Categories
Entertainment

Netflix Arrives Nigeria – Quick Facts

  • netflix-logo3 Subscription plans available US$7.99/US$9.99/$11.99 per month. Details here . GT Bank rate is about N270 for US$1
  • New subscribers get one month free viewing. BUT you are required to provide your card details to sign up. Automatic debit occurs after 30 days – unles you cancel before then.
  • 4 Streaming formats available; LOW, SD, HD and Ultra HD
  • On an 8 inch tablet, LOW format renders quite well, consuming 300MB/hr. Watched Idris Elba’s “Beasts of no nation”. Other options; SD 0.7GB/hr, HD 3GB/hr and ultra HD 7GB/hr
  • Netflix has geographical restrictions.The US market, expectedly, is the most favoured. However, this VPN app worked well for me on my Android tab to bypass this restriction.
  • “House of Cards” and a bunch of popular TV Shows and movies are not available for viewing in Nigeria! Heard DSTV bought the rights from Sony for “House of Cards”. With your VPN app, however, you bypass this restriction.
  • Glo Internet, as terrible as it may seem to many, has the most cost effective plans for Netflix. Especially if you subscribe to the Android BIS Hack.
  • Glo also has a Weekend data plan of N500 for 3GB. However, you need to have an existing subscription to use this. Details here.
  • Though there have been a flurry of activities from the Mobile Networks to provide more generous data plans, unfortunately, Netflix is not going to be a threat to DSTV in Nigeria anytime soon due to high data cost.
Categories
Advertorial Entertainment

Deezer Music Service – Unlimited Music Downloads

A few weeks back, i wrote about Xbox Music, a Windows 8 app that gives you access to an estimated 30 million+ of songs to stream for free on your PC (Online or Offline mode), on the web and on your android & iOS tablets or phones .

This music service, however, has at least 2 major flaws;

deezer

  • The mobile apps does not have an offline mode. You can only stream music online – Data services required!
  • At US$9.99 monthly subscription fee, it is not competitive.

For those of us living in Africa – except, perhaps, South Africa – we have very limited music service options. Popular services like Spotify, Rdio, Rhapsody, Google Play Music and Amazon are just not available.

It was only by chance that i stumbled on this less known music service called Deezer. It boasts of a presence in a whooping 182 countries, including Nigeria. The first thing that struck me was the similarity in its song database and that of Xbox Music.

The following are what i will consider as the strengths of this service;

  • Seemingly similar song database to Microsoft’s Xbox.
  • A more affordable US$4.99 (NGN850) subscription fee per month, giving you access to 30 million+ music tracks including Nigerian hit tracks .
  • Offers mobile apps for iOS, Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry platforms.
  • Offline music playback both on the desktop PC and on your mobile devices.

Fortunately, Deezer offers a 15 day trial. You have nothing to lose, why not give it a try?

Categories
Entertainment Gadgets

Xbox Music – Free Unlimited Music Downloads

One of my favourite apps available on Windows 8.1 OS is the Xbox music. This service was introduced with Windows 8 at launch in 2012 but for some reasons, it was not available to Nigerian card holders. However, the gates have now been flung open to just about anyone that cares.

The business model for this music service from Microsoft can be summarized as follows;

  • Unlimited Music Streaming
  • Unlimited Music Downloads
  • Stream with your Android and iOS devices
  • Access to over 30 million songs. Believe me, even very old school Nigerian tracks from Cloud 7, Bongos Ikwue & Sonny Okosuns are available.
  • All for a monthly fee of US$9.99 (N1650), which can be paid for using your regular Naira denominated Visa/Mastercard cards.
  • You even get this service free for a whole month. You get charged only from the second month

Too good to be true? Okay, there are caveats;

  • Unless you make an outright purchase of a track, usually in MP3 format for US$0.99 per track, songs downloaded with your subscription (called Xbox Music Pass) are usually in encrypted (DRM) WMA format. The tracks are not playable elsewhere but only on PCs that you are signed into with your Xbox Music credentials.
  • You can not download music using Xbox Music Android and iOS apps.
  • The Android and iOS apps are still not available in Nigeria but there are workarounds.

Even with these limitations, i believe it is still worth the fees being charged. Moreso, i am actively working on ways to circumvent the restrictions Microsoft has put in place. I have some ideas already…

xbox-music-ios-617x416

Categories
Entertainment Social Media

Guess Who’s Back!

Yes, back on the Blackberry chat platform but on an Android device. The best of two worlds you would say.

Finally, Blackberry resumed the rollout of the now cross platform BBM messaging services, opening up the much sought after service to the world.

Still a bit put off by the staggered rollout though. For reasons not very clear, Blackberry has created a virtual waiting line, adding subscribers only in batches – probably trying to test the impact of the deluge of subscribers on its servers. But, thankfully, i had pre-registered my email address on bbm.com and that did guarantee my being among the first set of people to try out the this chat platform on a non-Blackberry device.

Configuring the app on my Samsung S3 was a breeze. And by adding your email address, all your BBM chat contacts are migrated seamlessly to your new Android phone.

Not much of the chatty type though but it sure feels good to be on Sub Saharan Africa’s – and soon to be – the World’s most popular chat platform.

My choice of BBM on Android is majorly because of privacy concerns – I do not have to give out my phone number to chat with anyone. All i need do is to exchange PIN. Perfect!

Perhaps it is the best decision to unbundle the golden goose that is BBM from the dying Blackberry as, obviously, the service is quite popular. Even Blackberry did not anticipate the number of people willing to latch on to its chat services.

I do predict a steady decline in the number of active users on the other chat platforms because of the cult followership Blackberry chat has in Africa and Asia. And yes, we do have the numbers!

Screenshot_2013-10-22-10-20-53

Screenshot_2013-10-22-11-09-57

 

Categories
Entertainment Lifestyle

“Dear Mama” – A Tribute To Tupac Amaru Shakur (1971-1996)

Editors Note:

This article was first published on July 13, 2013. It is being republished today to commemorate the anniversary of 2Pac Shakur’s death exactly 17 years ago today. He would have been 42 years old.

“Since we all came from a woman, got our name from a woman, and our game from a woman. I wonder why we take from women, why we rape our women, why we hate our women? I think its time we killed for our women, be real to our women, try to heal our women, cus if we dont we’ll have a race of babies that will hate the ladies, who make the babies. And since a man can’t make one he has no right to tell a woman when and where to create one.”

– Tupac Shakur (“Keep Ya Head Up” | 1993)

The themes of most of Shakur’s songs revolved around the violence and hardship in the ghettos where he grew up, racism and other social problems. Both of his parents and several other of his family were members of the Black Panther Party, whose ideals were reflected in his songs.

Many would, however, describe him as a very controversial figure not because of this but because of his perceived disrespect for women and the family in general.

This perception was mostly wrong though his method of delivering his lyrics were usually explicit and probably did not help his image much in this respect. But truth be told, how else can you preach against the evils he talked except in the language the perpetrators would understand?

2pacThe first single from his debut album, “Brendan’s got a baby” (1991) was based on a newspaper story of a twelve-year-old girl getting pregnant from her cousin and trying to dispose of the baby in a trash can. In the song, he explores the issue of teen pregnancy and its effect on the young mothers and their families.

“Dear Mama”, from his third solo album, Me Against the World (1995), is probably one of his best known songs and was written in homage to his mother, Afeni Shakur where he praised her for the undeserving and unending love his mother showed to him. It is still considered by many to be 2Pac’s most emotional and most respected song.

The record producer, Tony Pizarro, says about the song;

Pac used to make references to ‘Dear Mama’ in a lot of different songs and I’d always be like ‘You know that’s a songs in itself.’ And one day he was like ‘I got somethin’ for that.’ And he was like ‘Man, you have “In My Wildest Dreams” by the Crusaders and I was like ‘Yeah.’ He was like ‘Yeah, I got something for that.’ So I got the track ready. Pac just came through and just dropped it and blessed it with them vocals.

“Letter 2 My Unborn” (2001) is yet another where Tupac showed his true opinion about his respect for the family. In the song Tupac speaks to his hypothetical unborn child, relating stories of his own life and advising the child to avoid the troubles that he himself has faced.

Even moderately explicit tracks like “Wonda why they call you b*tch” (1996) that, on the surface, seems to be demeaning to women, was in fact advising a particular lady who he considered a sister to change her ways from prostitution and related vices.

Perhaps to satisfy the critics of this track, a recording released in his fifth posthumous studio album “Better Dayz” (recorded 1996 but released 2002) featured the track “Never Call U B*tch again” where he was apologizing to an hypothetical girlfriend, telling her how much he appreciates her, promising to change his ways and more importantly, promising never to call her a b*tch again.

2pac still remains one of my best rap artiste ever. His Unfortunate death in 1996 at the age of 25 has not in any way diminish the very high regard i have for this poet. Listening to his songs quickly brings to fore the shallowness of most of the songs we hear today, especially from the Nigerian music scene.

As we approach the 17th year anniversary of the demise of this music icon come September 13th, one can only wish that there would be an increasing appreciation of the positive aspects of his music.

Categories
Entertainment

“Oh Sweet Lorraine” – Emotional Song From A 96 Year Old To His Late Wife

953637-fred-stobaugh-and-his-wife-lorraineThe good Lord definitely works in mysterious ways.

It took the whole 96 years of Fred Stobaugh’s life for him to be transported from relative obscurity to worldwide limelight, thanks to the letter he penned to his wife.

Sitting alone in his living room one month after the death of his wife, he decided to write a letter to Green Shoe Studios in response to the singer/songwriter contest advert he saw in the newspaper. The lyrics he had the inspiration to pen that evening and its composition, was a tribute to his late wife – his companion for 75 years.

Currently, the single “Oh Sweet Lorraine” is sitting pretty at No 7 on the top of the US  iTunes charts with over 6000 downloads so far, rubbing shoulders with songs from Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga and Robin Thicke.

3-oh-sweet-lorraine-650-430I tip this song for a Grammy nomination for best new song and a win for best country song – for all objective and sentimental reasons. Probably listened to the track more than 50 times these past couple of days.

Click here to buy the song, you just may be ensuring the man lives the remaining years of his life in comfort.

The official documentary of this song has witnessed about 3 million cumulative views so far. You too can view it from the link below. Please view it. The song itself starts from around the 5.53 minute mark. Careful, you just might start feeling all so mushy with emotion. The last time i felt this way was while watching Kevin Skinner’s first audition at the 2009 “America’s got Talent” contest. He eventually won the $1m top prize.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDi4hBWsvkY&w=640&h=385

Categories
Entertainment

What Is The Problem With Nigerian Music? – Part 1

The Nigerian music scene has always been vibrant though the acceptance of its brand of music has largely been local with a few Nigerians in diaspora helping to spread its popularity to sub saharan Africa. Unfortunately, much as they may want us to believe, our artistes are largely unknown outside Africa, of course, except among Africans in diaspora.

Sunday Adegeye popularly known as King Sunny Ade was the first African to be nominated twice for music’s highest honours, the Grammies, in the 1980s. Son of Afrobeat music legend Fela Kuti, Femi Kuti, has also been nominated for a Grammy award three times in the world music category in 2003, 2010 and 2012. Both have never won.

ice-princeIt is unfortunate that while the Nigerian music scene can be considered to be at height of its vibrancy ever, not much achievement has been made in making our music truly international. I was priviledged to watch the 2013 BET music award a few months back when Ice Prince was given an award for best African act, the largely black American audience had never heard of him. To attest to the quality of Ice Prince‘s 2010 rap release, “Oleku”, it is an original and innovative rap release that would continue to rank in my top ten of Nigerian music releases for a very long time.

So, the question is, What is the problem with the Nigerian brand of Music? To have a better understanding, perhaps we should start by going down memory lane as i know it.

The pre 1970s witnessed the birth and popularity of a number of music genres that included Highlife, Juju, Fuji (Were) and Afrobeat. Equally popular were the creators and big propents of these genres which included Nigeria’s music great, Fela Ransome-Kuti (Later known as Fela Anikulapo-Kuti) ,Bobby Benson, Victor Olaiya, Oliver de Coque, Nico Mbarga , Sunny Ade, Ebenezer Obey and a host of others.

The 1980s saw the emergence of the hip hop/RnB genre, slugging it out with the aforementioned, hugely popular music genres. Naturally, this genre was popular with the youth of that time and no party was complete without the music of Kris Okotie, Dizzy K Falola, Jide Obi and Felix Liberty.

By the end of the 1980s, the popularity of RnB had taken a huge nose dive with only the likes of Alex Okorigwe “Alex O” that was keeping the flame burning in his own way.

By the early 1990s, Hip Hop music was very dead.

The reggae/ragga genre that got re-introduced in the late 1980s had now become firmly rooted with about every new musician coming into the scene having the tag “Rasta” afixed to his name, with claims of “I & I just come from Ethiopia!”. Perhaps the greatest of this era was Majekodunmi Fasheke “Majek Fashek”. Others were Ras Kimono and Orits Wiliki. Nigeria’s brand of reggae music was hugely popular in sub saharan Africa. I remember that i could sing most of the tracks from these guys from top to bottom. However, long before the turn of the century, Reggae music also went belly up!

However, in the midst of this chaos came a group of boys who called themselves “Emphasis“. They created a reawakening of the hip hop brand popularizing the Nigerian HipHop flavour as we now know it today – music lyrics with a huge mix of local dialects and pidgin English, hugely influenced by black American beats. They had fairly decent airplay. Charlie Boy, Dr. Alban‘s cousin, probably had the biggest airplay of this era for this genre with his biker, bad boy persona.

To be continued…

Categories
Controversies Entertainment Lifestyle

“Dear Mama” – A Tribute To Tupac Amaru Shakur (1971-1996)

“Since we all came from a woman, got our name from a woman, and our game from a woman. I wonder why we take from women, why we rape our women, why we hate our women? I think its time we killed for our women, be real to our women, try to heal our women, cus if we dont we’ll have a race of babies that will hate the ladies, who make the babies. And since a man can’t make one he has no right to tell a woman when and where to create one.”

– Tupac Shakur (“Keep Ya Head Up” | 1993)

The themes of most of Shakur’s songs revolved around the violence and hardship in the ghettos where he grew up, racism and other social problems. Both of his parents and several other of his family were members of the Black Panther Party, whose ideals were reflected in his songs.

Many would, however, describe him as a very controversial figure not because of this but because of his perceived disrespect for women and the family in general.

This perception was mostly wrong though his method of delivering his lyrics were usually explicit and probably did not help his image much in this respect. But truth be told, how else can you preach against the evils he talked except in the language the perpetrators would understand?

2pacThe first single from his debut album, “Brendan’s got a baby” (1991) was based on a newspaper story of a twelve-year-old girl getting pregnant from her cousin and trying to dispose of the baby in a trash can. In the song, he explores the issue of teen pregnancy and its effect on the young mothers and their families.

“Dear Mama”, from his third solo album, Me Against the World (1995), is probably one of his best known songs and was written in homage to his mother, Afeni Shakur where he praised her for the undeserving and unending love his mother showed to him. It is still considered by many to be 2Pac’s most emotional and most respected song.

The record producer, Tony Pizarro, says about the song;

Pac used to make references to ‘Dear Mama’ in a lot of different songs and I’d always be like ‘You know that’s a songs in itself.’ And one day he was like ‘I got somethin’ for that.’ And he was like ‘Man, you have “In My Wildest Dreams” by the Crusaders and I was like ‘Yeah.’ He was like ‘Yeah, I got something for that.’ So I got the track ready. Pac just came through and just dropped it and blessed it with them vocals.

“Letter 2 My Unborn” (2001) is yet another where Tupac showed his true opinion about his respect for the family. In the song Tupac speaks to his hypothetical unborn child, relating stories of his own life and advising the child to avoid the troubles that he himself has faced.

Even moderately explicit tracks like “Wonda why they call you b*tch” (1996) that, on the surface, seems to be demeaning to women, was in fact advising a particular lady who he considered a sister to change her ways from prostitution and related vices.

Perhaps to satisfy the critics of this track, a recording released in his fifth posthumous studio album “Better Dayz” (recorded 1996 but released 2002) featured the track “Never Call U B*tch again” where he was apologizing to an hypothetical girlfriend, telling her how much he appreciates her, promising to change his ways and more importantly, promising never to call her a b*tch again.

2pac still remains one of my best rap artiste ever. His Unfortunate death in 1996 at the age of 25 has not in any way diminish the very high regard i have for this poet. Listening to his songs quickly brings to fore the shallowness of most of the songs we hear today, especially from the Nigerian music scene.

As we approach the 17th year anniversary of the demise of this music icon come September 13th, one can only wish that there would be an increasing appreciation of the positive aspects of his music.

Categories
Entertainment Gadgets

One-For-All Universal Remote Controllers

The big screen remote controller was the first to give up the ghost, followed closely by that of the home theatre. Both are LG brands and are out of warranty.

For six months after that, i had to leave the comfort of my couch to operate these appliances. It was not much fun.

Eventually, i decided to pick up a replacement remote controller at the nearby mall. The Game store in The Palms mall, Lekki (Nigeria) usually stock most of these accessories and i was not disappointed.

I had never heard of the brand, “One for All“, but i was particularly attracted to this particular universal remote controller on display, thanks to its attractive packaging and design. It is very stylishly built and oozed of quality but a bit pricey at about N7,300 (US$45).

It is indeed a very good product for the price you pay. The fit and feel of this remote is very nice. Expectedly, it was not South African made like a lot of products in that store, it was made in The Netherlands.

Christened “SmartControl” – it is a remote controller that promises to be easy to set up, easy to use and with a bunch of simple macros that let you complete Herculean tasks like switching on your TV, Blu-ray player and home cinema system at the touch of a single button.

Setting it up was not particularly a breeze but eventually i got it done – controlling my DSTV cable decoder, TV and HiFI from a single remote. The controller has 6 configurable buttons to control a total of 6 devices, however, you have a ton of Manufacturers and models of  appliances to choose from. I would be very shocked if there is a single device that can not be controlled with this device so long as it is a Television, Cable Decoder, DVD Player, MP3 Player, Amplifiers or Game controller.

The downside of this device is that it does not come with any batteries bundled with it and sometimes, programming it can be a pain but that can happen with any programmable remote with such a setup.

SmartControl

Categories
Entertainment

Still On GOtv

Going back to the DSTV retail shop in Lekki to pick up a GOtv branded cable TV package was not without apprehension and skepticism.

My first visit was not a fulfilling one, I really was not impressed with the picture quality I was shown . Also, no thanks to the limited coverage of GOtv’s signals in Lagos, you are thrown back to last century’s technology with the outdoor antenna you are forced to use to improve reception.

GOtv has two packages, the GOtv and the GOtv plus. The GOtv package hardware is being sold at an introductory price of N8000 and includes 3 months of free viewing for the 26 channels on offer while the GOtv plus hardware is N9500, also with 3 months free viewing for the 33 channels on offer. Subsequent monthly subscription fees is put at N1,000 and N1,500 respectively for the GOtv and GOtv plus packages.


Since my purchase is intended for my kids, I was forced to subscribe to the GOtv plus package because it contains the Disney Junior kiddies channel, their favourite. A summary of the channels available for each pacakage is listed below.

The installation package comes with the decoder, remote controller – the same as the one used for regular DSTV, AV cable and an indoor antennae. For N2,500 more, you are given a basic antennae which should come with a pole.I was swindled out of my pole.Please note that GOtv does not use any Smartcard.

The Installation is quite straightforward. On Lagos mainland, you may not have a need for an external antenna. However, if you live on Lagos Island, you definitely would be needing one.

I could not mount the outdoor antenna yet because of the missing pole. However, carefully placing the antenna on my balcony, i got about 26% signal strength and surprisingly, it was good for viewing with no artefacts.

Overall, i think it is a good buy especially considering the low monthly subscription. The picture quality is comparable to what is being offered on the regular DSTV cable regular packages. I would expect GOtv to speed up the expansion of its coverage area as the external antennaes constitute an eye sore.

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