Illusion of choice

One of the principal tenets of modern democracy and civilisation is chioice. We are told we have the freedom to choose how we live, what we eat, who we bang and what we do with our money. 

It all sounds very revolutionary to me that in afew short years the central power mongers could cede complete control of civil liberties to the populace under the umbrella of democracy and equal opportunity. History teaches me that this is never the case. one form of control simply replaces another. So today you can choose your mobile phone carrier, choose whether to walk to work, or board a bus or drive yorself. Better yet you can choose to tele-commute. Very choisy world huh. . But is it really that simple?

This train of thought was started when I found out that Yu is owned by Essar Group who’s telecoms branch is better known as Vodafone-Essar since it is majority owned by Vodafone. Yes that means Yu is safaricom in a different name and colours. So we effectively have 3 mobile operators in the country not four.

We are told that we have a choice to stop using fuel guzzling vehicles and opt for hybrids running on hydrogen and electricity. This is besides the fact that they are woefully inadequate and inefficient whether in terms of usability to affordability. Flogging such Gadgets and concepts in the mediainculcates a sense that we are refusing to use the said technology because we are selfish and dont want to conserve the environment.

Its a psychological war being waged on the populace by the corporations to continue pushing profits higher past the now non-existent ceiling. they dont give a crap about you or the environment. Research into truly renewable energy technology is stiffled so that we keep buying gud ‘ol black gold. We have known about the geothermal power potential in Kenya’s rift valley for years. My questions to my G.H.C teachers why it is not fully harnessed prompted a change in topic. Just after the recent power crisis is when Kengen started prancing around with grandplans to make sure our christmas trees never go dark again.

We have numerous rivers bursting their banks seasonally displacing villagers and killing livestock year in year out as we keep complaining the rains have failed us. Man is legendary in mastering his environment. Men in pre-Jesus times with rudimentary technology built the pyramids. Physicists under pressure from the military figured out how to split an atom. You wanna tell me our engineers,planners and scientists can’t figure out how to prevent floods, ensure near perfect harvests and secure food security?

Ladies and gentlemen we are being taken for a ride by the suits using strange words like profit margins and economic stimulus packages and fiscal policy amongst others meant to shroud why you are hungry and they aint. Am not bashing the economists and policy makers but reliance on profit machines to drive growth and and influence values doesnt sound like a good idea.  

Telling me that I have full control in the choices I make is a blatant lie. I am guided by money Period. Money is the new gold, minus the actual scarcity. The guy with the money is the new king. Only he isn’t new. He is the guy who was once a king. Trace his bloodline and you will find ancient royalty in it(or some dude who really kissed royalty ass). Nothing changes, just the faces and lies.

Llike being told you have the freedom to choose.

Zune vs iPod

The iPod is the single biggest product to revolutionise private consumption of music right after Sony’s Walman series started feeling old and lame. The iPod was sleek, smooth and sexy as hell. Never broke down and the battery life was/is as reliable as you Grandma. It proceeded to change how music is sold, packaged and advertised. all manner of gadgets were thrown up by Sony trying to relinquish a market that was already lost to the guys in California. None worked.

Microsoft soon jumped on to the bandwagon(as is regular and expected) and launched their own gadget christened Zune. Yea i know weird name. But as marketers once told me, weird names sell. try giving your product a regular name and you will get regular clients and thats no road to billions and an IPO. Never gave the gadget much thought until an acquaintance offered one for sale. Prior to this I owned an iPod nano 8gb and it worked fine for me save for rejecting half my music that wasn’t .mp3 or .wma . Why iTunes doesn’t have inbuilt audio converters to whatever format they want is beyond me. Anyhoo. . . I was staunchly in the Apple/iPod corner with no intention to move.  The intention came with the words 30 gb next to zune. By now you should know my loyalty to any one gadget or manufacturer is next to nil. A better product from an obscure inexperienced or even unknown company will make me jump ship any day of the week and twice on sundays. But Microsoft is anything but inexperienced or unknown.

So being the regular geeky dude that I am, I jumped on to the opportunity to acquire a zune media player when it presented itself.

And my oh my, was I impressed. Granted it doesnt have the cool capacitive touch clickwheel that I had gotten hooked to on the iPod,is rather bulky and doesn’t have a bass booster but I can live without that.

It comes packed with a big fat screen making viewing videos a breeze. Wifi connectivity to enable you and any other Zune user to exchange  body fluids digital content. Also you can purchase stuff from the Zune marketplace when in a wifi hotspot, sync your player with your pc wirelessly and heaven knows what else. . its like watching a hot chick grow hotter. . .

Download now or watch on posterous

28092010(001).3gp (1168 KB)

Am sold. Totally and completely. . .Until someone else pops something better. .

here are some screenshots of the Zune pc interface.

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Music

Ave always wondered what kind of juju musicians use to have such a profound effect on their fans to the extent that they, well. . . .act stupid. They are forgiven for doing things which if I was to try would earn me a tire necklace and petrol perfume. They can live recklessly, treat everyone like dirt, Date a woman and her daughter, hire a chef for their dog and wear meat dresses. . . but its okay so long as their music keeps coming.

Art and madness have a very thin line separating them if any at all. From Van Gogh to Picasso to Mozart. All were weird and had issues. . and all were exceedingly gifted. I guess eccentricity is a requirement and the crazier the better. Infact if you hear voices in your head, they will probably help you compose something magical. Its allowed to be insane, so long as you contribute to art. If not the looney bin welcomes you.

I thought everybody was mad and I was the last sane dude on the planet. That is until I bought an iPod and the sexiest earphones this side of the Sahara. then I found Music By a lady called Enya. Now to properly appreciate this lady, you need a quiet room, and darkness or simply close your eyes and listen. She doesn’t do much singing but her instrumentals will flow into your ears, around your temple and find their way into your arteries and flood your heart. . . If you have had a bad day, then I guarantee she will make it better. 
Another woman who’s music will probably live long after she is gone is Madonna . She may adopt Malawians, Mock Catholics, and be borderline psychotic but the woman can make music. And thats usually all that matters, she sells records and earns her millions, for a little slice of her madness.
This next one am not too sure if he is slightly bonkers but he makes beautiful music nonetheless. That I don’t understand a word he says is testament to his genius. He calls himself Kidum . He is Rwandan and sings like his life depends on it. Very soulful dude.
Well in short. If you can make music, and I mean make it from scratch, then you are truly blessed. I wish I could. .

Beauty in the eye of the beholder

Much has been said on what really defines beauty what with some saying the beautiful are not yet born others escaping into idealism and stating that everyone has inner beauty and yet others are too wasted to notice the difference. 

I personally think we are full of crap. We keep telling our women not to wear weaves, not to apply those bleaching lotions, and not to try inflating their bums and boobs with stuff in syringes. We say this is western culture and we should be proud of our local African heritage yada yada yada. . 

Hold on.

We used to maim ourself in the name of beauty too. Kwanza ours was worse than any of the stuff western surgeons perform. Like the chick with the disk in her lips. Am sure many would prefer botox to that.  . Then we have the Sudanese with their tattoos. Couldn't get a picture but you know what I mean. And don't even get me started on FGM. We were/are a sick bunch. 

That we get on the high horse and harp on about how our youth are being eroded and how miniskirts are the devils invention, I would like to invite y'all to go through your folks picture albums. The wore belts for skirts and buttons had not been invented for the dudes shirts.  and this was without MTV or Bendover. 

Our folks act like they were never young and irresponsible. Like we invented rebellion and getting wasted. Like we no longer have any values and are just after a quick buck and self gratification. Its like they were born , then they had us. Too bad we have the History channel showing hippies high on several things.  

As Riley freeman of the Boondcks fame would say. . ."Nigga Please. . . . "

Problems

Sometimes we get preoccupied by the small stuff and loose the overall picture.

We imagine that our issues are monumental, earth shaking and possibly
cataclysmic and we assign alot of nervous energy trying to solve
mundane ‘problems’ . If we take a moment and think about what some of
our colleagues go through everyday, what they have been forced to see,
hear and tolerate. What they call a good day. What makes them happy,
what they aspire to aqcuire or achieve. Only then will we appreciate
that what we call problems are someone elses blessings.

The other day I watched a mother back in my hometown play with her
daughter. The way She loked at her daughter lovingly and the sheer joy
on the daughters face was priceless. the scene am sure is replicated
all across the planet and across time. Later on I watched another
little one following her mother as she strolled down the road headed
home. I couldnt help but draw a parallel to how ducklings follow their
mothers stumbling and tripping in their litle strides struggling to
keep up. it was the exact same scene. As Yvonne Awuor the Caine prize
winner said in her book, “we are all animals, Humans just build bigger
nests.”

But perspective is objective. We are a sum of our experiences and
environments. What is not acceptable to me, is welcome by another. I
hear in Iceland there is no greater insult than offering your palm for
a handshake. If a billionaires son was to be given my lifestyle, he
would probably strangle himself. Its not his fault really. Same way I
cant imagine being some dude’s/dudette’s slave back in ancient Rome.
we seem oblivious of this state of affairs. . .as though we don’t get
hungry, love, cry and get rejected. we are seemingly content to put up
a glass screen between us and fellow humans as though we are made of
different stuff. as though they are incapable of intelligent thought.

It is a sad state of affairs and I believe religion plays a major role
in it. My God is the original God and yours is a fake, an idol. My
beliefs are real and yours are not. I don’t see any other sum total to
such deep seated beliefs other than conflict,discrimination and
strife. And it all boils down to politics, population control,
elitism. A bunch of rulers and the rest subjects.

So dont discriminate, dont generate hate because you are bound to get
Irate. – Will.i.am black-eyed peas

YuZainO Vs. Queen Bee

 

A lot has been said bout Zain’s assault on Safaricom and how the Queen bee is going to suffer for its years of injustice meted on the hapless public (as if anyone has held a green revolver with the Safaricom logo on the barrel on their temples).

 

Few of those yapping bout moving to Zain will do it. They will buy a new zain simcard alright or blow the dust off an old one but they will still keep the Safaricom simcard in the smart phone to use on twitter, Facebook and email. The reason is as obvious as it is being ignored.

 

Technology.

 

To Date only Safaricom has deemed it necessary to roll out 3G countrywide. What the other providers are waiting for only Zeus knows. I can tell you the feeling when the symbol at the corner of the phones screen turns from the phone mast icon to 3G or 3.5G is just like the feeling you get when a chick releases her puppies from a bra. You may have seen it countless times but the site is always welcome. It just makes you smile. It reaffirms that your handset isn’t run off the mill and is for serious people. It’s a Diesel (Raw power) guzzler and does not play around with data or the airwaves but rather grabs it by the horns and has its way with it.  I cannot buy a phone without 3G if am to use it for my Safaricom sim.  Never ever.  Its just disrespectful. Those who say it doesn’t matter to them are either lying or are those sms and calls types who have no business having a mini laptop in their pockets.

 

It is Obvious Michael Joseph knows this but hides this under corporate jargon like ROI and leverage on technology and all sorts of justifications but all it is the privilege and beauty of knowing your gadget can download a hi-def video in less than 5 minutes. This single technology is what is holding some of us in the Safaricom spell. And a powerful spell that is. If Airtel and their millions can rollout 3G country wide and fine tune it to actually deliver broadband speeds, then their haki yetu campaign can slowly  gain ground. Sure, cheap calls are welcome but we don’t talk that much anyway. If I was given unlimited talk time for a month, I doubt I would talk for any longer than I already do. Am mostly on twitter, email, reading or writing a blog or downloading music.

 

YuZainO are in this predicament of their own doing. Lemme break it down.

 

Orange are iDiots 3Gs. They are treating the iPhone like some elitist gadget that is not deserving of the dust on River Road. All that contracts business is not cutting it. The iPhone is the most popular handset on the planet and they are sitting on it as though we aren’t really ready for it. Sell it at cost, sweet talk developers to make apps for the local market, and stop insisting on outrageous contracts. Guys have iPhones, but they didn’t get them from you. That should be worrying. And for crying out loud why would you sell a 3G gadget without a 3G network ? o_O Totally watering down the product. Am sure even guys back at Apple Inc. Hq’s are shaking their heads.

 

Zain need to work on their Customer care. Safaricom is better than you. That was a diss by the way. Last time I sent you an email , I got a response 2 weeks later and it wasn’t an answer to my question it was a Merry Christmas message. Your competitors answer within the hour. Work on that and I think you will have an audience in me once more.

 

Yu. Where do I start? You are the most nimble, the ones best placed to upset everyone and the ones to benefit the most out of the whole circus. But you just sit on your arses and work with the one and only model everyone else is following. Their marketing goes something like this: Cheap calls , cheap sms , and a cool name! Now throw away all your other lines and come over to our new network! (followed by a plastic smile.)

Sigh.

Heres the thing Yu.

Not one of all your subscribers threw away any of their old lines. They just keep you in a cheap phone , buy their girlfriend a cheap phone + a yu line and get to talk for dirt cheap, but keep their serious business on the major networks.

For most of us a telephone line/network is like a wife. We may complain bitterly and call her all manner of names but we always go home in the evening because she knows just how we like our Ugali. Few of us will actually dump our lines that have been with us through thick and thin for the new kid with a funny name. 

 

This is a fact. Fighting it is like fighting the Sun. Now what I propose is that you hop on to the Dual-Sim phone market with all the psyche you can muster. Basically assume the role of the clande/side-dish/mistress on the phones and slowly win our hearts until some of us ultimately kick the wife out and marry yu. Adapt to consumer needs. Don’t force them to keep changing simcards (you know they will). Sell dual sim phones and save them the hustle. Just make them keep the line on. It will be used eventually rather than let it sit in my wallet till it expires or gets lost. And go fully social media and show you are the network to use to browse online. . . .from the Dual sim phones. Oh, and launch 3G like yesterday.

 

For Safaricom, launch 4G and I will be so there waiting to test it and push it to the limit. And tebu introduce video calling! Can’t wait to use this camera that’s front facing. I own 20 shares you know. Capish?