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A solar-powered laptop lab bridges digital divide

Laura Edwards
August22/ 2016

It’s 11 o’clock. Ruth Wanjiru and her buddy soar out of a 72-seater bus parked at a chief’s camp in Kawangware, Nairobi.

Minutes later, a bunch of teenage girls and boys alight from the bus, some clutching luggage, others carrying books of their arms.

Watching the girls and boys from a distance, it’s straightforward to mistake them for normal passengers. However no! The youngsters will not be passengers, and the blue bus is just not precisely a bus; it’s a shifting laptop classroom.

“We research inside right here,” says Wanjiru, pointing on the bus. “This bus is a cellular ICT classroom,” she provides.

The car had its inside customised, its seats eliminated and changed with 64 chairs and 32 studying tables. Every desk has a pc desktop, modifications which have turned the abnormal bus right into a typical laptop lab.

Apart from the 32 screens, the pc lab is fitted with specialised servers, training courseware, Web, printers and scanners. All of the devices are powered by 4 photovoltaic cells put in atop the autos’ roof. The photo voltaic panels lure power, which is then saved in 4 automobile batteries.

“We research laptop packages, that are provided for 3 months. A lesson lasts solely two hours,” says Wanjiru, 18, including they’re 32 in her class.

She says she began the pc courses early this yr after finishing highschool final yr. Her mother and father, whom she lives with in Kangemi, run a small grocery kiosk to maintain her and her six siblings.

“My mother and father’ enterprise doesn’t generate sufficient cash to take me to varsity. Earlier than, I might spend most of my time at dwelling or doing menial jobs that paid little,” explains Wanjiru, who now runs a small cyber café and photocopy enterprise.


So how did she study in regards to the laptop courses?

“Someday in February this yr, a buddy knowledgeable me in regards to the cellular ICT bus, which affords free laptop courses. I obtained and registered for the programme.”

Elizabeth Akinyi, Wanjiru’s classmate, describes the expertise as an answered prayer.

“It is vitally handy for teenagers like us who can not afford bus fare each day to city for  courses,” says Akinyi, a Kibera resident.

Wanjiru provides that earlier than she enrolled for the teachings, she may hardly function a pc, therefore accessing important data on the Net, equivalent to scholarships or job alternatives, was akin to a jigsaw puzzle.

A current research revealed that digital literacy remains to be very low amongst Kenyan girls.

The October 2015 research, performed by Net Basis, coated 10 creating international locations together with Kenya. It came upon that solely 37 per cent of ladies used the Web, in comparison with 59 per cent of males. Lack of information and excessive price of accessing Web emerged as the foremost boundaries maintaining girls offline, the report’s authors identified.

Whereas Web use doesn’t essentially translate into new job alternatives or enhanced earnings, coverage specialists imagine that entry opens up extra selections.

Mr Sam Wambugu, an Informatics specialist, says digital expertise could be a highly effective software to deprived teams and may enhance socio-economic and well being outcomes for ladies, males and kids in creating international locations.

Whereas entry to the Web has elevated over the previous 20 years, not so many women and girls world wide are having fun with the our on-line world. A current research titled, Offline and falling behind: Obstacles to Web adoption, estimates that roughly four.four billion persons are offline the world over, of which 52 per cent are girls.

“The differing quantity of knowledge between those that have entry to the Web, particularly broadband entry, and people who would not have entry is technically known as digital divide or digital break up.”

“It’s typically agreed that the gender digital divide stems primarily from the structural inequalities that exist between women and men in lots of societies. Because of this girls are much less more likely to reap the advantages of latest financial and social alternatives of ICT, together with employment and entry to cash,” he says.

Opposite to a standard perception that ladies could also be extra “technophobic” than males, a research performed in 2011 by the College of Southern California, in collaboration with the United Nations, discovered that ladies are literally extra lively digital customers than males; if  socioeconomic elements like employment, training and earnings are managed.

Illiteracy emerges as the most important barrier in maintaining away women and girls from ‘going digital’. Throughout all creating international locations, about 25 per cent of ladies are illiterate, in comparison with 14 per cent of males, in response to the Girls and the Net research.


Girls symbolize almost two-thirds of the illiterate inhabitants worldwide, with nearly 40 per cent of offline girls citing unfamiliarity with expertise as a cause for not accessing the Web.

That is a part of the explanation why Ms Priya Budhabhatti, chief govt officer Craft Silicon Basis, a Nairobi primarily based non-profit organisation, launched a personalized laptop bus to offer free ICT coaching to youths from poor backgrounds; principally ladies in main slums.

Ms Priya based the digital literacy programme 5 years in the past as an intervention to shut the broad digital literacy hole.

“The challenge’s goal is to advertise common laptop literacy among the many youths and younger ladies within the slums and allow them use laptop data and expertise to grab alternatives that can make them self-reliant. The programme additionally goals at selling improvement in these areas,” she says, including that the intervention additionally helps preserve the youth off medication and crime.

She notes that youths who profit from the programme are anticipated to exit into the market and create jobs.

Mr Alex Chege, Silicon Basis Venture Supervisor, explains that they’ve three classes day by day, and all of the computer systems are powered by the 4 photo voltaic panels.

“To recruit college students, we usually have a avenue vetting programme. Our essential focus is youths, particularly these coming from poor backgrounds,” says Mr Chege.

“The programme doesn’t finish on the finish of research, we additionally join the scholars with our companions for job alternatives and likewise supply room for our greatest college students to advance their research in ICT,” he provides.

Tech specialists imagine that as ICT more and more turns into a necessary software in each our private lives, enabling entry to those applied sciences, delivering related purposes and providers and making certain inclusion within the profitable tech sector will turn into a essential think about girls’s means to contribute absolutely to their particular person, household and societal outcomes.

In keeping with Mr Wambugu, lack of gender-disaggregated knowledge is among the many greatest bottlenecks in addressing girls’s wants in expertise. Because of this, it turns into tough to find out and draw conclusions on particular utilization developments. Poor consideration by policymakers within the ICT sector additionally contributes to the expertise dearth amongst girls.

Lack of entry to the web, in response to the Girls and the Net Survey, is giving rise to a second digital divide, the place girls and ladies threat being left additional behind.

That hole soars to 43 per cent in sub-Saharan Africa, the place males are nearly twice as more likely to have entry to the Web as girls. The report issued a name to motion to double the variety of girls on-line within the subsequent three years, each by bridging the gender hole and broadening total entry in creating international locations.

Ms Priya’s cellular laptop lab programme serves for example of initiatives that search to shut the prevailing ICT hole, particularly amongst ladies, who’re financially deprived.


“We now have thus far skilled 6,000 youths, most of them ladies from Kawangware, Kibera, Huruma and Mukuru kwa Nyayo. Our greatest problem is that we solely have one bus, which limits our efforts to achieve extra younger folks,” Ms Priya factors out.

“The flip up has been very big and I feel we couldn’t have reached such a quantity had we been counting on common school rooms,” she provides.

Worldwide Centre for Analysis on Girls report examines expertise initiatives which have enabled girls to develop their financial potential, turn into stronger leaders and simpler contributors to their households, communities and home economies. Particularly, these efforts helped girls enhance their productiveness, create new entrepreneurial ventures and launch income-generating pursuits. The report additionally provided innovators sensible suggestions on the right way to design and deploy applied sciences that ladies can’t afford to not use.

As the federal government hopes to make ICT firms account for 10 per cent of GDP by 2030 by way of its Kenya Imaginative and prescient 2030 plan, through the use of a mix of enterprise incentives and infrastructure improvement, constructing native human and technical capability turns into vital.

Mr Joe Mucheru, the Cupboard Secretary for Data, who attended the fifth anniversary of Craft Silicon Basis which additionally coincided with the commencement of Wanjiru and her fellow classmates, praised the initiative and emphasised on the necessity for digital literacy amongst Kenyans, particularly the youth.

On that regard, the CS mentioned, the federal government will within the subsequent few months put up innovation hubs throughout the nation to reinforce data entry.

“There are elaborate plans in place to roll out constituency innovation hubs with free Wi-Fi providers countrywide by June subsequent yr. The challenge will rework the nation and bridge the connectivity hole and spur data entry among the many youth,” Mr Mucheru mentioned.

The genesis of the ict programme

Ms Priya Budhabatti, 33, is Indian, although raised in Kenya. After finishing highschool, (She is an alumnus of Ngara Ladies Excessive College) Ms Priya obtained a job at Fairness Financial institution as a cashier.

“The financial institution was then a microfinance establishment the place operations have been handbook, together with writing and counting cash,” she says, including she used her wage to pay for night courses at Nairobi Laptop Information Centre, the place she studied  for a diploma in ICT.

It was whereas at Fairness Financial institution that she met her husband, Mr Kamal Budhabhatti, a software program developer who had contracted to do enterprise with Fairness Financial institution.

The couple then established Craft Silicon Ltd in 1998, and later based Craft Silicon Basis Centre in 2009 to impart ICT expertise to youths from much less privileged backgrounds on.

“I used to be born and introduced up in a humble background. I attended Kongoni Main College the place I used to be the one pupil of Indian origin, due to this fact my life experiences are much like these of many younger ladies and youths within the slums. That is what impressed me to start out the programme,” she says.

The challenge targets ladies from 9 to 13 years.

“We additionally goal younger women and men between 18-24, who’ve accomplished secondary faculty and are unable to go additional with their training.

There are three intakes yearly.

The bus parks both at a close-by DO’s places of work or at a chief’s camp within the slums they aim.

The coaching is completed in three phases.

On recruitment, to start with, the scholars are taught fundamental laptop operations.

Within the second stage, they transfer to the Craft Silicon Basis Centre, situated in Westlands, Nairobi, for superior ICT coaching expertise.

Within the third stage, they study communication, enterprise and entrepreneurial expertise, additionally provided on the centre.

Chip Expertise Retains Checked Baggage in Examine

Laura Edwards
August22/ 2016

On a latest Southwest Airways flight from Baltimore, Shvilla Rasheem arrived in Indianapolis, however her baggage didn’t.

Ms. Rasheem, a 34-year-old guide, mentioned she at all times checks her bag when flying on Southwest as a result of there isn’t any payment. “I by no means considered the chance that I’d not get my baggage,” she mentioned.

She had good motive to not fear. Statistics compiled by Sita, an aviation expertise firm, present a steadily reducing chance of baggage going astray.

Final 12 months had the bottom price of wayward baggage — 6.5 baggage per 1,000 — within the dozen years Sita has been conserving monitor.

Numerous advances in expertise and bag-handling procedures deserve credit score, together with enhancements through the years within the bar-coded tags and optical scanners which have lengthy been in use for figuring out and sorting checked baggage. However optical-scanning techniques have their limits, and the airline business has been sluggish to undertake strategies utilized by different industries that want to trace objects by the transport course of.

The place bar-coded tags fall brief is that if the tag is wrinkled, smudged or torn, or not in line of sight of the scanner. If the tag shouldn’t be readable, the bag can get misplaced with out being seen — which might be why nobody was conscious that Ms. Rasheem’s bag didn’t get loaded onto her flight.

Bar code readers have a “learn price” of 80 to 95 p.c of luggage tags, in response to Nick Gates, a director at Sita answerable for baggage expertise. “Should you can enhance the learn price of bag tags,” Mr. Gates mentioned, “there may be much less likelihood the bag might be delayed because it strikes by the airport.”
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That’s the reason the airline business, and a few airport managers, is intent on enhancing the monitoring price by wanting past the 30-year-old baggage bar code. They’re adopting tags that don’t must be seen to be learn.

Delta Air Traces has put in a system utilizing bar-code tags that even have an embedded radio frequency identification, or R.F.I.D., chip. Such chips can retailer journey data and must be solely near radio scanners alongside the best way for the bag’s progress to be recorded. As with Delta’s older barcode tags, fliers can use the airline’s journey app to maintain monitor of their baggage.

“That is the following step in reliability,” mentioned Rodney Brooks, basic supervisor of airport operations at Delta.

Air France, the German airline Lufthansa and Qantas of Australia are amongst those who have experimented with radio chip baggage tags. However adoption has lagged at airways in the USA — which might change, with Delta’s resolution.

The airline is spending $50 million on the required scanners, printers and radio tags, which additionally use bar codes and look little totally different from typical bar-code tags. The system is now in place at the entire 344 airports into which Delta flies and is anticipated to be operational by the top of this month.

Although nonetheless pretty novel in airline functions, R.F.I.D. expertise is hardly new. It has been used for many years to maintain monitor of shipments of merchandise, which is why many individuals marvel why it has not already been adopted by airways, mentioned Ryan Ghee, editor of FutureTravelExperience.com.

“Take a look at on-line retailing like Amazon and the logistics business,” Mr. Ghee mentioned. “Folks ordered one thing and will have it delivered instantly to the place they needed it to go. Each step on the journey they may see, ‘The place is my parcel?’ Folks received used to that.”

Widespread adoption of radio chip tags within the air journey business has not been straightforward to realize, regardless of the efforts of the Worldwide Air Transport Affiliation, a commerce group. It has set a deadline of summer time 2018 when all 265 member airways ought to be capable of monitor and absolutely hint baggage — not solely on their very own flights, but in addition when passengers connect with different carriers.

“It received’t matter what expertise they select,” mentioned Nick Careen, an government with the affiliation, so long as baggage will be tracked as soon as they go away the traveler’s arms and traced if they’re lacking.

Airline bag monitoring is troublesome for quite a lot of causes. Updating to the most recent expertise requires infrastructure adjustments that may be costly and disruptive. And since most airports go away it to every airline to deal with its personal bag-checking system, the expertise and procedures fluctuate broadly.

McCarran Worldwide Airport in Las Vegas is an exception, having determined as a part of a renovation in 2005 to develop into absolutely able to incorporating radio chips into the bag-checking and sorting system, which the airport runs.

The radio chips embedded within the paper tags being utilized in Las Vegas be certain that checked suitcases transfer extra shortly and precisely by the system and improve the chance that the baggage make it onto the correct airplanes.

“R.F.I.D. runs for us day in and day trip very, very precisely — 99.5 p.c accuracy,” mentioned Samuel G. Ingalls, the airport’s assistant director of knowledge techniques. The airport has dealt with 160 million chip-tagged baggage within the final 10 years.

There are lots of methods airways and airports can use radio chips. In 2010, when Qantas turned one of many first airways to start out utilizing the expertise, it bought a tough plastic reusable baggage tag for $60. A spokesman mentioned 1.5 million tags have been in circulation.

Prospects “just like the pace of checking in and the sense of management and recognition that comes with having their very own everlasting tag,” mentioned Phil Capps, Qantas’s head of product and repair growth.

Delta’s single-use paper tags, like those in at McCarran, are less expensive, at simply pennies apiece.

Correct bag dealing with can save an airline the dimensions of Delta some huge cash. Final 12 months, it mishandled about 276,000 of the 120 million passenger baggage it transported, in response to statistics that it reported to the Division of Transportation. Whereas that misfire price — zero.23 p.c — is nicely under the worldwide common of zero.65 p.c for mishandled baggage, it nonetheless provides as much as lots of sad clients.

Even one passenger’s dangerous expertise can develop into an enormous embarrassment for an airline, given the impact of social media. In the course of the day Ms. Rasheem was separated from her bag, which contained notes for a presentation she was to offer, she tweeted her frustration — not simply to Southwest but in addition to her 1,500 followers on Twitter.

Ms. Rasheem’s notes and garments arrived earlier than her convention started, with no clarification about what had occurred.

Southwest mentioned it was nonetheless exploring what bag dealing with choices it should use to satisfy the brand new goal of the Worldwide Air Transport Affiliation.

Whereas the airways work towards a monitoring commonplace, numerous distributors have rushed in with disparate variations of baggage, tags and apps — some working in partnership with airways. Rimowa, a German maker of luxe baggage, has an e-ink bar code and radio chip completely affixed to the suitcases it sells. Passengers utilizing the baggage on Lufthansa flights can pace by check-in.

“Everytime you include such a bag already tagged, you may place it on the bag drop belt and it is going to be checked routinely,” mentioned Björn Becker, a senior director at Lufthansa who oversees floor and digital providers.

No matter method the airways take, Mr. Careen of the air transport affiliation echoes the emotions of vacationers like Ms. Rasheem when he says fliers ought to “know always the place their bag is.”

F 35 to Touch Airbus for Data Protection Technology

Laura Edwards
July11/ 2016


LONDON – British F-35 s will use Airbus technology to help shop, distribute and shield info that is encrypted on the fight jet in regards into operation in 2018.

The door could open to your limited list of other air forces to sales of the technology, including F35 customers.

The high susceptibility of the ITAR-free technology may mean Airbus will need to develop an export variant for all but a handful of states,he said.

Airbus has already been providing the technology to A400M airlifters and British Typhoon battle jets.

Input Signal of the crypto info is through one plug and outlet in place of the seven or eight interface points and distinct hand-held devices needed formerly.

Business officials said the technology enables drawn-out out-of-place operation through supplying the ability to keep and spread multiple cryptographic keys.

The technology also supplies high degrees of protection for data that was encrypted by preventing data compromise which could jeopardize security and the safety of an aircraft assignment, they said.

The crypto technology is likely to finally find it’s manner on to other platforms, unmanned air vehicles and helicopters, but company officials were reluctant to comment on possible dialogue with the UK MoD about adding the technology.

Jones said using technology is not only confined to aerospace uses.

The technology has marine uses in subs and surface ships and we’re in the first stages of looking at it and industrial control systems use ” he said.

Conflict of Clans producer Supercell becomes Europe ‘decacorn’

Laura Edwards
June24/ 2016

Clash of Clans.

Finland’s Supercell has become Europe’s first decacorn that’s a technology business after a buy out from Chinese web leviathan Tencent worth $10bn.

Its new owner is known in the west while Supercell’s games are consistently at the top of download charts. Tencent is renowned for its WeChat messaging program, a sprawling communications service which is China’s equivalent of the App Store and WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, PayPal all rolled in to one, and is worth $207bn.

WeChat has 762 million monthly users, and many of them play mobile games. Nearly one tenth of world-wide game sales will come in accordance with market research workers Newzoo. Along with Supercell, Tencent possesses Riot Games, making League of Legends, a Moba that’s the highest-grossing PC game thanks mainly to its strength in eSports.

We need Supercell to function as world’s best spot for creative people to create games, said Ilkka Paananen, Supercell CEO. At once, this new venture offers us exciting growth opportunities in China, where we are going to have the ability to reach countless millions of new gamers via Tencent’s stations.

Supercell is used to distant owners it was part of Japanese telecoms company SoftBank. Under SoftBank we appreciated a good deal of freedom, Paananen told the Wall Street Journal. Like to think as a group of 190 entrepreneurs rather than the usual business of Supercell.

The $10bn hurdle broke only after it was identified one of four firms likely to be the first to achieve this by a report from technology bank GP Bullhound. That report revealed the UK has the unicorns with 18 British technology companies topping $1bn, in Europe.

Snapchat is beginning an internet journal about engineering, Actual Life

Laura Edwards
June17/ 2016

Snapchat doesn’t only care. The firm is behind a brand new online magazine called Real Life, that may release each weekday to about one post on the topic of technology, beginning on June 27.

In a blog post nowadays describing the new initiative, societal media and Snapchat worker critic Nathan Jurgenson writes that Snapchat is financing Real Life In an e-mail to Venture Beat he declined to elaborate on the nature of the funds but he did affirm that Snapchat owns Real Life.

Real Life will release stories, arguments, and essays about living with technology, Jurgenson writes. It won’t be a news site with business rumor or gadget reviews. It is going to be about how apparatus. mediates our lives and how we live now

So Snapchat will have content on the Web, which will be observable on desktop computers. No more will Snapchat be constrained to devices that are cellular. And at least the medium snaps the Southern California business is now known for and will be mostly text, unlike the video narratives.

Real Life may have editorial autonomy, editor in chief Jurgenson writes. Real Life is that was totally financed by Snapchat, a representative told Venture Beat within an e-mail. The representative declined to comment.

Ambos’ union disputes end of NSW Health payroll

Laura Edwards
June06/ 2016

colibri payroll

But the union are suffering consequently from bungled and late payments, and claims ambos were bolted to the system as an afterthought.

EHealth NSW last week declared the successful migration of 4500 NSW Ambulance workers indicated the closing stage of the job, which it described as “one of the greatest Oracle payroll executions”.

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