Monday, March 30, 2009

Sovaya' Fake Mpesa Transactions

Ever wondered whether the websites allowing yo buy or sell via Mpesa ever work? Well, I wondered the same and decided to try out. I decided to access the Sovaya wireless and was asked the payment mode for the internet airtime.

Mpesa was the easiest for me, so was asked to send money to 0715 592168 and wait for confirmation, that is before I can surf using the credit bought. For starters, I decided to buy a shs. 100 voucher, just to test whether it will work.

The Mpesa went through without any hitches, only that I waited for 30 minutes with no response from the Sovaya side; either a text telling me that I could use the credit or saying it bounced, or a web message allowing me to surf.

So I decided to call the customer care number given, but the person who received the call could not even get my number, it took two minutes for the person to take my number so that they can get back to me.

I always get irritated when someone gives you poor service then on top of that they waste your credit because they just can get what you are saying. You repeat the number five times....first to allow them pick a pen....then the number,....and on and on...

Anyway, maybe the service is not so much in demand or not in use thats why.........

My curiosity made me lose my 100 bob.......

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Day Two- role of stakeholders in ccTLD management in Africa

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

ATU conference on IGF for policy makers in Africa

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Do journalists retain rights to their work?

The other day I met Tom Osanjo, a former colleague and friend, and we got into a discussion about the rights that a writer retains.

The issue we were debating was whether journalists retain any rights to the material they publish. There are two schools of thought; there are those who think that once you have written, thats it, the rights shift to the publisher.

Another school of thought holds that the journalist holds the rights and if the publisher wants to use the story or photo again, then they must pay again or something like that.

James, winner of the CNN sports journalist of the year in 2007 gave us his experience; how the organizers of the CNN awards made him sign an agreement that allowed then to redistribute the pictures.

James' argument was that if the rights are retained by the media house, then CNN would have asked the media house for permission to use. That supported the argument that the rights are retained by the writer.

That argument seemed to have preempted a debate that I would have a week later.

Today I found myself weathering a storm in a tea cup.

Sometimes last year, I participated in online discussions about the fiber optic cable and so many other attendant issues. Some of the issues were very technical while others were social-economic.

In writing an article, I went to some old drafts of the daily summaries that I had done and used the material that was summarized for the final report.

The agreement with the organizers was that I still retained rights to the material and was free to use the material so long as it was advancing the wider goals of the ICT sector.

As a journalist, the right to use materials is of paramount importance. The organization and the author did not have any problem. Nevertheless, the article rightly credited the author and the organization.

Forget about my incident, the question I asked was; what happens in those cases when somebody asks you to do a speech on their behalf, do you still retain the rights to the contents of the speech or not?

It got me thinking...... I think I still retain the rights but if someone paid me to do the speech, then the rights go to them.

But still....I think there is much to be debated....

Friday, March 06, 2009

The Evolution of Mobile Phone Thugs

I think it has become slightly safer for people to talk on phone while walking downtown Nairobi. After seeing their comrades beaten to death over cheap phones, I guess the thugs have changed tact,

But it does not mean that the thieves have abandoned their trade, they have just become sharper; the steal the phones that are more expensive.

My friend Muthoni, made us laugh the other day when she told a story of how the thugs in the estates have leant the value of the phone by the ringtone.

Her story was that there was this woman going home one day in Dandora estate, and she was passing through an alley. It was at 7 pm so there were many people walking to and from the shops, acting busy.

Though her phone was ringing, she could not pick because of the four men who were walking with her group. So the phone annoyingly rung and it was apparent that she was fearing that her phone might just go.

Put off by the ringing or failure to remove the phone from the bag, one guy said; Mama oya thimu ithuii tutiendaga Motorola (just pick up the phone we are not interested in your Motorola).

But if its a Nokia, they know the series by the ring tone and they just kindly ask you to pretend you are relatives and just hand over the phone! They even force you to hug them as they rob you in front of everyone.

Others are able to tell the kind of phone when its in the pocket; depending on the shape it projects in the pocket.

The tips are apparent; don't wear tight trousers then slide the phone in the pocket, unless you want to invite the crooks. If you can, let the phone be on vibrator or the single beep then vibrator otherwise the phone will just go.

Kenyan police and impunity.....

I wonder what will happen now that the founder of Oscar Foundation is dead. Just hours after the government spokesman said that the Oscar foundation was a front for the proscribed Mungiki thugs and their sympathizers.

Being a legal foundation- giving free legal aid to suspects- the foundation was likely to attract all manner and sorts of characters including Mungiki thugs and other goons.

Is it a crime to give legal aid to Mungiki suspects? I am not defending the members because they have raped and killed many in my village neighborhood but I also know two young men who have been shot dead and their only crime is peer influence and moving at night. When you are labeled as Mungiki, no one sympathizes.

Mungiki is a Gikuyu word meaning the crowd though there is no proper direct translation. Its use imbues a sense of community and support for each other. It used to be a sect, recruiting mainly men, pretending to practice traditional Gikuyu traditions while in fact it was a gang for hire, thriving on intimidating people by killing those who refuse to join the sect.

It is almost predictable that when the police announce or publish the names of "wanted" criminals, they are only looking for a license to kill, with no questions asked.

Sample this; the police publish the photo of a wanted criminal, that week he/she is gunned down.
It has happened consistently at least since the mid '90s when they published the photos of three notorious gangsters; Wanugu, Wacucu and Rasta. They were later caught and shot dead.

There is no doubt that the criminals deserve to be arrested or maybe die like the many they are alleged to have killed, but is it by coincidence that the criminals are caught and killed immediately the photos are published?

Is it that police tips do not work and the public tips work better, or is it just a case of seeking license to kill?

Now the blame will start shifting over who actually killed the foundation head. I will not be surprised if the government spokesman comes up with a theory that he was killed by a rival Mungiki gang.

And we talk of impunity!