Accepting and Moving On

Dear readers,

I must apologize for the blog going doing for almost 4 days this week.  The same thing happened last year although downtime then lasted for a week!

After a lot of back and forth, chatting, emails, phone calls and credit card payments, I now have full control of my domain and that is the most important thing.

Let us pretend that there was a time lapse and my posts from September last year to February 2014 never existed. Hopefully I will soon get them back. I have back all my posts since December 2010 when I first blogged here, sans the media (images/videos). WordPress backup fail? I don’t know.. but backup is important, I should have a weekly schedule, lesson learned.

I promise you this will not happen again, dear reader. I am urging you and I, urging us, to move forward. Posts from now onwards are going to have images, as usual. I am still tweaking my blog so the settings, plugins, appearance, widgets etc look like they were before and it will take some time. Please bear with me.

In the meantime, the posts will keep coming, two or three a week, as usual. Let us accept that somethings bad things happen, and we need to move on.

Accept and move on..

Accept and move on..

mara-Young-Men-Jumping-2012

THE WHITE MASAI- BOOK REVIEW

When Binyavanga Wainaina wrote the essay “How to Write About Africa“, he had writers such as Corinne Hoffman in mind. Corinne came to Kenya for holiday with her boyfriend Marco, and fell in love with a Masai. Technically, it was a Samburu moran but who’s to tell the difference? Well, even after she learned he was not Masai but Samburu, her title of the book still remains “White Masai”. White Samburu doesn’t have the same ring, does it? Besides, her intended audience can hardly tell the difference between one African and the next, let alone a Samburu and a Masai.

The White Masai Book Cover

The White Masai Book Cover

If you look closely, you can see the family picture on this book cover

I must say, I liked reading the book. The writing is simplistic, but the story is moving. Many might scoff at her actions, but how many (Kenyan) women will leave their comfortable (if small) apartments with running water and electricity to go live in a manyatta in the scorching sun of Barsaloi?

When she first came to Mombasa, Corinne met Lketinka by chance and they became friends. She was attracted to him, and this is how she describes him: “a tall, dark brown, beautiful exotic man lounging on the quayside looking at us.. with dark eyes. My God, he’s beautiful, more beautiful than anyone I have ever seen.”

“..in the last rays of the sinking sun, he looks like a young god” etc etc

After her holiday was over and she was back in cold Switzerland, she realized she had fallen in love and decides to come back to Kenya to find Lketinka. Only that he is no longer in coast. He was a genuine moran, not the faux-masai men you find in coast. Disillusioned by talk that Corinne will never come back for him, he’d given up on earning money from doing dances for tourists in the hotels, and had gone back home to his livestock. Lketinka hadn’t gone to school so he didn’t know English, Corinne was German-born and knew little English either, but they managed to communicate.

After coming back to look for him, and not finding him in Mombasa, she got into a bus with a friend to Nairobi, then to Nyahururu, and from there another bus to Maralal. From Maralal to Lketinka’s home is another adventure altogether. Eventually, she traces him down, and Lketinka welcomes her, “Corinne, you come back for me?”

Not to give away the story, but she settles into the manyatta life, eating tough meat, being a moran’s wife and all.. but not without hardships and challenges. She finally weds Lketinka, a big successful Samburu wedding and also a civil ceremony, and gets a beautiful baby girl, Napirai.

Is there a happily ever after? Well, read and find out. It’s a romantic, simply told story of a daring and determined woman.

A collage of Corinne and Lketinka's life

A collage of Corinne and Lketinka’s life

In 2005, they made a movie about the book, to positive reviews worldwide and she went on Oprah and all that.

MOBILE EAST AFRICA CONFERENCE – 12TH & 13TH FEBRUARY

The Mobile East Africa is a conference that brings together stakeholders in the mobile industry in Kenya (telecommunication companies, information technology companies, entrepreneurs in the tech space etc) for a wholesome discussion on the current trends, the past and the future of the mobile space. Formerly, this conference was known as Mobile Web East Africa and is in its 3rd year running.

Mobile East Africa 2014 is taking place at the Southern Sun Mayfair Nairobi, Kenya on February 12th through 14th. The event will kick off with a ‘Leaders of Mobile‘ keynote session featuring executives from IBM, SAP, Airtel and Safaricom. Former Permanent Secretary of Information and Communication Dr. Bitange Ndemo will also be joining the panel, which will analyse the future progress of the mobile ecosystem in East Africa.

World-renowned mobile expert Tomi Ahonen has been confirmed to deliver a special address during the Mobile East Africa 2014 main conference on 12th & 13th February, as well as a dedicated full-day workshop on Friday, February 14th. Forbes ranked him as “the world’s most influential expert in mobile” in 2012; Mr. Ahonen has spoken at more than 300 conferences in over 60 countries and his cumulative audience totals over 100,000 people. He is the author of 12 bestselling books on mobile and digital communities and consults to Fortune 500 companies around the globe, helping to define their mobile strategies.

The other speakers at the conference include Jumia Kenya, iHub, Virtual City, Bongo Live, Ghafla!, Smile Tanzania, Bozza, Every1Mobile, FrontlineSMS, Praekelt, Sponge, KINU Innovation Hub and Zilojo. Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Omidyar Network, MTech, and Google are just a few of the many companies sending representatives to the event.

You can register for the conference here.

DATING A NAIROBI MAN

When you are a beautiful young woman in your mid 20′s, you meet all types and ages of men.

35 and Over

Idris Elba

Idris Elba

Idris Elba is now 41. Sadly, he’s already married. Or divorced and taken. It’s confusing.

When this man meets you, he wants to wife you. The dates are not about having fun or getting to know each other slowly, they are opportunities for scrutiny and the Spanish Inquisition. 21 questions are asked and more. How many kids do you want to have? Where do you come from (tribewise)? What are you future ambitions? How many brothers and sisters do you have? When am I meeting your father? All these are asked within the first 2 or 3 dates.

The older bachelor has been through it all. He has dated all kinds of chicks, has driven fast cars, has climbed the corporate ladder or established his business. But he’s still empty inside. He goes home at night to an empty (spacious) house, and wakes up to a cold bed. He tries to stay out in the club a little longer but his friends with their partners leave by midnight. He can no longer stand the young girls who are in the club past midnight, because he’s done it all before and he knows how the scenario plays out. He doesn’t fit in at the places with loud music and campus kids, but he doesn’t fit in the mugiithi and nyama choma joints either because they are for married men.

So you ask him why he’s not married at that age. There’s probably a sob story in there. His ex-fiancee gave birth to a kid who wasn’t his, she broke his heart and trampled it to pieces. He said he’d never love again but suddenly he’s 35 and his parents are asking him for grandchildren. He has all the money he needs but no one to spend it on. He has land and has built a mansion but how can a man live alone in a house meant for a family?

If you meet this kind of man, do not date him unless you are ready to settle down. You can’t change him, he is set in his habits. You have to conform to his world, submit to it. He has no qualms about taking responsibility, paying for all you financial needs including a monthly allowance whether you work or not. He will gladly adopt your kid(s) if you have any from a previous relationship but he will want his own as well. The price you have to pay is living in his world with no ambitions of your own. This could work if you are looking for someone to ‘take care’ of you, while you nurture his children.

The man I have described above however, should not be mistaken for the chronic bachelor. This is a man who is over the hill (35) but is never going to settle down. He still drives fast cars and chases after young girls and refuses to grow up. Or he’s grown up but prefers being alone. Avoid the chronic bachelor as he will just use you and move on.

Late 20′s to Early 30′s

This is the perfect age of the man for a mid 20′s woman. There’s some seriousness to the relationship and if you can find a connection with someone, you could end up with a life partner. This is the guy you can ‘grow together’ with, meaning you can make compromises and he can make some. You cannot change him completely, but you can soften the sharp edges, smoothen the rough surfaces and will you shave that beard already (okay sweetie, do it for me please.. I like you cleanshaven). You need to find someone who has most of the characteristics you are looking and be willing to compromise in some areas because nobody is perfect.

The kind of car this guy is driving will tell you if he’s life-long-partner (in other words husband) material. If he’s driving a Toyota Premio, say yes, for God’s sake no single man drives a Premio unless he has secret ambitions of a family. If he’s driving a loud Subaru, leave him alone swiftly as he is still out to impress (the ladies). Well, if it has to be a Subaru, let it be an Outback or Forester. Spacious for the family, and with enough boot space to carry sacks of foodstuff from shagz.

Subaru

Subaru

Subaru Outback

He will support you with your business/career/school ambition, and you should offer the same support. Together, you can build that ‘dream’ house in Syokimau and get the picture perfect 2 kids. Or perhaps you can date for a short while, but you will have fun together in that short while. He wants to stay out with the boys, sure let him but he has to be home by midnight. etc etc

Early to Mid 20′s

This man wants to have fun, whether he has money or not. He is restless, full of energy and wants to dance all night. Your dates are in loud clubs with thumping music. He has no time for mushy coffee dates or movie theaters. Pubs playing rumba with no dance floor are boring. He can tell the difference between Justin Bieber and Miley Cirus. He wants to drive the hottest, loudest, fastest car. He wants you to dress up so he can show you off to his boys. He is fun to be with, but this requires energy from you. And time.

miley

Who is Justin who is Miley?

If you are dating him, do it for fun. Do not even hint at settling down as this will send him scurrying off for the next ‘fun girl’. For him, life is just beginning and he feels invincible. He’s the god of youth and will not be satiated until he’s pocked it in every hole and overtaken all the cars in the world. Maybe I exaggerate but dating a man in his early 20′s requires a lot of energy which can only be matched by an equally youthful woman.

What’s your experience?

kenya road

3 MONTHS DOWN THE ROAD

Gosh! It has been over a week and I still haven’t blogged. Am I losing it? This blogging thing is like a second career and I’m worried I’ll start to lose readers. Please if you still read, leave a comment :-)

A humble silver Passo, like Bella

A humble silver Passo, like Bella

It has been three months since I took Bella on the road. On the very first day after getting my interim driving license, I took the car out for a test drive. I managed to hit a stationary matatu and discovered that my car, after all, is not made of mabati but fiberglass. The front side plate crumbled like a wrinkled newspaper, while the matatu’s body made of reinforced mabati got away with some flecks of paint. See, the matatu braked suddenly in front of me on Waiyaki Way, stopping to pick up passengers. It was at night and the guy behind me was hooting impatiently for me to switch lanes, which I did without realizing that I was too close to the matatu. And then it happened.

Since then I have had no scrapes with another matatu, but of course I now watch out for matatus and avoid the (outer) lanes if I can. I have been inducted into the maniacal driving and road rage that characterizes the average Nairobi driver. I have never seen such aggressiveness, oh wait perhaps I have. You know how you scramble to get into a bus at the crowded Ambassador stage during rush hour? Men elbowing women and children aside and climbing on board? That is the same energy on the roads. Nobody gives way, if you sit there demurely indicating your desire to change lanes, the drivers on the other side go out of their way to block you. In Nairobi, nobody gives you way, you have to take it. Unsmiling, unblinking you put the nose (head) of your car into the other lane so much that the other driver either has to hit you or give way. And you apologetically zoom past without so much as a honk in appreciation because he/she would have hit you had they not braked suddenly.

As a Nairobi driver, you come to realize speed limits are for learners. The learners with a red ‘L’ prominently stuck on their front or rear windscreen or both. I had the L stickers for a while, but realized that most people hooted at me even as I slowed down to avoid plunging into a pothole. The other drivers will overtake you even at a sharp corner because you have ‘L’, they assume you fear speed. It’s even worse if it’s L and a small car.

Learner Driver

Learner Driver

L is for Lunatic. Watch out for them. Hoot at the them, overtake them. But do not get too close, they will panic and crash into you.

Sometimes the L has its advantages; for instance I once used the wrong lane at a roundabout and the traffic police let me go with a warning. Other times it works against you. I was stopped my an army guy in Upperhill. I politely parked on the side. I was with a colleague from work. The soldier came over and asked me:

“Do you have a license?”

“Yes, I have an interim license.”

“Okay, hmm.. and who is this?” meaning my colleague.

“My colleague from work.”

“Does he have a license?” Where is this heading, I wonder. I told him (the soldier) he does, but he doesn’t have it on him at the moment.

“How will I know he is a valid driver?” he asks.

“But I am the one driving. I have my interim license with me.” I am puzzled.

“You know, when you have this sign “- he indicates the L stickers, “you’re not supposed to carry passengers. It’s in the highway code. If you carry a passenger it should be someone with a valid driver’s license.”

I have never seen a copy of the highway code, but we learned some of the rules in driving schools. I can’t challenge him as I’ve not read it. I wonder what it says about student drivers (who have a provisional license) and someone like me, who has already passed the driving test and is just waiting for the driving license. You’re issued an interim license while you wait for the driving license to be processed.

“Now how can I help you?” asks the soldier. We stare at him in silence. He finally lets us go but says next time we should carry our licenses.

Later that week, I picked up some relatives from a section of town many drivers dare not venture into. It’s at the end of Ronald Ngala St. where Githurai Paradiso buses block the road and reverse blindly. I used racecourse road, my heart racing, as I battled for space on the road with the green Mwi Sacco buses. When I got home, I yanked the stickers off. I had survived the worst.

So now I drive with the cocky confidence of a Nairobi driver; as if the world should give way for me and I honk at matatus that stop in the middle of the road to pick/drop passengers. I am as aggressive as I can be, especially when changing lanes. I screw my face into a mean expression so that a pedestrian jaywalking knows I mean business (although pedestrians cross the road without bothering to look at the traffic! Their arrogance…). I flash my lights as a warning against anyone attempting anything foolish e.g. blocking me. I brake only if I have to. I ignore speed limits and blaze through the roundabout at speeds that can impress a matatu driver. I only obey traffic laws if there’s a cop that might be waiting in the wings, ready to swoop down for a bribe. I park anywhere as long as I can get away with it. I play cat and mouse games with the city cancel parking askaris especially if I am not staying in one spot for the whole day. I hoot at anyone with an L sticker and overtake them. I go out of my way to block anyone attempting to change lanes into the one I’m in.

Did you actually think I do all those things? Haha no! That is just the typical behaviour I have to put up with on our roads. Sometimes I give way gracefully, and sometimes other drivers give me way, though most of course, will block me. I honk or put out my hand out of the window to wave my appreciation. I follow traffic rules and I keep telling myself, easy with the aggression, and road rage. I should not let an uncouth guy get the best of my morning, and even if the traffic is already making me late for work I shall not wear a face that looks like I’ve sucked lemons for breakfast. Nairobi’s traffic jams are epic but I don’t let them get on my temper. I put on my music and read my novel. In traffic. It can be that bad.

While we are on this subject of cars, I think the worst drivers are not actually matatu drivers, but men in big cars. In my experience, they are the ones who never give way. Their windows are all rolled up and their noses turned in the air. “Please look at me in my big car, how can I give way to mere mortals in tiny cars?” Anyway I always console myself that they are compensating that aggression for something they lack, e.g. bedroom skills or talent. Mostly I imagine they are poor in bed thus have to bully their way to get some sense of worth.

I have finally come to the realization that it is wonderful having a car. But I hate driving in Nairobi city’s streets and on its highways. I can’t however, hire a driver for a Toyota Passo. In any case, the rear seat is less comfortable than the driver’s seat!

range rover sport

A Range Rover Sport

When Bella grows up into a Range Rover, or perhaps she’ll be a Toyota Land Cruiser V8, I shall get a chauffer. Till then, I shall bear the bad roads and bad manners of other drivers with good grace.

A Toyota Land Cruiser V8

A Toyota Land Cruiser V8

Someone get me this Landcruiser please!

 

HOW TO BE A SUCCESSFUL AFRICAN WRITER

I use Grammarly’s plagiarism checker because fakes are decidedly unsexy.

I always dream of becoming a published, award-winning author. My head is full of writing ideas, but as somebody once said, ideas are cheap, everyone (probably) has one. After careful study of successful African writers, I have realized there are a few things that they have in common. In summary, here is what you need to be a successful writer, bagging awards and giving speeches and speaking at conferences and getting publishing contracts and what not:

Image from http://rohan7things.wordpress.com

Image from http://rohan7things.wordpress.com

  1. Drop your English name. It’s colonial; a sign of colonial vestiges that still linger in our minds. Chinua Achebe was born Albert Chinualumogu Achebe, Ngugi wa Thiong’o was once James Ngugi, and Wangari Maathai was commonly known as Mary Josephine and so on.. okay, so Wangari wasn’t a writer but you get the point. She was an African intellectual. Chimamanda Adichie is another example of an author who is not using an English name, if she ever had one. So drop those Graces, and Johns, and Marys and use your authentic African names.
  2. Renounce Christianity and indeed all religion, and become an atheist. You need to be able to say, “there is no god” without blinking in the blinding lights of world cameras. If there was a god, you would have to agree that throughout history, he seems to have turned a blind eye on the ‘dark continent’. Wole Soyinka is a confessed atheist (although he makes a reference to a lot of -Yoruba- gods in his memoir that I am currently reading.)
  3. Wear colourful African print clothes. Wear your ‘Africanness’ like an armour. Grow your hair into an Afro, dreadlocks if possible. Defend your culture. Remember the good old times when you hunted in the forests and danced around the fire in the evening, even if you grew up in the city with no tree in sight. Write in your local language, if you can (Wizard of the Crow was originally published in Kikuyu).Binyavanga Wainaina, former winner of the Caine Prize, wearing African print and dreadlocks.
  • Move to another country outside of Africa. Move to the US, UK or Scandinavian countries. After the independence era, many African authors left the continent fleeing from dictators who didn’t like what they wrote. Most, if not all, never came back. Not really. Sure, they come and do lectures, then go back to their permanent homes in the West and their teaching jobs as English professors, heading this or that Institute of Culture. New generation authors have spent some time abroad, if not living there permanently. So you want to be just as successful? Get yourself a one-way ticket to the West.
  • So you’ve done all that, and still publishers are not chasing after you with contracts? Well, because the thing about successful writers it that they write. Good writing is actually the one important thing that successful authors have in common. Maybe in writing, they discover their African identity (hence the name change and African “look”), and maybe in writing they also ask questions without answers that lead them to conclude there is no god. They are the gods because they can create characters and kill them off in their books, and manipulate their created worlds, and determine the fate of the characters. Then they realize they are more appreciated elsewhere in countries that appreciate art and humanities; and not live in a nation where the Vice President once said that funding for arts and humanities in universities should be stopped. Ultimately, sitting down and penning that manuscript is what will make you a successful African writer.
  • bake_logo

    KENYA BLOGGERS AWARDS 2014 LAUNCHED

    The Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE) has announced the dates for its third annual Kenyan Blog Awards. The awards reward bloggers that post on a regular basis, have great and useful content presented in a creative and innovative format.

    The 2014 BAKE Kenyan Blog Awards will see the addition of two new categories, a “Best Health Blog” category and a “Best County Blog” category. This will raise the total number of categories from the current 15 to 17.

    To submit blogs into the competition, bloggers and fans of bloggers should visit blogawards.co.ke/submit.

    The inaugural BAKE Blog Awards was held in 2012. It rewarded bloggers in 14 categories; best technology, photography, creative writing, business, food, agriculture, fashion, politics, sports, general and corporate blogs as well as giving out awards for the “tweeps” of the year. 300 blogs were submitted and 10,000 people voted. The gala event to award the winners was held on 5th May 2012 at Nairobi Serena.

    The second edition of the awards were held in early 2013. It rewarded bloggers in 15 categories. ‘Lifestyle/Entertainment’, ‘Blog of the Year’ & ‘Travel Blog’ were added as categories after removing the two twitter categories i.e. Best Individual Tweep & Best Corporate Tweep.

    Journalist Larry Madowo with former ICT Board CEO Paul Kukubo at the 2013 BAKE Awards

    Journalist Larry Madowo with former ICT Board CEO Paul Kukubo at the 2013 BAKE Awards

     

    Over 500 blogs were submitted and 50,000 people voted. The gala event to awards the winners was on 4th May 2013 at Southern Sun Mayfair Nairobi.

    The Blog Awards timeline will be as follows

    1. Submissions

    From January 10th 2014 to February 10th 2014, we will be accepting submissions in the competition’s 17 categories.

    2. Judges Choose the Best 5

    From February 12th 2014 to February 28th 2014 judges comprised of bloggers and media experts will decide on the 5 blogs that advance to the next round in all 17 categories. These are the blogs that will be in the running to win a BAKE Kenyan Blog Award.

    3. Online voting

    The ballot box will be opened on March 1st 2014 and it will close on April 30th 2014. We will be limiting votes to one time per category.

    4. And the winner is…

    The winners will be announced at a gala event on May 3rd 2014.

    For more information on the Blog Awards, kindly visitblogawards.co.ke. Head over there and nominate your favorite blog!

    Keep it here for more details on the event.

    Note III coloured cases

    MY GALAXY NOTE III EXPERIENCE – A PERSONAL REVIEW

    The thing about having the biggest, latest gadget in the market is that you start taking it for granted. It’s almost like a new spouse, in the beginning you love and appreciate every little thing about them, a few years (or months) down the line and you start taking the other person’s effort for granted. The privileges become rights. It’s like that with a gadget. With the Note 3, you forget to appreciate the screen size until forced to watch a video on a small phone, say Galaxy S4 or even the tinier iPhone 5s (sorry couldn’t help myself, what’s with the ‘s’ stuff?).

    Galaxy Note III v iPhone 5

    Galaxy Note III v iPhone 5

    After about two months in my possession, I am now used to the huge size of the Note III and no longer fret about the impossibility of typing with one hand. Here are my 10 favorite things about the Note III, in no particular order:

    1. The Attention

    The looks of awe, envy and related adjectives that one gets when people admire their phone. They ask, is that a Note 2? And you balk and say, no no.. this is THE note III. But really, it’s awesome having the biggest phone around town with a matching Gear [link]. Watch your friends, family, colleagues, relatives, neighbours, clients (and everybody) get impressed and ask you to show them the features and what you can do with the Note and Gear.

    2. The Spen (S-Pen) and S-Note application

    The trademark of the Samsung Note series is the stylus, otherwise known as the S-Pen. There are cool tricks you can do with it, for instance if you need to quickly write something down, you just click on the screen by pressing a button the pen. The screen then becomes an editable image where you can jot down a quick note.

    You can also grab an area of the screen as a snapshot for illustrating something. With S-Note, you can create memos that incorporate images, videos, links, and actions (otherwise known as action memos) such as reminders to send emails etc.

    Creating an action memo with Note III

    Creating an action memo with Note III

    When going into meetings, I no longer carry a pen and notebook, not when I have a far more impressive and efficient way of taking notes. Besides with handwriting recognition, you can answer texts, emails by writing on the screen with S-Pen.

    Direct input with S-Pen

    Direct input with S-Pen

    Let’s not forget the sketches one can do when you have artistic talent. Need to illustrate a point to someone, draw them a rough map (or include a snapshot of the map from Google maps?). Do it with the S-Pen and S-Note.

    3. Taking Photos

    The Camera got upgraded to 13MP, with a host of other enhancements. The modes for taking photos include:

    Note 3 camera modes

    Note 3 camera modes

      • auto (automatic settings for the lazy)
      • sports (for fast moving objects)
      • surround shot (360 degree panorama)
      • Eraser (saves the best picture after erasing moving objects from 5 consecutive pictures)
      • rich tone for enhancing the realism of pictures by increasing contrast of light and colour
      • golf (you’ve got to see it to believe it)
      • animated photo (picture includes animated parts)
        drama (several shots of a moving objects and merges them into one)
      • sound shot (picture includes a few seconds of background noise)
      • best face (for that perfect selfie)
      • best photo (the best picture from a series of consecutive shots)
      • beauty face (enhances the facial features when taking a photo)

    And despite all these, I still take shaky, blurry and poorly lit pictures. I surely suck as a photographer on most days.

    However, if you have an interest in photography and Instagram, you can never go wrong with the Note III. Except if you have to take photos at night.. it doesn’t do too well at night even with the flash.

    The video is capable of recording in HD.

    There is a front camera for selfies. And you can have a dual shot (both front and back cameras at the same time.)

    4. Reading

    I have a resolution to read more books this year. I have contemplated buying a kindle but when I look at the size of the screen I have with the Note 3, really there is no point in adding to the weight of gadgets I am carrying around. The screen is perfect for reading, you can choose reading mode, you can adjust brightness, you can choose night mode depending on the app you are using for your books. Here is my current bookshelf.

    Aldiko Book reader bookshelf

    Aldiko Book reader bookshelf

    5. Videos and Viewing Photos

    Want to catch up with the latest video from Miley Cyrus twerking? I kid! The horror, I know.. who would want to subject themselves to that? Bored in the car waiting for someone, plug in your headphones and watch an episode of Breaking Bad. You will appreciate the screen size then.

    6. Playing games

    Start with Temple Run and you will be hooked. Are you currently addicted to Candy Crush saga on your Galaxy Y? Well, if you upgrade to the beautiful and big screen that comes with the Note III, say goodbye to sleep!

    7. The Cool Stuff- air gestures, smart scroll, smart stay

    Wave in the air to swipe the screen. Hover with your finger to preview an email. When reading, slowly move your eyes and the book auto-scrolls, no need to flip pages. As long as you are looking at the screen it will not go off, only going off when you look away. These features I admit that I don’t use as much, but they are worth showing off to others. Others include screen mirroring, NFC, S-Beam etc. All the cool stuff in S4 is also in Note III.

    The shortcut to the settings of the cool stuff :)

    The shortcut to the settings of the cool stuff :)

    8. Battery Life

    When I am not using my phone, the internet is off, the GPS is off, all applications are terminated etc. I actively conserve power. When I had a Samsung Galaxy S4, I charged it every day. With the Note III and the same intensity of use, I can go two days without charging it. Bottomline, it can take you two days. But it’s a smartphone with a huge screen and a demand for the 3G+. Carry your charger always.

    9. Design, Samsung User Interface and Apps

    Above and beyond what Android 4.3 Jelly Bean offers, Samsung offers Note III users the TouchWiz Nature UX that is optimized specifically for the Note. This lends a glossy appeal for the icons and menu.

    The Note III looks the price you bought it for! Some friends were complaining how the Note II looked cheap with the plastic finish, but Note III really looks classy with the faux-leather casing.

    The back of the Note 3

    The back of the Note 3

    Various colours available too!

    Note 3 colours

    Note 3 colours

    And not only do you have access to the Google Play market, you can also access the Samsung Hub store for apps, books, and other media.

    The Samsung Hub

    The Samsung Hub

    10. The Connection with the Gear

    The pictures say it all. It’s like Bonnie and Clyde, you need to get the Gear to complement the Note III. Read my review of the Gear.

    Note III with S-Pen and Gear..

    Note III with S-Pen and Gear..

    For more detailed reviews of the Note 3, check out the review onGSM Arena and engadget.

    Cost
    The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 will set you back by about Ksh. 75,000 (there is no absolute price, depends on where you buy it); and the Gear costs around Ksh 25,000-30,000.

    NationHela-642x336

    NATIONHELA – MORE THAN JUST A CARD

    If you have read any of my previous posts about Nation Hela, you will understand that it’s not just about a card for sending or receiving money conveniently to and from anywhere in the world; it has an online money platform that enables to carry out various online transactions and USSD option for mobile transactions from your phone.

     Nation Hela   More Than Just a CardNation Hela card

    USSD Options

    If you are a registered card holder of Nation Hela, then you can access the USSD menu by dialing *348#, enter your PIN and you can access the options below:

     

     Nation Hela   More Than Just a CardUSSD Nation Hela Menu. Image from http://mulikamwizi.com

    .

     

    For paying bills, these are the accounts you can pay bills to:

     Nation Hela   More Than Just a CardPaying bills through nation hela mobile. Image from mulikamwizi.com

    Online Platform
    Once you are logged into the Nation Hela website, you can:

    • Send money to a Nation Hela card holder or to a holder’s bank account
    • Make online payments with your Nation Hela Visa card number

    Sign up at your nearest DTB Bank or Nation Hela agents at selected Nakumatt supermarkets.

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