Tuesday, September 30, 2008

De Uitvinders

The Inventers (De Uitvinders) is project initiated in the Netherlands by Hugo Vridag, an Expressive Artist, Film maker. It is one of the initiatives through which the Technific Foundation is promoting technological thinking among young people. He is in Kenya to pursue the project under the auspices of 'The Inventors come to Africa'.

The project is an inter-institutional linkage of educational institutes, theatrical peformers and the business sector. The aim of the project is to arouse among young people in primary and continuing education courses an interest in working with technique(rather technology from Dutch translation). The children play a leading role in their own adventure film in which the machines and props they participate in creating are literally brought to life.

He has been talking to groups of interest like the Sarakasi Trust, The Waza Platform and Centurion Systems to set initial plans for this project. You can have a look at a short clip of the first film made in the Netherlands at www.deuitvinders.com and contact me if you or someone you know would like to take part.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Staircase Musings

Sitted on the staircase outside the Block... can't imagine the crew's going to be an hour late, again. Oh, yes. Meetings can be quite frustrating to arrange, that is, with schoolmates who may not appreciate the value of your time, i.e. money.

Quoting my dad, procrastination is sure a thief of time. I have about five projects to deal with at the moment and don't seem to be getting headway in any. Life is one big oxymoron. With advancements in technology, one would think everyone's life is being made easier with every other 'sandwich toaster' invention that flashes by.

What I mean is that Tech seems to be making us lazier, rather less productive, as compared to our predecessors of years yonder don't you think? Yes, think about the cost of making an appointment before the arrival of Safcon and the likes. You'd agree with your mate to meet at Kencom on a specific day at a specific time. If either of you faultered on timing or location you would have to wait till both of you got back home or to the office to make that phone call and either apologize or give him/her a piece of your mind, then arrange another meeting! With cellphones, you can always be 'on the way'. Same with mail. In high school, on would pen that last 'Dear sweeti' at least a two weeks before end of term to make sure it reaches him/her before school's closure. These days a job application could be copy-paste-edited on the deadline date and e-mailed before 5.00pm.

PS: Can't wait to get my hand's on Google's GPhone that's set to retail at just $200. This gadget is set to give Apple's iPhone a run for their money. Really disappointed at Orange-Telkom, no iPhone.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

11th Annual IEEE Students' Exhibition

Creating a culture of Innovation

It was amazing to see what talent has flourished within our Engineering classrooms yesterday as the curtain came down at the Sarit Expo centre where the Engineering Students' Exhibition was held. Also amazing was the number of ladies who took part this year and actually scooped top prizes.


Sign-to-Speech Translator
This was the winning project by Abdelkareem from University of Khartoum, Sudan, which was a glove designed to record sign language motion and then translate the motion into speech. Although a complete demonstration was not done he took the hearts of both the judges and the public votes.

Solar Panel Efficiency Toolkit
The second best project and I think best presentation was given by John Ruddy Munda, an Engineering Student at the UoN. He has designed a number of devices to minimize power consumption and maximize power captured from Solar Panels using light sensors that detect the best angle of tilt for the panels and move them in turn.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Caveat Emptor... InZaine

Any time you come across a good product/service that promises unusual benefits especially from our Telecoms bigboys... run for your money. Apparently, any of these products/services bear the label 'Terms and Conditions Apply'. They however don't mention which terms and conditions these are, at least expressly.

I just subscribed for an Uhuru-Net modem from Zain more than a month ago and it was all merry as I contemplated Unlimited surfing and downloads for just 3,000 bob a month. Little did I know of the raw deal that forebode. Just after a day of surfing, I couldn't believe the speeds that I was averaging. This was less than a tenth of what I was supposed to get according to the sales rep who lured me into the deal. 2Kbps... 5Kbps... 10Kbps... 2Kbps.... WTF???

For a modem that could cruise at 236Kbps and should have atleast sucked 100Kbps according to the Zain cartel, this is preposterous! When I went back to get 'technical' support, they tell me that the service does not work well with Vista since Vista 'clogs up the bandwidth' with unnecessary traffic (another INnZaine remark... ). Since I have been trying to ditch M$ (unsuccessfully) I tried setting the modem on Ubuntu which I did thanks to much appreciated support from the Skunkworks crew, but alas... 2Kbps... 5Kbps... 10Kbps... 2Kbps.... WTH???

They then go ahead to print me a bill after a month of Kshs. 4463. I thought the deal was a standing charge of 3k, regardless. I am told that the SMS ervice which they bundled with the firmware is not part of the Data service that I applied for! Again, why is SMS not Data? Who asked for SMS? After enjoying what I thought were free SMS's (routed through IP) for a month they present me with an apt printed report of the texts I sent with time and even the numbers to whom I'd sent, not forgetting the news alerts I'd subscribed for. BTW SMS's charged at 5/- whereas on Pamoja I'm charged 2/-. Are they even allowed to do that? I betcha the sim is probably voice enabled!

I think it will be a while before we could get a decent internet connection deal from either suffericon or the Inzaine atleast until EASSY delivers. Watch out though for Telkom/Orange this October and Econet in November. I would have loved to try out the livebox being sold by telkom but the size of the BOX wouldn't make it as mobile.

//End of rant.