Archive for July, 2005

Tribute to Aunty Amina Appolles

Posted on the July 23rd, 2005 under Uncategorized by

Today we had the janaazah of Aunty Amina Appolles – Inna Lillahi wa Inna Ilayhi Raaji`oon.

The hundreds of people who attended your Janaazah are testament to the way you touched us all. Always kind hearted, always ready to give, always special.

And beneath the heartsore and tears at your loss, we are all immensely happy and proud of you. Even though you were diagnosed as terminally ill, it never wavered your Iman. You did not resign yourself to fate. You surrendered yourself to the taqdeer of Allah. Never have we seen someone destined to an outcome without the hope for recovery, yet accept it without resistance. Therein was an example for all of us.

In the last few days, you often spoke incomprehensibly of your deceased husband, Uncle Abdul Karriem, and we knew that it was only a matter time. But therein was another sign for us. You were going be reunited with him – by the grace of Allah.

We make duah that Allah grants both of you Jannatul Firdows – Ameen, and may your memory be an example for all of us, Insha – Allah.

Colorado congressman says U.S. could retaliate against Islamic holy sites

Posted on the July 19th, 2005 under Uncategorized by

WASHINGTON: A Republican congressman said in a radio interview aired by a Florida station that if a multiple-city attack happened in the United States in the next 90 days, as predicted by an Israeli expert, and was found to be the work of extremist Muslims, then “we should take out their holy sites.” Congressman Thomas G Tancredo, Republican from Colorado, was being interviewed by AM 540 WFLA radio host Pat Campbell, who asked him what the response of the United States should be were terrorist attacks on US cities to take place and were attributable to extremist Muslims. The Congressman replied, “ … then we could take out their holy sites.” Asked if that meant Mecca, Tancredo answered, “Yes.”

Such is the mentality of Tancredo, he is not ashamed to utter what would tantamount to a declaration of war AND a world-wide response by Muslims, ‘extremist’ or not. All Places of Worship (Churches, synagogues, temples and Mosques) should not be violated under any circumstances.

Please write to this racist to retract his words:

Story from:

Notepad+ 3.1

Posted on the July 15th, 2005 under Uncategorized by

All developers need a good editor to work in, and you’d usually find them trying various ones before making a decision which one works best. I also did that trying out , and in the end settled for Notepad+, a free light weight GPL editor with syntax highlighting for a host of languages.

It has worked for me for nearly a year now, till I noticed colleague having features I don’t have. Hey, I also want that easy commenting-out, etc. How did you get that?

Apparently I became so comfortable with Notepad+ as it is, I didn’t both checking for updates, etc. I’m using version 2.4 at the moment. The latest version is 3.1. I clearly must have been sleeping here.

In any case, I’d recommend Notepad+ to any developer any day. Catch your copy for yourself at: http://notepad-plus.sourceforge.net. And after you use it, don’t forget to check regularly for updates 😉

Programming Tips for using a Model-View-Controller (MVC)

Posted on the July 12th, 2005 under Uncategorized by

Using a Model-View-Controller (MVC) approach is often a smart way of programming. Your code is separated into modules and classes, making it easier to divide and conquer your way through a project. Any bugs in one module shouldn’t affect the code in another module. Furthermore, the template is separated from the code, so its easier to make changes in this way too.

Now there are good ways to use an MVC, and really awful ways of doing it. Here are some tips:

  1. Do all your database work in the controller before sending it to the template. The template shouldn’t be doing any database work or calls at all. It should merely be concerned with formatting and display.
  2. Use a switch method in your dispatch that calls a function. Its awful to see the amount of work that gets called in dispatch methods. You end up running all over the place trying to trace multiple functions. Rather let each event call its own function, and all actions for the event performed in this function.
  3. Avoid over-complicating a function. As a rule, if I see a function as over-complicated, it is a sign to me that the function needs to be broken up into further sub functions.
  4. The last one is a bit tricky. The controller’s functions should only be with ‘controlling’ the module. Often I notice that some of the functions or sub functions would be useful to others as well. If you pick up this trend in your controller, then that function needs to be moved to a separate class. Functions in a controller are only available to that controller. Functions in a class are available to all controllers and modules.

MVCs are great but their are ways to experience the maximum benefit in the power of MVC programming. Otherwise, you just end up complicating things for yourself.

Google and Mail and Guardian Paid Subscriptions

Posted on the July 10th, 2005 under Uncategorized by

Here’s some bad news for the Mail & Guardian website, but shows how easy it is to read subscription news on your website. I’ve been doing so for Zapiro for months, but only realise that it is possible for other news as well.

I’m putting this information up just to show how vulnerable paid subscriptions can be if they are not carefully planned. Hopefully someone at M&G will take note.

View Zapiro Cartoons:

To view Zapiro for the 6th Jult 2005, the URL will probably be: http://www.mg.co.za/zapiro/imagePage.aspx?YearId=2005|MonthId=7|DayId=6.

Check the properties for the cartoon image, and it will be: http://www.mg.co.za/ContentImages/2561/06-jul05x.gif

The link is hardcoded, doesn’t check for access to the image. Now imagine, I change 06 to 07 or any other date. I get to view today’s Zapiro cartoon without having to wait tomorrow. It is a workaround, but something M&G should have thought about. The answer, which I’m giving away for free, is:

Having the link as something like <img src=”http://www.mg.co.za/zapiro/image.aspx?id=##” />

Viewing News

M&G has some news that you have to pay for to read. One such article was: Women-led weddings: No big deal by Naeem Jeenah. To view this story on M&G’s website, you have to pay. Workaround…

Pop the title into Google. Instead of clicking on the result, click on ‘Cached’. This is Google’s cached view of the page. The URL will probably be:

http://66.249.93.104/search?q=ca..

Just goes to show how wonderful and problematic Google’s cache can be.

Muslim Response to London Bombing

Posted on the July 10th, 2005 under Uncategorized by

I’d like to echo the Muslim response in Cape Town to the London bombing, particularly that of Shaykh Riyaad Walsh and Masjidul Quds (independent of each other):

Muslims, unlike most governments, condemn all forms of violence and terrorism. The life of a person in Iraq is equal to the life of a person in London.

We forsee this as a 9/11 style justification for the introduction of terror laws in the UK, and another illegal invasion in either Sudan, Iran or Syria.

The biggest casualty in all of this will be the image of Islam – which we won’t allow. Jack Straw and all the media are speaking of the attack having all the hallmarks of al-Qaeda. We don’t want hallmarks, we want EVIDENCE before you go about disparaging Islam.

Rip-off Car Dealers

Posted on the July 10th, 2005 under Uncategorized by

By now I would have loved to have blogged about a new car, but unfortunately it hasn’t turned out to be that way yet. Instead, it has been the buy-a-car syndrome and depression.

Shall I buy, shouldn’t I buy it… Looks so nice, but the price… Think I can go without food for a few weeks, but must just get this car… Its unthinkable that I should leave without taking this car with me… Fortunately, I’ve had wiser people to reign me in.

But its shocking the amount of rip-offs that could have occurred. Some of these salespeople are so friendly, yet they have the ‘conscience’ to sell you a piece of crap. Imagine a car where the seats are ‘welded’ to the base, can’t move forward, or tilt – now if someone hadn’t pointed that out, can you imagine the results?

And to be honest, I’m at fault too. I just want a Nissan Sentra 1994 model and up. Can this be too flippin difficult? Apparently yes. Toyotas are in short supply, so their prices have skyrocketed. Next in line seems to be the Nissan Sentra.

Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – Iran’s new president

Posted on the July 1st, 2005 under Uncategorized by

Reading through the news on BBC, there was paragraph that caught my attention. It was a summary of newspapers response to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s victory in the Iranian election – Muslim press ponders Iran poll.

Egypt’s Al-Akhbar newspaper had the following to say:

With, Dr Ahmadinejad’s victory, US expectations have collapsed… The new president is likely to face problems because the supreme leader of the Islamic revolution named [defeated candidate] Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani to head the order protection council, a very significant post which controls all the country’s policies, particularly foreign policy. This will tie the hands of the new president in making decisions.

Apart from recognizing that Rafsanjani still has an influential role despite his loss, it speaks of Doctor Ahmadinejad. This was the first time I came across this form of address and respect to Dr. Ahmadinejad. The best we heard from the Western newspapers was ‘conservative hardline Tehran mayor’.

But this is indicative of Western attempts to undermine their opposition. We never heard of Dr Abdul Aziz Rantisi but Hamas militant leader, Aziz Rantisi. The same goes with Dr Mahmoud Zahar.

Muslim leaders are undermined and disrespected for ulterior reasons. It is up to Muslims to uphold their leaders and show them the respect the West intentionally refuses to give them.

Usability-wise – What are you saying?

Posted on the July 1st, 2005 under Uncategorized by

We can say things by saying them. We can also say things not by our communication, but the analysis people give to what we say and do. And this last one is more far-reaching. People start making judgments on what you say and do.

This is not without reason. They are reflecting on what you are saying and producing. Does it make sense? It is productive, is it counter-productive? Does it leave a good impression, or not? Is this piece of work and attempt at excellence, or just another mediocre one, quickly put together to get the ‘work’ done?

And these are some of the things that go through my mind when I view websites from a usability perspective. Now to be honest, my knowledge of usability is limited to my experience. I am eternally grateful to my lecturer, Lynn Coleman, for showing my this dimension of quality. We (Cecelia Barron, Eugene van der Heever, and myself) designed what I perceived to be an excellent project in 2002. It was excellent, but there was room for improvement on the usability side. We didn’t consider all the user tasks. In retrospect, we can only imagine the frustration users would have to go through.

But having been exposed to another quality aspect to web development, I took to researching this further by myself. What guidelines and recommendations are there to improve your work? What should you ‘keep in mind’ when you are developing websites?

And this is where I feel I need to differ from colleagues in the analysis of what they say. The first step of usability is humanity. Do you recognise we are humans, we make mistakes, we have shortcomings, we look for the easy way. Do you recognise this in yourself?

If you want others to be benevolent to you, you also need to be benevolent towards others. Prof Yusuf da Costa’s statement that “People who do things for themselves, their ‘contribution’ dies with them” is true from a usability perspective. If you do not care about your users, they won’t care about you, what you ‘developed’, and ‘your contribution dies with you’. No one is bothering to use it.

And perhaps the greatest irony of usability is this: Thinking of your users, taking into account their weaknesses – this does not make your project weaker. On the contrary, it improves the quality of your project. It makes your project rise above the mediocre ones in terms of excellence. And this is all because you thought of your users BEFORE you started coding, DURING the period you were coding, and AFTER you have coded. The last process some will recognise as: What else can I do to make this ‘application’ (no longer considered as code) easier to use?

Be careful what you say usability wise. It is a reflection of yourself. It reflects your humanity, and lack of it. It reflects your benevolence, and lack of it. In any type of development work, it is a reflection of yourself. And your greatest judges are … your users!