Monday, June 23, 2008

Digesting Barcamp Nairobi 2008 - June 21 2008

The People:

We had all sorts of people :
  • bloggers
  • all sorts of programmers: web, mobile, etc
  • people in the telecoms industry
  • Govt represented by the ICT Board
  • photographers
  • students (even high school)
  • the plain curious

Courtesy of Ushahidi, we had about 120 Barcamp branded T-shirts available (based on those who'd signed up to get one) so apologies to those who didn't get one.

However, roughly 228 people showed up!

Great - lots of ladies came :)

Sessions and Topics:

We had 3 concurrent 30 minute sessions conducted in three rooms (Ushahidi Room, ICT Board room, and the Google Room) throughout the day. At the beginning of the sessions, in typical barcamp style, campers were asked to come forward and write down what they wanted to talk about, then the topics and agenda selected based on what people wanted to listen to. A bit like acclamation (politically) but not as noisy.

A rough listing of the resulting topics:

Room: Ushahidi
  • Buglabs session
  • Web apps with Jahazi
  • Wordpress optimization tips
  • GPS/Google Maps: S60 as a platform... and a bug
  • Developing for the iPhone
  • Internet/Network Security
  • Renewable Energy Kiosks & Impact on Rural IT

Room: ICT Board
  • Google Maps Session
  • CMS - Zope/Plone
  • Blogging Tricks
  • Open-e Data Storage
  • Application Development Procedures to code for Government
  • (web|mobile|you)
  • Bandwidth Management and Optimization

Room: Google Room
  • Where are the developers?
  • Software Localisation
  • Ubuntu and LTSP
  • Blogging for cash
  • Google Maps and Mobile applications
  • Linux as a development platform for engineers
  • Kiania's informal session :)

We also had a 'lightning session' lasting about 55 minutes where anyone with something say was welcome to for a 5 minute period. Here's the list.

  • Michuki - IETF & KIXP
  • Erik - Ushahidi recruiting
  • Kahenya - Creative Commons
  • Alex Gakuru - F/OSS organisations listing, ICT government study
  • Mike K - kenblogs
  • Stella - Fahamu - ICTs & Human Rights
  • Paul Kukubo - The Kenya ICT Board & Vision, goals.
  • Edward - Moi Uni
  • Limo - Data and records
  • Gee - Web design tips
  • KenyanPoet - Publishing
  • Gichingiri - sokoletu
  • James - Computers for Schools/e-waste management
  • Mike - Archiving, Record keeping
  • Anne - Law, defamation & blogging

  • Our main sponsors: Google, Ushahidi, Kenya ICT Board
  • Strategic Lee, Deep Space hosting
  • Wananchi for the free wifi
  • Openworld and KENET for projectors
  • Yahoo, O'Reilly, Wordpress for the giveaways
  • Bug Labs for letting us borrow one of their new BUGbundles
  • Brian Muita & Gichingiri for the snazzy poster
  • Eric (Magutu) for running around :)
  • Erik (Hash) for the great blogging
  • Mich for MC'ing
  • Everyone who helped organize, setup and clean up afterwards
  • Everyone who came :)
Some photos
Also check out Hash's blog

Monday, June 16, 2008

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Tuesday Meeting 10th June 2008: Commercializing Technology with Hafeez Bana

This past Tuesday Hafeez Bana gave talk on commercializing technology.

He started off with a brief overview of what he's been doing in the innovation programme at Deloitte in Australia. Over there they have something not much unlike Google where the employees are encouraged to work on their own projects during their free time and the company helps to commercialize them. He gave an example of a card verification system which uses numerical codes entered on a card with a small screen to authenticate transactions. In the talk he gave us a nice overview of some of the hurdles in the development process and its eventual implementation.

The main topic of his talk however was th J- Mango platform for mobile applications. It uses a simple scripting language to send mobile apps over the air to subscribers. The underlying framework is AOL and TCL server and makes use of Erlang and Java languages. It runs on Apache with a load balancing front end. He showed us a neat video of how to download an app from a QR code diagram using a camera phone- really cool!

After that we went into Q&A, lots of questions about technical details of J-mango and possible applications. One question that stood out and isn't new is how to protect your intellectual property especially in Kenya. Hafeez noted that unfortunately in Kenya people are not as eager to help you with your idea as in Europe or Australia. It's more likely that it'll be stolen here, something we definitely need to work on here.

Something else that came up on commercialization is how to split the gains with an investor for maximum benefit to the developer. Though it may look like a rip- off it may actually be more advantageous to give a big investor a larger stake as they could give you more mileage.

On the subject of mobile apps it was note that the operator have to be more open minded about revenue sharing with app developers. Hafeez noted that after a while ARPU from traditional services tends to flatline especially after a price war like the one we're having so the telcos have to diversify. A big battle lies ahead right there!

An interesting note was made of how women have goon insight in business example given women in Bangladesh and how they worked with Grameen bank. So to the ladies out their your contribution is important and you are encouraged to attend the meetings. It's worth noting that there was a good turn out this time- 3!

Al in all it was an informative chat especially for the entrepreneurs and we thank Hafeez for making the time to come.


Monday, June 9, 2008

Barcamp Nairobi - Saturday June 21 2008

Saturday June 21st 2008
Jacaranda Hotel
9am - 5pm
More details + Sign up here ( free barcamp T-Shirt! )

More coverage here.

Be There!