Tech Talk: #SudanUprising , A Tech Solution

Unless you live under a metaphorical rock and haven’t read our weekly updates; week in color: 7, 8, 9, 11, 14, 15, 18, 20 , you are aware of the revolution that is occuring right now. As of Sunday, June 16, 2019, in Sudan. And as we write.

Re-cap:

Sudan has been experiencing constant instability in government since the independence of South Sudan in 2011 & a huge lack of foreign currency.

On Monday; June 3, paramilitaries in Khartoum threw dozens of bodies into the Nile in an attempt to hide the number of casualties they inflicted during a pro-democracy protest at the capital.

According to doctors & activists, more than 100 people have been killed in the crackdown against demonstrators by Rapid Support Forces (RSF) across Sudan.

Sudan has been under military rule since President-dictator Omar al-Bashir was knocked off his 30-year reign.

It was suggested that a military-led transitional government would lead the country to democracy.

The Sudan Doctors’ Committee; the medical arm of the SPA, said security forces retrieved more than 40 bodies from the Nile.

This contradicts previous estimates on Monday’s attack in the central Khartoum, which puts the death toll at 20 people.

Details of rapes by the RSF are also coming to light.

The break down of possible negotiations between the military & protest leaders began due to disagreements over military or civilian leadership of a transitional body.

The internet has been shutdown in Sudan.

A recurring problem.

As things have shown so far, internet shutdowns and oppressive regimes go hand in hand. What easier way to disconnect a people than to shut down the roads by which they access the internet, specifically, twitter, to voice thoughts or instagram to share imagery.

A Technology Solution

But first, let’s get you up to speed.

With a thing called a Wireless ad hoc network.

Wireless ad hoc network:

is a decentralised type of wireless network. The network is ad hoc because it does not rely on a pre-existing infrastructure, such as routers in wired networks or access points in managed (infrastructure) wireless networks.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wireless_ad_hoc_network

and don’t forget;

The Internet is

the global system of interconnected computer networks that use the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to link devices worldwide. It is a network of networks that consists of private, public, academic, business, and government networks of local to global scope, linked by a broad array of electronic, wireless, and optical networking technologies. The Internet carries a vast range of information resources and services, such as the inter-linked hypertext documents and applications of the World Wide Web (WWW), electronic mail, telephony, and file sharing.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet

Now, we know a wireless ad hoc network is a wireless network that does not require infrastructure to function. We also understand that the internet can be simplified to the connection between computers, one computer accessing files and protocol on another computer.

On to the next!

Recently, the proprietary mobile app FireChat has developed a social messaging option that does not necessarily require an Internet connection.

https://www.youredm.com/2015/08/01/firechat-creates-new-private-messaging-app-perfect-for-music-festival-goers/

By utilizing bluetooth and WiFi signals FireChat can connect phones together and get messages across using wireless mesh networking. (A form of ad hoc wireless network)

Repurposed for a cause: #SudanUprising the App

Now let us see if we can use these basic network principles and technology examples to create an app that would be of service to those protesting for the revolution in Sudan.

Powered by the people of Sudan

After receiving a copy of the app via, internet, Wifi, bluetooth, or simply a thumb drive, revolutionaries; like members of the Alliance for Freedom & change in Sudan, can sign up with an anonymous username, set a password, authenticate permissions and begin sharing information.

The app will function best in densely populated areas where data can be shared from phone to phone reliably.

Features:

#IamtheSudanRevolution Timeline

This modified timelines allows revolutionaries to share and exchange images, thoughts, and information in a central location, creating a virtual meeting place, where physical restrictions are in place.

#StandwithSudan Community Watch

As death tolls rise, and images of violence make there way to social media timelines. Revolutionaries in Sudan will be able to strategically organize and plan demonstration routes avoiding violent military opposition. In moments of anarchy check this map to remind yourself you are never alone. The signal feature also allows revolutionaries to alert others of danger, and human rights violations.

This concludes this week’s Tech Talk.

Remember #WeToldYou

#SudanUprising

Tech Talk: A Pan-African Palace for Makers

Living in 2019, one cannot deny, comes with its benefits.

Benefits like Uber, Airbnb, electric scooters, drones, and smartphones. Depending on where you are and who you know, you may have heard of something called a 3D printer.

3D Printer:

a machine that allows the creation of a physical object from a three-dimensional digital model. It is done typically by laying down many thin layers of a material in succession.

3D printers have drastically changed the game since their arrival on the scene.

Before the wonderful invention of 3D printers, designing hardware teams would have to wait weeks on end to have a mold for one component made and shipped. So really slow & really expensive. Now with the arrival of 3D printers; designers and engineers alike can rapidly prototype & print parts from the comfort of their workspace.

The Makerspace, a Maker’s Natural Habitat.

Makerspace

a place in which people with shared interests, especially in computing or technology, can gather to work on projects while sharing ideas, equipment, and knowledge.

As with fingers; not all makerspaces are created equally. Not all makerspaces are equipped with the same tools. However, it is important to remember inanimate objects do not provide real validation. There is controversy about what equipment makes a makerspace a “real” one. But that is besides the point. So what is the point? Holding space for the problem solvers of a population to design, create, and reiterate their solutions.

Virtual Field Trip: GearBox

A visit to www.gerbox.co.ke will aquaint you with Kenya’s first makerspace.

It’s the brainchild of Kamau Gachigi (@KamauFabLab), Gearbox seeks to promote local hardware innovation & manufacturing.

Kamau Gachigi has a TED talk: Success stories from Kenya’s first makerspace, & in it Gachigi shares his story from humble beginnings as a child in Kenya, to him seeking better education opportunities in the UK & US, as well as an international career in R&D (research and development) for a large firm.

Upon returning back home and joining the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Nairobi, I quickly found I was really quite useless, because there wasn’t all the equipment that I had become accustomed to available. I was teaching students who I would find with very bright ideas in their minds and they’d be presenting things that I knew if only we had sufficient equipment, they’d be able to really contribute to the challenge of industrialization. So I kind of had to change hats, and became quite entrepreneurial and started looking for money to buy the equipment that we required. 

Kamau Gachigi Success stories from Kenya’s first makerspace

Kamau championed the campaign for a new space at the University of Nairobi. After some fundraising, students now had a place to design and rapidly produce prototype parts. What happened after was magic & the whole purpose of this blog post.

So you can imagine my surprise when one day the dean of engineering came and said to me, “Kamau, the students who spend most of the time in the Fab Lab are failing their exams.” I said, “What do you mean?” And I looked into it, and he was right, and the reason they were failing is that they’d honed their skills so well in certain things that they were going out into the city and offering services for money. So they were making money.

Kamau Gachigi Success stories from Kenya’s first makerspace

This makerspace was adding value to the community through students that spent most of their time learning how use the machines. Kamau’s former head of engineering has been able to secure a contract building an industrial machine that will be used to manufacture parts for General motors. An example of how a makerspace can have a real impact on a countries economy.

This also brings the popular millenial debate to the forefront.

Is college in fact a scam?

Culture Correct Solutions.

Gearbox is complete with various culture correct solutions for culture specific needs. From tech support, to a wide variety of training courses, Gearbox aims to equip as many as are willing to learn with skills to add value within their community.

The makerspace has given birth to various startups tackling problems from energy and waste management, to sanitary towel vending and pregnancy trackers.

It truly is a beautiful thing to see people of the culture, design, create, and implement solutions to their local problems! We hope to see this idea at scale across the entire continent in the near future.

Tech Talk: Everette Taylor X ArtX

This week we will be introducing you to an African-American entrepreneur called a “millennial marketing genius” by Forbes & a marketing maven by Fortune magazine. Only the beginning of his accolades.

Everette Taylors’s career began at the young and tender age of 19. After starting an event marketing software company; a company he eventually sold 2 years later.

#FirstExit

After this success, Taylor took a leave of absence from Virginia Tech and relocated to Los Angeles, California, to serve as vice president of marketing at since acquired software company Qualaroo.

He was just getting started!

Since then Everette, has founded: GrowthHackers; an online growth hacking community with a mission to help companies ignite sustainable growth. Millisense; a marketing firm using data driven digital marketing to grow companies and brands. PopSocial; social media software company founded in 2016, with over $2 million in revenue within its first year.

Everette Taylor has been recruited by many heavy hitting companies in technology, from being named Marketing Officer at online printing giant Stickermule, to doing growth strategy work for Microsoft, as well as serving as Chief Marketing Officer for on-demand car rental delivery company Skurt; since acquired by Fair. Taylor’s time and attention is in demand.

Aside from being termed a  “visionary businessman” by The Huffington Post, & “an innovator changing the consumer marketing game” by Black Enterprise. Everette has also secured his place on the Forbes 30 under 30. No brakes on this machine, Everette also sits on The Root 100 most influential African Americans list.

Now let’s dive into Taylor’s latest endeavor: ArtX.

ArtX is positioned to disrupt the art world. Why does the art world need disruption you ask? With headlines like: High-end art is one of the most manipulated markets in the world; & Do You Have to Be Rich to Make It as an Artist?, it is clear what’s been going on for quite some time in the art world. In an industry where artists are constantly being forced to justify their existence, social prejudice is hard at work as another layer of opposition.

How the art game works:

  • An Artist will usually spend massive amounts of time working with a medium of choice; water colors, charcoal, acrylic, clay, recycled plastics or even animals preserved in formaldehyde. After the artist has gained a mastery for the medium, said artist may create a piece or collection of pieces to then share with the public.
  • Traditionally this is when the artist will link up with a curator. A good creator has developed relationships with gallery/ display spaces & a rolodex of clientele & knowledge of their specific taste.
  • This is more or less the go to market strategy for many Artists.
  • Artists produce the product; Curators sell the product; Galleries/ display spaces serve as the physical location for these transactions to take place.

Now let’s review this process with a bit more realism.

  • An Artist will have to create time in an already fast paced world to develop and refine their art. Said artist will also have to purchase or acquire whatever materials needed in the creation of their art. Limited funds = Limited materials = limits
  • After creating a piece or collection of pieces, the artist will usually contact a curator to assist them in showcasing their work. Curators charge a percentage for every piece of art sold. This means, an artist success often depends on the quality of Curator they have access to. The better the Curator the better the access -to gallery spaces and art collectors-, the better the access, the more a curator can charge for every sale.

It’s not what you create, it’s who displays is, & where its displayed. 

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. 

We can easily project how things may work for an artist with affluent means. They usually have easier access to supplies, curators, & galleries. A look at any institutional art gallery will show the names accredited to the creation of these pieces are those of extremely wealthy producers.

Where does that leave creatives living in other varieties of circumstance? Thankfully there is now:

ArtX

ArtX is composed of three branches: Media Platform, Software/ Technology Solutions, & Community Development.

Media Platform

As a media platform, Artx.net; will serve as a virtual gallery space for artist to share their creations, connect or collaborate with other artist, meet curators and collectors. Artx.net is also positioned to destroy the “exclusive” connotation the art world currently holds so dearly. Making art inclusive is a pillar to the vision Everette has for Artx & the culture as a whole.

Software/ Technology Solutions

The ability to easily scale from 10 users to 10,000 users is what makes the software as a service so valuable to our society. There are often conversations in the tech world about how an app, or program has made tools exclusive to the rich accessible to anyone with a computer and internet connection. The whole; “you have a computer in your pocket more powerful than the computers first used to send astronauts into orbit” sort of thing. ArtX is proud to offer paid and free software tools created specifically for artist, in such a disenfranchised space. Through ArtX Amplify artist and creators alike are given access to the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI). This tool will allow artist to promote their work like never before. A virtual curator of sorts that will help artist find their niche, grow social followings, & better target collectors.

Community

“I see it as a community first above everything. We want to give back to the art community, rather than taking from it”

Everette Taylor

The community branch of ArtX will assist artist financially. Scholarships launching soon will give artist much need support for studio space, art supplies, or travel to art related events around the globe. The goal is to create an ecosystem of local art events, exposing people to various art collections while providing space for artist to showcase and sell their work.

“I want people, specifically the black community, to realize how important it is to invest back into our creativity and artistry,” he said.

Everette Taylor

Talk about a solution!

We wish Everette Taylor, and ArtX much success in their journey to disrupt institutional art. This ends today’s Tech Talk. We leave you with this quote from Taylor:

People have to understand that art isn’t only something you can love and appreciate, but a way to invest and build generational wealth. Many people from marginalized and underrepresented communities haven’t had the opportunity to be educated. ArtX is going to change that. This is only Phase I of a much bigger plan,” 

Everette Taylor

Remember, #wetoldyou

Tech Talk: Nana Kwame Bediako

He’s Also Know As “Chedda”

Let’s go on a virtual journey to “Wonda World”.

While we are here we will be introduced to afrofuturist developer; Nana Kwame Bediako. 

Born in Ghana but educated in the U.K, Nana Kwame is a property developer with a desire to industrialize Africa.

Nana Kwame Bediako initially established Wonda World Estates as a mere side project. Wonda World firm first focused on maximizing the use of land by building two houses on one plot. Nana Kwame lived in one house while the other was being built. Then, he sold the first and moved right nextdoor; into the second one.

The firm initially focused on maximizing land usage by building two houses on one plot.

Today, Wonda World Estates, based in Accra, Ghana, boasts a building output of 200 units every 18 months. It is an unmistakable brand of building architecture and is currently planning to develop 1000 more additional homes for the public sector.

Location, Location, Location!

So what’s Nana’s key to success? Understanding Land Policy.

The phrase ‘Land Policy’ encompasses all policies
that deal with land – agricultural land, forest land, land
for housing, infrastructure etc…. It typically includes
laws and regulations as well as administrative structures and programmes. Land policy generally aims at
shaping a specific type of land governance;this generally
includes arrangements of tenure, access, use, security, management, control, distribution, property and
administration. A land policy is essentially an expression of a government’s perception of the direction to
be taken on major issues related to land. As such,
land policy always implies a political decision of setting
priorities and following specific aims. Hands on the Land

TLDR; Land Policy is the blueprint that lets you know where things can go in a community. So, where schools are located, business can operate, and apartments developed, things of that nature; infrastructure on a macro scale.

So if one knows this:

Then one knows what roads schools can be built on. That individual knows i.e what roads to build a black owned day care. If one knows when a university is expanding enrollment, then a new rental property around the area will be considered a wise investment.

Nana took this concept and put it through a cultural algorithm. Wonda World’s portfolio boasts examples of this equation:

Avenue Lincoln

Avenue Lincoln Osu district, Accra, Ghana; is this developers answer to a community in need of property offering office, residential, and lodging solutions.

Kwarleyz Residence

In the airport residential area, Kwarleyz Residence provides residential property that is ideal for individuals, couples, and families looking to enjoy a sophisticated lifestyle in the heart of the city. It is also perfectly suited for expatriates looking for residence in Ghana.

Petronia City

Petronia City is a proposed 2000-acre city development project that aims to provide the first fully integrated business hub for West Africa’s oil, gas and mining industries.

But how did he get from compounds & single buildings to developing a city?

Mr. Bediako identified a need, was equipped to provide a fitting solution at scale.

During his visit to Harvard Business School, Nana exclaims:

“Africa is trying to have Urbanization before industrialization”

Nana Kwame Bediako

This Pan-Afrofuturist is developing property to increase the number of opportunities middle class citizens will have with the discovery of oil in Takoradi, Ghana. By the way; Petronia City is 8km(~5miles) from Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana; Sekondi-Takoradi is the region’s largest city and an industrial and commercial centre, with a population of 445,205 people.

Strategic; Location, Location, Location!

Down below is an in depth interview discussing topics such as property, voting, politics, business, and religion with Nana Kwame Bediako.

“The mindset of the people, is the government.”

Nana Kwame Bediako

Just remember,

WE TOLD YOU

Tech Talk: Iddris Sandu

What does the collaboration of technology, diaspora and the culture look like ?

If you hit run on that code you will get:

Iddris Sandu

Design Architect

Iddris is a one of a kind Crea+iv.

Born into a Ghanaian father while living in Compton & Harbor City, Iddris, has always lived a dual reality. That, & the fact at a young age his father sent him to Ghana where he stayed for nearly 9 months; an experience many first generation African children can relate to. During his experience in Ghana Iddris learned to distinguish the difference between “Real world problems” & “First world problems”.

Shortly after returning to the US from his extended trip abroad, the first ever Apple Iphone was released. This inspired Iddris to begin learning code.

He spent 2 years studying at Torrance Public Library and later to applied for a Google internship at the tender age of 13. At the age of 14, Iddris received the Presidential Scholar award from President Barack Obama himself. The year after, Sandu, 15, was analysing data for Twitter. The explore page on instagram? 16 year old Iddris did that. He even has influence on the development of Snapchat’s Spectacles. Shortly after at age 19 he worked on an autonomous driving software at Uber. By the age of 20, Iddris was the technology powerhouse behind the late Nipsey Hussle’s Marathon Smart Store, the roads in which the culture and Tech collaborated to create a new retail experience.

 

“I see a young dude that is, one of us. Obviously from the culture. “ –

Nipsey Hussle

Design is a topic near to Iddris’ heart. He takes his influences from the likes of Steve Jobs, who was arguably the godfather of consumer electronic design, Jony Ive, the lead designer at Apple. And the 10 Principles of good design by Dieter Rams is his code to life.

 

“I believe we can change the world through good design.“

Iddris Sandu

Often described as Kanye West X  Elon Musk, Sandu has a desire to develop brands that use technology as a blueprint.

As a humanist, Iddris uses himself as a vessel for the underprivileged and under-informed or misinformed. He seeks to educate others on the topics of tech, the digital revolution and how it affects the culture. An aware individual taking actions against the digital divide.

I am a humanist.

I want to see everyone thrive.

I don’t like classism.

I don’t like gaps.

I want everyone to have equal experience.

Iddris Sandu

In Gen Z: Plan A

In Gen Z: Plan A, Iddris gives us a real time notification to upgrade our operating system.

“As a minority growing up in this era we risk the chance of losing a seat at the table.”

Iddris Sandu

Sandu speaks on the digital divide and suggests an exposure centered approach to education.

Here’s some of information Iddris offers up to the cloud.

Diverse infrastructure is necessary. …period.

Any software not developed by a diverse group of humans from the ground up automatically renders the software biased. Simply put, any software developed by one group of humans will only work for that group of humans.

The importance of teaching good design.

Guidelines on how to design for a better world will improve overall human experiences. Guidelines that takes into account the values of the culture will allow for the design of a technology to meet the needs of the culture.

A new design ethos: Aspirational Necessitation

Aspirational Necessitation is the idea of taking principles usually applied to aspirational products and applying them to products necessary for day to day life. Imagine if the same care and attention to detail invested into the iphone was applied to street lights.

 

Iddris Sandu: The AfroFuturist

“If I am going to do anything next in tech it’s going to be on the basis of infrastructure, everything for me goes back to infrastructure.”

Iddris Sandu

I feel like the most impactful thing we can do is to build an experimental prototype community in Africa, which is going to be where the next generation of global leaders come from, because they’re exposed to a lot of problems that no one else wants to fix.

https://www.surfacemag.com/articles/iddris-sandu-is-going-to-change-the-world/

 

This, Ladies and Gentleman is a collaboration of the diaspora & technology.

 

An invitation to collaborate & execute with the dopest humans possible?

We Accept!

The dream, drive, and vision to develop Africa with a design ethos never before practiced by man is alive and growing within the culture. Now is a time unlike never before to take action. The barrier to entry has been digitally dissolved. Tools previously reserved for those who own infrastructure now exist within the cloud. The tech is here to build the future Africa we desire and deserve.

Iddris stresses the importance of the Iphone for two reasons. This was the first time people could touch software; the relationship between user and tech became intimate. Secondly, the App Store was open for the business, with an accompanying developer program that gave users the potential to program apps. This is important because of ownership. Every app is developed using a coding language. Coding languages are developed by people. If a group of biased people develop code, the code will be inherently biased, biased code biased program. Biased programing results in a less than optimal user experience.

We look forward to experiencing what happens when people of the culture develop a coding language for the culture.

That concludes today’s Tech Talk.

Remember, WE TOLD YOU

“We must not make the same mistakes those before us made, we must remember to be inclusive, diverse & help everyone else around us because we are one race, the human race.

Iddris Sandu

 

Tech Talk: What is Afropolitan?

So What is it?

We are going to dig into that on today’s Tech Talk.

Afropolitanism is a young concept aimed at labeling a growing group of urban African professionals with strong ties to various cultures throughout the african continent & also share experiences with those of other international walks of life.

The term Afropolitanism was first popularized in 2005 by Taiye Selasi, in an essay titled “Bye-Bye, Babar

The modern day diaspora, beginning in the 1960’s, is said to be responsible for the exodus of Africa’s young, gifted & broke. Laying the foundation for this international community; the newest generation of African immigrants.

Taiye highlights the acceptance of complexity in most African cultures. She breaks them down into three categories:

  • National: what part or parts of a national identity do they select to identify with? example: Ghanaian-American, British-Nigerian.
  • Racical: How do we perceive our race; often political within countries with diverse racial populations.
  • Cultural: what is the true essence of their cultural connection to Africa? What parts of their native culture is “passed on”?

Taiye suggest that true Afropolitanism comes with intrinsic multi-dimensional thinking. Often Africans far from their place of cultural birth have adapted & evolved to identify nationally with “foreign lands” & alternate racial identities. The latter adapting from nation to nation.

Today, social media, The internet, & satellite tv allows young Africans a bigger global reach & outlook. More Africans are exposed to much of the same pop culture happening on a global scale.

“An Afropolitan is someone who has roots in Africa, raised by the world, but still has an interest in the continent & is actively making an impact.”

Brendah Nyakudya, editor of Afropolitan magazine, South Africa

“Any African person in an urban environment, with the outlook and mindset that comes with urbanization is Afropolitan. “

Tolu Ogunlesi, Nigerian Journalist

“Afropolitans are a group of people who are either of African origin or influenced by African Culture, who are emerging internationally using African Cultures in creative ways to change perceptions about Africa.”

Minna Salami, Blogger

Remember, #WeToldYou

Tech Talk: An App, The Underground Railrd

Tech Talk: An App, The Underground Railrd

 

Technology is the collection of techniques, skills, methods, & processes used in the production of goods or services or in the accomplishment of objectives.

Now, this being a tech –short for technology– talk, it is our duty to reflect on said subject from various angles.

This week we will be juxtaposing app development & the Underground Railroad.

But first, here’s a little background info;

The Underground Railroad was a network of secret routes & safe houses established in the United States during the early to mid-19th century. It was used by African-American freedom seekers on their journey into free territories.

With that being said, today we are talking;

An App, The Underground Railrd

A Decentralized Emancipation Platform.

  • As of 1860, there were 3.9 million freedom seekers in southern US states; 3.9 million people who would pay for this service.
  • 3.9 million people in need of a Freedom Consultant. Underground Railrd would solve this problem by supplying a scalable decentralized platform. Giving users & service providers a helping hand during every step of the process.

How does it work?

Underground Railrd would be a platform that connects users seeking freedom, to users who can assist them in a number of ways. With 4 user options presented at sign up: Freedom Seeker, Conductor, Safe house/Station, Watch Person.

  • Freedom Seeker: The user seeking freedom, seeking to travel from Southern United States to Canada.
  • Conductor: The private route guide, can reliably transport Freedom Seeker from safehouse to destination.
  • Safe house/Station:  Home or property owner with available private space along routes.
  • Watch Person: All users would fall under the category of “Watch Person”. When prompted a watch person would have the ability to leave a warning or note. This could aid freedom seekers on their journey.

The flowchart below gives you a peek under the hood.

UndergroundRailrd

User Profiles

UndergroundRailrd_user.png

User profiles will allow users information regarding each other, conductors, & safe locations.

It would be thought of as your personal control panel.

Data

UndergroundRailrd_map

With all the information you need at your fingertips, You could plan your journey to freedom. The network of Watch People constantly contributing to update route, and shelter information to keep you safe during your travels.

Keeping it relevant

The similarities with modern apps like Airbnd & Lyft in this hypothetical app scenario should not be lost. A systematic solution does not necessarily require electronics.

The flowchart above covers actions & interactions that took place without the aid of an internet connection. Before invention of cellphones! & modern day communication as we know it.

The Underground Railroad was a decentralized emancipation system that ran offline. Black people can.

Remember,

We Told You!