Monday, September 22, 2008

What is Biotechnology?

Biotechnology is an applied science, aimed at harnessing the natural biological capabilities of microbial, plant and animal cells for the benefit of people. It couples scientific and engineering principles with commercial considerations to develop and improve products and processes made from living systems. According to the office of Technology Assessment, United States congress, biotechnology is "any technique that uses living organisms or substance from those organisms to make or modify a product to improve plants or animals, or develop micro-organisms for specific purposes".

Biotechnology is not new as some people discovered over 9000 years that microorganisms could be used to make bread, brew alcohol and produce cheese. What is new, however, is the extent of applications and sophistication of biotechnology techniques currently employed. Researchers can manipulate living organisms and transfer genetic materials between organisms. Genetic engineering itself is the specific modification or transfer of genetic materials under lies modern bio-technical innovations.

Application of biotechnology are predominantly practiced in a wide range of activities of social and economic importance, as highlighted below:

1. Agriculture
  • Plant breeding;
  • Mass propagation of plant clones;
  • Bioinsecticide development;
  • Modification of plants to improve nutritional and processing characteristics; to mention but few.
2. Medicine
  • Development of Novel Therapeutic molecules for medical treatment;
  • Production of new antibiotics, vaccines for malaria and improved ways of insulin;
  • Diagnostic test for detecting serious diseases such as hereditary cancers;
  • Drug delivery;
  • Tissue Engineering of replacement organs; and
  • Gene therapy, to mention a few.
3. Veterinary Practice
  • Vaccine Production;
  • Fertility Control; and
  • Breeding to mention a few.
4. Food Industry
  • Production of baker's yeast, cheese, yogurts and fermenting foods such as vinegar etc.
  • Brewing and wind making; and
  • Production of flavours and colour agents. etc.
5. Chemical Industry
  • Production of bulk chemicals and solvents such as ethanol, citric acid, acetone and buthanol.
  • Synthesis of fine specialty chemicals such as enzymes, amino acids, alkaloids and antibiotics.
6. Environment
  • Bioremediation of soil and water polluted with toxic chemicals;
  • Sewage and other organic waste treatment;
Conclusively, biotechnology has significantly impacted and improved the quality of life for people of this planet. And this does not end there, complementing the creative endeavours of researchers and engineers in the efforts to commercialize biotechnology products with input of business, management and marketing personnel.

Check more on my in my contributions.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Bio-Fuels I (Willow)

Biofuel can be broadly defined as solid, liquid, or gas fuel derived from recently dead biological material.
Bio-fuels are fuels that can be used to replace polluting fuels such as petrol, without damaging the environment. A fuel such as ‘willow’ is a good example. Willow grows quickly on most land and it can be harvested like any agricultural crop. Whilst it is growing it absorbs carbon from the atmosphere, reducing the amount of pollution in the atmosphere. When it is burned as a fuel it releases less carbon into the atmosphere than it absorbs whilst growing. This means that it is a ‘green’ fuel. It does not increase the amount of pollution in the atmosphere, in fact during its life cycle it reduces these damaging gases.

1. Willow grows quickly and is harvested. The wood is stored until transported to a processing plant for ‘chipping’.
2. The willow is processed. Each trunk is fed through a ‘chipping’ machine - the chippings are collected and packaged for distribution.
3. The willow chippings are fed into a boiler and burned to produce heat. This replaces gas, oil or coal as an energy source. Water is heated and pumped around the building in the same way as in most heating systems.
The boiler for burning chippings is usually slightly more expensive than a gas or oil burning boiler. However, the fuel is cheaper producing savings over a period of time.


Bio-Fuels II from Animal Waste

Another means of generating power is trough animal waste or dumps.
Methane is a gas that can be collected and burned as a fuel. This gas is produced by animal waste, as it decays. Some farms collect animal waste and store it in tanks, processing the collected gas. The resulting methane gas is then compressed in tanks/containers and distributed to customers. It can be used to heat cookers, houses and even to power car engines.

1. The cycle starts with animals on a farm, grazing and producing waste.

2. The waste is collected on a regular basic. It is transferred to decomposing tanks and the methane gas is collected and stored.

3. Gases are stored in tanks and transferred to tankers. It is transported to customers or compressed and transferred to smaller cylinder tanks.

4. The methane gas can be used for household appliances such as cookers. It can also be used as the fuel for cars specially adapted to burn methane gas rather than petrol. These vehicles are less polluting although their speed and acceleration are reduced.


Bio-Fuels from Burning Domestic Waste

Recently interest has grown in the burning of garbage / domestic waste to produce electricity. This is not a new idea although in the past when waste was burned it created pollution that could even be toxic. Today, the technology exists to remove almost all the pollutants from the fumes produced during the energy production cycle. Special filters remove dangerous chemicals and particles that would normally be found in the fumes.

1. The domestic waste is sorted usually by hand to remove materials than can be recycled. Steel is removed using electromagnets and this is stored until there is enough quantity for recycling to be economically viable. Aluminum, in the form of cans is removed by hand.

2. The waste is then ‘dropped’ into the hopper of a furnace. When the doors slide open it falls into the burning chamber. Gas is normally used to start the fire which burns at a high temperature, destroying the domestic waste. While the waste burns it heats a water tank, in turn, producing steam. The steam is used to turn turbines, producing electricity.

Once steam has been produced, the production of electrical power is no different than that used in any other power station. The high pressure steam is used to turn electrical turbines which produce electricity. The advantage of this way of producing electricity is that the domestic waste that would normally be buried in land fill sites or even dumped far out at sea, is burned. This means that vast areas of land that would have to be used for land fill are free for agriculture or for building.

The domestic waste is burned in the furnace. This heats water in a tank producing steam. The high pressure steam is used to turn turbines, producing electricity. The steam produced during the process condenses back to water and is recycled for heating once again. Pollutants are removed from the fumes before they are allowed into the atmosphere.


Bio-Fuels III (Alcohol fuel)

Ethanol (ethyl alcohol) often known as alcohol can be used as an environmentally friendly fuel. Brazil is currently the world’s largest producer having developed its processing industry since the 1970s. Brazil uses ethanol as a replacement fuel for petrol and diesel. Brazil has reduced its reliance on fossil fuels such oil through its enthusiastic use of ethanol. Currently twenty percent of Brazil ‘liquid’ fuel usage is ethanol based.
However, there is a negative side. In Brazil ethanol is processed from sugar cane. Brazil is a vast country and it has the land area to grow thousands of acres of this crop. However, it has been claimed that forested areas have been cut down to provide the land required for this from of agriculture. In the USA maize is being used to produce starch. This can also be processed to give ethanol.

Ethanol from Sugarcane
The first stage in ethanol production is to grow a crop such as sugar cane. The sugar cane of cut down and undergoes fermentation and distillation.

Crushed sugar cane in placed in fermentation tanks. Bacteria in the tanks acts on the sugar cane and in time produce a ‘crude’ form of ethanol. This is then passed on to the ‘distillation stills’ where it is refined to a pure form.

The impure/crude ethanol is heated in a ‘still’ until it vaporizes and rises into the neck where it cools and condenses back to pure liquid ethanol. The impurities are left behind in the still. The ethanol trickles down the condensing tube into a barrel, ready for distribution.

Ethanol can be used as a fuel for cars and Lorries, heating homes to mention a few. When burned it produces fewer pollutants than traditional fuels such as petrol and diesel.


What do you know about solar energy?

Solar energy can be defined in many ways but some of these definitions are highlighted below:
i. It can be defined as the power produce from the radiations of Sun;
ii. Heat and light radiated from the sun;
iii. Energy produced by the action of the sun's light or heat;
iv. The radiant energy of the sun that can be converted into other forms of energy, such as heat
or electricity; and
v. Energy produced by photovoltaic solar cells, which are made of semiconducting materials, to
directly convert sunlight into electricity and lot more.

Solar energy has been looked upon as a serious source of energy for many years because of the vast amounts of energy that are made freely available, if harnessed by modern technology.

A simple example of the power of the sun can be seen by using a magnifying glass to focus the suns rays on a piece of paper. Before long the paper ignites into flames.

This is one way of using the suns energy, but flames are dangerous and difficult to control. A much safer and practical way of harnessing the suns energy is to use the suns power to heat up water.

A magnifying glass can be used to heat up a small amount of water. A short piece of copper tube is sealed at one end and filled with water. A magnifying glass is then used to warm up the pipe. Using more than one magnifying glass will increase the temperature more rapidly. After a relatively short time the temperature of the water increases. Continuing to heat the water will cause water vapour to appear at the top of the tube. In theory, with enough patience, several magnifying glasses and very strong sun light enough heat should be generated to boil the water, producing steam. This is one way of harnessing solar power.

The principle of heating water to boiling point was used by the French in 1888. They developed a solar powered printing press. It used the energy of the sun to boil water, producing steam. The steam was used to drive a steam engine which provided the power to drive the mechanical printing press. The machine was unreliable and very expensive to manufacture.

Modern solar panels are a combination of magnifying glasses and fluid filled pipes. The solar panel seen opposite has a glass front which is specially made to focus the power of the sun on pipes behind it. The pipes carry a special fluid that heats up rapidly. They are painted black to absorb the heat from the sun. The silver reflective surface behind the pipes reflects sun light back, further heating the pipes and the fluid they contain. The reflective surface also protects anything behind the solar panel (such as a roof).

The heat produced in the pipes is then used to heat a tank of water. This saves using electricity or gas to heat up the water tank.

Significance of Solar Energy
1. Solar energy is free although there is a cost in the building of ‘collectors’ and other equipment required to convert solar energy into electricity or hot water.
2. Solar energy does not cause pollution. However, solar collectors and other associated equipment / machines are manufactured in factories that in turn cause some pollution.
3. Solar energy can be used in remote areas where it is too expensive to extend the electricity power grid.
4. Many everyday items such as calculators and other low power consuming devices can be powered by solar energy effectively.
5. It is estimated that the worlds oil reserves will last for 30 to 40 years. On the other hand, solar energy is infinite (forever).

Disadvantages of Solar Energy
1. Solar energy can only be harnessed when it is daytime and sunny.
2. Solar collectors, panels and cells are relatively expensive to manufacture although prices are falling rapidly.
3. Solar power stations can be built but they do not match the power output of similar sized conventional power stations. They are also very expensive.
4. In countries such as the UK, the unreliable climate means that solar energy is also unreliable as a source of energy. Cloudy skies reduce its effectiveness.
5. Large areas of land are required to capture the suns energy. Collectors are usually arranged together especially when electricity is to be produced and used in the same location.
6. Solar power is used to charge batteries so that solar powered devices can be used at night. However, the batteries are large and heavy and need storage space. They also need replacing from time to time.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Tips on Declining IT Skills In The Technology Market

Technical skills may never die, but some areas of expertise in the field of technology as it advances may be going into extinction. IT staffs that will forsake yesterday's craft in favour of tomorrow's must be talented in the technology world of today.

It is very difficult for IT industry watchers to identify specific IT skills that are dead or completely useless. In a right sense some of these skills are truly on their way to what one can considered as a thing of the past.

This days skills like virtualization has risen to the top of many company's must lists while high tech talents in certain operating systems and specific vendor products fall to the bottom.

Some of the high tech skills that don't demand the pay they once did are:

(1) Plain Old HTML: As web 2.0 technologies such as AJAX and XML has taken over from HTML programming.

(2) Legacy Programming Languages: Programming languages such as Cobol, Fortran, PowerBuilder and more don't rate like they use to be. IT work-force and compensation research conducted by Foote Partners shown that cobol, PowerBuilder and Jini non certified skills were among the lowest-paying skills in the second half of 2007.

(3) Netware: Operating systems technology remains on top demand among hiring managers, but expertise in Novell's network operating system Netware are becoming obsolete compare to other technologies. Nowadays, window Server and Linux skills have replaced or are replacing Netwares skills in term of demand.

(4) Non-IP Network: Internet Protocol(IP) and Internet skills are outweighing non-IP network expertise and know-how in technologies such as IBM's System Network Architecture(SNA) which is ranked among the lowest paying skills.

(5) PC Technical Support: The Computer Technology Trade Association (CompTIA) reports that hardware skills and knowledge, including expertise with printers and PCs are on the decline in term of demand. According to research it was found that the skill area expected to decline the most in importance is hardware.

Conclusively, with these few exposition, it is pertinent for old IT practitioners to improve their skills while new or prospective IT experts should know where to channel their energy for success in their careers. Beware of the declining areas of IT and look for more rewarding IT skills that are in high demand in the IT market of today.


Saturday, March 29, 2008

Building a Career in Networking

The Networking industry is huge, encompassing thousands of companies and a massive range of technologies. Of the entire IT career fields currently available, few can offer the diversity that computer networking provides. With networking comes the demand for skilled individuals that can work on the various aspects of networking. Most companies have a network and they all need skilled individuals to manage their network. Even if they cannot justify having a full-time administrator of their own, they are likely to have an arrangement with a computer company that does.

But please keep your feet on the ground! Don’t start building castles in the sky. Even though computer networking is an attractive career field, there are no automatic or easy jobs in networking just waiting to be picked. Networking has opportunities. But you must be able to handle the hard work, the knowledge requirements and competition of positions that goes with networking. Networking has opportunities but please make sure you have a realistic career strategy.
Let’s look at what you need to know to build a career in computer networking.

Job Titles
The networking field has a wide range of job title, many of which refer to very similar, and in some cases identical, roles. Sample titles are: network administrator, network engineer, network analyst, network systems analyst, Information Systems Administrator, network technician, systems administrator and so on. Most of these jobs are similar in nature and encompass many of the same roles and responsibilities.
Often job titles are defined by an individual or company in many areas of IT, these titles can become confusing. There are no set standards regarding which job title corresponds to which role.
More meaningful are the actual work assignments of a person in a particular position.

Problem Management
The ability to solve problems quickly and creatively is essential, and like some administrators say. "Problem solving is 99% of what we do." Not surprisingly, people with solid tech support background usually do well in network admin.
Effective problem solving requires you to be resourceful. The wide range of products and activities in the networking arena may often bring up unexpected problems, even though you may not know the answer, resourcefulness means you are expected to know where to look for the answers.
The best network administrator has the ability to foresee problems before they occur and develop a plan so that the problems never surface, or cause too much grief. The “fire-brigade” attitude is a “NO-NO” in network administration.

Network Coordination and Management
Administrators need to be able to coordinate and monitor network activity. You should never make the mistake that the net admin’s function to solely to install and troubleshoot. You monitor the network, checks users’ activities, and keeps an eye on error logs, as well as other network activities. This requires effective coordination on the part of the administrator. A network professional must notice details, while observing the big picture.

Ability to handle the Stress factor –long hours, nonstop pressure
Successful network administrators have the ability to work well under stress. How motivated are you? How passionate are you about what you do? For many organizations that are dependent on networks, once the network goes down, the business too goes down. Network disruption puts immediate pressure on the network administrator for a swift and effective resolution. You must expect such pressure at anytime.
Network administration also requires long hours on weekends and evenings to sometimes upgrade networks, install patches or to maintain them in an effort to keep them up and running. Most of the time, upgrades and maintenance need to be performed outside normal office hours.

Lifelong Learning
In the fast changing world of IT and computer networking, you need to develop ways of keeping up with tech developments. The IT market changes all the time. What is in demand today may be obsolete tomorrow, especially in IT. This is particularly important in networking with the fast pace of change as evidenced in wireless networking.
Network professionals need to keep up with the changing technologies and must be able to use the most up to date operating systems and hardware.

Communications skills
Good communications skills are particularly important for interacting with users and other IT professionals in the technical team. You may need to work together with users in instances where tech support-networking issues come up.
Other communications may take the form of meetings, where the current state of the network is discussed along with the analysis of any recent issues. In addition, because networks are in a constant state of advancement, new projects and products must be discussed.

Network Knowledge and skills
Just like in other areas of IT, knowledge is key. Every network career starts at the beginning – connecting two computers together to provide service.
You need to have a solid understanding of the network operating systems that are in use, the products with backup capabilities, and adequate knowledge of the products that run on the Network you’re supporting. As well as an understanding of network infrastructure issues, cabling, machine locating, and so on. Some general knowledge of computer hardware is helpful in most organizations.

Network Technologies
Networking offers a diverse range of technologies – Microsoft, UNIX/Linux, Cisco, Novell, etc. The question should not be which network technology is the best, rather it should be which network technology interests you? Companies and individuals have various preferences. Some even combine different technologies. And you find that in networking as in other fields you may have to learn more than one technology.

Networking is one of the most popular areas of IT that has also closely embraced certification.
Certifications that relate to this area include: CompTIA's Network+, Microsoft’s MCSA/MCSE/MCP, Novell's CNA/CNE, Cisco's CCNA and CCDA, as well as many specialty titles, including those from Citrix and various security organizations. There are also OS-specific certifications for those working with Linux, Unix and Apple OSX.
Although certification is one way of acquiring the skills and knowledge needed by Network Professionals, the accumulation of certifications is not what makes a career in networking. And don’t be fooled, certifications don’t guarantee jobs!
Do you have sufficient knowledge of what the certification entails and how it fits into your career plan? Does your certification match your level of experience? It is ridiculous for newcomers without experience to strive for advanced level network certifications like MCSE and CCNP.

Although there is demand for skilled individuals in this area, it is not easy to just pick a job in this area without experience. There is an extreme amount of competition currently out there. Most people who become network admins work their way up through a technical support position. However, some are still able to find an entry-level position as a junior admin.
Another way to gain networking experience is through internships/industrial attachment or volunteering. It may not pay well, and in fact you may actually be “paying for experience”. But the most important factor is the quality of hands-on experience you can get. If the experience is worthwhile, don’t worry if initially you have to “pay for experience”. Good experience leads to better opportunities.

Fundamentals are key
Fundamentals of computer networking form the basis of many networking courses and certifications. It always helps to be well grounded in the fundamentals, irrespective of your choice of network technology.
You must have a firm grasp of networking concepts, OSI model, network devices, Ethernet, TCP/IP, protocols, topologies, internetworking, etc.
A career in networking is going nowhere without a good foundation in the fundamentals of networking.

The Network Personality
Essentially, networking requires you to be flexible in terms of your working options. Also can you be calm and work well under stress? Do you enjoy problem solving? Networking also requires analytical thinking and the ability to pay attention to detail. Most importantly can you cope with the knowledge demands of this knowledge-intensive field?

I hope this has given you more about beginning a career in networking.

This article is credited to Jide Awe the founder of one of the fastest IT Career Consultant in Lagos Nigeria.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Recommendations on How to Combat Avian Influenza in Nigeria

Considering the recent development and seriousness of the matter, the federal, state, local governments, poultry farmers and the general public must take immediate steps to prevent human death resulting from bird flu diseases in Nigeria.

The following are hereby recommended for containing the spread of avian flu and prevention of human pandemic in the country:
(i) Government should continue paying compensation to poultry farmers affected. An increase on the earlier amount of two hundred and fifty Naira (N250) per chicken being paid by the federal government should be considered since human lives are now at risk.

(ii) With the resurgence of the infection in the country, government should expand laboratory capacity and supplies in the country.

(iii) Federal Government should intensify effort in organizing sensitisation workshop/campaign for the public in the following areas:

(a) The danger inherent in people having contact with sick or dead poultry also in slaughtering, de-feathering, butchering and preparation for consumption for diseased poultry.

(b) The necessity of good hygiene practices for poultry workers by a strict regimen of hand washing and sanitizing with an alcohol based cleaner.

(c) On consumption of properly cooked poultry products “until none of the meat is red” in case of chickens and eggs must be thoroughly cooked to at least 70oC.

(d) On likely symptoms that signifies the presence of the avian flu virus in a farm or on an infected birds.

(iv) Mass media should also be used to enlighten the public on the risk involved in the further spread of the virus.

(v) The general public should be encouraged to keep surveillance so as to avoid further human health from this deadly disease.

(vi) In order to prevent human pandemic in Nigeria, both federal and state government should be involved in the following activities:

(a) Working closely with other countries and the World Health Organization (WHO) to strengthen systems to detect outbreaks of influenza that might cause a pandemic.

(b) Providing adequate funding, advice and support to both local and international professional agencies that will assist in preventing pandemic.

(c) Collaborating with vaccine production industry to increase the nation’s vaccine supply capacity, especially in the development of a new type of influenza vaccines.

(d) Stockpiling of the existing antiviral agent that have been proved effective against current strain of avian flu. At least for distribution to healthcare and security professionals in case of pandemic.

(vii) Banning of importation of poultry birds into the country till the avian flu virus outbreak is put under proper control.

If all these are put in place Nigeria will be moving towards an outbreak that might lead to a Pandemic in future.

Check my other articles on Avian Flu:

What is a pandemic?


Guest Safety And Security In Hotel

Individuals and groups generally can define security, as the condition of safety of life and property and provision of a peaceful and stable environment for daily conduct of lawful activities with a community.

Safety and Security is applicable to all strata of human endeavour be it political, economic and social activities to maintain a high rate of Security is not the responsibility of assets but id a task for all citizens.

In view of the aforementioned both the guest and the management of the hotel has a lot do to main safety of the guest in a hotel.

Responsibility Of The Management
It is pertinent to give adequate attention to Security of a guest in a hotel because anyone can be the victim of lapses on the part of the management of any hotel any time,. Therefore, Security and safety of hotels and matters of utmost concern to its customers, especially in the third world where many hotels lack adequate protective and preventive measures against attacks or Security threats.

The first thing to put into consideration is adequate understanding of the structure and environment where the hotel is located. Environment in this content include; history, mission, philosophy, processes, organizational structure and the staff strength of the hotel.

The management of hotels should through their security department carry out physical Security survey of the are where the hotel is located in order to understand better activities that go on around the hotel.
Also character check of all the guard/security men must be done before and at intervals to check their other activities that might be detrimental to safety and security of other guests.

In an attempt to achieve total safety and security of guests the following highlighted practical steps should be carried out by the management of the hotel, in compliance with basic requirements imposed by the appropriate regulatory agencies of the country of operation. 
        They are:
i. Effective screening and observation of new employees and identification cards for all personnel;
ii. Exist/entry control, including the use of visitor’s tags;
iii. Use of screened and well trained Security guards to prevent recruitment of people of questionable character as Security guards;
iv. Use of adequate Security gadgets such as Close Circuit Television (CCTV);
v. Well illuminated environment, including the perimeter wall fencing with barded wire to prevent unauthorized access;
vi. Provision of incentive and other good welfare packaged for the hotel Security department to prevent possible compromise of Security of the hotel;
vii. Fire preventive measures should be ensured, For instance there should be working fire extinguisher with constant drills to Security guards on how to use it in case of emergency; and
viii. The management should ensure that a reliable means of communication is available for Security purpose and in other case of emergency services.

Responsibility Of Hotel Guest
Many people reading this article now falls into this category and it will do you and I a great favour if we can follow some of the highlighted roles and duties of a hotel guest to the latter.

Accordingly, guest who visits should endeavour to do the following to assist themselves and the hotel management in ensuring the Security and safety of the hotel:-
i. Give their correct identity including telephone numbers and contact address;
ii. Leave all their valuables with the security department, who will on turn-ensure proper records keeping of such items for safe keeping;
iii. Report promptly all suspicious telephone calls to the security department of the hotel for appropriate actions;
iv. Report any other incident of Security interest, including smoke from electrical appliance and sockets in their rooms to the appropriate department of the hotel for immediate rectification of such faults;
v. Switch off electrical appliances in their rooms, including Television and Air conditioners whenever they are leaving their rooms; and
vi. Abide by the Security and Safety measures put in place by the hotel management.

Conclusively, it is believed that no organization can achieve 100% safety and security, nevertheless, if all the above highlighted measures are put in place and abide by the hotel management and guest the rate of Security threat to the guests would be reduced to a bearest minimum.
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Monday, March 24, 2008

The Use Of Internet

The internet has remain the most valuable thing that has happen to this generation and it will be good if everybody can make optimal use of its resources in our daily endeavours. Below is a presentation on the use of Internet prepared by me; please enjoy it.

The Internet is a “network of networks” that consists of millions of smaller domestic, academic, business and government networks, which together carry various information and services, such as electronic mail, online chat, file transfer and the interlinked web pages and other documents of the World Wide Web. The Internet technology has become so enhanced that it is now the source of important researched and economic information of companies, governments, institutions or individuals.

There is hardly any information at any man’s disposal that you will probably not have access to, when you are connected to the Internet. Some of which you might have to do so at a fee. The Internet could be put to many uses as stated below;
To a new user navigating the Internet effectively may seems to be a daunting task while some users are so overwhelmed that they never explore the full range of internet tools and resources, which could assist them professionally. Finding useful information on the Internet requires a combination of familiarity with the search tools and resources available, this entails a grasp of search strategies and language.
Search Tools
(i) Search Engines
A search engines is a programme, which indexes web pages automatically. Since there are so many stuff out there in cyberspace, if you are trying to find information on a certain subject and you want to find it fast, you’ll need to use a search engine. Search engines are Internet tool (sites) that search the internet for the particular thing you are looking for as fast as possible without wasting time. Among the major search engines and directories are:
· Altavista :
· Excite :
· Google :
· HotBot :
· Lycos :
· NorthernLight:
· Yahoo:
· Askjeeves :
(ii) Meta search Engines
Meta searchers are a special form of search engine, which conduct a search simultaneously on several search engines. Among the top metasearchers are:
· Dogpile:
· Metacrawler :
· Mamma :

(iii) Directories
Unlike search engines, directories are compiled manually. Information about web sites is entered manually and each web site included in the directly will be slotted into an appropriate category such as “travel” “food” or “education”. Yahoo is an example of a directory.

Search Strategies and Techniques
To search successfully you will need to think about:
(i) What words might be used to describe your topic?
· Synonyms as associated words;
· Words which should be excluded; and
· Words describing related ideas.

(ii) Whether you wish to limit the search:
· By language – e.g. only including English language materials
· By date – e.g. restricting the search to materials produced after 1996.
· By form – e.g. only searching for journals, articles or theses.
· By output – e.g. searching selectively rather than comprehensively.

(iii) What sources to use for searching
· General Sources such as:
* Encyclopaedias
* Newspapers
· Subject-specific sources such as:
* Monographs
* Journals
* Databases

These are several starting points for a search, which you choose depending on your prior knowledge of the topic for which you are searching. As you continue to search, keep rethinking your approach to searching. What you find may suggest other ways to describe the topic or the need to include other sources.

Search Syntax
Different search tool offer different options for refining searches and may use different search syntax or languages. Some search engines allow you to refine your search by selecting from a number of natural language options such as “find all words”, “must not include” or “find any words” while others require you to use either “search math” or Boolean logic to refine your search. By learning the basic of search math and Boolean operators you can make your online searching a much more productive experience.
· Some search facilities are case sensitive, while with many it doesn’t matter.
· Many search engines by default ignore common words such as “the” and “in” etc. These are known as “stopwords”

(a) Search Math
“Search math” uses common mathematical symbols to refine searches:
Use + (plus sign) in front of each term which must appear in your search result. For example, If you are looking for stirrups for horse riding, entering
+ horse + stirrups
will make sure that the result are all about stirrups for horses – not surgical stirrups, the stirrup family or recipes for a stirrup cup cocktail.
Use – (minus sign) in front of every term which must not appear in your search result. For instance, enter
+ stirrups – cup – surgical

Use “ ” (Quotation marks) around words you want to make as a phrase e.g.
“South Africa”
“Stirrup Cup”
“Thabo Mbeki”
Use wildcard * (asterisk) for truncation. E.g. if you want to search for education, educators, educate etc, enter
NB: Not all search engines permit wildcard truncation.

(b) Boolean Logic
Some search engines use the Boolean operators “AND”, “OR” and “NOT” for the refining of searches. Boolean operators should generally be written in capital letters.
Use AND to require that more than one terms appears in all search result.
e.g. chocolate AND cake
will find pages with both terms.
Use OR if you want your entire search results to include either term (or both). This can be useful if there are alternate spellings (e.g. “organization” and “organisation” or synonyms (priest, minister) for terms. To find all pages, which contain the word “priest”, or the word “minister” (or both), enter
priest OR minister
Use NOT to exclude terms you don’t want to appear in your search results e.g. If you are looking for information about cabinet ministers rather than minister of the church you could enter
Minister NOT priest

NB: Some search engines use AND NOT instead of NOT while some allow the use of the “proximity operator” NEAR e.g. South NEAR Africa.
This will ensure that the terms appear close to one another.

The Internet is now the cheapest and fastest means of sending and receiving mails. One does not need a post office box to send and receive mails. This has been one of the staggering successes of the Internet. Once you open and have unlimited access to your e-mail account using software such as Microsoft Outlook Express, Yahoo etc you can start sending e-mail to your friends family or business associates provided you know their e-mail addresses. Web-based e-mail accounts are accessible from anywhere there is Internet access, such as at an Internet café. Some of the best examples of web-based accounts, which are free include:
(i) Hotmail –
(ii) Yahoo -
(iii) Address -
(iv) Amrer -
(v) Alloymail -
(vi) Ivillage –
(vii) Freebox - etc.

Another aspect of e-mail that is handy is the facility to send attachment with them. These can range from a photograph to a different format of files alongside with a video clip. As long as you have it on your computer and the recipient has the software to open it.

Many people use the term Internet and www (or just the webs) interchangeably, the two terms are not synonymous. The www is a huge set of interlinked documents, images and other resources linked by hyperlinks and URLs.

These hyperlinks & ULS allow the web-servers and other machines that store originals and cached copies of those resources to deliver them as required using HTTP (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol); which is one of the communication protocols used on the internet. Web browsers such as Internet Explorer and Firefox are used to access web pages and allow users to navigate from one to another through hyper links. Web documents include photographs, graphics, sounds, text video, multimedia and interactive contents such as games, office application and scientific demonstrations.

The Internet allows computer users to connect to other computers and information stores easily, wherever they may be across the world. e.g. an office worker away from his desk, perhaps the other side of the world on a business trip or a holiday, can open a remote desktop session into their normal office PC using a secure Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection via the Internet. This gives the worker complete access to applications, while away from the office

The low cost and nearly instantaneous sharing of ideas, knowledge and skills has made collaborative work dramatically easier. Not only can a group cheaply communicate and test, but the wide reach of the Internet allows such groups to easily form in the first place. Internet collaboration technology enables business and project teams to share documents, calendars and other information. Such collaboration occurs in a side variety of areas including scientific research, software development, conference planning, political activation and creative writing.

A computer file can be e-mailed to customers, colleagues and friends as an attachment. This simple feature of the Internet, over a world-wide basis, is changing the basis for the production, sale and distribution of anything that can be reduce to a computer file for transmission. These include all manner of point publications, software products, news, music, film, videos, photography, graphics and other arts.

The Internet has made if possible for broadcasters to transmit their live audio and video streams e.g. the BBC. This technology allows many existing Radio & Television broadcasters to provide Internet “feeds” of their programmes. This means that an Internet-connected device, such as a computer or something more specific can be used to access on-line media in much the same way as was previously possible only with a television & radio receiver.

VoIP stands for Voice over IP, where IP refers to the Internet Protocol that underlies all Internet communication. This phenomenon began as an optional 2-way voice extension around the year 2000. In recent years, many VoIP systems have become as easy to use and as convenient as a normal telephone: The benefit is that, VoIP can be free or cost much less than a normal telephone call especially over long distances (international calls) and for those always on Internet connections such as cable or ADSL. VoIP is maturing into a viable alternative to traditional telephones. Interoperability between different providers has improved and the ability to call or receive a call from a traditional telephone is available. Simple inexpensive VoIP modems are now available that eliminate the need for a PC.

The Internet has been a major source of leisure even before the invention of world-wide Web. Today, many Internet forums have section devoted games and funny videos; short cartoons in the form of flash movies are also popular.

The Internet has also become a large market for companies some of the biggest companies today have grown by taking advantage of the efficient nature of low-cost advertising and commerce through the Internet, which is also known as e-commerce. It is the fastest way of spreading information to a vast amount of people simultaneously. The Internet has also revolutionaries shopping – e.g. person can order a CD online and receive it in the mail within a couple of days or download it directly in some cases. It has also greatly facilitated personalized marketing which allows a company to market a product to a specific person or a specific group of people than any other advertising medium.

On the Internet employees and job seekers do meet, if an agreement is reached, job seekers and employers become better for it.

The Internet is a cheap source of making friends on contacts. Logging onto an appropriate site, you can choose a business partner, a pen-pal o even a wife or husband. It is a market place for whatever you need to sell or buy

The Internet is allowing greater flexibility in the way works are being done worldwide, especially with the spread of unmetered high-speed connections and Web Applications. It can now be accessed virtually everywhere by numerous means. Some which have been exhaustively discussed in this presentation.

Productivity of personnel will be increased if some of these Internet technologies are adopted in the course of discharging his/her duties.


Saturday, March 1, 2008

Engineering the hub of global development

It is a thing of joy and pride for you to be addressed as an"engineer" because the contributions of engineers in this millennium can not be over emphasized. Engineering profession has become the main tool for the world industrial development, which most outstanding conglomerate of the world today depend.In a nutshell, one can say the global technological development of today is a manifestation of the brains of engineer that are put to work.

In view of the aforementioned fact, there is need to harmonize the training of engineers globally in order for all countries of the world to meet up with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) especially in the third world country like Nigeria.The engineering school curriculum, Engineering entrance questions
, duration of courses, industrial experiences and all other things that is involved in the training of seasoned engineers need harmonization. To attain this feet countries should encourage aggressive student exchange courses in related areas, creation of a database for standard engineering entrance sample questions, past engineering examination questions and standard engineering projects to mention a few.

India is a country that is highly acknowledge for her sound engineering achievements in various engineering fields such as civil engineering and lately in the area of Information Technology (IT) world. Graduated engineering students are encouraging new or prospect engineer to face their engineering challenges without fear. The motive is to entice young citizens into this noble profession of Engineering.

Credence is given to one of these groups that is making serious waves online to help students not only in sharing knowledge but also making money online to assist them in their studies. IndiaStudyChannel (ISC) is the name of this great group and they are located at

In this group you are allowed to upload past engineering
entrance sample questions, engineering entrance question papers, past engineering examination questions and online forums to exchange ideas, news,jobs & interviews, to mention a few. Kudos to you guys this is a novel idea a site dedicated to helping students development.

As an engineer I am so challenged at this idea on how we can also come together in my country and put up something like this for both current and intending engineering students to show case our own indigenous technology to the world. It is my great joy to belong to this world renewing profession because without adopting appropriate technology this easy platform for exchanging ideas cannot be possible. This is an evidence of what can be adopted by other professionals in other countries to promote global peace and unity; erasing physical borders in a way internet has done today turning the whole world into a small village.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Computer Made Easy (1)


What are Computers?

Computers have been around since the Chinese Abacus. They are here to stay. There is a certain feel and flow to the logic that directs their activities.

Electronically, all computers work about the same. Computers vary widely in size and use. However all computers are similar in what the hardware does. So-called microcomputers (like your desktop Personal Computer (PC)) are designed for personal use, relatively low price, and modest data processing tasks.
Minicomputers are moderate sized (a small refrigerator size) and perform more complex tasks with larger amounts of data. Minicomputers might be used in a small engineering office or a local bank branch to send transaction data to a head office computer.Mainframe computers are large, expensive and process billions of characters of data rapidly and fill entire rooms.

Finally, supercomputers are built to minimize distance between circuit boards and operate at very high speed for complex uses such as designing airplanes, animating complex movie sequences graphically or solving complex engineering formulas having billions of steps mathematically. Supercomputers are built for raw speed. SuperComputers are the main servers in the Internet System.

Some terms apply to all computers. INPUT is how data gets into a computer. The keyboard and mouse are familiar INPUT devices. OUTPUT references how data is provided from the computer. A Monitor or printer are good examples of OUTPUT devices.

PRIMARY STORAGE or MEMORY is the computer’s immediate data storage area - usually this is in small integrated circuit chips which hold data ONLY while power is supplied. This PRIMARY STORAGE area is thus temporary. More permanent SECONDARY STORAGE is used when computer power is off or when data overflows primary storage. This is usually floppy or hard disk drives but can include paper tapes, punch cards, or even non-volatile magnetic bubble memories.

A computer system includes computer hardware, software and people. A computer is a device capable of solving problems or manipulating data by accepting data, performing prescribed operations on the data, and displaying the results in the desired form. The computer is a useful tool for data (or Information) Input, storage, processing and output.