Friday, June 30, 2006

World Cup Quarters: MY predictions

Germany vs Argentina

This is tricky to predict. Germany have been improving every game, but so have Argentina. Germany have not met any real world class competition since the tournament started. Argentina on the other hand have met Netherlands, Ivory Coast (it's their first time but i think they are world class), and their 6-0 demolition of (former) S & M was arguably the performance of the tournament so far.

Germany have a fanatical following being @ home, and their squad doesn't play the 'old boring soccer' that we've come to expect from Germany.

The key i think would be the defence & midfield. Argentina I think will be content to let Germany come at them and hit them on the break, while  seeking to slow down  the game and let Riquelme control things. This could be one of those 1-0 or Penalty games. Argentina on the other hand always look like they can score if they wish to. The German defence has not really been tested. It now faces a world class test.

Looking at the Benches of both sides. Argentina seem to have the upper hand here..

Prediction (2-1 to Argentina after extra time).

England vs Portugal

England have played some really boring soccer far. Flashes of brilliance from Joe Cole on occasion and abit of the Gerrard that we see in Liverpool. Lampard and Gerrard don't seem to play well together in the middle of the park. Owen is out, and we continue to wonder why Walcott is on the squad if he's not going to play. I think most (if not all) of the other squads have had all their strikers play some role so far in the tournament.

Portugal are missing two key players (possibly three if ronaldo is not fit). However they have  a very good midfield, Tiago can replace Costinha; the trick would be to replace Deco and Ronaldo (if he can't make it).

England I would think will be slight favourites in this one. But struggled to play against Ecuador. Only scored via a free kick that in my opinion wasn't well defended (though very well struck by Becks). Ecuador had their share of chances.. You get the feeling that Portugal will create  far more chances than them. Portugal's defence held up under the quite potent (but unlucky?) Dutch forwards.. Rooney (a.k.a Taz :) ) is always a handful but if unsupported he could struggle. I suspect that Sven will play the same formation as he did against Ecuador so as to deny Portugal the space to move the ball around.. Figo and Pauleta have instrumental roles.. but i think the guy to watch out for is Maniche....

Prediction (this could go either way but i think England gets in at 2-1 but only barely)

Italy vs Ukraine

Italy have managed to put aside the corruption scandals back home and concentrate on winning the World Cup. I thought they may struggle against the Czech, after their game with USA. However their defence in my opinion has been their greatest strength (how many times has that been said :) ).  Against Australia, their defence came to their rescue.. Despite the award winning dive, I still think Italy deserved it after surviving for quite a while with 10 men. Australia really have themselves to blame.

Ukraine have moved on from their 4-0 thrashing and are slowly showing the world that they too can win games :). Schevy maybe the recognizable star (apart from Rebrov), but as a team, they do play well.

Italy's strike force is quite potent.. I think we are yet to see the best of it. Toni has been particularly impressive.

Prediction (Italy 1-0)

Brazil vs France

Brazil have played not very impressive soccer, but they've managed to win. They really haven't met a team that could give them a run around really. Their defence looked particularly porous in the Ghana game, and with a team capable of finishing, they'd have been punished.

France have managed to gain form after a rather dull opening. Beating Spain was no mean feat (despite all the controvesy of Henry alleged acting, I still think the free kick was defendable, and they didn't score from open play unlike the french with Ribery's first senior goal). Their defence, even with the aging Thuram looked good.

This could be a tricky one to predict, but i'll go against what most guys would want...

Prediction (France 2-1)

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passports: A first

Now this is a first.

Check out todays papers (Friday) to see if your passport is ready for collection.

Funny thing is that the records include a friend of mine whose papers had vanished 6 years ago.

Does anyone know the URL where the immigration dept used to have people check on the status of their applications?

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Monday, June 26, 2006

Free Educational Material from MIT

I came across this - spread the word:

MIT’s OCW ( is looking for African education

institutions to offer mirror sites for its free, web-based teaching
materials. With the materials from 1400 MIT courses representing all 33
of MIT's academic disciplines, millions of educators and learners have
used the materials to improve their teaching and studies.

Unfortunately, the MIT OCW materials are largely underutilized in many
African regions where Internet connectivity is limited. To overcome this
limitation, we have installed a small number of mirror sites, or local
copies of MIT OCW content, at African educational institutions and our
evaluation data show that these mirror sites are having a significant
positive impact.

MIT OCW has received support to expand the number of mirror sites in the
region through the MIT OCW in a Box program. MIT OCW in a Box, which we
will distribute for free to African institutions, is an external hard
drive which contains: an entire copy of the entire MIT OCW Web site
(including videos), software tools, user documentation, and marketing
collateral. Its goal is to have 100 mirror sites installed at African
educational institutions by the end of 2006.

If you know of a university that could benefit from this program, please

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Friday, June 23, 2006

Matatu Fare Increase - Part II

My earlier calculations are apparently correct as regards to the new fare.. ( i think):

5.2% increase in fuel price is correct.

Assuming that

it costs 100 KES in fuel to travel from suburb A to City Centre (probably much cheaper) - prob about 15 km.

an average of 10 passengers travel in this vehicle (usually maaaaaany more).

the fare is 30 bob.

Means the cost incurred per customer / per trip is 10 bob

Profit less other expenses is 20 bob.


Increase fuel by 5.2% means it costs KES 105.2 in fuel for the same journey

cost incurred per customer / per trip is 10.52 bob

Increase in cost incurred 10.52 - 10.00 = 0.52 bob -> translates to 5.2%

So my earlier calculations are infact correct.


Bottom line:

Some ma3 owners are now increasing fares by up to 20 bob.

the MWA says fares should not go up by more than 15%. with a minimum of 5 bob and max of 10 bob.

I suggest they stop using the fuel increase as an excuse for increasing fares and look for another way of justifying it

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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Matatu Fare Increase

Fuel has increase from about 77 KES to 81 KES (worst case a 4 bob). This represents a

~ 5.2% increase in fuel.

Means that Matatu/PSVs have 5.2% increase in expenses.

Cost of transport from Kawangware via City Hoppa at Peak time was 30 bob at peak times.

According to my maths.. to cushion themselves against the increase in fuel price. PSVs should increase fairs by 5.2%. This means that the new fare should be 31.56 bob.

So when the matatu guys say that they want to increase fare to 40bob let alone 35bob, i see them as being rather callous and greedy.

But then i don't own a Ma3 so perhaps i don't understand how the business is run.

But the thing is that there are people in Kenya who are not able to pay more for transport. an increase of 20bob for a days expenses is not comfortable or acceptable for a good number of kenyans

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Job/Consultancy Opportunity

Google is looking to hire a business consultant to help them evaluate investment opportunities for them within East Africa. The person must be based in Nairobi (they will work remotely with the rest of Google's Africa project team.)

Google has successfully set up similar consultancies in Egypt and Nigeria.

Google is looking for a dynamic person, who can credibly demonstrate their talents and achievements in the fields of business and technology. Their current work or ventures must also show how excited they are about new possibilities within the region.

If you are this person, please contact David using this email: dboublil [at]  In your email subject please write [GOOGLE OPPORTUNITY IN KENYA]

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Piracy and Open Source Software - Part II

Going back to Match 10 - Microsoft EA are the major heavyweight behind the efforts..

I still think the way forward for software, ICT etc in Africa is 'OPEN':

Open Access - Easy and affordable access to internet and local content

FOSS - Free and Open Source Software - Software that is Free (as in freedom, not a free packet of chips)-> leads to

'Open' Knowledge, people in Africa can learn from what other software developers are doing around the world by looking at source code of software without being charged for it, and without fear of being prosecuted. -> Capitalism is not everything..

Question of course is how to make money.. People are still willing to pay for SERVICES - e.g. maintenance of a website, web server, open source accounting system. The end user could of course spend time downloading and setting up FOSS based system, but why do that when there are (now) several companies in Kenya (and all over africa) specializing in Free and Open Source Software solutions.

Case in point - - One of the fastest growing distributions in the world has its roots in South Africa.

I somehow think that within a few years, I will (hope to) see an East African Linux distribution..

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Friday, June 09, 2006

piracy and open source software

I'm sure a good number of us have seen the ads in the local dailies over the last couple of days concerning software compliance and anti-piracy.

Seems that Micro$oft (and the other smaller software vendors) have started to pull weight..

I think it's a good opportunity for Open Source CompaniesSoftware. Paying 40k KES for M$ Office when there is OpenOffice around is not good small and medium sized business and for the Kenyan economy.

armenian drama

from Kiss FM news:


The two Armenian brothers Artur Margaryan and Artur Sargasyan have been picked up by the police. The two were picked up at the JKIA at 1am this morning on arrival from Dubai, after they withdrew their guns when customs officials insisted on opening up a bag they were carrying. Police took them to their Runda house where the residence was searched. Gigiri OCPD Patrick Lumumba led the search and in the bag police found scores of Kenyan numbers plates, including GK’s and diplomatic plates, an army uniform and a gun. And more than 15 vehicles, one of them a mercedes number plate GK A666K, were found parked in their Runda compound.

These guys bana.... who'se their hook up and what are they doing with firearms on the plane...

the footage from citizen tv (funny that they are the only guys with the video footage) looked fishy...

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Warning: Poorly thought out philosophy follows.

I got this from a friend:

One of the better fictions of Democracy is that you get to choose the candidate you want to represent you in "Bunge", "Kanjo", the Chiefs Baraza etc. This, depending on the context, may be presented as:

"The people have spoken"
"Popular vote"

The truth is it is multiple choice.
You can choose cancer or stage three Diarhoea (To be fair this is an exagaration)

You get to choose the least worst tomatoes, as the market is about to close rather than the best fish from a sea of plenty.

The Reason
(Have you ever heard politicians saying "What Kenyans Want". How many asked you your opinion? How many collect statistics continuously? What follows are my opinions based on no rigour, research or reasoning ." The reason" above should be read as "My Guess" )

There is such thing as a good candidate.

A person who would use the least resources (money,mercedes) to get the most results (like the many who get by on under $1/= per day).

A person with great intelligence and political cunning (like the many who survive ghetto life, unemployed but somehow get to eat -- without resorting to crime)

A person with great maturity and wisdom.

The problem is she does not present herself for nominations by (INSERT YOUR CHAMA HERE) .

Think about it,
By standing to be elected I am esentially saying, "VOTE FOR ME I AM BETTER THAN BABA TOI" . How many good people do you know who behave like that?

Most capable people are busy building their families, careers, writing emails to their University mailing lists to complain about politicians and saving/investing for their "Retirement".

I propose we come out of the fiction of the Great Leader(tm). True it is possible that somewhere there is a Gandhi with a Vision of what Kenya can become, a Patrice Lumumba who is incorruptible, an Abraham Lincoln who will keep Kenya United no matter what.

But even though this Kenyan Exists, I am afraid, unless we find a way to coax him to stand for elections, we will be forced to make do with a George Bush with his NUKULAR weapons, Dan Quayle with his POTATOE 's, Museveni with his Kisanja (third term) and Boris Yeltsin with his partying .... and you know the most anoying part? They will all win their elections - with a landslide.


As engineers you get to solve human problems, providing stable solutions utilising imperfect materials.

  • Bridges from stone and sand
  • Cars from baby Rust (iron as you all know grows up to become rust)
  • Aeroplanes from scrap Sufurias (Aluminium, I know nowadays they use Stainless steel but bear with me)
  • Electricity from River Tana
  • Blackouts from Kengen, Kenya Power, Government, International lenders and Civil Society (You see, you need to form a committee to prepare an action plan so that you can mess up)
  • Communications..... mainly by Guess work and Magic :)
Surely we can design a system, using the appropriate sensors, controls, feed back and actuating subsystems so that once deployed, it can be operated by even the most common housefl... I mean the stupidest politician* to produce acceptable results.

* I know saying stupid politician is repeating myself. I apologise

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

world cup crazy

interesting to watch people during the world cup season.. I thought Kenyans were the real soccer fans considering how loyal they are to their non-kenyan teams. However, they are way behind on the scale of soccer fanatics - England (and the rest of the UK) must be top of the list currently.

I wonder which African Team will go furthest:

Ivory Coast - Group C with Serbia & Montenegro, Holland, Argentina
Angola - Group D with Portugal, Iran, Mexico
Ghana - Group E with USA, Czech Republic, Italy
Togo - Group G with South Korea, France, Switzerland
Tunisia - Group H with Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, Spain

I suspect that the question should be which team will be eliminated last.

Which African team is bound to perform best in Germany?
Ivory Coast
Free polls from

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Communications in Kenya

There is alot of buzz concerning Internet..

The Undersea Cable and all the drama happening there

The licensing of a 'Unified' license operator to be done within 7 or so months

A second LLO, popotewireless launching services..

The list is rather long, but I think the way to go for Africa communication wise is 3G..
Sooner or later, the cost of deployment of a 3G network will fall as more and more vendors attempt to get a piece of the african cake..

Mobile phone operators have achieved much more penetration than expected, and thus are capable of delivering mobile internet to a much larger population.

However the cost of acquiring a 3G capable handset would keep out a considerable amount of users. So it's still an expensive proposition to increase internet penetration in Africa.

But I am eagerly waiting for 3G services in Kenya, which I suspect we shall see within the next 1-2 years.

Friday, June 02, 2006

End of Uchumi?

I wonder if this is the end of Uchumi - this step probably should have taken place a while ago.

I now wonder if some rich consortium of guys will now and acquire the assets of Uchumi at a paltry sum and hope to sell it later for a fortune.