Saturday, March 31, 2007

Post BarCamp Nairobi Kenya - 31st March

This is an initial write up of the meeting's proceeding:

Started at around 1.30pm with about 10 people in attendance. :) Typical Sat Afternoon in Nairobi. But this rapidly grew to more than 50 people coming in ... most were probably not Arsenal or Liverpool fans - or valued this more than football :)
We covered a whole range of issues ... read about them below.

Aother post coming up with all our experiences of organizing BarCamp.

Other BarCamp coverage:

The fastest car in the world The Bugatti Veyron by Josiah Mugambi, video here :)

AfricaDotNet by Edgar Okioga

Edgar heads up the .NET user group in Kenya and also lectures part time at the university. He talked about:

  • The .NET platform, dished out FREEBIES - MSDN community CDs
  • Getting involved in the .NET user group and other community groups
  • Individuals taking action - go and volunteer to lecture at the universitites !!

Equal Opportunity Manufacturing
Kamau Gachigi (Phd) of Uni of Nairobi

  • This guy is my new hero ! There do exist some amazing people in the academia sector ... just wish we could have more guys like him.
  • Dr Gachigi is passionate about what he does ... and it's addictive ! I hope we'll do a lot more with him in SkunkWorks ... watch this space ...
  • He talked about the MIT Fab Labs project - which provides a "lab" or "machine" that helps people fabricate & create ... tools, electronics, aeroplanes even ... much easily. All you need to bring is your own creativity.
  • He then answered a lot of questions about why there is a big disconnect between academia and the real world. And how the universities are trying to bridge the gap:
  • Creation of UNES (a fund to finance startup ideas of students)
  • Presention is here

Software Defined Radio by Nick a JKUAT student (This was really techie oriented)

  • Talked about GNU Radio among other things and how to utilize various technologies (even GSM) to transmit radio
 by Ashok

  • Talked about collection of information from various sources ranging from hard copies to proprietary software copies and open technologies.
  • is one of the end results - check it out!.
  • Clearly from his presentation, open standards go very far in allowing information to reach as many people as possible.

Long Tail Economics of Abundance by Kiptum (MamaMikes)

  • Kiptum first talked about MamaMikes - the history, where they started, and some of the interesting experiences they've seen in the e-commerce business with expanding offerings etc.
  • Then he went on to talk about the long tail

Presentation is here.

Residential Networks with Kiania
(oops i didn't find any DK fotos :) ) but there are some of him preparing his presentation in the photos linked (look out for a guy in ORANGE)

Kiania in his bright orange Asterisk shirt talked about how to take infrastructure development in your own hands and start creating community-based networks in neighbourhoods ...

  • Create a backbone infrastructure of wifi or fiber or utp hooking up your estate
  • Expand your estate to the neighborhood - imagine a South C wide community owned network.
  • Add content ... an asterisk setup, a chat setup for the girl in house 4B :) etc.

Skunkworks and the Halfway Proposition - Riyaz

There is a movement happening in Kenya ... it's evidenced by the drastic jump in traffic when KCSE results were released - local traffic to the servers jumped five-fold. Or on Valentines Day.

There are more and more people developing local content. Online startups, information sites etc ... the key is building this up to critical mass.

More local content = less use of satellite resources, and faster loading = a better user experience ... leading to more adoption of online technologies.

Skunkworks is a free open community for techies by kawa techies. We provide a forum for free exchange of ideas, and in the process hope to start developing "projects" which will grow into web applications - making it easy for people to add local content to the web.

Signup and Come for our weekly sessions - we've realized they're actually like mini-BarCamps.

StocksKenya by Ted Muganda

  • was initially developed for private use :) but later realised it's potential and its ability to meet the needs of many retail investors in Kenya
  • Has a vibrant online community of users.
  • Will hopefully be hosted locally soon?

University LAN networks - Melvin

The guys over at JKUAT have built their own dorm network after the uni admin was unable to provide them connectivity. Put together with strings literally ... this network has exponentially grown in numbers of subscribers.

Most common apps are multimedia - yay Scofield !

They've setup a prepaid card system where students can go buy a set amount of credit - this minimal charge helps them grow and run the network (and pay for the internet link)

Their model has changed slightly - they now ask halls to setup LANs and then interconnect them together. Network is so big they don't know how many devices they have anymore.

Laws of Kenya, Genius Executive Center and Startups in Kenya - Harry Karanja

Harry doesn't always seem to have his hands in other people's pockets like most lawyers :) This entrepreneur does some really cool stuff !!

Harry's SoftLaw idea creation company started off digitizing all the laws of Kenya. They intially put it all on CD, and later put it up on a prepaid website. Now Laws of Kenya is all free as they explore other ways of monetizing.

He's also started an incubation center - Genius - located at ViewPark towers 15th Floor. The center provides a complete office workstation - with PC, phone, internet, messaging etc services. Helpful & affordable for lots of startups.

Harry blogs at Startups in Kenya - which has some really interesting content ... check it out.

Gituma Nturibi on electronic ticketing

We truly live in a paperless world. Now you have no excuse that u forgot your ticket at home when you get to the airport....

More photos, and video to follow..


Penguin said...

okay lets stop talking and start doing


Penguin ~ # clear
Penguin ~ # exit

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