150-WORD BOOK REVIEW: The History of Africa – Molefi Kete Astante

africaThis is not an easy book to read. Coming in at 400 pages and with very concentrated text on each page, this took me more than three weeks to read. Astante knows his history, but his writing style is stodgy.

Was it worth it? Mmmm, just about. The very density of the copy made it feel like a chore, like reading a history exercise book during the most distracting times of teenage education.

It is, however, a respectable effort in communicating 35 million years of history, from the formation of the Rift Valley to the death of Nelson Mandela.

The takeaways for me were the times of the Mali empire and the evolution of Egypt, or Kemet as it should rightfully be called. I also scribbled down some names of great African writers that I have yet to read, so for that I’m thankful. As for the history of Africa, I am now better-informed, but it took a lot of time and effort.

Quiztix teams up with BBC on Comedy Genius

geniusQuizTix and BBC Worldwide have have launched QuizTix: BBC Comedy Genius, an exclusive BBC comedy-branded quiz for mobile and tablet devices.

From comedy classics to the latest comedy sketch shows, the quiz lets comedy experts pit their wits against comedy fans via leaderboards in a bid to become the brains of British comedy.

There are 18 categories, including subjects such as Double Acts, Comedy Characters, Classic Sitcoms and Comedy Greats that are all available on iOS and Android mobile devices, as well as Amazon.

Founded in 2013, Quiztix is a London-based developer with a vision of creating a family of entertaining and educational quiz games. Quiztix was founded by Ian Masters, a BAFTA-nominated games designer and Albert Marshall, a lawyer and licensor who has worked for Sony PlayStation. The company received seed funding from Jensons Funding Partners in 2013.

“In all media, this type of ‘knowledge entertainment; is king. From Top Gear, to MasterChef and the more direct quiz shows, there is evidence that quiz games can appeal to a large market that goes beyond targeting traditional games audiences,” said Albert Marshall, Co-Founder and Commercial Director, Quiztix

Half of SMEs wait two months for invoices to be paid

invoiceThere are many injustices in business, but the one thing that is responsible for holding back entrepreneurship is the late payment of invoices.

It appears that the bigger the client is, the longer they take to pay and the smaller the business, the longer it takes to get paid.

A recent poll carried out by YouGov on behalf of FreeAgent reveals that one in eight micro-business owners in the UK has had to wait a year or more to get paid by one of their clients.

Moreover, 13% of micro-business owners said they had to wait for at least a year before a client had settled an outstanding invoice, while 46% said that they had waited two months or more to get paid by a client.

Other salient points of the report:

* 86% of micro-businesses that issue invoices said they had been paid late, while only 14% said they had never been paid late

* 31% of respondents said they wait for a month or more after their payment deadline has passed before chasing up an unpaid invoice

* Only 28% said they would chase an invoice within the first week after it was due

The research, which surveyed more than 500 micro-business owners/sole traders and was carried out to mark FreeAgent’s £1 million crowdfunding drive through Seedrs.

“We know that it can be awkward to chase clients and ask them for money, but if you don’t follow up with late payers from the moment that their invoice is overdue, they may not see the urgency in paying you. And that means you may be stuck waiting for months – or in extreme cases even years – to get paid what you’re owed,” said Ed Molyneux, CEO and co-founder of FreeAgent.

On a personal level, and with hands firmly placed on wood, I am yet to be stitched up by a client or somebody who has commissioned me.

I am wired to call the accounts department the first hour after an invoice is late and am happy to shame these so-called clients on social media if they continue to stonewall me. It is in everybody’s interests for everybody to do the same.

FIVE SUMMER GIFTS #4 – Cat® S40 Refined Rugged Smartphone

CATThe ‘rugged’ smartphone market is growing with more than 10 million sales in 2014. Now, the new Cat® S40 rugged smartphone, an update on the previously released S50 is set to accelerate this market even further.

A recent survey by Cat phones revealed that 80% had damaged a handset in the last five years. Half had cracked or shattered the display, and just less than half had damaged a phone by accidentally dropping and other accidents had befell a further when dropped.

I have done all three things, and that’s only in the past 18 months.

Fixing broken phones is also a primitive business with micro-shops charging ridiculous prices to fix them, so no surprise that groups such as professional tradesmen and outdoor workers are investing in rugged smartphones.

The Cat® S40 rugged smartphone is expensive at around £400 (less on selected sites), but compared with fragile high-end smartphones and virtually indestructible, it is a worthy investment.

Stand-out features of the new S40 include:

● Drop-tested up to 1.8 metres onto concrete
● Super Bright Display capable of being read in direct sunlight
● Large Capacity Battery
● Glove-On Working Technology
● Wet-Finger Tracking Technology
● Waterproof warning sensors lets user know when the phone isn’t waterproof

“Too many people are being let down and left out-of-pocket by damaged smartphones due to them being used in work environments they were not built for. We recognised the need to use our expertise to launch a stylish, rugged smartphone that offers protection alongside style and performance”, said Oliver Schulte, CEO of Bullitt Mobile.