Giants expect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to debut Tuesday

first_imgPITTSBURGH — As rain began to fall in the area, Pirates shortstop Cole Tucker pounded against his chest and doffed his helmet to the crowd at PNC Park on Saturday after slamming his first career home run against the Giants.Tucker’s major league debut was highly-anticipated in Pittsburgh, but it won’t come close to matching the excitement generated when Blue Jays top prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. reaches the big leagues.It’s unclear exactly when that will happen, but all signs point to …last_img read more

Mobile money grows in Africa

first_imgM-Pesa, the new system of sending moneyvia mobile phones has been a success story in Kenya. (Image: International Chamber of Commerce)Khanyi MagubaneFind out more about using materialA new system of sending money via mobile phones in Africa is fast becoming the standard way of person-to-person financial transactions.In Kenya, M-PESA, the network operating the virtual cash system has become an instant hit.  According to the network operator, the system is a cheap, safe and easy way of sending money to their loved ones, as they no long have to physically go to a bank to deposit the cash.M-PESA (meaning mobile money in Swahili) is owned by Safaricom, Kenya’s largest mobile network.Safaricom launched M-PESA in March 2007 and now has more than six-million users.  Safaricom partnered with Kenya Commercial Bank, who made it possible for non-account holders to send and receive money via their mobile phones.The mobile network took advantage of the lack of adequate banking systems in the country, especially the scarcity of bank branches.In Kenya, only one in five people have access to banking facilities, mainly due to the high transaction fees, which deter people from opening and maintaining accounts.The rapidly increasing amount of mobile phone users has contributed to the popularity of M-PESA.According to Groupe Speciale Mobile Association (GMSA) in 2007 there were 270-million mobile phone users in Africa, compared to just 50-million in 2003.Speaking to news agency Reuters about M-PESA, Safaricom chief executive officer Michael Joseph said they still plan on introducing more exciting virtual cash products. “This is just the beginning. What [we] are moving towards is a person going out without cash in his pocket.”Meanwhile, Chris Gabriel, the Africa chief executive for mobile network Zain, says the real benefit of virtual money for mobile networks is the long-term connection companies have with their customers.“We see it as a tool to create stickiness. Yes, it’s a revenue service but at the cost of an SMS, you’re not going to get rich quickly.”Agriculture companies in Kenya have also warmed to the idea with many plantation managers now using M-PESA to pay salaries.Last year during Kenya’s post-election violence outbreak, humanitarian aid body, Red Cross, used M-PESA to pay its staff.In recognition for its contribution to mobile technology, M-PESA won the Best Mobile Money Service at the GMSA Global Mobile Awards in Barcelona, Spain in February 2009.Joseph, who accepted the award, said the company was proud of the inroads made by M-PESA, “We are very proud of the M-PESA service. It continues to impact positively on the millions of Kenyans who have no access to banking services.“I would like to thank everyone who has worked tirelessly to ensure that M-PESA is the success it is,” he said.Joining the world of e-bankingAfrica is joining the world in benefiting from the technology of mobile banking.In Japan, where the system was developed, over 55-million handsets have the e-money function built into them.In 2006, a report released by the Japan Research Institute (JRI) stated that 15-million Japanese people no longer regularly used paper money.E-money has since become a reality for most Japanese people with the built-in software readily available on most mobile phones.The mobile phones and smart cards are used to buy items from convenience stores, department stores, restaurants, newsstands, supermarkets, and a variety of other retailers.South Africa has also developed a similar e-money system.Wizzit, established in 2004, already has 50 000 South African users.Wizzit account holders can use any mobile phone to transfer money from one person to another.The system is even compatible with the cheaper, older models mostly used in poor communities.Do you have any comments or queries about this article? Email Khanyi Magubane at: Related articlesSkills via phones for rural women Better farming with mobiles Fight HIV with your phone Useful linksM-PESA WizzitGMSAlast_img read more

Free MBA education for anyone

first_imgThanks to Regenesys, anybody can now have unlimited access to accredited business course material, no matter what their circumstances.(Image: Janine Erasmus)MEDIA CONTACTS • Kailas BergmanSenior account manager, Fleishman-Hillard+27 11 548 2001 or +27 74 221 1776 Janine ErasmusA South African tertiary education institution has become the first business school in the world to offer free education on four levels, ranging from a certificate through a diploma and bachelor’s degree, up to an MBA.The Sandton, Johannesburg-based Regenesys Business School is offering quality learning materials online through various platforms.Students have only to download and install the Regenesys app on their Android or Apple smartphone or tablet, or use the mobile site with any device, to gain unlimited access to valuable learning material that includes videos, ebooks, a research database, study guides and relevant academic articles.Now all aspiring entrepreneurs can get the tertiary business education that they have been denied, whether through lack of finances, no space at universities, distance, or for any of a number of reasons that may have held them back.“You can plan your own pathway,” said Regenesys director Brett Cousins, adding that the institution has trained over 70 000 students in the 14 years of its existence. “Our students can now complete their courses module by module, at a pace that’s comfortable for them. This is our gift to our country and the world.”Access to study material is based on the so-called Freemium model – where a product or service is offered free of charge, but consumers have to pay for advanced features – but should students decide to pursue a formal qualification with a piece of paper to hang on their wall, there will be a fee involved per module. This covers the cost of checking assignments, exams, and other admin fees.Students also have the option of attending classes at the Sandton campus, again with costs involved. However, since all the course material is freely available, this will work out much cheaper than going to university.University in your pocketThe initiative was launched at the organisation’s Sandton campus on 6 November. It’s supported by the Department of Trade and Industry, the Sunday Times, Internet Solutions, Pearson publishers, and the Human Resources Development Council (HRDC) which is chaired by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.“South Africa’s Freedom Charter speaks of the light that comes with learning,” said launch speaker Taddy Blecher, the chairperson of the HRDC’s entrepreneurship, education, and job creation task team. Blecher is himself an education pioneer, as one of the founders of Cida Campus in Johannesburg, an institution that offers a bachelor’s degree in business administration at virtually no cost.“The struggle was also about free access to education,” said Blecher, “because that would put us on the path to true democracy. Today we celebrate Regenesys, and we thank them for doing this incredible thing.”Cousins said that Regenesys hopes to have one-million students registered within three years. The institution gives credit for previous studies or work experience through the Recognition of Prior Learning model.“The world is moving towards a knowledge economy,” said Cousins, “and we’re hoping that by infiltrating into Africa and making our materials available, we’ll boost the continent in this arena.”He said that all material is available in PDF or HTML format, to make it accessible to South Africa’s 10-million internet users and the millions outside the country’s borders.“It’s a university in your pocket,” said Blecher.Accredited qualificationsThe four qualifications available are an MBA; a bachelor of business administration; a postgraduate diploma in management; and a higher certificate in business management. The course material is accessible to anyone.Fully 70% of South Africa’s employees are in small and medium companies (SMEs), as opposed to large corporates, said Blecher. “They are the backbone of our country’s economy.”Cousins said that Regenesys aims to boost entrepreneurship and create a platform for the creation of more SMEs.“There is no restriction on these materials, so any registered students can access them, at any level,” he said. “SMEs can boost their business knowledge; organisations can put their staff into training, risk-free, and perhaps allow the top students to continue to the actual qualification, on a bursary basis.”Registered users will also be able to interact with like-minded students, he added.Regenesys is accredited with the Council on Higher Education, the Department of Education, the South African Qualifications Authority and various sector education and training authorities. All courses are designed and compiled by and facilitated by subject matter experts.last_img read more

Green Goose Wows the Crowd & Raises $100K On Launch Conference Stage

first_imgWhy Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Imagine getting points in an online game each time you drink more water, floss your teeth or take a step toward some other healthy lifestyle goal. That’s the promise of Green Goose, a company that uses tiny sensors and accelerometers on stickers or credit cards to track everyday behavior and record it online.The company demonstrated today how its technology, which is currently in pre-production in China, lets a user put a sticker containing a tiny sensor and a year’s worth of battery power, on the handle of a toothbrush, for example. The motion of the toothbrush sends a message to the Green Goose base station which then publishes a record of the activity online. A wide range of everyday activities can be tracked and the whole system was a big crowd pleaser at Jason Calacanis’s Launch conference. Two members of the panel of investor judges put $100,000 into the startup on the spot while the company was still on stage. A third, Bill Warner, had already invested. “It’s amazing and there’s so much more you haven’t even heard,” he said about the company. marshall kirkpatrick Tags:#Internet of Things#web ReadWriteWeb wrote about Green Goose in February of last year (those investors should read RWW more closely, apparently, might have got better terms) when the company was framing itself as a tool for ecological and financial responsibility. It’s based in both San Francisco and Portland, Oregon.The company seems to have shrunken its sensor design substantially and reframed itself as a health and wellness instrumentation service. It’s all about actualizing your intentions and measuring your behavior as a game, according to the service’s site.Water bottles, tooth brushes, bikes, pill bottles and other objects can be turned into sensors that track our interaction with them and then publish that data online. All thanks to a simple sticker or other attachable sensor. It’s the simplest and most pleasing example we’ve seen yet of the widely anticipated trend called The Internet of Things.All kinds of formerly disconnected devices will be brought online in the coming months and years, their activities and interactions no longer ignored by their users but now tracked, stored and analyzed for patterns, thresh holds and opportunities by web based applications and interfaces. A more measured world will in theory be a more rational, more just and more sustainable world. It looks like it may be a world with better dental hygiene, too.The health angle is a strong one and the healthcare industry knows it. “Insurance companies are really trying to figure out how to reinvent all this stuff,” Web 2.0 forefather and sensor-lover Tim O’Reilly told me about Green Goose today. “They’re all looking for things like this that will drive wellness. The biggest question about it is whether it’s too early. As the old VC saying goes, being too early is indistinguishable from being wrong. But this is defiitely on the right track.” The Launch conference Grand Jury members on stage tonight thought so too. Shervin Pishevar and Jay Levy each said on stage that they’d put in $50,000 investments (pending due diligence), after host Calacanis and the crowd cheered louder and louder at the prospect of their doing so. Calacanis had to admit that the conference’s front line selection committee made a mistake when it neglected to select Green Goose to present at the main event. Fortunately Grand Jury members found, selected and promoted the company from the demo platform tables out in the hallway. They’ll leave much happier birds. Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Related Posts 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more