RSS

Category Archives: 254

The final Letter to Idd Salim

Dear Idd Salim,

IddSalim

Its pretty hard writing this one…pretty hard,I just got a call from Vodaphone this morning about us guys missing our meeting for the 24th as planned. I had to break it to Clemence that you had passed on,A chill run down my spine as I said that.

I think most people have never known how you and me quite met,and why I called you Beste Mnoma while everyone else called you Salim. Flashing back to 2003 exactly 10 years ago,that was the time we met…actually you were with the other Jaymo (maina) and when you said Jaymo I answered instead,you retorted “wewe nani amekuita…” But that was it for me,you and James were on some weird server configuration maneno. I was barley out of primo the only comp knowledge I had was DOS and writing batch scripts to delete folders in the comp lab,but you still didn’t shun me,you told me there was a language called pearl that had a  similar effect,but I was way busy being a rubble in High school to give a hoot.

After high school was when I got more serious with code,and the first real system I was to write was a car hire website with 5% knowledge of PHP and crappy knowledge of any DB I wrote it and came to show you. You laughed “kijana hii ni nini sasa unanishow”. The damn thing was riddled with SQL injection exploits,bugs,slow db etc….You made me work my ass of for it…and I did and made my first 50K with your mentorship.I remember a pal once asking us why most coders have big heads and we laughed it saying we had a lot on our mind.

Anyone who knew me in college would attest to my love for your work,I always believed you were the Golden standard for code quality. I refused to learn J2ME before android and I remember in 2009 we had a long argument about this..in the legendary shiba kisha ulipe. I told you I would become a great Mobile dev, you always laughed  and said why stop at Mobile….we can be great fiber inakuja Kenya soon.

You were the big brother I never quite had,from YII to CodeIgnitor,when I was stuck I dialed your Number. In college guys thought I was some sort of code Ninja, but truth be told I was just really your Intern. A normal call would be  “Salim manze code ime leta noma” you would reply “kuja Ihub na ukuje na chapaa ya lunch” (you the only one who called money chapaa in the 21st century.

Blogging…ohh dear…we once had an arugment hapo Prestige with you and zack telling me I write like you. “Jaymo huwezi andika blog kama mimi,code kama mimi,kukatia dame kama mimi…kwani huna originality” But I always told you Imitation was the sincerest form of flattery.  And bought  a milkshake and we were good. I always made reference of you kwa Blog,and Idolized your posts.When I was finally man enough to do it on my own I came to you and asked “Salim sasa ju naeza andika code poa,unaona nikuwe coder kama wewe?” You minimized your windows and said “If you need me to hold your hand  you are not ready…code sio Mkate kijana,but inaweza kupatia mkate” And with that Jaymo the coder was born…from wining hackathons,to handling some of Kenya’s Bluest of the Blue chip companies. I hacked, and also got into trouble like you. I left Ihub over personal differences with people but we still used to talk.

The one thing I never quite will forget about you was how you would make my hardest of work look like Hello world..When I wrote a query and it run at 1 sec you rewrote it and it ran at 0.16 seconds. When I called you and told you to start using Fedora instead of Ubuntu you pimped your Ubuntu and made my  fedora look like windows XP. And how can I forget the ladies…a nerd is still a nerd, when I ogled you would be “Aiii dame sio shell script..talk politely and she may grant you root access to her drive V,where you can run bang bang or repeat finger.Na from that unaweza Man Mount alafu Man Dump au kama wewe ni sys admin kama wa safaricom unaweza Man Date”

Last week before you died You gave me code ya the project you were working on to test for you and finish up on some modules,I should  have known you were unwell,I should have noticed you weren’t Jovial,But I was busy being me,and for that brother I feel like I failed you and ask you forgive me.

I will miss you bro…I will…but you taught me well,and I will carry on the legacy you left. the shoes are big to fill,but I will be a master coder…you wait and see

 
3 Comments

Posted by on September 26, 2013 in 254, code, idd sallim

 

Uhuru Kenyatta’s Free Laptop Programme- a techies perspective

So Yesterday <16th April 2013>  I watched as the President iterated that the free laptop programme he promised is still on, to be precise this is what he had to say “6:09 pm Uhuru: My government will deliver on its promise of free laptops for our children starting next year. Our vision is to have laptops availed in future to be assembled locally”. Two things struck me …His time line(next year) and his ambition to have them locally assembled in future. But before I look into either one of his points let me first shed some light into one already existing laptops for primary schools  program.

In Rwanda the supplier  was One Laptop Per Child (OLPC), an American charity linked to  MIT,but this process was plagued with controversy. I will only highlight the techie bits and stay clear of any politics here, the first controversy was when Intel opted out of the program,meaning this computers where to run on another chip-set  The second and the one I was very keen on was the Operating system the machines were running on,the war raged between Open source and Windows based XP. But despite this the computers were indeed supplied later on; the computer was  dubbed the XO laptop and saw Rwanda get 120,000 units,Ghana 10,000,Sierra Leone 5,000.  Read more here>>>

Now coming back to Kenya and looking back at what the president said.The first point was the timeline. The government should indeed not deploy this computers with any rush. I would suggest a whole year before they are made available to any classroom..reason? Well lets face it majority of teachers who will end up using this devices to administer learning to kids have limited computer training. I mean I would imagine the scenario if a teacher in say Nyeri or Siaya just got handed a bunch of devices and told to use in teaching, it would be no easy feat. Second the actual devices themselves….If we choose indeed to administer laptops what Operating system will they run on?

There are only two options here. Windows or and Open Source platform eg Linux. Visiting the OLPC the issue was between exclusive use of open source software for the project  and those in favor made suggestions supporting a move towards adding Windows XP which Microsoft was in the process of porting over to the XO hardware. Microsoft’s Windows XP, however, was not seen by some as a sustainable operating system. Microsoft announced on May 16, 2008, that they had let them have Windows XP for $3 per computer. It would be offered as an option on XO-1 laptops and possibly be able to dual boot alongside Linux. However, no significant deployments elected to purchase Windows licenses.

Assuming this laptops are to indeed run on Windows at $3 per windows licence and assume the first phase sees 500,000 issued. That would mean Microsoft would charge $1,500,000  (120,000,000 KSH).  And since the government aspires to buy  5.86 million computers for kids that would translate to approximately $17,600,000 (1.4 Billion KSH) Just for the OS.The other scenario would be to use a free variant of Linux…and do away with this cost.And assuming that the computers are not going to run on an Intel based chip-set (to reduce cost per unit) then for the performance to be optimal Linux would make more sense. Then going ahead and looking at his suggestion that the computers get manufactured locally it would mean we buy the parts from a cheap source eg. China ship them to Kenya assemble them on an alternate chip-set and a Linux Variant and hand them over to the kids.

But the west would fight this with all their might…..not because they are losing out $17,600,000 , that’s pocket change, but because of a simple mathematical term called extrapolation. If a kid grows up using Linux since class 1 what are the odds that when he/she turns 20 and wants to buy their own computer they will choose Microsoft? This will mean slowly by slowly Microsoft will fade out of Kenya as the OS of choice would be Linux. Asia is a living example of these, kids grew up using Linux and Microsoft is not as big there as it was back in the day.Intel would also loose a large market presence in the country. So if Uhuru were to opt for this then he would be in turn be giving the west a big middle finger.But there would be the issue of Internet connection on these laptops

The other option would be to provide a solar powered tablet instead of a laptop. A simple Android based Kenyan assembled tablet would cost around $30 and would represent the least-expensive solution for bringing computing and, more importantly, internet connectivity, to students in Kenya, tablets of this kind can access data networks using the GPRS  where 3G or 3.75 G is unavailable.With the App bubble at its peak devs would have a fun day driving local online and offline based content for these devises. Data providers e.g Safaricom, Zain,Orange ,YU would see data revenues go up also translating to more Revenue for KRA to take home and job creation.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on April 17, 2013 in 254, code, JKUAT, kenyan clones, legal issues, true stories

 

Tags: , , , ,

New MPESA application: Enter PesaBox

So I remember a while back reading this Post by Idd Salim on his bog, about him not being able to get his MPESA statement dating back more than 3 months. Safaricom does offer  you a statement at a fee of 25 bob a page read here  (with a 3 month cap of course ). So why not make a system that  does that for you for FREE 

Time to Unveil PesaBox that does exactly that,This will be a pictorial Blog with few words and More Images just to give an impression of the App and the web back-end

Available on Android : Google Play,Samsung Store,PesaBox site  {Symbian ,Blackberry,J2ME still in sand box stage,release date soon}

GooglePlayLogo

Uploaded: February- 18 -2013  (Google Play)

February- 18 -2013  (Samsung Store)

Description: 

What is PesaBox?

PesaBox is a mobile application that works by syncing all your MPESA transactions on-line to give you reports by logging in with your credentials on pesabox.co.ke

Benefits of using PesaBox

  1. Print out statements of your MPESA transactions
  2. Find out how much you spend on bills
  3. See your cash flow over any period of time*
  4. Find out where you transact most frequently
  5. Compare your income to your expenditure in your MPESA account and many more…

What reports are on PesaBox?

  1. Summarized reports
  2. Consolidated reports
  3. Expense reports
  4. Transaction statement
  5. Cash-flow report
  6. Deposit Vs Withdraws
  7. Income Vs Expenditure
  8. Money In VS Money Out
  9. Location Frequency
  10. Bills by Category

*Time period for reports can only span back to when you joined PesaBox

Download link: 1.) Google Play.

2.)PesaBox Website

View our Facebook page here>> ,feel free to like

image1 image2

App based Mini Statement  report

image3

– Once you are logged in to your personal page at pesabox.co.ke  here are the reports that you can get:

Bills by Category

Screen Shot 7

Summarized Report

Screen Shot 1

Transaction Statement

Screen Shot 2

Consolidated Report

Screen Shot 3

CashFlow Reports

Screen Shot 4

Location Frequency

Screen Shot 5

Deposits vs Withdrawals 

Screen Shot 6

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 18, 2013 in 254, code, hack, kenyan clones

 

Tags: , , ,

New Apps I have been working On.

Time to Unveil two new Apps I have been working on: This will be a pictorial Blog with few words and More Images just to give an impression of the Apps.

WipeOut Mobile

Available on : Google Play,Samsung Store,WipeOutMobile site

Uploaded: November- 5 -2012  (Google Play)

Description: Allows you to securely  Backup your Contacts and Messages securely on Cloud. In the Event of Theft you can remotely lock and Format your phone by Issuing a command to it.  You can also Restore Contacts and Messages to your phone from already existing Backups. All contacts and Messages backed can be viewed online by visiting wipeoutmobile.net

Download link: 1.) Google Play.

2.)WipeOutMobile

Explore Kenya

Available on : Google Play,Samsung Store, Appia Store

Uploaded: November- 1 -2012

Description: Explore Kenya from the comfort of your phone.Find out about National parks,Game reserves,Marine parks. Attractions in major cities and towns in Kenya. Want to know about Events that are happening in Kenya. Then its never been easier receive Push Notifications on your Android powered Device in real time. Share your sights and comments with your friends on Facebook and Twitter all via ExploreKenya.

Download link: 1.) Google Play.

2.) Samsung Store

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 5, 2012 in 254, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , ,

Similarity between Prostitution and Coding/Programming in Kenya

I wrote the title to this post and couldn’t help but laugh at first. I mean ave written some really weird posts but Dude this one just has to be the one. Any way let me state my case:  Similarity between Prostitution and Coding/Programming in Kenya.

Let me begin with a shallow be it obscure definition of both: Prostitution is the act of selling one’s body in a sexual way for profit. It’s one of the oldest professions around. Coding is the development of software products that solve problems related to day to day activities. This is usually done for profit {or not} but let’s just stick with the profit aspect in this context. So how are the two similar you may ask!! Well I have been watching episodes of Hung back to back and the thought crossed my Mind…My God Prostitution and coding are similar.  Hung is a series about some boy toy that has to screw women for money simply for survival, but soon ends up doing it for the money. Here is a link >>>> Let me paint a picture of similarity between the above two professions.

In the world of Business the key to making major mullah is some form of Advertising. It doesn’t matter if its false advertising or true advertising the more you/ the product are known the more you are likely to get many customers and hence more mullah for you. Kapish…? The same applies to Hookers,  it doesn’t matter how prettya hooker is…If you don’t have  a connect then you don’t get mullah…or you will really have to put in work in order to barely get any customers. And don’t forget you may get a customer who refuses to pay once kazi imeisha simply because you are minus a pimp to chase them down. Still with me? Sawa wacha tuendele… Haya In this world if you don’t have connects and end up on Someones Street then Bitch you gon get your ass kicked.

The converse is also true. You may not be a fly looking mama but based on how good your Pimp is then you end up getting  major mullah .All the while the fly looking girl on the corner is still waiting at around 3am for their first customer. Or dodging the cops (Kanjo) and if the day is bad she will leave with barely anything in her pocket (or Bra!!).So the Key to a hooker getting paid is the pimp. And of course location, location, location.

Haya lets go to coding. A key aspect of coding in Kenya  is making money… (Wait before you start yelling I know some coders are in it for purely for the dev aspect, money aint an issue…That being said lets go ahead) . First there are coders who are just great, so great that they are like the fly hooker who just walks down the street and gets a pick up from some rich guy.0 effort on their side, she just swings her hips, flaunts the goods and viola!! The deal is sealed … the goods advertise themselves; they are few lakini, countable really. These types of coders are the ones who have done really huge projects and their name searches on Google yield impressive results. Cash is impressive also; actually the pay is more than impressive. Major $$$$ ka ching ching .

The second type of coders…the ones with a super pimp…A pimp who will hook them up with Jobs za Nguvu…USD projects…they know Mr.x in this blue chip firm…Mr. y in that other firm…yaani they are more wired than the extension cable in my house. These types of coders are the ones who get calls like “Niaje Msee BBK wants system flani…And they are willing to pay 5000USD if you can deliver it in 1 month”. They push two 4 figure USD projects   in a month. And have egos the size of Thika road.

Then kuna the third type, good coders who have no pimps…These guys have to remain on the corner the whole night…and hope the makeup they spent their last dime on will get them a client. These coders end up with 4 or 5 small jobs all barely 20K each …all jobs are on a tight schedule. 2-5 days deadlines for a 10K gig….the desperation of waiting on the curb makes them concede. If they are unlucky then even the 20 K they were to get paid ends up being stolen from them (Just like the hooker bila a pimp)

Then kuna the fourth type.   The ones who don’t even know where the curb is.  Those are like the pretty hookers who believe that since they are pretty they will end up making mullah. But soon find out that maisha bila pimp ni ngumu kuruka. They end up being facked (for free!!) all the while being lied to that they will be given a great job. Doesn’t matter if you can code in binary or even in some unknown scripting language.  If no one knows you then the most you will get is a lay from your chic (ile ya huruma…nothing kinky or spicy).

That being said…if you are a Kenyan coder…Then slot yourself accordingly. Wacha mimi nikatafute Pimp

 
2 Comments

Posted by on October 29, 2012 in 254, code, kenyan clones, true stories, twitter, weekend

 

Tags: , , ,

TO KENYAN MOBILE DEVELOPERS #Advice

I have noticed this phenomenon with many Kenyan techies/wanna be techies/copy pasting techies/code stealing techies, everyone of them has this app idea they are working on, this awesome idea that will earn them a couple of million like @jmwai or like kina Mbugua Njihia and Steve Mutinda. So you will most of the time find them at iHub pale Kwa green members with their eclipse fired up….writing/copying/downloading code to build up their apps.”Sasa Jaymo nini mbaya na hiyo ?” Nothing really am ok with that, at least they are putting in work ki code…they are helping build that Konza city dream/mirage ….what really pisses me of is do most of them sit down to think what they are coding  before they actually do? Do they analyze the current market, study it well? As Dr.Okello my calculus 3 teacher would have said, do they account for Variable change? Do they have a target Demographic for their M-something solution? Maybe, maybe not!

Back in Undergraduate while doing Mathematics and Comp science at JKUAT we were taught the stages of software design and implementation ,the logical flow in developing software….but this is how this guys are doing it now days:

Techies’ come up with brilliant ideas on their own, and often they have not carried out some form of research to find out who is their user, what does their user need and what then would be an appropriate solution to meet this need?

Techies barely leave their desks when coding, or before they begin coding…what you have is brilliant techies with fantastical ideas that no one uses [after they’ve been developed] because the time was not taken to really understand what issues citizens face…

As if that’s not enough most of the apps put out are poorly done, in all aspects starting from design. This new breed of techies fails to understand that when it comes to design of an app’s interface it begins from a sketchpad and not the IDE!! Ask @martianskills of skyline designs and he will conquer. When it comes to design what is the current norm with these techies? The old school Dashboard layout…this design was launched in Google I/O 2010, 2010!! My friend 2010! But that’s what everyone of them is working with…then you fail to develop proper icons on top of that….you get a cheap looking app, aesthetics my friend go a long way…you just look at this  interface below… and tell me what you think .  ..just plain ugly!!!

<No Image>

Sasa ju you have seen a thwack one..let me show you one by @zacckOS and you will see what a mature interface looks like

and a snapshot from TafutaID:

Secondly: you have your interface…so sasa you are working on functionality, uliskia JSON ndo inatumika and you are all in….umechapa Google search and umepata some code….you slap them all together and viola….functionality achieved….Hata huwezi aibika!! Half of this app developers are just some  guys with kidogo Java knowledge, Kidogo  php, even less C  knowledge and barely any Python at all….you are writing server side code that is so vulnerable to exploit  on Databases you have propped with even more shifty coding….yaani SQL injection is so freaking easy even my 5 year old niece could hack!! Login forms that do not sanitize user inputs…passwords that are not encrypted being stored kwa DB! Au if they are they are all MD5 encrypted bila ata salt…how?? Why!!

Third: Everyone assumes its easy,its like siku hizi kama huna app wewe si mnoma…kama huna entry ume submit wewe ni toast! So everyone has an app….that is freaking great but hold on a minute! Does this breed of devs even watch trends at all? Flash back kiasi let me use my own example Based on  Gogle I/O 2010 I developed KwaRamani…using title bars, dashboard layouts, and themes. Based on Google I/O 2011 I developed TafutaID with support for storing data on cloud and pulling responses back with C2DM…2012 working with google drive….but hawa ma techie wanakuundia a flintstones  app based  on 90’s technology alafu ukiwa kwa lift unaskia wasee wakisema “aaaaiii Android ni rahisi….kitu simple kama JSON encode na HTTP  ndo wasee huona ngumu?” Sawa bratha…endelea kuandika software ya 1999 in the 21st Century

Fourth:  Market…ok app imeisha …finally all those hours of coding have amalgamated into something…you have even showed your ex the app and now she wants you back ju unakaa una bright future ahead! Yes you have that smirk! Ile ya Kanye West “….wait till I get my money right…” But wait a minute….none of your apps are on  the market!! Am not a well established techie, so I can relate to most of this techies not having the $25USD to set up the Android Market account…au Kama uko nayo its in KSH and huna VISA card to pay for the account…so you cant get it to the market….so the app stays kwa comp yako….and two months later your ex /baby mama I looking at you zile za Nyga please. That’s where people fail…kuna many ways to get it out to the masses. Samsung Store is free to upload, good old GetJar  bado iko,remember before Android,IOS na kina Symbian S40 came when Moi was still president and J2ME was the only way…Getjar and Waptrick was the ishh..and it still works so you can upload….watch the trends and kidogo you will learn/earn  and upload to Android Market.

Fifth: No man is an island….as cliché as that may sound its true…and when it comes to code no developer is an island either…ask for help when you get stuck…offer help when you are asked pia…don’t be wale wasee huficha answers kwa exam ati ndo wasee wasicopy (I can think of a couple form my JKUAT days) ….Gain a network sio hapo kwa couch ya ihub pekee. Try and enter competitions not for prize money but more for the exposure you will get and from the people you will meet

PARTING SHOT

Those are just my views, based on what I have observed….moving along swiftly, Last week I was privileged enough to have a long talk with Dele Akinsade- Microsoft Director, Developer Platforms –West, East & Central Africa and Indian Ocean islands…we talked about windows phone development, and I argued with him how Microsoft has not done enough for techies who want to develop on the platform, from the SDK itself to  lowering the price on phones running on this platform to allow penetration into the market. He  told me affordable  feature phones will be launched sometime this year but not running on windows phone 8 but 7.5 .Plus the Windows Phone 8 SDK is out and offers a lot to developers.So if you are a techie you can try and start developing on this platform before the phones arrive and have a niche before the rest.

 
11 Comments

Posted by on June 29, 2012 in 254, code, hack, Humour, true stories

 

FIVE BLOGS I READ

It’s been long since I wrote something straight from the hub, Si *ihub, I mean git-hub , Githurai Hub, (that’s what me and @tayianaC  call my crib and yes it’s listed as such on foursquare). But I didn’t blog to tell yall that…so what do I wish to write about? Well let me first take you down memory lane. I started this blog some time last year as a way of conveying my intern life and my final year in campus; I gave you all tales of frothy indulgence as an Intern, tales of random raving with the crew back in campo and the current tales of a struggling freelance coder trying to make a living of code.

But I have not shared any stories of late, maybe because in between running left right and center trying to meet contractual obligations entered with clients I have not had ample time to blog. So today I will critique some of the blogs I read/am reading, I admire the writing skills many bloggers have, so here goes:

1.)  I have fallen in love with this blog by @arungaian. He talks about this UnSub called Doris, who the author pens regularly and admittedly agrees to be in Love with; he blends this with uncanny humor, Humor we can all relate to …. it reminds me of humor that Raymond Chepkwony   used to bring to his readers…btw what happened to Raymond? Moving along…The dude can no doubt write.

Side note: Who is Doris anyway?  View blog Link here>>

2.) Next in line is the techie/ HipHoper @_JM_13 (Jackie), she somehow manages to blend hiphop and tech into a blog. I Kind love how she manages to blog nearly every day, seeing her passion in blogging kinda make me feel guilty of not writing.

Side note: Ongeza tech kiasi kwa blog, feature coders and hiphop artists. View blog Link here>>

3.) I can’t miss mentioning the man himself @iddsalim (Beste Mnoma), jamaa hufungua roho when I comes to code…I have mentioned him before in this blog so sibongi sana…

Side note: You didn’t finish showing me some code maneno I was working on…mpaka wa leo nangoja. View blog Link here>>

4.) Blog ya @savvy is also one of the blogs I read, I have been reading her blog since her days in JKUAT, she can write well, her command of subject matter is admirable

Side note:  I don’t get her subject matter nowadays, I miss the old stories, and how she used to tell them, siku hizi amekuwa formal  Sana View blog Link here>>

5.)  I bumped onto Tom Makau’s blog sometime this year while conducting some research. I love how thorough he discusses his subject matters…you feel he knows what he is writing about when you read his work. I don’t know if I should call him a techie or a telecoms guy or something in between .He is one guy who knows what he blogs about.

Side note:  Blog more often   View blog Link here>>

 

 
1 Comment

Posted by on June 27, 2012 in 254, Humour, Reflections, twitter, weekend