Monthly Archives January 2019

61 Year Old Potato Farmer who Won an Ultra Marathon

Posted on 2 min read

One day in 1983, several young guys in their 20s and 30s gathered in Westfield Sydney. These were guys in the prime of their lives, hardened by years of training, donned with the best sporting gear and accessories, ready to take the challenge, an ultra marathon.

The Westfield Sydney to Melbourne Ultra Marathon is one of the longest races on earth, one that requires the best of the best. Athletes compete to finish the 875 Km race, which often take more than five days to complete. It is a race not just for runners, but for super humans who have the energy and guts to run for days. Only the best of the best would attempt the Sydney to Melbourne ultramarathon, but in this specific race, there was one problem.

Standing among these super humans on the lineup was Cliff Young. Cliff Young was a 61 year old toothless potato farmer, who showed up dressed in overall and gumboots. The media covering the event dismissed the old potato farmer with one look, and as soon as the starting pistol went off, everyone sprinted off while old Cliff Young ran at a slow, loping pace, much to the amusement of those who had gathered to watch. By the end of the first day, the potato farmer trailed the runners by a big margin.

Five days, 15 hours and 4 minutes later, the 61 year old Cliff Young was the first to cross the finishing line in Melbourne, beating the second contestant by ten hours, and setting a new record for the ultra marathon. The tortoise had beaten the hare! How did this happen?

Very simple. Cliff Young was no ordinary 61 year old, but a hardened farmer who would often run for 3 continuous days in a 2000 acre ranch, herding over 2000 sheep. Without the luxury of SUVs or horses, Cliff Young would spend days running in the farm to round up the animals, running day and night. In the race, while all runners ran for 18 hours and rested for 6 hours, the potato farmer ran all day and night, because he did not know that they were supposed to rest! Neither did he know that there was prize for the winner, and rejected the 10,000 $ prize, instead sharing it with all the other six participants who completed the race.

A few lessons to learn from Cliff Young:

  • It is not how you start a race, but how you finish it.
  • Endurance can take you further than most people expect of you.
  • Believe in yourself. The media and spectators had dismissed Cliff Young.
  • Build the right disciplines in life. You never know where you might need them.

That is the story of Cliff Young; the potato farmer who won the Sydney to Melbourne ultramarathon.


Deliver us from Instant hot shower

Posted on 2 min read

We all love showers, and we love them hot, or more precisely, warm. Instant hot showers are loved for just that. In the age where we want all things instant, instant hot water shower is the instantest of all. Just a flip of the switch and one enjoys water which is not cold, at least.

But this dearly loved device is a scam. For some reasons, I never get to understand what goes inside the head of the shower. I heard someone who used it for the first time claim that the water was both hot and cold at the same time. I had never made such an observation, but I immediately agreed that such a phenomenon exists. Instant hot showers have the following shortcomings:

  • Risk of electric shock. Faulty wiring would deliver 240 Volts down your body. This is rare, but I have seen it happen.
  • Water is both hot and cold. You have to solve a complex matrix in order to maintain water at the same temperature.
  • It is a major power guzzler. Instant shower can account up to 50% of all electricity costs in a small household.
  • It cannot work under low pressure. Water at low pressure may lead to the shower being too hot to use, or worse, the shower might not heat.
  • Short life span, especially if it is a fake brand.
  • Their use might be coming to an end, as the government might consider banning them. This is according to a ministry of energy consultant.

One solution to instant water heaters is use of solar water heaters. These have the capacity to heat considerable volumes of water at very low costs, and their costs is cheaper in the long run. Not only are they maintenance free, but they also can deliver high volumes of water since they have water reservoirs attached.

In Kenya, solar water heater with a capacity of 200 litres cost approximately KES 50,000 (USD 500). Once installed on the rooftop or any other convenient place, they can serve effectively for up to 20 years. Their water tank is insulated to minimize heat losses, enabling them to store hot water for up to 72 hours. In Kenya, there is the Solar Water Heating regulation that requires all buildings with a consumption of more than 100 l of hot water per day.

Wondering what happens during the rainy season or non- solar day? No problem. These solar heaters have a secondary electrical heating element, which allows water to be heated directly from the mains.


The Politician’s Confession

Posted on 2 min read

A Priest was being honoured at his retirement dinner after 25 years in the parish. A leading local politician and member of the congregation was chosen to make the presentation and to give a little speech at the dinner. However, he was delayed, so the Priest decided to say his own few words while they waited.

“I got my first impression of the parish from the first confession I heard here. I thought I had been assigned to a terrible place. The very first person who entered my confessional told me he had stolen a television set and, when questioned by the police, was able to lie his way out of it. He had stolen money from his parents; embezzled from his employer; had an affair with his boss’s wife; had sex with his boss’s 17 year old daughter on numerous occasions, taken illegal drugs; had several homosexual affairs; was arrested several times for public nudity and gave VD to his sister in-law.

I was appalled that one person could do so many awful things. But as the days went on, I learned that my people were not all like that and I had, indeed, come to a fine parish full of good and loving people.”

Just as the Priest finished his talk, the politician arrived full of apologies at being late. He immediately began to make the presentation and gave his talk:

“I’ll never forget the first day our parish Priest arrived,” said the politician. “In fact, I had the honour of being the first person to go to him for confession.”


Automatic Number-Plate Recognition

Posted on 1 min read

Automatic number-plate recognition is a technology that uses optical character recognition on images to read vehicle registration plates. This simply means, a camera takes a picture, and a software analyzes the picture to identify a vehicle, then identify a number plate in the vehicle, and read that number plate. This allows for a machine (or any system) to identify a vehicle on the road, much as a human being can do. In Kenya, this is implemented using CCTV cameras on the roads, or cameras specifically designed for this purpose, such as one used in toll stations.

Applications of Automatic number-plate recognition

  • Tracking stolen vehicles
  • Identifying guest vehicles, hence better visitor management
  • Useful in tracking average speed of a vehicle
  • Traffic engineering design.

Besides these basic uses, there are more applications that can be useful in Kenya. One such would be identifying fake number plates, and cases where two vehicles have been assigned the same number plate. This would have been a major tip off that could have prevented the terrorist attack at Dusit D2 Hotel complex at Riverside drive.

We need to have technology doing more for us. We should have technology telling us that KCN 340E is a blue Toyota Ractis, and even alerting us that two different cars with the same number plates have been spotted.  This way, we shall be a step ahead in identifying crooks before they roam freely in our cities. God bless Kenya.


Truehost Cloud

Posted on 1 min read

Truehost Cloud is a Cloud computing start up that has presence in various markets globally. The services offered include:

  1. Domain name registration
  2. Virtual and dedicated servers
  3. SSL certificates
  4. Various Cloud computing licenses
  5. Shared internet hosting
  6. Cloud back up solution

Why you should consider hosting with Truehost Cloud

  • 24/7/365 technical support
  • 15 second response time via chat
  • Free web hosting for start ups
  • Free SSL certificates
  • A reliable brand, trusted by tens of thousands of clients such as
    • Multinational corporations such as
      • Pure VPN
      • ShadowServer
      • Bamburi Cement
    • Government entities such as
      • Government of Makueni County
      • Energy Regulatory Commission
      • National AIDS Control Council
    • Thousands of bloggers such as
      • www.wanjikunjuguna.com
      • www.africanapologist.com
      • www.powerstrides.co.ke
    • Small and medium sized enterprises such as
      • Sasa Web Kenya
      • Diaspora Interlink
      • Hope and Future Rehabilitation Center


6 Trends coming to Kenya’s internet in 2019

Posted on 2 min read

Welcome to 2019. We have been told that there are several must have skills, such as time management, adaptability, collaboration, persuasion, creativity, UX Design, People management, analytical reasoning, AI and Cloud computing. Below are 6 trends that will affect the internet in Kenya in the year 2019.

  • Increased access

Smartphones are getting cheaper, cost of connectivity is decreasing, and internet coverage is growing. More people are getting online.

This is good news for a digital economy. Do not miss the train; purpose to be online.

  • Privacy

In 2018, The European Union started implementing the General data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This law is meant to enhance privacy and protect the data of all the European Union citizens. Many countries followed suit, and Kenya already has a Data Protection Bill which is before the parliament and the senate, and its implementation will send ripples in the whole IT industry.
Critics think that the laws will stifle innovation, considering that most tech giants today have risen through an ability to access and process data. We hope this will work to our good.

  • Fake news

Donald Trump has a sensitive nose to fake news, and thanks to him, we all can smell fake news. Unfortunately, it is very hard to detect fake news, and depends on your believes and interest. If you think Kenya is in too much debt, you will likely agree with any news that suggests that Kenya is drowning in debt. If you hate a politician, you will agree with any news that paints him negatively.

With our biased lens, we will not easily identify fake news.

  • Disconnecting/Unplugging

Many people already feel worn out by an overly connected world. We have notifications from our watches, phones, emails, computers, social media, alarms, microwaves, and many other smart devices. The constant blinking, ringing and buzzing of devices can be a productivity killer.

For those who want to unplug, there are a few steps you can take:

  1. Start by turning off unnecessary notifications from your phone. You can set it to be notified of only calls.
  2. Consider uninstalling applications such as social media apps. This makes it harder for you to log in to those sites, hence decreased access.
  3. Set specific time to check notifications, and ignore them at any other time.
  4. At worst, consider deactivating the offending apps.
  • 2022

The year 2022 is 3 years away, but it feels like it is just next door. The internet will be full of 2022 activities, from early campaigns, political alignments, and general news. Wear your helmet.

  • Cybersecurity

This is talked about in hushed tones, because our banks are at risk, our M-PESA balances are at risk, our data is not safe, and even the government is not safe. Socially engineered attacks will continue to affect banks and mobile money platforms, with the Kamiti brigade becoming smarter. Stay safe.


The Drowning Fish

Posted on 2 min read

After a long dry season, it rained, and it poured. All streams were swollen and the river had broken its banks. There were floods everywhere and the animals were all running up into the hills. The floods came so fast that many drowned except the lucky monkeys who used their proverbial agility to climb up into the treetops. They looked down on the surface of the water where the fish were swimming and gracefully jumping out of the water as if they were the only ones enjoying the devastating flood.

One of the monkeys saw the fish and shouted to his companion: “Look down, my friend, look at those poor creatures. They are going to drown. Do you see how they struggle in the water?” “Yes,” said the other monkey. “What a pity! Probably they were late in escaping to the hills because they seem to have no legs. How can we save them?” “I think we must do something. Let’s go close to the edge of the flood where the water is not deep enough to cover us, and we can help them to get out.”

So the monkeys did just that. They started catching the fish, but not without difficulty. One by one, they brought them out of the water and put them carefully on the dry land. After a short time there was a pile of fish lying on the grass motionless. One of the monkeys said, “Do you see? They were tired, but now they are just sleeping and resting. Had it not been for us, my friend, all these poor people without legs would have drowned.”

The other monkey said: “They were trying to escape from us because they could not understand our good intentions. But when they wake up they will be very grateful because we have brought them salvation.”


National Leadership and Mentorship Summit 2019

Posted on 2 min read

It is said that education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil. The same applies to leadership. At whichever level, leadership without values leads to tyranny, corruption and slavery. If we are to develop leaders, we must start by inculcating the right values right from early stages of life. And in a world where Artificial Intelligence is growing and threatening some traditional careers, one field that will never be disrupted by AI or technology is leadership.

One of my greatest leadership development experience was serving in the Christian Union in campus. Here I learnt key skills that I still use and perfect today. I learnt how to delegate work, team work, creativity, persuasion, time management, planning, how to embrace technology to solve organizational problems, how to build and motivate teams, how to work with people from different backgrounds, and many other skills. And all these have been key in my work, years after I left campus. These skills matter in business, in employment, in ministry, in politics, and even in families. I am grateful for these skills that were impacted to me through the work of the Fellowship of Christian Unions (FOCUS) Kenya.

This week, FOCUS Kenya will hold a 3 day conference focused on building leaders at the Co-operative University of Kenya. The National Leadership and Mentorship Summit provides a platform for both students and associates to come together to learn, and for mentorship. The conference will bring together key leaders in Kenya such as Prof. Solomon Kendagor, Dr. Florence Muindi, Ms Valentine Gitoho, Prof. Kivutha Kibwana, Rev. Dr Richard Mutura, among others. The objectives of the Summit is:

  1. To challenge student leaders to develop a clear sense of calling, godly character and right competencies for enhanced Christian influence on campus, church, and society
  2. To equip the CU leaders on effective management of the Christian Unions through training, peer accountability and sharing ideas on best practices.
  3. To provide a platform for engaging and explore possible solutions on emerging issues on campus, church, and society both at a local and global level.
  4. To sensitize, build capacity and Catalyze mentorship as a critical strategy for developing people to become agents of godly transformation on campus, the marketplace, church, and society.

This is a must attend for student leaders and associates who want to have an impact in the church and the society. I will be there.