Mini Web Application Coding Challenge For Programmers

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You've been hired to teach Computer Appreciation at a local Secondary school for one term. During that term, you're expected to give the students 2 tests (15 marks each), one practical project(10 marks) and 1 exam (100 marks to be scaled down to 60 marks).

Write a secure single user mini web application that you can use to enter each student's name and raw scores, calculate each student's total score for the term (a percentage), determine the position of each student in the class, and calculate the average score for males & females in the class.

  • Use mercurial, git or subversion for source control and post your solution on git/bitbucket/google-code!!
  • Write the application in any programming language or web framework of your choice (except maybe PHP?)

The Social Network Chicken And Egg Problem

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I got this interesting question in my inbox recently:
Hey Seun,
You don't know me. I'm just a fan of yours. I'd like to know how you solved the "chicken and egg" problem and succeed with nairaland. Networks like nairaland, fb, twitter are only valuable when there's a community on it. Therefore nobody wants to join, unless there are already a bunch of users. So how did you gain traction?
 So, you want to start a poultry farm.  You need eggs to make chickens, but you need chickens to lay eggs, so what do you do?  How do you solve this problem?  Simple:
  1. Buy lots of chickens. The chickens will lay eggs, which will develop into new chickens.
  2. Buy lot of fertilized eggs and incubate them. They will develop into egg-laying chickens.
To get a social network going, you just have to bribe or beg people to join your social network until it's big enough to sustain itself. If you're evil, forcing or tricking them to join also works:
  • In 'The Social Network' Mark Zuckerberg bootstrapped a social network by hacking into student records and creating accounts for students without their consent, effectively forcing them to join.
  • Some dating sites solve the chicken and egg problem by paying a bunch of beautiful female models to join the site and participate.The models attract a lot men to join the site (a form of trickery really), and this attracts more women.
  • With Twitter and Quora, employees of the company were the first to start using the sites heavily, then their friends and family, then attention seekers, geeks and celebrities, and finally regular people.  In effect, Twitter and Quora employees were initially paid not just to develop the respective sites but to use them and post on them regularly.
Until your social network takes off, you'll just have to bribe or beg people to join and participate. I did that.