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Showing posts from 2016

The Shape of Electronic Documents

A4 is a very common paper size. Most office documents seem to favour this paper size. Student notebooks take on this size and shape.

A4 Problem?There is no problem with A4. The problem is created when digital documents that are designed for reading online are assigned physical sizes and aspect ratios that were designed for printed documents. The most problematic such format is PDF. 

Why is PDF a Problem?PDF is not the problem. The problem is created by the absence of an option to change the document's aspect ratio at the time of saving it. Most computer monitors use the 16:1 (widescreen) aspect ration. Ideally, PDF readers should allow the user to set the aspect ratio to use when reading the document.   PDF creators should offer a number of common ratios as a minimum or, even better, set no fixed aspect ratio but leave this to the reader.

Fixed is Bad PDF is not a responsive e-document format unlike ePub. Its a fixed layout format. Fixation is a key strength of PDF as an epaper forma…

Windows 10 Search Does Not Work

Windows 10 has some quirks. After some updates, you find changes in the user interface and may eventually find that the search that opens when you press the Windows button or the power user key combination (Windows Button + X then Search). It used to be that you could open the Task Manager (Ctrl + Alt + Del  or Ctrl + Shift + Esc), you could look for Cortana and kill it (Right-click, select "End Task"). But now no more. Cortana seems to have disappeared from the Task Manager.

But a search online reveals that Cortana is not gone, just renamed. You now need to look for "Search" in the Task Manager. Kill this process. In its place a new process called "Search and Cortana Application" will be loaded as shown below.
Perhaps someone need to write a tiny little app to carry out this simple task of killing "Search" and forcing Cortana to relaunch properly. Once you do this, Windows 10 search is now well behaved.

Who Let the Bundles Out

What that loud barking sound? I's your data bundles going north... And your service provider can't help you nail down the culprit. I know who can help. It's Callistics.

This fella will count all the bytes you and your apps are consuming. He counts your text messages and shows you who you've been texting to - is this a good thing? Callistics shows you  who you've bee calling and for how long. Really interesting.

Here's a short clip:
Callistics - your mobile usage accountant for Android from Jason Githeko on Vimeo.

Note: I have no control over what videos Vimeo may be promoting. Stay safe.

Writing Gīkūyū on Android Devices

Unlike PCs that present nightmares for Gīkūyū writers, Android inadvertently solved the keyboard constraints that the typical PC presents. The two letters ī and ū in Gīkūyū require a tilde (~) above the letter. The Android keyboard (am using 5.1) offers a way out if you can tolerate the bar instead of tilde. 
To get ū, press the letter u and hold for a second. You will see the following letters  displayed from which you can chose:  ū ü ù û ú
In a similar way, you can select i and press the key for a second to get ì ï ī î í from which you can chose the desired letter. 
If you want upper case letters, press the shift button first↑. Hence you can get  Ū and Ī.
Cheers as you gleefully enjoy your vernacular.

Above everything, the Messiah is coming soon. Prepare well 

Did Node.js Misbehave in Your Windows?

It appears to. But hold it: Is it node.js at fault or your good self?

Its probably you, dear earthling. yet again, you got mixed up and now, when you type
> node main.js,

it rudely answers:

'node' is not recognized as an internal or external command !

After going all over and getting excruciatingly detailed help on how to set up a PATH statement in Windows (as if you were a students of Computer 101), you are ready to pull out all your (remaining?) hair (its actually easier to cut by the way, and less painful).

However, check this most simple possibility: You clicked the wrong button during your installation.

Watch and learn:

1. Step 1: Download the 32bit or 64bit node.js installer file
2. Launch the installer and you get the following:

3. Problems may occur in the next screens that looks like this:

4. If you click on the little arrow in each button, its important to read the options offered as illustrated below:
  The options are: Will be installed on local hard driveEntire …

Acer Aspire V5-471 Solution to "Operating System Not Found" After Changing From UEFI to BIOS

If you deliberately or accidentally change an Acer Aspire V5-471 (probably other Acers as well) boot setting from UEFI to BIOS, then you may be in for a shock when you try to start the laptop.

You may get the message Operating System Not Found on the top left corner of your screen or something similar.

Ideally you can press F2 during booting and get into booting settings and change them but in my case F2 does not work! Nothing works - neither a bootable DVD, bootable USB drive or whatever else you throw at it to try to get the machine to wake from coma.

You could spend a year searching various forums. You will learn very little. Some will call you dumb for messing up your BIOS settings.

The answer came from a very smart guy from Nakuru, Kenya called Weru (it means Savannah as in Savannah Institute for Business and Informatics). Open the machine's casing. Pull out the motherboard. Remove the BIOS button battery.

In the laptop motherboard above, the battery in the round whitish obj…

Orange Kenya Time-Based Tariff and Other Irrelevant Stuff

Orange Kenya should pay me for publicizing their tariffs. They are so bad at publicity and promotion they should get the price for the worst marketing among telcom companies in Kenya.

Strangely, they collect the emails (or should collect) of those who register SIM cards but have no clue what to do with all that data. TKL - please show a bit of innovation!

So here's the "Time based" tariffs of Telkom Kenya (so-called Orange Kenya):

You can buy a one-week "unlimited" bundle for KSh. 990. The bundle is not really unlimited because there is a Fair Use Policy limit of 10GB. If you exceed that limit before the 7-day period is over, speeds drop to 256kbps.

The 30-day package  (KSh. 2,990) will get you only 20GB in 30 days.

You can load up airtime via PesaPal by going to Lipa na MPESA on your phone's MPESA menu and selecting Paybill then give the business number as 220220. When asked for the account number, give "ORNG&qu…

Maneno Engine - the New App

Once upon a time, a Java app called Meneno Engine was created that now peacefully resides on Sourceforge. Its mission was to translate English words into Kiswahili or vice versa. Then in 2014, an Android app to do the same job was created. Egerton University graciously funded the development of a new word list harvested from high quality Kiswahili language texts. A new version of the Maneno Engine app should be available for download next months (April). Watch this space.

Maneno Engine dummy screens:

Icons? On the way. They are floating down the currents of the heavenlies where they come from.


There are many instances when you want to obtain information about the specifications and capabilities of your processor whether in a PC/laptop or in a phone or tablet. One interesting tool that can help you is CPU-Z.

As an example, in order to use HAXM emulator accelerator, the processor needs to have EM64T (Intel® 64), and Execute Disable (XD) Bit functionality enabled. How can you tell if it has? You can install and run CPU-Z.

The screenshot below is from the PC version of CPU-Z. In the "Instructions" section  you will find EM64T and VT -x are activated hence HAXM is good to go.

The image below is from the Android version of CPU-Z:

Notice it has a menu for device specifications, system, battery and thermal properties.
Best wishes with your hardware hacks.