"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, 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:

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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:


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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.