Saturday, December 29, 2007

Proudly Kenyan II - Pray Now.

Oh God of all creation
Bless this our land and nation
Justice be our shield and defender
may we dwell in unity
peace and liberty
Plenty be found within our borders.


If you are a Christian, you ought to be praying for the country now - the election is too close to call and there's allegations of rigging and delays. We are praying every 30 minutes.

Join up on your knees.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Proudly Kenyan

Yeah for real

About the Elections

Disclaimer:
I have no political affiliations. The only affiliation I have is with Kenya.

I once told someone that I will decide whom I'll vote for president on the date of elections. As a friend always says, after 'consultations on my knees' I'll go vote. That has not changed yet.

I think it will be a close race, whoever wins will still need to be able to negotiate so as to get stuff done and move things forward again otherwise things will be in limbo policy wise.

Whoever wins:

I want transport/roads totally sorted out. Bypasses, overpasses, the works - I have had enough with promises. Hence my not watching news too much - i watch i think 15 minutes of news in a whole week. Come to think of it I do much more CNN and Sky News. I read my papers from the back too :) ) No more craters and potholes or jam. I don't see whats so hard with designing proper roads. The stress from the weather that roads outside of the tropics undergo is much more than in Kenya (though i guess our roads have too many cars). And guys must obey traffic lights and zebra crossings.

Telecoms and IT looks promising and the momentum needs to be maintained by the next government. I'm eagerly waiting to see Telkom Kenya in 3 years.

Education - we clearly need more teachers but also more schools and materials.

Security - like the most important thing. I think enough has been said about this. We need a larger, much better paid, trained, siked and equipped police force. I don't think I'd want to hear about more cattle rustling or land related deaths too.

Corruption needs to be dealt with decisively and in such a way as to discourage it.

Some other things that I know will take a while to have

Courtesy: funny that when you are in a lift and are about to disembark, a good number of people would enter it, even before those disembarking are out. Actually slows down things.
Driving habits. why on earth do people get off the road to overtake a car or two when cars are gridlocked. Someone special tells me they are usually in a hurry to get to the toilet.
Kenyans love shortcuts, making killings financially (short term gains with no regard for the future) - maybe thats why we tend to succumb to the easy bribe to get out of trouble. Needs to change.

Move the capital city out of Nairobi. I've blogged about that too. Take what brings people to Nairobi to each town. Or have each town be known for a particular industry - e.g. Kericho is tea country among other things, so a commodities market located there, with all the technological mumbo jumbo. Mombasa, the tourism capital - so the ministry of tourism should be headquartered there.

But there's lots of positive things to look up to. Its a lovely country too. Excellent weather. etc - si baridi kama Helsinki or St Petersburg where a cold coke could be regarded as warm :).

What's your mentality? (Abundance or Scarcity)

My milestone 200th Blog Post :)

I got a second opportunity to listen to Eric Kimani, CEO of Sameer Group as well as founder of Palmhouse Foundation.

Eric Kimani is a highly successful Kenyan, and is becoming someone I would like to emulate in many areas of my life. There are very few people in Kenya, who having made great strides in their careers and callings, find time to share some of their experiences.

Back to Abundance vs Scarcity Mentality Talk. Eric Kimani had already made this presentation sometime this year( to a gathering of bankers I believe). Googling around, there's quite abit on the subject available online from different people.

He started by giving an interesting story about two monkeys, both of which were caged and one well fed, the other underfed. After a period of time they released the monkeys and each monkey was given a number of bananas to eat. The well fed banana peeled banana after banana and ate them up, which the other banana scurried from end to end, stashing away bananas - and did not eat a single banana. Interesting.

He then quoted Marianne Williamson:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

He then defined the abundance mentality with a couple of words and sentences:

There is enough for all - think jobs, opportunities etc.
Optimism
Thinking big and expecting big

The scarcity mentality:
Your success implies that someone else must fail - success in a job.

This made me think of the land grabbing problem - it's all about me me me me ...
He noted that this mentality is one of the biggest challenges facing Kenya. I agree wholeheartedly with this. Look at how we drive in Kenya, the land grabbing, the selfishness and me-attitude that is very much present, the 'its our turn to eat' politician thinking.

Some of the things about the abundance mentality aree some areas that I have personally been working on:
value systems - what are your standards. One needs to have principles that govern your life. I ought to say some thing today and stand by it tomorrow because its part of what I believe in.
Internal Security

He also mentioned an interesting anecdote: a manager wanted a raise - he was actually about to leave the company. His immediate superior didn't want him to get a pay hike, get this - because he would be earning more than him. That Eric called the scarcity mentality. So true. the senior guy ought to have used that to validate getting himself a pay hike.

One cannot excel at what they do not enjoy - this is so true and is something I very much believe in. Personally I do not think I can last for more than a month doing something I don't like - even if I get paid for it.

Eric Kimani also mentioned the visionary thinking and problem solving nature of those with an abundance mentality. I like the term problem solving. Usually in a good number of organizations, far too much time is spent apportioning blame instead of solving the problem. Jim Rohn says - Attack the problem not the person.

We are undergoing what Eric called the Wisdom revolution. I think our economic systems are moving towards a Knowledge Economy. He said that none of us should anticipate working at the same place till 55. There is nothing like a permanent job. Instead we should consider everything as a project to be done meticulously and with excellence.
I concur - everyone is self employed, even if you work for company X.

Palm House Foundation
This is an educational trust run by a team brought together by Eric Kimani and his wife and have impacted positively the lives of over 100 students by providing for their secondary school education while mentoring them.

This somehow reminds of how Starehe started and now currently runs. I am absolutely thrilled that there's more people setting up endowment funds which more or less can guarantee that a certain number of needy students can get access to education regardless of their circumstances in life.

Was an evening well spent. Visit www.erickimani.org for updates on his next talk. Also consider partnering with the Palm House Foundation.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Flying Blues and Woes

I have not done a blog post for the whole month of December, mainly because I am planning on a whole new platform...

But for now, a bit of a rant:

My bro came in on a short holiday via KLM (in partnership with KQ and Continental Airlines).

Gets to the airport in Nairobi. Waits for 2 hours for his luggage.

He gets 1 piece only. The other they say has been 'left behind'. He is not the only one missing luggage. Anyway, since its already close to midnight, we decide to go home and come the following day for the remaining luggage.

He gets home and finds that his luggage has been rifled through and a gift box that a friend had asked him to deliver for Christmas is missing (there was an custom iPod inside ).

Next day, he calls to find out if the luggage has arrived. They say it has. We are at the airport early afternoon. He goes in to check his luggage. Finds the 'remains' of his luggage wrapped in plastic bags. Inside this bag were his books (he has a project due early Jan as well as exams) and most of his clothes. The books (being specialised books) cost more than the missing ipod.

Needless to say we were rather mad (and we were not the only ones). Apparently when he went to collect his 'luggage', there were several people who were on the same flight with a similar story.

I suspect that if this is not handled well by KLM, they shall lose at least 2 customers for life.

Funny though that the thieves that did this left his cashflow 101 game intact (electronic version). It might have been more useful to them... getting out of the rat race etc....

My bro has decided he's getting a proper suitcase set complete with biometric scanning, running SELinux and with 1024 bit encryption software. And when checking in, it will be wrapped with reinforced plastic paper (where available).

Some travel tips:
  • Never check in small electronics stuff (e.g. an iPOD :) - he was in a big hurry and probably forgot)
  • Have a solid, not easily breakable suitcase
  • Travel light where possible
  • Do the secure plastic wrap. At least that way it makes it harder to steal from. (in Johannesburg's Oliver Tambo Airport, they actually ensure that you do that - whether u want it or not.)
  • Keep your important docs and stuff in your carryon
  • Don't overshop :) - I learnt that a few years ago from a friend of mine whose bag literally disintegrated under the weight of his china shopping.

More updates to follow...

Now I think I've calmed down.

Mungu ni Mwema lakini.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Marathon

The Race
Just about recovered from running 21 km in just over 2 hours in the Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon

I decided that I shall upgrade from the 10km race which I did last year in a not too bad time (but do I say :) )

I had not done as much training this year due to a variety of reasons but felt reasonable confident that I could manage it in a good time. They say that in a marathon, your legs give way before your lungs :), and sure enough after 13 kilometres, I had to pace down (and take the occasional walk) so as not to hurt myself too much. I finished though. Having some music and Joel Osteen's audio podcast helped a lot since I had something keeping my mind busy.

Some lessons for me
Its a bit like the Christian walk - you may finish first or last ... but just finish. You need to keep drinking water on the way to cool down, and more importantly, to ensure that you do not get dehydrated. Constant spiritual renewal keeps you on the narrow path that is the Christian walk.

There is the 'feel-good' factor that you actually started and finished a 21km race. I did it in 2 hrs 10 minutes and I know I could have done it in less than 2 hrs if my legs did not give way. But it was my first attempt at 21 km.

If you start something finish it. I guess I could have deviated to south B during the race, go pay a visit to a few friends (though they probably would not let me past the door in my attire). Finishing the race is most important thing to do when you have started something that you value.

Next Year
Next year I think I'll be much more prepared. Maybe a 1 hr 30 min - 45 min time to aim for.
But no 42 km for me. That's way too long.... Meanwhile I am looking for a Mt Kenya plot for next year as the next challenge.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Large capped/Unlimited Internet Access for Locally hosted Content

It is surprising that a good number of Internet Service Providers actually limit bandwidth to locally hosted websites (a purist definition of local content). The trend is to cap bandwidth to the specific service package signed up for irrespective of whether traffic is local or international.

ISPs could potentially save international bandwidth costs by aggressively promoting creation of local content, hosted locally.  With a critical mass of locally hosted websites, they would be able save costs by encouraging their clientele to use local (locally hosted) websites which would typically be less costly to access.

This of course requires quality and affordable hosting services locally that are comparable to those offered abroad. Among the main reasons cited by people seeking hosting services include
  • self service capabilities
  • high availability
  • (and of course) cost
Question is whether ISPs will step up.

Blogged with Flock

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Italy Part II: Milan, San Siro (Updated)

I had a second opportunity to visit Italy, only Milan this time though for a week for some training.
Not too happy about staying slightly out of the City Centre, but hotels over this period have been really packed in the centre of the city unless of course one opts for executive suites et al. I figure it must be due to the just concluded Milan Fashion Week.
I had only one day this time to do some sight seeing and top on my list was the San Siro. :). I'm a soccer fan, and AC Milan is my #1 Italian team, with Kaka one of my favourite players.

I was initially planning to do a visit of the Museum and the Stadium - costs about 12.40 euros. But when I got onto the metro, I began to notice lots of AC Milan fan gear, scarves, caps etc. I had checked the stadium's website the day before and there was no mention of a game today.

Finally got to the stadium after a short bus ride from the Metro Station (I walked on the way back - just too much jam). I was very pleased to find tickets being sold for the game, affordable - compared to tickets prices in the UK. The cheapest at 10 euros for 3rd floor terrace seats to the east and west of the stadium. I opted for a 2nd floor terrace seat to the south of the stadium (above the tunnel) since I wanted to take some photos and my camera really needs an upgrade.

Due the number of people watching the game, I got delayed while entering the stadium and found the game 10 minutes old. It was an exhilarating experience - I only get to watch European soccer in the tube back home.

About the game:
Milan dominated it, but Catania took the lead against the run of play from a counter attack. Kaka levelled it early in the second half from a penalty (video!):
More pictures here

Monday, September 17, 2007

IEEE exhibition

I managed to visit the just concluded IEEE exhibition on 14th and 15th at the Sarit Centre, and was amazed at how this annual event has grown over the last few years. When I was in University, it was much smaller and only had participants from about 3-5 institutions in Kenya. This year's event had participants from Sudan and Uganda among others.

My favourite presentation was MPAWA, an online payment gateway built on MPESA, done by Martin Kasomo. I'm eagerly waiting to see it fully implemented, as it is something I have always wanted to see out in the market and have not had much time to work on :).

It's also something close to that Whiteafrican has talked about, only that it is not operator agnostic..

All in all, there is a lot of interest from large players (Microsoft, Oracle, Celtel, Safaricom, Google had representatives) in what is happening in universities, which can only be a good thing.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Kenyan Guy 20-Fair Index

Interesting read on what the Kenyan guy is looking for in a woman:

'a chocolate brown complexion, is of medium build, works part-time and has no children.'

Read more on the from the Nation online.

To me the scary stat is that the chances of a lady landing a dude with the tendency to 'randa randa' is up to 40%.



Friday, September 07, 2007

Software Freedom Day


Software Freedom Day Symposium - KICC Sept. 14 & 15th




The Linux Professionals Association (Kenya) will be holding this Symposium on Friday and Saturday this coming week. This is the first time I know of that Kenya is marking the SFD.

Theme is Empowering all people to freely connect, create and share in a digital world that is participatory, transparent, and sustainable. (Quite a mouthful! Everyone in ICT should show up for this event. It will be worthwhile)

New Kenyan Capital City

Seems that Mayor Dick Wathika would not mind a new capital city.

About 2-3 years while visiting Nanyuki, and having some serious nyama, I looked around at the lay of the land, and thought that it would be quite suitable for a Capital City. Lots of 'idle' land owned by ranchers.

Nairobi could remain as commercial capital. The new city should be planned properly from scratch, hopefully with provision for urban railroads and adequate utilities (water and electricity). 2030 ought to include this?

Personally I would not mind moving out of Nairobi (just that everything now is centered and focussed on Nairobi - e.g. Internet Traffic from Nairobi accounts for about 80% of Kenyan traffic).

Lets not rush into this. A proper plan, a proper and timely execution and an absence of corruption is what is needed.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

OOXML document format WILL NOT be fast tracked!

Microsoft has failed in its attempt to have its Office Open XML document format fast-tracked.

http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,136711-c,techindustrytrends/article.html

Microsoft stumbles in Open XML standards vote

http://news.com.com/8301-10784_3-9770507-7.html?part=rss&subj=news&tag=2547-1_3-0-20

ISO:
http://www.iso.org/iso/newsandmedia/pressrelease.htm?refid=Ref1070

Good!

Now the real lobbying begins.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Italy: Milan and Rome

Milan - fashion capital of the world. I got to see an alligator skin handbag (handapaga for some people :) ) from Dolce and Gabbana, for 36 500 euros (yes even KSHS would be rather pricey)

Rome - lots of history here. The Pantheon, the Colosseum and the St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City - I wonder how the Swiss guard at the Vatican manage to survive in summer with their rather heavy and elaborate costume.
I thought Kenya had bad driving. Italians have this craze for speed; taking a ride on a taxi can be a scary/thrilling experience especially if the road is somewhat clear. Powerful motorbikes and scooters that seem to be turbo charged seem the order of the day. Not many people ride bikes like in other cities in Europe.

The pizza is great :) after all this is the home of pizza. And the ice cream is top notch. (especially from Blue Ice)

Friday, August 31, 2007

Sweden declares its vote on OOXML invalid

SIS, the standards body in Sweden, has declared its vote on OOXML invalid. There is no time to start over, so Sweden will abstain.

http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20070830155109351

Kenya ought to follow suit.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

OOXML is defective by design

I haven't tried this yet:

The entire article can be found here

Self exploding spreadsheets.

To reproduce the scenario :

  • start Excel 2007 and create a new spreadsheet
  • insert a value 10 in a cell
  • insert a value 20 next to it
  • select the two cells and click on the "sum" button to create a sum of the two cells
  • save the spreadsheet (xlsx file)
  • close it and unzip it

The corresponding XML in the main part is :



10


20


SUM(C2:D2)
30

Pretty simple XML. Now say we want to edit cell E2 and set a constant value of 40 in place of a formula. But instead of doing that with Excel 2007 interactively, we are going to do it manually :

  • unzip the file
  • grab a zip part known as xl/worksheets/sheet1.xml
  • make the edit described below
  • put the updated zip part back in the zip package
  • zip it

The corresponding valid (and carefully changed) XML for setting the constant value of 40 in cell E2 is :



10


20


40

Now open the file in Excel 2007.

The entire article can be found here

Saturday, August 25, 2007

OOXML Continued

Brazil and India vote NO.

There's an article here:

Quote from the article:
"I was a member of the technical group that have studied OOXML specification extensively. I learned that it is unbelievable how ECMA (same guys that put together the JavaScript standard!) can think that a wannabe spec like OOXML is ready for submission. It is incomplete (does not provide mappings with legacy standards, since compatibility is OOXML goal), too long (6000+ pages), fully tied to a single product, uses deprecated substandards, promotes bad practices (embedded binary objects), has clear proprietary hooks (like “formatAsWord95″ XML tags), reinvents the wheel all around (date and color formats etc), and most of all does not have a standards-grade look and feel required for a universal and (virtually) eternal document format (doesn’t have to be perfect, but can’t be that imperfect)."

I guess these are enough reasons to say NO to OOXML ....

US votes yes (with comments). Germany voted YES

My favourite comment:

I would say that in the voting “yes” countries the ballot has been rigged by the votes Microsoft has bought by stuffing the voting committees with Microsoft partners. This has been observed and well reported.

and

In Brazil and in all other countries that followed a process, a NO is inevitable because of the quality of the OOXML specification, and the technical issues you can extract from it.


This week should have more country results out with the final result being announced in early September.

Now Showing - Benta

I must say I haven't watched this yet despite my friends being on the production - some behind the camera others in front.

STARTING FRIDAY 24th AUGUST
at the 2Oth CENTURY FOX THEATRE .
A MUST WATCH.

PLEASE SEND THIS TO ALL FRIENDS, RELATIVES and your MAILING LIST.

View our trailers:

*"BENTA" (2007)*

Produced by *Et Cetera Productions* in conjunction with *Sisimka* *
Productions.*

View trailer on: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Snweii2IyFM

*"BACKLASH" (2006)*

Produced by *Et Cetera Productions* in conjunction with *Sisimka
Productions.*

View trailer on: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdwLAB865Hs

*"BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY" (2005)*

Produced by *Et Cetera Productions.* It won the 2006 Kenya International
Film Festival award for Best Actress.

View trailer on: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgVAP_QhnaE
regards

Friday, August 24, 2007

Microsoft kills its ‘Get the Facts’ anti-Linux site

and starts another?

http://blogs.zdnet.com/microsoft/?p=670

http://digg.com/linux_unix/Microsoft_Unveils_New_Linux_Hate_Site

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Which Transformer are you?

I found this very interesting, especially after enjoying the movie :).


I AM
69%
OPTIMUS PRIME
Take the Transformers Quiz

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Kenya votes in favour of EMCA/Microsoft's OOXML

Just heard that Kenya voted YES.

I am personally sad that this happened, though considering the composition of the committee (a seizable number were Microsoft dealers/partners approx 7 of 12). I hope to get more details on this.

The case for not adopting OOXML remains simple. It is not as open as it is made out to be by the main proponent(s). (visit http://www.noooxml.org/ for more info)

As far as I know, only Microsoft Office 2007 can save documents in this format.

If this standard is to be truly open, it needs to be vendor independent among many things.

More details here:

http://www.dwheeler.com/blog/2007/06/05/

Patrick Oboya

This dude is going places. Just seen his website (patrickoboya.com) which has a link to a youtube video with him showing off his ball control skills.


Anajivunia kuwa mkenya.



Tuesday, August 14, 2007

TRANSFORMERS

If you have not watched this yet, this is a MUST SEE! Opened in Kenya on Friday Aug 10th after making me wait for ages.
As the cliche goes, 'pesa ya ticket iliisha within the first 5 minute'. Action scene after action scene, the graphics work was awesome, a bit of comedy, romance and loads of TRANSFORMING!
I'm seriously considering watching it again while waiting to get an original DVD.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

First ever Musical by Starehe Boys and Girls

Starehe Boys and Girls (Centres) will be performing the Musical - 'Oliver' at the Kenya National Theatre

Times are:
Friday 20th July - 7pm (Tickets 400/-)
Saturday 21st July - 3pm and 6pm (Tickets 300/-)
Sunday 22nd July - 3pm (Tickets 300/-)

I plan to there on at least one of the days :)

I acted in one of the last musicals that Starehe Boys Did in the late 90s :)

Saturday, July 14, 2007

SA

Been out of blogging for more than 10 days due to a short tripI discovered that:

one needs a passport to change money in Johannesburg. (not like in Nairobi where you just show up with the foreign currency and get it changed chap chap without commission and sijui nini)

Barbecue in Afrikaans means braai :)

Roads in Kenya have a lot of catching up to do.

Found the Oliver Tambo International Airport not busy for it's size. Most duty free shops closed at night - i thought these are meant to operate for 24 hours.

Hopefully I shall be found in J'burg in June-July 2010 :)

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Wanted on Ubuntu

I tend to use more than one monitor while working (both at work and at home) in an 'extended' sort of way - Xinerama is what it's called in the X world. For me this boosts productivity, as I can easily have a document open on one screen while working on an email for instance or another. (Or while at home, do some hacking on a server while watching a movie on the other screen :) )

This is easily done on Windows, but so far I haven't gotten it to work on Feisty Fawn despite visiting quite a number of threads. I don't think that I have exhausted all options but last time I was trying to get Xinerama to work on X I had to keep restarting the entire Operating System since X windows kept crashing.

I'll be eagerly waiting for Gutsy Gibbon coming out in October, which supposedly has a nice GUI that allows you to configure Xinerama.

Meanwhile any help is welcome on hacking this.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Free and Open Source Software for Africa, Local Content

Lots of things that show that FOSS is the way to go in Africa:

Sometimes ago linuxchix were @ Naru Moru at a girls school there introducing (Free and Open Source Software) FOSS to the ladies there. A couple of guys from Skunkworks were with them too.

Apparently a good number of Univeristy students are very much FOSS aware. A good number of final year presentations in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the JKUAT were based on FOSS.

The number of companies in Kenya developing and deploying FOSS based solutions is growing fast. I remember that back in 2000, Silicon Bazaar (which closed down its Kenyan operations) was the only organisation I can think of that was doing FOSS based solutions in Kenya at that time.

Education in Schools - I'm looking at solutions (like School Tool, Moodle) among many others) that can enhance learning as well as management of schools.

FOSS is best for Africa:

Several arguments have been raised on why FOSS is best for Africa:

  • Costs Nothing (it's Free) - This is not a key reason. After all, a proprietary vendor of software can opt to give software to developing countries like Kenya for free. Making a case for FOSS for Africa using the argument that it costs nothing will not be enough.


  • Ability to Redistribute - A good reason (though with the rampant piracy of proprietary software this probably won't have such a great impact :) )


  • Availability of Source Code - This should be the main reason behind adoption of FOSS In Africa. Instead of relying on foreign software companies to develop software for us, we should develop software solutions for our own (quite often) unique problems.


  • Lets not depend on foreign companies for software applications and platforms. We can learn from them, but let's build our own.

    Local Content
    There's alot that has been said about infrastructure - with all the Fiber cables landing in Mombasa (and other ports in Africa) possibly over the next 2 years. However after the initial hullabaloo, new internet users on the continent will want more and more things to do online. Local content (hosted and created locally) will become more and more important.

    I like John Wesonga's post on Incompetent Web Developers talking about content.

    Lot's of new things happening though:
    Helule - which is very exciting as it targets mobile phone users
    Not hosted locally (yet :) - should be soon)

    Thursday, June 14, 2007

    Budget 2007

    I had a look at this years budget themed Vision 2030 -- Working Together, on the Path to Prosperity.

    Things that I noted:
    • Target economic growth rate of 6.5-7% for the next financial year (interesting)
    • Target targets revenue collection of about 21% of GDP (meaning higher KRA targets)
    • Major privations to look forward to:
      • Telkom Kenya to an strategic partner (no mention of an IPO)
      • Additional Shares of KenGen to be sold to the public (but at the 'right price')
      • Part of Safaricom shares to be offered to the public
      • Part of the Government and NSSF shares in NBK will be sold to the public
    I was particularly interested in what allocations would be made for infrastructure development - especially the road & rail network in the country:

    The budgetary allocation to roads has been increased from KShs.42.5 billion in 2006/07 to KShs.62.1 billion in 2007/08, an increase of 46%.

    Hope this goes some way in easing the infrastructure problem, though I suspect it will not be enough.

    Another area of interest for me was on Business Environment, entrepreneurship and the ICT industry in Kenya

    1 Billion KES was allocated to the TEAMS project - which aims to have a fiber optic submarine cable landed at Mombasa by next year

    Telkom Kenya is undergoing privatization - this is a sleeping giant that will take the market by storm once it is awake.

    The Government aims to develop and support an efficient ICT infrastructure that provides easy access to international and national network; establish legislative and regulatory framework for ICT development; and promote and ensure quality ICT education to provide a pool of world class professionals to meet the needs of local and global markets.

    No details here really..and this is aimed at Business Process Outsourcing. I hope the plan is to make it as open as possible, and more importantly that in terms of content, software and education, we as a country are not just dependent on foreign companies and countries for our IT system and service needs, but are actively innovating - creating new products and services for the African continent. We also need to keep in mind that with BPO jobs, India among many Asian countries churn out a huge number of technology graduates, a good number of whom are highly skilled. We will need to greatly address ICT education policies and how they are implemented.

    Business Licenses:
    • Originally - 1,325
    • Eliminated - 110
    • Simplified - 8
    • Hopes to eliminate - 205
    • Simplify - 371

    I hope that with the various e-government projects underway that I am aware of, the process of starting a business can be done electronically, within a day. (it's possible :) )

    Also of note: EAC Partner States will treated as resident investors on the NSE: 5% withholding tax applies to them, as well as the reserve amount of shares for local investors of which it is proposed to increase this from 25% to 40%.

    My hope is that implementations on Infrastructure and Business Licenses are actually implemented.

    I was hoping for a large budgetary allocation for Security as this is a key pillar of economic development.

    I am glad that in the budget, the Minister has clearly recognized that we need to move to a knowledge economy.

    Get a copy of the budget speech from the Treasury website

    Wednesday, June 06, 2007

    New MacBook Pro Unveiled

    Apple yesterday unveiled updated editions of their MacBook Pro notebooks:

    3 editions starting at $2000, $2500 and $2800 depending on where you are and your configurations. Minimum 2GB of memory, 120GB hard disk space for the $2000 model and 160 GB for the other two. NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT graphics card with 128 MB memory for the $2000 model and 256 MB memory for the other two.

    Oh and it's 1" thick.

    I want :( - it's on my things to buy one day.

    (I'll settle for 2.16Ghz MacBook though)

    Tuesday, June 05, 2007

    Why is my blog called The Alpha Quadrant?

    My first ever Sci Fi TV series was Star Trek The Next Generation (TNG)

    I've since watched Star Trek Voyager and Star Trek DS9 and Star Trek Enterprise

    The Alpha Quadrant (in simple terms) is that part of the Milky Way where earth is located.

    Hence the name - the alpha quadrant - from a uniquely kenyan perspective... :) now that there's only one Kenya in the Alpha Quadrant.

    Talking Sci Fi, the Stargate series is my current favourite.

    Why Should Open Source Software be used in schools

    I came across this story, and in the light of Microsoft partnership with the Kenyan Govt, thought that a FOSS based platform is the way to go for Kenya and for Africa in general.

    It is indeed a strange world when educators need to be convinced that sharing information, as opposed to concealing information, is a good thing. The advances in all of the arts and sciences, indeed the sum total of human knowledge, is the result of the open sharing of ideas, theories, studies and research. Yet throughout many school systems, the software in use on computers is closed and locked, making educators partners in the censorship of the foundational information of this new age. This software not only seeks to obscure how it works, but it also entraps the users' data within closed, proprietary formats which change on the whim of the vendor and which are protected by the bludgeon of the End User License Agreement. This entrapment of data is a strong, punitive incentive to purchase the latest version of the software, regardless of whether it suits the educational purposes better, thereby siphoning more of the school's limited resources away from the school's primary purpose. The use of such closed software in education may be justified only where no suitable open source solution exists.

    Educators have been called upon throughout history to combat censorship imposed by various powers over the flow of information. The censorship being applied today comes in the form of licenses that lock away the tools to build the information age and laws that limit fair use in ways that are unprecedented in the modern era. The powers imposing this censorship attempt to create an artificial scarcity of information and the tools to work with that information to feed their greed. Where would education be today if, for example, the mechanism and idea of the Gutenberg press were not only hidden, but protected by threat of dire punishment under the law if anyone dared to attempt to "reverse engineer" it?

    We are well into the beginnings of the Information Age. It stands to affect the people of the world at least as profoundly as the Industrial Age. It is time for the opening of the tools that will be needed to build this new age. Teaching our children to be passive purchasers of closed, proprietary solutions to problems is not enough. Constraining students to move the mouse within the confines of the instruction set of a few closed, proprietary programs merely cages those students and constrains our future.

    Students should, at least, be given the opportunity to see how their new tools work. They should be given the opportunity to examine the inner workings of software. They should be given the opportunity to extend the functions of their tools, where they see or imagine possibilities. They should not be held back by locking the toolbox of the Information Age and told they must not peer inside, must not try to discover how it works, must not share their tools with others, must not use their tools without paying proper tribute to the software overlords, under penalty and punishment of law.

    The rest of the article is here.

    Thursday, May 31, 2007

    ITunes: Free Educational Stuff on ITunes Store

    It's probably not too new to everyone but I did not know about it until this morning. Lots of podcasts available from institutions like MIT (MIT OpenCourseWare), University of Carlifornia Berkeley.

    Visit the iTunes store (using iTunes of course :) ) and look for the iTunes U link.

    Wednesday, May 30, 2007

    Entrepreneurship in ICT - talk by Richard Bell CEO Wananchi - Held on 25th May 2007

    He started by giving a brief history of his time in Africa, starting with his stint at the Royal Marines, to a Security Consultant in the Sudan and Somalia, before settling in Kenya doing some import and export business.

    While involved in business, he realised that while using the KENPAC service for sending and receiving faxes, he was spending quite a bit of cash on international faxes. This was around 1992 and Telkom used to charge $3.50 to send a fax to the US.

    While in the US, Richard arranged to meet the owner of Swift Global who were able to arrange a fax service between Kenya and US. After buying equipment at a highly inflated rate :), and importing it to Kenya, he set up a service that allowed him to offer fax services internationally from $1.50.

    Needless to say, getting customers was not an issue, and lots of money was made (and spent) in the process, as he was getting charged $0.10 to terminate the fax connection in the US from Kenya.

    After that, he opened a Uganda office was opened, lots of money was made (and spent).

    Swift became a fully fledged ISP later on. Richard the went on to start KDN.

    After selling KDN, he later joined London Business School as a Sloan fellow.

    He formed East African Capital Partners, a venture fund and acquired 30% of Africa Lakes (which owned Africa Online) a LSE listed company, and after a takeover battle with Telkom SA for the rest of the company, sold the 30% stake at a premium early this year.


    Several lessons were learned, not really about technology but things like the importance of having a knowledge of Accounts, Economics, People, Consumers, Employees. It is important to have knowledge of these areas among others for a startup to succeed.

    In ICT, it is important to get a job that will provide real hands on experience. For the first 2-3 years, experience not money is the most important thing.

    Learning does not stop after college or campus. In business, taking courses in Economics, Finance Accounting can make the difference between being successful or not. ICT after all is a tool.

    It is important not to get 'stuck in rut', but remain passionate, enthusiastic and keep looking for opportunities, put 150%+ in everything.

    Several Questions were raised.
    Concerning the 'first job' - what should one be looking for?
    One that allows hands on use of equipment (not necessarily being hardware). Interact with those with experience. Fix stuff that does not work. Learning takes place when stuff does not work and one has to fix it.

    What skill set should one concentrate on developing? Technology vs (e.g) Finance?
    This depends on the individual. It is important to work on stuff that you are not normally good at. One never gets good at everything. When developing your business, have people that have skills that you don't so that they complement you.

    How does one attract the first customers.

    90% of new businesses fail. The business value proposition should be a 'no-brainer' - e.g. offering fax services for $1.50 vs current rate of $3.50.

    Where are the opportunities in ICT?

    Content - the question is - what do Kenyans want to do on the Internet.
    Kenyans are a naturally enterprising lot. (He said that virtually everyone he has employed had a side job, where they worked at over the weekend.. :) )

    To drive the creation of local content. Wananchi will be setting up a sort of incubator where people (especially students) with product ideas will be allocated server space, and can be able to come when available. They will get plenty of local bandwidth (and a little international bandwidth) - all this for free (until up to 3 years - based on their business ideas).


    How does one get Venture Capital?
    Three things
    - The investor does not believe your projections, he just wants to know whether you know what you are talking about.
    - the 'YOU' factor
    - Commitment - demonstrate your commitment.. how hard has one tried to get funding - if you have a rich father and haven't tried him yet, one probably won't get funding.

    Has the problem of Reverse Subsidies been solved?

    Thanks to the support Ministry of Information team of PS Bitange Ndemo and Minister Mutahi Kagwe, at least 2 international fiber optic cables will be landing at Mombasa next year. Reverse Subsidies will become less of a problem.

    Friday, May 25, 2007

    Why the 9 to 5 Office Worker Will Become a Thing of the Past

    Why the 9 to 5 Office Worker Will Become a Thing of the Past


    Very interesting read here.

    I had talked about something similar a while ago ..

    http://blog.josiahmugambi.com/2006/04/knowledge-worker.html

    Wednesday, May 23, 2007

    ICT Entreprenuership Talk

    After an early career in the Royal Marines Richard Bell started Swift Global in Nairobi in 1994. He subsequntly started Kenya Data Networks (KDN) in 2002 before selling both and going to the London Business School as a Sloan Fellow at the end of 2004. in 2006 he formed East
    Africa Capital Partners (EACP) a venture capital firm investing in technology companies. Their first transaction was the acquisition and subsequent sale of Africa Online and three weeks ago they concluded a multi billion shilling investment into Wananchi Online to transform it into a pan african broadband infrastructure operator. He was founding chairman of TESPOK, founding chairman of the Kenya Internet Exchange (KIXP) and founding chairman of the Kenya Network
    Information Center (KENIC).


    He will be at (E001 Lecture Theater, School of Engineering, University of Nairobi) from about 3.00 pm (His presentation starts at 4pm - no late comers) on Friday 25 May to give a talk about his life as an ICT Entrepreneur in Kenya, his advice to the next generation of entrepreneurs, and, his thoughts on where the
    opportunities are over the next ten years in Kenya.

    Afterwards, he will be available for chat at Blu Corner in Nakumatt Lifestyle.

    This is especially targeting University, College students.

    Kaka, Christ, Soccer

    I have been thoroughly challenged by the testimony of Kaka (Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite)

    Even before reading his rather detailed profile online (check the link above) and this story from The Sun, watching him play and his reaction and interaction with other players, makes him stand out as an example of how a Christian should live his/her life.

    That's another angle to look at this evening's Champions League Final between Liverpool and AC Milan.

    Soon: Premiership Soccer, 16 channels of TV @ about KSHS 2500

    The Guardian reports that

    GTV, a new UK-based television company, is planning to capitalise on the huge popularity in Africa of teams such as Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal when it launches its new "affordable" pay television package next month. For about $35 (£17) a month, subscribers will receive 16 channels, including a dedicated football channel showing eight Premiership games and six Italian Serie A games every weekend.

    and that

    Initially, GTV will launch in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, before expanding into west African countries such as Namibia, Angola and Ghana, and eventually the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, excluding South Africa and Nigeria.

    I have always wondered why I should pay 70 USD for DSTVs service and why they have always priced it so high. I suspect I shall be one of the first subscribers to GTV's service once they roll out in June - Just in time for next season :)

    More links are here:

    http://allafrica.com/stories/200705070115.html

    http://www.spacenewsfeed.co.uk/2007/25February2007_62.html

    Sunday, May 20, 2007

    Zina Album Launch

    Zina's Concert was absolutely awesome. Despite some hitches with power at Kenya National Theatre (Imagine there's no backup power source!), the concert went on with two shows on Sunday afternoon.

    I went for the second show which started at about 5.30 pm. In late 2002 with Mission Driven, we had done a concert at KNT and had some power problems, so I was praying that they would not have the same problems that we encountered back them.

    Started with National Anthem with Webi leading it with a guitar. (I loved it, being a guitar addict). Israel led some praise and worship songs, and the show got started.

    Backed by a live band, Zina did all but 3 of the songs from their album Changed. I personally love live music. There's some element of a live performance that cannot be reproduced when a song done backed by a track.

    Zina comprises of Salome, Priscah, Sheila and Milka. They have somehow managed to juggle time between their various studies, and working on this album and this concert. Their CD is out and is a must have, for me at least.
    Mwafrika.com should have more pictures soon.
    Posted by Picasa

    Saturday, May 19, 2007

    Soccer Weekend :)

    I knew I would not be able to keep away from the the soccer field for more than, 1 year? :) So today some friends and I decided that we would first go have some fun playing soccer.

    If there is anything in soccer that is better than watching a good game, it is playing it :).

    Having rained about two days ago, the pitch was quite muddy, but it was fun all the same. I am glad that I have sustained a 4+ days a week jogging schedule otherwise I would have struggled.

    --

    Drogba's FA Cup winning goal typified his season. I wonder what Chelsea would do without his verve and perseverance. We only got to watch a little of the second half and extra time.

    Wednesday, May 16, 2007

    ICT Debate: Kenya presidential aspirants debate to stream online

    Today (Wednesday 16th May) at 1400hrs EAT

    live debate stream on http://idhaa.kenic.or.ke:8001/

    Follow via blog - http://beckyit.blogspot.com/

    The debate is calculated to ensure that ICT issues are put on the
    pedestal during the campaign period and in the process hold the future
    leaders accountable given the commitments they will give that day.

    More details here.

    Tuesday, May 15, 2007

    Zina Album Launch - Changed

    Kenya National Theatre
    Sunday 20th May 2007

    2 Shows:
    1330 to 1530
    1630 to 1830

    I intend to be there :)

    More info on Mwafrika

    Monday, April 23, 2007

    CashFlow 101

    I played CashFlow® 101 yesterday for the first time with friends.

    I must say it is quite an entertaining game yet at the same time a learning experience. It took us a bit of time to get up and running as we all had to understand the rules of the game. Too bad we did not have too much time and some of us had to leave early.

    However, I managed out of the rat race second. My next target is to see if I can get out within 30 minutes :). I am now looking to get my own game as this was borrowed, and at the same time get 202. The weekend beckons... :)

    Thursday, April 19, 2007

    Learning: Ruby

    Stephen Covey says that one's current knowledge has a half life of 2 years at most.

    Dennis Waitley goes on and on about dedicating oneself to 'Life Long Learning'. It's always good to keep learning something so as to remain relevant in today's knowledge based economy.

    I feel that I'll always dabbling in technology. So, I have decided that I'll start finding out what the buzz is about Ruby and web development. The author - Yukihiro Matsumoto, a.k.a. ``Matz'' - says that when he was developing Ruby, he wanted '.. a language more powerful than Perl, and more object-oriented than Python'. I'll decide what project i can work towards achieving sooner or later.

    Some resources,
    Any one in Kenya with experience with Ruby, please come give a talk @ skunkworks :)

    Friday, April 13, 2007

    Music Break

    Now that it's Friday, I'm going to feature the latest addition to my music collection (Yes, I buy music).
    I've listened to Joseph Hellon's Ekkaleo roughly 6 times. Love the jazz and african touch. I first listened to Hellon playing a sax in 1994 in high school and was really amazed. A really talented musician, I have heard him play 'Take Five' on a (you wouldn't believe it)
    wandindi. Throw in Krucial Keys (Aaron Rimbui), Kanjii, JJ and the rest of the crew, and you have real quality production.
    If you've been looking for positive, uplifting jazz from East Africa try out Ekkaleo . Visit Sternsmusic and SoundAfrica to listen to samples online.





    Tuesday, April 10, 2007

    Bloggers Code of Conduct ;)

    Is it too late to bring civility to the Web?

    The conversational free-for-all on the Internet known as the blogosphere can be a prickly and unpleasant place. Now, a few high-profile figures in high-tech are proposing a blogger code of conduct to clean up the quality of online discourse.

    Read more ->

    Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in Kenya

    These are some of the various initiatives/community efforts going on (that I know of)

    Mailing list: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kenyalinux/- oldest one I think?
    www.lpakenya.org - recently launched Linux Professionals Association
    www.osskenya.org - just recently come across it.

    I wonder how many people and organisations in Kenya actually use a Linux distribution for ordinary day to day tasks.

    I use Ubuntu for my personal (and non day job :) ) stuff but unfortunately :( have to use Windows at work - policies). OpenOffice for Documents, AmaroK for Music, Firefox for the web, I'm about to start on GnuCASH for my personal finances, GAIM for Yahoo,MSN,gtalk, skype for linux(no video though). List is long.

    There's lots of legal FOSS software alternatives available - have a look at this chart:

    http://linux.wordpress.com/2007/04/08/why-use-software-illegally-when-you-can-use-legally/

    and this website: http://www.osalt.com/

    I think for a developing country like ours, more and more people and organisations need to be exposed to FOSS alternatives which will go a long way in reducing the cost of software ownership (legally that is :) ), while, due to the very nature of FOSS, encouraging development of custom/homemade software solutions and services.

    Friday, April 06, 2007

    My Easter Meditation

    My Easter Meditation:

    Thank you for the cross, Lord
    Thank you for the price You paid
    Bearing all my sin and shame
    In love You came
    And gave amazing grace

    Thank you for this love, Lord
    Thank you for the nail pierced hands
    Washed me in Your cleansing flow
    Now all I know
    Your forgiveness and embrace

    Worthy is the Lamb
    Seated on the throne
    Crown You now with many crowns
    You reign victorious

    High and lifted up
    Jesus Son of God
    The Darling of Heaven crucified
    Worthy is the Lamb
    Worthy is the Lamb

    (Hillsong)

    Guitar Tabs for the Song are here

    AccessKenya IPO

    80 Million Shares to be listed
    32 Million Shares will be sold to the public (40%)
    KES 10 per share

    Applications for sale to be received on April 19

    I still haven't come across the Financial Statements

    Starehe Founders Day, Musical

    The date for the 2007 Founders' Day celebration is tentatively set for July14th. Starehe Boys' Centre will this year hold its MUSICAL.

    After many years of lull, Mr. Peter Ndungu has convinced the music department to work on an old tradition, held so dear by many old boys'. This year's Musical may also see the collaboration of Starehe Girls Centre. this guarantees that all voices will be at their best. The Musical's tentative date is July19th to 22nd. Old boys' are called upon to assist with Financial and material support to ensure the Musical's success. Material assistance may come in the form of Props, so check those wardrobes and remove your kids (ages 14 - 17) clothes and see what can be used.

    Wednesday, April 04, 2007

    BarCamp 2007 Nairobi

    I'm more or less recovered from the fatigue I felt after Saturday :)

    I didn't know that running around for just an afternoon could be so tiring!

    The first ever BarCamp in East Africa I guess went well!

    Hopefully, we can learn from the experience of organising it. and build on the experience we had.

    Details of the event here and here

    Tuesday, March 27, 2007

    BarCamp Nairobi Kenya - 31st March



    Four days to go before East Africa's first ever BarCamp.

    Get more info on this on the official BarCampKenya Website. Sign up as a sponsor, presenter, participant, blogger etc

    It's free, it's fun, it's informal

    Monday, March 26, 2007

    new stockskenya.com

    www.stockskenya.com has a new look.

    Thursday, March 22, 2007

    EyeCandy on Linux! Beryl 0.2 - Ubuntu Instructions

    If you thought that Vista rocks and Mac looks good.. take a look at Beryl.

    Release 0.2 was released last week and I finally got it to work on Ubuntu Edgy Efty (6.10) installed on a Laptop with an Intel 9xx Graphics card and Laptop.

    The instructions in summary:

    Edit your /etc/apt/sources.list and add the following lines :

    deb http://ubuntu.beryl-project.org edgy main
    deb-src http://ubuntu.beryl-project.org edgy main

    Update the list :
    sudo apt-get update

    And install the following packages :
    sudo aptitude install beryl

    This should install "recommended" packages as well as required and emerald-themes is one of the recommended packages

    Navigate to Applications->System Tools->Beryl Manager

    Have fun :)

    More detailed installation instructions (e.g. automating startup) are here http://wiki.beryl-project.org/wiki/Install_Beryl_on_Ubuntu_Edgy_with_AIGLX

    I also borrowed some tips from http://tnlessone.wordpress.com/2007/03/17/upgrading-to-beryl-020/

    Note:I have also the 915resolution package setup on my laptop so as to ensure I get the full 1400x1050 resolution on my laptop.

    Tuesday, March 20, 2007

    BarCamp Nairobi Kenya - 31st March



    Less than 2 weeks to go before the First Ever BarCamp in Kenya and East Africa.



    A BarCamp is an ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. It is an intense event with discussions, demos, and interaction from attendees.

    More details on this are can be found here BarCampKenya

    Thursday, March 15, 2007

    Jogging and Bible Memory

    On 12th Feb of this year after really getting siked after watching a Brian Tracy presention on Secrets of Self Millionaires (more on this later).. I set out 10 goals I would like to achieve by 12th Feb 2008 among them including

    200 Bible verses memorized
    Jog at least 2 KM on at least 270 days of the year

    I had been jogging almost daily previously, but there are times during the year when the sike just goes ... though in such situations my body will complain.

    I think the best time to jog is before 8 depending on where u live as plant life gives out Oxygen at night and thus the air is very fresh and there is much less pollution. Of course if u live in a concrete jungle that could be different....

    I combined these two goals: Do a memory verse while jogging my 2-3 km and work out lightly afterwards. And it's working so far :) - I've done I think 10-15 verses, jogged more than 5 days a week and feel great each morning both spiritually and physically - the endorphin's coursing through your body after really pushing yourself :) .

    I started out by aiming to do it over 30 days - then now 3 months then the rest of the year. My first milestone came and went without much trouble. 3 months is of course a challenge.

    It's also a great use of the time that you have to yourself in the morning since one gets tired of jogging sometimes due to the mind being rather free.

    Wednesday, March 07, 2007

    Stupid Tester :)


    StupidTester.com says I'm 26% Stupid! How stupid are you? Click Here!

    BarCamp Nairobi

    BarCamp is an ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. It is an intense event with discussions, demos, and interaction from attendees.

    Saturday 31st March 2007 at the University of Nairobi.

    S0me of the possible features:

    • Startup Presentations - Ayo Africa, MamaMikes, Possibly - Stockskenya.com (by Netware Associates)
    • Blogger Presentations
    • AJAX
    • VOIP - Asterisk Setup by Melvin & Co @ JKUAT
    • Broadband

    Sign up on the website for the event if you have something that you'd like to share, or you would like to be part of it.
    More details can be found here - http://www.barcamp.org/BarcampKenya

    Thursday, February 22, 2007

    Kijani Kenya Trust - Kijani Music Festival

    visit http://www.kijanikenyatrust.org/ticket.htm for more info

    I am still making up my mind (and pocket) on whether to go for one of these festivals

    TICKET PRICES
    Date Festival Venue Adults
    (pre-reserved seating area)
    Adults
    (free seating)
    Children (under 16)
    24th February 2007 Porgy & Bess Hells Gate - Ksh 3000 -
    25th February 2007 Porgy & Bess The Arboretum - Ksh 3000 Ksh 500
    1st March 2007 Jazz in the Park The Arboretum - Ksh 1000 Ksh 500
    3rd March 2007 Proms in the Park The Arboretum - Ksh 1500 Ksh 500
    4th March 2007 London Adventist Chorale Pentecostal Church Ksh 1000 Ksh 500 or 200 Ksh 500
    2nd August 2007 Ballet The Arboretum Ksh 5000 Ksh 3000 Ksh 500
    4th August 2007 Ballet Fort Jesus Ksh 3000 Ksh 1500 Ksh 500
    Tickets will now be available from the 5th of Febuary 2007, at all participating outlets. Participating outlets are listed below;
    Public Ticket Sales

    Nakumatt - The Junction

    Forget Me Not - Ratna Square, Nyali

    The Energy Source, Karen Road, Karen

    Kijani Kenya Office – Tree House, Arboretum, Nairobi

    Wednesday, February 21, 2007

    Do you have 5 years experience

    “Come back next week” or “you must have a five year experience.” That is the tune being sang out there if you are a job seeker. Jobholders seem not to care about the hundreds of miles you have covered to knock at their door. They don’t mind whether you borrow fare everyday to the city. Their business is to postpone your appointment with them as much as possible until the soles of your once raised shoes are flat.

    Quite an interesting read on the job market in Kenya

    Access Kenya IPO


    40% of capital for listing

    60% remains with current 10 owners

    35% - Individuals
    30% - Corporate
    30% - "Qualified" Corporate (Fund Managers, Pension Funds etc)
    5% - Companies Employees.

    AccessKenya's main clients are Corporate.

    Friday, February 09, 2007

    Best Company to work for in Kenya?

    Google apparently is the best place to work for in the US according to Fortune magazine.

    http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/bestcompanies/2007/snapshots/1.html

    I am wondering whether Steadman Group can run such a poll - but for Kenya.

    They may consider adding a category - Worst Place to Work in Kenya :)

    Tuesday, February 06, 2007

    Hugging saves lives :)

    Scientific Evidence that a Hug-a-Day Can Save Your Life

    "Scientists are increasingly interested in the possibility that positive emotions can be good for your health. This study has reinforced research findings that support from a partner, in this case a hug from a loved one, can have beneficial effects on heart health."

    Dr. Manny Alvarez/AH (Feb. 5th, 2007)

    In a FOXNews report by Dr. Manny Alvarez, statistics are revealed from a study that shows the physical benefits of hugging another person, especially a spouse or partner. With the approach of Valentine's Day, Dr. Alvarez begins his report with a summary of just who St. Valentine really was, and how that relates to the research on hugs.

    Says Alvarez, "Besides being a martyr for love, Valentine was actually one of the first to understand the psychology of human emotions. This young priest knew that men who were about to face danger and possible death could only be brave hearts if they went off to war with a hug from the girl they left behind."

    Hugs—it turns out—really are advantageous to the health of our bodies, not just because they may "feel good," but also in light of the recent study done by the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

    The first part of the research, conducted by Psychologist Karen Grewen, involved 100 adults with spouses or long-term partners. The couples held hands while viewing an "enjoyable" 10-minute video. Then they were asked to hug for 20 seconds. Meanwhile, another group of 85 rested and waited, without any contact or their partners.

    Eventually all the participants were brought together, and while being medically monitored, each one took turns telling about a stressful, or upsetting event from their lives. The researchers found that the blood pressure "soared" in those telling of the event—who had been deprived of contact with their loved one...their systolic reading climbing 24 points—double that of the couples who hugged.

    In addition, the heart rate increase in the deprived-of-contact participants was also double that of those who hugged.

    The study went on to reveal more of the mysterious benefits of hugging. For example: hugging releases oxytocin, the "bonding" hormone, in the blood. Oxytocin has been found to trigger a "caring response" in both men and women. Oxytocin is also the hormone which stimulates labor contractions and the release of milk during breast feeding. Finally, in all the women studied, researchers found a lower level of cortisol after hugging. Cortisol being the hormone the body releases when dealing with stress.

    Alvarez concludes his report with a statement from a BBC News quote, by Dr. Charmaine Griffiths of the British Heart Foundation, who said, "Scientists are increasingly interested in the possibility that positive emotions can be good for your health. This study has reinforced research findings that support from a partner, in this case a hug from a loved one, can have beneficial effects on heart health."

    Wednesday, January 31, 2007

    Sidney Sheldon dies at 89

    A really great writer, playwright and screenwriter. I have read a majority of his novels.

    RIP

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6315875.stm

    No Bananas in 10 years?

    Apparently Bananas may be extinct in 10 years due to disease and fungus.

    Scary! coz I love bananas - especially those tiny (sweetie bananas) ones

    More 24

    This is the third story about the very popular and successful 24 (I posted two links yesterday).

    here's another

    Tuesday, January 30, 2007

    Dating is Competitive Manipulation

    Very interesting blog ... wonder how true it is :)

    "The truth is women love to compete with other women. Women want to win men over. They want to be chosen by a man who could have any girl he wants. No woman of caliber wants to win a man by default. She wants her man to be a prize, a good catch, someone she can be proud of. When you tell a woman that her significant other is handsome or intelligent, she’ll likely beam with self satisfaction. In complimenting her man, you’ve complimented her. You have told her, in so many words, that she is capable of attracting a quality mate. The women who rail against this usually have a low self esteem and thus avoid competition because they fear they’ll always fail….or they’re ugly. You pick."

    Read the whole of it.

    24

    The Orwellian Ideology of 24

    If you have read George Orwell's 1984 and have watched 24, you will probably find this article interesting

    http://www.mises.org/story/2465

    'As enjoyable as 24 is on the surface, a more than cursory glance makes it obvious that the show is attempting to justify and even celebrate an ever-expanding Orwellian state. It almost makes me want to root for the bad guys.'

    24 Time Warp

    Apparently 24 Season 6 is set in the not-too-distant future - 2012 ... read more

    Friday, January 19, 2007

    BarCamp: Nairobi, Kenya - March 31st 2007

    BarCamp is an international network of unconferences — open, participatory workshop-events, whose content is provided by participants
    An unconference is a conference where the content of the sessions is driven and created by the participants, generally day-by-day during the course of the event, rather than by a single organizer, or small group of organizers, in advance.

    First BarCamp in Nairobi is planned for 1st March 2007.

    The theme will be provided in time but will be (of course) technology oriented.

    Wednesday, January 17, 2007

    I got tagged :)

    got tagged by mentalacrobatics

    So here are 5 things you didn't know about me:

    1) I used to be a HUGE BABY.. but i'm the tall and slim kind now :) - trust me - you wouldn't recognize me apart from my eyes which seem not to have changed since i was a baby.

    2) I usually have to buy socks quicky coz my right BIG TOE has this irritating habit of boring holes through my socks and shoes all together

    3) I loath routine - I doubt I can last in a job for more than 3 years - call it an over active mind with an odd way of looking at things - actually i doubt i can last in employment for too long.

    4) a misplaced sense of financial priorities - buying a PHONE WITH SOME COOL FEATURES is easier than buying a pair of jeans

    5) I didn't get to throw stones at campus coz once upon of a time we got into BIG TROUBLE (we actually managed to stone a mathree coz we had a dome with the driver) with my brother and a friend when we were less than TEN YEARS OLD. Needless to say we got a thorough spanking - never lifted a stone in campus :) despite going to a campus that got famous for sending a bus to town to throw stones.


    Tagged:

    Alpha-rwath - coz of a similarity with my blog name :)
    kenyanpundit - I'm just curious
    Coach Potato
    - curious about what u do apart from watching movies and TV :)

    Can't think of anyone else to tag but if u read this and laugh - u are tagged

    Monday, January 15, 2007

    World Social Forum comes to Nairobi

    Over 100 000 visitors descend on Nairobi for the WSF conference starting Saturday. 100000.

    That is more people than are found of most constituencies in Kenya.

    I suspect we shall be seeing very serious traffic jams snarling up our already congested (and potholed) roads over the next two weeks.
    That's the downside

    The upside: 100000 more people (perhaps) getting to know Kenya and it's attractions for the first time meaning possibly greater improved tourism earnings for this year.

    Business opportunities: imagine the guy(s) who has won the tender to print out badges for all delegates at the conference, or the photocopying and catering services as well as the people helping out with logistics and getting paid what looks like a fair amount of money per day.

    Buying Second hand cars: Dutiable Value vs CIF

    I'm wondering whether this information can be obtain from the KRA. It could be very useful to have an online tool where I can be able to easily ascertain the cost of importing a car into Kenya.

    I'm not sure that if a car costing 5000 USD CIF would have a dutiable value of 5000 USD.

    If this is the case making that tool is pretty easy :)

    Friday, January 12, 2007

    Beckam's new salary: Obscene or what

    David Beckam is going to be making about 3.51 BILLION shillings a year ... (26 Million Pounds a year) in his new Major League Soccer deal

    The juicy part:

    Under MLS rules, each side is allowed one star player who does not come under the salary cap - but the budget for the rest of the squad is limited to around £1million, or £50,000 per player per season.

    By contrast, Beckham will earn £500,000 a week from his salary, image rights and associated sponsorship - but not including personal endorsements.

    Here's the full story...



    Pirates III

    May 27 2007 Release.

    I can hardly wait. This was one of my favourite movies of last year.

    You can have a peek at some pictures from the movie here.

    How to market your blog in 2007

    This looks interesting:

    http://www.problogger.net/archives/2007/01/11/how-to-market-your-blog-in-2007/

    Wednesday, January 10, 2007

    iPhone

    Apple yesterday unveiled their highly anticipated iPhone.

    Among others features:

    4GB or 8GB memory
    Bluetooth
    WiFi
    Mac OS X
    Quadband GSM
    multi-touch display - yaani NO KEYPAD

    From the apple website:

    iPhone combines three products — a revolutionary mobile phone, a widescreen iPod with touch controls, and a breakthrough Internet communications device with desktop-class email, web browsing, maps, and searching — into one small and lightweight handheld device.

    Read more...

    USD 499 for the 4GB and $599 for the 8GB when they come out in June on the Cingular network

    No 3G though :( - Nokia were quick to point out that ....

    Meaning I wait until the release the next version, and yah.. when they make it available worldwide....

    The Beast: Unleashed


    A break from my predominately technology and business blogging to a refreshing and astonishing soccer game between Liverpool and Arsenal that ended 3-6 - Now I wish I had Supersport @ home for the duration of this game :(. However, the net came to my rescue - trust someone to put the goals on youtube. Here they are (Aliadiere's goal is my best ;) ):



    27 Aliadiere: Liverpool 0 - 1 Arsenal
    33 Fowler: Liverpool 1 - 1 Arsenal
    40 Baptista: Liverpool 1 - 2 Arsenal
    45 Song: Liverpool 1 - 3 Arsenal
    45 Baptista: Liverpool 1 - 4 Arsenal
    60 Baptista: Liverpool 1 - 5 Arsenal
    68 Gerrard: Liverpool 2 - 5 Arsenal
    80 Hyypia: Liverpool 3 - 5 Arsenal
    84 Baptista: Liverpool 3 - 6 Arsenal

    Man of the match was Aliadiere. I hope he doesn't get sold. Though AW says he doesn't want him to go so that's a good sign. RVP and Adebayor had better watch their positions. The Beast has roared and Aliadiere looks to have rediscovered the form of the Inter Milan 1 - 5 Arsenal. I also hope Ljunberg is not going anywhere despite all the rumours.

    Liverpool fans must be something - even TH14 says that they are awesome. That says something.

    I hope Benitez can pull up the morale of the team after 2 losses to a rejuvenated Arsenal side who've suffered with numerous injuries in the first half of the season.