Ever heard about the Microsoft flagship cloud platform Office 365? Want to learn about it and how to effectively use it from Microsoft Experts? If yes, then go to www.office365.com, download a trial version of it and then attend the BAKE experience With Microsoft Office 365 event on 15th September at Nailab from 9am.
This past week has seen me shuttle between Mombasa, Nairobi, Mumias and back again to Nairobi. I went to Mombasa for the connected Kenya 2012 summit, big tings agwan! I think what I’m trying to say is the connected summit is Kenya’s biggest ICT conference. The top (and everyone) industry players were there. Kenya ICT board, Ministry of ICT, Safaricom, Orange, Google, SAP, Microsoft etc. The event took place in South Coast at a 5 start hotel. Conference delegates were spread out among beach resorts near Leisure Lodge because we all could not fit in one hotel.
Together with some delegates, I flew on Monday from JKIA in Nairobi to Moi Airport in Mombasa. Since I live near the airport in Nairobi, I did not have to worry about traffic to the airport. From the airport in Mombasa to South Coast, we took a bus and had one of my scariest rides: the ferry. There is always traffic around the ferry area so it took us 2 hours to get to our hotel in South Coast! However, if you can afford it, you should fly to Ukunda Airstrip in South Coast, just 5 KM away from the major resorts. Then you don’t have to go through Moi Mombasa Airport and the mess that is the ferry crossing.
Every day of the conference ended with cocktails and dinner, sponsored by one company or the other. We all know what happens when you place free food and drink before a Kenyan; restraint is thrown out of the window. Moderation ceases to exist. And when the hotel finally closed down, like all people chasing after a fast life, most people went to the only club that kicks it in South Coast: Shark Attack. I hope that’s how it is spelt. The bad thing about staying out so late is that you end up missing the whole morning sessions of the following day.
I made it a point to swim every morning before breakfast at the Indian Ocean Beach Resort swimming pool, where I was staying. You couldn’t really swim in the ocean in the mornings because you’d find the water had retreated but you could take a walk and watch the sun rise over the ocean if you are the type to admire sunrise. Which I am.
Wednesday night was the last night of the conference and Safaricom/ICT Board held the party of parties. We were welcomed to dinner on the beach by beauties handing out branded kangas/kikoys. I located a seat and ordered my drink on the rocks, except the ice cubes melted so fast in the Mombasa temperatures. The atmosphere was great, people were in great spirits and I remember at one point I had a glass of one in one hand, knee-deep in the shallow beach water and staring at the expansive ocean as the waves came crashing in. I remember thinking that right there, is life.
Eric Omondi on a camel with some funny jokes, some repeated, some fresh. Wyre the Love Child on Stage, electric! Some dancing competition and someone winning phones/laptops/tablets. Wyre with that guy who sings in Kikuyu (just remembered JB Maina.) More wine, but this time the waiter decided to leave the bottle on the table so I could refill at leisure. At the dance floor again. Giving out phone to a trusted friend so I don’t lose it. Talking to people, everyone starts pouring out their hearts. Is that a dare I hear? Off to the ocean then.. I win my dare. Kshs. 500. But the sucker refuses to pay! Getting pissed and taking off. Oh, my bottle is still there. Meeting some new people, accepting business cards with a promise to get in touch. I should leave before someone does something they might regret. A good friend gets me a cab to the hotel. I get up at 8am on Thursday morning, one hour later than I had hoped. That is how I missed my return flight.
Thursday morning was a frantic rush to pack and check out of the hotel and rush to the airport. We arrived there at noon, one hour after scheduled take-off. Lucky for those of us who missed our flights, KQ sometimes operates like a matatu. We got seats in the next flight with no extra charges.
I took time on Friday to catch up on work and stuff. Since it was Easter, I’m still ignoring school work until Tuesday evening when I attend my first class a week after we opened school!
The Internet Governance Forum took place at the UN Headquarters in Nairobi from te 27th to 30th September. It was not just internet governance as a topic that was discussed, rather many broad issues to do with the internet including access, affordability, internet standards and so on. For some reason, the mainstream media kind of gave the IGF a blackout, sacrificing technology on the altar of politics as always.
I attended the IGF on the first day, but couldn’t make it on the subsequent days mostly due to school engagements. It was my first time at the UN HQ so of course I had to take pics of the path of flags!
In the afternoon there was an opening ceremony where various leaders gave a speech, including our vice president Kalonzo Musyoka.
On Wednesday 27th, the Microsoft executive VP for legal and corporate affairs Brad Smith called on the VP, and I got an invite (I’m well connected ) He talked about some projects they are running at the Daadab camp for Somali refugees in Northern Kenya. He also talked about some development projects that Microsoft is running with some local partners like Virtual city (John Waibochi was in attendance). The VP (Kenya) then gave a present to the VP (Microsoft) in form of a painting.
I then joined the Brad Smith entourage to iLab Africa (hey I needed a ride to school that Wed morning!) where some of my classmates had set up demos of their apps. The iLab Africa apps demo was part of the parallel sideshows at the IGF.
After that, IT students gathered at the Strathmore University Auditorium to listen to what Ms people had to say. I must admit this is where I made my exit to do some classwork, so I don’t know what exactly was discussed.
P.S. You can check out the IGF website soon for a report of what happened at the 6th IGF.