FOLLOWING the decision of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) board to expand the generic top-level domain space from four -'.com,' '.org,' '.net,' and '.biz' - to 21, DotConnectAfrica, the operator of the proposed '.africa' domain name is pushing to popularise the initiative at the AITEC Banking and Mobile Money West Africa billed to hold at the EKO Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island Lagos between 11 and 12 May 2010.

Executive Director of DotConnectAfrica, Ms. Sophia Bekele, who will be speaking on the topic: ".Africa - the New Internet Currency," at the Lagos conference, is expected to kick-start discussions and engage participants on how to get African businesses and individual buy into the '.africa' project. Read More
AITEC, as a leading organiser of ICT events across Africa, has most of its 2010 conference theme focused on Mobile Banking and technologies.

Bekele, who communicated with The Guardian through an email exchange from her Nairobi-Kenya base, said: ".Africa is a product of DotConnectAfrica organisaton, whose overarching vision is to leverage the successful and cooperative platform of the African ICT companies and community and further this collaborative approach to other areas of the growing economies, in ".Africa" case, the internet economy."

With help from sponsor organisations and business people, the domain registry would "boost regional integration and benefit the business community."

Although most people prefer the more generic .com and .net, domains, the target market is deemed to have the potential of netting over 900 million Africans, including stakeholders in government, private sector and NGOs operating in the continent.

Bekele explained that DotConnectAfrica is considering having second level names to make it affordable for individuals, charge more for corporations and have an exclusive section for government and related identities. This, according to her would address the issue of low adoption due largely to high costs.

Another strategy to encourage adoption levels, according to her, is through advertising and promoting an African identity by working with respective country codes' top-level domain registries such as ".ng," ".ke," ".ug" or ".tz."

"We will also work with foreign registrars as we promote '.africa' as a one-stop domain, as we aspire to protect and advance their corporate brands and interests across Africa, Bekele said.

It would be recalled that the African Union heads of state recently endorsed the ".africa" initiative at the Addis Ababa Assembly that ended on February 2.

The endorsement followed a similar approval at the November 2009 Ministerial Conference in Johannesburg South Africa, where the Council of African ICT ministers acknowledged its benefits to the continent.

The report of experts stated the need to establish the ".africa" domain as a continental top-level domain for use by organisations, businesses and individuals with guidance from African Internet agencies.

Bekele said "DotAfrica represents a new technology initiative, which carries a continental identity "Africa'. At the same time, it represents "mobility", since domain name technology like cloud computing, can be accessed anytime and from any place where access is available.

"Given that people are open to it, there is a lot of opportunity to bring African business, products and services online with the ".africa" name than any other top-level domain ever. This also helps people to be part of the knowledge and the Internet society, where the next generation of business models and innovation takes place."

As a policy advisor, Bekele has worked for various Top Level domain names, such as .com, .net, .org and was involved in major projects undertaken by ICANN.

The days of the 3.5-inch floppy disk are now officially numbered.

Sony, which boasts 70 percent of the anemic market, announced Friday that it would end Japanese sales of the ancient storage medium in March 2011, according to a report in the Mainichi Daily newspaper.

The 3.5-inch floppy was a ubiquitous and necessary component for storing and transferring files between personal computers for nearly three decades.
Sony pioneered the 3.5-inch floppy disk in 1981, eventually replacing the 5.25-inch floppy disk that had previously been the popular storage format. Read More
However, as the size of files and programs grew, the floppy disk was pushed aside by inexpensive and larger-format storage medium. Thanks to the creation of storage methods such as CDs, DVDs, Zip, and USB drives, Sony saw its Japanese sales of floppies decline from a record 47 million disks in fiscal 2002 to 12 million in fiscal 2009.

Most other floppy disk manufacturers had long since pulled out of the market, and Sony itself has already ceased sales to most of its overseas markets.

Certainly the writing had been on the walls for years. With the release of the iMac in 1998, Apple was the first computer maker to take the plunge and eliminate the floppy completely. Dell followed suit in 2003 when it dropped the floppy as standard equipment on one of its Dimension desktops.
From CNET

The Uganda government wants Chinese information technology giant Huawei Technologies to undertake a forensic audit of its own works in laying the country’s main fibre-optic cable backbone under the National Backbone Initiative project’s first phase, and fix the glaring mistakes at the company’s cost.

According to The EastAfrican newspaper,learnt that following a directive from the Parliament Committee on ICT, the National Information Technology Authority — which governs the $106 million project —duly wrote to the Chinese firm a few weeks ago. Now Huawei faces the prospect of incurring huge losses after revising major parts of the cable. Read More
The first phase involved laying fibre cable covering Kampala city, Entebbe, Mukono and Bombo towns to allow high-speed data and voice transfers especially between government offices, and lower costs of service delivery besides enhancing transparency and accountability.

However, it has emerged that the infrastructure is largely defective, but the contractor has already transferred it to the government. In some parts, the cable was laid in swampland, elsewhere there are no generators, and many trenches are too shallow — at less than the standard 1.5 metres below road level, meaning the cable is exposed to stress and damage.

The cable’s reliability is also not guaranteed, because its uptime is lower than the acceptable standards. Business process outsourcing, for instance, is not possible unless the cable can guarantee reliability.

Consequently, the project’s supposedly concluded first phase, which cost some $30 million, is not operational and is costing Uganda in terms of time, money and lost business opportunities. This situation could also act as a drag on regional inter-connectivity since the line in Uganda is supposed to connect to the East African Backhaul System.

The project is being funded through a concessional loan from the Exim Bank of China, to be repaid over a 20-year period.

“We are waiting for Huawei to respond. In fact, they are supposed to respond this week. They must do a forensic analysis of phase one and fix the problems at their own cost before they move on to phase two,” said Parliamentary ICT Committee chair Nathan Igeme Nabeta.

However, a source from Huawei who is not the company’s spokesperson said any damages to the laid cable have been caused by numerous dig-ups in the city by various utilities to lay their infrastructure too, not Huawei.

Secondly, he said the initial phase is operational contrary to what legislators following up the matter have said, and it is in fact the government’s delay in establishing National Information Technology Authority that has delayed its utilisation. He added that, for good measure, at least 28 ministries are connected with video, voice and data at no operational costs to government.

The source said any damage to the laid cable was a result of haphazard works by utilities and not Huawei. The Chinese firm has also agreed a forensic analysis to determine whether the cable is defective.

In a recent meeting with ICT Ministry officials, Huawei insisted on each party coming up with experts and in case of any wrong-doing on the part of the contractor unearthed by the experts, the errors will be fixed.

At issue is implementation of the three-phase project, which was meant to have been concluded by this time, but has instead been mired in controversy since it started in 2006. It involved the laying of 2,100km of backbone fibre-optic cable and supply of e-government infrastructure.

However, only the first of three phases is finished. “At present, you cannot say there is value for money unless the fibre is operational and gives service to Ugandans. It can’t offer 98 per cent reliability, and when cable uptime is down, no one will give you business,” said Mr Nabeta.

Observers say the government blundered in starting the backbone fibre project without the required technical capacity to supervise the works. The National Information Technology Authority was only enacted mid last year and became operational later in the year. In other words, since 2006, Huawei has had no agency supervising its activities.
From The East African.

The persistent malware that plagues Facebook users has reared its ugly head yet again.

A new round of e-mails aimed at launching the worm onto the PCs of unsuspecting users has been discovered by researchers for the security vendor ESET, according to the company's blog.

Uncovered by ESET researchers in Latin America, this latest Koobface campaign is sending Facebook users messages with a link that claims to direct them to videos of sexual encounters. The link included in the e-mails tells the user to download a video codec to view the X-rated content. But instead of delivering the goods, the link calls up a download that launches the Koobface malware, thus infecting its intended victim. Read More
And like most malware, by infecting one computer, the worm then triggers the malicious message to all of the contacts of that PC's owner.

The creators of Koobface have even added a twist to thwart security experts trying to combat the worm. The dangerous download occurs only the first time someone clicks on the link. Subsequent efforts bring up a "Page not found" error. This type of attack makes it more difficult for researchers to analyze different versions of the malicious code, according to ESET.

Since its first appearance in 2008, Koobface has continued to pop up from time to time with new variants, typically aimed at infecting Facebook users. The worm uses a similar strategy by sending messages to your Facebook contacts trying to get them to click on a link to a video or other file. But instead, it launches the executable that infects their computers.

To protect yourself from Koobface, ESET offers the usual advice. Don't trust this new message or any like it sent to you via social networks like Facebook. And of course, make sure your antivirus software is always up-to-date.
source: CNET News

According to the write up done by Erick Schoenfeld of TechCrunch exploring Apple's deepening rift with Google and Adobe. The question he poses is a provocative one: Is CEO Steve Jobs committing the mistakes that earlier condemned the Macintosh to niche status?

"Jobs is once again pitting Apple’s complete product design mastery against the rest of the industry, except this time he thinks he will prevail. Whether it is his repeated moves to keep Adobe’s Flash off the iPhone or his growing rift with Google over Android, Read More Jobs is making the iPhone and iPad a relatively closed system that Apple can control. All apps need to be approved by Apple, the ads shown on the apps will also start to go through Apple, and no matter how hard Adobe tries to open up the iPhone to its Flash developers Apple will keep blocking all its efforts."


Some background. Earlier this week, a tempest broke out after Apple tightened its requirements for developers interested in publishing application on Apple's App Store. The change puts new restrictions on iPhone developers, who won't be allowed to use third-party software and tools to create iPhone applications. That has riled more than a few developers and raised concerns that Apple is attempting to create an increasingly "locked-down" platform.

Subcategories