Category Archives: Technology

IT expert exposes ‘amateurish’ technical flaws in Ghana PostGPS

By | Business, Technology | 14 Comments

An IT expert has revealed some technical flaws in the recently launched 2.5 million-dollar Ghana PostGPS system that has been touted as the solution to the decades of poor addressing system in the country.

Stefan Froelich who works with WITS Ghana, an IT solution company, after reviewing the technical element of the application said the system is fraught with some technical issues, some of which he described as amateurish.

READ: Akufo-Addo launches digital address system

In his estimation, the system “is poorly designed, ineptly built and has no chance of yielding anything close to the results it has been touted as capable of bringing”.

He concluded that Ghana may have been ripped off in the deal, saying “right now, this looks like money poorly spent!” adding Ghana has lost an opportunity do demonstrate to the world that it can develop a homegrown solution to its problems.

Read the full review of the app done by Stefan


GhanaPostGPS – A System No One Asked For

We started our day to the launch of the new Digital Addressing System – GhanaPostGPS. A system, news of which we’d been given over the past few months.

I took it for a spin to see what all the fuss was about. It was pointless.
Unclear Goals

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not saying a digital addressing system is pointless, but that the current implementation is poorly designed, ineptly built and has no chance of yielding anything close to the results it has been touted as capable of bringing. Coming to that, how exactly is this going to help revive Ghana Post again? Has the problem really been addressing? Or an institution that has failed to recognize that it is a dinosaur that needs to evolve to survive? Or that people simply don’t trust it with their valuables? Maybe a combination of all 3 and more.

A Disappointing Start

For the kind of resources that were given to this project, one would expect a refreshing design, some nice layout animations, properly thought out user experience and a proper understanding of how the system is supposed to deliver value.

Instead, we are greeted with a less ugly pallet swap of AsaaseGPS, with new graphics, text and a splash screen animation (I really hope you guys are already resolving my location because that splash screen lasts a long time) that does a bad job of explaining how and what it is you are to do after generating your address. The menu items are confusing and there are UI elements that make no sense. In fact, the menu toggle is on the right and the nav drawer on the left!

I launch the app and immediately, I am assaulted with a sign-up screen. Ummm, what?! Why do you need to know who I am? I look around for a link to terms and conditions which would at least inform me how they plan to use my information, nothing.I go and download snooCode (another Ghanaian app that literally does the same thing) and within 30 seconds (location services are always on), I have my six character address. It might not be beautiful, but it makes sense. Less is always more.

Amateur Mistakes

I don’t want to give my information out, so I figure, hey, let’s see if we can bypass this. I enter some gibberish and submit, half expecting it to reject my input but no! It accepts it like it is made of gold.Now I really don’t want to give my details out. At the simplest, all you need to do is to check if the input is 9-10 digits (10 for a leading 0). There’s more you can do, but short of actually testing the number, this check should suffice.

A Broken System

At this point, I have lost confidence in the system. These are signs of either an inexperienced or lazy programmer. Either way, the system cannot guarantee data quality or security.

I decide to risk it anyway and use my secondary SIM card to register an account to get the full experience.
In addition to generating your address (showing an unhelpful dialog about a missing address mapping), you can search for locations, save locations to your address book and send your location to emergency services (Police, Fire & Ambulance).

I obviously couldn’t test the emergency services, but saving to the address book worked while searching for the location they generated for me didn’t yield any results.I suspect both this and the dialog at the point of generation require me to register my address first, but nowhere is this made apparent to you. Existing systems like snooCode don’t require you to do this. The generated address can be translated into geolocations easily and used to locate you. This doesn’t bode well for user experience.

I decided to try the map on the website and sadly that didn’t work either. There was no map and a quick look at the debugging console showed that Google Maps was throttling API calls.Flawed Technology

GhanaPostGPS like snooCode, what3words, and Open Location Code is a geocoding system that converts hard to remember latitudes and longitudes into an easy to remember format. It creates 5x5m grids and assigns a code to each grid so addresses remain constant within the grid.

While this system makes it easy to address any location on the surface of the earth with an easy to remember code, it doesn’t translate well when used as addresses. A single property can easily span multiple grids and therefore will technically have multiple addresses.

All the above existing systems bill themselves as location sharing services (nowhere is this clearer than in what 3 words). GhanaPostGPS with its unnecessary barriers causes it to fail at being even that.

A proper addressing system would have accounted for anomalies such as large properties and implemented a separate registration process (which could involve marking out your boundaries) for businesses and interested individuals. Many people really could care less. Most codes will be generated on the fly to give directions to friends to meet up or for events such as weddings and the like. Most use cases of this system would not even require one to register an address.

Conclusion

Today, any competent smartphone user can easily share their location over WhatsApp and get turn by turn directions in Google Maps. Why would anyone want to use this? What is its differentiating feature?

Tech is tech. And this is 2017. People will use what pleases them whether the government throws millions at a solution or not. And right now, this looks like money poorly spent! You simply cannot will people to use what they don’t like.

I believe more should have been done by Vokacom to translate AsaaseGPS into a true addressing system for the nation. They were definitely given the resources. $2.5 million is not a sum to laugh about.

Government officials have no understanding of how tech works and thus, as the consulting firm in charge of developing the system, Vokacom had every responsibility to ensure that it was delivering the best. This was our first opportunity to prove to the world that we can do homegrown and we blew it!
This is a sad day for tech in Ghana.

By Stefan Froelich|gharage.com|Ghana

No More CD’s: Churches, gospel musicians go mobile & fully digital

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Remember those funky bulgy cassette walkmans and ghetto blasters that were around just over a decade ago? How they use to be the audio-play gadgets of the time when there was no other way to listen to preferred music or audio content but to purchase your favourite cassette to play on these walkmans and radios. A lot has really changed over the last decade, right? Compact Disc’s  (CD’s) took over, then came the not so sexy first iPod, and now the introduction of Apple Music by Apple Inc, Audible by Amazon, and Google Play Music for Android; bringing audio content hot-served on your mobile phone in the convenience of your palm and on-the-go.

If you have been to church lately or to a gospel music concert, you will have heard opening or closing announcements that read a such; “please go to the bookstore and be sure to buy a CD”. Are there even the players these days to play the CD’s bought by loyal congregants? Or is it just another dusty decorative item meant to sit on the shelves only to egoistically profit its author/ artiste without the purchaser necessarily benefitting from its content?

The facts are that 87% of the latest vehicle models are no longer being manufactured to contain built-in CD-ROMS; Most laptops manufactured and sold between 2015 to 2017 do not have CD-ROMS either; not to speak of the modern Home theatres that only come with Bluetooth functionality, SD Card and pendrive slot but no CD-ROMS.

Considering the world is becoming more digitally advanced, one might wonder why the Christian community remains the largest distributor of audio content via CD’s. Environmentalists have criticised the degradation that CD’s do to our environment right from how they are manufactured to how they are disposed of. CD’s have a limited lifespan, a single scratch can cause the entire CD to be damaged; ironically, are God’s messages not meant for a lifetime? Will sticking to old methodologies of audio content distribution account for the ‘declined participation in Christianity globally’, as indicated by the PEW Research centre?

A group of Tech Evangelists at Community Technologies (Pty) Ltd. are changing the way the Christian community distributes its audio content. It’s Co-founder, Nii Sylvester tells us of how this is part of a bigger plan of helping Christian organisations and leaders build digital strategy. He anchors the fact that a lot of processes within Christendom are being managed manually and it is high time that someone built proprietary technologies to facilitate the church’s work.

Through a mobile App called “eWord”, the team at Community Technologies believes Christian audio content creators will be able to distribute their Music, sermons, devotional guides, and motivationals within a safe and efficient space globally. Nii Sylvester emphasises, “You can call it your iTunes of the Christian world if you like, but eWord does a lot more. First it is segmented only for positive and Christian content, but more especially it goes beyond just music distribution. It carries mixed content categories such as audiobooks and motivationals that can be interpreted as combining the power of what Amazon’s Audible offers with what Apple’s itunes does”. By the way, ‘Audible’ is an audiobook distribution platform owned by Amazon.

Asked further what he means by a ‘safe’ space and why Christians cannot just use existing applications such as iTunes and Audible for their audio content distribution, Nii explains, “iTunes and other platforms are the wild forest. In the forests there are beasts, monsters and a lot of inappropriateness that will consume any Christian. I am personally disgusted when a gospel musician says to his Christian audience ‘go purchase my music on itunes’. It is like the sheperd letting his vunerable sheep from the pen into the wild forest, you will not do that, would you? It’s okay to have your content on other worldly platforms, but do not direct your won souls there. Those platforms are meant for soul-winning and not for your already won-souls.”

eWord makes its debut on the Google Playstore and Apple Appstore in September of 2017. It is intended to be the new phase of positive and Christian audio content distribution globally as described by its inventors. eWord’s interface is neatly designed and quite user-friendly. Unlike many other Apps of its kind, payments on eWord takes the African ecommerce scenario into great consideration by enabling mobile-money payments (MPESA, MTN Money, Vodafone cash, Airtel Money, Tigo Cash, etc..). It also has a 16-digit voucher system that can be purchased at any convenience store for onward use within the eWord Mobile App. The traditional Visa and Mastercard payment options are also incorporated. “Our goal is to build an African technology company providing global solutions” says Mr Sylvester, probably the reason the company’s headquarters is strategically located in South Africa and not in the proverbial Silicon Valley of America.

Asked how all the music and audio content on eWord gets on there, Nii tells us that all of eWord’s content is managed by the content creators and distributors themselves through an online merchant web portal (merchant.ewordstore.com). It is interesting to note that the merchants (ie; content creators and distributors; pastors, gospel musicians, authors, record labels, etc…) themselves determine the pricing of the content, locations for distribution and the content goes live to mobile users across the world when it is uploaded. Speaking of efficiency, merchants get access to a large data pool of analytics that tells them who is listening to which aspects of their content at anytime and also who purchased their content. The eWord App is also encrypted end-to-end, meaning its contents can’t be pirated, now that is a subject for another day.

As confidently believed by its inventors, will eWord be the panacea to CD content distribution within Christendom? Will eWord be the platform that finally lets the world say goodbye to audio CD’s? Will it be the go-to platform for serving gospel music, sermons, audiobooks and daily devotional guides immediately to the hands of over 800 million Christian mobile users globally? The next few months will present the answers.

By Siphokazi Vuso

 

Body clock scientists win Nobel Prize

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Three scientists who unravelled how our bodies tell time have won the 2017 Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine.

The body clock – or circadian rhythm – is the reason we want to sleep at night, but it also drives huge changes in behaviour and body function.

The US scientists Jeffrey Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael Young will share the prize.

The Nobel prize committee said their findings had “vast implications for our health and wellbeing”.

A clock ticks in nearly every cell of the human body, as well as in plants, animals and fungi.

Our mood, hormone levels, body temperature and metabolism all fluctuate in a daily rhythm.

Even our risk of a heart attack soars every morning as our body gets the engine running to start a new day.

The body clock so precisely controls our body to match day and night that disrupting it can have profound implications.

The ghastly experience of jet lag is caused by the body being out of sync with the world around it.

In the short term, body clock disruption affects memory formation, but in the long term it increases the risk of diseases, including type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

“If we screw that system up we have a big impact on our metabolism,” said Prof Russell Foster, a body clock scientist at the University of Oxford.

He told the BBC he was “very delighted” that the US trio had won, saying they deserved the prize for being the first to explain how the system worked.

He added: “They have shown us how molecular clocks are built across all the animal kingdom.”

Jeffrey Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael Young have won the highest accolade in science.

The trio’s breakthroughs were on fruit flies, but their findings explain how “molecular feedback loops” keep time in all animals.

Jeffrey Hall and Michael Rosbash isolated a section of DNA called the period gene, which had been implicated in the circadian rhythm.

The period gene contained instructions for making a protein called PER. As levels of PER increased, it turned off its own genetic instructions.

As a result, levels of the PER protein oscillate over a 24-hour cycle – rising during the night and falling during the day.

They also discovered a gene called timeless and Michael Young found one called doubletime. They both affect the stability of PER.

If PER is more stable then the clock ticks more slowly, if it is less stable then it runs too fast. The stability of PER is one reason some of us are morning larks and others are night owls.

Together, they had uncovered the workings of the molecular clock inside the fly’s cells.

Dr Michael Hastings, who researches circadian timing at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, told the BBC: “Before this work in fruit flies we really didn’t have any ideas of the genetic mechanism – body clocks were viewed as a black box on a par with astrology.”

He said the award was a “fantastic” decision.

He added: “We encounter the body clock when we experience jet lag and we appreciate it’s debilitating for a short time, but the real public health issue is rotational shift work – it’s a constant state of jet lag.”

Source: BBC

Credit: James Gallagher

Twitter character limit expanded to 280

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Social media site Twitter is trialling longer character limits to help users “easily express themselves”.

Twitter currently limits tweets to 140 characters, but has doubled that to 280 characters for a small group of users.

The current character limit was “a major cause of frustration” for some users, the firm said in a blog post.

The firm has been suffering from slowing growth and the shift could be one way for the firm to widen its appeal and attract new users.

“Trying to cram your thoughts into a Tweet – we’ve all been there, and it’s a pain,” Twitter product manager Aliza Rosen wrote.

Ms Rosen said the longer character limit was being tested in all languages bar Japanese, Chinese and Korean which she said could convey more information in a single character.

“We understand since many of you have been Tweeting for years, there may be an emotional attachment to 140 characters – we felt it, too.

“But we tried this, saw the power of what it will do, and fell in love with this new, still brief, constraint,” she said.

Twitter’s founder Jack Dorsey was one of the first to try the new limit out, saying it was “a small change, but a big move for us”.

But not all users were convinced. Writer Sarah Kendzior said it was too long.

And The Times journalist Sathnam Sanghera pointed out that US President Donald Trump, famed for his prolific tweeting, could get more characters.

But Twitter said the change could mean people tweet more frequently.

“When people don’t have to cram their thoughts into 140 characters and actually have some to spare, we see more people tweeting,” Ms Rosen said.

Source BBC

WhatsApp blocked in China

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The messaging service WhatsApp has been disrupted in China as the government steps up security ahead of a Communist Party meeting next month.

Users have faced problems with the app for more than a week with services dropping in and out.

At times, it has been completely blocked and only accessible via virtual private networks which circumvent China’s internet firewall.

WhatsApp is Facebook’s only product allowed to operate in mainland China.

Facebook’s main social media service and its Instagram image sharing app are not available on the mainland.
Services disrupted

The BBC’s China based correspondents said the WhatsApp messaging service started going offline more than a week ago.

A test of its services on Tuesday showed users in China could not send video messages or photographs to people outside China.

The disruption follows restrictions on WhatsApp video chats and photographs in July, which were later lifted.

The tightening of online censorship comes as China steps up security ahead of the Communist Party’s national congress which is held every five years.

“The run-up period to a gathering is a normally a time of greater restrictions of all kinds to assure that the critical Party Congress is held under ideal social conditions and is not disrupted”, Robert Lawrence Kuhn, long-time advisor to China’s leaders and multinational corporations told the BBC.

However, he said it is not yet clear whether the restrictions will be relaxed as has happened after previous party congresses, adding that many analysts do not believe they will be.

Cyber security experts said WhatsApp most likely came under the attention of China’s censors because it has a strong reputation for security.

The app provides end-to-end encryption which ensures only the sender and recipient can view the content of messages.

It also prevents Facebook from knowing what is said in any text, voice and video conversation being communicated on WhatsApp.

“China has shown little tolerance to encryption especially on platforms that can be used to share materials or potential propaganda,” Bill Taylor-Mountford, Asia Pacific vice president for LogRhythm told the BBC.
Tech fines

The latest disruption to WhatsApp appears to be part of a broader crackdown on the internet and online content in China.

On Monday, China’s cyber watchdog handed down maximum penalties to some of the country’s top technology firms including Tencent, Baidu and Weibo for failing to properly censor online content.

The penalties were imposed for failing to remove fake news and pornography, as well as content that authorities said “incites ethic tension” and “threatens social order”.

Source BBC

How posting on Facebook could send you to jail

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Is your last post on Facebook going to land you in jail?

It might do if it ruins a criminal trial. And the government is now looking for evidence of whether new laws are needed to stop it happening.

The Attorney General, the government’s top law officer, is asking judges, police and victims’ groups for examples of where posts, chat and tweets have compromised a trial.

So how can a post on social media cause such damage? And what can you do to protect yourself? Well, it’s all down to whether you say something that would influence a jury.


Seven ways to avoid affecting a criminal case and to stay out of jail:

  1. If you have a friend on a jury, don’t message them on Facebook asking about their case – they’re not allowed to tell you.
  2. In fact don’t approach jurors at all.
  3. Don’t post messages saying you know the defendant in a case definitely did it. Everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
  4. In fact, don’t comment on the character of defendants, victims or any witnesses.
  5. If you’re on a jury, don’t look up the history of the case.
  6. Don’t contact the defendant on Facebook to tell them you’re on their side.
  7. Ask yourself whether any of your actions on social media could influence a case. Journalists know the limits and get professional legal advice. If we’re not doing it, there’s a good reason why.

Jurors receive robust warnings to ignore reports outside of the courtroom – and judges have to trust them to impartially hear the evidence. But in our law, there still comes a point where comment can become criminal. It’s called contempt of court.

A journalist reporting a murder trial would be in serious trouble if he or she blurted out that the defendant had in fact killed before – a fact that has been kept from the jury to ensure they return a verdict uninfluenced by past events.

The judge would have to decide whether any juror who had heard the report would have been so swayed as to be incapable of assessing the evidence presented in court.

The reporter might want to think about packing their toothbrush: they could be going to prison.

Such events are very, very rare. Journalists are trained how to avoid spending time at Her Majesty’s Pleasure.

But social media is changing everything. Everyone is still subject to the same rules – but the problem is that very few people outside of the law and media have a clue about contempt of court unless they’ve been involved in a trial.

At the same time, almost everyone has got an opinion. And if you post it on social media, an awful lot of people are going to read it.

And that’s why, two years ago, a judge stopped a major murder trial.

Two teenage girls had been accused of murdering Angela Wrightson, a vulnerable woman from Hartlepool. As the July 2015 trial started at Teesside Crown Court, local and national media reported in accordance with the law – fairly and accurately.

Then Facebook posters weighed in.

Before the second day was out, there were more than 500 comments linked to news reports on the network. Some threatened the accused, others scoffed at their pleas of innocence and others attacked the court process itself.

Mr Justice Globe could not be sure that a local jury, hearing one of the most controversial cases for years, could avoid being influenced. The trial was scrapped and moved at great expense to Leeds in the hope of finding a jury who would not be exposed to the inflammatory comments on Facebook.


And six more tips to keep you out of the cells:

  1. If a defendant isn’t named in a court report, there’s a legal reason why. If you know who the defendant is – don’t name them just because you’re annoyed we haven’t.
  2. Don’t name victims in sexual offence cases – it’s against the law.
  3. Don’t name children who are on trial – that’s also illegal, other than in exceptional circumstances.
  4. If you are in court don’t take photos. Or record videos or sound.
  5. If you overhear a private conversation in a court building relevant to a case, don’t repeat it online.
  6. If you’re a juror, don’t talk about your case with family and friends.

This Wrightson case is the most dramatic example to date – but it’s not the first time that social media has disrupted the trial process. Six years ago, I reported on the first ever case of a juror being convicted for contacting a defendant on Facebook. She was jailed for eight months.

More recently, we’ve seen examples of social media posters ignoring the law that protects the identity of certain victims.

When footballer Ched Evans was charged with rape (he was found not guilty at a retrial), 10 people posted the name of his accuser online.

This is a crime because alleged victims of sexual offences are granted lifelong anonymity. All the posters were given a police caution.

So the Attorney General’s review will also look at examples like this or the breaching of other reporting restrictions.

The Attorney General’s appeal for information runs until December.

It could lead to tougher laws if the problem looks like it is really serious. Or it could also raise a more fundamental question: given other countries like the US get by without a similar law prohibiting comment during trials, is contempt of court still workable in the age of social media?

Source: BBC

Abidjan to host major video-game festival in November

By | Technology | One Comment

The Electronic and Video Game Festival of Abidjan (FEJA) (www.FEJA.ci) will take place on November 11th and 12th at Palais de la Culture. Organized by Paradise Game, this unique festival will welcome more than 50,000 video game lovers.

The 2017 edition will feature eSports tournaments. The qualifications will start on September 23rd at Playce Marcory in Abidjan and lead to the selection of 256 gamers coming from various African countries who will compete during the FEJA. More than 10000 € will be given in cash prizes to the winners.

Sidick Bakayoko, managing director of Paradise Game, the event producer stated: “We wanted to gather in one place all the players of this untapped industry in Africa. From the developer to the end user, including the manufacturers and distributors, FEJA is a true platform for exchange, allowing people to share their passion and promote video-gaming in Africa”.

The worldwide video game industry is worth 100 billion dollars and 27% of the revenues come from mobile games [1]. Africa only represents a fraction of that but has a huge potential with more than 400 Million Africans who play on their mobile [2].

The gaming industry consequently offers a significant number of career opportunities to young Africans including scriptwriter, game designers, programmers, pro-gamers, etc.

This large-scale event is made possible thanks to the support of Orange Côte d’Ivoire, official partner of the FEJA. With over 5000 sq. meters dedicated to gaming (game console, PC, virtual reality, etc.), and to technological innovation, the venue will be transformed into a digital paradise.

 

SOURCE: FEJA

Apple suffers ‘major iPhone X leak’

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Details of new iPhones and other forthcoming Apple devices have been revealed via an apparent leak. Two news sites were given access to an as-yet-unreleased version of the iOS operation system.

The code refers to an iPhone X in addition to two new iPhone 8 handsets. It also details facial recognition tech that acts both as an ID system and maps users’ expressions onto emojis.

One tech writer said it was the biggest leak of its kind to hit the firm.

Apple is holding a launch event at its new headquarters on Tuesday.

The California-based company takes great efforts to keep its technologies secret until its showcase events, and chief executive Tim Cook spoke in 2012 of the need to “double down” on concealment measures.

Some details about the new devices had, however, already been revealed in August, when Apple published some test code for its HomePod speakers.

But while that was thought to have been a mistake, it has been claimed that the latest leak was an intentional act of sabotage.

“As best I’ve been able to ascertain, these builds were available to download by anyone, but they were obscured by long, unguessable URLs [web addresses],” wrote John Gruber, a blogger known for his coverage of Apple.

“Someone within Apple leaked the list of URLs to 9to5Mac and MacRumors. I’m nearly certain this wasn’t a mistake, but rather a deliberate malicious act by a rogue Apple employee.”

Neither Mr Gruber nor the two Apple-related news sites have disclosed their sources.

However, the BBC has independently confirmed that an anonymous source provided the publications with links to iOS 11’s gold master (GM) code that downloaded the software from Apple’s own computer servers.

GM is a term commonly used by software firms to indicate that they believe a version of a product is ready for release.

“More surprises were spoiled by this leak than any leak in Apple history,” Mr Gruber added.

Apple could not be reached for comment.

Several developers are still scouring the leak for new features, but discoveries so far include:

  • a reference to iPhone X, which acts as fresh evidence that Apple intends to unveil a high-end model alongside more modest updates to its handset line
  • images of a new Apple Watch and AirPod headphones
  • a set-up process for Face ID – an alternative to the Touch ID system fingerprint system – that says it can be used to unlock handsets and make online purchases from Apple, among other uses
  • the introduction of Animoji – animated emoji characters that mirror a user’s captured facial expressions

It marks the second time in three months that the company seems to have been deliberately caught out by a staff member.

In June, an hour-long recording of an internal meeting – ironically about stopping leakers – was passed onto the Outline news site.

It revealed that Apple had hired ex-workers from the US National Security Agency (NSA), FBI and Secret Service to help catch tattletales.

“I have faith deep in my soul that if we hire smart people they’re gonna think about this, they’re gonna understand this, and ultimately they’re gonna do the right thing, and that’s to keep their mouth shut,” one senior Apple executive was heard to say.

One company watcher said that the scale of the leak meant Tuesday’s launch had lost some of its power to surprise.

“There will be an unbelievable effort within Apple to determine how this happened and I don’t envy the person that did it because there will be no forgiveness for it,” commented Ben Wood from the tech consultancy CCS Insight.

But he added that it was unlikely to affect sales or interest in the new devices.

“For other companies this might have huge impact on the effectiveness of their grand official launches, but for Apple there is such insatiable demand for even the smallest details and such an obsessive fan-following of is products that even a very detailed leak will do little to dampen the enthusiasm of bloggers and others to report its news,” he said.

Source BBC

Samsung heir jailed for corruption

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A court in South Korea has sentenced Samsung’s billionaire heir-apparent Lee Jae-yong to five years in prison for corruption.

Lee was convicted of bribery in a scandal that also saw the impeachment of South Korea’s former president.

The case has gripped the public amid growing anger against South Korea’s biggest companies, known as chaebols.

Lee, who denied all charges, had faced a jail sentence of up to 12 years.

Also known as Jay Y Lee, the de facto head of the world’s largest smartphone maker had been detained since February on a string of corruption charges.

These included bribery, embezzlement and hiding assets overseas.

What did he do?

The 49-year-old is accused of giving donations worth 41bn won ($36m; £29m) to non-profit foundations operated by Choi Soon-sil, a friend of South Korea’s former President Park Geun-hye, in return for political favours.

Prosecutors said the donations were made to Ms Park’s confidante to win government support for a big restructuring of Samsung that would strengthen Lee’s control over Samsung Electronics.

But Lee’s defence team said that the payments were signed off without his knowledge.

Lee has previously admitted that the firm also gave a horse and money to help the equestrian career of Choi’s daughter, Chung Yoo-ra, but denied seeking favours.

His lawyer said on Friday they would appeal against the court’s decision.

“We are confident the ruling will be overturned,” Song Wu-cheol said.

Who else is involved?

The case contributed to President Park’s eventual impeachment and she now faces trial for corruption herself, something she denies.

Her friend Choi has already been jailed for three years after being found guilty of using her position of influence to solicit favours for her daughter.

On Friday, two other Samsung executives, Choi Gee-sung and Chang Choong-ki, were also convicted in the same trial as Lee and sentenced to four years in prison. Former Samsung Electronics president Park Sang-jin and executive vice-president Hwang Sung-soo were handed suspended sentences.

Source: BBC

Accra Digital Centre to begin operations

By | News, Technology | One Comment

The Accra Digital Centre is located at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle

Government has completed the necessary work on the Accra Digital Centre, paving the way for its operations to begin.

It has consequently begun accepting applications from technology and Business Processing Outsourcing (BPO) companies, with the view of hosting them at the Centre, established by the government of Ghana with support from the World Bank and the Rockefeller Foundation.
With a total of 12 unit blocks, the Centre will host ICT/BPO companies for the purpose of digital job creation.

Each of the 12 blocks have a 750 square-metre space, providing a total work space of 9,000 sqm and six one-storey office buildings with 24 rooms to serve as common service areas.

One block is reserved for digital entrepreneurship programme that seeks to help nurture technology startups.

The Accra Digital Centre is capable of hosting up to 10,000 direct digital and ancillary jobs.

It is being managed by the Ghana Digital Centres Limited (GDCL) which is under the Ministry of Communications. The move is to ensure that it is operated on a sustainable basis.

GDCL’s mission is to lead the development of Technology Parks and Digital Centres across Ghana by providing the required infrastructure, facilities, environment, services and programmes that foster the growth of the ICT and BPO industry as part of the strategy to make Ghana the ICT/BPO hub of the sub-region.

Eric Ofosu Nkansah

Chief Executive of GDCL, Eric Ofosu Nkansah, said government is providing technology companies and entrepreneurs with the affordable infrastructure and facilities at the Centre to enable them grow.

“Over the years, high rent fees for office space in Accra has been a hindrance to growth of the BPO sector in Ghana.  Government is therefore providing the affordable work space as an incentive to attract more companies in the BPO space to drive the BPO/ICT industry,” he said.

ICT and BPO companies are interested in getting office space at the Centre for their operations can download application forms at www.adc.gov.gh/forms or pick forms at the Accra Digital Centre located at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle.

There are plans by GDCL to establish an ICT park or Digital Centre per region to harness the digital potential of the entire Country to promote Job Creation and Economic Development.

By 3news.com|Ghana