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”

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Hire ME!!!!

I recently received some t-shirts from Microsoft written “Hire Me”. I love that t-shirt but sadly my body couldn’t fit into it. Eventually it did fit after a few months of sweating hard at the gym although it feels like I’m wearing a muscle shirt. Don’t worry, I don’t intend stealing your next 10min talking about my weight and about a t-shirt. It’s just that the t-shirt has given me a few ideas to play with.

I wrote a blog a few months ago called “I’m unemployed…” and it focused on the challenges the youth face with regards to getting jobs and getting hired.  I also spoke about how we the youth shouldn’t just sit down and do nothing with our lives. You can read about it here http://bit.ly/yXHyEJ

So many of the youth still remain unemployed, it’s like the requirements for getting a job just keep going an extra level the moment one reaches the previous required level. First they want you to have at least Matric (Grade 12) qualification. Once you get that they want tertiary qualification. You go sweat it out for 3years and complete your studies but can’t graduate because you first need to do 6 months (1 year in certain fields) of experiential learning. Majority are not that lucky in obtaining that experiential learning. Those that do and manage to graduate are told that they either need to improve the qualification or must gain more work experience. Question is where must they get this work experience if nobody is taking them? Jobs don’t fall from the sky

One has to feel for all those guys who have graduated yet are staying at home doing nothing. Sadly time waits for no man and some are forced to venture into areas where they didn’t study for. It might not be the ideal situation but sometimes one has to take a different route to reach their destination .It’s worse if you are in a field like Information Technology because it’s constantly changing every few months and a qualification that is two years or more is pretty much quite old

I am saddened by those students who have never done any experiential learning but when the opportunity arises their first question is “How much are do they pay? Yes money is important but let’s face it opportunities are very rare so one should cling to those that come because you never know how long it will take for the next one if ever.

I am no hiring expect nor am I a recruiter but I have been lucky to talk to a few recruiters and learned a lot from them. Some of us don’t get hired because we just are not hirable. We don’t follow instructions on job post; we have outdated CV’s, we are very picky, we wait until the closing day to go certify our CV’s and apply. If you are not sure about your CV then pass it to someone. I constantly do that just to get feedback. One lady once told me that if she was hiring she would have thrown my CV away because of the cover letter. If you’re not serious about getting a job nobody will be serious about hiring you

Sometimes your CV alone won’t get you that job. We are social beings and must learn to network with others. It’s interesting how much information one can get from a stranger. We spend most of our time on social networks but fail to create strong networks. At times one can’t do it alone. I am not afraid of approaching anyone, even if it’s a CEO because I rather have them tell me that they don’t have time for me instead of me walking away with regrets. I don’t do it to get hired but to learn and connect with them. We also shouldn’t focus on just the “Top Brass” but connect with people from different levels. My network is always expanding because of this approach.

Recruiters will advise you that while you continue to look for that specific job you can try volunteering positions. It’s actually not really such a bad option. You gain that required WORKING EXPERIENCE and give your CV extra weight. I know of a few guys who went the volunteering route and have managed to secure permanent positions or got hired somewhere else because of that bit of work experience. It’s way better than sitting and doing nothing

Not everything works for all of us. Some have jobs waiting for them; some just keep getting interviews while others keep moving from job to job. The rest will just need to continue knocking on those doors, filling in those application forms, checking for posts and praying that someone will eventually call you for that interview.

Plenty of posts floating on social media just keep an open eye. Have a look at a group on Facebook called YDIDI. It’s a nice group with plenty of post that covers different fields.

Graduation Day, the battle has been won but the war isn’t over

Those in primary school can’t wait to get to high school. Once in high school you just want to jump straight to tertiary. A few assignments and failed tests in tertiary leave you wanting to just get out as fast as possible.

Studying and actually managing to obtain a qualification is one of the greatest challenges one faces in life. It’s a constant battle zone that never seems to finish. Its financially costly, energy consuming, stressful and very good for the coffee making companies

I almost dropped out of tertiary for good. Thanks to some convincing from my good friend I stayed. It wasn’t because it was challenging but never used to never understand the concept of going to tertiary if I can actually stay at home and teach myself, which is actually what I did. I hope my parents never get to read this post. I now believe that education is the key even though one shouldn’t rely just on their qualification

Sometimes I wonder why Graduation isn’t really given that much exposure compared to Matric results by the government and media. It is after all as important since it’s the next step towards employment and creating a better future for our country

Graduation day doesn’t sink in until the night before. You make sure the clothes fit, the shoes are ready, the camera AND phone are charged and the date is correct. Walking up that podium while wearing your qualification colours feels soooooooooo great. You feel like a soldier coming home from doing battle while everyone is cheering you up. One just needs to constantly watch their steps to make sure they don’t fall. You don’t want to be remembered as that guy who fell.

The sleepless nights, cross nights, pages of notes, late assignments, and stressful projects are over (for now depending on whether you will continue or not). Seeing the smiles on fellow graduates is so exciting. The excitement and jubilation on the faces of one’s parents, family and friends is priceless and the fashion statements are on another level. Words can’t explain the feeling. It’s one of those things you just need to go through at least once
Hats off to those that have been graduating these past few days and those that have long graduated. You have fought, won the battle and have earned your colours. For that we salute you. The war isn’t yet over. Job hunting is up next, more qualifications are still up for grabs
As we celebrate and cheer for those who are graduating (especially my fellow IT soldiers) let us keep in mind that the number of graduates in South Africa is still low. So to those waiting in line do not give up. One day is one day
Cheers to the future

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

Names gone crazy

Image

Whatsapp, 8.ta, Yello, Ekse, awe,sho, Hello?

Interesting how people come up with names in the technology dominated world we live in today.Some of these words you ask yourself what on earth were they thinking or doing to come up with such words. Some of them are just brilliant while some of them no longer represent the company but have become words that describe certain actions and activities. Some are almost dead and buried so I can’t add them on MySpace. I am sure there are plenty of such words out there that you know of that I probably didn’t cover so please share them. Click on the highlighted word to find out more about its origin. Let’s have fun.

Sumtyms iThink IT ppl r js plain lzy 2 txt in ful. We ratha js ctrl C then Ctrl V or if its dat much info den Ctrl A, Ctrl C ,Alt Tab, Ctrl V usually duz da trik.  @ tymswi Ctrl  X n Ctrl V tho wi hv a habit of 4gttin 2 Ctrl S b4 wi Ctrl Alt F4. Lol, if u rily nid F1 2 rid dis den wi knw u r studying HR or medicine. Wi js hope u knw ur tablets frm Tablets

Speaking of tablets its interesting how Tablets are no longer representing medical prescriptions but computer devices. There are plenty of brands of Tablets but it seems everybody refers to them as iPads. We also have ThinkPadsPads Pads Pads!!! I bet Androids from another Galaxy will also want to dominate and be a Nexus.  HP and Playbook take Note

For those new to IT let me school you about the Cloud, aka Cloud Computing which is a new common word. And no I azure you, it doesn’t refer to sitting on the cloud and working from there and the chances of seeing any clouds when referring to Cloud computing are slim unless you actually look into the sky. Your information can be mobile, no need for USB’s, location is no longer an issue. So whether you are in Nairobi, Lesotho or the Amazon you can work and save you information without the need for extra hardware. Its like bing in your Office 365. There is iCloudSkyDriveGdrive and Dropbox 

We are having less educated people and more Smartphones.  What is this world coming to? The Rand still struggles while apps seem like the new economy

Apple and Blackberry no longer represent fruits but massive Technology brands; well at least one of them is massive while the other fruit is a major hit in South Africa. Did the late Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak love apples that much?The person who came up with the name Siri for the iPhone 4S surely doesn’t know Japanese (iBurst with laughter). Thanks to the OTHER fruit phone we have less “Please call Me’s” going around. My lecturer used to warm me about worms, Hackers, Trojans and about giving away my passwords. Now we giving away our PINS so we can chat. Black Berry Madness (BBM) has taken over!!! It’s the new South African revolution

Searching for information on the internet is no longer browsing but goggling. The word Google refers to a major player in the IT sector but more people use it as a doing word more than describing the company. Interesting to know that the name Google was actually a spelling mistake that was accidently registered as a company name. It was supposed to have been called Googol. True story. You can Bing it if you have doubts

I would really love to know how Microsoft came up with the word Bing…sounds like someone hit a bright idea then went Bing. And its seems the word Zune almost landed Microsoft in hot waters with certain fractions of the Jewish community. But thank you Microsoft for the Mango, I love it. Now I can do the Tango while I wait for Apollo(Windows Phone 8) to land. I’m sure it warm up things in Finland

Wikipediaportmanteau(fancy way of saying that we are going to take 2 words, mashed them together and pray a new concept will pop up that people will love). Let’s test it out: The sum of portmanteau of wiki and encyclopedia = Wikipedia. Now there you go kids, you can start doing your homework. If all fails just Google it. Information is free but give credit to the publishers

TWITTER, TWEET, TWIT, TWEEPS, TWEETING. Let me RETWEET that, I mean retype that. TWITTER, TWEET, TWIT, TWEEPS, TWEETING.  Nobody should ever say birds have never contributed to society. Here is a tip: You might just as well tag along, join my circle and follow me in my Hangout place on Facebook. I will follow back if I like .I’m sure we can get LinkedIn and do business privately or just BranchOut depending on what is on Your Mind that you are willing to share with the Public

Bluetooth!!! I just can’t imagine Blue teeth but it seems King Herald 1 of Denmark and parts of Norway had massive influence in the name.

Gijima? Is it really a Zulu name for girls? I always thought it meant run. Anyway Mr Robert Gumede I would love a share of your Business Connexions

Microsoft chose the lucky number 7 for their Windows 7 OS and codenamed it as Vienna, while Apple has an obsession with code naming most of their OS after big cats:

Cheetah- Mac OS x 10.0

Puma – Mac OS X 10.1

Jaguar- Mac OS X 10.2

Panther- Mac OS X 10.3

Tiger – Mac OS X 10.4

Leopard – Mac OS X 10.5

Snow Leopard – Mac OS X 10.6

Do I hear a Lion roaring somewhere out there? I’m sure cougar and Lynx are the next endangered big cats

Our friends from Google seem to have a love for pastries and desserts. Their Android code names suggest someone there has a sweet tooth.

Cupcake, Donut, Éclair, FroYo ,Gingerbread,Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich

Initially I thought the guys from Yahoo (Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle) were probably very excited when they came up with that name. Apparently it originates from the book Gulliver’s Travels and was coined by Jonathan Swift. It represented repulsive, filthy creatures that resembled humans. It seems Jerry Yang and David Filo saw themselves as yahoos

Skype? Its initial name was “Sky-Peer-to-Peer” then “Skyper”. I guess just like Puff Daddy, P.Diddy, Diddy, Puff or Puu they kept shedding their name. Well the names lose gained them 8.5 Billion dollars. Perfect Kodak moment

Another company which shed a name is Asus. It was taken from the winged horse of Greek mythology called PegASUS. The guys at Asus didn’t like wasting so they created another company called Pegatron to make use of the omitted words

I have also tried coming up with names. I started with INNOvatorz with 2 of my friends but was forced to change it to INNOvatorz.IT due to INNOvatorz being linked to a band in England. If you enjoy IT talk, debate, discussions or seek help with IT related issues then have a look at INNOvatorz.IT . Since its FREE Publicity for this group companies are welcome to hire, recruit or take the guys in there for Internships

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

Lumia 800…The amazing everyday

Finally got my hands on the Nokia Lumia 800. I have been looking forward to playing with this phone for sometime and have been following it way before it got launched

Now I get to spend the next two days with it to play with it. I’m really hoping to find a lot of likes from it

So far I love how it feels in the hands and the pockets. Feels like I’m holding the N9 until its switched on

The Amazing everyday?……lets find out

Tablets in schools….Do we really need them?

I love technology and all its advancements.lt betters our lives and make things simple for us but it can also have a negative effect on us

There have been stories on leading news papers about how schools are adopting technology, especially in the form of tablets.One private school in Johannesburg has even given the parents of the pupils a deadline for them to make sure their kids have ipads to use in class by June.

The use of tablets isn’t just restricted to the elite schools of South Africa,they are also being taken to rural areas with the help of private schools and iSchoolAfrica with the aim of improving the matric pass rate.

Introducing such technology to schools will really improve access to studying material and can reduce the delaying of text books to schools because the text books would be just installed as eBooks.There will be certain legal issues to go through like publishers getting their share though im sure that can be fixed.Students would have access to really time information through the internet and learn fast through seeing images and sound. They would grow into the digital age and have access to a whole range of learning resources like Microsoft Learning Suite,Google edu an educational games like Apples Mathletics which helps students to solve maths problems

There are drawbacks to introducing this kind of technology to schools.Last year I had a debate with a friends and she said she wouldn’t allow such technology to replace the traditional way of schooling like using a pen and normal text books.I disagreed with her then and I still partially disagree with her now.It did take some personal experience to actually feel she might have a point. Lately I have become too lazy to write proper English, my spelling skills are horrible and my handwriting is a mess simply because I’m always texting and typing and have access to a wonderful tool called predictive text.

Another major drawback is that internet access in our country is expensive and not a lot of people have access to it.The government would have to sort this out and maybe introduce WI-FI connection at disadvantaged schools or else there will be a major gap in our education system

This will be a major problem with the introduction of tablets at school.Yes they will allow faster and better access to information but will also kill certain important educational skills a pupil needs.I have a feeling this is just the beginning of the tablets taking over.I just hope a balance is kept

I am an unemployed youth…IS THERE A FUTURE FOR ME?

One of the greatest challenges facing our beloved country is the rate of unemployement.Let’s face it,it’s not going to end anytime soon.There is a growing debate on whether the government is doing enough to create jobs for the youth and also for the general public.Another challenge that comes to mind,even though some see it as an excuse by big corporates,is that we are in an economic crisis and instead companies are letting people go than hiring them.

As a young South African I must admit that’s its a mission to get a job,even a simple internship and I have seen a lot of my friends get frustrated and close to giving up because there just seems to be no opportunities for them.Take a simple government internship post where they are looking for just 3 people yet over a thousand have applied.

It’s easy to sit and blame the government and the huge corporates.Okay maybe they can and should do just a little bit extra but question is what are you the individual doing to better your own life?

I’m a huge admirer of street vendors and those standing on the roads selling things in the blazing heat all day.Yes,maybe that’s not the route I would take but I like how they refuse to sit at home and do nothing with their lives while constantly complaining about what they lack.Instead they wake up and go hustle hard

Release your potential

“This is a time for bold measures. This is the country, and you are the generation.”
— Bono
Most of the guys doing IT in tertiary have amazing skills in developing systems,apps and almost anything that is required.Sometimes I wish I had the skills they have.Yet they sit at home and majority will never take the bold step and do something for themselves with their skills because they have a mentality that the only way to make money is to have a boss.What if no boss decides to hire you?

We lack Entrepreneurs

“The young do not know enough to be prudent, and therefore they attempt the impossible, and achieve it, generation after generation. ”
— Pearl S. Buck

I have taken lots of risk with the little money got my hands on and 6/10 times the risk paid of.I am not yet where I want to be but I believe I have a business mentality and I will keep digging my gold mine.I know the challenges that face one in starting something with financial backing being one of them but that alone shouldn’t stop you as long as you believe in your idea

A lot of countries out do us in a lot of areas but one that stands out is in the entrepreneur department. A lot of people,especially young guys are making a killing financially all over the world especially in America and it’s not that they have a strong financial muscle but because they are constantly looking for ideas,opportunities and are not afraid of taking the risk.

Lots of names spring to mind when I think of guys who made it from nothing to being filthy rich.One of my favourite local guys is Dj Sbu.Those who know Sbu will tell you he started from nothing but is now making it big as a musician,radio dj and has now ventured into the clothing industry all because he took a risk,believed in himself and worked his pants off

So to those still looking for jobs your time will come if you remain patient and have faith.Just don’t sit around doing nothing with your life and becoming a human tv guide while waiting for companies to call you or opportunities dropping from the sky. Go out there and volunteer,develop a new skill,polish your current skill,hustle hard,take a chance and create a need where there is a lack

“There is no obstacle in the path of young people who are poor or members of minority groups that hard work and preparation cannot cure.” 
— Barbara Jordan