Macjordangh.com Finally Launched


If you haven’t noticed, I haven’t been blogging here very much recently. I bought the domain; http://macjordangh.com  from Web4Africa Web Services.

Somewhere last month, I moved all contents from my free hosted blog: http://macjordangh.wordpress.com onto the new domain: http://macjordangh.com below.

Macjordangh.com

Macjordangh.com

 

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Don’t Be Cheap On Southern Sudan, UN. Cost-cutting Will Cost Lives…


On 9th of July, 2011 Southern Sudan will celebrate its birth as the world’s newest country. The coming secession is the final chapter in what was one of Africa’s longest-running civil wars. For twenty-two years, southern liberation fighters battled for independence, leading to the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005. That agreement allowed for a six-year interim period culminating in a vote on secession, which Southerners voted for by an overwhelming majority earlier this year.

South Sudan Flag After Referendum

A report from the Security Council Organization on Southern Sudan states:

On 20 June, 2011 the government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) signed an agreement on temporary arrangements for the administration and security of the Abyei area. The agreement provides for the withdrawal of military forces—both Khartoum’s Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and Southern Sudan’s Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA)—immediately following the deployment of an Interim Security Force for Abyei (ISFA) composed of a brigade of Ethiopian troops. The agreement also indicates that an Abyei police service shall be established to deal with particular issues related to nomadic migration.

The agreement also established the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee (AJOC), which is to be composed of four members, with each party nominating two representatives. On 27 June, 2011 the Security Council also adopted resolution 1990 authorizing for six months a mission called the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) that shall comprise a maximum of 4,200 military personnel, 50 police and appropriate civilian support with the following mandate:

  • monitor and verify the redeployment of armed groups from Abyei Area, as defined by the Permanent Court of Arbitration;
  • participate in relevant Abyei Area bodies as stipulated in the agreement;
  • assist in de-mining;
  • facilitate humanitarian access;
  • strengthen the capacity of the Abyei Police Service; and
  • provide security for oil infrastructure

The UN Security Council will vote tomorrow on a new mission to South Sudan. The current United Nations Missions in Sudan (UNMIS) has to leave North Sudan by July 9, 2011 when the Republic of South Sudan finally comes into being.  All the various agencies working in Sudan have in the last few days tried to put up a case for a new revitalized force which would have a mandate to enforce peace given the current security situation in Border States as well as Abyei and South Kordofan.

Also from a report by Oxfam International indicates:

Inadequate numbers of peacekeepers for the next mission in South Sudan risk endangering thousands of lives and future stability.

From my colleague Ugandan blogger,  Rosebell’s Blog; I learned about how violence has escalated in the past couple of  weeks in Abyei, Southern Kordofan and across southern Sudan which has forced over 180,000 people to flee their homes.  The UN has called on the Security Council to send a strengthened Mission to the border as the situation is very tense and the country needs all the support it can to protect its population.  The UN asked for 7000 troops but reports indicate talks are going very badly as the UK, US and France are trying to trim the size of the Mission, its budget and its staff.

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Google Launches Google+, a Facebook Look-alike.


Yesterday, while tweeting my heart away as I normally do in the mornings, I came across an interesting link referring to a new social networking service from the search-engine giant; Google called Google+.

Google+ is the search giant’s all-in attempt to add a social layer onto their other products, and the engineers in charge describe it as an extension to what Google’s already doing in the social scene. They are emphasizing on privacy in differentiating the new social service from the rest of other networks.

We all know, Google have tried several times to come up with services/innovations that could over-take the leading social networking site; Facebook but haven’t succeeded in any of their attempts. Remember Google Wave? What about Orkut, or Google Buzz? What happened to all of them?

An interesting point raised in the New York Times by Claire C. Miller draws my attention to the fact that, the new service “happens to look very much like Facebook,” but it works differently. The guiding principle behind Google+ is the notion that users want to share different kinds of things with different groups of people.

A feature in Google+ called “Circles” allows users to put group their friends and share to the groups. Other unique features include “Hangouts,” a group video chat feature; “Sparks,” an automated feed of videos and articles custom-tailored for the user; “Huddle,” a text message-powered group chat; and “Instant Upload,” an automatic photo uploader for mobile phones.

But Google+ may already be too late. In May, 180 million people visited Google sites, including YouTube, compared with 157.2 million on Facebook, according to comScore. But Facebook users looked at 103 billion pages and spent an average of 375 minutes on the site, while Google users viewed 46.3 billion pages and spent 231 minutes.

Google+ users will start by selecting people they know from their Gmail contacts (and from other services, once Google strikes deals with them). They can drag and drop friends’ names into different groups, or circles, and give the circles titles, like “Accra Peeps”, “Taadi Folks” or “Honey Suckle Peeps.” Then they can share with these groups or with all of their friends.

Unlike on Facebook, people do not have to agree to be friends with one another. They can receive someone’s updates without sharing their own.

So now the question arises, Will It Be Able To Take On Facebook? Will It Prove To be A Facebook Killer?

Analysts say that Facebook users are unlikely to duplicate their network of friends on Google+ and post to both sites, but that they could use them for different types of communication. Google+ could also attract Facebook holdouts that have been uncomfortable sharing too publicly.

So will Google+ do to Facebook what Facebook did to MySpace? Does this new service from Google look more attractive than Facebook? Are you willing to abandon Facebook for Google+?

You can try your hands on the Interactive Demo here.

 

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Africa’s Bill Gate: Herman Chinery-Hesse & Others Speaks At Tech4Africa


Herman Chinery-Hesse @ TEDGlobal 2007

The Tech4Africa 2011 conference to be held from 27-28 October, 2011 at the “The Forum” in Bryanston, Johannesburg, South Africa, will feature a line-up of international and African technologists. The event aims to provide attendees with the opportunity to learn firsthand from technology evangelists about the role that the web plays in African business and development.

The two-day conference plans to bring international experience and perspectives to the African continent, while at the same time showcasing what Africans are doing with mobile, web, digital media and other emerging technologies.

“2010 saw the launch of Tech4Africa and we were met with overwhelming support from both the tech and business communities and our foundation partners, First National Bank and Internet Solutions,” says Gareth Knight, MD of Tech4Africa.

“This year we’re delivering the same high standard of content and looking forward to bringing technologists together to look at what’s current now, with an emphasis on social media and how it’s relevant to digital marketing, mobile convergence, the growing cloud and the applications of BigData. We’re also focusing on great African technologists that really are leading the way.”

Keynote speakers include Josh Spear, one of the youngest and most respected digital marketing strategists in the world, and Herman Chinery-Hesse, commonly known as ‘The Bill Gates of Africa‘.

Fresh perspective from Josh Spear
Spear is a trend spotter, blogger and brand strategist, sought out for his fresh perspective and no-holds-barred style of consulting on everything from design and gadgets to authenticity and word-of-mouth. His recent focus has been the power of the blogosphere, technology, and the impact of digital media on the world. In addition to his internationally recognized trend-spotting blog, he is a founding partner of Undercurrent, a digital think-tank focused on exploring new ways to reach young people without interrupting them.

With Africa rapidly leapfrogging the web and PC experience with a mobile one, the insights into how people and brands interact digitally is crucial, and indeed sets the stage for the foreseeable future. Spear has appeared in publications including Time Magazine, the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune and has presented for such diverse clients as McDonald’s, NBC, Pepsi, Virgin, The American Advertising Federation and The Google Zeitgeist conference.

Tech4africa 2011

Unlocking African prosperity, wealth with Chinery-Hesse
Herman Chinery-Hesse is a renowned Ghanaian technology entrepreneur who co-founded the million-dollar software company SOFTtribe, and then went on to launch BSL, which provides the infrastructure for entrepreneurs across Africa to sell products and receive payment through their cell phones. Chinery-Hesse is passionate about the contribution that technology can make in unlocking prosperity and wealth across Africa, and will be presenting his thesis on this. He has won a number of awards and is also an accomplished speaker who has delivered talks at the Wharton Business School, Harvard Business School, Cambridge University, the University of Ghana, and the TEDGlobal conference in Tanzania.

Spear and Chinery-Hesse are part of a line-up of African and international thought leaders from organizations like Amazon, HP, Johns Hopkins University, Mozilla, SwiftRiver, the African Institution of Technology, SimpleGeo, Motribe, Clearleft and Ultinet Systems.

Gareth Knight adds, “With Tech4Africa our simple aim is to congregate the best practitioners in Africa and the world to provide inspiration, guidance, case studies, and success stories and ultimately experience, so that Africans don’t need to travel the world to gain this understanding and exposure.”

Registration for the event is open and early bird tickets are available until 10 June. For further information or to register, go to http://tech4africa.com, or to contact Tech4Africa, email hello@tech4africa.com or go to http://tech4africa.com/contact/.

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Maker Faire Africa 2011 : Cairo, Egypt


From the Maker Faire Africa Blog:

Maker Faire Africa is pleased to announce our 3rd event, ‘Maker Faire Africa 2011 : Cairo‘ which will take place in Egypt, October 6-8th, 2011.  Join us once again as we continue to cultivate  new and existing maker communities across Africa. As was the case in Accra (‘09) and Nairobi (’10), MFA 2011 will present and spotlight the vibrant and endlessly creative individuals that have come to represent the spirit of ‘making’ throughout the continent.

These innovators, artists and tinkerers will be exhibiting a fusion of the informal and formal; ideas, inventions, hacks and designs both low-tech & high-tech.  From cuisine to machines, come see their re-imagining of products, exploration of novel materials, and original solutions for some of the continent’s most important challenges and opportunities.  Maker Faire Africa 2011 will be a celebratory showcase of unhindered experimentation and curiosity. We look forward to seeing you this October.

Please check back for further updates.

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First Swahili iPad/iPhone App By Nkyea Released


Nana Kwabena Sarpong and Isaac Ameyaw started Nkyea Learning Systems in 2009 to develop desktop and mobile applications for learning African languages. They’ve already developed and released two Twi language applications, Nkyea Twi Primer and Nkyea Twi Phrasebook, ’My Twi Name‘ app, and ‘Adrinkra E-Cards‘ app.

Nkyea Swahili App on iPad/iPhone

The two-man Ghanaian language learning apps development team has just released Nkyea Basic Swahili, the first Swahili iPhone and iPad app from their startup, on the Apple App Store. Nkyea Basic Swahili, which sells for $2.99, contains more than 650 essential words and phrases and has been designed to give absolute beginners a general conversational competence in Swahili.

Nkyea Basic Swahili presents the user with 18 lessons of basic grammar and vocabulary. The user can then choose a lesson, listen to the native speaker, read and record, play back and compare with the native speaker. The app also presents you with a quiz after each topic, which means users can reinforce what they learn and earn motivation badges for scoring high marks.

“This is a very user friendly language learning application, “Sarpong explains. “It’s really easy to learn Swahili with Basic Swahili.”

Nkyea Basic Swahili is targeting four primary markets: Tourists traveling to East Africa, students learning Swahili at a beginner level in school, anybody who has an East African relative or friend and lastly, language enthusiasts.

Here is the link to the app in the Apple App Store

Sarpong and Ameyaw are also working on more African language apps, which would be released in the coming weeks. Nkyea remains a bootstrapped endeavor, wholly financed through the startup’s PC, Mac and iPhone application sales.

You can follow them on Twitter via @NanaSarpong & @IsaacAmeyaw for more info about their work and creativity.

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Apple’s Steve Jobs Previews OS X Lion, iOS 5, iCloud and more!


On June 6th, 2011; Apple’s CEO – Steve Jobs talked about the latest operating systems Apple OS X Lion, iCloud and also previewed iOS 5 (iPhone OS).

Below you’ll find more about the various products launched, changes in them and what to expect if you’re jumping on-board the Apple OS bandwagon.

 Apple iOS 5

According to Scott Forstall;  “The Safari browser is the best mobile web browser out there. It’s also the most popular.” Nearly 2 / 3 of all mobile web browsing is done through Safari.”

Safari Browser – iOS 5 brings even more web-browsing features to iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Safari Reader displays web articles sans ads or clutter so you can read without distractions. Reading List lets you save interesting articles to peruse later, while iCloud keeps your list updated across all your devices. And iOS 5 improves Safari performance on all your iOS devices.

iOS 5 Camera

Camera – Since your iPhone is always with you, it’s often the best way to capture those unexpected moments. That’s why you’ll love the new camera features in iOS 5. You can open the Camera app right from the Lock screen. Use grid lines, pinch-to-zoom gestures, and single-tap focus and exposure locks to compose a picture on the fly. Then press the volume-up button to snap your photo in the nick of time. If you have Photo Stream enabled in iCloud, your photos automatically download to all your other devices.

Photos – Turn your snapshots into frame-worthy photos in just a few taps. Crop, rotate, enhance, and remove red-eye without leaving the Photos app. Even organize your photos in albums — right on your device. With iCloud, you can push new photos to all your iOS devices. So if you’re taking photos on your iPhone, iCloud automatically sends copies to your iPad, where you can quickly touch them up before showing them off.

Twitter – iOS 5 makes it even easier to tweet from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Sign in once in Settings, and suddenly you can tweet directly from Safari, Photos, Camera, YouTube, or Maps. Want to mention or @reply to a friend? Your contacts apply your friends’ Twitter usernames and profile pictures. So you can start typing a name and iOS 5 does the rest. You can even add a location to any tweet, no matter which app you’re tweeting from.

Wi-Fi Sync – Wirelessly sync your iOS device to your Mac or PC over a shared Wi-Fi connection. Every time you connect your iOS device to a power source (say, overnight for charging), it automatically syncs and backs up any new content to iTunes. So you always have your movies, TV shows, home videos, and photo albums everywhere you want them.

 Apple iCloud

iCloud is the latest cloud service from Apple Inc. The service allows users to store data such as music files for download to multiple devices such as iPhones, iPods, iPads, and personal computers running Mac OS X or Microsoft Windows. It also replaces MobileMe, acting as a data syncing center for email, contacts, calendars, bookmark, notes, to-do lists and other data.

iCloud includes 5GB of free cloud storage for Mail, Document Storage and Backup. Purchased music, apps, books and Photo Stream do not count against the storage limit.

Steve Jobs talking about iCloud @ WWDC2011

The concepts may be similar to what Google and Amazon has on the table, but Apple is probably going to execute it a lot better. At the end of the day, that is what counts. Customer satisfaction and getting the job done on time.

According to Steve Jobs:

“Some people think the cloud is just a big disk in the sky… We think it’s way more than that.”

“iCloud stores your content in the cloud and wirelessly pushes it to all your device. It automatically uploads it, stores it, and pushes it to all your devices.”

“Everything happens automatically and there’s nothing new to learn. It just all works.”

“Contacts added in any device are pushed to the cloud and then sync’d down to all the other devices. Naturally, change it anywhere and that change propagates.”

“iCloud will be free!”

Steve Jobs talking iCloud

Further updates regarding these latest developments from Apple are available through the official Apple website.

Photo Credit: Engadget

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