Techzim

Zimbabwe and regional technology news and updates


Legitimate uses of BitTorrent

Since its inception in 2001 BitTorrent has come a long way. From being a fringe protocol to being the defacto peer-to-peer standard. The total number of active monthly BitTorrent users has been estimated to be more than a quarter of a billion.


Startup talk: A knack for potential

A lot of startups simply stuck their heads into the sand and launched e-commerce sites with a credit card based checkout and no wonder they failed. Whilst at it, it needs to be mentioned that people hate writing cheques and banks hate issuing cheque books even more. www.gtel.co.zw seems to have mastered the art of doing e-commerce in Zimbabwe: it includes Ecocash in its checkout options something most startups need to start doing in addition to adopting and adhering to local customs. Why is there no Miss Zimbabwe app so you can vote for your favorite lady? Why is Ubuntu Shonastill failing?


Startup talk: the value of a brand

Although it might not be apparent at first, one of the most common reasons why startups fail is because of the inability by the founders to create a recognisable, respected and indispensable brand-a cult brand. A brand is a “name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.” Examples of popular brands include Microsoft Word, Windows, PlayStation, ZESA, PowerTel, ZOL, Yo!Africa, Econet, NetOne, Telecel, TelOne and Coca Cola.


Most popular passwords of 2012

During my brief stint in IT one of the most common complaints was that my password complexity restrictions were too stringent. People had to come up with a password they could remember and “+.^_]$”9lQd@7fW” does not cut the list.


Windows goes to UFI

It is a well known truism in Linux circles: The coolest toys come with Windows pre-installed. All a geek has to do is to either completely wipe the drive or dual boot Linux with Windows. A hitherto trivial and straightforward task that could at times be completed in a matter of minutes.


Is Flash dead?

As all web developers know, they do not develop for themselves. These days there are more and more things to consider when developing a website: Google rankings, target audience, mobile device compatibility etc. And now you have had to add to the list, should I use flash or HTML5?


Why not use Free and Open Source Software

I am inclined to think that VLC media player is the most popular software in Zimbabwe. Few people outside the tech circles know, however, that it is Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). Even fewer people know what FOSS is let alone its advantages especially to SMEs and Startups with their tight budgets. I am still to meet anyone who does not love the player; it is robust, has a simple interface, extensive functionality, a trivial learning curve and modest memory footprint – beauty in code.


Software Piracy: Going clean in 2013

So I here confess to my crime your honor: at various times from March 2005 up to sometime in December 2012 I knowingly/ unknowingly and willfully used pirated software and used, multiple times, a copy of Winrar whose license had expired in contradiction of the law, the express and implied wishes of the copyrights holders. But I was not the only one. I blurt out. Through out Zimbabwe there have been man and women who have, since the advent of computers blatantly used pirated software. Shops sell DVDs of pirated software for $3/$5.


Tethering your Windows 7 device

Following controversial articles in which I mentioned the juggernaut (otherwise known as they-who-shall-not-be-named) I have had this odd feeling I am being followed. Art was never one of my strong suits but I did try to make a sketch of the guy here. So until the disguise I ordered from Amazon is shipped I will stick to neutral articles. In case you are confounded by my choice of disguise. I should confess I am a fan of Two and Half Man ( I got this show legally from thepiratebay.se) and Charlie Sheen so inspired me.


Need help: On websites that suck and how to make them

Being a reasonable man has always been an integral part of my being. The only people who would disagree are my friends, neighbors, acquaintances and relatives but that is only because they are unreasonable, sapient and obsequious people. Who would think there are twenty-six letters in the English alphabet?! If you too are wondering: the answer “is not twenty six” and if you are still in doubt go to merriam-webster.com.


A Zimbabwean geek’s letter to Santa

Me and Santa have been good pals since the PTC days when life was much simpler. For all my troubles the only choices I had to make were between Surface Mail, Air Mail, Telegraph. Calling my infamous and terrible aunts was a small matter of giving their numbers six weeks in advance to, you guessed it, the PTC operator.