Opera is shutting down the Opera Max, its data compression VPN app

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Today started off with a bit of bad news as Opera announcef that it was shuttering the Opera Max VPN, its data saver app for Android. The news came to me as a bit of a shock as there was no indication that the app was struggling considering that it had been downloaded between 10 to 50 million times and comes pre-installed in a few Samsung devices.

According to Opera, the decision to discontinue the app was as a result of the company having a "different value proposition from the rest of its products"

The discontinuation of the Opera Max VPN app is a bit of shame as its one app that i have comebto rely on daily to squeeze out a bit more mileage from my very limited data allowance. While the app has been delisted from the Play Store, the app would continue to function as it is for users who already have thit installed for an undisclosed period of time.

How Samsung Pay could work on other Android devices

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There is this rumour floating around that Samsung is considering other Android device makers to use their Samsung Pay. Which raises the following questions:

Why  other manufacturers would even consider it? 

To answer the first question, it is because of the MST, the technology behind Samsung Pay which allows it to work with both the newer NFC enabled POS and older POS that rely on physical contact with magnetic stripes on cards to work. 

How could it possibly work especially with Google and Android Pay?
This makes it an extremely attractive proposition for any Android manufacturer looking to market their device in this new cashless age. While this is great reason to join the Samsung Pay bandwagon, but the Samsung name might stand in the way and also Google's Android Pay. Google could license the technology from Samsung and fold it into their Android Pay platform which is available to every other Android device partner. 


While this is great for Google, LG, Nokia, OnePlus, Lenovo and the likes, wouldn't it remove one of the selling point of Samsung's Galaxy devices? 

Yes, it probably can but Samsung stands to gain more from it. By agreeing a licensing fee with Google, Samsung can stand to make a bit of money from every Android device sold. And for anyone who has seen the recent financial report, Samsung is making a lot more profit from its semiconductor business that it does from selling its mobile devices. Samsung could easily make one of the licensing requirements that anyone looking to use the MST technology in their devices would have to buy the MST components from Samsung. With the sheer number of Android devices sold each quarter it would go a long way to boosting Samsung's bottomline. 

Overall it's a win-win for everyone involved. Google could use it to speed up the adoption of Android Pay which is lagging in usage compared to Apple Pay. Android OEMs could leverage it to make customers consider their Android devices over the iPhone. And Samsung would be bringing in more revenue in licensing fees and MST compatible chip sales. 

Incredible!! WhatsApp Status has even got more users than Snapchat

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Today was a day of celebration at Facebook. Not only did the parent company clock in a massive number of daily users (2 Billion if you're keeping count), the other services under its belt like Instagram and WhatsApp are doing exceptionally well too.

According to the shared info graphic (see the images below) WhatsApp reached a major milestone as it announced that it averages a Billion daily users sending over 55 billion messages daily. WhatsApp rise to the top over the years has been amazing, it has gone from that app you downloaded because your friends are on it to that app that you needed to download because everyone uses it now.



One thing that didn't get as much press from WhatsApp was that its "Status" feature which cloned from Snapchat' Stories is a big hit averaging 250 million daily users. Which makes this secondary feature, that i swear nobody uses, an even bigger platform than Snapchat which lags way behind with 166 million users. (crazy, right). 

Facebook recent success in copying & cloning Snapchat features gives credence to the age old saying that "if they refuse to sell their business to you, copy their ideas".
The success of Stories on WhatsApp and Instagram can't come at a worse time for Snap, whose share price has continued to take a tumble since its IPO.

About the new Spider-man: Homecoming movie

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I finally got around to seeing the new Spider-man movie as a result of the need to kill off a few hours during the weekend. I wasn't too thrilled to see another Spider-man reboot after living through the Amazing Spider-man reboot helmed by Andrew Garfield which for the most part wasn't really an improvement over Tobie McGuire's. While Andrew is a decent actor, him playing Peter Parker was a bit of a mismatch, for the most part he was too cool to be Peter Parker. But I still got with the program and liked him anyway, for the most part Amazing Spider-man was cool besides killing off Staci Gwen which was a stupid decision and If not for the massive success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I bet they (Fox) wouldn't have rebooted Spider-man again. 


OK.. back to the movie, after seeing the poster below I was kind of expecting to see Tony Stark/Iron Man everywhere. But I must say that screenwriters and directors handled Tony's involvement quite well. Having Tony play the distant mentor to the over eager Peter was really well done. 



The scene in which he saves Peter using a remote Iron Man suit was a nice touch. Watching the over-eager Peter bumble and stumble his way throughout the movie to eventually becoming a bona-fide hero was a great way of introducing a character in a way that the audience would love. One thing that made me like movie even more besides having the screening room all to myself was that Peter wasn't alone by himself. Pairing him up with the delightful Ned was a nice touch. The casting was dope, the really beautiful Liz, the rather annoying Flash, and Zendaya playing a different breed of MJ made sense. I just can't get over how incredible Marisa Tomei (Aunt May) looks at 53. 



I have said this so many times to notice it myself but I think Marvel has cracked the formula on how to make a really good audience friendly superhero movie which is basically stuff blowing up, dope fight scenes, jokes all wrapped up in a plot substantial enough to keep the audience captivated but thin enough not to lose them. 

Spider-man: Homecoming is easily the second best Superhero movie I have watched this year behind Wonder Woman (I didn't care much for the Guardians of the Galaxy 2). 

Thoughts on DC's better than expected Wonder Woman

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I finally got around to watching the Wonder Woman movie (yeah, i know and i proudly wear my Lastma jacket) and the first thing that hit me was the colours. The dull drab that had been characteristic of Zack Synder's DCEU movies was replaced with more eye and brain friendly light colours. Y'all may not understand it but i was overjoyed when i saw the scenes where i grabbed the stills below from. 

 

I mean how can you not love this face

The Pat Jenkins directed Wonder Woman moves away from the story board used by Man of Steel and Batman v Superman and tries to tell Diana's story from the beginning instead of dropping the audience smack in the middle of it like Man of Steel or Batman v Superman. The slow build up allows the audience to connect with her at a human level and share her story as the movie progresses. And judging by the box office numbers, it has helped in bringing more and more people into the theatres.

The transition into the action scenes was handled properly and purposefully. Diana's first battle at the beach was well done and so was the battle at the war front. Although the final battle scene with Ares wasn't quite right, although i don't know how a battle between two gods is supposed to go down but it just didn't quite feel right. And David Thewlis talent as a villain wasn't quite properly utilised (see the third season of Fargo).

In summation, Wonder Woman is without a doubt the best movie of the new DC Entertainment Universe and should set the tone for the remainder of the DC movies to come. As a comic book adaptation, I'm giving Wonder Woman 4 🌟 out of 5.

Taking On Jay-Z's 4:44

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I usually do an album review of artists that i follow but i won't be doing that here, somehow it takes away from the fun of listening to an album and actually enjoying it. So much for the saying Find a Job You Love and You'll Never Work a Day in Your Life. So instead of trying to review this album, imma just talk about the stuff i liked about it. 

I was kind of surprised by Jay's 13th Studio album, it was different.. different in a good way. 4:44 sees a Jay-Z far removed from the artist that made Magna Carta... Holy Grail. This Jay-Z no longer feels compelled to make an album that would appeal to a larger audience. 4:44 sees Jay-Z talking about meaningful personal stuff like having good credit, support for his mom coming out and being happy (finally), addressing the Ye rants, problems in his marriage, infidelity and a lot more. 

4:44 was a departure for me from the type of music that filled the musicsphere of late. It had me feeling like it's ok to hold up my nose to the mumble rap being peddled by the likes of Future, Young Thug & co. I mean here's an album that's Hip-Hop, an album that made sense. To me the album felt just right, it didn't feel overproduced. The No I.D produced beats complimented the verses quite right, the mixing was quite right and as a whole the album felt right. I loved the fact that he kept the songs to just 10, i loved Damian Marley reggae infused chorus. The album felt at lot more cohesive and Jay didn't let down for once, every song had something to take away and as usual quite a few quotables. In some sense this album was basically Jay-Z giving us some glimpses into the life of the man named Shawn Corey Carter. 

Off the album, i enjoyed a few records a little more than others. The Story of O.J and Bam were my favourite cuts off the album. Kill Jay-Z is another good joint and a great choice for the first song. Smile too, great work by No I.D on this record. Moonlight too. Overall 4:44 is without a doubt one of the two best Hip-hop albums of 2017. It's one of those albums that any self-respecting Hip-Hop head should have in his library, particularly in this day and age. 


For a track by track breakdown of the 4:44 album, i suggest you read this 1 listen review by @Yoh31 


Kendrick Lamar isn't trying to win everyone over with DAMN.

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After listening to Kendrick Lamar's new album DAMN. repeatedly over the course of the week, one thing stands out, and that is that this album would be more polarising than any of his previous albums. If you aren't a fan of Kendrick Lamar by now, this album isn't going to change that. And anyone hoping that Kendrick Lamar would make a more inclusive album would have to wait for the next album.

Off the top, I'd say this is probably Kendrick's least entertaining album so far with no songs in the exact mould of  "King Kunta" to level out the general introspective overtone of the album. Although you can find  songs like the light humored "God", the Rihanna assisted "Loyalty" and "Love" to fill in the void. Loyalty is my second favourite song on the album and shows another way of going about a Rihanna feature. I looking forward to the video. God is my favourite cut off the album, it's got the same kinda vibe like 50's Straight to the bank but with a hook feels less braggaicdous and more relatable.
On songs like DNA and Pride, the Compton native really shines displaying oft praised his lyrical ability to the right degree which is sure to please his fanbase . The U2 assisted XXX was always good however it felt a missed opportunity and ended sounding like the the feature was an afterthought sample. Love is another feel good song that shows that Kendrick is still human after all, it's by far his softest record so far. Beyond these songs, I'm hitting on that skip button although i should warn that i felt the same way with GKMC and TPAB when they were first released.  One thing I can say about his albums is that they age quite well, i find myself listening more and more to songs on his previous albums that i wasn't quite fond during the first weeks of their release.

Overall DAMN. is a really good album marrying a great production team with an artist brave enough not to dilute his lyricism with some bubble gum rap that's prevalent among his peers. If Kendrick Lamar's goal is to cement his name in the Hip-Hop Pantheon then it's clear that he's made the right moves so far with the newest body of work.




Feeling down today, she might nurse you back to

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Just the other day i stumbled on this Liberian 🇱🇷 5'1" bootylicious bombshell who goes by the handle dbcurves on Instagram (thanks to the instagram search tab, the great thing about it is that you don't have to do anything but scroll). 

It goes without saying that this New Jersey native and mother of two had got some booty on her. You can check out more photos of her here and get instagram page. 










Going Platinum with no features, does it really matter

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A lot has been made about J. Cole earning another platinum certification for his fourth  studio album "4 Your Eyez Only" and like 2014 Forest Hill Drive, 4YEO didn't have any guest appearances and was largely self-produced.

While core J. Cole fans have made a meal out of it, other people are wondering why the "having no guest feature matters?". The short answer is that it does matter big time.

Financially, it allows the artist to make a lot more money from sales since he doesn't have to pay for those guest features, he also wouldn't have to pay for the throng of songwriter that usually accompanies guest features. Taking all these into consideration,  having no guest features is a sound decision so long as you move units like J. Cole does.

On the other hand, musically it's not all that straightforward. While having no guest features allows an artist to wholly dictate the direction and sound of the album, it might end up limiting the appeal, lyrical range of the album, something that's abundantly clear with both FHD and 4YEO. While both albums are generally J. Cole, fans of more mainstream Hip-Hop are easily alienated with the overall dour tone the albums take.  Having guest features can do an album a lot of good, it can challenge the project artist to improve on the quality of his work. It is unheard of to hear about artists having to rewrite their verses after listening to the guest verse which is great for the culture. The infusion of different artists can help lively up an album and make the listening enjoyable, something J. Cole sorely needs.

At the end of the day, it depends on what the artist is trying to achieve with his album. While it's great to have a signature album that is pure at the cost of limiting your appeal to a particular set of people. But for the love of the culture guest features are absolutely necessary. Having various artist collaborate in songs (even with acts outside the genre) would help Hip-Hop grow and reach a broader audience.

Twitter goes Lite with a data saving version

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Twitter today announced a more data friendly version of its popular mobile web app aimed at those in developing markets where people are still hooked up to older 2G networks with slower data speeds. 

Twitter says that the lite version has been optimised for speed, load quicker on slow connections and overall minimise data usage. The Twitter Lite maintains the Twitter core features. Using Twitter Lite with Google Chrome or any modern browsers will allow users to receive notifications. 



The Lite version of Twitter can be accessed using mobile.twitter.com on any mobile browsers, which is a bit different from the approach taken by Facebook and Skype with their native apps. 

Ass Wednesday: One for the true Booty man

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I was surfing my instagram when i spotted this "instagram model" who goes by the handle persiannbaddiee with what could only be described as a premium booty.
 
Looking at her instagram feed, one thing's clear, this Persian baddie has clearly been taking her vitamins



 



Video: Sony's Xperia Touch can turn any surface into an Android touch device

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As this year's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona draws to a close, i couldn't help but feel that just perhaps the mobile device market has plateaued. Minus Nokia's ode to the 2000s with the Nokia 3310, bulk of the devices announced was pretty much the same.

Amid the sea of slabs and smart watches, one device stood out as truly innovative and that was Sony's Xperia Touch projector. The Xperia Touch projector felt like something out of a science fiction movie and works by turning any surface into a touch enabled display.

The Xperia Touch takes the idea of the infrared keyboard of a few years that we were wowed by but found less than ideal and turned it into a wonderful family device.
 
 
The Android powered Xperia Touch not lets users watch movies on their walls, it also lets them install apps and games from the Google Play Store giving it a myriad of use cases. You can check out the promo video below to see what the Xperia Touch is capable of. 

Samsung Galaxy S8 render surfaces, looks stunning beautiful

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A press render of the yet to be announced Samsung Galaxy S8 surfaced this morning courtesy Evan Blass the guy behind the popular EVleaks Twitter account.

The image shows off the nearly all screen Galaxy S8 with minimal bezels at the top and bottom, near bezeless appearance leaves the Galaxy S8 looking stunningly beautiful.

While the Galaxy S8 is neither the first nor second device to sport a near absence of bezels, we've had the Sharp Aquos Crystal, Xiaomi Mix and LG G6 before it, it would be the first no compromise bezeless device of the bunch.

Nokia is officially back to the smartphone market with the Nokia 6 Android smartphone

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Nokia's long awaited return to the smartphone market is now officially with the android powered Nokia 6 smartphone. After months of benchmark leaks and a few delays (The new Nokias were supposed to be launched in the 4th quarter of 2016), Nokia and HMD Global have finally brought a device to the market albeit only in China for now. 

The Nokia 6 is a midrange device with a 5.5inch 1080p diplay and is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 Octa-core processor. The Nokia 6 packs dual speaker setup with smart dual amplifier chips (TFA9891),  in addition to a 16MP/8MP camera combo with phase detection autofocus and dual tone LED flash, fingerprint sensor embedded in the home button, a hybrid dual SIM slot and a microSD slot all packed in an aluminium unibody.



The midrange Nokia 6 Android smartphone is a product of Nokia's partnership with HMD Global and is priced at 1699 yuan (US$ 245). Presently the Nokia 6 seems to be available in only black. 

While it's great to have Nokia back it's  doubtful that the Nokia 6 would be the device that would put Nokia back on the map considering  that it is seems a bit overpriced for Chinese market (there are a myriad of better speced devices from the likes of Xiaomi and Meizu available at half the price. You can check out the rest of the specifications of the Nokia 6 below.



  • DIMENSIONS: 154 x 75.8 x 7.8 mm
  • DISPLAY: 5.5 inch (1920 x 1080 pixels) 2.5D curved glass display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection, 450 nits brightness
  • PROCESSOR: Octa-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 430
    (4 x 1.2 GHz Cortex A53 + 4 x 1.5 GHz Cortex A53) 64-bit processor
    Adreno 505 GPU
  • MEMORY: 4GB LPDDR3 RAM, 64GB internal memory, expandable memory up to 128GB with microSD
  • SOFTWARE:Android 7.0 (Nougat)
  • CAMERA:16MP rear camera with dual-tone LED flash, PDAF, 1.0um sensor, f/2.0 aperture
    8MP front-facing camera, 1.12um sensor, f/2.0 aperture, 84˚ wide-angle lens
  • CONNECTIVITY: 3.5mm audio jack, Dual speakers, Dual smart amplifiers (TFA9891), Dolby Atmos 4G LTE, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS, USB OTG, Dual SIM
  • OTHERS: Fingerprint sensor
  • BATTERY: 3000mAh built-in battery

This USB Flash Drive has more storage than your Laptop

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USB flash drives have come really come a long way, from the days of having managing to store data files in Megabytes to  being able to store Gigabytes of personal data. It's relative small size and cost has made it almost ubiquitous with everyone from schoolers to bankers all owning one. 

With the current trends in data storage, the humble USB flash drive might replace external hard drives for handling large volumes of data. At CES, Kingston announced the DataTraveler Ultimate GT, a USB flash drive that offers 2TB of storage which is twice the amount of storage that my laptop can hold. The DataTraveler Ultimate GT (that's a mouth full) is  made out of zinc-alloy for improved durability, and the storage capacity is big enough to hold over 300 HD quality  movies. The DataTraveler Ultimate GT is available in either 1TB or 2TB options. Kingston has yet to announce the pricing for the DataTraveler Ultimate GT.