Techzim

Zimbabwe and regional technology news and updates


A Google Map of ZOL Wi-Fi Hotspots in Harare

We thought we’d do a map of all the Wi-Fi hotspots in Zimbabwe to help people locate the nearest hotspot from any location. We started with the ISP that has a good number of them dotted across the country, ZOL. Because of that, this is by no means exhaustive.

There are more hotspots in Zimbabwe and if you know any we didnt include here, please just tell use where it is and we’ll put a marker on it. Better still, open the map in Google Maps, login with you Google account and make the changes yourself! Once we have enough hotspots from different providers we’l drop the ZOL title and pin the ZOL tag to specific hotspots.

We hope it helps you find a hot spot near you!


Econet Asks: Should We Have Waited Until We Could Give Everyone 3G Or We Did The Right Thing To Launch And Sort Out Issues Later?

Econet Wireless Zimbabwe is among the few companies in Zimbabwe to embrace online social media. The company’s 3G Facebook page has about a thousand fans and it gets updated several times a week.

For subscribers, this provides an always available face of the company on the Internet. You can have conversation with an Econet techie right there, and he (or she hey) speaks informally and is frank on the issues that matter to subscribers. The kind of way you’d converse with a real person in real life. This as opposed to the call center agents that always make me feel handled. And for Econet, this is a great way to get honest feedback from customers.


Weekly Roundup – 5 March 2010

Econet held a breakfast meeting today to give an update to stakeholders on the network upgrade project that has been taking place since last year. We’ll give you an update of the discussions held once we have something.


An Overview Of Zimbabwe’s Telecommunications – POTRAZ Presentation Download

We got this presentation here from a function we attended last week. The presentation was made by the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) and generally covers the current state of telecoms industry in Zimbabwe. Coming from them, we’re sure it’s pretty accurate.


Why Google Produces The Most Relevant Search Results

Like many people, for a long time now, Google has been my default search engine. This default state of my online experience makes it easy to forget that there are other options out there; that I could look at the web through a different set of lenses. And that indeed, there might actually be a better experience elsewhere.

I don’t want to use Google just because everyone likes it, so every now and again I like to sample the other popular search engines of the day. The one thing that has made me stick with Google for the past 5 years stills stands out; the priority given to relevant local results.


IT BEGINS WITH YOU: Positioning ICT Departments As A Valuable Strategic Asset.

The issue of aligning ICTs and business processes and goals has been the subject of many discussions and debates. I felt the need to relate the issue to our own Zimbabwean situation as we are equally or in a worse position than those that are making the loudest debates.

It is not clear to me whether ICT failures are government policy related, limited resources, ICT management failures or corporate failures. In Zimbabwe, some recent notable ICT failures are in the electricity billing system, voters roll, and health records system. Apparently some of these national projects were feasible but complete failure to deliver on time at reasonable cost on most of the recent national projects is a major concern.


Skype Comes To Nokia Smartphones

Earlier today, the mobile phone giant, Nokia announced that Skype for it’s Symbian smartphones is now available for free download in its OVI store. Mobile users can now use 3G or Wi-Fi connections to call each other for ‘free’ without needing to route the call through mobile operators.

This is a big game changer for mobile operators. Charging subscribers for call minutes is getting harder and harder to justify and this just another nail in the regular calls’ coffin.

Econet though seems to have seen this coming. It has been heavily investing in reinventing itself into a data career (aka ISP). Just last week, it launched it’s fibre network project and promised to make it available to other service providers in the future. Econet founder, Strive Masiyiwa, sums it up in the YouTube video – “As an operator our basic responsiblity and task, is build a network and to provide coverage and connectivity to as many people as possible. That is the instruction we give to our executives.”


Broken Promises: Broadlands Networks And Blades of Uncovered Grass

On November 30 2009, we posted an article titled “Ambitious New Telecoms Operator, Broadlands Networks”. In the article, we expressed our reservations on some (now) clearly overambitious statements made by Broadlands Networks CEO, Chemist Siziba in a local weekly paper.

Then, Broadlands promised that there’d be “…no blade of grass that we will not cover in January.” Obviously, this did not happen. It’s March now and I personally do not know of a blade of grass that has been covered. If you, dear reader do, please let us know in the comments section below. What we’ve seen though is the emergence of a row between Broadlands and the telecommunications regulator. The kind of wrangling that starts when things are not in order. You know, the TeleAccess kind of row.


Google Announces Code Jam Africa 2010

Google on Friday announced “Google Code Jam Africa 2010”, a coding contest event in which professional and student programmers are asked to solve complex algorithmic challenges in a limited amount of time. The competition is a web-based test and participants can program in the coding language and development environment of their choice.

Registration for the contest runs up to 15 March and Round 1 of the competition starts on the same date. Successful coders will battle it out in round 2 after 7 days.


No Love For G-Tide Phones On Facebook

I received a page suggestion yesterday to a not so usual Zimba page on Facebook. One that doesn’t hide it’s feelings for G-Tide. It’s called “I Hate G-TIDE Cell Phones”. First I thought well, negative campaigns are not new on Facebook but I’ll just check it out and leave. But then I looked at the number of fans and stopped a bit.

The page was created yesterday morning (Zim time) and by the time I viewed it in the evening, 51 people had subscribed. I visited it just now to find the fans had doubled to 111! No mean feat for a Zim page just 2 days old. The viral effect is working against the Tide here!