Technology Tips

Upgrading From Windows 8 To Windows 8.1

A couple of weeks ago, i decided to upgrade my Windows OS from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1. Ordinarily, it does not sound like a big deal but it was.

Firstly, you will have to initiate the upgrade from within the Windows store. Perhaps due to the large number of early adopters it was almost an impossible task. It was even worse in regions were Internet speed is very slow.

Windows-8.1Secondly, the upgrade requires at least 3.5GB of download data. That is about half my monthly data allocation. For an incremental upgrade, it is definitely a whole lot of data!

Additional problems i also identified are;

1. I do a lot of Operating Systems installations (and reinstallation). Would i be going through the time and data wasting routine of an online upgrade, the only official route provided by Microsoft?

2. The finacial implication of the Internet data download for the OS download and setup is at least N4000 based on the rates from my ISP. It adds up quickly when you do a lot of installations like i do.

The ideal solution that would work for me would be;

1. Look for a “Once and for all” solution. By this, i would need to find a way to download an ISO image of Windows 8.1 which i can burn on a DVD and use repeatedly without a need for internet access to download a fresh install for every machine i need to install Windows 8.1 OS on. Also, I could easily share the DVD and save others the costly internet access and the stress of slow data downloads.

2. To save myself even the estimated N4000 for the Windows 8.1 OS download, i could wait till 12 midnight. My ISP gives its subscribers free internet access with no download restrictions from 12am – 6am daily. That way i could do a whole lot of post installation downloads. Very nice option that comes at a cost – your sleep!

A quick search on the Internet brought up this link here. With it i was able to generate an ISO image of Windows 8.1. Took me almost 5 hours to download the data for the 3.5GB ISO image but, like they say, all is well that ends well.

Please note that if you follow the process in the link above closely, it will only generate the ISO image and should not install the OS yet. You can easily install the ISO image on a DVD.

For the OS installation proper from the DVD, you may encounter a problem whereby the product key may be rejected. Thing is, your license only qualifies you for an upgrade installation via the Windows Store and not a Clean Install. To get around this, pick up a temporary relevant product key from here for your installation, depending on the Windows OS type you purchased a license for. Note that you will still need to use your Windows 8 key to activate your installation online.

Good luck!


Cobranet – Nigeria’s Fastest Internet Speed?

Name it, chances are that I have used it before. From the early days of internet access in Nigeria in the late 1990s when ISPs like hyperia and linkserve held sway with their dial up internet, to more recent times with ISPs like IPNX, Zoom, Onet and the GSM networks like MTN, Glo, Etisalat calling the shots. I have used them all!

Like many Nigerians, I keep hopping from one ISP to the other, searching for the elusive, or is it proverbial, “3G” or even “4G” speeds being hyped by these companies.

Recently, I was taking a walk through SPAR ‘Park and Shop’ Mall in Lekki, Lagos Island when I came across a stand showcasing yet another Nigerian ISP’s products, a company called COBRANET. Out of interest, more in the Sales Lady than anything else, I approached the stand. Though I had known Cobranet for years, I have never subscribed to their services. Probably because I did not expect their services to be any better than the norm. I got talking with the lady and was pleasantly surprised when the sales lady mentioned that apart from the fact that the company has signal coverage over most parts of Lagos Mainland, their signals also cover most parts of Lagos Island, stretching along the length of the Lekki-Epe expressway, reaching as far as a suburb called Awoyaya. A feat for a non-GSM based ISP.

After testing out the demo they had on offer in the store and admittedly, still with a little skepticism, I subscribed to their Home Bronze Plan which set my wallet back by N13,000.00 (about $US 80), an amount that would have gone a long way in actualizing my plan of buying a BMX bike for my son for Christmas. Of this amount, half of it was the modem cost while the other half got me a 3.5GB data limit and 800kbps download speed Home Bronze Plan. The data limit seemed very small and, well, very limiting, but the sales lady quickly chipped in that downloads from 12am-6am eeryday do not count towards this data limit.

To better understand the tag line 800Kbps (Kilo Bits per Second), it simply means that you are expected to download files from the internet at a rate of 800kbps divided by 8 which equals 100 KBps (Kilo Bytes Per Seconds). Take note of the difference between Bits & Bytes. Meaning that on a good day, barring unseen interferences, you are expected to download, say, a 1Gigabyte file in less than 3 hours. i have gotten speeds higher that 100KBps on Cobranet Home Bronze Plan but on the average, you are guaranteed speeds of at least 70KBps. By Nigerian standards, this is fast. In fact, the last time i experienced speeds like this was in the United Kingdom.

To still appreciate my mumbo jumbo yarns better, i decided to compare this speed to the GSM internet speeds posted on MTN Nigeria website which gave the average browsing speed of their 3.5G (HSDPA) “high speed Internet” as 800Kbps (100KBps), same as Cobranet’s least browsing speed plan, the Home Bronze Plan. However, i could not help but wonder where MTN picked that figure from. Probably that speed is attainable ONLY in their CEO’s lodgings! God help you if you can get a fraction of that speed, even at their best signal locations.

Cobranet is very fast, and in reality, i can download a 1GB file in under 4 hours. Try that on any other network, a non starter on most. I do wholly recommend Cobranet’s Internet service to anyone, as of today. Yes today only, as i do not give any guarantee that their services would not tow the snail speed line by tomorrow!

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.


Free Internet Browsing

At least half of the people that click on this post would expect to find some hacking tips on how to browse the internet for free. Sorry, no hacking tips here.

However, for those that subscribe to Globacom’s cheaper internet bundles, ever tried dialling 124 to know if you are a beneficiary of Glo’s free data allocation? With a data balance of over 61GB, I doubt if I will be paying for internet access for months to come.

Glo with Pride!


India launches Aakash tablet computer priced at NGN 6,000 ($35)

India has launched what it says is the world’s cheapest touch-screen tablet computer, priced at just NGN 6,000 ($35). Costing a fraction of Apple’s iPad, the subsidised Aakash is aimed at students.

It supports web browsing and video conferencing, has a three-hour battery life and two USB ports, but questions remain over how it will perform. Officials hope the computer will give digital access to students in small towns and villages across India, which lags behind its rivals in connectivity. At the launch in the Indian capital, Delhi, Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal handed out 500 Aakash (meaning sky) tablets to students who will trial them.

He said the government was buying 100,000 of the tablets and plans to distribute 10 million of them to students over the next few years. “The rich have access to the digital world, the poor and ordinary have been excluded. Aakash will end that digital divide,” Mr Sibal said.

The Aakash has been developed by UK-based company DataWind and Indian Institute of Technology (Rajasthan). It is due to be assembled in India, at DataWind’s new production centre in the southern city of Hyderabad.

“Our goal was to break the price barrier for computing and internet access,” DataWind CEO Suneet Singh Tuli said. “We’ve created a product that will finally bring affordable computing and internet access to the masses.”

Usability questions

Mr Sibal says the device will enhance learning in India. Experts say it does have the potential to make a huge difference to the country’s education, particularly in rural areas where schools and students do not have access to libraries and up-to-date information.

But critics say it is too early to say how the Aakash will be received as most cheap tablets in the past have turned out to be painfully slow.

“The thing with cheap tablets is most of them turn out to be unusable,” Rajat Agrawal of technology reviewers BGR India told Reuters news agency. “They don’t have a very good touch screen, and they are usually very slow.”

Critics also point out that an earlier cheap laptop plan by the same ministry came to nothing. In 2009, it announced plans for a laptop priced as low as $10, raising eyebrows and triggering worldwide media interest. But there was disappointment after the “Sakshat” turned out to be a prototype of a hand-held device, with an unspecified price tag, that never materialised.

Gadgets Hack Mobile

iPad App Review – MyWi 4.0 [Jailbreak]

As desirable as the iPad has proven itself to be, it is not exactly very efficient for all tasks. Even for simplest tasks, at times you may crave for the bigger screen estate that the conventional PC offers. However, on the other hand, the iPad can effectively serve as an extension of your work while on the move. You may even take it along with you to almost any social gathering without being viewed as a nerd.

One key factor necessary in using any of these devices well is having access to the internet on each device. Unfortunately, while this is the best option, it is also the most expensive. For me, i use Globacom‘s N5000 ($32) 3GB monthly data plan on my 3G iPad and Starcomms’ USB modem N7000 ($45) data plan on my PC. This can be expensive. To save cost, i tried the option of dispensing with my iPad data plan subscription, using my PC data plan via WIFI instead. This option was not convenient as i would not have access to the intenet on my iPad while on the move. I was stuck with my multiple data plan subscriptions until i came across MYWI.

With a price tag of $19.99 (N3,200), MyWi 4.0 is an app available to jailbreak iPads (and iphones) only and is available at the Cydia app store. Developed by Intelliborn, it allows you to share the internet access on your iPad with other devices via bluetooth,USB or as a WIFI hotspot for up to 4 devices. The app is surprising easy to set up, works flawlessly and very energy efficient. Many view this app as the ultimate reason to jailbreak your iPad, though i personally think Phoneitipad should take that glory.

A summary of the features of this app is listed below;

– Create WiFi Hotspot to connect mutiple laptops or mobile devices to share your iPhone’s internet connection
– 40 bit and 104 bit WEP Security to prevent others from accessing your WiFi HotSpot
– Ability to enable USB and Bluetooth Tethering on your iPhone as well
– Broadcasts the Network Name (SSID) – no need to fuss with creating an adhoc network on your laptop
– Uses less battery and relatively faster due to native routing
– Shows up and down bandwidth usage

I find this internet sharing option very cost effective and convenient as i only have to subscribe to my mobile plan and i can easily share the data plan with any device i choose to. However, one may have to contend with the rather slow, more common Edge (2.5G) speed that is available in Nigeria.


Gadgets Mobile

“Call Me On My Ipad …”

The internet is awash with a lot of news about the iPad phone, courtesy of the guys from iphoneislam. One thing is very certain, these guys from Egypt have pulled the biggest hat trick this year.

I decided to take the bull by the horns and proceeded to download the app via the alternate app store, CYDIA. It is a 7MB file which took forever to download, thanks to MTN Nigeria’s “broadband” speeds. After installation, i was presented with a single icon on my desktop. Launching this icon gives a screen containing the serial number of your device which will be inputted during the payment process.

Next step is to go to where you would have to activate your device to use the app. You also need to make sure that your ipad has internet access on it, preferrably WIFI as it seems the PhoneItiPad app disabled the unactivated SIM from functioning.

Payment was via a 3rd party payment processor, AVANGATE, and yes, Nigerian cards are accepted! After the payment process has been completed, you may need to close the app on your ipad and relaunch it.

After rebooting your ipad, two icons would be displayed on your device, one for phone calls and the other for SMS.

That is about all for the installation process!


Next step is to take it for a spin. I launched the phone app and got this oversized dial screen;


Decided to give myself a buzz from my HTC TyTn II phone to see what the screen looks like;


Of course i did not pick my own call, no “credit” on my phone. Luckily, my brother from Port Harcourt gave me a shout out;

The call quality was great, was not depreciated in any way than you would ordinarily get.

Making calls on the ipad can be done via the speaker of the device and the mic. I am not sure if there are any earpieces that combines the speaker function and the mic. However, i still have the earpiece of my ipod touch which i am using.

I have not tested a bluetooth earpiece with it (wouldn’t it be nice?) but from what i have read, i am not sure if any would work with it. there seem to be a number of bluetooth devices like the Arctic Sound P311 that just might work well with it.

In all, it is a $19.99 (N3, 200) well spent.

Why not give me a call on my ipad?


Network Your Homes Wirelessly

Notwithstanding the fact that wired networks are usually more reliable and faster, there is a preference for wireless networks in most homes and small offices. Understandably so, because wired networks can be very unsightly and manually intensive to set up.

Most wired networks nowadays can guarantee a “through-put” of as much as 100Mbps (Mega Bits Per Second). Think of throughput as the amount of fluid (data) that can pass through a pipe (cable). More modern networks can even provide throughputs as high as 1Gbps or even more. However, this can only be achieved with compatible cabling and equipment. Please note that “bps” (bits per second) is different from “Bps” (Bytes per second), 1 Byte = 8 bits.

The speed of transfer of data in a wireless network is guided by some standards. You probably may have seen stuffs like “a/b/g/n” or “802.11a/b/g/n” on devices you own.

– 802.11a devices have the ability to channel as much as 54Mb data across a network wirelessly in a second. They, however, can only travel a short distance.
– 802.11b devices can transmit at a maximum rate of 11Mbps over a longer distance
– 802.11g devices can transmit at a maximum rate of 54Mbps over a longer distance
– 802.11n devices can transmit at a maximum rate of about 600Mbps over an even longer distance

I guess it is no brainer what standard you will expect your devices to have. However, apart from the minor inconsequential fact that the 802.11n standard has not been ractified, a lot of devices in the market today can only boast of having 802.11g capabilities. The implication of this is that your network is only as fast as the speed of the slowest device on your network. For example, if you have a router capable of 802.11n speeds and a number of PCs with the same capability, under very ideal circumstances, you would expect your network to attain speeds as fast as 600Mbps. Let us assume you now introduce a device capable of 802.11g to the network, the speed of your network will come crashing down to a maximum of 54Mbps!

That said, why is there still a preference for wireless networks, especially in homes?

– The throughput requirement for a home is usually adequately covered by even the slowest speeds (802.11b – 11Mbps)
– Reduction or elimination of the higher costs of a wired connection.
– Elimination of wire clutters associated with wired networks.
– Share a single internet access via wifi either with a network capable internet modem (IPNX) or a USB modem (Starcomms & GSM networks)
– Share a single printer and other peripherals across multiple PCs
– Connect your mobile devices like mobile phones, ipad, tablets, etc wirelessly to the network and share internet access and printer with them. Yes, print from your phone! And the printer does not necessarily need to have wifi capabilities.

For this project, the set of devices below are ideal;
– A wireless router.
– Network capable modem (IPNX, Cobranet’s UGO, etc)
– Wifi enabled printer
– UPS/Inverter to connect these devices to (Optional)

With these devices, the process of networking your home would be much simplified.

However, you would rarely find households/ offices having all the devices that would be connected to the network having network ports or Wifi capabilities. The devices / equipment listed below are more common in a lot of households and offices and we would be using them for our project;

– A wireless router
– USB internet modem (starcomms, MTN, glo, airtel, etisalat, etc) or any tethered phone
– ANY Printer
– A Computer (Desktop/Laptop) to connect the internet modem and printer to.It can be any old PC.
– UPS/Inverter to connect these devices to (Optional)

In subsequent write-ups, we will should you how you can go about creating a network in your homes and offices.


Peer to Peer Networking (Wired)

Peer to Peer (P2P) Networking is probably the simplest form of computer networking available.

Wikipaedia defines the word PEER as a group of people who share a similar or equal status. Likewise, for computers in a peer to peer formation, each computer is equally privileged and are equipotent participants

The option of whether to use a wired or wireless medium is a choice you would have to make on your own.However you may use the following points to guide you;

– Wired networks are usually more secured.
– Wired networks are usually faster and less prone to speed drops
– Wired networks are usually proned to unsightly wire clutters
– With wireless networks, you are not restricted to where you can use your devices, so long you are within the range of the wireless signals.

My recommendation is that you should use wireless networking for your homes and wired networking for your offices, however, this is not cast in stone.

So, why do we need a network?

It is very commonplace in our homes to find multiple computers. However, resources are usually limited.

– With a network, multiple computers can share a single internet access.
– Multiple computers can share devices like printers.
– You can easily move or copy files and folders from one computer to the other.

This write-up will attempt to put you through the process of setting up your computers in a wired networking arrangement. We would be treating the wireless option subsequently.

The steps required to network 2 computers is slightly different for multiple computers.

For A 2-Computer Network;

Peer To Peer


– Get a Network Cable from a computer accessories store. Insist on the type called “cross-over” cable. Look at the wire arrangement at the two end clips of the cable, the clips are usually transparent. If the wires are arranged with different colour sequence, chances are that you have the right cable. It should not cost more than N500.

– An alternative is for you to “crimp” or make your cables yourself, if you have the know-how. However, it is often recommended to setup your network with manufactured cables and when you are sure it is up and running, replace with your own cables. At least you will know where the fault is from when the network suddenly stops responding.

– Create a Workgroup with the name of your choice on each computer and join each computer to it. Note that the workgroup name must be the same on each computer. Follow the steps below if you are using a Windows 7 PC;

  1. Click on “Start Menu”
  2. Right-Click on “Computer”
  3. Click “Properties”
  4. Under the header “Change name, domain and workgroup setting”, click “change setting”
  5. From the pop-up, under “computer name” tab, click “change”

– Assign Static IP addresses to both PCs, preferrably, in the form for PC1 and for PC2. Ensure the subnet mask for each PC is Follow the steps below if you are using a Windows 7 PC;

  1. Click on “Start Menu”
  2. Click on “Control Panel”
  3. Click “Network and Internet”
  4. Click on “Network and Sharing Center”
  5. Click “changer adapter settings” on the left pane
  6. Right-Click on “Local Area Network” and click “properties”
  7. Click on (and ensure the checkbox remains selected) “Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IP)”
  8. Click “properties”
  9. Select “Use the following IP address”

Internet Protocol

– Lastly, we connect the Network Cable to the Network port of each computer.

We have concluded our task on the setting up of a wired Peer to Peer Network. In our next write-up, we would confirm if our PCs are well connected, learn how to share internet access and also learn how to attach peripherals like printers.


Computer Networking

One aspect of computer technology that i have been most fascinated about is Networking. At one time or the other most of us would have come across application of basic or obvious forms of networking, say, connection of multiple computers to a single printer or sharing of a single internet access among different computers.

NetworkingIn basic terms, we could say Networking is the joining of two or more devices to share (limited) resources. Note the use of DEVICES in this definition and not COMPUTERS. A device represents ANY electronic appliance with networking capabilities. These devices include your computers (Linux, Mac, Windows), mobile phones, tablets, surveillance equipment, etc.

Connection of these devices to a network can either be via wired or wireless medium or a mix of the two.

Over the course of the next few weeks, we would delve into the world of networking, learning some basic principles, but most especially, applying such principles to our homes and home/small offices. As usual, our write-ups would be devoid of unnecessary technicalities. It would be presented in an easily understandable, do-it-yourself format.

If you are keen on networking your homes or offices, the following hardware/equipment are important;

Router – This is the most important and the only item you may need. In basic terms, it is referred to as a Router but in reality, they are usually a combination of what is called a switch and a router. They are mostly affordable. The brand that comes highly recommended is the Belkin Wireless N+ 802.11n Router. At only $59.99 (About N7,000.00), you would be killing two birds with a single stone. You get to have a router capable of wired and wireless networking. And as a bonus, you get to have a port on the router that has the capability of sharing your portable drive on the network.

Internet Modem – Some of our discussions would require you to have an internet access to fully participate. I would recommend using the internet modem provided by IPNX. It is relatively fast and best suited for a networking environment.

Please stay tuned!


Android On Your PC !

Even with the flurry of activities in the tablet form factor sector, it is hardly surprising that Nigeria seems to have been sidelined.Not for lack of interest but largely due to the prohibitive price tags placed on these devices. The ipad2 and the motorola Xoom, two flagship tablets, have their price tag as high as $800 (N128,000), excluding shipping and handling. This is definitely out of the reach of most Nigerians. Apart from a few of these devices on display in elite shopping centers like The Palms in Lekki, Lagos, the closest most have come to handling these devices is from web or magazine pictures. True!

All hope is not lost yet. In this era of convergence, wouldnt it be a great idea if you can have a feel of the latest iteration of the android platform, Honeycomb, right from your computer desktop. Except for reduced portability, you get to experience most of what owners of the Motorola Xoom are experiencing.

The topic of virtualization was very popular on this site a few months back. We are going to make use of this concept in placing the Android 3.0 right on your Windows, Mac or Linux desktop. However, at this point i must stress the need for a very decent laptop to pull this through as your android platform would be sharing the same resources as your PC. Owners of less powerful laptops, especially those using low powered processors and limited RAM , like netbooks,would have a “draggy” experience.

Secondly, a decent internet download speed is required. Users of GSM internet access would most likely have issues. Preference is for IPNX internet access although starcomms EVDO access would do just fine.

Let’s get started. We would follow the steps listed below;

Download the Android SDK via this link. This is a 32MB download. The android SDK is normally used in developing applications by developers.

– Install the application and launch it. Make sure your internet access is still in place.

– Most likely, the installed application would begin to update itself with the APIs or loosely speaking, the operating system of all the Android iterations, starting from Android 1.5 to 3.0!. Meaning that you have a choice of what Android iteration to run on your PC.But if the update is not started automatically, click on “Installed Packages” on the left pane, then “update all” on the bottom of the screen. This is where you will need a good internet speed. I do not know exactly the size of what is being downloaded but mine took over 2 hours. The download was interrupted midway and i had to uninstall the Android SDK and restarted all over as further attempts to continue with the downloads kept failing.

– Click on Virtual Devices on the left menu. Click on “New” to create an Android Virtual Device, AVD. Select your preferred Android version and you may allocate a file size of 10000 MB.

– Click “Create AVD”

– Highlight the AVD you have just created, then click “Start” on the right pane.

There you are! How fast your Android setup is would be dependent on your hardware.