Quick, dirty hack for hosting websites when you can’t pay your server fees.

On January 1, 2016, the use of Naira denominated debit cards outside Nigeria will officially become impossible and this will have an adverse ripple effect on almost everything you can think of. As a techie, I am very concerned about how I would renew my hosting fees etc.

This is a simple workaround:
You can expose a local server installed on a development machine serving a web application to the world using this simple tool http://ngrok.com/ . You can install it on Windows, Mac and Linux.

Exposing a local server to the Internet is as simple as running “ngrok 5000”, where 5000 is the port that the web application server is running from, it could be any valid port number.

Downside: you will be paying loads in bandwidth fees to your local ISP and if your development machine specs isn’t beefy then there is a limit to the number of requests you can server per second.

P.S: I have tried it and it works. I am currently running some simple one page flask apps off my 16gb RAM Linux Mint laptop.
#ShameOnEmefiele #WeRiseStill

An uber Lagos experience almost from hell.

I hate weddings.

As a rule I never attend weddings, but this was one that I just had to attend. Yet it seemed that the gods, petrol scarcity and my Uber driver were determined I was not going to break my self-imposed rule.

I made a ride request 45+ minutes ago and my Uber driver was nowhere to be found. I called him repeatedly and he always had a glib excuse why he had not arrived.

I guess when he felt I was bugging him too much, he stopped picking my calls and sent me a text:

Am sorry 4 everything bt I jst couldn’t continue av also wasted a lot of fuel trying to locate u n d last thing i want is more misunderstanding after d stress

Observation: The Uber driver didn’t know his way around, blamed the network for not being able to use Google maps and refused to just ask for directions from people around him.

At this point my blood was boiling because I was already very late. So I cancelled the ride request and made another. The driver fortunately was very close so he appeared in no time, I got into the car and told him my destination. What was his response?

I am very sorry, I cannot go that far. I don’t have any petrol.

Huh??? WTF!!! is this Uber?

At this stage I knew that the gods were really angry with me and definitely did not want me going to some owambe wedding on a hot Saturday afternoon.

I decided to try for the third and last time and I was third time lucky. The Uber ride came on time, the driver was very courteous and the journey was uneventful and I was very pleased.

Due to the African time syndrome, I was not as late as I thought I was going to be.

I still hate weddings though.

Foot notes
1. Uber Lagos drivers should be trained on how to navigate Lagos roads even without Google maps. If they don’t have network on their devices, I see no reason why they can’t ask, old fashion style.

2. Uber should do something about determining accurate ETA of uber rides. Right now you really can’t predict when a requested Uber ride would arrive to pick you up. Its way off the displayed ETA in the app.

3. Uber customer service is one of the best I have come across in this clime. After I left my feedback about the previous failed ride requests, Ebi (she deserves a raise) came to the rescue with swift reparation. The standard should be maintained.

Why tech startups should not move to Yaba

For all those sitting in traffic right now.

The above quote is from “Remote – office not required”, the latest book from the guys at 37signals. I guess having just finished reading the book and the intense debate that went on here birthed this post.


1. Work doesnt happen at work: We all are guilty of goofing off on facebook, twitter, youtube et.al instead of working. Some employers even go as far as installing blocks to the Internet on office systems (this didnt stop certain adventurous individuals from bypassing it though *cough, cough*).

Programmers, designers etc produce their best work when they are inspired and in a state of flow and this has a 1% chance of ever happening in the office. IM’s, endless emails, co-workers stopping in for mindless chitchat, purposeless staff meetings etc would ensure this never happens.

Inspiration can’t be called up on demand and ordered to deliver. There are days, weeks and even months when I don’t create anything, when looking at code hurts my eyes but oh boy when the inspiration hits, my heart rate would go up, insomniac mode comes on and I just keep at it till its all out of my head. So being forced into a cubicle farm and ordered to produce stuff would be pure torture and a waste of time. Back to the warm embrace of fair lady twitter.

2. Traffic, traffic and more traffic: “Commuting is associated with increase rate of obesity, insomnia, stress, neck and back pain, high blood pressure, heart attacks, depression and even divorce” Study. You wake up very early and jump into the jungle called Lagos to fight the beast called “go slow” and after some hours, bloodied and sweaty you slay the beast and arrive in your office. How long do you think you would need to settle down and then get into that state of mind when you can produce some quality work? driving or commuting via public transport in Lagos can be a really hellish experience, just imagine if your daily commute was a maximum 5 seconds from your bed to your home office?

You could wake up 5am get some stuff done in 1-2 hours, eat, exercise and even go back for a short nap. This is time you would have wasted in traffic. If you live in the Yaba axis, good for you and best of luck if you commute from Okokomaiko to yaba everyday, you would die!!!

3. Yaba isnt the Mecca of Nigerian tech startups: Yaba, Yaba, Yaba, left, right and center (pun intended), thats all you hear. How Yaba is the place to be if you are into technology in Lagos, Nigeria. How CCHUB is the home of all the code ninjas and picasso-ish designers in Lagos. Talent has no hotspot, even infrastructure, i.e. uninterrupted power and fast internet speed found in cchub (my generator, Inverter and Swift modem aka The holy Trinity) and the mainone cable being laid in Yaba doesnt offer a bigger offset to the downside of a long commute.

As an employer, restricting your hiring to a small geographic region means you’re not getting the best people you can. As an employee, restricting your job search to companies within a reasonable commute means you’re not working for the best company you can.

4. Magic doesn’t always happen when we are in the same room location: People who would support the great Yaba march would say that there is strength in the collection of tech heads present in Yaba, there are talent hubs in Yaba (CCHUB, IDEAHUB, UNILAG, YABATECH et. al and other tech companies) etc. Not that I dispute that fact but at the same time we dont need to all move to Yaba to harness these resources.

There are ways we could all collaborate without necessarily being present in Yaba: e.g. github, bitbucket dropbox, IRC, skype, screen sharing, google groups, etc the list is endless.

Some people find the very idea of living in Lagos with her attendant madness reprehensible. Does that mean that those people would miss out on the “gold rush”?

***Original artwork by Mike Rohde***

#2,000 and 10 minutes later

I had a domain name I wanted to hock so I decided to host a static site with purchase instructions for would be buyers and point the domain name to it. It made no sense paying for hosting so I decided to use github pages.

Github pages is a way of hosting static HTML pages on github and there are two types:

(1) User pages
(2) Project pages

Steps to hosting User pages on github.
1. Go to github.com/new and create a new repository i.e. assuming you are already a github user.
2. For the repository name enter “[githubusername].github.io”
3. Make the repository pulic
4. Check “Initialize this repository with a README”
5. Click Create Repository
Now it gets technical. Please note that the following instructions are for UNIX based OSes not Windows.
Open your Terminal and enter the following commands:
$ mkdir /path/to/source-code
$ cd /path/to/source-code
Download your newly created GitHub repository and go inside it.
$ git clone https://github.com/username/username.github.io.git
$ cd username.github.io
6. Now create your static website in html inside the git directory that you are in.
$ git add . (This command would add all the tracked files in your working directory into the staging area awaiting commit)
$ git commit -m “1st static website commit” (All your files are now committed to the HEAD of your git directory)
$ git push origin master (This command pushes your local repository containing your local website to the remote repository on github)
After 10 minutes your should be able to view your static website at http://username.github.io/

P.S: if you want to host your static website with a custom domain, “CD” into your directory and run:
$ touch CNAME
Edit the CNAME file with any text editor of your choice and enter the domain name you might have already registered [1] and save it. Re-run the above commands and if successful, you would be able to also view your static website at http://yourcustomdomain.com. [2]

1. Registering a dot com should not cost more than #2,000/year.
2. My static website hosted on github pages can be found at http://hacki.ng. Offers are welcome.

Did Blackberry just commit Hara-kiri?

noun: hara-kiri, noun:harakiri
1. Ritual suicide by disembowelment with a sword, formerly practised in Japan by samurai as an honourable alternative to disgrace or execution.

I strongly feel Blackberry committed hara-kiri by releasing BBM as a free app on both iOS and Google Play app stores. Correct me if I am wrong but the reason why 99.9% of people got a Blackberry phone was because of BBM [1] while the remaining 0.01% are the weirdo’s who got it for push email et.al. Blackberry phones are whack, battery life atrocious, their app store is filled with crappy applications.
Why did Blackberry give away their crown jewel (i.e. BBM)? to remain relevant in the mobile space? too late. Back in 2009, it would have been a stroke of genius.
Now that BBM is available for both iOS and Android, would any sane person actually go to a store to pick up a Blackberry phone? NO!!!
If the release of the iPhone dug the grave site for Blackberry and Android put her in a coffin, then the release of BBM just said the final rites and poured sand over the coffin in the grave.
Even if Blackberry wants to transition into a SAAS company and somehow charge for BBM via TELCO’s, would anyone actually pay to use BBM when whatsapp and its ilk are free?

1. The sole reason for my short lived romance with a Blackberry phone was basically because of BBM. I was tired of people asking me for my PIN. (covers face in shame).

You dont know anything



Look at the timestamp of the image above. I tweeted it in 2010 after reading glowing reviews of the bufferapp on Hackernews, I just couldn’t get why someone would pay just to schedule posts on twitter (they only supported twitter back then). Joel responded to my tweet with optimism about the app. 3 years on, look at the tweet below:


This goes to show that we don’t really know sh*t about anything. If you have an idea you think would work, run with it first. Let your target audience accept or reject it and don’t place the power of life and death in the crucible of some so-called expert who probably doesn’t know sh*t about anything,