Archive for the ‘social media’ Category

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.

UMEME Tea Party – Quick and Dirty Review and Perspective

A strange name for an event none of us had any idea about and here we were wondering, about the hushed event for social media and bloggers, online buffs as some may term us, tweeps and other names. So tea party it was to be with a Twitter hashtag #teapartyug (https://twitter.com/#!/search/%23teapartyug).  At the Sheraton hotel, starting at 3:00pm EST (12 noon GMT) on December 8, 2011. How do you dress for such an event I wondered, but to be on the safe side took along my trusted Navy blue jacket and tie in the blistering heat of the December sun, we had even forgotten that it had been raining non stop a couple of days before.

5 past the hour and there I had arrived, fashionably late I should say, and there it was UMEME Ltd (http://www.umeme.co.ug/), the company contracted to distribute electricity in Uganda, and Google. There were screens all over the place, about six in total all hooked up to show the proceedings via Apple Macs (am not a fanboy, but they are considered the next best thing since fried rice). Out I pulled my laptop and turned on the wireless signal, saw many networks and a TeaParty_UG was there so I connected, and it was surprisingly fast. Looking around I saw Roke Telkom staff connecting routers and so I knew who the providers were. Checking me battery I was only at 20% so I started looking around for a plug to get some juice. Being a networking event I well started talking to the other folks as we waited to hear what the big do was.

Simon Kaheru the MC well started things flowing quickly and smoothly laying the ground rules and 4 tweets later and well the presentations started. First was Simon Kisubi, Stakeholder Manager, who gave us an overview of UMEME’s role in the power distribution lifecycle, other players and the challenges they face. I had one tab of my browser on my timeline and the other watching the hashtag to keep track of what was happening, and a lot was at the time. By my third cup of black coffee, no sugar as I was taught to enjoy it, and given that I had not had a cuppa for over 7 weeks, well I was wide awake, the D&A session started.

What was impressive was that the executive management of UMEME was present including the Chief Executive Officer, and they were fielding the questions and providing well articulated and knowlegeable answers which seemed to appease the tweeps, but also got more insteresting as the street conspiracy theories were brought up along the way.

One angle of tweets which made sense was that, if you go to the supermarket to buy milk and eggs and u find them rationed or none at all whom do u blame, the farmer who provided few or no eggs (the electricity generation company), the transporter who carried the few eggs they got (the electricity transmission company) or the owner of the market who sells what he is provided with (UMEME).

The 10 major points and clarifications some new, some old which came out of the briefing are:

1. UMEME only distributes the power that it receives from generation and transmission. It gets estimates on a month-by-month schedule, but rations power on an hour-by-hour schedule to prevent network meltdown.

2. UMEME has no local, Ugandan, share  holders unlike what the conspiracy theories on the streets

3. UMEME has met and exceeded the targets set out in their mangement contract

4. The high small consumer tariffs are subsidized by the Government of Uganda due to the use of thermal power generation, and UMEME does not receive a cent of the subsidy which goes directly to the generation companies.

5. Large consumers receive concessions if they use power at low usage times, between midnight and 5:00am, which is not available to small consumers due to the amount of work needed to monitor usage and the low usage numbers

6. Disconnections are only made based on balances from a previous bill and not  the current period’s usage basically if u do not pay your bill in net 30 you can be cut off. Disconnections are only done Monday to Thursday, and not over the weekends. UMEME operations are being fine tuned to ensure that reconnections are completed with 24 hours of clearing outstanding bills and reconnection fees.

7. Estimation of bills is done based on previous usage and is between 5% – 20% of previous usage. The algorithm is being tweaked to make it more accurate, but the estimates would cancel out when actual readings are taken. The estimation is common in the business and in Europe up to 40% of bills are estimated compared to about 15% in Uganda.

8. Technology solutions are being put in place to enable electronic deliver of bills and balances, and electronic payment of bills to smoothen the user experience.

9. UMEME helpline is available 24 x 7 to support consumers

10. Despite load shedding the bills remain the same, because the usage patterns for the available supply have changed to ensure maximization of usage when the power is available especially ironing, cooking etc.

My argument and take is that UMEME is the face of the power industry (just like the Front Desk Staff are the frontline of any company), and they have to up their game in order to appease the customers that they deal with. One way is to improve communications; they are already doing a good job with thrice daily updates via radio stations, twitter and Facebook from the Incident room through the Load Shedding Project Manager, who is the face in this particular crisis. The idea is to open more channels for providing information and crowd source the collection and distribution of information so that it can reach all concerned. This has been successfully implemented in other areas around the world and communities have been built around data provided for public consumption.

Based on the information that we gleamed from the fast Q&A session, which reminded me of a wild west shoot out, it was clear that UMEME is interested in hearing what the customers have to say and has initiatives in place to try and alleviate the major problems faced by the consumers it serves. As a first meeting I should say that it was productive, the million dollar question being was it beginner’s luck or is this the first of many initiatives to engage the stakeholders, SMEs and small consumers who bear the brunt of power shortages.

An exciting afternoon it was and looking forward more of such engagements in the future.

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