Thursday, May 31, 2007

June 1: Techie and Blogger Meetup

From the skunkworks mailing list:

we're having a MEETUP on Friday, 1st June at a place called ALPENOF -
it's right next to the entrance of Prestige Plaza on Ngong Rd.

everyone's welcome - we've confirmed a number of techies & popular
bloggers attending ... so pop in to meet new faces, and hang out with
friends. we'll start at 5pm and go on till late.

penguins welcome.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

LPA Presentation - Meeting 29th May

I came late for this one, so someone else (Gituma?) will be adding on to this.

Evans Ikua, a major proponent of the Linux Professionals Association of Kenya, and a FOSS advocate made a presentation on what the LPA is about. LPA membership is currently 500 KES only (student rates - though we all qualify). To register visit the website - and register, then contact them by email. Evans mentioned that he would probably need some volunteers to help with maintaining the site, taking part in the LPA running so feel free to contact him. He's on the skunkworks list too.

A very active discussion ensued, with several questions being raised, key among them being:

Why would I want to Learn Linux - (the answer to this from most people was - so that I can get a job)

From a user point of view, most people even within the meeting, hardly used any Linux flavour for desktop use.

Why would an Organisation want to use FOSS?

From a organisational point of view, a way forward was to change tack and start advocating for solutions based on FOSS. Most businesses just wanted stuff that 'worked'. They are not interested in the flavour of linux running under it, or whether it is using Postfix or Sendmail as the MTA.

The best approach would be to create solutions that work, possibly managed solutions that are supported by organisations that develop solutions based on FOSS (there are quite a number currently), and since licensing is not a big cost, offer these solutions competitively. After deployment of such solutions, case studies can be developed and used as proof that FOSS is indeed a viable business software alternative.

More later

Next weeks meeting should be IPv6 migration by Vincent & Co (to be confirmed)

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Uni of Nbi dorm LAN

I've been talking to a few Uni of Nbi guys lately ... and apparently they now have a dorm LAN going. With internet access too - they've tapped into some free ports into the universities' main network, and expanded it using switches - the usual model as the rest.
So far estimates of users is between 50 to 100. Mostly using it for internet applications ... not many local apps apart from LAN Talk for chatting. It needs to grow a lot ... if any of you is reading - skunkworks would love to talk through getting more content/apps hosted on the network.

Their estimates of number of PCs on campus checks out too - 70% of uni students have their own computers.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

15th May meeting

Here's a summary of the happenings at Wananchi on 15th May 2007

Joseph Wamicha Gave a presentation on web video streaming. He showed some of the cool tools used like RED5 and FLV as well as some of the theory on stuf like unicasts, multicasts, TV systems Like NTSC & PAL as well as how to reduce frame size. Hea lso gave us some of the advantages of his tool of choice.

The presentation showed us the nuts and bolts of streaming, so now what can we stream? This led to a discussion on local content a number of sugestions came up.
  • Educational material i.e lectures and historical clips
  • Politics- Parliamentary sessions, The Budget etc
  • Traffic Cameras
  • Archived footage from KBC

A raging debate ensued about information, or is it misinformation by our media houses and how user generated content can help the situation. We discovered that the content has to be what is relevant to us- the Kenyans, what makes you pick up a phone to make a call and What makes you go ut to buy.

Also got some interesting statistics tha 80 % of the inteenet traffic in Kenya is outbound and only 30% is relevant to us. We also heard a rumour that some time soon a server should be up and running to serve up some hot local content so get creating!

Finally a note was made that female participation was greatly lacking, so all you ladies out there kujeni mjienjoy. Once again we revisted the topic of hangout time and venue, suggstions are welcome.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Meetings Planning Update

Current Discussion Topics & 'Facilitators'
  • 15th/22nd - Joseph Wamicha - Web Video Streaming - tentative
  • Michael Kamunge (JKUAT) - Presents his final year project - smart card based (will confirm the exact topic and date) - Mike will confirm when he can do this
  • John Maina on System Audit - please confirm?
  • Local (Linux) Distribution on BitTorrent - Riyaz?
  • IPv6, Migrating from IPv4 to IPv6 - Michuki Mwangi
  • local content and locally hosted forums - - to confirm
  • .More
  • .More

Upcoming ( this is where you add yourself as a presenter, add a topic you'd like talked about)

  • Web Development - using PHP
  • Web Development - using Ruby on Rails
  • Web Development - on a .NET Platform
  • Linux - Comparison of Linux Distributions
  • Linux - Is Linux Ready for the Common Mwananchi?
  • Local Content - Setting up a weekly podcast
  • Local Content - Blogging Server
  • Local Content - Locally Hosted Forums
  • Local Content - Wiki
  • Local Content - Techie Directory
  • Communications - WiMax
  • Communications - WiFi WarDriving
  • Community - Kenyanized GeekCorps
  • .More
  • .More
Past Topics
  • Asterix (Parts I to III)
  • BarCampKenya
  • Laban Mwangi & Robert ( - on FOSS Systems Software & Application Dev
  • Java and Jahazi - Mugambi & VST Studios

Jahazi & Java

Last Tuesday's presentation by Mugambi was on jahazi, a product of VST Studios Limited (I'm told that VST stands for Very Sawa Technology :) ) which is involved in Web and Print Design, 3d Simulation and modelling as well as, well Jahazi.

Jahazi (currently only available on windows) is a Web top/ Internet OS, a framework/engine where diverse Internet Applications can run (some of the applications available include Chat, SMS, Email, Web Browser, RSS Reader - but in the near future you could be able to contribute your own applications via a to-be-released SDK - software development kit)

Mugambi also talked in general about Java (he described it as the best development language in the world :) - i'm sure some have divergent views) - described as suitable for distributed computing, cross platform, easy development among other features. - loads of freebies with Java Software and Tools on the CD that he was giving out. He also talked in brief about J2EE as a standard/architecture on which a good number of vendors have built application servers (think WebLogic Macromedia Jrun) etc - he says that it is best suited for huge conglomerates and not small companies :) - that tells you the scope of jahazi. He also talked about XML as the means of exchanging information between various

Visit and try it out for yourself. I'm really excited about it.

White African has his review here.

Monday, May 7, 2007

VST Studios -

8 May 2007 (tuesday)

Lecture session at Wananchi Online - Loita Hse 1st Floor (6pm)

Mugambi from VST Studios is going to talk about (java and J2EE)

He will have FREEBIES - 50 CDs with Jahazi 1.0 plus extra open java dev software eg Eclipse, Jetty server, jdk 1.5.0 update 9

So let's have 50 ppl show to pick up the freebies at least :)

Tuesday, May 1, 2007


I recently got hold of a Linksys WRT54GL

First order of business :) ---> Flashed it and put in OpenWRT

Downloaded the corresponding White Russian image from and used the routers web interface to perform a firmware upgrade.

I had performed some previous configurations with the official firmware and the configurations remained intact except from the administration password now with user root.

I installed the NAS package afterwards so as to use WPA

I then came across WebIf - part of the X-WRT extensions - package has a pretty nifty web interface.

I installed WebIf by adding on the package via the web interface

(too easy so far)

The White Russian image comes with SSH server and so many packages available, I don't know when to start

I'm still hacking abit here and there.. But so far so good.