Archive for the ‘entertainment’ Category

Samsung Galaxy Pocket Launch in Uganda – Thoughts, Coverage and Opinion

Well there I was for another product launch, this time for the Samsung Galaxy Pocket launch, for those who do not know, its one of the youngsters of the Galaxy line of phones and tablets, and hyped it has been through my social media channel, Twitter, where I got the invite. The best thing for me was that I was to meet 3 different potential partners for a work focused market assessment study I was doing, talk about mixing business and pleasure.

As is my tradition, I was there ahead of time, why so early in the morning, I have to drop off my kids to school before the traffic picks up at 6:40am, so by 7:00am I am either at my desk slaving away (I love what I do), or waiting for any morning appointments to show up. So back to the launch,  the background was a relentless video advert reminding us that the phone provides access to over 400,000 Android apps from Google Appstore, plus a faster internet connection, and great look. With all the hustle and bustle I am hearing rumors that we may actually get a chance to play with the phones and test them out.

The lounge was well done up, in Samsung blue, thankfully I was decked out in the same so we blended. I took a few photos, using the webcam of the 17″ HP Envy 3D laptop I was lugging around (now that is a review for another day) since I had no camera. While the photos were not award winning, they pretty much captured the mood for the morning.

As we waited I had a chance to catch up with Joyce Tonda, Managing Editor of Enterprise Technology magazine, whom I had not seen for quite some time. Then came another media opportunity, in walked Ernest Bazanye, one of the few Ugandan writers I admire, very witty satirical and a social critic. I asked him what he was doing at the launch, and what his expectations were, well the video is http://youtu.be/BnY1dmLDlMI

Once that interview was done the official ceremonies began with MC, Crystal Newman (https://twitter.com/CrystalANewman) intended to keep the event young, hip and energetic. The welcome note was by the head of Marketing based out of Nairobi, then a quick word by the Uganda Country Manager. This is where it became interesting, some users had got the phone a few days before and were to share their experiences:

  1. Richard Zulu (http://twitter.com/richardzulu) – enterprenur, business person  – he was happy with the battery life, available disk space, and response time
  2. Duke Danny (https://twitter.com/dukedanny4)  – chef, geek, mobile application developer – said it was snappy, did not have to charge it all the time, and could test his apps
  3. Karungi Terry (https://twitter.com/Kashweeti) – student – downloaded many learning apps, used it for entertainment, accessing social media and down right loved it
  4. Navio (https://twitter.com/naviomusic) – musician and entertainer – runs all his email, schedules contacts in one place

There were a few challenges, and winners of phones for best photo, most tweets, best rendition of a song with Navio. All in all it was an interesting launch

Obviously you did not expect me to stop there, now what is my take!! This is an interesting battle for supremacy for the smartphone bragging rights, and also for growth especially in Africa and the rest of the developing world. While only few can afford the high end smartphones, Iphone, Samsung Galaxy SII and SIII (okay I want that one), HTC One X, Motorola Droids (hmm have not heard of one in a while), the real mover and shaker for the adoption is in the $100 range which was dominated by Nokia Symbian feature phones, but is not being relentlessly barraged by the Huwaeii, ZTE and other Chinese/Asian manufacturers. The Samsung Pocket, is a baby in the family but in my opinion is a great starting point for users to upgrade to the higher end smartphones. As with all smartphones, battery life, touch issues (we have lots of dust, and dirt with little access to cleaning agents), are key.

However growing the ecosystem to add value will increase uptake, with Android the operating system and platform may be available, but useful applications in the local context are key to pushing adoption and usage. That is the one area, Samsung and Google need to cooperate with local developers, government, NGOs to develop a value proposition for acquiring and using the phones not forgetting pushing the local telecom network operators to push down data costs to make the application usage feasible.

What are your thoughts?

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The Christmas Gathering and Beyond

I know the first thing that came to mind is who gathered, where and for what. And for those of ye who have knowledge of old English or Celtic history you are thinking of a meeting of wizards, witches, faires, elves, dwarves, gnomes or smurfs 🙂

Well it is nothing like that, this is where it all began. A friend of mine Dennis Assimwe a talented pianist has had this knack for writing and social media, Facebook in particular provided him with an outlet for his writing he has a coupla good notes out there. Anyway whilst reading his notes, we suggested that he creates a group intially to share his notes but it later turned out to attract others who have an interest in the “written word” creative writing and so on. Personally I am trying to find my artistic side, trying to stimulate it so that it does not wither and die on me something which I have always enjoyed but never had the time to do.

I am trying to read the classics, started with the Art of War, now moving to Shakespeare, am also starting to listen to soft rock as I have been advised that the artists there still write, pour their hearts and souls into the music.

Now back to notes, well we started the group now 700+ strong, and then an idea came, what if we were to meet, put faces to people and share more in person.

The idea was hatched and in October we had our first Gathering. The format was simple have a guest speaker, then interweave it with music, poetry, and let it take a life of its own. Fortunately there is a cafe, Soho’s (FB Page here), which we used. On the day the weather was terrible, it rained from 3pm to 7:00pm, and the traffic was not just murder, but unbelieveably bad. But 15 or so turned up, and our first speaker for the day was James Onen, a radio presenter, free thinker and well articulated atheist. His topic of choice was Hotel California by Band Name, the lyrics, meanings behind the lyrics etc, the history of the band, link to Satanists etc. It was enlightening and we wondered where time went … There were a few renditions, and a blues number by one Susan Anique (Google her) but all in all it was a great evening.

Since the first one was a success we decided to have a second stab at it, this time with Santa thrown in and see how much trouble we could get into …

The date was set Wednesday December 14, at our venue Soho Cafe and Grill, with the usual guest speaker, this time I Am Enigma (http://iamenygma.wordpress.com/), an MC and Hip Hop artist, did not know what to expect, plus buffet, egg nog and mistletoe (the package of this got caught in customs so we could not partake of the meanings).

The ladies were out in the sweet little red and black dresses, it was definitely a sight to behold …

Well I was late, occupational hazards, but thanks to a power outage, I was able to get  in fashionably late in my blue outfit, the green elf outfit did not dry because of the rain. So there I was all spruced up and ended up becoming the master of ceremonies …

The guest speaker was up next, he walked us through the lyrics of one of his songs, and explained the thinking process being the lyrics and how he brings the words and rhymes together using anagrams, plaindromes, and related places e.g., Lebanon (near Isreal for freedom), you and me are like decepticons on their way to the prime (the journey of life to the top).

The Q&A highlighted differences between MCs and DJs, why he wears the mask, his path to the top, etc. After which was food, after a prayer by our guest speaker which started in Arabic and ended with an Amen 🙂

After food was music time, Suzan our resident crooner did a rendition of Little Drummer Boy (of course I pushed for that one), James Onen did an oldie by Silk with the end being Dennis on the keyboard and Ouma Myko on the guitar and can those boys mix the beats.

A gathering is never complete without something on the wild side, not so, well we then had some freestyling poetry between myself and Justyne, called “Nightfall Lover” which is a poem about two lovers and their romantic adventures …

We then cut the Gathering Xmas cake, secret Santa gave out gifts to those who had brought (all u had to do was pick out a package that u did not bring and there were some very nice surprises). Finally the moralities were done then it was time to mingle and shake hands, drink more of the punch and just chill out …

Before we knew it … it was way past midnight and other gathering was concluded. Just watch this space for the next one which will be informal and we already have an eye on our guest speaker …

Sherlock Holmes @ The Hub Nakumatt Oasis Mall

It was a Friday evening, at the end of a long brutal and gruelling week, and all I was thinking of was going home to play with the kids then tuck in early before the weekend plans at ma parents. Just get home and start on one of the series which was pending was all on my mind then a colleage asks me via chat, what plans for the evening? I am going for Sherlock Holmes – Game of Shadows (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1515091/), jokingly I asked got a ticket for me, and yes the answer came back. I had not been for a movie in quite some time, occupational hazards, and so I thought why not, I need to unwind.

Now that is something to look forward to, being a fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, having read all the adventures in a single compilation, I remember was about 1,090 pages, took me a few weeks to get through. Also I was able to get a copy of the TV series (link here) and I am currently on Season 4 of 6 seasons, yes you have to be wide awake to watch them.

I enjoyed the first one and I had seen the trailer and it looked well exciting, the slow motion effects first initiated by the Kowlolski brothers in the Matrix triology (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0133093/), so I was looking forward to watch this one. It would also be my first movie at the Hub at the new Oasis Mall (http://www.cineplexuganda.com/cinema-details/cineplex-oasis-mall/). The Hub is well laid out reminds me of the cinemas in the US malls, spacious and the general decor was tastefully done. The popcorn machines were a little slow, but the popcorn was well done. The sodas were cold and those who needed something stronger well, the bar seemed well stocked.

So in we go and close to the front we sat. The volume was not bad just that it was a little diffcult to make out some of the words, but hey that is what u get for coming in late. The seats were comfortable and not torn or broken up yet (need to keep watching that for later). The room was cold oh yes, but I was in a long sleeved shirt so I would last through the movie.

Now the movie, okay where did all the time go, and it was over just as I started enjoying it. Was it too fast paced, not sure, but it seemed to lack some depth, I do not know maybe its the trend of movies nowadays. The dialogue was excellent, great, and well thought out the jokes coming out in tune with the time that we were placed. The action was good, but needed to be spread out more, since it only seemed that Sherlock and Dr. Watson had all the fun, along with the gypsy lady don’t remember her name, but her character was weak.

On yes the highlight of the movie, the chase through the woods when little Hansel was unleashed, the damage and chaos was a lot, so u do not get the impact, but was entertaining.

Dr. Moriati was well played, and the verbal exchanges between him and Sherlock reflected a deep animosity, respect for each other’s skill and the genius psychosis came out well, in a calm composed yet dangerous manner. Reminds you of a poisonous snake which knows that it is deadly therefore does not strike out until the timing is just right.

The plot came out, but it seemed rushed as there was so much happening at the same time, it seemed that the new characters did not have enough time to come to life. Maybe I am so used to watching series where there is time to develop a character, but my thinking is that some movies have to be made to be more timeless other the fanatical focus on commercialization ….

Funny parts are abound, Dr. Watson’s wedding ceremony with he and Sherlock bruised and battered, Mrs. Watson’s reaction to Holme’s nakedness was amusing, and the old butler (reminds me of Duckula’s butler).

Overall the experience at the Hub was not bad, phones were turned off so not too many interruptions, people did not walk in and out all the time. I would recommend both the movie and the cinema for an evening out.

Now I need to take the kids for a cartoon and see how that goes too.

Sean Kingston Show – Kampala September 2011 – From the VIP Stands for a First Timer

The long awaited Sean Kingston show in Kampala, finally happened on September 16, 2011. Long awaited as it was pushed from earlier in the year due to Sean’s accident.

Interesting enough was the buzz about his arrival, only got into town at 1pm on the day of the show, most people were preaching doom that he would not turn up as Akon had done the previous year, and it was a first in Kampala. Anyway the Nigerian artist Mr. Flavor had arrived a day before so the place was abuzz with anticipation and activity.

Personally, it was going to be my first show in a loooonnnggg time, so long that I had almost forgotten what the hassles were like. I was picked up by my date, yes, and we moved towards the venue, the Lugogo Cricket Oval via Lugogo by-pass. As expected the cars had parked for a mile away from the show venue, what as shocking was that the parking was orderly. First we were called into a parking lot next to the Engen Petrol station, but the ground was so bad we decided to try our luck in the Game/Shoprite parking, and shockingly enough there was parking.

The security was tight, as promised, but orderly with a visible deployment of the different colored police outfits and patrol cars moving around.

Twice shocked we moved to the VIP entrance, and another shocker. There was order, those with tickets would move straight through the gate, through the metal screeners, hand in tickets and get coupons for beer, water and soda, and of course the blue arm band for the VIP section. The tickets were printed by TicketMaster and the armband we later found out was a single use one which would only be “destructively” removed, so once its off u can’t move around.

Into the venue, the stage looked good, VIP revellers already seated on white plastic chairs, not sure if that’s a Ugandan thing, and across in the general section, it was packed with revellers and all u could see was movement like ants in a colony. Straight for food before, beer, very orderly, 4 serving points with well dressed security “ladies” and educated too based on hair type, body language and command of the queen’s language. 1 piece of meat, 1 piece of chicken, 1 sausage, I strange egg thingi, and that’s it. Wow!!! glad I was not indulging, coz I doubt if that would keep the alcohol at bay. ell done food but servings were abysmal.

Drinks were cold and in plenty, and did not run out at any time, can only imagine a beer company running out of beer at their biggest event of the year. And there was no line to get beer, at least the air on this side of the field was VIP.

Now the sound quality was lousy, seriously, but well what was done was done. Fast forward, energetic performances by selected artists, 2 songs a piece which was good. Then came DJ Aludah (forgive me if I have misspelt your name) and Mr. Hype. Now I was reliably informed of Mr. Hype’s role and it seems hez the best at it in town, by the time he was done we were warm all over, had jumped up and down a bit and ready for the next act. PS: BTW add a little more ragga next time for the old timers, as DJ Shiru 🙂

Next disappointment, ate Salvadore, and talking, and a Kenyan group!!! Don’t u guys know how to organize a show to keep guys hyped, the jokes were not bad, but we wanted to stay up there. This reminds me of when u are high and then u are forced to wait 1 hr for the next drink, u actually sober up and even start getting a hangover. Anyway after all that some presenter comes and starts talking about NTV and Login, anyway, I was lost coz I did not know wtf she was talking about.

Mr. Flavor comes on stage sings 2-3 songs then talks for 20min, do these guys know how to entertain or what!!! He has one number we know, and it takes 30 min to come… He got off then Sean Kingston came on, did a couple of numbers, not bad, as he was all we were waiting for.

Jumped off stage for a while, seemed he got pissed at guys throwing plastic at him. Anyway he came back, did a few more jigs, some golden oldies and the show was done.

My take:
– Excellent organization kudos to Club for well executed secure and entertaining show
– Local artists you gave ur all, the more competition for slots like this the better our quality will keep going up
– The food – good but tiny helpings, maybe next time, the quantities will be more to assist those who are gonna indulge
– security – tight, well-intentioned, polite, and made u feel safe despite all the AL Shabaab threats
– Music – have heard better
– Stage – okay, like I sayd this is the first in a long time
– DJ Aludah and Mr. Hype – u guys rock
– Mr. Flavor + Sean Kingston – u put up a good show
– Crowd – VIP crowd was well-mannered, I am sure the general crowd had a lot of fun
– Dress code – the chicks were dressed to kill, who said mini skirts were out of vogue, they were everywhere  in all shapes and sizes

Goodbye to Andy Whitfield – Star of Spartacus

Andy, I only got to see your great acting in the first season of Spartacus: Blood and Sand (http://www.facebook.com/SpartacusBloodandSandd) where u brought the character to life. A man driven by love and later the desire for revenge, you brought a raw chemistry and brilliance to a slave, bringing hope and optimisim in an otherwise lost cause.

May your soul rest in eternal peace.

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