DevFest Nyeri 2014

Posted By: Unknown On Monday, 1 December 2014

How could 2014 pass without having our biggest event of the year, GDG DevFest Nyeri? Last year’s event was the debut event in the DevFest series. As last year, together with GDG Mombasa, we finished the DevFest series in Kenya. I think, it has become a habitual thing….

2013 had focused on Google Cloud (App Engine), Mobile web development with HTML5 and abit of Women in Tech. This year it was themed on Polymer Polytechnic, Real Time Data Processing with Firebase, Women in Tech, and lastly a StartUp X hour.

The event was held on 29th November, 2014 at the Dedan Kimathi University of Technology (DeKUT). It brought together 100+ tech developers and more than 8 speakers. People travelled from all over the country to Nyeri, making a conference of interesting speakers and enthusiastic audience.

 The doors were opened at 9:00 am, by that time most of the developers had lined up at our registration booth. They were warmly welcomed by the registration team. Everyone produced their tickets, their names were checked in the Eventbrite list after which they were allowed to get in.

Coffee Break
Immediately after, we had a short break where everyone got a chance to enjoy the morning snacks and free coffee, this also provided a short networking session where the attendees met old friends, made new valuable ones and even changed contacts.

Morning Session

The participants were now all energized, excited and ready for tech talks.  +Joseph Ndungu then took to the stage, he asked the congregation if anyone knew about the recently Google acquired Firebase. 99% of the attendees never knew what it was!

Then he started to explain, it was an incredible first experience! None of us could imagine that someone else could deal with the nightmares of real-time data scaling and security.

 The Cloud service provides application developers with an API that allows application data to be synchronized across clients and stored on Firebase's cloud.

We were also amazed that firebase includes a user management system where by developers can enable user authentication with email and password login all stored with Firebase.

Everyone was involved in sending messages to the data base and watch as it updates the data in real time, yet with just a few lines of java codes

He advised the audience to later apply the knowledge in building real-time mobile and web apps using client-side code and the powerful API as it saves time. The beauty of coming together to share new ideas and new products in the market!

And then Guess what? After such an awesome tech talk,  GDG Kimathi University organizers took the audience through a brain teaser session. Everyone was to stand up and do nothing else except what Sam says. All those who did otherwise sat down amid laughter. They were caught off-guard. The last few ladies and gents standing were promised some goodies at the end of the event.

 Thereafter +Kenneth Kinyanjui took it up again and talked about the polymer.  The polymer Project helps developers deliver amazing user experiences by unlocking the full potential of the web platform. Developers can use the Polymer Library to make the most of Web Components, a powerful new platform feature for extending HTML and componentizing your apps. 

He also talked about Entrepreloper. Entrepreloper is unique new word formed when Entrepreneurship and Developer are fused together. He highlighted on the importance of having the two skills in a developers mind. He emphasized on the importance of passion, hard work and persistence. “With them nothing is impossible!” he concluded.

                                                             Lunch Hour

At exactly 1:00 pm, we went for lunch break. We enjoyed the meal after which participants mingled up and moved around getting to know one another.

Afternoon: Women in Tech

Soon after  lunch break, we kicked off with a presentation from +Margaret Odhiambo who actually carried away the audience. “Anyone can do it, gender does not matter. The only thing you need to do is to make  Internet your friend,” She Said. 

She told us her story on how she had to pay someone to access learning material without knowing they were free on the Internet. Later when she realized it was free, she discontinued the class and made the Internet her best friend.

 She noted that most ladies took a back seat in technical stuff and always waited for men to help them in small programming tasks unlike men who constantly compete and post challenge to each other. She also encouraged ladies to make meaningful friendship with men in tech.

  Where are the Geek Ladies?

This was followed by a Q &A talk show style about ladies in tech hosted by with +Kenneth Kinyanjui and +Margaret Odhiambo

We had the opportunity of hearing different opinions from the developers on why most ladies don't have much interest in tech. 

Among a score of interesting participants we would like to highlight the speeches of few individuals. 

+Michael Githinji
, one of the attendees, explained that only few ladies are celebrated in the tech world. People only hear the likes of Bill gates and Steve Jobs but hardly hear any female named in the tech. Therefore, without positive role models ladies don’t see the opportunities for themselves in technology as they don’t have people to motivate them.

Another person also noted that it all boils down to culture. From a young age where most girls are influenced, ladies are told that boys are good at math and girls at language. This creates a perception that it is "too hard" or something that boys do. Therefore the ladies lack interests in the programming as they believe it’s a boy’s thing.

The good news is that GDG Kimathi University will put in place measures to try to reverse this trend by getting more women to consider actively participating and contributing in tech. We also want to pride ourselves on operating as raw meritocracies ready to embrace anyone with a good idea, regardless of their gender.

Hangout with Cedric Atangana

Moments after, Cedric Atangana (Lead, GDG Yaoundé) gave his session all the way from France via Hangouts. Cedrick is the founder of Infinity Space, a tech start up based in Kenya and Cameroon.  He encouraged us to get behind our laptops and focus more on developing local content, building cool stuff that truly belong to us. He also reminded us about the opportunities that await such developers.

Evening Break

After the Hangout, we went for another break where we took juice and snacks.

Hey this is our Journey!

The sessions resumed around 4:30 pm .During this time GDG Kimathi University pioneers took us through their success story.

They shared with us on how they tapped into each other creating a strong network of tech enthusiasts. This resulted into a geek culture within themselves and after some time they thought of starting a tech community. That's how GDG Kimathi University was born. They emphasized on the importance of working as a team as it broaden everyone's skill set.

Their message was clear: the skill set in a community is really broad and everyone should be super-open to teaching anyone anything. In a GDG, some members are good at JavaScript, others at Rails while some at python. Every developer has something unique to contribute. It's all about teaching each other and not about proving ourselves.

The attendants also posted questions which were responded by the team. We appreciate these self-motivated young men who have been coding like banshees since they got into their network and created GDG Kimathi University.

Happy Birthday GDG Kimathi University!

 A cake was then presented to the table, everyone was amazed when the cake was displayed as it was glazed and topped with GDG Kimathi university name. It was showered with party poppers and confetti!  

The Cake was then cut it into small pieces. In Between, we had exciting tracks singing the happy birthday tune which almost everyone joined in singing. The pieces were then taken to the developers to mark the 2nd Anniversary of GDG Kimathi University.

Finally, +Kenneth Kinyanjui gave his closing remarks. Everyone then got a free t-shirt and we all took a group photo. All were free to leave at their own convenience.

                                                      We appreciate you!
GDG DevFest 2014 was another success! We would like to thank our sponsors, specifically Google for believing in what we do and valuing what we love to do most; building cool mobile apps, cloud apps and web apps that solve real life problems here at home and even beyond. 

Personally, I think GDG DevFest is the brightest Google-related event that happened this year. It provided a great learning opportunity for attendees as it reveal fresh trends in Google technologies which most can possibly implement in their future work. To our speakers and attendees, You were awesome! 

Let’s do it again next year, See you at the GDG DevFest Nyeri 2015!

Get more event Photos, slides and details about DevFest Nyeri 2014 on our Google+Events Page and on our site: GDG  KIMATHI UNIVERSITY

(Thematic Lead, GDG Kimathi University)

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Are you ready?

Posted By: Unknown On Wednesday, 8 October 2014

We are doing it again, soon! Are you ready?

Plans for the greatest events of all times is on course. One of the biggest technical communities in Kenya, GDG Kimathi University, is organizing again the premier Devfest event, GDG Devfest Nyeri!
New ideas
What’s new on Android and other Google stuff, what’s new in the Google development platform? New ideas will be shared, new methods and tips of coding will be brought into light. Are you ready for a day full of inspiration ?
Event speakers

Very soon students, tech enthusiasts, and developers will converge. GDG Devfest Nyeri will bring together a diverse multidisciplinary, multi product speakers coming from all over country and even outside.Yes,we will have a speaker from Uganda .They will speak on the  latest trends and technical knowledge in Android, Google Cloud Platform, Google Chrome, HTML5, Google Maps API, YouTube API and other Google developer APIs. Are you ready to learn from these awesome speakers?

Code labs

Code labs will be a place for you to learn and code.
The code labs will be for students, startups and anyone. Experts in the specified field will take the stage and share with everyone the new techniques. But Are you ready? Are you ready for the labs and sessions?                                                       

We are going to code, we are going to hack .We are going to create cool stuff. Get your ideas ready, get your team ready, Get your laptop ready and above all sharpen your coding skills. Get ready to roll up your sleeves to build something new.
Are you ready to interact with exceptionally lively intelligent faces and build a network of developers?

Women Techmakers
You are a lady, you have great passion for Google technologies and platforms, you feel technology has a place for you. We are mindful of your inclusion, this is the event for you. Are you ready?

Event tickets

How much does it costs to get yourself a ticket? It’s absolutely free! You book yourself a ticket online from Eventbrite. Make sure you come along with it during the event.

Who should come?
GDG Devfest event is for students, developers and tech enthusiasts, who believe that by sharing ideas in Google products and platforms they may have remarkable solutions to daily problems. Our core belief is that when developers and tech enthusiasts come together to exchange ideas, amazing things come out. Tickets are coming soon…Still,are you ready for 12 hours of pure Google content?
The event will take place at DeKUT main campus. DeKUT is 8 km from Nyeri Town. It’s reachable by car, public transport or by foot, depending on where you come from. You can also find your way through google maps. Get ready for a Devfest like no other!!
+Ngesa Marvin 
(Thematic Lead,GDG Kimathi University)

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Tech Diary: GDG DevFest Nyeri 2013

Posted By: Unknown On Tuesday, 7 October 2014

This is originally a repost by one of the +GDG Kimathi University  Members. His take on GDG Devfest Nyeri  2013 and why you should come and attend Devfest 2014 .

Devfest Nyeri 2013 was a great event to attend. Today I sit on my stool trying to recall. I still remember that day with Nostalgia and in fact loved all that happened that day, the connections, the talks, the lessons, the lunch, the joy we shared, the knowledge… just but a few.It was more than a just a Devfest event, It was 8 hours of pure Google content.
A few days before the exciting day, that’s on Wednesday, I walk past the bus park heading to the school Mess feeling tired, then something tells me to get to the noticeboard. I peruse across many notices then suddenly get one that attracts my attention, GDG Devfest Nyeri 2013.    
I am only a freshman  with no laptop, no coding skills, and definitely no idea of what GDG Devfest is about, but I deeply love tech and gadgets, and just like the great Albert Einstein once quoted ‘The human spirit yearns to prevail technology’ I too has my share of technological willingness. So I head over to my friend +Billy Rotich , and tell him the good news. There and then, we get on line and after reading more about it we load the Eventbrite page, on realizing the tickets are free, we book event tickets for ourselves and three for our friends.

   It seems a long wait, Thursday and Friday pass and finally its Saturday, I wake up at six in the morning, do the necessary and can’t forget to carry my notebook and pen.Having no laptop won’t deter me from attending.I take tea at the mess and cut across the university to the venue, Auditorium. It’s only then that I reside to the fact that I am the first to arrive. I have no problem with that, sometimes I am more than just passionate. The Devfest receptionists here are by all standard professional, they confirm the validity of my ticket, gives me a tag and I’m in.

Tech talks
The Event starts by our own GDG lead, +Kenneth Kinyanjui . He talks about emerging Google technologies, specifically Google cloud platform and the chromium project. After him +Joseph Ndungu  take us through Chrome Dev Tools. And immediately, +arlus ishmael , another GDG lead adds more on Google Cloud Platform.Then Mr. +Femi TAIWO  a web developer and Nigeria's GDG champion takes center stage. He introduces us to the world of cross platform development with html5. He gives an invigorating lecture mainly focusing on android app development and Intel app framework.
Lunch Time:  We are reminded that all must have their tags and we head to mess in groups. The organizers
had ensured the tastiest savory foods had been prepared for the event attendees, and oh my, did people feast. This may come as a motivation to others, but be sure where there is Google, there is untamed satisfaction, even in the catering section.
After finishing the meal, that’s when I realize that we should not be this less. How could so many miss this so important Devfest? Did they attend another GDG Devfest somewhere? Or they just never got keen on the noticeboard? My hunch tells me the latter is not far from the truth.

Code lab 1: Android class
Back in the venue, we divide ourselves in groups and I choose code lab 1, the android class, together with my closest of friends, other attendees head over to code lab 2: Google App Engine.
We are taught by, +James Odede , GSA Maseno University about android apps, we get installed Android Eclipse and Android studio. All I have is my notebook, and it is almost enough. A projection was made on the projector board, so even if one doesn’t have his/her own laptop, one could still follow the steps effectively. My friend Billy has a laptop so I move closer to him and we get down to business.We try to code, to some of us it’s the first time coding, we err, but won’t give up easily.  When the error gets too complex, we call one of the leaders who readily assists us. And after seeing I note down the error because next time with or without a laptop I will be here and it will be me helping others.
In between, we are served with refreshments. We Code three more hours and its dark. We rejoin again in the Auditorium.

Women tech makers
Talk about beauty and brains, women and tech and the name +Njeri Chelimo  crosses your mind.She is Nairobi’s own GDGw Lead, a lady whose passion in technology raises the roof and most certainly inspires a lot of the ladies to follow suit boldly and enter the beautiful yet utterly competitive world of technology. She talks about the Diversity in Technology.  By seven we are tired but still eager to learn, again we are added more refreshments, +Said Fuad  (GDG Champion Kenya), then talks about UI/UX design on the Android Platform, He focused on the Action Bar and gave us reasons why we should use it. 30 more minutes and he is done.

The speakers with all the wealth of knowledge, interact with everyone freely, always ready to share their knowledge with us. We make many great friends, some create strong bonds, and most importantly, connections. I mean connections with the speakers and people like +Andrew kyalo  (Former Lead GDG JKUAT), +Dennis Riungu  (GDG JKUAT) and many more. To conclude the event the audience are being asked random questions, after that, students from each year are asked randomly to say something about the event. My friend +Chris Barsolai  is not the biggest fan of talking to crowds, He tries to evade the speaker’s attention but woe unto him, the speaker decides to choose the first year in yellow t-shirt. It’s him, so he gathers confidence, stands up and speaks out. All those who talk receive schwags (T-Shirts). We also receive the remaining-Shirts.
Its 8.00 p.m. GDG Lead and mentor, +Kenneth Kinyanjui  brings the event to an end by issuing his closing remarks. He thanks all the attendees for making the event delightful.
The event is over. We take photos to mark the day, for remembrance and for future reference. Then everyone heads his own way. I get home inspired, sit my on my bed and make a decision to tolerate no less. “I too can make their lives work my own”, I soliloquize.
The events bequeath and instilled in us some principles: Hard work, Persistence, faith and many more. We learnt many ideas lies hitherto untapped, and we are at the prime age of making those ideas come true, making those ideas change the society as whole and the world at large.
The fundamental cluster of the Devfest managerial portfolios are beyond reproach, yet they are just students, students like us, we can only and unanimously define the GDG Devfest committee as concise clear and colored with pride. Big up Marshalls. In all humility, we appreciate you for literally going beyond the call of duty to elevate DeKUT to a higher standards .And while I will always fall short of their examples, they make me want to be a better man.

Devfest Nyeri 2014
And now, Devfest Nyeri 2014 is here. I am excited and one can only hope, no I don’t hope, I most certainly sure that the event is going to be bigger, better and more interesting this time round, and so if you are out there and feel technology is in you, this is the right event, this is your time comrade, welcome all, and let’s do the cool stuff that matters.
 +Ngesa Marvin 
(Thematic Lead,GDG Kimathi University)

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Space Apps Nairobi 2014

Posted By: Unknown On Thursday, 17 April 2014

Nairobi joined over 90 other cities globally in participating in the Space Apps Challenge this weekend (12th - 13th April) which saw 30 hackers converge at the +iHub to create solutions for both earth and space; the event having been organised by +GDG Nairobi, +GDG Kimathi University, #NairobiJS, and the +iHub.

The participants were all excited, energized and inspired coming into the hackathon, as most of them had never hacked at Space Apps Challenge before. This however did not deter them from creating amazing projects over the 2 days.

One great tinker once noted that the great thing about #programming is that it's a little world where you do whatever you want; you get to be the creator. And this is exactly what the attendees showed during the challenge; coming up with brilliant ideas, which they later created into tangible projects over the 48 hours, of course with some sugar boost and a little happy dance :-) when the 0s and 1s overflowed.

The 1st day started with a brief introduction to the challenge and what the expected outcome was, followed by an ideation session led by +Thomas Kioko and +Timothy Mwirabua which saw close to 10 projects proposed for the hack. The attendees would then team up for the project they preferred. This saw the attended merge into 3 teams which would hack over the night to actualize the 3 main projects which included;

  1. Asteroid Watchers (Spiral Camera) - a simulation that takes photos from 8 different angles to form a simultaneous 360 degree view. This, the team mentioned, can be used to provide a more detailed view of space objects.
  2. Space411 - A web application that aggregates all news from space such as astronaut experiences, new space discoveries, etc. and provides that on one platform with an aim to improve people's space knowledge levels.
  3. AstroQuize - An informational space-inspired game, that takes a Question-and-Answer approach on matters space.
The highlight of the event was definitely a Hangout On Air by +Mandla Maseko, the first ever black astronaut. This is one humble man, and his story on getting to reach beyond the stars (well, literally :-) in this case) is quite inspiring, and was definitely worth our while listening to him; with his talk resonating around providing more information out there about space, for the general public to get more and more informed.

Marking the end of the 2-day event was a pitching session where the 3 teams got to reveal what they have been working on. Team Spiral Camera took 1st place while AstroQuize followed to take 2nd place. That was definitely a weekend well spent, and we wish the teams best of luck in the global competition.

Much appreciation to our event mentor, +Arky r (@playingwithsid) from Mozilla and the presence +Sara-Jayne Terp (@bodaceacat) from Ushahidi, who helped the teams in their ideaition and development phase.

Get more photos for the event here!

Reblogged from  GDG Nairobi 
(Co-Organizer of SpaceAppsNairobi2014)

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2013 GDG Kimathi University in Review

Posted By: Unknown On Thursday, 6 March 2014 Under: ,

Google Developer Group (GDG) Kimathi University had a very prosperous year and lots of events happening at the time. 2013 was our 1st year in action and we kickstarted it with the Google I/O Extended 2013 Viewing party that has been talked about on this post.

But it was the last quarter that had the most fun events:
  1. The GDG Europe Summit
  2. GDG Devfest Nyeri 
  3. GCDC Hackathon
The GDG Europe Summit 2013

A view of Google UK
GDG Kimathi University was picked by Google to represent Africa in GDG Europe Summit in London UK. +Mercy Orangi  of +GDG Nairobi  and +Kenneth Kinyanjui  of +GDG Kimathi University  represented Kenya amongst +Femi TAIWO  of +GDG Lagos (GDG Champion Nigeria), +Oyewale Oyediran of +GDG OAU , +Hiren Patel of +GDG Cape Town  and lastly +Ishmael Makitla of +GDG Pretoria. This fine team represented Africa and gained a lot from the sessions, which they all shared at the DevFests, G|Days and Event Recap Meetings.

The 2 day Summit , involved technical sessions with the Developer Advocates of various Google Products.

 The Sessions that we had were on the following Topics.
  1. Evolution of GDGs globally 
  2. Engaging the Developer Community to build Android
  3. Engaging the Developer Community with Google Cloud
  4. Chromium Project and Chrome as a Developer Tool
  5. Google + API and the Google Sign In Tool

From Left to Right,
Kenneth Kinyanjui, Van Riper, Adriana Cerundolo,
Dan Franc,Mercy Orangi, Rupert Whitehead

GDG DevFest Nyeri

The GDG DevFest Nyeri 2013 was the first of its kind to be seen in Nyeri and Central Kenya, and also the last DevFest in the Devfest Kenya series. The Event was special in that we had 2 GDG Champions in attendance, +Femi TAIWO (GDG Champion Nigeria) and +Said Fuad (GDG Champion Kenya). The event also had +James Odede (GSA Maseno University), +Njeri Chelimo (GDGw Nairobi).  Honourary mentions for GDGs +Andrew kyalo (Former Lead GDG JKUAT) and +Dennis Riungu (GDG JKUAT). More on this here.

DevFest, to us was all about having fun and appreciating developers, and we did just that.

There was plenty of refreshments, and we had some great time to share our experiences.

Who said no ladies were part of the Devfest? There were some ladies in the house who really enjoyed themselves.

Lastly this GIF just summarizes how the DevFest mode was at the end. A lot of fun and energy! Check out this blog post for more stories about  DevFest Nyeri 2013.

GCDC Hackathon.
Our University striked one week before the event, so we moved to Nairobi and did a 48 hour hack for the GCDC. A group of 4 guys, each working on something for the Google Cloud. +Joseph Ndungu working on +Movie Buddy , +arlus ishmael , +Gideon Maina and +Kenneth Kinyanjui working on Iponline.

We started out in a small room in Nairobi, working, coding, drinking some Monster Energy ... all through the night. With some good background music, coffee and food ... we were good to go.

Morning came, and it was Sunday +GDG Nairobi was having its hackathon, so we moved to the +iHub and joined them for the extension of the hack. What a weekend! I was very tired with the tour, but having had that sense of hacking through and building something using Google Cloud was fullfilling.

I almost forgot we had the Eclipse happen at the same weekend and we were able to view it from the iHub.

At the end of the submission date, I presented IPONLINE but was not able to get to the semi finals. Better luck next time :) I think +GDG Kimathi University will be more prepared this year, but this was a great lesson.

2013 was great, 2014 is here and looks to be even better and promising. So keep in mind, we will still be here and will come up with the next big thing.

Some Darwin “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptive to change.”

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