Saturday, December 31, 2011

Prettify your Google Android Emulator with these Nexus S & Nexus One Skins

Heiko Behrens recently created high-quality skins for Samsung Nexus S and HTC Nexus One for use in the Android emulator. Every Android Developer knows that the emulator by default comes with an ugly looking skin that looks more like something from the 90s when you compare it to the look of the Android phones out there. 

He was able to create the skins with their native screen resolution at a superb image quality. They offer a glow effect when hovering over the hardware buttons, render a subtile drop shadow on both orientations and come with smooth corners on every edge. However, the outstanding feature of this set of skins is the fitting overlay image that can be put on top of the actual emulator screen. The skins were based on the great work of Alexander Gillis

To download the skins and to read instructions on how to put them to use, read more on his blog.

Mozilla Firefox has been given a new Lease of Life by Google

Google will pay Mozilla almost $300M per year in search deal, besting Microsoft and Yahoo to be the default choice in Mozilla’s Firefox browser, a huge jump from its previous arrangement, due to competing interest from both Yahoo and Microsoft. Google is committing close to a billion dollars to bankroll a browser which is a rival to their own browser. 

At $300 million a year, it’s just about three times the size of the last deal ($128M) they signed with Mozilla back in 2008.

That high price might have stemmed from the bidding war between Google and others (Microsoft & Yahoo) and from subsequent anti-trust issues. When it was originally reported that the Google/Mozilla search deal had expired, I thought the end might have come for Firefox, but that is not to be the case any longer with Google's new deal of almost $1 Billion they just signed with Mozilla.

Congrats to you Firefox on the new lease of life.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Not all Nigerians are scammers

Sure, we do have a lot of such bad eggs in this country, but not all of us are scammers.

If you can't see the white of their eyes, don't dare to offer any form of assistance to them, else you'd be scammed. And don't be desperate for any reason.
It's the bad eggs that spoil the broth. Never knew we have so many of the such scammers from Nigeria in Malaysia & Singapore right now.

To reduce the scourge, the penalty needs to be much more than just deportation. Deportation isn't sufficient enough to scare scammers from doing their thing. Get that!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Video: When Apple’s Siri Kills People.

If Apple’s hands-free assistant Siri one day turned against the human race and transformed into a freakishly evil killing machine, well, that would really, really suck. However improbable, that hypothetical situation is exactly the fodder Rooster Teeth Productions used to create the “Siri: The Holiday Horror Movie (Trailer)” clip below.

The clever spoof shows Siri taunting, attacking and killing a group of friends who all received the iPhone 4S for Christmas. At one point — in its familiar female voice — Siri quips, “Life has no meaning. It’s true, you’re alive and then you die, you die, you die, die, die, die … ” After that, all hell breaks loose.

Hilarious, but come to think of it...

Google Launches Android Training for Aspiring Developers

It seems that two can play at the same game Microsoft began months ago in trying to pull more developers to the platform. Google’s Android team has just launched some online training sessions to help aspiring developers create their own magic.

Android Training is the name of the program, and so far it includes as many as 11 general sections, 34 lessons to help you get started. We’re not really sure how much of a developer you already have to be in order to not have a hard time following through these courses, but for a free price tag, you can’t lose.
Reto Meier, part of Android Developer relations, said:
“From designing effective navigation, to managing audio playback, to optimizing battery life, these classes are designed to demonstrate best practices for solving common Android development problems. Each class explains the steps required to solve a problem, or implement a feature, with plenty of code snippets and sample code for you to use within your own apps. We’’re starting small and this is just the beginning for Android Training. Over the coming months we will be increasing the number of classes available, as well as introducing over-arching courses and sample apps to further help your development experience.”

Head on over to Android Training to get started.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Click Through Rate (CTR) of different Mobile Devices

Inner-active did a good job on enlightening developers about the CTR of various mobile devices.

The Open Governance Index – A new way of measuring openness (Infographic)

The Open Governance Index is a way of measuring the relative openness of 8 major open source projects, from Android to WebKit.

Source: VisionMobile

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The 3 Pillars of Google’s Strategy

Google’s strategy is all about ads, not selling services and their three-pronged strategy for making money are the key drivers for the company’s success.
Google is in the first place an advertisement business, as an overwhelming 96% of its revenues come from digital ads. The three pillars of Google’s strategy are what enables the company to sell more ads for more money. Google increases its reach by flattening any obstacle that stands between its ads and eyeballs. Then, Google expands its visibility to the user by providing services, creating more opportunities to show ads. Finally, the company squeezes the maximum out of those opportunities by mining user data, which allows them to understand and target users very efficiently.

In conclusion, Google doesn’t give away all its consumer services for free out of the goodness of its heart. Its purpose is to make profit. If services are provided for free, they are meant to flatten, expand and mine in order to sell advertisements.

Read the full post here

Creating Beautiful & Compelling Android UIs

Android isn't known for beautiful UIs, but you can fix this. In the talk below, Eric Burke shows how Square customizes every aspect of the UI to create delightful user experiences. Through real code taken directly from Square, we'll see how to create custom views that defy expectations.

If you develop on Android, you should watch the video in it's entirety.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Wife of Rovio Exec Wears Angry Birds Dress to Finnish State Gala

Angry Birds don't just make good games, they're also great for formal dress, it seems.

Read the full story here.

Chocolate City Group & Pepperoni Foods Win $50,000 As Finalists At the 2011 African Awards for Entrepreneurship

SECURICO Wins $100,000 Grand Prize in 2011 AFRICA AWARDS For Entrepreneurship

Chocolate City Group, Abuja, Nigeria, and Pepperoni Foods, Port Harcourt, Nigeria, each won $50,000 at the 2011 Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship on Thursday, this week. First Atlantic Semiconductors and Microelectronics Nigeria Limited from Nigeria was also one of the 10 finalists in the competition, though they weren't part of the participants that won $50,000. The following participants were the 10 finalists in the competition, out of which Zimbabwe’s SECURICO came out tops and won the grand prize of $100,000:
The ten finalists underscore the diversity of entrepreneurs in the competition, representing eight countries including Ethiopia, Gambia, Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria, Senegal, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. The top ten, which includes three woman-owned businesses, work in a range of industries, from software to entertainment to agribusiness.

The winners of the 2011 Africa Awards represent a diversity of backgrounds, industries, and geographies, but they also share a common determination in building and scaling a successful company,” said Matt Bannick, Managing Partner of Omidyar Network. “We congratulate each of the winners, and welcome them to the Awards’ growing network of business leaders who are fostering innovation, job creation, and positive social impact from within Africa.”

To determine the winners, finalists gathered in Nairobi to present to a prominent jury of African business leaders and investors. The panel was chaired by Malik Fal, Managing Director of Endeavor. The jury also included some of Africa’s most prominent entrepreneurs and investors, including Kamal Budhabhatti, CEO of Craft Silicon and Grand Prize Winner of the 2010 Africa Awards; James Manyika, Director of the McKinsey Global Institute; Ayisi Makatiani, the CEO of Fanisi Capital; and Tokunboh Ishmael, co-founder and Managing Director of Alitheia Capital. The winners were evaluated on profitability; return on investment and growth; long-term business strategy; leadership, culture and values; investment in employees; innovation to address market needs; and contribution to the community.

The grand prize winner, SECURICO, based in Harare, Zimbabwe, provides guarding services and electronic security solutions, and is the first security company in Zimbabwe to be ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) certified. SECURICO has more than 3,400 employees, 900 of which are women, making it the largest employer of women in the private sector. The company exemplifies the vital role played by entrepreneurs in creating economic growth, prosperity, and realising opportunity in Africa.

A record 3,300 companies from 48 African countries submitted entries to compete for the Grand Prize of US $100,000, and six additional prizes of US $50,000 each, including the new Coca-Cola Award for an Outstanding Woman Entrepreneur, granted to Victoria Seeds, an agribusiness based in Kampala, Uganda. The Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship recognizes and rewards business leaders who embody the entrepreneurial spirit and qualities required to succeed in business and who are the inspirational role models for the next generation of African entrepreneurs.

Congratulations to all the winners, and we give big kudos to Chocolate City GroupPepperoni Foods and First Atlantic Semiconductors and Microelectronics Nigeria Limited for doing Nigeria proud at the competition.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Graphical Deep Dive into Android's 10 Billion App Downloads

The app with the lucky number 10 billion is Photobucket Mobile and they’ll be getting a great prize package, including tickets to next year’s Google I/O developer conference.

Google still has a few days to celebrate 10 billion app downloads with 10-cent apps on Android Market. That's like buying an app for less than N20, in Nigerian currency. What are you waiting for? You can follow which apps are promoted each day on +Android, their Google+ page.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Constructive Solid Geometry 3d Modeling in JavaScript and WebGL (csg.js)

Constructive Solid Geometry (CSG) is a modeling technique that uses Boolean operations like union and intersection to combine 3D solids. This library implements CSG operations on meshes elegantly and concisely using BSP trees, and is meant to serve as an easily understandable implementation of the algorithm. All edge cases involving overlapping coplanar polygons in both solids are correctly handled.

Evan Wallace, the same guy who brought us that amazing WebGL water simulation is back at it again, this time with a library called csg.js for doing Constructive Solid Geometry modeling in JavaScript.
The models above were created with this code:
var a = CSG.cube();
var b = CSG.sphere({ radius: 1.35, stacks: 12 });
var c = CSG.cylinder({ radius: 0.7, start: new CSG.Vector(-1, 0, 0), end: new CSG.Vector(1, 0, 0) });
var d = CSG.cylinder({ radius: 0.7, start: new CSG.Vector(0, -1, 0), end: new CSG.Vector(0, 1, 0) });
var e = CSG.cylinder({ radius: 0.7, start: new CSG.Vector(0, 0, -1), end: new CSG.Vector(0, 0, 1) }
Pretty impressive, uhm? Be sure to check out the demos. And here's the code on Github.

Source: BadassJS

Mobile Performance Manifesto

David Calhoun recently wrote an excellent post, “Mobile Performance Manifesto”, which summarizes a lot of research that has been done. If you are into mobile web development, you should read this.

Efficient Javascript Tips

Opera Developer Blog recently put up a post on Efficient Javascript Tips. It's worth reading if you  develop with Javascript.

  1. Avoid using eval or the Function constructor
    1. Rewrite that eval
    2. If you want a function, use a function
  2. Avoid using with
  3. Don't use try-catch-finally inside performance-critical functions
  4. Isolate uses of eval and with
  5. Avoid using global variables
  6. Beware of implicit object conversion
  7. Avoid for-in in performance-critical functions
  8. Use strings accumulator-style
  9. Primitive operations can be faster than function calls
  10. Pass functions, not strings, to setTimeout() and setInterval()


  1. Repaint and reflow
    1. Keeping the number of reflows to a minimum
    2. Minimal reflow
  2. Document tree modification
  3. Modifying an invisible element
  4. Taking measurements
  5. Making several style changes at once
  6. Trading smoothness for speed
  7. Avoid inspecting large numbers of nodes
  8. Improve speed with XPath
  9. Avoid modifications while traversing the DOM
  10. Cache DOM values in script variables

Document loading

  1. Avoid keeping alive references from one document to another
  2. Fast history navigation
  3. Use XMLHttpRequest
  4. Create SCRIPT elements dynamically
  5. location.replace() keeps the history under control

Chrome Developer Tools Performance

Paul Irish covers some of the impressive new Chrome Developer Tools. It's not surprising that he's named .net’s Developer of the Year. There are lots of hidden gems in there, so do check it out!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Youtube Launches in Nigeria

Nigeria has a culture that is steeped in sharing and storytelling, and Nigerians are passionate about music, entertainment and education. Few other places in the world are home to a movie industry the size of Nollywood, which now ranks second in the world after Bollywood in terms of output, and where over 300 producers create somewhere between 1,000 and 2,000 movies a year!

This makes Nigeria a perfect match for YouTube, which is now putting down local roots with From today, YouTube will offer Nigerian users more relevant content, and provide a platform to share Nigeria’s unique and diverse culture and lifestyle with the world’s largest online video community.

We have worked partnered with local broadcasters and content producers to help bring popular Nigerian content to the whole world. Our partners include Chocolate City, Storm 360, Nollywood Love, Channels TV, and Lagos Television. We have also launched the YouTube Partner Program which helps video creators develop their channels, grow their audiences and generate revenue. For all the content creators out there, find out more about partnering with us on YouTube by visiting our partner resources site. And of course, YouTube is not just about entertainment and music -- it’s also about education, practical tips, advocacy, and lots lots more.

Got a low-speed Internet connection? Don’t worry -- you won’t be left behind. In case you are wondering how you can watch videos online with a slow connection, you can try out YouTube Feather. Feather is a ‘lite’ version of YouTube which helps users play YouTube videos faster. Why not try it out while watching the YouTube Nigeria mashup that celebrates the diversity of Nigerian history, culture, talent and entertainment:

There is a huge wealth of talent in Nigeria and we believe that everyone has something to broadcast. So whether your video camera is on your phone or computer, and whether or not you have professional gear, it’s time to broadcast yourself at!

- Affiong Osuchukwu, Country Marketing Manager, Nigeria

Source: Google Africa Blog

A Visual History of Android

The Verge has just put up a very elaborate post on the history of Android. Very informative.

How to Google

SmashingApps released this infographic recently on getting more from Google

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Nigeria’s Mobile Money Startup, Pagatech Attracts U.S. Investment

Mobile money is the next big thing and Tayo Oviosu is already bringing this revolutionary financial service to Nigerians.

Oviosu is the founder of Pagatech, Nigeria’s first mobile money company. The company’s flagship service, Paga, is Nigeria’s foremost mobile money transfer service. Within less than a year of launching its service to the general public, the Lagos-based Paga has accumulated over 32,000 active users on its platform and has processed over US $1.6 million in volume.

Interestingly, Paga has piqued the interest of some internationally renowned investors, one of whom is Tim Draper. Draper, one of Silicon Valley’s more well known venture capitalists, doesn’t usually make investments around Africa. But when Oviosu, a Nigerian-born Stanford grad, approached the famed investor and shared his idea for a mobile money transfer service in Nigeria, Africa’s second largest economy, Draper believed it was too good an opportunity to ignore. (Oviosu did not disclose how much Draper invested, or how much his company has raised so far.)

Tayo recently granted me an interview during which he talked about the idea behind his company, the benefits of a cashless society, the Nigerian opportunity, and reiterated his mission to transform lives by delivering innovative and universal access to financial services to Nigerians.

Simplify it for me. What is Paga, and what prompted you to startup this service?

Paga is a money transfer service that leverages the ubiquity of the mobile phone to bring great value to customers. Customers can use Paga to send money to anyone in Nigeria either from their mobile phone or Internet-enabled device, or via any Paga agent across the country. Recipients get the money instantly, and they don’t even need to have registered on Paga. Customers can also use Paga to pay for a variety of goods and services at various online or offline merchants.  For example, you can sit at home and pay to top-up your electricity meter or pay your cable TV subscription using Paga.
Paga began out of my frustration with having to carry cash around with me all the time in Nigeria. Nigeria is a very cash driven society; only about 20% of the population have access to what you might call formal financial services. Even for the banked set, there are infrastructure issues to contend with – roughly 60% of ATMs in the entire country are located in Lagos State; debit cards are not accepted by most merchants. As such you have to carry cash with you. Additionally there is no safe and secure way to send money within Nigeria outside of the banking sector. Carrying cash around with you everywhere, even sending cash to your family by paying a fee to the local bus driver clearly has its limitations not forgetting security issues. As I explored these sets of issues I honed in on the fact that 60% of Nigerians are within mobile phone coverage and about 40% of Nigerians currently have a mobile phone with an even greater number having access to one when you count shared phones. This raised a question for me – “Can the phone become the primary means, not the only, of electronic transactions?” Fundamentally I believe the ubiquity of the mobile phone can be leveraged to deliver financial services to all.

We’ve been around now for two years and only just got our full operating license from the Central Bank of Nigeria this month. We launched to a closed user group of approximately 70 participants in September 2010 and then, after our Approval-in-Principle from the Central Bank of Nigeria, to the general public in February 2011. This allowed us to pilot our service and test the reception with the general public. The reception has been great! Customers and agents alike see the value of the service to their daily lives and the numbers tell the story. With pretty much just word-of-mouth marketing alone, we have almost 32,000 users on our platform and have processed over US $1.6 million in volumes. This represents over 40,000 transactions since February.

Give me a very basic run-down of how Paga works. If for example, I am based in Lagos, and a loved one makes a trip to Abuja and gets stranded over there for some reason, how can I send him/her money using Paga?

There are two ways to send money to your loved one in Abuja.

The first is to visit a Paga Agent in your neighborhood and have the agent perform the transaction on your behalf – you do not need to be a Paga customer to use one of our Agents. If you use a Paga Agent you give the Agent the recipient’s phone number, the amount you would like to send, and the transaction fee. [NOTE: The fee ranges from $1 to $4.] The Agent runs the transaction on his phone or internet enabled device.

The second option is to initiate the transaction from your mobile phone or from any internet enabled device – to do this you need to be a Paga customer and have money in your account (which can be funded by depositing at an agent, bank, or using your debit card online).

With either of the two methods once the transaction is run successfully Paga sends a confirmation SMS to the sender and the recipient. The sender’s SMS includes the withdrawal code needed to collect the funds. Recipients do not need to be Paga customers. Recipients of money on Paga collect their money from any Paga agent, partner bank, or in the future ATM machines. You need three pieces of information to collect money – phone number sent to, withdrawal code, and amount sent. Only the sender pays a transaction fee.

We provide Agents and Customers multiple channels to use to process their transactions – SMS, Online (PC or mobile web), an application on the phone, an Interactive Voice Response system (an automated line which can be in different languages), and eventually USSD (mobile network system that allows for interactive menus on the mobile networks).

Mobile money has thrived elsewhere in Africa. Safaricom’s M-Pesa has made a kill by providing this financial service to Kenyans. But Nigeria is an entirely different market. Are the dynamics the same? Is there really an opportunity for this kind of service in Nigeria, and why do you think it is going to succeed?

I totally agree with you – it is a very local business. The dynamics in Nigeria are somewhat different than Kenya, and it’s clear that the market opportunity is multiples of Kenya’s.

Today in Nigeria, as in Kenya pre M-Pesa, there are no efficient, secure, and universally accessible ways of transferring money across the country. Paga changes this. However, in Nigeria we do not have a dominant Telco with the kind of market share Safaricom had in Kenya. We also have a very fragmented banking sector. These are reasons we have chosen to offer a service that works on all mobile networks and in partnership with banks. The convenience that Paga offers combined with the push by the Central Bank of Nigeria for a “cashless Nigeria,” will help drive the opportunity for our service.

It’s interesting. My view is that Nigeria may be the toughest African market to get right for a number of reasons. It also presents the biggest opportunity. With 160 million people, GDP of approximately $207 billion, 68% literacy rate, less than 20% of the population owning a bank account, BUT with 40% owning a mobile phone. Assuming that we execute on plan and capture our target share of the Nigerian market, we are certain that entry to other markets with our partners will be made easier. The reverse is probably not true.

You and I both know that Nigeria’s financial landscape has been riddled with fraud, money laundering and other clandestine activities, and this could dissuade people from using mobile money services. Do you have any measures in place to checkmate any potential incidences of financial irregularities?

At Paga, security is our top priority. We have created rings of security to prevent the chance of any fraudulent activity, each channel we offer having its own security framework – some visible to the customer, many others not visible. For example, you must confirm every transaction you do on Paga by entering your PIN number. We train our customers to not share their PIN with anyone, even with Paga representatives.

If you use Paga’s mobile phone application or online application there are additional security measures we have developed to protect your account such as device monitoring – we monitor the hardware you are using to log into Paga. If we see you attempting to login from an unknown device we ask you your security questions.

Furthermore, there is a limit on how much a customer can transact based on how much Paga knows about the customer.  A Level I customer, which is a customer that has only provided Paga with their name and phone number, can only transact a maximum of N30,000 (~US$ 200) per day, whereas a Level III customer, which is a customer that has provided Paga with the requirements to open a bank account in Nigeria, can transact up to N 1 million (~US$6,000).

We have gone to great lengths to ensure that the customer’s account is safe and we will continue to stay ahead in terms of building in the latest technological advances to protect the customer’s account.

I’m just curious. What’s your business model? How does Paga make money from this service?

Our service is a “freemium” service – most transactions are free to customers. We currently have four services launched – money transfer, buy/send airtime, bill payments, and merchant payments. All these services are free except for money transfer where we charge a small convenience fee. This fee is the same regardless of whether you use an agent or perform the transaction by yourself. A fundamental belief we hold at Paga is that customers should not be charged to deposit their money or withdraw their money. Two of the three ways to deposit money into Paga are free (there is a convenience fee to use your debit card to fund your account), and it is free to withdraw your money. For the services where there is no charge to the customer we make our money from the business whose service we are providing access to.

You launched Paga in 2009, but you’ve already bagged over 30,000 users- which is rather impressive, considering that mobile money is a novel concept to the vast majority of Nigerians. What has been the catalyst for this growth, and how has the general response to Paga’s services been?

We have been very pleased with the response that we have received from the public.  Those 30,000 users have mainly heard of Paga via word-of-mouth!  The catalyst here is simply those people who have used the service and tell their friends how it helps bring convenience to their lives!
We have done some “below-the-line” marketing to educate customers one on one and are only now, with our full license, kicking off our “Above-the-line” marketing efforts – radio, TV, print, outdoor marketing. Our numbers are increasing exponentially as we continue to market the benefits of Paga.

How did you convince Tim Draper to invest in Paga?

Tim is a strong supporter of Paga and we are proud to have him as an investor and active participant in our business. He has a great reputation for picking and investing early in companies that have led major transitions which have had significant impact on society – in email (Hotmail), telephony (Skype), and search (Baidu). We hope Paga follows in steps similar to these great firms. Tim decided to invest in Paga after several months of due diligence by his team – they spoke to Paga management, our partners, and took the time to generally understand the Nigeria landscape. In the end I think he invested because of the clear opportunity he saw and the confidence he had developed in our strategy and our team. 
Tim is also known to be at the forefront of emerging markets investments. Two weeks ago I was at the Network CEO Forum his venture fund, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, puts on and there were over 150 CEOs from around the globe. The significant number of non-US companies there really showed that Tim and his partners at DFJ see the growth opportunities to be in emerging markets. Nigeria is the next frontier and I think Tim’s personal investment in Paga will lead other investors to consider investing in Nigeria. Indeed we are already getting a lot of foreign interest in our company.

Where are Paga’s agents located, and how can one subscribe for the service?

Currently we have over 400 approved and trained agents and a pipeline of approximately 4,000 agents ready to be trained.

Our goal is to have a Paga agent “just around the corner” from every customer. To achieve this, we seek to build a grassroots distribution network while also leveraging existing structured networks. Lagos, Kano and Onitsha are our key cities, so as of right now, the majority of our agents are concentrated within those areas. Additionally, customers can also go to to find out the location of their nearest Paga agent.

We offer various ways for customers to subscribe to our service. A customer can register by themselves via SMS, online at, or at any agent.

What does the future hold for Paga?

We are very optimistic about our future. We have an amazing team that is dedicated to making Paga a success and is singularly focused on providing a world class service to customers while constantly innovating new products and services to meet their needs.

Our goal is to have 30,000 agents across Nigeria in five years and 15 million customers. If we achieve that we will bring financial services within reach of over 40 million Nigerians. The potential impact to society is what drives us. Paga’s bottom up approach will empower the most underserved segments of our economy.  In ten years our services would have spread to those households that are poorer and less connected to the financial system.

The confluence of mobile penetration growth, latent demand for a service such as ours to provide financial services, expansion of Nigeria’s middle class and of Nigeria’s economy to become the largest economy in Sub-Saharan Africa will drive growth in our business. We are confident Paga will be a major success story coming out of Nigeria and indeed Africa.

A friend of mine recently told me a story that made me smile. Her dad, who owns a poultry business in southwest Nigeria, recently commented to her that he read in a report from Kenya about farmers getting paid via mobile money, he put it this way: “In Kenya buyers are using Paga to pay farmers!” She thought this was interesting, that Paga is becoming synonymous with payment via mobile.

Source: Forbes

Monday, December 5, 2011

BicaVM: A JVM Implementation in JavaScript

Writing compilers/transpilers in JavaScript is all the rage right now.  It started with CoffeeScript and Objective-J, and quickly expanded to tons of existing and new languages, some of which are now listed on the AltJS website.  We’ve also seen projects like Emscripten, which takes LLVM bytecode and compiles it to JS.

In a similar spirit, we are given BicaVM, which is an implementation of the JVM in JavaScript.  It is still a bit incomplete, but it implements about 60% of the bytecodes available, so a good chunk.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a JVM implementation in JS though.  In 2008, John Resig wrote about Orto, another JVM implementation which has since disappeared from the web.  Luckily, someone else has put the source up on Github, so check that out as well.

This cross compilation of languages has spurred a lot of heated debate within the JS community.  In my opinion, JavaScript is not the be all end all language and it is awesome that we can enable more language choice within the browser without waiting for browsers to implement those languages themselves.  Another nice thing about transpiling in my opinion is that the developer gets to control which version of the language he uses rather than the browser, which makes backward and forward compatibility much nicer.

Source: BadassJS

Github Secrets

Here are some Github features you may not know about:

  1. Whitespace: Ever have someone push a commit that involves a lot of real changes mixed in with a bunch of less-meaningful whitespace? Add ?w=1 to the URL to see the diff with whitespace ignored.
  2. Cross-Repository Issue References: Sure, GitHub's all about social coding, but you can have social repositories, too. You can reference issues between repositories by mentioning user/repository#number in an issue. Once we see something like that — say, github/enterprise#59 — we'll make sure to update issue #59 in github's enterprise repository and let you know where it was referenced from. This is a part of GitHub Flavored Markdown, which also has a few tricks of its own.
  3. Hot Branch on Branch Pull Request Action: Pull Requests are awesome. They make it really easy to merge code between forks. But did you know you can use Pull Requests between branches, on the same repository? You don't need to fork repositories to use Pull Requests. Internally at GitHub, we almost always use Pull Requests between branches.
  4. Filter Notifications by Repository or User: Email notifications for Issues, Pull Requests, and Gists can easily be filtered by the List-ID header. Look for this header value to sort your notifications, or even forward them to a more appropriate email account. You can filter on * to filter out emails by organization, or to filter out emails from a specific repo.
  5. Subscribe to Threads: Now that you've got your mail filtering notifications, did you know you can let us know which threads to keep you notified on? On the bottom of the page, you can scroll down and click Enable notifications and we'll send you a notification when it's been updated. This works for issues, commit notes, pull requests... you name it. Too much email? You can disable it just as easily.
You can read the whole post on their blog.

How to brick your Ubuntu EC2 server

sudo mv /usr/bin /usr/bin.latest - Don't do this!
Pete Warden blogged on how he bricked his Ubuntu server by running the command above. Read the post on his blog to learn more on how to avoid bricking your server.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Imagine Cup 2012 Windows Phone Challenge

Are you a student and mobile developer with a good idea? If so, then take Imagine Cup 2012 Windows Phone Challenge, sponsored by Nokia. Nokia will also help you to start creating game-changing ideas by offering several engaging development suggestions on the IdeasProject site in areas that include education, health, and the environment. Find an idea that matches your passion, and build a mobile app or content (sorry, games are not eligible).

Entries will be judged on themes, uniqueness, design, innovation, architecture, utility, and delight. In addition, all applications must adhere to the Imagine Cup 2012 Theme, ‘Imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems’. The top three winning teams will receive a free trip to the Imagine Cup World Finals in Sydney, Australia, in July 2012. They will also win cash prizes: $8,000 (USD) for the first-place winning team; $4,000 (USD) for the second-place team; and $3,000 (USD) for the third-place winners. Other prizes will include Nokia Lumia phones.

In Round 1 of the challenge, student teams will need to create and submit an Application Summary and SketchFlow Prototype for a Windows Phone app that is inspired by an Imagine Cup 2012 Theme. Your Round 1 submissions are due by 13 March 2012. Round 2, which includes your actual entry file, will be due by 3 May 2012.

Get the Imagine Cup 2012 Windows Phone Challenge documents, download the tools, check out the complete rules, and register today.

Colombiana (2011) - The Spoiler

It's been quite awhile since I last watched a good movie due to my busy schedule in the last few weeks, but a friend hinted me about Colombiana recently and said it's a must watch. I had no regrets at all watching it. It's such a beautiful movie and I suggest you go watch it if you haven't seen it. To fully experience it, I'd suggest you go watch it at the cinemas as it's currently showing there. Here's a spoiler if you need some motivation before you give it a shot:
Bogota, Columbia. A man, named Fabio, is speaking to Don Luis, a drug lord and his boss. Fabio tells him he is quitting and handing over all the book keeping on the cartel to another associate. Don Luis smiles and says he will miss him and they toast to Fabio's life. Fabio leaves and Don Luis motions to Marco (Jordi Molla), his right hand man. "Kill him!," Don Luis says. No one leaves Don Luis' cartel.

But Fabio is not stupid. He knows his boss will retaliate at anyone wanting to leave the life of drug smuggling... including him. Fabio takes three guards loyal to him and races home, knowing they have only an hour to leave the country. Fabio gets home and tells his wife, Alicia, that is time. He tells his young daughter, Cataleya, to pack but she says she is already ready. Fabio tells her in case something happens, she should go the American embassy and give them a microchip. It has all the information on Don Luis' illegal activities. "It's your passport." He also gives her an address for his brother. Fabio then gives his daughter his necklace that has the Cataleya flower on it. She was named after it, because his mother always grew them. "Never forget who you are." he says.

Minutes later, Marco and numerous cartel members show up and slaughter Fabio's men. Fabio and Alicia grab guns and try to hold the men off but are killed off-screen. Cataleya sits at the table in shock and listens to the gunfire. She quickly swallows the microchip. Marco and the men come up to Cataleya. Marco pretends to be friendly saying he was a friend of her father but Fabio took something from Don Luis; the microchip. Marco asks if she knows where it is and she nods. Marco asks what she wants. Cataleya leans in close... and grabs a knife placed under the tabled and stabs him in the hand. "To kill Don Luis!" screams Cataleya.

Cataleya scoops through a window and onto a ledge. Apparently her parents taught her skills to survive in case something like this happened. She runs off to escape while Marco's cartel goons give chase. Despite having parkour runners, men on motorcycles and in cars, Cataleya eludes them by escaping into the sewers. She opens a manhole cover and heads to the U.S. Embassy where she is sent to an agent who asks about her father. Cataleya says he is dead. The man asks if his dad had something, and Cataleya quick forces herself to throw up and gives him the microchip. It has the records of all Don Luis' activities. The agent looks at her in shock and asks if she realizes what she had. "My passport." Cataleya says.

In exchange for the chip, they get her out of the country and papers. An American CIA agent is escorting her to Miami. Cataleya asks to go to the bathroom and escapes through the window. She gets a bus ticket to Chicago, where her father told her to go. She heads for a seedy neighborhood and asks for Emilio. The man Emilio (Cliff Curtis) is Fabio's brother, and her uncle. When Emilio sees her, he is over come and hugs her. Cataleya is finally able to let go, and cries in her uncle's arms.

The next morning, she wakes up in her uncle's apartment and comes down to breakfast. Her grandmother is there who makes her breakfast. Cataleya asks about whose room she slept in. Emilio looks sad and says it was his son's room and he is dead. Emilio asks her about a drawing she did and she says she used to want to be like Xena but not anymore. Emilio asks what she wants now. "To be a killer. Will you help me?" says Cataleya. Emilio replies "sure".

The next day, Emilio takes her to a private prep school and bribes the principal to accept her in the middle of the school year. As they leave, Cataleya is mad because she thinks she can learn nothing at school. She needs to learn how to be an assassin. Emilio suddenly pulls out a revolver and shoots at a person driving a car, causing it to crash. He tells her that hired killers are a dime a dozen, he could teach her and she'd be dead in five years. If she wants to do this and be smart, she needs to go to school. She needs to know how people think. Cataleya listens to him.


Two cops are sitting in their car, talking about their wives when they are smashed into by a drunk driver. A woman comes out, incoherently babbling. They quickly arrest her and we can see a flower necklace on the woman. It is Cataleya (Zoe Saldana) all grown up. They take her to the police station.

There, she is booked on DUI and thrown into a cell for the night. She goes to sleep.

U.S. Marshals show up that night with a prisoner. They take him to his cell. Cataleya wakes up. Her whole DUI was a ruse to get into the police station. The prisoner is the target. She changes her clothes into a skin tight black suit, and picks the lock. She grabs a spoon that was in a cup of coffee at her cell. She swivels the cameras away so she is not seen, and grabs some water from the cooler and heads to the electrical room. She rigs the cup and the spoon to cause a spark out and heads into the air ducts. After a few seconds, the water from the cup leaks out enough to short out the power. Cataleya gets through a now stopped fan just before the power is reset. She drops into the men's restroom.

The cop guarding the prisoner notices he has no coffee and leaves the room. He goes into the bathroom and is knocked out by Cataleya. She drags his body in front of the camera so the door will be reopened. She opens the cell and hits the prisoner awake. She tells him to undo his shirt. He asks 'why' and she shoots him several times.

The Marshals hear the gunshots and run to the cell to see the waking up guard with the gun in his hand. Cataleya framed him for the killing to buy her time to escape. The Marshals still search the entire building and Cataleya goes up to the roof to elude them. When the coast is clear, she heads back through the air ducts, finds her cell, locks the door, and changes back into her clothes. By the time the marshals find her, she is laying back down pretending to sleep again. The marshals have no clue what happened.

Cataleya is released the next day after being fingerprinted. She leaves the jail and pulls at her hand. She was wearing fake latex skin that replicated another person's prints.

Cataleya goes home and dances to some music. She gets a shower and washes herself for a long time.

Cataleya heads to the apartment of Danny (Michael Vartan), a painter and her quasi boyfriend. Danny knows little about her, and only knows her as "Jennifer." Danny and Cataleya have sex and she leaves the next morning without saying goodbye. It is clear she is afraid to show who she really is to him.

FBI Special Agent Ross (Lennie James) comes to the jail and realizes the victim is the latest of a string of murders they have been tracking for the past four years, 22 in all. They call the perp "The Tag Killer" due to the markings the killer leaves on the chest. We see it is the Cataleya flower.

CIA Agent Richard (Callum Blue) travels to New Orleans to a heavily guarded villa. It is the home of Don Luis, who was not persecuted for his crimes. Richard shows him the hit from the jail cells, but Luis denies he had anything to do with it. Richard tells him that the CIA was very nice with him; he got Witness protection and got to continue to run his cocaine smuggling business in exchange for information. But Richard tells him he knows that something is up and Luis knows what it is. After Richard leaves, Luis tells Marco to handle the situation. Luis strongly suspects that Cataleya is behind the killings. As he didn't kill Cataleya the first time, now he must finish it.

Ross holds a meeting about the Tag Killer and their numerous victims. He concludes that one of the people in the jail killed the target and they need to find out who. Ross also says they need to release the information about the case.

Meanwhile, Cataleya goes to see Emilio. He shows her the paper with her calling card. He is livid, calling the action stupid. Emilio says he promised his brother to protect her. He never wanted her to go down this road. He is always funneling jobs away in order to protect her. Cataleya, defiant, says she CHOSE this path herself and she will not stop until Luis is dead. Emilio sighs and hands her the next job. A hedge manager created a ponzi scheme and stole billions and fled the country. People want him dead.

Ross is at the FBI office going over security footage. Some of his agents think the killer is Cataleya seen on the tape but he cannot believe a woman would be this type of killer.

Cataleya goes to her work office where there are two large dogs who happen to listen to her. She feeds them steaks. Inside, Pepe, a friend of Emilio is there. He handles her weapons and cars. Cataleya goes into a safe and pulls out her fake passports and finds one for Mexico.

Mexico. We find ourselves in the mansion of the hedge manager who lives in opulence surrounded by stunning women he wouldn't have a chance in hell with if he didn't have billions. One woman mentions the sharks in the aquarium pool are ignoring her, but the man tells her one drop of blood and they would become her best friend as they ate her. The hedge fund manager tells his security he wants extra men tonight.

Cataleya swims through the aquarium and pushes up a glass cover to enter the mansion. She pulls out a pistol and silencer.

The hedge fund manager gets up and notices Cataleya wrote on him "Thief" and the flower design. He walks around his mansion and notices all his guards are dead. He picks up two guns and heads into the pool area seeing a flower. Cataleya is sitting in a chair and makes her presence known. He tries to shoot her but his guns are empty. Cataleya shoots him in the legs. The man pleads with her to not kill him, he will pay double what she was paid. "I'm not going to kill you." Cataleya says. The man realizes he is underneath the sharks and understands what she meant. He pleads not to let him die, but Cataleya shoots him in the chest and he falls into the opened pool. The blood flows and his sharks eat him alive in seconds.

Back in the USA, Cataleya goes to Danny's apartment but he left to see about some galleries. She sleeps on his bed and holds his shirt close. It is clear she cares about him, but she is afraid to show it.

Meanwhile, Ross is looking at the Tag Killer calling card when the mailman gives him a vital clue; it is the Cataleya flower that only grows in Columbia. Ross tries to tie it to open cases in Columbia but is denied access due to it falling under CIA jurisdiction.

Ross calls Richard and asks for clearance but Richard dodges the issue. He calls Luis and tells him to handle the problem before Agent Ross starts to connect the dots. Luis sends Marco to track Cataleya down and interrogate every Colombian until it leads to her family.

Danny comes home and Cataleya bought dinner. He is happy and Cataleya kisses him. Danny stops her and asks to sit, eat dinner, and talk some. She asks about his trip and he tells her they want to do a gallery of his work. Danny asks about her trip and she said it was hot and she swimmed some. Danny presses for more but she is reluctant. Danny tells her he just wants to know who she is. Danny asks what she likes for breakfast. "I don't eat breakfast." Cataleya says. Danny and Cataleya sleep together again. It is now mid day. Danny takes a quick photo of Cataleya sleeping. He wakes her up with breakfast food and tells her they can eat it for lunch. Cataleya freaks out and says she did too much and she has to leave. Danny is flustered, wondering what the hell he did wrong.

Cataleya meets with Emilio. He is livid, having seen the paper. Cataleya has not stopped with her calling card. People are looking for them, showing that eight people were gunned down in a bar, one being a friend of Emilio. "You're retired." Emilio tells her. Cataleya refuses to quit but Emilio says it is not just about her, it is about the family she has left, she is putting them in danger. When his son died, he killed many people, but it changed nothing and he put his family at risk. Emilio leaves her with a picture of her parents, a reminder of what can be lost. Cataleya sits and cries.

Cataleya goes to church with Emilio and her grandmother. She seems to be ready to give up her quest for revenge.

Danny is at a coffee shop talking about his girlfriend "Jennifer" to a buddy saying he is falling for her but he knows nothing about her. The buddy sees the photo and is shocked on how hot she is. Danny is distracted with his car being ticketed so his friend takes the phone with the photo and calls his sister in law who works at a police station. He asks her to check on "Jennifer" to make sure she is legit so Danny won't be hurt. The man has no clue what he has done.

Ross is at his computer when it is pinged with Cataleya's photo. He traces the signal to the other police station, and has the technician arrested as they track the signal further. Ross compares the photo to the security footage at the jail and its a match. Cataleya is the woman who he is looking for.

Cataleya goes home and calls Danny, trying to articulate how she feels about him. Danny mentions the photo and she freaks, asking who else saw it. He mentions his friend as Cataleya checks the perimeter of her apartment. SWAT is there to arrest her. She turns on the shower and climbs into a duct to escape out of her apartment.

She runs through several apartments, and enters one. The tenant tries to make a fuss so she knocks him out. She recovers a harness and a sniper rifle in the man's bathroom, she previously planted it there. She plants explosives on the wall as Ross and his agents blow the door to her apartment. She uses the harness to slide down the pipes down to the garage. She shoots out the cameras and is able to slide into another air duct before SWAT finds her. She ends up in the subway and she sneaks away.

Cataleya heads to Emilio's but finds the place ransacked. Pepe is on the floor dead. She finds her grandmother dead in the kitchen, making her break down. She looks for Emilio and finds him tied a chair dead. It was clear he was tortured. Cataleya tells him she's sorry and screams in a combination of sadness and anger.

Ross comes home and Cataleya is there waiting with a gun. She motions for him to sit. She reveals that she has rigged his chair with a pressure senstive explosive so he shouldn't try anything funny. Cataleya tells him she's who he has been looking for. The Cataleya flower tag was a sign to call out Don Luis but it took till now to get his attention. Now he took the last part of her. Cataleya tells Ross he better get the information about Don Luis from the CIA or she will kill a family member once a week until he is as hollow as she felt all those years ago. She promises his bomb will be deactivated as soon as she is as gone which it is. Ross goes to Richard and tells him the situation. Richard will not give up the info. Ross gets a call. It's Cataleya who tells him either Richard gives her the address or he will die. Richard scoffs since his windows are reinforced glass. Cataleya shoots off a round with her sniper rifle, breaking through the glass. Richard gives him the address. Ross asks about his family but Cataleya hangs up (but she had no intention of harming them anyway).

Cataleya goes to Pepe's garage. She grabs some guns. She sees the two dogs and looks at them. She grabs the armor truck and drives off to Don Luis' location.

At Don Luis' mansion, Marco is directing the men what they face with Cataleya. She is not to be taken lightly. Luis hears something. It is a rocket that is coming their way. Luis barely gets out of the way as it blows up the room. Marco pulls him up and they try to get him out of there.

Four of the men get into a car in order to start a convoy. Cataleya busts through with her truck, crushing the car. She gets out and peppers the car with bullets, killing the men.

In the climatic shootout, bit by bit, she kills off Luis and Marco's men. Marco place Luis in a safe room while he tries to kill Cataleya. After a few brief shootouts it is just Marco with one other man. Cataleya kills the man then faces Marco with her gun. They begin to fight hand to hand, alternately disarming each other with Cataleya's handgun. Cataleya turns to using a towel to try and choke him. After awhile, Marco grabs the gun and goes to fire, but Cataleya ejects the clip and rips the slide off the gun and stabs him the neck, killing him.

Luis, realizing all his men are dead, but Cataleya doesn't know where he is, leaves the panic room and takes one of his vans. He runs into a dead end due to a garbage truck. He receives a call from Marco's cell. It is Cataleya. Luis tells her that she will never kill him, she never had him. "Actually, I have you EXACTLY where I want you." Cataleya says. Luis looks back and sees Cataleya two dogs. "Eat!" Cataleya tells the dogs. They tear Don Luis apart, making her revenge complete.

Danny was taken into custody by Ross and the FBI. Danny knows little and tells them so. Ross says while he is not under arrest he still has questions to answer. Danny asks for coffee and Ross goes to get it. Danny gets a call from Cataleya. She tells him she's OK and they have 40 seconds before they trace the call, so that's enough time to ask three questions. He asks for her real name and she tells him it's Cataleya. Danny asks if his little bird will return one day (meaning her). Cataleya tells him that maybe one day she can.

An agent tells Ross that Danny is getting a call from Cataleya, and they rush back in.

Danny has only seconds now. "I love you." Danny says which makes Cataleya tear up. Ross orders him to give over the phone but Cataleya hangs up before he can get anything from her. Ross stares at the phone and tells Danny he's free to go.

Cataleya puts her sunglasses on and gets on a bus for a destination unknown.

Will Chrome kill Firefox just like that? Mozilla do something please

It's quite unfortunate that Google's Chrome browser is sending Mozilla's Firefox to an inevitable death if a miracle doesn't happen soon. Though Chrome has been my primary browser for over 6 months now, I wouldn't want it to die because of some excellent add-ons that has made the browser thrive amongst developers. Firefox continues to lose share to Google Chrome as statistics from Net Market Share shows that Firefox has plunged from 25% to 22% and Chrome has rising from under 5% to more than 18% during the last two years. And the deal with Mozilla’s biggest financial backer, Google is in question.A search partnership with Google has historically been Mozilla’s greatest source of income. In its most recent financial statement, prepared in August and published recently online (PDF), the Mozilla Foundation won’t even mention Google’s name :(
The Corporation has a contract with a search engine provider for royalties which expires November 2011. Approximately 84% and 86% of royalty revenue for 2010 and 2009, respectively, was derived from this contract.

In 2010, 84% of Mozilla’s $123 million in revenue came directly from Google. That’s roughly $100 million in funds that will vanish or be drastically cut if the deal is either not renewed or is renegotiated on terms that are less favorable to Mozilla.

When the original three-year partnership deal was signed in 2008, Chrome was still on the drawing boards. Today, it is Google’s most prominent software product, and it is rapidly replacing Firefox as the alternative browser on every platform.

With its biggest source of revenue likely to dry up and a platform that is under attack from Microsoft and Google, how long will it take before Firefox slides into irrelevance?

Source: ZDNet

UPDATE: Firefox is not dying anytime soon as Google has renewed their search deal with Mozilla once again, with almost 3 times the deal they struck with them in 2008. Google will be paying Mozilla $300 Million per year in the search deal.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Creating 2D Graphics Accelerated Games for the Nokia 500 Phone with QT - Webinar

Nokia invites you to her upcoming webinar, which introduces the OpenVG API and how to utilise it on the Nokia 500 phone. Because the Nokia 500 phone does not include 3D-graphics acceleration, achieving high frames can be a challenge. The phone's 2D graphics accelerator, however, can be used to accelerate graphics rendering. In this session, several small OpenVG code snippets will be provided, and an easy-to-learn sprite-rendering API will be demonstrated with a full game example.

Date: 13 December
Time: 9 a.m. San Francisco, noon New York, 5 p.m. London, 7 p.m. Helsinki

You can sign up here

Optimising 2D and 3D Games for the New Symbian Belle Phones - Webinar

Each of Nokia's latest Symbian Belle phones — the Nokia 603, Nokia 700, and Nokia 701 smartphones — offers high-performance graphics-rendering capabilities and an upgraded CPU. To achieve the highest level of graphics performance, developers must know how the graphics architecture in Belle phones differs from the most commonly used architectures. This webinar will cover the changes to previous Symbian chipsets and give advice on how to optimise OpenGL ES games for Belle phones. Small shader performance-benchmarking snippets will be provided, with full source code.

Date: 14 December
Time: 9 a.m. San Francisco, noon New York, 5 p.m. London, 7 p.m. Helsinki

Sign up here

Developing In-App Purchasing Enabled Games with Qt Webinar

'Freemium' is rapidly becoming the most popular business model for mobile games. In-app purchasing is the core feature of the freemium business model and potentially a major source of revenue for game developers. Nokia is inviting you to an exciting webinar, which introduces the Qt in-app purchasing process and its possibilities for monetisation. The session will also feature a presentation of two game examples in which in-app purchasing is utilised.  

Date: 12 December
Time: 9 a.m. San Francisco, noon New York, 5 p.m. London, 7 p.m. Helsinki

You can sign up here