The making of computer nerds
The idea of designing a mobile browser first struck them when they were in nursery school. Today, in Year Nine and Year Seven respectively at Greensprings School, Lagos, Osine and Anesi Ikhianosime, have developed a mobile web browser, the Crocodile Browser Lite, which they have also improved upon. Launched on Mobango app store, they migrated their product to Google Play Store to shore up patronage because they needed to be seen and patronised by a larger online audience. The teenagers who have also developed some 2.5D games, believe the sky is their starting point, just as they revealed that they were also developing apps that would be capable of solving real social problems like helping motor traffic and enhancing communication.
Nick D’Aloisio is an English computer programmer and Internet entrepreneur best known as the creator of Summly, a summarisation, artificial intelligence technology developed with SRI International.
D’Aloisio has been recognised as the youngest person to receive a round of venture capital in technology from Hong Kong Billionaire Li Ka Shing at just 15. He sold his summarisation app to Yahoo for an undisclosed amount of money.
The app is now Yahoo News Digest. Born on May 14, 1984, Mark Elliot Zuckerberg, one of five co-founders of the social networking website, Facebook, is also an American computer programmer and Internet entrepreneur. Zuckerberg is currently the chairman and chief executive of Facebook, Inc.
Though he receives a one-dollar salary as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Facebook, his personal wealth, as at March 31st, 2015, is estimated to be $35.1 billion.
William Henry Gates III, better known as Bill Gates is another American business magnate, philanthropist, investor, computer programmer, and inventor. He originally established his reputation as the co-founder of Microsoft, the world’s largest PC software company, with Paul Allen.
It is not every day that one sees teenagers looking up to billionaire Gates as well as Zuckerberg as role models. But that is what teenagers, Osine and Anesi Ikhianosime from Edo State are doing. As their peers saunter in and out of several online portals and chat rooms through their mobile phones and sundry hand-held devices during their spare time, the Ikhianosimes are doing much more serious things with theirs.
The result of the time they have invested in surfing the web and burning the midnight oil is the Crocodile Browser Lite, which they have created. Their creation notwithstanding, the teenagers are not radically different from their peers.
In fact, like other teenagers, they also love sports especially football and tennis, watching movies, playing piano and listening to music. What, however sets them apart from their peers remains what they spend their spare time doing, what they have achieved so far, and what they hope to achieve in the days ahead. This evidently makes them nerds in their own right.
On Google Play Store, their product is the described thus: “Crocodile Browser gives you a fast all-in-one web experience – and is excellent in searching, browsing, downloading. This browser is capable of opening pages at a really high speed. The new user interface design improves the user experience of the browser. This new browser will catch your eyes.”
In April, the teens launched an improved version of their browser and managers of the site advised users saying, “For users who updated the app and it is not working. Uninstall it, then reinstall it.” In explaining the need for the upgrade, the proud scions of a classroom teacher mother and a human resources chieftain father chorused, “Last month, we launched another version of the crocodile browser.
This is a brand new design and a different time management setting and process. It now has a design mode for tablets as well as high and low end mobile phones. It is faster than the first design. We intend on evolving our browser because we believe it could be the future of operating systems. After they launched their product on Mobango app store, they moved on to the more popular Google Play Store. Anesi explained the rationale behind the migration.
“On Google Play Store, we have over 1, 000 downloads and on Mobango app store, we have about 6, 000 downloads. This shows that we are gradually moving forward even though we believe that the number of downloads remains small, having being on Mobango for over a year and on Google Play Store for about nine months. “Why the rate of download is not very high is because some people don’t believe in what we are doing.
They may even be thinking that the browser was done by some Indians and out-sourced to us to take the glory. Another group of people see our browser as an alternative to Google chrome.
That notwithstanding, we intend to improve the user retention by adding a few more features. In the next 10 years, we want to be as popular as Google is on the African continent, generally getting a very strong foothold on our continent. Expectedly, different users of the browser have taken the liberty to rate the product as well review it. For instance, on May 27, 2015, Paul Valery Simo wrote this review.
“Good Job I’ve been in information technology field before you guys were born, but guess I’m suck in coding and you guys are my heroes.” Tonireal Humphery O, another user on May 29 wrote, “Wonderfully fast. The app is incredibly fast. Thanks to the developers. I
n the next update, I expect improvements in the user interface and the icon. Two days earlier, Idara Duff, another user also wrote “Nice Job! Very good job by the Ikhianosimes. I am giving out four stars because I want you guys to improve it. Give some attractive touch to the user interface, and I will surely release my remaining star to make it five-star. Nice job.” Another user, Seun Shina Ajongbolo on May 28 wrote, “You are the envy of your time.
I appreciate and admire the fact that you guys started with this and not some complex stuff like I’ve been doing. Quick advice-ensure that you don’t limit your creations to national level, but be ready to give it to a global standard. Keep working smart as information technology is all about updating your skill and the sky will be your starting point. Good luck guys. Emele Emele also expressed his love for the browser saying, “Love the browser. Simple, fast and trouble free. The user interface needs some improvement though, to make more attractive.
There should also be a home screen with speed dial featuring popular or commonly used pages e.g. Face book, Yahoo, CNN, BBC. In their response to this, Anesi and Osine on April 29 said, “Thanks for the advice.
We would really try and add that in the next update.” Anesi, the older of the two, and a self-confessed introvert who wants to study computer science in tracing their foray into the computer world summarised, “I think we have always been like that as we started using computers at such an early age. I at five and Osine at three. Initially, it was just messing around with the computer even to the extent of damaging them. Thankfully, we are where we are. “I had an idea about building a browser and Osine also had his. So, both of us brought our ideas together and that was how Crocodile Browser Lite came into being.
At a time, I had a very small mobile handset and Google chrome was not working efficiently with it. So I decided to create something that could work easily and efficiently with the small phone, and without all the bogus features. Apart from the browser and an initial e-net surfer they created, the Ikhianosimes have also created some games that would need to be further perfected before they are thrown out there.
According to Anesi, “We’ve developed some apps before now, but they are not in the play store because they were more like games and stuffs like that. However, the games that we created were not for commercial purposes because as against the 3D that they ought to be, they were 2.5 D. Until we begin to build 3D games, we wont think about selling any of our games.
But we are working towards that. “I should also point out that coming up with a browser, we saw it as a step forward if we were to be taken serious with what we were doing. Before the Crocodile browser, there was another one we called the e-net surfer.
We discontinued work on that because we felt it does not make a whole lot of sense for us to have two browsers,” the Year Nine student who co-heads their outfit, BluDoors stated. Even though he attends an elite school, where his parents have to cough out over a million naira to keep him in class yearly, Osine who also wants to study computer science and psychology is “disheartened seeing young people denied quality education because I know we (Anesi and I) are really not better than them.
So, government should do whatever it takes to educate Nigerian children in good schools for an assured future.” Engaging in stuffs that are this time consuming, Anesi confessed, “has messed up our sleeping time because we are also learning how to code.
However, what we do so that our studies are not affected is that we do most of these things during any free or spare time that we have.
At the end of the day, we have little or no time to play. Accused of hoarding knowledge and shutting out their friends from their “tech world,” Anesi rose in their defence, “We have even tried to bring in our friends to also be part of what we are doing, but some of them are not really interested in what we do.
Apart from the fact that most of them would like to have fun when they have time, they see what we are doing as difficult and boring. But for us, we see what we are doing as having fun.”
Arriving at the pedestal where they are is not as a result of any sudden flight because it required a lot of shepherding functions from their parents and the school. Anesi confirmed. “Getting to where we are has a lot to do with the exposure our parents and the school have given to us. In school, we do a lot on Information Communication Technology.
And I have been in the Web Design Club since Year Seven because it is something I have always been interested in simply because the facilities are there and we are given the opportunity to learn stuffs like that. So, I think every youth should be given an opportunity to explore and try out something.”
On apps that could solve social problems including traffic situations and enhancing communication, which they also hope to come up with, they say they would like to keep the details of how far they have gone close to their hearts for now. “But we will bring out something in the near future, say in the next two years.”
Mrs. Ngozi Ikhianosime, a mathematics teacher at Corona School, Lagos and an overjoyed mother of the 12 and 14 year-olds said, “It feels good to have them as kids and we are very happy they are using their time well and positively.
Most times, you find out that children at this age are not using their time well and you are always trying to caution them.
We are happy with what they are doing and we are encouraging them. “So, children should be allowed to be themselves and to explore.
Even when parents initially do not understand what the kids are doing, they should be guided. For instance, I allow them go online but with serious supervision.
Without that supervision, something could go wrong. She recalled that, “The first desktop computer we had they messed it up in the process of learning. Same happened to the first laptop I had. But I also have the school to thank because they make provision for computers for each student. This is a very important step.
Even when the kids mess up the computer sets, the school repairs them and so my kids always have sets to work with at home and in school.
This really helped to widen their horizon and gave them the needed exposure. “Another thing that has bettered their online exposure is the e-learning, which the school also practices.
They are given online assignments to carry out and this started during the Ebola Viral Disease outbreak. To that extent, I think the school has been great in giving them the opportunity to nurture their talent.
“The Nigerian government should do something about the quality of education that Nigerian children are getting because other countries that are our peers have gone beyond where we are.
In some countries, children as young as two to three year-olds are exposed to ICT, but in Nigeria, apart from a few good schools like Greensprings Schools that pupils have individual computer sets/ tablets to work with, most Nigerian children begin learning about ICT very late, and this is not the way to go.
So, the Federal Government should even make what is happening in Osun State regarding the use of ICT in learning a standard practice across the country,” she concluded.
For Assistant Principal (pastoral) of Greensprings School, Mr. Patrick Olatunji, “In Anesi and Osine, we have students who are going somewhere and know where they are going, having discovered themselves early.
They are good Greensprings School brand ambassadors, especially to the IT world, which they have chosen.
They are also telling the whole world what Greensprings School is all about, and we are thankful to their parents for giving them to us to nurture.
We also welcome other parents who would like their children to become not only Greensprings ambassadors, but ambassadors for the black race. “
Talking about the Ikhianosimes as personalities, they are very creative and have taken advantage of what the school offers them. After the ebola crisis challenge, e-learning is now compulsory and the students are always online learning.
“Again, as a school, we provided a platform for every child to discover what they have on the inside.
The Website Design Club is just one of such avenues. In addition to all these, the school also prepares the students to feel for the under-privileged ones, who are not as privileged as they are. The students, through their charity initiatives have donated computer sets to schools and have built classrooms for them.