Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Ananse Smash Android Game

As promised, my first game among my list of proposed androids apps I am developing in my leisure time is done and published now. Ananse Smash takes inspiration from the Mole Mash game concept. I designed it to just be addictive and keep one busy until something much important surfaces.
As the name implies, you are expected to hit the forever-moving Ananse the spider. Your goal is to gain as much points as you can before you miss it ten times. At which point, your game is over.Of course it gets boring after a while. However, because high score is stored, you will definitely want to beat your high score each time you open the app.
I hope you enjoy the game as much as I enjoyed working on it. Don't forget to share and comment your thoughts as well as rate. What features would you like to see in it?
Ananse Smash Gameplay Interface
Download Link
Download

Friday, July 5, 2013

Ghana Cedi Converter Android App

After a lot of anticipation and lackluster, I eventually got my first app on the Google Play Store. It just had to be the simplest of the apps I had tried my hands on - Ghana Cedi Converter. As you might have picked up already, it a very simple app that converts a figure entered from some of the most popular currencies to our beloved Ghana Cedi (GHS). I still wonder why GHS is used rather than GHC as our currency's official code. Gave me a few errors in development of the app I must admit. However, it is here for your use if you are that Chinese goods importer who needs to know how much duty you are likely to pay or even a businessman on the road and who needs to know how your foreign transactions are affecting your local accounts.
Ghana Cedi Converter page on web browser
Installation page on phone
App Interface


















Hopefully, this is the first of a lot of Ghanaian centered apps I am going to publish on the app store. Looking ahead, there are a few fun apps and tools currently in development.

Download

Thursday, May 16, 2013

MyVodafone Android App

After finishing up on the MyTiGO app, I thought I could just do a few code modification to provide the ease and relief of common network tasks that MyTiGO brings to other networks as well. And so, as you might have noticed, this is the same version of the app for +Vodafone Ghana subscribers.

If I have to go through the features again, then it is a very simple android app aiding users perform simple tasks as checking credit/balance, loading up credit, subscribing for data or internet bundles. How different is this from the traditional way of performing these tasks you may ask. Well, you don't have to remember and call any short codes. Just a touch of an on-screen button and you are good to go. For example, no entering of *123*...# to load up credit. Just enter your scratched number in the text box, touch the load credit button and it's taken care of.



A few additional gimmicky features are pages for Vodafone Ghana social network profiles on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. This version for Vodafone Ghana also includes a button for contacting customer support which was not available in the +Tigo Ghana version.

The file can be downloaded from the link below for installation on only android devices. Please ensure that 'Unknown sources' is on in your settings as is the case with installing any apk file. On tablets, tasks such as loading credit, checking balance and customer care can only be performed if the tablet is cellular enabled (or works with a sim card - not wifi only).
(Link has been updated for a new version as the old one had a bug with loading credit)

https://www.dropbox.com/s/0nh44gy9um2vhyp/MyVodafone.apk

Feedback will be gratefully appreciated. Thank you.

Monday, May 13, 2013

MyTiGO Android App


MyTiGO is an android application I developed and have been using for some time now. How many times have you had to pause and think for a while or even ask a friend for one of those short codes to check your balance, get internet bundles or even recharge? This is your answer. Having developed and been using it personally, I think it's time to get this in a lot of people hands as a lot seem to also have my code memorizing mental challenge as well.

MyTiGO helps to easily recharge a scratch card number for credit with just the touch of a button. Unarguably a better alternative to the *842*...# option or going through automated voice menus to perform a simple task. Also included is the ability to check your balance and bonuses. The app also provides quick access to the Tigo Cash menu where transactions can be made with the various sub-services under Tigo Cash. +Tigo Ghana can provide more details on that.



Tigo recently launched an Internet portal which I also included in the app. It most helpful to get details of and subscribe to various data packages. The first page of the portal that I incorporated gives an overview of the user's account providing information about balance, current data package and its expiration date.

Tigo Internet Portal Page


Additional features that are included are pages for the 3 main social network accounts for Tigo on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus. All these are embedded into the app and can easily be switched back to the normal Tigo mobile services page.

Wrapping up, I think these type of applications should be provided by all the mobile network service providers to ease usability for their customers especially on mobile devices they sell directly to customers as pre-installed apps. The app is currently available to any interested persons who send me an email ( felixsarp@gmail.com or techdroolgh@gmail.com ) requesting for it. Please do send feedback of your experience and how it works for you just so I can optimize it for various devices.

Update: The apk file is now downloadable from the following links.
Download from the Google Play store now

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Free Twitter Text Notifications

I thought I'll just pop by after a while to give a bit of a helpful tip combining 3 great things - Technology, Football and Freemium. Yes, two of my most favorite things plus everybody's desire. You know how most weekends you receive texts from your mobile service provider reminding you to subscribe to a service which alerts you via text messages about news and scores from your favorite team at very 'low' costs? What if you could have that for absolutely no cost at all with no bother from any service provider. Here you go.

What you need

  • A mobile phone
  • A twitter account
  • Official twitter account of the football (or sports) team you support

Step 1
Create a twitter account if you do not already have one in this day and age. (It's much cooler than Facebook by the way)

Setting up your mobile phone to receive tweets.
At this moment you need to go into your settings via the wrench icon on the right side of the top bar of the page. Clicking it brings up a drop down list that includes 'Settings'. Once on the settings page, you want to click on the 'Mobile' link on the left side menu. From there you need to set the form up for 'Activate Twitter Text Messaging'. Just go ahead and select your country and input your mobile number as well selecting your network or carrier provider. At the moment, for Ghana, Airtel, +Tigo Ghana , MTN, Glo, Expresso and Vodafone are all supported.
On the next screen, you are instructed to text GO on your phone to 40404. Do so. In a little while, the screen should automatically change to show that the activation was successful. You can change or leave the additional options as you wish. I choose to leave them as they are.



Step 2

Once you have your twitter account set up and mobile phone ready for tweet notifications, go ahead to find and follow the official twitter account of your club. I'm only suggesting the official accounts. This is because I'm assuming you do not want to be unnecessarily disturbed by tweet alerts on your phone by the unofficial accounts which tend to tweet for the fun of it even if it does not remotely concern the team plus useless made-up rumors. To make things a bit easy, I'm putting up links to the official verified accounts of some of the big clubs you most probably are a fun of.

https://twitter.com/MUFCOFFICIAL
https://twitter.com/Arsenal
https://twitter.com/chelseafc
https://twitter.com/FCBarcelona
https://twitter.com/realmadrid
https://twitter.com/acmilan
https://twitter.com/FCBayern

If these links aren't helpful to you for some reason as your team not coming to the top of my head as a popular team, go ahead and use the search bar to find your beloved club and click the follow button to follow them.
Note: Verified official accounts are marked by a verification icon --->
While you are at that, you might want to follow me on https://twitter.com/felixsarp or https://twitter.com/techdroolgh

Step 3
Having successfully followed your team, you need to set them up for receiving their tweets as text messages on your mobile phone.
First you want to go to their profile if you aren't there already. This can be done by searching from the list of people you follow or as a shortcut, press 'g' and 'u' together on your keyboard if you are on a computer and start typing the name of the team. If found and on their profile page, identify the settings on the left of the following button. Click it to reveal the drop down menu and notice 'Turn on mobile notifications' in the list. You are left with simply clicking to tick it on and you are good to go.

Henceforth, all official tweets from your team will be received on your phone as text messages even if you are not connected to the internet without any charges. If you are reading this from a country where you are charged for receiving text, you might not be too happy with this. For my Ghanaian friends and readers though, I'm sure you'll be happy with this. Thanks for reading and I hope I've been helpful in a way.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

TISU.COM.GH - Experience


Tisu.com.gh is one of the many sprung up Ghanaian online purchasing websites that has caught my interest these past few months. This is a website that features deals from other businesses ranging from telecommunication networks, ice cream shops, phone unlocking and restaurants. Having only purchased mobile phone credit over this service, this review if I should call it so, might not completely reflect the experience you might have while using it for a different purchase. For those of you familiar with the Akan language, you might already have a fairly good understanding about the service provided by tisu.com.gh. If not, 'tisu' (or its correct spelling 'teso') in the Akan language means 'to reduce'. Yes, you guessed right. Tisu.com.gh is an online purchasing service that features discounted deals from other businesses for the purchase of their products or services. As you may already know or be already, Ghanaians will always ask for a reduction of price for any item they purchase. This is why being Ghanaian, I was much content about getting to know about this service. May I acknowledge +David Baksmaty for introducing me to this great service.

How It Works

You should first be  a registered user to use the service. This requires the normal filling of a form with basic information and account verification.
Next, you find a deal from the website that interests you. The website usually has about three or four deals to choose from every week. These deals are very diverse with regards to business type and so you will most likely find something that interests you. If nothing interests you, at least you may be tempted by a mobile network deal which features every week as I have observed for yourself or a loved one.

Having found a deal, you make an order simply by clicking a 'buy' button. It is important to read the deal information to know its expiration date as well as how many orders needed for it to tip. From my experience, all the deals I have bought have only had one user order requirement to tip/activate.

Wait for the order confirmation email, read it and proceed to make the payment as you wish via one of the acceptable mode of payments - MTN mobile money, MPower mobile payments, GT Bank and Stanbic Bank deposites.

Upon payment completion, another mail is sent which confirms if the order limit for the deal has tipped and a link to print your coupon is provided. For my case, I was just emailed the particular telecommunication network scratch card numbers since I didn't need to enjoy or receive the product/service at the merchant's place and so the coupon was available but not needed. I believe these coupons will be needed for deals where you would have to go to the merchant such as a discounted dinner at a restaurant, ice cream purchase or the decode/unlock blackberry deal I have just seen.

My 1st Experience

The great thing about tisu.com.gh is the fact that payments for deals are made online (sort of). In my case, for discounted tigo credit deal, I wished to pay through my Tigo cash account. Who wouldn't want to just sit in front of their computer or any internet browsing capable device and purchase cell phone credit  for as low as 1GHS for 5GHS worth credit. Tigo cash is not in the list of acceptable payment modes and after talking with tisu.com.gh customer care it was 'clear' I cannot pay through Tigo cash - a message I consciously ignored. I went ahead to attempt getting the deal and received details of the order and payment instructions in an email.

Message received from tisu.com.gh confirming order and payment instructions

 I then went ahead to precisely ignore the info on the site and the nice customer service lady and made a transfer of the 1 cedi into Tisu's MTN Mobile Money account from my Tigo Cash account. Knowing very well I had not followed instructions to the letter of the 'law', I replied Tisu's email stating that I had made the purchase with Tigo Cash and gave them the code for retrieving the money quoting the order number for the purchase. Within an hour, I was emailed the scratch card number of the Tigo credit which I loaded immediately to have my 5 cedis credit. Since then, I have gone on to buy mobile phone credit for two other mobile networks - MTN and Airtel.

Apart from the main service of simply buying a deal and enjoying it, tisu.com.gh also has some interesting added features. Some of which include buying a deal for a friend and the use of gift cards. You can check them out from the site and let us and them know what you think about them.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

UHURU - Review, Hands-on

Specification
OS - Windows 8 Single Language
Processor - Intel i5 Ivy Bridge
Memory - 4GB
HDD - 64GB SATA Drive
Display - 11' Capacitive Touch Screen
Bluetooth - Yes
Wireless - Yes
USB - USB 2.0 slot, 2 USB 3.0 slots
RJ45 Network Slot
Camera - 2.0MP, 1.3MP Secondary Cam

Uhuru is Rlg Communications Limited's newest product on the market - a Hybrid PC (Laptop convertible tablet). With all the suspense filled advertisements over the past few months, Uhuru is here and we know what it is. With two units combining to (try) give you the best of both worlds, you really couldn't ask for more. Or, could you? Read on and judge for yourselves.


   


Software
Microsoft Windows 8 Single Language edition
Microsoft Office 2010
Skype
And a few 'Microsoft Modern UI' apps - Finance, Weather, News, Sports, Skydrive, Maps, etc

Design
The design of the Uhuru is not the best, as compact as it seems to look. I found it a bit awkward that the speakers were located behind the tablet/display. As such, the sound moves away from the user. It could have done with at least an extra speaker on the keyboard side for when its docked.
Keyboard is well spaced out and quite comfortable to use. One might however most of the time prefer to use the touch screen over the touch pad. The touch pad buttons are way too hard to click.

Features
The main feature of the Uhuru is its tablet-laptop capability. With an extra battery in the display unit, the detachable screen serves good as a tablet barring its weight. Everyone who saw this unit I got was quit impressed until they actually lifted it. At least I know a friend who returned his because he wasn't too impressed with the weight.

The addition of cellular connectivity is a plus for the Uhuru. Very handy for anytime internet connectivity.

The keyboard/dock connectivity options is also great. It features 2 USB 2.0 ports, RJ45 network cable port. The tablet unit itself also has that one and only required Windows button below the screen, and additional volume rocker, screen orientation button, a USB slots, power button and HDMI port on the sides.

What is not worth mentioning though is the fact that the Uhuru has cameras. The 1.3MP front facing camera is ok to mention for video chat. The back 2.0MP camera though is just a no-brainer. As much as I do not see the reason for 10 inches and above tablets having a back camera, if it has one, it has to be good for what it's meant for - taking photos. Not so with the Uhuru. Enough said.

Audio on the Uhuru is another one of its flaws. By far, not the best sound quality you might have hoped for. As low as these speakers sound, they are also located behind the screen (yes, no speakers on the keyboard/dock unit) meaning they play away from you. How hard it was explaining to the owner of this unit that was how high he could have it play a video.

The touch display though is quite responsive and fun to use. As a laptop sitting at arm's length  it is good to look but any closer use as a tablet and you can count every pixel (exaggerated but you know what I mean).

64GB of storage is the only available model hopefully for now. That should be enough for very average use. Wish it came in other storage options as well.

Power was ok and lasted a good while when undocked. The extra battery in the keyboard/dock unit is also good to have. Other reviews have mentioned that the tablet unit is not possible to charge without docking it. I found that to be untrue as the unit has another charging port which allows it to be charged just as any other tablet.

Yes the Uhuru is made (or assembled) in Ghana and we can be proud of that. However, for 1950GHC, I don't think the tech savvy person in me would allow patriotism to make me live with dodgy display quality, weight, very low storage, lower quality camera, etc. Yes, this is an honest review, not a rant of what's not to like about this little piece of technology. What I would want in the next iteration of the Uhuru (if it will come) is more storage options, reduced weight, no or better back camera for the same price. An additional innovative feature will be something I have not seen any manufacturer done already - extra storage disk in the keyboard/dock unit to serve as external storage.

You can leave a comment to agree or disagree with me. What do you think of the Uhuru? Do you own one? Do you like it? Was it worth your cedis? Would you buy one if you had the cedis?

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