Linkedin Goes Wakanda.

“Talent is evenly distributed but not opportunity”.

This week Nairobi hosted a Linkedin chat forum at Villa Rosa Kempinksi Hotel. This event centred on a video fireside chat by Linkedin Co-Lead Allen Blue and the Vice President of Nigaria Pro Yemi Osinbajo, at Silicon Valley. This event dabbed “connecting the dots” was attended by mostly Africans if not African Americans.

It was amazing to note how well Africa can be represented at the bay area…….the heart of innovation in the world. Moderating the event was Thogori Karago, Linkedin head of R&D Africa.

The conversation at the bay area today towards Africa is changing. Our population keeps growing day in day out or I should say night in and night out. We have the largest number of young people, and so this brings the increase in talent. Nigeria for example, will be the third most populous nation by 2050. This is getting Silicon Valley really excited and Pro Yemi’s message was that “Africa is Open for Business”

He however reasons that Africa needs to strategize itself for this future, coming up with the best practice to train young people to prepare them for a technological future. Leverage on Ideas aimed at reducing poverty and making home environment more lucrative for investment.

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Broadband connectivity He said remains an obstacle to success in Nigeria and there is need to keep deepening it, funding and regulations were also mentioned as great hindrance to a technological future.

Pro Yemi also mentioned some of the things Nigeria is doing to improve this, among them was training the right people, attracting and retaining talent, as we have all witnessed in the bay area and all over the world; Talent always follows the money. Nigeria is making content downloading faster and cheap, movies are now available online and everywhere.

So while bracing for a technological future, Africa needs to plan for the youth population, in leadership ,commerce and mainly technology. Labour in Africa remains lower than China and African governments need to take advantage of that, and last but not least solving the skills gap. Talent is evenly distributed but not opportunity.

Linkedin For Good

Linkedin for good has been connecting underserved communities to economic opportunity. They have signed a 10 year agreement with World Bank to advice government and institutions on the relevant areas to train to make sure that the young people when they graduate, they don’t enter the job market with skills that were relevant 10 years back.

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The Linkedin African Team is now focusing on putting Africa on the map, on talent and technological advancement. The event at Silicon Valley was a global event focusing on Africa, to help African business, and to push the massege that Africa is Open For Business.

Linkedin African Team will in the future host different events aimed at boosting business growth, helping recruiters in taping on talent. Lookout for the Linkedin Learning.

 

 

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Get Certified at JoomlaDay Kenya.

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For the first time we will be hosting a Joomla Certification Exam during our JoomlaDay event which will take place on the 14th of Sept 2018. When I took my exams in Rome Italy, the last thing I was worried a bout was time, having 90 minutes at my disposal was more than enough. Shock on me, in the middle of my exam, I was pressed for time, and I was rushing to finish, That was followed but a not very good outcome.

My Experience.

Yes, the exam is not easy. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking, “I have been working with Joomla! for over 10 years, so passing a Joomla exam will be a breeze”. Only the top 10-15% taking the exam actually pass it the first time. Out of eleven exam takers, maybe two will pass. The odds are tough, however, if you really want to pass, you can take what you learned, develop a strategy for studying, and take the exam again at the next Joomla Event.

Topics Covered in the Exam.

According to the official Joomla! site, here are the objectives to know for the exam:

  • Joomla! Architecture
  • Preparing and installing Joomla!
  • Website Structure
  • Managing and Editing Articles
  • Managing Users and Access (ACL)
  • Managing Menus
  • Security and Maintenance
  • Upgrading the System
  • Managing Extensions
  • Multilingual Sites

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There are no exam books available yet for exam prep. They are in the works, but not yet developed. Materials are mainly links to articles. I suggest if an article is unclear, check out OSTraining’s videos on the subject. They are the most updated information available. Note also, questions come directly from experience working in the product. Many answers will be clear if you have hands-on experience.

Why Spend money and time?

First, getting certified in any product is generally a good idea. After all, it tests your knowledge in a product, and forces you to remain current – you owe it to your clients and students who benefit from your knowledge to stay current.

Second, certifications are great for your resume, they can be the difference between you and your competitor getting the job.

Third, certifications prove that the product you work in has a solid reputation. Offering a certification in a product reveals it is worthy of certification. Deciding to take the exam shows your support for the product as well.

One last thing.

Study the articles related to the exam articles, read the Joomla documentation, watch OSTraining videos, and practice tasks in a sandbox environment. Take the exam, and if you don’t pass, TAKE IT AGAIN.

Support the volunteers who made it possible for you to prove your skills. Remember, they don’t get paid for their labor of love. Give constructive criticism to the exam prep team so they can make the exam better in the future. And, good luck!

We welcome you to take this exam during our JoomlaDay event, we hope to see you there.

Visit our website www.joomladay.or.ke to register.

 

Deploying Big Data for Security.

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Many organisations today are revolving and relaying on information technology, to many of those and to myself, I like to say that we are in the United Nations of information Technology.

With that, every minute we face new threats, the banks are hacked, there is fake news and even a presidential election is compromised. In the world of Data, we are reminded Data drives decisions, but decisions now write world history.

Stolen or manipulated Data can be used to assassinate character or disrupt democracy. Thats the real problem, cybersecurity threats is making it difficult to make good decisions. Data is more, its becoming the bedrock of our economies.

And Data plays a big role in  our decision making and we have to make sure that its being protected. If Data is manipulated it can be turned to a weapon and that weapon used against us.

Many businesses already use Big Data for marketing and research, yet may not have the fundamentals right – particularly from a security perspective. As with all new technologies, security seems to be an afterthought at best.

Big Data breaches will be big too, with the potential for even more serious reputational damage and legal repercussions than at present.

A growing number of companies are using the technology to store and analyse petabytes of data including web logs, click stream data and social media content to gain better insights about their customers and their business.

As a result, information classification becomes even more critical; and information ownership must be addressed to facilitate any reasonable classification.

Most organisations already struggle with implementing these concepts, making this a significant challenge. We will need to identify owners for the outputs of Big Data processes, as well as the raw data.

Thus data ownership will be distinct from information ownership – perhaps with IT owning the raw data and business units taking responsibility for the outputs.

In the run-up to Africa Cybersecurity Summit on 27th and 28th of September, I will be doing articles on a wide range of topics that we will cover during the summit. This mainly for drumming up support for the summit. For more information about the summit please visit www.acssummit.org 

Big Data is good, but big Data with an insertion of bad Data is big problem for everyone.

Cici Has Four Puppies.

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A pregnant dog’s instincts will help her respond and get through birthing puppies. The owner should be aware of how to help the dog to make sure that the mother dog and puppies are healthy and safe.

This was not the case when Cici gave birth the first time. It was a wet month in Nairobi, and she choose the worst location to deliver her puppies. With my sisters we tried to relocate her and the kids, we didn’t succeed the first time, the second time and the third. I was wondering what I would do, so we let it go for a few days and when she had finally had enough, she agreed to be moved but it was too late, we lost one puppy and one was very weak to survive.

Sadly we later leant that even the two puppies had died after we moved Cici, so we moved on and so did Cici. Bando, the male dog was still around and I think he did not waste time and Cici was expecting again a few months later. This February Cici gave birth again to four puppies.

I thought of doing an article on this event in Cici’s life, but I was scared what would happen, if it will be like the last time where we loose everything. My first step of faith was to move Bando upcountry, just to create more room for the kids to grow. My sister moved the puppies to the living room, so they enjoyed the light and i am sure they watched the television when they wanted to.

They roamed around the house as they wished, during the day we put them outside for the sun and they would feed while at it. My sisters put up with a lot of their troubles, sometimes I wonder if I would have managed it by myself. My mother dewormed them after six weeks and the whole house was in a mess. Its been four months now, the puppies are doing great.

I am sorry i am not the person to tell you how to care for an expecting dog and the puppies when they arrive, I had very little to do with that, but this experience has been my teacher too, just from a distance. But this few things I have for you:

Monitor the nursing puppies. Make sure the puppies are nursing every few hours during the first few weeks. They should eat every 2-4 hours at minimum. Happy puppies are sleeping puppies; if they are crying a lot, they may not be getting enough nutrition. Check for fat little bellies and clean coats to signal that they are well cared for.

  • Try weighing the puppies on a digital scale to make sure that they are gaining weight every day. Puppies should double their weight in the first week.
  • Do not disregard a puppy looking skinnier or less active than the other puppies. Just find ways of making sure that you give more care to them. You can give supplements.

Handle the puppies to socialize them. Puppies need healthy socialization to their new world, including introductions to people. Hold each puppy several times per day. Get the puppies accustomed to being touched everywhere on their bodies so that it will not seem strange when they are older.

Wait until your puppies are 8 weeks old before giving them away.  Our puppies are more that 8 weeks old now and we haven’t given them away. If you are selling or giving away the puppies, wait until they are 8 weeks old before handing them over to the new owners.

  • Puppies should be fully weaned and eating dog food on their own before they leave for a new home.
  • Starting a deworming and vaccination program is often recommended before the pup leaves.

I have said I may not be the expert for this, this I have observed from my little time with the puppies. There is a lot you can learn from just caring for this lovely creation, and with the caring, comes a lot of joy.

 

The Spirit of Travel on Madaraka Express.

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The Madaraka express leaves Nairobi terminus at 2:30pm, we are on schedule. It is a beautiful day to fly but the train will do the work just fine. It will be 5 hours or 7:20pm local time is when we arrive in Mombasa terminus. Gone are the days, gone are the days…..I say to my self.

My first travel to Mombasa I had just finished high school, I was looking forward to something great, something of the future. Apart from me finishing school, something else had happened, that thing, that threatened to get me in a police cell was the reason my mother put me in a Mombasa bound bus. But I tell you, this is a story for another day.

A while back it took many hours to travel to this coastal town, to a common man whom flying was unthinkable luxury, they had to put in the time. Today things are different, thanks to the debt hole we as a country dug for ourselves. Its a fact that for at $5.6m per kilometre for the track alone, Kenya’s railway line cost close to three times the international standard and four times the original estimate.

So it is perhaps not surprising that Kenyans have been asking why they seem to have paid so much. But that is a story for another day, today I just want to have a feel of this mega expensive project. Luckily the damage for me is kshs2.1 per kilometre and I want to see if every shilling counts. Its a slow start from Nairobi, suddenly the Athi River station is behind us, we head to Emali. This is an express train so we are not stopping at the small stations.

The guys hawking the snacks are live, in-fact my feeling is that food is the business not travel. At this point I don’t like my  aisle seat, with my wife seated on the opposite row its difficult to be affectionate when people are busy on the move. The seats are not very comfortable but never mind if you booked on second class, first class would be better. But the people making the seats should have done better I think.

By the time we arrive in Emali i am already on my feet. My wife is even making fun of me, my body has had enough already. I am also wondering if the train can be faster, maybe maintain 114km per hour for at-least two hours. But never mind me, I am not a train captain and I even don’t know how it works.

At some point we meet with the train that left Mombasa at 3:30pm, then the train slows down as we approach Tsavo, and at this point we are able to spot some elephants and other wild animals from a distance.

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The train keeps rolling and sunset engulf us, and I know we should be approaching Mariakani then Mombasa our last station.  Our speed reduces to 34 KM an hour as we pass Mariakani station, headed to our last Station. We arrive Mombasa terminus 7:20pm, I am still standing. I have been standing better part of the way.

A sea of humanity pour out of the train to the empty station, the smell of Mombasa, the heat welcomes us with a smile. The weather app said there will be rain, it lied. Finding ourselves to our respective mode of transportation to the city, I think about how things have changed for the traveller.

One of my seat mate on the train is a frequent traveller between Nairobi and Mombasa, and he finds the train really useful. This means that when the government does things that improve the life and work of its citizen, they thrive. I agree with many that the government should have done more, done better, but for now “it is what it is”

The Horseshoe on the Car.

“Because horseshoes are tools designed to protect the horse’s fragile hooves from the harsh paved roads – so they protect everything they touch”.

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My first car had it and now my second car has it, It is in my house and I have given it to my sister and it hangs in her kitchen. My wife and my friend don’t understand whats up with the horseshoe, she expressed her shock when she saw it on the car.

Many believe the origin of the lucky horseshoe can be traced back to an old legend about Saint Dunstan.

Saint Dunstan (924-988) is the patron saint of blacksmiths, goldsmiths, jewellers, locksmiths, musicians and the blind. He was a reformer, statesman, abbot, and archbishop of the tenth century in England. The feast day of Saint Dunstan is May 19th.

There are several very old legends about Saint Dunstan and the Devil. Most stories tell the tale of how Saint Dunstan constantly was tempted to do wrong by the Devil disguised as a beautiful woman.

Saint Dunstan was a brilliant blacksmith. One story refers to his exceptional talent as a blacksmith. The Devil was hard at work trying to win Saint Dunstan over. On one occasion the Devil cornered Saint Dunstan and made him promise to nail a horseshoe on the Devil’s horse.

Saint Dunstan pretended to agree on taking on this task. The devil stood close by to make sure Saint Dunstan was true to his word. Saint Dunstan then suddenly grabbed hold of the Devil’s foot and with strong determination nailed the horseshoe on the foot of the Devil instead of his horse.

The devil screamed as the pain was horrific. The Devil in extreme agony begged Saint Dunstan to remove the horseshoe.

Saint Dunstan agreed to remove the horseshoe from the Devil’s foot under one condition; the devil was to swear never to enter any house that had a horseshoe hanging by the door. The Devil agreed instantly.

Where I come from people have different beliefs but horseshoes is not one of them, but on the other side we are integrated by the Asian community, very open, very different, very horseshoes believers.

A brand new shoe hasn’t protected anything yet, while an old worn out one has done its job and can move on to spreading luck somewhere else. We’ve had people knock on our door asking if we had an old horseshoe to put on their new cars!

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But there are other more convoluted “rules” to make sure the horseshoe is as lucky as possible:

  • It must be have been worn by a horse previously, as I said already, and the longer the better. You can tell a shoe that stayed on for a long time from one that was lost soon after applying because it will have nearly paper thin areas, ragged edges, scrapes, bumps and a good deal of rust on only one side (the one NOT touching the ground). Grungy is lucky!
  • The shoe must be nailed with the open side up (like the letter “U”) otherwise the “luck will fall off” and be wasted. Best if nailed above a door or in the front bumper of a vehicle; something about the shoe being the first thing one sees when getting home and the first part the vehicle that arrives anywhere.
  • The luckiest of all lucky horseshoes come from the LEFT HIND foot of a GREY MARE (female horse). Don’t ask me where that one comes from, it’s just tradition.

That is why the horseshoe forever more will keep evil out of the home, according to this old legend. No matter what the reasons may be there is no doubt that the horseshoe remains an everlasting symbol of good luck.

Do you have your own good luck horseshoe?

Is Working at Home the Future?

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In recent days Nairobi has found itself in a wet weather situation, and when it rains, it pours. There is something I have never understood about this city, things almost get to a stand still when it rains. We have seen crazy traffic in the morning and evenings, some commuters getting home in the. Middle of the night.

Last Thursday I called a friend of mine at 10am, she answered the phone in bed. She stretched and from a distance I had the bed crack, (I know she needs a new bed) but that is besides the point. We talked for a few seconds, and suddenly she was confirming what we were talking about on google.

If you are like me you know how cold or how warm a bed can be, it all depends with your investment. Today it poured the whole night and morning. Truth be told, the best time to have people work from their houses, just like my friend.

I have researched on a few organizations who have invested in systems that will make it easy for their employees to work remotely but still operate on a colonial mindset. Even though they have paid top dollar for the system, they imagine that you struggling to wake up in a cold wet morning, driving through a river like road and getting to work three hours later in part of your job description.

Why then would they care to have all this if its not put to work, even the United Nations still want to bus thousands of employees to Gigiri and still have programmes on reducing carbon emission.

I hope in the coming week some of you will visit the European Union office in Nairobi, which encourages people to work remotely. The boss says “don’t come to work if you don’t have shit to do” but still pays your salary at the end of the month.

But I will not end without saying this, if your work is cutting Kidero grass on Uhuru highways….and I say this with a lot of love, you gotta get to that shit. But if you are they guy posting how grass is being cut on Uhuru highway on the Governor’s FB page, that shit you can do it without leaving your bed. If you think people can not work while in bed, ask my friend, stretching in bed at 10am on a Thursday, she picked my call, she checked it on google and we were in business.

Before she hang-up she said she will mpesa 6 grants, am still waiting.

But there are a whole host of other benefits to home working, particularly from a health and wellbeing perspective. Below, we look at the seven reasons why home working is the future.

1. Reduction in commuting time

Not only is commuting often stressful and unpleasant, it also take up time that could otherwise be spent working or doing something else productive.

Employees who can work from home will also spend less money on petrol or train fares, which may give them less of an incentive to ask for a salary boost to cover travel expenses.

2. More productivity

Many people who work from home claim to be more productive because they’re not in a loud environment or distracted by co-workers.

In fact, according to a Canada Life survey, homeworkers rank their productivity as 7.7/10, compared with 6.5/10 for office workers.

A spokesperson for employment agency Reed said: “There are some obvious advantages of working from home that you’ve probably heard before – avoid the nightmare commute, work in your PJs – but the benefits go beyond that.

“Working from home can really help to increase your productivity, as the absence of office distractions makes it easier to keep your head down and actually get your work done.”

3. Fewer sick days

The survey also found, unsurprisingly, that home workers took fewer days off sick than those based in the office.

Employees working in an office took on average 3.1 days of sick leave last year, whilst homeworkers only took 1.8 sick days, Canada Life found.

That’s because employees who have a cold or are mildly sick can still get work done at home, while office workers are more inclined to take the entire day off to avoid leaving the comfort of their home.

In addition, the better work-life balance means workers are less likely to get ill in the first place because their stress levels are typically lower.

While the benefits of working at home are endless, I have only picked a few, am sure out there depending on what you do, you will find it beneficial working at home or if you are an employer, or if you are an employee.