Author Archives: zia505

Dullu game goes Digital

Dullu Game Team - Tony & Alex

Dullu Game Team - Tony & Alex

Tony Wamala, Age 25 Alex Tumuhairwe, Age 24

Ben White: For their final project at university they decided to develop a computer game based on the traditional game of Dullu, a local version of marbles. This is a game that has been played for centuries in Africa. The name changes by country, culture and tribe. Similar versions can be found in Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, Congo and elsewhere. Continue reading


YouTube ‘burden’ creates opportunity in Africa

Creating Mobile Based Social Communities

Creating Mobile Based Social Communities

Tom Pickett, director of online sales and operations at YouTube, says the company still hews to its vision of bringing online video to the entire globe. In the last two years, it has pushed to create local versions of its site in countries like India, Brazil and Poland. But Mr. Pickett also says that YouTube has slowed the creation of new international hubs and shifted its focus to making money. He says that does not rule out restricting bandwidth in certain countries as a way to control costs

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The 1% Club has put together a great EVENT and post event CELEBRATION for people interested in taking international cooperation to the next level. Please find more details on the event, pass it on to your friends and sign up!!! Continue reading

New Vision’s Vision Revealed

Ali Balunywa in Kampala, Uganda

For the first time since travelled to Uganda for my research, I woke up with a purpose. I was invited to attend the editorial meeting at the New Vision Newspaper to meet all journalists. Editorial meetings take place every day at 8.30am. The meetings are meant to map out activities for the day, deploy journalists and to do a postmortem of the previous day’s newspaper. Continue reading

What is it like to be a programmer in Kampala? (Part 3)

Career Event at the Makerere University

Career Event at the Makerere University

What are the challenges of being a programmer in Kampala?

Resources. The software isn’t in great condition and they are always forced to use platforms that are JUST acceptable. Programmers here get tired of using simplified versions that don’t give them full access to the software’s potential. A lot of times, and because they don’t have the money, they are forced to use unauthorized versions. This makes it harder for them to publish code when they know it wont be accepted. There is also a fear of being tracked down for using unlicensed software. This limits the programmer’s ability to push the potential. Continue reading

What is it like to be a programmer in Kampala? (Part 2)

Young Programmer

Young Programmer

Why study ICTs?

Some of the programmers wanted to join another program, like engineering or law, but didn’t qualify for the government scholarship program. It seems easier to secure money needed to study ICT. Many of the programmers explained that they are intrigued by electronics. Continue reading

Media Students Embrace digital culture

On Wednesday 8 April, I escorted Ben to Makerere University Faculty of ICT. During our discussions with the deputy dean, we were introduced to the communications manager. After explaining our fields of study, I was requested to make a presentation to the final year class of mass communications on the subject of the new Media. I could not let such an opportunity go by, so I immediately accepted. Continue reading

What is it like being a programmer in Kampala? (Part 1)


The past few days I have spent considerable time with young programmers here in Kampala, Uganda. I wanted to know what it was like to be designing tools and applications for the Ugandan market.

Most of the students I spoke to did not really use mobile phones or the Internet until they got to University. Only then did they get access to these technologies. At the same time, many of them had already made the decision to study computer programming and ICTs. Continue reading

Boda Boda: popular transport in Kampala, Uganda

Growing efforts to incubate software projects in Kampala

Young Programmers in Kampala

Young programmers inspire in Kampala

I have spent several days at the Department of Software Development and Innovations (DSDI) at the Makerere Faculty of Computing and ICT. The DSDI is a recent establishment of FCIT’s engagement in applied Software Research and the application of ICT in Education in Uganda. DISD focuses on the growth of software conception, design and development capacity at the Faculty of Computing and Information Technology. This is out of the belief that ICT plays an important role in development, and that local capacity to build and exploit ICT innovations is critical. Continue reading

New Media at the New Vision

Ali Balunywa in Kampala, Uganda

After finalizing the formalities with the administration, the human resource manager of the New Vision handed me over to the Mr. Ben Opolot, the Chief sub-editor. She made for me an appointment to meet him (Ben) on Monday 20 April 2009 at the New Vision head office.

I was there at the agreed time of 10.00am. I explained to Ben how I wanted to do my research. Since all permissions had been granted, he thought all we needed was to let the editor in chief know and off I start. Continue reading

Visit Software Factory Uganda

Software Factory Uganda

Software Factory Uganda

Today I had the pleasure to meet Raymond Rugunda, the Director of Software Factory. Based here in Kampala, his company provides software development services to private and public companies based in Europe and North America. Started in 2007, the company now has 26 employees and includes graduates from the Makerere, Nkozi and Mukono University. 70% of his employees graduated with honors and needless to say he has some great talent amongst his ranks. Continue reading

New Media meets old Media

Ali Balunywa

I started working on my research proposal last year. By the beginning of this year, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. And that is to research on the impact of ICT use on the print media journalist. I started establishing contact with the New Vision, the largest print media organization in Uganda. Continue reading

The 45-hour flight to Africa!

Ali Balunywa in Kampala, Uganda

Ben and I booked the same flight to Uganda. We booked Egypt Air. The flight was supposed to take off at 3.30pm from Schiphol airport (Amsterdam) on Saturday 4 April 2009. We were to transit through Cairo in Egypt lasting one hour and proceed to Entebbe in Uganda.

We boarded the plane in time and sat for almost an hour. The pilot had realized that the altimeter was not working and it needed repair. We were asked to disembark and given vouchers for a meal at any restaurant at the airport.

We waited for almost 5 hours before the fault was repaired. We again went through the airport security to board the plane. Like the first time, I was searched thoroughly and asked by the customs officers how much money I had! Ben was angry and wondered whether it wasn’t discrimination since no white person had been asked a similar question!

We arrived in Cairo at around 3.00 am. Egypt air organized the Sheraton hotel for us. We were allocated rooms and informed that we would fly the next day in evening via Nairobi in Kenya for Entebbe.

We had a good morning’s sleep and next day after breakfast decided to visit the pyramids at Giza. We hired a taxi and off we went. Foreign currency is not accepted, so we had to look for a machine to draw local Egyptian pounds. At the entrance to the pyramids there is a local bank whose ATM was not functional. Electricity had gone off and the teller could not change our money. Nobody had any idea when power would return!

Later we identified a man who changed our Euros. He certainly cheated us, but we had no choice. We were 4 people having met a German lady and her daughter who too were travelling to Uganda. We paid the equivalent of 12 euro each to enter the pyramid area. We took some photos and bought some trinkets. We were mesmerized by the sheer size of the pyramids and the history it stores. The Sphinx stands proud in front of the biggest pyramid. One might assume it is the custodian of history.

Later we visited the famous 5 star Oberoi hotel in Cairo for refreshments. Back at the hotel we had dinner and returned to the airport. To Ben’s dismay, I was again thoroughly checked at the check in counter, yet he and the Germans made their way through without being checked.

After an uneventful flight, we arrived in Nairobi at 4.00 am. Our Entebbe flight was departing at 8.40 am, so we had several hours of waiting. We collected our boarding passes and went to the departure gate. The expected was done; another thorough check on me was conducted again to Ben’s disgust. He actually commented that this was the worst discrimination case he ever encountered!

Our sense of humor was restored when we were offered seats in the first class section of the plane! A welcome drink; Champaign, water, juice or soda was offered. The region’s newspapers and international magazines were offered to us. A wide variety breakfast was offered. This time real steel cutlery and china crockery are used. We were pampered and spoilt by the hostesses who were at hand to satisfy all our needs. Unfortunately we did not enjoy for long as the flight took only 50 minutes.

At Entebbe airport we paid for our visas with so much ceremony. Ben had US dollars that were rejected because they were manufactured before 1990! His pleas that he was American and that dollars were genuine fell on deaf ears. He instead used Euros to pay and we proceeded to collect our baggage.

Not to disappoint at the exit, I was again singled out and my luggage searched again by the customs. But finally, we had arrived in Uganda at 10.00 am on a Monday morning having left Amsterdam on a Saturday afternoon!

Burglars break into Makerere ICT faculty

Makerere University Computing and ICT Faculty

Makerere University Computing and ICT Faculty

Today we had some unfortunate news. The reality is that technology has greater value when in short supply. I can tell you how hard the Makerere team has worked to put good infrastructure into place. The drawback is that they are now sitting on the best equipment in the country. Security remains an issue and is something that has also been mentioned by individuals in the private sector. Great hardware and solid internet connections remain a sought out resource.

Tuesday, 14th April, 2009
By Steven Candia and Fortunate Ahimbisibwe, New Vision

UNIDENTIFIED thugs have broken into the Faculty of Computing and Information Technology at Makerere University and vandalised over 230 computers, before making off with memory chips and processors.

A total of 101 memory chips and 140 processors were on Easter Sunday stolen from the laboratory on the fourth and fifth floors of the building, the Police said yesterday.

Police spokesperson Judith Nabakooba yesterday said the faculty had incurred a loss of about sh96.4m. She added that they were holding seven suspects in connection with the incident.

Nabakooba identified the suspects as James Omachan, B Mwesigye, John Bosco Tumusime and Amos Kagaba, all laboratory technicians. Others are Mathias Ruhuma, a custodian, Charles Komakech, a university guard and Bashir Turyahebwa, a private security guard attached to Ultimate Security.

The suspects, Nabakooba said, were being held at the Wandegeya Police Station on charges of office break-in. The vandalised laboratory is the biggest information communication technology (ICT) facility at the university.

The faculty dean, Prof. Venansius Baryamureeba, yesterday said the matter was being jointly investigated by the Police and the university security department. “It seems the thieves had ready market for the software,” he said. The stolen property was worth about sh20m, Baryamureeba said.

He explained that they were still assessing the extent of the damage, adding that the staff members implicated in the theft would be forwarded to the university disciplinary committee.