Categories
Lifestyle

LG Anti Mosquitoes Air Conditioners

Went shopping for an Air Conditioning (AC) unit recently. I had my specifications in mind – budget basic function, split unit, with Low voltage start. Overtime, i have come to have a preference for LG products, so it was the brand’s boot i visited first when i visited Cash N Carry, Ikota Shopping Complex, Near VGC, Lagos.

After a quick scan of the different AC units they had on display, the one that caught my eye was the one that had a label on it reading “Anti Mosquito Repellent”. I was hooked. A quick check at the price tag showed a thousand naira shy of N70,000 for the 1.5Hp model. Notwithstanding that it was a little above my budget, i just could not get my eyes off it. The sales lady i queried about the authenticity of the claims being made by LG, Emilia by name, was surprisingly very knowledgeable about the product and verified their claims. She went further to say that this particular series has been selling very well.

I was very impressed with her knowledge of the product.

Fingers crossed, made the purchase, had it installed and waited till nightfall when those blood sucking anopheles mosquitoes come out from their holes to have a taste of blood. Waited…waited…No bites yet. Could this really be true?

Further research revealed that the technology being employed by LG in this series of AC units is called Ultrasonic Wave Technology. Pressing the “anti-mosquito button” on the unit’s remote control causes a speaker within the air conditioner to generate inaudible ultrasonic waves at a frequency of 30 kHz to 100 kHz. Ultrasonic vibrations apparently put pressure on their nervous systems, repelling the mosquitoes or causing immobility.

In the coming days, i will be putting this product into even more intensive use to verify the effective or otherwise of this technology.

PS: A closer search revealed that there are a lot of apps on the Android and iOS platform with similar claims of repelling mosquitoes using ultrasonic waves.

Categories
Gadgets

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.

Categories
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.



 

Categories
Gadgets Mobile

Absolutely Loving It …

I have watched with keen interest the activities in the tablet market. My interest in this form factor sector was particularly pricked by the kindle, way back 2009. As I type this write up on my Apple iPad, my interest has been further deepened and i now “see” the reasons for the fanatical followership for devices of this form factor.

I must confess I was not very impressed with the iPad, especially as I was coming from a background of owning an iPod touch. I belonged to the school of those who viewed the iPad as a blown up iPod touch with limited “everyday use” capabilities. However, I still wanted to own one of these devices, though not necessarily an iPad, more because I wanted to “feel among” than anything else.

Then I started the search for what I will term my “ideal tablet”, a device that would contain, at least, most of the following features;

– Screen with E-Ink Technology (Easy on the eyes)

– 3G Modem (For enhanced mobility)

– 9.7 inch screen (To have a good view of my tons of PDFs)

– Good Browser.

All the 7 inch readers and tablets did not fit the bill as either their PDF handling was poor or the screen estate of the device was not big enough to view PDF files without having to scroll or zoom the screen. So also were the “Chinese” or grey tablets, like the ones being peddled my the Telco company, Starcomms

My first consideration was for the Amazon Kindle DX. But at $379, I felt the device was overpriced for the features it possessed. Also, it lacked adequate support from Amazon who seem to have relegated the device in favor of the Kindle 3. Lastly,  it’s limited browser and 3G modem were not adequate to suit my purpose.

Grudgingly, I had to admit that the iPad was still top of the pack and in all fairness, the only thing I had against the device was its screen which, in my own opinion, was not very easy on the eyes.

The release of the Motorola Xoom brought some hope but its high price tag, buggy Android “honeycomb” OS and limited apps made it an unworthy pretender to the throne as the flagship tablet, a position still being held by the Apple iPad. Rumors of the iPad 2 was also rife at this point with different unconfirmed specs being touted for the device, no thanks to the secrecy surrounding its development.

By the time the iPad 2 was released, the only differences it had with the earlier iteration was;

– Front facing and rear cameras for still pictures and video calling.

– Faster processor chip

– Slimmer form factor.

It is a fact that the camera was meant to be included in the first generation iPad, but for reasons known to Apple, it was left out. Unfortunately, the cameras are not of very good quality.Worst still, video calling is only between apple products like the Mac, iPhone and the iPad. How relevant will that be to us folks in Nigeria?

While I expect the iPad 3 to be revolutionary, the iPad 2 was a bit of a disappointment.  Personally, i think the iPad 2 is all the first generation iPad should have been in the first instance and it offers nothing revolutionary.

This informed my decision to place an order for the first generation iPad and not the iPad 2. Of course, the $100 price reduction was also a big influence on my decision. The 16GB, 3G variant cost me about $600, including $40 tax charged by apple plus shipping and handling fees via hayzees.

Like most “toys”, it can be addictive but i am not complaining. All i can say is, “I am absolutely loving it”.

Categories
Gadgets

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.

Categories
Gadgets

Xoom! Xoom!! Xoom!!!

BestBuy caused quite a stir on Sunday 13 February, 2011 when it listed the Motorola Xoom for pre-order at a staggering price of US$1,200 (NGN192,000), a far cry from the expected $800 (NGN128,000) price tag. While we assume this was a slip as it has been yanked off the site, even the initial rumoured listing price of $800 for the Xoom is considered high, nothwithstanding the fact that its features are far superior to any tablet in the market. Most still think the device will a hardsell because the Apple ipad, which is the dominant force in the tablet market with an astounding market share of 87%, retails for as low as US $500 (NGN90,000).

The Xoom been slated for release on February 24, 2011.

Of course, these devices are never targeted at the African market where purchasing power is quite low. However, for the few die-hard geeks and lovers of gadgets, the rather high pricing of these devices may call for deep thinking and a search for good alternatives.One really can’t help but think of Eyebeekay’s write-up and wonder if the tablet is really worth the investment.I have held out on buying one just because of this.

Basically, what do i need a tablet for, apart from being branded as “very cool”?

– Good Ereader (Most Importantly).

Aside from backlight and eye strain issues, reading on tablets usually result in less satisfying experience and the prints are less legible than E-ink screens found on Ereaders.

– Efficiency as a mobile office viz a viz price tag

I have heard users of the ipad complain about the “little inconvenience” of not having a hardware keyboard, resulting in less efficiency. The same feeling you get from using a touch screen phone without a QWERTY keyboard.

– How soon before the next big thing?

It’s sad that even the 1 year old ipad is being referred to in some quarters as near obsolete.

I am thinking less of convergence, keeping the reader separate from the GSM device. I try to read regularly and this has informed my decision for a 10.1″ reading device. Except a new entrant comes in or there is an update very soon, the Kindle DX is probably my best choice for the near extinct device called the Ereader, good screen estate to view  my loads of pdf files.  One would have thought the price would have dropped by now from $379. And i might just grab a 4 inch Android phone while i am at it, to replace my ageing 3 month old HTC TyTN II!

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.

Categories
Articles

Portable Applications

It is common place in most offices to have administrative priviledges removed from end-user PCs. This is usually done to prevent unauthorised installation of softwares or hardwares on such PCs. Unauthorised software installation is usually a primary source of introduction of malicious softwares that may cripple a computer network.

This write-up may seem like a FOR-TECHIES-ONLY, a little patience please.

I had come across Portable softwares a number of times before now but i never really paid much attention to them. But on EYEBEEKAY’s insistence, i decided to surf the web to check out what it’s all about. Man, i sure have been missing a lot! I have decided to summarize my findings in this short write-up.

Portable applications or Portable apps, as they are commonly known, are not much different from your regular softwares. Wikipaedia defines a portable app as a computer software program that is able to run independently without the need to install files to the system it is run upon. They are commonly preinstalled on removable storage devices such as USB flash drive or CDs (For those have their USB ports locked down).

Almost any application can be made portable, some with greater difficulty while a few cannot because of their high dependence on system resources.Luckily, most basic softwares that we all use on a regular basis are portable.

Yeah, Portable, but why go portable?

– Bypass administrative level restriction. Use your regular softwares on any PC anytime, anywhere.
– Reduce the clogging up of your computer registry, a primary cause of system instability.It leaves a Zero, or near zero registry footprint.
– Have all your regular applications available for use on any PC, saving time on the installation of the same softwares on every PC you use.

So, how do we create portable apps? Well, there’s a little problem there. There are a few softwares that can be used to convert  applications to portable formats and VMWARE’s THINAPP is probably the best to achieve this but with a stunning and shocking price tag of about US$5000, God Have Mercy! Another alternative is Xenocode ($1599). Make your choice.

For now, we will limit ourselves to ready-made portable apps. A very good repository can be found on Portableapps. Others include Techsupportalert, Appstogo and Portablefreeware

Contributions anyone? Eyebeekay, you started this.