In an exclusive interview with The New Times at the school, Yves Tumushimishe, a primary six pupil said through the skills he has acquired, he has been able to develop the mobile phone software through the use of scratch programme. Scratch is a highly engaging programming system that allows young students to create animated stories, games, interactive art, and simulations. Students use a drag and drop interface of “code blocks” to create sound, movement and actions to objects known as sprites.Tumushimishe says before getting a laptop under the OLPC programme, he did not even know how to write a single word on a computer. “But now through the skills and knowledge I have gained from my laptop, I have developed a software which can be activated on a mobile phone and be used as a game.”He says he is looking forward to develop more software and to teach his classmates how they can develop their own and how to become more creative and innovative in ICT.”I come from a poor family and I did not have hope of ever owning a laptop. I thank the government for setting up OLPC which has totally changed my life. I plan to study computer science at the university because I want to contribute a lot to the national development in terms of ICT which I believe will spur development of our country not only in the region but internationally,” Tumushimishe said.
http://www.youtube.com/olympics: This is the official Youtube channel that 42 African countries can use to watch a live stream of the Olympic Games. Good looking out Google.
More than 80 per cent of Kenyan websites can be easily hacked since they operate on software whose security codes are available online for free, says an industry cyber report.The report by Serianu — an IT security consulting firm — found that more than 80 per cent of local website are either built on open source software such as Joomla, Apache and MySQL and their security settings not customised.
Enterprise software maker SAP has announced plans to launch its widely successful SAP Skills for Africa Program in Kenya to spur the country’s IT skills capacity and further enhance technological innovation.
Entrepreneurs from Senegal, Ghana & Cote d’Ivoire receive top honors at GIST startup boot camp West Africa: On July 10-11 was held in Dakar, Senegal, the GIST Startup Bootcamp West Africa, a two-day event with international investors, mentoring and a pitching competition organized by the incubator CTIC Dakar along with the GIST Initiative (US dept. of State). This major conference which gathered more than 130 tech entrepreneurs from all over West Africa also saw the launch of the 1st investors’ club in Senegal dedicated to tech startups.
It’s elegant, it’s hip and it’s one of the hottest phones on the African market. Nothing says “I am important” like a man or woman whipping out a BlackBerry smartphone. It’s easily recognizable with its wide screen and trademark keypad. According to Masahudu Ankiilu Kunateh, editor at Ghananewslink.com, “What is your BB pin?” has become the ultimate sizing-up request. To be asked the question, he says, you have to be considered cool enough to own one. Research In Motion (RIM), the Canadian company that owns BlackBerry, has managed to carve itself a niche in Africa. In 2010, with the help of Brightstar, a global services company that works with key players in the wireless industry, it started distributing its gadgets throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Today South Africa boasts over 2.5 million active devices, according to World Wide Worx, a South African technology research firm. Nigeria has 2 million active devices.
My story of the week: . Raindolf Owusu is a 3rdlevel University Student of Methodist University Ghana. He runs OasisWebSoft a software developing Start-up which finally gave birth to Anansi Browser and OS. Anasi Operating System is an openSUSE 12.1 clone OS that was developed on Linux kernel which redefines the Unix desktop user experience. The Anansi OS experienced 3000 downloads within 2 weeks of launch. The OS is an open source software so it attract no fee for download.
“You can now send and receive emails as SMS messages using your mobile phone, regardless of whether or not your phone has an internet connection, like Wifi or 3G. Gmail SMS works on any phone, even the most basic ones which only support voice and SMS.
Gmail SMS automatically forwards your emails as SMS text messages to your phone and you can respond by replying directly to the SMS. You can control the emails received by replying with commands such as MORE, PAUSE and RESUME. Additionally, compose a new email as an SMS and send to any email address recipient – who will find your message in the right email conversation thread!”.
This September, g|Uganda Google’s event team is coming back to Kampala happening September 7-8 in Kampala and they’re mixing things up in a big way, from hosting our guests at a truly original venue (an amusement park!) to two full days of fresh content for our business and developer audiences.
#SunuCause is Senegal’s first social web hashtag on Twitter. It aims to raise consciousness on various social issues as well as collect funds towards solving these issues. Its first successful campaign has concluded and resulted in the delivery of the skin ointment worth about $9 needed for a 2 month old with a skin condition. #sunucause is the brainchild of the same social activists behind the #sunu2012 tag which helped monitor the presidential elections of this year.
On this week’s African Tech Weekly show we will be discussing the exciting new Coders4Africa social campaign aimed at training 30 African programmers from September to December 2012, following a ‘real life project training model’, 30 African coders will create 5 mobile and web solutions that will impact their communities. Please participate and help make this project possible. This is what we are all about. Now for the African Tech News Tidbits for this week:
I’ll share a little story: A Nigerian family friend who is a senior engineer with a big foreign construction company went to the mansion of an influential Nigerian politician to carry out some repairs together with his young white junior assistant. As they entered the house, a daughter of the politician gave the white man a seat and ignored his black superior. The white man of course kindly explained that he was not in charge, but his boss who had been totally snubbed. Don’t ask me how the story ended. The moral of the story is that we love you more than we love ourselves.
Researchers hope to harness mobile phone technology to improve water supplies in rural parts of Africa.A team from the University of Oxford, in the United Kingdom, proposes installing handpumps containing devices that automatically send text messages to local water engineers whenever pumps break down or dry up. The device, known as a waterpoint data transmitter, is fitted into handpump handles, and automatically monitors the number of strokes made when a pump is operated. This data, which provides estimates of daily and seasonal demand, including critical under- or over-usage information, is then transmitted to a central hub – thus informing engineers, cheaply and regularly, of the need for repairs, and helping to ensure a constant flow of water.The researchers will trial their idea, which is known as the ‘Smart Handpumps’ initiative, in 70 villages in Kenya next month (August). A prototype transmitter was successfully trialled in Zambia in 2011. Not everybody is a fan though, Wayan Vota instead suggests that instead of a mobile phone/pump combo, which will need power, top-up, and constant maintenance, what about just giving local villagers the phone number of the local water engineers?
Africa: Has Continent Missed Domain Extension Opportunity? The African continent accounted for a paltry 13 English name applications. Peanuts compared to the enterprising Donuts Inc, who went out on a US$65million limb and applied for a staggering 307 new top level domains. The names that Donuts (Domain Nuts) have applied for run the generic gamut from .RUGBY to .CASINO, .FAMILY, .BLOG and even a controversial few like .SUCKS. If things turn out as it hopes, it will profit by making it affordable and simple for businesses and individuals to lay claim to their online territory.
Kenya: Digital TV Will Be in Major Towns By December: LL the major towns in the country will have Digital Terrestrial Television signals by the end of 2012 as the country migrates from analogue TV, Information minister Samuel Poghisio said in Mombasa on Tuesday night. He said the government is committed to move to digital TV for the majority of the viewing population by December. “As a country we are determined that by the end of this year, we should have at least our four million viewers in the main cities already migrating to digital TV, with this we’ll be ahead of the 2015 deadline,” said Poghisio at the launch of Multichoice’s Gotv in Mombasa.
The big news in Senegal this week is the launch of the localized Senegalese Youtube, youtube.sn just like Ghana two weeks ago. A localized version of YouTube means that it will now be easier for users to find and view locally relevant videos on youtube.sn. For example, content uploaded by record label and music management Prince Arts Music or TV Production company Art Bi Manageman, or by other Senegalese users, will surface first in the browsing pages.
Samsung vs Huawei: The battle of the affordable smartphones begins: Huawei launched its sub-$100 Ideos X1 Android smartphone in Kenya about two years ago, many were filled with anticipation for the coming African smart phone revolution. The device did not disappoint, becoming the best-selling smartphone in Kenya in the first quarter of 2011. Till date, Huawei has reportedly sold over 350,000 Ideos phones in Kenya and counting. The Samsung Galaxy Pocket is Samsung’s latest push into the affordable African smartphone market.Both devices clearly target similar demographics and the smartphone market is set for a battle between the two devices in markets like Kenya. The Samsung Galaxy Pocket retails at about Ksh 9,999 (about $118) while Huawei’s Ideos X1 currently retails at Ksh 6,798 (about $80). To increase the Galaxy Pocket’s appeal among Kenyans, Samsung launched a ‘buy one get one free’ campaign in Kenya recently. During its Kenyan launch, it brought together a select group of students from Kenyan schools including University of Nairobi and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology amongst others to help launch the device.
Kenyan Elections Authority to Involve Hackers in Testing its Electronic Systems: The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is looking to replicate the experience of India which offered even upto Ksh 1.5 Million to hackers who would have penetrated the Voter Verifiable Paper Trial (VVPT) machine. The VVPT is an electronic voting machine (EVM) that prints out paper as proof of data transmitted through it.
With all the talk latey of open data, this right here is definitely cool: The IFPRI researchers in HarvestChoice, a joint program with the University of Minnesota, have therefore been busy generating new spatial data, harmonizing them with data compiled from a range of other sources, and making the entire collection available on the Harvest Choice website, along with tools for exploring the information in creative ways.
The sister program to the African Tech News Tidbits is now live. The African Tech Weekly on Coders4Africa Radio will, as previously announced be broadcast every Sunday at 1:00PM East/17:00GMT from Koun Fayah Koun Studios in Laurel MD. We feature the movers and shakers of the African Tech world, those you have heard about and mostly those that you should hear about. This Sunday we will feature Max Bonbhel, president of the Java User Group Africa, Senam Beheton, founder of tech hub EtriLabs, and Kwame Andah, Director of Communications for Coders4Africa, and of course, talk more about these #atntidbits right hurrr! Be sure to tune in, and the podcasts from the show.
My favorite post of the week, from Techloy: Francis Onwumere, co-founder of Digital Craft Studios expands on how to scale the barriers to Collaboration in the Nigerian Tech Ecosystem. Even though this is Nigeria in particular he talks about, I believe the recommendations and analysis apply to many other African tech eco-systems.
Airtel announced the introduction of the fastest mobile Internet in Rwanda, with the launch of its 3.75G platform in the country. The improved technology will enhance multimedia functionality, high speed mobile broadband and internet access; allowing users to make video calls, watch live TV, send and receive emails and download music from the devices. This is the latest global HSPA+ technology with up to 21 Mbps speed, also being rolled out in Europe and the USA. It is the fastest and latest 3G available and will be enormously beneficial for a variety of users, which include large Corporates, Small or Medium Businesses and the Youth.
SiliconAfrica: The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the African Innovation Foundation (AIF) have just announced the call for the 2013 Innovation Prize for Africa(IPA). Eligible are innovations by Africans for Africa. Africans in the Diaspora can also apply if their innovations are of significance to Africa. The winning proposal will be awarded a cash prize of USD100,000, with the two runner-ups receiving USD25,000. The registration deadline for the 2013 prize has been set for 31 October 2012. The ICTs priority are recognizes innovative ICTs applications that have demonstrated their potential in addressing key development challenges in African societies (e.g. in communities) or economy, including:– Software (application development, software design and development, enterprise application development, or platform development) and may include new development, or any other activities that result in software products for addressing a key development challenge.
Mobile/Wireless Technologies that demonstrate how underprivileged people can use devices for social and economic benefits with the possibility to spawn micro-enterprises and generate employment.
Local Language Software known as “localisation” requires definition and implementation of standards. These standards include character set encoding, keyboard (and keypad) layouts, collation/sorting sequence, locale and ICT terminology. In addition to definition of standards, applications also need to be developed for local language computing to support access and generation of local language content.