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  • What to Write when you don’t Know What to Write

    What to Write when you don’t Know What to Write

    It has been a hazy couple of years, and like a dripping faucet, the energy I usually derive from putting my thoughts into words has leaked away into the great unknown.
    What joy is there in sharing my most intimate thoughts with strangers? Is there a point in us humans simply being curious about what is happening in other people’s lives?
    No matter the color of your skin, or the society that produced you, connection, not isolation, is woven into our DNA, and we thrive or otherwise, in direct proportion to the quality of our association, or more specifically, the people closest to us, the people we spend most of our time with.
    Like sponges, we gradually absorb the mannerisms, behaviors, and biases of the people closest to us, and like perfect mirrors, reflect the same with near perfection.
    Take a good look at your closest associates today and ask yourself if you can achieve your life goals with the same set of minds. While it is not black and white, you can begin by making slight changes, reaching out and making new connections, learning something new, and stretching beyond your comfort zone.
    In the words of C.S Lewis, “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”

  • The Spark

    The Spark

    At this point, I should give you a bit of background information on how I got to that point.
    My earliest memory of getting interested in technology was in early 1993 and I had just witnessed my dad bring a huge device out of our stereo system. I was so upset I began to cry, telling him how he had damaged the equipment (I loved listening to the radio); unfazed, unfazed, he coupled the stereo as it was and turned it on. My bewilderment turned into amazement as the radio crackled back to life. Stupefied, I asked him, “What happened?”
    How could it continue to work after removing such a huge thing from inside it? It was the rotor (motor) that was bad, and that is why it stopped playing cassettes, but the radio part was untouched. From that day, I knew this was what I wanted to do with my life (not so much repairing stereos but learning the inner workings of electronics and much later, computers).
    Fast forward to another 5 years, in late 1998. I was so dissatisfied with not being able to watch TV after there was a cut in electricity supply (for my Nigerian readers. Generators were virtually non-existent in those days). So, so much was the disquiet within me that I finally thought up a solution. A mobile TV set; drew the sketch, with 2 knobs, one for volume, and another for frequency tuning. I expected it would be battery-powered, and somehow, I figured the CRT (Cathode-Ray Tube) would be too bulky to make it portable enough to fit in the pocket, and that was it. I got stuck, and never went back to it.
    The following year, 1999, I attended a 2-week training course organized by an NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) and that was my first encounter with a laptop. The trainer had an IBM laptop that was running Windows 98 Operating System. I was so mesmerized that I would spend as much time as I could just staring at the beautiful piece of technology. I stared too much; I must have burned the image into my mind. That was another initiation into the world of technology, but it would not be until 2 years later, in late 2001, that I would fully delve into that world of infinite possibilities – The Internet.

  • Highly Indebted

    Highly Indebted

    There are no self-made human beings anywhere; we are all products of the people in our lives, a reflection of who they are. Often, we turn out, just like the people closest to us, and we perpetuate, or, if possible, re-invent ourselves to chart a new course. I would like to thank some of those people who shared their knowledge with me.
    Sometime in December of the year 2000, my friend Bukola told the class to expect someone who would come to teach us some science subjects after closing hours. I couldn’t have imagined that the trajectory of my life would be altered forever.
    He sauntered in about a full hour behind schedule, said simply “my name is Franklyn Eze, you can call me FRC” and after apologizing, asked them about a dozen of us left in the class the question “what makes tomato red?” I was taken aback, not only because it had never crossed my mind, but because I had been asked by someone who was about the same age as me or a couple of years ahead of me at best.
    After waiting a few minutes and being apparent that we were all clueless about what he was talking about, he said “the substance that makes tomato red is Lycopene, and the IUPAC name is 1-cyclo propyl, 2-methyl cyclo butane“. The whole class (a dozen of us) erupted into shouts of excitement. That was a mouthful, I thought. How can someone know this? He continued, “do you know Citric acid?” We answered in the affirmative, feeling cool with ourselves, that we were not total ignoramuses. “The IUPAC name for Citric acid is 2, 3, di-hydroxyl butyric acid“, another bout of screams. I was hooked.
    He went on to take the class on the dispersion of light, using the VIGBYOR and ROYGBIV interchangeably, and the entire 2 hours he spent exploding our brains, he didn’t look at a single book! I was mesmerized, and totally in love with this brainiac. I wanted in on the action. Whatever he was doing to know this much, I wanted to do it too.
    A couple of months later, my confidence levels were through the roof, and I would go to junior classes to teach some of my favorite subjects, and I got valuable feedback, and all the while, I kept receiving lectures from Franklyn. He had expanded his reach at that point, so, the classes were no longer held at our school, so, a couple of us would band together to travel down to the school where the lectures were held.
    There was a day when he didn’t show up though, and everyone else left for home one after another, but for whatever reason, I waited at the bus stop for a good 4 hours until it was getting dark. All sorts of scenarios were running through my mind, (those were the days before the Internet, mobile phones, etc.) and even I reached my limit and went home, all the while replaying the preceding events in my mind, checking to see if I had missed him on the bus while waiting.
    I did see him on the next meeting day and turns out he was held up somewhere else. I was too focused on what new thing he would teach, and the hunger for a new world of information had just re-awakened in me.

  • Growing Up in the 90s

    Growing Up in the 90s

    I remember rapping in primary school for Uncle Sola, my teacher, who also raps. We would rap together, and he would let me have the second verse after he took the first verse. Somehow, we would rehearse every day during break time and sometimes after school hours. It got to a point, he told me, that if I practiced and got so good, he would take me to the United States of America.
    I was about nine years old then and I believed him. I remember getting home all excited and telling my parents that Uncle Sola was going to take me to the United States of America because we had rapped together. I don’t remember what response they gave then, but I remember their shrug and the concern on their faces, a deep desire for it to be true, even though they knew it was a bucketload of crapware.
    What did I know? I was just a kid who didn’t know what puberty was yet and grew up on the outskirts of Lagos. In those days, the only bank I had ever been in was LBIC (Lagos Building Investment Company) and I remember queuing up for hours on end just to make a deposit into my father’s account; there were no computers, so, the cashier had to write the amount deposited in a ledger and on the customer’s passbook.
    In those days, I had never seen a mobile phone, a computer, a flat-screen TV, or a cell tower. There were a couple of phone booths scattered around the largest residential estate in Nigeria but never mustered the courage to enter one. In those days, power supply was guaranteed for at least 18 hours a day, unless of course there was a major fault that would require NEPA (National Electric Power Authority) officials to come and fix or replace it. In those days, our pastimes included flying kites, making paper planes, a game called sure, catcher, after round one, tic-tac-toe, and messing.
    TV had programs for children from 4 pm and there were no 24-hour stations. Only those who were considered rich back then (now realize they were the middle class), had cable TV and the rest are condemned to whatever was dished out by NTA2 Channel 5, NTA (Nigerian Television Authority) Channel 10, NTA Channel 12, NTA Channel 7, LTV (Lagos Television), OGTV (Ogun State Television), and the newest kid on the block, AIT (Africa Independent Television).
    In those days, the Walkman was a dream gadget for young boys everywhere. Nintendo’s Gameboy, Brick Game, and gaming consoles like Famicom, NES (Nintendo Entertainment System), SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System), and Sega were the order of the day and the DeFacto business for young entrepreneurs was opening a gaming center where boys of various backgrounds could come and show their skills in Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, Killer Instinct, and the popular Super Mario.
    Those were the days of Okin biscuit, shortcake, crackers biscuit, and the huge cabin biscuit, which was the default birthday celebration snack. Condense was the name of the homemade popsicle, and Lolly was the name of the industrial one. Balewa was the name of the local candy that came in a variety of colors. Baba Dudu was another local candy that was packaged differently.
    Football competitions were called form, and the organizer was called association. The trophy is an ingenious contraption.

  • Newton’s Second Law of Motion in Life

    Newton’s Second Law of Motion in Life

    Newton’s Second Law of Motion says, “The rate of change of Momentum is directly proportional to the force applied”.
    This implies that to get to the point where you can achieve your goals, you will have to work very hard at the beginning.
    Remember Newton’s First Law, you are starting from Zero. The force of inertia (the reluctance to leave a state of rest) is your biggest enemy. You will need to reserve energy to continue applying force in order to activate the big MO.
    What is a big MO?
    Momentum is the Eldorado when motion is the subject. This is the reason why the rich get richer, and, you guessed it, the poor get poorer. Momentum favors those who have something going on, and of course, it doesn’t manufacture anything; it only reallocates resources from those who don’t have anything going on to restore balance in the world.
    Once upon a time, a man got lost and ended up in a desert. After days of wandering and near exhaustion, he saw a shack (shed) and half-heartedly wobbled towards it, hoping it wasn’t another mirage. On getting there, he found a pump. I’m saved!!! He thought. He pumped frantically with renewed vigor that he had no idea where it came from. Zilch. No water. He pumped some more, but still nothing. He let out a deep groan and his heart sank.
    He looked around and saw a bucket of water. Why didn’t I think of that? He kicked himself mentally. Beside the bucket lay a note, it read “If you would like unlimited water supply, you have to pour the contents of this bucket into the pump to prime it. Every last drop must be poured in. Then pump like your life depends on it”
    His internal turmoil began, should he drink the bucket of water (security) and go on his way (uncertainty), or should he follow the instructions (insecurity), take a chance, and hope it works (uncertainty)? After what seemed like an eternity, he made the most unlikely decision.
    He poured the entire contents of the bucket into the pump and began his fight for survival.
    After a few minutes, which could very well pass for a few hours, it started in trickles. The glimmer of hope became a flood of sunlight, and he pumped harder. It soon started gushing and with little effort, the water kept gushing (that is, the Big MO). He drank to his heart’s content, filled the bucket, and wrote underneath the note “Trust Me, it really works! You have to pour it all in”
    Anything worth doing will first get harder before it gets easier. Only those who keep at it get to activate Big MO. That is the leverage employed by the Wealthy, and it validates the principle” the rich get richer, the poor get poorer”
    This is the end of 2015. Unless there is a change in your thinking (still your fundamental human right), your realities by December 31st, 2015 may not be very different from the present.
    Yours in Service of Humanity,

  • LIF101 – POST NO BILL

    LIF101 – POST NO BILL

    I want to tell you a story, and in the next couple of minutes, I would appreciate it if you could lend me your undivided attention. I promise to return it with interest.
    A child was born in an urban area in the heart of Lagos State almost 3 decades ago, attended about 5 primary schools, finally obtained the first school leaving certificate, and from there on to just 1 secondary school. Being a very brilliant and apt student, he obtained the necessary 5 O’Level credits in the senior school certificate exams and got an average score in the university and tertiary matriculation exams. He got admitted to study physics because they just had to put him somewhere because he knows somebody who knows somebody. Even though he wanted to study electronics and computer engineering because that is where he excels: mechanization and electronics.
    The result? Instead of the standard four years, he spent eight years and still did not graduate. For those wondering how it came about, here it is. Through no fault of the university, he kept failing the mathematical courses repeatedly! had 3 extra years! That’s right! 3 solid extra years before being told that the allowed number of extra years is two. That ended his quest for a B.Sc. in Physics and freed him up to pursue his passion: computers!
    By the time he realized he was coming back for an extra year in the second semester of the 300 level, he was determined not to come back. His thoughts were to just bail out and escape. However, he had a coach who sat him down and showed him the big picture: “that LASU was just a minute phase in the story of his life, and he should see it to the end, then move on with his life.” That was exactly what he did!
    The good news is that he has known since his 100-level days that he has no future in physics and has thus decided to enroll in another course in information technology on the internet (Note: there were no online universities, open courseware, or MOOCs in 2002; there was w3schools.org). He spent all his pocket money on overnight browsing twice a week, learning about website design using HTML, CSS, DHTML, Javascript, and Flash; then graphic design using Photoshop, CorelDraw, and 2D animation using CorelRAVE. Since he had spent all his money to pay for the overnight browsing, there was no money left to print. So, he would write out all he had to say, and in so doing, he was assimilating a whole new world of information that he can still remember to this day!
    Do not let this society define you; it will set you up to fail and ruin your life. As a fish, do not wear yourself out trying to fly. There are some species of fish that fly for a few seconds, and if that’s what you want, you can have it. A flash in the pan—that’s the idiom for it. Dolphins and whales do jump out of the water briefly and go back under to continue life as usual. However, if you spend your time swimming, you will have made considerable progress.
    I am the one in that story, I was admitted to study physics, but I spent most of my time and money on cybercafes. A decade later, it has paid off.
    I will not follow the path of countless others and tell you that’s the end of the story; let’s sing kumbayah, and you’re good to go. It takes guts, moments of doubt, loneliness, and depression; desperation and regrets will overshadow your heart along the way, but if you stick with what you love doing, you will flow right to the top. Don’t deceive yourself and think you will be successful in 6–9 months; it will take as long as it takes if and only if you do not give up. History is laden with those who had phenomenal ideas and nearly implemented them.
    The educational system of this society is amoebic at best; at the same time, it is a cookie cutter, churning out hundreds of thousands of job hunters per annum. You need to decide NOW if you want to be one of the 10,000 applicants queuing up to write an aptitude test for a job that has only two slots! If not, it is time to rise above the inhibiting factors that are prevalent all around you and stick with your guns!
    Let’s go back to the beginning!
    If you have no idea what you want to do with your life, now is the time to find out. You are protected to an extent while you’re within these walls; once you step outside, you are on your own!
    I haven’t mentioned careers much thus far because you need to find out who you are first, and then you will know what career path is best suited for you. For those who choose a career path because “there is money there,” soon discover that it is short-lived. Jobs are springing up now that didn’t exist 5 or 10 years ago! Life is too short to spend it chasing money and missing the good things of life.

  • Three Decades On


    Its been almost 9 months since my last post and looking back now, I had been drifting gradually from writing and focused more on joining the race that over 2 million individuals before me had run faithfully.

    I was born on a cool Saturday morning somewhere in Lagos Nigeria, back when the military junta was making a comeback and the Naira was stronger than the US Dollar (yes, that time existed in our history).

    Fast forward ten years, and my most dominant thoughts were how I was going to prepare and scale through my common entrance and G2 examinations in order to gain admission into a secondary (high) school. I was bummed though as I was not allowed to write that year and had to wait another year before I could prove my mettle against other brainiacs in the state.

    Two decades on, my life revolved around getting my grades up in the university, flexing my public speaking vocal chords and chasing the girl of my dreams. I got my heart broken for the first time and was depressed for about 6 months, got better towards the end of the year and had a couple other heartbreaks in the ensuing years (that is another blog post)

    Taking stock on the day commemorating the third decade spent on God’s green earth, I am married to the love of my life, sit on the board of a couple of companies (www.itooknow.com, www.mugusguide.com, www.wawradio.com, www.dedgedigital.com) consult for a couple of organizations (www.goldelsh.com, www.fifthgearplus.com), host a couple of technology shows on radio (www.digitalspaceng.com, www.facebook.com/pcfixnigeria3)

    I have learned a whole lot, but some of the lessons that stood out are as follows;
    * Somethings can be thought, others can only be caught (you have to go through it)
    * No matter what you do, people will talk. Do it anyways.
    * Life is all about stewardship. We find fulfillment for our lives ONLY when we live for others.
    * No matter how bad your luck is, someone else has it worse. Be thankful.
    * Life is a gift. Use your time wisely.

    Thank you for reading, hope to write another soon.

  • #ChildNotBride

    #ChildNotBride was the major rallying cry over the weekend and it brought to the fore, our innate feelings of love and compassion for our fellow humans, especially our children.

    Let us borrow a leaf from the reaction generated by this debased form of thinking (inferred or not) and extend that same anger to the paraplegic educational system, the hostile business environment, the derogatory lyrics and plots in the entertainment industry, the slaughter houses that serve as our healthcare facilities, the cauldrons that have overtaken what used to be roads, the power sector that has gulped more money than the whole of Djibouti, the railway system that will fall miserably short when compared to the World War II museum artifacts and setup petition signing centers all around to force a change in the policies and impel them to action.

  • Social AI

  • HOPE + FUL – LESS = HOPE

    #OccupyNigeria #FuelSubsidy #ABSURAPE #ALUU4 #MUBI #BOKOHARAM #PLANECRASH #FESTACRAPE #UNBOMBING #KIDNAPPING #PILEUPS #BUILDINGCOLLAPSE #FIREDISASTER

    It is evident that we live in a broken world and nothing we do will fix the predicament we the inhabitants find ourselves because we ourselves are imperfect and there is no way we can create a perfect system out of an imperfect mind.
    The mere fact that we go from one tragedy to the other shows that the change we seek has to start with us, otherwise, we will remain in the same dysfunctional state where things seem to work, only to take turns for the worse and degenerate into terrible situations which jolts us back to reality.
    That some of the tragedies we have witnessed in recent times are man-made and preventable is enough reason for us to realize that we need to consciously work on renewing our minds. Where’s the love gone? Love for self precedes love for others and this will breed fore-thought and help your decision-making process such that you consider the consequences of our actions or the lack of it.
    When you choose to live our lives by your own rules, you tend to sink to record lows every single time; and over time, you suppress, all to the point of silence your conscience such that you become numb, with no feeling, stone-cold, callous and selfish. You make decisions with only yourself in mind, this, as history has shown, is a recipe for disaster.
    What can you do? While the losses that resulted from the tragedies are real and caused countless pain and suffering, it can cause you to lose faith in humanity when you focus all your attention on everything going wrong. There is hope, when we reach for something more, and in the face of hate, pour out LOVE like rain.
    Studies have shown that humans can survive,
    40 days without food,
    4 days without water,
    4 minutes without air,
    and all but
    4 seconds without HOPE.
    Hopelessness is a state where there is nothing left and the proverbial silver-lining is not visible; the foreboding, overwhelming, almost horrific feeling that all is lost, gone and there is no reason to live.
    The families of the countless hundreds that have lost their lives are still mourning and for years to come will carry the pain, the shattered dreams, and a life of hardship awaits some of them. You can make your voice count towards a significant change in preventing future occurrences of the man-made tragedies that claimed those precious lives, cutting short their dreams and aspirations.
    We have a larger platform in this age than all of history put together, with this platform comes a massive responsibility – use it as an instrument for change. Life is too short to live for yourself alone; when you are all wrapped up in yourself, you make a very small package, making a difference in nobody’s life.
    When you get a novel idea and are about to post, ask yourself this; will this touch anybody’s heart and compel it to action? If the answer is no, you may want to review it and make changes. Won’t this make you uptight and serious? It will make you accountable for every word you say/write because they have the potential to bring about a turn-around in someone’s life and the reverse holds true as well.
    Carelessly-placed words have the potential to tear someone down emotionally and cause more damage than physical injuries do. More importantly, we need to ACT; go beyond talking into taking necessary steps to lend a hand, give time, resources and thoughts to make a change, no matter how insignificant it seems.