Musings on Africa, Politics, Technology, Love, Life and Trifles...

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samedi, décembre 29, 2007

Dans la hotte du Père Noël

Il y avait cette année:
  • Un lecteur de DVD & Divx
  • Un sac à main (désolée mais je ne mets pas la marque...)
  • Le livre Peuls de Tierno Monénembo
  • La collection complète des bandes dessinées Aya de Yopougon. Le Tome 3 vient de sortir et je ne saurais que vivement le recommander. Merci à J pour cette attention :)
  • Un rattrapage de la hotte de 2006 : le CD Savane d'Ali Farka Touré
  • Du vin 
  • Un magnifique tableau venant de la "galerie" de rue derrière le marché des fleurs à Douala 
  • Un disque dur USB 2"5 hyper pratique.
Mille mercis à tous ceux qui "me pensent"!!! Ils font ainsi mentir le chanteur Douleur qui dit "ti mè ni ti mè, yon a tabé". (Littéralement "toujours donne moi, donne moi, jamais tiens").

vendredi, décembre 21, 2007

Ce que vous avez loupé en 2007

C'est la saison des listes, celle pour le père Noël (eh oui Christelle, je suis mono focussed ces jours-ci :) ) et les 50 Top 10 lists of 2007 du Time Magazine. Une des listes intéressantes est celle des 10 histoires les moins rapportées par les médias en 2007.

Sur les 10 histoires, 3 ou 4 concernent le continent Africain. Extraits:
  • "#1 Somalia, the Other Darfur - Infighting in Somalia causes more than 1 million civilians to flee their homes, in a refugee crunch whose scope and severity rival that of Darfur's. "We have a major crisis," says Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the top U.N. envoy for Somalia, "and it's being ignored." The violence is hampering humanitarian aid and the work of U.N. troops.
  • #3 U.N. Dials Back HIV Estimate - The U.N. reports it had overestimated the number of people infected with HIV by some 6.3 million worldwide and lowers the 2007 total to 33.2 million. The reduction is based on better reporting methods, particularly in India and sub-Saharan Africa. The report also notes that annual infection rates probably peaked in the late 1990s.
  • #6 Angola's Booming Economy - After nearly three decades of civil war that ended in 2002, Angola has one of the world's fastest-growing economies. Thanks to increased oil production, its estimated 24% growth rate this year is nearly double that of China's.
  • #10 A Prospect of War in East Africa - In what looks alarmingly like the lead-up to the border conflict that claimed 70,000 lives less than a decade ago, Ethiopia and Eritrea each have at least 100,000 troops ready to battle over disputed territory."
Désintérêt des médias ou du grand public? Un peu des deux très certainement. Il n'en demeure pas moins que ces histoires valent le coup d'être dites, même si elles le sont de manière un peu tardive en cette fin d'année. Kudos au Time Magazine pour ce rattrapage (auto-critique ou remors éditorial, on peut tout imaginer) et merci à Ethan pour le lien.

Ce que je retiens de cette liste, c'est qu'il est des journalistes qui couvrent des sujets moins "vendeurs" que l'identité de la dernière maîtresse du président français. Qui vivent et rapportent l'horreur et les drames avec la même ténacité et ce même quand ils essuient des résistances de leurs propres rédactions. L'information est juste un autre business, on écrit ce qui fait vendre, paraphrasant un entrepreneur Camerounais célèbre qui expliquait son succès en disant prosaïquement "je vends ce que les gens ont besoin", il en va de même des médias institutionnels ou dits citoyens. La fortune du bloggueur étant le trafic sur son site. Encore une histoire de "long tail" si on y pense bien. Combien d'histoires n'entreront jamais dans aucune liste et aucun top ten? Malheureusement trop!


Tags:

A part ça, quoi de neuf ? 21-12-2007

  • Après la guerre des navigateurs, voici la guerre des smartphones qui s'annonce. En lice : Apple et son iPhone contre RIM et son Blackberry. (via Silicon Valley Insider). Pour ma part, rien ne vaut un bon Blackberry, il me suit partout et s'interface de manière simple avec le serveur mail de mon entreprise. Question look & feel, simplicité d'utilisation et gadget j'opte évidemment pour l'iPhone. Mais quand il s'agit d'interface simple pour accéder à ses emails, rien ne vaut un BB selon moi. Quand je suis en vacances au pays, il me permet de lire mes emails même au fin fond de mon village où il n y a pas de cybercafé avant des kilomètres à la ronde. Dans cette guerre, j'ai déjà choisi mon camp...quoique si les prix venaient à baisser, je pourrais en changer qui sait? Souvent consommateur varie...
  • Mbeki vs Zuma : the showdown (The Economist). Portraits comparés et sans concessions (le propos est un peu dur parfois) très intéressants à lire. Extraits: "In many democratic countries, party leadership contests are openly fought affairs. (...) But as the ANC meets on December 16th to pick its next leader, a real contest is in the offing for the first time in decades. Thabo Mbeki, president of both the ANC and the country, and Jacob Zuma, the party's vice-president whom Mr Mbeki sacked as the country's deputy president in 2005, are vying for the job. The mere fact of an open race should be good news. But the two candidates are not. (...) It is, however, hard to fathom how a party with such a long line of remarkable leaders has ended up having to choose between these particular alternatives."
  • Yahoo partners Seeds Media in Nigeria (via AfricanLoft). Voilà un deal intéressant qui pourrait être suivi d'autres à mesure que grandit l'intérêt de la firme de Sunnyvale pour le continent. A qui le tour?

Bubble 2.0

Tube of the day found on YouTube. It's really funny when you listen carefully to the lyrics :) 
"Thought I had the perfect plan, took the job at WebVan
"Suffered through the market crash, lost a giant wad of cash" 
"Make your elevator pitch, code it up and flip the switch" 




Hat-tip to Don Dodge.

TGIF

TGIF: Thank God It's Friday. 
Not only it's Friday but it's Xmas season with some time off for me...
Happy Holidays to all.


lundi, décembre 17, 2007

Catching Up - 17-12-2007

  • Obama learns a party trick from Blair (Financial Times). "Mr Blair often used the hard left’s barely veiled hostility as a means to entrench his power [...] The Obama campaign may be weighing the same strategy, for use if not now then after his hoped-for victory in the primaries. Angry progressives are as repellent to the centre that Mr Obama aims to recruit as the Republican fundamentalists at the other extreme. If the centre counts – and there lies the gamble – then the squirmings of the Democratic base are an asset to be exploited."
  • Google gets ready to rumble with Microsoft (New York Times). "COUNTLESS decisions by corporate technology managers, office workers, university students and rank-and-file computer users of all kinds will ultimately determine Google’s success. How easy and inexpensive will it be to do e-mail, word processing, spreadsheets and team projects on Web software? Will high-speed network connections soon become as ubiquitous and reliable as Google seems to assume? Will companies, universities and individuals trust Google to hold corporate and personal information safely?" On the same subject, Henry Blodget from Silicon Valley Insider has an article entitled Microsoft in denial : Google threats its classic disruption.
  • South Africa grows up (New York Times). "But whatever happens, the fissure in the A.N.C. brings a long-overdue logic to South African politics. Since the early 1990s, the left and center have been held together by the skein of a joint struggle for freedom — and, of course, the allure of power. One of the best possible legacies of the current political turmoil would be the collapse of the de facto one-party state — and its replacement by a real choice for South African voters. Already the split in the A.N.C. has opened up space for robust criticism of hitherto untouchable South African leaders. And it has forced a healthy challenge to the deathtrap of African democracy: the ruler-for-life syndrome."
  • Google launches Knol (shortcut for knowledge) to compete with Wikipedia. According to Udi Manber, Google VP Engineering it's a way to encourage people to contribute knowledge.

dimanche, décembre 16, 2007

Attention ils débarquent...



Source image: Charlie Hebdo

mercredi, décembre 12, 2007

It's just an illusion...


If you can't see anything, move back a bit and see what appears behind the lines. Pretty cool, isn't it?

Image via Amazing Illusions blog.

lundi, décembre 10, 2007

Anyone @ le Web 3?

I'll be attending the Le Web 3 conference that will be held in Paris on Dec 11 & 12th. Posting may be lighter than usual.
This year's theme will be: Evolution in technology, revolution in behavior.
I'll try my best to post a summary at the end of it.

samedi, décembre 08, 2007

So, see you when...

Ok ok Nino. There's nothing personal about this song except that I've been playing it on my Ipod over & over. Well, maybe, maybe not...
Anyhow, just enjoy this lovely song by Dido, see you when you are 40.



jeudi, décembre 06, 2007

Quote of the day: 06-12-2007

We are here on Earth to do good to others.
What the others are here for, I don't know.

mardi, décembre 04, 2007

Blogging : where's the money?

Back in 2005, BusinessWeek (via Gapingvoid.com) had an article about blogs entitled "Blogs will change your business". Back then, blogs were said to be a "prerequisite". Were they really? Maybe, maybe not, that's not the point of this post. The article continues stating "blog power simply doesn't translate yet into big bucks. For now, it's running mostly on people's passion to communicate". That was 2 years ago, did that change a lot? Well, quite not much if you read this post from Alex Iskold on ReadWriteWeb : There's No Money In The Long Tail of the Blogosphere. "Because of the power law, the long tail of the blogosphere is huge and so any individual blog is not easily discovered. That is, the chance that a random Internet surfer will find a blog that is part of the long tail is nearly zero. Whatever monetization means the blogger in the long tail settled on, be it Google AdSense or Amazon affiliate codes, it can only work on large volumes of traffic. "

That leaves us with an open question, is there at all any money to make in blogging? I am particularly interested in narrowing the question to the specifics of niche blogging such as an african oriented one. I am awaiting an answer from all of you. Alex Iskold made another recap of the various motivations bloggers may have. Who is blogging and why? Is the blogosphere in the digestion phase?

Maybe our friends at Africa2Point0 or Akopo could chime in and tell us about their experience in attempting to monetize their blog directly through ads or indirectly through consultancy for a newspaper. Of course, i am not asking to any of you to unveil me his personal strategy for success and wealth, but just to give us some insight regarding how to make money through blogging. I am not saying that the driving force behind your blogging is only money; being a regular reader I know there's a lot more behind your respective blogs, otherwise I would have skipped the reading a while ago.

The ultimate question being, how do you obtain critical mass that will allow you to leave your day job and leave from your posting? Quite frankly i don't think it's possible for me, at least i haven't put much effort trying to (not that I'd like to), I love my job and this exercise (quite unregular i must say) has always been a hobby and I'd like to keep it the way it is, both for you guys reading my scribbles (meaning no ads...) and for me (no constraint except speaking my mind).

To my own question "where's the money?" I would answer that I don't know. What I know is the pleasure that we (Christelle and I) had while writing 200 posts on Sanaga on various topics we care about, not even earning 25 CFA francs yet, but instead getting richer of a rather unique and wonderful experience. Writing for fun about the latest hotspots in Douala or Douk Saga's legacy is not only very long tail, it's priceless...


Can Greed Save Africa?

This week issue of Business Week is on Africa. "Can greed save Africa?"

Will private investment succeed where foreign aid almost failed? The continent is the investing world's final frontier. "Thanks to the global commodities boom of the past few years, sub-Saharan Africa's economies, after decades of stagnation, are expanding by an average of 6% annually—twice the U.S. pace. And like bees to honey, investors are swarming into the region in search of the enormous returns that ultra-early-stage investments can bring."

Catching Up : 04-12-2007

  • The Highs and Lows of African Oil (Time Magazine). A small account of "the promise and pitfalls of business on the world's second fastest-growing continent. Africa? That's right. In October, the IMF predicted that sub-Saharan Africa's real GDP will grow 6.75% in 2008, versus 7.2% in Asia, 3.2% in Europe and 1.9% in the U.S. Growth rates in several African countries evoke the Asian tigers of two decades ago, prompting keen international interest."
  • Spotlight: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala – Nigerian reformer (Financial Times). Ok, ok I am a big fan of her, but one must say she did a great job while she was Nigeria's finance minister. Now she up to a lot more : "For the past year, Mrs Okonjo-Iweala has chaired advisory boards on Africa for Renaissance Capital, the Russian investment bank seeking to repeat in Africa the success it had in the former Soviet states during the 1990s. She has set up an opinion poll back home as well as a $60m fund to promote African women, while also serving the philanthropic foundations of Bill Clinton, Nelson Mandela and Mo Ibrahim, the Sudanese telecoms mogul."
  • ANC leadership contest kicks off (BBC), it will oppose current president Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma. This contest promises to be intense, and we'll watch it closely.
  • The 2007 Silicon Alley 100 (Silicon Alley). You'll find the annual list of the most influential folks in New York digital business.
  • Papa Eto'o is back (BBC). Not much of a football fan, but still, I am glad to hear that he's back ..

dimanche, décembre 02, 2007

Il ne manque plus que vos résultats de test ADN....


via Rodrigo Sepulveda blog, petite liste exhaustive des papiers à fournir pour acquérir un iPhone en France :)

Pour ma part, je me tâte toujours pour savoir ce que je vais demander au père Noël cette année. Si vous avez des idées...


Mali musical sans frontières

Quand le Mali s'exporte ca donne quoi? Des tubes magnifiques, des chansons qui vous donnent le vague à l'âme ou la joie de vivre et qui sont non sans rappeler la richesse musicale de ce pays. Une petite escapade musicale au Mali sans quitter vos écrans, merci qui? Merci YouTube :) Ok, on tourne le son des hauts-parleurs à fond, on s'incruste dans son fauteuil et hop c'est parti...

Commençons par la voix d'or du Continent, Salif Keita en duo avec Cesaria Evora parle d'amour avec Yamore.



Fantani Touré nous chante une ode au Mali avec son Mali Ba. Cette descendante d'une grande famille noble de Bamako nous a ébloui avec son premier album produit par Salif Keita et intitulé "N'tin Naari" (littéralement, "je vous salue").


Oumou Sangaré sur scène avec Alicia Keys et chantant "Falling", j'en tombe à la renverse....



Ali Farka Touré, qui nous a quittés l'année dernière mais dont l'oeuvre s'inscrit dans le patrimoine musical du continent.

A part ça quoi de neuf ? 02-12-2007

Sharing with you some of the tabs opened in my browser.

  • Le Cameroun simplifie la prise en charge du Sida (Le Figaro). According to the article, around 500,000 people are currently infected in Cameroon, that makes 1 person out of 34 has HIV. nc
  • No picnic - A teddy bear row in Sudan (The Economist). "In more elevated western circles, it is becoming commoner to hear the view that Islam itself (rather than any extremist interpretations of the faith) is posing a challenge to western values that must be resisted. And if that view becomes more respectable, so too does a defensive Muslim reaction, which is often tinged with geopolitical grievance."
  • Facebook search expands — will it take on Google? (VentureBeat). New questions (read speculations) are raised about "Facebook’s ambitions, as it finds itself the David against the Google Goliath. Will it pull out the ultimate slingshot: a full-fledged search engine for the web, not just the Facebook site? This question is significant, because Facebook has so much data about people and preferences that it could potentially add quality to search results."

  • Cedric Kalonji portrays life in Congo-Kinshasa on his blog. Simple, acute and beautiful. Definitely a must-read.
  • Kevin Kelly wrote an interesting article on the 4 stages in the Internet of Things (The Technium). Stage 1 was the Internet as it was more concerned about to link up computers; stage 2 can be called the web since it linked documents and pages; stage 3 in which we are living deals with sharing data of the documents and pages linked in previous stages, it's the world wide Database. All this should lead us to the 4th stage nicely named by Kelly as the Internet of things. He concludes by saying that "this shareable extraction of data is also what people mean by Web 3.0. In this version of the webosphere data surges, flows, and expands across websites as if it were acting within one large database, or within one large machine."
ok, that's all for today. Besides, I really wished I was in Cameroon right now, where the "Jazz sans frontières" festival is being held. (Le Messager)