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I want us to begin understanding this from the very already established day to day living. It is true that some people begin to wonder where they belong in this world immediately you begin to talk about ICT. The question is, should it really be so? Let us look at it this way. The entire universe is about communication which is simply a give and take affair - ask and receive, seek and find, knock and be opened unto.  Just as simple as that!

 

ICT is the abbreviation for Information and Communication Technologies.

I want us to begin understanding this from the very already established day to day living. It is true that some people begin to wonder where they belong in this world immediately you begin to talk about ICT. The question is, should it really be so? Let us look at it this way. The entire universe is about communication which is simply a give and take affair - ask and receive, seek and find, knock and be opened unto.

Let us understand these: 1. When you ask, you can do so in various forms - voice, body movement, pressing your foot on another person by your side's foot intentionally as our elders do, letters, etc.

Through all such listed methods you send out what we can call data, which is worked on to derive some relevant information. Thus, the data is sent to whosoever we want to act on them.

This person works on it, i.e. processes it. The processing is that the person hearing you uses his brain(the processor) to understand what exactly you want by the kind of sound he is hearing from you, or the gestures seen or actions experienced.

What he understands you to mean after this processing is what is called Information. You will by all means receive a response.

The sending of your information and receiving feedback is called communication. AT ALL COST YOU WILL RECEIVE A RESPONSE.

Therefore, this sound must come to him in a manner (format) he can understand to give you a response.

So in the ICT industry we also talk of Request-Response. When a person does not know in the first place that the sound you are making is for his attention, he/she may hear and understand but may not respond. Another person may go ahead and respond. These all depend on the culture, upbringing and principles of that person. If you bring this home, you will realize that certain situations arise where when you respond to an issue which was not purported to be answered by you, the reaction you get is, I was not talking to you! Some such reactions can come in a very rude form or rebuking manner. Hence to stay safe, one will want to be sure that the questioning being asked is for his attention before he responds. There are situations where you will be expecting a response from someone and the person will be sitting there looking at you, or may not even turn in your direction. some react to this by saying things like, Am I not talking to you? Then other person may say things like, I did not know you were talking to me because you did not draw my attention before talking and so I did not know it was meant for my attention. Next time if you need my attention let me know first.

The proper way to do this is called a handshake just as we shake hands in normal day like; we reserve bigger terms for later appreciations. Simply explained as:

Request : I need your attention to discuss something. Can I have it?

Response: Yes, you have my attention.

After this handshake you now know you have the attention of the person to have a meaningful interaction or exchange between you.

 

In our normal day to day living, you cannot hold the hand of someone in a handshake and be talking to someone else without proper permission. Hence, with a handshake between you and someone, whatever you say is first and foremost meant for his attention. You can therefore not speak to him in a language he cannot understand. If you do, you will definitely get a response which may be silence, gestures, or the person also speaking a language you don't understand where he probably may be saying I don't understand. Anything not meant for that person during a handshake will require proper permission being sort. You may for example say, please excuse me. This what is referred to as protocol which establishes an agreed way of seeking attention, asking a question and getting a desired result.

 

As you may discover in these scenarios all these actions require some work to be done to achieve them. The work done is depended on the amount of effort you put into it. While you are putting in effort through your thoughts, words, and deeds, it is important to note that all of us have different levels of limits to our abilities and capabilities.

 

The next thing to think about is, with the capacity that I have in terms of such parameters as physical strength, resources, etc., one has to think of how best to tackle the task with the capacity available and derive the best results. How you will tackle a task to achieve the best of results with the limited capacity you have is what has been described with this big scary word - TECHNOLOGY.

 

If I am standing close to someone and I need his attention, I can tap the person or call the name. If the person is in the room and I am outside the I can call by my voice. if I think I don't have that capacity to be heard from afar by my voice, then I may knock with my hand. For some kinds or doors knocking with your hand may cause you pain and still not be heard. Hence you may use a object to hit the door. Now we have door bells with sound only and door bells with video. All these are simply ways of getting attention, and all form part of this BIG WORD TECHNOLOGY.

 

Hence, there are different technologies to achieve different purposes. If you need the response to a request from someone, the method or technology you use depends on how quickly you need your response, how critical it is that the request must be clearly understood, whether someone knowing about your request can create problems, whether the responder needs to hear your voice at all cost, whether the responder needed to read some this, whether the responder must see you talking no matter where the two of you are, etc. All these mean you need specific technologies or method. We will expand this later.

 

Every method you use has its good sides and bad sides. Hence, a method or technology is judged according to prevailing circumstances. If you have to send somebody with your request, you can speak to the person, hand over a letter with supplementary instruction, go by foot through bush paths, by foot through roads, go by private transport, go by public transport, by road, by sea, by air.

 

Whichever you choose has its doe's and don't s. To send telegraph you have to go to the telegraph office and cue, to send by computer you have to sit and press buttons on the key board. For the computer to understand what you are asking to be done, the computer environment provides what is called a word processor to be used for typing letters. To send the letter, ICT provides e-mail to have the job done instead of sending your house boy. This is why in the ICT world you hear of application programs.

 

The computer does not know anything. It is called a black box. What you put in is what you get. If you put garbage in it you will get garbage out. Hence, depending on your need, a specific application program is designed for your specific purpose. A word processor will understand pressing the space key on the keyboard as wanting to create space in between words or characters. The same space key during playing games will do something different. Hence, what in OK in one instance of working on the computer may be very disastrous in another situation.

 

What is critical in the ICT world is that there are rules to be obeyed. To this end there are standards and best practices, i.e. acceptable ways of doing things that have been agreed upon by the industry.

 

Reflect on these. To be further expanded. You may draw my attention at any time to any error you may detect and also suggestion for simplification for beginners' appreciation.

 

Rev. Lambert Ntibrey