Monday, 28 December 2015

Secret Santa

by Farzana Rasheed

Like we do every year, we exchanged gifts this year. It was indeed wonderful to know who our Secret Santa was and, how much thought and care went into getting gifts for each other. After yet another hectic and challenging year, it is wonderful to come together as a team and celebrate the end-of-year season.

I must say all of us very surprised indeed.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

End of year blog post

Working with the NATC family has been a great experience so far. 

I started working with NATC since September 21 2015 through the Mercy corps Apprenticeship program. The position I occupy is an IT trainee and being a trainee I have learn lot of new things like crimping of network cables, color coding, printers and computer maintenance, antivirus installation, and many other things. I also had the opportunity to work and learn more about printers repair, some hardware parts, LIFI and SOLU Technology.

I have also been going on site with senior staff to do some work.

This year its has been Great.
Thanks to the NATC Family .
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Rita J Gailor


Hey Everyone!

I am pleased and very excited to come to the end of this year and hundred percent confident of a better and brighter future here with New Africa Technology Company. The backbone of my career and I am proud to say.

Over the year, I have had many challenges and there was always a solution.

Let me share with you a recent one I faced on one of our clients site out of Monrovia. Precisely in Sanniquellie, Nimba County, Danish Refugee Council (DRC) Field office.

After installing eScan Anti-Virus on (16) sixteen pieces of laptops and maintained 4 printers, one out of four printers, there came my challenge. I powered on the printer (Canon MF 4350D) and started to receive error code E225.

I opened up the printer and removed every single important part out for checking and noticed the scanner glass of the printer wasn’t positioned correctly. Apparently it had fallen or tampered with by another technician who could not figure out the problem. I removed the glass out, properly clean and repositioned it. Turn on the printer, the error code was gone! The display screen was shown ‘’Ready to Print”. Did a test print using the (ADF) Automatic Document Feeder and the glass to make sure all was okay.

As we come to the end of this year, I am again pleased to congratulate every staff of NATC on their endless and tireless contribution towards making this year a success. And to our beloved and valued customers, blog readers, we at NATC care and we are here to stay!

Wish you all a very happy Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.

Daniel Collins 

End of Year Blog Post: My First Lock

My name is Jonathan Barwon, I have been working for New Africa Technology Company for the past 5 years as Head of IT.

I have achieved so many things on the job and as head of IT. Most of my achievement was on the jobs; now I can install a V-SAT link,  I did not go for any training but was able to get all of these experience on the jobs as Head Of IT and by telling myself that what other can do I can do it and even do more.

One of the Major or greatest achievement for this year, was to know how to setup and install a V-SAT Link, and not all also I learn how to configure an iDirect X3 Modem.
I got this achievement after two visits on site with a V-SAT Technician Specialist who I was watching or looking at during his installation.

On the 3rd of December 2015 I was send to Cestos alone to a client site to setup a V-SAT link there, that was where I achieved my first lock, it was not easy to get this lock, because I did not have any working tools on site with me like GPRS and spectrum analyzer meter to locate the Satellite which was NSS10. By the way of “isite” software on my laptop, I was able to locate the Satellite and I was able to get lock. I did not get the link up and running due to a problem from the ISP Skyvision, I was told by the Skyvision technician that they were able to see my transmission but the modem was not entering their network, they told me that the problem was from the BUC, I needed to change the BUC. A communication was sent to my office updating on the problem.  A Technician was sent on site to me long with a new 3 watts BUC, but we did not replace the BUC as we were told, after the technician that was sent to me by my office checked what all I did, he asked me to call back the ISP to check from their end. After some test that was carry on by the ISP we got to know that the issue was due to some configuration problem from their end. After the ISP change their configuration the link became active.

With this experience and achievement and all the tools available to me I can now install or setup any V-SAT link.

Yes, I still have more to learn on setting-up a V-SAT link, but I am so happy for this achievement for this year and more to achievement in the coming years.


End of year blog post

By Lee Flomo

Left to right: Emmanuel Jacobs, Me, Kavita Karamchandani, and Musu Freeman

God help me please. What I'm I gonna do. I have never worked in an office before. Am I gonna fit in at all. They are running a business not a school, how do I expect to learn in such a place. These and many other questions filled my mind during my first day of internship at the New Africa Technology Company. 

Being a student of electronics my sole aim of coming to NATC was to acquire some knowledge in Information Technology.  The New Africa Technology Company has given me this and even more. So massive has been their impact but I'm gonna talk about just a few.  They have taught me office ethics.  Before coming here I did not know how to speak, dress or act in an office.  I have also gotten some knowledge (though not mastered yet) on maintaining various  hardwares like PCs, printers etc. I never knew what a V-SAT was before coming here but thanks to NATC I participated in the dismantling of one which definitely give me an idea of how the installation may be. I have also participated in a networking project which enabled me to learn so much  I have also learned many things that are not I.T related. Though I have erred many times but every error has only been an opportunity to learn something new from my bosses.

I have been on a few jobs since my coming to NATC. Of course  I work mostly in the office but I sometimes get chances to go on site.  I went to Grand Gedeh County to aid in uninstalling a V-SAT which was interesting. But by some distance my most interesting job came just recently. The networking job at social impact wasn't just interesting but it gave me a chance to see some challenges I would face should I suceed In being a technician. It was just too educative and I'm grateful to NATC's Head of Operations for including me on the team. It was the first job that I can actually say I was part of the solution because I participated in nearly every action. 

Next year my aim is to make NATC a better I.T. company. I hope to do so by learning more which would enable me to do my best on every job. I thank my bosses for the patience they exercised with me over the month and I wish everyone at NATC a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Cluttered Desk

Apparently, Albert Einstein is credited with this idea about messy desks: "If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?'"

I tend to agree somewhat - a working person's desk is bound to get cluttered and chaotic. Many persons thrive on chaos and need the disarray to convince them they are busy and productive. But these same persons also need to routinely tidy up the chaos, especially if they can't find important documents, keys and pens. 

See my desk from today. 

Printing the 2015 NATC Season's Greeting Card

by Farzana Rasheed

We are printing our 2015 Christmas card. We used the same paper as we did last year and the result is great. 

It is a real sense of accomplishment to arrive at the printing and distributing of cards knowing the journey we made with local artists. 

Our friend Luca designed the card which is a framed painting. Our message inside is: 

"If you want to go quickly, go alone. 
If you want to go far, go together."

(African proverb)

Go far with us, NATC and you.

I must admit that I don't know how authentic this proverb is and I found it online. In the quest to be as authentic and true as possible (organising a technology-themed art contest, working with local artists, preferring original paintings in oil and water colour as opposed to graphic art, inviting external judges), we lagged behind coming up with some interesting text. I guess finding something online is OK but wish we had some words from a Liberian poet or writer to go with the theme of the year. 

Nevertheless, I hope the card is well received and appreciated by everyone. A lot of work went into it!

We enjoyed the process so much that we hope to do it again next year! 

Monday, 7 December 2015

External Hard Drive

Hey Colleagues,

Compliments of the season;

Have you ever had an issue with Western Digital External HDD being recognized on your PC, but not opening?

One of our clients reported that when she inserted her HDD into the USB port of her computer, it shows the drive letter e.g. (f) but when she clicks the tab, it never opens. She assumed that as an I.T. technician; I would be able to resolve this issue in no time.

I said to her “no problem,” I can help you out. Initially, I thought the device needed Anti-Virus scan or format. I connected the drive to my pc and scanned it for viruses. When I tried to open it again, the same problem occurred.

Next, I “right” clicked on the drive and selected ‘format’. This too did not work. Instead, I received an error message stating that windows, was unable to complete the formatting.

My last option was to format using Microsoft command prompt or dos command and by doing this, you need to follow a few steps:
  • Click on "Start" menu
  • Type "CMD" and run as administrator
  • Dos command opens
  • Type "disk part" and press enter
  • Type "list volume" to select the drive letter you want to format and press "enter"
  • Select volume number that matches the drive letter and press "enter"
  • Type “clean” and press "enter"

After doing all of this it says ‘’diskpart succeeded in cleaning the disk’’. I was assured that the HDD was okay and didn’t bother to open it again and started working on other things.

The next morning I inserted it into my PC and transferred some docs on it for testing it worked well. The External HDD was safely ejected, but when it came time to begin the transfer process, the drive fell right back into its previous status.

I was discouraged, after spending days trying to resolve the issue only to find that my solution had failed. I had all most given up and I shrunk at the thought of informing the owner that the drive was faulty and could not be repaired.

That night, I decided to read the back of it of the external drive, just out of curiosity. There was nothing extra shown on how to go about fixing the problem, however, I did find the company website: and the amount of space on the drive. It was 1TB.

So I explored the website when I got back to my office the next morning. While doing so I discovered that the WD HDD has a firmware which needed to be updated.

I downloaded the firmware software ( installed it on my PC. When I launched the software I immediately received a message stating that the drive was missing.

Finally, I was getting somewhere. Next, I inserted the WD HDD into the USB port of my PC, it was quickly detected and started to perform its task. Within 15 minutes, the firmware software update was complete.

I closed the launcher, reopened the HDD, and everything started to perform normally. If only I had had this idea sooner, I wouldn’t have formatted the drive, losing all of its stored data in the process. In the end it all worked out and it was a great learning experience. A wise man once said: “you never try, you never know”. When it comes to I.T., I know that nothing is impossible. The answer is always out there, it just needs to be found.

I felt relieved and now I am confident in my abilities. The most important lesson I learned from this experience is that the process of learning is based on everyday basics.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

No Longer the Newbie!


My name is William R. Tolbert IV. My close friends and family call me J.T. It stands for Junior Tolbert. The nickname I inherited from my father. I moved home to Liberia four years as a New York native, after a stint in the military and I haven’t been back since.

Before I go any further I’m just going to go ahead and address the elephant in the room…YES. The late President Tolbert was my grandfather. I bear my father’s name, just as my father bore his. Now that that is out of the way, shall we continue?

I’ve been involved in marketing, sales, promotions, and brand development for over ten years. My heart has always rested in the arts, while my mind has been entrenched in the business world; everything from music, to dance, to poetry. I’ve even tried my hand at painting (Mind you, I can’t even draw a straight line).

I have found marketing to be a comfortable middle ground for my gifts and abilities to shine, especially in a city like Monrovia where there are so many ventures, initiatives and projects taking place with so much diversity, yet a simplistic synergy. This city seems to attract artsy nomads with bleeding hearts, very much like myself. I fit in perfectly!

So, I recently stumbled upon a posting on the infamous “Expat-list,” and decided that this might be a good opportunity to try my hand at new industry and skill set altogether. I have been taking courses and certification exams for an ECOWAS backed CPA program. I know I know…this has nothing what so ever to do with arts, technology, or marketing but just try to follow. I’m about to land.

So I applied and interviewed for a Part-Time book keeping position and as luck would have it. There was a need within the NATC organization for a marketing/Client liaison expert. Eventually, I ended up precisely where I was meant to be, right back in my comfort zone. This all took place in September, fast forward to November.

So November was a very interesting month here at NATC. I had an amazing time with the LivArts Contest; met so many talented artists based right here in Monrovia. I think November was a great month for me work wise as well, because I had an opportunity to really settle in to my position here and get a firm grasp on not only what is required of me, but all so, a routine which works for me in order to effectively accomplish my daily activities without falling behind or feeling overwhelmed.

I’ve begun engaging various clients and I feel a higher level of comfort and commitment in doing so. I know my performance has definitely improved and my day to day efficiency as well. I enjoy working with my colleagues and the work environment keeps me stimulated. There is always something to do, somewhere to go, and I am constantly being asked to channel my strengths, this allows me to grow every day. I definitely don’t mind a challenge. I’m very excited that the holiday season is here and the New Year is right around the corner. Who knows what surprises it will have for the NATC family? I can’t wait to find out!

by William Tolbert

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Generator Woes!

by Haresh Karamchandani

After using it for about 5 years we upgraded our Kama 5.5 KVA Diesel Generator to a Chinese made 7.5 KVA Generator at our residence about a year ago.

This cost us US$3,000.00, but considering it was a 7.5 KVA we were happy to spend this money as a 10 KVA Lister Petter or Perkins would cost about $7,500.00, and considering our usage load at home a 7.5 KVA would be good enough.

We ensured that the generator was well maintained regularly. The company that sold the generator to us would send their technician to service the generator regularly by changing the oil, oil filter, fuel filter, air filter and do a general check and clean-up.

The generator worked well, worked well till one evening:

LEC went off one evening and I jumped off my couch to start it before the UPS would go off. It would start, but instantly switch off. I tried and tried to no avail. Bye bye Dallas! (We watch the 80s TV series on DSTV Channel, CBS Drama, Channel 134 every evening at 9:30 PM)

The next morning I got a technician to have a look and he took out a solenoid valve and cleaned it up and put it back. This solved the starting problem.

2 nights later, the same pattern followed, but this time it would not even start. It would just keep kicking but no starting. Our landlord who lives in the same apartment complex said he knew a technician and called him to come and help. The “experienced” technician worked on the machine for an hour and a half but was unable to fix it and eventually gave up citing that the fuel pump has failed!

The next morning I called up the supplier of the generator and asked them to send over their technician. A different technician came and got down to the job. After some trouble shooting he concluded that yes indeed the Fuel Pump had failed.

I could not believe the young technician as we had maintained and serviced the generator by the book all the time. The technician invited me to come and have a look. I went down to the generator room and this is what I learnt.

Apparently there is a dip stick on the fuel pump which helps to check the oil levels in the pump whenever the maintenance is done. And there is a bolt that need to be opened and oil needs to be replenished if low from time to time. The oil in our fuel pump was COMPLETELY DRY, and this is why the fuel pump had failed!

I spoke to another Lebanese technician friend and asked him what he thought about this. He said the Lister Petters or Perkins do not have this kind of feature. Instead the fuel pump automatically gets oil from the engine. The Chinese decided to make this feature for reasons best known to them. I checked the service manual and there was no mention of this there.

I then called up the original technician who has been servicing our generator over the last one year and asked him:
Me: Kamara, did you check the oil in the fuel pump when you did the servicing the last month? Kamara: Mr. Haresh, what oil? The fuel pump? Me: Yes, the fuel pump. Kamara: Mr. Haresh, the fuel pump should NEVER be touched. If you touch it you spoil the generator!
I straight away realized that this guy has never worked on a Chinese machine and did not know that the Chinese fuel pump needs to be checked periodically. He has been under the impression that the Chinese machine worked like the regular Listers and Perkins! They say “Little knowledge is dangerous” I fully agree.

Now this fuel pump had to be repaired or replaced in order to get the generator to work.

I called up the supplier and asked him if he had a replacement fuel pump in stock. He said he did not, but could order it by DHL from China and it would cost US $1,000.00 and would take 10 days. I said that was not a good solution and there should be another way out. He then suggested that we take the fuel pump out and go to Hydraulic Technical Inc, in Bushrod Island to see if they could repair it.

HTI is a swanky, well equipped, state of the art workshop that repairs all types of pumps. I was very impressed with their set up with an Operation Theatre like lab and latest diagnostic tools and equipment. The chief technician was an elderly Egyptian who claimed to have 40 years’ experience in repairs of pumps. He spoke like a Doctor and explained that the fuel pump was actually the heart of the generator. He got down to the job and a few hours and US$350.00 later the pump was as good as new.

He blamed the damage to bad quality fuel in the market and advised that we spend another $125.00 and install a water-fuel separator, which I agreed.

So the machine now has a water-fuel separator and it is working like brand new. At least for now!