GeekStarz..

I have been trying to do something like this for some time but for many reasons I have been postponing it. I think its high time I did it because there are so many smart students out that are really working hard and making a huge difference in their communities and institutions but don’t get the proper recognition

So GeekStarz will give them that platform to shine. I will expiriment with a few platforms from Google hangouts, skype, video interviews and articles to get the message across.

I hope to put 4 GeekStarz on the platform each month so we can all decide who deserves to be GeekStar of the month. We will eventually have GeekStar of the year and they will walk away with a really cool prize

So if you think you are the next GeekStar or if you know someone who deserves that platform to shine then send the details through

Brainstorming4Success

Brainstorming4Success

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Waze,Traffic Outsmarting navigation app…

I met some interesting guys from Waze at Tech4Africa and they should me some really cool useful traffic navigation app called Waze. It helps you navigate to through traffic, find the best route, know where the traffic cops and camera is and also see how hectic traffic is

So can you download the app, which is available for FREE on Blackberry, Android and Apple(ipad and iph0ne) devices. I think there is one for Nokia devices with a Windows Phone on the way. I played around with Waze  on all platforms and liked the iPad more.

You enter your preferred destination through your preferred navigation map and search engine. It will give you an estimated time that you will take to reach your destination. It will also show you the traffic flow via colour with orange being ok traffic and red being  heavy traffic. I love how it works at nice, it really comes alive

You also get to see other Waze app users called Wazers that are around you. Another cool part is that other wazer users get to report accidents that are happening and where they are happening so you know where to avoid traffic. So everybody is constantly updating each other. This is crowdsourcing at its best

Another cool feature is that you can help map out South Africa. So if there is a new place that isn’t available on Waze you can just add it, or as Waze users say, PAVE it

Tired of speed traps or not knowing where the traffic officers are hiding? Just take out Waze and it will help you stop them from playing hide and seek

There is a whole lot more to this cool app that I didnt mention but worth checking out. Read more about it on www.waze.com. You can also follow them on Twitter via @WazeSa and connect with them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/WazeApp

BE WARNED…ITS REALLY ADDICTIVE AND FUN TO PLAY WITH

ARRIVE ALIVE

Here is a video I took of the WazeSA guys explaining and showing how it works. Click here to watch the video

RHoK…African Solutions For African Problems

I managed to book myself a seat at the Random Hacks of Kindness event, famously known as RHoK, that was held at the University of South Africa )Unisa in Pretoria this past weekend. I must say I did think twice about going considering that they put a lot of emphasis on “Open Technology” and Android which happen to be areas I’m not familiar with or know much about. Then again one shouldn’t be scared to learn something new and accept challenges

 
The RHoK is a worldwide event that takes place in different countries on the same weekend and this year 45 different cities took part. The aim is simple: A bunch of developers, NGO’s, technologists, educators and students come together ,pick different problems, have nice food, drink lots of coffee and spend the weekend tackling the problems presented and come up with innovative solutions for those problems. It’s a great event to really understand and seethe words ‘Team “and “Collaboration” in action.

 
The theme for the Pretoria RHoK was dubbed “African Solutions for African Problems” and we all know the different problems we have that range from education, water sanitation, crime, agriculture and health. The 45+ attendees at the RHoK Pretoria grouped themselves and worked on different problems like “Online Learning Material and Exercises on low cost devices presented by http://www.KhanAcademy.Org ”, H2O Detective presented by SEESAW(NGO), Virtual Science Laboratory for resource Constrained Schools presented by UNISA and Suspected CarFind presented by www. House4Hack.co.za just to name a few.

 
Once the groups split it was down to some serious brainstorming. What I found interesting was the energy and vibe in the room because even though some were not familiar with the different projects and technologies nobody became a spectator. Even the event conductor, Jabu Mtsweni got down and dirty. Ideas were broken down and coding started taking place.

 
I was glad to see lots of females in the house, for work related purpose ofcos. If I’m correct there were about 12 of them which was really a huge number considering how the field is dominated by their male counterparts. It would be really nice to see that number grow.
Unfortunately I couldn’t attend the last day of the event but the different groups presented their solutions to the judging panel. Not all the problems were completely solved but I’m sure come the next RHoK event which will be held in December there will be plenty of solutions.
Everybody who took part is a winner in their own different ways but someone has to go home with a price. H2O Detective, composed 7 members (4 males and 3 females) took the 1st price for their “Android application that enables field agents to track, log, and visualize households based on their water usage patterns using geo-tracking and average consumption data from the local municipality”.

 
To read more about the different problems presented and the winners visit http://www.rhok.org. I’m looking forward to the next event. Let’s continue “hacking for humanity” and coming up with “African Solutions for African Problems”

iPhone’s Siri just be honest with us

One of the major topics last week,well in the mobile platform world, was about iPhones latest technology called Siri

For those who are not aware Siri stands for (Speech Interpretation and Recognition Interface) and its used to answer questions and make recommendations.

Siri was asked “what is the best smartphone ever?” and surprisingly it suggested iPhones rival. No,not Samsung but the Nokia Lumia 900.

But it seems even smartphones have a tendency of behaving like humans and can lie or at least change their minds. This week Siri claims the best smartphone ever is “The one you’re holding”, referring to the iPhone 4s

Siri come clean

Lumia Hackathon…The South African way

The Lumia hackathon which took place in 4 South African cities has come and gone but the memories will last for a long period

The hackathon was open to students from different institutions in Port Elizabeth,Durban,Cape Town and Gauteng. I managed to take part in the one that was hosted in Johannesburg and must say the experience was awesome,tooooooooooooooonice,amazing,fun,priceless and tiring

Over a period of 48hours students would brainstorm ideas and started developing apps for the Windows Phone platform with the winners being selected on the last day after all apps got evaluated

Students even managed to submit apps into the Windows Phone Marketplace

I will give you more details as the week goes on who the winners were,what they developed,and highlight some of the cool apps I saw…

Mobile apps, THE NEW ECONOMY

IT brings the best out of people,it makes the impossible possible and has a way of shaping the world economy through innovations, new trends and access to information

Now there is a new trend that is constantly knocking on the door and can’t be ignored.THE MOBILE APP market

As new phones come to the market and more people start owning smartphones an opportunity arises for developers to make money.Huge corporations are spending lots of money to have apps for their businesses so that people can do business with them via the mobile devices through these apps.Even hospitals and doctors have their own apps for mobile because they realize that people want to have control.

Currently the mobile app ecosystem is dominated by Apple and android with Android having over 400 000 apps.There is also a new kid on the block called Windows Phone coming in slowly with 70 000 apps.So the opportunities for developers is broad and so are the options in terms of choosing which ecosystem to go for.

FNB is leading the South African banking sector with their Banking app which is a hit with many of its iPad,iPhone and blackberry users

To show that this is serious business the World Bank in partnership with Nokia,Finland’s ministry of foreign affairs and the South African Department of Science and Technology have started an incubator called mLab in Pretoria at the Innovation hub that is aimed at targeting mobile apps developers