shaker-avatarYep, this is a first of many Tuesday editions to come as I have decided to make Tuesdays worthwhile for you by sharing the most interesting tech news around the week. You will also get a little taste of my daily life story.

Well, I got to dance, chat and have a drink with strangers (who now happen to be acquaintances) at a TechCrunch virtual floor hosted by Shaker on Facebook last week. I also had the chance of peeping into the newly updated blogger interface that now makes it easier for bloggers to stay up to date with their reading list. And yes, the disrupters at Techcrunch were at it again with hackers showing off the beauty of their ingenuity.

Shaker steals the Show at TC Disrupt San Francisco

Shaker, an Israeli startup application that intends to turn Facebook into a bar via social gaming turned out the best of seven finalists in a tech competition dubbed the Disrupt hosted by TechCrunch that also saw three other Israeli startups reach the finals. describes Shaker as an application that brings social networks to life by allowing people to interact in real time in a shared environment, making the online social experience of hanging out with friends and meeting new people, feel natural finally.

I spent the better part of my Monday morning hanging out with friends, sipping on cold beers and dancing to the tunes of some cool music all thanks to Shaker. Indeed, it cannot be denied that online social experience has finally taken a natural turn. In fact, why don't you try it out for yourself here, then, you can later put me to task with your experience.

New Blogger Interface

Those of you who use Blogger might be familiar with the new look interface for the backend. Its a move towards simplicity as the design and layout are made more intuitive with the functions of the website being more accessible through buttons and links on the interface.  There is also the use of client side scripts to improve on interactivity. Good thing though, is that users have the options of using either of the two interfaces.

Techcrunch Disrupt
techcrunch-disruptThe last Techcrunch Disrupt held was in May of 2011 in New York where startup GetAround scooped the Disrupt Cup and $50 000. Last week saw another Disrupt this time held in San Francisco where Israeli Startup Shaker scooped the cup and prize money from Seven Finalists who included  Bitcasa, Cake Health, Farmigo, Prism Skylabs, Shaker, TalkTo, and Trello. The next Techcrunch Disrupt seems to be heading to Beijing, China from October 31st to November 1st 2011. The event starts of with a Hackathon days earlier from the main Event where Battlefield finalists conduct reheasals.

My Reading list of the Week:
-The Fashion Notebook

Here is the little taste I promised you earlier. Its music and Jango is my favorite online music player. I'll let you get to the lyrics of the rest of the story by yourself.

Related Technology News

The New Social Network: Who’s Nearby, Not Who You Know

mingle-introThere's a new concept for social networking services taking root, and it's not about re-creating your offline social graph on the Web, like Facebook does today. It's about discovering the people who are nearby you now - the ones you probably would like to meet.

This type of discovery mechanism is already being made possible by a number of services, including the checkin apps like Foursquare and Gowalla, the automated discovery of nearby folks via Sonar and Banjo, the group chatting in Yobongo, and the micro-networks that emerge through LoKast. All of these companies are playing with the idea of location-based networks, attempting to connect you to others around you through varying means.

At this week's TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco, even more services emerged to compete in this space, too.
Buddy Media Launches Intelligent Facebook Data And Analytics Platform For Marketers

buddymediaFresh with new funding, Buddy Media, a company that provides Facebook Page and social media management tools to brands, is launching ConversionBuddy, a data and analytics platform for brand marketers.

Buddy Media provides an all-in-one social media management system to help create, manage and track social campaigns on Facebook. The platform lets brand managers agencies create, manage and track Facebook pages in a variety of languages to drive and increase user and brand engagement. Users don’t need to have any prior FBML knowledge to create pages on Facebook and can create sleek and interactive pages fairly easily.
Local Recommendations App Alfred Hits iPad, Plans To Add Deal Curation Soon

alfredlogoLocal recommendations mobile app Alfred has arrived in a new, iPad-optimized format (iTunes) which includes deeper integration with Facebook. The optional Facebook Connect sign-in feature enables Alfred to better learn about its users' preferences by mining Facebook data for likes and check-ins.

Alfred, which comes from a startup called Clever Sense, is focused heavily on its use of algorithms to surface recommendations as a differentiating factor between it and other, similar applications.


M-pesa’s Open Source API by Mike Pedersen

Posted on Tuesday, September 20, 2011, under

mpesa-pesapiSafaricom’s Mobile money transfer Service M-Pesa has received a boost that will see the developers club in Kenya pounce at the opportunity of building various service applications around it. It has been an expectation for a long time that Safaricom would release an API for its M-Pesa service that would open doors for application developers to easily extend the functionality of M-Pesa to their e-commerce applications.

The developing story over the months is that Application Developer Mike Pedersen has built an Open Source M-Pesa API called PesaPi that will allow fellow developers to access the features of Safaricom’s M-Pesa without the need for an official API from the mobile operators. This move will help standardize the e-commerce industry in Kenya with the use of Mobile banking as the default option for making, tracking and receiving payments.

Similar work has been done by few companies in Kenya such as the Pesapal and iPay but the keyword to PesaPi is Open Source. It is very hard to find an open source facility based on a fresh service such as M-pesa that would obviously benefit founders with profits from commercialization of M-pesa based applications but it is clear that Mike Pedersen is a man with an open heart and as such a pioneer of the future of a dense and rich technology industry.

PesaPi in Mike Pedersen’s own words will provide a way to automatically detect when someone, possibly a customer, has made payment to you (the merchant) so that you can confirm payment to the customer and thereby release the product/service you are selling. PesaPi thus helps you to automate that process of detecting payment, confirming receipt and releasing the product. It is an API and not fully fledged e-commerce systems (with a website, a cart and check out system) since there are good e-commerce applications already in place for such functions. And, if you are in a situation where you want to automatically send money to a person, PesaPi cannot help as it is.

M-pesa is a mobile money transfer service that was first launched in Kenya by Mobile Operator Safaricom. The product was developed by Vodafone but initially funded by UK based Department for International Development (DFID). The service has so far grown into few international markets including Tanzania, Afghanistan and South Africa.

Related Articles

Why the PesaPi Hackathon is good for Safaricom and Kenya

PesaPi – An Open Source API for Safaricom’s M-Pesa in Kenya

One agent. Five mobile money services. 
Photo taken on September...

One agent. Five mobile money services. 

Photo taken on September 5th, 2011 near Geomaps Centre in Nairobi

Ben Lyon, VP of Business Development (@bmlyon) 
Out with the old, in with the new

Post offices are natural agents for mobile banking and money services.  Given the explosion of mobile money since 2009, should post offices compete with or co-opt mobile money services (e.g. Safaricom M-Pesa, Airtel Money, etc)? 

Airtel Money and PostaPay signs in the Posta Kenya office at Yaya Centre

Tell us what you think by answering our Facebook poll or commenting on this post.  

RELATED: 1) The Future of the Post Office? (via ... (Read more at source)
John Karanja, CEO of Whive, describes PesaPay as a “payment...

[Flash 10 is required to watch video.]

John Karanja, CEO of Whive, describes PesaPay as a “payment gateway that targets small and medium enterprises.”  I stopped by the Whive office in m:Lab today to see how PesaPay works.  

In short, PesaPay leverages an Android application to parse text messages from Safaricom M-Pesa, which it then posts to the PesaPay server in order to authenticate e-commerce payments.   

Since PesaPay only requires an ... (Read more at source)