Sunday, February 26, 2012

Are you an unclear reactor?

No, that was not a spelling mistake or typo, I did not mean to write 'nuclear reactor' - I meant to write UNclear reactor. What do I mean? Well, the word reactor is defined as "a person or thing that reacts or
undergoes reaction", another definition simply describes a reactor as "one that reacts to a stimulus". Our daily lives are full of all kinds of stimulus, some good, some bad, some fun, some boring, some
exciting, some mediocre - and we all react to these various stimuli in different ways. These reactions manifest themselves in a multiplicity of actions that we carry out on a daily basis that end up defining
what we do with the limited amount of time we have each day. The manner in which we react and order our reactions to these daily demands is what determines the kind of reactor we are. Whether we are efficient and effective or whether we are muddled up, messy and unclear.

How then, do we go about achieving greater efficiency and effectiveness in our busy lives? How do we sift through the numerous demands placed on us for our time and attention and prioritise? How do
we ensure that the critical essentials are taken care of? This is where the big rock approach towards time management comes in. Let me explain.

Submarine cable cut cripples Kenya's Internet

While details surrounding the circumstances and exact time that the
TEAMs cable got damaged are as yet unclear, the incident has severely
affected Internet services in Kenya and neighboring countries.

The East African Marine Systems - commonly known as TEAMs was a
project initiated by the Kenyan government and implemented as a public
private partnership consisting mostly of Kenyan network operators. The
1.3 Terabit system, which launched with a lit capacity of 120 Gigabits
has completely transformed the quality and performance of Internet
services in the sub-region.

It seems that the cable cut occurred at some point around mid-day on
Saturday the 25th of February and was noticeable via most mobile
operators and Internet service providers' services being unavailable.
Immediate efforts to seek backup services from SEACOM, another
submarine cable that serves the region as well as backup satellite
connections resulted in partial restoration of services, although for
some Internet customers these came as late as Sunday morning.

It is reported that the cable cut has occurred about 4 kilometers into
the ocean on the Kenyan side. The cable which links Kenya's coastal
city of Mombasa to Fujairah in the Middle East, interconnects with a
variety of other International submarine cable systems to link
Africa's eastern seaboard to the rest of the world.

This first major incident will be a true test of the fault response
and repair capabilities of Alcatel, the organization that holds the
maintenance and support contract for TEAMs.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Wanna be hip in Kenya? Get a DSLR

I want a camera! No…. let me be more specific…. I want a DSLR camera (Digital SLR camera). And I have also realized that if I expect to be perceived as someone who is in touch with the times I must have a DSLR camera. This realization has gradually dawned upon me over the past several weeks as I have observed the increase in proliferation of these somewhat mystical but genuinely sexy gadgets. Mystical because there is a kind of magic that happens when a DSLR is in the hands of someone who knows how to use it and the images that come out of that union are, to say the least, breathtaking. Sexy because the damn gadgets have plenty of buttons, bells and whistles and seemingly cannot be discreetly hidden but bulge, protrude and hang openly with their naked charm out there for everybody to see.

While "keeping up with the Joneses" is something that is generally frowned upon let's face it, people like things, and from time to time there will be that gizmo, that gadget, that must-have doodad, that
makes a social statement which clearly separates the goats from the sheep. The current item that is clearly marking the more progressive in Kenyan middle-class society is the digital SLR camera.
One only has to grace a school swimming gala, graduation or wedding to see the very visible display of DSLR cameras. It is not uncommon to
have tens and tens of Nikon, Canon and Sony DSLR devices hanging around the necks, over the shoulders and in the grips of young urban
professionals at these events. In much the same way that a mobile phone seemed to convey upon it's bearer the appearance of being progressive, techno-savvy and socially fluent, the DSLR camera has solidly stamped it's authority as one of the modern labels of social standing.

While for many it serves purely as a status symbol and practically is used in much the same way cheaper point-and-shoot digital cameras are, there are those who have genuinely caught the photography bug and actively invest in and practice the art as a hobby outside of their day jobs and careers. Those who have distinguished themselves include the likes of Mutua Matheka http://mutuamatheka.co.ke, David Kiania http://www.shutterdiplomacy.com and Mark Muinde,
http://www.sokomoto.com all of whom have set up online portfolios that hold some breathtaking photographic works of art. While Mutua seems to have become a favorite wedding photographer for young, modern couples, David's work tends to consist largely of events where he bravely captures candid moments that carry the feeling and experience of the moment. Mark and his partner have distinguished themselves with a dedicated stock photography site where they hold what can only be
described as photographs that capture the African experience in imagery that shows both the traditional and non-traditional aspects of African and especially Kenyan society and environment.

So now I hope you understand why I must have a DSLR camera. It remains to be seen whether it will serve simply as my statement of social "with-it-ness" or whether I will actually develop the skills and
knowledge on how to wield the DSLR camera as part of the art that uses images to talk and touch and feel. And, since you asked, the DSLR that I am saving and scraping every red cent that I can spare for is the Nikon D-7000 *swoon*