14 December, 2012

Introducing Google+ (Plus) Communities !

On 6 December 2012 Google Senior Vice President Vic Gundotra  announced via Google Blog the introduction of a new exciting product into the Market :Google+ Communities .This "may" perhaps be one of the most significant products that may just elevate the search giant in the social media arena to rival and perhaps ultimately defeat Facebook.

At present pundits and techies alike are musing on whether Google + Communities may just be the death bed of Message Boards and many valid arguments are raised in support and against the statement.For now it may just be too early to tell the effect that Google Plus Communities may have in the World of Social Media but on the preliminary it is safe to say the impact will be "significant" enough for the dominant player Facebook Inc to be exponentially concerned.

So What is Google +  Communities? Many of us are acquainted with Facebook Pages...Well Google Plus Communities is much more.The above YouTube Video i believe illustrates what it is and what you can use it for.You can learn more however at this official page. Coupled with Google Hangout -Google communities is a serious contender for the attention of those disposed to socially interact online for business,pleasure, education, entertainment...etc.Google Plus Communities is the gathering place..the rallying call for the diverse interests.

Take for example are you a passionate Kenyan Blogger...there is already a community for you to share your thoughts, inspiration ,challenges, network... etc.This is significant due to the fact that Google + Communities is hardly 6 days old and you get such ventures already going on.

Go ahead give it a try...engage a community!

Gerald Kibugi and Gilbert Rono Win Global Appstar Challenge


Two Kenyans have scooped top honors in the recently concluded Appstar Challenge held in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Gerald Kibugi who presented a game “Tough Jungle”, took the first position in the Appstar Challenge sponsored by global telecommunications giant, Vodafone, while Gilbert Rono took the second slot with an educational application dubbed “Eureka”. 

Kibugi and Rono, won USD 25,000 and USD 15,000 respectively, following a thorough assessment by a global panel of top judges for the challenge which is aimed at spurring growth in the development of local apps in Africa and Asia.

Kibugi and Rono’s apps beat a field of 284 entrants to win Kshs. 1 million and Kshs. 0.5 million respectively in the Kenyan finals organized by leading integrated communications provider, Safaricom Limited last in November.

Accepting their awards, Kibugi and Rono said their respective wins demonstrate that Kenya has indeed come of age in Apps development by showcasing the country’s potential in a field that featured participants South Africa, Egypt, Qatar, Lesotho and Tanzania,

“There are many young Kenyans like us who have devoted their time and other resources to try and address local problems using local solutions that ride on the robust mobile ICT network. This win illustrates that their work is not in vain”, said an ecstatic Kibugi.

Rono added, “We are now confident that we will now move on the next level in this journey, which is to create a vibrant local apps economy in Kenya, by availing these Apps on a platform where it can be acquired in a cost-effective way”.

Congratulating the winners, Safaricom’s Chief Executive Officer Bob Collymore promised to continue working with independent Apps developers, established software labs like the iHub and Universities, with a view to helping position Kenya as the Silicon Savannah.

“With the increased growth in mobile use, innovative mobile apps are becoming an important part of our day to day life. We recognize that huge app development talent exists in the emerging markets and in fact, only such developers can provide applications suitable for the local markets. This competition is an effort to bring out the developers in emerging markets to the limelight,” said he ,Kibugi and Rono are expected back in the country on Friday, December 14, 2012.

08 December, 2012

International Human Rights Day 2012 ; "My Voice Counts"

On Monday 10th December, 2012 Human Rights enthusiasts worldwide will be observing the annual International Human Rights Day held each year on December 10 since 10 December 1948 when the United Nations(UN) General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which sets out the international standard for promotion and protection of enjoyment of human rights.This years theme is: "My Voice Counts".

This theme focuses on an individuals right to inclusion and participation in public life, emphasizing the right of every individual to voice their opinion and take part in public discourse and decision-making processes.
This right has especially been amplified with the rise and emergence of the internet as a platform for communication and expression across the global divide.

According to a press release of the Internet Society Organization "This year's theme offers a great opportunity to reflect on the open and global Internet as a tool which has the potential to shape a society in a way that is more tuned to the needs and aspirations of its constituents"As part of their engagement on Human Rights Day, they are inviting you to make your voice heard and join them on several of the following initiatives:

  •   Join the Thunderclap campaign to send out a single message to the world on Twitter and Facebook on Monday 10 December by using the hash tag Make your #VoiceCount on Twitter
  •  Visit the website:     www.internetsociety.org/humanrightsday
  • On 10 December at 2:30pm UTC, the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) will host a Google+ Hangout for #VoiceCount Human Rights Day. Together with other participants, High Commissioner Navi Pillay will discuss issues related to inclusion and the right to participate in public  life. We invite you to participate and raise Internet related issues during the discussion. You can also send questions to the OHCHR in advance to #AskRights. 
The Right and freedom to express oneself is an invaluable right, indicate your appreciation for this Right by making "Your Voice Count" .Participate in whichever way possible for you in this years "International Human Rights Day"

07 December, 2012

TECNO launches a 3G smartphone as It Eyes the Youth Market

29th November 2012, Nairobi, Kenya– TECNO  announced the introduction of the N3, its latest range of Dual SIM 3G Android Smartphone in Kenya in partnership with Qualcomm. The new phone model known as N3 and it will be soon on sale in outlets countrywide. The phone model is linked to a new communications campaign dubbed “Be Yourself” that is aimed at connecting with the youth market. 

Speaking during the press conference, Vice President of TECNO, Arif. Chowdhury said “The youth in Africa are vibrant and constantly want to stand apart with their own identities. As a mobile phone company, we understand the need to constantly engage them and TECNO as a brand is committed to connecting with the African youth’s motivations and passions.”

Mr. Chowdhury added, “The TECNO N3 is designed specifically for the young African consumer and offers a great mobile phone experience, with access key features that young people look for such as social networking, access to thousands of apps and entertainment at a good price point. We are using the Be Yourself campaign to introduce this phone model because we feel it’s the best platform for us to connect with the youth.”
TECNO has partnered with Qualcomm, a world leader in 3G and next generation mobile technologies to provide N3 with a powerful chipset of Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM7225A, which packs everything you need for a best-in-class experience on N3, which will give consumers the best 3G smartphone experience expectantly.
The trendy 3G Smartphone runs on the high performing Android 2.3 operating system, supports both 2G and 3G networks and is powered by 1GHz processor to allow consumers to enjoy a higher Internet speed and a faster running speed. And it’s dual SIM phone.
In addition, TECNO N3 comes with a variety of apps that allow the consumer to connect to their social networks with ease and especially Flash Share. Flash Share is unique transfer software that allows one to share files in any format and size in group at an amazingly fast speed. The most interesting point is that you can just slide a picture and transfer it to another phone in a second. TECNO also says that another unique app PalmChat, a free chat app that can connect with friends across all platforms, will be preloaded on N3 soon. And what is specially worth taking a moment to flag is that you can look for new friends via PalmChat only by shaking the phone.

 We are always endeavoring to provide customers with appealing mobile communication products with superior quality and agreeable services. By partnering with these key corporates, we believe that we will meet our consumers’ needs and provide them with a one-of-a-kind experience with the N3” said Mr. Chowdhury.

Through this campaign, TECNO hopes to further solidify its foothold in the African market and propel itself even further as a company committed to providing its consumers with high quality mobile phones for the best possible mobile phone experience at a good price point.

06 November, 2012

Kenyan Bloggers and Election Coverage 2013: Media Council Training

Kenyan Bloggers and Election Coverage 2012-13

Last week I had an opportunity to attend an online Journalists and Blogger Training on Elections Coverage and Hate Speech organized by the MediaCouncil of Kenya(MCK) and the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) at KCB Conference facility in Karen.

The training brought together a number of media practitioners from many of the local media fraternity and a number of bloggers (from BAKE) and online journalists with intent to educate and  promote adherence to professional journalistic ethics ,code of conduct and the Media Council of Kenya Guidelines for Election Coverage that were adopted by various stakeholders in the industry.

The inclusion of new media practitioners to wit bloggers and online journalists was a ready welcome and a departure from the traditional practice of ignoring and or assuming the role of blogs and other new media platforms that are increasingly shaping societal perceptions in this increasingly digital society.

Amongst the highlights on various themes and subjects that were delved on and that may be a subject of interests to many Kenyan bloggers included:

1.    An Introduction to the Media Council it role, ethics, accreditation process, mandate & recent successes. This was developed by the Councils programmes Manager Victor Bwire who clearly articulated the concerns mostly of traditional journalists whom the vast majority operate in lackluster environment and clearly need the intervention of the Council to be able to continue to effectively fulfill l their roles.
2.    Commissioner Milly Lwanga of the NCIC thereafter proceeded to highlight features of the National Cohesion and Integration Act of 2008, the mandate of the Commission and salient provisions in the Act. She also focused on online Media and National Cohesion
Media Council of Kenya Chairman Levi Obonyo on New Media
3.    Churchill Otieno of Nation Media Group focused on Media Convergence and adherence to the Journalistic Principles .He emphasized on the need to adhere to same standards of this across all platforms. For bloggers a pointer I found useful and would like to share is the need for cultural competency i.e. understand the social and cultural make up/background before you post .In many instances many bloggers put up material with little or no regard to the perception of their target audience. It is this unhealthy practice that partly contributed to the chaos that was witnessed during the last general elections. For Traditional Journalist a burning question was left, Is Journalism the possession of a skill set or is it values? I believe this is a ready and ripe question that must also be addressed by new media practitioners/citizen journalists.
4.    A Highlight of the Conference was a presentation by Mr. Jackson Cheboi of the NCIC Legal Department and Mr. Stanley Cheruiyot of the Criminal Investigations Department on Freedom of Expression Versus Hate Speech. This was a simply moving and insightful session. The Kenyan Constitution guarantees greater freedoms and human rights enjoyment than many other constitutions in the world however these rights come with responsibilities that encompass our lives both online and offline. Bloggers and other tweeps who abuse the online freedom best be warned. The Kenyan Government knows who you are, where you are from and what your activities are…so better be careful. They are tech savvy ,have the apparatus and are constantly monitoring the digital space for those who believe that they are invincible online, best be warned .It was also somehow assuring to note that some of the people who have been arrested for breaching the Communications Act were actually issued with several warnings to desist before action was taken. It would be fool hardy to think that any Government in this present day and age does not monitor what its Citizens do online…the SOPA  act in the USA testifies to this. However a field that readily needs to develop is the curtailing of the use of surveillance to silence or interfere with the right to a measure of privacy and freedom of expression especially in despotic regimes or by persons of similar leanings.
5.    Professor Levi Obonyo the Chairman of Media Council of Kenya shared his steady grasp on Citizen Journalism, evolving issues and how to verify information provided by online sources. The Need to attribute sources, verify the veracity and truthfulness of the source was discussed at length.
Joe Kadhi's Discourse
6.    Finally, a highlight and exponentially educative session was by veteran journalist and USIU Lecturer Joe Kadhi who tried to capture the spirit, meaning, intent and purposes of adhering to the Journalistic Code of Conduct when  breaking News Online. Whereas it’s impossible and possibly boring to regurgitate all that he said , interesting tips he gave are:
I.     Sources: Always identify your sources, a story is as good as its source, a vague source begets a vague story
II.    Make sure your posts are accurate, publish nothing negative without first giving the person the right of reply and make sure you publish the reply.
III.   Watch out on your personal activity, for traditional journalists these impacts on the media house they are publish on.
IV.  With Respect to Tweets and other online platforms clear the same as soon as they are received. In essence content curate…(just a side note all the media houses seem to have negated on this just look at the hateful comments that fly left right center after every political piece on the websites)remember you are responsible for all content on your page including comments
V.    Acceptance of Gifts and Junkets from particular political actors obscures objectivity.
VI.  The 5W’s and H of a story: What, Who, When, Where, Why and How?

After the training participants were enlightened as the brief synopsis herein has highlighted. The pictures testify that delving on such issues will greatly enhance the greater use of the digital space in a responsible, peaceable and fulfilling way.

29 October, 2012

Inside Story Premiere : A Kenyan Movie on HIV/Aids

 On Thursday 25th October, 2012 Discovery Channel Global Education Partnership’s  premiere'd the Inside Story Movie at  the Kenya Film Festival.The full feature-length film, Inside Story, brings together an all-star, pan-African cast in a compelling story of football, young love, and a twist of science has a two-fold mission: entertaining audiences while also educating them about HIV/AIDS.

Directed by RolieNikiwe (TshaTsha, The Lab, Intersexions) and filmed in Kenya and South Africa, Inside Storystars Kevin Ndege Mamboleo (Changing Times) as Kalu, a gifted footballer who moves from rural Kenya to urban Johannesburg to follow his dream and support his family. His path becomes more challenging when he falls in love with the coach’s daughter, Ify (Kendra Etufunwa), and subsequently finds out he is HIV-positive. Mamboleo and Etufunwa (Jacob’s Cross) are joined by international stars including Hakeem Kae-Kazim (Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Hotel Rwanda, 24) as Kalu’s mentor and tough-as-nails coach, FanaMokoena (Blood Diamond, Hotel Rwanda) as the ruthless team owner, and Regina-Re as Kalu’s mother, Miriam.

Produced by Curious Pictures South Africa (now Quizzical Pictures) with the support of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Chevron, Discovery Communications, Access Bank, the South African Department of Trade and Industry,SEACOM and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), Inside Story reaches across class and educational boundaries through a compelling story of sports, love and ill fates. The film, which has been selected for 12 international film festivals to date, won Special Jury Recognition at the 2012 Pan African Film Festival and was honored with the Zuku Award for Best African Film at the 2012 Zanzibar International Film Festival.

Inside Story will be available to audiences across sub-Saharan Africa later this year and early 2013 through theatrical, broadcast, online and grassroots platforms. 

This movie is bound to be a thriller and to inspire conversations especially among the teenage and young adult population in Kenya who are at high risk of contracting the disease due to to a notable trend and  heightened risk of engaging in casual sex. Its definitely a must watch movie for everyone who cares not only about their own lives but also of the larger community. If you watch it , please share your thoughts on as many platforms and social forums as you may be able to .

Twitter: @ThePowerofTV and #InsideStory


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