Why every company should have a corporate blog

Posted August 30, 2007 by aitecgroup
Categories: Web 2.0 Technology

While many companies are still getting used to the idea of having any kind of Web presence, forward-thinking companies are looking to blogs as simple, self-sustaining Web sites. If you’re not thinking about how to use blogs in your business, you’re missing a big opportunity.

So whats a blog?

A blog is an online log or journal. It’s like a website, but you can update it instantly and dynamically. Other people can post comments on your blog – if you want them to. You can post images, music, and videos, too.

What’s more?

Blogs require almost no technical knowledge or programming skills to set up and manage .
They can be hosted free of charge… and there is practically no maintenance required.

Corporate blogs as communications channels, can impact on almost every aspect of your business in a number of ways:

First and foremost, blogs are a direct channel of communication from the company to your customers,partners and vendors. They are the only channel of this kind that is cost-effective. This alone is reason enough to have blog.

A company can use a blog to enhance customer relations by opening up lines of communication with its customers. Companies can print the URL for their blog on business cards, receipts, brochures with messages that encourage them to visit the company’s blog.

Blogs can also be used to establish market leadership. A blog can act as a leading voice simply because it clearly focuses on your company.
So if you have good content that can market your company to prospective customers, then it is possible to become known in your niche at a relatively faster rate.

Corporate blogs can help create dialogue that make your company engage its customers,patners,suplliers and employees in the innovation of a new product lines. Ideas generated can be followed and taken up by the company .

Blogs can be a great asset when it comes to product design as it is believed that when a customer gets involved in designing a product then sales will much more likely be higher than when a company designs the product solely.

Blogs can help a company to learn especially through opinions expressed in daily conversations. Online interactions lead to further discussions and debate. A companys can derive lessons and learn something new along the way. This is cheap qualitative research!

People always want to know how to improve something in their lives; corporate blogs can be used to teach customers how to use products or services. Technical issues can be answered as well, Inform of a series of how-to articles that can be useful especially by your current customers.

Blogs can be useful when it comes to making announcements. Is your company exhibiting at a trade show? or your team involved in any seminars or other marketing events just put it on the blog .

Blogs can allow a widely dispersed organization to effectively coordinate its efforts by letting teams see what other teams are working on. The larger your company is, the more important this technology can be useful.

Blogs can also improve employee relations. Your employees may have news, and often, want to tell whoever cares to listen. This is a great way to boost morals at your work place,although a blogging policy should to be put in place.

So if your company has something unique to say to the world, or your business creates something of value to people then your company should have a blog.

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Yahoo mail now offers free text messaging to mobile phone numbers.

Posted August 27, 2007 by Becky Bukosera
Categories: Emerging technologies

The new version of Yahoo Mail now includes some communication features that make it a little easier for contacts to stay in touch. It has the ability to send instant messages from Yahoo! Mail to mobile phone numbers. Mail users can now send text messages to mobile numbers.This feature can be acessed in the US, Canada, India and the Philippines but later will roll out to all yahoo users worldwide. Users simply enter a mobile phone number, type a message and send it. Read more

The one laptop per child project

Posted July 25, 2007 by aitecgroup
Categories: Emerging technologies

Have you heard about the one laptop per child project? It’s a project that has generated a steady steam of international coverage that also caught my attention .
The XO laptop, previously known as the $ 100 laptop or children’s machine is a cheap laptop which is tailor made for children in the developing countries, to provide them with access to knowledge.

The laptop is developed by the one laptop per child OLPC a non profit organization created by faculty members of the MIT media lab, to design, manufacture and distribute the laptop and its software.
This laptop contains a flash instead of a hard drive and uses Linux as its operating system.
The internet connectivity question is addressed in a few different ways,The OLPC laptop
Includes the use of Wi-Fi, WiMax, 3G and satellites, as well as fiber, coaxial cable and plain old telephony.

It’s common that when a project sets out not only to change the world but also to change the future of computing, it’s sure to be at the center of lots of attention and not a little bit of controversy. This has definitely been the case for the One Laptop Per Child project, which has gained attention both for the right reasons,that include humanitarian goals and for the roundbreaking technologies it’s introducing to the developed countries, and for the wrong reasons of fixation on product pricing and assumptions about capabilities of the laptop.

The strongest argument in favor of this cheap laptop idea rests on the assumption that the greatest assets of a people are its children, and so the highest social priority is on the education of these children. Throughout disease, natural disasters, war and poverty, education features as the primary solution to the problem.

Most educators would argue that effective learning stems from a fundamental level of personal curiosity about a subject, and in a sense the ability to self-teach. The key point here is not so much what each child knows so far, but rather the perspective that they can bring to bear on a problem. It is well known from case studies that network learning, augmented by technology, computers and Internet connectivity, bears heavy fruit in academic terms.

Although Negroponte the founder and his team insist it’s purely educational, some critics think it’s a politically –marketed approach to a real problem as nearly half of the purchase price of a new laptop is taken up by the cost of sales, marketing, distribution and of course the profit margin.

At the Dell/National Federation of Independent Business Small Business Excellence Awards, Michael Dell spoke about the XO laptop during a question-and-answer session. He said that the laptop will be too underpowered to be of any use to children and won’t be able to handle necessary computing tasks. “The issue is not so much what does it cost, but what does it do,” Dell said.

In my opinion,the OLPC project is a good idea as there will be 100’s of millions of children in Africa, China, Indonesia, India and South America who will be able to have their own laptop to help them learn.

Blogging Tips

Posted June 20, 2007 by Becky Bukosera
Categories: Web 2.0 Technology

Blogs largely help us to keep in touch and share knowledge instantly with others but if blogs are not used properly they can turn into online battle grounds and that’s not what you want of course and that’s why this post comes in handy for bloggers.

1.It is always better to stick to the subject matter as people sometimes tend to start with an idea get lost and end up somewhere different and off topic.I would rather you save that off topic and use it in your next blog or later when it becomes relevant.

2.As we are all aware, people always feel free and comfortable coming up with statistics to prove anything; i.e. 50% of all the people know this and that, but you have to really show that you are knowledgeable and show where you get your facts.

3.We all need to punctuate and this should become your friend in all blogging escapades lest you turn your blog to one that sucks like hell, so punctuate, punctuate, punctuate.

4. Accept your mistakes as you all agree no one is perfect and people sometimes tend to make mistakes along the way as they publish their opinions, so instead of being defensive accept and move on.

5.When you start to publish as a blogger you are more likely to receive insults, but it’s logical not to engage in arguments and instead ignore and move on.

6.Incase you are using images, avoid using large images as some people may not have faster broadband connections like you and are not even willing to wait for those pics to open.

7.There is always a strong temptation to confuse opinion with truth especially when discussing contentious issues and claim an impeachable authority on the subject at hand which may irritate your readers as your blog may turn into a panel instead of a discussion platform.

8.Personal attacks should not crop up in your blogs even if some one holds a different opinion about you, never try to express or urge with the author but instead do it with the post.

Just incase I missed something important feel free to share your opinion and keep blogging!

AITEC Exhibition

Posted May 29, 2007 by ppontye
Categories: General

Lots of memories and two years out?? Hoping this time the AITEC Exhibition lives up to its expectations because it was one of the most well organized event of the year for Ugandan business community.

Some of the companies that got millage are now doing great business the likes of MTN, uganda telecom, Infocom, ROKO, Kazinga Channel to mention but a few I highly doubt if their publicity would have been better now without the AITEC Exhibition. This time round its slated for May 30th to June 1st 2007 at Hotel Africana.

The publicity for the event has been good all over the streets, papers and radio though with a set back of having been postponed from earlier dates. There is always lots to learn, therefore I urge us to be there because among the exhibitors I see lots of new entrants lets see what they have to offer though still all credit goes to the “founders” of this event.

Middlemen still take a lion’s share!

Posted May 16, 2007 by Becky Bukosera
Categories: Uncategorized

Though farmers have maximized the use of the mobile phone’s to access market information from various parts of the country via SMS, the middleman still stand’s out and takes a lion’s share.

This was revealed at a recently concluded CELAC knowledge fair, which took place in Luwero district; an event that brought together a number of farmers from various districts who in addition to participating in the various activities, expressed their views about issues that affected them, of which exploitation of middlemen in determining market prices was one of these.

Middlemen are still regarded as exploiters who buy their produce at a lower price and sell at a higher price. Although farmers appreciate the use of mobile phones as gadgets which may perhaps eliminate middlemen as price determinants, farmers still complain that middlemen take advantage of their urgent need for money and cheat them by offering a small fraction of the actual market price for their produce.

With the many problems faced by rural farmers ranging from economic to social problems, dealing with middlemen would not be such a big deal as revealed by a farmer from Sironko district, who is quoted saying “when faced with fees to pay for children returning to school and the ever increasing medical and tax bills, I would rather sell at a lower price than not selling at all”

Other hindrances such as lack of adequate transport to ferry crops from the villages to urban areas where the prices are higher or to any other part of the country where they could fetch a higher price, also contributes to this exploitation by the middlemen.

Contributory to this is the very nature of impassable roads in most rural areas of Uganda. This was expressed by another who could not hide his disgust of the transport system when he said, “having access to a roadside in the village where the transporters collect the produce is another hassle, so how do I take advantage of the good price in a Kampala market when my tomatoes are rotting in my garden? I would rather give them to the middleman who will give me the money instead of losing out completely.” This completely illustrates that rural farmers have no option but to stick to these middlemen for purposes of their survival.

With the assumption that the use of mobile phones as a means of availing market information to farmers, they would be better position negotiate prices for their produce. However such circumstances make them succumb to middlemen who take advantage and buy at very low prices only to sell later or even sometimes instantly at very high prices.

Perhaps the only solution to eliminate middlemen as suggested by farmers would be formation of stronger Farmer’s Associations that will directly deal with farmers’ concerns.

Farmers in a knowledge fair exhibition!

Posted May 2, 2007 by Lillian
Categories: Farming section

Gathering at Luwero district, the CELAC farmers’ knowledge Fair, a yearly event organized by BROSDI in close collaboration with the CELAC Luweero Agricultural Network attracted farmers from the districts of Luweero, Masaka, Bushenyi, Kabale, Tororo, Apac, Sironko ,Manafwa, Kasese, Pallisa Mayunge and Lira, involved in farming of Bananas, Orange Sweet potatoes, Cassava, Tomatoes, millet, Groundnuts, Maize, Irish potatoes, Onions, Green pepper, Chicken, Turkey and goats.

Preparations
From the look of things, this was to be a very successful event. On the eve of the event, farmers gather at New Eden Primary school in Luweero district, where the event is to take place the following day.

The following morning, farmers are called for a meeting to set an agenda for the day. They are divided into three groups to participate in one of the three major cross-cutting activities of the day,

  • Debate: Mobile telephones have improved the lives of the rural grassroots farmers
  • Mock Radio Program: The grassroots farmer was intended to remain poor
  • Knowledge Fair Sharing Forum: Knowledge Sharing Forums for improved Grassroots farmers’ Livelihoods

These were to become the attention-grabbing activities of the day. Next step is to set their stalls. As they set up their stalls, we realize that some items are missing! So we rush to the nearest town to buy some masking tape, glue and a piece of white cloth for the power point presentation. Ednah had suggested we present photos that were being taken during the event and also old photos that had been taken during field visits by Maria, the CELAC program Coordinator.

The idea behind this is that such technologies excite farmers and rural folks as Ednah the Managing Director of BROSDI reveals to us and indeed it does as we later found out. Having acquired our items, we rush back to the exhibition venue to finalize our setup.

The main activities
Having done all these, the event is set to begin with a debate first on the agenda. Tapping on the theme of the event, “the role of Mobile telephony to grassroots farmers in rural Uganda”, farmers had prior to this activity divided themselves according to those who were for mobile phones and those against them; and they were ready to present their case!

Those against the mobile telephone could not hide expressing their anger on how it has led to many family breakdowns. That instead of them focusing on how to earn a living, their attention is now drawn to settling families disputes brought in by mobile phones. However, those for phone failed to concur to this. One farmer from Apac district expressed that mobile phones have helped her reduce costs and the burden of moving to Kampala when she wants agricultural related info. All she does now is to call Maria and the info is sent direct to her phone. Another farmer Mrs. Kambugu from Masaka district comes in to note that ‘through the mobile phone message I can be able to sell my produce at a reasonable price since I have the prevailing market price.’

Having successfully presented their case and since there is no judge to rule out who has won the debate, next on the agenda is the mock radio program. Here farmers discuss issues agreeing and disagreeing that the grassroots farmer was meant to remain poor. This is followed by the knowledge sharing forum, where farmers are taught on how to host successful knowledge sharing forums.

Amidst these activities, other farmers are busy exhibiting products on their various stalls. On visiting these stalls, farmers are demonstrating how to grow a certain crop right from the nursery bed to the final product even exhibiting the various products got from these crops and animals.

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The most interesting stalls to visit were banana (matooke) growing from Masaka, growing of Millet from Bushenyi district, Orange sweet potatoes from Luwero district, who later won prizes for the best exhibitors respectively. The most fascinating facts were the way these farmers diversify their crops to expand their income generating base. We learn that with the orange sweet potato one can bake cakes and doughnuts from the sweet potato flour, in addition to making bathing soap and Vaseline out of it!

On deep interaction with other farmers, their appreciation for the role of CELAC project in helping them achieve their dreams through the use of mobile phone messaging to get market prices, use of the radio programmes and the literature given to them inform of how to guides can not be denied.

However, their main concern now is the need to access markets where they can sell their produce as they are being cheated by the middlemen. This is one thing perhaps the CELAC project needs to look at since it has promoted knowledge sharing for the farmers and as such they have been able to increase their produce. The next step should be to provide them with market opportunities to sell their produce!

Summing up the event are speeches from special invited guests and the awarding of certificates and prizes to the best exhibitors. While presenting the prize to the best exhibitor, the LC5 of Luwero district who happened to also be the guest of honor, urged farmers especially women to indulge in income generating projects such as the CELAC project so as to get exciting opportunities such as the one got by the farmer who was invited to Italy to participate in Cheese making workshop.

Masaka district won a fully connected village phone as the best exhibtors, followed by Bushenyi district who won three hoes and three pangas; and Luwero district who won two hoes and three pangas. However, a certificate of participation is given to all participating districts. On this note, since most farmers put in a lot to participate in this event, it would be nice if CELAC provided a prize for each district so that the farmers do not lose hope.

Listen to interviews from the farmers