What is Drupal?
For those of you living in the Dark Ages, Drupal is a CMS (Content Management System) that’ll quickly give you an unfair advantage (see features) when it comes to creating any type of website. But don’t take my word for it.

“Drupal is software that allows an individual or a community of users to easily publish, manage and organize a great variety of content on a Web site. Tens of thousands of people and organizations have used Drupal to set up scores of different kinds of Web sites, including:
  • Community Web portals and discussion sites
  • Corporate Web sites/intranet portals
  • Personal Web sites
  • Aficionado sites
  • E-commerce applications
  • Resource directories

Drupal includes features to enable content management systems, blogs, collaborative authoring environments, forums, newsletters, picture galleries, file uploads and download, and much more. Drupal is open source software licensed under the GPL and is maintained and developed by a community of thousands of users and developers. Drupal is free to download and use.” (Source: CMS Matrix)

Is this CMS a good pal?
Now, I’ve never used Drupal but I’ve been in the IT business long enough to know a good thing just from reading countless rave reviews. Web developers really love this CMS, and I’m not about to second guess them. Oh, Big Blue (aka IBM) is also gung ho on Drupal too. For those of you who’d like to see what it’s like to install Drupal on your web server, then I urge you to read more. By the way, I’m told the Drupal user community is also very helpfull to newbies.

Vote for Drupal
By the way, if you’re a Drupal user and would like to show your support for this venerable CMS, then by all means cast your vote. It is one of 5 CMSs duking it out for top honors. Take a peek at this:

“This is your chance to support Drupal by voting! Pakt publishing is running a competition for the best Open Source CMS, and Drupal is in the top 5 candidates. The final round of judging will be done by four judges, where the community vote is the fourth judge. That means it is time to head on over to the voting page and fill out the form to show that you choose Drupal above all others. The winning CMS will get US $5,000, the second will get US $3,000 and the third placed finalist will get US $2,000.” (Source: Drupal.org)

Enjoy.

A look at Database Management & Design tools
Since we’re using the free LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP/Python/Perl) stack to create our eCommerce web portal here in Africa, I reckon that it’s only a matter of time before our database becomes unmanageable. Thus it’s smart to use appropriate tools in order regain some control considering there’s well over 70 tables with more on the way – eventually.

I’ve heard a lot of good things about TOAD over the years, and was fortunate to find this quick review over at ITtoolbox. It looks as though a freeware version for MySQL database management is available. Why don’t you take it for a spin?

Other good DBA (database administration) tools include SQLyog (there’s a free edition) and DB Designer4 (completely free by FabFORCE). Of course, a lot of web developers use PHPMyAdmin, which is a remarkable web-based tool that’s 100% free, but these other tools are usually much faster since they run as a desktop application and use native C/C++ libraries to connect to MySQL.

A stroll down memory lane
I’m told TOAD is written in Delphi (Object Pascal), which is a very powerful language invented by Borland (inventor of Turbo C, C++ Builder, Turbo Prolog, Quattro Pro, Interbase, Turbo Pascal, Paradox, purchased DBase from Ashton Tate) and is on par with C/C++ for speed. Trust me! By the way, I got into programming via Turbo Pascal, which was then morphed into Delphi. Pascal is still one of my favourite computer languages to date. Perhaps it’s just nostalgia, but Dr. Niklaus Wirth from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology was “waaaay” ahead of his time back then. Too bad Pascal’s successor, Modula, didn’t gain momemtum.

If you need more info on LAMP, get it right here!

I blogged here about how the Indian state of Kerala has begun to take a serious look at using Linux and other open source apps in order to save money. No doubt this move will also reduce those dreaded Windows security bugs (holes). Read more…

If any of you have given M$ the boot, please let me know. Tell me what you did. What software you relied on before, and what alternative (Linux, Max OS/X, etc.) you’re using now.

Now, although I’ll give credit to M$ on their new security intitiatives, the fundamental fact remains that Windows (XP, and soon Vista) is still too expensive for most developing nations. In other words, Linux is more than good enough for these governments who could then use the savings on better education and health care for its citizens.

Bigger = better?
Not necessarily.
So I was cruising the addictive Delicious tagging/bookmarking site that’s taking the web by storm, and this popular link ( Don’t settle for Google AdSense)
by Erik over at the ProductWiki blog really got my attention. This is very interesting information. Well, for those blog whores who’d like to earn a little revenue from ads on their blog sites. To make a long story short, it appears that Shopping.com just “might” provide webmasters with a better opportunity to “pay cash for a red Ferarri” (in my case, a pearl white Ford Mustang-GT convertible) as opposed to going with the Big G (er Google). You don’t believe me? Then take a peek at this visual comparison.

Do you see how the Shopping.com ad is “waaaay” more informative for, um, shoppers? Read more.

Filed under:eCommerce Adsense Shopping.com advertising web advertising Google

Eyes wide shut
I’ve had a lot of misconceptions about Perl (more info) over the years even though I’ve never touched the language. Yes, I do know that it’s an extremely powerful language for handling system administration and text processing duties. It’s also great for writing complex applications and everything in between. Well, after perusing the replies from numerous Perl experts in this forum, I finally get it. Perl suffers from a few misconceptions that’s seen PHP, Python and even Ruby gain prominence at her expense. Now, I’m not knocking those 3 languages. They are incredible.

Snake eyes
Besides, Python is definitely going to be my secret weapon in future application development projects. Why? Well take a peek at these 3 links (here, here, here). Oh, you gotta check out this amazing quote:

“The computing landscape has been transformed over the course of the last decade from one focused on the PC to a new web-based model where many of the new killer applications run on the LAMP (Linux-Apache-MySQL-Perl/PHP/Python) platform. In the new paradigm applications are continually updated as new data becomes available and dynamic languages like Python are an essential key to this shift.

But even non-programmers like me know Python is good for a whole heck of a lot more than web programming. It’s a highly adaptable (and scalable), full-featured, object-oriented programming language that’s suitable for a wide variety of jobs. Its stable and mature, has large and powerful standard libraries, and integrates extremely well with C, C++, or Java code, and COM objects. The future looks bright for Python and its with great delight that I’m finally posting this booklet of Python Success Stories.”

As you can see, the slippery “sssnake” takes a back seat to no one. All I’m saying is that Perl truly is a remarkable language, and now I understand why Perlites (Perl programmers) are so passionate about their language. Read more.

Happy coding!

Filed under: programming PHP Perl language comparison Perl reviews Python

Ditching Blogger…plus a “delicous” discovery
Although I’m still a slave to Blogger.com, I thought this informative post just might come in handy sometime in the future if I feel like jumping ship – over to WordPress. After all, Blogger does not allow me to categorize my posts. However, I’m a huge del.icio.us user now so screw categories…tags are “waaaay” more powerful. Oh, you don’t believe me?? Well take a peek at this: http://del.icio.us/maxtheitpro. I’m starting to use
del.icio.us to bookmark everything. Ditto the posts for AyoAfrica, which is the eBusiness/eCommerce web portal (still in beta mode) that’s been occupying the majority of my time here in Kenya. See for yourself: http://del.icio.us/ayoafrica. Once I get the blogs up for the Motoring, online Pharmacy, Movie library, Arts section, etc., the competition ain’t gonna know what hit em. You see, we want to excel in Customer Service and blogs are a great tool for doing just that. Take a peek at our LifeSize Magazine and Motoring blogs. Stay tuned!

Now, if you’ve been in the dark about the latest and greatest FREE services on the Internet, del.icio.us is simply a site that stores all your bookmarks, posts, etc. using tags so that you, your friends or fellow web surfers can peek your links. Heck, I don’t know how the f!ck I got along without it. Let’s just say I don’t bother bookmarking anything any more. That’s “soooo” passe. My life as an Internet whore is now even more deliciously devine. :-)

Oh!
As I was saying, this script, which was hacked by some dude named Andy (aka Skeltoac), allows you to move (er, import) all of your Blogger posts and comments right into WordPress. Moreover, WordPress is supposedly an AMAZING blogging application that’s 100% FREE thanks to the spirit of the Internet and the Open Source community. Heck, even my favorite IT pro on the planet, John C. Dvorak, uses WordPress on his personal blog, Dvorak Uncensored. So, if it’s good enough for him, then I should be okay. After all, he’s fussy…but in a good way.

Teens of the world, unite!
Well, I always gain new insights by reading the columns of my favorite IT pro, John C. Dvorak. This dude is “waaaay” ahead of the curve on how things aught to be in the world of Information Technology. He’s also pretty sharp in his logical analysis on who’s fu#king up in said industry. Let’s just say his Inside Track column is partly responsible for me keeping my edge on the competition. Quite frankly, I share his views on all the stupid anti-piracy legislation that’s sweeping the West due to greedy Hollywood media moguls. In this column, Dvorak believes that the RIAA and their ilk may have met their match if Sweden‘s teenagers have anything to do with it – at the ballot box. He sets the stage with this poignant (neat, skillful, and to the point) observation:

Well, it looks like the boneheads in Hollywood and the RIAA, along with onerous new copyright laws such as the DMCA and other restrictions, are triggering change. I’d be cautious. Today’s youth internationally are not like anything we’ve seen before. Their view of the world is skewed by the media and new realities. When they see all these restrictions, they see them done on behalf of fat guys who are flying around in private jets with a cabin full of high-class hookers while lighting cigars with hundred-dollar bills. They see rappers in limos wearing diamonds and having their teeth removed and replaced with gold for no apparent reason other than to spend the suckers’ money. They see mega-yachts and homes that are the size of a small college all bought and sold on the backs of the kids buying music. Indeed, they are seeing a different world than most of us did when we were growing up. It’s nuts. It looks unfair or, worse, exploitative.

Then they see old ladies arrested for copyright violations because a grandkid downloaded a song. Dead people are indicted in hysterical sweeps. Kids are threatened with ruination for song-swapping.

They’re not going to put up with it for long, I can assure you. While I think any outrage will fall short of storming the compounds of the rich and burning their homes, once the next-generation youth finally figure out that they can take over at the ballot box, all hell will break loose.

By the way, if you want to see Dvorak’s views on what a real democracy is all about, take a peek at this quote:

In a parliamentary system, a group like the Pirate Party, which will quickly surpass Sweden’s Green Party, doesn’t have to win a majority of seats to have an effect. In multiparty systems (unlike in the U.S.), you have to form coalitions to rule, and all sorts of deals are made for anything to get done. And I suspect that a lot of older politicos are tired of being pushed around by U.S. intellectual-property monopolists and would love to side with the Pirate Party on the excuse that they “had to.”

Links to the current situation are on my blog here. To American ears, this all seems and sounds silly. But the moniker for the Pirate Party in Swedish, Piratpartiet, actually has a nice ring to it.

God damn it, but I love the way this guy THINKS! Honestly, if anyone thinks the US has a real democracy, guess again. Two parties (Republicans & Democrats) does not make a democracy. Nough said. Oh, go Sweden go!

Hopefully the youths in Africa will follow suit and take back their continent since most of these greedy, CORRUPT politicians over here couldn’t give a damn about them…unless they’re family, or when election time rolls around. Read on.

Some things never change
Since I’m intimately involved in the creation of a new, exciting eBusiness “community” web portal that’s part eCommerce, part entertainment (eventually), and part community, I was tickled pink when I ran across Jakob Nielsen‘s Top Ten Web Design Mistakes of 1999 in cyber space. Most importantly, I’ll be sure to pass on this link to our web developers. So, who the heck is Jakob Nielsen (see pic on left)? Well, according to ZDNet‘s Anchordesk, he’s the smartest person on the Web.”

What’s surprising about this article is the fact that a lot of companies and web developers still make the same damn mistakes…and this is 2006. Like, do people not use the logic and common sense in their god-given brains?? {“Earth to web developers, please come in!! Can you hear me??“}

Repent or die
Even though I’m not a religious person per se, Jakob offers some timely web religion (er advice) for everyone who’s involved with anything and everything to with the creation of web pages. And just like my mother in Canada is still trying to get me to step foot inside a church so that I can be (gasp!) “saved”, I’m sure many future web projects will be saved by Jakob’s timely web design advise – if people will just read and subscribe to his “religious doctrine.” :-)

Take the information & run
I’m convinced that this information will be of vital importance for aspiring web developers and companies in Africa who would like to really make some serious noise on the Internet. Hopefully, they’ll absorb Jakob’s excellent advise and reap the rewards of sweet success.

Only time will tell.

Oh, while you’re here, take a peek at Dave Taylor‘s best-selling book on Creating Cool Web Sites with HTML, XHTML and CSS. It’s a must read for aspiring folks who are looking to gain an unfair advantage over their peers in cyber space. {“Doh, why did I provide this link to everyone?”} :-)

Happy computing.

Escapism & Diversion Dept.
Since I’m having a blast here in Africa, I’ve decided to use this section of my blog as a form of escapism from the fast-paced world of Information Technology. Most of the time, I’ll probably talk (or show pics) about the fantabulous world of Electronic Dance Music (EDM), which is one of my main passions in life. Just take a peek at my previous blog entry, Asus Creates Sizzling new 19in LCD for Gamers, to see how much I loooove this genre of music and the exciting music events it has spawned around the planet.

Speaking of music events, I can’t believe I’m going to miss the Sundance Music Festival at Beach Club, which is just a hop, skip and a jump outside of Montreal (Quebec, Canada). Here, you’ll find the world’s top DJs pumping out some of the most incredible EDM sounds to about 15,000 adoring fans. Let’s just say that the vibe is going to be “out of this world.”

Now, on other occasions, I’ll talk about interesting or scenic places I’ve visited (or heard about). And sometimes, I’ll just quickly mention stuff relating to healthy living (ie. medicinal mushrooms, powerfull herbal teas, exercising, etc.) because the most precious asset we all have in common is our health. Besides, I’m not a fan of Big Pharma.

As you can see, I like to be versatile because it prevents me from getting bored to death…like when I used to attend church as a kid, sitting on a hard bench for 2 hours or so catching up on my sleep. :-)

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Seeing is Believing
Wow, this monitor looks absolutely
amazing!! I soooo want one. Yo, Asus, what do I gotta do to get my hands on one of these thingys? Heck, I’ll trade in my little brother if you’re so inclined. Do you see me smiling? :-) Folks, if you think this monitor’s not destined for greatness, then take a peek at this:

Rife with unique industrial designs, the black-and-silver PG191 comes with a sleek aluminium alloy neck and circular base and piano-black panel frame, making it a stylish piece of décor for any environment. Specially designed for gamers, the display takes inspiration from stealth planes and tank cannons to put you in the atmosphere of the latest FPS shooters. The top-of-the-range PG191 integrates a 2.1-channel speaker system (two 10-Watt speakers and 15-Watt super bass system) to deliver an exhilarating audio experience when battling in the virtual world. Complemented by SRS Lab’s Flagship TruSurround XT audio technology, the display supports the latest game 5.1-and 6.1 channel sound effects. {source}

Now, some hardcore gamers are probably gonna be pissed off with the monitor’s built-in speakers. Screw em! I’m not a gamer so this is not really a problem for me. {Note to Self: Must plan a clandestine operation at Asus HQ in Taiwan to free the PG191 from bondage. If I don’t make it back alive, my peeps will disavow any knowledge of ever knowing me…or borrowing money offa me.}

The BEST things in Life are FREE
My very good pal Robbie (aka The Download Whore, aka Lead Foot) in Ottawa is definitely going to love this blog entry. He’s an IT pro who was also one of the world’s top video game players just a few years back. In fact, his highest ranking was #4. Let’s just say he’ll destroy any one in Quake. He sort of lived a rock star life “back then” getting FREE trips to Las Vegas and Seoul (South Korea) to compete against the world’s best gamers. Heck, video game manufacturers would even send him games and hardware devices to try out in order to get critical feedback.

Fatal attraction…for ca$h
Oh, Robbie’s Net pal, Fatality – a legend in the gaming world – even has a bloody video card named after him. Can you say, “Geeks??” :-) But it looks as though this dude has a license to print money. Take a peek at this:

At 24, Jonathan Wendel, aka “Fatality,” is living the dream. He expects to make over $200,000 this year as a professional gamer. {source}

Hmmn, I wonder if Robbie ever made that kind of cash just for starting virtual wars.

Out with the old…in with the new
Any how, I don’t think he’s into the gaming thingy as much. Why?? Because we’re both hooked on attending huge
EDM events in cities like Montreal and Toronto. I fondly remember meeting this super kool dude after going to Club Vibe (in Ottawa) to hear Derrick Carter (also see here here here and here) destroy the decks (er turntables) with his delicious brand of House, which just happens to be a sub-genre of EDM (Electronic Dance Music).

Pssst…do you want to see the ultimate EDM event? Well, this pic is from the Sensation White Party (see more pics) in Amsterdam where you’ll find some of the biggest (and most expensive) DJs performing. Any one who’s serious about their EDM beats must attend this event. Ditto for Ibiza, Spain.

A great beginning

If you look back at my life, it’s utterly hilarious how I meet people. This is one of those occasions. So I meet Robbie and Hanna (a Ukrainian hottie) – his best friend at the time – at the end (5:30 AM) of the Derrick Carter event, and we all still felt like partying. {Come to think of it, Robbie has more skirt friends than Paris Hilton’s entire wardrobe skirt collection.}

Any how, this dude named Phil invites me and some other friends over to his place to chill and listen to some of his House music records. So now Phil’s pal, DJ Danny K, a new comer at the time, was spinning some of the most amazing EDM sounds I’ve ever heard. I like to call his style on that particular morning Dark Progressive House because it was upbeat, disruptive, inspiring and BASStastik. It was simply out of this world. You see, a really good EDM DJ has a signature sound (and rhythm) that you, the clubber, can tune into – almost like clockwork. Could this be the vibe that everyone always talks about afterwards? I believe so.

Dan The Man
So me and my buddies (Sarahkins, Robbie, Hanna, Liz, Tom) were like,
“Holy sh!t…this dude’s fuck!ng amazing!!” Seriously, Danny K has got to be one of the best bedroom DJs I’ve ever heard in my life. Ditto for 3 other House cats: Rick “The Plant”, Pablo Diablo and DJ Ryan Dunlop. Let’s just say that I’ve attended tons of after parties so I’m a pretty good judge of bedroom DJ talent. By the way, if you’re lucky, try to get your hands on the “Fresh Ones” mix which was created by Danny K around 2004. All I can say is, “Wow!!

New beats
Oh, and as they say, “the rest is History.” Me and Robbie have been very good friends since meeting in 2004. Thanks to the download whore that he is, I’ve been getting a steady supply of fantastic EDM beats since I’m on a sloooow Internet connection here in Nairobi – perhaps due to Telkom Kenya‘s corrupt monopoly that’s kept this country in the dark ages when it comes to broadband Internet. Boy do I hate telecom monopolies. Besides, I am simply too impatient to look for DJ mixes on the Net from over here.

But thanks to Robbie, I’ve been introduced to the Dark Tribal/Progressive sounds of Rick Pier O’Neil. Now, this is the kind of EDM beats that can change the world – one listener at a time – as opposed to that CHEESY crap most of you naive peeps from the Top 40 world call “Techno”, which is just sooooo wrong. I suggest you listen to every EDM genre here to see and hear what I’m talking about.

Oh well…gotta jet.

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I’m back in Nairobi
Hi Everyone! I’ve been soooo busy getting our eBusiness web portal up to speed. Plus, I just recently got back from Tanzania (Arusha and Zanzibar) doing some “IT Tourism” — if I can coin such a phrase. By the way, Tanzania is now my favorite place in all of East Africa. I’m still depressed about leaving such a beautiful country, and it’s wonderful people. Heck, I was only there for 2 weeks. “Me wanna go back – pronto!” :-(

Seeing is believing…
Oh, I forgot to tell you something. Um, I flew by Mount Kilimanjaro on my return trip to Nairobi from Zanzibar. Damn, what a spectacle!! She’s simply awesome – and scary at the same time. Why scary? Well, all I was thinking when flying in the Precision Air propeller plane was this: “Please don’t let there be a ‘mechanical problem’ forcing us to permanently (and painfully) relocate between a rock and a hard place.”
We were only flying at 20,000 feet, and Killi’s about 700 feet less. Any how, it was a very safe flight. Otherwise I doubt I’d be writing this entry…unless I’m in
(gasp!) Hell. I don’t know about you, but I have a sneaking suspicion that I’d have way more fun “down” there than “up” in that other place where everyone has wings. Okay…enough kidding around! ;-) {NOTE: Pics info: By the way, I got these Kilimanjaro pics from my good friend and business associate, Sam, who actually climbed the Summit over a period of 5 days in 2003 with some Russian tourists. There he is on the top of the world with our super kool pal, Irina, from Moscow. He was also on the 747 when the above 2 pics were taken.}

Moving right along…
For starters, I assume you all know what a weblog (or blog) is, right?? {Hint: You’re reading one right now}. Well, I mentioned in a previous blog entry of mine (GMail is Annoying me TODAY) how GMail (and Blogger to a lesser degree) were starting to piss me off, and that how Google — a company that I adore because they have a lot of talented IT pros with vision — had better get their act together with these wonderful web services. I guess what I’m trying to say is that, to me, they’re starting to “appear” to NOT pay attention to the little important details, which will eventually annoy hardcore users — like me.

Getting wet & wild
Any how, it appears that there just might be a new kid on the block in the web collaboration realm. Folks, please allow me to introduce you to wetpaint. Why am I so enthused about wetpaint? Because their collaboration technology is like a chameleon. In other words, you get all the benefits of a weblog, a wiki, and web forums all rolled into one super kool interface — or so I’m told. Damn, I can see myself getting friends and colleagues to finally start creating their very own collaborative websites in Cyber Space – effortlessly.

One potential snag…
I’m not sure about this, but if the Google ads on a wetpaint website are not making money for the author who’s supplying the web content, then I might stay put. You see, I make a little bit of cash every time someone clicks one of my Google ads that you see right on this page. If wetpaint does not allow me to earn a little cash from my web content, then forget it. I just sent them an email so I’ll let you know what the deal is. Oh, take a peek at this wetpaint
site (Victoria City Style Council) which aims to promote the beautiful city of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Not bad, eh?

Take a hike…

I guess I might as well take wetpaint for a spin. Right?

Well, since I’m a big fan of Electronic Dance Music (House, Funky House, Tech Trance, Tribal House, Techno, Progressive House, etc.), I have a strong desire to create a collaborative site where I can interact with all my club buddies (in Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, etc.) and other EDM aficionados from around the planet. Why?

The reason is quite simple. It allows us to share information on up and coming DJs and producers who are pumping out some delicious pounding beats. You see, there’s a lot of cheesy music going around right now that people like you call Techno. And this is ruining the amazing underground beats that you’ll never hear on the radio or cheesy Top-40 clubs that play commercial crapola. Well, I want to educate new peeps on what gooood EDM is all about.

Trust me, once you’ve listened to a DJ Dan, John Digweed, Chris Liebing, Steve Lawler, DJ Demi (see pic on right), Miss Honey Dijon or a Victor Calderone DJ mix, you too will be hooked. Who knows, I’ll probably run into you at some big dance event like Bal en Blanc (pics) where you’ll find up to 20,000 passionate EDM lovers getting down on the dance floor over the Easter long weekend. Or, if it’s a Sunday afternoon, I’ll probably see you at Beach Club (see pic on left & below) just outside of Montreal enjoying some awesome EDM beats under the sun. Well, maybe. I’m sort of out of the loop since I’m waaaay over here on the dark continent. :-)

Get cracking!
Well, I’ve introduced you to a new, powerful (and FREE) tool to quickly create your very own collaborative website that acts like a weblog, web forum, and wiki all rolled into one easy-as-apple-pie web interface.

What more can you ask for people??

Now, giddyap and point your web browsers to wetpaint. I guarantee that you’ll wow your friends, colleagues and enemies with a tool which I believe is going to make a lot of noise very soon. Just remember where ya heard it from. Oh, if you do create a wetpaint site, please post a link in the comments below. Pssst…take a peek at some more wetpaint sites.

Happy computing!

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