Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Use simple tools to create complex applications: think locally, impact globally

The much anticipated Google Ghana Conference took place last week, on the 19th & 20th March at the Alisa hotel in Accra – yours truly was present – as always.(smiles)

This year’s event did justice to my expectations: cool, knowledgeable presenters; relaxed atmosphere fostering partnerships and enhancing opportunities; great entrepreneurial discussions.

The first day saw Googlers giving presentations on technologies/topics such as HTML5, Google App Engine, Google+, User Experience among others. My personal highlight of the day was during the Site Clinic track where the website of techsonetGH (under construction) was ‘diagnosed’ by Luisella. It was an eye-opener into ways I could become a better webmaster. The topic for the panel discussion was, “Can Ghana have a software company with 100+ developers?” In all, participants believed it was possible but would require skills development, hard work, dedication, and of course investment.

The cultural environment of Google as alluded in the keynote address of the day was experienced personally in my interactions with Googlers present at the event. These guys are cool! (wink) Ideas indeed do come from everywhere…

Day 2 was nothing short of exciting. It was great listening to entrepreneurs and business enthusiasts discuss ideas and share experiences. One fact that stood out is that, your ideas can best be explained by you in detail, nobody cares about your idea – sharing therefore is key.
During the track on Adsense, I really got to see how Africans get a ‘third eye’ when it comes to matters involving money. Some participants really wanted to know how to track their revenue online. (still laughing)

Julia’s presentation on Google+ APIs also saw eyes rolling and heads nodding. The fact that individuals without smart phones and data enabled devices could still enjoy Google + is simply genius. The hangout feature was simply awesome as a number of participants saw it as their replacement of Skype. I also found out – as did other participants that you can actually monetize on Youtube!

I can’t end without talking about the great photographs taken by RQV Photo Studio. The dude is amazing.

In all, the event was a great success and boy did I have me some fun. I’m already looking forward to next year’s event.


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Nuptials...

Yesterday, I was at the engagement ceremony of a friend of mine – actually two friends of mine. It was a simple but elegant ceremony. Their love started while they were in the university.
As I sat through the ceremony – as I often do, I was occasionally lost in thought. My own relationship flashed through my mind. I thought of my girlfriend and the love we share. The better boyfriend I have become due to her constant care, encouragement, advice and belief in me. There were times I disappointed her and frustrated her, but she’s been by my side through it all.
The issue of the influence of society also set in and I admired my friends the more for staying true to themselves and their ideals and feelings.
A number of my friends present at the ceremony – myself inclusive – were dating back in school. Most of these relationships have fallen on rocks. Some had dragged on for a long while before dissolving, mostly due to external influences from society: gratitude to a partner thought of what society would say; the fear of starting all over, et cetera.
Truth is, being true to oneself is key. Be yourself. Be honest. Play fair.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Expresso CliQ modem -- my experience

Competition in the telecommunication industry in Ghana has been rife in the last couple of years, forcing telecom companies to strive to satisfy their customers. Customers now have a great deal of alternatives to choose from.
One area where competition has been keen is the provision of Internet/Web services. This is due to the fact that a great number of Ghanaians own mobile phones and PCs for personal use. This has seen the introduction of modems by these companies. A lot of grievances have been made by friends of mine who have used one or the other of these modems by the various telecom networks/companies.
Personally, I have used only two of such modems: the ones provided by the tigo and expresso networks; I must say I enjoy the expresso service better. A couple of reasons why:
- for the same data plan (eg. 1GB), expresso is cheaper (GH¢15 as compared to tigo's GH¢25).
- the connecivity of expresso is more stable and faster than that provided by tigo.
I am sure other users who have experienced the Internet/Web service provided by expresso may add reasons as to why or not they enjoy the service.
The last couple of days, however, have seen me undergo a negative experience with my CliQ modem.
I couldn't connect to the Internet albeit I had 300+MB of data usage left! I therefore recharged with an amount of GH¢5 and was able to connect. The same thing happened a while later -- I had 200+MB data usage left. I checked my credit balance and it was GH¢4.93. After another try, I was connected. Checking my balance after another disconnection showed I had 93MB left. I therefore decided to recharge with GH¢15 -- the required amount for the 1GB data plan. Surprisingly, my request for the data plan was not confirmed. . I was frustrated. I called the customer service and after a while I was connected.
I later conferred with a friend who apparently has had the same unfortunte experience. I believe this is one of the few cases expresso has to deal with. That notwithstanding, I think the Internet/Web service provided by expresso is among the best -- if not the best -- in Ghana.
I'm waiting for Globacom's Internet/Web service(s). Who knows, I may just be blown away.