Employees Are Poor

I’ve known this for a while, since reading Robert Kiyosaki’s bestseller Rich Dad, Poor Dad 16 years ago–an employee is poor or conversely, you can never create wealth from job working for another person. Today I saw it in the book of Truth, the Holy Bible.

In 1 Samuel chapter 2, the woman Hannah delivered a highly inspired speech in the course of prayer and it contains many gems of wisdom. The one that caught my eye regarding this topic is found in verse 5:

Those who once had plenty of food now must work for food, but people who were hungry are hungry no more.–1 Samuel 2:5a (New Century Version)

In the Kiyosaki book, some statements stood out for me such as “Do not work for money, but work to learn” and “Mind your own business“. The Bible verse makes it clear to me that poor people work for food and indeed this embodies the curse God placed om the ground when Adam fell (note, God did not curse Adam, but the ground!) That curse states that he would sweat before he eats. Thankfully that curse has been done away with!

Before the Industrial Age, it was generally a mark of penury for one to be indentured in service to another human being. Free men, even if not overtly rich, favoured the pursuit of entrepreneurship over regular employment. The norm was for a young person to learn a trade or acquire a skill, usually via an apprenticeship, and then use that to build his or her personal fortune.

Today, this natural economic model has been flipped over. People study for years hoping to be servants for most, if not all, of their lives. Individualism is gradually becoming anathema while collectivism and group think is having a field day.

Nowadays, people want the government to provide for them and are prepared to sacrifice the freedom God gave them to avoid personal responsibility. I disagree strongly with this worldview – God made us free agents and gave each of use unique gifts and talents to express that freedom whilst providing value for other members of the human family. I believe that our connection to one another, economically speaking, lies in the value we provide, which also influences the value we receive in return.

So, I think we should work to learn and be bold to use what we’ve learnt to create value for the rest of society and get paid in return. It’s kind of simplistic but that, to my mind, is the beginning. The details for implementing this would vary of course, but that seems to the crux of the matter.

This is just a rant; if you have something to teach me, feel free to do so in the comments section.

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Help with installing RQDA

RQDA user interface
The RQDA User Interface

[Update – 25 Nov 2020]: In the last 3-4 days, there has been significant activity on the RQDA GitHub repository, specifically addressing the needed updates to the package. So, it’s expected that very soon, the package will once again be available for installation via the regular channels.

RQDA is software for computer-aided qualitative data analysis (CAQDAS) and is specifically tailored for use with the R programming language and statistical computing environment. Last year I was privileged to use RQDA in carrying out the data analysis for an assessment involving 4 Nigerian States. It’s a great package, and very user-friendly. I was able to engage a team of non-programmers and after a 2-hour training, they were good to go, giving me great results.

A few months ago, somebody raised an alarm on the package’s GitHub repository. RQDA was gone!

GitHub Issue #38: Package was archived on CRAN
You need to see the comments that followed after!

What followed was a long discussion – many researchers were adversely affected by this development. Fortunately, my project was properly isolated using package management powered by renv and I really had no problems at all. But others were not so fortunate, and some didn’t even know how to start solving the problem. I participated somewhat on the thread to see how I could help out a few people.

You see, what had happened was that some of the dependencies of RQDA on CRAN, the Comprehensive R Archive Network, had been upgraded and the maintainer of RQDA, Prof. Ronggi Huang of Fudan University, China, was yet to upgrade the project accordingly. With the upgrading of R to version 4.0, these packages were all archived on CRAN and could not be installed the regular way i.e. with install.package(). On a good day, installing RQDA already presents some challenges, because of the graphical user interface (GUI) libraries it uses. Now it was impossible, except for advanced R users.

One of the developers on the thread took it upon himself to work on a fork of the project and came up with a good solution. And it worked. RQDA could be downloaded and installed with little or no pain. However, when colleagues asked whether he was going to commit to maintaining the fork or even pushing to CRAN, he declined, and rightly so. Instructions for using his branch can be found here.

Given this scenario, I decided that it would be good to also develop a solution based on the last available CRAN version, even though it was archived. I therefore came up with an R script that can be used both in the shell and within an R session. With this solution, RQDA can be successfully installed from CRAN on the current version of R (v4.0.2), I tried to provide informative messages to guide would-be users in carrying out the required steps – in some cases, there might be a need to stop the script and carry out an intermediary step at the R console. This script has been uploaded here as a GitHub Gist.

To use this script, follow these steps:

  1. Download the script and save it to disk–its name is gwdg-arch.R. Note the location where it is saved.
  2. Navigate to the directory/folder where the file in the shell or in an R session.
  3. Run the script:
    • If in the shell, use Rscript gwdg-arch.R.
    • If in the R console, use source("gwdg-arch.R")
  4. If RGtk2 was successfully installed by the script, it will terminate. You should now go to the R console and run library(RGtk2); this will bring up a dialog, asking you to install Gtk+. Accept it.
  5. After installing Gtk+, run the script again to download and install the other packages, including RQDA.
  6. If the above steps fail, perhaps your system is lacking some extraneous dependency. Run the script in the shell, only this time add the flag --verbose. This will print out more messages to help identify the possible cause of the problem.

Feel free to give me a shout.

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Easily Replace Characters In A String


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Reasons Why You Should Keep Learning C/C++

I found this post interesting. C++ is hard and vast, but the payoff is immense.

How Not To Code


Many beginners and students find C/C++ language hard to master because it requires them to think a lot. There are many language-specific quirks, especially in C++, that give students and programmers a hard time. It also has a steep learning curve and is rarely used in modern application development, which prompts many people to give up learning C/C++. However, even with these challenges, it is important for students to continue learning this programming language. This article highlights reasons why one should keep learning C/C++.

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Using Your Browser From the Command Line


I know it’s been a while since I posted – being selfish with all the new things I’ve been learning. I’m sorry. Today I was reminded in strong terms that sharing and giving are crucial, and without all the good stuff other people are posting on the internet, I wouldn’t know most of what I know today.

I want to talk about starting your browser from the command line, in this case I’m using Firefox on Windows. The terminal I’m using is Powershell.

For a long time, I got into the habit of starting my browser like this:

start firefox

I can open my favourite social media site from the shell like this:

start firefox twitter.com

Note that I didn’t even have to prepend the URL with http(s):// or www! Neat, eh?

Sometimes, when I’m really being lazy and I quickly want to jump to Google and conduct a search on “firefox command line options” from there, I just type

start firefox www.google.com/search?q=firefox+command+line+options

I know that this example is rather contrived, but if you understand the basics of HTTP/HTTPS and query strings, this should be easy to grasp.

Having done this for a while, today I decided to look at the Mozilla Developer Network (MDN) reference to see what Firefox had to offer by way of command line options.

And BOOM I hit a mother lode! So far I have only skimmed over it, but I’m astounded at the possibilities I see – this should really make for good browser automation. I wonder why I never thought of it before now.

If I find anything really useful I promise to share (this time). If you’re interested, have a look at MDN’s Firefox Command Line Options page.

I’m out!

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