Ghana's Soft company
: "Mr Hesse developed Ghana's own software firm which, for the moment at least, is holding Microsoft at bay. "No, no, we only use Soft," says the hotel receptionist where I am staying, when I ask if they use Microsoft. The shops around Accra say the same. "We're taking it industry by industry," Mr Hesse says, who has already designed e-SuSu software for microfinance projects and the Ndua system for Ghana's timber industry. There are the plans to expand into wider Africa, with business partnerships already set up in Nigeria, the Gambia, Senegal and Kenya.
There needs to be software that takes account of Africa's unique circumstances, Mr Hesse explains. "First of all it needs to be simple and cheap. Then it must be tropically tolerant and able to cope with frequent power cuts."
Shops in Accra use Soft not Microsoft
"And, most importantly, it needs to be extra secure with no room whatsoever for fiddling the books," he stresses.
Mr Hesse's company now has a staff of 70, including 20 developers, and he is just about to sell 40% of his business to international investors. .. thought to be the first agreed by any technology firm in West Africa ..
"This is the first opportunity we've had to compete for a long time," he says, adding that the efforts of the government and the aid agencies should be to establish high-speed communication links rather than bailing out the old economy. "We missed the first boat when industrialisation passed us by.... we can't miss this boat" 10:52:20 PM
Wireless Mt. Washington
: "A Web cam would be a boon to the hikers and skiers. "Sometimes it's snowing up there when it's a perfectly sunny day down below [in North Conway]," Zakon says. "And you get some amazing cloud cover up there." If it was properly done, if it could show enough detail, a Web cam might even be useful in helping guide rescuers to avalanche survivors. The Observatory secured a government grant to install a Web cam
that would show the ravine. Observatory members who use the recreation facilities on the mountain also chipped in. Securing funds was the easy part, though. It was left up to Zakon to solve the real problems: how to provision and power a communications link 6,000 feet up a desolate mountain." Solar powered wifi (5 mile range) was the answer, along with special cameras and power controllers. 9:51:06 PM
Iraq: How Much Is Enough?
: "If the administration is committed to a foreign policy of pre-emptive strikes and occasionally "regime change," it must be prepared to cope with the power vacuums that may follow. Initially, the Bush administration argued that the purpose of the armed forces was to fight the nation's wars, and that peacekeeping was a distraction. But nation-building and peacekeeping, it seems, are not only important for liberals who want to help end ethnic strife and respond to humanitarian crises. Such missions are also useful tools for conservatives who support unilateral military action by the United States and want to consolidate hard-won strategic gains." 9:13:36 PM
Honda small field generators
: 1 or 2 kw output AC, very low noise My father in law uses the 1 kw unit, the only model permitted in Australian national parks for the low noise and emissions. It's designed to run electronics. It throttles back the fuel usage to match the electric load; uses 2.5 litres of gasoline per 12 hours, plus .5 litres oil per 50 hours. Weighs 13 kg, costs US $800 in Australia. 7:42:47 PM