"Never settle for less than your dreams.
Somewhere, sometime, someday, somehow, you'll find them

- Danielle Steel, Bittersweet.

Get more Insight, Inspiration and Self Discovery at The Walkabout.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Video of the Week - Barack Obama's Best Speeches

US President Barack Obama is a great orator. That is not in doubt. He is also quite inspiring, thanks to his moving speeches.
Since his election in 2008, the President has delivered many speeches, some in great moments of political victory and others at the lowest and most difficult moments.

Today, we share what is arguably his best speeches.

Don't Tell Me Words Don't Matter

A More Perfect Union

Election Victory Speech, 2008.

Do you agree with our picks?

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A clear majority remain sceptical and quite cynical when it comes to politics and government systems.
Funny enough, moving speeches by great orators such as President Obama above may at times sway one, almost to the point of restoring faith in political leadership.
Do you remain steadfast in your belief that the system is irrevocably corrupt and rotten a la Mashifta below?

Friday, December 26, 2014

Podcast of the Week - Science Weekly on The Guardian

Today's podcast concludes our science theme this December. We started with Science Friday, then Inside Science and last week, The Science Show.

This week, we focus our attention on The Guardian, for the Science Weekly podcast.

Science weekly is a weekly program, part of The Guardian's extensive audio output across several genres viz Technology, Books, Arts, Business and many more.
Science Weekly presents analysis and interviews from the world of science and technology.

Science Weekly was mainly presented by Alok Jha, during his decade-long career with The Guardian's science and environment desks. Since 2014, Alok is a science correspondent at ITV News.

Favorite Episodes

Why we should leave fossil fuels in the ground. Download audio (mp3).

Staying safe in a risky world. Download audio (mp3).

The science of the invisible. Download audio (mp3).

A brief history of humankind. Download audio (mp3).

The role of genes in our sexual orientation. Download audio (mp3).

Podcast feed

Here is where to subscribe to the Science weekly feed.

* * *

Science has this ability to open our eyes and realize the beauty of things all around us.
Likewise, beautiful people bring out the joy in our hearts. A simple look and you feel the sun shine...

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy Holidays!

Need we say more?

Happy Holidays, from Connect Magazine!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Video of the Week - Alain de Botton on Success

With only 10 days remaining in 2014, many people are now taking stock of the last 12 months, with a view to making resolutions, effecting changes in both professional and personal life... and the list goes on.
The end of any year presents an apt opportunity to take a closer look at one's career and comparing it with current objectives and future aspirations, one is able to make informed decisions which will enhance his or her success in the coming year.

Speaking of success, do you ever get the feeling that we often push ourselves too hard, as we succumb to societal pressures and submit to an ever punishing philosophy of success? Modern philosopher Alain de Botton thinks we do.

Here is Alain's acclaimed TED Talk on success, delivered in July 2009.

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Becoming successful in any endeavor inevitably involves dealing with competition.
Bamboo, a most talented yet controversial Kenyan rapper, doesn't hold back when telling a potential suitor to keep off his lady... Enjoy!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Video of the Week - The Life and Times of Jomo Kenyatta

The day before last, Kenyans were celebrating Jamhuri Day.
On this day half a century ago, Kenya became a republic. One year before on December 12, 1963, Kenya had gained full independence from Britain, having first attained internal self-rule on June 01, 1963. The latter date is celebrated as Madaraka Day.

Jomo Kenyatta is the man who became the first President of independent Kenya. Before this, he had been Kenya's first Prime Minister from 1963 to 1964.

How much do you know about the late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta?
Today, we share two television features that tell Kenyatta's story.

In June last year, CCTV Africa put together this feature about Kenya's first president, who was in office from independence in 1963 until his death in 1978. The feature is aptly titled Jomo Kenyatta: The founding father of Kenya.

The Nation Media Group's NTV, had earlier on produced this great documentary about Jomo Kenyatta in August 2010. Meet Jomo Kenyatta presents aspects of the late President's life that some may not be too familiar with. Watch it below:

* * *

Once again, Joseph Kamaru accentuates today's weekly video with a song that rekindles memories of the struggle for Independence in Kenya. Thankfully, it is a struggle which was ultimately won in spite of great suffering and untold anguish.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Podcast of the Week - Inside Science on BBC Radio 4

December is Science month on Connect Magazine and we started off last week with Science Friday.
Today, we head back to good ol' BBC.

Our weekly podcast is Inside Science on BBC Radio 4.

Hosted by Dr Adam Rutherford, Inside Science is a weekly program which tackles science across a wide variety of disciplines. One good thing is Dr Rutherford's light approach, with witty and often humorous anecdotes both at the start and within the program whose result is a very enjoyable listening experience.

A good example is the ever present reminder that Terms & Conditions of use are available on the BBC Radio 4 web site, something Adam is required to do. All this despite the fact that he has literally NEVER looked at said T&Cs.

Favorite Episodes

Printed meat and lab-grown leather. Download audio (mp3)

The science of ageing, and scientifica authorship. Download audio (mp3)

Stem cell breakthroughs, power from sewage. Download audio (mp3)

Therapeutic hypothermia and American methane crisis. Download audio (mp3)

How sperm recognizes the egg, plus invasive plant & animal species. Download audio (mp3)

Podcast feeds

Episodes are updated weekly and remain available for download indefinitely.
You can subscribe to the Inside Science podcast feed on iTunes, MyYahoo, Zune and RSS.

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Today is Jamhuri Day. This year, it is the 50th anniversary since Kenya became a republic on December 12, 1964.
That calls for a patriotic song to commemorate. Eric Wainaina's Kenya Only would have been a most apt song for the occasion but we featured him just the other day with Twende Twende. So what better person than the late Daudi Kabaka?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Solutions to Lateral Thinking Exercises

Last week in Midweek Digest, we had some lateral thinking exercises where as always, you had a chance to win 100 bob worth of airtime for simply being the first with the correct answer to any of the 5 questions. Getting all the five questions right was a sure way to win some 500 bob.

Sadly, no one submitted a correct answer in the Facebook messages, twitter DMs and Emails we received.

Here are the correct answers:

1. The man's horse is named Monday.

2. The dog can run into the woods only half way – then it would be running out of the woods.

3. Push the cork into the bottle, and shake out the coin.

4. Switch on the first switch, leave it for a minute, and then switch it off again. Then switch on the second switch and enter the room. The second switch will be connected to the light that is on, the first switch will be connected to the light with the warm bulb, and the third switch will be connected to the light with the cold bulb.

5. Pour some water into the pipe so that the ball floats up on the surface.

* * *

We are still celebrating Kenyan music on Connect Magazine this December.
Today, we highlight what has emerged the most watched music video in Kenya. Interestingly, it is the one video that a good number of music shows on television opted NOT to play on 'National TV', thanks to its "lewd content." The same way some countries banned Christina Aguilera's Dirty and a whole lot of Lady Gaga's music videos for indecency.

Is Sautisol's Nishike really dirty and pornographic? You be the judge:

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Gadget of the Week - Sensoria Fitness Socks

Last week, our weekly gizmo was the Liftware Smart spoon from LiftLabs, a company that was recently acquired by Google.

This week, as we continue to feature gadgets with direct health benefits, we focus on a slightly different area - health monitoring.

Our gadget this week is the Sensoria Fitness Socks.

The smart socks package includes an anklet (shown above) and a pair of socks. There's also a charging kit for the anklet. The anklet attaches magnetically to the socks.

From the Sensoria web site:
Sensoria® socks are infused with proprietary 100% textile sensors. They are paired with a Bluetooth Smart cool and detachable anklet that not only delivers superior accuracy in step counting, speed, calories, altitude and distance tracking, but goes well beyond that to track cadence, foot landing technique and weight distribution on the foot as you walk and run.

Where it stands out

Sensoria does make other products besides the Fitness socks, such as a smart bra and a fitness t-shirt.
These garments, in concert with the Sensoria app, deliver information via Bluetooth to your smartphone.
This includes heart rate, foot landing technique, cadence metronome, and more.

Critical Reviews

These socks are yet to be sold to the public, but Fast Company and Internet Best Kept Secrets have each written about these socks.
The Sensoria fitness socks were originally introduced on Indiegogo. Following is the pitch video:

User Opinions

These should be available once the socks are publicly available, from early 2015.

Pricing and Availability

Sensoria fitness socks are available (pre-orders) for USD 179 on the Sensoria online store.
The fitness socks will be available for shipping in early 2015.

* * *

Connect Magazine is all about creating and sharing information that makes a difference, has meaning and adds value. It all amounts to arranging words really, and the result is something that is a joy to read.
Musicians on the other hand,blend words into something that is a joy to listen to. Here's Juacali doing what he does best, with Ngeli ya Genge. Enjoy:

Video of the Week - S. K. Macharia's Graduation Speeches

This December, we are celebrating Kenyan creative and cultural output on Connect Magazine. We've already set the pace with music by Mejja and Henrie Mutuku.

On Friday, December 05, 2014, the University of Nairobi held its 52nd Graduation Ceremony.
Shortly after 11am, the Chairman of Royal Media Services Ltd, Dr. Samuel Kamau Macharia was conferred with an honorary doctor of letters degree. This was reported on the University of Nairobi Facebook page:

It is at this moment that S.K. Macharia shared his life story with the graduating class of 2014 and invited guests. Here is a snapshot of his background, and there is more of the inspiring life story here.
Some of his remarks were captured in this news report:

His full speech is currently unavailable both on YouTube and on the University of Nairobi's media centre web site. We shall include it the soonest we can get it.

Now, on October 05, 2012, Dr S.K. Macharia was the guest of honor during the 21st graduation ceremony at St Paul University in Limuru. He delivered the keynote speech (commencement address).

This is the entire speech in PDF.

Dr S.K. Macharia's life story is a most interesting one. One can look at it from different perspectives (PDF) but what remains is that he heads a media enterprise whose influence in Kenya cannot be gainsaid.

Congratulations, Dr. S. K. Macharia!

* * *

Back in the day when Radio Citizen and Citizen TV were under intense pressure and unwarranted opposition from the KANU government, Joseph Kamaru hosted a vernacular radio show on Radio Citizen on Sunday mornings. To say that I was impressed by Kamaru's masterly of the Kikuyu language, culture and traditions would be an understatement.

Here he is with one of my favorite tracks, and I've no doubt Dr S. K. Macharia would love it too!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Podcast of the Week - Science Friday

Throughout November, we shared podcasts whose core premise was ideas.
This December, we shall focus on Science, and hope to share four of the best science podcasts out there.

We have in the past highlighted science podcasts. In September, it was Dr Karl on Triple J and in October, the Nature podcast.
Today, we start off with Science Friday.

Science Friday is produced weekly by the Science Friday Initiative.
Listeners can call in on Friday between 2pm and 4pm, ET. You can listen to the program on NPR.

Favorite Episodes

You are when you eat

Chilling in Antarctica.

Where good ideas come from.

Secrets of the spleen.

Treating depression.

Podcast feeds

All past episodes are available on the Science Friday web site, to listen, comment on, and share on the web.
Subscribe to the RSS feed here. A similar feed is available on NPR.
The Science Friday podcast is available for download on iTunes.

* * *

December is the beginning of the end of any year. You cannot begin to talk about Kenyan music without mentioning one of Kenya's most loved musicians - Eric Wainaina. He started his musical career in the early 90s with Five Alive, a gospel a capella that comprised Victor Seii, Bob Kioko, Chris Kamau, and David Mageria, who was replaced by Joe Kiragu. Eric is arguably best known for Kenya Only (Daima).

Back in the day when France Telcom acquired a 51% stake in Telkom Kenya and launched Orange GSM services, this was the theme song:

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Mind Games: Lateral Thinking Exercises

Every first Wednesday of the month, we present some Mind Games in Connect Magazine Midweek Digest. These are basically simple puzzles to help you relax barely a week after receiving your salary, paying house rent and utility bills... I digress.

Looking back at past Mind Games: In September it was mathematical puzzles, October it was time puzzles and in November, family issues.
This month, it'll be good ol' lateral thinking exercises.

As always, be the first with the correct answer to any of the 5 questions below and you win 100 bob worth of airtime. Simply drop us a Facebook message, tweet us or Email connect@complit.co.ke.

So here we go..

1. A man rode into town on Monday. He stayed for three nights and then left on Monday. How come?

2.  How far can a dog run into the woods?

3.  If you put a small coin into a an empty wine bottle and replace the cork, how would you get the coin out of the bottle without taking out the cork or breaking the bottle?

4. Three switches outside a windowless room are connected to three light bulbs inside the room. How can you determine which switch is connected to which bulb if you are only allowed to enter the room once?

5. A table tennis ball fell into a tight deep pipe. The pipe was only a bit wider than the ball, so you can not use your hand. How would you take it out, with no damage?

We shall publish the correct answers and the winners next Wednesday, December 10, 2014 on Connect Magazine Midweek Digest.

* * *

We are celebrating Kenyan music all December on Connect Magazine.
Now looking back, the much celebrated Henrie Mutuku released Nakuhitaji, Manze wa Maana and Usichoke before going into a decade-long hiatus.

She then made a comeback earlier this year.
Here's the song she's arguably best known for - Nakuhitaji. Enjoy :-)

Monday, December 1, 2014

Gadget of the Week - Liftware Smart Spoon

Finally, it is December guys!

30 more days and 2014 will be history!

That aside, this is the month when we start realizing we are running out of days if the resolutions made 11 months ago are anything to go by. The good news, however, is that it's never too late to set things right.

Throughout December, the gadgets we feature will be those technological marvels whose core objective is to make life better, even bearable for the disadvantaged. We find it necessary to deviate from our usual smartphones, tablets and computers, in the belief that there is no better time to celebrate technology that enhances the quality of life for those in distress among us.

Today, our weekly gadget will be Google Smart Spoons. Yes, spoons!

 In September 2014, Google announced that it had acquired Lift Labs, a start-up that built a smart spoon for those with tremors that impede eating, especially victims of Parkinson's disease. This acquisition, noted Forbes, was yet another effort to build on Google's Life Sciences in its biotech division.

The Liftware smart spoon is now being developed and produced at Google X.

Where it stands out

The smart spoon works by detecting the tremor in the user's hands and using stabilizing technology, it is able to detect and 'correct' the tremor that would otherwise result in spillage of food before it reaches the mouth.

This is achieved by vibrations that counter a patient's tremor.

Here is how Liftware works:

Lift Labs explains more in this video:

Expert Reviews

The New York Times bits blog features a promotional video for Lift Labs that shows how Liftware works.

Given that Google CEO Larry Page has seen firsthand the travail occasioned by Parkinson's, it is worth noting that his dedication to the smart spoon development can only result in a better quality of life for those afflicted by the disease.
..the push to fight neurodegenerative diseases may also be a personal cause for Google co-founder Sergey Brin, who spends much of his time on Google X projects. Brin's mother has Parkinson's, and he's said he has a genetic mutation that gives him a higher chance of developing the disease himself.

The NDTV gadgets report on the Liftware smart spoon notes that other adaptive devices have been developed to help people with tremors such as rocker knives, weighted utensils and pen grips.
The technology senses how a hand is shaking and makes instant adjustments to stay balanced. In clinical trials, the Liftware spoons reduced shaking of the spoon bowl by an average of 76 percent.

When CNET contacted Lift Labs, this is the statement that was issued:
Lift Labs' "tremor-canceling" technology could "improve quality of life for millions of people." The company also said it is looking for new ways to use an "understanding and management" of neurodegenerative diseases.

User Opinions

Here are some reviews on Amazon:

Eric Hendrix says:
All I can say is, excellent engineering! I'm completely at a loss - I really never knew such technology existed in this form factor. It really is a truly amazing piece of machinery. My wife and I still giggle watching it do it's thing to keep my peas onboard...

Lynn, however, complains about the size of the handle:
Sent this to my father as a gift. The handle is size of a computer mouse! It is not able to use it and we have requested a return authorization.

Kelly Kemp is certainly impressed and writes this:
This is definitely a MUST HAVE for anyone dealing with tremors! For once I can eat my meals and not wear them. I had Chinese food yesterday and as usual with a regular spoon, it went all over unless I used two hands to hold it. Today I brought the spoon to work and am now eating my leftovers with one hand and not one piece falling all over the place. This is absolutely incredible. I can eat soup finally too!

This is the best invention ever! Can't wait for the fork. I am so grateful to you all for creating this and making my life just one step easier.

Pricing and Availability

A Liftware smart spoon costs $295.
More information is available on the Lift Labs online store.

* * *

This past weekend was an end-of-month weekend and many, oblivious to the harmful effects that excessive drinking of alcohol has both on your body and your brain, did indulge.
From shouting "Cheers to the freaking weekend" last Friday, we just hope you haven't woken up today asking, "Kweli jana kuliendaje?"