Thursday, 20 October 2016

Why we loved Mixcrate and Where to next?

With Mixcrate gone, lovers of music either have to pony up a fee for a variety of streaming services
or head over to YouTube
There are two types of music listeners: those who listen by artist or by album, and those who listen by top hits. The second lot of us do not care much about what other music made it to an album besides the top 2 hits.

Mixcrate served the second lot of us very well. You could search for a song title or an artist, and you would have dozens of DJ mixes to choose from which contained more than the one hit you searched for.

Listening to music on Mixcrate also meant that once you settled into a mix, you had uninterrupted music for the next one hour.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Why do Android smartphones suck?

Google's new Pixel smartphone
Make Android Great Again? 

It overheats.

It runs out of charge fast.

The camera sucks.

It hangs.

Why do Android smartphones suck?

Many iPhone users say they won’t return to Android, and wonder why Android users are stuck with what they consider a subpar experience.

Alternatively, many Android users have many a time found themselves having to settle with a shortcoming on their phone.

The same predicament comes up when you are shopping for an Android device. Finding the perfect,  or near perfect phone seems impossible. You have to pick a shortcoming.

So why is this the case? Why can’t the thousands of Android smartphone manufacturers make the perfect device?

Monday, 30 May 2016

4G: Speed is good

Disclosure: I work for Safaricom, Kenya's only 4G mobile provider.

The perks of 4G is the speeds at which  websites load, apps and files download,
and good video quality.
YouTube as an example, loads in high definition as seen here
A few months ago,  I lost my phone gave my phone to Nairobi’s best con man. It was a Nexus 4, a phone I had owned since November 2013, and one that I had come to love.

One Stephen Mwakesi quipped that losing that phone was a good thing - I had stayed with an aging phone for far too much long. That’s the lovely thing about Nexus phones, the experience is above your typical android phone (other than for battery life) you never want to switch.

Luckily, I got a new phone from my employer the following week, my first 4G phone, an LG G3.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Obituary: My Nexus 4

The Nexus 4(image: LG)

I had planned to do a write up of how my Nexus 4, a 2012 device bought in 2013, was functioning in 2016. Amidst lots of procrastination, someone conned me off the phone. So we will now have to do with a “eulogy”.


My beloved phone, a Nexus 4, was lost to a con man on the 26th of February. It is a phone I had owned for 2 years and 4 months.

Technically, it was known as the LG E60, or the code name LG Mako. It did not have a pet name.

It was a phone that was purchased in the United States in October 2013. It had to be purchased by my pal’s brother, because Google, the company that sells the device, does not accept purchase of the same with debit or credit cards issued in Kenya.

While it originally cost about KSh. 33,000, I was lucky enough to purchase the phone at a time Google was having a clearance sale, meaning I got it for KSh. 25,000. The model was later to be replaced by the Nexus 5 in November 2013, hence the clearance.

The phone was brought to Kenya aboard a KLM flight, by my colleague Peter,  who had been in the US to attend Oracle World. Now, the phone was purchased in the East Coast of the US, and Oracle World was taking place in the West Coast, hence it had to be shipped across the North American continent by air freight. That costs less than KSh. 1,000 though.

The Nexus devices are a brand owned and sold by Google. Google makes and owns Android, the popular phone operating system. Google, however, does not manufacture hardware, hence contracts firms such as LG, Motorola and Huawei to manufacture such devices for Google.

Why the trouble of buying the Nexus from the opposite side of the globe?

Monday, 29 February 2016

How I lost my phone to Nairobi's best con man

Moi Avenue, with a view of the point where I encountered Nairobi's best con man,
and parted with my phone

A good con requires the highest level of cooperation from the victim.

I lost my phone on Friday evening, some time between 6:40 p.m. and 7:10 p.m. I know the time because my receipt indicates I was served at Ukwala Supermaket, Tom Mboya at 6:32 p.m., on the 26th of February, 2016.

Given I'm a brisk walker who avoids crowds, it should not have taken me more than five minutes to get to the area around the Tom Mboya statue on Moi Avenue,  just opposite the Hilton.

My habit of avoiding crowds is what led to what became a tragic decision, to walk along the road and emerge at the bus stop next to Ambassadeur Hotel, rather than walk along the pavement. It is here that I bumped into the villain, Nairobi’s best con man. He was running, kicking a plastic bottle along the road.

He said something to me that I didn't catch, to which I responded with a “huh”? It was only the two of us and lots of buses, for everyone else was using the zebra crossing next to Pizza Inn, then walking past the entrance to Standard Chattered Bank and Mr. Price.

My “huh” response was the second tragic decision, a series that would lead to me losing my prized phone. The chap then rushed back to me and started talking fast, saying he had said “brown”. My highly vain self thought he was talking about my brown shoes. He later would state that he was referring to my complexion. I would also later learn that this was the hook, which I had swallowed hook, line and sinker.