Humans have been traveling across the globe even before borders were drawn for reasons ranging from business, exploration, social, medical, education, and migration. After 9/11, traveling became more complex with tight Visa rules, military grade screening of passengers, and increased surveillance. The latest casualty of these tight measures are ICT savvy travelers.

In March 2017, The US and Britain introduced new regulations for flights from Middle East, and Africa. The regulations ban passengers from carrying large electronic devices citing security concerns. The countries affected were Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates. The circular from the US homeland security read:

“These enhancements apply to 10 specific airports. The affected overseas airports are: Queen Alia International Airport (AMM), Cairo International Airport (CAI), Ataturk International Airport (IST), King Abdul-Aziz International Airport (JED), King Khalid International Airport (RUH), Kuwait International Airport (KWI), Mohammed V Airport (CMN), Hamad International Airport (DOH), Dubai International Airport (DXB), and Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH).”

With the new regulations, any device bigger than a hand help phone should be put in the checked-in luggage, and not carried onboard by the passenger. The listed devices are laptops, tablets, e-Readers
cameras, Portable DVD players, electronic game units larger than a smartphone, travel printers, and scanners.

In the age of Snowden and Wikileaks, these regulations pose a cyber security risk. It gives a window of opportunity for anybody targeting data in the devices to get access to the checked-in devices, usually a laptop. The checked-in laptops of persons of interests will either be cloned, or disappear altogether. A federal agent will mark the luggage of the person of interest, and along the several luggage transfer chain, locate it and remove the laptop and clone the hard disk getting away with a wealth of data. This process can be done by either physically removing the hard disk, using a live CD like Tails to copy the contents of the laptop, or just crack the user account and gaining access to the laptop. This may sound far fetched, but federal agents have been known to go to great lengths to access information they deem necessary in their work.

Airlines have started being creative to help their clients experience the same convenience they are used to. For example, Emirates Airlines has introduced two services to it’s clients, a laptop handling service that lets clients use their devices until before boarding, and complimentary laptops for business and first class customers, where the customers are given Microsoft Surface 3 tablets to work onboard. Although this does not remove the security concerns mentioned above, it gives the rich a window to be productive while flying.

How do you secure your data while traveling?
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, an international non-profit digital rights group based in San Francisco, California, gives some suggestions on traveling with data, especially after the U.S. government reported an increase in the number of electronic media searches at the US border.

  • store all sensitive data on a secure cloud offering like Dropbox or SpiderOak, or better still on a private hosted server.
  • Use a Chromebook as your travel laptop, which by default store all data on the cloud
  • If you must travel with your data, have two hard drives which you swipe on convenience. One with a clean operating system install without any data, and another with the operating system and data, but only swapped when the laptop is in use.
  • Always use full strong disk encryption for all your data.
  • The next debate on information confidentiality is usually centered around the question, Why should I care if I have nothing to hide? The next article will try to answer that question. Do you have anything to hide?


    Sometimes you find yourselve facing spammers on the server. How do you handle them?

    Here are Sendmail, exim cheatsheets. I’ve found useful

    1. List domains sending most email
    exim -bp | egrep -o "[a-z0-9A-Z\.]+@[a-z0-9A-Z\.]+" | awk -F @ '{if(/'`hostname`'/){print$1}else{print$2}}' | sort | uniq -c | sort -rn | head

    2.Frozen mails are of no use in exim queue. To remove all the frozen mails:

    exim -bpr | grep frozen | awk {'print $3'} | xargs exim -Mrm

    3. To list the mail queue in sendmail do this:
    sendmail -bp


    When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all of your thoughts break their bonds. Your mind transcends limitations; your consciousness expands in every direction; and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive and you discover yourself to be a greater person than you ever dreamed yourself to be. – Patañjali the compiler of the Yoga Sutra


    A lion is fully capable of capturing, killing, and eating a field mouse. But it turns out that the energy required to do so exceeds the caloric content of the mouse itself. So a lion that spent its day hunting and eating field mice would slowly starve to death. A lion can’t live on field mice. A lion needs antelope. Antelope are big animals. They take more speed and strength to capture and kill, but once killed, they provide a feast for the lion and her pride… So ask yourself at the end of the day, ‘Did I spend today chasing mice or hunting antelope?’

    — Newt Gingrich


    Nairobi which is famous for having the world’s only game reserve in a large city is the capital city of Kenya, with a population of about 3.5million people as of 2016. The official languages in Kenya to which all Nairobians can converse in are Swahili and English.

    Climate:
    The climate is warm and temperate in Nairobi, but there is a significant amount of rainfall during the year. Winter days, between June and August, are mild with slightly cooler evenings. The drizzliest months are March to May. May and June can have high of 20 degrees Celsius, and lows of 12 degrese Celsius, with rainfall of 16cm.

    Electricity
    In Kenya the power sockets are of “type G” British BS-1363 type. The standard voltage is 240 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz. See https://www.adaptelec.com/index.php?main_page=document_general_info&products_id=213

    Trade:
    Kenya Shillings (KES) is the currency used. Forex bureau at Nairobi City Center offer the best conversion rates. Major currencies are accepted. If you are coming from outside East Africa, you may have to carry with you any major currency.
    Major credit cards and debit cards branded ATMs can be found everywhere from malls to gas stations. They disburse local Kenya Shillings. This page from the Central Bank of Kenya shows the prevailing exchange rates https://www.centralbank.go.ke/forex/
    You can shop with your Credit Card or Visa/Mastercard branded card in major shopping malls and hotels.
    Mobile Money is a widely used form of payment, with the world famous MPESA from Safaricom being the market leader.

    Communication
    You will need your Passport to register into any cellular network. Safaricom has the widest coverage of all cellular networks, and is the largest company in East Africa. Airtel and Orange also have good coverage. These three cellular networks offer competitive data packages. You can buy their sim cards from the airport and major malls at between $1 to $2.

    Transport
    Taxi hailing companies like Uber, Little cab, Mondo ride, and Taxify are established in the city with stiff competition between them. Safaricom owned Little cab, and Uber are the market leaders. Their apps are available on Android and Apple App stores.
    There are many taxis in Nairobi City which you can use to move around. You are advised to inquire the price before starting your journey.
    Public city buses shuttle from the airport to the city center, at a cost of KES100, which is around $1. The buses are in operation from 7am to 8pm. Public transport in the city operates from major terminals, roads, and bus stops. The cost for moving between different parts of the city would range from KES50 to KES150 ($0.5 to $1.5).

    Tourist Attraction.
    Nairobi National Park, located 7 Km south of the city offers the widest variety of tourism attraction sites.
    1. Safari Walk: With its raised wooden boardwalk that allows for uninterrupted views of the animals, the Safari Walk is a show case for Kenya’s Parks and Reserves, allowing visitors to discover what they can expect to see across the country. Visitors can see a sample of the country’s rich animal life including the rare bongo, white rhino and albino zebra as well as big cats, antelopes and primates. It is also home to some 150 species of local trees. The non-resident fees is $22 for adults and $13 for children.
    2. The Nairobi Animal Orphanage is located in the Nairobi National Park. It serves a treatments and rehabilitation centre for wild animals. The Orphanage hosts lions, cheetahs, hyenas, jackals, serval cats, rare Sokoke cats, warthogs, leopards, various monkeys, baboons and buffalo. Various birds can also be viewed including parrots, guinea fowls, crowned cranes and ostriches. The non-resident fees is $22 for adults and $13 for children.
    3. The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is located at the KWS Central Workshop Gate, off, Magadi Rd, Nairobi, Kenya and is open to the public for one hour every day, from 11am to Noon. During this time the orphans arrive for their midday mud bath and feeding. Entrance to the orphanage for the visiting hour requires minimum contribution of $7 US dollars / 500 Kenya shillings per person.
    4. Nairobi National Park: Nairobi National Park established in 1946 is the only natural game park in a city. It is located 7km south of the city center. I. Animals you can see at the park are Zebras, Giraffes, Antelopes, Impala, Wildebeests. There are also several Lions, Cheetas, Hippopotamus, and Rhinos. The park is highly recommended for anyone who loves Safaris. The non-resident fees is $43 for adults and $23 for children.
    5. Nairobi museum located 1km from the city is open all year long from 0830hrs -17300hrs.
    6. Giraffe Center is located in Karen, 5 Km from Nairobi
    7. Panari Sky center along Mombasa road, 7 Km from the airport on the way to the city has a large ice skating rink with hourly skating sessions.
    8. Mamba Village is a crocodile sanctuary Located 12 Km south of the city

    Food, Restaurants and Entertainment
    Nairobi is a cosmopolitan city. It’s cuisine you can be found in any big city anywhere in the world. The staple food for the inhabitants is Ugali, which is stiff porridge, usually accompanied by green vegetables and stewed meat. Past time for many Nairobians would include eating nyama choma (barbecued meat) accompanied by Kenya’s popular beer Tusker over the weekends. Although tap water is generally clean and treated, visitors are advised to take only bottled water. Tipping is not mandatory, but it is between 5% and 10%.
    Popular restaurants and entertainment joints include
    1. Java restaurants – a chain of finest Kenyan coffee located is several locations within the city. Want Kenyan coffee beans? Try them.
    2. Carnivore Restaurant, Fogo Gaucho, and Safaripark hotel which are popular with their “all you can eat barbecue”.
    2. Brew Bistro, and Sierra who brew their own beer.
    3. Klub house (K1) Parklands
    4. Florida Night Club

    Accommodation:
    Nairobi has several hotels with different ratings from five. AirBnB is also popular among budget travelers.

    Shopping and Antiques
    You can get Kenyan traditional antiques at City Market at the city center. Other places would be the nomadic Maasai market which moves to a different location every day of the week. It operates from 8am to 6pm. Here are the locations.
    Tuesday: Westgate Shopping Mall in Westlands (the upper car park) (relocated to Kijabe street opposite the Norfolk Hotel)
    Wednesday: Capital Centre on Mombasa Road near the airport
    Thursday: Nakumatt Junction Shopping Mall on Ngong Road
    Friday: Village Market in Gigiri (the upper car park)
    Saturday: The High Court parking lot in the city center (behind the Hilton)
    Sunday: Yaya Centre in Hurlingham

    Malls: Nairobi has many huge malls selling all popular brands. You can try Sarit Center in Westlands, the gigantic Two Rivers in Kikisuru, Garden City along Thika road, among many others.

    Security
    Like any large city, Nairobi has it’s security challenges, but it’ s nothing out of the ordinary. You should avoid deserted alleys in the city. Also avoid flushing valuables like jewellery and money.

    Is there anything you need to know about Nairobi? Is there any addition to make the blog post more informative? Leave a comment.


    The Blockchain Workshops came to Nairobi for the first time in December 2016.

    Enthusiasts flocked to the event at Strathmore University. The attendance was made more of blockchain techies, programmers, lawyers, and bounty hunters :). Well, most of us just had a vague idea of what blockchains were. Maybe they are bitcoins, or are they crypto-currencies? And of course 99% though of them as alternative currencies.

    What we refused to understand is that blockchains is a technology that allows distributed immutable smart contracts. The nodes performing the distribution get points for participating in the blockchain grid. And those points are what are generally called crypocurrencies. And the process of writing the distributed ledger for any blockchain transaction is what is called mining. You get some sort of points when you mine. Depending on the network you use, the point can be called a bitcoin, an ether, etc. Well easy, is it not?

    Well, my explanation my be off hook. So here is what Wikipedia has to say; “Blockchain is a distributed database that maintains a continuously-growing list of ordered records called blocks. Each block contains a timestamp and a link to a previous block. By design blockchains are inherently resistant to modification of the data – once recorded, the data in a block cannot be altered retroactively”

    Prof. Nii Quaynor, one of the Internet Pioneers in Africa set the scene by showing how adoption of new technology happens around the world. It seemed just like in the adoption of the internet, Africa was alos lugging behind in embracing blockchain technology.

    The blockchain legends were around. The one who generated the most interest was Vitalik Buterin, the 22 year old co-founder of Ethereum. Ethereum is a publicly assessable, distributed blockchain computing platform that implements smart contract functionality.

    So I had to engage Vitalik. “What is your take on hard forks, especially the hard fork that was done on Ethereum when DAO was hacked. Does that jeopardise the credibility of blockchains which are billed to have distributed immutable transactions. Example if we implement a banking platform, or land registry system using Ethereum, the public will just claim transactions are reversible”.

    Vitalik’s answer was measured and calm, very pragmatic I must say from a 22 year old. He said that systems have to be adaptable. And as the popularity of blockchain technologies mature, including ethereum, it will be more difficult to apply hard forks. And hard forks are a matter of political decisions.

    The public was surprised to learn from the government of Kenya, through a statement read on behalf of the Minister of ICT Joe Mucheru that the government is working with IBM to deploy blockchain applications in government service. Three areas they are working on is land, education, and medical records.


    The 25th Africa Network Information Center (AFRINIC) meeting will be held from 25th to 30th November 2016 at Sofitel Imperial hotel in Mauritius.

    Tutorials will be held on Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs), IPV6 foundation training, Internet Number Resource Management, and a session on increasing participation at the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) in the African Region.

    The session on AFRINIC Government Working Group will explore ways of involving more African governments and multilateral organisations in Internet Governance efforts.

    The Fund for Internet Research and Education (FIREAfrica.org) will hold a session training their grantees on Leadership skills, project management, and pitching to investors.

    An interesting development will be the launch of AFRINIC’s new IPv6 testing and certification platform available at http://certi6.io.

    The hallmark for all Regional Internet Registry meetings is usually the Policy Discussion Working Group (PDWG). The PDWG will discuss four policies among them Inbound Transfer Policy, Soft Landing policy Overhaul, the proposal to Transfer IPv4 Resource within the AFRINIC region, and Internet Number Resources Review by AFRINIC.

    The last day will have the Special general members meeting, where members will vote for Special Resolutions for AFRINIC Proposed Bylaws Changes, and elections of members for the AFRINIC Governance Committee.

    The Agenda of the meeting is available here: https://meeting.afrinic.net/afrinic-25/agenda


    My experience with Jumia. When it first launched a few years ago, I thought they had misspelled the Swahili word “jumuia” which means community :), so this guys are clever, they redirected jumuia.co.ke to jumia.co.ke. That is when you know a company is serious on business.

    Well, I’ve always considered myself an innovator, even though I hold no patent. Jumia, the online store has been around for a while, taking all advertisement space online. Who uses this service? One Sunday Morning in early July, while relaxing in the village where I was visiting my mum, I decided to try it out.

    On my phone, I went to jumia.com which swiftly redirected to the local shop jumia.co.ke. (Why do users always go to the a .com domain while the world has over 1000 top level domains?) I added a shirt. It looked good. Slim fit at Ksh1999 ($20). Then checked out. The shopping cart had an option of payment on delivery, with delivery cost of Ksh300 ($3).

    After confirming my order, I thought of buying a trouser too, and another shirt. I did just that, but the system did not have a way of merging the first and second order. So I added the first shirt on the second order to avoid paying double for delivery, and checked out. Total cost for the three products was Ksh6000 ($60). There was no option to cancel the first order. I wrote to support asking them to cancel the first order. Being on a Sunday, I did not get any reply.

    Coming Tuesday, I got a call from Jumia’s two different delivery riders for delivery of my products. Both the first and second order. “But I cancelled the first order?”, I politely notified the first caller.

    Well, the second order was delivered to my doorstep on a Wednesday to which I paid the motorcycle delivery guy the whole Ksh6300 (cost of goods and delivery), and excitedly went to fit my new acquisitions. The merchandise came in two packages, they were clearly from two different shops.

    Jumia online shopping in Kenya through jumia.co.ke

    I received two packages from Jumia

    I loved the first shirt, but the second did not fit (I’ve been growing fat, but I’m still in denial mode), and the trouser did not resemble that which was advertised. It had too much accessories, what we call madoido (effects) in Swahili. The rider had already left. I wrote to Jumia requesting for a return for the non conforming products. I was politely reminded to ensure I have confirmed the conformity of products before payment.

    Jumia’s return policy says you must return the goods within 7 days, and they inspect the goods to ensure they are in their original form.

    After several days and emails, the returns were picked. After more emails, the refund was effected via MPESA to the mobile number on file, and they did not charge the cost of the courier picking the rejected products.

    The MPESA refund message from jumia’s payment partner

    KGQ8BIGH2Y Confirmed.You have received Ksh3,898.00 from ECART SERVICES KENYA LIMITED 873250 on 26/7/16 at 7:38 PM New M-PESA balance is Ksh5,265.90. Buy goods with M-PESA.

    Well, e-commerce is here with us. And it’s working.


    For several generations, Kenya will never have a revolution.

    we are not divided on ideological lines. Just look at what happened in 1990 when we thought the opposition had Moi by the horns. Come 1991, we had aligned ourselves in tribal cocoons, denied mzee Jaramogi his moment of fame, and lost the “revolution” for the next 10 years.

    We had a brief chance after 2003 to galvanise the county into nationhood but the experiment failed miserably. We were more than eager to support only our own(s). Ask if our owns are eating enough like other owns.

    Currently, the writing is on the wall. Locals from the west loathe those from the East and the reverse is true. Not on ideological lines. Pure heavy unfounded hate. When you cut, it will bleed. We hate the tribe collectively, not the thief politician. The masses are hearded around like livestock. That is why one side will say “Uthamaki ni witu, thamaki ni ciao”, to quote David Ndii.

    And that my friends, is the recipe for a Civil war. The revolution is naught.

    There is a big difference between a revolution and civil war. See what happened in the Balkans or Rwanda. The common man was killing the fellow common man because he is of a difference heritage. That is civil war. Look at what happened in Russia when Tzars were diposed. Or French Revolution when the King was exiled and Queen hanged. Or what happened in Cuba, and Tunisia. That is a revolution. Kenya nearly achieved a revolution in 2003.

    It’s not a fight of brother against brother, but fighting the corrupt system. I sit in the villages in Kenya and the vitrol thrown around by locals from one section of poor Kenyans to another section of poor Kenyans is retching.

    And that my friends, is where our political leaders across the divide want us to be. Not fight the system. So that when they are in power, its their time to eat, as the nobodies fight proxy tribal wars.

    Our new constitution was very good because it tried to save us from ourselves. For once, it envisioned independent institutions like Judiciary, executive, parliament, police, different commissions, etc. Real checks and balances of power. But what are we doing with all those checks and balances? We are diluting them, and transferring all the power to one person.

    I remember with soNice discourse guys. Walu, you got me all wrong. There is a big difference between a revolution and civil war. See what happened in the Balkans or Rwanda. The common man was killing the fellow common man because he is of a difference heritage. That is civil war. Look at what happened in Russia when Tzars were diposed. Or French Revolution when the King was exiled and Queen hangged. Or what happened in Cuba, and Tunisia. That is a revolution. Kenya nearly achieved a revolution in 2003.

    It’s not a fight of brother against brother, but fighting the corrupt system. I sit in the villages in Kenya and the vitrol thrown around by locals from one section of poor Kenyans to another section of poor Kenyans is retching.

    And that my friends, is where our political leaders across the divide want us to be. Not fight the system. So that when they are in power, its their time to eat as the nobodies fight proxy tribal wars.

    Our new constitution was very good because it tried to save us from ourselves. For once, it envisioned independent institutions like Judiciary, police, different commissions, etct. Real checks and balances of power. But whatarewe doing with all those checks and balances? We are diluting them, and transferring all the power to one person. I remember with sorrow the words on one Michuki “we don’t need a new constitution. What we wanted is to remove Moi from power. Now that he is gone, we don’t need it”. What he ment was that so long as one good person is in power, he can have all powers. But what happens when one bad person is in power?

    Lord Acton put it so clearly, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority; still more when you superadd the tendency of the certainty of corruption by authority.”


    The security firm ESET has warned on an increase of infected e-mails containing a malicious zipped attachment called Nemucod. It downloads ransomware, for example, TeslaCrypt or Locky. When opened, it encrypts the data on the victim’s computer and demand ransom for decryption. The virus has been detected in Europe, North America, Australia, Japan, and Africa . According to an Intel security report, global ransomware cases increased almost 170% in 2015. Bitdefender, an internet security company, found that almost half of the victims surveyed across Europe and the US have paid extortionists to recover data .