"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.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Podcast of the Week - The Small Business Report on Wall Street Journal

Today is the last of the five Fridays that make up January 2015. As previously mentioned, our focus in this month's podcasts was Business and Entrepreneurship.
We have so far featured the HBR IdeaCast, Marketing Smarts by Marketing Profs, Business Daily on BBC World Service, and The Entrepreneur's Radio Show with Travis Jenkins.

This week, we go to Lower Manhattan, in the financial district of New York City. Specifically, Wall Street.
It is here that we get our weekly podcast today, The Small Business Report.

This is a weekly podcast, hosted by Gordon Deal. New episodes are out every Tuesday.

Favorite Episodes

Robots, and the new trend of alcohol delivery. (mp3)

Four goals in 2015 for all small business owners. (mp3)

The trust gap between employees and employers. (mp3)

Understanding freelance work in a sharing economy. (mp3)

Finding a job vacancy at a small business. (mp3)

Subscribe to feed

You can subscribe to this podcast via iTunes, myYahoo, myGoogle and RSS.
The entire archive is available for iTunes users.

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African music rocks, no matter which part of the content a particular artiste comes from. From countries big and small, African tunes are a pleasure to listen to and inevitably elicit movement to the beat inasmuch as you may not understand the language.
Here is Tshala Muana with Nasi na Bali. Enjoy!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Gadget of the Week - Microsoft HoloLens Goggles

Connect Magazine is usually first in bringing you news of brand new gadgets. This we do every Monday, sans bias, commercial influence or needless embellishments. Last week, we highlighted the ground-breaking OnePlus One smartphone which was released for global sales on January 20, 2015.

This week, the spotlight shines on a new gizmo that was announced on Wednesday, January 21 during a Microsoft Windows 10 event.

This is the Microsoft HoloLens, a new wireless, 3D holographic display that packs it own CPU and graphics processors. It is able to sense where you are in a room, it responds to hand gestures and allows you to manipulate the 3D objects (holograms) that are displayed around you.

HoloLens comes with a holographic processing chip that understands your gestures, voice and where you're looking. It can map the world around you and display holograms that appear to be in thin air or on objects that surround you.

The HoloLens concept isn't so new both at Microsoft and in tech circles. I late October 2014, Wired got an exclusive interview with Alex Kipman, the genius behind both Kinect and HoloLens.
Codenamed 'Project Baraboo', Alex worked on HoloLens for over 5 years.

Kipman's views about computing are thus captured at Wired:
..you used to compute on a screen, entering commands on a keyboard. Cyberspace was somewhere else. Computers responded to programs that detailed explicit commands. In the very near future, you’ll compute in the physical world, using voice and gesture to summon data and layer it atop physical objects. Computer programs will be able to digest so much data that they’ll be able to handle far more complex and nuanced situations. Cyberspace will be all around you.
What will this look like? Well, holograms.

Where is stands out

Unlike what we see in the movies, the 3D images produced by HoloLens will only be viewable by the person wearing the Goggles.

Unlike others such as Oculus Rift VR, HoloLens doesnt transport you into a different world. It instead brings the computing experience into the world you're already in.

Expert Reviews

CNET has a fantastic article that comprehensively explains HoloLens and highlights the differences it has when stacked against similar products and software related software applications. It says:
Microsoft's HoloLens, which the company unveiled at its Redmond, headquarters, is a sleek, flashy headset with transparent lenses. You can see the world around you, but suddenly that world is transformed -- with 3D objects floating in midair, virtual screens on the wall and your living room covered in virtual characters running amok.

The device has a plethora of sensors to sense your movements in a room and it uses this information along with layers of colored glass to create images you can interact with or investigate from different angles.

From Wired, the exact way HoloLens works is revealed:
Project HoloLens’ key achievement—realistic holograms—works by tricking your brain into seeing light as matter. “Ultimately, you know, you perceive the world because of light,” Kipman explains. “If I could magically turn the debugger on, we’d see photons bouncing throughout this world. Eventually they hit the back of your eyes, and through that, you reason about what the world is. You essentially hallucinate the world, or you see what your mind wants you to see.”

To create Project HoloLens’ images, light particles bounce around millions of times in the so-called light engine of the device. Then the photons enter the goggles’ two lenses, where they ricochet between layers of blue, green and red glass before they reach the back of your eye. “When you get the light to be at the exact angle,” Kipman tells me, “that’s where all the magic comes in.”

The Tech News World site is full outlines major expectations, that point to excitement in light of what HoloLens will make possible.

Billed as a new way to interact with technology and the world around us at once, it overlays holograms onto what wearers see in front of them. They might, for instance, play a version of Minecraft that's constructed across a kitchen table and chairs, or have a Skype conversation with a screen seemingly hovering in front of them as they stroll across the floor. It is blisteringly impressive.

HoloLens seems at once fantastical and feasible in the current landscape. That someone can look at what I'm seeing from an ocean away through a tablet, doodle on the screen, and then let me see it as a hologram is enormously exciting.

User Opinions

This is a yet to be launched gadget, so no users have had a chance to test it and share their thoughts yet.

Pricing and Availability

No pricing information was revealed during the Windows 10 event. Neither has Microsoft announced when the HoloLens will be availed to consumers.

* * * 

Africa simply has amazing musicians with moves much better than Jagger.
Here is Mbilia Bel with Cadence Mudanda. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Video of the Week - A Poehlerized Graduation Commencement Speech at Harvard

Every Sunday on Connect Magazine, we share a video that in our considered opinion, presents something of value, or profoundly entertains you and makes your day. After all, Sunday is the day when many of us unwind in preparation for a new week with its attendant challenges.

We have in the past featured Graduation speeches (aka a commencement address). From the adorable Chimamanda Adichie, the ever inspiring J.K. Rowling and Kenyan media mogul S.K. Macharia.

Today's weekly video is by actress Amy Poehler. She addressed the graduating class of 2011 at Harvard University, giving a speech that was both hilarious and profound.
Watch the entire speech below:

The full text of Amy's speech is available on the Harvard Magazine web site, and here.

* * *

Good things do happen in school, no doubt about that.
Following a no-nonsense ranting by the Headmaster, these kids in Sarafina still found the grace to perform a most beautiful rendition of the Lord's Prayer. Check out the following amazing song!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Podcast of the Week - The Entrepreneur's Radio Show

This month, we are highlighting business podcasts on Connect Magazine. So far, we have featured the HBR IdeaCast, the WSJ Business Report and BBC's Business Daily.

Today, we turn our attention to The Entrepreneur's Radio Show.

It's basic premise is conversations with self-made millionaires and high level entrepreneurs, to help you grow your business.

The show is hosted by Travis L. Jenkins, who is described as a business mentor, speaker, author and founder of a successful service and consulting business.

Favorite Episodes

Going after your dreams.

Using relationships to grow your business.

Creating an emotional experience with your customers.

Online marketing for your business.

Low cost ways to grow your business.

Podcast feed

You can subscribe to the Entrepreneur's Radio Show podcast feed via iTunes, on Android and good ol' RSS.

* * *

Every single day, you get to hear so much from a wide range of people. Some on matters that affect you directly. What makes the difference afterwards is what you opt to believe. Here are two ladies who believe diametrically different things about the same man.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Gadget of the Week - OnePlus One Smartphone

Last week, our weekly gadget was the ASUS Transformer Book T200, which is a significant improvement on the ASUS Transformer Book T100 that we looked at last year.

This week, we shine the spotlight on a brand new smartphone that is set for a global release tomorrow, January 201, 2015.
Ladies and gentlemen, say hello to OnePlus One!

Where is stands out

OnePlus One packs top-end features, starting with a 2.5GHzquad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor. It incorporates a custom Krait CPU, integrated 4G LTE connectivity and Adreno 300 GPU graphics.

The OnePlus One is billed as fast, smooth and powerful.Both the 16GB and 64GB flavors come with 3GB-DDR3 RAM, running at 1866MHz.
The front camera is 5MP, the rear a 13MP Sony Exmor camera with 6 physical lenses and f/2.0 aperture.

The battery is a 3100mAh Li-Po that powers among other things, a 5.5inch 1080x1920 display.
In addition, the OnePlus One has 3 microphones and lets the user choose between on-screen or capacitive keys. See all specifications.

Expert Reviews

On Engadget, OnePlus One is considered inexpensive for all the features it packs.

For $300, no other phone comes close to what the OnePlus One offers. Not only does it look and feel like a premium device, but it also comes with specs similar to what you'd find in a flagship smartphone. If you're keeping costs down, look no further.

TechCrunch too, considers this phone quite amazing.

Its flaws are small things, details that fail by matters of degrees rather than huge margins, and for a smartphone that costs less than half of many of its competitors, that’s nothing short of amazing.  

Even the Android Police is seemingly impressed by this phone with top-of-the-range phone going at a rock-bottom price.

The OnePlus One is not the perfect, everything-to-everyone phone that its creators might like you to think it is. But it is an amazingly powerful and versatile device, even before you consider its staggeringly low price.

User Opinions

The global release is scheduled for January 20 (tomorrow). Those who have been fortunate to own it so far already have things to say about this phone.

Vinod D on NDTV Gadgets notes the lack of MHL and FM Radio, saying:

I feel these are the missing features where all Indians like to have, FM is definitely needed and TV-out gives advantage where no smart TV's are affordable.

Shrikrishna Shanbhag is however, quite impressed:

Its an amazing phone. I have got my OnePlus-One from US and have been using it on Airtel 4G network for last 10 days. No complaints whatsoever. Extremely impressed with performance, perfect size (can reach full keypad with one hand), great build quality, best camera (both front and rear), customisability of menus etc... all in all AWESOME phone.

them ezzilla too, is a happy user on Engadget:

I bought this phone on an impulse when a friend of mine offered me his invitation. I'm coming from an HTC One M7, which I really really liked. The phone is wicked fast, it makes my HTC feel sluggish, and it had no problems switching between apps quickly.

Responding to a user on GSMArena who feels that OnePlus One's 401 ppi is not enough, this anonymous user has this to say:

how the hell is that terrible i have had a 300 ppi screen for 3 years and up until this day i have never been able to distinguish a single pixel. 400 is more than enough i can guarantee you that.

Pricing and Availability

Since its announcement in April, 2014, the phone has been available since June 2014 but only through an invite or contest. Beginning tomorrow, the phone will be available globally sans any invite.

OnePlus One starts at $299 for the 16GB model and $349 for the 64GB model.

* * *

January is the month we celebrate musicians from the greater African continent in every post of Connect Magazine. Today, it's the late Brenda Fassie with Vulindlela.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Video of the Week - The Dangers of Irrational Beliefs

In his famous 2005 Commencement address at Stanford University, Steve Jobs cautioned the graduating class not to live their lives in accordance to other people's thinking. He said:

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people's thinking.

It is unfortunate that many of us today subscribe to "truths" that we haven't taken time to examine. Many confuse what they believe to be true, oblivious to the humbling fact that 'your truth' or 'my truth' may not necessarily be 'the truth.'
There is no place where this is better manifested than in religious belief.

There is no such thing as various versions of the truth. Truth is both universal and singular, as Somni 451 asserted in Cloud Atlas, saying:

Truth is singular. Its versions are mistruths.

With that out of the way, our video this week illustrates, albeit in a most unconventional way, how refusing to accept reality is harmful. Pardon the dark humor, and enjoy:

All in all, the once thing so many of us fail to realize is that belief and truth are seldom synonymous.

* * *

This past week, Islam fundamentalists attacked the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and murdered several people. Soon after, there was another attack in a Jewish supermarket in Paris. Both these attacks were most unfortunate.
My attention is however drawn to the hundreds of people elsewhere that are attacked by terrorists in the Middle East and across Africa but all this goes unnoticed, without eliciting as much media attention and worldwide public outcry. Isn't the sanctity and dignity of human life equal everywhere? Without saying too much, here is Asa with a song that addresses the same concerns.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Video of the Week - Education, Intelligence and Creativity

Many people go to school to acquire knowledge. Consequently, a majority of educated people are knowledgeable. The acquisition of knowledge, however, does not make a person intelligent.
Even worse, the process of acquiring knowledge through our highly structured educational systems has often be blamed for killing creativity and hampering development of other life skills.

Throughout the month of January, our weekly videos will be drawn from the hundreds of TED Talks that in our considered opinion, do stand out particularly in content, relevance and presentation.

This week, Sir Ken Robinson says that schools kill creativity.

Enjoy :-)

* * *

Last month, all the music featured in each post on Connect Magazine was by Kenyan artistes. This month, we expand our horizons to the greater African continent.
In line with today's theme, how about some creatively exciting dance moves by P-Square?

Friday, January 2, 2015

Podcast of the Week - HBR IdeaCast

Hello and welcome to 2015!

It is a new year, and following the holidays, it's back to business. As of today, you now have a year less two days to meet your goals, realize stated objectives and fulfill dreams.
Not to worry, Connect Magazine really means business this month! All our podcasts this January will be about business, entrepreneurship, personal finance and business ideas.

We start off with the Harvard Business Review IdeaCast.

Popularly known as the HBR IdeaCast, this is a weekly audio production from HBR. It features leaders in business and management who share their insights and experiences with the HBR audience.

Favorite Episodes

Ten Rules for Strategic Innovators: From Idea to Execution. Download audio (mp3).

The New Science of Ideas. Download audio (mp3).

Who do you Blame when Things go Wrong? Download audio (mp3).

Science Business: The Promise, the Reality, and the Future of Biotech. Download audio (mp3).

Maya Angelou on Courage and Creativity. Download audio (mp3). 

Podcast Feed

An extensive archive with all past episodes of the HBR IdeaCast is available here.

* * *

James Dandu, aka Cool James lived large (so he claimed).
Here is a track where he speaks of his fame and wealth, a hit that was popularized back in 2000 when Kiss 100 was launched in Nairobi. Enjoy!