Thursday, 27 March 2014

Twix Photography

1839, birth of photography. First successful photograph by Thomas Wedgewood. Though it was just an Image. He died at 34 I’m guessing he smoked too much or maybe the flu took him. But then Louis Daguerre was the first to include man in his photograph, the same year 1839 at some street in France, boulevard du temple.

Despite what you are seeing right now, it was a pretty busy street. The thing is, in order for an image to conjure at that time, during the inception of photography, the camera had to focus on an object for slightly over 10 minutes. That explains why only two men are seen on that photograph, the man and the shoe shiner. Now I wonder, did they have selfies at that time?
I could go on and on about photography, because it is kind of vast, I mean there was this time I believe the flash produced by a camera would land you in hospital, powerful like an object in motion, like in those old movies e.g. King Kong, lol those things flickered with so much power if today they were to be used again at likoni people would run for their lives like no one’s business.

This is a tribute to Peter Ndungu Kamau alias j’z, I don’t know if he still goes by that nick anymore, of Strathmore School of Law, he is my friend, my former classmate some time back, also now practices both law - cum - photography, I won’t concentrate on the law bit, but instead photography.
What best way to store memories other than through photography, i mean i personally hate my childhood years, thinking of them makes me want to puke, no better time than the present (viva the present and all his friends). if u luckily had a camera and your baby sis or your nagging girlfriend or those family photos usually taken annually or in a span of a few years and you definitely had to be in them, (maybe because your father is a dictator), you remember that 'i will kill you where you stand or i will kill you in your sleep' vibe going through your mind while you posed for the camera, at that time, you did not even dare to check out how the photo looked like. Now 10 years down the lane and you accidentally stumble over those family albums and perusing you find that picture from that day and you can’t help but smile. I think i made my point.
Back to peter. You should definitely check out his photos. I’ll post the address below to view pictures by him. I have his collection myself there is one I’m even thinking of framing. Too awesome.
His pictures are deep check this out for example

'The little challenges in life can be a hurdle and you might not see what’s in front. But with the right attitude, vision and focus, you can bravely walk past them.' -Pierre
Peter ndungu is a son of photography, you don’t believe me, check this out.

Check out the lighting for instance, i have an amateur eye but i could not help but notice the emotions in that photo. This is what I see:
1. A humongous pole with a shitty flag.
2. Kenyans together.
3. The light (on your left) - that light signifies so much I’m afraid if I get into detail, the government will declare me an enemy of the state. This picture can start a revolution, that’s how deep I think that picture is. Take your time to analyze it. Okay you are taking too much time, I’ll go ahead and give you what I think. the light is so bright it turns you on, it depicts the proverbial saying light at the end of the tunnel, aluta continua, struggle continues, it shows how we can grow into a superpower nation with sharp young minds who try to tap into their abilities without caring whatever kind of a barrier between you and the sea of unlimited opportunities that lay ahead. (That is the censored version. for uncensored, explicit limited version call me.)
An undergraduate student has to go to class and code stupid programs to keep up with the rest of the pigs at school. It was not my intention to blog after 3 or so weeks, plus i had cats, yes, i just heard you say fuck, i know i did.
Please check out peter's Twix official page either on twitter or Facebook, they will definitely cool, be safe.

Nairobi Night Lights.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Configure WhatsApp without BIS for blackberry in Kenya

Most blackberry users in Kenya and other parts of the world are locked from using services such as Facebook and Whatsapp unless they subscribe to the prepaid blackberry offers by most internet service providers. These offers by major mobile subscribers sometime can be costly to run on a daily. If you have experienced this kind of problem you don't have to worry, I will explain how you can use your Blackberry phone to access whatsapp using your bundles.

I came up with this post after assisting one of my pals configure his blackberry phone to use WhatsApp without having the Blackberry internet service enabled. It seemed like a daunting task but I got the way around pretty easy, after all it’s not illegal. Most android users enjoy these services without going through so much hustle to use WhatsApp and Facebook unlike their blackberry counterparts.

The first thing you need to do on your blackberry phone is; go to options then Device then advanced system settings and select TCP IP. You will find the APN option where you can change and modify the APN depending with the network you want to use. Edit the APN and then make sure the password and APN are settings are enabled.

For safaricom users APN: safaricom, username: saf password: data
For Airtel use APN:
For orange Kenya APN:
After making these changes to your profile you make sure the following settings are set as below.

Firewall settings should be put off. Go to options >> security >> Firewall and make sure everything is disabled. This firewall can be used to block Text messages and emails. But if you don’t need to block any of these just disable it by default.

If encryption and compression are on, put them off also.

Then head to Browser push and make sure that all of them are enabled. This setting is found on Options>> Device >> Advanced options then Browser Push.

The next step is loading the application via the native blackberry browser, make sure you download the application from Whatsapp main website and choose blackberry version. You will be prompted to allow the application to by giving it the necessary security rights. Then click download after the download starts. Launch the application then after it loads disconnect the phone by removing the battery without switching off. Reboot the phone and enjoy using Whatsapp. Some issues that may arise include the application failing to connect to the cellular data which means data is may be is not allowed on the application.You can get an error saying "Verification requires a WI-Fi or cellular data connection,that could not be found"
Another alternative is to use Wi-Fi connection to download the application then after that enable 3G network for phone number verification message from Whatsapp. Note also that you have to use the native blackberry browser to download WhatsApp.
Remember this steps that I outlined above can be used to download other applications such a opera mini if you are tired of using the Native blackberry browser that comes with your phone by default. You can always go back to using WhatsApp on BIS plan by de-activating the APN profile. I will be carrying out another post on how to configure your mobile phone to use blackberry services in Kenya soon.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Buy out competion or join and play the Game

Sometime the saying if you can’t beat them join them applies a lot in business. Trying to compete in a business sometime can be very hard especially when you want your products to remain relevant in the market. That’s why I see most big companies some time prefer to buy out their smaller competitors who are growing big and more innovative than them. That’s not the only reason; it could also be prospects of making a huge profit after injecting more cash to boast the business and increase revenues.

Image source KROMKRATHOG/
Competition is the rule of the game and most big companies such as Facebook, Samsung, Apple and Twitter survive by outshining each other. Samsung mobile would not have gone so far if they didn’t try to copy Apple iPhone model. They started with the shape of their Galaxy phone which became popular and a lot of people compared it to iPhone. That was not enough they also introduced the front camera on their devices. And recently they are trying to introduce the Finger swipe technology on their latest Samsung Galaxy S5 phone model.

When it comes to making huge acquisition, Facebook is keen on buying out companies that it deems profitable or those that come close to giving it a run for their money. Facebook purchased Instagram a photo sharing website that was gaining a massive following as the next social media platform. Facebook which uses the same model of business made a good decision to buy out their competitor Instagram. Now anytime you brag about ditching Facebook for Instagram, but still continue sharing your photos on Facebook via Instagram think twice. Facebook recently purchased WhatsApp in a whopping $19 Billion deal that saw WhatsApp founders rise to Forbes top 50 richest people in the world. Technically the money has not left Facebook as many people ought to think but only shares have been traded here.

The only company that still gives Facebook a headache is Twitter; most of my friends ditch Facebook for Twitter everyday.Even myself sometime I prefer logging in to Twitter to get real time updates on what’s happening and trending locally or international. That doesn’t mean I don’t like Facebook but sometime I prefer Twitter over Facebook. And by the way things are moving they have already added their own #tag system on the platform just like Twitter.
Twitter is unique, simple and precise. If you open the two websites and compare that’s when you notice one is a jack of all trades. Facebook is loaded with Applications, Groups, Fan pages, Adverts, chat and many other features. For someone who is just interested with interacting with fellow like minded friends, all this features are not necessary. When you compare it with Twitter you will notice Twitter is clean and has less columns and features that could distract or bore you to death.

If you thought that was not enough they have introduced trending topics on the upper right corner of each account. This is one of Twitter’s oldest features which Facebook users will start using. Now if you don’t agree with me that sometime if you can’t beat them you just join them you. If somebody keeps copying your style or model of business that means there is something that you are doing right.

Life lesson from this major tech companies is you can either buy out your competition or you can either copy the same things your competitor is doing and may be add some little magic to it. What Facebook does might look like a cheap game but trust me they are making more money than twitter with every move they implement. Sometime it’s easier using proven methods having success than coming up with totally new ideas and concepts. Don’t get me wrong on this you still can use the concept of new fresh ideas to be successful in areas where your competitor is lurking behind.

I wrote this random post after logging in to Facebook and twitter the same time. I couldn’t help but notice the two biggest social media websites compete on a daily basis. Whatever floats your boat folks, after all one man's meat is another man's poison.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Campus Wi-Fi by orange Kenya at Kenyatta University

Orange Kenya has introduced a Wi-Fi hotspots service to server Kenyatta university students with cheap and fast internet via Wi-Fi.

The Wi-Fi hotspots will only be available on the campus radius and its environs. Customers will need to have Wi-Fi enabled devices such as Laptops, Tablets or mobile phones to access the service. Once the customer searches for the Wi-Fi hotspot they will be required to create an account with their emails. Afterwards you will be given free 10 minutes access to the Wi-Fi internet connection.

Upon creating an account the Kenyatta university students needs to log in to the top up page to top up and buy the bundles on the same web interface. Orange Kenya is one of the leading internet service providers with cheap bundles and fastest internet in Kenya. Their Bundles ranges from 20MB to 5GB.The service also include a time based plan where you can choose to pay and pay a fixed amount for thirty minutes or 1 hr.

The advantage of using this service is you don’t have to own a modem to browse or use normal 3G network which sometimes is congested. Also customers using the campus Wi-Fi hotspot service will receive bonus data valid for 24hrs for every bundle purchased. You don’t need to have an orange sim card to use the service and its totally independent of the sim card you use, therefore you can still continue making calls using a different network while you enjoy using the Wi-Fi internet connection.

Orange Kenya has always been the pioneer for unique data services and was the first company to introduce zero.facebook. This service is available to orange customers who intend to use Facebook without incurring data costs.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Mobile banking apps popular in Kenya

Mobile banking apps are the next frontier in the field of banking that will make business runs smoothly and conveniently. Gone are the days when you had to queue at the banking halls to do simple transactions like Money transfer from one account to the other. Now you can even purchase airtime directly from your bank account without leaving your couch. As more Kenyans move towards using smartphones that run Android, IOS or java, banks are capitalizing on this trend by developing Mobile banking applications to ease the activities such as printing bank statements, checking balance etc. Unless you are still leaving in the analogue age, you don’t have to go to a bank to queue to check your balance. I remember some years back you had either to use your ATM or walk directly to the counter provide your account number or ID to get your balance. These are some of the popular mobile banking applications that our banks use in Kenya;

Eazzy 247 – Equity bank is one of the biggest banks in Kenya in terms of customer volume.Eazzy247 app is their version of mobile banking app that you can download to your smartphone to do simple transactions such as checking your balance, requesting a statement, pay your utility bills , transfer funds etc. As a customer with the bank I have experienced the use of this application especially when transferring money between accounts. I can say confidently this application is very effective. The only thing that you need to know before using the app is your Customer ID which is issued at the bank. After reading most reviews on Google play store most people complained of the app activation that has to be done specifically by visiting the Bank. I think that’s the only drawback. But if you need the app so badly you can just visit their branch, they are everywhere.

Mfukoni by Chase Bank – The first thing that struck me with the application is the self register menu. Just like the other apps it can be used to check balance, deposit cheques online, make money transfers internationally, airtime top up, access you’re MPESA and other services securely. The good thing is after installing the app, verification of the account is done via your mobile number. The service works can also be accessed by dialing *275# on a Non-internet enabled phone. According to the reviews on Google play most of the customers are satisfied with this app.

KCB Mobi-bank – Kenya commercial bank is one of the biggest banks in Kenya. The bank has developed the application for all platforms Mobile phone platform starting with Java, Android and IOS. Customers need to visit the following link to download the respective app for their phone. The application has features such as transferring money from MPESA to bank account, sending money to any mobile number from your KCB account, direct money transfer between KCB accounts, Paying utility bills and many others. Note transfer from account to MPESA is 55ksh.

NIC now mobile app – NIC now is a new application by NIC bank Kenya that borrows from its name by bringing you the services NOW instead of making trips to the bank. The bank had in mind a strategy to bring most of its services to its client such as opening online accounts, online cheques deposits, balance enquiry and funds transfer in real-time. It’s available to its current account holders with the bank via their smartphones. Just like the eazzy247, NIC now uses the Customer ID and password to log in to the app interface.

Barclays bank mobile app – This app is designed to carry out simple tasks to manage your Barclays Bank account. You can view your statements, manage multiple accounts, Monitor you credit card transactions, and finally check the nearest branch network in Kenya. I think Barclays bank avoided more features that access your bank account such as buying airtime and paying utility bills for security reasons. As part of security measure this app will not work on a rooted phone. Forget the app if you have rooted your phone. Also many users reported the app being very stable with no bugs.

Other major banks such as Co-operative bank, National bank, CFC bank and Family bank have mobile banking services that can be accessed via USSD and have not yet come up with apps to do the job. The only problem with USSD is the mobile companies charge unnecessary cost to run those commands.

To crown it all most of these services would not be a success without the invention of M-PESA and as you can see most of them have the service built into the application. With proper security more apps will be developed and evolve to become the next modern way of banking.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Samsung Galaxy S5 Kenya short review

As usual every time a new Samsung galaxy S is announced everybody becomes excited to check the latest specifications that the new phone will be packing. Some even get the device news leak before it gets announced. Kenyans especially in Nairobi are fond of brandishing their gadgets and will be waiting for this one to land in their hands.The kind of job i do i tend to deal with people who use smart phones off all kinds.So at the moment its time for the Samsung Galaxy S5 to shine before it becomes obsolete and just another galaxy phone.

But what I have come to notice is unless you still own a budget phone and plan to upgrade to a new phone with better features, there is no need to upgrade or sell your Samsung galaxy S3 or S4.You see Samsung are very clever and to continue making sales they just need to add a few more specs better than the previous one. You can even tell what the next phone to be released will have on its features. Take for instance the Samsung galaxy S5, the only features they have added that can distinguish it from S4 are;

img source: CC BY 2.0

1) Its camera is much powerful than its predecessor. It comes with a 16MP 5312 x 2988 camera with face detection. The s4 has a 13MP camera.
2) The screen size has also increased slightly by 0.1 inches. That is 1080 by 1920 pixels display 5.1 inches the s4 has a 5.0 inch super amoled screen. But one feature that you can bet will help is the Adaptive display technology. That means the phone is able to adapt to different lighting conditions. Like when you are in an open field on a sunny day.
3) Samsung galaxy S5 packs a Quadcore 2.5GHZ krait 400 MHz processor compared to Quad-core 1.6 GHz Cortex-A15 that the predecessor had. This is just a slight improvement which may be noticed by people running heavy applications and games.
4) The fingerprint scanner feature which is located at the back of the phone can be used to unlock the phone by swiping your finger. It can also be used to authorize mobile PayPal payments. Also it has a heart rate monitor for used to those guys who like exercising or jogging.
Other slight improvement include its battery which is larger by 200mAh.As you all know most smartphones suck battery power pretty fast. Actually this will always be a challenge to be overcome in the future with smartphones getting more advanced in terms of what they can do. In terms of software it comes bundled with the latest Android ver 4.4 kitkat.
Am a fun of Samsung but I think what they are doing is great but when are they going to introduce something different. It’s a cut throat competition with Apples iPhone 6 coming up and other phones such as Sony Experia Z2 boasting of similar features.
To those who are going to buy this phone, just know that most features included in most smart phones are similar. Remember the internal memory of the phone matters most. This is where you will load most of your applications that don’t come inbuilt with the phone. Also most of the applications that would require a lot of memory are games, and I don’t think if you can afford a £550 phone you will be playing games all the times.

Let’s just hope that one in Kenya they will introduce the swap program where you can trade in you older Samsung S3 or S4 with some extra payment to get the S5.In other countries where phones are sold on Carrier contract basis a trade in for a better or newer phone is possible. Even according to Samsung that could work in Kenya if we have an organized database for locating individuals in the country. This can also be felt when it comes to shipping goods from abroad. Most online stores like amazon ship items free abroad where name and house address system works perfectly.

Sincerely speaking unless you are a photographer or a person who is keen on taking perfect photos you can live without the 16MP cameras. I have also noted that most Kenyans buy their smart phones to make a statement; very few understand what their phones can leverage in terms of features.

For those who are interested in Pre-ordering the device which will officially start selling from April 2014, Jumia are already having a pre-order price of  ksh69,999.Am sure safaricom are also in line preparing to announce their pre-order price soon. May be the cheaper than what jumia are offering.

Monday, 3 March 2014

MLM in Kenya what’s wrong with it

Multi level marketing is still on in Kenya. I recently got approached by a friend to join the program with a promise to making money easy. Now the reason I still doubt the model of business is the person who wanted to recruit me was reluctant to tell me first what the business would entail. So she told me it’s a lucrative venture that will be making me money besides what I earn. But the funny thing is she was not willing to part with more info and promised me to attend the business meeting myself to get more info about the whole business. Now this raises the questions why would you not be willing to discuss what the business entails if it’s such a good business that you are proud of doing.

So being the type of person who likes digging for information before giving it a shot, I went to her WhatsApp profile and coincidentally I found her profile photo splashed with the product she was trying to market. My mind was still not decided whether I should attend the said business meeting but the moment I saw the photo I googled about the product only to find out it was some type of coffee (Oregano gold) they promise to be organic with health benefits. Now that was not enough I did more research and didn’t find good reviews online about the product. To cut the story short I just sent her a message and told her I respect her business idea but was not going to buy into this kind of MLM business model. What’s so special about this Oregano tea? If it was that popular it would be filling the shelves of our supermarkets instead of hiring people to market the product. Ask yourself this obvious questions, and you will find the answer is No.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/

Ooh I forget to tell you I also attended an interview once that promised of a lucrative customer care job, only to find out it were a recruitment exercise for a Multi level herbal company that is very popular in Nairobi Kenya. My question is why this kind of businesses tries so hard to hide their real self instead of going head on about what they deal with. Am not saying that people don’t make money using the model but it just doesn’t click for me as a good business. If something is so good and promises to deliver much better than what is on the market it shouldn’t be so hard to market it leave alone sell it. Now the funny thing with this interview which I attended is the moment people who had showed up realized it was a multi level marketing scheme the room was left with less than four guys out of the thirty guys who had showed up. When one of the managers asked me why I didn’t think it would work, I told her that I felt cheated in the first place since they had advertised the job using the wrong title to try and get as many people to show up.

And so yesterday I attended a birthday bash for my little niece and when I saw one my bros friend who had attended trying to sell the idea to my sister ,I couldn’t help but wait for her to sell her proposition. Once she was through i informed my sister that there was something important that I needed to tell her privately. So I warned her not to fall for this business model and she was glad I did. May be you have found success in this kind of business but what I know is most of the people who have tried it get swindled or one of the managers benefits out of every member recruited before it all comes to a crash. For those who are willing to go ahead and join an MLM program check out this tips which will help you before you make a decision.

Anyway I believe in doing something legit and concentrating on my efforts to see it succeed .What I have come to realize is most of the managers  are interested in recruiting more sales persons to gain more commissions. Their main aim is not how much you sell but how many people you will in return. So when one tells me you can make some extra cash as on the side I am very careful before I give it a shot. But if you still have the courage to go ahead and think you can make it doing multi level marketing, Remember those are my views, I respect your views if you think different about the business. AdiĆ³s