Posts tagged 'hacking'

A weekend hack

published on August 15, 2012.

For a while now I couldn’t really make myself sit down in my spare time and do some programming just for the sake of programming. I’d rather read a book, cruise around on my longboard, or whatever. So, this past weekend I decided to try and “hack” together something in a weekend. To see can I still just sit down and write a piece of software, just because I like love doing it, and not because it’s my job.

And yes, yes I can. For the better part of the Saturday and Sunday nights, I was just sitting in front of the computer and turning ideas in my head into bits and bytes. Now, this “app” is nothing revolutionary, nothing exciting, but it feels just damn good that I wrote it.


What does this “app” do? It’s an Android app to post pictures from my phone to my server. That’s it.

What’s good about it, for me, is that it has two parts: the Android app itself, written in Java, and the server side code, written in PHP.

The good part about the server side code is that it’s still the technologies I use everyday, but with more… liberty. It’s basically just an “old-skul” top-down procedural style script.

The good part about the Android app is, well, that it’s an Android app. Something I don’t get to do everyday and, even tho it’s Java, a “break out” technology from my day to day routine. The workflow is rather simple - pick a picture from the gallery of existing pictures on the SD card and send it to the server in a background, async task. Everything was rather simple and straightforward to write, except for the part on making the HTTP client in Java to work with self-signed certificates. That was scary, and probably deserves a blog post on its own. Probably.

I’ll be using this app on a regular, daily basis (hopefully). If anyone’s interested, have a look at the photos. Note, at the time of writing this post, there’s only one photo; a photo of me writing this very post. Heh.

Happy hackin’!

Contributing to open source

published on March 17, 2011.

Often times people ask me why do I contribute to open source, why do I “waste money and time” on free stuff when I could easily do the same thing for money? Don’t have I enough of staring at the computer at work where, well, I do the same thing - hack on code? Ummm. No.

Honestly, I don’t earn much. Enough for the rent, bills, food, but giving the fact that I don’t have a family, it’s enough for me, for now. So, I don’t make a s**t loads of money, but am still willing to work for free? Ummm. No.

Thing is, I really don’t consider this to be work. This is fun. This is hacking. This is creating stuff. This is solving problems. This is my passion. So no, I don’t work for free. I don’t work. I code, I hack.

But why open source?

Giving back

Giving back is nice. Not necessarily giving back to the same project, but just giving back to the open source community in general. It just makes you a better and nicer person :)


Both in high school and in college the fastest way for me to gain knowledge was to learn, collaborate with other students. Open source gives me the chance to share knowledge with hackers from all over the world; from Portugal, via Nova Scotia to Texas. It gives me the chance to be taught and to teach.


Open source gives the opportunity to work with people from every part of the globe. Getting ideas across by the means of email, chat, irc can be hard. Open source gives me the chance to improve my communication skills. Heck, I sometimes even have troubles explaining my ideas to my co-workers who sits right next to me.

Reading other peoples code, fixing bugs, writing documentation, adding new features, testing. Hack skills ++

Also, each and every accepted patch and merged pull request gives me that warm and fuzzy feeling inside.


Open source introduces you to new people. Who knows what can come out of these random introductions? Can’t be bad, that’s for sure.

This is why I contribute to open source: it is fun, it is hacking, it is creating stuff, it is solving problems.

It is my passion.

Robert Basic

Robert Basic

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