"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.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Curtains Close on Connect Magazine

Today is the last day of August, 2015.
It also marks the day when we bring online publishing on Connect Magazine to a close.




In the past, we have taken a hiatus every once in a while.
This time around, Complit Communications will narrow down on:

  1. Communication design through Complit Design (graphic design, web design, online marketing, branding, copywriting and advertising) and 
  2. Creative writing, both on The Walkabout (a journey of insight, inspiration and self discovery) and through eBooks published on Amazon Kindle. 

Sadly, this means the deprecation of Connect Magazine. Yeah, taking one for the team is necessary at times. Ultimately, it is for the greater good.

That said, we are not asking anyone to wake us up when September comes. Neither shall we be gone till November. We'll be gone for much longer.

We won't be seeing you for a long while, perhaps longer than these country miles.



It was great while it lasted and for this, we sincerely say thank you for your readership.
Writing on Connect Magazine is an honor, and even more humbling to see that thousands found it worth reading our content every single day.

In the spirit of never saying never however, let's just say Connect Magazine will be gone for a long, long time.



* * *

We are absolutely indebted for the time you took to read our regular articles and to share with your friends on social media. We shall continue to publish here and here.
As for Connect Magazine, it is closing time.






Monday, August 10, 2015

Why Advertising to the Masses is Costly and Ineffective

Quantity is something you can count. Quality is something you can count on.




For a long time, the most popular form of advertising has been mass advertising.
Mass advertising has for decades been based on mass audiences.

You see, back in the day, newspapers were the only media outlets. They were everything to everyone with their content, and this attracted audiences. In the 1930s, a new medium was introduced - radio.


Radio changed everything, thanks to its ability to attract very large, and very specific audiences. Listeners found radio irresistible and advertisers got good returns. Targeting started right here.

Then came television, and the audience was given programming in exchange of marketing messages. In addition, network television began selling this audience to the advertisers and it is at this point that the audience willinglybecame something very different:

If you're not paying for it, you become the product.



Thanks to data mining, audiences are no longer classified according to the number, gender, age, or demographics.
It is now all about tribes...

Read the rest in this insightful article in Complit Design's Understanding Target Audiences and How to Market to them.


* * *


We all love and are in most cases addicted to free stuff. Social networks, free newspapers, radio and television programming and much more.
Marketers and corporations have not suddenly become sufficiently philanthropic and charitable with stuff that costs them a lot to produce.
Just know that before you get sold, you get bought for a song.






Sunday, August 9, 2015

Video of the Week: Under the Influence of Media and Marketers

In the coming week, Connect Magazine will dwell on advertising and advertising.
Last week, media outlets have been awash with stories of indiscipline and drug abuse by our children, especially those in high school.




Our Policy and Ideas Friday feature was about what roles parents and role models, or lack thereof has resulted in a young generation that is exposed to unlimited liberty and freedom sans responsibility. They are therefore delinquent.

Today, we shift our focus just a little bit to something that plays a significant role in how our children behave and view themselves. It also heavily influences our purchase decisions, given that nearly all advertising and marketing efforts are channelled through the media.

In almost all cases, media output is sponsored by corporations. Their marketing campaigns are what underwrites the huge cost of running media houses. In other words, the media and marketers are near always joined at the hip.

First off, children are now dressing like adults, dancing like the musicians they watch in music videos and aspiring to a celebrity and popular culture that is largely built on fads and the sale of merchandise. A lot more is well captured in the following documentary:



Sexy Inc: Our Children Under Influence.






In addition to the media and the marketers who sponsor and underwrite media output being an undue influence to the young ones, it has also been used as a tool to gender expression. In most cases women are portrayed in limiting and condescending ways.
This was outlined in Miss Representation. Check out the following extended trailer.






This objectification of women has been done for years by many companies such as Reebok, American Apparel, Flying Dutchman, Risk, Dacron and others.


How TV Ruined Your Life.

This is a BBC Two series presented by Charlie Brooker, that brings out the wide gulf between real life and television. His presentation is satirical and comedic, but does succeed in exposing how media has really distorted our perception both of it and of the real world both within and around us.





This is a 6-part series. Episode 1 is on Fear.
Watch the other episodes: two (The Lifecycle), three (Aspiration), four (Love), five (Progress) and six (Knowledge).



Internet Rising.

This documentary features expert interviews and




* * *


Being under the influence is not an entirely bad thing. Just ask Anointed.






Saturday, August 8, 2015

Podcasts of the Week: True Crime

There is something about crime that totally baffles me.
You see, crime is abhorrent and should be condemned in all its forms. Any act whose outcome is loss of life, damage to property or bodily harm should at best be discouraged and prevented. When it does happen however, it should be duly reprimanded.




But crime, and especially true crime, does fascinate.
I find that odd.

For years, psychiatrists and other experts have agonized over what exactly goes on inside the deranged and unhinged mind of a criminal. Articles have been written and research carried out.
Factual answers however, remain elusive.




There are podcasts that seek to explore this particular aspect of the human condition.
Admittedly, Serial was quite riveting. But there are other podcasts that dig deeper and explore the motives, evidence, coverups, and myriad other things that constitute the criminal justice process.


This is Criminal

This is an interesting podcast that is all about crime.
The stories are about people who have done wrong, those who have been wronged ...even those who've gotten caught somewhere in the middle.

This is Criminal is pretty interesting. Having listened to a good number of episodes, I did find the following quite intriguing:

Given how much I love books, I found episode 22 interesting. Titled 'Ex Libris', it is about a man who steals high value and rare books from dozens of booksellers. Not violently, but through fraud and forgery. Even harder to fathom is the reason why someone would want to do something like this.


You can download the Ex Libris episode (mp3).

Subscribe to the podcast feed here, in your preferred format be it iTunes, RSS, Stitcher, Overcast etc.


The Mind of a Murderer


This podcast is a part of the Investigation Discovery TV Show
It is presented by Dr Michelle Ward, who is a psychologist and trial consultant.

The Mind of a Murderer features interviews with murderers in an effort to find out why people commit murders.

Of the 6 episodes available on this page, I found the Jason Bohn interview the most disturbing.

This is the RSS feed url to the rest of the episodes.


Sword and Scale


Sword and Scale features both a website and internet radio show that covers the underworld of crime. This includes the demented minds that perform callous criminal acts, the victims and how the criminal justice system responds to these acts.

Whay is I like about the website is the well researched and insightful articles about crime and the criminal justice system. For instance, the first woman in the electric chair, the last executions in Britain, 10 murders that rocked the music industry and more.

These articles on the website and disctinct from what the podcast offers. To me, this is a double dose from Sword and Scale.

So far, there are 50 episodes of the Sword and Scale podcast.
This is the podcast feed url.

I found the second episode quite interesting, as it offered insights into who and what psychopaths are, and what makes them do their disgusting acts. Neuroscientist James Fallon explains the psychopath's mind and there is an interview with Ted Bundy, a most infamous serial killer.

Listen to this episode (pop-up player) or download (mp3).



* * *

Macy Gray in her So is Life album sings about committing a murder that she doesn't feel bad about. Rappers and Hip Hop artists sing about murder all the time. From Dr Dre, Eminem, 50 Cent, the late Tupac and Biggie... they all glorify homicide in their music. Even Wyclef Jean's '911' featuring Mary J Blige rides on  the "being shot" metaphor.

But the best songs about killing come from the James Bond movies. And why not, given the licence to kill?But I equally like Sheryl Crow's Tomorrow Never Dies.
Darling I'm killed, I'm in a puddle on the floor, waiting for you to return...









Friday, August 7, 2015

Policy and Ideas: The Danger of Raising Delinquent Children

I am 35 years old. I have no children. But I have 3 nieces and 4 nephews.




Today, three students from Stephjoy Boys Secondary School in Limuru will be facing murder charges  at the Milimani Law Courts in Nairobi.
Very unfortunate whichever way you look at it.

The issue of High School students smoking weed and fornicating recklessly is not new. Consider the following video from 2013.





I was therefore not surprised by the following news report of what happened on the Karatina-Nairobi highway. This one involved students from several schools, all in one bus. Even the free-love hippies in the 60s wouldn't have nothing on these kids!





And neither am I surprised by this video of a spoilt brat.

None of this is new. It was happening when I was in High School in the late 90s. And many years before. The only difference is that we have a more vocal population thanks to social media.

But my lack of surprise does not in any way mean that I condone such wanton indiscipline.
Sad as it is, we need to look again at ourselves as a society and once we point out what the problem really is, actually seek a viable and lasting solution.


I have started this post by declaring that I am not a parent. And I won't be one anytime soon. The reason is that many a reader will be quick to remind me that I can only relate with the intricacies of parenting by being a parent. I beg to differ.
I do have my own ideas how kids should be brought up. Not perfect or exhaustive and I do stand to be corrected, but I believe my input does count. Just as yours does. Now let's get right to it.


Irresponsible Parenting

The main culprits in this mess are the parents. In this day and age, we have many parents who never have time for their offspring, given that they are too busy building careers and making money. For these same kids.

The assumption that money can be used to evade responsibility and parental roles is a flawed one. At home, the house-help is left in charge. At school,the teacher is assumed to be in charge.
This excuse that a parent has no time because he or she is out there making money so as to give the child a good life is in fact self defeating. Why make so much money, only to use it raising an irresponsible sex maniac, drug addict and spoilt brat who will most likely become a criminal in early adulthood?

If you ask me, I would rather teach my child to be responsible from an early age, than leave him or her millions which they will have no idea or agenda for, and end up wasting it all. The pursuit of money and other material possessions should never be a higher priority than parenting.



A good number are not good role models. They expect their kids to hear and see evil, but not do evil. They fail to realize that monkey-see, monkey-do is especially true when it comes to kids. Which brings us to the next point...


Children are Impressionable

Adults, and especially parents have a very big influence on our children.
At their age, children cannot, and are not expected to make mature and informed decisions about a good number of things.

That is  why young girls are under the false impression that Rihanna, Beyonce, Nicki Minaj and other musicians are always dressed in skimpy bikinis. They lack the presence of mind to realize that these are merely costumes which are worn only when shooting music videos.






It is for this reason that there are laws that put the interests of children first, even when they go wrong. As a minor, one cannot be fully and legally held responsible for some actions. In the same vein, a minor should not be accorded unfettered freedom to do as he or she wishes.

Children should be molded and trained in socially acceptable ways. And duly reprimanded when they go wrong, given they are at a formative age. On their own, they cannot make responsible decisions on some matters such as sexuality and use of mood altering substances. And teenage years are the most risky, given the instability in judgment that is occasioned by hormones and undue peer influence.

"Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it."
- Proverbs 22:6

Sometimes, I look at how some young "modern" parents dress in the presence of their kids, and cannot help but feel aggrieved on behalf of their unfortunate kids. We grew up with mothers, aunties and ladies who were, and still are always decently dressed.

But then again, there is #MyDressMyChoice. Just look at how "elegant" Maria Elena Boschi's blue outfit and heels were at her swearing in...
Oops, this is the more politically-correct photo, thanks to PhotoShop.


Sensibilities and Too much Freedom

Today, guys are always waiting to pounce on anybody who says or does something that goes against the grain or contrary to popular sentiment. Apparently, almost every social ill can be excused on the basis of "don't judge", "you don't know their story", "you cannot understand their struggle", "it's none of your business" ...and other shenanigans.

Our indifference to the social ills flourishing all around us will be our undoing, and much sooner than later.

Woe unto you if you try to discipline a kid that you have not given birth to. Communal disciplining that we grew up with is no longer entertained, thanks to a society that has offered children unlimited liberties.

People are not wiling to listen, take suggestions or be advised. Should you do this, you are accused of judging or offering unsolicited advice. In this day and age, one should just watch and keep their mouth shut.
And wait for that same teenage to later break into your house with an AK-47 or carjack you as you drive home from work.

I submit that even inalienable rights should have limits. This is for the simple reason that a child's age and limited experience does not adequately equip them to handle unlimited freedom. If anything, they only abuse it. You cannot let your children roam around with no restrictions and not expect trouble.

Give children all the freedom they want at your peril. Believe you me, they cannot responsibly handle endless freedom without messing up.


Modern Truth in Old Wisdom

We claim to be modern in all our ways. At times, we even frown upon the wisdom of our aged parents.

What we have witnessed so far in our schools is not a new phenomenon. As outlined above, it seems like a big deal only because the incidents are more visible both in the mainstream media and on social networks. More reporting, more sharing and enhanced dialogue.

But there is a key advantage in this increased publicity.
We can make the most of it by having a useful, topical conversation. First, individual reflection for those among us who are adults and have a role to play in raising the next generation. My nieces and nephews surely pick up some character traits from me. The kids in the neighborhood too.

Next, and especially for the parents among us, we owe it to our children not millions in the bank, a good education or tracts of land. No need leaving lots of material things or an education to irresponsible brats.
Good upbringing will be more beneficial than all the material things you spend all your time pursuing, such that you have no time to spend with your kids. Leave them a legacy and they will make all that money and more on their own, be responsible members of society and responsibly treat other persons and things.

Ever wondered why Bill Gates and Warren Buffet have publicly said they won't leave all their billions to their sons and daughters?
They are instead leaving them a legacy.


Children too, need to do their part

"Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.
Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise;
That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."
- Ephesians 6:1-4

Finally, parents can only do so much. The children too, have a role to play.




* * *

There is this song that I always play for fathers, including my own on Fathers Day. Mostly, I listen to the beautiful rendition by Leigh Nash.
Here is the original father and son by Cat Stevens, for you:






And before you accuse me of being sexist, here is John Mayer's Daughters.
Let us bring up responsible young adults, that would be an enduring legacy to future generations.








Monday, August 3, 2015

The Power of Opinion

I was recently reminded of P.T. Barnum's famous words about opinion. Yeah, every single person does have an opinion. And FYI, he used very different words to express such a sentiment.
 



It all started when I made a content marketing proposal to someone whose target market is people who need detailed and very credible information before committing to a purchase.
This is for the simple reason that the products and services involved in this particular market run into millions of shillings. Even worse, it is a market rife with cons, pyramid schemes and endless court battles.

Admittedly, not all pitches are, or have to be successful. But sometimes, a situation emerges where a client may not fully understand what needs to be done. In fact, Apple Inc. is famous for pointing out that most of their breakthrough products are made with absolutely no end-user input - for the simple reason that the consumer does not always know what s/he wants.

Anyways, the problem is that when some people fail to understand some things, or why they are necessary, they promptly go into full know-it-all mode, thereby dismissing and ultimately missing out on what may have been of great utility to them. Believe me, it is a head-honcho pitfall very many often succumb to.

Once again, it all boils down to opinions and how they are expressed.


Opinion can be Shaped


We do not exactly live in a world where everything is in black or white. A key mistake often made by those selling products and services is assuming that the consumers will on their own seek information about what you sell to them. Sorry to disappoint, but offering all the necessary information is part of your work.

Less may be more, but inadequate invariably does more harm than good since it leaves plenty of room for doubt. Doubt that erodes trust.

You see, being in business is not only about making money. It is about meeting a need or offering a solution. Or adding value to an existing product or through service.
Money is ultimately part of the reward you get for doing this. So where does offering information come in?

Because useful information, especially information that is essential to using the product or service, is part of what the buyer pays for. Or more important, the buyer makes the purchase decision based on, and thanks to, the information you provide.

It is for this reason that forward-looking brands are now embracing content marketing as a core part of business operations towards customer acquisition and retention. And, it goes without saying, revenue generation.


Opinion affects Decision making

The obvious question at this point, I submit, is just how much information should be available to the customer (potential or otherwise).
And should it be purely devoid of emotion and factual, or there is room for persuasion and emotional appeal.
We shall get to that shortly...

First off, decision making is largely swayed by opinion. And no place else is this as well demonstrated than in politics.
Prior to elections, politicians who are worth their salt will oil their public relations and propaganda machinery in readiness for the big day. Elections are very rarely, if ever, won on the polling day.

All that matters happens before the ballots are cast, all the campaigning and country-wide tours - that is what makes a particular candidate more appealing to the voter.

This is equally important in business.
For companies with big marketing and PR budgets, they do it so well that their product announcements are carried by media outlets for free since they are packaged as press conferences.

Newspapers and periodicals will then be filled with native ads that are carefully made to look like informative content. The icing on the cake is when senior officials of such companies are hosted on various high-value shows such as breakfast and drive shows on radio, as well as during prime-time TV.

By the time an ad from the advertising agency of such a company first airs on TV or on radio, chances are you have already heard about the product on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, on blogs, on radio and TV. At this point, you start trusting...

Where then does this leave the small and medium enterprises who lack such far-reaching and all-encompassing ad-spend?
The truth is, you have a finite number of followers on social media, cannot make your stuff trend based purely on a euphoric hashtag and obviously cannot afford prime-time TV or radio commercials or full-page newspaper ads.

The trick is to engage content marketing outlets that operate in your niche. You have to get adequate worthy mentions that make you trustworthy in the eyes and hearts of your target audience.


Purchase decisions are mostly Emotional, not Rational

We have talked about persuasion and emotional appeal above.
Here is the surprising truth: Most purchase decisions are purely emotional. They are based on something very hard to come by - trust.

It is for this reason that the most credible candidates are not voted for during elections. It is for this reason that a good number of people marry those with whom they establish an all-consuming passionate bond. Partners who sadly, do not have companionate affection that is essential for a life-time bond.

Emotional appeal is therefore of utmost importance in influencing potential customers. Through your marketing message, you have to catch their attention, and keep them interested long enough to allow for engagement.
It is during this engagement that you can have a conversation or interaction that makes your product or service desirable and compelling enough to convince the buyer that he or she is better off purchasing it.

Such a purchase action is seldom easy to come by. And it is not often based on how good your product is, but how it is perceived. Is it trust worthy?
And as we just outlined above, opinion has the ability to affect decision making.

Remember a marketing message is never successful because of what is said. Is is always because of what a targeted audience hears.

That said, go ahead and engage content marketing that can shape opinion and affect decision making in favor of your products and services. Here is a good place to start.


* * *

The customer is someone you have to woo, so said the advertising gurus whose insights we have come to greatly appreciate many decades later.
Imagine you want your customer to come out and enjoy what you promise will be worth his or her while. Can s/he trust you?
Let's convince Prudence to come out and play...







Sunday, August 2, 2015

Video of the Week - The Truth about Food

Yesterday, we introduced our new podcasts of the week as part of the Sights & Sounds audio and video output on Connect Magazine's Weekend Connection.

We feel that after reading what we write on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, the weekend should be left to unwinding. To just listen to or watch interesting and useful stuff.




It was about food yesterday. And so it is even today, we admit to shamelessly being on a roll here...


The Truth about Food

A few years ago, BBC 2 in the UK enlisted 500 volunteers in a sweeping experiment that sought to find out the raw truth about what we eat. This was a real scientific experiment, where the effects of what one eats were examined.

Here is the first episode of The Truth about Food:






The other episodes are available on YouTube as well.

This Series was made up of 6 episodes:
  • How to be healthy
  • How to be sexy
  • How to feed your kids
  • How to be slim
  • How to stay young and beautiful
  • How to be the best

You can watch all the episodes on the BBC site.
There is also a whole lot of clips, taken from the above six episodes that you can watch here.

Here's wishing you a smashing weekend!


* * *

Food does give one a good feeling. That is beyond dispute.
We submit that food should be something that nourishes and keeps us happy, strong and healthy.
That is why it is very important to be aware of what foods will bring out the best of you. It is important to know the truth about food. Only then can food be honestly associated with a good feeling, whatever that means to you. Enjoy!










Saturday, August 1, 2015

Podcasts of the Week - What and How much Food We Eat

Hello and welcome to your weekly dose of podcasts on Connect Magazine.




Well, the first thing you'll note is that we are talking about several, and not just one podcast.
In the past, we highlighted one podcast from one broadcaster or publisher per week, shared links to a few of our favorite episodes in that particular series as well as the podcast feed url where you would subscribe to other episodes.

All the podcasts in a given month were in line with a certain theme. For example, we had a Science theme, Ideas theme, Business theme, Health theme and much more.

Beginning this week, we have altered our approach to what we share.
You see, we have decided to dwell on a certain theme in one week, and provide actual podcast episodes from several publishers that tackle the same

We start with the one thing that fuels our very existence - food.


Food

A lot has been said and written about food. Especially at a time when what is killing  many people is not lack of food, but excessive consumption of food. Specifically, obesity whose main cause is overeating the wrong food.

Obesity is a sensitive subject, and we sadly realize there lacks a politically correct way to talk about the adverse effects of food. We shall therefore let others address the situation, from CBC Radio in Canada, BBC World Service in the UK and ABC Radio in Australia.

Be edified.

Stuffed: Part 1

First broadcast on Ideas, presented by Paul Kennedy on CBC Radio.
Ideas podcast feed.

PHOTO: CBC Radio, Ideas.

This podcast  starts with the observation that it is the amount of food that we eat nowadays, that is largely (forgive the pun) to blame.
The presenter, Jill Eisen then looks back at the historic cause of this overeating.
A surprise for me was the part about a 'no-fat' diet also being a culprit...

Check out the highlights and credits on the Ideas webpage. Listen/stream online or download the episode (mp3).


Stuffed: Part 2

PHOTO: CBC Radio, Ideas

In this second episode of Stuffed, Jill Eisen takes a closer look at what has really changed in the food we eat, to make it near impossible for us to resist overeating.

Read the programme highlights and credits on the Ideas webpage, listen/stream online and download the episode (mp3).


Fructose:

PHOTO: Jane's Healthy Kitchen

First broadcast on Discovery, on BBC World Service.
Program podcast feed.

The fact that fructose is indeed bad for you may come as a surprise to you, given that a whole lot of us have a sweet tooth. But just how bad is fructose? It is good to separate fact from fiction about this apparently bitter-sweet sugar that we find most appealing.

In this Discovery episode on BBC World Service, Dr Mark Porter talks to leading world experts to sift through the evidence in Fructose: The Bitter Sweet Sugar.

See program highlights on the Discovery page, listen online (pop-out player) and download this episode (mp3).


Science vs Sugar:

First broadcast as part of the new science podcasts for on-demand listening on ABC Radio, Australia.
Program podcast feed.

PHOTO: ABC, Radio National

In this episode, journalist Wendy Zukerman asks: "Is sugar really bad for you?"

Listen online or download episode (mp3).


* * *

Okay. There are several factual inaccuracies about food in almost everything you hear about food. All you read, hear or watch should therefore be taken with a grain of salt (another food pun, damn!) The following music video is no exception.
But we can all loosen up a bit when it comes to food.
After all, where would you and I be without food? That said, I need to eat something...








Friday, July 31, 2015

Policy and Ideas: Access Trumps Ownership

Today, we are very excited to introduce our new weekly Friday feature, aptly titled Policy and Ideas.
The first instalment  is titled 'Access Trumps Ownership'.





In Policy and Ideas, we highlight systems that are in place to guide our decisions and explore ideas that can lead to rational outcomes, as we help you connect with what matters to you.


* * *

I last bought a newspaper in 2005. And no, Facebook and Twitter are not to blame. But nationaudio.com and eastandard.net are. I haven't watched television nor had a TV in my house for almost 5 years now, thanks to YouTube. As for radio, I now spend more time listening to podcasts than live broadcasts.

Don't be fooled into thinking I am talking about the Internet. I stopped buying newspapers because I was forced to buy an entire package of outdated news, press releases from PR companies, advertorials, acres of advertisements and propaganda, when all I want is select pullouts and opinion pieces from my favorite columnists.

The same goes for television. I am not patient enough to endure an entire hour of news inundated with commercials, only to have my favorite segment, the business segment relegated to a 5-minute interlude just before Sports News.

You can now see why my media consumption changed.
I want news delivered as it happens. I also get to decide when to read, listen and watch whatever I want.


In the Horror movie Saw III, Jigsaw tells Troy that despite having all the advantages, Troy has opted not to progress.

That is the exact sad situation that many of us have wilfully walked into, and even worse, opted to stay in.
I come from a Kenyan community that values land above all else. Not using or making the most of land, but simply owning land. Many have lost life and limb in a quest to acquire as much land as possible, only to leave it to offspring who will most probably sell it and squander the money, or spend endless hours in court since they cannot agree on who will inherit what.

By contrast, another Kenyan community of Asian extraction is famous for being entrepreneurial. They seldom own large tracts of land, and when they do, it is because an economic activity is being carried out that demands many acres of land.

It is this same thinking that informs this community's preference to lease both residential and commercial property, instead of acquiring it. The cost of acquiring land is in most cases prohibitive. All you need is a place to live or work. You really don't have to own the space. Access to it is all that matters.
So, why buy when you can rent?


Whenever I think about our obsession with owning stuff, I cannot help but recall Heavy D and The Boyz asking: "Now that we found love, what are we gonna do with it?"




Having is one thing. It is what you do with it that makes a difference.



Today is Friday. Traffic jams will mark the end of this day. Many o us will complain on social networks. But few will pause to [1] wonder why this is, and [2] seek a solution.

In recent years, the Ministry of Transport has made various attempts at easing congestion in Nairobi. One proposal was to limit the number of personal vehicles that get into the city centre. Another was to do away with low capacity public service vehicles.

Guess what happened...
The public objected.

Owning a car is a status symbol in Kenya. Many a young professional wants to drive to work every morning, and back home in the evening. Public means will do the exact same thing, and more affordably.
Thankfully, some people are once again using public transport more often, and in so doing, reducing the number of cars on the road during rush hour, ferrying just one person.

And I could go on and on...


It does feel good to own things. We live in a world that judges us on the basis of how much money, land and property we own. But true to Bob Dylan's famous lines in the 60s, "The times, they are a-changin'"





Access is now becoming more important that ownership. Media on demand is increasingly becoming popular. Scarcity of space and facilities are making leasing a more viable alternative.

This presents a challenge to those who own things, such as landowners. What are you doing with whatever amount of land you already own? To those in the information age, are you making it more accessible, or still cling to bygone days when you had the power to decide when listeners must tune in to enjoy a show on radio or TV? Are you still delivering stale news which loses currency and importance after others avail and analyze it to the audience while you're still warming up the press or setting up the autocue?

Access trumps ownership.
You don't have to own the land on which you can do very rewarding agribusiness. You don't have to own the car that takes you to and from work. With Internet access, you can listen to timeless audio and watch videos from content producers who understand the true value in availing information in the digital age.

Despite having all the advantages, are you still choosing not to progress?


Let's connect again next week.


* * *








Monday, July 27, 2015

Is Connect Magazine Really Returning in July?

In June this year we promised Connect Magazine's return, which was scheduled for July 2015. The month of July ends on Friday this week.



The extended hiatus we have had since April 2015 has provided ample time to take another look at Connect Magazine - our then and our now.

Based on a deep understanding of our current realities, we now have clear objectives and are focused on realizing our main goal of making Connect Magazine more informative, relevant and useful to you.

At the heart of Connect Magazine is writing that makes a difference, has meaning and adds value.
Towards this end, we have revised our weekly publishing cycle and added new exciting features as outlined below:

Monday

Well researched, insightful writing in tech, business, media, health, energy and telecommunications.

Wednesday
Communication design insights - marketing, branding, advertising, sales, innovation, graphic design, public relations, content marketing, online and digital marketing... 
turing cross-over articles from Complit Design.

Weekend
Friday - Policy and Ideas.
Saturday - Podcasts of the Week.
Sunday - Video of the Week.


That said, when is Connect Magazine returning?

On Friday, July 31, Connect Magazine will resume regular publishing with our 'Policy & Ideas' Friday Feature. This will be followed by Sights and Sounds over the weekend.
We purpose to get into August with an insightful article titled "The Power of Opinion" on Monday, August 03, 2015.




Join us then and every week thereafter as we help you connect with what matters to you.


* * *

It is a nostalgic return for Connect Magazine later this week. We definitely look forward to happier times and regular updates, since it always is sad and lonesome when away. We purpose to work all day till the sun no longer shines, even put in a hard day's night for you.
Originally done by Roy Orbison, Linda Ronstadt's rendition best brings out the feeling of longing and return, IMHO.







Monday, June 1, 2015

Coming Back Soon. In July.

Hello,
It's been a while since we last posted here. Thankfully, we're coming back soon.
On Wednesday, July 01, 2015.



See you then!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Video of the Week - Epic Engineering Failures

In Connect Magazine's weekly video throughout this month, we have been watching marvelous engineering achievements. We started with construction of Panama Canal, then manufacture of super cars, the making of extreme aircraft and eventually, coding and software engineering that defined how we browse the web today.

These are in no way small accomplishments. In a world that eternally celebrates success and frowns over failure, it would be remiss if we do not point out at this stage that some of the successes we tirelessly celebrate was at times preceded by, or even inspired by failure.

Soon after starting Video of the Week on Connect Magazine, we brought you J. K. Rowling's commencement speech where she talked about the benefits of failure and imagination.

To Engineer is Human is a BBC documentary that shines the light on engineering projects that have gone awfully wrong.
Watch the full documentary below:








* * *


Having come from an Engineering background, I personally know that it takes a whole lot to achieve perfection. The road to success is often paved with failure and setbacks.
So what is the key to making it happen eventually, despite all that holds one back? The simple answer is to learn from mistakes, stay focused and try again. And again.




Sunday, March 22, 2015

Video of the Week - Project Code Rush

This month, Connect Magazine's weekly videos are about Engineering. To many, this is mostly stuff to do with construction and machinery. Well, it is partly true. Engineering however, is quite broad. Computer Engineering too, falls under this category and this week, we focus on software engineering, popularly known as coding.

Back in the day, there was no Google Chrome, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Apple Safari, Opera Browser or Mozilla Firefox. The pioneering web browser was the Netscape Navigator, which I recall using about a decade ago.

Project Code Rush details how the Netscape Browser came into being, and the personal sacrifices that were made by those tasked with making this project a success. There were deadlines to beat, user expectations to exceed and bugs to defeat.




* * *

In The Rise of Silicon Valley, Bill Gates speaks about the many hours programmers would put in, often working endless shifts such that such essentials as eating, taking a shower, even a dump would take second place. To me, that is all part of living the life. Eventually, people only get to hear about big cities and bright lights, at times the short days and long nights.. few ever get to know about just how much went into putting in place systems that result in the glamorous lives of successful people.







Friday, March 20, 2015

Podcast of the Week - Software Engineering Radio

We have in the past two weeks of March, shared with you the Technically Speaking and The Engineering Commons podcasts.
This week, we take it back to computers.

Software Engineering is defined as the study and an application of engineering to the design, development, and maintenance of software.

For professional software developers, there is need to learn from experts and others in the industry, as well as gain a better understanding of the vast world of code and computers. Thankfully, there is a podcast that offers just that - the Software Engineering Radio.



Popularly styled as SE-Radio, this podcast is produced one or twice every month. Thanks to the untiring efforts of volunteers and staff members at IEEE Software magazine, SE-Radio presents original content with at least two presenters in every episode.
The IEEE Software magazine is published by the IEEE Computer Society.


Favorite Episodes

Software Components. Download audio (mp3).

Error Handling. Download audio (mp3).

Being a consultant in the software business. Download audio (mp3).

Current developments in databases. Download audio (mp3).

The modern cloud-based platform. Download audio (mp3).


Podcast feed


SE-Radio has a comprehensive podcast feed offering many options and formats.
You can subscribe to the common RSS or XML feed formats or iTunes, myYahoo and several others.




* * *

Spending endless hours at a computer workstation is mostly associated with hackers and other geeks who get thrilled by the amazing stuff computers can actually do. It is indeed true that such people are the ones who change the world. Software Engineering can at times seem like a larger than life engagement. But then again, it is most enjoyable to those who are passionate about code.








Sunday, March 15, 2015

Video of the Week - Extreme Aircraft Engineering and Manufacturing

This March, Connect Magazine is BIG on both motoring and Engineering. We started with a documentary that details the building of the Panama Canal. Last week, we brought you a super car mega factory. Having focused on engineering feats for both sea and land transport, how about the air?

This week, we are shining the light on how high end aircraft is made, thanks to Modern Marvels.
Here is the full documentary. Enjoy!




* * *

Yves Larock would love nothing more than to fly over the rainbow. With the kind of aircraft that continually breaks records both in speed and attitude attained, who would want to stay on the ground?
Be it for the thrill or as part of one's job, human beings simply want to go higher and higher off the ground . . .







Friday, March 13, 2015

Podcast of the Week - The Engineering Commons Podcast

Last week, we were technically speaking on Connect Magazine..
Engineering is at the heart of the things we use each and every day. Such things as motoring, architecture and construction, manufacturing, aviation are what we are looking at in almost all posts. Software Engineering is also included.

This week, we continue with a podcast from the good people at Engineering Commons.




This podcast is produced twice every month and is presented by Jeff Shelton, Carmen Parisi, Chris Gammell, Brian and Adam. These guys are drawn from several Engineering disciplines such as mechanical, civil, electrical and electronics engineering.
In every episode, the hosts together with invited guests share their knowledge and experiences in the exciting world of engineering and technology.


Favorite Episodes

Should you take up an MBA after an Engineering degree? Download audio (43MB mp3).

What Engineers do. Download audio (45MB mp3).

How to have a success Engineering career. Download audio (33MB mp3).

Talent: Are Engineers born or made? Download audio (33MB mp3).

Women in Engineering. Download audio (33MB mp3).


Podcast feed

The Engineering Commons podcast feed is available both on iTunes and via RSS.


* * *

It has been quite a dry three months in Kenya since 2015 started. The hot, sunny days and lately, windy conditions have been devastating to farmers who grow crops. Rearing animals too gets costly in the dry season, thanks to lack of pasture, reduced water supplies and disease outbreaks.
All is not lost though, and rain will fall soon. It will rain, no doubt about that.






Sunday, March 8, 2015

Video of the Week - Super Car Mega Factories

This week, we continue with our Engineering theme throughout March which includes construction, motoring and aviation.
7 days ago, it was the construction of the amazing Panama Canal. Today, it is all about motoring. And not just some ordinary motoring, we are talking super cars.

A super car is essentially a very expensive, high performance sports car. These are exotic cars manufactured by top car makers for racing or for the filthy rich.
We often see them in popular car magazines such as Top Gear or on the racing tracks such as Formula One. It is these cars too that are the fodder for such movies as Fast & Furious and Death Race.

Where and how are super cars manufactured? Here is the entire video:


 



* * *


Super cars are not for the faint-hearted. They are for the thrill-seeking ones among us, those not afraid to get into a high octane machine to hopefully satiate an ever increasing need for speed.
Super cars are for the wild ones . . .









Friday, March 6, 2015

Podcast of the Week - Technically Speaking

The Engineering theme on Connect Magazine this March cuts across all our editions, including the weekly podcast.
To start off, we feature a podcast that is essentially the perfect audio companion for the curious mind that wants to know how things work, willing to dig deep and dirty and brainstorm whenever necessary, in a bid to find solutions to various engineering problems.

Say hello to Technically Speaking!


This is a podcast produced every two weeks by Brachiolope Media Network. The episodes hosts are Jacob and Joe.
Technically Speaking focuses primarily on Engineering and Technology.

The really cool thing about Technically Speaking is the no-holds-barred approach both Jacob and Joe take to the subject under discussion. It thus comes out as laid back, easy and often humorous talk that is at the same time most profound.
 

Favorite Episodes

Taking a bite out of poaching. Download audio [51MB, mp3].

The Hyperloop. Download audio [56MB, mp3].

Mapping the mid of an Enginner. Download audio [52MB, mp3].

Here comes the sun. Download audio [44MB, mp3].

What would you print? Download audio [48MB, mp3].


Podcast Feed

Here is a listing of past episodes, with synopses that definitely help in picking favorites. This is the RSS feed.


* * *

Technology and related disciplines where the stuff that makes things up is laid bare, where the making of stuff is discussed, always makes for great listening. It is such podcasts where all you want to do is hit the PLAY button and listen attentively until the end. Not of the episode but the entire playlist.

You then take a break as you download more episodes.







Monday, March 2, 2015

Gadget of the Week - Ubuntu Phone


On July 22, 2013, Canonical Limited announced a super smartphone, whose development and manufacture was to be crowdfunded on Indiegogo.
Ubuntu Edge was to have the most amazing features that few, if any phones, currently have. For instance, the phone would dual boot into Android and Ubuntu Touch operating systems. The battery was to be a silicon anode Li-Ion type. The 4.5 inch screen was to be made of Sapphire crystal display. It would have Dual LTE. and much more. Internal storage would be 128GB. An 11-pin connector would provide both MHL and USB on the go (OTG) connectivity.

With a $32 million goal, the campaign managed to raise only $12.8 million and the project was shelved.
Despite the demise of Ubuntu Edge, Canonical promised that the dream to have Ubuntu running on smartphones was still on, and would be realized someday soon.


Slightly over a year ago at the Mobile World Congress (MWC 2014), Canonical announced the Ubuntu Phone.
Thankfully, the phone is now available, manufactured by . Here is a promo video for Ubuntu phone:





Where it stands out

The first Ubuntu phone has been manufactured by BQ. The Aquaris E 4.5 has a 4.5 inch display and 8GB internal memory. Front camera is 5MP and the rear 8MP. RAM is 1GB and internal storage 8GB, of which 5.5GB is user available. This can be expanded through a MicroSD of up to 32GB. It is a dual SIM device, rocking a 1.3GHz quad core A7 Cortex MediaTek CPU. It has a 2150mAH Li-Po battery. Full specifications..

With Ubuntu, navigation and access to content is mostly through Scopes, not applications. Ubuntu Edge features are also incorporated, with swiping from the top revealing notifications and phone settings, swiping from the left the Launcher, swiping from the bottom Controls and swiping from the right revealing the running apps.

The phone comes in two editions. One that runs Ubuntu and another running Android 4.4 (above).


Expert Reviews and User Opinions

On Slashdot, the phone gets unimpressive reviews, thanks to its underwhelming hardware. Here is the full run-down. Some comments:
Sure, the hardware sucks, but honestly I think people here are more interested in how the software works. At least I am. - Nyder.

running a Big Boy's OS. You know, a device that gives its user a lot of freedom and power. A phone that could be connected to a keyboard and monitor to do the same or similar things my 6 year old desktop can do.
These specs are not a good match for that vision. I can live with the poor resolution, the mid-range camera and the relatively small screen size (though I'm definitely a fan of phablets). The slow CPU and limited amount of RAM are killers, though, and not in the good sense of the word. - blind biker.

At PhoneArena, the hardware specs of this phone are nothing spectacular.
I dont understand why they opted for that crappy old mediatek. they should have waited and gone with the newer mt6732, that thing is a beast. - TechNerd.


They should've continued with the Ubuntu Edge. I would've bought one at flagship prices easily and the pledge amount in the original campaign was lower than that. - Krjal.



Pricing and Availability

The listed price is 169.90 Euros, equivalent to $190.


* * *

When Canonical first conceived Ubuntu Edge, it was out to make it. The super smartphone didn't make it, but the phone maker still held to the promise and dream of Ubuntu running on smartphones. Such a vision, being on a make it or make it mission, is what the following music video is all about it. This is the kind of thinking and purpose that results in a breath of fresh air, in life's breakthroughs. Enjoy!








Sunday, March 1, 2015

Video of the Week - Building the Panama Canal

Today is the fist day of a new month. Yeah, March is now upon us, with January and February 2015 already done and dusted.
But not to worry, Connect Magazine as always, does have great things in store to help you connect with what matters to you. Our focus this month is Motoring and Engineering (yeah right, I do have an Engineering background).

That said, our video this week is a documentary that sheds some light on the construction of the 77km water channel that separates America. It took 33 years to complete the project which has, thanks to it's immense and unique challenges, earned its place as one of the most difficult engineering feats ever accomplished.

Here is the entire documentary:





* * *

February was all about love, so we still have some hangovers when it comes to mushy and soppy songs. But we gotta move on and get on with Motoring and Engineering! 
So how about a compromise? Here's the obvious hint: Train.
Enjoy!







Friday, February 27, 2015

Podcast of the Week - The Art of Relationships Radio Show

This February, we have stayed true to the theme of love in our weekly podcasts. We began with We Know Nothing, then The Art of Love on the eve of Valentines Day and last week, Coupledom.
To end the month, we feature The Art of Relationships Radio Show. It is a great podcast when it comes to the underlying issues in relationships that many seldom talk about.



The Art of Relationships Radio Show is hosted by Greg Dudzinski. He is a relationship and sex counselor, who
..covers crucial elements in rebuilding emotional and physical intimacy, plus help reignite the passion in your romantic relationships! 
Answering & discussing questions to your relationship & sexual challenges in a genuine, safe & sometimes humorous format, [Greg hopes to help in] becoming more fulfilled, healthier, and happier in your relationships and life.

This is a weekly show, with new episodes out every Thursday.


Favorite episodes

Abusive relationships and lip service. Download audio (mp3).

Trust building in relationships. Download audio (mp3).

Sexual and emotional maturity. Download audio (mp3).

The impact social media has on relationships. Download audio (mp3).

Boring sex, plus chemistry and friendship. Download audio (mp3).


Podcast feed

Here is The Art of Relationships RSS feed.


* * *


When all is said in the game of love, fond memories endure. People look back and realize that with emotional maturity, it becomes possible to look at what positive things a lover, gone or present, has brought into one's life. It is such a time that Faith Hill's words ring so true...






Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Unlimited Mobile Broadband and Bundled Tariffs in Kenya

On Friday, February 19, 2015, Airtel Kenya unveiled a bundled data + voice + sms package dubbed "UnlimiNET." This was just a day before the scheduled reduction of the data volume in Club 20, from 100MB to 40MB.

Here are the UnlimiNET daily, weekly and monthly packages:



For the purposes of full disclosure, I am a long-time Airtel Kenya customer and I am currently on the UnlimiNET 250 weekly package. 


Bundled packages

That aside, UnlimiNET is not the first bundled tariff from Kenyan telcos. Airtel already has Airtel Tosha, which for a price range of between Ksh 10 and Ksh 100, also has daily, weekly and monthly data+voice+sms packages.

Orange Kenya does have Holla, which for Ksh 10 gives you 10MB, 20SMS off-net, 100 SMS on-net and 180 minutes to call within the Orange network. In addition, there is a similar offer for Ksh 20. It should be noted however, that Orange doesn't offer off-net minutes.


Safaricom's bundled tariff takes the form of daily data for mobile packages, where Ksh 10 gets you 10MB + 10 SMS (on-net). Similarly, 20MB + 20 on-net SMS costs Ksh 20. No off-net voice or sms on this network.

The newbie Equitel, also has data+sms packages as follows:
  • 50MB + 50SMS for Ksh 60.
  • 20MB + 20SMS for Ksh 25.
 The thing to note is that Equitel's bundled offers above have a validity of 1 month, unlike the rest that typically remain valid for only 24 hours.


Unlimited Internet

We all know that absolutely unlimited Internet on a wireless carrier is not practical and isn't a viable business option. For this reason, telcos come up with a fair usage policy (FUP) to forestall misuse of network resources by heavy downloaders who may end up degrading the quality of the shared link with other users on the network. Upon reaching the FUP limit, data is usually throttled to a usable, albeit frustrating low speed.

Safaricom once had Unlimited Internet. It was as follows:
  • 1 day unlimited for Ksh 200.
  • 3 days unlimited for Ksh 500 (weekends).
  • 7 days unlimited for Ksh 1000.
  • 30 days unlimited for Ksh 3000.
This tariff came with a FUP that was twice revised, after which the speed was initially throttled to 512kbps and later the impractical 128kbps. The Unlimited data service was eventually halted thanks to users "abusing" the service by torrenting, running cyber cafes.. which degraded the Internet service quality for all users.

Orange Kenya has Unlimited Internet on GSM both for mobile phones and modems.
For mobile:
  • 1 day unlimited for Ksh 50. - FUP is 100MB.
  • 7 days unlimited for Ksh 249. - FUP is 500MB.
  • 30 days unlimited for Ksh 990. - FUP is 2GB.
The speed is throttled to a painful 64kbps after reaching FUP.

For modems:
  • 7 days unlimited for Ksh 990, FUP 10GB.
  • 30 days unlimited for Ksh 2990, FUP 20GB.
Post FUP speed is 256kbps.

Airtel Kenya's unlimited Internet has been there all along. The post FUP speed is at times quoted as 128kbps or 256kbps. Here are the daily, weekly and monthly packages with the corresponsing FUP data volumes.
  • 1 day unlimited at Ksh 250. FUP 3GB.
  • 7 days unlimited at Ksh 1299. FUP 20GB.
  • 30 days unlimited at Ksh 3499. FUP 30GB.
yuMobile, now owned by Airtel (therefore 3G speeds attained), has Unlimited Internet. It should be noted that the respective bundles expire at midnight and upon reaching FUP, the speed is not throttled. Much worse does happen since the connection is terminated entirely. Packages are as follows:
  • 1 day unlimited at Ksh 39. FUP 100MB.
  • 7 days unlimited at Ksh 250. 
  • 30 days unlimited at Ksh 499. FUP 500MB.

The yet-to-be-launched Equitel doesn't have Unlimited Internet offers.


Conclusion

In view of the foregoing, Airtel Kenya presents the best value for money when you consider data+voice+sms as a package. The catch is that speed is not high everywhere, given low 3G coverage across the country. Orange is a worthy second,

If you're not actively looking for a good deal, where what matters most is high 3G speed and spending large amounts of money is not a problem, Safaricom is your friend. It has the widest 3G coverage and the speeds are great, largely in part to fiber-optic connections to many of the 3G towers. Lack of unlimited Internet also ensures bandwidth hogs keep off the Safaricom 3G network.


* * * 

February is almost coming to an end. It is a short month, but the heat in Nairobi area and other parts in Kenya makes one think it is endless summer in this place. But there's still time for love. Here is Jessica Simpson's younger sister, Ashlee:





Endless Summer 







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