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Gadgets Mobile Technology

The Long Wait

Weaning my wife off her Blackberry addiction has been a very impossible task. Apparently, all my rants have come to nothing. Read my rants here.

Here in Africa, particularly in Nigeria, Blackberry addiction is still quite rife. Most go to extreme lengths to get one of these devices, preferrably the flagship models.

Personally, i have very little love for that brand and all it stands for. My reasons are summarized below;

– OVER PRICED PHONES!!! Yes, the caps was intentional. Would gladly choose the N35,000 Tecno Phantom A+ Android phone over the now N70,000 Blackberry Z10
– Mostly boring designs and limited screen estate. Okay, the Z10 is an exception.
– Limited apps. Like they say, the app makes the phone. Right? Unfortunately, even the Z10 and other new offerings can not compensate for this.
– Very limited free apps. Yeah, for cheap skates like me!
– Perhaps most importantly, its addictiveness

long waitUnfortunately, my “educated” analysis usually fall on deaf ears. Most did not care, so long as they have their chat services. In Nigeria, Blackberry is synonymous with its chat services, the BBM. Remove the BBM from Blackberry and what do you have?

Well, it was very good music to my ears when i heard that BBM was going to be made cross platform, meaning that the BBM would now be available on Android and Apple Phones. Definitely a welcome development for we consumers, though not sure how it would impact on Blackberry. I can however hazard a guess, I foresee them being transformed from a mobile phone manufacturer to a messaging company, in the ranks of Whatsapp and the likes.

Armed with this information, i approached my wife again in a bid to woo her over. On one knee, i proposed to her … “Darling, please come over to android”. Guess what? She said yes! yes!! yes!!!

Finally! Got her off the sinking Blackberry ship.

Blackberry said soon, the app would be available on Android. Beta tests was even conducted with a select few last week. But how soon, nobody knows. Before end of summer, is always the vague response.

Guess we are in for a long wait. I pray she does not change her mind before then.

Categories
Gadgets Mobile

Between BBM, Whatsapp and Privacy Concerns

Lets face it, in Nigeria only two messaging platforms are worth considering – Blackberry’s BBM and Whatsapp. And of these two, Whatsapp is probably more widespread though not necessarily more actively used.

The reason for this is very simple.

whatsapp-blackberry-diaryofageekApart from the fact that Whatsapp is cross platform, subscribing to this messaging service and acquiring a bunch of chat buddies is usually a breeze and very much less restrictive. Once a user subscribes to Whatsapp, the platform automatically grants the subscriber unrestrictive access to other Whatsapp users in his mobile phone contact. On this platform, your mobile phone number is your unique identifier.

On the other hand, Blackberry’s BBM requires the exchange of alphanumeric PINs for two subscribers to open an unrestricted communication channel between themselves. Your BBM contacts are very separate from your mobile phone contacts.

Whether Blackberry would continue with the BBM PIN model in its cross platform implementation (Android & iOS) come summer 2013 is yet to be confirmed. However, for those that are very conscious of releasing their personal details online, it is very obvious that Whatsapp is a more intrusive messaging system and throws up a lot of privacy concerns because of the need for you to release your mobile number, sometimes to strangers. BBM might just be the best messaging platform to adopt.

Nigeria has a notorious Blackberry cult followership and even those not using Blackberry phones still have a soft spot for this messaging platform. While BBM usage in Nigeria may not necessarily be a reflection of global usage rate, it is expected that millions would jump on board. And for a country with over 170 million residents, coupled with other new users from developing countries in the Asia where Blackberry has its strength, it is only a matter of time for the present 61 million BBM users to surpass the 200 million strong users on Whatsapp platform.

Categories
Hosting

Administer Your Server On The Move

In our fast paced world, it does make sense for you to have access to your server while away from your desk and on those few occassions when having a tablet with you might be a little awkward, access from your phone might be your best option.

Padersync is the best choice on the blackberry but at $7.50, it may be considered a little pricey.

Stumbled on BBSSH while hunting for a cheaper alternative. Not only is it cheaper, it is actually free. Point your mobile browser here to have a feel of the app.

Like the Padersync, the only snag to this exciting application is that it uses a separate data plan from your BIS plan. Might make sense to subscribe to a N1000 plan from any of the networks available in Nigeria instead of eating up your call credit.

Would give it a test over the next couple of days, hope the feedback would be good.

Categories
Gadgets Mobile

Design Your Own BlackBerry Themes

There is an almost inexhaustible supply of blackberry themes on the internet. I have come across very cool looking ones and of course, trashy ones too. However, very few of these can be considered to be functional or perfectly suited to ones personal needs.

Personally, I like my themes to be able to give me at a glance, a summary of my itinerary, agenda or scheduled tasks on the homescreen and bottom dock icons, aside from other bells and whistles. Themes like these are not very common and those that fit this bill usually come at a fee.

Thankfully, Blackberry has made it possible for everyone to design themes that suits them. This can be done with just a few clicks. However, some level of skills is required to design more visually appealing ones.

Point your browser to http://us.blackberry.com/apps-software/themestudio/ and downland BlackBerry Theme Studio version 5 or 6, depending on your OS version. Caution, the download size is about 300mb with no option of resuming downloads if you are using a download manager.

 

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

Categories
Gadgets Mobile

How To Back Up Blackberry 3rd Party Applications

Many of you have had reasons to upgrade your Blackberry device OS or restore to factory settings. No doubt, by doing this it may solve your blackberry’s issue, but of course, you will lose all your data.

Even though you can use the Backup and Restore function of your Desktop Manager (provided you have the backup file), you will still lose all those 3rd party applications. The only option open to you is to install back each application one by one OTA, a slow and frustrating experience using Nigeria’s mobile Internet.

A very easy way to backup those 3rd applications on your Blackberry device is detailed below. With these simple steps, you will able to restore back all your applications without having to download it all over again.

1) Please install the latest Blackberry Desktop Manager (You can download it from www.blackberry.com)

2) Connect your Blackberry device to computer.

3) Launch Blackberry Desktop Manager then click on Device Switch Wizard.

4) Click on Switch Blackberry Devices

5) Select Third-party Applications ONLY then click Next

6) At this point, the Desktop Manager will back up all your 3rd party apps. When finished PLEASE DO NOT CLICK NEXT OR CANCEL.

7) Using Windows Explorer, search for the folder with same name with your Blackberry PIN. You need to enable hidden files & folders to locate this folder. For Windows 7 OS PCs, you can get the folder in the following location;

C:UsersWaleAppDataLocalTemp

8) Make a copy of the folder. This folder contains all your back up files. Keep this folder in a safe place.

9) Go back to the Desktop Manager and cancel the process.

How To Restore Back Your 3rd Party Application

1) Connect Blackberry device to computer

2) Launch Blackberry Desktop Manager then click on Application Loader

3) Select Add/Remove Applications

4) Click Browse button and select the *.alx file where you have backup

5) Click next button to restore.

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

Categories
Gadgets Humor Mobile

I Hate Blackberry

Is it just me or are there other men out there who, just like me, have a problem with the almost endless periods their wives (or women) spend chatting on their Blackberries? Anyone?

I have always given the Blackberry its due respect for what it stands for and what it has been able to achieve but I have never particularly liked it for a lot of objective reasons that I have listed here and here. From this disadvantaged point, I only need the slightest reason to nail its coffin and burry the device for good.

You see, my wife had her birthday sometime this month and she got a Blackberry as a gift. Of course she was excited about it but I had some reservations which I expressed to her. She replied, “oh, I wont go about adding just anybody’s BB pin (she has kept her word on this) but just a few friends”. Very reasonable, isn’t it? The problem is, I would gladly trade the few friends she has added for the whole world!

Right from when she wakes up, till she goes to bed, there is always that irritating and annoying chime that is always driving me to the wall. There is always a chat session going on.

Chime…Chime…Chime….arrrghhhh!!!

“So, who are you chatting with this time”
“Banke”
“But you have been chatting with her all day, and it is rather late”
“She wants to know who got evicted from Big Brother’s house”
“Please just switch off that thing and spare a little time for your family”
“Why should I switch it off, at least, when you are with your iPad, you rarely have time for anyone too”

I paused as the truth sank in. As usual, she has won the argument. How exactly can I explain to her that what I do on my iPad is “brain” work on how to make the world a better place and not some idle chat?! I became more resolved in my conviction to sabotage her phone.

I had threatened to sabotage the phone and, really, I can do it. Thankfully, she is not very tech savvy, so I could just tamper with the Internet configuration and she would be no wiser. I am really bidding my time, will strike at the right moment, leaving no trace of my dastardly act.

Hehehehehehe. (Wicked laugh)

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Categories
Articles

GLO mobile Service Outage

GLO mobile Service outage in Port Harcourt. Affected services include GSM and Blackberry services.

Categories
Gadgets Mobile

RIM’s “Playbook”, Another Pretender To The Throne?

It is generally agreed that Apple’s Ipad is the flagship tablet in the market today. But good thing the product is being revamped and repackaged as the iPad 2, a lot of tablets have played catch-up and probably would have edged it out of the top spot.

The Motorola Xoom was featured on this site as one of the hottest tablets soon to be released. Another contender is the Playbook, a product from the stables of the manufacturers of the Blackberry brand.

The last one year has seen the market share and sales of the Blackberry plummet, no thanks to the Android OS backed gadgets. However, the company has decided to field the Playbook as a device that would probably revive the fortunes of the company.

It has the following enviable specs;

  • 7-inch LCD, 1024 x 600, WSVGA, capacitive touch screen with full multi-touch and gesture support
  • BlackBerry Tablet OS with support for symmetric multiprocessing
  • 1 GHz dual-core processor
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 16-64GB of storage
  • Dual HD cameras (3 MP front facing, 5 MP rear facing), supports 1080p HD video recording
  • Video playback: 1080p HD Video, H.264, MPEG, DivX, WMV
  • Audio playback: MP3, AAC, WMA
  • HDMI video output
  • Wi-Fi – 802.11 a/b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
  • Connectors: microHDMI, microUSB, charging contacts
  • Open, flexible application platform with support for WebKit/HTML-5, Adobe Flash Player 10.1, Adobe Mobile AIR, Adobe Reader, POSIX, OpenGL, Java
  • Ultra thin and portable:
  • Measures 5.1″x7.6″x0.4″ (130mm x 193mm x 10mm)
  • Weighs less than a pound (approximately 0.9 lb or 400g)
  • RIM intends to also offer 3G and 4G models in the future.

Hands-on tests at the CES showed that thePlaybook was much snappier that most devices out there. I daresay that if RIM should consider a release of a 10.1 inch version,  we may officially ask the Ipad to abdicate the throne in favour of the Playbook.

It is expected to be released very soon. There was, however, no mention of the pricing.

Categories
Gadgets

Push Email – Revisited

Love it or hate it, the Blackberry has indeed become the device of choice for a lot of mobile enthusiasts, especially those who want to conduct business on the move.  Another category of users are those, who more out of peer pressure than anything else, find themselves clutching one, not considering the fact that they can barely afford it and greatly ignorant to the advantages the device confers. These are the set of people that would rather offer their BB pins than their mobile numbers, no “credit” for phone calls.

And for those of us who are torn between loving and hating this range of devices,  we would quickly list the following as some of the reasons why we have not caught the Blackberry bug;

– You can not use BlackBerry effectively unless you have a BlackBerry Internet plan. You are effectively tied to the apron strings of your network provider because without it, there is no blackberry messenger or email support.
– Theoretical “unlimited” data usage limited by the less than 3MB download limit using the in-built BlackBerry Browser and email client, a restriction placed by Blackberry.
– Less features compared to phones of similar or even lesser pricing
– Constant access to work.Your boss and co-workers will expect constant communication,  ignoring company emails can have negative effects. This is especially true if your BlackBerry is provided by an employer with demanding deadlines.
– Blackberry devices and Internet Plan are rather expensive and unaffordable to many.

smartphone push email

Grudgingly, we have also identified the following as the advantages or the edge blackberry devices have over other smartphones;
– They use up much less wireless network capacity to complete the same tasks, but some attribute this to the crappy, outmoded Web browser that doesn’t deliver comparable modern Web experience.
– Longer battery life
– Most Blackberries have usable QWERTY keyboards, so you can actually type fast and with no errors

But one major feature that is really the envy  of most is the Email Superiority. This was also our summation in a related post, in which we limited its efficiency only to the quality of internet services being offered by the mobile networks.

So what exactly are the features of Blackberry email messaging that separates it from the rest?
Email was the original purpose of BlackBerry devices and even after numerous operating system changes and upgrades, the email program still works much like it always did. BlackBerry is a Pioneer of Push Email. Wikipaedia describes PUSH EMAIL as e-mail systems that provide an always-on capability, in which new e-mail is actively transferred (pushed) as it arrives by the mail delivery agent (MDA) (commonly called mail server) to the mail user agent (MUA), also called the e-mail client. E-mail clients include smartphones and, less strictly, IMAP personal computer mail applications.Your emails, Calender are synced all the time.

Some alternatives were analyzed, Seven and Emoze email clients were listed among the best. However, these email clients are limited by their functionality. They act mostly by polling emails from email servers on a scheduled basis and pulls any messages into unique folders in your device. This process, apart from the fact that you do not get your mails in real time, it also drains your battery heavily.

push email smartphones

I took it upon myself to find a more satisfying and equally efficient alternative to the Blackberry, an alternative where i am not required to use any particular device and to a large extent, play by my own rules and not that dictated by any network.

Microsoft Exchange Hosting does pretty much all what Blackberry does and will work across lots of devices. You can pick up any symbian device and either use the free Mail4Exchange or the more reliable RoadSync which is not free. You can also use activesync with your Mobile Outlook for Windows Mobile devices, your iPhone, Android, Palm or just about any device that supports Microsoft Exchange. In a full Exchange environment, not only is everything synced at the server with the mobile device, and depending on your subscription, you would also get a free copy of Outlook 2007 for your home computer as part of the deal and that would also be synced with the server.  So changes to your email, calendar, notes or contacts made on, say, your computer will update the server and the mobile. Everything is synced and pushed in real time.

The cheapest Microsoft Exchange hosting i have been able to research is from mail2web.com. It offers 3 mobile email services;

mail2web Basic
FREE
mail2web Mobile Email
($4.95 or N750/month)
mail2web Mobile EmailPro ($9.95 or N1500/month)
Outlook Web Access Yes Yes Yes
POP3, IMAP4 and SMTP NO Yes Yes
ActiveSync NO Yes Yes
BlackBerry Service Add-On NO Yes Yes
RoadSync Add-On NO Yes Yes
Outlook 2007/2010 (Windows) NO NO Yes
Entourage 2008 (Mac) NO NO Yes

To effectively get a blackberry-like service on your smartphone, all you need is the mobile Email Plan going for $4.95 per month (about 750 Nigerian Naira).

From the chart, BlackBerry Service Add-On simply means that if you have a Blackberry device, you can avoid subscribing to any mobile network. All you need do is pay a minimum of $4.95 for a mobile Email Plan, then an additional $9.95 for a Blackberry service add-on, making a total of $14.90 (about N2,250 per month).

You would still need to subscribe to one of the low cost monthly data plan from, well, the mobile networks. A 50MB plan is more than sufficient, but I doubt if there is any. Etisalat and Airtel (Zain) have a 100 MB data plan for N1,000 per month. But if you’ll rather use Microsoft Outlook, you do not need a mobile data plan for this.

So with just N1,750 per month (could be less), I can effectively rival blackberry services.

But why dabble in uncertainties? Thankfully, mail2web.com is offering a 60 day trial, so you have a long time to test their services before subscribing. However, you will need to leave your card details but you can cancel if you wish. Nigerian Cards Accepted.

You do not have to host your domains with mail2web.com or tamper with your Nameservers in anyway, like some providers may require you to, to subscribe to their services.

The only thing close to a snag that I have noticed is that you are required to create an email address in the form username@mail2web.com, this is the default address mails from all mailboxes would be sent from. You are also required to enable email forwarding from as many mailboxes as you want to this mail box. This is easily done in gmail and CPanel hosted emails. However, the process of changing the default address that mails would be sent from is not very straight forward.

Categories
Gadgets

The TiTan

While we wait for the launch of the first set of Meego devices come 2011, i will be taking a cursory look at a couple of what is on offer at the moment.

One OS that has piqued my curiosity is the Windows Phone 7 (WP7). The only thing the new smartphone OS has in common with its predecessors is the name. It is designed freshly from the ground up for a finger-driven interface and built to be clean, attractive, and consistent. The ambition is that it will finally give Microsoft a platform that will enable it to take on the iPhone and Android phones. This ambition is now a fact. Microsoft has indeed made a powerful comeback. In line with the trend, its focus has moved to consumers with particular focus on social networking and multimedia.It is even compatible with the Mac OSX with an official syncing software released by Microsoft. It’s compatibility with Linux is yet to be determined though. The geek in me finds the WP7 very promising, something to tinker with for a while.

windows-phone-7

There have been so much noise lately about the Nokia N8 but for personal reasons, i refuse to join the bandwagon. With a price tag of about $500, would i pick this device over even Nokia N900? I seriously doubt it. Infact, No! What category of people is this phone targeted at? The BlackBerry-crazed youths and “youth at hearts”, the Business class or the geeks? With a price tag like that, i really wonder.

However, the Nokia N8 is the first smartphone powered by the new Symbian^3 OS and it packs a protruding 12 megapixel camera and a host of other enhancements. How much of the 12 Megapixel is a hype is yet to be determined. But with its brushed aluminium build and design, the product has definitely been well received.

Nokia N8

It is a known fact however that, being human, no smartphone will ever, never ever, be satisfactory to everyone and i expect to start seeing some bad reviews about these OSes any time soon.

My reservation for these OSes is however of a different kind, proprietary restrictions. Nokia probably comes tops here, which is probably a success for Nokia. Correct me if i’m wrong, apart from the N900, i am not sure there are many Nokia smartphones out there that have been extensively hacked or their ROMS modified to the extent of what has been done on Windows Mobile smartphones and the IPhone.

I have to admit that i do not follow the trend when i am buying my gadgets, moreso when frontline gadgets today become lost in the crowd a few months later. For a $500 Nokia N8 purchase, i will only get a few months of glory?! Then, what next?

I ordered for a brand new HTC TyTN II phone (remember it?). Pronounced TITAN, it is a 2007 release. In its hey days, the phone was sold for about $700 but i got it for less than $200! I have used a lot of Windows Mobile phones in my time and one major thing i love about them is the ease of modification of their ROMS. The TyTN II comes with Windows Mobile 6.1 OS, but i intend to flush the OS out as soon as possible and install an ANDROID ROM! Yes, you heard right, ANDROID ROM, courtesy of some crazy guys at XDA DEVELOPERS. I really do not believe in just starring at my gadgets, and only take the limited functionalities the manufacturers have to offer. To me, a phone is NOT just a phone. I can not wait to get my hands on it.

HTC TyTN II

Well, till Meego devices roll out 2011, i’ll stick to the TiTan.

God keep us till then.