10 Ways For Bloggers To Stand Out From The Crowd

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This post was guest blogged by Eric Hamm of Motivate Thyself and Sean Platt of Writer Dad. They are co-authors of Blogopolis Blueprint.
Over time you’ll hear us use the term herd when referencing the majority of bloggers on the Net. It may sound condescending, but it’s not. It’s a fact that should be addressed and understood. It’s pervasive no doubt; most bloggers do things just like every other blogger out there without evaluating the reason behind their method. As with any new fad, ideas go viral until we soon see every blogger and his buddy boarding the band wagon.

A new must have theme comes out and soon every new blog is suddenly posting content beneath the shadow of a single design. A new product goes viral, and it’s soon a permanent fixture on the sidebar of the blogging community. The quarterback bloggers have a certain number of comments everyday; an instant metric for everyone else to measure their own comments by. Time and again we see it.

Time and again, we’ve fallen into the same habits ourselves. This is NO WAY to become a successful blogger. Do it and you will only carry the hollow sound of a tired echo.

Use What Works To Blaze A Trail Uniquely Your Own. 
 
There isn’t any doubt that there are some common tactics every blogger should use. If you’re new to Blogopolis, it’s essential you learn the basics before you can be an effective member of the community. Once established, you are free to blog to the beat of your own drum. Stand out, be unique, and search for opportunities not yet dim from too much exposure. There are too many bloggers fighting for the same spot. You can’t afford to waste time in futile competition.
Here are 10 ways that will help you learn to think for yourself and truly stand apart from the masses.

1: Treat Your Blog As Your Personal Online Fingerprint

Don’t worry about other blogs, worry about yourself. Every minute spent fretting over what someone else is doing is sixty seconds your not spending making your blog better. Your blog is your fingerprint, inked with your style and ideas. Certainly, we want a well designed blog, but be sure your blog isn’t a faded copy.



2: Look for Results, Not Answers

This point is extremely important if you plan to break free from the herd. People love to pontificate about their success, but it’s only their results that matter. If someone tells me I can get to A by doing B and C, but they only saw A by going straight to D and F, it’s hard to take them seriously. Keep your eyes peeled for the road to results, not unproven theory.

3: Blog for Respect, Not Popularity

Popularity often follows respect. Popularity is by no means a bad thing, but popularity alone won’t cover the mortgage. It is only from the respect of your fellow bloggers that you can build a scaffolding for success.

4: Let Your Personality Show

Which bloggers do you remember on any given day? The ones who let their personalities show, or the ones who just blended into the background of your day? Many bloggers, or people in general, tend to say what they believe others want to here rather than reveal the individuality of their own thought. This is boring. No one remembers these bloggers and they will never stand out. It’s that simple. (Of course we should always show respect for others, but putting forth an honest perspective can take you places in life as well as Blogopolis.)

5: Bring Forth Original Ideas

Take a post, any post, and do a Google search with the title. Read the content. More than likely, you will see the same ideas bandied about, time and time again. We’re tired of reading the same repetition. People want fresh perspectives with original thought. Be that person and you WILL stand out.

6: Address the A-listers In A Way Not Common To A Member of The Herd

The top bloggers are always being contacted by those at the base of the totem pole. Most of these are card carrying members of the herd, behaving like obsessed fans as they pine for the attention of their pro blogger of choice. Naturally, this does nothing but turn off the A-blogger in question. Never be afraid to seek connection with an A-lister. Just be sure that when you do, you show a humble confidence; respect for the blogger that leaves plenty of room for respect for yourself.

7: Ensure Your Content Is ALWAYS Top Notch

This would seem like a no brainier, but with millions of posts spread around Blogopolis like graffiti on Time Square, we are bombarded by an abundance of content that falls well short of solid. Post out quality content. Period.

8: Add Comments, Not Clutter

Here we go with the graffiti again. Commenting on another blog is a kind of extension of your content. If you can leave only useful, pertinent ideas, you will be ahead of 95% of the rest. If you have nothing to say, say nothing.

 9: Look The Part

There’s no getting around it - appearance (especially the first impression) is crucial. Everything from your avatar to your entire blog design. Appear professional and you will be treated as a professional. Even if your blog is lite and humorous, you can still create an image of yourself and your blog that shows you are serious.

10: Read THIS Blog

There are certainly many blogs out there that talk about blogging. I can’t speak for them, but I CAN say that this particular blog, if you read it on a regular basis, will make you stand out from the heard and find your voice. Ahsante Yohanna














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Charge Your Laptop With A Foot Pedal

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There are two reasons why foot pedal based sewing machines are still so popular in India - first, they are relatively cheap and second, these machine are manual and can therefore work even without electricity current. Easy Energy has applied the same logic to laptop chargers and created a foot pedal that produces enough power to charge a notebook computer or other electronic devices including cell phones and iPods.

The advantage - you no longer have to hunt for free power points at the airport and this book-sized charger will work even in jungles and other remote areas where there’s no electricity.


You can charge the laptop battery and simultaneously work on the computer as well. Best of all, this device may also help you burn some extra calories while you charge the computer. The only problem is this is currently available only for distributors but should be available soon. [via] Thanks Amit
Also see: Improve Laptop Battery Life














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TECH HABITS TO IMPROVE YOUR LIFE:13-Never Forget a Password Again

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Your Web browser can save your user name and password for sites you log in to often, but you still have lots of other passwords to remember--Wi-Fi network names and passwords, computer log-ins, PINs and passphrases, even security questions and answers. Instead of writing everything down on a sticky note tacked onto your computer monitor, lock up your store of sensitive passwords in a secure, encrypted password database.



The free KeePass works in Windows, Mac, and Linux, and assigns one master password to your database. Park your passwords, PINs, and software serial numbers in your personal secure database, and save yourself the hassle of having to call the IT department the umpteenth time to reset your password.PcWorld.
More: 15 Great, Free Privacy Downloads 













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Death Toll Rises to 26 in Kenyan Supermarket Inferno.

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A man who was injured from a fire in a Nairobi supermarket has been confirmed dead, thus bringing the death toll to 26.     A fire broke out on Wednesday in a Nairobi supermarket in downtown during which the man jumped from the first floor of the burning building to escape the fire. As a result, the man got seriously injured. He died on Thursday.
    So far, At least 25 bodies have been retrieved from Nakumatt supermarket fire.
    Throughout Friday, forensic police and firemen fought their way carefully through the gutted debris, placing small red flags on what they thought were human remains.
    Deputy government pathologist Dr. Jane Wasike led the experts in locating and picking up the remains as a mortuary attendant put them together. The bodies were later wrapped in white and black body bags and taken to the mortuary for preservation.
    Kenyan police spokesman Eric Kiraithe said the bodies would be preserved for further DNA analysis to identify them.
    "They are badly mutilated and it will take a technical analysis to identify them, which could take long," said Kiraithe.
    Kiraithe said police are also probing reports that exit doors of the supermarket in the Kenyan capital were closed to prevent looters from entering when the fire broke out.
    "Investigations have begun to establish what happened during the incident. If anyone restricted those who were inside from escaping it is criminal," Kiraithe said at the scene late on Friday.
    "We can now confirm that people were trapped and died inside the supermarket."
    Two bulldozers were digging the debris. Other rescuers were worked manually on the upper floor trying to locate the remains.


    Kiraithe said a desk had been opened up at the Central Police Station to take statements from survivors and relatives of the incident.
    The rescue work was suspended on Friday evening and resumed on Saturday morning.
    Nakumatt, the supermarket located in the center of Nairobi, was completely destroyed by the fire.
    Nakumatt managers have denied that the doors of the market were locked at the time of the blaze. A company statement said the store "was fully fire safety and had been installed with advanced fire/smoke detectors."
    Witnesses said the high number of casualties may have been caused by exploding gas canisters inside the shop.
    Most of the victims were found huddled in one corner on the first floor of the supermarket near the only staircase but more bodies were expected to be recovered on the ground floor towards the back of the building where screams of those trapped were heard as the inferno spread on Wednesday afternoon.
    Kenyan Red Cross said at least 47 people were reported missing since the fire broke out.
    Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki visited the scene late on Friday.
    "We will do what we can to assist all those who are hurt by this tragedy. We should come out and help each other," Kibaki said.
    Flames engulfed the large supermarket building during mid-afternoon on Wednesday, when it was packed with shoppers and the streets nearby were bustling with people.
    Firefighters fought the blaze for hours, as smoke billowed across central Nairobi but could not save the building.Thanks Han Jingjing














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SEO Training Made Simple

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image thanks to sharkspace

When demand for SEO training is as high as it is today, you can be sure that there will always be those looking to cash in by using their limited knowledge of the subject. The best way to do this is to greatly complicate the subject and make it look like a very difficult nut to crack. The more complex and difficult the whole thing appears to be, the easier it is to charge excessive fees to train people in it.

I will probably surprise you by stating that Search engine optimization (SEO) and SEO training is very simple because it is about the very basics of running any successful business. It is really that simple.




Let me give you a simple illustration.

If your trade was manufacturing chairs and you came into town to launch your business and found that there were 100 other companies doing exactly the same thing, what would you do? Would you say that it is too hard and complex to make chairs profitably in that town? (People say that it is impossible to feature in the top 10 search results of popular keywords that have to do with any trade and that no amount of SEO training can get you there).

Or would you instead look for your niche based on what you can do best and based also on the current demand in the market? You can for instance narrow yourself down to making chairs for the office and then go further and make office chairs only for big overweight people. Is there a way that you can make chairs that are not only bigger but would also be much more comfortable for a really big overweight person? That is precisely how businesses succeed in the real world and that is exactly how shrewd web site owners profit from lots of targeted traffic won from keyword hits from leading search engines like Google.


After years of using his SEO skills to successfully promote businesses all over the world, the writer is now an SEO consultant and trainer. Visit his SEO training site for more free articles.

By the way we have finally formed a group, changamkamkenya ,where I cordially invite all of you to visit ,and speak your minds. You can also follow this site on twitter and facebook.

Thanks Chris













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If Its The Case That They Say They Dont Have Bread, Dont Tell Them To Eat Cake ,Raila?

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Image Of The Concept of Upstairs in Kibera.Photo courtesy of affordable housing

Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s recent trip to Gujarat included a lesson in construction that might come in handy in the ongoing slum upgrading project.

And being the MP of one of Africa’s largest slums, the PM set aside a special day to share his experiences from Asia with his constituents in Kibera.

He told Katwekera slum dwellers that he wanted the Government to borrow a leaf from Gujarat where multiple-storey building are constructed with the top storeys leased out to the rich while slum residents inhabit the lower ones.


But Kibera residents, who have set their eyes on owning their buildings from top to bottom, did not appear too impressed with this plan of inviting wealthy outsiders to live above them, literally.

They started murmuring among themselves, making it difficult for the premier to expound on his idea. Raila soon discovered his explanation had proved too difficult to grasp. He then challenged them to take a trip to India to learn more about what he was saying.

"I think you have not understood what I am talking about. You need to travel to Gujarat to see what a good idea this is," Raila advised.Thanks Issac
















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Carefull Men Lest You Are Beaten, For Want of Paying A Bill.

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Image courtesy of domestic abuse

Even in these hard times, men must always be just that, men. If you take a woman out for a treat, never demand money from her.
City residents were treated to a morning battle of the sexes yesterday when a man, who was alleged to be a Nigerian, was beaten by two twilight girls after an all night drinking spree went sour.
The trio had been drinking the night away at a popular nightclub on Kenyatta Avenue. According to the club’s management, a dispute arose at dawn after the man demanded money from one of the girls.


The argument escalated into blows and when the club’s bouncer’s intervened, the three opted to settle their differences outside the premises.
The man was soon overwhelmed and fell in a pool of stagnant water where he tried to ward off kicks to his body.
"Wacha tumfunze kuishi kikenya, anafikiria hapa ni Nigeria," (let’s teach him the Kenyan way of life—this is not Nigeria) one woman screamed at those who tried to intervene.
The battered man was eventually rescued by a friend amid yells from the women.Thanks Rajab












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TECH HABITS TO IMPROVE YOUR LIFE:12-Never Forget a Birthday, Teeth Cleaning, or Oil Change Again

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When you're tired of scrambling to send Mom flowers at the last minute every year, set up a scheduled e-mail reminder for her birthday--and for any other long-term recurring tasks. Google Calendar can send upcoming-event alerts via SMS ("Pick up the dry cleaning at 3 p.m. today") or e-mail ("Schedule a hair appointment; it's been six weeks!").


Most Web-based calendars (like Google Calendar) and task managers (like Remember the Milk), as well as Web sites such as HassleMe and Sandy, support e-mail alerts.














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Four Feared Dead, Six Injured as Nakumatt Downtown Supermarket Burns.

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Firefighters get down to work at the Nakumatt Downtown Supermarket on Wednesday

More than four people were feared dead, while six others were injured when a supermarket in Nairobi’s city centre caught fire.


The early afternoon fire broke out at Nakumatt Downtown on Kimathi Street, causing customers to rush out through the nearest entrance. There were fears that some workers and customers may have been trapped in the building. The early inferno, which workers claimed was triggered by an electric fault, could not at first be contained by the combined efforts from the City Council, Kenya Army, Kenya Airports Authority and private company G4S firefighters.

The inferno engulfed the entire building. Explosions from gas cylinders rent the air from 2.45pm and kept exploding, re-igniting blazes that had been quelled.

Wailing sirens punctuated the city’s peace and calm into the early evening as a police chopper kept aerial surveillance to ensure the fire did not spread to other buildings.

The fire had not been contained by the time we went to press.

Internal Security minister George Saitoti, who arrived at the scene immediately, said fire engines ran out of water and reinforcements had to be called.

Nairobi Metropolitan Development Minister Mutula Kilonzo and Police Commissioner Hussein Ali also went to the scene.

Outside the burning building, a man who said he works for the supermarket claimed some people had been trapped inside.
"I have left a colleague (name withheld)," he said hysterically. "A worker has fainted up there after inhaling the smoke. Please go and get him."


Missing Husband

But before they could explain where the said victims were, an explosion was heard inside, forcing the rescuers and firefighters to abandon their work.

At around 8.30pm, a woman was crying at the scene, saying her husband, with whom she had gone into the supermarket, was still missing.


She said he was in a different aisle and when the fire broke out, she dashed out. Efforts to reach her husband on his mobile phone were fruitless as it was off.

A policeman clears the crowd from the scene. [PHOTO: COLLINS KWEYU/STANDARD]
The supermarket’s Operations Director Thiagarajan Ramamurthy sent a statement to newsrooms saying all the staff and customers who were in the shop had been evacuated.


Later, the supermarket management said four workers were missing after a headcount at Jeevanjee Gardens where they met after the incident.

Spokesman Antony Ng’ang’a said there were 103 workers who were supposed to be on duty, but a headcount found only 99. "We are still trying to locate the whereabouts of the four," he told The Standard on the phone.

Treated For Shock

Kenya National Hospital Clinical Services deputy director Charles Kabetu confirmed that one Nakumatt employee and six by-standers had been taken there where they was being treated for shock, smoke inhalation and fractures.
There were no independent confirmations whether any customers were trapped inside although one witness said she had seen a woman with a child near where there was an initial explosion that caused the fire.

Police Commissioner Ali said they could not determine the number of the casualties until a headcount was concluded.

Prof Saitoti, too, said it was too early to know if there were any casualties. Witnesses said the inferno started from the supermarket when a mild explosion was heard.

"There had been a blackout and when power resumed, we heard an explosion from the staircase. Then there was smoke," said a worker.

But Ali said he had not yet established what caused the fire and asked for time to investigate.
However, some officers said a violation of by-laws on public safety and unpreparedness by the Nairobi Fire Brigade may be to blame.

Nairobi City Council Emergency Medical Technician Charles Choi said his team could not access the premises as a wall had sealed the fire exit.

The chairman of the Architectural Association of Kenya and Building Inspection Committee, under the Ministry of Works, Mr Wachira Njuguna, said he did not see any fire door when he visited the supermarket.
Njuguna further said it was against city by-laws to store gas cylinders in an enclosed space. But City Council Director of Planning Peter Kibinda said there were exemptions to the rule if one had a fire certificate of compliance and fire extinguishers.

Nakumatt could not be reached for comment on the wall by the time we went to Press.
City Council Acting Chief Fire Officer Brian Chunguli blamed the public for blocking his team. "We got the running call informing us of the fire at 3.05pm and in five minutes, we were at the scene," he said.
"The supermarket stores goods like gas cylinders, mattresses and materials of plastic nature that naturally fuel the fire," he added.
By Standard Team







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Its Called ,Caddillac One,"The Beast,"Barrack Mobile ,Specs For A Presidential Ride.

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For all you people out there who were busy wondering which car is fit for a President and leader of the Freeworld, I have decided to give you a peek by reviewing what Barrack Obama will be driven on for the next 8 years.

The limousine that the 44th President used today is fondly referred to as the Barack Mobile/"The Beast",or "Cadillac One"from the names of Presidential Aircraft the name is derived from the Cars the Pope uses that are known as the Pope Mobile(s).Well in this case this particular limousine is a Presidential Series 2009 Cadillac Presidential Limousine.

Most of its technical specs are classified obviously for security reasons but one of its outstanding features is that it can withstand a Air to surface cruise missile attack and the bullet proof glas is over five feet thick it is touted as being thus by a senior Obama aide," “This car’s security and coded communications systems make it the most technologically advanced protection vehicle in the world.” said Nicholas Trotta, Assistant Director for the Office of Protective Operations.The vehicle is built by GM, But it must undergo some custom rebuilding for security reasons.


Here is some additional news from wikinews.Mr David Caldwell of General Motors has revealed that the sleek black car would include a hand-crafted interior and "state of the art electronics." The car's high-tech security features include five-inch-thick (12.7-centimeter-thick) bombproof glass, tough-as-nails tires, and a sealed interior that's invulnerable to chemical attack.


The armoured limousine has been heavily modified to withstand potential attacks by weapons or bombs. The San Francisco Chronicle puts it in a proper perspective noting, “a half-inch of transparent armor is enough to stop a .44 Magnum round at point-blank range; at a thickness of 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches, the same material can withstand higher-velocity bullets fired from military assault rifles.”

According to spy photographer, Brenda Priddy, and General Motors, the limousine, which has the intricate, dual-textured grille, is also equipped with standard Goodyear Regional RHS truck tires in a 285/70R19.5 size, on 19.5-inch wheels. The rims have a run-flat device (manufactured by Hutchinson Industries). Xenon headlights from the Escalade are installed in the front, while the rear has some STS part. The doors are at least 20 centimeters (8 inches) thick. It carries the US flag on the front fenders and an embroidered Seal of the President of the United States is affixed to several panels in the back.

I hope that Saps your curiosity. I originally posted this story one week ago here.





Internet Penetration in Kenya Lags Behind Other ICT Services a

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I have decided to post this article here to show you how we fare compared to the rest of the world with respect to Internet Penetration and Usage. I have collected and collated this data from various authoritative sources including our very own Communications Commission of Kenya, CCK.

As of March 2008 the Internet Usage Rate as a percentage of the entire population was 7.9% whereas the African content as a whole has a penetration rate of 5.3%,which translates to 51 million users,1 million of whom use broadband services. North Africa countries take the lions Share averaging 10% per country.See Table Below for Kenyan Statistics.


Internet Usage Statistics:
3,000,000 Internet users as of March/2008, 7.9% of the population, according to ITU

Latest Population Estimate:
37,953,838 population for 2008, according to US Census Bureau.

Gross National Income:
GNI per capita is US$ 530 ('06) and purchasing power parity (ppp) is US$ 1,445.

Country Area:
580,367 sq km

Internet Usage and Population Growth:

YEAR

Users

Population

% Pen.

Usage Source

2000

200,000

30,339,770

0.7 %

ITU

2008

3,000,000

37,953,838

7.9 %

ITU



The Global Penetration rate is 21.9% , with North America taking the lions share at 73%,followed byOceania/Australia at 59.5%, and Europe at 48.1%. See Table Two Below For All Regions.



WORLD INTERNET USAGE AND POPULATION STATISTICS

World Regions

Population
( 2008 Est.)

Internet Users
Dec/31, 2000

Internet Usage,
Latest Data

% Population
( Penetration )

Usage
% of World

Africa

955,206,348

4,514,400

51,065,630

5.3 %

3.5 %

Asia

3,776,181,949

114,304,000

578,538,257

15.3 %

39.5 %

Europe

800,401,065

105,096,093

384,633,765

48.1 %

26.3 %

Middle East

197,090,443

3,284,800

41,939,200

21.3 %

2.9 %

North America

337,167,248

108,096,800

248,241,969

73.6 %

17.0 %

Latin America/Caribbean

576,091,673

18,068,919

139,009,209

24.1 %

9.5 %

Oceania / Australia

33,981,562

7,620,480

20,204,331

59.5 %

1.4 %

WORLD TOTAL

6,676,120,288

360,985,492

1,463,632,361

21.9 %

100.0 %

Sources Internetworldstats and ITU.


Yet even with this shockingly low statistic this area shows potential of rivaling the telephony market,when the broadband line from Sharjah reaches our shores later in the year, when the cost of internet access is projected to go down significantly to by much as 70%. We cant wait for that to happen. Below is what the CCK Director-General Mr. Charles J.K. Njoroge had to say about the issue in a press conference on the 11th of October 2008.

Internet penetration in Kenya lags behind other ICT services

Internet penetration in the country lags behind the take up of other services in the ICT market, the CCK Director-General has said.

Mr. Charles J.K. Njoroge today said the number of regular Internet users in Kenya remains below three million compared to 15 million mobile subscribers.

He attributed the sub-sector’s poor performance to high bandwidth costs, lack of relevant content and limited ICT infrastructure in the rural areas.

The Director-General said the completion of the ongoing national and international marine cable projects would make the Internet more affordable to a larger proportion of Kenyans.
The enactment of the Kenya Communications Amendment Bill 2008 is expected to provide an enabling framework for CCK to make the requisite universal access interventions, particularly in un-served and underserved areas.


He made the remarks in a speech read on his behalf by Mr. Stanley K. Kibe, CCK’s Director in charge of Frequency Spectrum Management, during the official opening of the East African Internet Governance Forum (EAIGF) in Nairobi today. The EAIGF which begun today, will come to a close on November 13.

The Forum was aimed at creating a common understanding and position on Internet governance within the East African region ahead of the Global Internet Governance Forum scheduled to take place in India next month.

The Internet is considered one of the technologies that will drive global economy in the 21st Century and one of the most dramatic inventions of our time.

Mr. Njoroge noted that recent studies have showed a positive correlation between internet usage one hand and national exports, GDP growth and Foreign Direct Investment inflows on the other.

“The Internet holds a transformative cultural, economic and political promise for the world and particularly Africa. Africa thus needs to remain active in Internet Governance arena to ensure that the continent’s interests are protected in order to ensure Africa derives maximum benefit from this important and transformative technology,” the Director-General added.

He said CCK has been coordinating Kenya’s participation in Internet Governance forums mainly at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), and would continue to do so to ensure that the country’s national interests were protected.

The CEO of the Kenya ICT Board, Paul Kukubo, the Executive Coordinator of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) secretariat, Markus Kummer, CCK Board Director Alice Munyua and IDRC’s Edith Adera are some of the dignitaries who graced the EAIGF.
Compiled, Written and Edited By Marcel Masaga.






Want To Be Truly Excellent At What You Do? Practice! Practise! And Then Practise Some More.

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Want to be truly excellent at what you do? Practice!

“This idea - that excellence at a complex task requires a critical, minimum level of practice - surfaces again and again in studies of expertise. In fact, researchers have settled on what they believe is a magic number for true expertise: 10,000 hours. “In study after study, of composers, basketball players, fiction writers, ice-skaters, concert pianists, chess players, master criminals,” writes the neurologist Daniel Levitin, “this number comes up again and again. Ten thousand hours is equivalent to three hours a day, or 20 hours a week, of practice over ten years…No one has yet found a case in which true world-class expertise was accomplished in less time.”"

Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers (2008)

Malcolm Gladwell is a renowned columnist and author, and was recently featured in this column as he is now one of the world’s 10 most respected management thinkers. His first two books, ‘The Tipping Point’ and ‘Blink’ were international bestsellers and are required reading for anyone curious about the human world. His new tome, ‘Outliers’, equally does not disappoint.




‘Outliers’ contains much that is worth recounting here, and will feature in Thought Leadership again. This week, I want to highlight just one key aspect. Gladwell recounts a famous experiment conducted in the early 1990s by psychologist K. Anders Ericsson and two colleagues in Berlin’s elite Academy of Music. They divided the group’s violinists into three groups: the ’stars’ who might become world-class soloists; the merely ‘good’; and those unlikely to ever play professionally. The three groups were then asked to calculate how many hours of practice they had put in since first picking up a violin.

Most had started playing from around the age of five. And guess what? The elite performers had all put in 10,000 hours of practice; the average ones had done 8,000; and the bottom tier had totalled just 4,000 hours. The psychologists didn’t find any ‘naturals’ - people who were effortlessly superior, who floated up even though they put in very few hours. So what distinguished the mediocre performer from the outstanding one? Hard work!

This was known by Aristotle all those years ago in ancient Greece, when he stated: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.” What is true of musicians is true of columnists, managers, lawyers, painters and sportsmen. You think Tiger Woods is a genius? Take a look at the hours of practice he puts in. You think David Beckham was the word’s best free-kick taker in his hey-day? Trying practicing kicks as much as he did, and perhaps you, too, will bend it like Beckham.

Anyone aspiring to true excellence in any field has no choice: you have to put in the hours. Not just hours of repeating the same task or routine, mind: hours of trying out new things, pushing boundaries, performing difficult and complex procedures, and polishing and refining skills. Whether you are a Tiger Woods or a Bill Gates; a Mozart or a Cezanne; a Steve Jobs or a Barack Obama: you put in the hours to raise your game.

This should give great hope to anyone who wants to make it big. The talent you are supposedly ‘born’ with matters a great deal less than the hours of practice you are willing to put in. True expertise comes from trying things out, from failing and learning from your mistakes, from falling flat and then picking yourself up, from doing something repeatedly until you finally GET IT RIGHT.

So, if you want to excel, take your eyes off the red herrings. We are all too keen to blame our upbringing, our lack of opportunities, the dearth of funding, or the role of networks in preventing our rise. The truth is, if you’re willing to put in the hours of intelligent and determined practice, you can make it.Thanks Sunny







Download ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ Audiobook for Free

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If you like download a free copy of "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" for listening on your iPod or any other MP3 player, go to audible.com and click the download button. To avail this offer, make sure that you select "USA" as the country when creating a free audible account on the next page.


The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People has sold more than 15 million copies worldwide while the audio version (that you just downloaded) was the first non-fiction audiobook in U.S. publishing history to sell more than one million copies according to Wikipedia.

You can also burn these audiobooks onto a CD and listen in your car while driving. Thanks Andy.


TECH HABITS TO IMPROVE YOUR LIFE:11-Consolidate Multiple E-Mail Addresses With Gmail

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You have more e-mail addresses than you do pairs of socks--so it makes sense to keep them all in one drawer. If you have mail coming to your ISP's account, your work address, your school address, and your throwaway Yahoo account from 1998, and you're having difficulty juggling everything, it's time to consolidate all those messages into one inbox. Google's free Web-based Gmail service is both an e-mail host and an e-mail client.


Use Gmail's built-in Mail Fetcher to retrieve messages from up to five external e-mail accounts using the POP3 standard. In Gmail's Settings area, visit the Accounts tab to set up your external e-mail addresses, and you'll then receive all your mail in one roomy inbox. You can even send mail from your non-Gmail addresses via Gmail's Compose screen, too.Thanks PcWorld

More: Get Organized in Gmail




Barack Obama Retakes Oath Of Office

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President Barack Obama has retaken the oath of office after his swearing-in ceremony Tuesday didn't go as smoothly as planned. Chief Justice John Roberts administered the oath to the president in front of reporters. On Tuesday, Roberts flubbed his lines while leading Obama in the 35-word oath.


Obama takes presidential oath again after stumble

from The Associated Press
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Barack Obama, left, joined by his wife Michelle, takes the oath of office from Chief Justice John Roberts to become the 44th president of the United States at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. Associated Press © 2009
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In this Jan. 20, 2009 file photo, Barack Obama, left, takes the oath of office from Chief Justice John Roberts to become the 44th president of the United States at the U.S. Capitol in Washington. Roberts re-administered the oath to Obama Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2009 at the White House because the the words spoken by Obama at the Capitol were out of sequence.Associated Press © 2009
After the flub heard around the world, President Barack Obama has taken the oath of office. Again. Chief Justice John Roberts delivered the oath to Obama on Wednesday night at the White House — a rare do-over. The surprise moment came in response to Tuesday's much-noticed stumble, when Roberts got the words of the oath a little off, which prompted Obama to do so, too.
Don't worry, the White House says: Obama has still been president since noon on Inauguration Day.
Nevertheless, Obama and Roberts went through the drill again out of what White House counsel Greg Craig called "an abundance of caution."
This time, the scene was the White House Map Room in front of a small group of reporters, not the Capitol platform before the whole watching world.
"We decided that because it was so much fun ...," Obama joked to reporters who followed press secretary Robert Gibbs into the room. No TV camera crews or news photographers were allowed in. A few of Obama's closest aides were there, along with a White House photographer.
Roberts put on his black robe.
"Are you ready to take the oath?" he said.
"Yes, I am," Obama said. "And we're going to do it very slowly."




Roberts then led Obama through the oath without any missteps.
The president said he did not have his Bible with him, but that the oath was binding anyway.
The original, bungled version on Tuesday caught observers by surprise and then got replayed on cable news shows.
It happened when Obama interrupted Roberts midway through the opening line, in which the president repeats his name and solemnly swears.
Next in the oath is the phrase " ... that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States." But Roberts rearranged the order of the words, not saying "faithfully" until after "president of the United States."
That appeared to throw Obama off. He stopped abruptly at the word "execute."
Recognizing something was off, Roberts then repeated the phrase, putting "faithfully" in the right place but without repeating "execute."
But Obama then repeated Roberts' original, incorrect version: "... the office of president of the United States faithfully."
Craig, the White House lawyer, said in a statement Wednesday evening: "We believe the oath of office was administered effectively and that the president was sworn in appropriately yesterday. Yet the oath appears in the Constitution itself. And out of the abundance of caution, because there was one word out of sequence, Chief Justice John Roberts will administer the oath a second time."
The Constitution is clear about the exact wording of the oath and as a result, some constitutional experts have said that a do-over probably wasn't necessary but also couldn't hurt. Two other previous presidents have repeated the oath because of similar issues, Calvin Coolidge and Chester A. Arthur.
Courtesy Of npr.org