Archive | July 2011

Huawei U8150 IDEOS: A User’s Review


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Please, before reading on take note that this blog has been closed and further comments and enquiries will be responded to on the new blog. For more of this, find me on my new blog: emmanuelchenze.com

Sometimes in late March this year I lost a low end Nokia feature phone that I really loved. What next? Replacement?

I cannot really refer to Huawei’s low cost smartphone, the U8150 IDEOS as a replacement because it completely revolutionized my usage of phones or rather unclassified PCs since I have always used it as my phone(calling, texting and such stuff), my personal computer, my tablet computer and to be sincere, just my everything.

With access to over 60,000 applications in the Android market, there’s just nothing that you can’t do with an Android smartphone whether its a low cost model like the IDEOS or a high end one like the Samsung Galaxy II.

Just like you would expect of a typical smartphone, the IDEOS is a serious power guzzler. The numerous apps you download from the Market end up draining the battery seriously. Without accessing the internet, listening to radio or playing music from the media player, the battery can last upto 6 hours. What’s the point of having your smartphone if you can’t listen to your favorite songs or FM radio station or get your mail and push notifications on the go? If you are an internet maniac like myself then plugging your device everytime is a habit you will have no choice but to embrace.

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Kenyans4Kenya: Goodwill and The Power of Social Media & Mobile Money Transfer


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A quick look at the Kenyan Twitterverse today shows two trends. There has been #AlfredMutua which did trend due to the ignorance of a government officer who believes that the government is always right even when its evident the opposite is true. Of course the other trending topic was #Kenyans4Kenya which I link with it’s brother(or sister), #FeedKE.

The initiative which is meant to raise funds to help Kenyans facing starvation in various parts of the country has been a true test of the power of social media, the blogosphere and emergent money transfer systems like M-PESA mobile money transfer and others like Airtel Money. Kenyans have flocked various online forums and social networks to express their solidarity with their starving countrymen and also sympathize with them and condole the families of those who lost their loved ones in what has been described as East Africa’s worst famine in sixty years.

People have overwhelmingly swarmed the Facebook page of the ‘Kenyans for Kenya’ initiative to contribute both in thought and kind. Twitter is even a bigger success story. With over Ksh 15milliom being raised in the first 24hours of the launch of the initiative, the power of mobile money transfer and social media cannot be downplayed.

Indeed to anyone who will read this blog post, I urge you to help other Kenyans facing starvation. Send your M-PESA donation to paybill number 111111 or 10000 using the account name “feedke”.

It is such a pleasure that social media and mobile money transfer can be integrated to help save lives in our nation.

A special thank you to the various corporates who’ve come out to support this noble cause.

Also posted at ECHENZE KENYA

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NETLESSNESS


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You wake up, you update your Facebook status. You check mail, I mean email not snail mail. Of course you were tweeting till you slept. Never mind you already read all the news items contained in the bulky tabloid the newspaper vendor is selling across the street! Need I say that your phone stayed on the whole night not for security reasons but so that your push notifications are delivered instantly? Ok, you haven’t forgotten the chat session you never ended since Morpheus kidnapped you earlier than you expected.

Take a breath, visualize a world without the internet, without the world wide web. Now take a break. Where would you read this blog post then? Clueless?

One of the main disadvantages of computers is that they make us, human beings, overdependent on them. I think this far and wide extends to the internet and all information systems. We just can’t live without the information superhighway. Can we?

I don’t know what others may think but it’s practically impossible to think of the world without the interconnectivity and seamless sharing of information that we are used to today.

That we are living in the information age is undisputable. That we have slaves of the Net, as we fondly refer to the internet, is not lost on anyone.

Thus for the developing countries, Kenya included, the growth of the information and communication technology (ICT) sector is something that should be of utmost priority because that is where our future as a nation lies.

Whether we like it or not, we have no option but to join the rest of the world in tapping the full potential of the internet. There are challenges but challenges are there to be overcome.

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Also posted at ECHENZE KENYA

Google+ Android App: Superb


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It’s just a week since I downloaded and installed the Google+ android application. It has not disappointed.

It may take sometime before the app finally appears on the android Market(the Market itself got a serious makeover early this week) but the apk file offered for free download on various android fan blogs is above blog. It comes readily with the handy and equally fascinating Hangouts feature. Thanks to this app, social networking will never be the same again. I’ve used the app on my android smartphone and it runs smoothly, it does not force close nor does it consume a lot of data(something which many android applications are known for). Therefore, for those of us in countries where data plans are still an elitist feature, the Google+ application is a God send. Compare it with the official Facebook app for android and you will know what I am talking about. Despite frequent force close issues, data drainage and total unreliability, the Facebook official app for android still has unnecessary delays with it’s chat client. All this is unheard of in the Google+ app.

For the Apple fanboys, fear not! The G+ app for the iPhone is out. The iPad one is yet to appear but it probably isn’t far.

I am not an employee of Google or their puppet but a good thing deserves a good rating. Whether Google+ will succeed as a social network is disputable but that the G+ app is a killer app for android phones is an open fact.

Also posted at ECHENZE KENYA

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Google+, Facebook Live Video Chat & Cloud Computing


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Last week search giant Google unveiled it’s new social network dubbed in various technology blogs as a potential Facebook killer, Google+. Earlier on, Google’s rival in the mobile phone operating system platform, Apple, had unveiled its new cloud service, iCloud. And just yesterday, another Google competitor, Facebook, launched live video chat powered by Skype. Ladies and gentlemen, the digital revolution is rolling while we witness.

I was not lucky to get a hands on experience with the products released by Google and Apple since I don’t have an iOS device to test the new cloud service(it rolls out to the general public later this year) nor was I lucky to get the few invites to test Google+ beta. However, I had the chance to try out live video chat on my Facebook profile. This is such an “awesome” product, just as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had described it prior to its official release. Of course I experienced some sound issues but I can blame those on my ISP and network related problems. I was having a conversation with a geek friend of mine, who was lucky to get an early invite to Google+, and he brushes away my great experience with Facebook video chat saying unlike it, which allows only one friend per chat, Google+ allows chat connections of upto 10 friends. Anyway who said I want to chat with ten people at a go? Of course Google+ is a great social network going by the positive reviews it has gotten from top bloggers, technology analysts and critics. Apart from the multiple friend video chat feature, Google+ also has a feature called Circles which allows one the privacy that Facebook has been missing, having your boss and weekend buddies on the same social network with each only seeing the appropriate content without going through the tedious process of manually creating friend lists. I have already spotted the sleek, “killer” Google+ android application and I just can’t wait for the public roll out of the great social network from the makers of my favourite mobile operating system, Android!

Turning to the cloud, everyone is talking about “the cloud” these days. I have been using a couple of cloud services on my android device and there’s no lying that this is the future of computing more so in terms of data storage. How secure the data stored in the cloud is is another discussion altogether(remember the Sony PlayStation network and Qriocity service hack?) but the advantages are enormous. Let my brothers and sisters using iOS devices gladly look forward to the rolling out of iCloud and the new iOS 5. For us in Android the seamless syncing of our contact lists, Gmail, Google Music and cloud tied service applications like m-Spot, Netqin antivirus, Dropbox etc we are also enjoying the benefits that come with emerging trends in the technology world.

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Also posted on ECHENZE KENYA