Informations Systems Consultant

Archive for January, 2012

Used Ex-Uk/Ex-Japan Vehicles Buying Tips


For those who plan to buy Japanese imported vehicles, here is a quick read.

In January 2012, I went to the auto bazaar at Jamhuri Park. I saw the attached car being sold for Kshs. 2.4 million. It is a 2005 Toyota Harrier MCU35. The vehicle was very clean. The mileage on the odometer was just under 40,000 km.

Jevic sticker

USED AUTO on sale in Kenya

I then did what I think any person about to invest in a car should do: I noted the chassis number and JEVIC sticker number and went to check on the details of the car. Imagine my surprise to find that the car, as clean as it looked, was not a 40,000 km car at all but was actually a 176,000km car (as at the time it was shipped from Japan). The car had arrived here and it’s odometer had been tampered with. (The check can be done on the JEVIC website if you have the vehicle VIN/chassis number and inspection sticker number, both of which should be displayed on the JEVIC sticker which is normally on the left hand side of the windscreen for all ex-UK and ex-Japan cars – see example of sticker from a different vehicle below; you can put in the details and see a copy of the JEVIC certificate for the vehicle).

Now I say “imagine my surprise” but the truth is, I was not surprised at all. I expected the car mileage to be doctored. This is because the vast majority of newly imported cars sold in this market are doctored. If I were to guess I would say something like 80-90%.

As a vehicle importer (who for the record has never and will never change a mileage on any car I import), this phenomenon greatly disturbs and angers me. It distorts the market and it gives all vehicle importers a bad name (including the few who do not engage in this practice). However today, I am focused more on the car buyer point of view.

As a car buyer (or a buyer of any item at all), it would offend me to feel that somebody was trying to cheat me. However most car buyers in Kenya are very blase about this form of getting conned that occurs everyday. We have now reached a situation where many car buyers automatically go looking for cars expecting that the mileage has been “adjusted” (Yes! That is the euphemism I have heard used most…so innocent and nice sounding) – yet confusingly insist on buying cars that are “low mileage”.

It is usually very simple to do due diligence on any car from UK or Japan. You can simply ask to see a copy of the JEVIC certificate. As most cars are tampered with locally, the JEVIC certificate should have the actual mileage at the time of export. You can also take the chassis/VIN number and the JEVIC sticker number and check online. Usually when mileage is tampered, the mileage section on the sticker is rubbed out and sometimes it fades with time. But the sticker number (typed) never fades. Thus even if the mileage part has faded/been rubbed off, it is fairly simple to check sticker number, check VIN number and do the online check.

Taking, the example of the Harrier above, I estimate the car came in for about 1.7 – 1.9 million. It is being sold for 2.4 million. A genuine 40,000 km Harrier in the same colour, at the same time would probably be here for 2 – 2.1 million. You do the math.

Now as a customer, having the information about the genuine mileage of the car could be useful in one of two ways:
– I could be totally outraged, pass on buying the car and tell all my friends that the seller is not honest OR
– I may be a pragmatic deal-maker (which I believe most of us fancy ourselves as) and use that information as a bargaining chip to get a better deal.

Either way, I see no downside to having the true car information.

Do you?

Courtesy of Kay Kenneth

Information Security on mobile computing: 5 things to practise


The need to watch out for any irregularities on email accounts, social sites and overall internet experience cannot be over emphasized. We need to continuously guard our user names, passwords and work cautiously while on the internet.

With the advent of mobile computing, the internet experience has a new high. Mobile apps have been designed with many requiring interconnection to their mother website to run. Unknowingly, many contact details, pics and other valuable information of persons can now be accessed by hackers. They use bluetooth connectivity, backdoor scripts for very genuine cool apps like the bible among others.

This calls for a more prudent approach when enjoying your internet experience. Never think you are too small a fish for hackers. To them like most businesses it the turnover of fraud they pursue.

Verify apps before downloading them unto your mobile device.

Five things to Practise:

  1. Visit the site from a secure computing device, preferably a PC with an updated anti-virus and robust firewall software or settings. Find out more about the application (Google etc) before making a decision.
  2. Turn off your blue-tooth when not in use and check your settings ( they should be secure)
  3. Be very cautious what you divulge on social networks ( there is always a possibility of unintended persons on the prowl)
  4. Get security – install renown anti-virus and continuously update the signatures. If your mobile device cannot do this then re-check your security settings and go through steps 1-3.
  5. Get professional help. Information Security is a priority so invest in it. If you think twice ask around  of hacking experiences. Insurance is better than none.

Make your internet experience fun and secure by always being cautious even if you have all the settings correct etc. Security is not a state but a pursuit!!

2012 Your Lot seems indefinate and insecure?


The mark of a New Year holds so much hope. The few hours of the eve are marked in reverence and the last minute countdown and hours following forms the basis of celebration. We take to the streets, we jump, we praise God, we hug, we cry among other activities. It is always a mark of disconnect from the past. Many times we are glad that we are done with the another year of struggle, ill-health and other misfortunes.

Seldom do we count the blessing that were. The promises full-filled. The achievements, accolades and rewards earned.

But then again there is the baggage that spills over. The unpaid debts, the ever rising costs that comes with our responsibilities. As if that is not enough, life whips you some more with extra loads of misfortune. You lose dear ones, loss of jobs, accidents or fall ill. It is at this point that yes one might have crosses over into 2012 but they grieve.

The bible reminds us in Ephesians 6:12 that our fight is not physical but spiritual. The evil ones has hints of our destinies and wants to discourage us.In 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 we are extolled by Apostle Paul to remember that in our pursuit of God through Christ we have to endure. I particularly like  Vs 3 “…God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles…”. Many of us cannot speak what we are undergoing but be reminded that God who started the God works in you has so much in store for you. Many times we are confused for there is no indication or possibility of getting out.

We search for help and none seems forthcoming. This is the time to remember God’s faithfulness in the past. Tell your soul and flesh that God has good plans Jeremiah 29:11. Sing praise for the awaiting miracle and great deliverance. Even with no signs all around be strong of faith and take everything a step at a time. In the eleventh and twelveth hour the God Almighty will show up.

Jobs will come calling, new clothes will find way into your closet, neighbours will confess about your deliverance. Health will be yours again and who knows your end might be the best ever like Job.

Take heart and put on a strong fight since God is in control. I pray blessings unto you in the teething problems of 2012.

Don’t be a lazy leader


3 bad habits to avoid By David Witt

It’s the start of a new year and a great time to take stock of where you are and where you are going as a leader. The ability to think clearly and make the best decisions is a key part of any leader’s role. Yet, many leaders tend to fall into bad thinking patterns—especially after a couple of years on the job. Here are three of the most common bad habits and what to do to avoid them.

1.Either-Or thinking Executives are asked to make decisions—and they get more difficult the higher up you are. People or profits? Centralized or decentralized? Frontline decision-making or command and control? Leaders will often have to choose from among opposing viewpoints and the people supporting those viewpoints will be expecting and asking you to endorse either Plan A or Plan B. Always consider a Plan C first. While opposing camps argue for why their plan will work while the other point of view won’t, see if you can find a solution that incorporates the best of both proposals while minimizing the downsides. For example, should we empower our frontline people to make decisions? Yes. Is there the possibility that they will make mistakes if we do? Yes. Does that mean we have to choose between all decisions being made at the frontline, or all decisions being made at headquarters? No. There is a better decision that allows frontline decision-making and maintains accuracy and consistency. Find it.

2. Confusing decision-making with taking action As a leader, it is easy to think that your job is primarily to make decisions. Decision-making is only the first step. The purpose of leadership is to take action and move. If five frogs are sitting on a log and one decides to jump, how many frogs are still sitting on the log? The answer is five until the decision to jump is actually acted upon. Don’t confuse decision-making for taking action. Take action!

3. Making announcements with little follow-through If good decision-making is hard—taking action is even more difficult. The biggest trap for leaders is focusing too much time on getting things started and too little time on following through to achieve results. Legendary former chairman of Herman Miller, Max De Pree once likened leadership to being a third-grade teacher when he said that it oftens means repeating things over, and over, and over again until people get it right, right, right. As a leader you need to keep the vision alive—even after the newness wears off. You also have to provide people with the tools and resources they need to get the job done. Remember that there is a strategic and a tactical side to leadership. To be effective, you have to be good at both.

Happy New Year!! 5 Points to keep in Mind


It is lovely to have gone past nine days into 2012. Glory to God!

I do take this chance to wish all of you a wonderful Year full of good tidings, lots of grace, peace and above all joy in all you meet. In the long run we all want to learn, grow and mature. So to be well rounded in all important aspects here are five pointers to carry along the year.

1. Pray – thank God for another year. Pray more for our country and others. Mention one of your desires to five of others as this will be loving them as yourself.

2. Visitation – I like the Japanese saying, “What matters is not who you visit but it matters most who visits you” We are all important so make time to visit family, friends and the under-privileged. Be God’s ambassador taking with you water, milk, prayer and most of all the love of God. Be the miracle by offering more to all those around us. The bible records that those who give to the poor, orphans and widows lend unto the Lord. And He is never wants to be in debt!

3. Read Wide – make time to read everyday. The bible, a chapter or two everyday among other books. There is great wisdom and treasure in books.

4. Make time to Rest, Have fun and Enjoy. Make a holiday out of weekends by doing different interesting fresh and relaxing things. Make time to exercise and laugh. This reduces aging as it increases youth. It increases vigour and enthusiasm.

5. Note down your goals. Research what you require to achieve,Plan for them and follow through. Make sure you evaluate your steps each day to see if they lead you to your goals. Audit yourself weekly or monthly. Making amends as you go by. Remember it is not ironclad so make it flexible, accommodating arising issues and the dynamism that is life. This does not mean you miss the mark but allow yourself to breathe. The most important thing is try find accountability either use tools like excels, to do lists, targets or persons to check you. This ensures you actually commit to your goals.

May God be gracious to you in 2012!

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