Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Jaw dropping inventions

This Prnav Mistry guy demos in simple language that sci-fi is no longer sci-fi but the inevitable reality.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Integrating MySQL with R, the statistical package

For the better part this morning I have been trying to get MySQL working with R. I was able to download and install RMySQL but getting it to load was a nightmare. Every time I ran library(RMySQL) it always gave me the error:
Loading required package: DBI
Error in if (utils::file_test("-d", MySQLhome)) break :
argument is of length zero
Error : .onLoad failed in 'loadNamespace' for 'RMySQL'
Error: package/namespace load failed for 'RMySQL'

I am running R on a WinXP SP2, MySQL v5.0.51 and R v2.10. The problem that I came to figure out was that R was trying to connect to the wrong version of MySQL. Typing
readRegistry("SOFTWARE\\MySQL AB", hive="HLM", maxdepth=2)
to see the versions of MySQL's in the registry gave:
QL Connector/ODBC 3.51`
$`MySQL Connector/ODBC 3.51`$Version
[1] "3.51.27"

$`MySQL Server 5.0`
$`MySQL Server 5.0`$Location
[1] "C:\\Program Files\\MySQL\\MySQL Server 5.0\\"

$`MySQL Server 5.0`$Version
[1] "5.0.51a"

This basically means that there are 2 instances of MySQL in the registry, ie MySQL v3.51 and v.5.0.51. Gotcha, this is the problem:

When connecting to MySQL R usually uses the first instance of MySQL found in the registry. In my case it was trying to connect to MySQL v3.51.

The problem is solved by removing this instance from the registry.
Go to

Type in regedit
Navigate to HKLM(HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE)->Software->MySQL Server 5.0.
Click on the folder with the unwanted MySQL and delete it.

Now try again to load RMySQL and BINGO you are done, or so I hope!!!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

MoFaya, They call it slum, we call it home

So finally the musical, MoFaya landed in Kenya, after its huge debut in LA, wonder why they thought of taking it to NY first yet it is Kenyan. Anyway that aside it was long since I attended a play and when I heard about MoFaya, I thought maybe I should check it out despite thinking that it would be a flop, but again I thought its Eric Wainaina!

MoFaya Rocks!! Actually thats an understatement, it blows all thats to be blown away! Its a masterpiece. The combination of Eric Wainaina, John Sibi Okumu, Valerie Kimani, Atemi Oyungu aka Chizi, Mumbi Kaigwa who are among the who is who in Kenya arts scene brings some of the best of what Kenya has to offer in terms of plays.

So much has been said about the post election violence and the poor being taken for a ride, but nothing has been put on stage as musical, as satirical, as funny and as sobering as MoFaya. Right from the intro by Chizi, the music led by Eric Wainaina and Valerie Kimani and the prowess of the actors, the musical grips the viewer by the balls and keeps him glued to his seat. It takes the viewer through the Kenyan experience in a short 2 hours, from the common man trying to make a living by exploiting the water shortage situation, to the waheshimiwas with their grand corruption plans, from the ambitious young man with a college degree and a hot gal, to the home thug who's always contended with being the "kanda ya moko" of the mheshimiwa. In its own satirical, funny and sobering message one cant help but just realise how we are all like each other, trying to make living, only others are straight while others will bend and break all laws to man just to get the extra shilling.

One constant thought at the back of my mind that I cant shrug off is why this masterpiece cant be taken to the slums, where people cant clearly see through the lines, yet it is based on the life in the slum. After all these successful runs, it would hurt a bit to at least enlighten the slum dwellers who need this information the most.

Friday, October 9, 2009

An album in my archives: Come away with me - Norah Jones

Its rare to find an album that you will listen to without choosing some songs that you really like, and when you find it, it is a keeper. Such is Norah Jones's Come away with me.

With her sweet melodies, soothing voice and careful arrangement of songs, the album will rocks you to sleep though it may be 10 in the morning. Songs like 'Come away with me', 'Dont know why', 'Nightingale', 'Seven years' and others are just a sneak preview why Norah amassed six grammy awards in 2002.

    Track listing:
  1. Don't Know Why

  2. Seven Years

  3. Cold, Cold Heart

  4. Feelin' the Same Way

  5. Come Away with Me

  6. Shoot the Moon

  7. Turn Me On

  8. Lonestar

  9. I've Got to See You Again

  10. Painter Song

  11. One Flight Down

  12. Nightingale

  13. The Long Day Is Over

  14. The Nearness of You

And thats why I call it a classic.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Nipo Natambulika

The 5th national census is here with. will you stand up and be counted? will you answer the most controversial question - which is your tribe? do you believe that the tribe statistics will be put in proper use or will it be used to divide us and be used as a bargaining chip?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Bewary of Google

In law there are clauses against mono policies, in real life we tend to feel exploited when buying something from a company with monopoly as we dont have the opportunity of knowing what other companies/people will ask for the same goods or services. In web, we have another coming up monopoly.

How many google products do you use? gmail, blogger, google maps, adsense, Google News, you tube, picasa, etc. The list is endless. The fact that google tends to give priority to items on its shelf when searching using google kinds of highlights the biased results of google's search engines.

Should we be worried about this? Most of us use this services for free hence answer will be no, but when you think about your search results being biased based on what is on google's shelves instead of what is on the whole world wide web you wont be so sure of your answer. When you add the monetary value that google receives on each search and on each time you are directed to a website or a product by google, matters get complicated. Since most of us are addicted to google and googling has become an everyday practice, we close one eye to this fact and enjoy the services while it lasts.

Fast forward to year 2030..... Will google be still standing, or will it be like Microsoft, being faced by numerous scandals while its products slowly becoming irrelevant??

The fact that I am blogging about this on one of the google services just shows how integrated we are with google.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

We are a failed state

For all those leaders who worry that Kenya will be labelled as a failed state, worry no more. We are officially a failed state. The only honorable thing that you un-honorable waheshimiwas is either to provide some god-damned leadership or just step down.

If some of you have the audacity of saying that people living in the forest should not be evicted, or start giving conditions for leaving the forest, you just cant stoop lower than that. There is massive water and electricity rationing, people are dying of hunger, rivers are drying up and some of your just cant seem to get it.

Its just a pity that we are an educated nation being led by blind leaders.

Friday, July 31, 2009


It sucks!!

For those who dont know what I am talking about, Hawayu is the "comedy" show that KTN launched to take on NTV's Churchill Live, but unlike the news time documentaries by Namu and Mohammed Juma, Hawayu sucks.

First the name itself was the opening trade mark for Churchill Live, the decor ah what a pity. The stage itself is unimpressive and where guys are sitting is even worse. Imagine you are sitting in a theater, they bring out guest artistes and expect you to enjoy the music and yet you cant move a limb!!! Halloooo wats the use if I cant dance??

No offence to Erick Omondi, he's young, he was just introduced the other day to this business and in no way does he have the capacity to do a full show. Snippets of him in Churchill Live were fun to watch coz he excels in only one area, mimicking Esther Arunga period! Even NTV were wise to realize the mistake they did by giving him a show of his own to host and they pulled the plug early enough before much damage was done.

The other day, he went full circle and worn a full lady's attire on show and went ahead to play sexy with Nameless and he's a dude!!! You cant stoop lower than that!!

Erick, go audition for Churchill's Top Comic, I bet you will walk away with Isuzu DMax.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Funny dialog boxes to crank you up

When you get dialog boxes like this, I bet you will be smiling the whole day.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Another side of Janet Mbugua

Watching Janet on the telly, reading the news, presenting Sunrise Live, her smile filling the studio, giving us one more reason to smile or laugh or criticize her joke or just to love her, one would never have thought of the real Janet Mbugua. The Janet Mbugua outside the telly, the Janet Mbugua without the make up, Janet Mbugua the "life of the party" as she would put it.

After her leaving KTN, wonder why they say "we never fully appreciate the things we have", I googled a bit about her and got some very interesting stories. "Tender, She calls" is a story by Janet Mbugua which kind of reflects her other side. Maybe not each and every other sentence, but the whole story does bring to light some bits of her that we dont know. The story kinds of smoothens the blurry picture that one might have of her, its a kind of glue that glues the different pieces together.

Anywayz, long story short. With the personality of Janet Mbugua that you know, read this interview from the standard. Any pictures forming, or different pieces of puzzle? Then read Tender, She Calls by her and tell me if that story might not be mixed with bits and pieces of her real life experience if not all of it is about her, although that might be far fetched.

Wat do you think?

Friday, June 19, 2009

the whip has been cracked, or is it will be cracked

Life for Nairobi's residents has just got a little bit more interesting. Woe unto you who dont follow the street lights, have nuiscance dogs and depend on mikokoteni (hand carts) to go about your businesses Phillip Kisia, the new Nairobi Town Clerk wants to do some whip cracking.

More on this in http://www.eastandard.net/InsidePage.php?id=1144017316&cid=4

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Uhuru's Budget

After reading this years budget I was convinced that Kenyans we dont lack people who think straight. UK is one of them and the technocrats who were involved in the budget making process. Though there were no tax reductions on some of the common items for you, me and Wanjiku, we will definetly reap from it in some few years should it be implemented.

The huge allocations to be channeled through CDF is quite encouraging and the only final thing that UK should do is pass a motion making our greedy MPs mere patrons with no or very little say on the day to day running of the CDF committees. This would be where the rubber meets the road. Imagine that we can have 210 Alliance High Schools, or Mangu or Starehe!! My brother would not have to rot in a sub-standard school just because he missed the cutoff by a few marks. What about the opportunities people will enjoy in each constituency.

So hold your breath and lets hope that we will be able to navigate the murky waters ahead.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

[MapServer Error]: msLoadMap(): First token must be MAP, this doesn't look like a mapfile.

In my development machine, I managed to set up mapserver to run on both windows and PUbuntu OS without much problem. On pushing the files to the host, I kept getting this as a first warning followed by another warning PHP Warning: Failed to open map file mapfile.map and then the killer PHP Fatal error: Call to a member function setextent() on a non-object . This was so disturbing since I was using the exact same copy of files both in the development machine and the server, although the sever was running on fedora.

Basically it boils down to this. Depending on the version of mapserver that you are running the map file might not be used on both versions. Some versions of mapsever requires a directive MAP at the beginning and an END at the end of the map file and a SYMBOLSET directive at the begining of a symbol file and a END directive at the end.

These two directives have made my life a living hell for 3 days, so I am posting this to help anybody who might be in the same pool.

Internet Everywhere Follow Up

In last post, I hailed Internet Everywhere from Orange as the internet solution of choice for people like us, who are on the move and internet is a must everywhere you go.

Now this is a quick follow up or just a big complain.. infact this post should be Orange your customer service SUCK!! What about that?

So this ka Internet Everywhere(IE from now on) works fine until 3wks, on a sato, into using it when it dies on me. Am like iz how? So on monday I take it to the orange guys and they start acting dumb, ati everything is fine on their side its the system fault. Since am a developer I kind of understand and I am like hey, do your thing I will wait. There is a guy there by the name Korir? Please Korir if you reading this, go into a PR class, your customer skills SUCK? First, not everybody is a kid in terms of technology, we kinda understand some things so treat us like "grown ups" and am sure there are guys out there who can teach you a thing or two. So basically this guy tells me that he will sort me, it was at 5pm, and i should wait. He keeps me waiting only at the end he tells me that the person who should sort me out is out and he cant do anything. That is after keeping me there for close to an hour. HALLO then why didnt u tell me that at the beginning? So I go home cursing like... but since the ka IE wont work I vow to show up at their offices the next day.

So the next day I show up at 8am and meet the supposed "saviour" Koros, another guy good PR aint part of his vocubulary. The guy takes me round in circles, circles, circles instead of just telling that there is a problem with the all IEs on post paid. One thing, if that guy tells u leave your number he will call you, dont even dare! That will never happen. He started telling me that right when I was buying the ka IE till "my one week of crisis", when I discovered my mistake. Its like he has a hobby of collecting customer numbers.

All in all when I discovered that its a kind of a "universal problem", I just chilled till when it would start working, which was a week later.

Now this is another funny part, when I went to pay my bill, nobody knew how much I should pay. Yea some of you would say that since I am on post-paid should it should be a flat rate, I was paying late and had either overused my bundle or my month was up. They checked their systems and did all they could, they just couldnt figure out my consumption.

So am just waiting with abated breath. Anywayz at least its working.

Will keep you posted!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Orange's Internet Everywhere to my rescue

Orange's Internet Everywhere rocks. As their motto is 'the fun gets faster', I am surely feeling it though am not on broadband. For you folks who dont know what am talking about, its the Orange internet offer that is driving me crazy(in a good way).

When I came back from Russia my first order of business was to get myself an internet connection. I choose Telkom(thru landline) which i came to deeply regret(why is a topic for another blog). Since then I have been looking for suitable Internet option to suite me(a software developer who is always looking the next great thing...) until I came across Orange's internet everywhere.

Orange is offering different bundles in pre paid and post paid, all of them at affordable prices.

For prepaid* you have the option of:
bundle(Mb) budle price(KSh) Price/Mb
daily bundle1506
*The cost of the modem is 4500Ksh

For postpaid** the options are:
Bundle(Mb)Monthly Bundle Price(Ksh)Package PricePrice/Mb
**After choosing your preffered bundle, you pay the monthly bundle, cost of the kit and a deposit twice the choosen bundle

The orange modem is a sleek black flash kind rectangle with the orange logo on it's front. It is no larger than the traveller flash disk, only that it is a little long and more square. In short it is easy to carry around without getting in the way.

Orange's Internet Modem
Orange's Modem

The modem emits a green light at intervals depending on its status: 2 blinks in 3 secs, showing it is searching for network, a blink in 3 sec to show network presence but not connected and if the green light is always on the internet is connected. The modem at times get pretty hot but not in any level to be dangerous.

Connection and Speeds
The conection is fairly stable, with no nuiscance of disconections and reconnections. Even while working for long hours(6 hrs) with 'heavy lifting' the connection is still stable although the modem can be quite hot although it does not affect the speeds or connection.

One thing that I am absoloutely loving is the speeds that come with it. The modem has a max download speed of 236.8Kbps and upload of 228.0Kbps. Although I have never cloaked any of these speeds, while using speed test it clocks a round ping of about 620-650 ms, download speed of 0.25Mbs(~250kbs) , and an upload speed of 0.09Mbs(90Kbps), while pinging servers in Nairobi. Pinging a server hosted in NY(optimum Online), it clocks a round ping of 992ms, downlaod speed of 0.07Mbs(~70Kbps), and an upload speed of 0.07(70Kbps). These speeds however fluctuate with time, with night times having the best speeds while slowing down during the day. One thing I can confess is that their speeds suck during the weekends, as I had problems downloading a 600Kb file at one point.

The modem has one major downside, its so hard to get it working the first time and especially if you have prior connections, be they wireless or LAN. I can now confess, that although am pretty good with comps when it comes to installations and use of new software and hardware, till now am finding it hard to get th modem working on my desktop, although it works pretty well from my work's laptop.

The modem comes with an Internet Everywhere dashboard which enables you among other things to moniter your data use. Its quite interesting as the dashboard provides an option of adding netwoks other than the orange network. This provides a means of adding the networks of other service providers eg Zain while at the same time using the orange modem(I am not sure if this can work), or using a third party modem like duxbury with any network carrier. This is quite interesting as it opens the platform for other carriers to use the orange software and modem.

Something quite sad with the management panel, is that it tracks the internet use on a particular machine rather than the total usage of the modem. If you use the modem on different comps, it just monitors usage on each comp separately and if you want to know your overall usage, you must add all the usages to get the full picture. If any of you orange guys might read this post, please do something, coz keeping tabs on all comps where I use the modem can be quite labourous.

All in all, any of you guys in Kenya looking for an affordable internet connection, Orange is a 'better option' than any of the other guys out there.

Monday, March 16, 2009


This is a phrase that was constantly used in the run up to the US elections last year, and at the time theoretically i understood what it meant but practically, I didn't have a clue about it, but am beginning to see it and you know what its damn scary.

Where do we draw the line, between action and hoping for action. As I have already stated in one of my blog entries, the accord to me was a cheap way out, and had we looked deeper a better solution might have been found. This cheap solution is turning out to be the most foolish thing that as nation we might had made. So wheres the connection, cheap(expensive) accord and mortgaging our future. Picture this: The government admitted to delaying the money for the free primary education because of what 'The money was diverted to buy the needed famine relief!', and so what happens to the millions of school kids depending on that money???? Yet, the country was fleeced of billions by the maize, oil scandals and the scandals we yet don't know. This didn't happen in the last 3 years, it happened barely 6-8 months ago. What happened to the suspects they are walking scot free and maybe fleecing more thanks to the system(read AG, Judiciary, Police the President and the PM). That happened, pretty sad isn't it! So whats now happening? we are still having a bloated gova, the MPs earn huge and don't pay tax, what about the red tape being accustomed to our friends, US gova, who are trying to help yet its like they have to fork a bribe to do so? This is still happening yet the gova has the audacity to say its broke? Hallo what did you expect, in the middle of this we will strike oil and become the next Dubai, or better discover gold and Kenya will give South Africa compe? These would also be looted. The oil scandal is a massive 7 billion and the gova says it need 25 billion, hallo if someone hasn't noticed thats just a whopping 28% of what you need, without even raising the hood, but guys you know what the free primary education can wait while our leaders enjoy tax free overpayment and while we wait on our friends to respond. IF THIS IS NOT MORTGAGING OUR CHILDREN'S AND OUR FUTURE then I need help to understand this.

So what do we do in this situation, we feel sorry for the millions of hungry Kenyans and make out an appeal for funds to feed the starving population, of which Kenyans contribute generously, but FOR HOW LONG?? This is another cheap solution that us as Kenyans we are taking, do you blame us? Our leaders taught us well. I am so sure that those guys we are feeding dont need handouts, they can work. Give them a jembe, some seeds, some fertilizer and show them how to overcome the perennial water shortages and you know what we can keep our shillings to ourselves. These people will feed themselves and sell to us what they cant consume, or better help the fishermen have access the waters around Migingo island and let them do what they do best, fish and earn a living, without being harassed by some 'neighbor'. Do you need a degree to figure it out, but hey we are country of cheap solutions.

So where do you fall in this maze, at least I highlighted it, but I guess thats another cheap excuse.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Thou shall not disregard instructions

For many of us who use the buses(Citi Hoppa and Kenya Bus specifically), there are three sins that thou shall not commit in a bus. These are namely smoking, preaching and hawking. The public have been faithful and abode to the teaching of this three 'sacred' laws for quite some years but the trend that has cropped up of late is quite worrying. I don't know if its the culture of impunity that we inherit from our (dis)honorable leaders or is it just one shade of an ugly culture of Kenyans manifesting itself. What am I talking about? Am talking about the numerous so called 'preachers' proclaiming to be spreading the word of God in buses.

Lemme clear the air first, I ain't no atheist, nor am I jealous of any person making money, the money can be of help to all especially at this times; its the Ludacris notion that just because someone is trying to make a living he/she can trample on the rights and privileges of others that is driving me nuts. These so called preachers, shepherds of the flock in the buses, board a bus and out of nowhere removes a Bible and start preaching, and you know what just opposite him/her there is this big sticker ...NO PREACHING... It just begs the question how are we meant to take your advice, yet you cant follow basic instructions. It just drives me nuts. Its not the idea of preaching the Gospel that I am against, its this idea that someone cant follow simple instructions, just like the guys in the supermarkets who makes a queue to a counter clearly written LESS THAN 10 ITEMS and the fool is pushing a cartful.

In short what these guys are implying is that the people who come up with rules and regulations are a bunch of stupid fat men and women who had nothing to do and it is better we go back to being a banana republic where one does what he/she feels like at any time he/she likes without giving a damn about what his/her neighbors feel or what they want.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Tribute to Former US President George Walker Bush

Its the 21st day of January and we have a "new leader of the free world". Yes the mantle has been passed on and one the younger generation has the baton. Congratulations are in order to America in its achievement, to the civil rights movement and to Barack Obama himself. It is a truly honorable moment even for us who are not Americans, as the sense of pride spreads wide.

As we salute Obama, it is worthy and especially Africa and us as Africans to take a moment and peek into the history and legacy of George W. Bush and his policies for Africa. Controversial as he may have been, unpopular in America and around the world as he may be, hated as he may be, Africa should be very grateful to him. Under his policies, we can say Africa was always on top of the list especially when help was needed. Africa was given the attention it deserved and especially when it came to the issue of HIV/AIDS and Malaria. We as Africans benefited greatly under his policies, more than what Bill Clinton managed to spend on Africa, though Bill Clinton is considered the most Africa friendly President. Figures and number I may not quote but when Bush was in power, the funding for the HIV/AIDS epidemic was increased, the AGOA initiative was relaunched, the US markets were opened a little to us Africans and specific goods given priority. Bush's government encouraged Africa to embrace democracy, and especially he was fond of the young presidents of Africa, especially presidents of Ghana, Tanzania, Zambia and Liberia who are proving to be more accountable.

This is one direction that we hope that the 44th President of the US, Barack Obama, will continue this direction.

Thank you George Walker Bush and enjoy your retirement.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Ubashiri: The Kenya of 2009-2012

Many at time I have been called a pessimist and so many the times I have felt as if I am a blind optimist. This is the battle of direction that at times I find myself in, but today my pessimist bone is much more active than the optimist one especially when the issue of where our beloved country is headed to is raised.

Let me state this clearly, I am a patriot who loves my country deeply and I would do anything to defend it, but unlike my optimism my patriotism is not blind and when I see thing that piss me off, the Idea of fleeing at times sounds a very good option. The grand coalition when it was formed sounded as a very good idea at the time when over 1200 people had lost their lives, ODM calling for trade sanction against the government, the western and European powers were spelling their terms and our beloved Kenya was going to the dogs while we were watching helplessly as the GSU and the police were making their presence felt. At that time, the grand coalition seemed like a very good idea, but that was the easier choice for us as a country. Had we searched keenly, took a hard look at ourselves and a more harder choice but better for the long run could have been realised. So why do I say that was an easy but bad choice??

The current crisis in the country is a very clear manifestation of this. One thing the politicians forgot, or they didnt and have never acknowledged is that Kenya is a corrupt country. Corruption runs in the blood and lives in the bone marrow of kenyans and the sooner do we acknowledge this the better. So PNU and ODM forgot that Kenyans are corrupt, and they went ahead and formed the grand Coalition, a bunch of thieves, corrupt mps and no one worthy of leadership. The results, the scandals we are seeing now, maize scandals, oil crisis, Wetangula and his team going to the states for Obama inaguration yet they will see it on TV just like you and me who we cant make it to DC but will have CNN, Nation and KTN at our services, Ong'ong'o and his team, the Mv Faina saga, of which we dont know who to believe; the ever lying government, the somali pirates, the sudan government or the marines who were guarding it, the IDPs saga where someone would rather pocket the 10,000Kshs for an IDP rather than help him/her get back to life and as sure as heaven and hell are the list will grow bigger and more scandalous.

How best can you explain this, 10 million are facing starvation yet some people can afford to siphon the food meant for them and export it so a neighboring country just to make an extra shilling, or the foreign ministry going for a visit where they are not invited ie gate crashing and are bound to spend millions where back at home people are dying of hunger, while teachers strike because the government cant give them a good deal and yet its the same government that is spending money as if it is in line for the US bailout now that a brother is in white house???

These are some of the stories that we will be hearing of for the next four years, just because two gangs of thieves made peace and now they can eat together with no shame and no fierce dog in the name of opposition on their backs. The PNU side is busy eating because this is their last chance to eat while ODM have unfinished business since the era of KANU. This is not hard to see unless your patriotism at times is as blind as my optimism at times. The maize scandal was a time bomb, and now it has exploded. Last year, crops were burnt in the field, and in the granaries, people and especially Kikuyu who are the largest farmers were displaced from their farms and some have never gone back, the rains failed and the national granaries were running below capacity. Do you need to go to school to learn that in these conditions the country will face starvation the following year????? But our politicians and government with the brain of a **** did not see it coming and if it did, it thought by mere not thinking about it the issue would solve itself!!!

This is just the tip of the iceberg and by the time the next four years are over we will be crying hard. So the next four years brace yourself for a tough landing as we will cry our eyes out.

all the best.