Punch Newspaper: Local content for ICT: A Welcome Development [ICT Clinic Page]

A few days ago, precisely 3rd-5th December, 2013, IT professionals across Nigeria gathered at the e-Nigeria Conference 2013 held at the Shehu Musa Yaradua centre, Abuja to discuss the imperative of a local content policy for the ICT sector in Nigeria.

Thankfully, the ICT industry is pretty unique in many ways, hence countless hours of deliberations were not required to come up with a policy that is suitable for our local ICT industry, in the first phase.

First and foremost, we must be clear on the fact that the ICT industry is one that cuts across all other industries, be it agriculture, medicine, architecture, aviation, education, military – you name it. Today, ICT plays a major role in making various industries effective. What this simply means is that government must understand this underlining fact and give ICT the A+ status it deserves because its relevance cuts across every other industry.

We do not pray for wars, but they are inevitable sometimes, if only to whip an insane set of people into line and prevent them from wrecking further havoc. How do you think the future wars will be fought? Is it going to be with ground troops or warships? I think not! Future wars will most likely be fought electronically operating ICT hardware and software from a remote location i.e. unmanned drones.

Read more on Punch Nigeria Website

Punch Newspaper: Tips for making money on Amazon Kindle [ICT Clinic Page]

Innovation is at the heart of success in today’s highly competitive world and one man who has been at the forefront of this innovation is Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com; owners of kindle – the innovative solution that I am about to throw more light on.

Recently, Bezos doled out two hundred and fifty million dollars to buy Washington Post.

One waits to see what tech innovation would come out of his promise to turn around the ailing newspaper giant. Here is the interesting part of the story: a few weeks later he sold about a million shares of Amazon.com and recouped every dime he spent on Washington Post.

Sometimes I wonder if these tech companies are not just over-priced. The most critical question for me is: how can Nigerians benefit from a behemoth like Amazon not just as buyers but also as suppliers especially on a platform like Kindle?

Kindle has caused a major shift in the way and manner people publish and access books like never before and it is a trend fast spreading across the globe. You can become a publisher or an author for next to nothing. Not only that, you can now access books easily either at no cost or for as little as $2.

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Punch Newspaper: How To Avoid Brick Walls On Social Media [ICT Clinic Page]

Imagine someone trying to talk to the brick walls. What do you think will be the outcome? Your guess is as good as mine. It really does not matter if your purpose online is to market some start-up small enterprise, a political or a non-profit organisation. Perhaps, you may even be attempting to promote your personal brand online. The truth is that there is a possibility that your message does not get across to your target audience properly. So, imagine investing time and efforts in certain activities that you hope would attract potential customers to your website, and then you fail to see any appreciable likes, meaningful comments and perhaps shares by your network. This is a typical example of what I refer to as a ‘brick wall’ – a growing phenomenon. I say this because experience has proven that it is one challenge that has frustrated many business owners that I have met across the country.

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Many of them go as far as making it a duty to share articles they find to be of common interest on their respective social media sites so that others can also benefit from them. Quite a few of these may also go unnoticed. In all probability, there are not too many people immune to the proverbial ‘brick wall’ syndrome.

To give you a fair insight into apparent causes linked to the ‘brick wall’ syndrome and guidelines on how to sideline them, you may like to check out the strategies below:

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Punch Newspaper: ICT and Politics: Opportunities for participatory democracy (2) [ICT Clinic Page]

This is the concluding part of last week’s piece where we are looked at ICT as an effective tool for tackling the issues of political corruption and enthroning participatory democracy. If you missed the first part, I suggest you read it up on the Punch website.

Is it possible for Nigeria’s political class to fully take advantage of possibilities available in utilising ICT as a tool for participatory democracy? This is a tough question which I will rather not attempt to answer today.  Let me simply quip: “By their fruits you shall know them.”

Modern technology can help enthrone candidate-led and issue-based democracy as was the case with President Obama when he was campaigning for the office of the President of the United States of America, especially for the first term in 2008.

Studies have shown that candidate-led and issue-based political campaigns are usually far more effective than party-led campaigns. This is not to say that the political parties will not be involved in the campaigns. It rather allows the candidate and their antecedents to be projected in the front burner of the campaigns.

Widely reported as being the most sophisticated online campaign yet in international media, the Barack Obama election campaign in the 2008 US presidential elections remains a reference point in the modern use of ICT in political mobilisation.

Read more on Punch Nigeria Website

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Punch Newspaper: ICT and Politics: New vista of opportunities for democracy (1) [ICT Clinic Page]

The truth and reality about technology is that it has changed the game of life forever. If you want to know how obsolete a trend or an idea can quickly become, try to keep up with the ever-changing realities of the ICT world. For me as a person, it is all about solutions – how can Nigeria as a nation, graduate from being only a consumer in the ICT world to becoming a producer of hardware, software as well as a content generator?

Be that as it may, I wish to focus on ICT and how it brings about a host of other opportunities in the political arena of the country. Very soon, the political climate of Nigeria will become agog with the frenzy of political campaigns, meetings and scheming’s in preparation of the 2015 general elections and it most likely that the current trends in ICT will take a front seat in the tools that will be utilised in these campaigns etc.

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Away from campaigns, of further importance for the electorate, I am of the school of thought that ICT remains an effective weapon in tackling and stemming political fraud once and for all if there is a political will to do so. There is a lot of voter apathy in Nigeria with a good number of the electorate choosing to stay out of the voting process as they are resigned to the fact that those they have passionately voted for in the past have disappointed them by looting the treasury in mind bugling fraud cases.

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Punch Newspaper: Dealing with Email Overload [ICT Clinic Page]

Do you realise that one silent productivity drainer today is technology? Now, do not get me wrong. This has nothing to do with technology itself, but has everything to do with how we use technology.

Consider this: Most knowledge workers lose about two hours of their productive day to constant interruptions.

It is not the interruption itself, which might be intermittent and very brief that is the issue. Nor is it the method of delivery. The problem is the recovery time.

It can take a considerable amount of time to get back the train of thought we had before the interruption occurred. Sometimes, a crucial aspect of the thought process might even be forgotten and lost forever.

Typically, it will take 10 to 20 times the length of the interruption time before we can refocus (and that is if we are not interrupted again. If we are, the process of refocus is repeated in the length of time in tow). For example, a 30 second interruption will take five minutes to 10 minutes to recover.

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Punch Newspaper: Managing Small IT Service Business Profitably [ICT Clinic Page]

It is a known fact that most businesses these days cannot do without one aspect of ICT or the other. So, would you consider money spent on IT as good, long-term investment or perhaps simply an uncalled-for expense? When put to optimum use, IT undoubtedly has the potential to help your customers become more responsive, thus helping your small business to grow, especially when compared to what is presently achieved through the traditional way of doing business.

As we all know, all good things in life come at a price; so does good IT service. It is a specialized field. The one place where you can best find the necessary guidance and information that your small business needs is through a well-entrenched and reputable provider of IT services.

These strategies might be of help in properly managing your IT services:

Read more on Punch Nigeria Website

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Punch Newspaper: Increasing Nuisance of Social Media Spam[ICT Clinic Page]

Not a day goes by without receiving a minimum of 20 spam emails across the key social media websites.

Most of us pay little or no attention to emails of people supposedly needing help to recover inherited millions of dollars or that of a dearly beloved friend stranded in a far away country. How about that of social media? Are you aware that there are numerous ‘fake’ social media accounts today? Social media is on the rise, and everyone is trying to maximise it but with the rising number of users comes spam just as it happened with emails. Deleting spam is simply not a solution anymore.

Be aware that a spammers try to trick people using any available means. Social media offers them the advantage of a huge audience and they try to post spam there every now and then. The two popular methods they use in the social media today are creating fake accounts and distributing spam links. These fake accounts add hundreds of people as friends and then promote the spam links by sharing them on timelines and sending the links in messages.

Another popular method is hacking of popular business pages and then using them to post spam links that trick users into clicking on them.

Read more on Punch Nigeria Website

Punch Newspaper: Putting the Library in the Pocket [ICT Clinic Page]

In my university days, I took a compulsory course in Library Science known as ‘Use of library’. It involved cataloging, indexing and the use of library cards.

Whatever your discipline, the library was a place of regular visit as a repository of knowledge. And if seeking knowledge was the sole reason of being in school, you must learn how to use the library.

In those days, some students literally slept in the library because that was where all the resources for the term papers, the project work or the endless assignments one had to write could be found. Life on campus then revolved around the lecture room, library and hostel.

Today, things have changed. Aside the fact that school and public libraries in Nigeria are no longer what they used to be due to the decadence resulting from the age-long neglect of our education sector by successive governments, technology has transformed library science into information science.

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