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!