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  • My Warid 4G LTE SIM is here

    A few months ago i received a call from Warid Telecom that i would be receiving their new 4G LTE SIM for my phone, and then a few weeks ago i received an sms as well saying the same, and finally today i received my SIM.

    Warid has spent some money on their packaging as i received a pretty box with a small booklet explaining the features of the new network and SIM. Another good thing was that Warid has sent the SIM in multiple sizes, so that people with a micro SIM supported phone can also use the Sim, and those whose devices support nano Sims or the standard size also be able to use the SIM.

    I was also pleasantly surprised that after activating my new SIM, i received a call from the Warid help line guiding me how to activate my 4G LTE, and they also sent me SMS messaged detailing the process.

    However, unfortunately 4G LTE coverage is not yet that wide spread as my home does not come under the coverage area. I was also informed, that if in areas of no 4G LTE coverage my 2G connection will work and i will be charged 2G charges.

    Furthermore for the time being trial is being run and the 4G LTE connection is free.

    Once you receive your 4G LTE SIM from Warid Telecom send an SMS to 5555 with the message 4G to find out if your current location is in the coverage area.

    To enable 4G in your phone go to your settings, then select the Mobile Network option, and select the option GSM/WCDMA/LTE. On some phones such as on mine i had the option of 4G & 3G & 2G which i had to select.

    In APN enter the word warid, and in the name field enter warid as well.

    Hopefully if you have 4G LTE coverage in your area your connection will. Let us see if my area gets coverage, then i will be able to take it for a spin.

     

    November 30, 2014 • Pakistan, Technology • Views: 6771

  • App Review: Real Lion Simulator Game for Android

    We all have played simulators such as those for fighter jets, or for racing cars. It is interesting to find out that there are simulators for animals as well. I have read about a goat simulator but the game that i found interesting was a lion simulator game. I admit when i was a kid that i acted out as if i was a lion, making roaring sounds. Ahh, the younger days, well you can relive those days again by downloading and playing Real Lion Simulator developed by PT Game Studio.

    This game is a 3D game, where you control a lion and have to stalk and hunt other animals. There are levels in this game which you have to play in order to unlock the next level, pretty standard. Each level ends with the lion having to kill a boss animal which is then available to kill in the next level.

    Despite the graphics being and modelling being well made, the game yet does not seem so realistic. For example, the lion in the game can sprint for as long as he wants, when in reality sprints consume energy and the lion can only do it for a short time. This is one of the reasons why the lion first stalks his prey and then at the last moment goes into a sprint to make use of the element of surprise.

    The next problem that i found was that the camera has to be manually controlled by the player via a joystick. There are three controls which the lion can use to control the lion.

    • joystick direction of of movement
    • button for initiating sprint
    • joystick for controlling the camera

    I recommend that the camera be made automatic so that when the prey runs in the opposite direction of the lion then player has to stop the lion and rotate the camera, and by then the prey has already escaped.

    I also noticed that the prey, such as hippopotamus  don’t fight back as much as they should. There was only one instance where the lion was killed and that was the boar.

    Other than these issues, this game is a good time kill, and the developers can make this game more interesting and even generate revenue from it by using up the lion’s energy and then asking the user to purchase energy, or the energy be gained when the lion kills a prey. The graphics and animation are good and pretty realistic.

     

    • Real Lion Simulator Game Review
      Real Lion Simulator Game Review

    November 28, 2014 • App Reviews, Technology • Views: 5974

  • App Review: SmartIO Wireless Data Transfer App

    The design of the app is minimal which makes it easy to understand and use, however there are places where i think a bit more instruction should have been given.

    The user interface can further be improved by adding more color, as at the moment the app uses grays , black and white for its theme.

    This app requires the user to have at least two devices from any of the platforms mentioned above. Do note that at the moment there is no cloud storage, so the data transfer is end to end. This is pretty useful for those users who do not want to spend quite a bit of time to wait for the data t first transfer from the device to the cloud, and then the data then download from the cloud to the other device.

    Data can be transferred via two ways,

    Local WiFi network means that an internet connection is not required and that the data is transferred using your WiFi router’s connection.

    Internet means that the data will be transferred via the company’s servers via the WiFi or device’s cellular network connection. Do note that this is available only for business users.

    This is not a free app as one has to purchase a business account to avail all of the features of the device, however there is a limited free trial use of the app.

    The app supports the following content types for data transfer:

    After i had transferred my data, i found that there is a popup which asks the user if he wants to factory reset his device. I believe if the user presses the affirmative button without reading, then he will be at a major loss. I recommend that the development team remove this popup, and instead give a proper message and ask the user to type in a certain phrase, something like what github.com does when one wants to delete his repository. The app should be designed where the user can not make mistakes so easily.

    Furthermore, finding the data transferred on to my target device was a bit of a hassle. I recommend that the app build a single folder and then have sub folders in that folder, because at the moment the folders are distributed in other folders.

    I expected that all of my pictures will be transferred, but only a few were. I also could not find any settings for the source of my data, either the source be the phone storage or the external SD card.

    Overall the app is a good one, but it does have its share of problems which the development team should immediately resolve.

    Furthermore, if you are also concerned about your data being secure in some corporation’s cloud, then i recommend this app as from what i have understood that they do not provide cloud storage (the development team has plans to introduce cloud storage in the future).

    We received the following as part of SmartiO’s  future plans

    As a rapidly emerging company, we have always focused on providing highly innovative and advanced solutions to our privileged customers around the world. We are planning to roll out latest version of SmartiO product termed as SmartiO-T.Lille SmartiO, it is also a cross platform mobile application solution that easily integrates with retails POS and E-Commerce shopping carts. It is powered by Aomata’s Connectix™ communication platform utilizing WI-Fi, Hotspots or Cellular data connections to transmit large amount of information efficiently.

    • App Review: SmartIO Wireless Data Transfer App
      App Review: SmartIO Wireless Data Transfer App

    November 26, 2014 • App Reviews, Technology • Views: 5022

  • Fire Side Chat with Badar Khusnood of Google Pakistan

    On Wednesday 19th November 2014 I attended a fire side chat with Badar Khusnood Pakistan Country Consultant Google, organized by Startup Grind Lahore which is powered by Google for Entrepreneurs. The host for the evening was Zohaib Khan Director of Startup Grind.

    Many things were discussed, where questions were answered from various topics such as incubators, accelerators, how a non-techie can play his role in a startup.

    Following is the round up of the things discussed:

    What Badar’s role is at Google Pakistan, and how he started his careers. He explained he graduated in Economics form Lahore School of Economics, and joined Nishat Textile. Then he moved to work for Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority. He then further told us what he does at Google. He is involved in conducting market research and also helping Google understand the Pakistani market. He was also instrumental in the role of Google’s Chairman Eric Schmidt visiting Pakistan in 2012, and also the visit of Nelson Mattos, VP Emerging Markets Google.  Badar is also part of a Google Scouts program in which was started in 2005 by Google to scout for emerging markets in the world.

    The issue of youtube being banned in Pakistan and what it would take it to be un-banned. The main reason that he gave was that in countries such the offensive video which caused a hue cry has been banned in many countries, but the problem in Pakistan is that in order to do so youtube would have to be established in Pakistan with a domain of youtube.com.pk or youtube.pk and in order to do that legislations and laws are required to be in place for such a thing, but unfortunately in Pakistan we lack this. Google can not implement the ban just for Pakistan on youtube.com website as it comes under US laws, ad jurisdiction, while the .com.pk or the .pk version will come under Pakistan’s laws and jurisdictions.

    Differences between incubators, and accelerators were also discussed where the audience also posed their questions which were answered by Badar. Basically incubators are supposed to build a proof of concept of an idea, and the idea is validated at this stage. Accelerators come at the stage when the startups are to further grow and build their products and ideas.

    The models to generate funds for the company which companies follow, and he listed the following as the ones which a startup can adopt:

    • bootstrap your startup, that is spend your savings on your startup
    • ask your family and friends to give you the money
    • find an angel investor to invest in your startup
    • offer your time for money become a services based company doing freelance work for clients and then use the money earned to support your products
    • find venture capitals to invest in your company

    Google’s interests in Pakistan and also how Google has helped Pakistan in times of need were also discussed. We were told that USD $1 million were distributed to non-profit companies who were working to help ease the effects of the 2010 floods in Pakistan.

    Furthermore, it was emphasized that an entrepreneur should be a jack of all trades, and that he should acquire skills in the fields which require building, running and growing a business. Such fields include, technical (IT), marketing, accounting, sales, and administration. It is good to hire some one for that particular post, but if you are starting out, you should learn as much as you can.

    Networking is also very important, as entrepreneurship can not be done alone. Meet new people and find a common connection with that person whom you want to meet. The only way to do that is to get out of the building and to talk to people, attend events.

    After the talk I met with entrepreneurs from different companies, and shared ideas and discussed strategies with them.

    Overall the talk and the networking activity that followed was quite engaging and inspirational and i recommend that entrepreneurs who are starting out attend such events so that they too can learn and network with other entrepreneurs.

    The pictures below have been shared with permission from Startup Grind Lahore.

    The pictures were taken by ShutterWorks Photography.

    Updates: The date of the event was corrected. The actual date was Wednesday 20th November 2014.

    The source for the pictures was added.

    • Fire side chat with badar khushnood
      Fire side chat with badar khushnood

    November 25, 2014 • Entrepreneurship, Pakistan, Technology • Views: 3711

  • SpaceX Developing Micro Satellites to Provide Cheap Internet

    A Wall Street Journal article reported that Elon Musk was working to provide internet via satellites, and Elon Musk, the CEO and CTO of SpaceX  has confirmed when he tweeted that SpaceX is developing Micro Satellites and the official announcement will be given in the near future,

    As mentioned earlier these internet satellites will provide low cost internet connections to people all over the world.

    It is quite exciting to know that Elon Musk is involved in building the future, with his different startups such as SpaceX, and Tesla which is building state of the art electric cars.

     

     

     

    November 11, 2014 • Technology • Views: 3082

  • App Review: Sticher Radio for Podcasts Android App

    Sticher has been designed well, but it might be a bit too much for a beginner user of Android devices. The app does need a little bit of exploration to be done in order to find out what the features of the app are.

    Sticher is essentially an on demand podcast service, where you can download the podcast that you want to when ever you want to. You can also add podcasts to listen later list after which the selected podcast will be downloaded to your device. This functionality is quite useful for those listeners who are in a hurry to reach their destination, but want to listen to podcasts on the way. Users can also add stations (a station is the source of podcasts where the podcast author publishes his podcasts) to the read later list, which will download podcasts from those stations as well.

    You can call Sticher is to podcasts as RSS readers are to websites and blogs. Sticher also provides with searching functionality where you can search for your favorite topics, stations, or podcast authors, etc…

    Sticher provides a number of different settings which allows you to personalize your experience. You can even set what to show on the start screen.

    You can also create multiple play lists into which you can add your favorite stations. Maybe you want to create playlist which will just contains technology related stations, while another playlist contains business related stations.

    I highly recommend Sticher for podcast enthusiasts, as this app truly brings a great collection of stations and podcasts. I surely continue to use it in the future to listen to podcasts.

    • Sticher Podcast Reader Android App
      Sticher Podcast Reader Android App

    November 11, 2014 • App Reviews, Technology • Views: 4569

  • Pakistan now Supported by Google Wallet Merchant Account

    This is a really good news for Pakistani Android developers as Pakistan has been added to the list of countries where Google Wallet Merchant Account is now available. Earlier, Pakistani Android developers could only upload apps as free and not charge any money via the in-app purchases or sell their apps.

    This new development will surely encourage and motivate Pakistani developers to make more apps, and also be able to make money from their apps. Now it is quite possible that we might start seeing apps without ads, as the only way for the developers to earn money was from ads.

    To set up your merchant account with your existing Google Play developer account and to find which countries are supported for paid apps and in-app purchases you can do so from here.

    Update: Updated at 11:40 pm Pakistan Standard Time on 8th November 2014. The word Wallet was added in Google Wallet Merchant Account as the correct name is Google Wallet Merchant Account.

    Android was added to text in the first paragraph.

    November 8, 2014 • Pakistan, Technology • Views: 9450

  • App Review: CamCard Business Card Android App

    Introduction

    When you meet people it is quite often that you share business cards, and keeping them in one place has been a problem which many have. The non-digital way of storing business cards is to get a card book in which you keep all your cards, but then who can carry one hefty book for all of those business cards?
    Now we live in the digital world, and it does not make sense to solve problems non-digitally in a digital world, and even better be able to store a large number of cards without much of a problem. One app that i have started to use is CamCard Business Card Reader for Android and it has allowed me to store my business cards safely.

    UX, Design and Ease of Use

    The app’s design is simple and professional. The home screen shows the list of cards added and the user can sort them by either one of the following ways:
    • Sort by Name
    • Sort by Create Date
    • Sort by Company Name
    The main features are laid out at the bottom of the screen in the form of tabs. The user interface and user experience has been designed well, and is quite easy to use for the beginner. Everything has been laid out perfectly well.

    Usefulness

    As stated above storing business cards is a problem than many face. There are low-tech non digital ways to do so, but then as the number of cards increase the storage book(in most cases) increases in size and causes managing it to become quite difficult.
    CamCard also comes with a cloud where your cards are stored, and synced with the Android app so that your cards are safe.
    You can also download the cards to an excel file from the website. I have explored the website and the app, but i can have not yet found any information about the number of cards that can be stored in the free account.
    The app scans the business cards by using the device’s camera and extracts the information on the card. The quality of the extraction is quite good and perfectly extracts the information correctly, despite the format of the card being scanned.
    After scanning the app displays input fields which the user can fill in himself and change the data if needed.
    The user can also scan his own card, and save the details. There is also a feature which allows you to exchange cards with other users of CamCard.  By using this app, we don’t need to keep any business card in our wallets or card books.
    You can exchange cards via the following three options:
    • Card Reader which auto finds people nearby
    • Scan QR Code allows you to scan your friend’s QR code or your friend scan your QR code to get the business card
    • Private Group in which you can create a group or join a group
    There are also a number of different ways to create a business card. You can create them by either of the following ways:
    • Import Phone Contacts
    • Load Card Image
    • Email Signature
    • Create Card Manually

    Conclusion

    I have found this app quite useful, but the card exchange feature is as good as the other guy is using it. Until people in your community use the app, the app will just be good for storing of business cards, which is good in itself. I recommend this app to everyone, so that we all can stop carrying business cards and use CamCard to exchange and build cards.
    • CamCard Business Card Reader Review
      CamCard Business Card Reader Review

    November 1, 2014 • App Reviews, Technology • Views: 4501

  • My Experience In Google for Entrepreneurs Speed Mentoring Session

    I had applied to take part in an event called Startup BBQ Speed Mentoring organized by Google for Entrepreneurs (Google Pakistan) and PASHA (Pakistan Software Houses Association), and had entered my product Inbox My Articles as the submission idea.

    On Monday 20th October 2014 i received a congratulatory email from Badar Khushnood (Google’s Country Consultant for Pakistan), Google for Entrepreneurs that my idea had been selected for speed mentoring. I was over the moon. Finally, my directionless startup, which was barely gaining any traction was going to get some well needed direction, and that it was one of the 7 startups selected from over 100 plus which had applied from Lahore, Pakistan. I was honored, and proud for being part of this, and also glad that me and my team did not give up on my idea and we had stuck to it, and have brought it to where it is currently. I myself had worked during the nights to add the new features which i though were required, and which i also needed as a user, while during the day i work on client based projects.

    Inbox My Articles is an RSS Reader which consists of an Android app, a website, and a cloud. The Android app has the capabilities of downloading articles for offline articles. There are many use cases of this feature, such as not wanting to miss the latest news when ever you use the app, so you want to download the articles onto your device. Another useful use case is when you are in your commute and want to follow your favorite websites on the way to office, you can download the articles before hand, and then read them later.

    I myself use Inbox My Articles every day, and where i live, we don’t have internet connection everywhere. 3G has just recently come in Pakistan, but from what i heard least it was still expensive, and my network is straight going to 4G LTE, which it announced, but i am yet to receive my new sim card which i was promised to receive but still have not received it, so as a result i am usually in places where i do not have an internet connection available, so i read the articles which i have downloaded earlier onto my device.

    I went with my team which consisted of the following:

    • Mustafa Neguib (Entrepreneur, Founder, CEO of MN Tech Solutions (Private) Limited)
    • Muhammad Adil Saeed (Development Partner & CTO of MN Tech Solutions (Private) Limited)
    • Muhammad Basim Majeed (Development Partner & Software Engineer  of MN Tech Solutions (Private) Limited)
    • Saad Siddique (Development Partner & Software Engineer  of MN Tech Solutions (Private) Limited)

    We arrived the venue, LUMS (Lahore University of Management & Sciences ) Smart Lab, Lahore, Pakistan at about 8 am on the fine morning of Tuesday 21st October 2014. I had insisted my team mates to wear formal attire, as i had assumed that since the top industry experts were coming to mentor us, we should be dressed accordingly, but the reality was to be other wise. Everyone was more or less in their casual attire.

    We were one of the first ones to reach the venue, so we had some time to take pictures with the banners, and set up our equipment (laptop with the pitch deck and presentation which i had prepared and my smartphone, and my business cards).

    As everyone else started to pour into the venue, i saw some familiar faces, and some new faces. I was awestruck. I was in the company of the people who were at the place where i believe i am destined to be. To see local heroes and entrepreneurs who made it on their own, i too strive to attain success and build a successful company one day, while in the mean time i am trying to survive with my team, hoping for that one big break.

    I believe that this event was our big break, and will be using it to the fullest to further grow the company.

    We were mentored by the following industry experts:

    Each of the mentors brought their view point, experience and expertise, which all was extremely valuable for us inexperienced entrepreneurs miserably trying to survive. As a crux we were guided on how we are to build our business and marketing plan, how to calculate our costs, how to find new users and how to get feedback from existing users. We also learned what issues our product contains, and how we can further improve it. One of the common themes was that we should target the local audience, and to localize the product. This surely is a point to ponder, and one direction which we should definitely think about. We also learned about marketing plans, and how much users are required for making money from ads.

    I would like to say, that we were grilled and prepared for barbecue as the organizers had claimed to do so. I myself learned alot, pitching became better and we modified our pitch when the next mentor came.

    Apart from the mentors mentioned above, founder of TechJuice, one of Pakistan’s top technology media companies also guided and advised us. TechJuice was also one of the seven startups selected, and i thank her for her advice and guidance.

    This was not the first time when i was part of an event like this. I was also part of the Game Jam 2014 Lahore, but this event was at another level as this time, my and my team’s hard work for the past 6 months was recognized and accepted as an idea which i am even more determined to work on, and to further improve it and use the knowledge gained in building this into a business.

    This event was the perfect time for making connections and increase our networking circle. I am glad that we were given the chance and met some extraordinary people. We really thank Google Pakistan, Google for Entrepreneurs and PASHA for selecting us, and giving us a chance to learn and experience, and to be mentored by the industry experts.

    I would also like to thanks the mentors who took out time from their busy schedules in order to mentor us, and to help us learn from our mistakes, and most importantly to guide us. I will never forget what i have learned here, and i will do my best to implement what i have learned on Inbox My Articles, and also on any future product that i work on.

    Update @ 24th October 2014 3:03 AM : Added link to blog post to the article about my experience in Game Jam 2014  Hackathon Lahore

    • Google for Entrepreneurs Week Startup BBQ
      Google for Entrepreneurs Week Startup BBQ

    October 24, 2014 • Entrepreneurship, Pakistan, Technology • Views: 4265

  • App Review: Whistle Phone Finder for Android

    Introduction

    There are times, when you forget where you have left your phone(device), and you wish that you had some sort of an app installed on it so that you could find it easily.

    Don’t worry as there is an which does just that. Developed by Nine Hertz India, Whistle Phone Finder for Android is an app which plays music when you blow a whistle helping you to find your phone.

    UX, Design and Ease of Use

    Arrows have been incorporated into the design of the app which inform the user what each button does. I think this is a good idea.

    The youtube video, help screen, and the pointers on the homepage help make the experience of using the application much easier.

    The user can select which music to play when a whistle is detected. The user can also set the sensitivity level of the whistle to be detected. By default the lowest sensitivity level is set. At this level whistling was not detected, so i had to turn the sensitivity to a higher setting.

    There is also an option to turn on the flash light from within the app, but from my initial testing, i did not find the flash light being used when the app plays the music when whistling is detected.  From the help screen i found that the flash light has been implemented as as an extra feature to help find the user find other things in a dark room. I don’t know why was this feature needed in an app which is supposed to be used to look for the user’s phone.

    Usefulness

    This app is really useful for all of those people who forget where they have left their devices. Keeping the media volume to a high level will help the user find the device from a far distance, however i have not tested the maximum range of which the device can detect the whistle.

    Problems that I found

    There is no option to stop the music once you find your device. The music continues to play even if you find the phone. I could not find any option to turn of the music.
    Another problem that I found is that when the screen is turned on whistling is not detected, so those users who have set their screen time out times to be long (on Huawei Ascend P7 android Kit Kat the max screen time out is 30 minutes). So if the user forgets where his phone is in these 30 minutes then the whistling won’t work, and he will have to wait for 30 minutes to pass, but then those 30 minutes will have been lost. We all know wasting time is a high level offence.

    Furthermore, I also found out that the app for reason whole the device’s screen was turned on , the app detected that a whistle was detected and started playing the music.

    Lastly, I noticed that my battery ran out quicker than it normally does since i had installed the app.

    Conclusion

    As stated above, this app is useful for those users who forget where they have left their phones, but this app has quite a number of bugs which need to be fixed in order to make this app much more usable.

    • Whistle Phone Finder Android App Review by Mustafa Neguib
      Whistle Phone Finder Android App Review by Mustafa Neguib

    October 16, 2014 • App Reviews, Technology • Views: 5034