Choices and Consequences

Choices and Consequences


I heard the greatest news yesterday.

Finally, one can shop online for day to day items and get the goods delivered to your doorstep!

This magic is being performed by Chandarana Supermaket, on their portal,

Here, you can finally shop in a supermarket online and have the goods delivered to your doorstep!

To get a nation to change the way they do things and their sociocultural habits takes years of conditioning.

To get Kenyans to shop online will take a lot!

To the best of my knowledge, online shopping has been a mirage. It has eluded many startups and fully grown corporations caused by,in my view, two main factors:

Disuse of online payment methods in Kenya,

The absence of an address system in Kenya for product delivery, and poor, or pricey standards for those that can.


Kenyans do not generally use credit cards. Even with the massive sponsorship with the soccer centric Manchester United and Chelsea Credit Cards, I believe the uptake has been low, I do not know of any friends who have been lured to get one.

Its simple, our interest rates are astronomical, our banks punitive. They WILL take your home. They WILL auction your stuff. You WILL go to jail. Too scary to risk using a card.

VISA and Mastercard have come into the East Africa region with gusto. Setting up offices, hiring staff, heavy advertising, negotiating with banks and payment systems to waive VISA fees for a while, so as to gain traction and get a culture of spending and using debit cards, to nurture the non plastic mindset to using their cards like cash; with no extra or hidden costs.

The uptake is slow. This may change with a few more years of conditioning, but with interest rates increasing and new taxes and levies being slapped on daily, VISA and MASTERCARD and others must be prepared for this market being a loss leader for at least ten years.

Other factors though, may help their growth. Mobile Money. The All consuming MPESA and the growing Airtel Money.
You can find whole books,dissertations,blogs and papers dedicated to Mobile Money and its wonders in Kenya, I won’t touch on it. The critical factor is it is a contribution to the conditioning of the Kenyan psyche on an alternate method of spending money as opposed to cash.

The different experiments with I and M Bank Mpesa Debit cards, partnerships with vendors et al, contribute to money going digital to the common man on the street.


So you have digital money, but can you buy remotely?

So far, to the best of my knowledge, PesaPal, Ipay, KopoKopo,Tangaza (among many others) and now Safaricom herself, have been working hard to integrate digital payment systems integrating seamlessly with Bank accounts to make payments into any organisation or individual’s digital wallet.

The effect is digital trade is now commonplace. People bought tickets to movies, trips, shows and even The Rift Valley festival digitally. among others, offer methods to purchase online coupons,tickets and the like.

However since the ticket is digital, verification digitally leaves room for arguement with slow witted bouncers and security. PDFs on smartphones and SMS verification numbers are being accepted as proof of purchase.

On the products end, Zetu and Rupu and holding up the daily deals and coupon ( a la Groupon) market. Buy product online, pick it up from a drop zone.

So if I’m a couch potato and I do not want to pick up the product, what next? Couriers. G4S,Aramex or DHL. Very pricey.

The startups in the product delivery market such as Petty Errands also seem to stick to corporate errands. The others do not seem to have gained enough following, trust or value to deliver to the common man.

The National Postal Service POSTA bears the biggest responsibility for the distrust in online or international purchase of product and delivery.

They are known for, while being affordable, stealing and “losing” items.

They are the main culprit behind the inherent mistrust of third party product delivery.

Enter the challengers: The Somalis.

They have an intricate network of global drop points and delivery and accept multiple currencies. And are affordable.

So say you want a 46 inch plasma TV from Dubai. Which costs more than 30 percent more in Kenya.

Purchase online with your debit or credit card. Delivery to one of the Somali droppoints in Dubai. It will be delivered to your doorstep anywhere in Kenya. Amazing right?

The same occurs for American stores as well. Just buy what you need to buy, give the American droppoint as the address and they deliver!

They are, I hear, affordable and efficient. And they never steal.

Thus far, apart from complicated methods of getting product to your doorstep there has been nothing straight foward and simple to buy and receive an item.

I applaud the Chandarana Online payment and delivery system, because it indeed is a first, and changes up the game.

Kenyans are copycats, I am certain in less than a month, Nakumatt, Tusky’s and Uchumi supermarkets shall be attempting the same.

Which in the end is good for the consumer!

I am surprised not to have seen editorials or blogs about it, as it is a major coup. Professional jealousy perhaps?

Hi, my name is Steve, and I am a Social Media Enthusiast.

This means, I am very good at talking about what people are talking about.

Social Media enthusiasm is all about being very enthusiastic about social media technology, for example Google and her products, Facebook and Twitter.

As you should know, these are the basic means of communication in Web 2.0

Essential to any social media enthusiast though, is knowledge of what’s happening,NOW and what’s happening NEXT, FIRST (I cannot emphasize this more).

After you know it, you must then immediately “share” your knowledge through as many Cool IT Kid gangs as possible. Some of these are Reddit, Quora,StumbledUpon, Google+,and a few other select sites.

There are also a few invite only mailing lists,meetings and sites you can further contribute to once you build up XP through credibility and uniqueness.

PRO TIP: Always use a Social Media Aggregator. Twitter’s Tweetdeck is a good start, but as your XP increases of course, you will need better tools.

A good social media enthusiast knows his ecosystem. You must first study and understand the histories of the companies you talk about so as to sound knowledgable and credible.

To be the best though, you must go a step further. Get a blog and blog. Get to know the Venture Capitalists and VC programs, startup competitions and Investors and their program directors.

Knowing and engaging with these guys’ (social media accounts) can make you a social media guru.
The potential ability to link startups to them tips you over from enthusiast to guru.

As there are do’s, there are donts.

As a social media enthusiast, you must learn to ignore:

1. Any advancement or development by traditional companies. Top on this list are Microsoft, IBM, General Electric and similar Blue Chip organizations. The reason is simple, they can afford their own media. Also, they are evil and supporting them is selling out the revolution.

2.Ignore anything that’s not happening in The Valley. Its not worth your time, as it probably will not be worth any attention. Except of course, when its crossed the cool factor. Like Africa’s Ushahidi, Irooko, Mxit. Indians and Asians have lots off disruptive stuff, but they don’t count. Unless they cross the river.

3. You are to be followed/friended, so keep the number of people you link to low. Breaking this rule will mess up your Klout score, and then where will you be? Except of course if they are ranked higher than you. This raises your score.

4. Always talk about what’s hot. Unless its piling up the VCs or changing the world in some fundamental way, why talk about it. Example. Vine is hot. Vine is not hot; Instagram is. During Instagram’s tenure, do not talk about Vine.

My hero and mentor is Robert Scoble, who I can call a Technology Critic. His rubberstamp on your product might get a startup so much VC money, enough to turn the idea into something worth Exiting.

Coz that’s what its about, the exit strategy, where the concept is sold to the big evil blue chip corporations we ignored in rule 1.

Always take any opportunity to gain following on your social media accounts, your Klout score and ranking is worth a gazillion internet points!
Linkedin:Steve Tipper

As a social media enthusiast, you are a revolutionary,social development loving,globetrotting, startup focused,mountain climbing, biking, camping,open source/standards propagating, hero of your home town,The Internet.

Do it well enough, and you will figure out a niche perspective of things.

Soon you will start travelling the world to give cool talks about things people are talking about, simply because you talk about it so much that you can be deemed a specialist, and rise to the rank of Technology Evangelist.



The media is awash with different perspectives on the Laptop for Kids Project being implemented in Kenya.


I find it interesting that very few of the contributors to this very important discussion care to quote or review other global instances of children being exposed to technology at an early age.


The global experiences of OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) in its various formats, of The “Hole In the Wall” experiment by renowned educationist Suguta Mitra all point to this program being an opportunity to spark the next level of professionals ready for the information age.





I feel blessed to have gotten got early exposure to technology.


I was fortunate enough to get a feel of DOS,Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing, Lotus 123 (and a lot of Paratroopers, Digger, Chess, Prince, TD (Test Drive), Lotus, Budokan… I clearly played more games than anything).



Under the tutelage of The Late Steven Barasa Wamalwa, at The Computer Centre, Eldoret, I experienced one of the first child-focused computer educational programs in Kenya in the late eighties-early nineties. Under his direction, some of the most influential Kenyans in technology, like John Walubengo learned and honed their craft.


I was never particularly interested in code, thus I did not end up as a developer. Yet in my view this early exposure to command prompt and the basics of  how computing works has aided me to be the formidable Information Worker I am now.


In all fields today, computing is melded in the substratum of process, communication and output. Yet we still find people claiming a computer is not working, yet they haven’t turned it on, or being less productive because of screens like this:






I can quote the venerable Bitange Ndemo stating,

Bitange Ndemo ‏@bantigito18 Jul

1m kids will join std 1. If 10% of them become computer literate, that is 100k. If 10% of these end up in ICT, you have 10k experts


False, some might say, but I was one of those kids who had been working ({sic} playing) with computers since I was 7 or 8; the benefits to me have been invaluable.


Working with computers may not necessarily guarantee us a Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. We may have a higher chance of forming a Larry Flint or a world ranking member of Anonymous, or none at all.


Of this, though, I am certain, we shall have a more productive and more effective workforce as a whole.

Low-cost vibration sensors can make any surface touch sensitive


Last month, I wrote about my frustration with Intel (s intc) for dawdling in bringing technology to market that can make any surface touch sensitive. Now, it looks like they have a competitor.

Researchers at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore are looking to commercialize a system that can turn surfaces like windows, wooden tables and whiteboards into interactive touchscreens. “It means in the future, you could play computer games or draw sketches on walls or windows since almost all surfaces can be made touch sensitive with our system,” NTU assistant professor Andy Khong said in a release Wednesday.

STATINA touch sensitive display

Unlike Intel’s system, which uses a camera to track touches, NTU’s STATINA relies on vibration sensors. Every time a light tap is applied to a surface, vibrations ripple out and hit the sensors. By calculating the difference in time between when the vibrations reach the sensors, the system pinpoints where the…

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Catching pedophiles with text mining and game theory


Earlier this year, I wrote about how ill-intentioned data scientists could use their skills to build highly sophisticated spambots that fool us into thinking they’re real by looking and acting like real people. It turns out those same techniques can be used for good, too — like in the case of a group of Spanish researchers who have developed a chatbot designed to lure and catch pedophiles in online forums such as social networks and chatrooms.

In practice, the researchers’ chatbot, which they call a “Negobot,” should act a lot like how an advanced spambot on a service like Twitter might act, and using tools already in play by email spammers to avoid spam filters. The Negobot initiates a discussion with a target and then decides its next move based on how the target reacts. It is designed to respond to interactions in a time consistent with how long a…

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The internet of things may drive you nuts before it makes things better


The scariest thing anyone has ever said to me about the internet of things wasn’t about the NSA spying on my gadgets or that someone might hack my connected door locks. Instead, it came from Bob Dahlberg, VP business development at Arrayent, who told me last week, “Right now big appliance makers only have contact with a buyer once every ten years or so, but with connected devices they could make that three to four times a week.”

The idea of my fridge, my dryer and my dishwasher all conspiring to provide me updates several times a week in some attempt to keep in touch on behalf of Samsung, Bosch or Whirlpool makes me want to run screaming from the internet. But in some ways this might be the near-future of the internet of things at big companies, because the budget and ideas for connectivity are mostly driven by…

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Playing at Work : Gamification of the Enterprise

I was watching Sir Ken Robinson, who’s ideas on new directions for 21st century education have redirected policy on what it means to educate.

In a recent RSA talk, Ken revisits the ideas he gave at the RSA event two years ago, “Changing Education Paradigms” as below.

In the revisited talk he reiterates and adds onto the concepts he initially talked about, but which I will not go into: the talk is an hour long and then some, and is not the point of this post.

In the first five minutes of the talk he stated something that sparked a mindflame.

In a nutshell, he says the school system was a product of the industrial age, where running processes by the mill was the norm, and the mode of education was so, as its design was based on prevailing concepts of management of large numbers of people in an industry.

He said, no 21st century corporation in its right mind, would run its business like a school; where workers get in early, do one task, a bell rings, they move to  another room and move to something else, another bell rings and they all leave for break, a bell rings and they rush back to different task. Latecomers are punished.

I listened to this and thought, wait a minute.

Whilst some present day corporations may have implemented 21st century models for productivity, the majority still remain in the industrial age!

A lot of organisations have their staff clock in, work at one task for a specified time, a bell rings and you move to another task, another bell is rung and you move out for a break, if you stay to long, HR punishes you!

Appraisals, career and personal development, trust, esteem,are designed straight from the industrial age,. Thinking,creativity and judgement calls are not stimulated or encouraged.

The few, the brave, are well documented.

These are organisations that have gone all the way with providing creative spaces and freedoms for maximum productivity. Google for example, has been well documented as spearheading these environments.

Check out the following list:

1. The meals and snacks are all free. The cafeterias feature gourmet chefs that create healthy and delicious meals everyday.

2. There is a barbershop available in the office.

3. Google offers a 2k employee referral program.

4. New parents can reimburse up to $500 in takeout food.

5. Rest and recreation can be done in the office. There is a billiard table, rock climbing wall, swimming pool, beach volleyball area, video games, Foosball, table tennis equipment and roller hockey facilities.

6. Employees are allowed to bring their pets to the office.

7. Washers and dryers are available in the office. Even the detergents are for free. For those who need dry cleaning, that service is also available within the premises.

8. Decompression capsules are available for employees who want to relieve their stress. These capsules have been designed so that it would be impermeable to light and sound.

9. Employees can make use of motorized scooters to move from one part of Google’s sprawling area to another.

10. Shuttles are available to help transport employees to and from the office. These shuttles offer free Wi-Fi services.

11. You can have your car’s oil changed regularly for free in the office.

12. Car wash is also available for all car owners.

13. A modern, well equipped and state-of-the-art gym is available for free.

14. Employees can enroll in exercise classes for free.

15. Google’s mobile library offers the latest collection in books, magazines and other publications for free to its employees.

16. Employees wanting to learn a new language may enroll for fee in classes in Mandarin, Japanese, Spanish and French.

17. Private cabin areas are available in each and every floor for employees to be able to attend to their own private affairs.

18. For further relaxation, there are self-controlled massage chairs available. Aquariums are positioned strategically in front of these massage chairs to help the user achieve a tranquil state.

19. A professional masseuse is available within the premises that employees can visit anytime.

20. Saunas are available within the office.

– See more at:

If you are a startup, or a small-midsize organisation, and the expected results make sense to you, you may be willing to surgically integrate modern work systems,software and policies that allow creativity,productivity and high esteem, end to end.

However, the constraints of the nature of your industry may limit you; the hundred years of guilded history and guidelines around Law,Masonry, Insurance, Engineering, Medicine and similar “old” industries with looooooooooooooong legacies tend to be averse to novel ideas.

Also, not everyone is Google.

How then, do we find a middle ground?

Through technology and the tools we use.

Organisations today are almost entirely dependent on the processing of information on technology tools. Billions spend many, many hours each day staring into computer skills on emails, ERPs, CRMs ad nauseum.

If you are considering ways of integrating new-age industrial design without extensive surgery, consider gamification of your corporate processes.

Bunchball are one such company that provide solutions that enable gamification of the workplace, whatever your process.

Gamification software is transforming the way businesses engage with customers and motivate employees. By applying the same principles that inspire people to play games – achievements, status, and rewards – to websites and other online experiences, businesses can dramatically increase the size of their audiences, boost customer engagement, drive deeper employee engagement, and increase revenues.

Game mechanics can help organisations:

Here is a video of how Bunchball have implemented gamification for Salesforce.

This is, by the way, not a sponsored post. I wish it were 🙂 ( HELLLOOOO BUNCHBALL)

Here is another video that highlights the workings of gamification.

How the Near Field Communication Technology (NFC) Is Shaping Your World?

Frontline Of Information

Most of the latest smartphones in the Android world come with a built-in technology known as Near Field Communication (NFC). Some of the examples are the latest HTC One, LG Optimus G Pro, Sony Xperia Z, etc. Already, plenty of the existing Android smartphones have NFC chips built in. What exactly is this technology and what does it do? Let’s analyze in this article.

NFC is a technical specification that enables radiofrequency communication between two devices by bringing them together, either by tapping or simply touching. Potential applications of this technology are astounding—initiating payments through mobile phones, creating and maintaining Wireless networks (home networking), exchange of electronic business cards, ticket reservation on train and air travel without cash or cards, analyzing electronic menus in restaurants, purchasing movie tickets, etc. This is only the tip of the iceberg. Once the

Technology becomes ubiquitous, you will see many more applications.


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New Google report shows malware by country: highest rates in India, Central Europe


Google’s Transparency Report is a document that shines light on threats to the internet, including copyright takedowns and government surveillance requests. On Tuesday, the search giant announced a new section that highlights sources of malware and phishing attacks.

According to a company blog post, the information is an outgrowth of Google’s(s goog) “safe browsing” program which warns consumers when they visit a site that appears to be infected with malware. The site details specific incidents but also shows overall trends. These include the pleasant surprise that, unlike government surveillance, malware does not appear to be on the rise. Here’s a screenshot:

Google malware screenshot

The coolest part of the report may be a heat map that lets a user mouse over countries to view the rate of suspicious sites. The United States scores very well; a Google scan of Autonomous Systems turned up a malware rate of only 2%.

The highest…

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Aurasma – A New Way to See the World at #acenetc


The very last presentation of ACE-NETC 2013 conference in Indianapolis, Indiana was from our very own University of Wyoming Extension team, Bernadette van der Vliet, graphic designer; Steve Miller, senior editor; and David Keto, media producer/director. This group of talented teammates presented on Aurasma, an augmented reality program.

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Moscow – Red Square


The end of a long day.  Walking, walking, walking……… warm and muggy weather so that I was sweating under my blazer most of the time. Just imagine me admitting to being too warm.   Now, however, I am in the hotel restaurant with my sandals on, beef stroganoff in front of me and a tall Russian beer by my hand…….. and the waiter just called me”Miss”! I think I could get used to this.

After delivering my passport to the company office this morning, I proceeded via the Moscow metro system to Red Square.  Quite proud of myself for making the correct transfers.  The escalators are sure long, and I know I haven’t gone to the deepest tracks.P1060150 I walked past all the souvenir stands, eager to get inside.  P1050985I did take a couple of shots from a distance – the sign on these headdresses was asking 100 rubles…

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29 Ways to Stay Creative

Joe The Flow

The need to create a simple and educational tool that will help inspire people or motivate them to explore their creativity brought to the forefront. The “29 Ways To Stay Creative” infographic illustrates the creative process and methods to keep a person moving forward and motivated to keep doing more. This humble piece of work is repurposed from various online sources and experts to whom we show our gratitude for their contributions.

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Yandex becomes Safari search option in Russia, Ukraine and Turkey


Russia’s Yandex has just scored a bit of a coup – its search engine has become an option within the new version of Safari(s aapl) for iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks, for users in Russia, Ukraine and Turkey.

This tidbit comes courtesy of app developers, who of course are now able to play with the preview of iOS 7 ahead of its consumer launch later this year. A Yandex spokesman subsequently confirmed the inclusion to me.

Here are tweets from devs in Russia:

… And Turkey:

Turkey is a particularly big win for Yandex, which is pushing hard into that country. As for the company’s more traditional markets, the inclusion of Yandex search as an option in Safari could…

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Surprised? Cloud providers bring in $2B in first quarter


Given all the hoopla surrounding cloud computing it, it’s not surprising that revenue from cloud services is growing. Total worldwide revenue from top Infrastructure-as-a-Service and Platform-as-a-Service players hit $2 billion for the first quarter of 2013. That’s up a healthy 56 percent from the year ago period, according to Synergy Research Group.

These numbers factor in AWS and Amazon’s Elastic Beanstalk on the PaaS side; Google App Engine; IBM’s SmartCloud and SmartCloud Application Services; Microsoft Azure and Cloud Services for Windows Azure;’s Heroku and (but not its bigger Software-as-a-Service applications business.)

Key takeaways:

  • Amazon(S amzn) Web Services remains alone atop the heap with  27 percent of total IaaS and PaaS revenue in Q1, up from 24.7 percent for the year-ago period.
  • crm) is second largest but it’s revenue share decline year over year to 6.8 percent from 7.9 percent.
  • North America accounts for more than half the…

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Exercise: Improving Your Writing Skills [Guest Post]

An Evil Nymph's Blog

Writing is a difficult and necessary task of life, no matter what your job is, you will have to do some writing at some point. Even before you get to the technical details, writing is hard enough.


Like most things, writing seems a lot less difficult if you have an idea of how to do it. This is easily done, with a workshop or a writing course. Like riding a bike, these are skills that you only need to learn once, and then get used to implementing. Most professional copywriting companies like Gaps Writing offer offers courses on how to write well, and what constitutes good writing. If you are a business owner or manager, it is particularly important.

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Why Bitcoin can benefit from respectability


Mt. Gox, the best-known Bitcoin exchange, is making an effort to go respectable. On Thursday the Tokyo-based exchange announced the introduction of user verification for currency deposits and withdrawals – that excludes deposits and withdrawals of Bitcoin itself, but it does mean those spending dollars or euros or whatever to buy Bitcoin or sell it may now be logged.

Now, is this a bad thing? Some Bitcoin fans would argue it is – much of the attraction of the crypto-currency is its anonymity of use. That’s not gone in the case of Mt. Gox (the nature of the Bitcoin system precludes such a possibility anyway), but the anonymity of ownership has now been diminished for many if not most users buying into the system or cashing out from this point on.

For those planning to build a legitimate, profitable ecosystem around Bitcoin, this is a completely necessary development.

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Study: Smoking hookah presents higher cancer risk than cigarettes


FOX 4 Kansas City WDAF-TV | News, Weather, Sports

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Hookah bars are fast-becoming the “in” thing for university students. Many think it’s not as harmful as smoking cigarettes.

A recent survey showed that three out of 10 students have either tried it once or continually use a hookah.

A hookah pipe is where the tobacco is placed on the top and after it is lit, the smoke flows through a water filter at the bottom. In Kansas City’s midtown area, there are at least five hookah cafes from 34th to 39th streets.

A new study out of San Francisco shows that there are harmful chemicals associated with both types of smoking but a hookah presents a higher cancer risk.

“The big myth is that it is not as harmful as a cigarette,” said Dr. Dayton Dmelle. “Less than five percent of the nicotine is actually filtered out by water. So you end up getting as…

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TuneIn raises $25 million, nabs new CFO from Google to monetize radio streaming

This is an excellent solution, and its global too! I use TuneIn quite a bit on my Blackberry


Palo Alto, California-based TuneIn has raised a new $25 million round of funding, and it plans to put that money to good use. TuneIn CEO John Donham told me Tuesday that he intends to spend a big chunk of his new funding on a monetization strategy that could help radio broadcasters finally make money with their programming online, and in turn transform a $30 billion industry.

To help him with that task, Donham has also brought Axel Martinez as the company’s new CFO on board; Martinez previously worked ten years for Google, (s GOOG) most recently as Assistant Treasurer, Head of Capital Markets.

TuneIn is offering access to live and on-demand programming from some 70,000 radio stations, and Donham said that the service has seen a huge uptake on usage in recent months: TuneIn users streamed more than one billion hours of programming during the first four months of this…

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Online video will be more popular than Facebook and Twitter by 2017


Online video isn’t just growing fast, it’s growing faster than any other type of consumer service offering – and soon it’s going to be even more popular than Facebook, Twitter and Co, according to Cisco’s (s CSCO) new Visual Networking Index forecast.

The newest edition of Cisco’s data-heavy report on how we all spend our time and bandwidth points to social networking as the world’s most popular type of consumer service, with 1.2 billion users worldwide tweeting, Facebooking and more around the world in 2012. That’s 66 percent of residential internet users, if you need to know. Cisco estimates that this number will grow to 1.73 billion users by 2017, which will then represent around 70 percent of the also-growing internet population.

Online video services on the other hand had just around 1 billion users worldwide in 2012, according to Cisco. The company estimates that this number will almost double…

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Amazon spreads net wider by federating Facebook and Google (and AWS) identities


Good news for developers who use Amazon(s amzn) Web Services and want to make those apps available to millions of Facebook and Google users: Amazon Web Services Identity Access Management (IAM) can now “federate” Google(s goog) and Facebook(s fb) user identities. Oh, and it also supports its parent company’s new Login With Amazon feature,  which promises that companies can “securely connect your websites and apps with millions of customers.”

awslogojpegAmazon announced identity federation for enterprise users two years ago. That let businesses grant their own employees access to AWS resources based on the users’ current corporate identity management systems. But this new federation capability spreads the net wider.  This federation will let developers authenticate a user with her existing Amazon, Google or Facebook credentials, which then give her access to specific AWS resources using her existing IAM roles.

In his AWS blog post announcing the news, Jeff Wierer, IAM principal product…

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Streaming Music

A few opening statements to sum up this very intense post:

  • It seems someone somewhere decided that Grey and Black are the best colours for music playing portals and software.
  • The Spotify experience is irreplicable.
  • Most online music portals believe since Africa invented the drum, we don’t need to stream music.
  • Last FM expect poor Africans to pay for the radio service, while keeping it free for rich Americans and Europeans.
  • Rdio, Pandora, Spotify,and Google Play do not consider Africa as a whole, a worthy market as yet, and simply do not function on the continent. (Except of course, if you are so intent on their services as to utilize tunnels and whatnot)
  • Rhapsody, MusicMonster, Jango, Deezer, Myspace (sic) do have an impressive catalogue of content. But my criteria for sampling the sites was a search for the amazing Simphiwe Dana. Most of the sites came up empty.
  • The only company,in my view,that is serious about global domination in the online music audio streaming business is Grooveshark.
  • Youtube‘s popularity is on a steep increase on the continent, and should be a clear indicator of better internet speeds and the potential of online audio streaming services.


I am passionate about music. One of the most pleasurable interactions with music Toshi and I have had is with Spotify. In my sojourn across the US, my companion, my baby laptop Toshi experienced an music like never before.

Last FM, to me, was the precursor to the Spotify era. Once upon a time, Last FM was it. unlike Myspace, Last FM had access to weird, obscure, supercool content that one just could not get anywhere else on the internet. They still do. But Last FM stubbornly refuse to adapt(or have decided that a small niche of paying clients is sufficient as a model)

Flash foward, 2013, and we find Spotify sitting pretty at the top of the streaming music chain. Spotify’s desktop plus web application just blew me away. The interactive and responsive way in which it brought related content, crowdsourced similar artists, playlists, the depth of exploration and even the ads, redefined radio.Here was one app that I was willing to hand my Facebook account detail, carte blanche. I was listening to stuff deeper into my genres and finding out that there was so much more music out there than I knew.

A hop and a step later, I was back in the motherland…and I was notified that I was “roaming”. I continued to enjoy the unmatched experience in music exploration and curation. A few weeks later, I was notified that my roaming period was over, and if I wished to continue enjoying the world of music I had become accustomed to, I would have to go premium.

There has to be a better way, I told myself. I tried downloading I.P blockers,( HideMyIP) so as to mask my location,  even tried software that allocates US I.Ps. The geniuses at Spotify were having none of that. All that happened was I was notified of a service error and the darned thing just refused to work. It let me keep the application and play the music on my local disk,but the online magic was barred from me.

Winamp, my former music player, had served me well. Winamp is one application, despite getting AOL dollars and funding, were unable to properly implement the online radio,rights,streaming and interactivity component of the whole audio ecosystem, which left them as strictly an application for playing music stored locally, in spite of their having pioneered some aspects of streaming.

In deep frustration I went on a search for Spotify killers and found a few contenders:

  1. Rdio
  2. Pandora
  3. Rhapsody
  4. Jango
  5. Grooveshark
  6. MOG
  7. Deezer

Now, lets start with the simple fact that Rdio,Pandora and MOG immediately flag one with that idiotic message:



Rhapsody,Deezer,Jango work but with a catalogue that will be sufficient for the casual listener but would suck for the truly explorative and the music junkie.

That leaves Grooveshark. Grooveshark is beautiful. Despite being purely online, without the desktop- plus-playlist-plus-local-plus-advertisement feel of Spotify (Which is a lot, and I write this in hindsight, as I have kind of forgotten how awesome Spotify is, coz I tried Grooveshark the day I had to delete Spotify , tried it once and once only and never went back coz at the time it couldn’t match up) Grooveshark offers the deepest catalogue I have experienced so far.

As stated, the amazing Simphiwe Dana was the test artist. The portal that would have her content in its entirety would pass my test. Jango came up with nothing. Rhapsody’s result was half baked. Deezer had a couple of songs but with limited album art and discography that made it seem like random uploads with improper rights.

Did I forget to mention that, despite wowing us with amazing localization on Youtube, Google Play for Audio is not yet available in my region?

Granted, Google Play, basing off  the success of Youtube, will be a huge threat to Spotify if it can match the offline experience on the desktop.

But if you are in Africa, the only people attending to you are Grooveshark.

GO Grooveshark!


Teenage Girl Discovers Way to Charge Phone Batteries in Under 20 Seconds

Eesha Khare, who is only 18 years old, just created the device of our dreams.
It’s a tiny gadget that fits inside cell phone batteries, and allows them to fully charge within 20 to 30 seconds. Typically, it takes several hours to get a full charge.

Read more:

SAP to bring in autistic workers as software testers and programmers


Following successful pilots, SAP(s sap) will step up its hiring of people on the autistic spectrum, the German business software firm announced. Working with an outfit called Specialisterne, the company will bring in hundreds of autistic staff around the world to work in fields such as software testing, programming and data quality assurance.

This is the latest move in what appears to be an interesting new trend. Plano, Texas-based CRM firm Alliance Data(s ads) recently started seeking out workers on the autistic spectrum, as have other IT-related businesses such as the Berlin-based consultancy Auticon. SAP is the first major multinational to adopt similar hiring policies.

Because autism tends to come with impaired social abilities, it can be problematic in a work environment. As a result, many people with autism find it difficult to gain and hold a job. However, the autistic spectrum is wide and many of…

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Exclusive: LogMeIn launches AppGuru to help IT wrangle consumer apps


LogMeIn, (s logm) the company behind user-friendly web conferencing, screen sharing service and a Dropbox alternative, is about to add identity and application management capabilities to its menu.

On Tuesday, the Boston-based company is launching a preview of AppGuru which aims to help IT  deal with the burgeoning bring-your-own-application (BYOA) craze which forces admins to deal with cloud-delivered personal applications that employees use at work but may not be officially sanctioned.

AppGuru promises a central console for managing multiple apps; an easy way to create, import or move users which works with Active Directory if it’s installed; and tools for managing licenses. It also vows to provide an easy way to set policy management and granular controls as needed. That’s a mighty tall order.

Michael Simon, CEO of the Boston-based company, said LogMeIn gets invaluable perspective from both the consumer and the IT side of the BYOA divide.

“We don’t just…

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BBM on iOS and Android

Oh well, Oh well


There is so many messaging application apps for both android and iOS nowadays, I’m really confused now since all them claimed that they are the best messaging application around. i can’t seem to figure out the difference between viber, whatsapp, wechat, etc, etc. case in point i believe they are all the same? the more intriguing question is what do people really use? Since i believe people abuse their data plan and the capacity of their smartphones to install almost every messaging application around like what i did! LOL

But personally I “LOVE” BBM by RIM (Blackberry smartphones) even if i already jumped into the iOS and Android bandwagon i still manage to keep a blackberry smartphone for BBM sake,  it shows how much i love the app for me it’s reliable messaging tool. My iPhone looks like now:


BREAKING NEWS: Not so long ago RIM announced that BBM (BlackBerry…

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Hold the phone: Google isn’t hanging up on Voice in Hangouts after all

With the threat of a voice app for Whatsapp, the present dominant spot of Skype, of BBM ( now with Voice) being made available on iOS and Android… Smart move Google!


Although last week’s Google(s goog) I/O event overflowed with new feature debuts, I noted on Thursday that one key Google service was absent: Google Voice. Instead we heard about Google’s new Hangouts app, a unified messaging service for the web, Android and iOS (s AAPL) devices.

Hangouts has taken the place of Google Talk, which is what I use daily to make phone calls via Google Voice. Or at least I used to.

telephoneAt the moment, users who upgrade to Hangouts on the web lose the ability to make voice calls through the old Google Talk. Incoming Google Voice calls can still be accepted through the new Hangouts, however. It turns out that Google Voice actually is a big part of Hangouts, it’s just not ready yet. Nikhyl Singhal, a product manager for all of Google’s real-time communications services said this on his Google+ page on Monday:

“Hangouts is…

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Live a Stop-Motion Life


English: Photo animation staged in Tel Aviv St...
English: Photo animation staged in Tel Aviv Stop motion עברית: צילום אנימציה מבויים בתל אביב (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



…your life is a Stop Motion video.

The birds eye view of your life and the apparently amazing things that you have done holistically, is a sum total of small moments of tasks done inch by inch.

Like any video, the perceived motion comes from little snippets of images that, by a tromp d’oeil (trick of the eye) is a result of playing the images faster than the mind can understand,making it seem like the images are doing superhuman things.

This is your life.

The little small actions you take and make every day result in the brilliant things that make you stand out.

So focus on the little things.

Remember the rule.

Never disperse your focus until absolutely necessary. Face one adversary at a time.

There is a trend I have noticed of late in the appsphere… Iconic Apps.

The service provider places a hyperlinked icon in the appstore, there you are thinking its an app and you download it.

Wow. How quick it took to download that….hey, the size is less than 5MB…

So you click on the “app” and all it does is call the URL of the service.

Really folks? In this present day off crossplatform appbuilding websites and developers?

Get some work done people.

I’m not writing about Acer,Asus,Sony,Toshiba,HP, Dell Notebooks.

I’m talking the real Notebook. Pen and Paper.

From a mild observation, even in the geekiest tech expos and conferences, pens and notebooks are still handed out! Why?

Paper is still a primary collection point, in spite of all advances.

If you are over 25, chances are you take notes and place reminders with pen and paper as oppossed to or in conjunction with Workflowy,Evernote,Paper,RTM and other productivity notetaking apps.

This question becomes even more critical when you think about the millions of dollars being spent on tablets for education and OLPC by governments the world over.

The answer,I suppose, is in our upbringing. We are a lost cause;unlearning 20 plus years of rote education and studying on pen and pad is a daunting task.

However if a child is brought up with the tablet or laptop as the primary input mechanism for study,then we will soon see a very different world.

Tablets are largely built for the consumption of content, usage of applications with creative input has slacked greatly.

I believe only the next generation will use gadgets, working with the internet of things, as a primary collection point.

Google Glass


Google Glass as currently implemented, is a product for rich white googlegeek males.

First of all, there’s really nothing innovative, wearable tech has been in our Heinleins and Arthur C Clarkes, Orson Scott Cards,Herberts and Asimovs for several decades.

Remember the Newspad from Arthur C Clarke’s Odyssey 2001? The iPad to an I.  But I digress.

Current owners of Google Glass are white nerds.

It does not look good, so it has little to offer in terms of Appeal (read Apple)

Its also has very little to offer currently in terms of content,applications and services,what with Google taking its classic stance of their platforms being the internet of things i.e anything that doesn’t have a Google I.D can go to hell.  Google Play and open development should have deeper integration on the thing before it can be of any use.

Meaning no Twitter, Tumblr,Pinterest,Instagram.

Instead of it being a platform allowing interactions with other services, it is a Google Device, like a Facebook Phone. Sincerely. How much does that offer you in terms of value?

And currently priced at over 1,500 dollars its a totally useless device.

Until Google Glass 2 comes out, I would say, just as with Windows, wait for Service Pack 2.

The best concepts I have seen for wearable tech has been designed by Pranav Mistry whose patent concept “Sixth Sense Technology” has been bought out by Samsung.

I do hope Samsung squish Glass like a little bug.

There was a spike, for a moment there, on retro gaming.

Pacman, Mario,Sonic and their predecessors made a comeback.

Even more quaint is current popularity of 2d games like The Hardest Game In the World, Minecraft and other newer games!

So much more gigs and processing power,in the times of 3D gaming and virtual reality, yet gaming is going back to basics?

Humans are weird.

It may seem pretty obvious, this which I now state; Download is dead.

This is very clear in cities in which 3G and 4G is availed,and highspeed triple play connectivity is looped to homes.

There have been, for me, some pretty unique challenges to this development.

The first is User Habits.

Ownership of content used to be a big deal. It isn’t any more.
User habits around ownership and control have been significantly redirected by services such as Spotify, Hulu, Netflix and of course, Youtube. ( Did you know that there are full movies on Youtube? Search: “Full Movie” and enjoy)

I’m not even talking about purchasing of physical media. We will soon no longer deem it necessary to purchase and download content, but rent it streaming.

The next item is Storage.

You will note that in the last few years, though processing power and graphics cards and general computing power has increased, the gigs on offer have stagnated,nay decreased.

The focus is on powerful databases such as Hadoop, and server side applications with minimal on device storage.

When you check out the state of online gaming for example, though the size of gaming has increased, the gameplay, the sheer masses of people online simultaneously is mindnumbing, all this with very limited local capabilities.

The biggest challenge is in ownership. As download battles are being fought in the courtroom, and the landmark ruling allowing for ownership of books downloaded being made ( which ruling has similar ramifications on other content forms) the focus now shifts to the agreements and regulations on streaming of content.

Direct to Market

This is a new and interesting field,varying from outright rights buyout to percentage shares.

What we are seeing however is the wonderful new world where content creators are getting direct interaction with their profits, with as few middlemen as possible.

As badwidth increases, businesses are having to rethink, adapt and change their models of existence, exceedingly.

How Many Minimum Wage Hours Does It Take To Afford A Two-Bedroom Apartment In Your State?


posted by Sara Critchfield, Upworthy,

Ever wonder how people manage to get by on minimum wage? Oftentimes, they don’t…


[The PA figure is 89 hours a week; the lowest is Arkansas with 63. So much for the idea of supporting a family, or even oneself, on current minimum wage]

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Get a life and get work done on your terms


At some point or another most people struggle to achieve work/life balance. It’s not a mystery that finding time for your never-ending workload is a challenge. Enter LogMeIn Free — remote access software that lets you connect to and control another PC as though you were sitting right in front of it. It’s an ideal solution for busy professionals whose packed lives require an on-the-go work solution. Plus, the LogMeIn App gives you remote computer access on the go, from your favorite mobile device.

Use LogMeIn to maintain the work/life balance you have, or get the balance you want:

Take a break, and pick up at home
Find the balance, and become more productive by taking a break and connecting remotely from home. Be home in time for dinner and get that presentation done.

Leave it at the office
Your laptop, that is. If you’re trying to travel light, consider…

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ICT4D – Can it be envisaged outside the modernity discourse?

Technologically Speaking

I recently completed my course on Information Communication Technology (ICT) for development which I found insightful and from which I learned useful skills and also developed new perspectives. Coming from the education field, I was a little oblivious of the role of ICT in other key development areas such as health and general community services. However afterwards I read Robin Shields’ text on ICT for education in the context of Nepal and developing countries in general, and it was sobering. I now reflect on my learning experience of the course juxtaposing with Shields’ thesis in his article “ICT or I see tea? Modernity, technology and education in Nepal”.

Courses on ICT for development are based on the discourse of the role of ICT in achieving developmental goals, especially for developing countries. This field is complex, combining areas such as data, information and knowledge systems, physical infrastructures, software and hardware computer…

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Lessons Learned

Sisi ni Amani Blog

Throughout the course of our elections-based messaging, several key takeaways, lessons learned, and questions for the future became clear. These included:

  1. As the days went on, it became clear that there are certain situations in which messages cannot or should not be used. While this issue has arisen previously and we have set guidelines to deal with this, new situations came to light during the week and deepened our understandings of these situations. These highlighted the importance of establishing clear guidelines based on our prior research and our new election-time experience going forward. These guidelines should outline instances and occasions when a message is not or might not be appropriate, and how to go about making that judgment call. Below are some examples of situations where messaging could in fact contribute to insecurity, rather than alleviate it.
    1. High-Risk Message: This is the first and most important situation where messages should…

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Ringtone Relevance


This is just a moment’s observation.

I wonder how it is on your side of the world.

People no longer bother changing their default message and ring tones.


You are in a bus, and a phone rings.

The tone only goes so far as to distinguish it as an Iphone from a blackberry, a Nokia from a Samsung.

Besides that you will have more than ten people feeling themselves and their bags for their phones.


The phone has almost gone back to the distinguished rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrring of the days of old.


What changed? Choice.

Barry Schwartz explains it so clearly i need not say more: more is hard, the more choice we have the more fatigued and disillusioned we get.

In Schwartz’s estimation, choice has made us not freer but more paralyzed, not happier but more dissatisfied.


Top jobs of the week in digital media


Last week Goodreads’ 16 million users nervously watched the headlines for details of the company’s acquisition by Amazon. While it’s too early to determine what will ultimately happen to the book-related social network, our own writers and guest contributors have already offered their thoughts about what could (or should) have happened. Catch up with the flurry of Goodreads posts and then check out our latest batch of job listings from media companies across the country:

We also have other listings from companies like IOMEDIA, Univision, Crackle Network at Sony Pictures and more. Click here to see what else is…

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