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Avoid all hassles, buy school textbooks online !

In Events, General thoughts, Technology- our black magic on December 12, 2012 at 5:57 pm

Book shopping queue

Every year, as every children are excitingly expecting Christmas, parents face one big dilemma – buying school textbooks for the upcoming academic year!

Why such a hassle? Simply because most parents are rushing at the same time to bookshops to get the books required and very often these places are crowded (not to mention the heat of December) and most probably there will be 1 or 2 books which will be out of stock or unavailable. Eventually, parents have to go to several different book shops to finally complete the list…

However, this year, a big advent on the web shall definitely bring relief and facilitate parents at this task – the new website: BOOOKSTORE MAURITIUS !!!

This is the first online book store in Mauritius launched in December 2012. The main objective is to facilitate the life of several parents that have to queue up every year to buy the books for their children.

www.bookstore-mauritius.com has been created to bring an innovative solution to those parents. Words from the retailer are follows:

“Relax yourself at home behind your computer or mobile phone/tab and buy online your children’s books through our database of more than 1000 books. ” (You can also try to do it at work but beware of your boss. 😉 )

“The prices are the market price of physical libraries since we sell at the recommended price set by the publishers and importers of Mauritius.”

“No need to be anxious about payment online and credit cards. Pay by bank transfer through your internet banking or bank and enjoy a 100 secured payment solution.”

“Don’t matter about expensive shipping cost. Get delivered any post office of Mauritius in 5 working days. You can even be delivered free depending on the value of your order”

The Bookstore Mauritius Team

The team is composed of young parents and professionals in the field of e-commerce and books distribution. They are in partnership with the main publishers and importers of Mauritius in order to guarantee the right books at the right time and at the same market price

Their vision

This year they are focusing the website on textbooks but shortly general books and e-books will be available on http://www.bookstore-mauritius.com. For year 2013, Bookstore Mauritius will be positioned as the online one stop shop for school needs including: textbooks, general books, stationeries, uniforms, bags,…

For further information:

Bookstore Mauritius

30 Blue Lane

Résidence Beau Séjour

Quatres Bornes, Mauritius

Tel: 734 3058

Email: contact@bookstore-mauritius.com | Website: www.bookstore-mauritius.com

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I own a smartphone

In In my mind, Technology- our black magic on October 8, 2012 at 5:05 pm

Indeed with the worldwide craze about people owning a smartphone, our little paradise in the sun wasn’t spared and so wasn’t I!

It changes your life completely when you actually own one of these technology wonders. In my case, it literally made my PC  seem like obsolete !

What still amazes me is how I am experiencing real ubiquitous computing thanks to my smartphone. Although most of apps I use are social apps, it has really enabled me to enhance contact and communication with people around me.

I still find it quite incredible how I may be hitting the streets in Mauritius and be in touch with a friend abroad, something which was possible before only on Skype on my PC at home!

Today, I may interact more easily and quickly with anyone thanks to the different options available on a smartphone. I may ask my insurance agent to send me information I need in a mail even if I’m not at home and still forward these to my car leasing company without the need to be in front of a computer or a laptop!

I know,whatever I am writing here seems like old news for most of us but still I had to express my views on the subject.

As far as I am concerned, the use of a smartphone has recently seen a big leap in Mauritius and quite quickly the culture of using your smartphone more like a computing device than a mere calling device is spreading around…

Although we still are to acquire some local apps for local use like local newspaper apps for instance, the use of a smartphone is quite pleasant given you enjoy it. There are still those for whom a mobile phone is only to make calls and send smses.

In my case, my mobile phone is my full entertainment package – camera (Instagram), music, chat (Skype, Whatsapp, Facebook Chat, GTalk), social network (Facebook, Twitter, Google+), communication, mailing (Gmail), games (Angry Birds), geolocation (GMap and Foursquare), blogging (WordPress), online shopping (eBay and DinoDirect) and more… I can rarely get bored if this little wonder is around plus it has made instantaneous exchange of information may it be in form of messages, pictures or even recorded sounds or videos a reality!!!

Looking back in time, during my college days, where smses were still free and how we would spend houuurs texting friends, I consider that new generations have it even more enjoyable nowadays (provided they activated the 3G service) !!!

This technology world is really a crazy one, bringing people into one huge network where information is exchanged so rapidly and in such big volumes everyday! Imagine in the next decade, how things shall be. What am I saying, imagine in only 5 years from now! Incredible and wonderful indeed how man has been able to move from the Morse code to the binary world !!!

The Woes of a Web Developer

In General thoughts, Technology- our black magic on September 29, 2011 at 7:45 pm

I’ve recently reached a 6 months milestone at my new job and 3 years of experience in web development and these are really but oh really the bad things that happen to us web developers:

$developer_woe[0]:

Spending hours figuring how to actually integrate these new customer requirements (I’d say whims) and when you actually do it, they’d say “Euhm, you know, we finally liked it as before…”

$developer_woe[1]:

Discovering Internet Explorer launched a new version (Gee why does it still exist anyway???) and no tweaks done for previous versions works for this one! (IE is EVIL!!!)

$developer_woe[2]:

Receive the designs late and being told “Could you possibly find it in your capacity to still meet the deadline? We totally understand if you’d like to work from home too… ” (oh come on you gotta be kidding me right?)

$developer_woe[3]:

Actually integrating the late designs and discovering that no matter how much you’ve optimised your code previously, you will have to adapt it to the present design.

$developer_woe[4]:

Oh no, the internet is slow today or no wait my pc also is running slow! And what? Gee today’s supposed to be our delivery date!!! (actually it makes sense why there is “dead” in deadline ! )

$developer_woe[5]:

The client just sent a mail, he’s happy with what we delivered, BUT (there’s always a butt euhm but !) he’d like a few changes – see document attached (don’t freak out on the list of changes, they are only minor – or are they?)

$developer_woe[6]:

Testing over and over again a page, becoming mad about how that’s not working when it was simply a matter of file permission! (Duh!)

$developer_woe[7]:

The client has decided to migrate to a new server. “Oh great! Good for him!” Well it seems that now, nothing’s working. “Why’s that?” Oh the new server runs on an old version of PHP, nothing too serious…

$developer_woe[8]:

The client is more than happy of his website now. He even brought us a list of  “add ons”. Looking at his list, it’s in fact all the web site to be revisited -.-” (why do they  think web developers are magicians?)

$developer_woe[9]:

It’s Friday night, everyone’s at the pub (or even at home) chilling out and you’re stuck with a slow machine, a bugging javascript and a backache from too much sitting in front of your pc. (No comments, 1 minute of silence please…)

Positioning Mauritius on the Web

In Events, General thoughts, Technology- our black magic on March 12, 2011 at 7:59 pm

On this special date, I have been thinking what article I could write to celebrate my beautiful island in the sun. Then I also remembered having a conversation with my ex-director about the various Mauritian sites I’ve had the chance to work on, when I was at Netgroup. Hence the idea of writing about how Mauritius is being represented on the web through different local websites and more specially those I’ve developed.

To begin with I must say that Mauritius is being slowly and surely better represented on the web now. With the emergence of several web agencies in the country we can now see local sites of better quality may it be graphically or functionally. Besides I seize the occasion to also mention all those Mauritian bloggers who have also brought their participation in giving Mauritius an identity on the net.

Apart from websites, we also have social communities, the most famous one being Facebook, which has subtly taken its place in Mauritians’ everyday life. And local companies have very well understood the extent of this phenomenon! Hence the creation of many Facebook pages about local organisations, companies or events.

We therefore see how Mauritius, despite being late in technologies, has been able to reach the internet and make its position. Mauritian companies are understanding the importance of having a web presence in the sense that they are moving with the trend and that if they wish to go international, the internet can be a key success factor. Concerning, our local people, they have also grown an interest in the internet not only for research but for leisure and social purposes. Thanks to the web, Mauritians are being able to work for international companies without leaving their country as well as keep contact with family and friends abroad.

Coming to the different local sites I’ve developed as a web developer at Netgroup, I have made up a little list. It’s like my own hall of fame, I would say, because I particularly feel proud to have had a role in building those sites. It is a pleasure to have contributed to bringing more Mauritian sites on the internet and thus make Mauritius better known to the world! So, here’s my little list, hope you have a visit on the sites:

  • Maurilait – the website of our local dairy products manufacturing company
  • Mauritius Villas – a local website about villas offers in Mauritius + other services
  • Dodolidays – the very first local website I’ve developed incorporating an e-commerce module, it’s all about renting, buying residential properties as well as other services
  • Harel Mallac Technologies –  the branch of Harel Mallac dealing with technological services
  • Harel Mallac Bureautique – the branch of Harel Mallac dealing with bureaucratic services
  • LMLC – the official site of Les Moulins de la Concorde
  • ADS – the official site of Aventure Du Sucre
  • Compare Prices – the very first site in Mauritius enabling local people to view products from different suppliers and get price comparisons
  • Connections – the very first Mauritian website built by Netgroup concerning Connections Tourism Management Ltd (CTML)
  • Cargotech – my first Joomla website

So this is my salute to my beautiful country, where together with the Netgroup team, we have been able to promote local websites and on behalf of that same team, I wish all those for whom we have worked, to keep their websites alive and thus keep the Mauritian presence on the net. And I hope more and more local websites will emerge and that soon e-commerce becomes more popular among Mauritians…

Till then let’s celebrate our nation, our freedom, our dynamism in wishing to make this country progress and achieve heights even if it is just a little dot in the Indian Ocean.

Mauritian colours in logos

In General thoughts, Technology- our black magic on March 11, 2010 at 6:59 pm

This post has a less serious note than previous ones. Some crazy thought that came to my mind. Have you ever noticed how many logos there exist that actually include our national colours? Let’s have a look together:

Number 1 on the list is the number one search engine itself – Google

Number 2 comes with another good old friend (though not so favorite :-P) – Microsoft Windows

Number 3 here is related to Windows again, it’s the Windows Media Player

Number 4 brings another common software used – AVG antivirus

Number 5 lists down one of Google products – Google Chrome

Number 6 brings the award winning open source CMS plarform  – Joomla

Number 7 (suggested by Prerna) is none other than our dear dear MSN’s butterfly

Well that’s it! If you have others in mind let me know 😉

Actually I don’t know how you peeps will find this article but it just was a lil tribute to our beautiful national colours 🙂 (in a developer kind of way).

My Google Adventure

In Events, Technology- our black magic on September 6, 2009 at 7:24 pm
Google_adventure by Sou

My Google Adventure by Sou

I don’t quite remember when it all started but I know it was a relief to discover Google search engine! It was followed by the creation of my gmail account and later on my iGoogle page… I also had an enthusiastic lecturer who always kept us abreadst of all news about Google like when it had bought YouTube. Besides our class at the university had its own Google group to enable ‘mass communication’ – as I viewed it. Today though we have graduated, the group is still there and we still communicate from time to time.

Then I joined Netgroup as a web developer and as every decent developer Netgroupers use Google for online search and we also make use of Google Analytics to keep track of the traffic flow on our site.  I was even pleased to learn once that my blog had brought most back links to the site 😉

My adventure intensified when I actually got the opportunity (and enormous chance) to discover the Google Map API and use it for one of our projects – Mauritius Villas – which is yet to be launched (and you can be sure I’ll announce it when it does 😛 ). So, there were two of us, Youshrin and I, to enter the world of what I call Google coding. The experience was really great specially when you’ve been able to adapt the map to the requirements of the project. And yeah we also discovered Google Map Maker and we added regions that were missing specially for our map to work effectively. We got a bit desperate while waiting for the moderation at first but it paid off when we finally saw the regions appearing on the map! I might elaborate on this in another post (if requested 😛 ).

The last but not least event in my Google adventure was the G-Mauritius Day 2009! It all came to me as a surprise when our director sent me a message telling that he had registered me to represent Netgroup at the event. I was like astonished, surprised and then thrilled. The forum was very instructive indeed and though all information is available online to actually get started with the Google API, having real Googlers there explaining it to you is a unique and enriching experience. It was all about receiving a concentrated amount of useful info in just one day! I can’t wait to give a try to Google Gadgets and Google Friend Connect! As for Google Web Toolkit, it sounds like a real ‘miracle product’ specially for those who know the pain of debugging in IE. However, not being a Java developer at present, it was like the message of deliverance but then the disappointment 😦 . Anyway it gave me the incentive to probably jump into Java development later on in my career…

As representative of Netgroup, I found a lot could be used in our sites for more innovative and competitive products. After the brilliant experience with Google Map, Netgroupers have yet to discover Google Gadgets and Google Open Social. This of course will depend upon future projects’ requirements.

If  I could summarise my Google adventure (so far) , I’d say it began with me being a regular Google user, then I became a Google API developer and finally a G-Mauritius Day participant. I wish and strongly expect this adventure to continue. Open source is just ‘fantastic’ (as would say one of my past lecturers) and one of the best part of it is having forums like this one where virtual and geographical barriers are crossed. After all, human contact is the best experience 😉

P.S: The picture is on my Facebook page. I shall place it on my Flickr soon for everyone to be able to see.

H1N1 flu triggering change in our educational system…

In Events, General thoughts, Technology- our black magic on August 24, 2009 at 4:15 pm
Modern Education

Modern Education

With the H1N1 flu spreading in Mauritius for the last 2-3 weeks, the government came up with the decision of closing schools for around 10 days. However, this term being the most crucial one due to end of year exams, measures had to be taken for students to keep in touch with courses while being at home.

Hence, the idea of giving a list of homework to students on Friday and Saturday last, where the latter had to fetch it at their respective school. Yet, at the end of these two days, it was noticed that 30% of students still hadn’t come to fetch their homework. Then only did the government make use of communication technologies at hand i.e. a hotline, text messages and emails. Plus it has also been decided that in about 15 days, every school will have its own website! The Mauritius College of the Air (M.C.A) has  also agreed to diifuse special TV programmes as replacement for missed courses.

The initiatives and efforts are very good indeed but did we have to be in a situation of crisis to finally make use of technologies in our educational system? Though some institutions are already following the technological pace, others are literally lagging behind – where even a photocopy machine is not available!

The integration of new technologies in our curriculum has to be considered seriously. I am sure it is there but the initiatives have yet to be taken and here we are, facing a crisis, jumping at the those measures that should have already been applied. A school website would not only have helped in bringing a new means of communication but also in administrative purposes. We are living in an information technology era where the internet has become a very important tool may it be in our everyday life or in business. So, why not make use of it for educational purposes also?

Personally, the best example I have experienced in such matter is the website of the Computer Science  and Engineering Department of the University of Mauritius, where we could download course handouts and also consult latest news may it be for exams schedules or even projects allocation. I remember that my  friends from other faculties used to think how lucky I am since I had so much facilities at hand. The same could be applied to our schools where parents could get latest news online ( since letters circulated through students nowadays rarely reach parents). For secondary level, notes and past exam papers could be placed online.

The big BUT in this suggestion is that there are still families without a pc at home! So, it would become somewhat discriminatory towards those students who have no internet facility at home. A very big loophole that has to be taken into consideration in the initiative of becoming a cyber island… Besides, if notes were to be placed online maybe it would stand as a threat to private tuitions and those teachers, who have made  it an integrate part of our education, might very well oppose to this idea.

With deep thoughts, maybe this step taken in a moment of crisis is much better. Had they planned it all, it might have become a real fiasco. Let’s hope it turns a new page for our educational system and kudos to those teachers and staff who are , on their own initiative, bringing a modern touch to their work.

So what does it all mean?

In Technology- our black magic on February 9, 2009 at 5:10 pm

The video below is very evocative about the fast (in fact SUPER RAPID) evolution of information technology worldwide. Have a look before going further with this post 😉

While it might sound a bit freaky, the video is quite indicative about the big influence of information technology on our existence. I don’t know if all of us do realise it or even feel it but indeed the big evolution in the field of information technology totally changed our lifestyles and habits! Who would have thought that Facebook – a site initially meant for Harvard students only – would gain so much popularity in such a little time?

So, of course, what does it all mean? What do all these figures mean? It all depends, according to my humble opinion, on our understanding and vision of things. Some might say we are being dominated by technology while others would just ravel at the news.

As for me, it means that we are living in the information technology era where the most important asset is information. But of course, information alone is not enough. It needs to be given the appropriate structure for more efficient use. So there it is – information technology brought about new jobs and a new sense to knowledge in itself.

How come a new sense to knowledge? If today blogs are gaining in popularity it’s mainly because it is believed now that it’s not only what experts have to share that counts but public opinion also! THIS is the new sense to knowledge – an opening to the public, an opportunity to let people share their opinions and beliefs which eventually becomes a pool of information rich enough to enhance your knowledge as well as understand others.

Information technology has eventually brought up a real new aspect to business management and the internet (combined with all telecommunications devices) brought about the best way to leverage information resources. However, it also brought new challenges like how to keep up with its rapid pace of evolution; because eventually it’s like a race where the fastest is the winner.

This also means that only part of the world is into this incredible evolution while another part is still struggling with famine, civil war and other calamities… It’s the modern “natural selection” altogether.

Still information technology is really fascinating and more inventions are to come because it’s like going round a circle: you think you’ve reached the end but it might very well be another start…

An Overview of Netgroup By the Director

In Events, Technology- our black magic on February 6, 2009 at 3:03 pm

As some of you already know, I’ve been appointed as Web Developer at Netgroup for a bit more than 4 months now. Though the name might not ring a bell like Accenture, Netgroup offers great opportunity to young developers specially in developing some experience in web development. And again though we are no big multinational, the team spirit is what is the big strength of the company as well as the culture it has adapted. Here is an interview of the director, Mr Vincent Duval Latreille , published in Emploi Mag magazine , which unveils more information about Netgroup.


Is the texting language threatening other traditional languages?

In Technology- our black magic on October 16, 2008 at 9:39 am

The title might seem maybe somewhat ambiguous so let me explain myself first:

Texting Language – language used to send SMS or chat

Traditional Languages – any other languages coming along with a dictionary, syntax guidelines as well as grammar rules

So what’s my point? I just happened to wonder if texting language is getting more popular than other languages to the point of making new generations become oblivious of traditional languages…

it sure calls for debate. Still, texting language has brought a revolution in communication specially if we consider Mauritius where so many communities live together. How’s that? We, Mauritians, have developed the anility to mix in Creol,French, English amd even languages like Hindi in messages and that too without prior “schooling” in the subject. The amazing thing about it is though we all have our own way of writing our abbreviations and mixing up our words, we all really understand. So, could we think of it as a uniting factor?

The black spot though would be the over-exposure to this language, which would eventually lead to a decrease in the interest in other languages (specially that we know that very few people still enjoy reading books).

Yet, I don’t think it would replace other traditional languages because it’s far from being a formal language. However with things like chat forums, messengers, blogs etc… the use of texting language can incredibly increase and they can become fully integrated in our lives. An incredible spin off of the world going global as well as technologically advanced!

P.S: The picture illustrates a French book made specially for learning the texting language (Texto). Click here for more details.