Instagram

Hi people, as many of us that are internet regulars, you might have heard about what I will be sharing in this post. But if you are not internet lovers like we are, it is the free app available on iTunes called “Instagram”.

Instagram is an app that presents to you a fun and quick way to share your life with friends and loved ones through a series of pictures. It is simple; take a picture with your iPhone or your iPod, choose any of the filters available to edit and transform the look and the feel of the shot into a very good picture to keep in memories for a long time.

Instagram Logo

Getting started

The first thing you do after installing Instagram is to create an Instagram account. Currently, you can’t sign in with your facebook or twitter account as most services nowadays are doing. You have to open an account with them, which will need you to enter your email address, user name and optionally your phone number and a photo. You can search for friends through Facebook or twitter. It searches for your friends and followers on those social sites and gives you the option to “follow” them.

The exciting thing about Instagram is that the CEO and founder is a former twitter staff, and there are also rumours that an ex- Facebook staff is also in the fold; so you will have the feel of a twitter site and UI. You will have to “follow” the activities of a friend and also, you will see the UI of the followers and who you are following.

Interface

Once you take a photo on an iPod or iPhone, a scrollable gallery of effects appears along the bottom of the screen. They are useful and exciting as you will be able to resize the pictures to fit into the compulsory square that Instagram demands. After editing and tweaking your picture, you can then choose how you want to share it. There are different choices, which include sharing to Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, and Tumblr.

Whenever any of your social contacts clicks the entry, a webpage designed by Instagram opens and then the person can view your pictures. There are also options to comment on the picture or “heart” it. The time of upload is also shown at the top of the photo. You also have the option of viewing popular pictures and a stream to show photos just uploaded. There is also provision to set your photo stream to private so that only users you approve can see it, but there is no option for private messaging.

The Positives

The ease in checking through other people that have liked or commented on a picture that you have been interested in poses an addiction to this application, so there is a tendency for a widespread usage.

The Negatives

Currently, there are no Android, Blackberry, Windows or iPad versions. It is limited to iPods and iPhones from iOS 3.12 and above. The final picture output are small in size, as there are strict small boxes the pictures have to fit into.

For iPad owners, there is an Instagram browser for iPads, called Instapad which you will be able to sign into Instagram and view the pictues on a larger screen. A screenshot of the Instapad is shown below:

 

Bottom Line

Instagram combines a handful of photo effects with a photo-based social networking niche. Flickr might not be common in this part of the world, but reviews have adviced that we shouldn’t expect that Instagram will take over flickr soon. But in fairness, we should give it up to the Instagram team, as they have redefined photo effects and editing, thereby making us create memorable pictures we want to keep for a long time to come.

So if you have an Ipod touch or an iPhone with iOS 3.12 and higher, you can get it. IT IS FREE, Download here

For Instapad for iPad, you can download here

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Mobile Money & Cashless Society

I am sure we have all heard about mobile money and the cashless society plans going on around lately. Mobile money refers to the payment services operated under financial regulations and performed from or via a mobile device.  A cashless society talks about a system which allows individuals to acquire goods and services without the exchange of something tangible or something that can be touched, e.g. money. This doesn’t mean money is not involved; the only difference is that there is no physical effect in handling it, as it is done through a mobile phone.

Financial institutions have collaborated with mobile telecommunication companies to implement solutions that can provide a platform for transactions. In Nigeria, giants like MTN and Globacom have implemented solutions to see to the success of mobile money and a cashless society.

Mobile Money

There are four modules for mobile payment; Premium SMS, Direct Mobile Payment, Mobile Web Payment (WAP) and Contactless NFC (Near field communication).

  • The Premium SMS is a payment request via an SMS text message to a phone number to buy goods and services. A text message is sent to the seller and when he receives the text, he delivers s the goods to the buyer. This has its drawback as there is an absence of a trusted delivery system fast enough to make business smooth.
  •  Direct Mobile Billing is used during checkout at an e-commerce site. Here, a two-factor authentication is involved and a risk management system is present to prevent fraud. Benefits include security, convenience, easy, fast and proven.
  • Mobile Web Payments (WAP) where the consumer uses web pages displayed or additional apps downloaded on his mobile device to make payments. It uses Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) as underlying technology and inherits all advantages and disadvantages of WAP.
  • Contactless NFC (near Field Communication) which is used in paying for purchases made in physical states or transportation services. The consumer using a special phone equipped with a smart card waves his/her phone near a reader module. It doesn’t require any authentication to carry out any service. There are some mobile phones that make use of this feature like the Blackberry 9360 smartphone.

Recently, MTN and Globacom have come up with their mobile money platforms to bring this service to individuals in the society. Very soon, there will be lower usage of normal paper transactions and even credit and debit cards. MTN has collaborated with Fortis Mobile Money, a recently licensed mobile service provider in Nigeria for a mobile money platform. With this solution, Fortis Mobile Money will be readily available to every subscriber on the MTN Network.

Globacom also has their own solution which is called “Glo Txtcash”, in which you can transfer money to any mobile number, spend money directly from their mobile money account to pay for goods as well as buy airtime top-up for themselves and others.

Mobile Money

  From the look of things, I believe that with the investment of the telecommunication giants, there will be a great shift in carrying cash for purchase of goods and services.

@Demsenforever reporting for Dashawn Enterprise

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SopA SagA

I know a few geeky ones would have heard about the SOPA saga. SOPA, SOPA, SOPA!
That is all that I have been coming across on the internet for the past week. For you non- geeky readers, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is a U.S. House bill to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods.

Proposals include preventing advertising networks and payment facilities from conducting business with allegedly infringing websites, preventing search engines from linking to the sites, and requiring Internet service providers (ISP) to block access to the sites. The bill would criminalize the streaming of such content, with a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

Many of us knew about the “ Fuel Subsidy”and how removing the subsidy would make life difficult for the Masses. Yes, that is the way it sounds to us here at Dashawn Enterprise. The effect will be widespread, breaking the idea of the internet and even the chain of the internet community, thereby making it hard for the masses to get information or education online

Who will be affected by the SOPA Act?

 User content websites, like YouTube, which involves uploading and watching of videos, etc., will be affected. Imagine you go to YouTube and upload a video, and without you knowing that the video is an act of infringement, you will be blocked, even “youtube.com” will be blocked. This doesn’t make so much sense as this kills the idea of what the internet really is.

 There is also an issue of Internet security. I want to believe there will be an increase in the number of hackers in the world. This isn’t good, taking us back to the 80’s where hackers dominated as the internet was a big deal back then.

 The whole idea of a Domain Name System (DNS) will be disrupted. The DNS which is like a phone directory translates browser requests for domain names to their respective IP addresses assigned to a computer or network. The bill requests that DNS services should reject requests to translate the domain names to IP addresses. To this end, each country will have to have a DNS service to cover for a particular country.

 Finally, IP privacy will be compromised as there will be a heavy monitoring of IPs by Internet Service Providers. The monitoring will be as a result of the efforts of these ISPs (Hosts) to make sure that their users don’t visit a website with any infringing material. Every Internet user on a particular network would have his/her privacy compromised as the ISP will know every website you are visiting per time.

In conclusion, if SOPA act is passed, I won’t be able to blog freely as I want; the whole internet idea is defeated. Wikipedia, Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, BlogSpot, etc. social sites as a whole is dead. The internet will be in colonies, each colony monitoring its users and contents.

I am sure and confident this Bill won’t be passed.

@Demsenforever reporting for Dashawn Ent.

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BLACKBERRY OS 7.1

For blackberry fans and lovers, it seems the year 2012 is about to get better as Research in Motion have really set things in motion by showcasing their new operating system at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The devices that are capable of running the 7.1 OS are Blackberry Bold 9900/9930, Blackberry Torch 9850/9860 /9810 and Curve 9360/9350/9370.

The OS has great features and it is a good way to revive the interest we have in RIM. The Canadian company also released an OS update for the blackberry playbook which is the 2.0. Their features are as follows:

1.   Mobile Hotspot

Mobile Hotspot which can be equally called a mobile Wi-Fi, which can be described as the art of creating a wireless network with a mobile device. The 7.1 update comes with this interesting feature. Imagine yourself in an airport or a place where you can’t have internet access through a Wi-Fi hotspot, you can easily turn on your blackberry Smartphone and create a hotspot under the “manage connections” menu. You can also share this between 5 Wi-Fi devices at the same time. We believe this is a good step as they prepare to compete with other operating systems like Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS.

2.   Blackberry Tag

This feature enables effortless ‘tap to share” exchanges of multimedia content and contact information between friends. Users can share contact information, documents, URLs, photos and other multimedia content by simply tapping heir blackberry Smartphone together. Blackberry Tag will also enable friends to instantly add one another as contacts on Blackberry messenger. This feature takes advantage of Near Field Communication (NFC) technology included recently in the recently launched in the Blackberry Bold 9900/9930 and Blackberry Curve 9350/9360/9370 Smartphone, and they will be the first Smartphone that will support Blackberry Tag.

3.   Wi-Fi Calling

This feature will no doubt be a great step which could enable calls just with connecting to a wireless network. A leaved version of the ROM before now actually shows that calls can be made to any mobile network via any wireless connection with internet connection. Just maybe there could be a Skype capability to this feature. We love Skype, don’t we?

4.   FM Radio

Great! That is what comes to my mind when I think about this feature. This is a big step actually to making your blackberry more personal than it already is. The FM circuitry is already built into the Curve 9360 Smartphone. The feature will make use of an app included in the OS to allow users to check out their favorite FM channels and the service will not require a data plan or data services.

The devices that are capable with the 7.1 OS have certain hardware additions and experience, which are:

  1. Liquid Graphics Technology: With smoother and fluid graphics, there is a faster and more responsive Blackberry experience. Thanks to a powerful graphics processor and blazing-fast CPU, Liquid graphics delivers instant responsive times, smoother rendering and fluid animations combined with stunning graphical display. The new Curve series does not possess this feature.
  2. A fast Blackberry Browser which will give an experience of seamless panning and zooming, better web-based video and gaming. With page load times 40% faster than Blackberry 6, HTML5 video support and industry-leading JavaScript performance, you can browse the web or check out newly posted videos on social site, e.g. Facebook with ease.
  3. Voice- activated universal search, which can be used to search for files, emails, contacts, music and more- all without typing a thing. It will search everything on your blackberry and even search the web. There is also an auto suggest feature which makes you find what you are searching for, even when you don’t know you want it. It filters local search results and suggested BING web search with each key stroke.
  4. Also, you can enjoy pre-installed apps and series like blackberry protect, blackberry balance, documents to go, social feeds, music storefront and Blackberry Messenger.

Also unveiled at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is the Blackberry Playbook OS 2.0 which finally adds native email, contacts and calendar applications. The email app offer an array of text formatting options, allowing you to bold, italicize, create bullet points, as well as change your font type, colour and size. The calendar app is said to be standard, but there is good news heard about the cross-app integration. The calendar also syncs with popular services by Google, AOL, Yahoo, Hotmail and Microsoft Exchange.

The latest revision home screen allows you to group applications into folders or place your most used applications on a dock. There is also a “reading view” mode in the browser, a feature mostly associated with Apple’s desktop and mobile safari browsers, as well as an improved version of Blackberry Bridge, which has a remote control function that allows you to type, navigate and perform gestures on a Playbook using a Blackberry Smartphone.

There is also a rumour about the Playbook running android apps. The developer preview released actually confirms this as the playbook has to be registered before an online loading of the 2.0 OS.

The new update has already started with a push to carry it out over the next few weeks. So if you have any of the devices capable of the update, get it upgraded!

WINDOWS 8 TABLET BATTLE

Tablets have been the “in thing” for the past months and we can promise you that there will be improvement in this aspect in the bid to overcome the use of personal computers in form of notebooks and netbooks, but as of now, millions of PCs are still shipped all over the world. As many of us that have had the opportunity to have used a tablet can attest to the fact that we still have to go back to our laptops to do certain things. Different companies have been heading in this direction, as we see examples in Apple, Samsung, and Google.

As we all know about the buzz of windows 8 coming out, we have had our hands on the developer preview and I just have to say that I am impressed with Microsoft. I believe they are on the right track in competing in the market.

Microsoft will be integrating the windows 8 operating system into tablets to give the same experience of windows 8. To be candid, Microsoft faces a huge task in competing with Apple and Samsung. No matter the court tussle going on between the pair, it doesn’t deter them to a point that Microsoft will take over the market. We have listed some competition Microsoft will be facing this year.

 1.   Apple

What apple has done in the tablet market leaves other tablet manufacturers trying to catch up. Steve Jobs has actually left a legacy which will always be a lesson to other aspiring makers like Microsoft. The ipad leads the way any day, any time in terms of stability, durability and efficiency. With the new services to be introduced soon, e.g. integration of iTunes and the tablet version of Photoshop, these services will be something Microsoft has to beat.

Though most users complain about the ipad being too rigid, I think apple has done a fine job in their tablet market. Their sales figures can attest to that. With Apple planning on a release of the ipad 3, I think Microsoft’s focus should be trying to compete with the next tablet apple is going to release and not, use the ipad 2 a yardstick.

 2.   Android

Google still has a long way in replicating its success in smart phones with android tablets, but the release of Honeycomb 3.2 made an impact. There is also the release of the Ice Cream Sandwich, 4.0, which is a greater improvement. Android tablets are in many sizes, with keyboard that slides out from the bottom of the screen and active digitized pen which can be used for writing and drawing on the screen. Android also has thousands of apps available in the “android market”, making the tablet experience more fun and exciting. As I said earlier, you can’t do all with these tablets, but with an efficient web browser, you can do a large portion of your task with a battery that can last a full day. Windows 8 tablets will have to do a lot more, especially in the aspect of battery life. I want to believe that if windows can have access to great apps, and can boast of a good battery for their tablet, they can compete in the market.

3.   Blackberry

It is no news that Blackberry had a huge drop in sales and their tablet, the Playbook hasn’t made so much impression as the ipad, even the android tablets have overcome the Blackberry Playbook. Research shows that Rim and Microsoft have a similar plan for their upcoming operating systems. They promise tablets running on ARM processors, with hardware graphics acceleration that promises impressive gaming, a unified operating system allowing developers to more easily target both tablets and phones, offering HTML5 for browsing and applications and a new 3D framework with fluid and cool animation effects.

Overall, they have done a pretty good job. I love the new change. But, there is still room for improvement.

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HP FOLIO 13 REVIEW

HP Folio 13

Ultrabooks have been in the market before now and all have a seemingly same look and specification. Ultrabooks are smaller, thin, light weight laptops and they get their specifications from Intel. This is Intel way of trying to compete with the ARM based processors present in Netbooks.

Many giant companies have made their models of the Ultrabook, ranging from Acer, Apple, Asus, Lenovo, LG, Toshiba and Samsung. Most of these laptops have almost the same specifications and sizes. Ultrabooks come with solid state hard drives, have longer battery life, strong performance, and very fast loading times.

In December 2011, Hewlett Packard (HP) came out with their first ultrabook. It is sleek, same 13 inch screen, it is a bit heavier than other ultrabooks, some see these as a drawback, but when you consider that there is an Ethernet port in this very beautiful laptop, you will appreciate it. Check out the specs in the table below:

 

OPERATING SYSTEM WINDOWS 7 PROFESSIONAL 64BIT
PROCESSOR INTEL CORE I5-2467M (1.6GHz, 3MB L3 CACHE)
CHIPSET MOBILE INTEL HM65 EXPRESS
MEMORY, MAXIMUM 4GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM
INTERNAL DRIVE SOLID STATE DRIVE 128GB
DISPLAY 13.3” DIAGONAL LED-BACKLIT HD BRIGHTVIEW (1366 X 768)
GRAPHICS INTEL HD 3000 GRAPHICS
PORTS 1 USB 3.0

1 USB 2.0

1 AC POWER

1 COMBO STEREO HEADPHONE/MIC JACK

1 RJ-45

1 HDMI

SLOTS 1 SD/MMC
AUDIO DOLBY ADVANCED AUDIO, STEREO SPEAKERS, INTEGRATED MICROWAVE ARRAY, COMBO HEADPHONE/MICROPHONE JACK
INTEGRATED CAMERA 1.3MP INTEGRATED HP TRUEVISION HD WEBCAM
KEYBOARD FULL –SIZED, SPILL-RESISTANT, BACKLIT CHICLET KEYBOARD WITH UV COATING
NETWORK INTERFACE ETHERNET 10/100/1000
WIRELESS INTEL CENTRINO WIRELESS-N1030 802.11B/G/N WI-FI & BLUETOOTH 3.0 COMBO
INPUT DEVICES TOUCHPAD QITH GESTURES SUPPORT, ON/OFF BUTTON WITH LED INDICATOR, 2-WAY SCROLL, 2 PICK BUTTONS
POWER SUPPLY 65W NON-SMART AC ADAPTER
BATTERY TYPE & LIFE 6-CELL LI-ON (59WHr): UP TO 9HRS

From these specs and pictures, there is no doubt that there will be lots of competition in the market this year 2012, for users who need large space for information storage, this might be a turn off, but still, the performance output of this laptop might just win you over. I guess you just have to finally get that external storage. A drawback on the Folio 13 is the absence of a DVD drive. Well, you can always get an external drive for a very reasonable price. Finally, the battery output of 9hrs is a very big turn on, you can go anywhere with it and be sure of power just before the battery runs out.

ANDROID PROS AND CONS

Android is a linux based operating system that was developed by Android Inc. in 2005 and was bought over by the software giant Google, who launched it in the year 2007. Ever since, it has grown into a phenomenon.

PROS

1.   Open Source Software

Android OS is open source software which makes it available for different developers to be able to improve and work on the available source codes released by Google. This is the main reason why we have different third party companies, e.g. Samsung, ASUS, Dell, etc. tweak the OS released by Google to their own taste and like.

2.   Apps

For anything to be done there is an application for it.  Be it in the productivity section, entertainment, sports, etc. Till date, there are about 40, 000 apps in android market, and all have been downloaded up to about 10 billion times. This can be compared to the Apple Appstore, which has lots and lots of applications also.

3.   Hardware

Many gadget giants like Samsung, HTC, Motorola and the likes have all delved into the android OS scenery, tweaking the operating system to suite all their different mobile devices. Some even made them into tablets for everyday use. The introduction of android OS has helped give flexibility and options to buyers and geeks, in choosing any gadget that will suit their needs and styles. All the OS needs is for the hardware to meet its minimum requirements.

4.  Software

Android OS beats any other mobile OS in this aspect as there is an issue of multitasking. Android OS can multitask in a way that most mobile operating systems can’t. There is also an added advantage of the OS being able to sync mails, messages, etc once the device is connected to a computer.

CONS

1.   Hardware Limitation

From experience, I have seen android OS freezing, just because there is a limitation on the hardware of the device it is being run. The memory needed by the OS sometimes exceeds the memory available on the device. This is quite annoying, but a good device from one of the device giants, have gone under quality tests and hence, might not experience the freezing.

2.  Poor Battery

Android devices have turned out to be worse than blackberry devices in the area of battery. Google and other third party companies are looking really into this situation. Hopefully, it will be done soon.

With this laid out points, I think you will be able to make a decision on android devices. Till today, most people still prefer android devices. You can also join the band.