How to scrape and extract data from a webpage. as a case study (Part 1)

Reading up on how Xpath works will enable you understand Part 2


Firewall or not: How to read Linda Ikeji blog and other blocked sites in a corporate organization

Me: Forgive me, Father for I have sinned. It’s been 30 days since my last confession.  These are my sins: I did a “pretty bad thing” today.

Father: Speak my child…

In other news,

Linda Ikeji’s blog, Stella Dimokokorkus,,, are examples of websites that are blocked by organizations to prevent workers from whiling away time on those websites (rightly so).

Sometimes work can get so boring that you actually find watching wet paint dry on a wall more interesting than doing actual work. Till today…

If your corporate network has blocked these websites but allows then you are covered.

1. Go to

2. type the blocked website you wish to visit e.g. in the box to the left

3. Click on the generated link in the box on the right.

4. You would get a message saying the website you are trying to translate is in english

5. Click on the “visit original page” link

6. You would be able to view the blocked website now but without images and javascript disabled.

Me: ****crickets****

Father: huh?

Revealed: The Tech backstory behind the Nigerian Immigration Recruitment Fiasco

According to the interior minister Abba Moro, 520,000 candidates participated in the Nigerian immigration service recruitment exercise and each candidate paid #1,000 just to apply.
#1,000 X 520,000 candidates == #520,000,000
Different number of casualties of the botched recruitment exercise are still being bandied around by the press from 10 to 30. No matter the number, they didn’t have to die in the first place.

Questions that need answers
1. Who are the individuals behind Drexel tech global limited? The company that developed the recruitment website for the Nigerian Immigration Service.
2. How true is the rumor making the rounds that the wife of the president of Nigeria’s senate is the owner of Drexel tech global limited?
3. Why was the company website of Drexel global tech limited quickly taken offline?

After doing some digging around on the Internet, here are my findings
1. Although a whois check didn’t reveal much due to fact that registrar obfuscated the details of the registrants of the domain name (, I was able to glean that was registered on 05/01/2011 and would expire on 05/01/2015. The last time it was updated was on the 13/09/2013, before it was quickly taken offline.

2. A quick google search revealed some interesting information about the company, Drexel tech global ltd:
i. The company is registered in the United Kingdom as:
RC: 07674680.
Registered Address: 72 High Street, Haslemere, Surrey, GU27 2LA
Nature of Business:
Other letting and operating of own or leased real estate

ii. The company has 2 directors and they are:
Mahmood Ahmadu
Year of Birth: 1966
Director ID: 916093233.
No 63 Apo Legislative Quarters Zone A Abuja Fct Nigeria


born in 1964
Posttown: SIMSBURY
Postcode: 06070
Country of residence: UNITED KINGDOM

I searched for Mahmood ahmadu on facebook and the only matching result is a staff of INEC Abuja while Theresa Mahoney brought out so many different search results I abandoned that route.

iii. I also noticed that some former staff of Drexel tech global limited are now current staff of I discovered that formerly known as socketworks LTD is a child company of Drexel tech global limited and is owned by Dr Aloy Chife.

Posers, unanswered questions and assumptions.
1. The rumor that Helen Mark (wife of the senate president) is the owner of Drexel global tech limited is rather unfounded and untrue as there is no information to prove it to be true unless there is proof that she and Dr Aloy Chife are business partners. I stand to be corrected.
2. How does a company (i.e. Drexel) registered in the United Kingdom with no revenue and whose business description is REAL ESTATE get awarded such a massive IT government contract?
3. Does it make logical sense that a company (Drexel) established in 2011 is the parent company of socketworks established in 2003?
4. Is Drexel tech global limited a “briefcase company” established to do some shady underhand deals that an established and well known IT firm like socketworks would not want to stain itself with?
5. Why was the corporate website of Drexel tech global limited taken off line? Was it because it had served its purpose or was it to hide information? GOTO [1]

Questions demanding answers.
May the souls of those who lost their lives rest in peace.

March 2014.

Sorry to say this… but your work is shit!!!

I basically told someone this, not in those exact words but somewhat similar.

How do you tell someone who takes an obscene pride in his creative work that it is basically bullshit without causing offense?

In that “once in a blue moon” moment I remember facebook and actually visit it, I saw a post by a “facebook friend” touting some websites he had created and also advertising his services to prospective clients. I was curious and clicked the links. The first thought that crossed my mind was …. “WTF is this?” This guy actually created a pre 1995 website for a Nigerian polytechnic and another for a socio-cultural organization. He had blinking text, background sound, he used flash and committed other the sins a modern website designer should not. I am no web designer but I was so incensed (actually taking panadol for someone else’s headache who got paid) that I just had to say something, my big mouth could not stay quiet. I tried to be nice, tried to be diplomatic, tried not to be offensive, read some books on emotional intelligence and after much brain racking and prayers, I finally settled on this comment:
Hello [—name retracted—]
Good work you have here {rolling eyes}, I am very impressed {now red in the face} with this. I never knew you were into web programming and design. {Now my goofing begins} Actually, you can try visiting for some very affordable {I didnt indirectly say he was an “el-cheapo”, honestly} and highly professional templates {subconciously saying his work wasnt professional, eh?} you could use instead of this. Anyway take care and keep up the good work.

You can guess his response to me. It was not pretty.

P.S: He deleted my comment on his facebook post. I still think the websites are shit though and wonder how anyone could have paid for it. I should have just figured out a nicer way to say it. Sorry, I am a geek, dont blame me.

How in the hell…

Could a man enjoy being awakened at 5am by an alarm, leap out of bed, say a “let my enemies die” prayer if so religiously inclined, shit, piss, brush teeth, bath, comb hair, dress, fight traffic with insane, high on drugs danfo drivers, police men, LASTMA officials with their spiked iron rods hiding in odd bends and corners ready to jump into his car, to get to a place where essentially he makes lots of money for someone else and be asked to be grateful for the opportunity to do so?
-An adaptation of Charles Bukowski, Factotum, 1975.

Letter from my present to my past.

Dear Past,

Like that wise old man would say, hindsight has 20/20 vision. So with the benefit of hindsight there are some things I would like you to know.

  1. Study a soft course: e.g. Sociology, English, literature, etc that you can easily sail through without really studying and with no more than a quarter of your brain and use most of your available time in the university to: (i) Code, code and code (hone your skills till its razor-sharp) (ii) Create your startup company while in school. Since academic work would be a no brainer, you would have lots of time to do the above instead of studying.
  2. Have loads of fun in the university: even while honing your coding skills, have lots of fun. Join clubs, go to crazy parties, do lots of sports, join a religious organization (if so inclined). Just go out and have fun, meet people, mix, interact. Why? doing so will make you have very strong social skills which would come in handy when running your startup, handling your workers, business partners etc. So you don’t end up being the typical geek who has zero social skills and names his laptop Wendy.
  3. Dont have a job: If your startup kicks off while in school, there would really be no need for you to get a job after graduation (not that there are any waiting out there) but I can’t stress this point enough, PLEASE DONT GET A JOB. Running a startup or young company is a difficult task on its own not to talk of combining it with a full days job. It would kill you. Read this to know why.

Mistakes always teach lessons that are hard to forget but there are some mistakes that should not be committed in the first place.

Yours Sincerly

Your Present.

Geeks suck at kissing ass.


A geek might not laugh at your joke if he doesn’t find it funny.

A geek might not talk to you unless he feels like it and might not respond sometimes when spoken to.

A geek might not try to be  friends with you just for the sake of it, unless he finds areas of intersection of interests.

A geek is totally clueless about how to “do eye service, grovel and play dog eat dog office politics”.

A geek doesn’t know how to flatter just to curry favour.

A geek basically doesn’t give a F.U.C.K

The corporate world is a very difficult for a geek or creative to thrive in, especially when the geek possess most or all of the prior stated traits. Your boss expects you to “do eye service” e.g. “Morning Ma, you are looking awesome today”, “Morning Sir, nice suit, you look dapper, thanks to madam” blah blah blah, bullshit. If you don’t do any of these, you don’t get into good books of your boss. Also, your colleagues expect you to be a Mr Nice Guy, fun, hyper, ever positive person, which isn’t easy to do.

Most geeks/creatives acquired the skills they posses by spending huge tracts of “alone time” so most times they might not have the same level of social skills as their coding skills due to lack of exercising it. Therefore a geek forced to work in a heavily regimented corporate environment would spend it walking around with a target painted on his back and a sign on his head saying “SHOOT ME”.

His colleagues might call him strange, queer, abnormal etc just because he doesn’t fit into the mould of who they feel a normal person should behave.

News Flash People!!! A geek is different and proudly so. You might ostracize him but he wont give a fuck because the more you leave him alone, the more time he would have to work on what he loves to do. To those who don’t know, they may find him aloof or cold but he is just being himself.