I got back to Nairobi yesterday (this time by plane). When I told the cab driver I was from New York, he told me he hated Hillary Clinton because when she visited in August, all mobile service was shut down for the day. “My phone is my office,” he told me. Indeed, physicality is becoming less important here.
After many trials and tribulations, Sharon and I have finally stumbled upon internet. This is where I start blogging.
As far as Kenya’s mobile connectivity has come, growth of web connectivity is sluggish at best. Everyone wants go get online, but the infrastructure hasn’t met demand. After weeks of struggling, we finally found this small cyber cafe that caters to Maseno students, providing intermittent internet access at 60 KSH/0.77 USD per hour! We spent the afternoon there for a grand total of 320 KSH/4.10 USD between the two of us. Obviously there was no monitoring system, and the manager, Natiku, estimated the price. We lost track of time a bit, but I think it seems fair.
Notice how they run their cables through the ceiling and prop the modem (and a monitor and a printer) up on the dividers. Whatever works.
Making Do is an investigation into systems of innovation in Kenya's informal economy. Learn more and read the book online or in print here.
I'm Steve Daniels. I study the transformative impact of technology on individuals and societies. I am the founder of the Better World by Design conference at Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design and Analogue Digital, a publisher of content related to global cultures of technology. Currently, I work at IBM Research, where I study mobile social computing in emerging markets.
I am particularly interested in how people create, adapt, and use technology in resource-constrained environments, which I have written about in Making Do: Innovation in Kenya's Informal Economy.
- Emerging Futures Lab
- Future Perfect
- Information Aesthetics
- Maker Faire Africa
- Smarter Planet
- Timbuktu Chronicles
- White African