Still blazing, still blazing

Necessity was and it still is the mother of innovation.
Come to think of it,how would the world be without Facebook and Whatsapp?.Or wait a minute,did I start from a high note?..Okay,what would the world be without voice calls,text messages,emails,no TV,no series,no movies,no Empire,no Zuckerberg,no Bill gates,no me writing this blog, no nothing absolutely.
Now,take a back seat,turn low the volume on your stereo,switching it off wouldn’t do any harm either ,then delve into this next clause.

Siliconblaze is on and it’s lit!Just before I hint on who we are,allow me to make you believe that the future of our Nation and the African dream lies entirely on your hands.I wouldn’t let that be cause for debate,I occlude discussions on that,but the question stands,WHAT ROLE ARE YOU PLAYING IN THE TRANSFORMATION OF YOUR COUNTRY?

Siliconblaze is the community where you should be today. We are a team of young enthusiasts,from different professional backgrounds,who share a common dream,that of transforming our society through Computer Programming.Computer programming is simple and fun to do.It is simply instructing a computer to perform a certain task using lines of code.From the most basic of applications like a simple calculator simulator to Mpesa to Sportpesa and to the most complex systems like Robotics,Computer programming is their mama.Siliconblaze exposes young minds to this nature of knowledge.We select a high school of choice and teach those students how to come up with simple sites for their communities.We teach two programming languages for starters,Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) and Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) to spark their interest in programming.The sessions are done once every week in the most logistically accepted way.Siliconblaze also organizes bootcamps(An extensive session on coding with wide coverage of a Programming Language of choice).Advertisements on these are circulated via various media including posters and our official social media platforms.
Membership to Siliconblaze is not restricted to University students but is open to anyone with the will to share knowledge,and most especially,share the common dream of African Transformation.

Siliconblaze welcomes you aboard!

Post by
Davis Osiemo
Siliconblaze Lover!
davisossy@gmail.com

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WHY NOT SILICON SAVANNAH?

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Of all the schools we have visited so far as siliconBlaze none  was like Victorian’s Girls High School. We all grew to fall in love with this school.

On a almost half an acre piece of land, a few meters form the Eastern Bypass in Ruiru, sits a school humble in its appearance but full of pride and wealth in its Ideals. What would easily pass as rental houses at  a first glance is Victorian Girls High School.

It was Sunday March 6th 1100 Hrs E.A time when I first set foot at this school. This was the last school in my mind as I had literally walked from Juja to Ruiru asking every school to allow us teach its students Computer programming. Not once or twice was I met with a blunt no plus a “remember to close the door before you leave. ” This was to go on and on.

I hadn’t heard of this School Victorian’s Girls before  and as I walked to the main office amid curious stares from all over the balconies. I kept on praying that at least, I am given an ear. However, I was not only given an ear but an appointment to come teach at 2:00 Hrs same day. Word quickly spread to all Silicon Blazers back in Juja who were also in the same mission of looking for a School and in no siliconbalzers were all in matatus headed to Victorians Girls.

Mr. Maiyo; The awesome gentleman who had allowed us to teach his students despite the short notice, was all eager and had even halted  every other school program and directed all interested students to the school dinning hall where we had to have our session. We walked into a multitude of eager students, and soon the room turned into a bee hive of activities, from singing games to playing with the hypertext makeup language (as Faizah would first say when asked what HTML stands for).

To our surprise the students hadn’t any prior knowledge of computing (what a hard place to start on especially if we were to teach them computer programming), however this didn’t seem to limit there imaginations as I could hear them discus on how to make a software to solve corruption (as they so say). As a patient mother watches a child slowly start to crawl before she can walk her to town or send her on errands, we slowly watched this awesome ladies start to crawl in HTML and we surely didn’t need to be prophets to know that among them will definitely rise an awesome computer programmer.

hardly did we notice nightfall approaching, the two hours we had planned for turned into 3 hours of coding, fun and play. Sadly, we had to stop and as we left this eager and inspired lot someone stood up and asked a question, a question I think every Kenyan should answer, “Why do we still have to dream of a silicon Savannah while we actualize it with the skills we have?”

published by Pius Dan Nyongesa

BSC. CS student at JKUAT

founder and president SiliconBlaze

follow @PiusNyongesa

YESTERDAY I DREAMT OF HTML

Yesterday I dreamt of HTML.

Who is this HTML?

Why her and not anyone else?

Hyper Text Markup Language but she insists people call her HTML. She’s as good as an angel without wings but with tags instead. The simplicity of her tags and the elegance of her syntax makes the internet go crazy over her. Through HTML, the look and appearance of images, links, headings, text, page layout and just about every element of a web page can be formatted.

One does not simply script line by line but like a poet’s endless rhyme you pour your heart out with each and every tag and when you finally write the </html> tag you end up finding this overwhelming internal satisfaction that you knew not existed. At that same moment, fear grips you. The fear of losing this wonderful feeling and this makes you want to do it again and again. Hence being trapped in an infinite loop of designing websites with the promise of this internal sensation called happiness at the end of every page.

If HTML is so special then why doesn’t everyone know of her? Why isn’t her name on billboards, TV commercials or in website ads? Why?

You as a web designer who’s used HTML before why not confess your love you have for language? Why not call a group of campus students to go and spread the knowledge of HTML in high schools? Aha! Why not call the group Silicon Blaze? Why not tell a friend or two or ten maybe about this wonderful organization? Why not join the bandwagon yourself!?

Thank you Silicon Blaze for spreading your love for HTML. She is truly grateful for lighting up the Silicon Savanah with the knowledge of her.

“AT TIMES OUR OWN LIGHT GOES OUT AND IS REKINDLED BY A SPARK FROM ANOTHER PERSON. EACH OF US HAS CAUSE TO THINK WITH DEEP GRATTITUDE OF THOSE WHO HAVE LIGHTED THE FLAMES WITHIN US” – Albert Schweitzer

Yesterday I dreamt of HTML.

#siliconblaze

Author: Shem Manyu

Follow: @manyu_shem

 

THE AFRICAN DREAM

Manicured hedges, magnificent gate and a serene and tranquil environment marked our arrival.  The words “Esse Quam Videri” loosely translated as “To be than rather to seem (to be)”, screamed from the iron gates.

The time was 2 pm E.A.T, the midday sun shone relentlessly, the superstitious ones predicted a good day (probably they weren’t wrong). This was to be the second edition of our Computer Science for High School Project (CS4HS) .

To our surprise, Mr. Mutinda; the IT teacher at Chania girls, had set the stage ready for us an we walked into a room full of elated and eager students . I later came to know that they were settled 2 hours earlier waiting for us. Their monitors were buzzed with activities as these young minds tried outdoing each other in opening and closing folders and probably in a bid to appear geeky. The anticipation in the air was palpable we didn’t have to wait any longer.

A string of hands shot up Immediately we made the introduction “Sir. How can you make a game?”, “teach us how to hack Facebook sir”…. This were just but a sample that caught my greatest interest.

In me questions and thoughts sprang up in equal measure and I kept wondering what would have happened had we came earlier and perhaps introduced these kids to computer programming at a tender age. “Would Africa have a Bill Gates yet? Or  maybe a Zuckerburg?  Would safaricom need to import cyber security expatriates? Would the silicon savannah be only a dream as it is today?”  All these went unanswered.

The girls turned out to be such an awesome audience/ students. Slowly we dived into HTML and carefully navigated from the shallow waters of the <html> element to deeper waters, where we found attributes of elements, tables and forms throughout the session the girls offered a continuous bombardment of question that not only challenged us but also made us rethink on our approach to web-development.

Laughter, cheers and jeers filled the room as the girls swam in their newly found world of web-development. While some girls like Mariah quickly got a grasp of what we taught others like Claire seemed to take time and analyze each and every fact we gave them before accepting and grasping on to it.

Standing in the room I could see the new face of Africa, A renewed generation, new dispensation and new awakening.

I could see an Africa where youths drive the economy and technology is not just a word we use in international conferences but a tool we use against the evils (hunger, poverty and insecurity) that now face us.

Looking deeper, I saw the new girl child of Africa, that Lady CEO of a multi-national technology company, a lady computer scientist. For a moment I thought of Africa and my mind was at peace.

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Sharpening Man

For many of us who grew up in the country-side especially around western Kenya, can recall that old   man and many a times thin, who would be ritually present at every market day or sometimes do regular trips around the village. It wasn’t however, his presence on every market day or his regular ceremonial trips around the village that made him stand-out, rather his unique tools of trade.

Like most old-men had bicycles (a preferred means of transport then, doubling up as a measure of social-status or wealth), this old man was no exception. Though his is bicycle was different, as it was both a tool of trade and a means of transport. Like sinners and tax-collectors around Jesus, women would occasionally throng around this old man armed with blunt pangas, knifes or any item that had a cutting edge/blade.

As a kid, this man really fascinated me. I secretly wished to be like him if not be him someday; though not to have women crowd around me but rather possess that unique bicycle and make trips around the village showing it off to my friends.

At times my mother would complain about a blunt knife then spot her among the old -man’s crowd and soon enough my sister would be rushing from the kitchen, blood oozing from her index fingure. This would happen on and on until my little sister   grew old or immune to oozing blood (so i thought). At times I thought this old-man a bad omen and even planted an ambush on, in case he came to the village again, lucky old-man never came back, for reasons I have never known.

Just like Jesus, the old-man vanished just as mysteriously as he had came to the village. To my surprise almost every panga in the village grew blunt. Women would then crowd around large rocks armed with pangas, knifes and anything that had blades.  This would go on, until our neighbor Oloo acquired a bicycle like the old-man’s. He however lacked the pomp the old-man had or that I at least thought he had.

Surely, when I was child I thought and acted like a child and now that I am man I try to think like a man. I am however tempted to bet that childhood dreams die hard, for mine die seldom.

I somehow found my-self in a classroom piusthat I somehow alludes the village. I grew up in. However, unlike my childhood old-man, I wasn’t surrounded by women yielding pangas and knives.

Around me was an array students, eager to dive into this new found world of computing. students yielding technologically blunt minds to be sharpened.

With me I had a laptop, like the old-man’s bicycle (that was unique), my laptop was also unique i.e. was running the latest version of Ubuntu (15.**) and installed in it was the python interpreter, Code-blocks IDE and sublime text editor.

Its then that it hit me, I was slowly turning into that old-man. A quick check  of my hair was inevitable to ascertain I hadn’t grown bald too.

The market was equator boys High School. We at SiliconBlaze were having our first session of Computer Science for High School;

an initiative of JKUAT students, with an interest in Computer programming, aimed at teaching high school kids how to write, read and implement code. Like iron sharpens iron, we undertook to sharpen this bright, young but unexposed minds, maybe we may horn a Bill Gates in them or better still inspire a problem solver.

Our mission was to sharpen their minds, unclog their thought processes and challenge the limitations to their imaginations. Call us overambitious, un-realistic, over optimistic or over confident, because that is what we are. That’s our mantra and karma. We create and nature problem solvers through charity.

Join us and let’s not only be solution providers but also solution creators.

#siliconBlaze

Published by Pius Dan

Follow: @PiusNyongesa