The NeceMoon | December 2014

On reading books and self-education, My Essentials (Part 2)

by necemon 31. December 2014 17:59


A couple of years back I shared my reading list and wrote about the books I found most interesting. But then, after that, I have been reading some more over the past few months, here are my recent favorites:


1. Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality - by LessWrong

A "parallel universe" Harry Potter fiction written by Eliezer Yudkowsky (A.K.A. LessWrong), an AI researcher, writer and decision theorist at the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence. The fan fiction story illustrates topics in cognitive science and rationality, recasting the original story in an attempt to explain Harry's wizardry through the scientific method.

Petunia Evans has married an Oxford biochemistry professor and young genius Harry grows up fascinated by science and technology. When he finds out that he is a wizard, he tries to apply scientific principles to his study of magic, with sometimes surprising results.  With magic now seemingly a proven reality, Harry now takes his place at Hogwarts, armed with Enlightenment ideals and the experimental spirit.

The text contains many clues: obvious clues, not-so-obvious clues and truly obscure hints. This is a rationalist story; its mysteries are solvable, and meant to be solved. All science mentioned is real science.

The fanfiction is known for possibly being the most reviewed Harry Potter fanfiction, with over 20,000 reviews on as of July, 2013.

Disclaimer: J. K. Rowling owns Harry Potter, and no one owns the methods of rationality. 


2. Influencer (The power to change anything) - by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler

Leading is hard. And the only thing harder than leading a team towards a common vision – provided you are able to unite it in the first place – is leading a team through change. Change is harder.

There is no magic formula for managing change, but the book "Influencer: The Power to Change Anything" provides a great framework. 

The authors first point out what does not work: talk. You can’t explain logically to people why they must change their behaviors and expect anything to happen. Peoples' behaviors are tuned to what they believe is in their best self interests. Unless you can change that belief, you have little chance of changing their behaviors.

Influence is about changing hearts, minds, and behavior to produce meaningful, sustainable results.

In short, don’t waste time on how to create change until you’ve clarified what you want, why you want it, and when you want it. The book explains how to clarifying measurable results, find vital behaviors, and use a strategic, varied approach to influence individuals and groups.


3. The Undefeated Mind: On the Science of Constructing an Indestructible Self - by Alex Lickerman

A book about how to surmount the challenges that life throws our way. It’s a powerful book that helps you cultivate your inner strength to face hard times with a fearless heart. It’s more than a book. It’s a set of tools for life.

The tools in this book help you stand strong when tested.  The key, according to Dr. Lickerman, is turning adversity into wisdom.  It’s that wisdom that helps you develop your resilience and achieve indestructible peace.

It’s also a beautiful blend of ancient wisdom and modern science, offering a set of guidelines not for solving problems but for establishing a life state that makes all problems solvable, and dramatically increase your ability to withstand adversity.

It doesn't just happen automatically, and it takes practice. Extraordinary people may be born, but they can also be made.


4. Who is pulling your strings? (how to break the cycle of manipulation and regain control) - by Harriet Braiker

In "Who's Pulling Your Strings?", Dr. Harriet B. Braiker exposes the most common methods of manipulators, and with the help of self-assessment quizzes, action plans, and how-to exercises, she helps you recognize, end and avoid the manipulative cycle (for good) through lots of straight-forward techniques.


5. The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment - by Ekhart Tolle

A guide stressing the importance of living in the present moment and avoiding thoughts of the past or future. The author writes that an individual should be aware of their "present moment" instead of losing themselves in worry and anxiety about the past or future.

According to the book, only the present moment is important, and both an individual's past and future is created by their thoughts. The author maintains that people's insistence that they have control of their life is an illusion that only brings pain. The book also describes methods of relaxation and meditation to aid readers in anchoring themselves in the present. These suggestions include slowing down life by avoiding multi-tasking, spending time in nature, and letting go of worries about the future.

Although the journey is challenging, Eckhart Tolle uses simple language and an easy question and answer format to guide you.


6. I was blind but now I see - by James Altucher

James Altucher is one of my favorite bloggers. In this book he attempts two things. First, he tries to create some awareness about a wide variety of issues that we tend to take for granted/as normal without actually considering why, using clear cut arguments and mentioning alternatives to make his points. 

Secondly, the author describes how to deal with the awareness and to get the confidence/strength to do things in your own way. Funny, brutally honest and thought-provoking.


7. Shut up, stop whining and get a life - by Larry Winget

This is not your typical self-help book. This book won't make you feel good about yourself and that's a good thing. If you are hoping to improve yourself with a bunch of feel-good mantras, then this book is NOT for you. But if you are ready to get up and really change your life, then Larry Winget is your man. Larry (A.K.A. the Pitbull of Personal Development) is direct, caustic, and controversial. His tough-love approach boils success down to a simple formula: your life failures are your own freaking fault, and if you shut up, stop whining, and take action, your life will get better.


8. The 50th Law - by 50 Cent and Robert Greene

Pop culture and hip hop icon 50 Cent joins forces with Robert Greene, bestselling author, to write collaboratively a bible for success in life and work based on a single principle: fear nothing.

They came up with The 50th Law, a New York Times bestselling book on strategy and fearlessness.

The book is a semi-autobiographical account detailing 50 Cent's rise as both a young urban hustler and as an up-and-coming musician with lessons and anecdotes from historical figures such as Abraham Lincoln, Sun Tzu, Socrates, Napoleon, Malcolm X, and James Baldwin.


9. The Millionnaire Mind - by Thomas Stanley

The Millionaire Mind draws from the author's research of America's affluent to examine the ideas, beliefs and practices of the segment of the financial elite that use little or no consumer credit.

The book analyzes the common environmental and lifestyle factors that preceded and resulted in this researched segment's ability to accumulate wealth, by exploring the attitudes and skills that enabled these millionaires to build and maintain their fortunes.


10. How to live on 24 hours a day - by Arnold Bennett

Time is a very funny thing; everyone gets the same amount per day. No one receives either more or less than you receive. It's not possible to go the store and buy time. But time is the inexplicable raw material of everything. With it, all is possible; without it, nothing is possible.

The author states that time is the most precious of commodities. He said that many books have been written on how to live on a certain amount of money each day, but he adds that the old adage "time is money" understates the matter, as time can often produce money, but money cannot produce more time. Time is extremely limited, and Bennett urged others to make the best of the time remaining in their lives.

How to Live on 24 Hours a Day offers practical advice on how one might live (as opposed to just existing) within the confines of 24 hours a day. A classic piece on self improvement teaching you to live to the fullest.


11. The Power of Habit (Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business) - by Charles Duhigg

Habits can save us or ruin us in a thousand ways; in fact, these "automatic responses" affect every arena of our lives. 

In The Power of Habit, Pulitzer Prize–winning business reporter Charles Duhigg explores the science behind habit creation and reformation. He takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed. 

At its core, The Power of Habit contains a sensible argument: The key is understanding how habits work. 


12. On Writing, a Memoir of the Craft - by Stephen King

On Writing is part biography and part how-to. Stephen King (world best-selling author of contemporary horror, supernatural fiction, suspense, science fiction, and fantasy) writes about his childhood and young adulthood, relating stories that made him the writer he has become. Stephen King then moves into the mechanics of writing, offering advice and insight into a successful career that has worked so well for him but remains distant for thousands of others.


13. Principles - by Ray Dalio

Principles is like a modern day meditation guide aimed at personal, professional and career development.

Ray Dalio, self-made multi-billionaire, details the purpose and importance of having principles in general, his most fundamental life principles that apply to everything he does, and his management principles.


14. Introduction to Metaphysics - by Henri Bergson

A thought provoking essay about the concept of reality by Henri Bergson. For Bergson, reality occurs not in a series of discrete states but as a process similar to that described by process philosophy or the Greek philosopher Heraclitus. Reality is fluid and cannot be completely understood through reductionistic analysis, which he said "implies that we go around an object", gaining knowledge from various perspectives which are relative. Instead, reality can be grasped absolutely only through intuition, which Bergson expressed as "entering into" the object.

This is a difficult book but his ideas about time and the value of immediate experience are definitely worthwhile.


That's it.

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English | Winning

Relaunch : Kpakpatoya 2.0 as an Interactive Platform

by necemon 24. December 2014 15:42


1.     Introduction

KpakpatoyaTM is a repository for what's new, popular and relevant on the Internet with a focus on Africa. Users like you can submit content and decide, through voting, what's good (kiffs) and what's junk (zaps). Links that receive community approval raise towards the top, so the front page is constantly in motion and (hopefully) filled with fresh, interesting links. KpakpatoyaTM is part of the Evasium Network.

"Kpakpatoya"  is a term from the Ivorian slang which indicates the act of spreading rumors, passing on supposed stories relating to surrounding things, events and people. In our context, it would therefore be appropriate to understand "kpakpatoya" with regard to scoops, gossips and even compelling news.


2.     Historical Context 

April 2011. The Ivory Coast was then emerging from a major crisis, a crisis in which information and communication technologies have played an important role in providing practical assistance to related casualties. Beyond simple commenting, hashtags such as #CIV2010 and #CIVSocial were used to spread critical news and provide concrete solutions to these victims. Through donations, call centers and notably Twitter, which then comes up as the ideal tool for broadcasting urgent information in real time.

The Ivorian community on Twitter was growing and booming, with more and more registrations, tweets and contributions. But that community was still relatively small in terms of numbers. For such a small group on Twitter, how to get together, and exchange around common themes? Through the #Hashtags again, of course... On online social networks, the Hashtag is a word or set of words preceded by the symbol '#'. The hashtag is used to centralize messages around a specific term. It acts as a keyword so that users can follow, comment on a conversation or get together around a topic, for example the measures of refueling in times of crisis or even medical emergencies.

But in this post-war period, it was time to switch to less sinister tags. #Kpakpatoya was quite timely for this small community seeking to gather in an atmosphere that could be described as "cool". It was the tag that these Ivorian "influencers" and "pioneers" on Twitter used to do without local news, inside jokes, viral content, or other kinds of interesting information, including sports events, (technology) conferences, or day-to-day life.

Detecting a chance to improve some socio-technological conditions, I launched the website in that same period. At the beginning, it was just a flow of tweets around the #Kpakpatoya feed + a few extra features, including a summary of local and international news published in real time. Then I tried with varying degrees of success to offer some applications such as some discussion forums, the blog and the ability to tweet directly from the web site. I had also opened the Twitter account @kpakpatoya and arranged the mobile application implementation, which still present the news, as well as the Facebook page and the website.

Through this form of ecosystem, and a combination of technical and social skills, the hashtag #Kpakpatoya grew in popularity. By following the thread #kpakpatoya, it was easy to find CIV culture sympathizers, their news, as well as the most popular local themes, even for a newcomer.


3 years later, the Ivorian Web scene turned into a completely different form...

On the one hand, this virtual community has expanded a lot, which is most welcomed, since there is a lot more content, web projects, web entrepreneurs, bloggers, users, etc. Except that a simple hashtag is not enough anymore for an effective exploration of the content. It would not be practical to communicate around a single hashtag. Of course, there is always the option to "break down", to use the alternative hashtags that have emerged in the meantime (although #Kpakpatoya remains one of the most popular tags). That's a good solution, provided one can constantly be aware of new users and tags to follow, so as not to get lost in all this volume of content, and not to miss the most relevant and recent information..

On the other hand, there has been very little evolution when it comes to the #Kpakpatoya project, whether it be in terms of technology, computer graphics, communication, infrastructure, etc. The Facebook page has less than 2000 fans, the Twitter page has around 8000 followers, the mobile application is obsolete, and until recently, the components of the website that had a lot of success in the first few months have been almost neglected (I will spare you the numbers related to the decrease in web traffic). There are almost no contributors to the progress of the project, there are just the users. This could have been a decent community project, but instead it was reduced to a latent state. 

It is true that the community was formed in a rather organic way, there was no concrete strategy, everything happened gradually and naturally, which perhaps explains the cool-down after the buzz effect had passed, each party being concerned with their own projects. I must admit that the applications I wrote as part of this project were essentially in maintenance mode and that I had moved on to other things myself. Anyway, no one stepped up.

A wise man once said: If there is anything potentially interesting and you do not understand why nobody does it, it's because you haven't done it either. That's DIY: Do It Yourself.

I therefore take over the lead on this project to try and produce something useful. In recent weeks, my team and myself have been doing some renovations, trying to produce a more interactive platform (with some added value, if at all possible) in order to facilitate meetings, exchanges and content management within the community.


3.     Description

KpakpatoyaTM is powered by Evasium ®, a small team of technology enthusiasts. We basically make Internet software. We focus on building edutainment-oriented web/client applications.

On KpakpatoyaTM, you can discuss pretty much anything, but the most welcomed topics are : Buzz, Clash, Economics & Politics, Culture, Insolite, Local News, Africa, Sport, Diaspora.

Beyond the option to read news, it is now a matter of adding a touch of interactivity, where everyone can share links, discuss, comment and vote on the existing notes. A Kiff is a positive vote (like a "like", a "+1") for a note. A Zap is the opposite, it is a negative vote for a note. Any Kpakpatoya user may kiff or zap a note, and since the score of the note depends on the difference between his kiffs and his zaps, each vote helps to establish the position of the note in the Kpakpatoya ranking. The notes could be listed in order of popularity, to allow the next visitors to spot the best content.

Nothing too complex, it's just a sharing system as found everywhere on the Web. For example, tech entrepreneurs have Hacker News, Americans came up with Reddit, French cybernauts have The concept has existed for a while, it's just that there was no Ivorian/African version.


KpakpatoyaTM is available in 2 languages.


In English:


In French:


KpakpatoyaTM may (or may not) become a reference point in terms of news and "affairages" for Ivorian web users. But that's not the main goal here. The current goal is to provide a useful tool for expanding the sharing options for local content, and to implement the long overdue Kpakpatoya renovation.

On a more personal note, I think we should rather see this project as an experience that could potentially help to optimize the visibility of online African content.
For having managed the website, the Facebook account and the Twitter account of KpakpatoyaTM over the last 3 years, it seems to me that many followers expect a better interaction system and they strive for a better visibility for their content, namely their projects, links published, or simple opinions and comments. Therefore, it is possible that this version of the site meets their expectations to some extent.

There are still many things we could add or improve, we can do it as we go along, while taking users feedback into consideration, but the prototype of this new version is relatively stable, and what is needed now is trying it. That is to say, create your account, test the different forms of interaction, provide your feedback and share the link with your contacts so that they can do the same.


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Arts/Fun | English | Prototype

Redynamisation : Kpakpatoya 2.0 en tant que plateforme interactive

by necemon 24. December 2014 15:20


1.     Introduction

KpakpatoyaTM est un catalogue de ce qui est nouveau, populaire et intéressant en ligne avec un accent particulier sur l'Afrique. Les utilisateurs peuvent publier du contenu, commenter et décider à travers des votes de ce qui est bon (kiffs) et ce qui est nul (zaps). Les liens qui reçoivent l'approbation de la majorité progressent vers le sommet, ainsi la page d'accueil serait constamment en mouvement, avec plein de liens frais et intéressants. KpakpatoyaTM fait partie de Evasium Network.

"Kpakpatoya" est un terme tiré de l'argot ivoirien qui désigne l'action de rapporter, relayer des histoires, des nouvelles, des potins, voire de favoriser la circulation de commérages et de rumeurs. Dans notre contexte, il serait donc plus approprié de comprendre "Kpakpatoya" dans le sens de scoops, de révélations insolites, et même d'actualités captivantes.


2.     Contexte Historique 

Retour en Avril 2011. La Côte d’Ivoire est alors en train de sortir d’une crise majeure, crise au cours de laquelle les technologies de l’information et de la communication ont joué un rôle important quand il s’agissait d’apporter une assistance pratique aux victimes collatérales de la crise ivoirienne. Au-delà de simples mots, les hashtags tels que #CIV2010 et #CIVSocial permettaient de faire circuler des informations critiques et d'apporter des solutions concrètes auxdites victimes. À travers des dons, des call-centers et surtout Twitter, qui se présente alors comme l’outil idéal pour la circulation d’informations en temps réel, voir urgentes.

La communauté ivoirienne sur Twitter est alors en plein essor, avec de plus en plus d’inscriptions, de tweets et de contributions. Mais cette communauté était toujours relativement faible en termes de nombre. Pour un si petit groupe sur Twitter, comment se retrouver, et échanger autour de thèmes communs ? Encore les #Hashtags, bien sûr… Sur les réseaux sociaux, le hashtag est un mot ou ensemble de mots précédé du symbole '#'. Le hashtag sert à centraliser les messages autour d'un terme bien précis. Il fait office de mot-clé pour que les utilisateurs puissent commenter / suivre une conversation ou se retrouver autour d'un sujet, par exemple les mesures de ravitaillement en temps de crise ou encore les urgences médicales.

Mais dans cette période d’après-guerre, place à des tags moins sinistres. #Kpakpatoya tombait à pic pour permettre à cette petite communauté de se retrouver dans une ambiance qu’on pourrait qualifier de « cool ». C’était le tag que ces « influenceurs » et « pionniers » ivoiriens sur Twitter utilisaient pour se passer des nouvelles locales, des « Inside Joke », des tubes, ou d’autres sortes d’infos ou de contenus intéressants relatifs entre autres, à des évènements sportifs, des (non) conférences technologiques, ou encore le quotidien de chacun.

Percevant une occasion d’améliorer certaines conditions socio-technologiques, j’ouvre dans la même période le site Au début c'était juste un flux des tweets du fil #kpakpatoya + quelques extras, notamment un condensé de l'actualité locale (ivoirienne) et internationale en temps réel. Puis j’ai essayé avec plus ou moins de succès de proposer quelques applications telles que des forums de discussions, le blog et la possibilité de tweeter directement depuis le site. J’avais aussi ouvert le compte Twitter @kpakpatoya et initié la conception de l’application mobile, qui continuent de présenter l’actualité tout comme la page Facebook et le site web. 

C’est dans cette forme d’écosystème que le hashtag #Kpakpatoya montait en popularité, à travers une combinaison de compétences techniques et sociales. En suivant le fil #kpakpatoya, même pour un nouveau venu, il était facile de retrouver les sympathisants de la culture ivoirienne, leur actualité, ainsi que les thèmes locaux les plus populaires.


3 ans plus tard, la scène Web ivoirienne se présente sous une forme complètement différente…

D’une part, cette communauté virtuelle s’est beaucoup élargie, ce qui est une très bonne chose, puisqu’il y a beaucoup plus de contenu, de projets web, d’entrepreneurs web, de blogueurs, d’utilisateurs, etc. Sauf qu’un simple hashtag ne suffit plus pour une exploration efficace du contenu. Ce ne serait pas pratique de tous communiquer autour d’un seul hashtag. Bien évidemment, il y a toujours l’option de « décomposer », d’utiliser les hashtags alternatifs qui ont émergé entre-temps (même si #Kpakpatoya demeure l’un des tags les plus populaires). C’est une bonne solution, à condition d’être constamment informé des nouveaux utilisateurs et tags à suivre pour ne pas se perdre dans tout ce volume de contenu et ne pas manquer l’essentiel de l’information récente.

D’autre part, il y a eu très peu d’évolution par rapport à #Kpakpatoya, peu d’efforts que ce soit sur les plans de la technologie, de l’infographie, de la communication, des infrastructures, etc. La page Facebook a moins de 2000 fans, la page Twitter a autour de 8000 followers, l’application mobile est obsolète, et jusque récemment, les composants du site web qui avaient pas mal de succès dans les premiers mois ont été quasiment délaissés (je t’épargne les chiffres relatifs à la baisse du trafic web). Il n’y a presque pas de contributeurs à l’avancée du projet, plus que des utilisateurs. Ce qui aurait pu être un projet communautaire décent est passé à un état latent. 

C’est vrai que la formation de la communauté s’est faite de manière assez organique, il n’y avait aucune stratégie concrète, tout s’est passé progressivement et naturellement, ce qui explique peut-être la décontraction après que l’effet de buzz soit passé, chacun étant préoccupé par ses projets personnels. J’avoue que les applications que j’avais écrites dans le cadre de ce projet étaient quasiment passées en mode maintenance et que j’étais moi-même passé à d’autres choses. Bref, personne n'intervenait.

Un homme sage a dit un jour : s’il y a quelque chose de potentiellement intéressant et que tu ne comprends pas pourquoi personne ne le fait, c’est parce que toi-même tu ne l’as pas fait. That’s DIY : Do It Yourself.

Je reprends donc la direction du projet afin d’essayer de produire quelque chose d’utile. Ces dernières semaines, avec mon équipe, nous avons procédé à quelques rénovations, essayant de produire une plateforme plus interactive (si possible avec valeur ajoutée) pour faciliter la gestion du contenu, les rencontres et les échanges au sein de la communauté.


3.     Description

KpakpatoyaTM est propulsé par Evasium ®, une petite équipe de geeks. Nous construisons des logiciels, notamment des applications Web orientées vers le divertissement et la formation intellectuelle.

Sur KpakpatoyaTM, on discute un peu de tout, mais les thèmes les plus sollicités sont les suivants : Affairages, Clash, Eco-Politique, Culture, Insolite, Babi Actus, Afrique, Sport, Diaspora.

Au delà de la possibilité de lire les actualités, il s’agit maintenant d’ajouter une touche d’interactivité, ou chacun peut proposer des liens, discuter/commenter et liker les notes existantes. Un Kiff est un vote positif (comme un "j'aime", un "+1") pour une note. Un Zap, c'est l'inverse, c'est un vote négatif pour une note. Tout utilisateur de KpakpatoyaTM peut kiffer ou zapper une note, et puisque le score de la note dépend de la différence entre ses kiffs et ses zaps, chaque vote aide à établir la position de la note dans le classement de KpakpatoyaTM. Les notes pourraient donc être listées par ordre de popularité, pour permettre aux prochains visiteurs de voir l’essentiel.

Rien de bien complexe, juste un système de partage comme on en trouve un peu partout sur le Web. Par exemple, les entreprenerds ont Hacker News, les Américains ont Reddit, les Français ont Le concept existe déjà depuis un moment, c’est juste qu’il n’y a pas de version Ivoirienne/Africaine.


KpakpatoyaTM est disponible dans 2 langues.

En Français :

En Anglais:

KpakpatoyaTM pourrait devenir une référence en matière d’actualité et d’ «affairages» pour les internautes ivoiriens (ou pas). Mais ce n’est pas ça l’objectif principal. L’objectif actuel est de proposer un outil utile pour étendre les options de partage de contenu local et de suspendre la pause de Kpakpatoya qui n’a que trop duré.

Sur une note plus personnelle, je pense qu’il faut plutôt voir ce projet comme une expérience qui pourrait contribuer à optimiser la visibilité des contenus africains en général et ivoiriens en particulier.
Pour avoir géré le site web, le compte Facebook et le compte Twitter de Kpakpatoya sur ces 3 dernières années, il me semble que beaucoup de followers réclament une meilleure interaction et recherchent une meilleure visibilité pour leur contenu, à savoir leurs projets, liens postés, ou simples avis et commentaires. Il est donc possible que cette version du site réponde à leurs attentes.

Il y a encore beaucoup de choses qu’on pourrait ajouter ou améliorer, on pourra le faire au fur et à mesure en tenant compte des feedbacks, mais le prototype de cette nouvelle version est relativement stable, et ce qu’il faut maintenant c’est l’essayer. C’est-à-dire y créer ton compte, y tester les différentes formes d’interaction, apporter ton feedback et partager le lien avec tes contacts pour qu’ils puissent en faire de même.

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Arts/Fun | Francais | Prototype


I am Necemon Yai. I am a .NET developer and a digital artist. Let's keep in touch via Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook.

Je suis Necemon Yai. Je suis un développeur .NET et un artiste numérique. Restons en contact via Twitter, LinkedIn ou Facebook.