Friday 30 June 2017

Facebook Gets to 2 Billion Users

As the month ends, it is nice to report that officially Facebook gets to 2 Billion users.

This post by Mark Zuckerberg summarises everything.

Have a great second half of the year.

Thursday 29 June 2017

Microsoft MakeCode

Microsoft MakeCode is a partnership between Microsoft and Adafruit.

It is a new educational physical computing experience that features various boards and devices.

It allows you work with a variety of hardware devices using an online web based simulator. It provides support for programming the hardware devices using a visual block based editor.

The module for the BBC micro:bit is complete with the Adafruit Circuit Playground Express board, SparkFun and Chibitronics boards available in beta mode.

The site also features CS Intro which is a 14 weeks introduction to computer science using the BBC micro:bit. It contain everything you would need to teach basic computer science to absolute beginners.

If you are interested in physical computing, this is one site to keep an eye on.

Wednesday 28 June 2017

PHP for Absolute Beginners

PHP for Absolute Beginners is a great read for absolute beginners. Since making the decision to get back into web development, I have been looking for a book that offers a gentle introduction to web development.

I had to choose between PHP and NodeJS. In the end, I took the advice of one of my friends who told me that I was better off with a web language that I had used before.

PHP for Absolute Beginners starts from the absolute beginning. It shows you how to set up your PHP environment.

From then on, the book goes on to cover the basics of PHP and ends with the creation of a blog using PHP.

The only drawback with the programs in this book is the the coding style is in-line so it won't work for a production environment.

That said, this book covers most of the pillars of PHP.

PHP for Absolute Beginners fulfills its promise.

Tuesday 27 June 2017

MIT App Inventor IoT

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to interfaces between everyday objects and the Internet, opening up a universe of new applications, smarter devices, and wider opportunities.

I have written 3 books on App Inventor so there is no need to tell you how much I love it. If you want to learn about App Inventor, check out this series on this blog.

This move opens up a new frontier for App Inventor users. Not only can we now create mobile applications using App Inventor we can now add mobile capabilities to any internet connected device.

MIT App Inventor IoT is in its early stages and can work with Arduino 101 and the BBC micro:bit.

Monday 26 June 2017


AIDE is an integrated development environment (IDE) for developing real Android apps directly on your Android device.

This means that you can program mobile applications on your device. Using AIDE you can learn Java, C/C++, HTML5, CSS and JavaScript.

You can find it on the Google Play store. It is free but is ad supported unless you buy a premium license.

Some of the reviews describe it as a genuine IDE. So if you want an alternative for developing Android applications, give AIDE a try.

Sunday 25 June 2017


IdeaSpaceVR is an open source content management system for the virtual reality web. Think of it like WordPress for virtual reality.

It allows you to manage your virtual reality spaces and assets like you would manage blog posts. You run it on your own server. All you need is PHP and a database.

You can download and install new themes and create a virtual reality website. Or create your own theme with the Theme API.

IdeaSpaceVR uses WebVR for interactive VR experiences. WebVR is compatible with all modern web browsers on PC and mobile (Samsung Gear VR, Cardboard, Daydream, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive).

If you are into virtual reality, you might want to give IdeaSpaceVR a try.

Saturday 24 June 2017


When creating games that use pixel art, you need a tool that will help you to create your animated sprites. There are a number of tools to do this, but I will mention GraphicsGale because this week it became freeware.

GraphicsGale is great for pixel art and animation. It had a premium version which that includes support for GIFs, Windows icons, Windows cursor, and Windows animated cursor.

So if you are looking for a free tool for pixel art with years of industry experience behind it, give GraphicsGale a try.

Friday 23 June 2017


Logo is an educational programming language, designed in 1967 by Wally Feurzeig, Seymour Papert and Cynthia Solomon.

Despite being a general-purpose language, Logo is often known for its use of turtle graphics, in which commands for movement and drawing produced line graphics either on screen or with a small robot called a turtle.

Logo was used in education to teach basic programming concepts to kids. It led to the invention of the paradigm of constructionism which involves visual programming languages like Scratch and MIT App Inventor.

Thursday 22 June 2017

Young Digital Makers

This report by Nesta explores the growing movement to empower young people to create and not just consume with technology in the UK. It was completed in March 2015 but the information it contains is relevant for our context in Nigeria.

It takes a critical look at the demographics of young people across the UK and provides an overview of the digital artefacts they are creating and would like to create.

It is eye opening to see that even the UK is yet to achieve universal access to digital making for its young population.

I highly recommend this report to anyone working in edtech.

You can find a copy here.

Wednesday 21 June 2017

Drawing Adinkra Symbols using Python - Introduction

I was privileged to live in Ghana for 15 months of my life. All over the place, I would see this symbols that I didn't know what they meant and one day I would ask my Ghanaian friends their meaning.

What would follow would be an exposition into the heart of Ghanaian culture. Sadly, that culture is dying. This isn't just true for Ghanaian culture but for the African culture in general.

The reason I believe is because of the lack of relevance to modern day life. What if we could merge culture and technology and create Afritech.

Afritech would be a way of living that embraces our culture as its past and technology as the future.

This series is my own contribution. In my own small way, I aim to teach technology with a focus on African culture and history.

This series "Drawing Adinkra Symbols using Python" will look at the Adinkra symbols and attempt to draw them using the Python programming language.

The version of Python used here will be Python 2.7. I agree that the world has moved on to Python 3 however, a lot of Python packages haven't kept up with this pace so Python 2.7 is a safe place to start.

I will be using turtle graphics in Python to achieve this. Turtle graphics earned their usage in computer science from the Logo programming language and are a great way to teach programming concepts.

With all things in life, it is best to start from the beginning. The documentation for Python turtle contains all that we will need. I shall not go into it.

Rather, my approach will be to explain commands as I need them. I will assume that I am teaching an absolute beginner to the Python programming language who has installed the Python interpreter on his computer and is ready to start coding.

I don't intend to optimize the code for this projects. I will leave that for you the reader. My job will be to go through the symbols and draw them using code.

Let's get started.

Grid Drawing
Drawing to scale involves using a grid. In order to draw the Adinkra symbols, I will use a grid of 500 X 500 pixels in my Python environment.

The images are 200 X 200 pixels and I will attempt to use code to draw them. The aim will be to replicate the images using the grid.

To draw a grid, the commands we will need are:
  1. import turtle
  2. turtle.penup()
  3. turtle.setposition(x coordinate, y coordinate)
  4. turtle.pendown()
  5. turtle.forward(distance)
  6. turtle.right(degree)
  7. turtle.left(degree)
So with this 7 commands we can create a grid. Go through the Python turtle graphics documentation for version Python 2.7 and try out the commands in your Python.

The code to do this is shown below:

import turtle

# Horizontal lines
turtle.setposition(-250, 250)
turtle.setposition(-250, 200)
turtle.setposition(-250, 150)
turtle.setposition(-250, 100)
turtle.setposition(-250, 50)
turtle.setposition(-250, 0)
turtle.setposition(-250, -50)
turtle.setposition(-250, -100)
turtle.setposition(-250, -150)
turtle.setposition(-250, -200)

# Vertical lines
turtle.setposition(-200, 250)
turtle.setposition(-150, 250)
turtle.setposition(-100, 250)
turtle.setposition(-50, 250)
turtle.setposition(0, 250)
turtle.setposition(50, 250)
turtle.setposition(100, 250)
turtle.setposition(150, 250)
turtle.setposition(200, 250)
turtle.setposition(0, 0)

The code shown above creates a grid of 500 X 500 pixels and resets the turtle to be at the origin of the window when the program finishes running.

The image of the grid is shown below:

This grid will be the basis of how we draw all our Adinkra symbols.

Tuesday 20 June 2017

Science-based Games

If you are interested in science based games, you would be interested in this list of science based games started by Piotr Migdał.

Have a great week ahead.

Monday 19 June 2017

2017 Summer High School App Building Challenge

Thunkable is a drag-and-drop platform to build native mobile apps. It started as a research collaboration between MIT and Google focused on making it easier for novice developers to build mobile apps.

It is similar to App Inventor and is compatible with it. The main difference is that Thunkable allows you to develop native apps. It is App Inventor as it should have been in my own opinion.

The Thunkable High School App Building Challenge is an opportunity for students to address problems in their local communities by building awesome apps!

Details of the program are as follows:
Registration Opens: June 15th
Registration Closes: July 7th
App and Video Submission Deadline: August 25th
Winners Announced: September 28th

This competition is for Android apps only. It is open to high school students from all over the world. For more information, click this link.

Sunday 18 June 2017


Astropy is a collection of software packages written in the Python programming language and designed for use in astronomy.

The software is a single, free, core package for astronomical utilities due to the increasingly widespread usage of Python by astronomers, and to foster interoperability between various extant Python astronomy packages.

Astropy is included in several large Python distributions; it is part of package managers for Linux and MacOS, the Anaconda Python Distribution, Enthought Canopy and Ureka.

If you work in astronomy, you should give Astropy a look.

Saturday 17 June 2017

Industry Tools for eBook Creation

According to The State of Digital Publishing in Canada 2016 report the top tools used by publishing houses in Canada are:

  1. Adobe InDesign
  2. Oxygen XML Editor
  3. Microsoft Word
  4. Sigil
  5. QuarkXPress
  6. PressBooks
  7. Calibre
  8. P-Shift
Personally, I use Sigil for eBook creation. I created my 3rd book using Sigil. It is a simple and intuitive tool. The only drawback is that you must know how to markup your book using HTML.

Basic HTML is all you need to know to learn how to use Sigil to the best of its capabilities. The place I would recommend that you start from would be w3schools.

Friday 16 June 2017

Computer Science Graduates Are Disappearing From Software Development

This article by Motherboard mentions the results of a survey that found out that more and more computer science graduates are leaving the field of computer science.

The new set of developers are entering the field without going to school. Newer developers are mainly self-taught and this should not come as a surprise.

Today, there are more and more way to learn how to code for free. Due to this reality, developers are teaching themselves and taking the jobs away from those trained to do them.

I will mention that this is mainly in the field of web development. In harder fields like system administration, you will still find traditionally trained computer scientist.

Do check out the article.

Thursday 15 June 2017

Raspberry Pi Resources

This is a link to some Raspberry Pi resources. It covers the Raspberry Pi, Scratch, Minecraft, Python.

It is a rich collection of resources.


Wednesday 14 June 2017

African Wikimedia Developers Project

The African Wikimedia Developers Project is a project aimed at starting a developer community on the African continent and to encourage volunteer contributions from these developers to the broader Wikimedia movement.

The programme which is meant to be rolled out to several parts of Africa, will begin with its first event in Ghana and model subsequent events from the learnings or findings from Ghana.

The 3 major prerequisites for becoming an African Wikimedia Developer are as follows:
  1. Be a developer from the African continent
  2. Be interested in open knowledge
  3. Be keen on volunteering your skills and time for this cause
It goes without saying that you would have to learn how to code using PHP. I know that NodeJS is the rage today but we are talking about MediaWiki a legacy software program that is 15 years old. 

From my own experience as a developer, I would say that it won't be sexy but your work will make a difference. Globally, we have seen a lack of participation from African volunteers in tech inclined Global events, however the African Wikimedia Developers Project is a chance to change all that as a developer.

Join their mailing list today to acquaint yourself with the program.

Tuesday 13 June 2017

12 Design Tools To Make Your eLearning Course Look Good

Whenever I look at an item, in my head the first thing that will attract me is its beauty. After that I consider it is will be useful and simple.

The BUS way of looking at things is not unique to only me. Most of us have our first impressions shaped by this way.

For creating eLearning courses, beauty can be a major attraction or turn off.

Check out this post for 12 Design Tools to make beautiful eLearning courses.

Monday 12 June 2017

Open Source Alternatives

Yesterday, I talked about a free alternative for Microsoft Office called WPS Office 2016 Free which in my opinion is one of the best alternatives to Microsoft Office.

The image above shows the open source alternatives to the other popular softwares on the Windows Operating system.

I also use LibreOffice because of its great drawing tool. But I prefer WPS Office 2016 Free for the beauty of the documents that I can create with it.

Sunday 11 June 2017

A Free Microsoft Office Alternative

This year, I promised myself that I would stop cracking other people's software. As an author, watching a book I had spent 9 months of my life laboring on become available on pirate websites made me promise that I would never again pirate anyone's software.

This would mean that I would have to find either a free alternative or buy the software where the free alternative couldn't do the job.

After months of searching, I am glad to say that WPS Office 2016 Free is a great Microsoft Office alternative.

Today I use it for all my Microsoft Office tasks. It only replaces Word, Excel and PowerPoint. It has some annoying ads but it is fully compatible with Microsoft Office.

If you are looking for a free Microsoft Office replacement, give WPS Office 2016 Free a try.

Saturday 10 June 2017

Python Books

Happy weekend everyone.

Here is a list of Python books you can download for free. You can find it here.

Have a great weekend.

Friday 9 June 2017

Online Courses for Media Professionals

Since its launch in 2015, LEARNO.NET has firmly established itself as a premier learning destination for media professionals. And now, there are even more options available for journalists hoping to expand their digital skillsets.

Today, the platform has launched three new courses - each offered free of charge, and completed at your own pace.

If you are interested in Social Media, there is Going Viral Using Social Media Analytics.

For those struggling with Data Analysis using Excel, there is Cleaning Data in Excel.

For Digital Storytelling, there is Data Visualisation, Journalism and the Web.

All this courses are free along with all other LEARNO.NET courses.

LEARNO.NET is an initiative of the European Journalism Centre (EJC). The EJC is a non-profit international foundation with the mission to improve and strengthen journalism and the news media in the interest of a functioning democratic public sphere. In this spirit, the EJC has always focused very much on training and capacity building, and LEARNO.NET is the next logical step on that way.

Thursday 8 June 2017

The State of Digital Publishing in Canada 2016

BookNet Canada is a non-profit organization that develops technology, standards, and education to serve the Canadian book industry. Founded in 2002 to address systemic challenges in the industry, BookNet Canada supports publishing companies, booksellers, wholesalers, distributors, sales agents, industry associations, literary agents, media, and libraries across the country.

Their Research and Education unit recently released the "The State of Digital Publishing in Canada 2016" report which you can download here.

The State of Digital Publishing in Canada 2016 report was created from surveys of digital publishers based in Canada and is one of the best ways to keep abreast of the digital publishing industry in that country.

If you are interested in the digital publishing landscape, give it a look.

Wednesday 7 June 2017

Turn a Google Form into a Chatbot

To get started, visit and enter the link to your Google Form. From there follow the prompts. It is simple and easy. is powered by You must give credit as they have found a way to market themselves without actually doing any marketing.

So if you are looking for a way to make your Google forms stand out, give a try.

Tuesday 6 June 2017

Ninite A Package Management System

Ninite is a package management system for the Windows operating systems. Think of it like a way to automate all the programs on your computer without having to do anything else.

When you visit the website, all you have to do is pick the programs that you are interested in and download your Ninite package.

Benefits of using Ninite rather than the individual applications' installers themselves include: toolbar/adware free installations, the ability to update multiple applications at once, automatic selection of architecture (64-bit vs 32-bit), language selection based on operating system's language, and error reporting, should one of the installations fail.

Do give Ninite a try.

Monday 5 June 2017

Corona SDK Roadmap

If you checked out the list of Magic Tools by Ellison Leão you would see Corona SDK in the list of game engines.

Corona SDK is a great tool for game development. It uses the Lua programming language. Last week, they released their roadmap.

Their roadmap shows you all the features they want to add from now up till the first quarter of 2018.

Check it out and do give Corona SDK a try.

Sunday 4 June 2017

How To Make a Free 3D Cover Image of Your Book

Welcome to a new month. I am a trained engineer. I know neither Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator. So when it came time to create a 3D cover for my 4th book, I had to search for a tutorial on how to do this.

In the course of studying various tutorials, I found one that met my needs.

You can view it here. Have a great month ahead.

Saturday 3 June 2017

How the Top 5 Technology Companies Make Money

This chart show how the top 5 technology companies in the world make their money.

Although I am a trained engineer, one of the biggest lessons I learned from the building of the Pyramids of Egypt was that they only existed because the emperor wanted one.

Know how the companies you work with make money helps you plan your own strategies.

Amazon is into online retail and that is why they removed all barriers to getting paid on the Amazon store.

Today, I have 3 books selling on the Amazon store. I also use Amazon Web Services for all my online needs. Surprisingly, Amazon doesn't have an office and I hope they never do.

The contamination of Nigerian contact will kill their brand in Nigeria.

Have a great weekend.

Friday 2 June 2017

Magic Tools

Ellison Leão is a drummer and open source enthusiast. He is also into game development. I recently found this great list he compiled on GitHub.

It covers all the tools you need to get started with Game Development. Give it a look.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday 1 June 2017


BotList is an appstore for bots. Think of it like a place where any bot that you are looking for can be found. It is a place where you can submit the bots that you have developed.

BotList features bots developed for all the platforms from Amazon Echo to WeChat. If it is a platform that uses a bot, BotList will feature it.

You can also find BotList on Medium where they post regularly on the state of bots.