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Leslie Tita | UI & UX designer residing in Maryland

Leslie Tita | UI & UX designer

This where I assemble all my thoughts and projects as the years go by

MIT Farewell

 

While the MAKEwithMOTO tour is done for now, the epic journey continues. Stay tuned for what’s to come. A huge thanks to all our participants for bringing their ideas to life with hackable phones and 3D printing!

Leslie Njamen Tita at MIT

nzingambande:</p><br /><br /> <p>[Photo Courtesy of Andrew Hong. MIT Museum. Left to Right. Andrew Wong, Netia McCray (Me), and Leslie Tita]<br /><br /><br /> As part of my dedication this semester to learning as much as I can about prototyping mechanical and electrical hardware, I signed myself up to participate in the MakewithMOTO Makeathon at the MIT Museum.<br /><br /><br /> We spent two days prototyping a storytelling product that interacts with the Motorola Razr HD Smartphone. As a child plays a story on the Motorola smartphone, the storytelling board will flash its embedded LEDs to correspond to certain moments in the story that need special effects (e.g. when the story comes across the word ‘storm’ the LEDs will flash quickly in order to stimulate a storm).<br /><br /><br /> I was proud of myself for getting the hang of Solidworks in order to create the hardware shell on the generously provided laser cutter and 3D printer (from 3D Systems) as well as working on the electronic component of the piece with a touch of programming in the Motorola environment Protocoder.<br /><br /><br /> I also had an amazing team this weekend.<br /><br /><br /> Special Thanks to the MakewithMOTO team, Andrew Hong, and last but not least Leslie Tita for coming up with the project idea.<br /><br /><br /> Now, to start on my homework that I have been procrastinating on for the duration of this four-day weekend.<br /><br /><br /> #thegrindisreal<br /><br /><br /> nzingambande:</p><br /><br /> <p>[Photo Courtesy of Andrew Hong. MIT Museum. Left to Right. Andrew Wong, Netia McCray (Me), and Leslie Tita]<br /><br /><br /> As part of my dedication this semester to learning as much as I can about prototyping mechanical and electrical hardware, I signed myself up to participate in the MakewithMOTO Makeathon at the MIT Museum.<br /><br /><br /> We spent two days prototyping a storytelling product that interacts with the Motorola Razr HD Smartphone. As a child plays a story on the Motorola smartphone, the storytelling board will flash its embedded LEDs to correspond to certain moments in the story that need special effects (e.g. when the story comes across the word ‘storm’ the LEDs will flash quickly in order to stimulate a storm).<br /><br /><br /> I was proud of myself for getting the hang of Solidworks in order to create the hardware shell on the generously provided laser cutter and 3D printer (from 3D Systems) as well as working on the electronic component of the piece with a touch of programming in the Motorola environment Protocoder.<br /><br /><br /> I also had an amazing team this weekend.<br /><br /><br /> Special Thanks to the MakewithMOTO team, Andrew Hong, and last but not least Leslie Tita for coming up with the project idea.<br /><br /><br /> Now, to start on my homework that I have been procrastinating on for the duration of this four-day weekend.<br /><br /><br /> #thegrindisreal<br /><br /><br /> nzingambande:</p><br /><br /> <p>[Photo Courtesy of Andrew Hong. MIT Museum. Left to Right. Andrew Wong, Netia McCray (Me), and Leslie Tita]<br /><br /><br /> As part of my dedication this semester to learning as much as I can about prototyping mechanical and electrical hardware, I signed myself up to participate in the MakewithMOTO Makeathon at the MIT Museum.<br /><br /><br /> We spent two days prototyping a storytelling product that interacts with the Motorola Razr HD Smartphone. As a child plays a story on the Motorola smartphone, the storytelling board will flash its embedded LEDs to correspond to certain moments in the story that need special effects (e.g. when the story comes across the word ‘storm’ the LEDs will flash quickly in order to stimulate a storm).<br /><br /><br /> I was proud of myself for getting the hang of Solidworks in order to create the hardware shell on the generously provided laser cutter and 3D printer (from 3D Systems) as well as working on the electronic component of the piece with a touch of programming in the Motorola environment Protocoder.<br /><br /><br /> I also had an amazing team this weekend.<br /><br /><br /> Special Thanks to the MakewithMOTO team, Andrew Hong, and last but not least Leslie Tita for coming up with the project idea.<br /><br /><br /> Now, to start on my homework that I have been procrastinating on for the duration of this four-day weekend.<br /><br /><br /> #thegrindisreal<br /><br /><br /> nzingambande:</p><br /><br /> <p>[Photo Courtesy of Andrew Hong. MIT Museum. Left to Right. Andrew Wong, Netia McCray (Me), and Leslie Tita]<br /><br /><br /> As part of my dedication this semester to learning as much as I can about prototyping mechanical and electrical hardware, I signed myself up to participate in the MakewithMOTO Makeathon at the MIT Museum.<br /><br /><br /> We spent two days prototyping a storytelling product that interacts with the Motorola Razr HD Smartphone. As a child plays a story on the Motorola smartphone, the storytelling board will flash its embedded LEDs to correspond to certain moments in the story that need special effects (e.g. when the story comes across the word ‘storm’ the LEDs will flash quickly in order to stimulate a storm).<br /><br /><br /> I was proud of myself for getting the hang of Solidworks in order to create the hardware shell on the generously provided laser cutter and 3D printer (from 3D Systems) as well as working on the electronic component of the piece with a touch of programming in the Motorola environment Protocoder.<br /><br /><br /> I also had an amazing team this weekend.<br /><br /><br /> Special Thanks to the MakewithMOTO team, Andrew Hong, and last but not least Leslie Tita for coming up with the project idea.<br /><br /><br /> Now, to start on my homework that I have been procrastinating on for the duration of this four-day weekend.<br /><br /><br /> #thegrindisreal<br /><br /><br /> nzingambande:</p><br /><br /> <p>[Photo Courtesy of Andrew Hong. MIT Museum. Left to Right. Andrew Wong, Netia McCray (Me), and Leslie Tita]<br /><br /><br /> As part of my dedication this semester to learning as much as I can about prototyping mechanical and electrical hardware, I signed myself up to participate in the MakewithMOTO Makeathon at the MIT Museum.<br /><br /><br /> We spent two days prototyping a storytelling product that interacts with the Motorola Razr HD Smartphone. As a child plays a story on the Motorola smartphone, the storytelling board will flash its embedded LEDs to correspond to certain moments in the story that need special effects (e.g. when the story comes across the word ‘storm’ the LEDs will flash quickly in order to stimulate a storm).<br /><br /><br /> I was proud of myself for getting the hang of Solidworks in order to create the hardware shell on the generously provided laser cutter and 3D printer (from 3D Systems) as well as working on the electronic component of the piece with a touch of programming in the Motorola environment Protocoder.<br /><br /><br /> I also had an amazing team this weekend.<br /><br /><br /> Special Thanks to the MakewithMOTO team, Andrew Hong, and last but not least Leslie Tita for coming up with the project idea.<br /><br /><br /> Now, to start on my homework that I have been procrastinating on for the duration of this four-day weekend.<br /><br /><br /> #thegrindisreal<br /><br /><br /> nzingambande:</p><br /><br /> <p>[Photo Courtesy of Andrew Hong. MIT Museum. Left to Right. Andrew Wong, Netia McCray (Me), and Leslie Tita]<br /><br /><br /> As part of my dedication this semester to learning as much as I can about prototyping mechanical and electrical hardware, I signed myself up to participate in the MakewithMOTO Makeathon at the MIT Museum.<br /><br /><br /> We spent two days prototyping a storytelling product that interacts with the Motorola Razr HD Smartphone. As a child plays a story on the Motorola smartphone, the storytelling board will flash its embedded LEDs to correspond to certain moments in the story that need special effects (e.g. when the story comes across the word ‘storm’ the LEDs will flash quickly in order to stimulate a storm).<br /><br /><br /> I was proud of myself for getting the hang of Solidworks in order to create the hardware shell on the generously provided laser cutter and 3D printer (from 3D Systems) as well as working on the electronic component of the piece with a touch of programming in the Motorola environment Protocoder.<br /><br /><br /> I also had an amazing team this weekend.<br /><br /><br /> Special Thanks to the MakewithMOTO team, Andrew Hong, and last but not least Leslie Tita for coming up with the project idea.<br /><br /><br /> Now, to start on my homework that I have been procrastinating on for the duration of this four-day weekend.<br /><br /><br /> #thegrindisreal<br /><br /><br /> nzingambande:</p><br /><br /> <p>[Photo Courtesy of Andrew Hong. MIT Museum. Left to Right. Andrew Wong, Netia McCray (Me), and Leslie Tita]<br /><br /><br /> As part of my dedication this semester to learning as much as I can about prototyping mechanical and electrical hardware, I signed myself up to participate in the MakewithMOTO Makeathon at the MIT Museum.<br /><br /><br /> We spent two days prototyping a storytelling product that interacts with the Motorola Razr HD Smartphone. As a child plays a story on the Motorola smartphone, the storytelling board will flash its embedded LEDs to correspond to certain moments in the story that need special effects (e.g. when the story comes across the word ‘storm’ the LEDs will flash quickly in order to stimulate a storm).<br /><br /><br /> I was proud of myself for getting the hang of Solidworks in order to create the hardware shell on the generously provided laser cutter and 3D printer (from 3D Systems) as well as working on the electronic component of the piece with a touch of programming in the Motorola environment Protocoder.<br /><br /><br /> I also had an amazing team this weekend.<br /><br /><br /> Special Thanks to the MakewithMOTO team, Andrew Hong, and last but not least Leslie Tita for coming up with the project idea.<br /><br /><br /> Now, to start on my homework that I have been procrastinating on for the duration of this four-day weekend.<br /><br /><br /> #thegrindisreal<br /><br /><br /> nzingambande:</p><br /><br /> <p>[Photo Courtesy of Andrew Hong. MIT Museum. Left to Right. Andrew Wong, Netia McCray (Me), and Leslie Tita]<br /><br /><br /> As part of my dedication this semester to learning as much as I can about prototyping mechanical and electrical hardware, I signed myself up to participate in the MakewithMOTO Makeathon at the MIT Museum.<br /><br /><br /> We spent two days prototyping a storytelling product that interacts with the Motorola Razr HD Smartphone. As a child plays a story on the Motorola smartphone, the storytelling board will flash its embedded LEDs to correspond to certain moments in the story that need special effects (e.g. when the story comes across the word ‘storm’ the LEDs will flash quickly in order to stimulate a storm).<br /><br /><br /> I was proud of myself for getting the hang of Solidworks in order to create the hardware shell on the generously provided laser cutter and 3D printer (from 3D Systems) as well as working on the electronic component of the piece with a touch of programming in the Motorola environment Protocoder.<br /><br /><br /> I also had an amazing team this weekend.<br /><br /><br /> Special Thanks to the MakewithMOTO team, Andrew Hong, and last but not least Leslie Tita for coming up with the project idea.<br /><br /><br /> Now, to start on my homework that I have been procrastinating on for the duration of this four-day weekend.<br /><br /><br /> #thegrindisreal<br /><br /><br /> nzingambande:</p><br /><br /> <p>[Photo Courtesy of Andrew Hong. MIT Museum. Left to Right. Andrew Wong, Netia McCray (Me), and Leslie Tita]<br /><br /><br /> As part of my dedication this semester to learning as much as I can about prototyping mechanical and electrical hardware, I signed myself up to participate in the MakewithMOTO Makeathon at the MIT Museum.<br /><br /><br /> We spent two days prototyping a storytelling product that interacts with the Motorola Razr HD Smartphone. As a child plays a story on the Motorola smartphone, the storytelling board will flash its embedded LEDs to correspond to certain moments in the story that need special effects (e.g. when the story comes across the word ‘storm’ the LEDs will flash quickly in order to stimulate a storm).<br /><br /><br /> I was proud of myself for getting the hang of Solidworks in order to create the hardware shell on the generously provided laser cutter and 3D printer (from 3D Systems) as well as working on the electronic component of the piece with a touch of programming in the Motorola environment Protocoder.<br /><br /><br /> I also had an amazing team this weekend.<br /><br /><br /> Special Thanks to the MakewithMOTO team, Andrew Hong, and last but not least Leslie Tita for coming up with the project idea.<br /><br /><br /> Now, to start on my homework that I have been procrastinating on for the duration of this four-day weekend.<br /><br /><br /> #thegrindisreal<br /><br /><br />

nzingambande:

[Photo Courtesy of Andrew Hong. MIT Museum. Left to Right. Andrew Wong, Netia McCray (Me), and Leslie Njamen Tita]

As part of my dedication this semester to learning as much as I can about prototyping mechanical and electrical hardware, I signed myself up to participate in the MakewithMOTO Makeathon at the MIT Museum.

We spent two days prototyping a storytelling product that interacts with the Motorola Razr HD Smartphone. As a child plays a story on the Motorola smartphone, the storytelling board will flash its embedded LEDs to correspond to certain moments in the story that need special effects (e.g. when the story comes across the word ‘storm’ the LEDs will flash quickly in order to stimulate a storm).

I was proud of myself for getting the hang of Solidworks in order to create the hardware shell on the generously provided laser cutter and 3D printer (from 3D Systems) as well as working on the electronic component of the piece with a touch of programming in the Motorola environment Protocoder.

I also had an amazing team this weekend.

Special Thanks to the MakewithMOTO team, Andrew Hong, and last but not least Leslie Tita for coming up with the project idea.

Now, to start on my homework that I have been procrastinating on for the duration of this four-day weekend.

#thegrindisreal

Source : http://nzingambande.tumblr.com/post/64119574324/photo-courtesy-of-andrew-hong-mit-museum-left

My Favorite animal

My favorite animal

When I was younger our teacher asked what my favorite animal was, and I said, “Fried chicken.”
She said I wasn’t funny, but she couldn’t have been right, because everyone else laughed.

My parents told me to always tell the truth. I did. Fried chicken is my favorite animal.
I told my dad what happened, and he said my teacher was probably a member of PETA.
He said they love animals very much.

I do, too. Especially chicken, pork and beef. Anyway, my teacher sent me to the principal’s office.
I told him what happened, and he laughed, too. Then he told me not to do it again.

The next day in class my teacher asked me what my favorite live animal was.
I told her it was chicken. She asked me why, so I told her it was because you could make them into fried chicken.

She sent me back to the principal’s office. He laughed, and told me not to do it again.

I don’t understand. My parents taught me to be honest, but my teacher doesn’t like it when I am.

Today, my teacher asked me to tell her what famous person I admired most. I told her, “Colonel Sanders.”

Guess where I am now…

*** Thanks, labbie48

He is still president

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Imagine this scenario, you are given an important piece of property to maintain, and your contract last 5 years. At first you are hysterical, happy, you have a great new job, and also the security you will not be fired over the next couple of years, your first days are great, dressing up nicely everyday, treating everybody nice, taking care of the property, consulting your employer for any important decision. Everybody likes you.

Over the next couple of years, you grow incredibly good at your job, earning the respect of your employer, so you consult him less and grow more independent. Your great work earns you an extension for another 5 years. Great right ?

At the 10 year mark, you consider yourself a veteran, an experienced and knowledgeable person who knows it all and needs little outside advice, if you started at 20, now you are 30, do you remember your thought process at age 20 ?

Your ideas about how to run the property evolve with you, and because you believe you had been successful in the past you think you can do this your whole life.

But you see thats where you start getting it wrong.

Your ambition and vision starts to distort your real mission, from taking care of the land you decide to take over the land and next take over your owners. and even though you were hired because you were a great fit, your short sightedness, ego and ambition will cloud your judgement even if that was not your original intent.

At that point you will start suffering from what is called Marlow’s Rhetoric of Self.

Now take a look at Cameroon’s president. he has been in office for the past 30 years, that is two hundred and sixty two thousand eight hundred man hours working.

Can an individual rule for that long ? Yes, but can they rule without self rhetoric ? the human nature proves otherwise.

I read a lot of hate comments and tweets from people on the last 30 years of his presidency, they even started a trend #30ansansmourir (30 years without dieing), why people will wish death unto an individual, still boggles me. He is doing his job as president, keeping peace and stability, on the other hand, the economy has been far from prosperous, it never recovered from the ’92 economic crisis, the unemployment rate is alarming, over 10 million unemployed, and the youth have lost patience, the foundation of any country.

The way out of this will be very excruciatingly painful, challenging and hard ,but I have good news for you. It only gets better from here, a lot of the young people I talk to, are creating businesses, startups, trying to go back to Cameroon, and depending on themselves not the government for their financial success.

Even though some people assume they are prepared for a new president, deep down they are not, research studies shows people hate change, and they are scared of what a new president will do.

Nevertheless I like comparing Paul Biya’s 30 years reign to the evolution of the iPhone, a strong slow repetition of small incremental changes.

Things can change, things will change, things are changing, slowly but surely, painfully but inevitably, Humans were meant to thrive.

Do you have ideas on how we could move forward from here, I’ll love to hear them. why not start a trend #waystomoveforward ?

Leslie Tita : Is Cameroon Fucked

image

Cameroon has done it again… this time by winning the Olympics with bad press. As we all know by now, news agencies have reported the defection of 7 Cameroonian athletes, which has been syndicated worldwide, even the washington post is talking about it and while everyone was been quite verbal about their disappointment and shame, some even when forward to launch a petition against granting asylum to those athletes.

Why does bad news spread faster than good, I wonder if the Washington Post ever reported on Cameroon the first country to develop a medical tablet dedicated solely to saving lives. Of course not we live in the era sensational journalism,

Nevertheless the whole time my head kept wondering what will I have done if I was in those athletes shoes.

That is a very easy decision to take, because the answer depends on two things, your background and your perspective on life, you see Cameroon is a 21 million strong country, with a majority of people living under $5 per day (I’m so tired of this world bank statistic) but despite that, Cameroon has observed a steady economic growth of 4.5% since 2012, yet year in, year out there is massive exodus of talent and brain.

My story is quite similar, I left Cameroon 2 years ago to further my education in the states, I would not say, I lived on $5 a day, but like a majority of the youth, I went to college and graduated.

Straight out of it, I decided to work for Night club as their web designer, not because they weren’t better jobs, but getting those better jobs has proven to be a hassle.

You see in Cameroon, though over 11 million people are unemployed, this employment figure doesn’t count the informal sector which employs millions of people like taximen, bike owners, or “buyam sellams”.

Ofcourse I could have applied for a job at the state companies, but tribalism, favoritism, and corruption drive a lot of our companies, who would hire a half anglophone, half bamileke. These are they kind of unfortunately questions companies look at; where are you from ? Who is your father ? What is your last name ? Do you want to sleep with me ? even though I was qualified, getting a formal job was still not possible, now imagine that is the same reality for millions of people who have obtained their bachelors or masters, so all they can do is to sell clothes at Mokolo, that is a funny sad reality.

A better example, is my best friend, who graduated from a state university, gets a scholarship to go study in China, gets his masters, he is back in Cameroon and its been 6 months today, No job.

Due to the powerful nature of the government, a lot of our parents are civil servants, they have worked day in day out to able to send their children through school, no great pays but by some kind of money management technique called “njangi” they were still able to afford.

Because of that I do have a lot of classmates who went straight abroad for studies after high school, these guys do not come from high income families, a lot of them had to borrow huge amounts of money to send their kids abroad, in Cameroon we dont have a “College trust fund”.

Unfortunately once these get abroad they swear never to return. After all why should they return ? Nobody wants to come back and sell clothes !

But the is serious problem with that kind of reasoning, some will argue that what if our parents had followed that same logic we will not be where we are today, but you see our parents lived in a very different era, they were paid to go to school, had full scholarships and their jobs paid off well.

After the 90’s all of that changed…

Nevertheless thinking the is no need to comeback is fundamently flawed, yes patriotism doesnt feed a nation, but hope is really what should keep us moving.

My gig at the night club, put me in position to recognize an opportunity, I got recommended, went for the interview in 2 a piece coat and got the job.

A great job I would say, great perks, great starting salary, great team of people, and I was given a brand new Macbook Pro, a 24/7 home internet connection, even the Presidency of republic did not offer that.

…But well things started going wrong, as with many Cameroonian companies who start off well (Cameroon airlines, Sonel, Snec), a lot don’t survive to retain their talent, in my case my company upfront refused to increase pay package but once they did they added $50 (lol), they were constantly stressing out the employees with undertone racial statements and kept a majority of executive positions for their French counterparts but basically an unproductive work environment for a high-skill job.

I remember once during a Thursday meeting, the CEO told us, the reason he didn’t want to increase salaries was because he felt we did not show the zeal, thus we don’t need it, and how he knew how to manage our money better.

In my head, I said F**k You !!!!

His statement revolted me, but you are in Cameroon, who will you go complain to. This company started to use a very common tactic, they knew the job market was difficult so they capitalized on it, basically they told us, if you didn’t like the pay, you were free to leave. No one left, that says a lot !

So while some people got paid $100 monthly to do exactly what Apple geniuses do, the expatriates got paid $2000 upwards to do nearly nothing (in my opinion).

In clear English, we were being exploited !

Tell me why would any talented young engineer wish to continue to go through that stress.

So I did what I had to do, I decided to look abroad for better opportunities, later on quit ! (so did many others after me) I headed to the US, in the hope of one day getting that a solid background and going back to start my own business.

A lot of other people share similar stories, a lot people I know will never go back Home if things don’t get better.

So here we are ! Stuck with a lot of talent who will prefer to stay abroad because they believe conditions are better, and others who believe working hard in Cameroon will someday pay off.

As an idealist I strongly believe Cameroon will change for the better (thats the reason why I started writing a book), no one lives forever, so with continuous perseverance and hard work, it will take us 1, 2, 5, 10 years, if you take a page from Mandela’s book, he sets a perfect example.

I’m preparing to go to Cameroon to focus on expanding my startup, today the team is 6 people, but I wish to grow and create thousands of jobs and retain the talent, but to be honest with you a part of me is scared.

I could very well stay in the US, get a great job working, for someone like Google, Twitter or Facebook but my perspective of life is different I prefer to go for the unknown rather than be comfortable, I prefer to hope than to live on what others have built. So I really don’t know how this whole thing will go down, the government may decide to crush me with their tax and corrupt system, thus making this decision a great mistake, I don’t know, who knows ? but I have always learnt to trust my guts, optimism and live by my passion.

If only I could inject into those 7 athletes an ounce of my optimism.

Fresh Insight and Some Good Stories about Africa

For the upcoming MIT Africa Innovate! Conference (April 14, 2014 @ the MIT Media Lab), I’ve had the pleasure of curating a series of talks on the question, “What is your big idea for business in Africa?”

The idea is simple: in a rapid round of inspiration, we wanted leading-edge thinkers and do-ers to talk about their big ideas for business in Africa.  We sought out a variety of perspectives (geographic and topical), a freshness of insight, and the power of compelling storytelling.

We won’t give it all away — but audience members will hear how fabrication, love, human capital, disruptive branding, and tech metropoli hold promise for big things on the continent.

We are thrilled to present four “Vision Talk” speakers for this portion of the conference. They are:

Magatte Wade is a serial entrepreneur who was born in Senegal, educated in France, and who started her entrepreneurial career in the U.S.  Her first company, Adina World Beverages, was based on indigenous Senegalese beverage recipes.  She recently launched her second company, Tiossan, which sells skin care products based on indigenous Senegalese recipes at high-end boutiques and at www.tiossan.com.  She was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum at Davos for 2011 and Forbes named her one of the “20 Youngest Power Women of Africa.”  Magatte is a frequent speaker on college campuses, including Harvard, Columbia, Dartmouth, Cornell, MIT, etc.  She writes for The Huffington Post and reviews books for Barron’s.  She blogs at www.magatte.wordpress.com and at www.tiossano.com/blog.


David Sengeh is a PhD candidate at the MIT Media Lab where his research is focused on the design of comfortable prosthetic interfaces. David’s work is at the intersection of medical imaging, material science, human anatomy, and computer aided design and manufacturing. David was born and raised in Sierra Leone before attending the Red Cross Nordic United World College in Norway on scholarship. He earned his Bachelors degree in Biomedical Engineering at Harvard College where his research at the Edwards lab focused on aerosolizing the TB vaccine BCG for delivery to the lungs.  David is the founder of Global Minimum Inc. (GMin), an international NGO that has distributed over 15,000 mosquito nets in Sierra Leone. Currently, GMin is partnering with students at MIT to facilitate a high school-oriented innovation challenge in Sierra Leone. David is also a co-founder of one of Popular Mechanic’s Innovators of the Year 2009, Lebone Solutions Inc. – a company that won $200,000 from the World Bank to produce microbial fuel cells in Africa. He has worked in Zambia, Namibia, Dubai and other locations on various projects on education, health care delivery, and medical device design.

Eric M.K Osiakwan has over 10 years experience helping setup ISPs in 32 African countries. Notably, Eric was part of the team that built the TEAMS submarine cable in Kenya, and is an ICT consultant for the World Bank, Soros Foundations, UNDP, USAID and numerous African governments. In addition, he has founded numerous companies and associations including Novica.com, Internet Research, BusyInternet, InHand, PenPlusBytes, the African ISP Association and the Ghana ISP Association. Eric co-authored the “Open Access Model” which has becomes a global model for the communication industry. He also served as the Chief Operating Officer of the Ghana New Ventures Competition, as a board member of the Free Software and Open Source Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA), and was part of Ghana Connect, an initiative focused on making broadband accessible and affordable. Eric is studying towards an MSc in Practising Sustainable Development at the Royal Holloway University of London and is currently a Visiting Fellow at the Berkman Centre for Internet and Society at Harvard University.

Tunde Kehinde is a co-founder of Bandeka.com, an invite-only social community where Africans around the globe can connect to create meaningful relationships online and offline.  Tunde formed Bandeka with his classmate from business school, Yaw Boateng with the view that it should be easier for Africans looking to connect with other talented Africans and friends of Africa to meet.  Thus, Bandeka’s vision is to be the premier platform where exceptional Africans around the world can connect to make new friendships, form new business contacts or date.  Prior to Bandeka, Tunde worked as a Business Development Manager for Africa at Diageo in London and in Investment Banking with Wachovia Securities in New York.  Tunde grew up in Lagos, Nigeria, holds a BBA in Finance from Howard University and an MBA from Harvard.  He is also an avid fan of Liverpool Football Club.

MIT is known for its focus on innovation and technology and, in that vein, we have invited as conference keynote speakers Ben Murray Bruce, CEO of Silverbird Group and Cina Lawson, Minister of Post and Telecommunications in Togo.  Panels will include leading lights in mobile and technology, media and entertainment, food and agriculture, and China and India in Africa.

There are opportunities for conference participants to share their big ideas for business in Africa during the Enterprise Africa Business Competition and to get to know new friends or catch up with old ones at the after-party.

We are expecting a really big crowd at the Media Lab (the conference blew away expectations in its inaugural version last year) — but there are still tickets available for the full conference and after party.  Register here

And if you want to share your big ideas for business in Africa, tweet them to us @MITSloanABC using the hashtag #BIBA.

Join the conversation!

Leslie Tita : KONY 2012 campaigner is doing more harm

Dear Jason Russell,

After being bombarded with your KONY 2012 crusade, I have no choice but to respond to your highly inaccurate, offensive, and harmful propaganda.  I realized I had to respond in hopes of stopping you before you cause more violence and deaths to the Acholi people (Northern Ugandans), the very people you are claiming to protect.

Firstly, I would like to question your timing of this KONY 2012 crusade in Uganda when most of the violence from Joseph Kony and the LRA (The Lord’s Resistance Army) has subsided in Uganda in the past 5 years. The LRA has moved onto neighboring countries like the DRC and Sudan. Why are you not urging action in the countries he is currently in? Why are you worried about Kony all of a sudden when Ugandans are not at this present moment?

This grossly illogical timing and statements on your website such as “Click here to buy your KONY 2012 products” makes me believe that the timing has more to do with your commercial interests than humanitarian interests. With the upcoming U.S. presidential elections and the waning interest in Invisible Children, it seems to be perfect timing to start a crusade. I also must add at this point how much it personally disgusts me the way in which you have commercialized a conflict in which thousands of people have died.

Secondly, I would like to address the highly inaccurate content of your video. Your video did not leave the viewer any more knowledgeable about the conflict in Uganda, but only emotionally assaulted. I could not help but notice how conveniently one-sided the “explanation” in your video was. There was absolutely no mention of the role of the Ugandan government and military in the conflict. Let alone the role of the U.S. government and military.  The only information given is “KONY MUST BE STOPPED.”

I would like to inform you that stopping Kony would not end the conflict. (It is correctly pronounced “Kohn” by the way). This conflict is deeply embedded in Uganda’s history that neither starts nor ends with Kony. Therefore, your solution to the problem is flawed. There is no way to know the solution, without full knowledge of the problem itself.  We must act on knowledge, not emotions.

Joseph Kony formed the LRA in retaliation to the brutality of President Museveni (from the south) committing mass atrocities on the Acholi people (from the north) when President Museveni came to power in 1986. This follows a long history of Ugandan politics that can be traced back to pre-colonial times.  The conflict must be contextualized within this history. (If you want to have this proper knowledge, I suggest you start by working with scholars, not celebrities).  President Museveni is still in power and in his reign of 26 years he has arguably killed as many, if not more Acholi people, than Joseph Kony. Why is President Museveni not demonized, let alone mentioned? I would like to give you more credit than just ignorance. I have three guesses. One is that Invisible Children has close ties with the Ugandan government and military, which it has been accused of many times. Second, is that you are willing to fight Kony, but not the U.S. Government, which openly supports President Museveni. Third, is that Invisible Children feels the need to reduce the conflict to better commercialize it.

This brings me to my third issue, the highly offensive nature of your video. Firstly, it is offensive to your viewer. The scene with your “explanation” of the conflict to your toddler son suggests that the viewers have the mental capacity of a toddler and can only handle information given in such a reductionist manner. I would like to think American teenagers and young adults (which is clearly your target audience) are smarter than your toddler son. I would hope that we are able to realize that it is not a “Star Wars” game with aliens and robots in some far off galaxy as your son suggests, but a real world conflict with real world people in Uganda. This is a real life conflict with real life consequences.

Secondly, and more importantly, it is offensive to Ugandans. The very name “Invisible Children” is offensive. You claim you make the invisible, visible. The statements, “We have seen these kids.” and “No one knew about these kids.” are part of your slogan. You seem to be strongly hinting that you somehow have validated and found these kids and their struggles.

Whether you see them or not, they were always there. Your having seen the kids does not validate their existence in any shape or form or bring it any more significance. You say “no one” knew about the kids. What about the kids themselves? What about the families of the kids who were killed and abducted? Are they “no one?” Are they not human?

These children are not invisible, you are making them invisible by silencing, dehumanizing, marketing, and invalidating them.

Last year I went to Gulu, Uganda, where Invisible Children is based, and interviewed over 50 locals.  Every single person questioned Invisible Children’s legitimacy and intention. Every single person. If anything, it seemed the people saw Invisible Children as a bigger threat than Joseph Kony at the time. Why is it the very people you are trying to “help” feel more offense than relief with your aid?

“They come here to make money and use us.”

“It makes us feel terrible to be presented as being so stupid and helpless.”

These are direct quotes. This was the sentiment of the majority of the people that I interviewed in varying degrees. I definitely didn’t see or hear these voices or opinions in your video. If you are to be “saving” the Acholi people, the very least you can be doing is holding yourself accountable to them and actually listening to what they have to say.

This offensive, inaccurate misconstruction of Ugandans and its conflict makes me wonder what and whom this is really about. It seems that you feel very good about yourself being a savior, a Luke Skywalker of sorts, and same with the girl in your video who passionately states, “This is what defines us”. Therefore, I can’t help but wonder if Invisible Children is more about defining the American do-gooders (and making them feel good), rather than the Ugandans; profiteering the American military and corporations (which Invisible Children is officially and legally) than the conflict.

Lastly, I would like to address the harmful nature of your propaganda. I believe your actions will actually bring back the fighting in Northern Uganda. You are not asking for peace, but violence. The fighting has stopped in the past 5 years and the Acholi are finally enjoying some peace.  You will be inviting the LRA and the fighting back into Uganda and disturbing this peace. The last time Invisible Children got politically involved and began lobbying it actually caused more violence and deaths. I beg you not to do it again.

If you open your eyes and see the actions of the Ugandan government and the U.S. government, you will see why.  Why is it that suddenly in October of 2011 when there has been relative peace in Uganda for 4 years, President Obama decided to send troops into Uganda? Why is it that the U.S. military is so involved with AFRICOM, which has been pervading African countries, including Uganda? Why is it that U.S. has been traced to creating the very weapons that has been used in the violence?  The U.S. is entering Uganda and other countries in Africa not to stop violence, but to create a new battlefield.

In your video you urge that the first course of action is that the Ugandan military needs American military and weapons. You are giving weapons to the very people who were killing the Acholi people in the first place. You are helping to open the grounds for America to make Uganda into a battlefield in which it can profit and gain power. Please recognize this is all part of a bigger military movement, not a humanitarian movement. This will cause deaths, not save lives. This will be doing more harm, than good.

You end your video with saying, “I will stop at nothing”.  If nothing else, will you not stop for the lives of the Acholi people? Haven’t enough Acholi people suffered in the violence between the LRA and the Ugandan government? Our alliance should not be with the U.S. government or the Ugandan military or the LRA, but the Acholi people.  There is a Ugandan saying that goes, “The grass will always suffer when two elephants fight.” Isn’t it time we let the grass grow?

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Amber Ha

Source : http://pomee.tumblr.com/post/18899601760/kony-2012-causing-more-harm-than-good

Leslie Tita : Samuel Eto for dummies

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Happy new year everyone, the earlybird projections say 2014 will be the year of “grande realisations” in Africa, don’t mind the #occupynigeria (legitimate) protests or the (useless) sawa/bami tribal mafia wars but do mind the first “grande realisation” we have on hand, Samuel Eto Telecom” (SETmobile), a new mobile phone operator in Cameroon.

At the announcement of this new entrant, I literally jumped the patriotic wagon to praise the initiative, and I was everything but skeptical about what it was and how this announcement will come in to give strong signals to the other operators that competition was atlast here, well today after some more research, I will share with you exactly what SETmobile is and is not.

Before I start, I want to say, I do praise the Samuel Eto’o initiative and in no way I’m I trying to be pessimistic, unsupportive or unconstructive, but I want to lay out the information I found from several sources, in an unbiased manner something most media haven’t done.

For starters SETmobile is not a traditional mobile operator, ART (Cameroon’s Telecommunication regulatory agency) states “The principal of activity of Eto’o Telecom SA will be the resell of traffic obtained in bulk through native mobile operators which are Camtel, MTN and Orange” and as Etamba puts down very well, they are simply  “buyam-sellams” (a name given to the locals who buy stuff in bulk to resell), thus they are not same caliber operators like MTN, Orange or Camtel.

What SETmobile is as kasbig precised is an “MVNO” (Mobile Virtual Network Operator), for a dummy like me it means they will be no installation of physical infrastructure like towers or relay antennas, they will depend solely on an existing operator to function, to put in perspective MTN, Orange and Camtel are the ATT, T-mobile and Verizon type companies, SETMobile is more in the Cricket, Boost and Simple Mobile category, joining the more than 20 MVNOs in Cameroon, just like Yemba.

Is it bad news ? Hell no, let me tell you why. When I first came to the US, the first sim-card I got was from ATT, it cost me $60 + tax, for unlimited text and talk but no data, for data I would have had to cough up an extra $20, bringing my monthly bill to $80, so the following month being the poor student, I did my research and landed on Simple Mobile, their prices basically where far cheaper than ATT, for $40 I had unlimited text and talk and for $60 I had unlimited everything, so of course, I switched wagons immediately.

I started to love the simple and cheap nature of Simple Mobile, but as I came to discover later on, these guys were operating under T-mobile, basically saying if T-mobile went down, we would go down with them, something we nearly did with the ATT failed bid to buy T-mobile, but how do they get their prices so low.

Well its simple, by removing services they believe you don’t need and reducing data speeds just to name a few, I had my taste of those blocked services, e.g I couldn’t activate twitter sms because of the message blocking feature, I couldn’t activate paypal mobile for the same reason, same for gmail calendar notifications and a bunch of other services who need your number to send you stuff, but I was fine with all of that, $40 was a great deal and of course Simple Mobile was doing super well(financially) and even recently added more value to their $40 offer, its now an unlimited everything “take that ATT”

But I finally switched to T-mobile, primarily because I was offered a great deal by a T-mobile representative (no comment), but also because as a geek those services which Simple Mobile cut off, limited the experience of the mobile device I had, it was like driving a Lamborghini on the Maison Blanche road in Yaounde.

How does this translate for SETmobile, well expect them to do one thing; lower their prices, I expect them to be the lowest in the market, but don’t expect the quality of their network to be any better than the others, “you cant make gold out of mud” and they will be a number of catches too, given the fact they will have to depend on a native carrier, and what that carrier currently offers will translate to what the SETmobile will offer.

Also things you should expect with SETmobile is services like Twitter or Facebook text notifications may not work for a start, they may offer unlimited mobile data, but expect the speed to be 2kb/sec (I’m just exaggerating or not), they may be no Yello or Orange night.

In the end SETmobile will still give what you pay for, the ability to call and be called, depending on the carrier they stick with, they will carry the burden or blessings of that carrier, sources say it will be Camtel, which is not very encouraging for three reasons, first Camtel is a cdma carrier, meaning your phone which is probably gsm will not work with a SETmobile simcard, you will have to shop for a new one, secondly cdma phones are really not that pretty except for the CDMA iPhone 4, and thirdly Camtel’s uptime and customer support is the worst I’ve known ever, their monopoly of the market does give them preferential treatment yet they still manage to mess the thing(optic fiber).

But historically mvno have always been able to flourish in niche markets, because the is always a segment of any given population who is ready to pay lower prices and in a country like Cameroon where the average person lives on $1/ day, and the ARPU is $8 expect SETMobile to grow very fast, especially as they depend on the ultra popular head of the company “Papa Eto”, his russian Anzhi money and the expected cheap prices of their offer, though but what skeptics fear and wish to know is that the management team will be more than transparent and competent, because in this case what will count is the Execution not the popularity of the CEO,  thus these are my humble recommendations to SETmobile.

1. Choose a carrier that will guarantee max uptime and easy to obtain handsets e.g MTN

2. Choose a segment of the market and market only to that segment, I’ll would say go for the youth
3. Create offers that are attractive to that segment of the population. Orange understands that very well
4. Offer competitive prices and provide comprehensive customer support i.e your prices must be cheaper than the market prices, you have no excuse because the majority of your technical investment has already been laid by the your pre-choosen Carrier.

5. Hire great talent and pay them well, the is nothing worse for a young company than underpaid employees, Ringo SA can tell you better.

6. Finally long-term they should work on biulding a standalone mobile network.

I will also advice anyone trying to cut down expenses to switch to SETmobile when they launch come Jan 21, I believe their motivations are filled with great intentions, they could revolutionize mobile telecommunications if the execute it right, the very same way Ringo did with Internet, but only time will tell.

In conclusion, for us dummies a real 4th mobile operator is still yet to come, and it seems the Indian Airtel may just be the one.

On that note you may go watch the SETmobile launching campaign video done with Xmaleya, Pit Bacardi. I hope they were paid with some of that russian Anhzi money.

Do you think SETmobile stands a chance against MTN and Orange Behemoths ? Let me know in the comments below.

Leslie TIta : How to transfer your domain from godaddy

A Step-by-Step Guide to Transfer Domains Out Of GoDaddy

Follow these step-by-step directions to transfer all of your domains from GoDaddy to NameCheap.

I’m Boycotting GoDaddy because they are pro-SOPA.

[edit: apparently GoDaddy changed their stance according to TechCrunch]

Step 1:  Login to GoDaddy and get to the domain manager.

Step 2:  Select all domains

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Step 3:  Click on the “Locking Icon”

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Step 4:  Uncheck “lock domains”

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Step 5:  Find the tools tab —> “exportable lists”

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Step 6:  Click on “Add New Export” button

Step 7:  Select “All My Domains” as the list type

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Step 8:  Check the “Authorization codes” box

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Step 9:  Generate the Exportable List

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Step 10:  Create account at another provider

I chose NameCheap (affiliate link).  The rest of the images are specific to NameCheap.

EDIT: NameCheap is Against SOPA, here is their official stance.

People have also sent promo codes: “switch2nc” and “SOPAsucks” – try them too.

Step 11:  Go to “transfer domain

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Step 12:  Enter domains you wish to transfer & click “transfer”

**EDIT:  You can simply add the domain, Auth code in Step 12 above**

ex: myURL.com, authorizationcode

**Thanks to Josh Pigford for the tip**

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Step 13:  Checkout

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Step 14:  Update EPP (Authorization code) code from GoDaddy Export File

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Boom! There you go.

UPDATED: thanks to Jordan Skole, here is a way to expedite the transfer process.

Step 15:  (Back at GoDaddy) Chose “Pending Transfers”

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Step 16:  Check all the domains (note: not all of the domains are not showing up yet, this takes a few hours apparently…)

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Step 17:  Check the “Accept” button and approve!

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Step 18:  Adios Godaddy!

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Step 19:  Transfer Complete (about 6 hours later)

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Please do your part and help protect the Internet.

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