Why we should all go online and dump the media

The past week has been an awesome one to say the least.

Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta and Amb. Muthaura finally stepped down from public office seeing that they were becoming an embarasment to an entire country for sticking around while they face cases at the ICC. I assume that this is President Kibakis way of firing people so as to leave them some modicum of dignity. Anyhoo, it was a good day for the constitution but an awful one for one ‘cool’ Prof Githu Muigai. Now this guy imagines himself to be swaggerific incarnate but he seemingly missed the lecture by Margaret Thatcher who said something to the effect of ‘Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.’ Being cool is kinda the same.

So today I wake up to the infamous Robert Alai cutting down one Caroline Mutoko of Radio Africa for allegedly calling all those using social media numskulls and armpit scratching baboons incapable of sufficient mustering of intellect. Alai’s argument was very sober, collected and surgical but totally missed Caroline’s point. You can read it here if you haven’t already. Caroline Muoko doesn’t hate on social media users but the hate speech kind of which there are numerous.

Aside from such misdirected antics, the manipulation in our news rooms is utterly repugnant. Some years ago KTN blooped and brought the reults of the opinion poll before the question . It was only for a fraction of a second but I saw the 80% vs 20% on the yes-no answers well. Once the question was asked and later the comments read, I assumed that the outcome would not be in the exact ratios I had observed earlier. The usual farce of reading the user comments and expressing shock, amusement and cracking stale jokes followed before the results were announced. The outcome of the ‘Big question’ permanently confirmed to me that those things are bogus albeit clever methods of social engineering. It was just as had been flashed before the question was asked. They are thus just station funded propaganda machines.

Humans love conforming to society and if everyone answers a particular way, then we are pushed to conform to that. forget the fact that no-one thinks like that and they neglect to point out that theirs is not a scientific survey.

Over the past week annoyingly detailed coverage has been paid to the Ocampo 4 and their feelings. These are people who have been accused of capital crimes against humanity. They are loaded and they have huge families and truckloads of friends. They can handle it and this ass kissing by the media is leaving all our mouths with a horrid taste.

Simple question.

Everyone is concious of the elections and to politics but ramming it down everyones throat every waking moment is rather demeaning and pushing people to other media.

Not that that is a bad thing either. I trust bloggers and the people I follow on twitter more than any ‘Actual Expert’ out there. And you should too.

Online or social media vs traditional media is like science vs religion. If you make a rediculous claim with no proof online, you will be shot down faster than Cessna flying over the White House taking pictures. On traditional media on the other hand, the avenues of complaint or redress are non-existent. you can write an angry letter, or an email or call the station with your complaints but thats a dead end. they will most likely not publish your complaints and that ends like that. Its a-lot like belief. Its a one way street pitting you as the minion against the almighty media. You take all the crap they say because they said it. They can thus go on transmitting all sorts of nonsense and ignore any complaints or corrections. Online the no of commenters is view-able by all and the viral effect will ensure your ignorance goes around the world before you can finish refreshing the page.

Please join me online and shun the media stations hell bent on shoving crap down our throats!

 

 

 

 

Ubuntu 11.10

Though am joining the fray kinda late, I have just installed the latest distribution of Ubuntu 11.10 and its a seriously fresh breeze compared to the ancient Windows XP that ruled this laptops motherboard.

I got tired of XP because the DVD drive no longer worked, there were a million processes going on that I couldn’t really account for and there is the fact that Microsoft are not supporting it anymore. I needed something fresh and knowing me to be an unapologetic ubuntu groupie, I got myself the latest offering and proceeded to format my modest machine. Now the  machine is an old Toshiba satellite with a gig of ram and 1.5ghz centrino processor so it no beast more like a kitten.

Installation was a breeze and no problem was too difficult to resolve

Ubuntu desktop

 

I had a couple of issues with the Nvidia driver but a little googling sorted me out. Gotta warn you though an internet connection is vital for adequate use otherwise you will have a world of hurt and you may just decide to toss your laptop out the window.

 

Happy computing!

Unlimited Internet : Here we go again

It has become a fad of late for telecom companies to offer or rather appear to offer unlimited Internet suites to its clients.

Orange Kenya has had an unlimited Internet offer on its 3G+ platform for a while now and it more or less worked as advertised. You pay 990 bob and you get unlimited Internet for a week on limited speeds maxing out at about 512kbps. This varied with time of day, no. Of users etc but was more or less reliable and you knew what you were getting.

Safaricom not wanting to be left behind on the unlimited internet bandwagon launched theirs with almost identical terms but a more stable speed expectation. Yu and Airtel have similar programmes but they are still on EDGE so they don’t count for this post.

Orange launched ‘proper’ 3G recently and with it expectations that finally the 3G dog fight between the two behemoths was finally hear. I bought enough popcorn for a month anticipating the media battle, the offers and counter offers. Alas none of that happened but I still expected something awesome from camp Orange.

I’ve got to tel you something at this point. I love Orange. There is something about the name, the colours, the advertising and the overall feel to the brand that draws me in keeps me locked. Which is why I bitch a lot about them. If your partner or lover doesn’t rant about you then hamna mapenzi humo. They will just walk out or they are just bidding their time. And to prove my love for the brand this post was uploaded on an orange connection.

So today they launched an unlimited offer on their 3G platform. You can see more here. Problem with this is that it is misleading.

Unlimited burdened with a fair use policy is like saying dead but kinda alive. Unlimited is an absolute. You can’t have conditions. The plans offer you true 3G speeds . . .to a maximum of 1gb usage thereafter you crawl along at 64kbps. 64kbps !! That’s even slow on my phone. And we have 2 active fibre connections and more coming. 64kbps.

Safaricom offer unlimited broadband capped to speeds of 512kbps from day one. And it’s truly unlimited. You can download whatsoever your heart desires. And more often than not you will hit these speeds.

Orange are letting me down. They have a superior network as far as I can tell but they don’t seem to want to use it to their advantage.

Iko nini?

Update
Turns out the guys at Tech Mtaa have gotten Orange to raise the FUP
rate to 256 kbps. Let’s see how it plays out.

Orange + iPad

I gotta tell you folks I am pretty convinced that Orange Kenya are the kings and queens of unfinished business.

I first observed this prior to the launch of the iPhone 3G. Here was a multinational with a kick ass brand launching the most superior handset on the planet backed by a company that is literally loved by its fan boys and they didn’t even have a 3G network or even a promise that this was forthcoming. This was moronic in my view but in retrospect it may have been a good move.

As Seth Godin keeps saying, Ship! move whatever crap you have in your warehouse however horrible it is. Criticism and ridicule can only improve you.

Skip to 2011 and a fella called Mwangi needs a microsim to slip into an iPad and rock on the impressive 3G network that is pimped by Orange. Just to make things clear, i have options. Airtel and the Safaricom both have decent 3G offerings so this choice has nothing to do with technology. Just loyalty and after all they do stock iPhones so handling an iPads needs should be painless no?

No.

Its like a psychedelic induced mole believing your behind is its rightful home. The seemingly clueless customer care do not help one bit. Here is a rudimentary checklist.

  1. Do they stock Microsims? = yes
  2. Is the no. on the microsim easily visible? = No
  3. Is it visible at all? = no
  4. Does calling customer care help? = no
  5. can you top up? = yes
  6. is there a confirmation? = no
  7. can you buy a bundle ?= no
  8. Does customer care help? = no
  9. Do you feel like slapping someone ? = YES

With Safaricom on the other hand we have this wonderful site www.safaricom.com/bundles that lets you buy bundles direct from the browser. Doesnt matter your device all you need is airtime on it.

Money and customer loyalty is not rocket science. How do Orange imagine iPad users on their network will top up, buy bundles and happily browse?

SMH.

Update

I have just received a call from orange and they are trying to sort me out. They also say they are in the final stages of creating a web portal to carry out such activities on non USSD compatible gadgets. Thumbs up!

Update 2

They have since launched a web portal through which you can manage any no. that you own or use. Now buying bundles and loading airtime is a breeze. Kudos !! You can find it here http://myaccount.orange.co.ke

Tablet awesomeness

I have recently gotten access to a monster of a machine at least when it comes to its price tag and am impressed so far.

The iPad 2 is a gloriously easy machine to use and much is to be expected with the kinda mulla you will shell out to own one of these babies( come to think of it this is a grown up). Just about everything advertised about it works as well as you expect it to and I now understand why apple fanboys exist. It is sleek, light, and holds charge for longer than it will take kplc to screw you.

I believe the guy who said the apple guys are really obsessed with user experience. It is said android gadget makers are obsessed with the gadget itself what with the manufacturers competing who’s contraption is more complex, has the most rediculously intimidating name and annoying as hell to use with next to no regard to Agatha who just wants to take pretty pictures and put them on Facebook. The apple guys on the other hand don’t bother to include bluetooth file transfer coz lets face it, that protocol is bloody slow and will turn any smile into a scowl. Scowls are not good for business and Apple know that.

It is said that touching the screen reprioritizes the processor to focus on whatever it is your finger wants done. That makes for awesome user experience. Android on the other hand will do no such thing and will proceed with downloading some obscure update that you didn’t want anyway and thus turn your tablet/phone into a sloth.

Just finished updating the pad and can’t say it was a pain but the update download was 750mb. Thank the heavens campus net is on steroids and offline updating is possible.

Mission 2012 is to get a nice ice cream sandwich based tablet.

What’s your plan?

Ideos Custom Roms

I am the proud owner of a Huawei ideos device that has been rocking my world for damn near 5 months now. I got it for a song not even at the retail price. Holla at the Kikuyu in me.

Being adventurous as I am I wasted no time rooting the thing and shopping around for a custom rom.

Now for the uninitiated, a custom rom is a customized OS for your phone. Think of  it like the way you buy a laptop with windows XP on it.  Now if you format the laptop and put a different system say windows 7 or linux then you may say you have put a custom OS. Flashing a custom rom is something close to this only that there is nothing official about it like Windows or Ubuntu. They are made primarily by volunteer hackers who just love tinkering with stuff. And fellows like me love people like that.

So where was I?

Right. Lucky for me there are several options for wannabee hackers like me who want to rock the coolest in new shiny software. Here are the options I tried out.

Gingerman 

This is by the good guys at Ideos Dev Team It is a port from the cyanogenmod 7 project over at Cyanogenmod

It is a stable release based on the Gingerbread flavour  but the wifi feature has issues, there is no usb tethering and  no fm radio.

FusionIdeos

this one is mainly based on the XDA forums and is about to stop being actively developed but is pretty stable itself. It is based on the stock froyo that comes with the ideos but with added functionality.

 

There are others like Dronix 4.0 but I havent bothered to install any other.

Currently running FusionIdeos and couldn’t be happier.

Procedures for rooting, flashing recovery etc are your homework.

Capish?

 

Real Steel

For a movie with that much robot action this is a really nice flick even for the ladies.

Hugh Jackman is the main lead together with some kid called Dakota Goyo.

I wont be a spoiler and try tell you what the plot is but it wont disappoint whether you are the violent type or the furry bunny type.

Cant wait for  the Game!

The Gunslinger

I think the outrage directed at the Deputy CJ is about protocol and not principle.

True the guard shouldn’t ordinarily do a search on upstanding members of the government but first of all she ain’t that famous yet. I could easily pass her on the street. Its not the guards’ fault that she doesn’t memorize the faces of all new appointees to swanky government posts. She was just doing her job and doing it well at that. Second of all I would fire all those bodyguards. Where were they when the guard was following her into the complex? Politely explaining to the guard who she was pursuing would have changed her actions just like that *snaps finger in air*

That guards are generally rude is debatable. Most often than not people treat you as you treat them. Greet them well, treat them with respect and they will do the same. I don’t know or care who’s side of the story is true. That’s irrelevant. Damage has been done.

Seeing as she is supposed to be smarter than the rest of us, I think the public outrage is due to the disappointing and embarrassing turn of events that have cast doubt on the judiciary.

But a fresh scandal will soon overshadow hers. . Am sure Sonko is seething with the lack of attention.

Schooling Kenya style

You gotta hand it to them. Our educationists have either totally lost it or are aspiring politicians who didn’t quite measure up ambition wise. .  A few days ago, Musau Ndunda, the guy in charge of parents of school goers (oh yes such a body exists) literally called every school going kid a rascal that should spend as little time at home as possible seeing as they are destructive,wayward, undisciplined e.t.c You would almost think it is the teachers jobs to raise the said rascals and I am yet to find a mother that can’t stand her kids prancing around the house. Well most will remain at home anyway seeing as over 200,000 K.C.P.E graduates are not getting a place in the secondary schools.

Granted a long break will render some students into illiterates by the time they come back and trying to keep your kids busy and out of mischief while still trying to raise their fees is not a walk in the park for the parents, I think we should try it out.

As if being unwanted at home is not enough, the number of books you need to get into class one are more than I use in my Engineering survey class. Whatever happened to hand painting and making Plasticine figures of your classmates? And then there is the not so random chance that some randy middle-aged doofus will attempt to and most likely succeed in molesting you.

Being a kid nowadays is hard work!

Moving Camp

Its been a nice ride with wordpress.com but alas man must live and growing up, sideways and laterally (are those the same?) is inevitable.

The good folks at kenic and eacdirectory are offering free .me.ke domains and free hosting and yours truly got himself a nice little spot at markmwangi.me.ke

Needless to say I graciously accepted the offer and have recently completed the move to my new domain.

Please follow me there as I will not be updating this blog anymore and will concentrate my efforts on my new site.

Its been real and see you on the other side!