Saturday, 13 December 2014

We're painting the office

We are whitewashing our office in preparation of a photo shoot next week.



Wednesday, 10 December 2014

A look at our Christmas cards over the years...

by Farzana Rasheed

Here's a look at the Christmas cards we've done over the years:

2010

2013

I love the cards from 2010.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Printing the Christmas cards

by Farzana Rasheed

I ordered paper and envelopes from our supplier so we could print our beautiful Christmas cards on the paper it deserves.

The paper arrived in one of our regular FEDEX shipments from houston, Texas. It's a Staples box of 75 sheets of matte white greeting cards and envelopes.


Haresh printed out some cards already as you can see here. They are really striking and, I'm excited to send out such an elegant end-of-year message to our clients and friends at the end of 2014. 



Thursday, 4 December 2014

Inconsistent LEC generates headaches

by Farzana Rasheed



A constant supply of uninterrupted electricity is still a distant dream in Liberia. 

Service from LEC, while extremely expensive, US $ 0.52 per kw, continues to be inconsistent. For the better part of 2014, we have had no service at our office on Randall Street. Yes, we had NO LEC service at all, not even for a couple of hours. This meant we have been relying solely on our 15 kVA generator for power. Moreover, our neighbors started sharing our generator. One of our neighbors is our landlord so the sharing is goodwill! Another is a garage and in exchange they service the generator every Saturday. The other neighbour is a mobile repair shop and they pitch in cash every alternate day to pay for fuel. 

Our total consumption is about 35 Amps and our 15 kVA generator has a 60Amp capacity and consumes 5 gallons of diesel every day (costs $ 20.00). Usually this suffices but even then somehow we seem to have more load than we think and the generator trips. 

Recently, while we were resolving an LEC issue at our house, we thought we had stumbled into a genius plan with one of the LEC technicians. By taking a small "commission" of $ 75.00 a field LEC technician who had come to replace our house meter said he would switch us to the Ministry of Gender's line. Apparently it is on 24/7. So, he did put us on the Gender line and we did seem to have 24/7 power but that lasted for a day. At least we seem to have LEC again intermittently and really randomly but we realise we got duped.

LEC is on sometimes in the afternoon and sometimes it's there in the morning. It is so random that one cannot even detect a pattern. We usually go home without having had LEC all day and buy fuel for the next day. 

As for the issue at our house, two days after the fact, we realised our meter had burnt. Out all day on a Sunday, the LEC did not come back on as it usually does (as we have observed a bit more of a clear pattern at our house) in the night. Two days later, we realised that it was only us. Drat! 

We filed a complaint at the LEC head office in Waterside on a Wednesday. Naturally, no emergency team came round and five days later, Haresh went to Waterside to try to get a technician to come to our aid. He found one but who bypassed the burnt meter and connected us directed to the LEC grid, illegally. This made matters even worse because the next day we were back to square one. The illegal connection gave out and we were again without light.  That evening we called up an old contact (Mr.  Dixon, the LEC Emergency Despatch officer) who sent over a team of technicians within the hour as promised. However when the team saw that an illegal connection had been made, they threatened to report it. Not only did it feel like an insult on injury since after complaining for 5 days and being without LEC, it also felt like bit of a joke - as if law and order is a gold standard in Liberia. Moreover, the fact that a technician pretending to be an LEC technician came over to help us out, goes to show how easily corruptible the LEC's infrastructure is. The emergency crew, three of them who came in a van, told us the meter would have to be replaced and they would be back the next day. We had to give them US $ 50.00 for their troubles.

The meter wasn't replaced until three days later after a lot of personal visits to the LEC, filing of an anomaly form, and personal follow ups at LEC Bushrod Island Tech department which is in charge of replacing meters. Even then, the LEC installation crew did not get it right the first time. Our meter was installed but there was no light. We rang up one of the installation crew's technician and asked him to come back. He crudely told us he had other work to do.  We had to telephone his supervisor to ask him to come back. 
  
Since our meter had to be registered, we could not buy credit the same day. A new meter comes with 20 units that are just about enough to make it through the evening. We asked our staff Emmanuel to follow up but he was brushed off and told the meter would not be registered until five days later. Annoyed, Haresh had to go in personally and after making some noise, the new meter was registered and he was able to buy credit.  

We still have to follow up on getting our 300+ units transferred from our old meter to the new one.

From the looks of it, electricity is going to continue to be inconsistent, extremely expensive and a  headache indefinitely. 

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Windows Phone error code 8007xxx while installing WhatsApp

By Haresh Karamchandani


I got an HTC Radar Windows Phone and wanted to download and install WhatsApp, a popular app that was purchased by Mark Zuckerberg for about US$6,000,000,000!!

I went to Marketplace and keyed in WhatsApp in search and easily found the download link. But when I hit download it would give an “error code 80073cf0”.

On doing an online search to find a solution I came across the following:
  1.  Update the phone,
  2.  Check the location and time settings,
  3.  Delete temporary memory,
  4.  Re-configure email account settings (in fact my phone showed “attention required” in the gmail email account that I has configured.)

I suspected the problem would be the “attention required” in the email account setting and got down to try and fix it. I tried advance settings, put in all the correct information in POP server, passwords, email account name, etc, but the windows phone kept giving the same ‘attention required’ error.

The worst issue was that I could not even delete out the account and re-configure another email account!! This was so frustrating.

Finally, the only option left was to do a factory reset on the phone and start all over again. I synchronized the phone, to save all my pictures and contacts and other data, to my computer using the Zune software and went ahead with the factory reset option.

Then I went into emails and account settings and created a new “live.com” id. This worked smoothly without any errors. Then I also could download the WhatsApp, Viber, Facebook and many other apps without any errors!!

Conclusion: Because it is a Windows Phone, Microsoft will not allow you to configure a gmail, yahoo, id. They actually FORCE you to register and configure a “live.com” email id which I will not even be using!

Introducing eScan Anti-virus

By Haresh Karamchandani



At the beginning of this year New Africa Technology Company introduced and launched the eScan Anti-virus product in the Liberian Market.

Actually, it all began when we received an anonymous marketing call from India in January from some pushy tele marketer trying to convince us that they want us to become a partner and distributor for the Liberian market. As usual we shrugged them off and told them to send us an email instead.

The email bombardment began and we could not resist checking them out.

“Greetings from eScan !!

It was pleasure talking to you the today. Microworld Technologies Inc. is an ISV focused in the domain of Data Security Solutions & offers Antivirus, Internet Security Suit, Mobile/Tablet security etc. Being an IT solutions provider, We see a great synergy between our business and good co-operation which will help in developing and growing sales revenues for both the companies by offering an extra layer of data security to your customers. Please find attached a short profile of eScan Data security solutions for your kind perusal which you can also forward to relevant people in your organisation.

Let me just give you a brief about MicroWorld Technologies Inc .

Company Profile: MicroWorld Technologies Inc.
  1. Micro World is established since 1994 and has state of the art development centre, Research & Development, Quality Assurance and 24 x 7 technical support.
  2. Micro World has 10 offices worldwide in USA, Germany, South Africa, UAE, India and Malaysia.
  3. Micro World Security Software Solutions are available in 18 languages and sold in over 100 countries worldwide.
  4. MicroWorld focuses on Content Security, Messaging Security, End Point Security and Mobile Security products supporting Windows, Mac, Linux and Android Platforms.
  5. Micro World is a channel driven company and does business through Channel Partners like Mobile Operators, ISPs, OEM Partners, Retail Distributor, Value Added Distributors, System Integrators, IT Solution Providers and Value Added Resellers.
  6. MicroWorld has launched eScan Mobile and Tablet Security products in the last quarter of 2012 which is making big news in the market and has already received great acceptance by end customers and certifications.
  7. Microworld has presence in Nigeria & Ghana, we have managed to develop a wide channel network as well as Corporate client base. Please find attached Ghana client list for your kind perusal.
Please visit www.escanav.com in order to to gain more details about eScan & other range of products from Microworld Technologies Inc.”

This sounded interesting and we decided to take the matter up to the next level and wrote them back asking for pricing details.

We eventually decided to go ahead and signed a partnership agreement. When our Head of Operations visited India he set up an appointment with eScan and personally visited their offices in Mumbai to further understand and strengthen the already established relationship. He came back with some advertising materials.

Since then NATC has been able to install various eScan Anti-virus products on our regular client computers. We are yet to begin retail marketing and intend to do so, now that we are convinced beyond doubts that this Anti-virus indeed works hard and is much better than Norton, Kaspersky, MacAfee etc. (There have been instances where after we uninstall these known brands from a client machine and install eScan AV, eScan has been able to detect and quarantine viruses which were not detected by these known brands).

Our clients feel much safer and we feel happy.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

It's that time of year again....

by Farzana Rasheed

It's that time of year again and I can't believe it's already here.....and, what a year it has been, too. 

It's the time of the year to start thinking about Season's greeting cards. It's become a tradition at NATC to put a lot of effort into celebrating the year's end and reaching out to our clients in the form of a Christmas card. 

I asked our friend Luca to design a card for us. We met Luca earlier this year after who found us through our blog. He had returned to Liberia in 2009 for a few weeks and was back this year again to try to move back. 

My main impression of Luca is of his overwhelming fondness of Liberia which he has nurtured throughout his life. I think it is very endearing and touching to know that someone who grew up here associates his happy childhood specifically with Liberia and has made such an effort to come back and even explore moving back. I wish him luck with his dream.

These are the two cards Luca designed for us. My overwhelmingly favourite one is the one that has the Fanti cloth in the background. 

Card 1
Card 2 - the winner!
The first card definitely has that Christmassy feeling. The twinkling Christmas lights, as they fade into the distance, are a perfect backdrop for a year end message. But the card could be from anywhere. So, I asked Luca to design another card that has a West African motif. 

Luca came up with the second design literally within the hour and, I can't gush enough about it. Where to start? The first background is a Fanti cloth and has some of the NATC logo colours (green and yellow) which makes it perfect. Then there is a partially translucent shape of Africa on top of the Fanti cloth background which actually looks like tracing paper. It's a beautiful card and I can't wait to share it everyone on our list.

Many many thanks to Luca!