Categories
Book Review

RaphaelJS: Graphics and Visualization on the Web

Introduction

Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) are an XML-based vector image format for two-dimensional graphics with support for interactivity and animation.

Vector graphics are drawn on the screen mathematically. They are scalable without loss in quality.

In working with vector graphics, you can write them out from scratch or use a library like Raphaël.

Three books have been written on Raphaël they are:

  1. RaphaelJS Starter
  2. Learning Raphael JS Vector Graphics
  3. RaphaelJS

Yesterday, I finished reading RaphaelJS thus finishing my study of the books in my list.

This post is a review of the book.

Author

RaphaelJS was written by Chris Wilson in 2013.

Chris Wilson is now the Director of Data Journalism at TIME Inc.

Before Time, he was a Senior Editor at Slate News and a Columnist at Yahoo News.

Book Format

The book starts off simple with the basic template for a Raphaël project.

From that point on, once a topic is introduced, the author goes out of his way to create a project with that topic.

The projects covered include:

  1. Braille Generator
  2. Dominoes
  3. Bouncing Ball
  4. Metronome
  5. Choropleth Map
  6. The Animated Solar System

You leave this book inspired to create your own projects.

Conclusion

RaphaelJS is a great read as it will inspire you to create in the browser.

As a new year begins, if you plan to learn Data Visualisation, do look at this book.

Categories
Book Review

We the Living

Introduction

This Christmas was my worst Christmas ever.

The political uncertainty in the country spoiled all my plans during the year and then the border closure spoiled Christmas for the whole nation.

Before the closure of the border in August this year, the price of a bag of rice was N7,000.

By Christmas, the price of a bag of rice had gone to N27,000.

There is a lot of talk about people leaving the country.

I have decided to stay.

When people cannot go forward, they go back to a place where it all makes sense.

I would go back to the past and read We the Living by Ayn Rand.

This post is a review of the book from my perspective as a Nigerian living in Lagos, Nigeria.

Characters and Plot

The Wikipedia entry on We the Living already contains the plot for the book.

The three main characters are: Kira Argounova, Leo Kovalensky and Andrei Taganov.

The book starts off with Kira on a train with her family returning back to Petrograd.

It describes the living standards in the country at the year 1922 and how bad things were in Russia.

The Proletarian are the bottom class before the revolution but after the revolution become pushed up the ranks.

Kira falls in love with Leo but when he falls sick and is nearing death, she has to go to Andrei who is a party member and a member of the secret police and becomes his mistress.

The book take you on a journey detailing how the world around Kira crumbles until finally, she loses everything

In desperation, she tries to escape Russia and is shot at the border.

Nigerian Context

This book mirrors life in Nigeria at the moment.

This year, the government closed the border and the prices of food stuff when up.

The quality of life went down.

Seeing similarities with Russia at the time helps you know that the world moves on.

Impact

During the course of reading the book, I would fall into despair.

However, as the book progressed, I realized that unlike Kira who wanted to become and engineer, I was one.

Unlike her, I wasn’t locked in.

I could travel.

Most importantly, I had the web.

Conclusion

As the future of Nigeria becomes in doubt, most people will be looking for how to escape.

This book showed my how bad it could get but filled me with ideas on how to protect myself in the years ahead.

Categories
Personal Development

DFIN 511: Introducton to Digital Currencies

Introduction

On September 9th 2019, the 12th class of the MOOC Introduction to Digital Currencies would hold.

This course is offered by the University of Nicosia in Cyprus.

This post is a look at my journey to finishing one of the longest online courses that I have ever taken.

Getting Started

I would first hear about the course in the Blockchain Nigeria User Group.

The Blockchain Nigeria User Group is the definitive Telegram group for all things Blockchain in Nigeria.

You can click here to join the group.

It is sort of a requirement to have finished the Digital Currencies course in the group although not a hard one.

The success of the group in getting people into this course was one reason for the large number of Nigerians that would take the course as seen from the image below:

Student Demographics MOOC 12

So I would start the course with all the excitement I needed.

Burial

My Grandfather Burial Poster

My grandfather had died in June this year. However, despite the fact that my mother was his first child, the burial couldn’t hold until the month of September when his first son (her junior brother) had given his approval.

The stress and strain from that period would make me regret signing up for the course.

However, I couldn’t withdraw from the course without losing face so I made a decision to stay.

By the end of September, we had concluded the funeral which would put a deep hole in the pockets of all the members of the family.

In my culture, its the grandchildren that bury the grandfather.

October

In the month of October I would finish up from work.

The coding program where I was teaching would be rounding up.

I was tired and needed time to recover from a stressful September.

Grief affects everyone differently. Until my grandfather’s funeral was concluded I was fine.

The finality of it all really got to me.

November

In the month of November, I would really zone in on the course.

I was way behind so I had to take time off work. I didn’t leave the house for most of the month.

It was a time to mourn and drown myself in work.

December

The month of December would start with me fearing that I would fail the course.

This is due to the large amount of materials that had to be covered.

I could only go over the materials once.

Being a perfectionist, this would leave me jittery.

I would write the final exams exactly 3 months after I started the course on December 9th.

Once I was done, I would have to wait for the results.

Seeing the results brought me joy.

I had passed with a score of 78%.

Could I have done better?

Yes.

But I am grateful that all that work was not in vain.

Conclusion

Being successful with the course, I have a chance to do a Masters with the University of Nicosia.

Some member of the Blockchain Nigeria User Group have already signed up.

Personally my life cannot take the workload so I am opting out.

I will remain grateful to the University of Nicosia for the opportunity to learn about Digital Currencies.