“Intro to Dart” @ Dart Flight School, Brunei 2014

On the 15th of February the Google Developer Group (GDG) Brunei held a Dart Flight School at DST’s Signature Store.

Dart is a new language that learns from Javascript and adds features that are missing in Javascript such as classes and optional static typing. It aims to provide a better developer workflow and efficiency, better performance vs Javascript and can compile to Javascript in order to be deployed anywhere.

I prerecorded an “Intro to Dart” video just in case as with all things, technology can be troublesome at times =)  There is also a 4 hour long Hangouts on Air recording of the entire event

Intro to Dart slide deck

Dart Flight School

The code labs served as a way to learn Dart and it is even deployable on Heroku. We also covered a bit of Angular JS with a work in progress AngularJS intro project on GitHub.

All in all, Dart seems compelling that it is more performant compared to Javascript, can be compiled to Javascript so you reap the development benefit while still maintaining deployability via Javascript, having a single language for both client and server and adding ‘modern’ features added to Javascript make it easier to develop in. Certainly an alternative to Javascript+Node and perhaps something to use in a future project.

Brunei Geek Meet and RHoK (Random Hacks of Kindness) Brunei

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Today marks the first meetup of Brunei Geek Meet (http://www.meetup.com/BruneiGeekMeet/), a meetup where I hope to start fostering the meetup culture that I’ve been experiencing here in Melbourne. We aim to be run by the community for the community. I believe that everybody has something to share and I want Brunei Geek Meet to be a platform for people to contribute to the community as a whole: be it as a learner, as a presenter, as a mentor, as a discussion starter, etc. We are more technology oriented (but are open to geeks of any kind!) and we intend to have talks, code labs, hacknights/days and other events where people can attend, learn and contribute in their own ways.

I am also please to announce that we have a license to hold a RHoK event in Brunei. With the tagline “Hacking for Humanity” RHoK believes in providing a platform for people (particularly technologists) to do social good and make the world a better place.

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This is done by hackers working to solve a community problems which can be used in the region of the problem, and even to a bigger audience of the World. When I first attended RHoK, it brought me back to the days I was working on the SMARTER eCVS and I want RHoK Brunei to be of the same nature: for us to see a local need and for technologists to team up to work on a solution.

With that, I would like to extend an invitation to any individuals or organisations that are facing or know of problems that could use a technological solution to get in touch with me and so we can kick off some discussion on how the developer community of Brunei could help. My contact details are tim@thewheatfield.org / @thewheat. I truly hope that you can be a part of RHoK and help contribute to the betterment of the Brunei developer community by providing a real world problem that we, as a community, can get together and help solve.

Considering Android Development: A bit of basics and then some

Considering Android Development Slidedeck

This was the talk I gave at GDG Brunei DevFest 2013 and I aimed for the content to be basic and accessible with a workable app, so that the attendees could use it as a starting off point for the hackathon, should they want to learn how to build an Android app.

I should have published the APK on the Play Store before the talk so that people could have downloaded the app and see what I was building as part of the talk

Source code: https://github.com/CornerGeeks/GDGBruneiDevFest2013/

HSBC Brunei has been good to me

Brunei HSBC SMS

In contrast to my Standard Chartered Brunei experience, HSBC has been pretty good. I received an SMS informing that my ATM card would be deactivated and that I would have to visit my nearest HSBC branch to apply for a Visa Debit Card. Sounds straight forward for anybody in Brunei but sadly I am not in Brunei and thus I decided to give them a call. After some verification questions, they arranged to send my card to the closest HSBC branch in Melbourne. A stark contrast to the SCB experience.

While it was all good and I managed to get my card, I have yet to receive my PIN number and thus I called HSBC today and hopefully that’s sorted it out. I did get more verification questions which I feel could be improved on. Two of the several verification questions asked were

  1. Who is your employer?

    Now, I can easily tell them my current employer but I honestly don’t remember who was my employer when I answered this verification question. The question wasn’t who was my first employer, just who is my employer. This vague question is dependent on when I first answered this question, or whenever I updated the question. I asked the lady when could I have answered this question so that I could trace back which employer I was with at the time but she couldn’t specify more information and that I had to give a single answer, so I just randomly gave an answer.

  2. What is the branch that you opened your account at?

    While this is much less vague that the previous question, it still depends on whether I remember the answer. I know I’ve done some banking in the Gadong branch and Bandar branch. I’ve probably opened at least one account at each branch and perhaps I just have a bad memory but I don’t think this question is a good verification question (at least not for me)

But all in all, HSBC has been good and managed to give me service while I’m overseas so kudos to them! Now I wonder how other Brunei banks deal with overseas customers.

Offline Webapps with HTML5 – slides from GDG Brunei DevFest W

GDG Brunei DevFestW - Offline Webapps with HTML5.png

2 weeks ago I had the opportunity to present a 15 minute technical talk to the GDG Brunei DevFest W organised by GDG Women Brunei.

I pre-recorded a video just in case that the Internet was not cooperative but thankfully the Internet was good.

Slides:

Demos:

Source code:

GDG Brunei

Standard Chartered Bank has not been good to me

Over the past few years Standard Chartered has left me with a very bad taste in my mouth and I’m not even directly a customer of theirs…

Here are their ‘crimes’ that they have committed against me

  1. Sent me unsolicited SMS messages
  2. Not giving me direct answers regarding a loan
  3. Not following up on a loan prepayment
  4. Not processing a loan prepayment request (~3 months and counting)
  5. Hanging up while trying to get a temporary Internet banking password over the phone

Sent me unsolicited SMS messages

Every so often I get an SMS from Standard Chartered with them offering some of their new service or their next big event. Not even having a bank account with them, I find this intrusive and unwanted. Contacted them vai the “Contact Us” link on the Brunei Standard Charted website. Let’s see what becomes of it.

Not giving me direct answers regarding a loan

Wife has a loan and she was overseas, so I tried to get some information about prepayment and some extra details. They said they couldn’t give it out the details of the loan payment scheduled or even how the amounts were calculated. Took several visits to finally get a print out of it payment schedule from which I had to manually figure out how they did the calculations in order to gauge different prepayment options.

Not following up on a loan prepayment

After doing the calculations, we asked regarding a loan prepayment and never got a response back. While I may never know the real answer, the skeptic in me thinks of a straight forward answer that they are told to delay things like this so they can make more money out of us.

Not processing a loan prepayment request (~3 months and counting)

Back in December, finally sent a prepayment request which is still pending approval. What kind of approval is needed? Followed up with the loan office and was told that ‘it was sent for approval’. Comes back to the notion of delays to get more money out of us.

Hanging up while trying to get a temporary Internet banking password over the phone

While it is not a person physically doing the hanging up, after making the appropriate selection on the automated phone system, it rings once or twice and then just hangs up. Who are we supposed to contact, if the number provided doesn’t even enable us to get in contact with a live person.

Does it matter?

Perhaps its been one of those weeks that are physically short but mentally long and draining, but Standard Chartered has not been good to me and somebody needs to know.

Is this a rant? Probably.

Are the scenarios made up? I wish they were.

Is Standard Charted a good bank? Not in my experience thus far.

What do I hope to achieve with this? Some venting. Also a weird wish that Standard Charted will in get contact with me to sort it all out, but more importantly, to improve their service. But whatever happens, for the time being I’ll have to live with the annoyances of SCB in my life. Here’s to hoping it doesn’t have to be a long term thing.

 

Update: Seems that we have go actually physically visit Standard Chartered in order to get it sorted out. Not exactly an easy option to just fly in to sort it out, but I guess there isn’t really much of an option….

Standard Charted Email

So You Want to Develop for Android – Google I/O Extended Brunei (2012)

An overview of Android development with a quick and easy way to get started in cross platform development (including Android) with PhoneGap, presented at Google I/O Extended Brunei. The presentation aims to provide attendees with basic understanding of Android development and providing them tools to create an actual application.


(this is a recorded presentation done after the actual event due to Internet connectivity issues during the event prevented an ideal recording environment)

Links

  1. Hackathon file list

    linked at http://tiny.cc/googleiobn complete with installation guide, tutorials, sample code and presentation slides used for the presentation

  2. PhoneGap Sample Code on GitHub

  3. “So You Want to Develop for Android” presentation slides

I prepared the materials assuming attendees would have no or very little Java programming background (which is needed for Android development) and thus a platform like PhoneGap was ideal as it provided an easy starting point into app development utilizing HTML and Javascript which are easier technologies to understand, and that more people would have exposure to. Based on the actual session, this assumption proved to be true and I believe was a good starting point and it has even spurred @mfirdaus to dabble with some Android development.

I highly encourage Brunei developers out there to contribute and give back to the community. During our time, there were no such developer events to my knowledge, and with social media, it is so much easier to get the word and out and just meet up and provide the young developers in the country with opportunities that we never had.

Footnote: Background

I was contacted by Cikgu Azaman (@azlinux) over a month ago regarding having a Google I/O Extended in Brunei. A hackathon was to be conducted and after throwing around a few ideas, I was put in charge of presenting an Android development session as in intro for the hackathon.

The event was held at iCentre on 27th June and while Internet connectivity didn’t allow a proper Google+ Hangout with a live video presentation (i.e. there was gagal-ness in trying to get things up and running) so we resorted to an audio Skype call while @mfirdaus went through the presentation slides at the Brunei side. So I thought it would be best to do a recorded presentation after the fact for a more complete presentation.

The Brunei Times Unofficial Android App beta

After hearing that the Brunei Times introduced their iPad app and discovering that there is a mobile e-paper for iOS devices that served regular jpg files, I thought it would be great to have an Android app to do something similar to the iPad app.

Features:

  • Downloads current days paper and saves to SD card (/sdcard/Pictures/bt/date)
  • Pages download in the background
  • If all pages are downloaded, no further network connection is needed

Todo:

  • Add home screen for listing all previously downloaded papers
  • Possibly find the high resolution images used in the iPad app
  • Notification of download status
  • Carousel image gallery with multi-touch zoom as seen in image viewers (swipe to move page to page)

So after dusting off some Android development cobwebs I have managed to get the following beta app for your feedback =)

Direct APK download

draft

Places to get Macbook, Macbook Pro, Macbook Air Power Adapters in Brunei

A couple months back my 2 year old 13" MacBook Pro’s power adapter fizzled into oblivion while in the middle of working on a project. And thus began the quest for a MBP power adapter. Coincidentally lots of places were out of stock (AV, Yihfa, Dee Jay) or required a custom order which would take several days and thus I even considered knock-off power adapters from B.I.T. The next step was looking up if other Apple laptop power adapters would work to replace my 60W power adapter. AV did not recommend using a 85W power adapter for 15" MBP on my 13" MBP but after looking things up online it seems fine: the main take away is to ensure the same voltage but higher or equal amperage. Even Apple says a high wattage (voltage*amperage) power adapter is fine (via StackExchange: "Can a 60W MagSafe power adapter work interchangeably on a Macbook Pro that “requires” an 85W adapter?").

Surprisingly enough, I found my power adapter at Incomm at the Mall as I randomly just walked in to look a some phones.

Places to get Apple power adapters:

  • AV – Kiulap, The Mall, KB
  • Dee Jay – Gadong (same row as McDonalds – other branches doesn’t seem to stock power adapters)
  • Netcom – Kiulap, The Mall – custom order (thus will take a few days)
  • Yihfa – Kiulap
  • QQeStore
  • Yappe – Serusop
  • Incomm – Gadong, The Mall
  • BIT Computer – Kiulap (knock off / non original chargers)