Saturday, February 28, 2015 is on Kickstarter!

After a week of development on, everything seems to be working as expected.  The only thing missing is more visitors.

Crombz does get around 50 visitors per day which is not that bad for a website that was put online just less than a week a go.

It's now time to move on to the next level by promoting over the web.  As personal funding is quite limited (Being a dad of 5 kids, with 4 more step-kids, you can figure out why ;) ), I've created a Kickstarter project to help me out funding the promotion of Crombz using Google Adwords.

If you wish to support Crombz, you can do it by funding the Kickstarter project (  The money raised will be used to promote and improve

The idea behind Crombz is to display the newest and unknown Youtube videos and put them in the front row.  Everywhere, already popular and viral videos are listed, leaving out those little gems at the bottom of their list.  Crombz is thinking the other way around.

I hope that my latest project will take off and will help new Youtubers to be discovered.

Thanks for your support!


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Crombz is for new Youtubers!

I have put online a new website called a few days ago.  It's a personal project and I wanted to find a way to promote new videos without getting into the spamming market.

Today, I've updated with some new features, keeping in mind that videos should be about those just put on the web.  Videos will be accepted only if they have a duration of at least 2 minutes and have less than 500 views.

You may find this harsh but I wanted to avoid hosting bad quality videos and concentrate on those putting time and effort to create great content.  Time will tell if those two limitations are enough.

More features will be added in the next few weeks as I want to make baby steps to avoid major issues when updating.

Share with your friends and add your newest videos at the same time.

Thank your for your support!

Sunday, February 22, 2015 Share your Youtube videos

I've put online a new website for sharing your Youtube videos:

As a Youtube myself, I do share my own videos on Twitter, G+ and Facebook.  Since there are a lot of people posting on this social networks, you post will be literally buried by others in a matter of minutes.

This is where can help you out with your Youtube content.  When submitting your Youtube URL video, it is added to the Crombz database and will be available for 2 months.  Each time a Youtuber is submitting his own URL, he will have to watch a randomly selected videos submitted in the last two months.

No account is needed, no points to earn, unlimited URLS and free!

How it works?
  • Visit
  • Enter your Youtube video link at the bottom
  • Watch a randomly selected video for 60 seconds
  • Your submission will then be added (or updated if found)
And that's it!

The next submitters will eventually see your video, thus increasing your views and helping you out to be discovered by more people.

Videos are randomly selected from all videos submitted in the last 2 months.  Each video can only be listed once so it is (almost) impossible for a user to flood the database with only one video.

Just try it, it's easy!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Vampires: Things to consider...

There is a huge fascination with supernatural dead people in the last few years. We can all relate to the Twilight saga where vampires were shown as romantic beings...

Assuming that they would be real in our universe, I am still confused about the fact that girls are so attracted to them. Of course, this happened with the Twilight saga and has nothing in common with previous incarnations of vampires we've seen.

There are some things to consider with vampires, even if they are romantic, cute and shine in the sun:

  • A vampire is dead, thus cold to the touch
  • It only gets out at night, meaning that no family picnic, no holidays at the beach, no fun at the pool...
  • Some girls are complaining about their boyfriend asking for sex... Imagine if their boyfriend would have to fight the urge to kill for blood
  • A french kiss can be dangerous with those fangs
  • Your house would always be in the dark... Depressing...
  • Always the same meal: blood! No fancy dinner, no eggs and bacon, no fruits and veggies...
  • They must have a really bad breath at the end of the day, drinking all that blood
  • No selfies to put on the web as camera cannot see them
  • "Sorry honey, I was drunk" while looking at the dead body in your basement...
  • Cuddling would always be dangerous. You never know...
  • "When I was young..." would always refer to something that happened before your grandpa was born.

    The list can go on and on. Living with a vampire must be really boring and disgusting.

    Worst would be a vampire smoking weed... Can you imagine them with munchies? I wouldn't want to be around...

    Anyway, glad they do not exist...

    Patrick Balleux
  • Tuesday, February 17, 2015

    Turning many songs into Blues

    I do enjoy playing guitar.  I'm not a professional, far from that but I'm good enough to play around a camp fire with friends and have a good time.

    Once you master the art of making chords with your left hand while you right hand is picking on the strings, you are good to learn the songs you like.

    Chords are easy to learn.  The main issue is learning them to your left hand.  That's the hard part.  When I started playing guitar, 25 years ago, there was no internet to show me how to handle them properly.  I had to buy books and learn with 20-30 songs I had in them.  It was quite limiting...

    Chords are available everywhere on the web these days.  It's so easy to find them and learn just about anything.  More than that, you can scale down or scale up the songs to match your voice or find an easier chords set the the original.

    I often scale the song in E as I do enjoy playing blues with my guitar.  If you did not know, blues songs are often played with these chords: E, A and B7.   So any songs can be scaled to the blues chords, giving them a new sound and a new rift.  It won't work will all songs but a lot of them.

    For fun, I was trying out Born This Way by Lady Gaga.  By scaling the chords to E flat, I ended up with E,D,A and E.  If basically just that.  Play, repeat.

    I changed the D for a B7, thus having now a fine blues rift.  From there, it was just a matter of transposing the original lyrics tune to a blues style.  Just go ahead and try it out.

    Oh yes, have a look a my cover on YouTube.  You will see what I mean.

    Monday, February 16, 2015

    Quebec: Coldest place on earth?

    I live in Quebec, Canada where we have 4 distinct seasons. In summer time, we can easily reach 32 degrees Celsius and drop to a cold -32 degrees Celsius in the winter season.

    You guessed it, we need a lot of clothing all year long to adapt the the different temperatures. If you ever come visit us, you will find that one of our favourite subject is weather.

    I was wondering, with my girlfriend, if there were any other places in the world where they had such large temperature amplitude in a year. I did a bit of research on the web and came out with these results...

    On average, Quebec has a thermal amplitude of 32 degrees Celsius. That means that the difference between the lowest and the highest temperature recorded in a year is around 32C. I doubt that number as as far as I can remember, it's more about 40-50 degrees Celsius but it may depend on how results were summarized. Anyway, comparing with other cities in the world was not really comforting...

  • Mexico, Mexico: 5,6 Celsius
  • Lima, Peru: 6.5 Celsius
  • Los Angeles, USA: 7.6 Celsius
  • Keflavik, Iceland: 10.7 Celsius
  • San Tiago, Chilli: 12 Celsius
  • Hong Kong, China: 12.6 Celsius
  • Paris, France: 15.6 Celsius
  • Zurich, Swiss: 18.3 Celsius
  • Stockholm, Sweden: 20.5 Celsius
  • Tokyo, Japan: 21.6 Celsius
  • New York, USA: 24.5 Celsius
  • Kiev, Ukraine: 25.2 Celsius
  • Moscow, Russia: 27.6 Celsius
  • Vologda, Russia: 30.2 Celsius
  • Quebec, Canada: 32 Celsius
  • Chita, Russia: 43.3 Celsius

    From the major cites around the world, Quebec is one of the hottest and coldest place in the world. We need to compare with Russia to find worst than us.

    To my fellow Québécois: C'est maintenant prouvé! Y fait frette au Québec!
    (It's a fact! It's damn cold in Quebec!)

    Patrick Balleux
  • Saturday, February 14, 2015

    Radiation Island: Surviving zombies!

    I really am not a gamer but I do enjoy playing some games from time to time. I've discovered a new game in the Apple AppStore last week called Radiation Island.

    The story is quite simple: you get stranded on a deserted island after some experiment gone bad during the Philadelphia Experiment. Deserted is not quite true as zombies, bears and wolves are keeping you company and looking out for you.

    It's a survival game where your goal is to find a way out of this apocalyptic island while trying to stay alive. You'll need to find resources, craft tools, find food and build all kinds of stuff to help you complete your journey.

    Radiation Island is a mashup between Minecraft, Myst and GTA. Graphics are good looking and the environment is huge. There is a lot of details in the gameplay that makes the experience enjoyable. For example, the more you move, the hungrier you'll get. At night, when it's cold, you can warm yourself a bit by moving or jumping up and down.

    The is a lot to explore and craft. How you manage your resources will have a big impact on your faith on this island.

    Luckily, when you start your game, you can select 3 levels of difficulties. The easiest will let you explore and learn about the game's complexity without being concerned about hunger and being attacked.

    From the description, it looks like when you complete the adventure, you'll unlock a multiplayer feature, letting you play with other players online.

    Currently prices at 3.49$ in the Canadian AppStore, Radiation Island is worth every penny. A recent iOS device is preferable as the game has a lot of graphic details.

    I am using an iPad 4 with Radiation Island and it's running smoothly. I will try it on my iPhone 6 to see if the rendering looks better.

    Have fun surviving!

    Patrick Balleux

    Wednesday, February 11, 2015

    How to write good code

    A lot of people are asking how to write good code when creating a software. There are not magic formula. It's a matter of think first, write it and test everything.

    Think First!
    Before writing any line of code, you have to ask the right questions. Assuming you need to write a new function, make sure you understand the purpose of it. How will it be used by other parts of your software. Should it be only available for some classes or from everywhere? Is it a shortcut for a repetitive task or is it specific to some process?

    Make sure that you fully understand how this function should be used and what is its main purpose. That is called designing your architecture and you'd better spend more time designing than refactoring everything a few months later.

    Write It!
    It may sound easy but writing a good source code is not about implementing the latest and greatest technologies. It's about stability, clarity and efficiency.

    Your code must be bug-free but more than that it must be able to handle all scenarios. Bulletproof your code so that nothing can go wrong. If something can be at 0 (zero), null or empty, make sure that you've handled the case.

    Keep in mind that someday, someone else will read your code. Make sure that it's easy to read and understand. Comments will help but if comments are mandatory to explain the logic behind your code, you got it wrong in the first place. A good code is when any developer can have a look at it and understand the whole right away.

    Speed is another factor to consider. Be careful, do not over-optimize everything. Time is limited and you should put your effort on critical processes like when loading a million rows. Optimizing the press of a button just to save a few milliseconds is not worth it.

    Identify what can be re-used, put in a cache or save locally to improve speed and avoid repetitive processes that can take a lot of time. For example, establishing a new TCP/IP connection for each element may end up with a major delay for the user. Reuse the same connection for each element. It may not sound much but a simple connection process can take 10 milliseconds to be established. For a thousand element, you will loose easily over 10 seconds to complete everything.

    Test, test, test!
    Everything is working, everything is fast... Wait a second! Testing is required. You have to validate that is does work with everything, with every input possible and in the worst conditions. Never assume that user will input the right data, he won't. Never assume that no one will have more items than you have expected. Never assume that the computer will have enough memory or storage space.

    You have to validate the good data, the bad data and the ugly data as well. Any experienced developer will tell you that a user can enter a wrong date format, a text instead of a numeric value or close the dialog before saving a document on the had drive. It happens all the time.

    Once you have tested everything, pass it on to someone else. Preferably a user that has no technical knowledge. Just provide basic instructions and let the user do whatever he or she can think of. This will be the ultimate test and you'll know if your code is stable, clean and fast.

    "Make it work, make it clean, make it fast!"

    Patrick Balleux

    Monday, February 9, 2015

    Making money online, part 3...

    A few months ago, I registered myself with to answer online surveys in exchange for some cash.

    The way it works is that you get a few cents for each survey answered. When you have accumulated over 15$, you can withdraw the money.

    At first, I had easily a survey each week to fill in. It was easy, taking just a few minutes each time. It was an easy way to make some profit and could be used to pay for my online services and web hosting.

    After a few weeks, new surveys became scarce. I had reached around 8$ and was hoping that I would be lucky enough to reach the 15$ threshold to get my hands on some money.

    As of today, I have accumulated around 13$ and still waiting for another survey to complete the first withdraw. Overall, I've been registered for 11 months, filled many surveys and still got nothing in my pocket.

    If I ever reach the magical 15$ limit, my yearly income is so low that it does not worth the effort. In that time, surely made something with my surveys...

    My girlfriend did the same experiment with another survey provider that I can't remember the name. In her case, many surveys kind of crashed after providing information for around 20-30 minutes. Most surveys never got completed and she could never retrieve was was done. As me, she will probably never put her hands to the promised profits.

    Lesson learned: Online surveys do not pay. Not even a dime.

    I had my suspicions from the start that there was a trick in the hat. If it was so easy to make some money, everybody would do it. My experiment was more about sharing the experience with you than actually becoming rich over night by filling online surveys.

    Mission accomplished! Now I know, now you know!

    See my initial post when I started this experiment: Making money online, does it work?

    Patrick Balleux

    Sunday, February 8, 2015

    Alien abductions: things to consider

    The other night, I was having a discussion with my girlfriend about alien abductions.  We had watched the movie Dark Skies (, thus the source of our discussion.

    As we were talking about the plot of the movie, it came to my mind that many "facts" surrounding alien abductions simply do not make any sense.  As a software developer, I see things logically in their simplest forms.  This is quite mandatory when designing a new software architecture that will mimic a real life process...  But let's get back to our little friends.

    From my point of view, aliens coming from another world, located at 65 light-years away, making experiments on some innocent people doesn't work.  I may be wrong, I may be right.

    If they are more advanced than us, how do they lack the same progress in morality and ethics?   Even our savage human race has come to realized that experimenting on animals is cruel and immoral.  There is still a long way to go on this subject but things have changed for the better in the last 50 years.  Why would they lack at this level while outperforming us on everything else?

    Assuming that any resources is limited (fuel, minerals, raw material) anywhere in the universe, what is the benefit of traveling 65 light-years, abduct a few people, and travel back.  Even worse, some do get back to earth after a few days...  Do researchers go in the woods, find a few rats, experiments on them and bring them back to their natural habitat?  The cost (in resources) would be astronomical just to do a few experiments...  

    Another thing... The alien abductors would be far more advanced than us AND relying on a physical examination with knives and scissors?  Ever heard of X-ray, MRI?  It simply does not make any sense.  

    And the morphology of the aliens...  They have big black eyes suggesting that they live somewhere in the shadows where light is scarce.  I wonder how big their eyes are... They must be huge!  If what is depicted as "black" is the iris of their eyes, how do they adjust to different level of lights?  They must be easily blinded by any source of light like the sun, a lightbulb or even a candle.  

    Also, their head is so huge, how can they stand up at all?  They are described as being small in height. That would mean that the mass of their head could be half the mass of their entire body.  They would have to constantly struggle to keep their balance.  Let's not forget the impact of gravity.  A higher gravity force would prevent them from just waking around and a lower gravity force would have them swinging around like drunk aliens.  Their morphology would simply prevent them to wander around on our home planet, at least, easily.

    Some will argue that they are the result of living in deep space without gravity.  That would explain part of the problem.  If their body has adapted to living in space, without gravity, there would be other visible adaptations.  Their head should be round like a ball.  Their legs would have transformed into arms loosing their primary function to walk.  Their eyes would have moved to the top of their heads as moving in 3D space, instead of just moving in a 2D space, would be more efficient.

    Maybe something is going on, I don't know...  But the story of aliens, traveling back and forth to earth just to put some probe into our butt, doesn't fit.  

    The universe is build around the same idea:  take simple stuff, put them together to create a more complex one.  The alien abductions stories are doing it wrong: making a simple story from a series of complex theories.

    I feel better, now! ;)

    Saturday, February 7, 2015

    Ubuntu Phone: Try it!

    Did you know that you can try the new Ubuntu Phone on your Ubuntu computer?

    Install the package "ubuntu-emulator" and you should be able to have a preview of the new kid in town.  In this video, I am showing how to install the emulator and where to follow the instructions.

    I was able to make it run on my laptop, but had a few issues, probably related to my hardware.  Overall, I still could get a good idea of what to expect from the Ubuntu Phone.  I'm really looking forward for this new device when it comes to North America.

    Have you tried it?  How was your experience?

    Wednesday, February 4, 2015

    Create workflows on your iPhone!

    I've discovered a new app called Workflow in the Apple AppStore.  This is an amazing app that lets you automate all kind of workflows like posting to Twitter or Facebook, convert a web page into a PDF file or add a shortcut to your home screen to order a pizza.

    Have a look at their website:

    If you want to see in action, have a look at my review of Workflow on my Youtube channel:

    Have fun!