Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Safaricom Airtime Purchase: How to Reverse an Mpesa Transaction

Have you erroneously bought Safaricom airtime using Mpesa? Don't panic, there is a now a way you have such a transaction reversed in a few short minutes. And, the beauty of it is that you don't have to call the annoying 234 number that takes forever to connect you to a customer service representative.

Safaricom Instructions

  1. Get in touch with the Safaricom customer support team at their Facebook page here or via Twitter @Safaricom_Care. Post a message to the Facebook page or send out a tweet.
  2. Someone from the team will get back to you and reverse the transaction.
  3. Voila! that's it, the day is saved.

Tips & Warnings

  • DO NOT use the airtime purchased by mistake because it won't be possible to reverse the transaction if you have used some airtime.
  • If you need to reverse an Mpesa transaction i.e. where you have sent money to the wrong person, call 234 as fast as possible.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Infographic: How to Destroy Productivity

Everybody can do with increased productivity. Being more productive at work can mean more income, better sales, a better chance for promotion and much more. There are many ways that you can destroy your productivity, sometimes without even realizing it. It turns out that some innocuous everyday activities are actually productivity killers. The infographic below sums it up.

Source: Marketo

Monday, April 28, 2014

How to Swim: Learn how in Three Weeks

Have you always wanted to learn how to swim but it scares the hell out of you? Or maybe you simply have never had the opportunity to learn this important life skill. Well, while you can't learn how to swim entirely from a blog post, this article is an important resource to supplement proper lessons.

The best way to learn how to swim fast is to enlist the services of an instructor. This could be someone you pay for swimming lessons or a friend who is willing to commit the time to teach you.

  "People wish to learn to swim and at the same keep one foot on the ground." — Marcel Proust

Swimming Instructions

Become Comfortable in Water 

The first step to swimming is to learn to become comfortable in water. Fear is the greatest hindrance to learning. But, while you should be wary of any large body of water, you cannot learn how to swim by keeping your feet on the ground. Get in the pool at the shallow end, hold onto the rails and relax. Hold your breathe several times and immerse your head in the water for 30 seconds. Open your eyes while under the water to see how it looks. It is much easier see underwater if you are wearing goggles so you may want to invest in a pair. The idea is to get used to the feel of being in water. Do this for two days.

Learn How to Float 

The next step is to learn how to float. At the shallow end, hold the rail with both hands, take a deep breath, stretch your legs and submerge your head in the water. Relax your entire body. Imagine you have fainted and have no control over your limbs. When you are fully relaxed, you will notice that your torso rises and floats in the water. Next, try floating without your hands on the rail. Also, try floating on your back. Stretch your arms and legs wide like a starfish. Remember, you have to be fully relaxed. You should be able to master floating within three days. See the video below, how to float in water for beginners.

Learn How to Kick

When swimming, it is your legs that provide most of the force to propel you forward. To learn how to kick, hold onto the rail and float as instructed above. There are several types of kicks used when swimming but the flutter kick is the most basic and easiest to learn. Watch the video below, how to kick when swimming. You should be able to master this in three days.

Learn How to Crawl

Before you learn a swimming style, you have to learn how to crawl in water. You can crawl from the front or on your back. To do a front crawl, use the flutter kick and apply a forward motion with your arms. You should find yourself slowly inching forward. Practice this several times. By the end of the second week, you should be able to crawl from the front and on your back.   

Learn How to Swim Freestyle

Once you have mastered crawling, you are ready to learn your first style. There are four main swimming styles, namely; freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke and butterfly. The freestyle is easiest to learn and makes use of the flutter kick. See the expert videos below, how to swim the freestyle.

Mastering the Freestyle Stroke

How to Breathe While Swimming Freestyle

Tips & Warnings

  • Try searching OLX and other classified websites to find a swimming instructor. Most public pools such as YMCA have instructors who charge 200-300 shillings per session.
  • Invest in swimming goggles, a kickboard floater and a swim cap for ladies.
  • Swimming is one of the best ways to lose weight and exercise your whole body.
  • Buy a swimming kit that you feel comfortable wearing.
  • Don't try to learn everything at once.

Suggested Reading

Swimming Pool Contractors in Kenya

Saturday, April 26, 2014

How to Recover Deleted WhatsApp Messages in Android

Have you deleted your WhatsApp chat messages by accident and need them back urgently? Don't panic, there are several methods you can use to recover deleted Whatsapp chats.


Chats Less Than Seven Days Old

Chats less than seven days old are fairly easy to recover. Simple uninstall WhatsApp and reinstall.

  1. On your phone, search for Applications. The location will differ with each version of Android. 
  2. Look for the WhatApp app and tap on it to reveal the Uninstall option. Alternatively, open the Google Play app, go to My Apps, locate WhatsApp and uninstall. 
  3. Once you have removed the application, select it from the Google Play store and reinstall. You will be prompted to restore your message history. 
  4. Tap Restore and follow the prompts to finish. 

The reason this is possible is because WhatsApp creates a back up of your messages at 4 am everyday. This backup is stored on your SD card.

Chats Older Than Seven Days

Restoring chats older than seven days is slightly more complicated.

  1. Before you begin restoring older chats, backup your current chat history by going to WhatsApp > Menu  > Settings > Chat Settings > Backup conversations.
  2. Next, go to your WhatsApp database folder using your file manager (Files) app. The route to the database folder is /sdcard/WhatsApp/Databases. In this folder, you will notice several files . The backup file you have just created will have a name similar to "msgstore.db.crypt7" or "msgstore.db.crypt8". Rename this file so that you don't confuse it with other files during the recovery process. For example, you can rename it to "msgstore.db.crypt8.recent".
  3. Take note of the other database files marked with different dates e.g. "msgstore-YYYY-MM-DD.2.db.crypt5" As you have probably guessed, YYYY-MM-DD is the year, month and date of backup. Decide on the backup file you want restore based on the date and rename it “msgstore.db.crypt”
  4. Uninstall WhatsApp and reinstall. Choose Restore when prompted and your old chat history is restored using the file you have renamed “msgstore.db.crypt” in point 4 above. 

WhatsApp Android Resources

Thursday, April 24, 2014

How To Beat Alcoblow (Kenyan Breathalyzer)

If you are a regular driver on Kenyan roads and you enjoy your tipple, you must have wondered if it is possible to beat or trick the alcoblow gadget and pass the test.

Alcoblow is a breathalyzer device used by Kenyan traffic police to determine blood alcohol concentration (BAC). The gadget has proved a nightmare for Kenyan drivers. Hundreds have been arrested, fined and even jailed for driving under the influence.

There are several misconceptions around the issue of whether the device can be tricked and we hope to separate fact from fiction in this article.

Drinking lots of water before you leave the bar will lower your BAC

This is fiction. The amount of water you drink does not affect the length of time it takes your body to break down alcohol. Water only prevents you from getting dehydrated and can lessen the effects of a hangover.
On average, it takes one hour to break down one unit of alcohol. The following are the units of alcohol contained in several drinks common in Kenya do the math.

One unit of alcohol is equal to 10ml of pure alcohol. The following are the approximate units in popular Kenyan drinks:
  • 2.1 units in a 175 ml glass of wine (12%)
  • 3 units in a 250 ml wine (12%)
  • 2 units in 473ml of low-strength lager, beer or cider (2.5 - 3.5%) e.g. White Cap Light, Tusker Light
  • 3 units in 473ml of higher-strength lager, beer or cider (5 - 6%)e.g. Heineken, Tusker Malt, Summit Malt, Tusker, Pilsner, Whitecap, Summit etc
  • 1 unit in a tot measure of spirits (25ml) e.g. Viceroy, Richot, Smirnoff, Jameson, Johny Walker etc
The length of time to break down alcohol is also affected by a person's:
  • weight
  • gender
  • age
  • metabolism
  • the amount of food eaten
  • type of alcohol consumed
  • medication 

Holding Your Breath and Pretending to Blow into the Device

This will hardly fool the usually hawk eyed police officers. In fact, it is a bad idea to try this because holding your breath allows alcohol to accumulate in your lungs and potentially inflate the actual BAC reading when you eventually blow into the device (and you will!).

Hyperventilation May Beat Alcoblow

The only way you could potentially get away drink driving is by hyperventilating a few minutes before you blow into the device. This involves breathing in and out deeply for about two minutes. A decades old study found that breathing in and out deeply or engaging in vigorous exercise a few minutes before being tested can lower your BAC by as much as 10%. So if you are only slightly above the legal limit, you could try hyperventilating and you just might pass the test.

Register for an Alcoblow Whatsapp or Facebook Group

There are numerous social media groups where members watch out for one another by posting about alcoblow roadblocks when they encounter them so that other members can avoid them. This has effective for a while but the NTSA (National Transport and Safety Authority) recently purchased a fleet of vehicles to allow them to stop drivers and test them on the spot at any location. It seems the lawman is becoming highly adept at catching drunk drivers.


  • The only way to beat alcoblow for sure is not to drink and drive, it simply isn't worth the risk. You endanger your life and other people's lives; not to mention the stress you go through trying to navigate the police road blocks. 
  • Some mouthwashes contain alcohol and can lead to a positive test if the police stop you a few minutes after using the mouthwash. For example, Listerine is 27% alcohol. A number of fresh breath sprays also contain alcohol.


National Health Service UK

Brown University Health Education

Suggested Reading
List of traffic offences

Share on Whatsapp

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

How to buy direct from China Without Having to Fly There

Every month hundreds of thousands of Kenyans board planes and head off to China in search of various goods. While getting on a plane and going to China is a good business and cultural experience, did you know you can save lots of time and money by buying directly from China? This is possible through online trading portals that connect buyers and sellers globally.


  • Visit any one of several well-established trading portals and register an account. The following are the top five online trading websites where you can find thousands of manufacturers, traders, and exporters based in China and other parts of the world:
  • Read through the instructions on each website because each site has different terms and conditions.
  • Browse through the various company and product profiles. Once you identify the goods you wish to import, contact the supplier(s) using the contact information provided and request a quotation. Make sure you request quotes from at least five different suppliers for comparison purposes.
  • Select your preferred supplier and confirm the order. Insist on making payment via a letter of credit as opposed to a telegraphic transfer (TT), Western Union, Credit Card or other methods. A letter of credit protects you in case the supplier ships sub-standard goods or goods that differ from the description. You will set up the letter of credit from your bank in Kenya. The transaction then becomes a bank-to-bank transaction. Your bank will only release the funds to the Chinese bank once you confirm that the goods have been received and conform to the description on the bill of lading. 
  • The supplier will prepare a bill of lading and organize to ship the goods to Kenya.
  • At this juncture, you will need to enlist the services of a clearing agent. The clearing agent will advise you on the import duty and VAT payable. The agent will also process the import documentation through Kenya customs. 
  • Once your goods arrive at the port of Mombasa or at the airport,  pay the duty and collect your goods. Confirm that the cargo conforms to the exporter's description as contained on the bill of lading. If satisfied, notify your bank in writing and they will release the funds to the Chinese suppliers bank.

Tips and Warnings

  • A round-trip to China costs over two hundred thousand shillings (flight and accommodation). For many people, buying online can result in considerable savings and give them that extra competitive edge that they need. 
  • Beware of scammers. There are many fraudsters in China. If you use this method to transact, insist on payment using a letter of credit. Avoid any Chinese supplier who refuses this form of payment as this could indicate an intent to defraud.
  • It is not possible to use online trading portals for all kinds of goods. Some items may demand your (or a representative) physical presence to confirm specifications, choose from different options and inspect quality.
  • Find out how to import from China through Eastleigh.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

How to be Successful: Avoid the Beaten Path

Success for many people in life has come as a result of doing something they were just dying to do but didn't have the courage to try out. 
Do you find yourself in a situation where you simply don't have the courage to take that big risk? Well, all successful people have taken an important risk at some critical point of their lives.

To be successful in life, you have to avoid the beaten path. Nothing summarizes this better than this poem about risk. The composer is anonymous.