An ode to the lost years

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Allow me to take a break from the tech stuff to talk about what a roller-coaster ride these last 2 years has been. February 2020 was great. I started working on the My ChildLine app, I was working on some other stuff and had a few plans for the rest of the year.

By March of 2020, things started to take a dump. Word started making the rounds about this new virus sweeping the globe and not too long after, we were all living in our own television series starring Covid-19. I (maybe I was being too optimistic) felt like meh.. by July, we’d all be laughing about this whole thing but with a twist, borders everywhere were closed, lockdowns began and the rush to find a vaccine was made a priority after the countless number of deaths gave us all a reason to be a little fearful.

We all started living life day by day as the situation seemed to evolve daily. We coined terms like “Social Distancing”, “Digital Poverty”, started seeing each other through Zoom and Teams and working from home because it was better for everyone if we were all apart from each other.

Then came the great divide. Some of us started believing that it was all a conspiracy and that the pandemic was no coincidence. People like Bill Gates were responsible and the pandemic was a way for governments to cull their population. I even started hearing some of these wild theories from friends and family which baffled me as I thought they would be immune to some of those “out there” stories. What can I say? In a world of fake news and memes, shouldn’t we all have seen this coming?

While we were in isolation, we started to realize just how connected we are. We missed our family and friends and some of our workmates. One of the many tragedies of the pandemic though? We lost the last few years.

We lost out on graduations, weddings, vacationing with our partners, being there for the birth of family and being there for our families to mourn the loss of the dead. I’ve lost many family members at home and couldn’t even make it to the funeral because apart from the borders being closed, when funerals were allowed, there were also limits to the number of persons that could attend. I missed out on the opportunity to be there for the birth of my sister’s first and second babies and had to settle for videos and photos sent occasionally.

A lot of these things are one-time-only events. While we can attend more graduations or graduate at other levels in the future, we can’t experience the loss and birth of our loved ones twice. That opportunity has long gone.

We lost our jobs, our businesses, money and some of us lost our sanity. I for instance sought counselling to deal with all the feelings that I kept locked up inside as well as working on becoming a better version of myself.

It’s now year 3 in the pandemic and though we have lost so much, we have a better chance of moving on. We have vaccines that can help us fight back and though it seems like every other day a new variant comes out (looking at you Delta and Omicron) we are better off now than we were then. Why? Because we know what the enemy is and can do. We know that if we wash our hands, be cautious and wear masks and get vaccinated if we can, we can help bring this thing to an end.

I often hear people say that we’ve crossed a new checkpoint and that things will never be the way they were up to 2019 BC (Before Covid). I refuse to believe that because we are resilient creatures of habit. We’ve faced challenges before and amongst the growing cost of living, and amounting loss, we’ll find our way forward together. We’ve learnt to leave with many diseases like the common cold that we don’t have a cure for. We take our seasonal vaccines and move on with our lives. I believe pretty soon hopefully from late 2022 AC (After Covid), we will be able to start living with the enemy. We can go about our lives with some level of normalcy. We can meet friends and family, be there for our partners and ones we love and more importantly live…

Honey for Co-op bank now generally available

Back in 2017, I began working on Honey for Co-operative back. At the time, I released Honey as a sideloadable addon because I did not feel it was ready for prime-time. That changes today with the addon being made available in the chrome web store for any chrome based browser like Google Chrome and the new Microsoft Edge.

Honey is an addon that makes the Grenada Co-operative Bank’s online banking website look a little more modern. I created this for myself because I grew fed up of visiting the site which looks a bit dated in my opinion. Honey uses a combination of CSS and JavaScript to update the page’s content and images moving the site from a boxed outdated layout to a full width, green themed layout.

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To download honey, get it from the Chrome Web Store here.

Programming challenge 2020: Learning Python

It’s a new year and this year, most of my development work has been focused on Angular, dotnet core and ionic or C#, Typescript (JavaScript) and the like. I’m building a skybox management system and mobile app and looking to work on a few personal projects that have taken the back seat from last year.

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I’ve noticed the steady rise of Python as a programming language of choice for lots of various things. Learning Python was something I dabbled with before but this last week, it has become somewhat of a task I am challenging myself to do. I am challenging myself to learn Python in the first few months of the year and or the Django stack for working with it as well.

print(“Hello World”)!

Bonne Année!

Happy New Year text

Wow! What a year it’s been! It’s the end of a decade, the start of some amazing times for me and a time for reflecting. This past decade, I left my country for the first time ever travelling to Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and Canada where I explored Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa, earned my undergraduate degree, learned several new programming languages, worked on some amazing projects, built a few apps, met some amazing people and accomplished so many things.

I also experienced loss, hurt, disappointments and experienced a shift in some of my thought processes. Off all of these, losing my grandmother was the biggest and hardest for me to deal with. I’ve had to face lots of tough decisions and make some tough choices that affect my life personally but I’m making the most of them.

2019 was a crazy year! I think it was one of my most emotionally charged years for a long time . But I’m starting the new decade with a renewed focus on learning. I am going to challenge myself to learn new programming languages and tools, learn French, explore new technology and have some fun. This decade is about being the best all-rounded programmer albeit a socially awkward one (O_o)’

Here’s to the end of the year and to the start of something amazing.

What the F*N+!??

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Font’s are cool. They can make the difference between good work, great work and terrible design. In programming, recently, I’ve come to appreciate fonts that feature ligatures. What are ligatures you ask? It’s when two or more letters are joined together to form one character or glyph. In the case of programming, fonts that support programming ligatures are especially cool as in my opinion, they add a bit of personality to your code and makes reading it just that bit easier.

There are many fonts that support programming ligatures… some free and others paid. A popular free choice is Fira Code. I’ve been using Fira Code for about a year now but recently, Microsoft has released a new font Cascadia Code for free and Open Source.

For those new to programming ligatures, they turn double equals == into a single joined long equal and fat arrows => into an actual arrow. Snazzy huh? From the screenshot above you can see how it looks.


Credit: https://github.com/tonsky/FiraCode

From the above image can you spot the ligatures? <=, != and == gets replaced. Why not give it a try. Download Cascadia Code or Fira Code and set it as your default font in your favourite IDE or code editor.

Ps: If you’re in need of a code editor, then Visual Studio Code should be your go to…. Seriously… it’s awesome.

Ad bar disabler now available for Chrome and Edge chromium

Today, I published the first version of Ad bar disabler to the Chrome Web Store. This addon removes the sidebar from Outlook.com (non-premium) and as a result provides more space for reading, viewing and composing emails.

To install on Google Chrome, just download it from the Chrome Web Store. For Microsoft Edge Chromium, you need to Enable the “Allow extensions from other stores” option from the Edge  three dot menu (…)  Menu > Extensions as seen below.

EdgeExtension

Download the Extension here

Download the New Microsoft Edge Chromium here

Soaring to new hights

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The past few months, I’ve been working on a few projects that have pretty much kept me busy. I had to temporarily stop work on the trivia game and bible app while I work on these tasks. When this year started, there were several goals that I wanted to accomplish and though a few setbacks had occurred since then, from here on out, it is full steam ahead.

The next 2 weeks will be my downtime, I’ll be traveling to two beautiful cities packed with history, good food, landmarks and more. It is going to be an amazing adventure and I look forward to experiencing the food, culture and connecting with fellow developers. When I get back, it will be back to business. But thus my summer of fun begins!

KAS Trivia gets colourful

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A new update to KAS Trivia is available. It improves the UI a little bit in preparation of a larger feature update. The game now has a bit more colour with bright answer buttons and bolder fonts. Next on the agenda is adding category selection and difficulty selection as well as fine-tuning the start screen of the app.

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Currently, the update is available on both the beta and production channels. The update should be rolling out in Google Play at present.

The 2019 Dream Big Expo

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Today, I took a break from coding and attended  the bmobile Dream Big Expo held at the Center of Excellence. It was great. There was a bit of something for everyone. From Virtual Reality, Gaming, Comics, sustainably developed solutions, it was a great event for networking. I won a game of Just dance, signed up for the Rotaract Saint Augustine club, participated in a Silent Party.

The Silent party was particularly amazing. We were provided with over the ear headsets and could freely roam around the expo listening to music or opt to sit in the movie lounge where BlockBuster movies such as Bohemian Rhapsody, Game of Thrones and The Devil wears Prada were shown.

The dance off was pretty cool. The game was powered by the Kinect and though my dance moves were a little rusty, I won !

I also meet several members of the Silver Lining Foundation team that I hadn’t met and that was exciting. They’re all amazing people.

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Deep thoughts, big questions

For the Thinker, the examined life is truly the only one worth living. Ever the perpetual student, you experience the world as an endless opportunity for learning, discovery, and truth-seeking.

I recently took a test where you answer a series of questions about your personality to determine what your creative type is. At the end of this test, you are told what your creative type is and no surprise that I am a thinker.

The test breaks down your type into 3 main categories

  1. Creative strengths
  2. Untapped potential
  3. Ideal collaborator

Creative Strengths

Intellectual curiosity, ability to find and create meaning

Untapped Potential

Bridging theory and practice, applying ideas in real life

Ideal Collaborator

The Adventurer

The full description reads as follows

Driven by an insatiable intellectual curiosity, the THINKER makes the quest for knowledge and truth a lifelong pursuit. With all those big questions and abstract thinking, you’ve got some serious electrical activity going on in that brain of yours! Few things satisfy your inquisitive mind more than a well-formulated question or an elegant solution, and you’re content to spend much of your time alone, studying topics that fascinate you and engaging with your inner world of ideas.

Your greatest gifts are your sense of wonder and depth of perception. You can see the big picture and the deeper meaning of almost any situation in a way that few others can. Your biggest challenges? Getting out of your head and learning to balance theory with practice. Try not to get too caught up in concepts and abstractions, dear THINKER. Great ideas are meant to be brought to life.

Seek out the company of ADVENTURER types, who provide the perfect counterbalance to your introspective and analytical nature. The infectious energy and playful spirit of the ADVENTURER remind you to embrace the joys of creation—and to not be afraid to get your hands a little dirty in the process.

Want to find out what your creative type is? Take the test.