Set your priorities!

“Good things happen when you get your priorities straight.” – Scott Caan

Here is a story I came across some time ago. I just thought I should share 🙂

A philosophy professor stood before his class with some items on the table in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks, about 2 inches in diameter. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was. So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar
lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was. The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.

He then asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “Yes.” “Now,” said the professor, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The rocks are the important things – your family, your partner, your health, your children – things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter – like your job, your house, your car. The sand is everything else. The small stuff.” “If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued “there is no room for the pebbles or the rocks.

The same goes for your life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take your partner out dancing. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party and fix the disposal. Take care of the rocks first – the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

Top 6 phones to look forward to in 2013

Here is the list of phones that I think are going to rock 2013… This list might not be accurate though. Please share your opinions.

Samsung S4

galaxy-s4-picture Samsung has a very eventful year in 2012 filled with a lot of ups and downs. The most notable of the downs was the patent battle loss against Apple resulting into a $1.05 billion verdict and the banning of the sales of most of Samsung’s line of phones in United States. This was however not able to stop this hardware giant from maintaining its lead over Apple in smartphone sales during the third quarter. A lot of these sales are due to its Galaxy lineup including S3, S3 mini. Samsung will be looking to maintain their lead in the smartphone market with another beautiful phone. Nothing is sure till Samsung ships this new generation device but there are already some rumors about the phone. Although Samsug has also shown off curved handset displays, recent reports of a flexible Samsung Galaxy S4 have been largely rubbished, with bendable displays currently believed to be too expensive and limited to produce for what is expected to be a high-yielding phone The phone is rumored to be a visibly thinner design, a flexible screen, five-inch display, faster processor (2GHz quad-core chipset), a 13-megapixel camera, an imperishable laser keyboard technology and should run an Android Jelly Bean. Despite facing a number of oppositions, Samsung is still going strong with a lofty goal of selling 500 mobile phones. It is just a matter of time before we find out if this Korean company is here to stay as the only true contender to Apple as regards smartphone engineering and manufacturing.

iPhone 5S

2012 was an important year for Apple and its history. It was the first full year Apple operated under CEO Tim Cook’s watch. It was full of plenty ups and downs for Cook to ride on. On the September 12, 2012, Apple continued its tradition by announcing another generation of its own smartphone and iOS software update (iOS 6). iPhone 5 featured a stunning new 4-inch Retina display technology with an Apple-designed A6 chip designed for blazing fast performance. iOS 6 was also bundled with over 200 new features including: a new Maps app internally developed by Apple; Facebook integration; and even more Siri features and languages. However, in just weeks after Apple’s release of iOS 6, much to the surprise of Apple-watchers, the company posted an open letter in late September to its customers, signed by Tim Cook, that acknowledged Apple’s shortcomings in its release of the internally developed Maps for iOS software. It is worthnoting that previous iOS software updates came bundled with a version of Google Maps for iOS. In 2013, Apple will be looking forward to increase the sales of its iPhone 5 until the release of its next generation of smartphone. Apple fans might have to wait till latter in the year (September to be precise) to see this new phone. The rumors are the next generation will be a slightly upgraded iPhone5 with a new A6 processor, which twice as fast as the old one, improved battery life, an amazing new 15MP camera and all-new iOS 7 software bundle which contains better maps and improved multitasking to mention but a few.

Nokia Lumia 940

Nokia_Lumia_940_carbon_concept_1-490x434

There is no doubt that when it comes to making strong and reliable hardware, Nokia ranks high. It is worth noting that Nokia developed early smartphone prototypes that anticipated features of Apple’s iPhone and iPad but Nokia however never produced the gadgets. Nokia’s management created a corporate culture that lavished funds on research but squandered opportunities to bring its innovations to the market. However the recent rumors about Nokia Lumia 940 have been quite impressive. The new model is believed to be designed by Edgar Mkrtchyan and it is made entirely of carbon. The device adopts a more rounded approach to the usual Lumia design and runs on Windows Phone 8. The Nokia Lumia 940 features a carbon shell with a large curved screen and inside there’s a dual core 1.5GHz processor with a 4.5 inch PureMotion HD+ 1280 x 768 screen with Gorilla Glass protection. At the back it is believed to have a 12 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics, dual LED flash and 1080p video capture. There is no doubt Nokia will be willing to maximize its PureView camera technology to create something exceptional. The entire unit is powered up with a 3000mAh battery (am surprised Nokia’s wireless electricity technology isn’t ready for the market yet) and connectivity is made possible with microUSB, NFC (Near-Field Communication), Bluetooth and Nokia 3.5 AV.

Blackberry 10

RIM is within days of staging a comeback with a brand new proprietary mobile operating system. Early leaks of the OS show that RIM is definitely bringing the Blackberry into the modern age. The new UI design looks fresh and smartly designed and might get Blackberry enthusiasts excited once again about the brand. The stakes are high for RIM and RIM has responded by spending more than a year aggressively trying to get a critical mass of apps. Over the last weekend, RIM wrote that 19,000 app were submitted in response to its $10,000 developer incentive campaign. It is a largely certain that RIM will unveil the Blackberry Z10 L-Series on January 30 but recent rumors indicate that another line of new devices will premiere on that same day. The Blackberry X10 N-Series may make an appearance at RIM’s New York City event this month, according a Blackberry news blog. Furthermore, RIM will announce two flavors of the L-Series Blackberry phones -3G and LTE model. No specific pricing information has been released, but there is rumor that RIM could be targeting a $150-$200 cost range. These rumors come amidst a string of Blackberry 10 clues that have mounted in recent weeks. Last week Verizon allegedly leaked the product page for Blackberry Z10 smartphone before quickly removing the listing. Just before that, a video surfaced online showcasing a detailed walkthrough of the new touch-centric Blackberry 10 OS. Now, the same website has posted footage of the Z10 battling head-to-head with Apple’s iPhone 5.

HTC M7

Despite early success the One X and solid hardware releases in general, HTC had a disappointing year last year. However new reports indicate HTC is already planning to shake things with the release of a new flagship smartphone during the first quarter of 2013. The Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer is said to be working with its suppliers to gear up the launch of a new handset – the HTC M7. The rumored specs for this phone include a 4.7-inch display with 1080p resolution (making for an amazing 468ppi pixel density), a 1.7GHz quad-core Qualcomm processor and a 13 megapixel camera. In the new leaked images, it is depicted as running Sense 5.0, the next generation of HTC’s own OEM-specific custom Android skin. The design looks flatter, cleaner and less cluttered. There’s no reliance on brushed metal and retro design clues – instead, all that’s replaced with sleek fonts, clean lines and simple striking design. Releasing the M7 ahead of Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5S could give the Taiwanese manufacturer a much needed edge in sales during the first half of 2013. HTC has struggled to keep up with Apple and Samsung this past year and will be looking it improve its status quo this year.

LG Optimus G Pro

LG is yet to be a force to be reckoned with in the smartphone industry. The Korean company has yet to make a big splash in the mobile industry after a string of missed opportunities and poor decision. However, LG had a better year in 2012 with a total of 55 million handsets sold. LG will need to capitalize on the success of devices such as the Optimus G and Nexus to truly become a force in smartphone manufacturing. The LG Optimus G Pro, a successor to LG’s flagship Optimus G smartphone, looks to be preparing for a Japenese launch at least, according to a couple of separate leaks recently. The Optimus G Pro will launch on NTT Docomo in Japan, if the leaks prove true, running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, and featuring a quad-core, 1.7 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, with 2GB of RAM and 32GB of onboard storage. Unlike its namesake predecessor, Optimus G Pro has a larger 5-inch, 1080p HD screen and a huge 3,000mAh battery included to help better power all those pixels. It also reportedly comes with a 13-megapixel rear and 2.4 megapixel front camera.

Welcome to 2013

2012 is finally over and what’s left are the memories.

Nigerians will agree with me that Nigeria has had a fairly better start this year than the last with no-sudden fuel price hike, less Boko Haram strikes and the Nigerian Stock Exchange market being praised as the third most profitable market in the world.

2013 is now ahead of us looking promising and bright. We at Chillicon wish you success in every of your endeavor and pray that you will stay in good health.

Happy New Year!!!!

 

So you want to become a programmer

The task of learning how to program is a daunting one. There are also several myths associated with who a programmer is. For example “programmers are born not made”, this is misleading and wrong because any one ready to the pay the price could become a great programmer. The right mindset needs to be developed. Programming is a complex discipline involving science and art intricately woven together.

Just like in learning other crafts, the 10,000 hour by Maxwell Gladwell is applicable here. This rule suggests that it takes approximately 10,000 hours of dedicated and focused practice to become an expert in absolutely anything! Applying this rule to programming means you can become an exceptional programmer in the next 5 years if you can begin to practice for 5½ hours per day starting from tomorrow.

If you are still enthusiastic about becoming a programmer, then the seed of becoming great programmer is in you. Nurture it till you become an expert one day and always remember that “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. Consider the following, clues that can guide you in the becoming of an exceptional programmer.


Read up on some elementary computer science

Now don’t get scared because you saw computer science. The sad news is a major difference between great programmers and good programmers is their knowledge of computer science. The good news is that just the knowledge of rudimentary computer science can get you by for a very long time. Conventionally computer science is taught within ‘four walls’ and by boring lecturers but with the proliferation of educational materials provided by world-class university on the Internet, anybody with reliable Internet access can access these materials and learn what is necessary. Here are some of the things you should read up on algorithms and data structures, different programming paradigms, logic and a little knowledge about how hardware works would also be beneficial. If Internet access is a problem for you and you are low on cash then you can always borrow relevant books from your computer science major friends or better still sit them down over a couple of beer bottles.

Learn relevant programming languages

There are hundreds of programming languages that you can learn. Learning all these languages is surely a terrific idea but an unrealistic one. The better approach is to learn the language that is most relevant to you at a certain period with the aim of expanding your reach as time goes on. For example PHP is more relevant to a back-end web developer than Javascript and on the flip side; Javascript and CSS are more relevant to a front-end web developer than PHP while HTML is relevant to both front-end and back-end developers. However this doesn’t mean that as a back-end developer you shouldn’t learn Javascript or CSS, it means that if you are a back-end developer then you should focus on your business first (server-side languages) and vice-versa. It is also worth-noting that a programmer adept in a lot of languages is usually a top-ranked programmer.

Pick and master the right tools

Here is a simple analogy. A farmer using the most modern machineries (tractors) with the right set of skills has the potential of producing multiples of what a farmer using archaic tools (cutlasses, hoes) will produce given the same environmental conditions. As a programmer, you have access to a plethora of software tools. For example a programmer who wants to develop Mac and iOS native apps should rather invest in a Mac PC, an iPad and/or an iPhone than invest in a Linux-based PC. Although, there are great virtual operating systems like VBox, they are not really the same thing. This also applies to your choice of software tools. These set of tools include your workstation (Integrated Development Environment – IDE as they call it), browser plug-ins (for web developers) and even your graphics editing tool. Also when choosing your tools, note that most IDEs do not support more than one languages or platforms. For example Microsoft Visual Studio supports development of all types of Windows-based apps (PC and mobile) but useless if you want to develop non Windows-based apps like Andriod, iOS or Linux apps. A simple way around this is to have a wide range of software tools in your arsenal but most importantly use tools that you are most comfortable with

Work on a project

A typical likely response to this is “What the heck? I know just of elementary computer science, I barely understand a programming language’s syntax and I just finished downloading an IDE so how am I supposed to start a project?” Well don’t be discouraged because writing software is not rocket science and neither is it compulsory to write a complex software that hopes to compete with your favorite software or app. What is really important is the actually process of creating a simple but working software which will develop your understanding of software development generally. A good example of a project is a simple calculator or a simple text editor. It doesn’t have to be fancy but make sure you learn and apply the fundamental principles of good software design and development.

Join and participate in programming forums

Most good programmers only live in their heads; this often shuts them off to the beautiful world of collaboration. A great programmer is usually one that collaborates with other programmers with the aim of sharing knowledge and collaboration on projects. Also even though I don’t recommend this but since most programmers rarely socialize, forums could be also a place to do so. A forum could also be a place to ask technical questions relating to a project you are currently embarking on. Note that a forum doesn’t have to be formal or official; it could be you and four of your fellow geek friends. It can also exist on the Internet or at a physical location.

3 Tech Giants’ fall from Grace

Few companies make it to top and even the ones that do rarely stay there for a long period of time. The top spot remains a spot to be shared and envied by others who have never made it there. Companies need to be constantly aware of changes in their environment and market lest they lose relevance and become obsolete. With today’s rapid technological change, companies rise and fall faster than ever before. Companies need to continually innovate and reinvent themselves and their product offering(s) to stay in business. Here are three tech giants that once soared high to such enviable position but have now fallen short of their past glory:

1. RIM

Research-In-Motion was founded Mike Lazaridis and his friend Doug Fregin in 1984 while still undergraduates at the University of Waterloo. RIM came around during the early days of wireless networks and when email was still largely unknown in the world but Lazaridis foresaw the potential of mobile email. Can you pause and imagine a world where you cannot check your email inbox on the go? Even though a lot of people prefer other modern means of communication like Twitter, Google+ and Facebook, no one can deny that emails are still important and relevant especially in the corporate world.

The sum of the efforts put together by Mike Lazaridis and Doug Fregin lead to the innovation of the smartphone device called Blackberry. Blackberry became popular and changed the way organizations back then operated. A Blackberry device was very important then that some of the most powerful people in business and politics ran their lives with this device. Blackberry evolved over years to be a popular choice amongst a large number of people. It has however fallen from grace leading to disappointing sales figures. One popular but probably true opinion about RIM’s gradual decline amongst techies is that the typical Blackberry has not evolved (like iPhone, Android) into “a mobile computer in your pocket” but has rather stayed as “a highly functional mobile phone”.

RIM’s recent line of new Blackberry smartphone releases has not been impressive – the new set of phones lack differentiating features, making new releases just mere alterations of their predecessors. RIM has also not been able to create an attractive enough software ecosystem that can attract developers that can develop high end mobile apps – leaving Blackberry users with limited options of apps. With the earliest date of the release of the next line of devices (Blackberry 10) shifted to next year 2013, the question still remains “Will Blackberry 10 Save RIM or is it Too Late?”.

2. Nokia 

Nokia for 14 years was the strongest and largest mobile phone hardware manufacturing companies leading in innovation, design and market delivery. But like RIM, Nokia could not also create a large ecosystem for developers like Apple and Google did with Android within a short period of time. Nokia’s genius in making hardware hasn’t been questionable and what it seemed to lack in software wizardry it made up with durable and powerful hardware. Nokia was a leader across the high-end market to low-end market of mobile devices raking in cash and was an investor’s delight. It all became a different story starting from October, 2007 when Nokia’s stock price started to freefall from its second highest peak at approximately US$40. Nokia’s fall from grace also coincided with the rise of Apple’s iPhone.

While Apple was reinventing the smartphone with iPhone, Nokia seemed to be lost in a state of euphoria and did not see the need to attack Apple urgently afterall Nokia dominated the mid-range and the low-end market of phones. Google followed the Apple’s lead by releasing its own version of a mobile operating system called Android in 2008. Nokia’s demise however became obvious after Google perfected its Android’s strategy by offering Android to hardware manufacturers. This was a brilliant strategy as it provided Google’s Android with the ability of competing on the high-end market all the way down to the low-end market of mobile devices. This coverage attracted a large developer base who have helped Google build the only mobile apps ecosystem that can dare to compete with Apple’s iOS apps ecosystem in terms of volume and quality.

On the dawn of these developments, Nokia had three options: pursue MeeGo which was Nokia’s in-house high-end operating system, side with Android, or partner with Microsoft and adopt Windows Phone. Nokia’s CEO Stephen Elop (a former Microsoft employee) decided to partner with Microsoft and adopt Windows with the argument that it was not a battle of devices, but a war of ecosystems. He argued that Windows Phone was more market-ready than MeeGo and with Microsoft’s partnership, Windows Phone and its ecosystem would mature quickly. If Nokia had sided with Android, Nokia would had become Android’s largest partner even bigger than Samsung but Elop argued that it wouldn’t had offered Nokia the differentiation it needed. With Windows Phone Nokia could release something unprecedented into the market which it did with the release of Nokia Lumia 800 in November of 2011. Nokia has also released some other models of Nokia Lumia which although having the necessary features of a smartphone are not selling in high demand leading to a disappointing shipment of a little above 2 million devices. Nokia still makes a lot of money from low-end phones though but the volume of sales has dropped substantially.

3. Yahoo

Yahoo was founded in 1994 by two Standford grad students, Jerry Yang and David Filo. The story known about Yahoo’s creation was that Jerry and David were both doing their PhD theses and all the technical papers that they would have to reference were online, so they were trying to keep track of them all. They had a big list and had to start categorizing when the list got too bogus. So in short, Yahoo started as a portal for links to other sites. Yahoo however increased its product offerings with the addition of a search engine, email, instant messaging and some other functionalities. One of Yahoo’s early mistakes was not taking the search engine business seriously and therefore losing the competition to Google. Paul Graham strongly suggest in one of his articles that Yahoo lost the battle mainly because its management then did not understand the power of search engines then. The power of search engines is that it is usually the first destination of Internet users when they need to use the Internet because it presented the Internet in an organized form as opposed to the chaotic manner of the Internet. No wonder Google is a top Internet destination today accounting for a large percentage of the Internet’s traffic.

After losing out in the search engine business, another missed opportunity moment for Yahoo was in the social networking which is already changing today’s social interactions and relationships. Yahoo wasn’t entirely oblivious to social networking though it actually approached Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook with a bid of $1 billion. However, this effort like the efforts of many other ‘buyers’ wasn’t successful as Facebook wanted to take over the world all alone. However Google unlike their counterpart Yahoo had a foray into social networking with an in-house built Orkut named after its creator, a Google employee by the name Orkut Büyükkökten. Orkut more or less failed though but Google can now count that as a blessing as it has appeared to learn from its mistakes with Orkut reflecting in its second attempt with Google+.

It is however interesting to see Yahoo’s board making the bold and strategic move of poaching Marrisa Mayer from Google as its new CEO. Marrissa Mayerr was the first female engineer and among the first 20 people hired at Google. She was known to be a major force behind Google’s simple user interface. For 10 years, she was involved with the running of Google’s core search business while the company demolished its competitors like AltaVista, Lycos, Excite and even Yahoo. Before her recent appointment as the CEO of Yahoo she was assigned with the role of the VP of location and local services for Google. Part of her responsibility in this role was to oversee more than 1000 engineers and product managers working on Google Maps, Google Places and Google Earth on the global scale.

It’s however too early to predict whether she can rescue Yahoo but with her experience at Google starting from its early days she is likely to succeed. She’s also a risk taker (successful one at that) and also a woman to be reckoned with in the world of technology today.

Conclusion

It is worth-noting that it might not be the end for these companies who despite facing these challenges could rise above them and remain relevant and in existence. Apple was once faced with a similar situation and it excelled under the leadership of Steve Jobs after his comeback to Apple. Nokia also is no a stranger to challenging times. In the early 1990s Finland suffered a severe economic depression. Nokia responded by focusing on its telecommunications divisions, and by divesting itself of its television and PC divisions. These moves lead to Nokia’s meteoric rise to become the dominant telecommunications company of its time.

With the appointment of Marrisa Meyer at Yahoo!, the future of Yahoo! looks less bleak as she is capable of reviving the company and could take it to new heights. For RIM however, the future still appears bleak but hopefully its CEO Thorsten Heins will be able to revive it.