29 September, 2010

Kimani Maruge Themed Movie "The First Grader "

The Kimani Maruge's life story themed movie "The First Grader" has evoked much ecstasy among its Kenyans fans ,however there is a twist of irony to the whole affair. The film which featured in this years Toronto Film Festival (September 9-19th)  has as part of its cast Hollywood actress Naomi Harris, Sam Feurer, Nick Reding and local media personalities and comedian  Daniel Ndambuki, actor  Oliver Litondo (playing the Lead Mr Maruge) Emily Njoki, Mumbi Kaigwa among others .

The film featured as a "British Film" whereas much of the cast, the location and the story line is Kenyan.The film was Directed by Justin Chadwick That is the irony -a local story that hardly merited any production venture from our myriads production houses but caught the eyes of our former colonial masters hence being retold by foreigners.

While ultimately this story of resilience  has caught more attention than it would have been had it been a local production ,the fact is that it was a story worth telling and perhaps we as a people never thought of seizing the opportunity of telling our own stories of triumph and victory over adversity. In fact the inspiration of the story Mr Kimani Maruge died in misery as an Internally Displaced person by virtue of the selfish interests that played out in Kenya's last general election.I am a firm believer that no one can tell an African story better than the Africans themselves yet we pass on many opportunities e.g Nelson Mandela's Movie(was a foreign production) ,we hardly have a movie on Wangari Maathai and other personalities whose story is worth mention.

According to IMDB the story line behind the movie is developed upon the 84 year old Kimani Maruge's desire to learn to read which inspires him to Join Primary School standard One(American equivalent: First Grade) a class alongside six year-olds. Together he and his young teacher face fierce resistance, but ultimately they win through - and also find a new way of overcoming the burdens of the colonial past.

Interestingly,"Kimani Maruge" enjoys a facebook fanpage courtesy of a fan with over 5,349 fans indicating its not only school that he joined- his story went past the Digital Divide.The only thing lacking as is common of Holywood hits is "The First Grader Movie Website"

22 September, 2010

ScienceStage partners with World Health Summit(Press Release)

Berlin (September 22, 2010) - ScienceStage, the largest online multimedia portal for science & education, has recently announced to partner with the World Health Summit, which takes place in Berlin, Germany from October 10th to 13th, 2010. ScienceStage assumes responsibility for conference documentation through video.

The World Health Summit is the world’s foremost meeting of researchers, physicians, politicians and stakeholders within the healthcare system. The summit is held under the patronage of French President Nicolas Sarkozy and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

ScienceStage.com has blossomed into the largest online multimedia portal for science TV, knowledge podcasts, research documents, and academic networking. At this time, the ScienceStage.com database includes: 38 million research papers, 100,000 videos and 3 million topic pages, groups, and news entries.

For further information see:

Marko Bubke-Chau | Marketing Manager
T +49 (0)30 24 08 57 87
F +49 (0)30 40 50 04 56

Postal Address:
polarmedia UG
Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 13
10178 Berlin, Germany

Kenyan Liza Mucheru Wisner In "The Apprentice Season 10"

 A Kenyan born lady has for the first time made it among the 16 handpicked cast for the Donald Tramp reality TV Series " The Apprentice-Season 10". Wife and mother of two Liza Mucheru Wisner of Corpus Christi Texas will ride the Country's flag high as she demonstrates business acumen, innovativeness and agility in the reality TV show.

Lol, with no pun intended ,ladies from central Kenya often are Business savvy ,its no wonder the first Kenyan to make it to the show hails from the region,we can be certain that she will deliver in the show(...had to include that in this post).As a Country the international media has made it a habit to focus on our downside and weaknesses but as Wangari Mathai,Barrack Obama, David Rudisha, Pamela Jelimo,Liza Mucheru and a bevy of other accomplished Kenyans have proven ,this country is not bereft of talent and positive emoluments.People better recognize.

Season 10 of the American Apprentice show premiered on Thursday September 16, 2010.For a certainty ,this show will receive massive attention and viewership from the Kenyan audience.

You can follow Liza Mucheru on twitter @lizawisner

16 September, 2010

Nokia boosts developers' potential to reach mobile phone users

Design, develop, distribute key theme at the Nokia Developer Summit 2010(Press Release)

LONDON – Nokia today unveiled a number of major improvements in developer tools making it simpler, easier and more lucrative for people to build fantastic apps that can reach the world’s largest audience of mobile users.

Highlights include:
·         Significant enhancements to the Nokia Qt Software Development Kit (SDK) resulting in a 70 percent reduction in the number of lines of code required when developing for the company’s family of Symbian smartphones;
·         Improvements in the Ovi Store user experience including a new look and feel, making it faster and making apps easier to find;
·         Lower barrier of entry and increased monetization opportunities for developers, including free Java and Symbian signing, in-app purchase, improved revenue share, and advanced developer analytics.

“Our announcements will certainly bring more great apps to Nokia products, especially our new family of Symbian smartphones announced today,” said Purnima Kochikar, vice president for Forum Nokia. “We have made it much simpler, removed obstacles and made it more lucrative for people to build apps for our phones. We believe that this will convince more developers to build apps for the millions of people, in more than 190 countries, that are using the Ovi Store on their Nokia devices.”

Design, Develop
Today, developers can distribute apps to approximately 175 million Nokia Symbian smartphones - the largest smartphone user base in the world. Qt is pre-installed on all new Nokia smartphones and downloadable to millions of smartphones people are already using. Using the Nokia Qt SDK to build their apps, developers will discover a complete, easy-to-use tool that brings a shortened workflow, simplified development and intuitive UI libraries resulting in 70 percent fewer lines of code, cutting creation time dramatically.

New opportunities for developers will include in-app purchase, enabling a wide range of app pricing options in Ovi Store such as subscription models, micro-transactions,  or ”try and buy.” This means if people enjoy the free version of the app, they can easily upgrade to the paid version. It also allows developers to build added value into their apps such as the sale of virtual goods, additional levels for games, or enhanced or localized in-app features. 

Mikael Hed, CEO of Rovio, the company behind one of the world's most popular mobile games, Angry Birds, is pleased to bring the game to Nokia devices. Speaking about the new in-app purchase feature in Ovi Store, Hed said, "We now have an elegant mechanism for providing premium content within games, like Angry Birds, in a way that doesn't interrupt people playing the game."

With the Nokia Qt SDK, developers can also future proof their app by easily adapting them to run on future mobile platforms such as MeeGo, while taking advantage of any additional features or APIs those platforms bring.

Nokia will focus on making developers more money by leveraging the largest operator billing footprint available and greatly improving the operator revenue share for payments made after October 1. Nokia has also removed the time consuming and costly step of app signing. With one click, Java and Symbian apps signing is complete.

Nokia’s acquisition of Motally provides rich in-app analytics for developers and publishers to better track, report and monetize their content; these capabilities will be extended to Qt, Symbian, MeeGo and Java platforms. 

The reach of Ovi Store provides tremendous opportunities for developers with an active user base in more than 190 countries and strong local relationships with 91 of the world’s top operators. More than 50 publishers have seen more than 1 million downloads each, with some - like Offscreen - reaching more than 43 million downloads.

”Fizwoz was launched as a Qt-based app at the beginning of the year and featured in the top 10 Ovi Store apps for the Nokia N900 for just a week,” said Andy Sheldon, CEO, Fizwoz. ”During that time, it received over 9,000 downloads from 91 countries, and when we put it on Symbian smartphones in early May our numbers on Nokia shot up. We now have almost 41,000 people using it in 167 countries and add 200-300 new people every day. In fact, it took just two months for Nokia to catch up with our user number on a big competitor’s app store with a predominantly U.S. distribution footprint. Nokia is truly worldwide.”

First SDK for touch based mobile phones
In addition to the refinements with the Nokia Qt SDK for smartphones and mobile computers, Nokia also announced an SDK for Series 40 Touch and Type – the industry’s first touch SDK for mobile phones. 

Last year, Nokia shipped 364 million mobile phones - around a million devices every day. The new Series 40 Touch and Type SDK brings the benefit of a touch interface to a new global audience. The SDK, available for download from forum.nokia.com, will make development for these devices extremely simple and allows easy porting of existing apps created for current Nokia smartphones.

About Nokia
At Nokia, we are committed to connecting people. We combine advanced technology with personalized services that enable people to stay close to what matters to them. Every day, more than 1.3 billion people connect to one another with a Nokia device – from mobile phones to advanced smartphones and high-performance mobile computers. Today, Nokia is integrating its devices with innovative services through Ovi (www.ovi.com), including music, maps, apps, email and more.  Nokia's NAVTEQ is a leader in comprehensive digital mapping and navigation services, while Nokia Siemens Networks provides equipment, services and solutions for communications networks globally.

07 September, 2010

Hail the mobile phone, for the best is yet to come(Press Release)

..Alien to many Kenyans only a decade ago, the device is now the signature tool of development
Nairobi, Kenya, September 2 2010: A few years ago election monitoring and reporting was a tricky, tiring and often thankless affair. Dealing with Kenya‘s elections processes in the last decade, in particular, has largely involved sending hordes of polling clerks, election observers and monitors, with paper files stashed in their underarms, to far-flung areas to help record the goings-on election and referenda. Apart from being slow, unreliable and erratic, such processes have proved risky for election officials especially if violence broke out.

But things are changing. Mobile phone technology is rapidly transforming the way these national and other crucial life-changing activities are carried out, bringing with it faster, reliable and credible relay of information from outlying areas.
Apart from elections reporting, the ubiquitous device, owned by nearly 20 million Kenyans, has also helped stem incidents of violence that have in the past rocked various parts of Kenya notably in 2007 elections. A lot depends on how transparent such processes as elections are but the mobile phone is taking a lion’s share of the contribution toward this positive change.

In a ground-breaking project in conjunction with the Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC), Safaricom, Kenya’s largest network operator, the world’s leading mobile handsets-maker Nokia supplied over 18,000 Nokia 1680 phones to be used by the electoral body’s returning officers and clerks in various part of the country.
IIEC had picked Safaricom after, inviting Kenyan telecom operators for a partnership with it with the objective of running an efficient and credible referendum process.

“Key to this was information management with planned innovation of using mobile and fixed data infrastructure to transmit results quickly and cost effectively. Safaricom responded with a fully fixed and data proposition to meet this need. The mobile data solution included 3G modems and 18,000 Nokia 1680 handsets,” says Mr. Kenneth Oyolla General Manager, Nokia East and Southern Africa. The Nokia 1680 is one of the most affordable, internet-enabled mobile phones and boasts of a long battery life.

Safaricom then installed specific elements on the GPRS-enabled handsets including a customized application with a special interface for submitting results. It was a basic interface that has a ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ options for feedback. The phones were then installed with an Internet Protocol (IP) address- a numerical label that is assigned to devices and which helps to uniquely identify each device.

The phones were also installed with an access point name (APN) which enabled the phone used by every presiding officer to be authenticated as genuine when they relayed results electronically to the computers at the tallying centre. . As a result the IIEC was able to get timely feedback in its centre, hubbed at the Bomas of Kenya in Nairobi. By the time the clock ticked midnight of August 4 most of the results had had trickled from remote areas in Mandera and Malaba, near the border with Uganda.

“The sheer ubiquity of mobile phones is bringing with it one of the biggest leaps in history, in many spheres of our lives. Whether it’s the good, old text message or the new, snazzy features such as mobile chat- which are gaining huge popularity in Kenya and in Sub-Saharan Africa-the mobile phone is bound expand the possibilities. The revolution has just started,” says Mr Oyolla.

So what does the mobile phone revolution portend for people’s livelihoods? With progressively lower calling rates people are already interacting more on phone. In its latest quarterly report, covering January to March 2010, the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) says the total number of mobile traffic grew by 19.9 per cent from 4.2 million minutes in the previous quarter to 5.1 million minutes. This represents a 118.6 percent increase, compared to the same period of the previous year.

At the end of the 2009, the penetration rate of mobile service had risen to 49.7 per 100 inhabitants. This compares favorably the world average of 49.8 per 100 inhabitants, as rated by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), World Development Index 2009 from 2007 data. The recent tariff reductions by Kenyan mobile operators are destined to perk up these figures. Analysts say this is, potentially, good for the economy, with possibilities of people engaging in productive interactions such as seeking jobs, market-related requests and the like.

Soon, says Mr. Oyolla, mobile technology could play a significant role in detecting, mapping and responding to epidemics as happened in a recent polio outbreak in Kenya recently. With handset-makers like Nokia championing manufacture and use of low-priced, internet-enabled devices, players in the industry are expecting even more interactions on the mobile phone.

The mobile phone is already bringing unprecedented impact in other areas such as finance, education, health and environment. The talk of M-Pesa, revolutionary money transfer service pioneered by Safaricom, and a world’s first, has brought about ground breaking and positive effects to the Kenyan economy.

And in neighbouring Tanzania, Nokia is already providing technology leadership through Bridgeit locally known as Elimu kwa Teknolojia (Education through technology) in Tanzania using convergence as a platform for learning for children in developing economies, many of whom lack access to basic learning materials.

Mr Oyolla says the project, a multi-sectoral partnership with International Youth Foundation, the Tanzanian Ministry of Education and others, has brought about a “unique convergence of mobile telephony and satellite technology designed to deliver digital multimedia learning materials to teachers and students who otherwise would not have access to them. Plans are now well underway to kick this program off in Kenya before the end of the year.”

The mobile phone may have been alien to many Kenyans just a decade ago, but the socio-economic significance of this device might not meet its technological match in the next century.
(Guest Article by "David Kimondo")


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