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Here is a screenshot of a screen I get very frequently. This is a tool I’ve used for quite a while on both my Glo and MTN lines. It’s much easier than buying with cash from a vendor and scratching (even though they all scratch for you these days) it’s still easier.

The problem is, majority of debit/credit card users in Nigeria don’t know this functionality exists. At the same time, there are people who use some other technologies to topup different from Quickteller as I have used in this case and achieve the same goal of convenience, maybe even more than me. An example of another such technology is Paga, which I’m very sure let’s you buy airtime and pay bills also.

I was out of the country for a few weeks and I could keep my lines actively roaming by topping-up online. I didn’t have to look for a recharge card seller when I landed at the airport or borrow someone elses phone because I had already topped up. 

I guess the solution to the ignorance or distrust in systems like this comes through multiple channels and more technologies coming into this field and capturing their own pockets of the market. If you dont hear about Quickteller, you might see a Paga billboard. If you don’t see that you may find another service offering similar service online. The mobile operators should also make sure they aren’t missing out on this opportunity. We already have mtntopup.com other operators should also get their own platforms.

So it’s a new year and many of us need to go through some sort of reorientation in our minds when it comes to what year it is. Lemme brag and say I doubt I’ll be saying or typing 2009 by mistake anywhere. But for web designers one thing that we often forget to do is update the year in the copyright at the bottom of our websites. I’m sure there’s many of my site’s with the wrong year right now and I’m not sure if I have enough time to go through all of them, but one thing I’ve been doing to solve this problem is to dynamically generate the year.

Intsead of just typing © 2010 or © 2004-2010 I replace the year part with <? date(“Y”); ?> (since most of my work these days is in PHP) which uses the PHP date function to echo out the current year. This way I’ll never have to manually update the date on my sites and the date will automatically change every year. :)

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!!

Ok so I’ve been laughing hard over my findings on Techcrunch today. First was @shitmydadsays, then the photoshop competition entries on Techcrunch for the caught replacement of a black guy in a stock photo used on a Polish Microsoft website, with a white guy.

Here is the US version of the site:

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And the Polish version:

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Wow. What a shame. Well it seems Microsoft has apologised after this goof was caught, but it didn’t stop Techcrunch from turning this into a photoshop competition where the public was asked to do their own photoshopping.

Now the entries were hilarious. Here are some:

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LOL. This has to be my favorite as I’m a fan of ‘The Office’.

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Update (2011): So I’ve been getting comments saying its very possible to get a topic to trend on twitter. Yes this is now actually very easy due to the number of Nigerians who now use Twitter. This post was written in 2009. If the #LightupNigeria relaunched with the same type of enthusiasm it had a few years ago, it will definitely trend worldwide.

The #lightupnigeria campaign started sometime in July on Twitter. According to wthastag.com, it is:

A viral movement of Nigerians demanding action to solve the chronic electricity crisis in the country.

Nigerians are frustrated, and this is just a way to express dissatisfaction and frustration at the situation of things.

Nigeria is Africa’s biggest nation. One major problem facing Nigeria is unstable power supply. The erratic power supply is almost a bigger hindrance to the country’s progress than corruption. With stable power supply, Nigeria could easily join (and probably pass) countries like Brazil, India, China, Mexico and South Africa as a Newly Industrialised Country.

I grew up in Nigeria and even though I don’t live there right now, I’ve spent about 3 months there this year and still experienced almost zero power supply in Lagos and Abuja. I was lucky to have stayed with an aunt who had the generator on every night all through till the morning. Once the gen went off I had to get my butt out of the house as quick as possible and I usually spent most of the day at the Silverbird Galleria just because there was steady power there (or at least a steady gen) and fast internet. All my work is on the internet. I CAN NOT function without it! I cant get business done in Nigeria and I’m here sitting abroad getting as much done as I can while I’m here cos there’s no power in Nigeria, even though most of my clientele is in Nigeria! I know how much money my parents spend on generators and diesel.

Ok so back to #lightupnigeria. I, personally, have not been typing that hashtag on Twitter. I probably haven’t typed it more than 10 times in total. I’m sorry! Now it’s not that I don’t support the movement, and it’s not that I’m a hater, but maybe I’m just too lazy to type #lightupnigeria after every tweet, or after every other tweet. I’m an “as little stress as possible” type of guy. I’m very hard working don’t get me wrong, in fact people who know me well know I’m a workaholic, but I want that hard work to be as efficient as possible. There’s hard work, and there’s smart work. To all those who are typing it though, more grease to your fingers!

What I dont support though, is how some people diss or express disapointment in others not taking part in this hashtag campaign. Some people have even started seeing me differently just because I don’t type the hashtag. You can afford internet or a blackberry and you’re calling youself patriotic because you’re typing a hashtag? Some Nigerians have never held a blackberry or used the internet in their lives! You for go carry ladder dey pull power cable now. If you don’t like the fact that I don’t type the #lightupnigeria hashtag, please feel free to go and hug a transformer. LOL. We all had frustrations about the power crisis in Nigeria before there was twitter! And I don’t think there’s anybody who is completely pleased with the situation cos it affects us all. So nobody should tell me any BS about not being patriotic or being a hater cos I dont type #lightupnigeria 1000 times a day.

Now what am I getting at? What’s my point? Well it seems different people have different reasons and motives for supporting the movement as much as they do. Of course we are all unhappy with the unstable power supply and want to play our own little roles in making a change blah blah all that good Obama-sounding stuff. People have designed numerous flyers and graphics, there have been numerous media mentions, a Facebook group, t-shirts and all that. There’s even a website up at www.lightupnigeria.org, a very impressive one too. But are there any other targets (or sub-targets) we’re tryna reach here? Apart from the ultimate one which is fixing our power problems. Personal goal or a common goal? For fame or popularity? Genuine motive or ulterior motive? Glorified heroism? Or just for general awareness? Do you just type it cos everyone else is and its kinda “cool” right now? Well whichever way that goes one target or goal that I’ve heard about is to make the #lightupnigeria hastag a trending topic on Twitter, which is what I’m tryna address in this blog post. That sounds like a good target doesnt it? Well yeah it does but the only problem is ITS NOT POSSIBLE! At least not anytime soon. I’m sorry but I’m just tellin it as it is. You see, there are not enough Nigerians on Twitter just yet to make this happen, even if every single one of us put #lightupnigeria at the end of every tweet. I mean I know celebrities like @iamdiddy, @aplusk and @souljaboytellem dont find it hard at all to make the trending topics list but these people have over 1 million followers. I mean if 5% of their followers type a hashtag that’s still at least 50,000 people. Now I dont think there’s 50,000 active Nigerians on Twitter yet (keyword: yet, before people bite me). But there soon will be the way I see it. The fact that there’s still a somewhat close circle or at least loose ring of the same Nigerians tweeting back and forth on Twitter means there’s not yet that many Nigerians on there. Another fact is that Trending Topics only last for minutes or hours. Is this enough time to “light up nigeria”?

So what’s the way forward with #lightupnigeria? How in the world can this hashtag ever make it on to the Trending Topics list before there are enough Nigerians on Twitter to do so? Afterall #iranelection made it right? Well the Iran Election was international news and people from all over the world were talking about it and typing that hashtag. But we’re Nigerians now, aren’t we? We always find a way around everything (LOL). So here are a few ways to do ojoro and make #lightupnigeria a trending topic on Twitter:

  1. Cause a big scene and do something news-worthy. Remember the old women from Ekiti who walked through the streets topless? Well all our female #lightupnigeria fighters should feel free to try this route. Maybe if we had younger women doing it CNN just might drop in to cover the story and #lightupnigeria goes worldwide! Even though this still doesn’t fix our power issues.
  2. Rally the support of Twitter celebrities. Imagine @souljaboytellem or @iamdiddy or @aplusk or @oprah asking everyone to type in #lightupnigeria? Their “followers” are sure to follow. This will probably trigger option#1 above too and attract international media coverage. So think of it as a 2-in-1 without the need to take any clothes off. One way of getting this done without actually knowing any of these celebs is for everyone who types in #lightupnigeria right now to add @iamdiddy to it to attract Diddy’s attention and maybe if in 1 day he gets 500 @ replies with #ligthtupnigeria in them, he’d get a bit curious. Oprah is probably the best celeb to target with this but I’m not sure she checks her Twitter herself.
  3. Continue the current hustle and hope a miracle happens or Twitter’s servers erroneously make #lightupnigeria a trending topic. The problem with this option is that it’s human nature for people to get tired. The longer it takes for #lightupnigeria to trend the fewer mentions there will be. Even though every time power goes off I’m sure those fingers will start itching again to type #lightupnigeria. It’s kinda like the modern way to say “UP NEPA” isn’t it? LOL. That’s why I would recommend option #2 above to save you all some resultless finger-muscle-building. At least if your finger’s will get stronger over #lightupnigeria lets see results abi?

Right now the #lightupnigeria campaign (both on and off Twitter) is already gaining momentum and going strong. But option #2 above will be a smart way to make it grow a lot faster. Now how will all this translate into stable power supply? Well we all know our President is already on the matter, even though he has made promise after promise, maybe this will speed things up a bit even if its by a few days. Maybe the campaign can also gather international pressure on the Nigerian government to fix the issue.

Now I don’t want to go into how much of corruption is involved in the current power crisis, how much money is being made from diesel and generator sales in Nigeria or discourage anybody’s efforts, but the power issue is a lot more serious than many Nigerians can ever imagine. I’m just keeping it 100% here. The level of corruption is absurd and Nigeria is not exactly a country where public voice is ever heard (yet, keyword: yet). America just had historic elections in which the first ever black president was elected. How it happened we don’t know but we all hope Nigeria will get there someday, where the voice of the people can and will make real impact on the direction of the country. That’s why whoever is currently actively involved in this campaign should keep doing whatever he/she is doing, because if nobody decides to do something, nothing will happen.

Peace y’all!

Ok so I haven’t blogged in a veeery long time, but this video was inspiring enough to make me come write this post.

I love this very simple explanation of how twitter works. Especially when it’s described as “updates in-between blog posts and emails” (and phone calls of course).

Ok so I use Alexa daily to monitor my websites, not like Alexa is accurate or anything…but I still do anyway. So I pull up the site and it looks completely different, with a particularly ugly background which I think would be more suitable for a gamer website e.g Halo or something.

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Anyways my take is: CRAPPY

Thay could’ve done better. Also I cant smoothen the graph like I could before, or maybe I just cant find the control.

Ok so I didn’t even know this was up on the web anywhere but a friend of mine told me about it.

You’ll catch me at 2:57. And why does my voice sound funny to me? lol.

Bella Naija

Bella Naija

I just completed this website and I’m extremely proud of it. I keep raising my design bar. Check it out.

Bella Naija is Nigerias #1 blog. It had previously existed at http://bellanaija.blogspot.com. If you like the site, and would want something similar, I could hook it up for you for $4999 $3999. :D

Disclaimer: This post might be a bit controversial and if you’re Nigerian you might not agree with me.

I just got back from BarCampAfrica (I need an entire post to write about this) and I will never underestimate the importance of knowledge/idea sharing. I’m Nigerian and my country people are still a bit behind on adopting this methodology. Ok so let me put this out very clearly: A lot of Nigerians have a sense of envy in them. What do I mean by this? I mean many Nigerians don’t always wish you as well as they might pretend to. I’m not putting out a stereotype here, but I’m speaking out of experience. Don’t get me wrong there are so many great Nigerians who wish others well and are happy when others succeed, but there could be more. Many Nigerians who network with others are looking out for themselves, and care very little about the success of that other person.

This hindered sense of sharing and well-wishing has held us back for so long. I think this is part of why so many smaller African countries are much more technologically advanced than us. One person wants to succed above others and keep it all to his/herself. The fact that competition in Nigeria could lead to assassination, both in politics and in business, proves my theory. This happens all over the world, but if you’re extremely successful in Nigeria, you have to watch your back and be sure you’re not stepping on anyones toes. Dive into a diverse industry, not a monopoly.

I gave a topic at one of the sessions at BarCampAfrica called “The Potential Of The Internet In Nigeria“. All I can say is we are very very behind. We have the highest number of internet users in Africa but are nowhere near the top when it comes to internet technology. Our overall attitude towards collaboration needs to change. It’s a big setback. Any Nigerian web developer will know how “unfriendly” other Nigerian developers can be sometimes.

I heard recently there are only two families in Nigeria allowed to import Moet. Now c’mon. This is a common commodity. This is pure corruption. Again, this happens all over the world, I’m not trying to paint Nigeria black, but someone has to call wrongs out wherever they happen.

It’s agreed that any business owner should restrict disclosure of methods and techniques to avoid creating competition, but we should still to some extent be willing to share information and ideas especially across industries. What people forget is that for every idea out there there are at least 3 other ideas for you to think up and even at least 5 modifications of existing ideas to create an opportunity for success, but Nigerians dont really like competition.

For me, some of my biggest accomplishments have been driven by competition. Competition is healthy for any market. Theres Twitter and there’s Jaiku. Theres Facebook and theres MySpace. Theres YouTube and theres DailyMotion. Theres Coke and theres Pepsi. Any single one of the combinations I just made would probably be a much suckier product if the competition didnt exist.

So, the summary of this post is that I’d want to encourage Nigerians reading this to be willing to collaborate and share. BarCampAfrica has kinda given me a lot of hope about we Africans can also network and make things happen at incredible speeds just by working together. Open collaboration shouldn’t just be a western thing. We can do it too Nigeria.

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