Our approach to the Oromo Protests is a DISASTER and here’s why


It is unclear what is wrong with The Addis Ababa Master Plan that is being protested. The issues are not outlined in this blog.

Ethiocritical.com

By Zecharias Zelalem.

It’s been about a month or so now since reports have emerged of the resumption of last year’s Oromo protests against the Ethiopian government’s planned implementation of the Addis Ababa Master Plan. The flame which had been lit in Haramaya University has now engulfed the country, with daily protests being held at universities across the country. And despite a similar scenario playing out a year earlier, the EPRDF government appears to have failed to learn from the recent past and has taken no measures to prevent the sequence of events that led to the deaths of dozens of protesters in 2014, with reports from the country stating that state security forces are once again failing to react with proportionate force. While brutal police beatings have disrupted gatherings at universities, high schools and primary schools for the most part, live ammunition hasn’t been spared yet again, claiming the…

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I CHOOSE TO FIGHT CANCER


AnjeoC La Mode

For about an year i was having lower back pain and irregular  cycles  but i assumed it was just normal but when the pain got too much i decided to go see a doctor. The tests revealed that i had a huge cyst/tumor on one of my overies. I know for a fact that i dint want to here what the doctor had in store because in some way i suspected it was cancer.  And the truth is it was really ovarian cancer.

At that very moment the only thing that i could think of was just death. I kept on telling myself this is a disease for old people . ” how am i going to tell mum? How do i tell the ones that i love that i am  going to die of cancer?” Those were the only questions in my mind.

My mum has been going through…

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Silicon Savannah S01E01: The “Investor”


BiaMoto


And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.

William Shakespeare (A Midsummer Night’s Dream)

This acts as a prelude to what will hopefully be a long series. Written by 4 guys working / worked in 4 startups. 2 have been runaway successes, one is struggling and one is a closed story – flopped. Experiences vary from good to real ugly in startup life, which will form a basis for this blog. Here’s to startup life!

I am no racist, narcissist nor nationalist. I neither subscribe to bureaucracy, meritocracy nor kleptocracy.  I am just an avowed communist. For the record, I am a Kenyan techie working in a startup, fairly good relations with our investors, good at what i do and have made lots of mistakes and misjudgments, like any other…

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An Open Letter to H.E. Retd. President Daniel Toroitich arap Moi, C.G.H.


In retrospect?

Uchambuzi Tanaka

An Open Letter To H.E. Retd. President Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi, C.G.H.

Your Excellency:

I am absolutely sure you do not remember this, but you and I have had occasion to meet twice in our life-time, albeit mine being a fraction of yours.

The first time was in June 1982 when I was in High School.

I was walking along State House Road, having alighted from a bus at Uhuru Highway and headed to my brother’s residence nearby where I was spending the holidays that year.

As your limo cruised by me, and I squeezed myself tight to the edge of the road to avoid being run-over by your motorcade, your limo slowed down, you rolled down the window and waved at me and I confusedly waved back in disbelief that you took the time to roll down the window, smile and wave at me.

It didn’t matter how many…

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Draft National Music Policy of Kenya


Quick one.

The scope of the music policy is a bit limited. (Pun attempted).

The focus on technology, digitization, archiving and piracy is misplaced.

In my view it is drafted from a purely business or financial mindset.

True intent of firm music policy should identify authentic Kenyan musical scales, music standards (as with Jazz Standards), stylistic frameworks.

When Kamau wishes to build a house, the architect listens to his dream, and uses the standards and frameworks of architecture to shift that to reality. Where are the Kenyan musical scales,standards and frameworks?

This is what is lacking and causes the endless and purposeless search for a single Kenyan sound.

In years past albeit under political patronage, there were topical songs,singing games,work songs,rounds, dirges etc defined as such with public understanding of the structure, form, intent and purpose of the music, and a framework from which to propel creativity.

Today, artists build content in the absence of an understanding of frameworks and content structure.

I would pray for an amendment of this policy document to truly focus on what is the best practice form and structure of its industry, as is done in any other industry vertical.

Draft National Music Policy – Your Comments are Welcome


IP Kenya

IPKenya has received the draft National Music Policy prepared under the Ministry of Gender, Sports, Culture and Social Services.

The full Draft policy is available here. Please read it, spread the word and submit your comments here. Deadline is this Friday, 15 June 2012. Hurry!

Quick comments:

For the record, IPKenya is not against the Policy per se. All are encouraged to engage with this policy document and form their own independent views and opinions on it. IPKenya is merely playing devil’s advocate, as always.

“Music Education and Training”

Under this heading in the draft policy, there is a bullet that reads “Facilitating the Patenting of Kenyan music materials and works of art.”
Several questions come to mind: 1) does the term “Kenyan music materials” mean local/indigenous musical instruments or sheet music of Kenyan origin and creation; 2) Why patent? They’re already in the public domain. Patents and the…

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Sometimes, Just Listen.


cUT IT OUT

This storo for Kenyan dudes.

When your woman “whines”, sometimes, just listen.

So you are fortunately/unfortunately married to Njeri.

You share dreams and plans, and project number one is a plot you jointly bought in Syokimau.

You both took loans to the hilt to finance the purchase of the property as well as the construction going on.

You are renting and living hand to mouth, but silently looking at others with those machos of …

you guys just wait and see in a few.

Because unlike them, mnajenga.

Na kweli mumejaribu.

A beautiful home you have built, but then you know there are those ngumu things like finishing, fine painting, detail in fixtures, which at this point hamuoni haja… so long as the house is complete, you can move in…the rest as they say mtamaliza mkiwa ndani.

But then of course lethargy and comfort sets in, mshazoea vile nyumba inafanana.

The roughcast remains so. The taps are kinda leaking and for now, you tie that bladaaa to shikilia kidogo. The floor tiles you bought with that bonus is still in the store, as the quote your friend gave for coming to do the workmanship is a bit too much.

In any case the mtoi has checked in, and the attention and priorities are now focused elsewhere. I mean, that child education insurance you just committed to for the kidos education won’t pay itself. Tena the day to day cheddah for the kido wacha tu.

You have already been told by several schools that your child is on a waiting list and they are just not yet sure that two years from today, there will be space for your kido as they give preference to paros with tois already in the shule.

So there you are tired after some mdosi called you and told you what a numbskulled nincompoop you are, coming home to your leaky fauceted half finished place called home.

And Njeri decides to tell you ate midnight how she cannot sleep anymore, because she hates the drip drip of the leaky faucet.

Chick knows for show that you have prioritised all you could.

Chick juas how much you both have strived to get where you are.

Hata she juas the vibe of what the mdosi said leo.

Yet she still has the audacity to tell you about the dripping tap.

KWANI NOW WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO? 

Dude listen.

The difference between you and her, is that you are genetically wired to always seek solutions to stuff.

But when a woman speaks to you in that way,she sometimes does not want solutions.

She just wants to be heard. She just wants you to hear out and share her point of view.

Trust me. She is aware, actually way more aware than you are of the shortcomings of the situation you both are in.

As in when she sits with her sis and discuss stuff, the sisters answers to the emotions shared are mostly…” I know what you mean…Ghai…Imagine… That’s so true…Like Really?…Wow… Yeah I know right?…” And you always wonder how they have such conversations coz they do not really seem to discuss stuff, its more about one always agreeing with whatever the other is saying.

Wanaelewana because wanaelewa that sometimes something voiced is not necessarily a search for meaning and solution,it is merely a situation shared.

So don’t jamu and ask her what it is she wants you to do, or give timelines for things that you will not achieve and make false promises. Or define solutions or action perspectives.

You wanna ask eti

” But how am I to know when she wants me to do something.”

Dude. You have never had a problem knowing when she wants you to do something. That’s how you got where you are now, mostly through her direction. You just won’t admit it.

So when she “whines”, sometimes, just listen.

PIVOT EAST WINNERS: WHERE ARE THEY NOW?


 

 

 

 

 

MEDKenya is platform that provides symptom checkers, first-aid information, doctor & hospital directories as well as relevant alert services. The service aims to make healthcare information affordable and accessible to Kenyans.Health is a universal need that forms part of Vision 2030 and the Millenium Development Goals.
Website: http://www.medkenya.com Contact: info@shimbamobile.com

M-Shop by MTL Systems Limited – A platform allowing consumers to order, pay for, obtain and validate tickets for events, travel, goods & services. The solution provides USSD technology or a mobile application on smart phones to deliver this convenience at any time and from any location with a mobile carrier signal. Contact: paulokwalinga@gmail.com

Uhasibu by Pluspeople Kenya LTD – A cloud based accounting system for small & medium companies in East Africa. It helps in generating KRA format VAT reports, petty cash management and other financial management features. It also supports East African Currencies and is accessible for sh1,000 per month.Contact:kaal@pluspeople.dk

MEDKenya is platform that provides symptom checkers, first-aid information, doctor & hospital directories as well as relevant alert services. The service aims to make healthcare information affordable and accessible to Kenyans.Health is a universal need that forms part of Vision 2030 and the Millenium Development Goals.
Website: http://www.medkenya.com Contact: info@shimbamobile.com

SchoolSMS Premium by Tusqee Systems – SchoolSMS Premium is an Interactive Mobile Messaging System for schools. It allows parents to get exam results of their kids, enquire about fees balances and get fees statement quotes from the school via use of simple SMS messages. Contact: info@tusqee.com

Whive by Space Kenya Networks LTD – A mobile social aggregator integrated with major social media platforms. The application allows Whive Subscribers to communicate with contacts, friends via SMS, messaging and other social media. Whive is a recent winner of the Vision 2030 ICT award for Gender, Youth and Vulnerable Groups Sector in Kenya. Contact: j.karanja@whive.com

 

I am very curious where these companies are now, and what story they have for those who have just started,what lessons there are from their journey.

Grandma’s Secret Recipe


image

The secret to making your business unique & priceless is Proffessor’s Secret Recipe.

This was a concept I thought I had conjured in my head, until it was validated by the blog and book, http://grandmas-secret-recipe.com/

In a nutshell the concept is this.

All businesses in a market segment have the same ingredients.

The differentiation comes with focus and increased elements in certain aspects.

So one may focus on sales, another on product development, another design, you get the drift.

And this becomes what we call the unique selling point. (USP)

But still there is always that secret recipe…. Professor’s Secret Recipe, that always is the secret sauce to an organisations success trail.

A clear and timeless example is the mystical Coke recipe. Everyone has heard of and been told the tale of how Cokes recipe for Coca Cola is a secret that has been handed down through the ages and guarded forever.

For Google it is their search algorithms that is tauted as their secret IP and recipe.

Think about Twitter, Facebook, Uber, Amazon, all these companies lay claim to some secret algorithm, criteria, strategy, that is their secret recipe to success, which is what gets them their stellar valuations.

Whether this recipe even exists or not is not a factor. 

For you and your business to succeed and gain in valuation, you must have a component of your ingredient which is the mystical chemical X, which brings the magic to your business and that results in the results you have been having.

For some its in the service delivery that the chemical x is, some is in how the algorithms they use for customer categorisation, some it is in the pricing engine.

All in all they have this in common, beyond the sugar and spice and all things nice… a chemical x in the recipe that adds stellar value to the concept.

The book explains this concept in deep detail, but my summary is this:

For your business to gain in value,you must have, and always be seen to have and own intellectual property that is secret and exclusive that keeps the business going and gives it stellar value, whether it is real or not.

The book is available for free download on tokekruse.com

The Things We Say


Were,that we would lead lives with things said & done.

I was walking hurriedly to catch up to two lady friends. Well. More like friendly acquaintances,but one of them, I have always said to myself,is my close friend.

They were up ahead and headed to the club. Funny thing is, one does not drink,but I say to myself that the reason she goes out is she loves having company.

The other,my friend, was deep in a juicy personal story about her escapades and both were giggling like teenagers by the time I caught up.

The fact was,that even though I say to myself we are friends,there are things she would never say, say, said juicy story, and I was delighted at having a glimpse of this side I had always been interested in, but always told myself we could never talk about.

Isn’t that a Pandora’s Box situation right there?do I really want to say things about myself as well?

In any case the giggles cascaded and the story subtly muted as I came astride.

I walked quietly and said to myself that from my glances,they would notice my belated interest in the said story; And much too late I chuckled enthusiastically and said…”what was that about…” when we were drawing up to the club,but alas, the conversation had turned to lighter subjects.

This is an exclusive place, I said to myself.

We ran up the stairs past the garcon,straight to the security draw bridge.

I went up to the lady and asked for admission. My ladies walked by and said…Hey,just come. As they giggled and walked on confidently.
Maybe its free for ladies? I said to myself.

My uncertainities had tied me in by then,and my company was inside. Two beautiful ladies,these places always let the pretty ones in for free,eye candy,I said to myself.

The lady said…” Imejaaa”. And looked on laconically. There isn’t more to be said, I said to myself.
Said I, “Hatuwezi jaribu tu, my friends are in there. At least let me tell them.”
“No. Si uko na simu,wapigie!”,Said she.

The delight of happenstance.

The manager of the club happened to be walking out. Do not ask me how I knew he was the manager, I knew. So I got his attention and sought entry.

As happens in such places,there was a pile up of waiting humans behind me,who couldn’t understand what the issue was.

All Mr.Manager did was pick up his phone and muttered in the general direction of me,the watchwoman and the queue …” Kuna wazungu ndani” as he walked away.

Those mutters may have been “kuna watu wengi ndani” I said to myself. He couldn’t possibly in this day and age of furore over The Chinese Restaurant,Caramel and Art Cafe still have just added his spot to the list of racist establishments?

Well whatever he did say,because he couldn’t possibly have said what I heard him say,I said to myself,my fate is sealed.

I texted the girls that I was gonna headout, and I would see them in the morrow.

This story is filled with the following barriers to living full lives:
1.Things we say to ourselves inside
2.Things we think others are saying to us
3. Things we don’t say.

So many turns in this story are determined by things unsaid,words unspoken,meanings misunderstood,presumptions made.

Were,that we would lead lives with things said & done.

Karen Richards: I do not know;and I’m content


Karen Richards
10 February 2011 at 23:01 ·
Be like a rudderless ship on calm ocean with a full sail. Embrace the mystery that is life itself, content in the uncertainty of not knowing. An unseen guide directs your course, speaking to the heart through a steady and endless flow of inspiration. Listen, allow, trust, act….all is well

And When Its Not?


Javmode

How am I to journey when its not?

I speak of life and never of dearth… of what is, has and hardly what is not.

To reconcile what is not, fails me;it is beyond substance, it goes against plans,goals,dreams,idle wishes,desires,lusts.

What is not mercilessly crushes my idea of future past. Yet absence claims an intangible…other state.

…without considering what is not, I walk a tightrope as though a highway. I walk with great purpose…Even as I walk into the dark.

How,am I to journey?

Am I ruled by Time, or Action?

The former goes without me, the latter, even when I choose not to act,is an equal course of action.

Time blurs as it rolls by,as I plough through, daily to,wherever I am going to.

And memories darken.

And action pushes for immediate jarring activity to regress or progress new pathways.

They collude against me, time and action,action within time.

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Trees did not die for this.

100 year old redwoods,hectares of cypress, enslaved in a system to serve an unwilling reader.

I don’t trust our sources.

They seem guided by those hands that steer the record of history,horses led down paths toward meaningless snack cafes that delay the journey.

Before I put the cart before the horse, i respect the fifth estate. Men and women who have given their lives to chasing down stories, shaping opinion and essentially determining what the voice of the nation is.It is a huge responsibility,what a yoke to put on!

Yearning for truth and getting hurt over the years leaves consumers scarred and wary. We’re unwilling to listen to things for what they are,and are looking out for memes in the stories to fit in the trends and patterns that we’ve been trained to expect.

We now like our food a certain way and anything different tastes bad. Worse still,we want it packaged in a certain way. It’s true value and meaning no longer matters.

I’m wary of anything I hear or read. Music, books, news, TV shows, radio. My ears are open but my soul is guarded. Because I don’t trust our sources. When shall we have true Press freedom?

And if there are more like me in this cart, you know exactly what I mean, should we jump out?

No M word was used in the writing of this post


Thank WordPress for Analytics.

I just noted that over the many years of this blog, my writing and the creation of spinoff blogs always occurs in December.

My most popular content was always written in this season.

I take this to mean that I am making time to write, that I get into the loop of focus and give this very little time.

Will this realization and admission change things?

Let’s see.


It’s not your fault you are smart.

After all you just followed the rule book that you found when you first heard of reading and writing.

While everyone else was being dumb and stupid, your face was stuck in a book.

While the rest were gazing outside the window daydreaming you tapped into the fount of knowledge and followed the stream into the rivers and the lakes you are now used to.

And now that things are a bit settled and no rapids are afoot, you feel like chasing waterfalls.

And you feel guilty about all those times you turned down the chances to “live a little”.

I’ll let you in on a little secret about what’s going on out there. Most of that world? Its a fantasy. Totally fantastic.

Three quarter of “those people” are there to see and report what they saw while the other quarter are there to be seen.

And that’s why people like YOU invent Twitter,Instagram,Facebook,Vine,Tumblr,and a myriad other tools for these filthy mortals.

Recognize that their “world” is a creation of minds like yours. Thus when faced with the quagmire of entering such morass, create a suitable persona…make it fun, it’s like the movie Gone Girl but with happier events and happenings.

All the characters you read about all these years? This is the moment they’ve been waiting for, let them breathe and walk the earth.

And if some earthy types ever challenge the veracity of your personality, make the question existential and draw them into the black hole of their own paltry existence.

It’s not your fault you’re smart and the rest of the world so dumb.

A Mutual Calling


This little story on Reader’s Digest,so sweet, so gentle, so true. Couldn’t help but repost and share.

A MUTUAL CALLING
by Lauren Belski, New York, New York

Brian and I have been married three years, but we’ve been together ten. We met as AmeriCorps volunteers on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in Porcupine, South Dakota—a tucked-away place with a scattered population of 1,000. He taught computers and played guitar. I taught English and wrote poetry. In the volunteer house, we courted each other by making a phone out of tin cans and a string. I still remember his voice in my ear. Automatic goose bumps. A year later, our mothers discovered we were born in the same hospital in New Jersey, 1,600 miles away.

Of Women, Weddings & Cars


Hehehehehe….

Javmode

I don’t know what it is with women and cars.

I have a pal whose female workmates are at his desk each morning to say hello and pay homage to his car keys.

If you are a strong wealthy independent Kenyan woman please. Please don’t catch feelings. This is not about you. Just smile quietly to yourself as you recall how things once used to be.

It is about the enormous power and hold the young and upwardly mobile men of Nairobi have over eager, young women.

These Kiamburing racing,Motorbike riding,golf club swinging,credit card wielding,coasto flying men with seemingly limitless bank.

It is also a descriptor for all those masufferer wa mungu, all those undecided,javing men out there.

Go right now to NIC bank, be a man and get yourself a car loan.

The lady is fine. She’s young, trendy,uppity, composed and looks like she does a loose Caramel lounge…

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SAYING PLENTY OF NOTHING: REDUNDANT PHRASES TO AVOID


Penseli

cUT IT OUT

WARNING: Please do not continue if you;

  1. begin sentences with “Me I went to school…”, “You you don’t know…”
  2. believe that proper English isn’t important.
  3. Think that “Otherwise?” is an acceptable form of greeting.
  4. don’t have a sense of humour.

It’s common to use too many words that mean nothing in a bid to appear sophisticated  or educated. Here’s a brief guide on a few phrases that we always thought were correct; especially since the computer’s grammar check is usually too polite to point them out.

  • Add an additional: Subtract a subtractional?
  • Added bonus: You might as well say, ‘bonus2’.
  • Ask a question: What else do you surely expect me to ask, the answer?Thank you
  • ATM machine: Does Automated Teller Machine ring a bell?
  • Come again?: Do you seriously want me to return to the beginning of my journey and make my way towards you…

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Healthcare.gov cloud provider switch is delayed till next year


Microsoft HealthVault would have been an excellent provider of Cloud Healthcare for the US government.

Gigaom

Not so fast.  A plan by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to move Healthcare.gov from Verizon/Terremark infrastructure over to Hewlett-Packard have been delayed till next year.

Last year, [company]CMS[/company] inked a deal to move the troubled insurance sign-up web site to HP after widespread problems. The idea was to make the move after the sign-up period ended last March, but that changed this summer, when CMS decided to keep most of the site on [company]Verizon[/company] for the next enrollment period, kicking off in November and ending in February. That was not widely known until the Wall Street Journal (registration required) reported it this week.

Now, it looks like [company]HP[/company] and subcontractor [company]Amazon Web Services[/company] will act as subcontractors to Verizon’s Terremark subsidiary, according to ModernHealthcare.com. CMS extended the original contract with vendors that also include Accenture, Quality Software Services, but indicated that things really will change down the road.

From…

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English: One Laptop per Child at Kagugu Primar...

 

 

 

One Laptop Per Child is a beautiful ideal. But I have come to BELIEVE that there are more fundamental needs in Africa than juvenile computing.

Before pinning me down with evidence of seemingly functional laptop projects, I would like to clarify that I have had experience with ICTs for Education, and have had the spiritual pleasure of evangelizing technology for education. At some point my job description was “I.T Evangelist”.  Picture John The Revelator, but holding an iPad preaching chips and bytes and  the depths of cyberspace.

 

English: Logo of One Laptop per Child
English: Logo of One Laptop per Child (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I recall a moving treatise by Hon. Bitange Ndemo regarding The One-Laptop-Per Child Project, the cusp of which was were 10,000 computer geniuses emergent from 1 Million children where no hope resided before, then the whole project succeeds.

 

 

 

 

I, at the time, vehemently agreed with this mantra, knowing a great many people who were fortunately exposed to computers at an early age and this edge drove them to their current being;leaders in the Information Technology industry in Kenya. My position then, (and not so long ago, as the crow flies) was that, however abhorrent the corruption,however colossal the funds,however unsustainable, it was worth the illumination of 10,000 Kenyan Vint Cerfs,Elon Musks, Bill Gates and Eric Schmidts.

For Africa, a dark continent as it were, to be illuminated even for a moment would serve a beacon of hope, food to the mind, vision of more, to a people who’s minds have been dulled and numbed by circumstance.

The story below is a FailureFaire jewel, an example of the extreme failure of a laptop project in a first world scenario.

Here is the story.

 Why Hoboken is Throwing Away All of its Student Laptops http://wnyc.org/2CoaY

In juxtaposition one can only imagine how much worse things could go in a finance & Infrastructure  bereft Africa.

Only then did my mind descend to the Africa we are. And my thinking was that there were deeper and more profound things that African leaders can EASILY do to nurture these 10,000 minds than issue computers. There are deeper, more fundamental issues at hand and at stake, the very basic qualities of existence that are lacking in our society. I will not go into them, they are legion.

The story is told of Edward Bernays,a different kind of evangelist,the father of public relations,a brilliant product marketing genius and how he saved the Tobacco Industry and invented bacon and eggs. Amerikan Democracy

 

Bernays helped the smoking industry overcome one of the biggest social taboos of all time: women smoking in public.Bernays staged the 1929 Easter parade in New York City, showing models holding lit Lucky Strike cigarettes, or “Torches of Freedom“. After the historic public event, women started lighting up more than ever before. It was through Bernays that women’s smoking habits started to become socially acceptable. Bernays created this event as news, which it was not. Bernays convinced industries that the news, not advertising, was the best medium to carry their message to an unsuspecting public.

Another of Bernays’s favorite techniques for manipulating public opinion was the indirect use of “third party authorities” to plead his clients’ causes. “If you can influence the leaders, either with or without their conscious cooperation, you automatically influence the group which they sway.” he said. In order to promote sales of bacon, for example, he conducted a survey of physicians and reported their recommendation that people eat heavy breakfasts. He sent the results of the survey to 5,000 physicians, along with publicity toutingbacon and eggs as an ideal heavy breakfast and superior for health to the then traditional breakfast of tea (or coffee) and toast.

 

I have come to BELIEVE,that the reason behind this “ONE LAPTOP PER CHILD” drive this decade, is that it is a Sales Model.

Laptops for Children is a conceptualized product meant to evangelize to the hopeful and offer new markets in hardware sales. All that has been changed is the model of selling the computers, slapping ideological ideals onto the back of the laptops and shipping them off to school districts.

I say, all the African leaders at the US Africa Summit should be prodded to implement fundamental infrastructural programs that will establish stability and growth heck, just life, for the targeted market population of Africa, who will surpass India and China in a few decades, lest the greed for the current market ensures the future shall not exist for this continent.

Take the cue from Bill Gates, who has arm twisted Warren Buffet into working toward a disease free Africa. These are the business leaders we deserve.

Africa is not poor. Money is made up.We are rich in raw materials, minerals, food and human resources, the majority of which consistently and constantly supplies the rest of the globe, which,as the crow flies, is supposed to mean we have a lot of money.

The hunger, financial poverty and joblessness is a result of those buying exploiting us, and those evangelizing us keeping all the profits.

 

 

 

 

 

App Recommendations: Productivity


+1 For Any.Do!

Consult the Couple

Ironically, I waste a lot of time searching for the perfect productivity apps. Today, however, I am happy to report the fruits of my labor. What’s more, they’re FREE!

Any.DO made my post-it notes obsolete. This is, without contest, the best app for managing your to-do’s. With a clean, minimalistic layout, Any.DO does everything from setting deadlines for your tasks to categorizing them into a limitless number of folders. Any.DO also syncs to all your devices so you’re never at a lost for what’s to do next. Perhaps the best feature of all is the ability to sync to your Google calendar. With just one glimpse, I get to see the events I have scheduled as well as all the tasks I have ahead. This gives me a really good idea of whether I’d have enough time on any given day to finish my tasks. If I don’t, I can…

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All Water is Blue…My Memoir of Scared and Sacred School Years


Bermy Girl Living in the Motherland

All water is blue so sometimes it is hard to tell which water is trying to pull you into the undercurrent and which water is drifting you to safety.

I’ve never shared my school location or experiences in an interview. Most middle-age Bermudians argue over whether or not I went to Bermuda Institute or ‘The’ Berkeley Institute. I usually keep quiet while this takes place. Even when my books were released the newspapers wanted to know which school should get credit for my writing but on the topic I was silent. But there I was standing in front of politicians, friends, family and people that I didn’t know. My head was still swirling with jetlag and my body was still back in Nairobi. But here I was in Bermuda, in my small island about to share my story.

Image

My close friends have heard the story before-children fasting, religious abuse, headaches while sitting…

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The Link Between #BabaWhileYouWereAway and #SabaSabaDay


CAPE TOWN/SOUTH AFRICA, 10JUN2009 -Raila Amolo...
CAPE TOWN/SOUTH AFRICA, 10JUN2009 -Raila Amolo Odinga, Prime Minister of Kenya, Kenya Business Alliance Against Chronic Hunger – World Economic Forum on Africa 2009 in Cape Town, South Africa, June 10, 2009 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Not everything you see on the internet is real.

If you have read Enders Game (The movie does not have this bit), Two children, a brother and sister,Peter and Valentine,living in one house, shaped global ideologies on politics and policy, by writing blogs with pseudonyms, often writing against each other on opposing ideologies apparently from different corners on the continent as Locke and Desmosthenes.

You might be aware of the unveiling of supposedly catfish accounts on Twitter. If you do not know what I am talking about, a catfish is someone who pretends to be someone they’re not using Twitter, Facebook or other social media to create false identities, particularly to pursue or push deceptive online causes.

Now read this blog on Exposed Parodies. In a nutshell, a number of prominent “twitter bigwigs” run multiple parody accounts to support their causes and to bait people.

The trap of following and conversing with parody accounts is easily to fall for. They are already being followed by thousands of other people, so this somehow implies they are an authority on whatever subject they speak about. You find them driving social conversations and ideologies, all by someone who doesn’t exist. A good number of Twitter accounts are not real, nor the thought leaders and ideologists speaking behind them are not real. There are teams of people tweeting and directing ideologies this way and that.

Obviously,there is a danger here,that of Social Control Through Social Media and it binds two elements:

1. Kenyan Hyperactivity on Twitter

2.Social control for mass causes or ideologies

The Feb 28th movement was a test run of social control in Kenya through social media. It occurred two years back,on Feb 28th 2012, where, all people on twitter were supposed to come out at 1.00 pm wherever they were, and sing the national anthem. I experienced it from an office in upper hill, on the 7th floor, and I could hear people in other offices and in the streets singing the Kenya National Anthem. This was indeed proof that social media can be a tool to rally and control mass action.

Kenyans have grown online since then. Over the years as well, Kenyans have been prolific on Twitter, pushing a number of global Twitter trends, just by the sheer volume of tweets, not by the numbers of people on Twitter. Kenyans have attacked South Africans, Nigerians and fought and won Twitter wars. Seemingly, Kenya is the most switched on nation on Twitter in Africa.

Today, whatever trends on Twitter is sure to be on the evening news. On the most part though, Kenyan Twitter trendsetters are for entertainment value; media personalities and representatives of branding and ad companies. Which means their endorsements are rarely for causes and mostly for parties and products. There is the growing thought leader on policy,politics and business, these however are tied down by family and corporate image and branding to risk their neck for a Kenya that is seemingly not worth fighting for. Even the firebrand and hitherto vocal @BonifaceMwangi Quit Activism.

Come #babawhileyouwereaway, a Twitter trend on a politician making his return back home after a three month visit in the USA. After he came back, he calls for national dialogue by the 7/7/2014. The historic Saba Saba day, a day of note in Kenya’s history in terms of policy changing political rallies.

This is my prediction. Whatever exists of CORDs social media team will try to create a trend on or around the SabaSaba day in line with all the complaints on #BabaWhileWereAway, an attempt to veer the mind of the middle class into action.

Sadly, and fortunately for Kenya, the Kenyan on Twitter still utilizes the tool as a means of entertainment. Social media tools, in the form that politician are attempting to use them, to drive ideals and ideas,  are the preserve of the educated and urbane.Most of the action on Twitter remains online. The Kenyan middle class tweets and shouts silently  from the comfort of his suburban home. On the most part, it is a means of news, misinformation,gossip,trending wordplay and jokes.

It will take about 5 more years, whence smartphones will be ubiquitous and pervasive, for the average Kenyan to be rallied by calls to action on a mobile phone trend.

 

 

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SAUTI SOL UNCHAINED


thetruebienaime

With the release of our third album around the corner, a bi-weekly meeting to discuss general progress is paramount. This morning we (Sauti Sol) met with our overall management to discuss the way forward. The meeting started in a rather disheartening tone. All our potential corporate sponsors pulled out after the release of Nishike. After months of meetings and presentations, below are their reasons for the sudden change of heart.

  1. ‘Sauti Sol is now too out there’
  2. ‘Sauti Sol has seized to be a brand that associates with family and Kenyan values.’
  3. ‘Sauti Sol is too risky; they show great potential to break up, get into drugs or other vices that don’t represent company values.’
  4. ‘Sauti Sol is not Kenyan enough.’
  5. ‘Sauti Sol has lost more fans than they have gained’

In one particular boardroom during talks involving artists; the mention of our name was met with sarcastic laughter and…

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How To Make Your Android A BlackBerry


blackberry
blackberry (Photo credit: arrayexception)

So you accepted the peer pressure and finally decided to move to Android from BlackBerry.

The Blackberry experience is an all inclusive flow, in which the experience is about you, the user. For this, I love Blackberry.  Most people who never had the opportunity or patience to try Blackberry believe the only thing it has is BBM. There is more to Blackberry than BBM. Fine, the app catalog is atrocious. But the intrinsic basic phone features are deeply thought out.

For a legacy Blackberry user, Android is too much work. The first thing you shall notice on android is it operates like an operating system. Android is built in a way in which every aspect operates stand alone.Basically Android provides a base upon which, like Windows, you add on the wallpaper, software and utilities you require to suit your needs.This is a good think for a tinkering techie seeking “freedom”, but for someone who wants to buy a functional phone that has been thought out for you in advance, Android is not the best option. The fact that the apps are not built to work with each other sometimes creates issues, one app interrupting or crashing another.

That first week is hard, very hard. You will be excited about the new apps that you now have access to. But from the GUI,games,tools,utilities to deep system functions, Android is suited towards the user tweeking and tinkering every aspect of the phone. The absence of several things will shock you. Having to configure others will shock you too. Fortunately, on Android there is always an app for your needs.

So here is a list of apps for things you take for granted on Blackberry that you require to make your Android life better.

EMAIL: BIS and BB Email System is what any hardcore BlackBerry user swears by. For Android, you have Exchange By TouchDown Key, Under Notrodesk Inc. It is the best Exchange client system on Android.

DOCUMENTS: Blackberry has the ability to view and work on documents, its a business machine. To replicate this on Andorid, use QuickOffice, an excellent documents for mobile service acquired by Google. With PDF support, QuickOffice is the document app of choice on Android. A similar third party app is Go Office Pro.Both also allow you to plug in to documents stored in the cloud on your Google Drive.

SMS SENT TIME: This seems rather foolish, but some Android platforms do not show the time a sender sent you an SMS. Crazy right? Samsung and a few others correct this defect, but some stock android ROMs do not show SMS sent time. Fortunately there is an app for that. SMS Sent Time on the Google Play store.

AUTOREDIAL: If you ever needed to autoredial someone, a feature that comes in built in all basic phones, and on BB, on Android, you require an APP for it. The App is Auto Redial on the Google Play Store.

BB KEYBOARD: Blackberry with their long experience in QWERTY have really done an excellent job with the keyboard. Fortunately for Android folks, there is Swiftkey and Swype. This doesn’t replicate the BB experience but it gets close.

NO BLACKBERRY HUB!! If you have used Blackberry Hub, then you will be distraught at Androids communication experience. The BB hub provides a unified communications hub for tweets, facebook, SMS, Call notifications and alerts,DMs,Emails and other third party apps like Viber and Whatsapp.  To attempt to replicate this experience, download Droid Hub from the App store. Messages+ also on the appstore handles multiple messaging apps in one interface, but still cannot match BB hub.

SMART AUTOMATED ACTIONS:  Blackberry Z10 users talk about Bedtime mode. Like how placing the phones face down, a call is cancelled or goes on vibrate? Or past Ten O’ Clock certain notifications are muted? Or certain times trigger certain actions? Or low battery levels triggers energy saving settings on apps and on the phone? If you want this on your Android phone, download AutoMateIt on the App store. This app enables you to customize automation rules, you set the trigger or set of triggers which will push an action, which is saved as a rule. This can replicate your bedtime mode experience and more.

SEARCH: Its weird that the mighty Google cannot muscle phone search the way Blackberry do. This I am afraid is something you would just have to get used to. BB search is universal and smart, working with and into the whole phone. It searches apps, contacts and actions to them as well! For example to send a text to Jane, if you search “text Jane” it will  open your SMS box with the recipient being Jane. Android unfortunately cannot give the same effect.

BBM:  BBM is finally available for Android, so get this on the app store.

 SIMPLICITY:  Androids interface is like constantly working on DOS, and at the same time layering upwards to Windows type GUI. Honestly, one really does not need to constantly be in the engine of their device. On BlackBerry, what you saw was what you got, with few GUI and theme changes, giving you routine, which leads to ease and productivity in how you interact with the phone, in as few clicks as possible.

Many Android users find themselves constantly deleting and adding applications and features, constantly swiping and clicking even when they are doing nothing with the phone.

As a former blackberry user who is used to the phone as a tool, both for work or play, using it when it needs to be used,this can get very annoying, and can make one very exasperated.

the cure for this is downloading a minimalistic Android Launcher like Smart Launcher or Aviate.

 

Utilise these minimalist launchers after having implemented all the app changes above and you will have a very smooth and productive Blackberrylike Android smartphone experience.

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Do Not Fall In Love With People Like Me by Caitlyn Siehl


Kaleidoscope

“Do not fall in love
With people like me.
people like me
will love you so hard
that you turn into stone
into a statue where people
come to marvel at how long
it must have taken to carve
that faraway look into your eyes

Do not fall in love with people like me
we will take you to
museums and parks
and monuments
and kiss you in every beautiful
place so that you can
never go back to them
without tasting us
like blood in your mouth

Do not come any closer.
people like me
are bombs
when our time is up
we will splatter loss
all over your walls
in angry colors
that make you wish
your doorway never
learned our name

do not fall in love
with people like me.
with the lonely ones
we will forget our own names
if it means learning yours
we will…

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How To Put YouTube On Repeat


YouTube Repeat is just one of several methods to auto-repeat YouTube videos.
YouTube Repeat is just one of several methods to auto-repeat YouTube videos.

Source: Elizabeth Rostan
 

Practically everyone uses YouTube. Many people view videos or listen to music via the online video-sharing site daily. Many of you have probably at one time or another wished that YouTube had a feature where you could click a “repeat” button to play your favorite videos over and over again. While YouTube has made great changes and added cool new features like YouTube Playlists over the past few years, the Google subsidiary has yet to add a feature that allows you to seamlessly watch a single video repeatedly without constantly having to push the “play” button each time over.

However, several developer sites have created solutions for this problem.

  • YouTube Repeat – With this method, type “repeat” into the YouTube video URL you wish to watch before the “.com” and then hit your browser’s “go” or “search” button to watch a video on repeat. YouTube repeat gives you an example of what the URL format should look like. This method of auto-repeat works well, but the size of the video will decrease.
  • Infinite Looper – To watch videos via Infinite Looper, you have the option to either search for a video directly from the Infinite Looper site and then play it or load a YouTube video URL and then type “InfiniteLooper” in the place of “YouTube” to automatically repeat the video. Infinite Looper gives more specific instructions. This is probably the most popular method of auto-repeat for YouTube videos.
  • YouRepeat – Much like the two cited above, this method allows you to instantly repeat a video by modifying its URL. In this case, you would enter “Yourepeat” in the stead of “YouTube.” You can also search for a video on YouRepeat by typing the the title or terms for the video into the search box.

Note: Both Infinite Looper and YouRepeat offer widgets that you can drag to your bookmarks toolbar and use whenever you’re in the mood to watch a certain video on repeat.

  • Auto Replay – This solution, offered as a free extension available in the Google Chrome Web Store and created by an indie developer, adds a handy “Auto Replay” checkbox at the bottom of every YouTube video once installed. Checking the box automatically sets the video on repeat., while un-checking the box stops the repeat.This extension also allows you to set the auto-replay start and end times of a YouTube video. By far the most advanced and easily accessible repeat option, but keep in mind that you can only use this feature in a Chrome browser.

And that’s it, folks! Hopefully you found one of the above methods useful, or perhaps you want to use more than one of them! All of the items mentioned above are helpful, but only you can choose what you’ll use!


“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company…a church….a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past…we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude…I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you…we are in charge of our attitudes.”

― Charles R. Swindoll

Poor Forgotten Soles


You know those poor Forgotten Soles.. Those shoes you need to hike the highest and toughest mountains, that armor your shin from the nooks in the valleys too…

And those that make you look your best, those that you only take out when it’s time to shine…

Please don’t appreciate them only when you need them.
Take them out even when you don’t, feed them your best dark polish, reconnect, recollect the memories of the great times… They will bring forth in you more great times.

If untreated, they wrinkle and grow sullen, into creatures you never knew, and soon you’ll be craving a new pair, tossing away sandstones of memories.

And who is to say breaking in new friends is wrong? But the sages say make new friends, keep the old, one is silver, the other gold.

More often we do not appreciate those that are there daily, ever more true is that we appreciate less those that we need there when things really count.

I am At Inbox Zero


I am At Inbox Zero

I am at Inbox Zero!

Feels weird to have nothing to feel busy about.

And to actually sit and think on what I really need to PRODUCTIVELY do, instead of merely responding to this or that query.

This is a very strange feeling to be honest, and my gmail is kinda acting up, as if it cannot comprehend the state of Inbox Zeroness.

Is Android The New Windows?


My guess is, it is.

A bit of background on my perspective. 

Before the advent of pervasive Windows,Computing was weird – software was coupled with hardware in a hard to use expensive and complex UX.

Post Windows, the hardware playing field was levelled. Basically, all OEM’s were forced to think about design, battery life, processing power, GUI and UI to differentiate their offering.

Brands like Dell, HP and now Lenovo have used different product and marketing methodology to carve their niches.  But any wise buyer knows that these machines are all the same, given the specs are the same.

This wisdom is pervasive now, apart from the total PC noob who still buys stuff by the brand and not the specs.

Enter Android.

Android equalises a highly differentiated mobile phone marketplace by taking away the software layer, forcing phone vendors to focus on hardware core.

However, current market leaders like Samsung have used fancy marketing to make the brand larger than life. So much so if you have a Tecno phone or Forme phone with higher specs than Samsung you are bound to look uncool.

In time people will learn to think less about the brand and software dynamics and focus on phone specifications.

Disney’s MagicBand: Admission ticket, room key and payment method, all-in-one wristbands.


Disney's MagicBand: Admission ticket, room key and payment method, all-in-one wristbands.

MagicBands and cards are secure all-in-one devices that allow you to effortlessly access the plans and vacation choices that you’ve made with My Disney Experience.

MagicBands are colorful, waterproof wristbands—resembling a watch or bracelet—that you can quickly and easily touch to a sensor called a touch point. Cards work in a similar fashion, but physically resemble a plastic credit card or driver’s license. Both MagicBands and cards allow you to travel lighter throughout your vacation.

You can use your card or MagicBand to:
Unlock the door of your Disney Resort hotel room.
Enter theme and water parks (with valid admission).
Check in at FastPass+ entrances.
Connect Disney PhotoPass images to your account.
Charge food and merchandise purchases to your Disney Resort hotel room (only available during your hotel stay).

https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/plan/my-disney-experience/bands-cards/

Airport stores winter coats while passengers head to warmer climates


Germany’s Frankfurt Airport is no stranger to these pages thanks to its customer service innovations. We recently wrote about its confiscated goods recycling scheme, which enabled passengers with disallowed goods to put them to good use while also donating to local charities.

Now that the weather is colder in the country, the airport is at it again — solving the problem of increasingly full hand luggage compartments by allowing customers to use its Winter Coat Storage Service.
The winter means it’s cold in the Northern Hemisphere and many holidaymakers will be wrapping up as they head to the airport, only to pack away their bulky coats once they reach their warmer destination. Not only is this a hassle while enjoying a trip, but the limited overhead compartments for storing hand luggage also become overfull in the winter months. Taking inspiration from a similar service at Incheon International Airport in South Korea, Frankfurt began operating its Winter Coat Storage Service in October, and it will run until the end of April 2014. Customers pay a fee of EUR 0.50 per day for the check-in program, but will be able to forget about their cumbersome coat and enjoy their holiday.
Although not the biggest initiative, the Winter Coat Storage Service is a small detail that will add a little extra comfort during their time both at the airport and onboard their flight. Are there other small ways airlines can improve their customer service?

Website: http://www.frankfurt-airport.com
Contact: http://www.fraport.com/en/the-fraport-group/about-us/contact-fraport-ag.html

I Used To Worry About The Future


A Post-Academic in NYC

I got a part-time non-academic job. Again. Readers of this blog will know that I have made several attempts to escape the adjunct grind. For a while, I temped for a Fancy Wall Street firm where I accidentally ate someone else’s salad.

Once, I worked at a non-profit foundation for a few days. I was doing the job that a trained monkey could do. (At least they had one of those fancy European espresso machines!) Aside from being dead bored all day, I had to endure the fact that my boss was about twelve years old. If you want to feel ancient, try doing the bidding of children. It’s quite illuminating.

A couple of summers ago, I spent a few weeks on the top floor of a Manhattan high rise working for a hedge fund. I joined an army of women answering the phones and making copies for…

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A Little Bit of Everything

I hate in when people text me back with “K”. Like how the fuck am I supposed to respond to that shit?

If you’re going to text me first, at least try to keep the conversation going. Saying words like “LOL” “OH” “AH”. Well damn, do you ever say anything else?

Worst thing is that it took me 5 long minutes to type and there’s that 2 minutes of thinking so all in all it’s roughly 7 minutes of my time spent and all I get back is “K”?!!

I understand that it depends on who you are talking to. But seriously people, not everyone is your best friend.

I do it too occasionally, but that is when I’m annoyed or when the person I’m talking to doesn’t expect any other response except for my confirmation which could be done by “Okay”.

Dang people, expand your vocab. “K” is not…

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M-Pesa is The Very Boring Tip of a Very Big Iceberg


Campaign for Boring Development

Celebrating the success of M-Pesa , Safaricom’s cel-phone based payments platform from Kenya, is the stuff of development cliché by now. Less often noted is the odd fact that similar services, though they’ve been introduced in most African markets, have failed to take off in anything like the way M-Pesa did back home.

What the iPhone did to stupid time-wasting games, M-Pesa can do to all kinds of financial services in Africa.

This McKinsey analysis shows revenue for mobile operators from phone-based payments could nearly double in Africa just by bringing other countries’ mobile payment penetration to the level of Kenya’s.

The potential is obvious. “54 percent of adults in sub-Saharan Africa make one or more long-distance payments in a given month,” the report says, citing a Gallup survey. We’re talking three-quarters of a TRillion dollars being remitted around the continent each year, 60% of it in cash. (And people…

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MasterCard dives deeper into mobile with in-app payments, C-SAM acquisition


Gigaom

MasterCard(s ma) wants to tap the growing economy within mobile applications. At Mobile World Congress on Sunday, the financial transaction titan plans to announce new capabilities to its MasterPass digital payments service that will let developers embed a bevy of different mobile payments option into smartphone apps.

The company will also announce at MWC that it is acquiring C-SAM, a digital wallet maker MasterCard invested in back in 2012 and whose technology it has been using since. C-SAM is the transactions provider behind Isis, the near-field communications (NFC)-powered payments service of Verizon(s vz), AT&T(s t) and T-Mobile(s tmus). The company also processes mobile payments in Japan, Mexico, Singapore and Vietnam.

The new MasterPass service builds on work MasterCard started last year to put one-click purchasing in the browser through cloud-based credentials, as well as last week’s announcement that it is bringing payments capabilities to more NFC Android smartphones

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The irrational rationality behind Facebook’s $16 billion acquisition of WhatsApp


Gigaom

Another day and another acquisition — and another one that is jaw dropping and seemingly insane.

Less than a week after Japan’s Rakuten acquired Viber for $900 million, Facebook co-founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg announced that he is buying WhatsApp for a whopping $16 billion in cash and stock. Add another $3 billion for WhatsApp employees may get over next few years in restricted stock, and this becomes a $19 billion company.

When I think about the deal, it actually makes what investor Paul Kedrosky calls “ridiculously rational” sense. It keeps WhatsApp out of the hands of Google and most importantly takes out an aggressive competitor for “attention” from the market.

Facebook is going to end up competing with apps like Line and WeChat in many markets for the consumer’s mobile minutes and WhatsApp gives the Menlo Park based company a strong competitive weapon. While potential monetization remains…

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Top Cloud Channel Trends for 2014 (Part 5 of 5)


CloudTalk

Here it is: the final installment of our Top Cloud Channel Trends for 2014. If you missed any of the previous four trends to watch for this year, here’s a quick recap:

1. Trend #1: More Smaller Cloud Service Providers Will Fail and Shut Down in 2014
2. Trend #2: The Hybrid IT Environment Will Become the New Norm
3. Trend #3: Cloud Services Sales Training Will Go Mainstream
4. Trend #4: Virtualization in the Cloud Will Accelerate in 2014

Renee Bergeron, VP Managed Services and Cloud Computing, Ingram Micro Renee Bergeron, VP Managed Services and Cloud Computing, Ingram Micro

Trend #5: The Addressable
Cloud 
Market is Expanding
In today’s fast-paced IT environment, it’s easy to forget the fact the cloud is still a relatively new opportunity for the channel. Just four years ago, Gartner’s research noted that 98% of all cloud revenue was between SMBs and cloud providers with only 2% benefitting the channel. Fast forward to 2013 and we saw 20% of cloud revenue going…

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5 utility industry trends to watch this year


Gigaom

Last year brought about a number of interesting developments in the energy industry. Based on what we saw through the lens of our company’s 90+ partnerships with utilities across eight countries, here are five key trends we’ll be watching closely in 2014.

1. Energy efficiency policies continue to spread worldwide

The introduction of new energy efficiency policies and regulations was widespread in 2013 — and that momentum appears poised to continue around the world in 2014.

Honeywell & Opower smart thermstat website Honeywell & Opower smart thermstat website

More than half of US states have now officially enacted quantitative energy efficiency targets, and around 30 states offer concrete incentives to utilities that drive reductions in energy demand. Yet even more states have instituted a framework for severing the tie between utility energy sales and revenue, thereby removing the disincentive for utilities to help electric and gas customers lower their bills. Mississippi and Louisiana are the latest…

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Blackouts, dust and poor connectivity — why Kenya’s BRCK router requires a different approach


Gigaom

Kenya’s Ushahidi is best known for its pioneering crowdmapping efforts, but right now the company is busy finishing off its BRCK router, a fascinating device that’s designed for rough use in sub-Saharan Africa. As posts on Vice and TechRepublic explain, the $199 router has its own battery for coping with blackouts or bush use, it can automatically hop between Ethernet, Wi-Fi and mobile broadband as its source, and it’s set up to act as a hub for “internet of things” sensors. BRCK got crowdfunded last year and a recent blog post from the team explains some of the challenges of engineering such a device in Kenya.

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Telerivet helps African entrepreneurs power their businesses through SMS


Gigaom

We’re no strangers to interacting with businesses through the internet and mobile apps in the U.S., but in developing regions that’s not a luxury most people have. In countries like Tanzania, Rawanda and Somalia, most people’s sole means of communication is a basic feature phone, so if you’re business wanting to communicate with your customers digitally, you pretty much have one choice: SMS.

But for San Francisco startup Telerivet, SMS is plenty to work with. It’s designed a low-cost cloud-based SMS management system and Android(s goog) app that lets businesses and non-governmental organizations turn an ordinary smartphone into a messaging gateway. Through that gateway a company’s customers, clients and employees can access data through simple SMS messages.

Connected Africa

I had to chance to chat with Telerivet CEO and co-founder Joshua Stern, who definitely has a unique story behind his company. Like many Silicon Valley startups, it began with a computer…

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3 Reasons to Dream BIGGER!


Everyday Power Blog

Image

What has happened to your past dreams? What happens when you get excited? How often do you tell yourself things like, “That’s not possible for me, I need to be more realistic?” I truly believe that we might not be able to do everything, but we sure enough can anything, something or even just one thing, that will make a significant impact, not only on our lives, but in the lives of others. In today’s world and the way communication and information is – there are just too many real life stories of people making a massive difference in the world, for us to settle for being ‘realistic’.

The time to stop talking yourself out of your greatest dreams, desires and goals is over!

The time for wishing is over.

It’s time to make it happen.


Here are 3 Reasons WHY YOU should dream BIGGER!

1. If it’s not…

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One Card To Rule Them All!


While some are skeptical about this product, claiming everything is going Mobile (ahem Mpesa), Coin is a remarkable product that resolves an existing problem with a practical solution.
Coin is a connected device that can hold and behave like the cards you already carry. Coin works with your debit cards, credit cards, gift cards, loyalty cards and membership cards. Instead of carrying several cards you carry one Coin. Multiple accounts and information all in one place.

The Law of the Grey


Javmode

The ideal execution of law and morality is black and white; the reality is all grey.

Under Kenyan law, a minibus should shuttle a maximum of 14 passengers.
To contravene this, both the minivan’s owners and infringing passengers would be heavily fined.

MORAL DILEMMA: #1 CHIVALRY

On the morning in question, I left home a bit later than usual.

This of course meant I got to my bus stage with the sun showing her face, and with a number of people ready for the race to the city.

So we waited,it being the peak of the morning, we soon were a tidy crowd waiting for a bus.

Is there room for chivalry in public transport?

Actually, there is a grey area, you let one,two, three, four and on the fifth one you cut in because I mean then you would just be late and a gentleman’s never late! 🙂

This…

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Fender Bender? Got A Camera!


Javmode

Image

Yesterday morning as I drove to the city, my trip was disrupted by a woman

driving ahead of me.  She was most likely driving a stick shift Toyota
when at Muthaiga Market (has a small hill as you join on to Parklands) her
car slowly sled backwards resting on the front of my VW bug.  She realized
her mistake too late but when she came out, she said to me “Mheshimiwa
umenigonga kutoka nyuma” (Honorable you just hit me from behind).  I just
had to smile as I opened my door.  The vehicles behind us sped off.  I
knew I had no witness.

Her car had minor damage and as she prepared to call the police, I
encouraged her to do it quick since this is a simple matter.  She then
says to me “a simple matter”.  I said yes.  What do you mean she retorted.
It is simple because…

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BITCOIN


This article is a comment by a user Ginsoakedboy in a Telegraph article on Bitcoin.  I thought it worth re-blogging as its perspective was not its validity or lack thereof, but the effect of its growth and how governments may or may not deal with it.

The beauty of bitcoin is that any discussion of its merits or otherwise, also includes much discussion about the problems of the current system.

Any attempted shutdown or prosecution of the bitcoin network and users simply generates publicity for bitcoin and the philosophy that lies behind bitcoin. I Imagine that most governments and secret services have so far not thought it worth it to increase the profile of bitcoin through an attempted shut-down  Perhaps they are betting on it falling down on its own.

Of course, there must be a theoretical level of exchange in bitcoins which would cause governments and central banks to go for the legislative solution, but we’re not there yet. Most people have no idea what bitcoin is, or its potential significance. If and when the ‘threat level’ occurs, it will be interesting because governments and central bankers will have to mobilise against an idea that calls into question their very legitimacy. At that point, the battle will be messy, there will be many people invested in bitcoin who will be eloquent spokespeople who will engage in high profile debate against the system. I’m not sure what TPTB would fear more, the proliferation of an alternative currency, or a high profile debate about the current system?

Laying down a social marker


DisCoverage

frustrated_writer_by_photonerd88-d3gobx6BrainJuicer’s Tom Ewing wrote a blog post today about how the way we listen to music could change.

He envisioned people will soon have “attention regimes, in the way they follow dietary regimes and exercise regimes, and will have them in public: a proclamation of one’s listening regime will become a kind of social marker”; adding:

Demonstrating you can pay attention in a world of instant clicks will be a mark of presumed character (and bragging rights) in the same way demonstrating you keep fit in a world of chairs and screens is among white-collar workers now.”

Ephemerality is built into the internet.

If you don’t update your website Google will punish you by pushing you down its search rankings.

Fail to tweet for any extended period and people will unfollow you.

Don’t update your status and friends will accuse you of being a ‘Facebook…

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Breaking Safaricom Scratch Card Code


BLACKORWA

Almost two years ago, Safaricom Ltd extended the scratch card code from 12 digits to 16 in-order to increase the computational time required to break the code thereby making them more secure. However, system theory acknowledges that systems expose their weaknesses at points of change. I set to find out if the move to higher dimensionality introduced a weakness in the scratch card hidden reload number. To begin the analysis I formulated the following assumptions to guide me in the process.

  • The grouping of the hidden reload number into four digits does not reveal the mechanics of the number generator.
  • Increasing the hidden reload number by a factor of four digits provides more data for statistical analysis.
  • The hidden reload numbers are separated into groups of four digits only for the purposes of ease of reading.
  • The hidden reload number represents a 16 digit number generated by a random number…

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VIDEO: Most data breaches identifed by banks, payment systems says Visa’s Ellen Richey


thedailyblogreport

http://i2.wp.com/therealconservative.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/GOP_hitching_a_ride_out_of_the_government_shutdown_mess.jpg?fit=1024%2C1024

Visa’s chief enterprise risk officer Ellen Richey says while she’s grateful when government approaches her about potential cyber security issues, most data breaches are identified by banks and payment systems, like Visa. Former deputy secretary of Homeland Security Jane Lute…
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VIDEO: Most data breaches identifed by banks, payment systems says Visa’s Ellen Richey

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U.S. users will start seeing ads on Instagram “in the next couple months”


Gigaom

When Facebook (s FB) acquired Instagram last year, many wondered how the photo-sharing service would be monetized. Now we know: A couple of weeks after hitting 150 million active users, Instagram announced in a blog post Thursday that U.S. users will begin seeing ads in their Instagram feeds within the next couple of months.

The news isn’t particularly surprising: Emily White, Instagram’s director of business operations, told the Wall Street Journal in September that Instagram would start running ads “within the next year.” Over 60 percent of Instagram’s users are based outside the U.S., and they’ll be free from ads for now.

From Instagram’s blog post:

“Seeing photos and videos from brands you don’t follow will be new, so we’ll start slow. We’ll focus on delivering a small number of beautiful, high-quality photos and videos from a handful of brands that are already great members of the Instagram…

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Meet Node-RED, an IBM project that fulfills the internet of things’ missing link


Wireless Sensor Networks Blog

node-red-screenshotFrom GigaOm:

If you play around with enough connected devices or hang out with enough people thinking about what it means to have 200 connected gizmos in your home, eventually you get to a pretty big elephant in the room: How the heck are you going to connect all this stuff? To a hub? To the internet? To each other?

It’s one thing to set a program to automate your lights/thermostat/whatever to go to a specific setting when you hit a button/lock your door/exit your home’s Wi-Fi network, but it’s quite another to have a truly intuitive and contextual experience in a connected home if you have to manually program it using IFTTT or a series of apps. Imagine if instead of popping a couple Hue Light Bulbs into your bedroom lamp, you bought home 30 or 40 for your entire home. That’s a lot of adding and setting preferences.

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We are NOT ONE.


Gregg Tendwa

I refuse to suck up to this fake sense of Kenyan patriotism.

I grew up reading books on Kenyan history and singing to the tunes of patriotic songs that were constantly propagated by the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation. I went to school in a single party state when there was no difference between government and political parties. I was taught history that was cooked by the curriculum developers to deliberately make me become patriotic to the country Kenya.

At school, I was taught to sing the national anthem as well as recite the national pledge, which at the time, was coined to end up with pledging loyalty and allegiance to the president of Kenya. I was taught that Kenyatta was the Kenyan Jesus. I was taught how to sing for the president, and bow my head in respect.

In church, I was taught to obey and not question authority. I was…

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Our society, from the year 2013, has been redefined by two terms; Accept and Move On and Willing Buyer and Willing Seller.

From the highest office in the land, we replicate these mantras to the mouths of babes.

My camera was spoilt. I cannot explain exactly what went wrong. The lens just stopped working. Exasperating.

In the old days we understood the mechanics of things, we knew everything about every appliance that we had; if ever there was an issue, all we had to do is open it up and swop a part or two.

Nowadays all items are driven by hidden advanced technology. There are layers and layers of development over a single product, such that we don not even remember why some layers existed in the first place.

This means of course that in the present day, even those we call specialists do not understand the underlying technology of products. All they have an understanding of is the usage of the technology diagnostic tools.

Fixing issues itself is automated. Look at our vehicles, our factories.

I forsee a future where the true superman will be the man with menial, base and background knowledge of the substratum of technology.

Case in point, my camera. Had I the know how, this being a fairly simple device, I should ideally be able to diagnose and swop out the part that is faulty.

The reality is quite different. I had to take it to this lady who smiled sweetly at me. She informed me that diagnostics ( I.e for her to merely look at my device) would cost me one thousand shillings.

She would then give me the cost of what is required for her to conduct the repairs, for me to elect whether she should fix it or walk away.

She smiled sweetly with the knowledge of what’s to come.
I handed the device to her.

I felt right there and then, that I had given something away: susceptible, vulnerable. Like I had knowingly played myself and yet still had no alternatives.

She went into the backroom to conduct her diagnostics. In my minds eye, as I anxiously sat in her waiting room, I could see her opening the device, then picking a brown hammer and crushing the device’s innards then picking up the broken pieces and bringing it to me to claim that was the issue.

Indeed, she brought out some black,round thing, broken, and told me that it was the gear of the camera lens, which was broken. To replace it I had to part with 5 sticks.

I felt robbed. But I paid. Neither knowing the market rate for camera lens gears,nor any better place, and didn’t even know the service rate for the devices, what was I to do?

Reasonably of course, fixing a device should ideally never be more than a third of its cost. If it is, you are getting played. But this is an arbitrary rule of caution, not of fact.

Some things do cost more to repair than to purchase brand new.

I was angry at myself, but thereafter distracted myself with more pressing or more entertaining issues.

My only option? Accept and move on.

And trust in God, trust in the system, trust in my good luck that all is right with me. Because to fight may be futile.

This scene,this sense of loss, is replicated in all avenues of Kenyan living, in our constitution,in our MPs,in the courts, in the supermarkets, in our perishable goods, our rent, our religion, fashion, name it.

We live believing that a higher power, a higher mind has considered us and is looking out for us, and that whatever we experience, there is some explanation in the grand scheme of things for our own good.

This is why we accept and move on.