Friday, December 25, 2009

Goodbye 2009



To be honest, I am a little frustrated that I had more posts on this blog in 2008 than I did in 2009. I am going to blame the transition from New York back to Tanzania and then to the UK for this.

In any case, it's been a long year, and it's about to come to a close. What's been going on with projects, and what is in store for 2010?

On the web design front, I was finally able to establish a clean portfolio and page for Ndogoworks. It is something basic that I can now work with in its own space and time, as opposed to being intermingled with other projects. Priority for Ndogoworks in 2010 will be to get my own domain and potentially register it as a business based out of Dar.

Music will potentially dominate 2010 for me. I have not given much thought to the Solarvibe Sound homepage, it still remains the same from last year with a few updated mixes and gigs. I've only had one gig in London so far (boo!), but I need to look harder in 2010, and raise the bar with marketting a little. I'm thinking about teaming up with a few other DJ friends to see if we can get some collective radio shows going and potentially host them on a stream, or even start a stream... suggestions?

And Vijana FM - ah - I have been very lucky indeed. Roonie, Neechi and Taha have agreed to come on board to help author content! Check out the new Vijana FM look (thanks to Neechi's logo magic). The blog will continue to be updated by us, and I am working on finding away to produce more audio and visual content. Authors and editors always welcome!

As for the Shack518 homepage, I need to do some serious work on it. I prefer not to keep the same design from one year to the next, so this will probably be my project for early 2010. In short, it is going to move from being a homepage to my projects (which this blog serves in better ways), to being a hosting space on the back-end (which it already is serving as for Vijana FM and USS Dar).

There's some other stuff going on like the Streetword RSS Project and potentially a city-transit calculator, but those have been put on hold for now.

Oh and I started FunnyIsWhatFunnyDoes two weeks ago because I was procrastinating on school papers. That will be a fun one to keep updated :)

That's that for now. I'm off to New York tomorrow. If you're reading this, merry christmas and a happy new year to you!

PS: Above wallpaper is from Interfacelift.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Web hosting in Tanzania



My buddy Taha, who is also writing about tech on Vijana FM (more about Vfm in later posts) found out about TovutiYangu, a web host based out of Tanzania! Very neat news for us Tanzanians to see a simple, efficient web host that accepts payments through a mobile operator!

Check out Vijana FM, or Taha's blog.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Web trends



iA (information architecture) produces a cool Web Trend Map, which is a cool way to look at how major websites interact.

Given this map, where do future opportunities for social development online lie, if at all?

Click on this to check out the whole 2009 map, the image is just a portion of it!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Another winter coming



This winter marks exactly 25% of my life having been lived in the Northern Hemisphere. Who would've thought?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Monday, December 7, 2009

Small change



The world map in small change. FAAP Campaign - Change the World 2007 @ Lafayette College.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Official LOLcat?



Loved seeing a lolcat on the cover of a Ubuntu guidebook today! Find "Ubuntu Kung Fu" by Keir Thomas on Amazon here.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Do schools kill creativity?

This was filmed a while ago (2006), but what Sir Ken Robinson explained about schools and creativity at TED is still applicable today. Thanks, Aliya.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

On rankings

The DJ Mag recently let the world know global DJ rankings based on votes by the public. Full results for last week's results can be seen here, but here are the top 10:

1. Armin Van Buuren
2. Tiësto
3. David Guetta
4. Above & Beyond
5. Paul Van Dyk
6. Deadmau5
7. Ferry Corsten
8. Markus Schulz
9. Gareth Emery
10. Sander Van Doorn

This is all very cool, but where do you draw the line between what the "public" wants to hear, and what the DJ/producer him/herself wants to play? And does this affect a DJ's/producer's work?

Feel free to discuss below, but my point is that I hope DJs and producers who do what they do because of their true love for music continue to do it for this love, and not for a number in a magazine somewhere. Because technically, if it's about a number, then everything becomes a number, and skill is calculated for a reason rather than nurtured out of pure, simple passion.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Language of the World



"I don't know why these things have to be transmitted by word of mouth, he thought. It wasn't exactly that they were secrets; God revealed his secrets easily to all his creatures.

He had only one explanation for this fact: things have to be transmitted this way because they were made up from the pure life, and this kind of life cannot be captured in pictures and words.

Because people became fascinated with pictures and words, and wind up forgetting the Language of the World.
"

- Extract from The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

3rd sessions

Another BahariBeat session, this time with a some soulful house vibes.





Tracklist:
1. Cafe Negro - In your eyes (Main mix)
2. Kevin Yost - Two wrongs making it right

Mix (and more) can be downloaded here.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

2nd sessions

Two more mixes!

Bahari Beats 002:



Tracklist:
1. King Britt presents Oba Funke: "Uzoamaka"
2. Arnej: "Tomorrow never comes (Intro mix)"

Solarvibe Sessions 002:





Tracklist:
1. Matisyahu - King without a crown (Live @ Stubb's mix)
2. Thievery Corporation - Amerimacka (Original mix)
3. Sub Focus - Coming closer (Original mix)

Both mixes (and more) can be downloaded here.

Friday, October 23, 2009

... and some more vibes

What can I say? Piratefunk was inspired.





Tracklist:
1. Karen Overton - Your loving arms (Markus Schulz vs. Elevation intro mix)
2. Jonas Steur feat. Julie Thompson - Cold winds (Original mix)
3. DJ Tatana - Spring breeze (Martin Roth Summerstyle remix)

Download available here: http://shack518.com/music/mixes.htm

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Finally, a new mix :)

I gave in to Virtual DJ and made a quick 10-minute mix. It's time to start experimenting with the lounge/chillout scene. Enjoy!



Tracklist:
1. Crazy Penis - 3 play it cool
2. Moussoulou (remixed by Charles Webster)
3. Boozoo Bajou - Under my sensi (Thievery Corporation remix)
4. Crazy Penis - 3 play it cool (Solarvibe Comeback cut)

Download available here: http://shack518.com/music/mixes.htm

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize



Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize this week primarily for his efforts and potential progress towards nuclear non-proliferation.

It's important to keep in mind that hope plays a big part in Obama's promise when assessing whether the decision by the Nobel committee was a good or bad move. Sometimes, you have to give people incentive to live up to their promise. Obama has mentioned that this award is his "call to action".

Check out what people are saying on BBC's forum. While you're at it, check out Nobelprize.org.

Akongston

I think a collaboration between Akon and Sean Kingston might work really well.

Monday, October 5, 2009

On Convergence

I'll leave it up to Xplane and team for this one... This may have some big implications on the process of development in terms of creating freedoms for people. Enjoy.



If you're interested in reading more, check out Karl Fisch's blog or Xplane's website.

Friday, October 2, 2009

On Pluralism

"The problem is that large segments of all societies - in the developing world and the developed world - are unaware of the wealth of global cultural resources and, therefore, of the need to preserve the precious value of pluralism in their own and in others' societies."

H.H The Aga Khan, Speech at the Prince Calaus Fund Conference on Culture and Development
Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 7th September 2002

Monday, September 28, 2009

Origins and destinations

So often we ask ourselves, where am I going with this? Or, what lies ahead for me? Or, how do I know if I am doing the right thing?

Perhaps an answer to our destinies lies in knowing where we came from.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Thoughts caught up

Well hello friends,

It's been a while since I wrote a post. I say this all the time, I am aware. But this time is a little special.

Let's begin with a sample >> Edx - Casa Grande

Now, there are times when we don't really know what we think we know. That is, physically, in this material world, we find things that happen to occur in our lifetimes, or within the realm of things we know during our lifetimes, that make it seem as though we can prove what we know.

This is a completely understandable way of proving things.

However, every so often, a human feels a vibe; of appreciation, of pluralism, of kinmanship, of care, of love, or of annoyance, of irriation, of anger, whatever it may be, we feel it. This exact vibe, of whatever emotion it holds, is not a physical vibe. I think this vibe has more than history, is more than a science, and is greater than our reality. This vibe, I believe, is purely human.

Time for another sample >> Julian Vincent feat. Cathy Burton - Here For Me (Mark Otten Re-Dub)

I'm not sure whether there is some ultimate, metaphysical truth to this. On the contrary, I think there are more possibilities to where human vibes come from than we think. And I get the feeling that it's where that vibe originates, where it chills in unity with all the vibes there are in this world, that we may be able to look for answers to find the arche.

I believe The Almighty has a piece of His light in every one of us, and in plurality we learn to acknolwedge it.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Long time coming

Whatup world! I have been very quiet.. but I am home in Dar-es-Salaam
enjoying my last few days here before I head to London for grad
school.

There have been a lot of developments. In short, web stuff is becoming
"Ndogoworks", DJ stuff is becoming "Solarvibe Sound" and Vijana FM is
scheduled to start in October 2009 (I may start earlier).

Stay tuned!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Tanzanian Guantanamo detainee to stand trial

Ahmed Ghailani, a Tanzanian, is to stand trial in a US court after being detained for having a role in the 1998 US embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.

An excerpt from BBC:

Ghailani, a Tanzanian, was seized in Pakistan in 2004 and was one of 14 so-called "high-value detainees" transferred from secret CIA prisons abroad to Guantanamo in September 2006.

He was indicted in New York on charges related to the August 1998 bombing of the US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya that killed more than 200 people.

According to the transcript of a closed-door hearing in March 2007, Mr Ghailani admitted delivering explosives used to blow up the US embassy in Dar Es Salaam.

However, he told the hearing he did not know about the attack beforehand and apologised to the US government and the victims' families.

The expected announcement comes as Tanzania's President Jakaya Kikwete is to hold talks with President Obama - the first African head of state to meet the new US leader in Washington.

I find that the last line in that excerpt interesting, too.

Full BBC article here.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Explosions in Dar

There's been an explosion in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania in which several people have died. The explosion was apparently an accident at a military camp.

Excerpt: "Officials said it was a tragic accident and not a repeat of the deadly terrorist blast that rocked the country's main commercial center in 1998."

Full BBC article here.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

News Map

I found this a few weeks ago but forgot to post it. Word clouds aren't a new thing, but more and more people are starting to use them on their blogs. A word cloud is basically a group of words bunched together, but their size/color/format is directly associated with the number of times they are repeated on any given source or page.

The NewsMap above (check it out here) is interesting because it makes a word cloud of out news pages, and divys everything up by country, topic, and type of news. Sweet idea that I was going to try and work on with my RSS project, but oh well... one closed door is another door opened!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

On Pirates

I've written out a couple of posts about the pirates who have been seizing vessels off the Somalian coast. In recent weeks, pirates (likely to be from similar groups) have taken control of even more vessels, including those belonging to the United States, the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia.

Now an American captain has been held hostage by the pirates, prompting the US to send in warships to "monitor the situation".

I still hold my reservations about how the general problem of piracy is being acknowledged and responded to. I will ask the same questions I asked in a previous post about this:

1. Incentive
I think it would be tremendously helpful to try to find out what is driving these pirates to seize vessels. They have held anything from lethal arms, to oil, to food aid. In my view, it seems to always come down to ransom, hence it seems the pirates are looking for money. They do not seem to want to hurt anyone (a recent BBC article mentions "pirates holding a US captain hostage have warned that using force to rescue him could result in 'disaster'"). So if it's money, we should be asking ourselves, why do these pirates use coercive means to get money? What prevents them from earning regular wages from employment? Or is it a question of whether or not they have the freedom to do so?

2. Leadership
Who do the pirates work for? Do they work for themselves? Or are they truly connected with Al-Shabab, which in recent weeks has been said to be in close ties with Al Qaida? Tracking down the leadership of these pirates is likely to provide answers to question number 1 above.

3. Accountability
OK, so its clear that there are French, Russian, US and even more eyes on the situation - literally. There's ships carrying enough arms to start a small-scale yet destructive war out on the Somalian coast. So, what really is going on? When any hostage situation with the pirates is "resolved", and the time comes for the pirates to hand over a hostage, who is held accountable after the hostage is released? Do the pirates just walk (sail?) away, and the warships go back home? Who is responsible for letting the pirates keep doing what they do? The Somali government seems to be inequipped to stop them, but if foreign governments are trying to use force to obtain their vessels back, what can they do to help prevent this from ever happening again?

It keeps happening - today the pirates seized another ship. So I feel like we might not be asking the right questions about the pirates. Moreso, I feel like this has a lot to do with geopolitical power play, with some of the most militarily powerful countries in the world surrounding the situation and watching eachother more than they're watching the pirates.

Either way, this is my opinion. These are questions that have been running through my head since I first read about the pirates taking control of ships. Comments are healthy for discussion, so feel free to say something if you stopped by to read this.

Till next time, carpe diem.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

G20 Summit pledges funds to world



Leaders who have met at the G20 summit in London have pledged $1 trillion in funds to help stimulate global financial recovery through the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other institutions.

Read the Al Jazeera article here (picture above from same article). An exercpt:

"...There had been indications before the summit that G20 members were divided on how best to pull the global economy out of recession.

"
The US and Britain are in favor of pumping more money into the financial system, seeing the strategy as a way to encourage banks to lend to consumers and thus entice them to spend money on goods and services.

"The US has so far spent, lent or guaranteed $12.8 trillion - almost as much as the value of everything produced in the country in 2008.

But France and Germany had signaled their opposition to further fiscal stimulus packages, calling instead for an emphasis to be placed on increasing regulation of the international financial system..."

I wonder how this will play out for developing countries. The US and Britain are focused on monetary injection to stimulate consumer spending, while France and Germany support tighter regulation. Then again, will the rural youth in India, Uganda or Chile see any progress of these decisions in his/her households' lives? Will there be a safety net put in place such that subsistence farmers and other small-business owners in such countries do not suffer from external conditions affecting demand for their products, and thereby affecting their basic necessities to live?

We'll see.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Autopilot your Gmail... not

Woke up in the middle of the night last night, and checked my e-mail on my PSP when I saw that Gmail has started offering the use of an autopilot.

Check out the details here, and the back-end system, CADIE, here.

An excerpt about CADIE:

"Although CADIE technology will be rolled out with the caution befitting any advance of this magnitude, in the months to come users can expect to notice her influence on various google.com properties. Earlier today, for instance, CADIE deduced from a quick scan of the visual segment of the social web a set of online design principles from which she derived this intriguing homepage."
Crazy eh? Now get this...

It's all an April Fool's day joke. Wiki here. Hah! I was so taken for a bit.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

No entry for Dalai Lama in South Africa

South Africa's government has confirmed it will not issue a visa for the Dalai Lama to enter the country, because his visit is "not in the country's best interest ". The Dalai Lama was supposed to join Nobel laureates in South Africa this week to discuss how peace and co-existence can be promoted during the football World Cup in 2010, set to be hosted in South Africa.

The meeting has been postponed after several members of the Nobel laureate pulled out after the Dalai Lama's ban, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

BBC article here.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Who?

Al Jazeera had a story on the IMF report I mentioned in my last post.

An excerpt:

"Jakayo Kikweke, president of Tanzania, told those gathered in Dar es Salaam that the economic gains made across the continent in recent years are now under threat due to the global slowdown.

"There are growing worries about the potential effects of the global financial meltdown, coming so soon after the food and oil crisis," he said.

"Only a few years ago the prospects for sub-Saharan Africa seemed so bright; for the first time in two decades the region was growing at the same rate as the rest of the developing world, except China and India," he said.

The IMF's assessment comes a day after the World Bank said that developing countries face a financing gap of $270bn to $700bn this year as trade income dwindles and rich nations vie for capital to deal with the global economic slowdown."

Seen. Except... who is "Jakayo Kikweke"? Pretty sure that ain't my President.

Monday, March 9, 2009

IMF discusses economic slowdown in LICs

The International Monetary Fund has released a report titled "The Implications of the Global Financial Crisis for Low-Income Countries". The report can be found through this direct link. The report identifies 26 countries that will be most-affected by global economic slowdown, 13 of which are in Sub-Saharan Africa.

I found the report while checking out BBC short-term blog focussed on economies in Africa affected by the crisis.

Going to read the IMF report later tonight, but feel free to post your thoughts.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Stuffed?

Enough said (seen?).

BBC article here.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

CampuSMS @ Lafayette, officially!

So after going live @ Lafayette College once, and seeing we had some major flaws, we took CampuSMS off the Lafayette homepage. Now, after a couple of months of working on the back-end and a little bit of front-end tweaking, Lafayette's gone live again with our service!

For folks who don't know what CampuSMS is, it's a project to help stimulate the use of text messages on college campus communities. We're trying to help student and faculty groups get the word out faster, through a medium everyone seems to be using on an individual-to-indvidual basis already: SMS. We're also hoping that businesses surrounding campuses - in Lafayette's case, places like Cosmic Cup, Campus Pizza, Milo's, Wawa, etc. - will want to use CampuSMS to communicate any special offers, promos and events to the college studnets/faculty.

Anyhow, screenshot above shows our service being linked on the left-hand side menu of the Lafayette homepage. You can also just swing by www.campusms.com to check us out!

Now you know.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Ban Ki-moon in Tanzania

United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon will be in Tanzania today, addressing the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha. This will be the first time the South Korean UN Secretary General will visit the Tribunal since he took up his post in October 2006, and the Tribunal itself is the first body to interpret the definition of Genocide set forth by the Geneva Conventions in 1948.

More about the issues anticipated to be discussed on this Daily News Tanzania article.

Above photo from this website.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Blog updates

What a glorious sunny day in New York! Made some quick changes to my blog... you'll see that I took off the navbar links that used to be at the top and put 'em to the right-hand side. Also added two news feeds to the right panel, both from BBC: One is the BBC world news front-page, and the other is Africa-specific.

I'm hoping to make this blog and my twitter page places of frequent updates, and revamp my homepage to reflect ongoing, bigger projects such as Vijana FM, CampuSMS, music and web development.

More updates will ensue in coming months. Ciao for now!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

JazzMutant Lemur

Just found out from an imeem exclusive interview with Deadmau5 about the JazzMutant Lemur, which is a touch-screen control surface for creating sounds using programmable dials and buttons! Sounds like a neat concept.

Links? Homepage here, Wiki here.

Price? Round about 2 grand here <grunt>.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Google Android, Round 2

HTC and Google have partnered up again to release the Android phone to Vodaphone in Europe! I've been waiting for the second official release, and this phone seems to be much more of a breath of fresh air compared to the first release.

Check out the BBC article here, and the Gizmodo article there.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Friday, February 13, 2009

Tanzania and China


(Image from this website)


(Image from this website)

According to this article, China has been investing in Tanzania for a few decades now, and Tanzania plans on working more with China in the near future given recent concerns of global economic slowdown.

Some excerpts:

"Tanzania is looking to China for help to spur economic growth amid the global crisis. Central Bank Governor Benno Ndulu has said spending cuts may be needed because of pressure on foreign aid, which covered 34 percent of the 7.22 trillion shilling ($5.5 billion) budget this year. China's trade with Tanzania rose 30 percent in 2007 to $688 million.

... Economic cooperation with Tanzania dates back to the early 1970s when China built the $500 million Tazara railroad that runs 1,860 kilometers (1,162 miles) from Zambia's northern copper-belt region to the port of Dar es Salaam. Chinese aid also supported a textile factory that helped start a once-thriving industry now under pressure to compete with cheap garment imports from southeast Asia and a growing second-hand clothing market.

... China is a top importer of Tanzania's timber, a state- regulated trade plagued by corruption, poor management, and illegal logging, Traffic, a Cambridge, U.K.-based conservation group, said in a May 2007
report. China imported 10 times more timber than Tanzania's export records document over the 2004-2005 period, suggesting a 90 percent loss of revenue, the report said.

... Roughly 20 percent of merchandise circulating in Tanzania is counterfeit or pirated, with many of these goods such as clothes, mobile phones and spare car parts manufactured in China, according to an April 2008 study by the Confederation of Tanzania Industries."

Thursday, February 12, 2009

MV Faina docs in Kenya

I'd been reading up for a little while now on the Somali pirates that first seized MV Faina, the Ukrainian cargo ship carrying arms to Kenya. I just saw that the vessel had been released a few days ago, and has finally docked in Kenya.

There is now some discussion/controversy about where the arms on board were actually going. Some say it was meant for Kenya, others say it was Sudan-bound. Whatever the case, it is ironic how it took a group of bandits to seize a ship that would otherwise have gone unnoticed, and possibly affected serious international relations in the long-run (given Sudan's political crisis).

Some excerpts from the BBC article:

"BBC East Africa correspondent Karen Allen says if the allegations about Sudan are true, it would be a huge embarrassment for the Kenyan government, which helped broker a peace deal between the north and south of Sudan four years ago.

... This is in sharp contrast to the secrecy that has surrounded the ship and its cargo since it was hijacked off the coast of Somalia back in September.
"

PS: Photo above from this website/forum.

Made my day

8.45am in the morning, I've just walked into work, and Seba calls me from Dubai.

Me: Eiii baba what is up?
Seba: Eiii baba.
Me: Where are you?
Seba: I'm in Dubai, and I need your help.
Me: What's up?
Seba: I'm DJ'ing tonight, and I have my iPod and CDs.
Me: Eiii DJ Seba... yeah, ok, and?
Seba: I'm looking at the <blah blah blah> controller...
Me: I don't know it man, I need to see what you're looking at.
Seba: OK, but it's the <blah blah blah> thing. How do I connect my iPod to this thing?
Me: Well... you'll probably need an RCA-to-Mini cable.
Seba: What is that? <woman giggling in the background>
Me: It's got two RCA plugs on one end, and one Mini jack to plug into your iPod on the other <assuming he's in a store>
Seba: So how do I mix between tracks?
Me: Well you would need 2 iPods and 2 of those cables, unless you have an iPod mixing console.
Seba: <more giggling in the background> We have 2 iPods.
Me: Eiii... DJ Seba... you're set boss, just get 2 of those RCA-to-Mini cables.
Seba: OK but how do I change the volume and stuff.
Me: I can't see what you're looking at boss... just fiddle with the dials and you'll figure it out.
Seba: Alright boss... any recommendations?
Me: Nah, I trust you've been taught well. Eiii DJ Seb.
Seba: Haha alright, later guy.
Me: Later guy.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Ze shoe-throwing continuez

A shoe was recently flung at an Israeli ambassador in Sweden...

Apparently, "another person threw two books at the envoy but missed".

Seems like we have a euphemism emerging here.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Gaddafi: Multi-party democracies don't work in Africa

Hmm... as new head of the African Union, Gaddafi is saying some interesting - and perhaps even controversial - things about how African politics should work.

An excerpt from the above-linked BBC article:

"We don't have any political structures [in Africa], our structures are social," Reuters news agency quotes him as saying.

"Our parties are tribal parties - that is what has led to bloodshed."

The Libyan leader's remarks could prove controversial in a continent where people have struggled for decades to have more open systems of government, says our correspondent.

Mugabe to share power

Robert Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe, has signed a constitutional amendment that will allow his opposition, Morgan Tsvangirai, to become prime minister after months of talks and persuasion by neighboring African state leaders.

I hope the the man holds this up. Here is Robert Mugabe's Wiki Page.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Chairman Change

General Gaddafi, the Libyan leader, has taken the seat of Chairman of the African Union from Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete. This comes at a crucial time for the African Union, right when Ethopia (and the AU) has been accused of reentering Somailia after a peace treaty, and during Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe's continued dictatorial-like reign on Zimbabe amidst a Cholera crisis.

Madagascar, however, is seeing some order being restored in the streets of Antananarivo (the President is being called to step down though).

More about Africa, including President Obama's Kenyan half brother's mishaps, @ BBC's Africa homepage.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Latest projects

It's been some time since I divulged what's been going on with various projects, so here's a quick update!

Vijana FM:
Working on preparing round 2 proposal documents for Echoing Green's grant application. I passed round 1, but that means there are 300 projects out there competing to be one of the 20 Echoing Green Fellowship recipients! Given that this is my second year applying, I'm trying to give the Vijana FM proposal my best. Getting the budget reviewed by some folks at work, which is a big help. Little feedback from you (the public) has started trickling in through my website's contact page, so that is an immense encouragement - thank you!

I also promise to divulge a whole lot more information about the Vijana FM when there is more time to build Vijana FM's presence on the internet. Right now, I am focussing most of my time on refining the concept, business model and social benefit. I am also happy to answer questions via e-mail, so feel free to use my website to get in touch with me!

Soundworks and DJ stuff:
I've had two brief gigs in New York City in the last month, and it feels great to be breaking into the DJ scene here! There may be a chance that I could be in London next year for school, and I'm definately looking forward to being in the progressive//house scene there. Haven't made any mixes of late because I'm trying to decide my next move with getting new decks. I'm thinking of getting Denons again, and sticking to using CDs (instead of Serato), but the pressure from Pioneer is a little insane here in NYC!

Having said that, the tunes just keep coming. I've been to a couple of shows while in NYC, namely Deadmau5, Kaskade and Markus Schulz. Looking forward to Ferry Corsten and Above and Beyond next month! It's so refreshing to see all the "big guys" spinning progressive and vocal tunes that are constantly innovating the progressive electronica genre. Indeed, the genre's still growing, and I'm trying my level best to stay on board with these developments.

My Youtube favorites page has a solid set of soundworks that I am currently sampling, but I also just found out that I have a 650-favorite-videos limit! I might just create a second Youtube account so I can keep favorite-ing.

Also, I'm still a contributor to BoomBoomChik, a music blog dedicated to shouting out the chillest tunes across a diverse set of genres. Using the PirateFunk alias, I divulge the latest progressive trance/house that I hear on radio by my favorite DJs, so look take some time to browse through BoomBoom to see if there's some tunes for you!

Web design:

I've recently made the Lafayette College Undergraduate Relations Committee website, and the Class of 2008 homepage is still under construction. I've also had the opportunity to work with (the world's first) The Stand-up Economist. Yoram Bauman is a hilarious economist, and needed a Facebook Fan Page made, so yours truly stepped in to fix something up for him. Also, I continue to update the various websites I built while at Lafayette, and need to find some time to give my own website a good tweak!

Speaking of which, I've started working on a new RSS project. I'm trying to merge RSS feeds from several different news networks, and then display the most popular words that come up across the most current headlines. This is being done in an effort to guage what is the most popular news item at that time. We'll see how this goes...

Other // New stuff:
I'm thinking about how the alias Shack518 can become a "house" for my projects. They all seem to be related to a few common things anyway: Economic development, music, and the internet // websites. So there may be a complete overhaul of my website design in the next few months, depending on how this urge scratches away inside me.

... aaanndd I think that's it for now. I completely didn't need the subtitle "other//new stuff", but then again that's how I initially split my thoughts up, so we're just going to have to deal :) To everyone who actually reads this blog - thank you - and be sure to check out some of the other blogs I follow (see "bloglinks" on the right hand side menu here -->).

Carpe diem,
ak

PS: The above photo is from Interfacelift, which is a wallpaper website with some of the best photographs I've seen. Go check it out!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

World Economic Forum // Davos

Day 2 of the Forum today, and Ban Ki Moon makes an appearance to appeal for funds in aid to the Gaza Strip. Also, India is concerned about an increased sense of protectionism.

When there are global economic pressures, it's not surprising to see countries scouting to protect their products and services more aggressively. At the same time, Kamal Nath, India's Trade Minister, mentions:

"We do fear this because one must recognize that at the heart of globalization lies global competitiveness, and if governments are going to protect their non-competitive production facilities it's not going to be fair trade."

More on this @ Al Jazeera.

gimp(ob)ama

Original, smaller photo in full color is from BBC. Second one is the same photo blown up and played with in Gimp.

... and I'm just going to throw a track out there onetime: Here's some Bittersweet vibes.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Funds drying up for Non-Profits

WSJ was saying today how one example of a New York-based non-profit, Harlem Children's Zone, is seeing less financial support from its Wall Street donors.

Here's an exercpt frmo the article, written by Mike Spector:

Today, the U.S. boasts more than one million nonprofits, up from about 774,000 ten years ago. Their biggest donations come from corporations, foundations and the ultra-wealthy. Many have been hit hard by the deepening recession. A drop in charitable contributions could shutter as many as 100,000 nonprofits over the next year, says Paul Light, a professor at New York University's Wagner School of Public Service.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Playlist from PirateFunk @ Opera, January 17

Thanks to everyone for making it out there for my 30-minute set @ Opera NYC!

1. Solange - Sandcastle disco (Freemasons extended mix)

2. Kaskade - Angel on my shoulder (EDX radio edit)

3. Deadmau5 - I remember

4. Anthem - Be my lover

5. Barack Obama - Yes we can (Rob Solomon 2008 edit)

6. Annagrace - You make me feel (Voodoo and Serano club edit)

7. Ce Ce Peniston - Finally (Bart B More remix)

8. Sebastien Leger - Majuro

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hope for America, Troubles Elsewhere

While America is seeing its first black president in history being inaugurated into office, Rwandan troops enter the Democratic Republic of Congo in Eastern and Central Africa to aid the fight against "rebel Hutu militia". In Zimbabwe, talks between President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai fail.

As for the Middle East, UN Secretary General has also visited Gaza, making him the first international leader to visit the region since the recent armed conflict began, and is appalled by the destruction war has caused there.

Funny how small the world is, and yet how big we treat it to be.

Today, Obama Becomes America's President

Barack Obama is being inaugurated into office of the President of the United States today. People here at work are already buzzed about it, and the boardroom is being taken over by folks who want to watch a live streaming video feed on big screen of the all-day event.

To watch one of these live video feeds, you could use CNN's website which is working with Facebook to provide coverage. Alternatively, you could use an official US government website to view the inauguration.

You may also want to check out the National Post's Live Blog.

Congratulations in advance, President Obama! Your coming into office is certainly changing the way people think about leadership, prosperity and collaborative living. It is changing the way people think by empowering them with the hope that the United States can actually work with the rest of the world, not against or for them.

(More high-quality and rare images of Obama @ the Boston Globe)

Monday, January 19, 2009

About University Websites

I'll get to why I made this post in a little bit. But I thought it would be cool to just browse a couple of different US university websites, and maybe compare the aesthetics. Above are screenshots of websites belonging to (in order from top to bottom): University of California, Los Angeles, Georgia Institute of Technology, Drake University, Georgetown University, Lafayette College, and Harvard University.

So yeah, huge differences, often related to the kind of people each university is trying to attract.

I noticed a wide variety in the usage of graphics and placement on the homepage. I love GeorgiaTech's simple blog-like look. In some cases, such as Georgetown University, because of the wide scope of academic programs, a listing similar to a blog doesn't work since there are major programs, subprograms, etc.

Also many disparities in color usage, since this is related to mascots, logo colors and the overall brand of the school. UCLA's website background struck an odd note with me, but then again, I haven't seen much related to UCLA.

Drake's approach to their website design seemed very formal and corporate, unlike Lafayette's website which has a lot going on.

And that brings us to why I started this post, and that was because Neechi showed me Harvard's fresh homepage. It threw me off because it looked so clean and much less complicated than what you would usually expect from the highest ranking school in the world. Then again, Harvard is big enough to have a serious "home"page and have very few links to their main programs, which can then be branched off into their smaller schools (and respective websites).

Not to make an unusually long post here, but I think it's becoming more and more important for schools to make a bigger presense on the Internet. They already do, but websites like Facebook and YouTube make it easy to access the "general public", and I think interaction between University homepages and other commercial websites is going to grow.

PirateFunk @ Opera, January 17

So I pulled off a 30 minute set at Opera NYC last night! There was a fantastic crowd (a lot of my friends came through, which energized me), but I am disappointed at my first few transitional mixes. They weren't as smooth as I wanted them to be, and this is due in part to not being familiar with the club's DJ equipment. That's still not a valid excuse, so I'll have to do better next time.

Tracklist (and hopefully some photos) are in the pipeline, so I'll update this post later.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

What War Looks Like (in the Gaza Strip)

... more photos from Gaza (Thanks, Merhawi).

CIPE Essay Competition

The Center for International Private Enterprise is now accepting entries for its 2009 essay competition.

Young folks (ages 18-30) who want to enter into the competition have to write 2000-4000 words on either one of the following topics: (1) Citizenship in a Democratic Society; (2) Educational Reform and Employment Opportunities; (3) Entrepreneurship and Leadership. More details on the CIPE essay competition website.

Oh and did I mention that the winners of first, second and third place essays in each category (9 people altogether) will recieve $1,000 each?

That comes down to between 25-50 cents for every word you write. Not bad at all.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Vijana FM passes 1st round Echoing Green!

Just heard back today that Vijana FM passed the first round of Echoing Green's 2009 fellowship! Next phase applications are due February 9, so I'll be cracking.

Check out the rest of the 300 organizations selected as semifinalists. Echoing Green homepage here.

For more information about Vijana FM, I'll be updating this website.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Echoing Green

First round application results are out today by 5pm EST!

<gulp>

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Twitter whaled

Gotta love Twitter's error messages!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Guantánamo: Movies vs. Reality

I happened to watch Rendition and The Siege this weekend, which both touch on detainee rendition policies of the United States. Coincidently, I found an article on the International Herald Tribune about an ex-Guantánamo detainee being released, and his thoughts on his detention there.

Here's a few extracts from the article:

When Muhammad Saad Iqbal arrived home here in August after more than six years in U.S. custody, including five at the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, he had difficulty walking, his left ear was severely infected, and he was dependent on a cocktail of antibiotics and antidepressants.

...Iqbal was never convicted of any crime, or even charged with one. He was quietly released from Guantánamo with a routine explanation that he was no longer considered an enemy combatant, part of an effort by the Bush administration to reduce the prison's population [...]

Friday, January 2, 2009

First post of 2009 goes to... Busta

Yessir. Busta Rhymes' reaction to Barack Obama winning the 2008 elections!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy 2009!

Happy New Year everyone! It feels wack ushering the new year here in NYC, while the world everywhere else is struggling to keep itself together (or break apart?).

The US is giving Palestine $85 million in humanitarian aid . Right. I have my reservations about the justification of this aid, and how it perhaps has a strategic interest in swaying the media's reports about previous US-Israeli relations... 

Tonight my prayers will be for World peace, unity, and prosperity.

Carpe diem.