Be Yourself

‘Be yourself’ has to be the most overrated piece of advice ever. Just think of all the things you would do if you didn’t restrain yourself and you’d see why. lol. We often don’t show our true selves because we strive to be better than what we are. That sounds like a good thing to me. Most things in life boil down to putting on a performance and playing a role. In everything, there are a series of customs and conventions to follow to be successful. You have a job interview, you research what you’re supposed to say and how …

Maybe everyone should learn how to program!

It’s interesting the way some things can seem insignificant and significant at the same time. We hardly give thought to food and water when they’re available but their absence or scarcity can quickly spark a crisis. I guess that’s the way systems work in general. They’re a series of components that work together and the failure of an essential component can bring it down completely. I find it useful to think of things in life in this kind of systematic way. What does this thing consist of? What are the different parts and how do they work together? What’s likely …

The story behind Vincy Radio for Android

  A few days ago, I released the most significant update to Vincy Radio since it’s inception many years ago. I’m pretty happy with it. It now features a more modern design and a new chat feature that promises a more engaging experience but before I go into all of that, I’d like to talk about a bit of its history. The original version of Vincy Radio was created with the Titanium development tool. This allowed me to target both iOS and Android. I liked the iOS version but the Android version felt a bit sluggish. I kept the iOS …

How is Instagram for Android built?

Instagram is a lovely app. It has a fast and beautiful interface which is a fitting backdrop or canvas for the service it offers, which is the ability for users to share equally stunning photos and videos. I am not much of a photo and video person so this aspect of Instagram doesn’t resonate with me so much. But what impresses me as a developer is how well-built it is. The interface is buttery smooth even on old memory-challenged devices in an age where we struggle with bulky apps like Facebook. I always wonder, “what kind of techniques and tools …

Lessons Learned from Hitting the Front Page of Hacker News

My article about issues with images in React Native hit the front page of Hacker News and also received a lot of views on Reddit. Getting to the front page of these sites results in a traffic spike which is great if you’re in the business of getting people to visit your sites. In this post, I’d like to talk about some things that I’ve learned from the experience. Over the two days after I submitted the article to Hacker News and Reddit, I got close to 7000 views to the blog. That sounds great for someone just getting started, …

Tempted to abandon React Native for native Android Part 2

My post about some issues I was having with the performance of images in React Native received quite a bit of attention. As developers, we’re all concerned about how well our code does its job. The response was unexpected but tremendously appreciated. The responses helped to give me some insight into the cause of the problem and potential solutions. This, for me, is what makes the internet so great. The first order of business was to test my hypothesis that a native Android app would perform better in the way in which images are handled. I created an app in …

Tempted to abandon React Native for native Android

I have been using React Native for the past few months and have been thoroughly enjoying it. My first React Native app has been deployed to the PlayStore and I currently have another in development. I enjoy using APIs that are intuitive and expressive and React gives me that. Composing views declaratively with JSX is much more fun than constructing view hierarchies in code. This, combined with the ability to use Stylesheets to style views, has allowed me to create more beautiful interfaces than what I have been creating. It took me a while to grok the React way of …

Small coding victory with React Native and WordPress

I just launched a very early preview of my React Native app for my blog that uses WordPress and its REST API as a backend. Naturally, I’d like to know how much traffic the app drives to the blog. I monitor the stats for the website with the popular Jetpack plugin. I’ve seen referrals to links from Android apps before so I just assumed that WebViews embedded in native Android apps used the application ID as the referrer. I hadn’t seen any referrals from my own app so I was already open to the possibility that it might be something …

Is democracy overrated?

I must admit it. I enjoyed the Trump show, particularly during the election campaign. You can’t deny that the guy is entertaining. He’s made for television and that’s probably why his television show, The Apprentice, has done so well. But like many, including the majority of voters in the United States, I don’t believe he belongs in the White House. But he was duly elected in a free and fair election and when someone so unqualified for a position is democratically elected, it makes you wonder if something is wrong with democracy itself. And no, it’s not just Trump and …

The strange connections we feel to people we follow online

I got up one morning and checked my daily Medium feed and a story jumped out at me. It was called “Sex and Sorrow“. Catchy title, no? What’s the association between sex and sorrow? So, I read it and then made a comment. Later that day, the author of the post responded to my comment. I felt a mixture of surprise and glee that my comment was getting some attention. While reading the comment, I was overcome with the sensation that I was interacting with an old friend. She was open and articulate and that is the kind of people …