Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Mbali - Light off web project

Today my beloved land of birth Ghana marks it's 56th year anniversary after gaining independence and also it's the first African country to gain freedom from colonial rule.

Ghana is now going through a period known as load-shedding. This is when different electrical grids in the country are rationed with power. So one section of the country may have power from 6am-6pm, and another section from 6pm-6am. Nowadays things are much better - they just cut off electricity without any warning whatsoever or the power fluctuates crazily and the electricity corporation thinks that is entirely normal. I decided to make some technological sense from this historic moment and also hope to extract some valuable feed back/data from the citizens of Ghana through this process.Light off is a term coined by Ghanaians which means power outage.

I'm a big fan of open source technologies so i decided to back this idea with a strong tech core and the platform i chose for this project was built by Africans ( An African open source innovation ) and it's Ushahidi. It is a tool to easily crowdsource information using multiple channels, including SMS, email, Twitter and the web.

It took me about thirty minutes to set it up on my server and also about another hour to configure it to suite my needs in terms of the site info, hash tags , categories ,maps e.t.c . I must admit it felt great using a platform that was made in Africa.I call this web project >> Mbali ( Swahili word which means " off " ) .  You can kindly open this link to view the project http://mbali.oasiswebsoft.com/

A few hours after i set it up online, I've received up to 600 reports from a staggering 439 unique reporters via the twitter hash tags #ECG #LightOff  etc ( See the image below - My ushahidi report dashboard )

This means that we can gather a lot of data from online users from this uncomfortable light situation and make some logical sense out of it. This is a simple crazy idea i have in mind , you can also add up to mine and make Mbali the next big thing. Send me a mail if you want to contribute or you can report any adverse effects of this "Light off" on the Mbali platform or the twitter hash tags. iraindolf[at]gmail.com Happy Independence !!!!!

We want knowledge, we want information, we want freedom. Hinder us not and aid us if you will. But dare not call yourselves civilized while we remain where we are. "Guido Sohne"

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Where is Ghana’s Gold: In our earth or in our minds?

I've been in contact with a 16 year old student in Presec legon Senior High School who sent me a mail about a month ago that he wants to join my company OasisWebSoft as a software developer. He has taught himself css , java script  ,php,c++ and game development. I was amazed when he told me that ICT is been discourage in Senior High schools and it is an optional elective that at the end is not a part of the WASSCE exams. Apparently most lecturers advice their students not to take ICT because it will be a waste of time ( in terms of learning ) that wont even be a part of their final results.I'm wondering if this so called teachers have emails and even understand the benefits of Google, wikipedia and the internet an a whole.
Every week I receive up to 3 emails from different people who have amazing ideas but need a technical person/company to bring their ideas to life. Imagine if all these people had the skills to build the crazy ideas they have: Ghana would change rapidly technologically.Afterall no body understands your ideas like you..
I always say that if you want things to change, you can’t just sit around and wait for things to happen by themselves, you have to act so  I'm urging anyone reading this and is by any-means affiliated to GES or WAEC they should change or inquire why ICT is not a core subject.Computers don’t change human nature
ICT can catalyze and amplify real world change. There is no career in this world that doesn't have a tech back-end.Even now Kayaaye ( Stree Hawkers )  use mobile phones.The video below is two decades ahead of Ghana and i'm so sad technology is been discourage in Senior High Schools by Teachers. I'm asking again where is Ghana’s Gold: In our earth or in our minds ?

I originally wanted this article to be a post on my facebook timeline but realized it was too long so I turned it into this blog post..

You are never given a wish without also being given the
power to make it true. You may have to work for it,however.
-- R. Bach, "Messiah's Handbook :Reminders for the Advanced Soul"