Categories
Technology

Demystifying Nigerian ATM Experience

The ATM in Nigeria has gone from a mysterious machine of very high distrust to a basic essential. Understandably, being at the perceived epicentre of online fraud and Internet scams has made Nigerians exceedingly weary of this machine which spits cash at the punch of just four digits. My personal take though, is that there exist more advanced hacking centres outside of Nigeria. Common knowledge seems to suggest that parts of Eastern Europe and Asia top Nigeria by a country mile.

My wife and many others like her, who have vowed never to test the efficacy of the banks’ assurances on the safety and security of their ATM systems against the increasing ingenuity of fraudsters have now become unwilling converts due to the higher risk of being unceremoniously shut out of modern day transactions. Regulatory pressures a-la the Cashless Nigeria initiative by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has also played their part in this conspiracy against the conservatives. Hefty penalties have now being instituted on cash transactions beyond a certain threshold. Thankfully, she has broken ranks and acquired an ATM card just only last year.

The CBN has tried to allay the fears of Nigerians by enforcing on the banks additional security measures such as the installation of anti-skimming devices, and two camera systems on all ATMs. The rational being that a fraudster who covers both cameras with his hands to avoid detection will have no spare to conduct his nefarious activities.

The average customer experience of the ATM user in Nigeria is still a tale of woes, mostly self-inflicted, and inadvertently by the same banks in whose major interest it should be to drive adoption to cut the relatively high cost of serving customers within the branch.

austin okere1Two very glaring examples; it is reported that on the eve of Christmas last year, customers looking for ATMs to withdraw cash for their festivities in the Gbagada area found to their dismay after visiting many ATMs and being greeted with the now familiar ‘temporary out of service’or’Unable to dispense Cash’messages, that the only ATMs that seemed to be working on the whole axis were the UBA ATMs at the Charlie Boy Bus stop.

Of course the queue had built up to the extent that faint hearted customers rather opted to go without cash than risk the possible consequences of a stampede. Similarly, on December 14, 2013 there were reports that virtually no ATM was working in the Badagry area.

These experiences are exacerbated majorly by the following factors; firstly, stagnation in the ATM population in spite of significant adoption rate by Nigerians. The ATM population in Nigeria has been stuck at the 11,000 mark for the past six years, resulting in an average of 11.39 ATMs per 100k adult population (adult population in Nigeria being about 56% or 95.2m according to a World Bank report on population).

This is not unconnected to the Central Bank’s misadventure with the Independent ATM Deployers (IAD) experiment of 2008 that barred banks from deploying ATMs outside their branches. This resulted in the abrupt halt in the momentum of ATM deployment by Banks. This was largely due to the hasty conduct of the CBN in trying to swallow an elephant at one go. Noble as the intention was, a pilot scheme would have uncovered the soft underbelly of the strategy, the major shortcoming being the fact that the cash in the offsite ATMs would have been too expensive for the IADs to carry, and therefore compel them to charge customers very exorbitant rates or render them totally unprofitable at the flat rate of N100 per withdrawal,then allowed by the CBN.

Six years later we have less than the 11,800 achieved at the highpoint, because many banks had to abandon the long term rents secured for their offsite ATMs and wheeled the ATMs into warehouses and parking lots because the IADs could not afford the book value to take on the sites and ATMs. The operational lives of those ATMs, about a third of the total volume were cut short, as they were subsequently unusable two years later when the CBN rescinded her decision.

Comparatively, Indonesia with an adult population of about 90m, more than doubled their ATM installed base from 16.7k in 2011 to 36.5k in 2012, resulting in 37 ATMs per 100k adult population, about three time the ATM per adult capita in Nigeria. South Africa has 60 ATMs per 100k adult population, while the UK has 124 ATMs per 100k adult population. Nigeria clearly has a lot to do as the largest economy in Africa.

Secondly, the quality of notes in the ATM are a far cry from standard. In the early days, the ATM was where to go if you wanted crisp notes. Today, the notes in the ATM are sometimes worse that the change you receive at the flea market. This is underscored by the fact that the security features and the general quality of the naira could do with some enhancements. Dirty notes generally cause paper dirt to be lodged in sensitive parts of the ATM when it is dispensing cash, therefore resulting in more frequent system faults or currency jams.

A telling revelation when we compare the work rate of the ATM in Nigeria to say the UK is that the Nigerian ATM has to dispense on the average five notes to one in the UK, if it is dispensing N1,000 notes and the UK one is dispensing 20 pound notes (20 pounds is approximately N5,000). This coupled with the low ATM density and challenged note quality contributes a lot to the frequent breakdowns and ‘unable to dispense cash’ notices.

Thirdly and very importantly, most ATMs in Nigeria are not under any guaranteed service level supportprogram. This is very shocking, and a serious anomaly by any stretch of the imagination. Banks inadvertently encourage this malaise. There is a notion that appraisal and compensation for ATM support heads in the E-banking departments seem to be heavily skewed on how much they can save in the ATM support costs. So they devise all means necessary to achieve this, even at the detriment of customer experience and the banks’ brand erosion. There is a blatant refusal to sign any Service Level Agreements (SLA) support for the ATMs in the first year of purchase under the illusion that warranty on the systems equates to SLA support. This results in fallacious claims of reduction in support costs.

This alluded cost efficiency cannot be further from the truth. Warranty and SLA support are quite different from each other as any owner of a car under warranty well knows. While SLA defines the time within which an ATM should be fixed or replaced in the event of a fault (usually two hours within urban areas and six hours in remote areas), warranty relies on a best effort basis for the replacement of factory defective parts.

Parts that are rendered unusable due to wear and tear, or as a result of exogenous effects such as power surges cannot be claimed under warranty (as sometimes the bank officials are wont to ferociously argue). For simplicity, warranty on ATMs is very similar to that on automobiles. If you drive your new car which carries a three year or 100,000km warranty to the dealer for a part replacement.

Firstly they check that it is not normal wear and tear, and that it is not due to abnormal circumstances such as the wrong type of fuel or an accident. Then they take in the car and order the part. They call you when the part arrives, which takes an average of three months, and then slap you with a labour bill. This is the type of service that the Bank is hoodwinked to render to their hapless customers. It is worthy to note that warranty does not cover periodic maintenance of the machines. Imagine driving your warranty car for three years straight or 100,000km without any service or Oil change! Not opting even for the bare bones labour-only quarterlypreventive maintenance service does drastically shorten the lifespan of the ATMs. It is therefore not surprising that some relatively new ATMs needlessly break down and cause customers to spend eternity looking for a working one, or in an endless queue.

The average annual support spend on an ATM in Nigeria is $2,500, about half of what obtains in Indonesia and South Africa, both spending about $4,500 per ATM per annum. By investing the right amount to keep their systems properly maintained, they prolong the lives of their ATMs and ensure better customer experiences, which we readily testify to when we visit those countries.

Thirdly, we now know that most ATMs work with the windows operating system. Many are currently on the Windows XP platform which has recently been announced by Microsoft as de-supported, and a new operating system, windows 7, announced to replace it. This means that any ATM that is not upgraded to the windows 7 operating system shall be vulnerable to viruses and fraud attacks, since the new security patches shall not work on them. Worldwide, 2.2m ATMs are vulnerable.

In Nigeria, a significant number of the installed base shall be affected. The solution is a simple upgrade of the operating system if the ATM is upgradable. This is free if the bank has been paying their software maintenance fee. They will otherwise have to incur huge capital costs to repurchase the new software licenses. Available data suggests that many banks have not kept up with the software support fees. A further complication is that certain category of ATMs cannot be upgraded because of non USB Interfaces. These have to be replaced, and will further deplete the already stretched ATM density.

Lastly, there are serious challenges in stable and consistent power supply, and network connectivity, both of which the ATM cannot operate without. There are also infrastructure challenges in access roads to ATMs in rural areas which cause support engineers to spend significantly more ‘travel time’ than ‘dwell time’ to fix machines. A possible solution will be for service providers to have enough support offices across the country than depend on engineers being dispatched only from the three commercial centers of Lagos, Port Harcourt and Abuja. Cross training support engineers on ATMs, inverters and network connectivity will ensure that the first engineer to arrive at the ATM can fix the fault and does not have to call another specialist. A monitoring system if installed by the provider would ensure that the ATM correctly diagnoses itself and advices on the correct spare part to be carried to site. A monitoring system will however, require client licenses on the ATMs for which maintenance fees are due to be paid, and which many banks shy away from.

Banks are by no means the only clog in the wheel of good ATM customer experience. Some of the blame lie squarely on the shoulders of the service providers. In a bid to win business at all costs they are ready to accept terms that tempt them to cut corners in quality of products and service delivery. For example, there is a need to install monitoring systems and a call centre to aid support efficacy. There is also a need to ensure that the custodians are sufficiently trained to provide the crucial first level support. The negligence of these will make the support process expensive, unwieldy and ineffective. This drives the proverbial ‘race to the bottom’ for all stakeholders. A decimation in the number of service providers or their replacement by uncertified operators willing to collect the cutthroat rates offered by the banks will not bode any good tidings for the banks nor their customers.

Another emerging class in the clog of ATM availability is the gang of Marauders who attempt to blow-up the ATMs to gain access to the cash in the safes. For this group, Banknote staining could be an effective prevention technique, in which the anticipated reward of the crime is removed by denying the benefits, by marking the cash stolen with special security ink. Of course the ink should be machine detectable to ensure that deposit machines reject stained notes.

Surprisingly, some customers are also culpable. Furiously banging the ATM when ‘it swallows your card’ or does not dispense the money on your transaction will not solve any problem. If anything at all, it will only compound the problem by taking that ATM out of service. In the rare instance of this anomaly, the right thing to do is to call the number on the ATM body or visit the bank. There are usually journal entries and time stamps that will prove that you were not paid what you have been inadvertently debited, and a routine for redress and refund instituted.

While acknowledging the significant progress that we have recorded in payment systems, underpinned by the opportunity for the average Nigerian to be availed of having access to the global installed base of ATMs, courtesy of his local bank ATM card, and without recourse to a foreign bank account and ATM card, there is still the need to ensure that charity truly begins at home.

The above is not intended as an exercise in ATM service indictments, but rather a discourse that will help in the appreciation, and management of the root cause of the below average ATM customer experience in Nigeria from which we are all groaning.

 

Austin Okere, Group CEO, Computer Warehouse Group PLC

Categories
Hack

Use The ATM And Risk Losing Your Money!

Windows XP finally reached its end-of-life this April (2014), after which Microsoft ceases to release bug fixes for the operating system. If you’ve upgraded your PC then everything should be fine – but what about your bank? Have they upgraded?

The Risk Isn’t Necessarily With You

Have you upgraded from Windows XP yet? If not, you can easily choose from several different options;  Windows 7, Windows 8 or even Linux. While it is important to ensure your home computer system is as up to date as possible, it is also important that the companies you do business with are also suitably secure.

Sadly, this hasn’t been happening. For various reasons (usually cost) a vast number of businesses have been spending time burying their heads in the sand rather than coming to terms with the fact that their systems have suddenly become a lot less secure since Microsoft withdrew support for Windows XP.

Although corporate security support has been extended to April 2015 – only in the UK, this still doesn’t give businesses who haven’t yet made the necessary upgrades an awful lot of time to purchase and roll out new hardware running Windows 7, Windows 8, Linux or even Mac OS X. While you might have taken steps to upgrade, the Windows XPocalypse has wider ramifications.

Among these are the customer-facing systems running on Windows XP, the ATMs especially, and its continued presence represents an open door to digital criminals.

DSC_2031ATMs: Stay Away!

If you visit ATMs to make withdrawals, you likely do so from a system running Windows XP. If you’ve ever seen one of these machines crash or reboot, you’ll know that behind the simple set of options Windows XP is hiding. Once upon a time it was providing security against intrusion from sophisticated hackers; these days, its presence is arguably as big a headache as the breaches it once helped to prevent.

ATMs running Windows XP are rife for exploitation and should be avoided.

Avoid withdrawing money from an ATM by doing so over the counter at your bank. You might consider using point of sale cashback services too. This is not very popular in Nigeria though.

A rule of thumb should be to avoid these at all costs. If you can’t, it is worth being prepared by setting up a separate ATM card with a low balance.

Windows XP: The New Millennium Bug?

15 years ago, the IT world worked itself into a frenzy as it fought to combat the effects of the so-called Millennium Bug (aka Y2K problem) – an issue with the way computers calculate the date that was set to cause chaos come January 1st 2000 (or 1900, if the bug had its way). Although there was plenty of time to prepare for this, many businesses waited until the last few months to apply a fix.

Fast-forward to 2014 and the situation is recognisable, if not identical. Home users are largely protected but businesses seem to have ignored the many warnings issued by Microsoft about Windows XP going end-of-life and the implications of this. The push to get domestic users onto Windows 7 and Windows 8 has been slow, but it would seem that even if you upgraded tomorrow, your bank and other institutions handling sensitive data would still be running XP, with the impending security failings this will bring.

As such, you need to be careful where and how you use credit and debit card. As a rule of thumb, if you’re attempting to use the card at an exposed location, you should already be cautious of the risks. With unsecured Windows XP installations now providing an added threat, automated payment solutions should be avoided.

Culled from Makeuseof

Categories
Lifestyle

The African Version of Amazon Will Emerge From Nigeria

w575.jpg When Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced the company’s plans for 30-minute delivery drones with Amazon Prime Air in December, it became clear that ecommerce has exciting days ahead.

But Amazon isn’t the only company ramping up digital business, nor is the U.S. the only region in the game. In fact, Africa may have already stolen a march on personal delivery from the air, and Nigeria — specifically the rapidly growing city of Lagos — may produce the next great ecommerce company.

See also: 20 Important African Startups to Watch

Africa’s tech space, which has been defined and accelerated by the mobile phone, is undoubtedly growing as investors scramble toward the continent. Various African countries have leapfrogged fixed-line Internet because of the ubiquity of cellphones and their networks, and entrepreneurs will likely tackle transportation in a similar way. Why build roads to inaccessible places when the air is a better and increasingly cheaper option?

A current initiative that addresses African drone delivery is the Flying Donkey Challenge, a 24-hour race around Mount Kenya where African companies have to deliver and collect 20-kilo payloads as they go. The winner receives a prize of more than $1 million.

But while these companies face huge challenges in circumnavigating Mount Kenya in East Africa, it’s actually in Nigeria, West Africa, where today’s challenges are almost unfathomable in scope — and, yet, also where future “African Amazons” are likely to emerge.

Lagos isn’t Nigeria’s capital city, but it is by far the biggest in the country. Depending on which statistics you believe, the city’s population is between 17 and 21 million, with 30,000 people arriving every week from across Africa.

Delivery in Lagos is utter chaos. There isn’t a viable postal service in the city — or the country, for that matter — and by all standards the city just shouldn’t work. But it does, and ecommerce companies are proliferating. Some even guarantee delivery of products across the city within 24 hours.

“By 2030, one in every six Africans will be Nigerians, and its economy will have the largest GDP on the continent,” says Betty Enyonam Kumahor, managing director of Africa for global IT consulting firm ThoughtWorks. “But understanding how to launch an ecommerce business in Nigeria requires an understanding of the ecosystem and country, and other aspects such as the cost of generators and the relative dearth of the talent pool.”
But ecommerce startups in Lagos, such as online grocery business Gloo.ng, are facing logistic problems beyond buying generators. There’s also the problems of trying to get through Lagos’ terrible traffic and finding addresses that often cannot be found on a map, for example.

Gloo.ng’s founder, Dr. Olumide Olusanya, is positioning the company as Nigeria’s equivalent of Ocado, the very successful UK delivery arm of Waitrose supermarket. Olusanya gave up practicing medicine to become an entrepreneur, and Gloo.ng has expanded rapidly in its short history. It has quadrupled in size in the past year, and in January moved to a 20,000 square feet fulfillment center in the city.

“We believe the timing of starting our company has been God-sent,” he says. “Brick-and-mortar supermarket shopping, which is exceedingly painful on this side of the world, is not yet culturally ingrained, and we will leapfrog the curve of building supermarket brick-and-mortar, as you have in the developed climes where this is an embedded culture.”

According to Olusanya, the two biggest brick-and-mortar players have a combined market share of 0.9%, with fewer than 13 outlets in a nation of 170 million people — a significant portion of whom are migrating to the middle class.

“The fact that 65% of first-time users become repeat shoppers with us is proof that we are on to something huge,” Olusanya says.

Ecommerce innovation isn’t limited to Nigeria, but entrepreneurs around the world are closely watching what is happening there. One such UK entrepreneur is Ivan Mazour, CEO of Ometria, a software company providing an ecommerce intelligence platform to retailers.

“Ecommerce is the next frontier for emerging markets — an unstoppable wave in the evolution of retail,” he says. “The MINT countries [Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey] are the future, and Nigeria is the most interesting of this new group. As an economy, it’s projected to go from the 39th largest GDP to 13th in the next two decades.”

More importantly, Mazour adds, Nigeria is already home to many successful ecommerce giants, including Konga and Jumia, two Nigerian ecommerce companies that have raised $63.5 million and $61 million respectively from global investors. These two companies provide the inspiration for African entrepreneurs, such as Gloo.ng’s Olusanya, as well as other more niche ecommerce companies to create Africa’s first retail hub or cluster in Lagos.

“[Ometria was] founded with a focus on bridging the gap between the knowledge that exists in developed markets. As we continue to expand globally, we are looking to Nigeria as a future ecommerce leader in the EMEA [Europe, Middle East and Africa] region,” Mazour says.

There’s also a wealth of exciting startups such as QSR Consult, a company that is developing three new “quick service” restaurants Grubs, Spice Bowl and Kobis in Nigeria. Tunde Ogunrinde, the company’s CEO, spent 17 years at Burger King UK and returned to Nigeria in 2009.

“There is a greater comfort with shopping online with many Nigerians nowadays due to pricing and non-payment until goods are delivered at the door of client,” Ogunrinde says. “It seems that Jumia [and] Konga are leading the market in terms of brand awareness and potential volumes. As confidence grows, this form of buying and selling will increase, but for many of these ecommerce companies, the biggest challenge is logistics and getting products to clients on time.”

So, while Bezos dreams of drones and talks hot air, and while some African companies clamber to join the race to Mount Kenya for the Flying Donkey Challenge, it’s Nigerian ecommerce startups that are doing it right now.

Moreover, they are finding quick success in one of the most competitive cities in the world. We’ll see drones over Lagos sooner than we think, and probably a lot sooner than the cities in the West.

 

Source

Categories
Gadgets Mobile

Check out “Diary of a Geek” on Google Play!

The “Diary of a Geek” blog finally has its android app listed on Google Play, Android’s digital application distribution platform.

Diary of a Geek is the definitive source and final word for news as it affects Nigerians with especial focus on gadgets and technology news. The blog attracts readers with both business and consumer focus from Nigeria, India, Pakistan, USA and the UK.

The features of the app include;

  • Build-in HTML 5 support for web and articles
  • Sliding left menu with grouping
  • Modularized design approaches to support unlimited any potential future functionality. Current supported modules include: Feed (RSS/Atom)/ Feed Query /Online or Offline Web Content. More modules to come in future releases
  • In-App Podcast streaming or download to play offline
  • In-App Image Viewer (support pinch zoom)
  • Integrated YouTube with in-app YouTube Player
  • Integrated mini web browser for viewing web content without leaving the app
  • Intuitive and clear interface

Follow this link to download the app on Google Play, it’s free!

Geek

Categories
Articles

4G Speeds In Nigeria – The Hype vs The Reality

GLO-LOGOOut of curiosity, I enabled the 4G radio on my Samsung Galaxy S3 phone for the first time since i got it and was taken aback when i noticed the 4G icon. Expecting it to be a ruse, i decided to give my download speed a test and was pleasantly surprised at what i saw. Download speeds hovered mostly around the 2mbps mark with burst speed breasting the 4mbps mark. Wow! 30 minutes later, i got an even bigger surprise – nothing pleasant here –  i discovered that over 200mb from the 260mb data available on my phone had been zapped!. A data allocation that usually last for a month got used up in 30 minutes?! What?! Within the short period, i had downloaded a 74MB file from Youtube, did multiple speed tests, downloaded softwares and files, enjoying the newly discovered download speeds but forgetting that my data allocation was not unlimited. A text message from Globacom brought me to reality: “Dear Glo subscriber, 47.0Mb of the volume allocated to you is still remaining. Rule your world!”. What?!

This indeed was a new experience for me. I am not a light data user, not by a long shot, but the usual slow 2G and 2.75G speeds (Edge) that has more widespread coverage in Nigeria is, at best, epileptic and unreliably. You can use a 100MB data allocation for months, not because you do not want to use it but because you do not get to use it. Most times, i do not even get to use my data allocation at all, usually relying on WIFI, using the mobile data allocation only while i am on the road.

I enjoyed the 4G experience i had at my workplace, it was very new to me. The last time i experienced speeds like that was in the UK. However, the funny thing is that my home, barely 15 minutes away, could not boast of a reliable 2G connection. That is the fad in Nigeria. The networks  introduce cutting edge technology and make it available only in a sprinkle of locations and spend more money creating a hype out of it, boasting about been the first to do this or that. Recently, Airtel – another Nigerian mobile network, claimed to have completed its 4G trials in Lagos.

I honestly look forward to the day when 4G speeds would be common place in Nigeria. I only hope Jesus wouldn’t come before then. Sigh.

Categories
Gadgets Mobile

15-year-old sets new record for typing on an iPad

Eduard Saakashvili, the 15-year-old son of the president of the country of Georgia, has been awarded a Guinness Book of World Records certification as the fastest typist on an iPad, correctly typing the entire English alphabet in just 5.26 seconds — with one hand, Cult of Mac reports. The record was set at a resort on the Black Sea often used for high-level diplomatic conferences, and beat the previous record by over a second.

The previous record-holder was another teenager, a Charlie McDonnell of the UK, who had done the feat in 6.31 seconds a year ago. President Mikheil Saakashvili and his wife Sandra Roelofs were said to be “very proud” of their son’s accomplishment, which was limited to using the on-screen iPad keyboard only (although the iPad can also utilize a Bluetooth keyboard).

Numerous videos on the web show techniques and demonstrations of fast typing on an iPad, where even casual but accomplished touch-typists can often equal the speed they can achieve on a conventional “tactile” keyboard.


– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Categories
Articles

Spot and Avoid Facebook Scams


“THERE’S A SUCKER born every minute.” That quotation, widely attributed to P.T. Barnum, originally referred to deceptive carnival sideshow attractions, but it’s just as relevant to online scams—in particular, Facebook scams—today.

None of the common Facebook frauds—the “Facebook dislike button,” the “stalker tracker” (which purports to tell you who’s visiting your profile), and “watch this video” tricks, for instance—are new, says Chris Boyd, senior threat researcher for UK-based GFI Software. “You’d think that people wouldn’t continue to fall for them,” he says. But of course, they do.

Resisting the urge to click can be difficult, and scammers know it. They prey on a combination of users’ curiosity and trust, and on their own ability to disguise scams as legitimate online promos. Fortunately, you have some clues to watch for.

False Friends

One ploy that Facebook scammers use is to encourage people to click a compelling URL. But instead of seeing the promised site, the deceived person inadvertently spams friends with links to the same URL. Some messages are so persuasive that victims may provide personal information such as credit card or phone numbers, which the scammer can then exploit to run up unauthorized charges.

The key element in a successful scam is its ability to exploit the victim’s trust, says Dr. Robert D’Ovidio, associate professor of sociology at Drexel University in Philadelphia. Many scams pose as links in posts from people you know. “These schemes are coming from people in our network, and our guard is already down; that’s a very tough thing to police against.”

If a friend posts a link to what appears to be a video on your wall with the comment, “Is this you? LOL!”, you’ll probably click it. But it may be a scam or a link to a malicious site posted by a crook using a hijacked Facebook account.

Here are two red flags to watch for when you click a link: It doesn’t take you to the page promised; or it takes much longer to load than you’d expect. A delayed load may mean that you’re being bounced between proxy servers to hide a hacker’s location, instead of being sent directly to the destination.

Also watch out for pages that unexpectedly ask you to enter your Facebook login information. Once scammers manage to gain access to your account details, they can use it to spam your friends. If that happens, or if you suspect foul play of any kind, change your password immediately.

Even shortened URLs may pose risks, since users can’t tell by looking at a shortened Web address whether it’s authentic. So if someone posts a shortened link to your wall or by using a Facebook message or Chat, proceed with caution.

Ultimately, most scams are designed to generate revenue for the scammers through pay-per-click schemes or through access to information that can lead to unauthorized charges on credit cards or phone bills.

You’ve heard about the scams and you may have seen some of the lures. Here are practical ways to ensure that you won’t become the next victim.

What to Do If You Fall Victim

If you find that you’ve been scammed, first delete the offending app (go to Account•Privacy Settings•Edit your settings [under ‘Apps and Websites’]•Edit Settings [under ‘Apps you use’], and click the X next to the app you want to delete). Then delete any posts that the app has made in your name, alert your friends to what happened, and change your Facebook account password.

J.R. Parker, an attorney with Kershaw, Cutter & Ratinoff, LLP, says the key to not getting scammed is to be vigilant. He recommends tying down all privacy settings and restricting what apps can do with your information or your Facebook page. To modify these settings, log in to Facebook and click Account in the top right; then select Edit your settings under ‘Apps and Websites’ at the bottom left, and click Edit Settings next to ‘Info accessible through your friends’

A healthy skepticism is critical, too. Here are some specific tips:

• Verify app authors. Click the author’s name and follow it to the app’s home page. Look for anything that seems odd or unprofessional. Run a Google search on both the app name and the author.

• Check other users’ experience. A simple search can yield results indicating what’s legit and what may not be.

• Don’t give out personal information (including your Facebook login name and password) to anybody, unless you’re certain of the recipient’s legitimacy and the distribution channel’s security.

• Be aware that your security on social networks depends in part on the security-mindedness of the other people who belong to your network.

• It may not be rocket science, but security experts say it’s your best protection: “Be careful what you click on.”

(PCWorld)

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Categories
Linux

The top 20 strongholds for desktop Linux

As a server OS, Linux has long been highly successful and a poster child for open source. For example, Linux currently powers a majority of the world’s web servers and supercomputers. As a desktop OS, however, Linux has yet to gain mainstream acceptance.

That said, there are some countries where people have embraced Linux on the desktop to a greater degree than most.

Since you probably wouldn’t be able to guess which these countries are no matter how hard you tried, we have highlighted them in this article. Read on to find out where desktop Linux is most popular, plus some nice bonus stats.

Top 20 countries by Linux market share

We looked at desktop OS market share, in this case defined as the share of computers used to access the Web. It’s basically the only metric out there that can give us an estimate of actual market share of actively used computers. The numbers are based on aggregated visitor stats for more than three million websites, courtesy of Statcounter.

110512 top 20 linux countries

This chart reflects the relative popularity of Linux as a desktop OS in each country. It doesn’t mean that these countries have the most Linux users overall (which is more difficult to estimate correctly).

A few general observations

As we collected the data for this article, we couldn’t help but make a few additional observations that you might find interesting.

  • Linux is most definitely a niche OS on the desktop: In most countries, Linux has less than 1% market share.
  • The Linux vs. Windows situation: In no country is Linux anywhere near replacing Windows on the desktop, but this shouldn’t come as a surprise.
  • The absence of the US and UK: The United States is far outside the top 20, with a 0.73% desktop OS market share for Linux. This by the way happens to be the exact same market share as Linux has in the United Kingdom.
  • The top countries in Europe are, in order: Macedonia, Finland, Spain, Czech Republic, France, Italy, Estonia and Germany.

Sweden, where we are based, sadly didn’t make this list. We just managed a measly 1.09% desktop OS market share for Linux, but at least that’s above average.

If you are wondering what Linux’s desktop OS market share is in the various world regions, here are the numbers:

  • Worldwide, 0.76%
  • Europe, 1.14%
  • South America, 0.88%
  • North America, 0.72%
  • Oceania, 0.72%
  • Africa, 0.45%
  • Asia, 0.34%

In other words, Europe comes out as the overall most Linux-friendly world region.

Why these “low” numbers are not bad at all

Linux may currently be a niche desktop OS, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. It’s often described as the “tinkerer’s OS,” and it’s hard to see how it could go mainstream and retain that quality. If you keep that in mind, it’s quite possible that Linux will never go mainstream on the desktop, but will continue to flourish in a similar way it is now, with a relatively small but very dedicated community of users.

And when we say “relatively small” we really mean relatively. The worldwide Linux desktop OS market share (0.76%) coupled with the number of Internet users (1.97 billion) indicates that there are at least 15 million active desktop Linux users out there.

We say “at least,” because that number is probably significantly higher since there is a lot of overlap in these stats with people who use more than one OS and more than one computer.

That’s not a small community by anyone’s standards (except maybe Facebook’s ;) ).

Notes about the data: The numbers are for the three-month period of February through April 2011 and are taken from StatCounter Global Stats. StatCounter bases those numbers on aggregated visitor stats for more than three million websites. To avoid statistical anomalies caused by small samples, we didn’t include any countries with fewer than 250,000 Internet users.

 

SOURCE – PINGDOM

Categories
Gadgets

Nokia transfers Symbian development and 3,000 employees to Accenture, will downsize workforce by further 4,000

Nokia’s already done quite a bit to cut ties with last year’s big push for Symbian and Qt development, though this is perhaps the biggest step yet. The Finnish company has announced it’s transferring responsibility for Symbian development to consulting and outsourcing firm Accenture, which sounds odd given the latter outfit’s inexperience in delivering mobile OS updates, but the good news is that the 3,000 devs Nokia had working on Symbian will continue their jobs under the new employer. That basically means that Nokia will live up to its unhappy promise that there’ll be “substantial reductions in employment” within its own ranks, while still keeping the men and women responsible for updating Symbian employed. Unfortunately, there will still be a further 4,000 job cuts in the company’s global workforce, primarily in Finland, Denmark and the UK, which will “occur in phases” between the beginning and end of next year. Nokia’s agreement with Accenture also involves continued collaboration on delivering mobility software and services on the Windows Phone platform. You can read more about that in the PR after the break.

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Originally posted from Nokia transfers Symbian development and 3,000 employees to Accenture, will downsize workforce by further 4,000

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I Have a Dream …

The impending Mobile number portability in the Nigerian GSM sector has been welcomed with applause and expectations. This is with the assumption that the industry would become very much competitive, barring any form of cartel formation, that is, if it is not in existence already.

Number portability basically means that, say, using a “0809” number will not necessarily mean you are a subscriber to the Etisalat network. Also, you could have a “0803” number and be a subscriber to Airtel. You can switch within the networks whilst still keeping your number.

A number of countries have long deployed such services; South Africa, Egypt, Israel, US, UK,etc.

It is not news that the quality of service being rendered by these companies is appalling at best. Someone even commented that it is a joke. I agreed with him, especially when i read in the papers that one of them is about launching 4G in Nigeria. 4G! Very hilarious.  Not one of them can even boast of rendering quality 3G services, talkless of 4G. Dont even get me started.

It is an open secret that my GSM company of choice, for now, is Etisalat. Aside from their unrivalled customer services, the 2.5G or Edge speed they have been offering is very much better than what the other jokers have been touting as “3G” or “3.5G”. I just hope that with the recent acquisition of their 3G license, they will show us what true 3G is!

As usual, can anyone visualize how this portability concept will play out in Nigeria? For one, the almighty MTN will frustrate anyone wishing to leave its stables. I am actually quoting a staffer. To transfer your number to another network, it takes as little as a few seconds in New Zealand, few minutes in Australia, and at the extreme end, 5 days in the UK. Can someone give an educative guess on how long it would take MTN? I shudder to think. Unfortunately, Glo is not much better, i honestly do not know which company has the worst customer service. It is obvious that these two companies would witness not a few of their customers jumping ship.

And on the bigger scene, an article was published on this website detailing the incursion of some big names into almost every technological facet of our lives; Bulk sms,etc. True to that article, Google is now actively involved in VOIP telephony, making calls over the internet. They also offer basically all what is being offered by these GSM companies. And guess what? They allow for Number portability. Christened GOOGLE VOICE, unfortunately, the service is not yet available in Nigeria, but like most technological advances, it would eventually.

I have a dream, that one day, in our country Nigeria, “Everywhere i go”, people  “Glo with pride” and … Airtel stopped its endless adverts on TV!!!