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Tech

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.

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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

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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.

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Solar Energy for Small and Medium Sized Households

Posted on 3 min read

Everyone is going solar. Some want to use renewable energy, others want green energy, some want to save the planet, others want to cut carbon emissions, and some simply think it is cool. If you want to join the bandwagon, I will tell you why you should, and why you should not, depending on your needs.

First, there are some very good news about solar energy (In this case, we are talking about Solar Photovoltaic, which involves converting solar energy to electrical energy. There are many other uses, such as solar water heater).

  1. The cost of solar power has gone down, and is on the downward trend. This means that it will keep getting cheaper in the future. Good news.
  2. The cost of storage is also going down, and storage technology keeps getting better. This is important because any meaningful solar installation requires storage.  You can guess why; the sun never shows up at night, and solar panels convert solar (sun’s) energy into electrical energy.
  3. You can now seamlessly switch between mains ac and solar power, meaning that you use solar power when it is available, and switch to mains electricity when necessary.

Who can use solar power?

Solar power is freely available, as long as you can see the sun. This means that if you have a roof, or some grounds available, you can mount solar panel. Any house owner or property owner can install solar panels, but if you are in a rented apartment things may not work good for you, unless if you are a friend to your landlord, or you are influential 😊.

Solar power can be used nearly in every part in Africa, as the sun is a friend to Africa. The Sunshine duration in Nairobi is 6.8 hours in Nairobi, 9.4 hours in Cairo, and 8.4 in Cape Town. In Kenya, the average sunshine duration is 6.9 hours, which means that we have the sun shining almost all throughout the year, with peaks in January. In short, everyone can board!

But,

You need to have your priorities right. If your side hustle is welding steel gates in your house, or running a posho mill, you are not eligible. To put it more accurately, you can consider solar, but your investment will be in millions. Here we are addressing domestic consumers.

Hybrid Solar system diagram

Sample case

If your monthly power consumption is 55 units of electrical power, your electricity bill would be approximately KES 833 in Kenya, or KES 10,000 per year. This could be the following devices running in the house:

  • 100 Watt fridge running full-time
  • 30 Watt TV running for 4 hours per day
  • Two 10 W bulbs running for six hours per day
  • A laptop running for three hours per day
  • Three  15 Watt bulbs running for  4 hours per day

For the above, you would need to have at least a battery capacity of 230 Ah, a solar panel of 262 Watts, and an Inverter of about 300 Watts. This would cost about 75000, exclusive of installation costs. This means that it would take you about 10 years to recover your investment. Solar panels have a long usage life, up to 30 years, while for the battery, you might need to replace it at most every 7 years.

Solar Water Heater

I would want to mention a few things about solar waters heaters because they have one of the easiest application. One of the huge costs in small households is heating water, and adopting one can help reduce your electricity consumption significantly. Read about Solar water heaters in this article.

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If you want to be influential, start blogging

Posted on 2 min read

‘If you want to hide something from an African, put it in the books,’ thus goes the old insult. However, there is some element of truth in the statement, considering the attitude some of us Africans have towards books, and especially when there is no exam attached to the reading.

I don’t believe that Africans are apathetic to gaining knowledge. There is an area where we excel very well; on telling stories and passing information by word of mouth. Most African cultures have great oral traditions and every tea break in the office, lecture break or even bus ride finds us listening to some stories, or even telling some. Vocal people are popular and end up in politics, and in small group setting, the talking guy is the spirit of the party.

However, as times change, so we should. Technology has changed the way we communicate and interact, and social media has taken a prime position as a means of communication. Our stories must now be told online, and this has been effected using social media. This is a good thing, and we must use social media to convey positive and relevant messages all the time. But social media has its limitations; it is perfect for one-liners, 140 characters, and pictures, and users detest anything that will keep them on these platforms for too long. We just want to have a glimpse of information. The other times when we need to read something in depth needs a different tool than social media. We want good written articles that we can read in fifteen to twenty minutes, and this is where good blogs and platforms like medium become necessary.

A number of people have made a fortune by writing blogs, but in this a few problems have also come up. The quality of content and the topics covered is always wanting. It is said that people who used to write on toilet walls when we were kids have now become bloggers – they only changed the platform but the content is the same. It is therefore important that responsible people also take up the challenge and populate the world wide web with good content that can help better the cause of humanity.

You do not need to be an expert in any field in order to influence people through writing. Your daily experience can inspire someone else, and your past experience can help mentor a younger person. Your daily struggles or successes with finances, health, friendships, leadership, career, faith, farming etc can be useful to someone else. We also need to document the our life experiences for the sake of others who come after us.

Start Writing

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