20% off our Mobile Development courses until 25 April 2014

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Adopting a mobile strategy can significantly improve the way you do business. Master mobile applications development by following our two MQA-approved training courses:

  • Mobile Application Development with HTML5
  • Android Application Development
As a special offer, call us on 427-9225 until Friday 25 April 2014 to book a seat for both our courses and get 20% discount.

About our courses:

Mobile Application Development with HTML5 (starting on Friday 2 May)

During this training, participants will develop multi-platform mobile applications capable of running on iPhones/iPads, Android devices, Windows devices, etc. The latest features of HTML5 and jQuery Mobile will be used.

Android Application Development (starting on Wednesday 21 May)

During this training, participants will develop native Android applications with complex screen layouts, database access, geolocation (GPS), Google Maps, etc. thereby using all the capabilities of the Android platform. Participants are expected to know Java. We offer a two-day Java for Android course (normal price of Rs 8,800) for free for people who are not conversant with Java. Call us on 427-9225 to know more.

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Mauritius Vibrations: a mobile app to stop you getting bored

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Very often in Mauritius, we have the feeling that nothing’s happening. Or we get to learn about interesting events through media reports only after these have occurred. This should no longer be the case thanks to this new Android app developed by Knowledge Seven. You won’t miss out on the key cultural, artistic and folkloric events in our beautiful island anymore!

Indeed, Mauritius Vibrations allows you to browse a curated list of happenings for Mauritius and to plan well in advance what you want to do during your free time. Events of various types such as concerts, dance shows, exhibitions, workshops and sports events are listed with practical information such as a summary, the date, the time and the venue. A special category is designed for parents so that they can select events that are child-friendly which they can safely enjoy with their whole family.

Adding your events

If you are an event organiser, you can easily send details of your event(s) to be considered for inclusion in Mauritius Vibrations. This can be done from the application itself or by sending an email to cedric@knowledge7.com

Planning and sharing

The app allows you to select events which you want to add to your calendar. It integrates seamlessly with your Google Calendar so that you can set reminders and invite others to join in the fun with you. You can even share your selected events with your friends and family through social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, by email or simply through text messages.

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Locating the event

An exciting feature of the app is the ability to use the geolocation feature of your smartphone. Thus, for each event, you can view its exact location on Google Maps and obtain directions to get there.

Mauritius Vibrations is available in Android version for smartphones and tablets for the time being. Knowledge Seven is currently working on an iOS version for iPhones and iPads. The Lite version of the app is free for Mauritian users and the paid version of the app is available for those who want to use a full version with an offline mode and ads-free.

Where do I get Mauritius Vibrations?

Mauritius Vibrations is available on Google Play Store as well as on the infos.mu website. The Lite version is also available on the Google Play Store.

Our forthcoming training courses:

Four reasons why Javascript and jQuery are essential

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Our next Web Scripting with Javascript and jQuery training starts on Tuesday 11 March 2014

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We have come a long way from static websites. In 2014, we expect web applications to be modern, highly interactive and look and feel like desktop applications. Here are four reasons why it is important for a developer to understand and be proficient in Javascript and jQuery:

1.

Applications run in web browsers

A few years ago, people spent a lot of time writing and using desktop applications. Now, most applications are being written to run within the browser: they are called web applications. Most of these web applications rely on Javascript technologies which are widely supported by major browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer and mobile browsers such as the ones on Android and iOS. Writing software in Javascript ensures that it will run across many devices and operating systems.

2.

HTML5 applications are dynamic 

Modern websites and web applications are dynamic in nature. Users expect web applications to behave like desktop applications. They expect high-quality user interfaces as well as complex interactions such as touch and slides. HTML5, which is a combination of HTML for markup, CSS for styling and Javascript for behaviour, allows programmers to implement modern features such as the above-mentioned enhanced UI elements as well as access the GPS (geolocation), store data on the client (local storage), animating elements, etc. This requires an in-depth knowledge of Javascript.

3.

jQuery makes Javascript more powerful

jQuery adds many new capabilities to Javascript to make it even more powerful. For examples, using jQuery, a programmer can make AJAX calls and parse XML or JSON data being returned. The programmer can also manipulate the Document Object Model (DOM) within the browser very easily thereby modifying the content of the webpage dynamically. This is used, for instance, to have enhanced navigation capabilities such as drop-down menus, fades, etc.

4.

jQuery is extensible

As jQuery is so pervasive and powerful, a lot of derived projects exist: jQuery Mobile extends jQuery to allow the programmer to implement responsive web sites and apps that are accessible on all smartphones, tablets and desktop devices.  jQuery UI is a set of UI elements (effects, widgets, themes) used to construct highly interactive web applications.

Javascript, jQuery and jQuery Mobile training

At Knowledge Seven, we are happy to announce that our Web Scripting with Javascript and jQuery training is starting on 11 March. Master Javascript and jQuery to create modern, highly interactive web applications.

Join our Mobile Application Development with HTML5 training, starting on 6 May 2014, and create mobile apps using HTML5, jQuery and jQuery Mobile.

Four reasons why you should be a Linux professional

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Our next Linux System Administration training starts on Monday 7 July 2014

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Linux is a high performance, yet completely free operating system which powers more than 60% of Internet servers worldwide. Linux is also found in all Android smartphones and tablets and a lot of embedded devices such as TVs, the Livebox, game consoles, etc.

For anyone in IT, and specially system and network administration, mastering Linux is important. Here are some compelling reasons to become proficient in Linux:

1. Get better career opportunities in Mauritius and worldwide

Quite a large number of Mauritian companies in different sectors (e.g. sugar, textile, banking, finance, telecommunication, mobile and web development, consulting, etc.) rely on Linux servers and Linux system administrators. Consequently, these companies are always on the lookout for competent Linux professionals.

As stated in the latest Linux Job Report, 81% of recruiters say hiring Linux talent is a priority. 85% say finding Linux talent is hard and this is especially true in Mauritius. Nearly one third of companies pay their Linux pros above normal salary.

2. Become a certified Linux professional

The Linux Professional Institute Certification is designed to certify the competency of IT professionals using Linux and its associated tools. Mastering Linux and earning a certification is one of the best ways to land your dream job in system and network administration.

3. Make your company save money

Whether it is for small, medium or large businesses, Linux will make your company save money. Linux is available for free and therefore allows you to save money on licensing fees. There is no proprietary software that can come close to it in terms of value versus cost. Linux servers, when properly setup by competent system administrators, generally require less maintenance than comparable proprietary solutions and, consequently, Linux decreases total cost of ownership.

4. Have fun while working

Compared to other operating systems, Linux gives you much control. Linux assumes you are competent and you know what you’re doing. You can tweak your servers to perfection, change settings, choose over a hundred Linux distributions, master the command line, discover the latest cloud and mobile technologies, learn new tricks and techniques and automate all tedious activities.

Once you have tasted Linux, everything else will feel bland.

Four excellent reasons to master Java

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Our next Java for Android training starts on Wednesday 7 May 2014

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A lot of people learn Java while studying and, while they understand the basics, they do not become proficient Java programmers capable of building complex software applications.

Java is a complex and powerful programming platform and there are a number of reasons why mastering it is important:

1. Java is everywhere

Java applications run across multiple hardware platforms and operating systems. For example, it is used to create web applications (Java Enterprise, Spring, etc.), desktop applications (e.g. on Linux, Mac OS X or Windows), mobile application (on Android and J2ME) and quite a number of embedded systems (smartcards, blu-ray readers, mobile operating systems, etc.)

Java is platform-independent. Whether you are a company or an individual, using Java gives you the possibility to write a single codebase and run that on numerous platforms.

2. Java is powerful

Java has a rich API (such as Collections, Concurrency Utilities, Generics) and useful conventions (such as JavaBeans, Object-Orientation and Programming to Interfaces). Someone who masters these aspects of Java is more productive and efficient in creating and maintaining complex software applications.

Interestingly, this set of skills is easily transposable to other programming environments such as C#, C++, Python, etc. Learning Java properly makes a better programmer.

3. Java is used to develop Android apps

There are more than 1,000,000 Android applications on Google Play with over 50 billion downloads. Android is used by major smartphone and tablet manufacturers such as Samsung, Sony, LG, HTC and Motorola. Most Android apps are written in Java.

Given that there are approximately one billion Android devices in the world, this makes the Android platform a real business opportunity for creating and selling apps on Google Play.

Organisations and businesses, all over the world, are adopting Android devices to complement their existing IT infrastructure. It is therefore becoming more and more important for developers to acquire knowledge and skills in Android app development. In other words, more and more developers need to be Java developers.

4. Java is used for Enterprise Web Applications

The Java platform has become the primary choice for developing robust, large-scale, multi-tiered, scalable, reliable, and secure enterprise applications. Java Enterprise Edition (Java EE) is supported by Redhat (JBoss), Oracle (Application Server), IBM (WebSphere), SAP (NetWeaver), etc.

Many companies are constantly looking for programmers proficient with Java EE. Of course, the first step towards mastering Java EE is to master Java.

If you are dreaming of a career in software development, whether for mobile or enterprise applications, being proficient in Java will boost your chance of securing a great job.

Master Java now.

Budget 2014: Not much for ICT

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While reading the Budget speech for 2014, I felt that there is a confusion between ICT and BPO in Mauritius.

According to Wikipedia, Information and communications technology (ICT) is a term that stresses the role of unified communications and the integration of telecommunications (telephone lines and wireless signals), computers as well as necessary enterprise software, middleware, storage, and audio-visual systems, which enable users to access, store, transmit, and manipulate information.

Business process outsourcing (BPO) is a subset of outsourcing that involves the contracting of the operations and responsibilities of specific business functions (or processes) to a third-party service provider. BPO has nothing to do with ICT!

According to the Minister, the BPO/ICT sector represents 6.4 percent of GDP and provides employment to 18,800 people. But what is the breakdown between ICT and BPO? Are we, as a country, really embarking on the ICT revolution? Or merely creating low-level jobs in BPO?

Measures announced

(1) The tariffs for International Private Lease Circuits (e.g. a private line between a headquarter in Europe and a branch in Mauritius) will be reduced by 16% from January 2014. This is good in general for foreign companies having offices in Mauritius. But what about Mauritian IT startups? There could have been special packages for them. Right now, startups of two kids in a garage in Mauritius pay the same as an established company. There is something to be done at this level.

(2) 50000 houses in 2014 will be connected through fiber to the Internet. The Minister has mentioned 30Mbytes/s. Is that really feasible given that 30Mbytes/s represents an Internet 250 times faster than the one we have today? Is this a typo and that he meant 30 Mbit/s? What would be the price?

(3) ISPs will have to guarantee a minimum service level for a given Internet package. What will be the definition of a service level? Is this a minimum bandwidth? Availability of connection? Other services like technical support? How is the ICTA going to monitor this?

(4) There will be a second incubator in 2014 in Port-Louis to develop talent in IT. Who will be the mentors? With what facilities? Buildings and computers only do not make startups!

(5) The Minister also announced an HSC Pro in ICT. Who will design the course content / programme / syllabus? It should not be left to people who are only academics and have no idea of the real requirements of the job market.

(6) Finally, the Minister announced eight additional national scholarships for ICT but didn’t say where these students will be sent.

My opinion

ICT is revolutionizing every industry : medicine, entertainment, education, finance, etc. It seems to me that, as quite a lot of policy makers make a confusion between ICT and BPO, there is a risk that we miss this revolution. Why don’t we have in the budget major policy decisions (and financing plans) to make Mauritius join the ICT revolution?

ICT is not only about having smartphones in every pockets. It’s about exploring and conquering new avenues for development and wealth creation.

Let’s do things together! In ICT!

Top reasons why students need to master C++

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Our next Mastering Computer Programming (C++) training will run during two weeks from Monday to Friday from 9:00 to 12:00 (2-13 December) in our premises in Quatre-Bornes. Students will be offered a 20% discount upon presentation of their student card.

Get Free Information

Corporate clients: We can arrange for dedicated sessions for your batch of employees. For your specific needs, please call us on 427-9225 or email us at info@knowledge7.com.

Individual clients: Leave your contact details and we will let you know when the course is scheduled.

Software development is a fascinating career path which many students today dream to embrace. This is true in Mauritius given the importance of the ICT sector in our country. A lot of young people want to be able to join companies operating in the Ebène Cybercity.

However, software development requires a mastery of programming and this is difficult for many. One of the main reasons is that students are expected to use C++ which is a complex programming language. We are aware that learning C++ can be a nightmare for many students.

Why students need to learn C++

First and foremost, knowing C++ is a requirement to pass exams. It also enables students to have a solid foundation in Computer Science and this is beneficial for later years of study and for their career in IT.

C++ is multiplatform and is used almost everywhere, on Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, etc. A lot of applications are written in C++ including Windows itself, Photoshop, most video games, etc. It is also used in embedded systems including video consoles (Xbox 360, the PS3/PS4, smartphones, cameras, TVs, cars, airplanes, etc. ) As such, as a C++ programmer, a student can aspire to contribute to the implementation of these systems.

Being proficient in C++ makes someone a good programmer in the sense that focus is not laid only on end results but also on how computers work. There are many features unique to C++ such as pointers, manual memory management, templates and many others. Having a solid experience of lower-level features enables students to have a better understanding of what programming really means.

Many popular languages are modeled on the syntax and constructs of C and C++. This include Java, Javascript, PHP, Perl and many others. Although the learning curve of C++ can be quite steep, students get a head start towards learning the other programming languages.

Programming in C++ is fun. As Bjarne Stroustrup, the inventor of C++, says: “C++ is general purpose programming language designed to make programming more enjoyable for the serious programmer”.

Learning C++ with professional programmers

Knowledge Seven is offering a special December course to help university students really master C++. The training will run during two weeks from Monday to Friday from 9:00 to 12:00 (2-13 December) in our premises in Quatre-Bornes.

Students with a valid student ID get 20% discount off our normal price. They will benefit from the individual attention and expertise of the trainers who are professional programmers.

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Vint Cerf interview on Knowledge7.TV

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Engineering is the art of turning science fiction into reality says Dr Vinton (Vint) Cerf, one of the inventors of the Internet and Chief Internet Evangelist at Google.

In September 2013, Christina and Avinash Meetoo of Knowledge Seven, did an interview with Vint Cerf. He talks about the importance of the Internet, creativity, entrepreneurship and what young Mauritians should aspire to. He puts a lot of emphasis on good education and the need to really master science, mathematics and, specifically, engineering.

He strongly believes that competent Mauritian engineers can make a difference.

Visit www.knowledge7.tv to watch the video.

The new Mauritian National Identity Card

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As from 1st October 2013, all citizens of the Republic of Mauritius, who already have an ID card, should replace it with a new ID card.

The vision

The Government wants to provide all Mauritians with a high-security ID card linked to a new population database to serve as an ID document to prove identity and to allow more secure and reliable access to government e-services.

With this new form of identification and authentication, we will only need to carry one identity document instead of multiple documents. Maybe we won’t need to have our driving licenses with us all the time as all policemen will have identity card readers and real-time access to the population database. Another stated benefit is that people will also be able to access Governmental eservices at home or at work using their personal identity card readers.

What data is stored?

As pictured above, the following information is going to be printed on the front of the card:

  • A black and white photo
  • The ID Number
  • Surname, first name and surname at birth
  • Gender (“M”, “F”)
  • Date of birth
  • Signature
  • SC logo for Senior Citizens to access benefits such as the bus pass

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On the back of the card, we will have:

  • A barcode, presumably to make the ID card number easier to read by a machine
  • A card control number, presumably to check whether the ID card number (encoded in the barcode) has been read properly
  • The ID Number of the person again
  • The Date of issue
  • The name in case there is not enough space to print the name on the front side of the card

In addition to the printed information, the ID card is a smart card and contains a chip which will store the following data:

  • The photo, ID number, surname, first name, surname at birth, gender, date of birth
  • The residential address
  • Four fingerprint templates (2 thumb and 2 index fingerprints by default)
  • A digital certificate

Note that the residential address is not printed on the card. Someone stealing your ID card won’t know where you live…

What is a fingerprint template?

The chip will only store a mathematical model (i.e. a “template”) of the fingerprint, not an actual image. This is mainly for two reasons: (1) the amount of data to be stored is smaller and (2) this makes for faster processing time.

My interpretation of this is that someone accessing a very secure e-service will have to go through a two-step authentication procedure. First, the person will have to insert the ID card in an identity card reader to prove ownership of the card. Secondly, the person will have to scan his fingerprint to prove his identity. This eliminates the case of someone stealing the card of someone else and impersonating him or her. Could this two-step authentication be done otherwise i.e. without resorting to fingerprints? Yes, by using, say, retinal scanners or similar invasive and expensive techniques. My point is that fingerprints are not that bad…

What about data safety?

A digital certificate is stored in the chip of the ID card. This is to ensure that an identity card reader can only read the data on an ID card when validated through the Mauritius National Identity Scheme (MNIS) Certificate Authority. In other words, all stored data is encrypted on the ID card and can only be unencrypted by an identity card reader if and only if the MNIS Certificate Authority approves that.

Furthermore, the whole system is protected by security appliances, access controls mechanisms, security policies, physical security, etc.

It looks like a lot of thoughts has gone into making the system as secure as possible.

The new ID card will only justify its high cost when…

This new ID card will cost a fortune and people need to understand that it is only a means of identifying and authenticating someone.

We will only have a good return on this massive investment if and only if most Governmental services become e-services. It’s high time that we, Mauritians, stop wasting our time having to go to Port-Louis, Phoenix or Ebène just to submit a form. Will this happen soon? I have some doubts…

In conclusion

  • The ID card is nothing to worry about in principle.
  • Most Governmental services need to become e-services soon or else we’re just wasting tons on money.

[All pictures courtesy of the Mauritian National Identity Card website]

Our forthcoming training courses:

Happy Programmers’ Day

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Today, 13 September, is Programmers’ Day.

13 September is the 256th day of 2013 and, as you may be aware, we, programmers, love powers of two! Interestingly, Programmers’ Day is officially recognised in a number of countries but not yet in Mauritius. We need to work on that.

Programming is the art of taking a problem, understanding it thoroughly and creating a solution in the form of a computer program which can then be used on a computer, a smartphone, a tablet, an embedded device, etc. Without programmers, there would be no ATMs, no phones, no TV, no Internet, no YouTube, no video games, no modern cars, no airplanes, etc. Major companies such as Microsoft, Oracle, Yahoo!, Google and Facebook were created by programmers and are still managed by them.

We, programmers, are the ones which make your world interesting, nice and simple.

So Happy Programmers’ Day to all Mauritian programmers! Let’s continue finding solutions to important problems.