Author Archives: lyndonbaptiste

Learn programming constructs

If you want to learn how to program here’s a quick suggestion. As a new programming student there are two things you simultaneously have to learn: a programming language like Pascal, C or Java; the second thing is program design concepts. The bad news is that students often prioritize learning the language, paying little to no attention to program design concepts.  The student eventually hits a brick wall, gives up, maybe they jump across to a new language where they hit a brick wall again and finally give up, declaring that “programming is too hard”. Learning a programming language without first understanding program design concepts is like learning a foreign language without knowing the rules of grammar and punctuation. Without knowing the rules you can’t write a paragraph because you can’t write a sentence.

Instead focus on program design concepts, the fundamentals, the nuts and bolts. Learn them. Learn them well for these concepts will serve you regardless of the programming language you learn. I’m not at all saying that every programming language suddenly becomes easy. That’s not what I’m saying.

Without ever talking about a programming language, let’s define a program or algorithm (I’m not sure why but I dislike the word algorithm). A program is a series of steps that solve a problem. Exactly how many steps there are depends on the problem. You can put together any programming solution (or algorithm) using three programming constructs: Sequence; Selection; and Iteration/Loops.

A construct is a building block. Like a Lego block. Arrange these blocks in a sensible way and you will build a sensible solution. A quick note before we get to each of the three constructs. I’ve attached diagrams with simple examples of each construct: Sequence, Selection and Iteration/Loops. These diagrams are visual representations of each construct. In each diagram a circle represents: Begin/End; a rectangle represents a single programming instruction like “Ask the user for their name”; and a diamond represents a logical expression (for now let’s pretend a logical expression is a simple question like “Is the age the user entered less than 18?”.


The sequence construct is a series of instructions that happen one after the other: bam-bam-bam! The instructions flow uninterrupted. There is no obstacle. For example, a program begins, the program asks a user for their name and age and the user enters their name and age. Then the program ends.


The selection construct. Programs wouldn’t be very useful if they could only perform sequence steps. In life we often have to choose a path: watch a funny video or read a boring programming tutorial. Work out our arms or legs? Arms win! Consider a program that allows a user to vote only if the user is 18 years or older. Else if the user is less than 18, they are NOT allowed to vote. Regardless of the programming language (at least the ones I’m familiar with) the selection construct always asks for a logical expression (we’ll talk about logical expressions another day).


Iteration/Loop construct. Programs or algorithms often have to repeat instructions a certain number of times. The exact number of times is either known or unknown. Consider a real world example where a teacher is in a class with ten students. It’s the first class. The teacher points to the first student, asks for their name, age and hobbies. The first student answers. The teacher points to the second student, repeats the exact instructions, and the second student complies. This happens until the tenth student has said their name, age and hobbies. There isn’t an eleventh student so the introductions end.

Here’s another example of iteration. A grocery cashier is scanning items a customer is placing on a conveyor belt. The cashier isn’t sure how many items are in the cart but each time the cashier scans an item the customer’s bill increases by the cost of the scanned item. This activity continues until there are no more items in the cart. Once the cart is empty, the system displays the total, the customer pays, the transaction ends.


Notice we haven’t talked about any ONE programming language. These three programming constructs are the building blocks of any solution. There are other building blocks like variables, relational operators and expressions that will clarify exactly how sequence, selection and iteration/loops work. Those are lessons for another day. In the meantime, rest assured that, depending on the problem you need to solve, you can write an algorithm/program by stacking these three constructs in different ways. The best part is that you can take your intimate knowledge of these constructs to any programming language.

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Scheduling for content creators

As a content creator, the thing I struggle with the most is time management. I realised this particularly in 2024 when I set concrete goals. Two blog posts per week; Focus on YouTube; Publish 5 YouTube Shorts every week; One podcast episode per week. I set ambitious goals but didn’t have a plan.

As a family man with a full-time job, I know I need a plan. I need structure. Daily habits. Tools to help me organise my process. It’s all new to me and I’m having a hard adjusting to structure and sitting down each morning, writing, recording, and editing videos and podcasts. Stopping to fulfil my paternal duties, and get things done around the house. I’m writing this on Monday 8th January, 2024. It’s exactly 10:00 AM. Do I want to be writing this article? No. I don’t.

So, I’ve gone from being a content creator who approaches things willy-nilly to one who’s seeking structure and trying to build a business, and my brain hurts. You know those headaches you get when you give up sugar and flour? Yeah. I’ve been walking around with that headache for two days. But! I’m getting things done. I want to share the things I’m doing to bring structure to my life as a content creator.

1. I’ve set goals. They’re clear. They’re concrete. Two blog posts per week: One on Monday at 8:00 AM; and one on Thursday at 8:00 AM. One podcast episode. Because these goals are concrete, I will know when I miss them.

2. Prioritise writing. As a YouTuber, I’m tempted to think in terms of video first. In 2024, writing is the priority. These articles become the stepping stone to YouTube Shorts, Podcast episodes and long-form videos. As I write new ideas spring up and I jot them down for later.

3. Task Management Tools. for the last 3 or 4 years I have used Google Keep to write articles and jot down ideas. Google Keep is a note-taking service. I like it because I’m not restricted to writing on a local desktop file. I can access Keep from my phone or desktop. In 2024 as I turned my attention to having a content plan and I had to arrange, prioritise and track tasks, I immediately began feeling the limitations of Keep. I’ve heard about a productivity software and note-taking service called Notion, and I’m looking into it.

In the meantime, to track tasks and their status I’ve used Google Sheets to create two spreadsheets. One is a publishing schedule for articles and podcasts. The other is a publishing schedule for videos. Let’s talk about the fields in the first spreadsheet. There are seven fields: Article name; status; publish by; published on; podcast status; podcast recorded on; podcast edited on; and podcast published on.

This simple change has done a lot for me. Yes, based on how I’ve always done things, it’s a little boring, but I now have one holistic view of my content plan. Colour-coding rows help too. For example, a row highlighted in yellow means the article is written but the corresponding podcast episode hasn’t been recorded. Green means both the article and podcast episode are published.

Timeboxing/Timeblocking. I learned about timeboxing during my undergraduate studies. The concept sounds great, but I hate timeboxing. When I’m working on something that’s all I want to work on until it’s done. Imagine if a video takes days to record and edit, and a blog post and article are due. Problems. Timeboxing involves setting a maximum unit of time for an activity in advance and then completing the activity within that time frame. As much as I hate timeboxing I now use it to batch research, write, edit and record videos and podcast episodes. Every morning I dedicate an hour to writing. There are timeboxes for recording podcasts. Others for recording YouTube Shorts. Timeboxes on Thursdays and Fridays for editing.

I hope you’ve found at least one little gem that makes your life easier as a content creator. If you have any tips on managing your time please feel free to leave a comment.

Solving crime in Trinidad: A politician’s playbook

It’s 2024. General elections are in 2025. Can you imagine government ministers consulting their playbooks: Trinidad politics for Dummies. In one corner you have the UNC pandering toward police officers:

“We feel your pain…the government doesn’t understand or care about you. We will take care of you. We will ensure you get your pay increases.”

In the opposite corner, you have the PNM. Like the UNC, their playbook has one page. Four tactics. Tactic #1: Free food; Tactic #2: Free rum; Tactic #3: Pave roads; Tactic #4 talk about solving crime. Fitzgerald Hinds can’t find his playbook, Rowan Cinnamom is holding his upside down.

In a dusty corner, the prime minister finds a 600-page report that looked into the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service. The report was written in 2017 and concluded that the police service is ‘very troubled and wounded.’ Awww. So sad. It sounds like police officers need a hug. Maybe TTPS should introduce ‘Therapy Thursdays’ instead of ‘Tactical Tuesdays.'”

600 pages. Can you imagine Rowan Cinnamom’s face?

“You read all those words?”

Anyway, with no other plan in sight, it makes sense to comment on the report, to more or less suggest that it’s up to the commissioner to action the plans. Professor Emeritus Dr Ramesh Deosaran says that one strong recommendation is establishing a police inspectorate to address issues like absenteeism and performance; because clearly, what a troubled and wounded police force needs is more paperwork and oversight.

Wait, what? I’m confused. As a citizen, you’re telling me that the police service doesn’t have that? And I don’t know if you know this but the word Emeritus is used when an official has retired but is allowed to retain their title as an honor. Honestly, I’m embarrassed because for all this time I thought Professor Deosaran’s name was Emeritus Ramesh Deosaran.

On becoming a better content creator

Hi, my name is Lyndon Baptiste and today I want to talk to you about becoming a better content creator. I’ve been a writer and YouTuber since 2008, but I should warn you: it’s only in 2024 that I committed to becoming a better content creator. I may not be the ideal guide. These are merely my thoughts, and how I go about things based on my gut and the articles I read. If you glean something, I’d be pleased to hear. You can reach me on Instagram or X @lyndonbaptiste.

Know your audience. If you’re still here, chances are you’re a content creator who likes to read; or, if you despise reading, you’re here because the information is important to you. While your audience probably loves you, ask yourself what are they looking for: Love? Nostalgia? A taste of Trinidad and Tobago? Or Grenada? Are they searching for scenic accommodations on a hillside in St Vincent? Or luxury, all-inclusive hotels?

For me, the first step to becoming a better content creator is setting goals and sticking to them. For far too long I’ve done things willy-nilly. No clear goals. Nothing to aim at. No process. No business plan. No structure. Although I heard successful YouTubers and podcasters preach on the topic. For 2024 my goals are clear. Publish weekly: two blog posts; one podcast episode; at least one YouTube Shorts on weekdays; and one long-form video on Thursdays at 8:00 PM. Find good clients. I’ve set goals.

Create a plan, a creative schedule; stick to it. It involves batch writing, recording, and editing. My goal is a content savings plan. I’m writing this article on Wednesday 3rd January, 2023. By the middle of January, I should have a month or two worth of content saved. To get that done I have to write at least two articles every morning and record a podcast based on the article. Then I’ll settle into a more realistic schedule because, boy, oh, boy, I’m working hard, but I love it! Pressure invigorates me!

Learn something new every day. Know the players in your field. Listen to a relevant podcast. Read 5 pages. Listen to 10 minutes of an audiobook. Read articles.

Write every day. Gosh. I didn’t realise how much I missed writing every day. As I write I generate more ideas. And more ideas. For other articles, videos, podcasts. As I said, it’s the third day in January. Prioritising writing, I’ve written over twenty articles that will become twenty videos and twenty podcasts. As I write ideas come to me. I note these ideas. These ideas will become future episodes. Chances are if I was working on one specific video I wouldn’t have twenty other ideas. Let your writing drive your content creation strategy.

Batch record. Whether it’s videos or podcast episodes batch record. Of course, planning (and writing) enables batch recording. If you’re a YouTuber work on saving up a bank of videos. Commit to one a week. In the background keep creating so you can graduate to two a week then three. Work until you have a bank so big you can show up every day then twice a day.

Choose a video platform and stick to it. In 2023 I was posting everywhere. The metrics looked good and hooked me. As a solo creator, though, I was stretching myself thin. Particularly when it came to audience engagement. After years of experimenting, I feel like YouTube has the tools and audience I’m looking for, and when it comes to video content it’s where I’m going to settle.

Of course, there’s a lot more to becoming a better content creator like knowing your strong points, the software tools you use to manage different aspects and how to price your services. At the time of writing, these are the points that stand out.

In episode 19 of the Caribbean Content Creators podcast, I spoke with Ishmael Baig about pricing for content creators.

I’m a Caribbean writer. Here’s how I got an ISBN for my first book

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You’re a Caribbean writer. You’ve completed your first manuscript and you need an ISBN for your upcoming book because every respectable book must have an ISBN, right? Not necessarily, but if you want to see your book in major bookstores and libraries your book really should have an ISBN.

An ISBN is a unique numerical identification for a publication. The barcode you usually see on the back cover of a book. The ISBN helps with stock control, ordering and information retrieval. If you’ve ever purchased a book or borrowed one from the library you’ll notice that the cashier or librarian scans the ISBN to retrieve information about the book.

Caribbean writers and publishers can apply for ISBNs through CARICOM. On some islands, like Jamaica and Trinidad, the National Libraries are the designated agencies through which you can apply for an ISBN for your book. So a publisher with residence in Trinidad would apply for ISBNs through the technical services department at NALIS. You could apply for 1, 10, 100 or 10,000 where 1 ISBN might cost about 20 US Dollars. The more you buy the less you pay per unit.

How many should you buy? Back in 2008 when I self-published my first book I applied for a block of 10 ISBNs since I planned to write more than one book. Buying one costs 20 USD compared to a block of 10 which costs about 50 USD. I filled out an application form, paid via Wire Transfer got my ISBNs in about two to three weeks. Oh, every different format of your book must have a different ISBN so if you have a paperback, hardcover, ebook and CD/audiobook, that’s four different ISBNs.

I applied for a block of ten ISBNs using this form. Today you can pay via wire transfer. Back in 2008 I believe I paid with a certified cheque and submitted the form and payment details to the Technical Services Department at NALIS. 2008 was a long time ago. The details are a bit fuzzy, but there was some back and forth via email but I know I had the ISBNs within two weeks.

If you’re located in Trinidad you can find more details on ISBNs on The National Library’s website by clicking here.

If you’re located in Jamaica request an ISBN online by clicking here.

CARICOM is the Regional ISBN agency. Visit their website by clicking here.

Self-publishing your book with a US-based self-publishing company can cost you upwards of USD 1,500. I’m working on a course that can teach aspiring writers how to format and publish their first book at a fraction of the cost. You can book a consultation below