  26. Spending some days in spring break walking mazes in NeoPets
  27. Fall break, reading a book on vocabulary
  28. The worst flu of my life!
  29. A commercial tower appeared in SimCity in the first year
  30. Winning an Easter bunny machine from a community event
  31. Dissecting cow hearts with the surgeon of the class
  32. Don’t tell the truth, Ben will be disappointed by the literal translation of his name to Chinese
  33. Eating seaweed, the joke being other people mistaking it for grass
  34. Teacher says I should give animal crackers
  35. Three interpretations of “Favorite Bird” (Iraq): duck (bombardment), turkey (nearby country), chicken (playing chicken)
  36. Guy named Thomas dreams about harvesting resources on other planets
  37. Visiting the Secret Cove with Kelley
  38. Kelley’s fish tank
  39. Playing an alien shooter game on the cellphone on the way to Niagara Falls
  40. Stephen Hawking’s book on the tape on a cross continent journey
  41. Tree in front of the house being split by lightning
  42. Indian gives a penny for Halloween trick o’ treat
  43. The math teacher, who was also a coach, talks to Richie about his recent performance in class
  44. I still remembering trying to answer Frank’s question in English class
  45. The meetings with the advisor to decide whether or not, “to be, or not to be”, and I decided to switch
  46. Getting skin on my feet scratched off after walking a distance in the shoes
  47. Feeling despair and hopelessness one night, Fall
  48. The voice, a military commander through the morning routine
  49. Shower music, to avoid the monsters
  50. Drinking tea before the afternoon jog
  51. Playing the piano after dinner at Mrs. Ting’s house, the start of lessons
  52. Oversleeping by the breezy window, arrived at class late
  53. See You at the Pole (911 event), which I never understood

Maybe there is an infinite pool of memory in which I can remember every minute detail. Just how much digital memory is it? A dot, a speck, in the world of Mona Lisa Overdrive.

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Hamlet Tricks

Mar 11 2011 Published by under Life,Religion and Mythology,Singularitarian

Like Odysseus, Shakespeare’s Hamlet played the role of the trickster to fulfill his mission. “How now! a rat? Dead, for a ducat, dead!”, Hamlet yells, when he suspects a spy, putting his sword through the wall. How about the play within the play where the king is poisoned? Then there is the incidence where he writes off two of his best friends and joins a pirate ship.

As in the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,  Hamlet has overwritten parts of his memory several times. Each time, things happen differently, and he forgets in order to remember the parts relevant at present. What is left, what I believe about the past, is it the present or the past?

What actually happens in Hamlet is a scene being played over and over again in the mind. Hamlet is attempting the perfect revenge.  Each time, more characters are erased from memory, until an underlying factor turns.

Here, thou incestuous, murderous, damned Dane,
Drink off this potion. Is thy union here?

Hamlet finally comes to peace of mind.  Seen in this light, every single event in the play had a totality, beyond good and evil.

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Ron Tite at UW

Mar 04 2011 Published by under Life

Ron Tite’s talk last Tuesday was both educational and entertaining. Some key points he made were about how organizations work, the power each individual has in a digital society, and whole brain thinking.

Organizations are People Driven

Decisions within organizations are made on an individual level. Each day, hundreds of decisions are made. The successful organizations adapt and evolve. He gave examples using the most popular brands, of these brands:

  • IBM no longer sells computers
  • Microsoft is now focused on cloud computing and cloud services
  • McDonald now sells salads

Google is relatively new on the list. The people driven organizations are able to evolve, rather than sticking to the status quo and maintaining the bottom line.

Digital Requires Perfection

Because machines do exactly what they are programmed to do, humans must become more machine like in a digital world. No transaction (searching on Google, commenting on Facebook, sending an email) happens without being recorded forever. He told a story from personal experience. He lost his luggage when he got off the plane with Air Canada, so he posted on facebook and Twitter about it. After several phone calls to ask for the luggage and more posts, he gets 415 people on facebook saying, “Give Ron Tite His Bag Back“.  The story ended with the CEO of Air Canada sending a replacement (gift) bag for what he might have carried, a few minutes after getting his own bag back.

Brands Last, Technology Changes

According to him, the funniest line in stand-up comedy is in There’s Something About Mary.

Hitchhiker: You heard of this thing, the 8-Minute Abs?
Ted: Yeah, sure, 8-Minute Abs. Yeah, the excercise video.
Hitchhiker: Yeah, this is going to blow that right out of the water. Listen to this: 7… Minute… Abs.
Ted: Right. Yes. OK, all right. I see where you’re going.
Hitchhiker: Think about it. You walk into a video store, you see 8-Minute Abs sittin’ there, there’s 7-Minute Abs right beside it. Which one are you gonna pick, man?
Ted: I would go for the 7.
Hitchhiker: Bingo, man, bingo. 7-Minute Abs. And we guarantee just as good a workout as the 8-minute folk.
Ted: You guarantee it? That’s – how do you do that?
Hitchhiker: If you’re not happy with the first 7 minutes, we’re gonna send you the extra minute free. You see? That’s it. That’s our motto. That’s where we’re comin’ from. That’s from “A” to “B”.
Ted: That’s right. That’s – that’s good. That’s good. Unless, of course, somebody comes up with 6-Minute Abs. Then you’re in trouble, huh?
[Hitchhiker convulses]
Hitchhiker: No! No, no, not 6! I said 7. Nobody’s comin’ up with 6. Who works out in 6 minutes? You won’t even get your heart goin, not even a mouse on a wheel.
Ted: That – good point.
Hitchhiker: 7’s the key number here. Think about it. 7-Elevens. 7 dwarves. 7, man, that’s the number. 7 chipmunks twirlin’ on a branch, eatin’ lots of sunflowers on my uncle’s ranch. You know that old children’s tale from the sea. It’s like you’re dreamin’ about Gorgonzola cheese when it’s clearly Brie time, baby. Step into my office.
Ted: Why?
Hitchhiker: ‘Cause you’re fuckin’ fired!

So the Brick advertises blowout prices just after Boxing Day. Poor advertising consistent with worthless furniture. Successful advertising is in alignment with core values. He mentions being genuine among other ones, which seems to be a message from the same movie.

When New Coke came out, people took it for an poser.  Old Coke with the new formula is actually what is now on the market. He mentions paying tax for firefighting and some hesitation about actually getting rescued by a firefighter due to connotations with being womanly. In the end, what’s real and what’s not is vague. It just depends on what works. Organizations adapt to it.

He definitely had some points to make, as he did bring his notes. Overall, the talk was crazy. I mean it felt like taking a tour of a 3-year old’s playroom, but that craziness amounts to a lot of laughs.

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Poetry in its Many Forms

Feb 28 2011 Published by under Life

Zen Master – Koans

Singer/Songwriter –  Lyrics

Programmer – Haiku style code

Squirrels – Symphony of the crows

Birds – Personal twitter feeds

Spring – The sound of the stream

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Canada Again

Feb 20 2011 Published by under Art,Coincidences,Life

During reading week, I was reading the Blue Ocean book, where Cirque du Soleil featured on the first page. Another day, reading the 2010 edition of Discover Canada, I came across some circus band with a group of uniform band members floating up into the air. Another guy featured in the center, dressed in a French flag, pointed his finger at the audience. That must be Canada, I thought. The caption: Cirque du Soleil. At that moment, all the facts matched up. Later, I found out it was the same group mentioned in the other group. It never occurred to me they would be Canadian. I always imagined traveling circuses as an American phenomenon.

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