OK fellow volunteers, this comes up a lot in conversation, so I thought I’d mention it. Safaricom now offers an unlimited Internet package, which everyone’s been waiting for. It’s 200 shillings… per day. That’s a lot if you do it every day, but it’s not so bad if you just use it every now and then for Internet splurging with downloads and video Skyping. Just send a blank SMS to 555 to activate. For some reason this info isn’t on their website, but they spammed me with an SMS ad telling me so. Enjoy!
Tag Archive for 'Internet'
Today traffic was terrible. On my way to lunch, I jumped out of the matatu early and walked the rest of the way. As it turns out, President Kibaki was coming into town, so all the main roundabouts were completely shut down. He was actually here for a big deal: the big public launch of the undersea fiber optic cable that has finally arrived from the other side of the Indian Ocean. This was the last stretch of ocean in the world that didn’t host an Internet connection, but now East Africa is finally caught up! Here’s a local news blurb on it. And one on Forbes.
I didn’t see the big event, but I did see 50-or-so Mercedes vehicles screech into town, surrounded by motorcycles, sirens blaring. It’s a safe bet that Kibaki was in one of them.
In mildly related news, I’ve updated my learning software page to reflect all the changes I’ve made to my educational floppy disk in the past couple months. I was thrown into a cycle of changes as I tried (and succeeded, I believe) at getting the thing to work on a 486 with 8MB of RAM for an old computer in Embu. It also works on my Core2Duo with 3GB RAM, so it works on a wide range of computers now.
I’ve also gone ahead and given the disk a name: FUZOMA Floppy. FUZOMA is a liberal blending of the Swahili words for “teach” and “learn.” (It’s also a word that had no matches on Google until I registered the domain name.) For now I just have one huge page dedicated to it here on the blog, but sooner or later I’ll get around to moving stuff over to fuzoma.com, because it feels way too cramped on a single page.
I also wanted to mention that over the course of making this floppy disk for the students, I’ve tracked down and contacted a number of shareware authors from the old DOS days and pestered them with questions, and everyone has been remarkably helpful thus far. Special thanks to Bob Ferguson for sending me the EditV source code, which helped me as I designed the FUZOMA text editor for the kids as they learn to use the computer. Also David at Bozz Software for reading my long emails, and Dom Domes and David Alves for making such great learning programs.
I’ve gotten positive feedback on the project from two other volunteers in Kenya thus far. Nic had some nice things to say on this blog, and although Daniel doesn’t get into it on his, he told me that he used the typing game as a bonus for his final exams! It’s a start…
For all my fellow volunteers out there, and for many people in Kenya in general, this is a huge deal. Opera just release a beta of their version 10 web browser, and it finally does what their mobile phone browser has been doing all along—it works in tandem with Opera’s servers to recompresses data before it gets sent to you.
If you pay by the megabyte, you have no excuse now to use anything except Opera. It makes my little Firefox Greasemonkey/Mowser hack look silly.
They call the feature “Opera Turbo.” Basically, before the pages are opened by your browser, the Opera servers resize and recompress the images to use less bandwidth. They also perform similar tricks for text (HTML, etc). Bottom line: fewer megabytes used to visit the same exact sites.
It’s a little toggle-able icon in the lower left-hand corner of the browser. Super easy. Here’s a screenshot… go get it now! (It works on Mac and Linux, too.)
PS: If you’re nuts about privacy, you may want to read more about this feature. Your data is being intercepted by Opera, after all.