A World Offline

Loadshedding has hit South Africa in a bad way. Interruptions to electricity has disrupted businesses and resulted in unanticipated cost increases from those who have had to find alternative sources of electricity. 16 years ago, it was unimaginable that we would have some days with 11 and a half hours of no electricity on a regular basis. Personal and corporate routines were formed on the presupposition that there would be a constant and reliable supply of electricity. Yet now, if one’s area timetable ushers in darkness at 8pm, then for many it is an inconvenient early bedtime.

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Software Developers vs ChatGPT & Friends

The machines are coming to steal our jobs. It took the jobs of the farm labourers and the factory workers, and in a twist of irony, it’s now taking the jobs of those who developed its predecessors – the software developers. At least that’s what many alarmist headlines are saying now. But is it true?

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Super Apps vs WhatsApp

Over the last little while, there has been this rise in Super Apps, these apps that attempt to be multi-functional “mobile malls”. In South Africa, Vodacom has released VodaPay where one can “enter” multiple stores to shop their products. Nedbank has Avo where one can also shop for products, except they are categorised by the type of product instead of by the shop. Even Snapscan, the payment app, has diversified and has started offering more products such as prepaid electricity and payments of entertainment events.

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Use Local Technology Services

On 18 September 2022, the Competition Tribunal of South Africa ordered that bank accounts of the Sekunjalo Group of Companies should remain open after closure by some banks, and imminent closure by others. The reason the various banks were closing the accounts of Sekunjalo was because of reputational risk associated to findings of a commission, which implicated them in wrongdoing with the Public Investment Corporation.

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Co-Operatives and Platforms

In the early 20th century, cotton was a common cash-crop grown in the area that is now modern Uganda. As the new British protectorate was becoming increasingly integrated into international commerce and trade, individuals and families also had to adapt and find ways of acquiring currency for the changing economy. In adapting, many starting growing cotton and coffee, which was then bought from individual farmers by merchant middlemen, who then marketed and sold the produce to those who beneficiated the product, such as ginners in the case of cotton, and to industrial centres in Western markets.

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The Cost of Software

The first piece of software I ever remember wanting was Fifa 98. I was in primary school and into gaming. I asked my parents to buy me a copy, and they eventually did. It was a magical experience. The unboxing. Inserting the CD into the CD drive, and watching the progress bar while waiting for the installation to finish on our Windows 98 computer at home. I think it may have cost R300 or so at the time. Later on, I got bored of it. So I swapped it for Sim City with my neighbour. The folly was only realised later.

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The Internet Does Forget

There was this now-peculiar thing that many families did in the 90s. In the living rooms of people’s houses, they had photo albums for visitors to look through. Especially when one hadn’t visited in a long time, a picture could spark a conversation about an interesting place, or invite communal mourning regarding a common acquaintance who had passed away.

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Does This App Come In isiXhosa?

Many moons ago, I saw a tweet of someone posting a screenshot from their computer. The words on the application that was in the screenshot was not in English, but appeared to be in some Eastern European language. And then it struck me: there are some folk in this world who never see English. Not in their street signs. Not in their books. Not in their apps. Not in their computers. Nowhere. So I wanted to see how close to this I could get.

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