The place to which I belong

I believe there is one place on this earth where every person can express all their ability, demonstrate all their talent. It could be a workplace, sometimes an abandoned house, sometimes a full dry desert, a city, really anywhere.

I believe that as a human being, as long as we haven’t found this place, we could certainly shine but not at our very best.

I also believe that sometimes you don’t always know at first sight that you’re in the place you belong to.

I am writing this because in recent months I have experienced many doubts and questions about some of the choices I have made. Important choices, life choices. Of course I do not regret them, I cherish them, I nurture them and I fully assume them.

Tomorrow is a new day, and I hope that I can find the place to which I belong, or if I am already there, finally realize it.

Featured image: Oljato-Monument Valley, United States – Picture by Ganapathy Kumar on Unsplash.

L’humain difforme vu autrement

J’écris cet article depuis mon téléphone. C’est ce qui risque d’arriver d’ailleurs pour les prochains articles que j’écrirai en weekend; parce que je me suis promis il y a peu de ne toucher à mon ordinateur sous aucun prétexte le weekend.

Bien que je n’ai jamais pu totalement respecter cette promesse. D’ailleurs je pense que je ne pourrai tenir que jusqu’à demain matin ??‍♂️??‍♂️.

Le titre de cet article (je suppose qu’il vous a intrigué) n’est pas de moi. Il s’agit d’un article publié par le Professeur Sahbatou Redouane sur AfricArxiv et qui porte sur les perceptions et les interprétations des tares congénitales chez les peuples africains mais pas que.

J’en parle aujourd’hui parce que j’ai récemment lu beaucoup de posts sur internet et dernièrement un article sur Quora où des personnes exprimaient le mal être qu’elles éprouvent par rapport à leur corps.

J’ai lu l’article de Redouane quelques semaines après qu’il ait été publié sur AfricArxiv, et j’ai été particulièrement impressionné par le travail de documentation qu’il a fait en ce qui concerne les implications des difformations corporelles pour les personnes qui en sont victimes et pour celles qui les entourent.

Mon avis, ou plutôt mon constat sur la question est qu’il arrive que ces personnes souffrent plus du regard et/ou de la stigmatisation des « gens » plutôt que de leur mal. Bien sûr ils pourraient ignorer ces traitements, mais il n’en demeure pas moins que c’est pas juste qu’une personne ait à endurer des critiques sur un tel sujet.

Les complexes ne sont pas toujours inhérents à la personne qui les a mais peuvent parfois provenir de son entourage.

Mon éternelle naïveté me fait espérer qu’un jour viendra où personne n’aura plus à se sentir mal ou gêné envers la société à cause de son corps ou à cause d’autres aspects pareils.

Side note: AfricArxiv est un dépôt numérique en libre accès d’articles « scientifiques » publiés par des auteurs africains ou portant sur des thématiques relatives au continent. Je l’ai créé ensemble avec mon amie Jo il y a un peu plus d’un an maintenant.

Redouane a aussi publié sur AfricArxiv « Il était une fois les monstres » qui aborde aussi le sujet des malformations congénitales.

Le mot tare est parfois utilisé avec une connotation très négative. Ce n’est pas le cas dans cet article; du moins dans mes intentions en l’écrivant.

Experience (almost) always wins over talent (?)

How much easier could an extremely talented software engineer solve engineering problems compared to someone else with a very huge experience? This is a question I ask myself quite regularly.

My small experience in the field has pointed out to me that the most experienced people generally have a global perspective on problems. They think less about tools and more about the system in general. They are more abstract in their analysis.

The less experienced but talented rely on the strength of tools or technologies. Sometimes it works. Often. But sometimes it creates more issues.

I believe that the ability to think beyond a concrete (visible) system is acquired over time, through repeated mistakes.

I have learned to enjoy working with more experienced people. It is really an interesting exercise to follow them in their reflection processes.

Are roses 🌹 always pink?

That’s a weird question, right? Are roses 🌹 always pink?

Let’s ask it differently. Are people always well-intentioned toward us?

I have never been able to accept that one person can, without any valid or even a very grave reason, have malicious intentions toward another one.

A colleague told me today that I am very naive, and that I will get tough when I get married 😅.

But more seriously, why would a person want to hurt someone else « just like that »? It’s an idea that my mind has trouble accepting.

That said, life has been rather « passive » with me in terms of human relations. This may (or may not) bias my judgment.


Are roses 🌹 always pink?

I discovered that black roses would actually exist while writing this article. The species is called Halfeti’s Black Rose. It grows in the Halfeti district of Şanlıurfa province, in southeast Turkey.

I’ll read a little more about it as soon as I can.

Featured image from TripSavvy

Ship it. Now!

Side projects are one of the most exciting things I’ve done since I started working full time. I started a lot of them! And I really mean it, a lot. I’m done with very, very few of them though ?‍♂️.

When you are working in the web field, it is always thrilling to discover new things, to practice new technologies, etc….

But you have to know how to curb your ambitions, otherwise, you quickly end up with a myriad of unfinished exciting projects.

I just published a new version of this WordPress plugin (the only side project I’ve been able to complete in the last six months ?). I had planned a few weeks ago to completely refactor its code, but it’s a pretty long job; so I decided to move forward step by step, and publish new versions as I go along.

So my little advice to myself today is:

You’re not going to create the best software/tool in the world in two days, Justin. Move forward little by little, and above all, SHIP IT. NOW!

Who are you writing for, Justin?

I have a friend with whom I regularly (always) share my intentions about what I want to do with this personal site. He was the first to know that I don’t want to put a contact form on the site. I also told him that I’m disabling comments on my blog posts. It was again to him I told that I don’t want to have tools to track statistics or readers on the site. So, he asked me once:

Who are you writing for, Justin?

The instant answer I gave him was: for myself.

By starting this daily writing challenge, I wanted to prove to myself that I could be disciplined in a long-term and consistent way. I see the Daily Notes as my online (not intimate) diary. I share here my thoughts day after day.

Do I expect anything from a given audience? Not necessarily. I’m my first audience, and I want to appreciate what I write and be happy with it. I want to wake up day after day knowing that there is something significant I’ll achieve.

And above all, I want to be able years later to look back and feel happy and proud of what I’m doing here.

Being open to new things

Two qualities that I think super useful for a software engineer are their ability to be agile and proactive in the environment they evolve in.

I have been working for a few months now in one of the largest public administrations in my country. And I understood that what is expected from an « IT Guy » is not the number of technologies he masters, but his ability to provide accessible solutions for concrete needs.

I learned that you have to be able to see beyond the tools and think more about the « process« . I also learned that reinventing the wheel is not necessary in most cases and that the solution can be found right in front of our eyes.

Beyond all this, I have learned that you have to be ready to learn, to be « permeable to new things ».

I don’t remember exactly where I saw that sentence, but it comes very appropriately here:

Tools are tools, don’t be one

Si je devais choisir 3 sites

Je me rappelle qu’il y a deux ans environs, un ami m’a dit ceci: « Imagine qu’on t’annonce que tous les sites sur Internet ? vont bientôt disparaître. Et que tu as la possibilité d’en choisir 3 qui vont rester éternellement. Lesquels choisirais tu ? »

Je ne me rappelle plus exactement de tous les sites que j’ai choisis ce jour là. Mais aujourd’hui, cette question m’est revenue, et j’ai décidé de refaire ma liste de sites que j’aimerais toujours avoir.

Il n’y a aucun classement dans cette liste, je la fais comme elle vient.

Quora – Le coup de cœur

J’ai découvert ce site je pense il y a 3 ans. C’est un site de questions réponses où des utilisateurs posent des questions auxquelles tout le monde peut répondre. Les réponses peuvent être votées (upvoted), et celles avec le plus de votes apparaissent en général en premier.

Je trouve que ce site est juste génial ?. Tellement génial que j’y passe une grande partie de mon temps quand je suis sur Internet et que je ne travaille pas. C’est quoi ? Environ 3 heures par jour ?

On y retrouve des questions dans pleins de domaines, et on apprend toujours un truc sur ce site. C’est mon coup de coeur ❤️ .

Si vous pouviez vous appeler vous-même cinq ans en arrière et que vous aviez 30 secondes, que diriez-vous ?

Réponse : « Oui, bonjour ? » « Hey, c’est moi. Je suis toi et j’ai 30 secondes – » « Quoi ? Qu’est-ce qu- » « Tais-toi, je sais ce que tu vas dire. Maintenant écoute-moi. D’abord, retrouve ce portefeuille à bitcoins, ok ? Commence à en miner et à en acheter tant que tu peux.

GitHub – L’évidence

Il y a 0 chance que GitHub ne se retrouve pas dans ma liste. A lui seul, il vaut bien une dizaine de sites. Je peux y retrouver de la documentation, des réponses et solutions à des issues, du code source, enfin… presque tout ce dont j’aurai besoin pour bosser.

Youtube – ??‍♂️

Je suis un grand fan de contenus audiovisuels, et YouTube est l’endroit où je pourrai probablement trouver tout ce dont j’ai envie dans ce genre là. Trois choix, c’est plutôt limité, j’aurais ajouté avec plaisir Netflix sinon.

Avec seulement trois sites, je n’aurai probablement pas besoin de Google, donc logique je trouve qu’il n’ait pas sa place dans ma liste.

The blank page

Featured image by Lukas Blazek on Unsplash

I promised myself two days ago to write an article a day on this blog. I’ve already done two since then.

It is 7:10 p.m. this Saturday, October 19, and I still don’t know what to write. That is why this article is titled « The blank page » ?. When I challenged myself with this, I didn’t know it would be difficult sometimes.

Well, it’s not really a blank page because I just wrote more than 10 lines ?.

7:12 p. m., still nothing comes in my mind. I have to go out in less than 20 minutes to go to cinema, so I’m going to post this article (if we can call it that) as is; because I’m afraid not being able to do it when I get back.

Oh, and if you are wondering, I’m going to watch « Moi Je Sais Tout » with Kenneth Yannick as main actor. He is a standup comedian ? I really like.

Come on, don’t be disappointed ?, and see you tomorrow ?. Tomorrow, something consistent should come. I hope so.

On doing things on time

Featured image by Aron Visuals on Unsplash

Next week, my friend Jo and I are going to Abidjan ✈️ to attend the eLearning Africa conference. We are going to give a knowledge exchange talk about how open science is paving the future of scientific research and scholarly publishing in Africa.

eLearning Africa conference

This talk is kind of strategic for us and for AfricArxiv since it’ll be the opportunity to meet and talk to decision-makers in higher education in Africa; about what we have been doing for more than one year now.

On this pic, from right to left, Jo, Freda, I and Kajsa, last December at re:publica Accra; where we discussed local languages and Open Science in Africa.

Since I’m the main chairperson of the talk, it is my task to compile the slides that I’m going to use the D-Day. That’s something I should have done by the end of last month. But I didn’t.

When discussing with Jo yesterday morning, I told her this:

« Hello Jo,

So I’m doing great. Physically, mentally, ?.

I have stepped back from some tasks at work and others in order to get more rest. I also plan to take advantage of Abidjan to rest a little. »

She immediately called me after I sent the message, and I felt that she was a little bit exhausted (upset?). And she was right. Abidjan is a crucial step for us and we need to make it ??.

This episode made me realize (again) that I need to set my priorities, to organize better my time, to avoid being overwhelmed with work, to do what I have to do on time.

I just ended up with the slides.

Dear Jo, I greatly appreciate having you as a friend ?. And I know we’ll rock at Abidjan. See you soon ✋✋.

African Principles for Open Access in Scholarly Communication AfricArxiv

Yesterday, I decided to write one (small) article a day on my blog. This article is, therefore, the second in this series. Like the first two, all the other articles that follow will be in the Daily Notes category on the blog.


I just shared this post preview with Jo and asked her if she’s ok if I publish it. And she answered:

« You are the greatest ?
Of course you can publish it. You should add that you are a highly professional and widely interested person and for us it is easy to get confused with priorities sometimes. It is also normal for us to finish things on the very last minute. And yes I am currently exhausted, for exactly those reasons 😉 »