Est. 2007

Posts Tagged ‘Fiji’

Email- What Has Changed?

In Tech on October 18, 2008 at 8:47 pm

Well, I hear all the time that email was one of those things that really took off as part of the internet evolution. It was is essence what created the communication framework that we so dearly love today. Don’t get me wrong, it is also a source of misery for some. It is such an elementary part of the web that we often hear the words email and internet side by side, as if email were not part of the internet already. This, one would suppose, comes from the fact that if wasn’t so tightly knit around the internet and was a bit different thing then. It was probably, in my opinion, what created some up take of internet connections in the early years.

Since then things have changed immencely. Email today has evolved from what it was back then. Firstly, email was accesed not throught the web, but through it own client as a primary means of access. It wasn’t free either and only businesses and the elite had an address. Along came hotmail and everything changed. Free email for the masses. The mail boxes weren’t too big back then and the site ran off ads, much like today. It was not only free but web access for now the primary method of accessing mail and for some obvious reasons. After this many others have come along. Notably, Yahoo, Aol and Gmail. These are just the big ones. If you think hard, ISP’s even give email for free even if the mail boxes are small. So, the point is, every man and his dog have an account; oh wait, maybe two, or three? One for work, one for home, one for friends, one for mail subscriptions…….

Moving on, the uses for email have changed over the years too. In the beginning we just used them to write letters, both formal and informal. That soon changed; people used them to subscribe to newsletters and to send short messages or a way just to send files across the network. That all changed too. Now, we have IM for short messages, RSS for news and file transfer and sharing services to take care of that. Where are we now then? Back to square one! Emails are just for text most of the time because we can now communicate through other means, though it is funny to see workmates who are only a couple of feet apart sending emails to each other all day and not even knowing who they are talking to.

There are lots of new things about email now as well. We can access it on the move on our cell phones in various ways; whether that is actually useful is another question on its own. We can store more email for free. We can search our mail more effectively. We can tag them and place them in more than folder without using more space. We can see all messages in the same conversation together and many more things. Most notably though, we are identified online by our email addresses. They are the tickets with which we gain access to all other free and non-free services.

Later we’ll look at the providers, consolidating your email and managing your email eco-system.

The Spray Can

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Digicel Fiji

In Life, Tech on October 3, 2008 at 7:06 pm

Well, the opening of the new mobile phone giant in Fiji was done in one of the most extravagent ways with Sean Kingston performing live before a crowd of thousands for FREE. This is in line with many other launches in the Pacific where stars like Shaggy were brought in to promote the company. Local artists were also present at the event.

The day was filled with lots of hype and the media were having a feild day with it. The Fiji Times and The Fiji Sun being filled with advertisements from all communication companies, namely Vodafone, Inkk, Telecom and of course Digicel. Digicel went on further to subsidise the Fiji Sun which costed 40 cents on the day. Digicel offered phones at cheap prices and had some free credit up for grabs for all new customers in October.

The thing to analyse now is whether the company will make any headway in trying to gain significant market share as Vodafone has been deep rooted here on the account of its 14 year long reign. Though it seems that people are eager to switch if the price is right, they are not blind. The firm advertisers free credit but the credit comes with significant disadvantages. The bulk of the credit can only be used for calls and texts to other Digicel phones, which is not very useful as existing customers are on rival networks and for a new Digicel customer that means they can’t call anyone else for that credit unless their friends switch also. Secondly, the cheapest phone they have at $19 does not have a radio though were advertised to have such a feature. Thirdly, their rates aren’t all that cheap; 30 cents is only for off peak Digucel to Digicel and other charges work up from there. and climb to 45 cents, though it is good to note that the charges are all per second based which is unlike Vodafone and Inkk which charge per block on at least landline calls. You can check this all out at www.digicelFiji.com

On the other hand, they are giving more than you are paying for at the moment. $75 credit is something for nothing even though there are strings attached. The Cheapest phone they have will at least get you on their network if that is what you want. They also have phones that are better and it is good to note the F250 from Samsung which has a whole heap of features for just $125. They have even better phones like Blackberries and Nokia N series phones for cheap as well. The firm will further enhance your experience in the first month by offering free MMS messages. They basically allow pictures with text to be send together; they will later charge 50 cents for this service which is basically half the price to Vodafone which does it at 99 cents. Oh and yes, their texts cost 15 cents! Voice mail is customisable and free to access too.

Further on, the network of Digicel is 2.75G, i.e it is an EDGE network; the network is faster than the standard 2.5G GPRS networks. Digicel, according to their site will offer data plans and data even for prepay users at the rate of 1c/1kb, which is $10/1MB. Certainly not cheap. They also have no inbetween plans just a 2mb and 1gb plan. They really ought to have one at 50mb or something like that so that people can atleast check mail and access a few web pages per month.; it would be nice at around $12.

Overall, Digicel has got some competition coming up against it, though temporary; Inkk gives 30 cents all day rate and Vodafone has got the My Gang thing going for it as well. The next thing that Digicel needs is the ability to convert their Vodafone number to their network so that clients find it easy to switch, but that might never happen even thoughi tis done in countries like New Zealand. On the whole we’ll just have to wait and see what they come up with for us, but they certainly are looking promising.

The Spray Can

Where’s my 2 cents Fiji?

In Life on September 29, 2008 at 5:50 pm

The RBF as of October is removing from circulation the one and two cent coins. Smart? Maybe and maybe not. Let’s look at the pros and cons and perhaps a few other countries.

Cons:

Well firstly, some inflation? Removal of low denominations ought not to cause inflation but it may it rounding is abused. This may occur in a country like Fiji. Items that a readily bought will have their prices rounded up at the shelf and when mixed with other items at the cashier the prices may be further rounded up; therefore, the stores effectively charging more. Though from research it is clear that it is a non-issue in later years and does not affect the economy when proper practices are in place.

Secondly, beggars aren’t going to be too happy. Usually we would give away our coins to charity or to religious places or to donation drives.

Pros:

Well there are many. Firstly, the one cent coin costs 4 cents to make. Added to that fact is that they are often collected and not tendered back, leaving them in drawers and other places where they will not be utilised.

Secondly, not having to deal with these coins means that labour costs are saved, not only by RBF but also by businesses who no longer have to cater for the floats with these coins. The cashier also does not need to count out and give out the coins saving them precious time.

As stated earlier, the coins have limited use; they are only given out and not taken back as counting a bulk of the coins will again cost the company or bank more money than what the coins are worth.

The value of the cent is so low that no item can be purchased by the coin alone. The FJD cent is of course valued less than the US dollar equivalent. Other countries including the Australia and certain European countries have stopped the minting of some of these low denominations. Sweden would be one of the first and hence were the ones to come up with rounding to solve the problem often caused at the checkout. New Zealand on the other hand has removed from circulation the one cent, the two cent and the five cent coins, leaving the lowest denomination as 10 cents. The ten cent coin is also a copper coin. Needless to say, they went on further to make the other coins smaller and lighter so that our wallets and pockets would not be laden with coins that were far too heavy. They are now some of the most light coins around.

Lastly, some of the things that we do not think about. The coins are small and often get lost, so they are not so beneficial to the consumer. The coins are hazardous to small kids who may find the coin small enough to swallow. Seeing as the coin is now intrinsicly valued more than its face value, it becomes a target for copper extractors who can melt coins to gain the metal components. In my honest opinion, this may be difficult in Fiji but there is no lack of motive. Thieves often loot building sites for copper wire; it wouldn’t be a surprise if they suddenly started selling out coins.

All in all, we’d better get out those money bags cause I know we’ve all been hording some of those coins. Who knows, you might get a couple of bucks richer by the weekend.

The Spray Can

The “Kaicolo” Effect

In Life on September 22, 2008 at 7:14 pm

I have theory. The theory is that of people’s behaviour towards technology. Technology is a big word; it is also a common word in today’s day and age. The problem is that for some it is a norm and they are not so easily amused by the next craze that happens to come along. They know that it takes something very good to make it very big.

How does the “kaicolo” effect come into play you ask? Well, here in Fiji the internet was one of those things that few had till competition and broadband made it cheap enough for average people to have a connection at home. This created a rift; people started to look at the new things that they could do with this. Also at the same time as broadband’s introduction, the new buzz word became Web 2.0. This meant a wealth of new applications like social networks, IM, video sharing and picture sharing. If you know human nature well then you know that people pick the things they love to do; they love to do things that are not so good for them.

The Kaicolo effect is just this. People are consumed in doing pointless things that get them into trouble, let alone the fact that they are wasting their time away and not getting the job done. It is also part peer pressure. Here, in Fiji, it’s social networks and cell phones. I suppose friendliness of the people means that everyone just wants to make friends, but they are just wasting many of their hours simply talking to people they see during the day. It’s a problem not for adults, who are so busy during the day; but for kids who are seemingly free all the time and have no work to do what so ever.

There are always new things to do and sites to visit, which means that time is being wasted on pointless things. It is not like they write about anything good, help out at a forum or do any constructive photographing that it be any benefit to the community or oneself for that matter.

Two people I know of have been consumed by at least some part of this effect. Their social presence means that they have hundreds of people to chat with and to update those profiles would also take some time.They are constantly texting or “buzzing” their friends from their cell phones also. They end up wasting the most productive parts of their afternoons doing this. Their teachers and parents became highly concerned about it and their computer usage is now kept at a minimum. I must say that my usage of technology including television, computers and a games console means that my productivity recently has also been declining, but I try to keep that down.

In the end, it’s time that can only fix a problem like this. People will learn how technology is to be best used and not how it is to be abused. This is probably why they still call Fiji a developing country; we are still developing mentally, economically and materialistically.

Kaicolo means becoming crazy about something like you have never seen it before. In this context it can mean obsession.

The Spray Can

Renewable Energy- Fiji

In Life on September 20, 2008 at 11:03 pm

You know, the Fiji Electricity Authority has just signed deals for a new hydro power facility. A great step forward for all I believe. We are inevitably moving further ahead of some of the more developed nations out there. They all hope to have just a few percent of their entire energy needs come from renewable resources; we have surpassed that already.

On the other hand, those nations have opted at least in some small way to decentralize the process by letting consumers provide their own power through net metering. Consumers produce their own electricity through solar, wind or other resource and use the grid as a power storage device; during the evening, the home draws power from the grid to cater for for their needs. During the day though, the meter clocks blackwards as the home generates electricity.

The point of this is that the electricity company does not have out lay as much capital; both the consumer and producer benefit through some way or another. The consumer gets an equity gain, a chance at a proper back up system, the bragging rights of being “green” and a smaller electricity bill . The producer gets energy back for little capital and again following that all too important goal of being green.

The unfortunate thing is though, this is not allowed here in Fiji as far as I know. It’s a shame too, we enjoy unusually high sunshine hours and not to forget the wind which blows well on coastal areas. The other obstacle is the high equipment cost, the government would need to make it tax free and VAT free. On top of which, a good subsidy would go a long way. This way, people will be encouraged to take it up especially businesses like hotels and other high demand areas like factories that have a motive to be green in this modern world.

All in all, this would be a really good scheme to implement seeing as many developed countries have done it. I also don’t think that with all the energy projects we are doing here in Fiji the energy crisis is going to go away. In the next two years, cars will run on electricity and they will all plug up to the grid. I don’t think we have factored that in really. So a lot more energy will be needed and I think if we all were passive users of energy there would be no problem as such; it would give us that sense of security that we so rightly deserve as a developing country. A good temporary solution for cars though would be to encourage those hybrids, yea the Toyota Prius does come to mind. The thing is though, nothing will really happen, cause no one cares; they never have and never will. We will be stuck right here; stuck in this ever sinking sand.

The Spray Can

How Many ISPs Actually Give IMAP Email

In Tech on May 24, 2008 at 6:05 pm

Almost all ISPs give regular POP email to their subsribers and customers as this is the cheapest system. However, there may be some of them which actually have IMAP, although quite rare. If they do, they are likely to say that they acrually have it as it is a plus point for them. I know of an ISP which does offer IMAP but simply does not admitt or state that they do and provide no instructions or server names. This ISP is Fiji International Telecoms LTD subsidary, Kidanet. It’s a shame that they don’t openly state this, I would think of it as a great advantage as it at least makes the service usable. I suppose it’s the prerogative of the ISP to advertise this.

Just for your information the server will be just mail.kidanet.com.fj just like the POP and SMTP ones. However, you must select that you wish to use an IMAP email service in the email client to use it. IMAP is better than POP because it allows syncronisation of folders with the server so when acessing web mail, the mail repositiory is current.

The Spray Can

Is proprietory software ethical for schools

In Tech on September 22, 2007 at 10:55 pm

A long post here.

I had to think heavily about this. I come from a country where most schools would not usually have computers, let alone a good library. Many of the schools which do have computers are in urban centres, rural schools would likely only have one, the one in their office. Schools often seek funding from parents, sponsor companies or simply attempt to fund raise for any projects. Unlike many developed countries computing is offered as a subject in schools and mainly aims to fulfil the basic training to own and operate a computer up till senior high school, around sixth form when basic programming is taught. Only schools who have computers (mainly urban schools) usually offer the subject, rural schools who don’t have any or just have a few may offer but usually teach directly from textbooks, little practice would be given to the students.

The main issue here is that the curriculum is based around Microsoft office and off course Microsoft Windows. This I reckon is totally unfair, many kids probably can’t afford the software let alone what it takes to own hardware to run it properly. Piracy in the country with regards to MS are high, and students are almost certainly¬† using it. The unethical part is that the government is indirectly supporting it my making the curriculum based on MS software.

Really, I think that the schools and the government should switch to open source software as an alternative, a good example would be Ubuntu, or better yet Edubuntu seeing as some schools probably have some old PCs which they can turn into dumb terminals and for those who don’t, cheap pentium 2s ans 1s are available as well. All they need is a good server. This also means easy management of the network, they can give internet access as well. The library can finally have a system for book management seeing as most schools don’t have that either. Filtering sites would be easier and Linux is also pretty much immune to viruses so that solves that problem too.

Only problem is training, and I suppose a little convincing.

The Spray Can

Bloggers Blocked Out

In Tech on September 19, 2007 at 6:47 pm

Recently after the coup in Fiji took place, the government decided to block certain blogs that were against it. Fair enough, some of the blogs were certainly beyond their limits legally both U.S laws and Fiji law. Some described how a bomb could be made. I obviously do not encourage any such activity. There are, however some people who are needlessly blocked out of some internet services.

One of the ways to gain entry to some services would be to use a proxy that is not located in your country or a better one would be an anonymous web proxy. This will at least bypass some of the restrictions. Another solution is to change DNS providers to a free and public one, an example is OpenDNS. This helps people in certain countries like China to possibly gain entry to sites which are filtered. It could even work for Fiji I guess.

Just another tip for maintaining privacy. Try to spread your emails, IM, blogging email addresses over different providers so that it becomes hard for companies to build a complete profile of you. Make sure you can quickly switch providers in case of increased spam or other problems.

The Spray Can

*Amendment: It’s funny really, in less time it would take me to go to my local supermarket and back (less than an hour), this post makes it onto an anti military website news page. This post was mainly just to show others, not necessarily Fijians about circumvention. Fiji was just used as an example, mainly cause I live there and have seen it happen. So think again about what the article is implying, don’t be mistaken.

Why You Should Not Trust Your Receipt

In Funny Stuff, Life on September 19, 2007 at 5:06 pm

It was an ordinary shopping night one would think. Except for when we checked out that is. A very fishy amount of over $300 said so. We were not as shocked since we had not done the shopping the prior weak and were down in supplies but this was exceptional still. We had never in our lives had had a bill of over $300.

Coming home and having had put the groceries in the kitchen I examined the receipt carefully; scanning the amount column carefully. I came to realize that the bill included over 3 kilos of parsley that we certainly had not bought. I made my parents aware of the situation immediately. After having spent a few moments to think, the thought of either potatoes or onions being incorrectly classified came to mind. I quickly got my brother to check the onion and potato bag for their weight. Guess what. The potato had been entered as parley@ $30 a kilo vs potato at dollar thirty, I think.

Well I hope that doesn’t happen again. We were refunded the $90 or so that was overpaid. We now check our bills thoroughly for correctness. I guess no one is perfect

The Spray Can