Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Video: Why Africans Never Ever Answer Their Phones

I came across this video on my timeline on twitter and it made me laugh out loud; never mind I was in the library. It was all the more funny because it actually happened to me once when I was receiving an international call from my best friend. Hope it makes you laugh too. Peace!!!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

His Princely Heritage

[image from www.revphil2011.wordpress.com]

I've been meaning to do this post for a while now, ever since I changed my online moniker to princelySid. This post is mostly for my French fan and friend, Sgyreju, because she asked.

I had gone for dinner with my church group; it was somewhere we could all socialise that was a little free and we could all dress up for the evening. I sat at a table with 5 other people: 4 were friends of mine but one I didn't know so I felt it would be good to get to know a little about her, you can never know too many people or have enough friends.

We talked about ourselves a bit, where we went to school and stuff and then she mentioned that she was Ugandan. She then told me that she has several names that one of them actually means "daughter of princess". She said technically she was a member of the Ugandan royal family.

I immediately took the conversation in that direction by telling her that I'm part Ugandan (quarter) from my mum's side. I then launched in to a story about how I was given another name when I went to stay there with my mum while I was a child. The name was my great-grandfather's, Mukasa Kalanzi Yusuf. I went on to tell her how he was a chief and related to the royal family, the Kabakas, and how I was like six thousandth in line to the throne or something.

Side note: I've always been extremely proud of my Ugandan family for this reason.

When she heard the name she interrupted me and said she thinks from the name that he was actually a prince! In fact he was probably one of the Kabaka's brothers. I was stunned. I mean, I knew he was a big deal, my mother had been telling me stories of him, his palace and what it was like living there for years but I didn't know he was a prince!

I immediately called over my mum, who had organised the dinner, and asked her if she knew that her grandfather was a prince and she said "I don't know Sidney, probably, he was related to the Kabaka after all. I've forgetten those things… Yeah I think my mum was a princess" Nkt!! Trust her to just 'forget' something that interesting.

I continued to talk to my new friend about her culture, one that I had read but never really experienced. She told me that all members of the royal family were taken at a certain age to a sort of camp where for two months or so they learnt about their history and heritage, how they were expected to behave and their duties as members of the royal family. I thought that was one of the coolest things I ever heard and told her so. I also said I'd have loved to attend something like that (always loved history), she said that she had found it mostly a drag but I think she was also quite amused and happy to have met someone so interested in her and her culture.

We didn't get to talk too much because her attention was being pulled by other people and I was also helping my mum by hosting the event.

On the way home the fact that I was related to a prince kept ringing in my head. I've never really liked the name I was using, cdooh, because it had one too many 'o's; I wasn't very satisfied with it. I thought since I was related to princes, princesses and by extension kings my new moniker should show this. I felt princeSid was just too arrogant and not true but princelySid hinted at any one who thought about it more than 4 seconds about my heritage.

The ever kooky Patrick
 [image from www.hdwallpaperfresh.com]
Sgyreju was right when she said it was a lot to live up to. It's either that or I go Patrick's 
(Spongebob's best friend) way "Because I have a relative that has accomplished so much I never feel the pressure to accomplish anything too extraordinary because they already did" :D

My mum's side has another interesting connection; her father is the descendant of the tribe's rain makers. I should find out more about that too. My dad's side has no remarkable heritage or history, at least none I've heard of anyway. I should ask him about it.

So that was how I got to princelySid. I like it a lot. I don't think I'll be changing it any time soon, unless I found out something like I was descended from some ancient pagan god. Can you say godlySid? Peace!!!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Spoken HeArt


[image from www.elephantjournal.com]
Spoken HeArt is a creative and performing arts club in Maseno University that was started in 2010 by a spoken word artist called Pink Poet and a few other artists, rappers, singers and the like. Pink wanted a place where artists from around our university could come together and perform. That way you'd be able to improve your art and gain confidence from the comments and critiques of other artists.

The sessions are usually on Thursday and scheduled to begin at 19:30 and are supposed to end at 21:30, but I can tell you after 3 years of attending these meetings, not once has one ended before 10pm. There's a list that goes round and if you feel like performing you can just write your name down, together with what you do and you'll be called up to perform at some point.

I joined Spoken HeArt about 3 years ago. I saw a poster on one of the notice boards in school and since it talked about poetry and art I thought I'd go and check it out. Until then, I had only attend one spoken word event, Wamathai's, and it was a lot of fun.

What I found there was a collection of incredibly talented people. The types of people that inspire you to greatness, bring you to tears, stir your emotion or simply make you gasp in surprise. Now, I'm not saying that everyone was world class, but it provided you with a space to grow, to improve.

For almost 2 years, I attended the meetings as an audience member; watched maybe hundreds of performances. One particular Thursday we had maybe 12 people in attendance and Pink felt that since we don't have so many people in attendance everyone should perform, which was cool considering the other 11 people were artists everyone except me.

I didn't really know what I was going to do. I didn't have any performing art skill, but then I thought of something  I had been thinking of for some time. I always thought that I was a great story teller it was why I had a blog and why I have mad game.

When my turn came up I did a piece that inspired the post on the dudes my sister should stay away from. It was a heady moment when I realised that people liked my story. That I could make a large group of people of laugh and relate to my stories.

I've done tens of stories since that first one. I think I've improved massively since then. But for me the best thing about Spoken HeArt isn't that I get to perform in front of people or that I can put my pieces to a new audience; it's that real artists respect me, the "fake" artist, as creative and artistic. Even more than this is something that happened last week, a poet called Iyad, performed my post on Kenya Power in front of the entire club. It was a big moment for me.


Spoken HeArt is probably the only place where someone like me can do what I do. If you're ever in Maseno on a Thursday night, feel free to drop by and show us what you can do. Any skill that can be displayed in front of people is welcome. Peace!!!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Picture: Flirt and Die

One last one before I leave the lab... This is so funny and creative. Peace!!
image from http://9gag.com

Picture: Did You Study?

Hey guys!! Since I don't have a phone that can tweet, I'm stuck using my computer to keep up with stuff online. So instead of sharing to twitter, I'll share here:) Found this today while in class and burst out laughing because it's actually happened. Hope it brightens your day. Peace!!!
image from http://roflzone.com

Sunday, October 13, 2013

My Upstart TV Audition!!!

Last weekend was one of many happenings (can I say that? Or rather does that make sense to you guys?), but I'd like to talk about what happened on Sunday morning: the Upstart TV auditions.

I was awakened at 8.30am by my cousin, shouting at me to wake up and go for the auditions; I had gone out the night before and gotten thoroughly inebriated so I was hangovered that morning. I probably wouldn't have woken up if I hadn't glanced at my phone.

6 Messages Received

"Fuck!! When did all these come in?" A quick glance at them told me only one was important and that was because of the name of the sender; Baby.

"I'm in Kisumu now, when you ready let me know we meet up and go for the auditions."

"Fuck!!!! Now I really have to go!" It was because of me that she had come all the way to town from school this early on a Sunday morning, I couldn't disappoint her. She has this way of letting you know that she's disappointed in you that transcends words. After she's done with you you'll practically beg her to give you a chance to make up for it. Well that's how she makes me feel anyway, it could just be me.

I struggled out of bed and made my way downstairs, shirtless. I've never been shy about my body and I've been in the best shape of my adult life recently. I had my cousin feel my abs :D. Anyway after I collapsed on the couch to get my mind straight. That took just over an hour, though it felt more like 3. In that time, my cousin, my niece and the maid had left for church – leaving me with clear instructions on where to leave the keys to the house when I got round to leaving, I licked some sugar and immediately regretted it (it left a bad taste in my mouth), I took a shower, leaving my clothes all over the sitting room floor (I'm not sure who picked those up, actually I'm not sure who cleaned up after me because I'm sure that I left a big mess) and I left for town.

Kisumu is generally a hot town, imagine Mombasa with far less humidity(or a sunny hot coastal city). When you're recovering from the effects of excessive drinking it's almost unbearable, but at times like that, it's better to concentrate on the beautiful girl you're going to meet and not the heat.

Me and Baby met at the stage and headed for the audition, which was taking place at the Tom Mboya Labour College, my first time being there. I can't really give you a description of the place because I wasn't paying that much attention, and since my phone is otherwise busted I don't have pictures. We registered in some tents that were set up at the end of the driveway and got our audition numbers. We were then told to wait under some shade and that was when my audition experience really started.

I was sitting there talking to Baby when a white lady came to talk to us; her name was Kelly. She had on a black t-shirt that had the Upstart logo on it and also those of the sponsors there (I'm not going to mention them, they're not paying me!!) Kelly's nice, she joined in our conversation asking us about ourselves and where we were from and such. Me being me I quickly launched into a myriad of stories about myself, Baby (Kelly was jazzed when I called Baby by that name), Kisumu and school. Kelly said "I hope your not all talkative and funny out here and when you get in front of the judges you go all silent on me"

At some point, we went into the antechamber (cool way of saying waiting hall) where our numbers were pinned onto our chests and a mic was attached to me, as I was to be the first to audition, and I went into the audition room, headache forgotten.

There were 3 judges, two dudes and a lady. They asked me a number of questions that I don't really want to describe here but I will tell you of the one that floored me completely. They asked if I met Bill Gates, who I already called my role model, on an elevator and he was going to the twentieth floor what would I say in that time to make me unforgettable.

I told them what anyone who had never thought of that question would, how he was my role model, that he inspired me and a lot of other uninspired shit. They stopped me like 1 minute in and said, as Bill Gates, "I hear this all the time thanks, go away" at which point I replied almost angrily "You've given away billions of dollars in your lifetime and you're going  to be an asshole to one kid on an elevator?"

Really, I've never thought of what I'd do if I met Bill now, whenever I imagined meeting him it was always as equals, one billionaire founder to another, I wouldn't have to struggle to be memorable :-D

I think I may have come off as a little pompous (I've been looking for an opportunity to use this word) to the judges, several times while I was talking I think I saw several smiles of incredulity on the judges faces. Either that or I'm a funny guy.

After I left the audition room I stuck around to give Baby moral support. I heard laughter from the room and I know she did brilliantly.

I think now would be a great time to talk about Baby a little more. She's a short, brown awesome girl. I've known her for over 3 years, but we really got close two years ago when she was my next door neighbour for about a year. It was then I took to calling her Baby, the only girl I've ever called that in my life. She's special to me in several ways that words don't seem appropriate to describe because they just come up sounding hollow and fake. She's spanky, clever and all kinds of fun to be around.

We did an interview together afterward together where they asked us a lot of questions about each other. We know each other pretty well so I think we did okay. I should mention at this point that most of the crew were pretty funny, funny in a way that you didn't want to leave, that you wanted them to be your friends. I'm not sure if that's how all media crews are but this one seemed an extremely creative bunch.

Just as we were leaving we were called back. I HAD GOT IN, Baby hadn't :(. I was so excited I started doing a little jig. My mum says I can't dance much but that's never stopped me. We did another short interview about me getting in and her not and then we left.

Even the fact I had no idea how it would schedule with school and stuff couldn't stop my excitement. So I'll end this blog post with the words I've been repeating to myself a lot since then… TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! TV!! I'm going to be on TV!! Peace!!!

Friday, October 11, 2013

For When You Contemplate Suicide

Hey guys! If you've been reading this blog from the beginning, you know that I've contemplated suicide before. I was going through a difficult time in my life: depression and anger, and felt that there just may be one way out.

Obviously I didn't do it. There were many reasons why but the main one was my baby sister. Contemplating suicide changes your view on life, you're never quite the same again.

Anyway I came across this video that kinda explains why you shouldn't kill yourself, it's by Anna Akana who had her sister commit suicide. Take a few minutes to listen to it, it covers a lot of the thought's that prevented me from taking my own life



ION. My editor is back to blogging, check out his reviews of Tusker Project Fame here . Peace.

Friday, October 4, 2013

When They Start to Grow Up

[image from www.planetminecraft.com] 

A few months ago I took a break from school to go home and see my mother, brother and sisters. It was just a couple of days, but by the end of it I came to the uncomfortable realisation that my baby sister was growing up. I don't like it one bit.

I had gone out, and came back late, lat/e here being past my baby sister's bed time. I walked in and found her sleeping on the couch, in her pyjamas. She had refused to go to sleep without seeing me first and had fallen asleep waiting. She looked so cute.

I picked her up and carried her to my mum's room (they sleep together). My mum was already in bed reading the bible. As I let her slide through my arms and on to the bed, I felt a kind of soft area around her chest area. It took me a while to realise what it was I had felt, but when it did, it hit me like a tonne of bricks. My baby sister, my reason for living, the innocent little thing, has started growing boobs!!!

Reeling from this realisation, I asked my mum "Joy has boobs?!" "Yeah. She's growing up." "But she's still so young!!" "Yeah they come and go but she's of the right age. These days she even insists on wearing bras" "Bras?!!!" "Not the real thing just like tank top things" Look on my face: THE FUCK?!

I left the room and realised that if she's already growing boobs then the phase I'm most fearing is almost here: BOYS(yuck). Now my sister is already well informed on matters sex (well HIV/AIDS) they began basic sex education in class 1; on top of this my sister is rather intelligent (too much for her own good in this case) so I'm not really worried about what she does. What I don't like is the attention she'll be getting and the potential thoughts these boys will be having about her.

Whenever I thought of my baby sister at that stage I always envisioned her with a bodyguard of sorts, who I pay, to keep boys away and protect her. The bodyguard would be female so that there can be no funny business between them.

I love my sister more than my own life. There was a time she was my sole reason for living. She sits on a pedestal that is unspoiled by life in my heart. She stays pure. I love my other sister a lot but she's practically the same age as me(if you believe that girls mature faster she's older), I can only give her advice and hope that she listens-she mostly does- but with my baby sis she still listens to me with complete obedience, but who knows what comes with adolescence?

This is what I fear most. Peace!!!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Maseno Room Crisis

It's the first day of school for me, I've been here every day for a week but this is what I'm counting as my first day in that I'll be fully settled down. It's taken almost a week to get a room. Things in school have been, as my dad is sometimes fond of saying, ELEPHANT.

Our VC, in his infinite wisdom accepted to admit 3500 freshmen. He not only admitted them but he also decided to house them on campus never mind that we don't have nearly enough beds to house them and us the over probably 8000 students who were to join them a week after. Most of the opening week was spent running about campus scrambling for a meagre number of rooms left (according to the lottery that we had there we only under 600 beds left).

I don't do scrambles, it wasn't my fault my fees were paid late and I live close enough to school that I wasn't  too concerned. The only problem with staying at home is the fact my dad is there which means having friends randomly over was out of the question or even them staying over was out of the question which means the amount of head I'd be getting would reduce to nil, not that I was getting much in the first place.

The incompetence of our Vice Chancellor is shocking! Talking to some of our student leaders, useless lot themselves, word reached me that the VC had plans to build some quick structures to hold students but the question is, why wasn't this plan implemented 4 months ago as we went for holiday? Or did he just hear about the increased intake a couple of weeks before we opened? That he was having crisis meetings the week we got back is telling.


Anyway, enough with stories of my poor vice chancellor. Join me in welcoming back my editor and, perhaps more importantly, to active blogging. He plans to review every episode of the current season of Tusker Project Fame (very ambitious, but I know he's up for it). I don't watch the show myself but I will be reading his work every week and hope that you will too. Once again welcome back @TheOkelo. You can catch his reviews from here. Peace!!!

Monday, September 23, 2013

My Holiday in Review

I'm back in school now after a 4 month long holiday so I thought this would be the best time to reflect on what I've been up to and achieved. Looking back, I feel this has been one of my more productive holidays; of course as at the end of the holiday I don't think I've achieved as much as I should have in that amount of time but for the first time that doesn't bother me as much as it usually would.

So what has my holiday been about; what have I been up to? Well, for starters, I've been exercising almost every weekday for the last 4 months. The goal of this is twofold: first I wanted to generally get fitter, and second I wanted a six pack.


I wanted to get fit because I remember having sex and thinking to myself at some point, "I'm so exhausted and out of breath, I can't keep this up much longer, I need this to end now!!" Yeah you have a real problem when you hasten sex because you just can't keep up. Also I think it's cool to tell someone that you run every day, it adds a dimension to your person that just wasn't there before. Just so you know I'm doing just over 3km a day

As for the six pack, that was part vanity and part the fact I didn't like looking down at my tummy any more, it had began to rounden out and I didn't like looking at my naked body anymore. So I did something about it and right now it's flat and the definition is much better. At some point during the holiday it was very sharp but I was unable to maintain my abdominal regime when I travelled to Nairobi.

I'm very proud that I was able to do this while on holiday, it's something that I always say I'll do but never get round to it whether it's at home or in school. I'm hoping to maintain that momentum while I'm school. My aunt asked me to run the Stanchart Marathon with her so I want to begin training for that ASAP. She's very fit and I don't want to embarrass myself in front of her.

Despite not actively seeking work I was able to work on a couple of projects that brought in a bit of money. I'm especially proud of the one where I was approached. That particular project funded my excursion to Nakuru for a week after which I was completely broke again :-D.I remember when I got paid and making plans for how to spend it but money has a funny way of disappearing before you actually do anything you planned with it.

I also worked on a project that I'm more than a little passionate about. I can't quite describe it because it's not complete yet but when it's done, I hope to share it with all of you. When I first started work on it I seriously thought I'd be done with it in a couple of weeks max but here we are 4 months later and we're not even quarter of the way done. Of course the fact I decided to move it to a more modern platform, Visual Studio 08, from VB6 like 3 weeks back didn't help, had to first learn the IDE and code again but I'm moving faster because I've done most the stuff once before so there's far less experimentation.

The thing with coding without a definite deadline is that you can go many days without so much as looking at your code. More than that on the days which you do look at it you sometimes do great amounts of work and others a pitiful amount. I'm in no rush but subconsciously I know I should be done by now.

I got to see a lot of my old friends and relatives while on holiday. That was fun. I didn't see as many as I usually would when on holiday but that was due to lack of time and finally because I've gotten tired of chasing people down. I just let them now I'm in town and wait to see if they care enough to invite me. One of the great highlights of this is when one of my friends said, "I've always been more loyal to you." When someone says something like that to you get all warm and fuzzy inside. I hope to inspire my future employees to feel the same way some day.


I think that's all of note that I've been up to this "summer" holiday (it was the cold season here). I hope to maintain this calm I feel throughout this semester and on to the rest of my life, it's a very Zen place to be. I think it's the exercise. I'm happy and calm, great combination. Peace!!!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Barcamp Nairobi 2013 live-blog

Hey guys I'm at the ihub for the Barcamp Nairobi and today I'm going to attempt a live blog. It's lunch time now and there no talks going on now but they begin in 10 mins keep this page open for updates. Catch you in 10 mun
Talking with Andrew from Ujamaa Ventures giving me advice on my application'the one I've been developing the last 3 months, hard questions with no answers :D
Now on the talk on Innovation Ecosystem by Tony
We're trying to shine on our own yet we need to work together
Things we need to do

  • Acquire knowledge from abroad and around the country
  • Create the knowledge
  • We need more social innovations we shouldn't focus on commercial application
  • Research and development
  • Learning(marrying the curriculum with the market)
Major stake holders in this are the Government, companies and Universities/R&D institutions
Questions:
How do we adapt this further to involve small companies, and start ups?
14.20 Thanks Tony for the time stamp thing
Of course mpesa came up
14.22 He's had to defend his model, but to be fair he isn't done yet
14.27 Last thought on this: Each country needs to devote at least 3% of their budget to R&D

14.30 Angry birds makes you angry by Stephen
Think this many be on the evolution of games
14.32 So far evolution of the use interface from DOS to now
14.33 the same UI is being used on mobile that we had on desktop
14.36 When you touch your screen you touch the world(web)
14.40 We've programed the world to use buttons why teach people to use new interfaces? -Me
14.43 When we were young our creativity was not limited now we limit ourself to lines
14.46 Make is easy for the user to change their interface
14.48 Users won't tell you your UI sucks
14.50 Start with the user. The app has to do what they expect
14.52 Stephen was told his app UI sucks :D

14.54 Snowden, Manning and wikileaks by Gachies
14.56 One guy supports Manning's sentence, rest not so much
14.58 Malaria Research that tracked people via mobile(More on this in another post maybe)
14.59 No one in Kenya takes privacy seriously(Government, companies, individuals)
15.02 The researches had access to over 10m peoples movements
15.07 Read the T&Cs for theservices you use
15.08 We need to find ways to protect user data
15.09 There's a data protection bill in Parliament
15.11 COFEK is not doing it's job, we need to petition us to protect us
15.13 No one has the right to access someone one else information

15.15 Break!!!

15.25 Pain points by Tobias
Things that we want to change
15.30 Hyperloop
15.33 Challenge is to find our pain points and think of the solutions
15.39 Non technical solution to traffic. :D
15.44 People talking about solving traffic
15.45 Security now up
15.52 Now discussing traffic again
  • behavioral change
  • Decentralise the CBD
  • Remove the round about
  • Use the traffic lights, get rid of the cop
  • Effective public system
15.57 Through Glass by Linda
15.58 Google Glass she has a pair
16.00 What will we use Glass for?
16.01 She went to the bank with them on
16.05 How do we protect ourselves from glass?
16.06 There's only one design
16.07 They'll cost $1500 I'll never get them
16.12 Achirachix a tech group for ladies

16.27 The Plenary session
16.29 Talking about content
16.31 Do better than your best
16.36 We are wired to tell stories
16.38 Good content is expensive
16.40 You need a large market if things are to work
16.44 Understand how to enter global markets
16.46 Move from profit driven to product driven
16.54 We need to learn to consume our own crap not crap from other nations
16.58 Think of your audience
17.00 I JUST WON A BOOK!!


17.06 Does Africa need borders?
17.16 Border discussion is now at the point where we think about how they create boundaries
17.17 Why are we as techies worried about borders?


17.19 Who stole my idea?
17.20 Are ideas of any value?
17.21 Ghafla is doing 1.2m unique views per day
17.23 Patents have come up(I personally don't like them)
17.27 If you've got no capacity to implement, we can't talk
17.29 Biological sciences have come up now
17.31 Use your speed to innovate faster
17.32 There is nothing in Kenya to protect a NDA!!!
17.33 OpenNDA website
17.37 An idea has value!!
17.39 We need to set parameters to our ideas
17.41 Giving credit would help a lot
17.43 Through out our education we expect to picked
17.43 Who ever executes first and best holds the cards
17.46 Don't discuss your ideas
17.47 We have a law that tells us when an idea has materialised when you can sue for it


17.51 Vote of Thanks

THE END

*forgive any spelling mistakes

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

BarCamp Nairobi 2013 is Here!

The last one of these I attended was the very first one in 2010 and it was a lot of fun I hope you'll be there...

BarCamp is an international network of user-generated unconferences primarily focused around technology and the Web. By definition, an unconference is a participant-driven meeting that tries to avoid one or more aspects of a conventional conference, such as high fees, sponsored presentations, and top-down organization.

BarCamps are open, participatory workshop-events, the content of which is provided by participants. The first BarCamps focused on early-stage web applications, and were related to open source technologies, social software, and open data formats.

BarCamp Nairobi 2013 will be held on the 24th of August 2013 between 8.00 am and 6.00 pm collectively at the iHub, NaiLab and mLab located at the Bishop Magua Centre off Ngong Road, Opposite Uchucmi Hyper. The theme for BarCamp Nairobi 2013 is ‘The Next 50’. We aim to get the conversation going on where tech in Kenya will be in the next 50 years.

As Kenya celebrates 50 years of independence this year, we have the unique and enviable opportunity to dream and contemplate what the next 50 years should look like and what role technology will play. As thinkers, technologists in various sectors, and citizens of Kenya we can begin the process of visualizing the future and shaping it.

Challenges such as access to healthcare, quality and equitable education, food security have their answers in technology and the possibilities are endless. There will come a time in the next 50 years when these issues will be non-issues so to speak. What will that future look like? What technologies will be pervasive? How will people interact and how will lives be affected and improved?

BarCamp Nairobi 2013 is 100% free to attend provided you register in good time either via our web site at www.barcamp.co.ke or on EventBrite at https://barcampnbo2013.eventbrite.com/

Friday, July 26, 2013

2 reasons we should stop calling it 'the Jubilee' Government

Today I’d like to put to you something that you may have noticed, or not. Whenever you watch news these days and the government is mentioned it is referred to as “the Jubilee Government” which is very accurate as they control both the executive, the legislature (both houses) and, depending on whom you ask, the judiciary too. I can’t really fault the media for reporting something that is an obvious fact but I think it’s time we stopped referring to them as “the Jubilee government” and just call them “the government”

There are two main reasons for this.

One is so that we can get out of the election mind-set; the presidential elections have been over for over 3 months and so have the court cases associated with them. No matter what your feelings are on the matter there’s nothing you can about it until we have our next elections which are in 2017, so it’s time we put them out of our minds and get back to the business of building our nation with single minded focus. Vision 2030 is not going to happen if we keep this perpetual election mindset.
The Prezzo and the DP [image from www.firstkenyan.com]
Second and perhaps more important in the nearer term, is the for the sake of unity. I’ve noticed recently that whenever people in my house talk of the government they say “This Jubilee government this…” and “This Jubilee government that…” Whenever this happens I get the feeling that they don’t really feel like a part of the government, there a “us and them” mentality.

It’s true that this government was mostly elected by two communities, a tyranny of numbers it has described as by a political scientist more learned in such matters than me (side note: the phrase ‘tyranny of numbers’ has become a part of our national vocabulary if you’re just hearing those words now you need to leave the rock you’ve been hiding under more often) in my house we mostly voted for the main loser, I voted Martha Karua because I’m rebellious like that. Anyway it doesn’t help the feeling of loss when the government that is supposed to serving you is constantly named by the team that defeated you. I think it subconsciously reminds people who voted that this government may just serve the numbers that voted them in and that’s not a good thing.

I’d like to point out at this point that I don’t know how the government will rule and divide resources, but I’d like to think they’ll be fair with it. Also that the President, Uhuru Kenyatta, is an alumni of my old school St Mary’s Nairobi - greatness by association.:)

My mum and other members of the household have begun to refer to certain members of certain tribes as ‘waJubilee’ or just ‘Jubilee’ despite my best efforts to stop them, especially in front of my ten year old sister who I don’t want to get tribal before she’s even experienced life.

This us versus them thing we have going is not good for the stability of our country. There’s a lot of latent anger out there and I feel that the media’s insistence on calling the government ‘Jubilee’ is only adding to it. We didn’t see post-election coming, except those whose job is was to look out for such things like the NSIS (though looking back I should have there was a clear sign).I think we’re at a very fragile time in our history and we can’t afford to stoke the fire any more than it is now.

I’d like to hear what you think, feel free to comment below and/or hit me up on twitter (@cdooh).Peace!!!

Monday, July 22, 2013

My Editor is taking a Break

Hey everyone? How we doing? This is just a quick update to let you know that my editor is taking a personal break that will last until the end of next month, August. He said that he needs some “me time” something I completely understand. Editing my work can not be the easiest thing in the world and I appreciate everything he does, pro bono, around here.
I don't think he's walking away from his computer but you get the point [image from http://radargaming.net]

This however leaves me in the unfortunate position of having to edit my own work, something I don’t particularly like so I’m contemplating taking a break while he does. That doesn't mean that I won’t be writing, I’ll just write and not post until he comes back so I can dump it on him! Evil I know but it’s his own fault for getting me used to his awesome skills.

We’ll see, I've not decided yet. If I decide to keep posting I'm now warning you all that there's likely to be a drop in the grammatical quality around here. Also the creative title names like Ambulating with Confidence. I mean if he was the one who edited this it would have a far better tittle than "My Editor is taking a Break" Meanwhile feel free to wish TheOkelo a happy restful break away from the blog in the comments below. Peace!!!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

What I'd Do if I Won 10 Million

Some time back, Safaricom, Kenya’s major carrier, had a promotion in which the main prize was 10 million bob (about 115,000 USD); doesn’t look like much converted into dollars. Nonetheless, I was convinced I’d win. Why? I had a feeling.

That feeling was wrong, obviously, but while I did have it, I wondered exactly what I’d do with such a large amount of money (felt it was large until I converted it into dollars, now it seems like peanuts). I made some basic plans that I now want to share with you guys.

The Amazing Nokia 920
First of all, I’d buy a new phone, maybe two. The phone would either be the Nokia 920 or 925. I’ve been with Nokia since my very first phone, which, curiously, wasn’t the 3310, which I think was every person on earth's first phone (well done Nokia, what happened to you?). It was a Nokia 5210. It was given to me by a good friend of mine called Salo. Anyway, I’ve not owned another brand of phone; I have faith in the company. The second phone would definitely be another Nokia, the N9, because it runs the open source MeeGo that I’d love to try. I use its big brother the N900 right now and I recognize the potential there and the community around it is great.

Then I’d defer my course for 3 years to travel Africa and the world. I want to do this because I plan to do this when ever I can when I start earning a more steady income. I’ve lived out of my home country for a decent amount of my life. I lived in Zambia and still have old friends there. More than that I have friends and family spread all about God’s green earth and I’d like to go see each of them. I’m a great fan of history and it would be great to experience the cultures of other people. For instance I have relatives in Uganda that I have seen since I was 2.

So which countries? America, Canada, Australia, France, England, Netherlands, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa. Those are countries that I know at least one person in and would like to visit. Of course while there I’ll try and experience a bit of their cultures, visit the landmarks and museums. I’ll spend maybe two weeks in each country.

Other countries I’d like to visit but don’t really know anyone in are Rwanda, heard awesome things about the place through Savvy, any country in western Africa, I’m thinking Nigeria because their movies have flooded our country, Egypt, because well its Egypt there are numerous reasons to go there. I’d also like to go to a South American country, just to say I visited every continent. I’d like also to visit a eastern European country, I find their histories rich.

I’m not sure which Asian country I’d like to visit, wait as I was writing that I thought India, I used to have several friends from there when I was a child. It’d be cool to see their homeland, maybe when I have the money to actually travel I would have traced some of them down. Maybe also Japan.

After all this travelling I’ll come back home and complete my last year of school. I’m not sure why I’d not finish school then begin travelling. I don’t think I want the attention I’d get have won that much money. After 3 years I think all the hype would have died down and I can settle to finish.

During the time I’d be travelling I’d divide any money that wouldn’t be set aside to travel between my mum and dad to invest on my behalf. I need my money to be growing somehow while I traipsed about the world. They both have different views on things so I guess that would be what could be called diversification of your portfolio. Either that or I find a house or land to buy.


So really what I’d do if I had won was travel the world. Since I didn’t win these plans are on hold for when I starting making millions. At my age I can do with coach but as I grow older I want to travel in style which means first class for trips longer than 3 hours. What would you do if you won 10 million shillings today? Comment below. Peace!!!

Monday, July 15, 2013

HelloFood: Is This the New Way of Getting Food?

The other day I heard of a new app called HelloFood. If you’ve read this blog much, you’d know that food is one of my favourite things in the world (up there with sleep and computers) so I decided to check it out. That I’m writing about an app and an app that is built for Kenya is something I consider yet another milestone in my blogging career.

HelloFood is a service that allows you to order food from a variety of restaurants for delivery. They have apps for android and iPhone and for those who don’t use any of those platforms, like me, they have a webapp that you can use, it requires your phone browser be able to run javascript which most smartphone browsers do.

I’ll be talking of the webapp version for this review because it would have the largest number of users in my opinion because most people will testing out from the web.

The webapp is incredibly simple to use, when they say you can order food in three easy steps they aren't joking. When you first open the page in your browser you get a page that looks like this:
Their UI is pretty intuitive, I know this because I gave my baby sis (she’s 10) and she had no problem using it. My own view of intuitive is a little messed by my background of device and internet use that spans over a decade, the things I find easy to use confound most people - like my phone, so I usually have someone not as savvy check out the usability.

So you  select search by area and select the area you live in (they only support Nairobi county for now)
I selected Langata, which is much further down the list
Then you can pick some other options to refine your search, so you can have your results sorted by relevance or name and filtered by whether you want to only see discounted meals and open restaurants.
You can then set exactly how expensive your meals should start from, I guess so that you can say that you always eat meals that cost a certain amount of cash. I personally will be keeping this slide at zero whenever I use the service ;-p

Finally, you select the check box which shows the the extent of your budget. Wasn’t clear what the dollar signs mean exactly though you can get a sense ($$$ means big bucks).

You then select a restaurant from the list they give you, select something from the menu, select the amount you want (in case you’re ordering for your family or office) and add to cart and then put in your details and wait for your food:)
Some of the restaurants near me
The app is great way to order food, it’s simple to use and the UI is quite intuitive. It currently has about 88 restaurants listed and the great thing is it can only get better in time as they add more and more restaurants. Restaurants benefit from being listed by getting exposed to customers who may not otherwise have heard of you. I think this is one of the main benefits, for me any way, as a discovery tool.
There are a couple of things that need to be worked on though, a couple of the parts of the interface have functions that aren't exactly clear. Secondly, the app seems to be for ballers, people with deep pockets, there are currently no options for people like me that don’t spend more than 100 bob a meal. Maybe with time and more restaurants we can have more price points - they only have about 88 right now. Finally, they can help facilitate discovery by having the restaurants put up pictures of their food.

We love Cake!!!
Overall, it is a great app that allows you to order food and have it delivered to you. The app does need to work out reasonable delivery prices, especially if I’m ordering from a place that is nearer to my house. The delivery times are reasonable with most coming deliveries taking less than one hour which means that you can order with a decent expectation for delivery to be within the time given. See what Kachwanya and Martin (who reviewed their Android app) have to say. Let me know what you think of the service in the comments. Catch you next post. Peace!!!

Friday, July 12, 2013

"It's in the Cloud"

I'm blank today, but I saw this and laughed, hope it brings some joy for you too.
Seen on http://dilbert.com

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Farewell Grace


For today, this won't be a lengthy post. I attended my aunt’s funeral yesterday; she died a week ago and was only 3 years older than me. I was one of the pallbearers, the first time I’ve done that or really touched a coffin.
What struck me about it was that she was so young, 25, she had barely lived her life. This got me thinking of all the things that I postpone thinking that I'll have time later, but that’s not necessarily true. I could fall sick and be dead in a couple of weeks like her. I need to make better use of my time spend it with loved ones and not postpone such things until later.
There's a quote I’ll share with you from my Baby. She made it when I told her how special I find her birthdays and she said, “I make them so. I wanna live each year with a memory because there is no forever happy, it’s just good times!”
I didn’t know my aunt that well but I remember her bright smile, and though she’s gone forever she’ll always be in my heart for reminding me of the value of the limited time we have on earth. Rest peacefully Grace. Peace!!!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Pitfalls of Kenya Power


Kenya Power is my country’s only power distributor. It has had the monopoly on the distribution and supply of power since independence, I think, when it was known as Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC).

Kenya Power is probably the most complained about company in the country, perhaps along with Safaricom. Power in the country can disappear at any moment for reasons that aren’t clear to anyone, and at times even to Kenya Power themselves when you call their helpline; and Kenyan’s have become so used to the power outages when it rains that in my house when the clouds start darkening take out our paraffin lamps in readiness for dark times (pun intended). Of course if this only happened in the rural areas it would not be such a problem, but it’s something that affects the entire country no matter where you stay.

Another complaint is that their billing is quite erratic; you never can plan your power bills accurately because they seem to fluctuate inconsistently, though the company is always quick to release statements on why: the price of crude has gone up, rainfall was less than expected and the dams aren’t at full capacity, the price of foreign exchange was not favourable.

Now all this comes down to the fact that they sometimes use petroleum generators to meet the demand. This, in a country with several dams and being the main source of water for the mighty Lake Victoria. I remember when those generators where first bought/introduced. It must have been in the year 2003 when the entire country was undergoing some serious drought; there was no water anywhere: in the sky or the taps. Water was being rationed and lakes and rivers all over the country where drying up. KPLC, as it was still known then, announced that they were being forced to acquire generators because of the shortfall.
10 years later and we’re still using them for some reason, though that drought ended. Of course they’re having been other minor droughts but none as severe. Why we’re still using the expensive fuel generators when the company clearly announced that they were to be stop gap measures beats me!
“We’re not a monopoly, you can use paraffin and candles if you want”
Their CEO has an attitude that in many other countries would probably have gotten him fired for being so stupidly callous. He was once asked what he thought about the fact that his company has been accused of laxity as it doesn’t have any competitors being a monopoly and he said, “We’re not a monopoly, you can use paraffin and candles if you want” (not verbatim) You know, because all people use electricity for is to light their houses; or perhaps he’s heard of a paraffin powered laptop, just fill it up and you’re good to go. I can’t be sure but perhaps the pun “Kenya Paraffin Lamps and Candles” was born out of that statement.

But on a serious note no country can hope to develop to be an industrial nation without an affordable and reliable source of power. All development relies on it. How can any business in this day and age operate without it? If you run an internet cafe, you’re losing money every minute the power is out and unfortunately the rent and wages will still be the same no matter how often the power disappears. Your landlord and employees won’t want to hear excuses and therefore we should stop accepting them from our power provider.

I remember in the aftermath of hurricane Sandy in New York, the news was actually about several neighbourhoods that had no power for a couple of days. I remember laughing at someone on TV complain most vehemently that he had had no power at home for the last 2 days and something needs to be done about it because it was like his life had come to standstill and most uncomfortable. I remember thinking how if he lived in Kenya he’d have already been used to such occurrences. It only hit me later that it’s actually so sad that supply of such an essential service are so bad in this country that we can actually laugh at other people’s demands for them. Peace!!!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Finding my Faith


My personal faith has undergone several metamorphoses in my somewhat short life, which I’ve covered here before. In about the first 10 years of my life, if you asked me what my faith was I would’ve told you that I was Anglican. I didn’t really believe in that particular creed per se but it was the church I prayed at because my mother went there. When my mum changed belief to Seventh Day Adventist, I changed with her. I recognized the truth in their doctrine and beliefs but I refused to be baptized because that would mean that I believed, and I didn’t. I recognized that I didn’t have enough faith in God to do so, if I had gotten baptized at that time it would have been just to please my mum.

Throughout that phase in my life I recognized the good work that the Church does and the good in most of their teachings. I knew that when I had kids I would have them attend church and even though I didn’t fully believe in the faith I would still tithe faithfully and give to the church’s causes.

Then my laptop got stolen, and in what seemed to me be a miracle I got it back. Suddenly the faith was there, I believed that it was through God’s hand it was returned and I felt it was the right time to get baptized. My faith was strong for a number of months but that changed. I stuck to the lifestyle I had adapted at my baptism, for example I didn’t drink at all but then it was to prove to myself something rather than it being about faith.

Now I’m at a point where may beliefs have evolved further. I think the best way to describe where I am is spiritual. I don’t know if I can say that I subscribe to a faith but I still believe there’s a God out there. I don’t think there’s any way the world as it is now just came to be by random choice, just like there is nothing beautiful man has done in this world without conscious thought so it is with all existence.

I believe that as the high known intelligence in the universe we are closest to God’s own image. Therefore, I think, and believe that God’s nature is more like our own or rather that our nature is more like his. Not necessarily perfect, but mostly benevolent. I guess that sometimes he wouldn’t just care what happens to his creations.

I came to this decision just by comparing the lives of my mum and dad. I won’t go into what is happening in their lives because I don’t feel right putting it out there yet. Maybe one day.

There’s a quote about religion from comedian Eddie Griffin that I’d like to share with you, “People say that Jesus is the messenger, and others Mohammed, but I say forget the messenger; did you get the message? Do unto others as you’d like done to you”

My dad said something to my sister the other day that simultaneously made me crack up and think. They were having a discussion about the power of prayer when my dad said, “If you don’t know what 2+2 is no amount of praying will change that fact.”

I don’t come to this decision lightly or without much thought. This may be the final evolution of my faith, I stay like this for the rest of my life, or it may be just another stage and I’ll be back here telling you all how and what has changed. What I do know is this, for now I live by my own faith and spirituality by my own values and morality. Peace!!!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Through the Crystal Ball



I have read a lot of books in my life so far, more than most people will read in their lives. It's something I'm quite proud of, and I also love doing it. Books allow you to visit worlds unseen, experience the lives of other people, and learn from their experience and wisdom without ever having to leave your couch. They are the window to people's souls and a reflection of their conscience.

I'm of the opinion that if people read as much and as widely as I do, they'd be more open minded and unprejudiced. They'd see that the experiences of all human beings share a common thread and the same emotions as them.

This post is not about the beauty and wonderment of books – though I ought to do one – it’s more about my tendency to describe myself using some of the descriptions in books, because sometimes you just find the right words to something you were feeling or experiencing that you couldn't put into words on your own.

I've always wanted to do a post on how I see myself. If you've been following my blog for some time you already can tell a thing or two, or a lot more depending on how perceptive you are, about me and my self-image. What you may not know is, that image is all part of a master plan that I have in my head. I won't tell you what the plan is but I will tell you how I came up with it or rather how I see it, and I'll use a description that Sidney Sheldon used, because it's so apt.

He once described a character who was coming up in the world, the character would look in the mirror and not see his reflection but an image of himself as he wanted it to be in a number of years. It's the same thing with me, when I'm looking in the mirror I don't always see my good looking reflection but an image of myself in 10 years. I then look on that image and think on what it would take to achieve that and then work towards it.

If he's fit it means that I hit the gym. If he's knowledgeable then I read and listen to gain that knowledge and wisdom. If he's rich... not sure how exactly I'm working towards this yet but I'm in campus so that's at least a step in the right direction. I'm hoping the knowledge and experience I gain there will help me towards this.

I think this is great way to look at yourself especially if you're feeling down or sad. You look in the mirror and see, not what you are now, but what you'll be and feel, in the future when your plans come together.

I'd like to hear how you see yourself, the methods you use to gaze into the future and how you're working to getting there. Leave a response in the comments or drop me an email. I always respond...eventually :). Peace!!!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Ambulating with Confidence



Have you ever taken a conscious notice of the way you walk? It is the opinion of one of my friends that I walk in a manner that suggests I own the world, while another tells me I walk as if I were surveying my domain.

The manner in which I choose to walk is very specific: eyes to the horizon, shoulders back, and my back in an upright position. I like to think that I give off the vibe that everyone should make way for me. I also walk kind of slowly; never in a rush to get anywhere.

When I was about 13 or 14 years old, I read an article that said all confident people walk with their heads held high, not hiding their faces, and ready to face the world. So I said to myself, “ I'm confident; why don’t I walk like that?” Thus, from that day henceforth I stopped walking looking down and raised my head.

I'm like that. Whenever I want to change something about myself, I simply say to myself, “This needs to change,” and it changes. I realize that it’s not that easy for everyone else, and as I've grown older it has become far more challenging, but still much easier than for most people.

I like to think looking up is the best way to walk. While looking down at the road will enable you to see the obstacles that are just about to come at you, and avoid them, you’ll be unable to see far off obstacles and might be unable to avoid them effectively. You won’t be able to see and appreciate the environment you’re in. Same thing with life, you concentrate so much on your current problems that you don’t see anything past them; either other problems you may face later, or the beauty around you. And what is the point of living life without beauty?

So the next time you're up and about walking, try to take notice whether you have a particular style and what it might say about you. Peace!!!

Friday, May 3, 2013

The Awesomeness of Google


This is my tribute to the greatness that is Google; a company I love and want to work for one day because they’re such an integral part of my internet experience. Some I’d like to outline the reasons for my adoration of Google.

The Search Engine
Firstly (and obviously) is the search engine. This is the core part of their business; bringing in over 90% of their revenue despite several efforts to diversify. It has helped me research assignments, blog posts and find cool stuff on the internet. If I want to find something online I ask Google first before anything else and since I’ve been using it as me (meaning logged in) for over 6 years now, it almost always knows what I’m asking for and delivers it first.

The Browser
Secondly is the Chrome browser. I use it on Windows and when I pop over to Linux, it’s right there, with all my preferences and apps installed. It is my central starting point online and the apps on it are awesome, especially if you already use Google for everything. It just works and works well.

 The Feeder
Google Reader is up next; this beautiful, beautiful app. I started using it just after I left high school as I was discovering twitter and blogs. I needed a way to keep track of blogs and websites I constantly read, and there it was ready for me. I have several feeds I keep track of there. It ensures I never miss anything too interesting. I’d be half as knowledgeable as I am without it. Unfortunately, they’re shutting it down in July. Not that it’ll help a lot but you could sign the online petition here to try and make Google not kill Reader.

The Mobile OS
Another part of the Google experience I appreciate is Android. Though I’ve never used the platform extensively (Nokia fan boy here), I like the fact that it’s giving Apple a run for its money. Also I’ve seen and used the Nexus 4 and it is beyond awesome!!!! That is the best way to experience android by the way, as Google intended it to be.

The Videos
Then there’s YouTube of course! I could stop there and you’d know what I’m talking about. However, I won’t. From interesting channels like Ray William Johnson’s Equals Three, a commentary on viral videos; to
previews of upcoming movies, YouTube has several billion hours of content and I’ve gotten lost on it for hours, jumping from one video to the next. Through Vevo, they have music videos galore and that makes it a prime discovery channel for me. Also, it’s provided a platform for artists to get out their content, connect with their fans and get discovered.

The Blogging Experience
Also without Google, this blog wouldn’t exist. It is being hosted on their Blogger platform. I’ve tried using Wordpress before and a few other blogging platforms, however, they didn’t work for me. I found them difficult to use and I couldn’t find anything on them. Blogger has made things incredibly easy and it’s the platform I’d recommend for all beginners. I could move platforms easy but Google just makes things neat and simple for me.

The Fight for Neutrality
Finally, and perhaps most important, Google fights for the things I care for. I’m a huge fan of net neutrality and so is Google. They’re involved in several court battles on the subject and lobby actively for it. Now it is in their best business interest for the net to remain neutral but it seems to me they, more than even other internet companies, fight hardest and loudest for it. They’re also fans of online freedom of speech and the right to information. It’s always bothered me that for some reason Governments don’t feel that the freedoms we enjoy offline don’t extend online. Google fights for their users and publish lists and stuff of all the requests they get to give user information and to take down content. For this and all the activist type work they do I love them.

There are many reasons to love Google and these are just my top reasons. They’re a great company, and I hope to one day to emulate their example in my own company (hopefully it’ll be as big or bigger). I’d love to hear your reasons for loving Google (or any internet company for that matter) in the comments below. Peace!!!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Mother's Choice


I don’t know what made me ask my mum this question; I was probably about 10 years old at the time. Perhaps I had watched a particularly sad movie where the choice was given, or maybe my friends had regaled me with stories in that vein, or I was in a “what-if” mood.
I was sitting on the couch when I asked my mum, “What if we were all kidnapped,” I was talking of my sister, brother and I - we were only three back then - and I severely doubt these were my exact words but you get the gist, “and you could only save one of us, who would you save?”
She replied, “I wouldn’t save any of you, I’d let you all die.” Those were her exact words, I remember vividly. Weird, huh? She then continued as if to lighten the sombre proclamation, “and then I’ll just have more kids to replace you!” laughingly.
I never gave those words much thought after that until recently when they came back clear as day with an explanation as to why she said them.
It occurred to me that for her, and I’ll assume all mothers, that the love of her kids was equal that each was special in her eyes. Therefore it would be impossible to just choose one. A kind of Solomonic view, don’t you think? Peace!!!