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iHub By John Kieti / May 4, 2011

BitMagic (April) and Ubuntu Release Party Event Update


Last month’s BitMagic was a blast. Many thanks to Phares who took the group through virtualization 101 on a white-board. But as I had predicted, he was not able to convince us that virtualization is as simple as it should. Instead, he emphasized proper planning and anticipation to prevent future pain. Through his narration of his experience with XEN, I reflected on the the hidden costs of ‘free’ solutions – a theme that was discussed in a lively debate later – but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Factcha Presentation at BitMagic

FACTCHA Presentation at BitMagic

Then Athman took the session through his FACTCHA software, a solution that extends an idea – CAPTCHA – to something that can actually change the world. I call this – the power of three scripts. In short, simple solutions to complex problems. The honorable-mention-winning solution was hacked over roughly 10 1-hour sessions! FACTCHA is by no means a simplistic affair. Indeed, Athman’s subsequent presentations on the other solutions at their TradeMarkEA evinced the rigorous data and costs analysis that is belied by the simple solutions. My take-away: simple and elegant solutions stem from the capability to understand and decompose complexity. You can find copies of these presentations on slideshare:

FACTCHA Presentation from Athman Mohamed Athman Ali

The next BitMagic will be held on 21st May, 2011.

Ubuntu 11.04 Release Party (Natty Narwhal)

Natty Narwhal Party Cake

Ubuntu 11.04 Release Party Cake

ow do you do a party without SWAG and a large corporate behind you? The way we did it after BitMagic on 30th May with the Natty Narwhal Release Party.

Edmund took everyone through the smooth installation of 11.04 while introducing the new features, notably the new and controversial Unity user interface. Unity is unpopular but claims to wear well with use. The Ubuntu crowd was undecided about its suitability with only a small majority welcoming it, while the rest seeing no cause for celebration.

The highlight of the day, the cake, was beautifully done.

The cake-cutters were reluctant to cut the beautiful cake.

Ubuntu Cake Cutting

Cutting up Natty Narwhal

After the cake, Peter Nguhiu moderated a discussion about Ubuntu in Kenya, which ended up being the highlight of the evening. Strong opinions flew from right to left as the crowd sought the way forward for open-source solutions and business in Kenya. The writeboard contains the main conclusions to the discussion.

Ubuntu Write Board

Discussion Writeboard Notes

Since we ran out of time, the attendees decided to join the Ubuntu user group and continue the conversation there. You can also join at:

Many thanks to Edmund who brought the whole event together, the sponsors Peter and LPIC’s Evans, and the Ihub fraternity.

Author : John Kieti

John Kieti is the Lead at m:lab East Africa. He is an exponent for mobile entrepreneurship and an experienced m4d professional. John is passionate about the growth of East Africa's knowledge economy. He holds an MBA and BSc in Computer Science. He also occasionally shares his thoughts about East Africa's knowledge economy on his blog -

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