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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.

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

 

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Type of Code Clients I have met

So someone accused me of only writing about code this and code that, nimaka unaweza peleka Code Nakumatt upatiwe shopping au Butchery ya Kamau akukatie ka Nyama Nusu…of course not, there has to  be business involved or in the words of Uhuru Kenyatta, willing buyer willing seller…so today I will just talk a little bit about the two types of willing buyers I know/ have had the experience of working for.

I have been taught by time and of course by more seasoned business men to divide clients into two broad yet true categories: Clande/chips funga and Girlfriend/wifey

1.Clande/chips Client.

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The name speaks for itself, this type is the tap and go…No strings attached no Numbers no natsing. Usually this is my best type of client since everyone goes home happy. A clande Client knows point blank what they want, and how they want it. They are straight forward, utapatiwa spec doc yako,depo na time line. Utafanya Kazi, ukimaliza UAT kiasi. bass…the story ends there final Installment paid and you both go home happy. In the event hamskizani, you both have the luxury of walking away since you just met and nothing has been invested yet in between the two of you.

The Good thing about this type of client is just like a clande kwa bar uko guaranteed not to sleep hungry . Its cash at hand so you are happy,your landlord is happy and even the real Clandes are happy. Moving along

2.Girlfriend/wifey Client

art-cartoon-couple-cute-drawing-heart-Favim.com-48970

Sasa huyu ni ule wa long term…yaani in other words ata sio Strings attached ni more like ropes.This is the worst client ever. Let me explain using the analogy of a real world Girlfriend. You meet a hot mama, someone you think is a keeper…unaanza courtship. if you take that leap of faith you should know you will be in it for the long haul,during which anaweza amua hakuvunjii (utaka nja baba)…the only thing you get are hugs and smonches…you will have to be there for her 24/7(kama customer care)..handling all her Hormonal maneno and stuff……you get the picture.

Back to the client, you meet a big client <usually some corporate or Gov deal> una strike ka deal nao ,depo labda 30% unapatiwa kazi inaanza….1 month in system changes zimeanza,sijui integration na system flani wanatumia,2 month HR wanataka module yao…una call meeting…”hii haikuwa kwa spec doc…bla bla bla” wanakuangalia “How much more will it cost us” una peana figure…na ju uko na Njaa 20% unapewa,una endelea na code…3 months later huna rent,dame yako ana kuagalianga asubuhi ana skia Nausea ju huna any..zako ni “Ngoja niko karibu kulipwa” …they drag payment…na the day they actually give you your loot ni Friday Jioni na ni cheque ita take 3 days ku mature kwa hivyo tuseme next week Thursday ndo utakuwa monied. DAFAQ

All the while hiyo monday next wana kuambia you drive to their place to sort some stuff out, nikama walikupatia fuel card  ya kutumia. The Girlfriend client will also catch feelings if there is a bug “aki na vile tume kulipa vipoa..” This are the clients who will ask for refunds/sue you/want you in the office every week etc.

Any who those are my two categories of clients. Hope one of you out there can relate.

In other news if you haven’t yet tried PesaBox here is the link>>, and here is a brief Wiki entry of how it works/what it does.

 

 
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Posted by on April 5, 2013 in code, hack, Humour

 

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I thought of quitting Code

Strange title don’t you think, well its true I did contemplate quitting my most revered calling ..coding. But before I tell you what happened let me first discuss why I got pissed. coding is an art and a science. Its writing lines after lines of code and producing something someone can use on a day to day basis. I remember one time my niece asked me what I do for a living and it was really hard explaining  to her what coding is all about, but the little darling already had a theory of what I do “Uncle si unaandikanga kwa blackboard ya white siku mzima” She calls both my physical white board and my IDEs Blackboard za white….then again she is just 4 years. Any who that’s me digressing…

Kenya is a country of hype, don’t believe me look at how Susan wa Tujuane became a house hold name,Look at Dida… Kenya is just one awesome country where trends are just over-hyped  Let me steer to my side. Code and In general the IT boom. I  have had people in the country and the few other African countries I have been blessed to go to call Kenya a great tech scene. The silicon sijui savanah au what ever they call it. I once had a Tanzanian friend tell me  how they believe Kenya is wired,things are run by computers. I looked at him and was amazed..Is this the same Kenya I know. But here is what really happens, ordinary Muggles will watch the 7pm or 9pm news.. They will see images of ICT in Kenya  some snapshot of guys in IHUB or Nailab, some local apps that claim to change the world will be show cased. Then Bitange Ndemo will talk about a new fiber landing on the coast..And bassss…you will feel all snuggly inside and lie, yes lie to your self that Kenya tume fika…But wait I have the true test of gauging the level of tume fika.

With the exception of MPESA what other Kenyan brewed tech product   do you use? Yes am talking to you my dear reader? You will wake up in the morning watch DSTV CNN muhimu, check your mail GMAIL muhimu, drive/jav to work chat up your pal/chic/clande/chippo on WhatsApp, WHATSAPP muhimu…get to work Microsoft ndo zako,boss akitoka/kazi ikireduce Youtube,Facebook,Twitter Muhimu..Skype Kiasi. Go for Lunch uko na mullah so you eating something fancy you check in on FourSquare and Instagram the food to a pal. Toka hapo back to works Uko sleepy kiasi so you chuk out your headphones and listen to music on your Galaxy something MXplayer or something like that. 5 ikifika hujui kama traffic ni mbaya WAZE ita help, tells you how the traffic is..On your way home you will be on some social Media/listening to music on a foreign made  app. And Morrow you will do it all again… Yet you will say that the Kneyan tech scene has matured and you think Zuckerberg should open an African HQ along Ngong RD as we wait for Konza ijengwe. Amen Bratha Amen.You know Not what you say

The sad truth is the only thing that has grown in Kenya as a resort of said tech boom is Safaricom’s data Revenues and Other ISPs in that matter. “Sasa Jaymo Unasema hii Yote ndo?”  Let me elaborate… I hate tech competitions… Ile roho safi Hackathons za kupeana prizes I never go…Sio Ku participate . Never!! Why? simple…You give a winner 1mill coz app yake ni briliant and It ends there. Safaricom AppSTAR the last event I can remember had winners…Name one product from said venture that is in use by ANY KENYAN CURRENTLY. I waited for them to release them to the market for me and other Kenyans to use but wapi?? Before that kulikuwa na AAC winners announced prizes announced but bilaz….inaishia hapo….all the while Kenyans will be shown this on media,ma picha za IHUB na Bitange ndemo…we will say tume fika…some kid will now apply to do computer Science to become Mnoma kama  Mr/MS/Miss so and so who won 10,000 USD. Epic fail

But wait all is not lost, Am not quitting code..My landlord still needs his rent on time. In spite of all this bullshit kuna a ray of hope….In the name of PivotEast…na sijalipwa ku blog hii so don’t say sijui nini. Pivot is the real deal, All the solutions they award turn out as products that people use. Pivot sio place ya kupeleka App yako ya ufala ndo upatiwe pesa ya kupeleka dame yako lunch place fancy.. Its the real thing, real Coders/Devs/Code Jammers/Hackers who develop things that can grow. The first thing msee atakuuliza is how  many clients do you have and whats your revenue model..sio how does it pass data au why did you use NGINX instead of Apache. In my opinion Pivot is what will drive the tech scene we all dream of sio hackathon sijui ya madame pekee, sijui ya UoN pekee kuandaika ma app za ku show map nikama Google Maps has been cancelled.

And this year Pivot has gone a step further:

  • Participating startups must be domiciled in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Somalia or DR Congo
  • Entries to the competition will be considered to be startups as per the universal definition of a “startup”* or a startup company (*as done below)
  • Participating startups must indicate details of at least two members of their team in their application profile
  • Companies that reached final 25 lists of Pivot 25 in 2011 or Pivot East 2012 may not compete with products/services previously submitted for the competition, the judging panel will have discretion to disqualify entries in breach of this requirement.
  • Competitors selected to the final 25 list must have set up a legal entity (business name, limited company etc) for their business by 15th May 2013. Competitors with legal entities already set up will have an added advantage at all judging stages.

So atleast am not quitting code coz I still have a shot at making something that you as my reader may use in your day to day life. Haya nimemalizia hapo. Let me finish tweaking code ya PesaBox kiasi nimeskia kuna vile nafaa ka modification kiasi.

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2013 in Humour, INTERNSHIP

 

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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

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App based Mini Statement  report

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

Bills by Category

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Summarized Report

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Transaction Statement

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Consolidated Report

Screen Shot 3

CashFlow Reports

Screen Shot 4

Location Frequency

Screen Shot 5

Deposits vs Withdrawals 

Screen Shot 6

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

 

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