Monday, July 30, 2007

Python in Africa?

[Nairobi, Kenya]
LET'S face it! I just love computer languages. Why? Because if you know what the heck you're doing, you can rule the world. LOL. :-) Come to think of it, I miss the good ole days coding in Pascal, using VAX Macro Assembler in my CS208a Computer Science class with Mrs. Downing, and even taking Prolog for a spin.

Oh, I found Java too verbose and Sun's bloody licensing scheme was annoying. Now, Microsoft's .NET is taking over where it left off. C/C++ was kool, but very macho and, damn, did you have to do lots of debugging to get anything running properly. Screw that. Besides, I'd rather use Borland's Delphi, which is the souped up re-incarnation of Turbo Pascal. Heck, the executable code runs just as fast or faster than C/C++...and it's smaller too. No sh!t dudes. Betcha didn't know that.

Enter Python
Now, if you've been living in a cave somewhere in Afghanistan, then you probably will not have a clue about the Python programming language, which is truly a secret weapon in many IT shops around the planet. Trust me on that one. I wrote about it here, so I won't bother reinventing the wheel.

Anyhow, I think it'd be a great language for peeps here in Africa to learn instead of that crappy outdated VB6 language they're still teaching in most of these IT (ahem!) schools. Buyer beware. Oh, Python's creator, Guido van Rossum, now works for Google, which is now the most admired company on the planet. What does that say about them and their committment to being #1? Everything. And the official Python mascot is such a cutie. Don't you agree? :-)

Python jobs on the rise...
According to this blurb on the Oreilly Radar , Python jobs are on the rise. Take a peek at this:
O'Reilly editor Sarah Milstein writes: "My brother, a Python geek who attended PyCon last week, reports that it was hiring fest: 'at PyCon: *everyone* was hiring. I was asked if I would be interested in moving to 2-3 cities for a job, just in casual conversation. Half the lightning talks ended (or started) with "We're hiring". Which was pretty deeply reassuring.'" This information is consistent with our analysis of the online book and job markets. Ruby has more momentum among startups, but Python is also a hot startup language, and is becoming one of the officially sanctioned licenses at many larger companies. For example, it is one of the three "official" languages at Google (C++, Java, and Python)
Wow! Isn't that totally AMAZING? The beauty about Python programming is that the language is simpy a joy to use. It's easy to read...not cryptic at all, and powerfull as hell. You can create desktop apps, web apps, networking apps, use it as your middleware stack, write commercial video games, use it on your mobile device. It simply is the chameleon of programming languages, and that's why I think more people here in Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, Kigali, Lagos, Cape Town, Kampala et al should be USING it. Say goodbye to VB6 and Java for heavens sakes.

Thanks Eiwot...
I'm a member of the Ottawa Python Author's Group so I get a lot of emails on what's going down in the world of Python. Here's some info from Eiwot - a member:
Hi all,
I created new blog about Python programming and Python Articles at Let's check it out :)

Damn, everybody's using Blogger/BlogSpot eh? I guess Google can't keep a good thing under wraps (secret) for too long. :-) Anyhow, I urge you to peek his blog. I'm quite impressed with his posts so far.

Happy computing.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Naivasha rocks

[Nairobi, Kenya] looks like I took a hiatus from blogging here and on my MaxTheITpro blog. I got so swamped with stuff. Peeps wanting business plans written. Other peeps needed their PCs fixed, blah, blah, blah. My neighbour, literally, got screwed by her computer repairman who wanted to charge her KSh 12,000 to repair her son's game PC, and he did jack all. In fact, he stole the internal FAX/modem and most likely swapped video cards on them. Bad
customer service for sure. Anyhow, when he showed up at the house, my neighbour introduced me as an IT professional, and then he started to get really nervous. Suffice to say, we didn't pay the crook and now all is well. My advice? BUYER BEWARE!!!

Beautiful Naivasha
Well, I took 2 trips up to the Lake Naivasha region (part of the Great Rift Valley)
and stayed at my neighbour's cottage in swanky Green Park. Damn, I saw tons of buffalos, giraffes, a few hippos here and there, gazelles, and a pile of other AMAZING wildlife. The view of Mount Longonot in this area is absolutely spectacular. Now, check this out. We were driving back from our friend's place near HomeGrown Flowers at around 11 PM and lo and behold, we saw 2 giraffes walking together on the road back to Green Park. Cool!! Then we saw lots of zebras with their beautiful stripes. And this is like an hour outside of Nairobi. This is what's so amazing about Africa.

Harmut, the Flower King...
I wanna thank Hartmut from Bilashaka Farms for showing me, Alexi and Justin around their massive flower operation. You see, I'm looking to get into Jatropha farming to produce BioDiesel. Plus I'd really like to get hemp going in East Africa too. Big coin. But I was AMAZED at the sheer size of Bilashaka's operation. They were utilising every nook and cranny of technology to produce some unique flowers that are sold in Europe. Anyhow, I kept picking Hartmut's brains on everything and anything to do with farming such as cultivating, soil, irrigation, etc. Let's just say that this dude knows his stuff. Oh, I bet most of you peeps didn't know that Kenya is like numero uno (#1) in the world for producing those lovely flowers that you peeps in the West just can't get enough of. :-) Go Kenya go!

By the way, Hartmut's cook made the BEST mouth watering steak I've ever had. Everyone at the dinner table shared the same opinion. I can still taste remnants of that juicy, succulent flavour on my tongue. Of course, I'm usually fixing (or improving) someone's computer whenever I visit peep's homes, so I was more than happy to make some improvements on Harmutt's and Emma's (his girlfriend) PCs. Now, Harmutt is also a pilot and a flying instructor. In fact, he was supposed to come back to Green Park to take me for a flight over Mount Longonot, but he had brake problems and I'm like "Dude, don't worry about the plane ride...we can do it another time when things are SAFE." I ain't in no hurry to visit Hell. :-)

Kool gadget to die for...
Now, on my return visit to the Naivasha region, I met Andy who's a manager at Homegrown Flowers. Now, I hear these guys are huge...much bigger than Bilashaka. Anyhow, Andy had this wicked Nokia N95 (I think) that had EVERYTHING but the god damn kitchen sink built in. For KSh 58,000, it is the god of all mobile devices. What does it have? I thought you'd never ask. It had WiFi, EDGE/GPRS, HSDPA (a super high speed 3G mobile Internet access technology), MP3 player, can read/write MS-Office files, GPS receiver with maps, 5 mega pixel camera, blah, blah, blah. Damn Andy!! :-)

Oh, thanks to Andy's very kool wife, Fleur, for that warm Naivasha hospitality. We LOVED that amazing breakfast before heading back to Nairobi "that" Tuesday morning. :-)

I promise to put up some kool pics soon relating to my very memorable Naivasha visit.