The real independence is from PHCN

October 1 is regarded as our national independence day although I’m not so sure if we are really free. The British may have gone but PHCN is still around, in some transformed way.

I was reading about the latest upset planned by Elon Musk and I had a good smile. Today, my day is made. Could I end up having a total energy independence? That is, if I could afford it. Before then, a little story.
One of the few luxuries I have been able to enjoy in this country is constant electricity. I know it sounds crazier than your cousin having a bubble bath right in the middle of Sahara Desert.

So where do I live? In some random part of Lagos! I live in a little enclave that happens to have a very bad electricity problem. Apart from the madness induced electricity given by the local utility, the estate itself has perennial problem of poor utility management that ensures that darkness is a constant factor.

But I’m in one of the rapidly expanding Nigerian club that discovered energy storage, popularly called inverters. I bet someone around you has it and it’s getting so popular that I expect it to supplant “I better pass my neighbor” soon. For a few friends that I have gotten on this bus, their greatest regret has always been getting inverters too late. Inverter has gone from nerdish to mainstream.
However, there is a catch, you still need to have some bits of electricity from the utilities or your generator to have this going. It doesn’t eliminate most of your cost or sometimes of your inconveniences but boy, it does a good job of hypertension alleviation!

What if I could invest some cash into solar panels and pair that with my inverter, could it be possible that I could snip of my wires?

The cost of solar panels is rapidly going down although the Naira exchange rate is making a mess of everything. But let’s say solar gets to a decent price point, going independent might be worth it. The biggest cost savings wouldn’t come from utilities bill but from cost of buying, fueling and maintaining generators. Lord have mercy!

So back to Elon Musk. His SolarCity wants to install up to 1GW of panels along with batteries over the next few months. Is my hope on Mr. Musk? Hell no.

Actually I’m hoping that this will spur copycats with price war, all the way to the bottom. Currently at today’s Naira, I need to shell out as much as N1.5M for a 5KW solar panels which isn’t a priority now. What happens if competition, innovation and business drives this down to N100K?

Think about it.

Aliens don’t have FM Radios

I’m up watching a BBC program about SETI with scientists hoping to have a tete a tete with some green monsters anytime soon.

While I’m a tech buff yet I feel this may be worse than a search for an elephant with 10 legs. Aliens, if they exist, may not even have radio technologies; it may be beyond them or way below them.

Aliens may not even be carbon-based life. You never know if that freaking diamond ring maybe someone’s sister cut to size. Just saying. But wait, isn’t diamond carbon?

Microsoft is cool again

I may need to see a shrink because of my addiction to email. I bet I’m the only one in my circle who has ever paid for an email app on the phone. Who does that? Considering that I use Android where you could get everything and anything (didn’t say anyone) for free then you could understand my malady.

Don’t be quick to blame me though. I live and die with my emails. I hate phone calls to a passion; my phone has been on silent since March 13, 2006. Don’t ask me how I could remember that date.

So having an efficient app is one thing that could make my miserable life bearable. After all what’s the most efficient way to harass my hapless colleagues? Emails!

My company uses Microsoft Exchange, and nothing beats that better than a native app. Too bad, Microsoft came late to the party. With the ghost of Ballmer exercised, Satyah started balling. I can tell you now that the most useful and fun to use app for managing emails on iPad is Microsoft Outlook. Not only does it do that, it hooks to your Drive, One Drive, Dropbox or other places where you’re hiding your smurty pictures.

Ok, Microsoft bought Acompli but who cares?

Excellence is an OCD

Sometimes you don’t know where to draw the line between OCD and the strive for excellence. Maybe it doesn’t make any difference or does it?

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is terrible and has made lives of millions a living hell. This is just a comparison and in no way making light the suffering OCD patients go through every waking minute of their miserable lives.

I was lucky, or unlucky as some of my friends would say, to have started my career at an organization where the passion for excellence was a religion. Looking back, I think I drank more than my fair share of that Kool-Aid because I really can’t see quite a lot of that excellence there anymore. But that’s a story for another day.

Those were days we believed we could do anything and nothing but the best matters. It affected my life; I ended up striving to get things done properly. Let me be truthful, to get some things done correctly. For the rest, I couldn’t give a damn.

I haven’t and may not reach perfection, but I never lost that drive. For a lot of my colleagues and friends, it can be an annoying nervous tick from an over-caffeinated dude struggling with a mid-life crisis. What has the straightness of a table got to do with excellence?

Maybe it has a lot to do with it.

I’ve always been amazed at well-made things – buildings, furniture, accessories, electronics, websites, and even well-written articles. I’ve since driven my unfortunate colleagues mad with that maniacal catchphrase “we should be the best.” Whatever that means.

IMHO, the underpinning of excellence isn’t about where you are but never losing the desire to get better every day or week (depends on your schedule :-)). It has helped me in a lot of ways. For example, even though my blog (this one you are reading, or what do you expect?) is riddled with more grammatical errors than the grains of sand at Eleko Beach but then it never matters to me. Show me, and I will correct them. Teach me, and I will learn. I get better every day!

No story better captures this than the quest of a man to rid Wikipedia of one single grammatical error: Comprise of. Now, I’m not a language buff, but it has been argued that this is bad English. He’s done thousands of edits and has been sworn at by thousands of Wikipedians for his overbearing manner. Who cares? He’s probably using that to calm the demons demanding perfection in his feverish soul.

Is it worth it? Maybe, after all, I think a straight table with chairs neatly tucked is also worth it.