Re: Kenyans ‘Do Not Like’ Firms in Social Sites

Standard

This is in response to the article recently published on The Daily Nation that quotes a study by TNS on Kenyan’s perspective on social media presence of businesses. According to the study 57% of Kenyan’s do not like to engage with brands on social networks. Am going to use my own experience here to put a point across. Before twitter, whenever I had issues with my Safaricom services I would call their customer care and would be put on hold forever if I was ever lucky to get through. And every Safaricom user knows that the only way you could get to them was if you called past midnight. Now, a few days ago I had a problem with my Safaricom Internet bundles. I sent a tweet to @safaricomltd with my grievances. Less than a minute later I was notified that someone from Safaricom would call me to hear me out. And almost as soon as I finished reading the tweet I got a call from the magic number – 0722000000. The rest is history.
My point? A few people might find posts by brands on their wall annoying, but it doesn’t mean the brands should not use social media. Social media is by far the most revolutionary tool for businesses in the 21st century. It has enabled instant access to businesses, it helps brands put their word out there, get feedback and assist their customers. The statement by TNS CEO that brands are wasting money on new media marketing is not well thought out.
It is true that some brands may advertise to their followers too many times. But they usually learn and stop when they notice that some of their followers are dropping them. What brands need to do is to be more personal on social networks, and become more innovative in promoting their products. Safaricom’s competitions that give participants chances to win airtime, phones among other things is a perfect example of how to do it. And Kenyans also need to be more 2.0 and appreciate the way social media is improving the businesses-client interaction.

info160: Bridging the information gap

Standard

About half a century ago, the internet was invented and has been developed through time to be a complex network that can be accessed by devices from anywhere on the planet for instant sharing and retrieving of information. Computers have also evolved from the superlarge energy gazzling structures that were reserved for large institutions to devices that are becoming ever more common in people’s homes and even pockets. Thus leading to the branding of our time “the information age”.
According to the latest statistics, 77% (5.3 billion people) of the world’s population are mobile phone owners. What they own range from the most basic $10 dollar phones to high end smartphones that are reserved for the cream of the society. However only 1 billion people access mobile internet. The low number of mobile internet users is due to the fact that even low income earners in the developing world find a mobile phone a device they can sacrifice to get for day to day communication and business but most cannot to afford to buy a phone with internet access. And that group of people is just a fraction of those without computers at their homes.  The result is that we are have a large group left out of the revolution that is “the information age”. That’s where info160 comes in.
Imagine a farmer in rural Botswana with no radio and electricity let alone a television or the income to afford the local newspaper everyday but with a $10 dollar phone that is either solar powered or which she recharges at the nearby town. With info160 she is able to get breaking news as it happens, daily market prices for goods and any other information she might subscribe to all for free. She can also receive daily announcements or updates from her Women’s Group which are sent for free by their chairman using info160’s bulk messaging system. And every message she recieves is appended with a very short advert that is location relevant. Such an advert can be from the fertilizer shop 1 kilometre from her home about their end of month sale. She can as well use the advertising system herself to promote her farm produce to people within her region for as little as $1. Let’s say her little son has Malaria, and the dispensary he gets treated at uses a system that taps into info160’s API to automatically send reminders by SMS to their patients on when to take medication, when to go for checkups etc. So depending on when she first took her son for treatment, she will get text messages say thrice a day at each time he is supposed to take the drugs until the dosage is over.
Basically, info160 is a system with different categories of information like breaking news, quotes, market prices, jokes, MDG facts etc that users can sbscribe to for free. Once registered they can also use the free bulk messaging system which can be very useful for organizations, institutions and small businesses. Every message sent out is appended with a short location based advert. The advertising rates start at $1 for 50 ad views. It will also have an open API that people can build their own applications on top of.
Is this the next big thing? You be the judge.

Saudi Arabia now allows Women to vote. Enough?

Standard

It’s 2011 and the biggest news from Asia today is that women in Saudi Arabia are now allowed to vote and run for municipal seats. Now this might be very surprising to people who are not living in Islam ruled countries. But as strange it may seem Saudi Arabia which is governed under strict Sunni Islamic Law has some rather – for lack of a more precise expression – ass-backward rules. Until now women were not allowed to vote or participate in municipal elections. But they are still not allowed to drive or leave the country unaccompanied among other things that echo the chauvinism of an archaic past.

The move by the Saudi Arabia leader, King Abdullah has been applauded across the globe by rights movements. But it’s a shame that some parts of the world still actively discriminate against women and have set laws that implement treating women as lesser humans.

Discrimination against certain members has never produced positive results in the overall growth and well being of a society. Now more than ever before we need to focus on problems that affect humans all over like global warming, poverty, diseases and others. The right environment must be created for everyone to participate in finding solutions and making the world a better place.

Is God an unintelligent designer or just a sadist omnipotent?

Standard

One of the most important attributes assigned to gods and most notably the Christian god is omnipotence(all knowing). This means that he/she knows the present the past and the future. Now as the Biblical story goes, God puts Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. He warns them against eating of the tree of knowledge, which he conveniently puts in the middle of the garden. And there’s is a talking snake (seriously?) in the garden that is bent on convincing the two to act against God’s will. So after giving them them free will and putting the charming and deceitful snake in the garden and knowing exactly what is going to happen after going through all the trouble of creating everything perfectly using his infinite wisdom and knowledge how can he blame Adam and Eve for eating of the forbidden fruit?

Let’s use programming as an analogy. Computer programmers design and code software according to what they expect the software to do, and can predict with 100% certainty the outcome of a program given certain conditions. Every capability of the software that the programmer adds to it will act only the way it is specified in the code. In a normal scenario programs may act “weirdly” due to bugs when the situations are unknown to it or due to errors and such. Now our programmer is not all knowing. So he tests the programme in the situation he expects it to run and in case of errors and bugs he fixes it accordingly and tests it again and so forth until the programme runs perfectly. If he designed it such a way that he knew exactly what was going to happen and he knew that he wouldn’t like the outcome and also with his great skill he knew exactly what to do to make it not disappoint him then he wouldn’t have any right busting anyone’s nuts or burning them altogether in eternal flame when things go wrong later on.

If he was like God, he wouldn’t need to test it a million times though. He would just know how to go about it designing it properly the first time so that nothing unexpected happens when it’s running. So here we have a situation of an all powerful all knowing God who created humans and saw that they were good and then he gets pissed at how they turn out and condemns them to eternal torture for that. I could go on to say that what we have in this case is a sadist omnipotent, but then again he is just a myth created by bigoted control freaks that were 2,000 years less intelligent than the generation that created “Big Foot” and “Little green men”. Oh, wait that last one is real. Or is it? I don’t know but that’s a more 21st century conversation.

Am still waiting to be entertained by Kenyan TV

Standard

If what you seek is entertainment, Kenyan TV is the last place to look. Here is why:
1. Similar schedules
Kenyan TV stations have a peculiar habit of airing the same type of programmes at the same time. Maybe this is a way to compete and outdo each other but still, not everyone wants to watch news at 1pm,4pm, 7pm and 9pm. Not everyone wants to watch gospel music videos every Sunday from 6am to 1pm. If there was a station that could air something different like sports or a movie when every other station is doing latino soaps then it would really capitalize on the rest of us who loathe soap operas.

2. Intensive censoring

Censoring is a great way to keep adult and offensive content from the wrong audience. But when a show is rated 18+,tagged SNL for Sex, Nudity and bad Language, and aired past 10pm then it is surprising to see it censored and some parts with adult content even mild kissing censored out. Try watching How I met Your Mother on KTN and you will get my drift. It is not any fun when the Barney lines are censored. And Barney has to sound dirty, that’s just who he is. He is the reason most of us watch the show.

3. Low quality content – Nigerian movies/Cheap latino soaps/Old “chinese” Kungfu movies

I know this is a commercial endeavour and one the goals is to reduce the expenditures. But when you reduce it to the extent of playing Nigerian movies every other time then you lose quality. Citizen is very notorious for this. If they are going to call it Afro Sinema they should at least show movies from all around Africa. Not Nigerian movies with their same actors, overexploited themes and low budget stuff produced in under a day.  Where are the Kenyan movies?

And where do I get started with the latino soaps. Every local channel in Kenya today can’t wait to give a slot to yet another soap. The soaps are low budget and it’s always the same theme. Rich boy, poor girl, evil stepmother/mother-in-law, child born out of wedlock, I mean what else have you got?

Citizen TV has only one slot in a week for non-Nigerian movies.They use it for old “chinese” kungfu movies. The stuff we watched back in the old days when guys refered to the lead star as “Actor” and the antagonist as “Boss”. And it is in the old bad video and audio quality.  Really? Royal Media. Really?

4. Interruptions

Imagine you are watching a movie. The suspense has already grown and suddenly it is interrupted for a live broadcast of parliament proceeding that will go for the next 5hrs. And this comes without a warning and without a reschedule.  Am speaking from experience 😦

5. Airing other channels without order

If you are going to air CNN or TCM or Cartoon Network in realitime you should  properly time the beginning and end of programmes of that channel to coincide with your time slots. And you can only run ads when they do. Otherwise their is no point of having it realtime or showing it at all.

6. Editing out parts of movie to fit time slots

Unlike most Nigerian movies and latino soaps that you can start watching at any point and get the flow, most Western movies are different. In that they are carefully done and every teeny bit matters. You can’t take anything for granted: not a facial expression, not something that a passerby says in passing no matter how irrellevant it seems. Because somewhere along the movie they will make a refence to it and you won’t get it. So when they deliberately cut out huge sections, they make it suck. That is what I experinced the other day when I was watching “fallen angels” on KTN. Luckily I had seen it a million years ago already. So when they cut out half of a scene or skipped some I knew what had happened. But someone who hadn’t seen it earlier would be confused towards the end.

7. Terrible acting/Directing

If you’ve seen Tahidi High you know what am talking about. This is a talented group of actors but I don’t know who writes their scripts or directs them. You can’t go a few minutes without spotting a long unnecessary facial expression here and an unnatural conversation there.  “Beba Beba” on NTV is the same and so are lots others. But it’s not all bad.  A new show on KTN  – “Changin Times” – is changing the times. Great quality, great acting and worthwhile themes. Maybe the rest should follow suit.

The number theory(part1)

Standard

I wait to see the day 1+1 will be equal to 0.99 or 2.1. And am not talking about dilation in relativity in which case the rule still applies in one’s own reference frame anyway. Whether it’s moving something by one’s mind or making a blind man see, it has to have a scientific explanation. If it doesn’t then it never happened. At least not in this universe!
All equations in the universe are connected. It’s cause and effect. That 1+1 =2 makes 2+2 =4. If you dig deep enough into mathematics you stumble into the world of chaos. The metaphor behind branding the theory it’s name is another concept called the Butterfly effect. According to it, a butterfly flapping its wings in say Manhattan could cause storms in New York. In my perception, if one miracle ever happened, one miracle that would render science or the laws of the universe redundant, the whole universe would turn chaotic and even cease to exist!The moon would tumble in its orbit and crush on earth, the oceans would boil at 19 degrees Celsius, human heads will explode for the fun of it, the sky will turn green and all sorts of semantic errors will follow.
Then there is the inborn fear and sometimes not well crafted “ethical issues” implanted in the human mind. The fear that made the Catholic church arrest Galileo in the 17th century for his scientifically proven claim that the earth goes round the sun. The same fear makes us feel special and oppose the highly likely existence of aliens and also make us scared of accepting the possibilities of artificial intelligence and human cloning. It is this fear that makes us bury our heads deep in religion as we sway from the very basic principle of the universe itself: The Number Theory.

The Universe May not be Existsing Afterall

Standard

We live in a space-time continuum that exists within the precincts of our definition of reality. A reality that is an image our mind tells apart from fiction according to what we define; what it helps us define using equations and numbers. Beyond that reality, nothing exists. Not space, not time, not another universe. Rather another set of equations that are in chaos, they have no pattern, no rules, no numbers to work with and not a world to define. The equations cannot be defined as random; they cannot be defined as irregular. They cannot be defined at all. They do not exist.

In the Almighty’s world, time is not finite. Neither is space. Neither is He. That is the world he created to exist in. He is there in the past, the present and the future. Simultaneously. But if we make infinite steps down we come to our world. We cannot exist at all times at the same time. And even though we might be, it doesn’t make sense. We had to introduce divisions of time in order to model a world that makes sense to us. Every little thing is infinitely small and infinitely big. But we have to introduce measurements for their sizes to make sense to us. We make measurements because our minds have limits of understanding. Before A, nothing makes sense, after Z, nothing makes sense. But A to Z exists, according to our minds, because it needs a definite world to work with. What are the real limits? Do the limits exist? Do we exist? Does the mind exist?

We have a couple of senses, the mind inclusive, that helps us understand what’s real and what’s not. Our understanding is limited to the range of our senses. Anything that we cannot sense is not known to exist and is termed inexistent. But the universe and beyond is made of everything it is made up of. Including the ones we do not know and the ones we cannot interpret. So that our definition of reality is not what is actually real!

Reality changes its meaning in every persons head. If it was the same, we would be all having the same characters and making the same decisions. Reality changes meaning under alcohol. And until it the effect of the drug diminishes, the alcoholic will have a new version of reality under which he or she will strive to live in. Until we wake up from a dream the world the dream creates is our new reality.

Everything we see, everything we hear, everything we touch, everything is in the mind. The pain, the cookies, the cartoons and even us. Just like in the dreams. Just like the new world of a psycho. Maybe this life is all part of a big dream, maybe only our brains exist, somewhere out there. Maybe they exist as programs of intelligent beings in God’s programmed virtual world. But until the simulation is over, this will be our reality! Behold!