Check Your Voter Registration Status

For anyone who registered to vote in this coming elections, you can check to see if your registration details are correct. We need to vote for the change we’ve always wanted, and can only hope it will come. Plus I’m looking forward to the public holiday that is 4th March.

Scroll to the right to find the link for check the status in the plug-in below.

The Samsung Galaxy Note II- Totally Worth It!

When it comes to the Samsung Galaxy Note II, there is no comparison really. It’s a halfway device between a phone and a tablet (some call it a phablet). Essentially, it looks like a bigger S3, but it does offer much more. In fact I’m still discovering some things about it.

The Samsung Galaxy S III and Note II. Image from http://www.ibtimes.co.uk

The Samsung Galaxy S III and Note II. Image from http://www.ibtimes.co.uk

In Summary- The Good

  • 5.55 inch Super AMOLED Display – someone describes it as oodles of screen real state and I can’t deny this! Awesome for reading, emails, videos, etc
  • Long battery life thanks to its massive-sized battery
  • Great camera – 8MP with auto focus and an impressive 1.9 megapixel camera at the front.
  • Stylus- the handwriting recognition can identify (English) words from even the worst of the scrawlers and its accuracy will make it popular with for those with artistic talent
  • 1.6GHz quad-core processor w/ 2GB RAM- which is super great for playing games and it takes multitasking to another level
  • Android 4.1 Jelly Bean – there’s a lot of convenience you never knew you needed.. from a taskbar to a comprehensive pull down menu, you get to enjoy the latest version of Android (in the market)
  • Others: LTE, HSPA, microSD support, NFC, GPS etc

Here are two website I’d recommend for review:

ibtimes.co.uk and

This Longer But Much More Interesting and Detailed Review

The bad
The huge display makes the Galaxy Note 2 unwieldy to carry, it’s also hard to type with one hand. In this city of ours, I don’t pick calls on some streets. However, it still fits into most of my pockets I guess because it’s super slim.

Some Experiences With The Note

The S-Note

I was trying to get creative with the stylus- the S Note Application is quite neat and can allow you to create complicated pieces – but below is all I could come up with.

The picture says it all!

The picture says it all!

One awesome thing (ha! okay there are several awesome things with the note) is that if you’re in a hurry to jot something down, whenever you pull out the stylus, the S-Note app automatically loads on the screen. You can also take a screenshot of what is currently on the screen by holding down the button on the stylus and then proceed to edit the image!

Now you have a glimpse into my inbox! and my handwriting

Now you have a glimpse into my inbox! and my handwriting

The Camera

I have taken numerous pics thanks and with 16GB of internal memory that I’ve hardly used (not currently carrying any movies) I’m equipped for sports and random tours of nature. These make for great photo moments. I take pics everywhere, for instance the shot below was taken from the ladies washroom at work!

A view of downtown Nairobi from Upperhill

A view of downtown Nairobi from Upperhill. Click on it to see the full pic

The Respect

From everyone! I can’t count the number of times people have changed their behaviour towards me when I unleash the Note (I look like I have the money which I don’t!), or how little cousins always cry for my phone whenever they see it, don’t even bother tricking them with any other toys, even they know quality when they see it!

Handwriting Recognition with S-Pen
Sometimes you’re too lazy to write so you can take the pen out and scrawl a message (in English) and it will recognize it.. I’ll have to demonstrate this, not possible to take a screenshot at the moment because the moment I remove the pen from the screen, the words are already recognized..

Intelligent Prediction
When writing, it does not only predict the word but what follows the word.. and the Note II LEARNS people! If I write in a particular style, it starts predicting my sentences. I simply love its intelligence.

Text prediction on the Note II

Text prediction on the Note II

Oh as you can see from the screenshot above, it already predicts the next word possible word and will learn your texting pattern (and language). However since the screen is so huge, if you’re in a matatu, there is a possibility that at least 3 people are sharing what’s on your phone’s screen with you!

S-Voice and Other Intelligent Agents

There’s the usual weather app you can localize to wherever you are, the traffic app that keeps monitoring the roads and guesses (and misses) how many minutes it will take you to get home from your current location, Google Maps and all it has to offer.. eh this list is long. The apps you can find on the market will surely make you an addict of the phone. I have tried my best to control my addiction.

So the other day, my friend Vi and I were playing with S-Voice. It helps to have a slight American accent or at least watch the way you articulate your words. You can tell the phone to do anything for you, e.g. send an email, set an alarm etc and it will do so.

So we tried a search for ‘carbon sequestration’. And with my pronunciation you can see what S-Voice heard. It finally understood Vi, the first two tries are mine:

The search goes on... speech recognition isn't easy!

The search goes on… speech recognition isn’t easy!

The accented Vi then told it to save an alarm after saying I love you…

Vi setting the alarm after the I love message to S-Voice

Vi setting the alarm after the I love message to S-Voice

When I tried to say the same, look what I got..

That's kind of me? You couldn't even like me back, S Voice!!!

That’s kind of me? You couldn’t even like me back, S Voice!!!

So in the end we told S-Voice how stupid it is…

At least an acceptable answer!

At least an acceptable answer!

Multi-tasking

Because of its processing power, you can have all apps on your phone running smoothly at the same time. Switching between them is seamless, and you can have a video playing continuously minimized on a part of the screen while you do your emailing and texting on the very same screen!

I could go on and on.. but it’s best you see for yourself that it’s worth every cent you spend on it.

You can find the Samsung Galaxy Note II in shops around Nairobi at Ksh 60,000 thereof. Buy from Samsung shops, Safaricom shops, Nakumatt and Tuskys so you’ll be getting the real deal with the warranty.

The Story of Africa’s (Un)Development

I once read a story (probably in Charles Onyango-Obbo’s Thursday column, so I’ll paraphrase it here) about an African and an Asian who were in Oxford(or some other university that molds leaders). After finishing their studies, they went on to become leaders in their respective countries.

One day, the African visited the Asian. He found him living in relative comfort in a good house, and one or two luxury cars. He wondered how the other could afford it. The Asian winked and told him, “you see that road, 10%”.

Years later, it was the turn of the Asian to visit the African. He found him living in a pool of luxury, private jets, limousines and a palatial mansion.. you name it. When the Asian asked him how he could afford all that, he looked at him and winked. “You see that road…” there was only bush, “100%”.

While Asia and Africa may have been at par economically during the independence years, the difference in their current development status may stem from the fact that African leaders are just too greedy! And I couldn’t agree more..

Africans have problems, caused by our greedy leaders.  Image from http://www.toonpool.com/

Africans have problems, caused by our greedy leaders. Image from http://www.toonpool.com/

The American and the African

Another variation of the story is that of the American and African politician are each given a seed in a time when their citizens are hungry. The American takes the seed, waters it, does the mulching, manuring, manicuring and all that, and in time the seed grows into a huge tree with enough fruit for all. Even if he takes a few extra fruits for himself, no one notices, because everyone is generally satisfied.

When the African politician was given the seed, he ate it.

Kenyan MPs’ greed is unprecedented

And Kenyan MPs lead the African pack when it comes to their greed. There is just no ceiling on how much they want to ‘eat’ from the taxes we pay. Just today, MP’s passed a bill that will get them a hefty send off package of Ksh 9.3 million, in addition to other benefits. Read the story on the Daily Nation. I hope President Kibaki can do Kenya one last favour and refuse to sign the bill into law.

Kibaki's no face.. no, hapanaa! Image from http://img.dailymail.co.uk

Kibaki’s no face.. no, hapanaa!

Update

President Kibaki did not ascent to the bill, but let’s not celebrate yet because in the same breath, he signed another bill that gives him a hefty send off package! Read more about it here.

2013 Goals

As with most people, I do not make resolutions that I know I’ll never keep. However, I have goals that I intend to achieve by the end of the year so I guess I’ll share them.. this being a kind of personal-mixed-with-business kind of blog!

1. To Graduate

Image from pamobriensblog.wordpress.com

Image from pamobriensblog.wordpress.com

Nothing will give me greater pride than to hear my name being called out as I am awarded my master’s degree sometime in June this year. Plus I need my thesis to be of publishable quality, getting published in a business or academic journal will be very rewarding!

I love learning and I’m betting this will not be my last degree.

2. Give Birth Naturally Without Screaming

So I’m due anytime between March 18th and April 13th. So around 30th March I’m expecting the infamous labour to set in so I can bring forth into the world a beautiful baby boy called Jeremy, as smart and talented as his parents.

I’ll be all calm and will not take any pain medication/epidural. I’ve already bet with a friend that I shan’t be screaming as the doctors say “push..!” like they do in the movies. So who wants to take a bet?

push

A friend has offered to record the whole thing- not sure which parts will be censored- in the 24 hour format. You know the voice..

“the following takes place between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. ”

3. Turn 25

Turning 25? Challenge accepted!

Turning a quarter a century is a big deal, right? That’s my April goal.. it’s so easy to achieve because well, as long as I’m still breathing I have no choice but to grow older.

I should probably make a 25-things-to-do-before-you-turn-25 list.

4. Save!

Now that I’m in what I’d call ‘stable employment’, I should be able to save somewhat towards my goal of achieving not only financial independence, but also financial freedom. The freedom to buy a jet tomorrow if I wanted!

This will be mine someday, yes.. my precioussss. Image from gawker.com

This will be mine someday, yes.. my precioussss. Image from gawker.com

5. Take Divas4Tech to New Heights of Women Involvement in Technology

Last year we started Divas4Tech, that’s an organization dedicated to improving lives through technology and increasing the participation of women in ‘techpreneurial’ matters. I hope this is the year we achieve some of our goals.

If you’d like to join us, do not hesitate to contact me. Check out the website too.

2012 in Review

Okay, the season is over but I did not do a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year post, I did not reminisce the achievements (or possible failures) of this blog in the past year but I will try with this post so bear with me. Below are excerpts of my 2012 (rather than the whole story which would be a 1000+ pages book) experience.

The links on the months take you to the blog posts that I wrote during that particular month.

January

I have no recollection of what I was feeling then except that it was just another year, but I must have begun the year on a high note because I’m generally a very optimistic person. I believe things will always work out for me, and they usually do!

It was the start of evening classes for my master’s degree, that meant I was free to ‘hustle’ or is it ‘hassle’ during the day. I passed away my free time of the month in the cool waters of Nyayo Swimming Pool.

Nyayo Swimming Pool

The Nyayo Swimming Pool. Image from threeceebee.com

February

It’s the month of love and sadly I had a fallout around this time, although it did not prevent me from having a Valentine’s dinner date for like the first time. I went mostly for the food (I hope he is not reading this 😉 )

Love food. Image from http://beafoodlover.blogspot.com/

Love food. Image from http://beafoodlover.blogspot.com/

I will not lie, I love food, but I’m not a foodie. Foodies know a lot about food and flavour and spices and such, and how to prepare them. They probably enjoy cooking. I just enjoy eating, rarely matters what I’m eating as long as it’s delicious. Sometimes as long as it’s edible…

March

The Kenya Premier League 2012 Season had started and I got all suited up. Attended as many matches as I could, over 30 including some FKF fixtures.

Back of the Ingwelets top and my long-suffering twitter avatar

Back of the Ingwelets top and my long-suffering twitter avatar

And now I turn..

The front of the Ingwelets top. Here I'm at Nyayo Poolside restaurant waiting for a match to begin

The front of the Ingwelets top. Here I’m at Nyayo Poolside restaurant waiting for a match to begin

I attended the games much and sometimes wore outfits fit only for the games!

There were shorts:

At the game vs SoNy Sugar in Kisii town

At the game vs SoNy Sugar in Kisii town, wearing the away kit

And a skirt:

At the game vs Tusker FC in Mombasa

At the game vs Tusker FC in Mombasa

And a blast from the past- this was the 2010 kit which is still popular

At the game in Mumias, v Western Stima, I think

At the game in Mumias, v Western Stima, I think

And then there is the away Ingwelets top.

Spotting the away Ingwelets top at a match at Nyayo. I've had to crop some people out of that picture...

The away Ingwelets top at a match at Nyayo

April

This is my birth month and I was turning 24. I was in love with the song Promises by Incubus, I think I may have been going through another heartbreak eh! I think I’m too fickle. I attended the Connected Kenya conference in Diani, South Coast, and enjoyed every minute of it.

Turning 24 like a boss :)

Turning 24 like a boss 🙂

May

I seem to have only written two posts in May. The inaugural Kenyan blogger’s awards took place at The Serena Hotel and although I did not win in my category, had a good time.

Around this time, I bid adieu to my not-too-happy folks and essentially moved out of home. We all have to grow up sometime. I was still attending my evening classes, sporadically.

Leaving the nest is never an easy time for both parents and the child.. who is no longer a child. Image from pamobriensblog.wordpress.com

Leaving the nest is never an easy time for both parents and the child.. who is no longer a child. Image from pamobriensblog.wordpress.com

June, July, August

Not much seemed to have happened in my life this month but everything else worth documenting can be accessed with the Archives link on my blog for these months. I continued travelling to watch football matches, and attended the Samsung S III Launch at The Tribe, where I had the pleasure of meeting Julie Gichuru. You’d probably take a picture too, so don’t judge me!

At the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S III with Julie.

At the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S III with Julie.

I finally got published in the leading newspaper in the country, Nation, in the Friday Paper’s pullout- Zuqka. I still write for the Technobite column from time to time so don’t forget to check it out.

My female colleagues at Strathmore and I started Divas4Tech, with which we hope to achieve great things in the area of technology and women.

September

I love this month because of Daughtry’s song, September.

Finally, I was done with course work at the university and it was time to do my thesis proposal, which is I’m still working on up to date, sigh! I watched Nairobi Half Life and wrote my review, attended The Mingle for the first time with my hair in some sort of undefined style. See, I’d cut my shoulder length hair, something I’m still regretting- never again!

At the Mingle with a friend, Aggrey. The can in my hand is strictly for posing purposes.

At the Mingle with a friend, Aggrey. The can in my hand is strictly for posing purposes.

October, November

Still ‘working’ on my academic proposal. Reading novels and getting through the year. Quit an unsatisfactory job without a plan, but in a short span got two great interviews and consequently two job offers (I pass most of my interviews 🙂 ) and had to make a tough choice. However, I’m happy where I ended up, where I’m currently working. Formal employment is always a great way to ‘start life’ because of the stability it offers.

I attended Concours d’Elegance for the crowd rather than the vintage cars, I confess. The bikes were awesome though.

A BMW motorbike on display at Concours d'Elegance

A BMW motorbike on display at Concours d’Elegance

The Kenya Premier League Season (now Tusker PL) of 2012 came to a very disappointing end, with my beloved AFC Leopards settling to 3rd place. Well, you win some, you lose some. The 2013 season will be here soon.

December

The deadline for the ‘academic proposal’ looms closer but in between adjusting to the 8-5 working hours and commuting, I have little energy for it. It will be done soon though! I was voted AFC Leopards female fan of the year 2012 at the 2nd Ingwe Annual Awards and I want to thank all those who voted for me. I dedicate the award to all the Ingwelets, and the fans and players who made my football year 2012!

Who's the female fan of the year?

Who’s the female fan of the year?

I lost my blogging and tweeting mojos and I’m still searching for them, my update frequency is now quite rare.

Attended a friend’s wedding, Congratulations for the nuptials Judie! And to all others who got married in the past year of 2012.

Here’s a toast to 2013! Have a happy one. The years will always come and go, and the world may never come for a stop. But for each of us, life does start at some point, and it will end some other year, even this one. So be happy, is the moral of my story.

Image from business2community.com

Image from business2community.com