Where Africa and Technology Collide!

Category: Pictures (page 3 of 3)

A Muti – MXit Mashup Presentation at 27 Dinner in Johannesburg

I’m currently in Johannesburg, South Africa. While here I’ve had the chance to meet a number of the bloggers and web application developers that I’ve come to know over the years. The 27 Dinner is a monthly event that switches between Johannesburg and Cape Town. It’s the one time each month where the bloggers and technologists get together to share some Stormhoek wine and swap ideas.

27attendees.jpg dave_vinny.jpg ory_heather.jpg

Dave Duarte, the MC, asked if I would be willing to give a presentation. I agreed, but it was somewhat tough trying to figure out what to talk about. You see, this type of meeting brings out the best developers and the best bloggers in the area. You can’t teach anyone anything, and you had better be right about what you say since there’s bound to be someone there that knows more than you do about any given subject.

I finally decided to discuss mobile applications and opportunities in Africa. Specifically, I wanted to discuss how developers could leverage open source tools that are already out there to layer services on top of and create something that truly bridges the web/mobile gap. It ended up being a 30,000-foot overview of how you could integrate Jabber into current applications, or create new ones that worked with it.

Neville Newey, of Muti, was kind enough to throw together a great demo of how to mashup 2 services, in this case Muti (a place to link to great stories on Africa around the web) and MXit (the 4 million-strong mobile phone chat service here in South Africa). MXit is based on Jabber, an open java protocol that allows anyone to create a server and client. Some pretty big names use it, including Google Talk. It’s useable on your computer or your phone.

If you have an account with Jabber, Google Talk or Mxit you can access this mashup (and each other) by texting the words “hot” or “new” to muti@jabber.org. Muti will shoot back to you the top 5 stories for each respective area. You can then vote these results up or down.

    An example:
    You want to vote result #4 up.
    You would type “v4u” (to vote down, it would be “v4d”

It’s simple and it opens up Muti to millions of new possible users. The next step, of course, will be for Neville to allow MXit and other Jabber client users the ability to submit stories through their mobile phone or PC client.

For those who are interested, the full presentation is available here as a video:

(Download it as a 5Mb PDF)

Sports Photography Isn’t Easy – US College Rugby Playoffs

Diving – close up, originally uploaded by whiteafrican.

Coming back from the Web 2.0 Expo, I happened to be seated with a number of the Humboldt State University rugby team. They mentioned that the US Division II rugby playoffs were taking place this weekend at a facility near Orlando, Florida.

Realizing that I didn’t want to see a computer, blog, check email or think about the web at all, I set off for the pitch with to try out my new camera in a real “sports” setting.

The image above, of a guy diving to tackle as the other dives for the try, is my absolute favorite of the whole day. I took about 1400 pictures in the space of 3 hours and came out with 250 decent pictures. Of those, only 50 would I consider “good”.

Today I’ve learned a few things about sports photography:

  1. It seems to take a lot of luck
  2. Having a massive zoom lense makes your life easier
  3. It’s NOT easy
  4. It’s a lot of fun

The rest of the set can be found here

Microsoft = Internet’s Rectum

There are more pictures and slides from my Web 2.0 Flickr set for it, this one just happens to be my favorite. David Hornik, of VentureBlog, gave the talk, which was BY FAR the most entertaining one yet. (Update: In context, it’s not as bad as it sounds, more on the presentation)

Other highlights have been the Eric Schmidt/John Batelle interview, the presentation by Technorati’s David Sifry and Hitwise’s Bill Tancer, and of course, meeting up with Colin Daniels of the Sunday Times.

All together, it’s been a really good conference. Some of the sessions have been a little dry, but the conversations and ideas are as rich as ever. One day left on the agenda, hopefully more good stuff will come from that.

Stunning Air Scenes of Africa

Here are some great pictures of Africa as seen from above. The pictures are by Michael Poliza.

Village Scene

Shovel in the Sand

Shovel in the Sand 2, originally uploaded by whiteafrican.

I’ve been wanting to get a good digital camera for a while, and was finally able to snag a Nikon D50 from Amazon.com for an acceptable price. This weekend I took it out to see what kind of damage I could do with it.

Let me just say that the camera makes up for my hack photography skills in so many ways. I can take questionable shots in bad lighting and it makes me look like Ansel Adams (okay, not quite).

I’ve realized that I don’t really know how to frame a good shot, or even what good composition of a photo is. One of my plans for the next month is to learn about that type of thing so I can put this camera to good use. I can see how photography can become addicting.

This shot was taken at Cape Canaveral, Florida near where the space shuttle’s take off.

[BABY ALERT: Blogging friend Kenyan Pundit has had a baby girl – Congrats!]

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