The African Cloud: Predictors for Adoption of Cloud Computing

My most recent paper got some twitter promotion by some of the big names in the ICT world. First, my paper got into @ICT_Works and was published in their ICT4D Daily:

Then later that day, a website that I’ve found to have some amazing content during my ICT and Democracy research, @MobileActive, retweeted my post:!/mobileactive/status/71244340407713793

Between these two Twitter feeds, there are 10,000 followers. When I saw that they had retweeted my story, I expected a flood (or at least close to 100) hits coming through the link to my most recent paper, The Cloud and Africa – Indicators for Growth of Cloud Computing. Alas, not a single follower (according to WordPress’ statistics) of those twitter feeds clicked on my link to read my paper.

The reason I had been so excited about this paper  was the originality of the idea. I had never written a paper that was so quantitative heavy, but I had to go that route after I found the literature of Cloud Computing to be limited in the development sense. The few mentions of cloud computing in developing markets focused on India and China. So with the limited amount of data, I had to hypothesize and use what I had learned in class to make a prediction. One of the biggest things I’ve learned while being back in academia the past year is the proliferation of the fear of prediction making. So I decided to buck this trend and create a database that would predict which countries in Africa were most likely to embrace cloud computing as a development and economic solution. What resulted was a table that formed the basis for my Cloud Readiness Index. Certainly, it is not anything that would withstand academic review, but something I thought that could be a good conversation starter and one that could provide information to policy makers and businesses on which markets to examine further to determine if they would adopt the model of Cloud Computing.

My class presentation is here.

The table can be seen here.

My paper is linked to here


Social Media, ICT, and 2011 Elections in Africa

I’ve been brainstorming lately of a project for my thesis that would combine my interests in technology and politics on the African continent. With last semesters’ research into deregulation of African ICT, I want to focus on something more current. With the current events in North Africa being partially attributed to Twitter, Facebook, and the like, I want to see if Social Media and the ICT that powers it can have any discernible effects on other parts of the continent, specifically Sub-Saharan Africa, where there has been no spillover of the democratic movements. Thus with 17 presidential elections happening on the continent south of the Sahara this year in Benin, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, DRC, Djibouti, The Gambia, Liberia, Madagascar, Niger, Nigeria, São Tomé and Príncipe, Seychelles, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe there would seem to be a large sample size  to gather data about ICT and Social Media’s impact on elections. But how to measure this impact? What indicators would I need for ICT and elections? Are these countries a large enough sample size, or should it be expanded to countries where ICT data is more readily available but are having only Parliamentary or Local elections? Or perhaps this should cover 2011 and 2012? With the massive growth of mobile phones on the continent, and more landings of fibre-optic broadband cables, using this connectivity for good governance could be a critical feature of studies on the continent in the coming years. Continue reading

Relieving All The World Cup Aches in Cape Town

24 July

We woke early this Saturday to see if the spa a block away had returned Alisa’s request for an appointment. Alisa sounded pretty horrible this morning, and as this was no less than the 7th day of this cold, her need for relief was of the utmost necessity this morning. There was no reply, so she rang them and learned they she would have to choose between a massage or a pedicure at 1pm, not both. Disappointed, she called her back up, who she thought was also close, but was actually located on Klook Rd in Seat Point, rather than Kloof St here in the City bowl. She was given a bunch of different times, and 11am was the most convenient so we dressed, had reception at Cape Town Backpackers call us a taxi and we were off. Continue reading

Rain, Rain Go Away Come Again Another Day

June 28

Woke up this morning to rain 😦

The plan had been to spend the day outside enjoying the natural sights along Blyde River Canyon and hiking, but the weather was not cooperating. Not ready to give up quite yet, we decided to driving up towards the first view point to see how much of the of the view was really obstructed by the rain. We didn’t make it there. In fact we only made it about 5 min out of town before we turned around. The clouds/fog were so dense we only had about 5 feet of visibility.

Pilgrims Rest is an old mining town that caters to tourists with museums, restaurants, and curio shops making up the entire downtown. Not on the top of our list to visit, we were just going to stop by the next morning on our way back to Joburg, but with the rain it seemed a good a place to stay dry. Twelve Rand a person gave us access to the towns 4 tiny museums: the old garage, the printing building, a victorian home, and the general store. Although most of the museums were just compiled artifacts, we did learn two interesting facts: (1) A model T Ford was the first vehicle to make it over Robbers Pass unassisted by horses to Pilgrims Rest (2) During the second Boer War there was a shortage of paper, so the government had to use paper from the mines to print money on.

After eating lunch and visiting several shops we made our way back to Graskop where we went back to relax at our chalet.

Around 5pm the rain stopped, so we walked towards Harries to have pancakes. Many places in tGraskop claimed to have great pancakes, but Harries was the original and Lonely Planet gave it a rave review, so we were looking forward to the experience. Unfortunately when we arrived Harries was closed for the day, as were most places in Graskop except several tourist shops that we quickly popped into just before they closed for the night. By 5:30 pm it was dead along the main street of Graskop. We walked down the road to a Portuguese/Mozambican restaurant, that we had noticed a number of cars parked in front of the pervious night, to watch the end of the soccer match and have dinner.

The nicely decorated interior was complimented by the warm glow of the fire, which I was delighted to be seated next to. We were given bread with pesto and chili dipping sauce to start, which is very unusual for South Africa. In the States we are accustomed to having a bread basket of sorts served before dinner, but that is not a practice in ZA. Alex order the beef and reef and I had the lemon garlic chicken. Both meals were delicious and very filling.

Back at our chalet we read and watched ZA Soaps until the soccer match.

Off to bed. Hoping tomorrow will a least be partly sunny.