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AFRIK-IT  September 1999

AFRIK-IT September 1999

Subject:

Re: Meru and University Networking

From:

Henry Watermeyer <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

African Network of IT Experts and Professionals (ANITEP) List

Date:

Thu, 30 Sep 1999 11:07:27 +0200

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

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text/plain (93 lines)

+-----Original Message-----
+From: African Network of IT Experts and Professionals (ANITEP) List
+[mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf Of Jeffrey Cochrane
+Sent: Thursday, September 30, 1999 6:34 AM
+To: [log in to unmask]
+Subject: Meru and University Networking
+

Jeff wrote: >>>>>

+
+I was intrigued by many of KeMU staff's questions.  For example,
+what's the most effective way to control browsing on the Web?  We
+talked about education, monitoring, and policy approaches, rather
+than hardware or software solutions.  What about integrated

Welcome to the realities of operating outside the USA. Bandwidth costs,
reliability, etc all serve as a very real factor in policy decisions in
Africa, and I am sure in other countries less afluent than the USA. Not that
I really have to tell you this Jeff, you've eaten your way around this
continent for long enough to have some understanding of the problems.

What is increasingly becoming a very real problem is Moores Law because as
computing power doubles ever 18 months so the gaps between each generation
of
application packages increase. Since these are increasingly not backward
compatible he who finds himself luck enough to own a newish machine and
applications will either not be able to use all the features or will not be
able to share very easily with others the fruits of his labours.

The gap between the IT haves and the have-nots continues to grow.

+database systems for student records and the finance office?  We
+discussed ways small universities like KeMU might weigh the
+costs and benefits of automation -- manual, paper based systems
+are often just fine for small organizations, and can save lots of
+money.
+

Yes provided its acceptable to tie up significant literate person-power
doing routine jobs rather than using their somewhat scare skills in a
creative way elsewhere in the economy. When large percentages of the
population cant read or write it doesnt seem very clever to use those that
can in mundane tasks.

+We heard about one software tailored for universities that can cost
+$250,000 -- a bit beyond the reach of most small schools, but
+apparently in common use by major universities in North America
+and elsewhere.  The normative message floating around these days
+seems to be that if you're not using computers for everything, you
+must be quite backward.  Strikes me as a rather silly notion.  Was
+pleased to see the administrators of KeMU felt likewise.

As I said before I think there is a macro level economic arguement against
this view.

Elsewhere you mention that there are good skills on the continent and I
would agree with you. Trouble is we need to lose the commonly held notion
that what comes out of the USA is necessarily right for Africa.

For example many South African Universities and Technicons (Polytechs in the
old UK HE system) that use a locally developed administrative system. I
think the cost for a small simple organisation would compare very favourably
with your US$ 250 000 and the system is designed for use in Africa.

+

Cheers

Henry

+Cheers!
+Jeff @ Nairobi
+
+
+----
+Tel +254 (2) 581473
+Email [log in to unmask]
+PO Box 30261
+Nairobi
+KENYA
--------------------------------------------
Henry C Watermeyer
Director

Computer & Network Services
University of the Witwatersrand,Johannesburg
P/Bag 3, Wits, 2050, South Africa

+27-(0)11-716-3260   cell +27-(0)82-800-8862
                     fax  +27-(0)11-339-1225
============================================

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