Sainsbury’s SmartShop

Hi folks,

Today I’ll like to talk about a relatively new phenomenon I noticed in my neighbourhood Sainsburys. It’s called SmartShop.

What is Smart Shop? Smart Shop is a system a shopper can use an in-store handset to scan items as he/she picks them from the shelves. Then at the end of the shopping, he/she goes to a special SmartShop checkout section to load all items scanned into the checkout machine and pay. There’s even a SmartShop app available on Google Play and on the App Store which one can use according to Sainsbury’s website.

Here’s how I first became aware of it. About a month ago, I noticed a sign close to the entrance that said Smart Shop. I was a little curious about it. So, that day when checking out at the till, I asked a cashier about it. He said it was a system where one could buy items without having to come to the cashier till. I found that interesting, but I didn’t pursue the idea further. A few weeks later while walking down the shopping isle to pick up a few groceries, I heard a beep a few meters away. The peculiar thing about this beep was that it was the same beep one would normally hear from the checkout machines at the till. But this beep emanated from somewhere in the isle! So I looked at where the beep was coming from and saw that a someone had just scanned a grocery item. The person had a shopping cart and looked quite pleased with himself. It then occurred to me that shoppers could actually scan their items as they shop and that this must be the smart shop concept I had asked about earlier. So, after checking out, I went to the stand where the handsets were and started looking around for some instruction on how to use it. A friendly staff found me and helped me register.

Now to my experience of actually using SmartShop. I attempted buying groceries via SmartShop and have a few observations.


  • You can put items in your grocery bags as soon as you scan them
    No need to take groceries out of shopping cart into the line at the checkout counter
  • No need to load groceries back into your shopping bags after paying at the checkout counter
  • You can see the total cost of your groceries on the SmartShop handset as you shop. This can help you manage costs
  • No need to join queues at the checkout counter


  • If you are buying items that don’t have barcode scanners on them, e.g. loose tomatoes and onions, you need to first weigh them yourself on a scale to print out barcode tags, then place the tag on the item
  • You need to be make sure you remember to scan each item before placing it in your cart
  • You need to make sure when you scan an item, the item is registered and quantity updated correctly on the handset. There was a time I had to scan an item twice to get it to work, probably due to network failure.

Overall, SmartShop is a very good idea if you have just a few items to buy. If you have a lot of groceries to buy, you may want to go the traditional route of using the checkout counter to minimise chances of forgetting to scan items. Also, SmartShop is a good idea if the items you buy have barcodes on them already. If you buy lots of items without barcodes, be ready to weigh and print out barcodes yourself.

How to Use Mail from Terminal in MacOS

Hi folks,

It’s been a while. Here’s a quick post on how to read local mails on your MacOS. This can come in handy if you have cron jobs running on your machine for example which send mails and you want to read the mails sent.

To open mail, open a terminal and run the command


You will see the number of messages, number of unread messages and one line per message, including sender, time of receipt, and mail title. There will be a number shown for each mail starting from 1, then 2, etc.

To read a single mail, say the first 1, just type 1.

Then you can go up and down the mail by pressing Enter, or ctrl + B to go up a page and ctrl + F to scroll down a page.

Once you reach the end of the mail the prompt will change to ?

You can delete the mail by pressing

d <mail number>

To save your changes to mail, e.g. deletion, etc. press the command


To exit mail without making any changes to number of read mails, etc, press command


To read about mail command in general, enter the command

man mail

That’s all for now, happy mailing.

How to use a Diminished chord in a 1-6 progression

When going from 1 down to a 6, you can play substitute the 6 part with a 1diminished chord over flat 5.

E.g. In the key of Cmajor if you are playing a 1-6-5 melody from a C to A and then G, on the right hand you play

C C+D#+F#+A C+E+G

On the left hand you play 1 flat5 5. In the key of C that will be from a C to F# to G.

Recording coming soon.

Till next time.

A Nice Run to Play Before the 1 Starting Chord

Hi folks,

In this post I will talk about a nice run to play before the starting 1 chord of slow gospel chords.

On the left hand, you go

3 4 5 6 7 1

e.g. in the key of C major, you will go


On the right hand you will harmonize the following melody:

3 4 3 2♯ 2 1

by using the following chords:

1 4 3minor 2♯-minor 2minor 1.

In the key of Cmajor these chords are:

G+C+E A+C+F G+B+E F♯+A♯+D♯ F+A+D E+G+C

That is:

First chord you harmonize the E using a Cmajor chord
Second you harmonize the F using a Fmajor chord
Third you harmonize the E with a Eminor
Then you go down a half step with the same chord shape to harmonize the D♯ with a D♯ chord
You then harmonize the D with a Dminor
Then you harmonize the C with a Cmajor chord.

To make it more melodious, on the right hand you can insert a 1sus4 chord before the last 1chord. That is, insert a Csus4 chord before the last Cmajor chord. So instead of going from F+A+D to E+G+C on the right hand, you can play it like this:

F+A+D  F+G+C  E+G+C

Furthermore, you can make the left hand run a little more melodious by quickly adding a 2 before the 5 since 2 normally has a strong pull to 5. So the left hand run becomes

3 4 2 5 6 7 1

To summarize, on the left hand you play the following notes

3 4 2 5 6 7 1

while on the right hand you play the following chords:

1 4 3minor 2♯minor 2minor 1sus4 1.

In the key of C, on the left hand you play:


while on the right hand you play:

G+C+E  A+C+F  G+B+E  F♯+A♯+D♯  F+A+D  F+G+C  E+G+C

Below is a recording.


The 9 (add 6) Chord

Hi folks,

I will like to talk about the 9 (add 6) chord. This chord is a nice one to use in worship songs.

You can use this for the 2 chord or the 1 chord.

E.g When playing a 6-2 progression, you can play a minor 9 for the 6 chord and a 9 (add 6) for the 2 chord. Similarly, when playing a 5-1 progression that does not end a song, you can play a 5 minor 9 chord, then a 1 9 (add 6) chord.

Here’s an example of such a chord.

D 9 (add 6)

To play it, you play D on the left hand. Then play F B B and E on the right hand.

An easy way to think about it is to play the root note of the chord on the left hand, then play a quartal 3 chord with an added ♭5 on the right hand.

For example, F is the 3 chord on the D major scale. F B and E is the F quartal chord. And B is ♭5 on the F scale.

Using this trick, it is easy to play 9 (add 6) for any key. That’s all for now. Enjoy.

How to fix error Unsupported major.minor version 52.0 when syncing Gradle Script Android Studio

Hi folks,

Recently when trying to run an Android project in Android studio, I noticed the following error on opening it:

Unsupported major.minor version 52.0

After doing some Google search I found that the problem was due to the code requiring Java 8 while my IDE used Java 7. So, to fix it one has to

– Go to File > Other Settings > Default Project Structure…

– If your JDK location is set to a Java 1.7 location, change it to the corresponding Java 1.8 location. In my case the required path was


– Click OK

That’s it. Now the error should go away.

Some Cool MS Excel Features: Filtering and Easy Average Calculation


Today I will go over two cool features I like in Ms Excel. Filtering and easy Average calculation.

Filtering is very useful if you end to extract subsets of data. To access filters in Excel, first create a table from a range of data.

To do this, highlight the entire table, then click Insert > Table. Then click OK to confirm the cell range to use for creating the table.

With a table you can apply filters easily.

To calculate average easily for a column of values simply highlight the column and the average, count and sum appears on the bottom status bar.

That’s all for now. Till next time.

A Cool Way to Debug JavaScript Applications using JetBrains IDEs

Hi folks,

It’s been a while, but in this article I will briefly discuss a very nice way to debug JavaScript applications when using JetBrains IDEs. For those who are unfamiliar, JetBrains is a manufacturer of very powerful and elegant IDEs for developing applications in a variety of languages. The first one I came across and loved is PhpStorm, the best IDE I’ve come across for PHP application development. I’ve also gone on to use others including PyCharm, IntelliJ IDEA and, most recently, WebStorm. Okay back to business.

So, to the issue at hand. JetBrains has an excellent Chrome extension called JetBrains IDE Support Chrome Extension which allows you debug JavaScript code in Chrome using WebStorm, PhpStorm, IntelliJ IDEA Ultimate, PyCharm Professional and RubyMine. It’s available on the Chrome Web Store for download. You can set breakpoints, step through code, view variables and do various other activities once this plugin is installed and activated.

I have used it recently and it works pretty well. This reduces the need for console logs. It’s also more convenient than having the write ‘debugger’ statements in code. So, if you write a lot of JavaScript applications and use JetBrains IDEs, then try out JetBrains IDE support today. Till next time.

An Interesting 2-5 Progression

When playing a 2-5 progression, here’s a way to add a few interesting chords in between.

The principle is that you walk up from the 2 chord to the 5 chord.

i.e. 2 3 4 ♭5 5.

Alternatively, to make it easier, you can take out the 4 and walk up as follows:

2 3 ♭5 5

An example of this is:

2minor7 1maj/3 4maj7 ♭5(with a quartal chord of its flattened 7th note) 513

The fourth chord there deserves more explanation.

Let’s assume we are in the key of D, what does a ♭5 (with a quartal chord of its flattened 7th note) mean?

Well, first ♭5 tone of D♭major will be G.

The 7th note of G major is F

Then we play a quartal chord of F (F B E) on the right hand over G on the left hand.

In the key of D♭ the walk-up will be as follows

Chord LH RH
E♭minor7 E B D G
D♭major / F F A D F
G♭major7 G F B D
G (with a quartal chord of its flattened 7th note) G F B E
A♭13 A G B D F

Below is a recording of the first variant:

And of the second variant.

I use the second variant in Thank You Lord posted earlier. See if you can spot it!